Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Nothing but the story is mine.
Note: I love drawings of Stiles that capture the crazy but charming way he moves (thanks Dylan O'Brien). Somehow that translated into this story.
It hadn't been raining when he left his apartment even though the sky was a little grey. He should have known better, grabbed an umbrella or something. Now he's dripping wet inside the first open shop he could find.
It's a coffee shop, Derek notes as he looks around for the first time. The cozy, privately owned type with tables to one side close to the counter, booths along the wall and a carpeted area around the fireplace with huge squishy armchairs. It's not very crowded, although it is six o'clock on a Saturday morning. The shop is close enough to the NYU campus that it probably caters mostly to students with the occasional businessman or professor. And on a Saturday morning most kids are still in bed, sleeping off the night before.
Derek makes his way to a small table towards the back, pulling off his sopping leather jacket and letting his backpack hit the ground by his chair. He hears a crash behind him and spins to look towards the counter.
"If you're so worried about it Lydia, why don't you help?" snaps a strained voice from behind a stack of crates with mugs in them. It looks like he had tried to come through a door leading out of a back kitchen area and hit the doorframe coming out.
Stiles? Derek thinks. What kind of name is Stiles?
"Don't be ridiculous." A pretty redhead with sharp green eyes says as she follows the stack of mugs through the door. "I just painted my nails."
"You painted your nails yesterday."
"Yes and I got bored of that color."
Lydia stretches her hand out in front of her face to examine her nails. The boy smiles fondly and carefully settles the crates on the floor. He stays still for about three seconds to admire the hand that's thrust in front of his face before he's bouncing around moving mugs and syrup bottles. Stiles continues to talk animatedly with little encouragement from Lydia. He's tall and thin with thick brown hair that looks like he rolled out of bed, ran his fingers through it then came to work. He's young and probably in college so that is probably true. Moles dot every patch of bare skin in sight, from his sharp cheekbones to the surprisingly muscled forearms under the rolled up sleeves of his plaid button down. There is a strange grace to his movements, in the way the lines of his body stretch when he scrambles to grab something he just knocked over or the way his hands fly through the air as if they can help Lydia understand his meaning; if only he can move fast enough, gesture wide enough.
Once Derek's brain finally kicks back online, his first thought is how amazing that movement would look on paper, even if it would be a challenge. His second is where the hell is his sketchpad? Derek almost knocks over his chair in his rush to sit down and dig his unused pad and pencils from his bag. He starts sketching as Stiles moves from behind the counter to start wiping tables, revealing a slender waist and long legs that move with a little more grace than his arms but still tend to trip over nothing. Derek's pencil moves easily over the paper, easier than it has in months, the lines almost forming themselves.
It takes Stiles forty-five minutes to clean all the tables, wipe down the counter and all the machines. By that time Derek has three rough sketches spaced across his page. One is of Stiles leaning over a table, rag in hand, smirk on his face. Another is of him stretched out as far as his body will go trying to reach a spot on the counter without having to move around to the other side, tongue between his teeth. The third is with his head thrown back, eyes closed and mouth open in a laugh that had sent a thrill down Derek's spine. There is so much life in the boy that his body can barely contain it. It's like a fire being lit in the middle of a snowstorm, drawing Derek to him, makes him want to get as close as possible to soak up the warmth.
For artistic reasons of course. Simply for practice and Derek likes a challenge. That's all.
Derek flips his pad closed and stands up quickly to get some coffee so later he can convince himself he only stayed this long to dry off and get caffeinated.
If he chooses this moment in time to get up and Stiles also happens to have just went to get something from the back…well coincidences happen.
Derek walks up to the counter, clearing his throat when Lydia doesn't look up from the textbook she's bent over. After a few tries she finally raises her head to glare at him.
"He'll be out in a minute." She snaps turning back to her textbook.
"Why can't you take my order?" Derek glares back.
"I don't work here." Lydia doesn't even bother to look up this time but her voice so cold Derek almost shivers. "But Stiles does and he will be out in a minute."
So Derek stands there debating whether he should just leave. He isn't a coward and there isn't anything to be nervous about.
"…and I told him there was a second compound we could use but he didn't believe me. Of course he didn't. Nobody ever listens to m…" Stiles rushes out of the back continuing a conversation he must have never stopped even when he left Lydia's hearing range. He freezes when he sees Derek.
"Oh." He says, blinks a few times and then stumbles forward to the counter. "Ah, sorry for keeping you waiting I was just in the back, checking on the muffins. I didn't hear you walk up."
He shoots Lydia a glare, which she ignores.
"Anyway," he says turning a cheerful grin onto Derek. "What can I get you?"
Derek is momentarily disarmed and doesn't answer. Those gold eyes are so much more powerful up close. His smile makes laugh lines crease around the corners and there is flour in his hair. Derek is not prepared for this.
"Tall coffee." Derek finally grunts. "Black."
Stiles grin dims into a smaller smile and he bites his lip. His mouth is obscene but Derek's pretty sure he's laughing at him.
"What?" Derek asks before he can stop himself.
"Well," Stiles says slowly eyes darting across his face as if trying to determine whether he's going to tell the truth or not. "That's a little but cliché isn't it?"
"Tall, dark, mysterious, brooding artist likes his coffee black like his soul." The boy answers dramatically like he's narrating a teenage romance novel.
"I…" Derek hadn't thought Stiles noticed him drawing. "I like to think my soul is more of a dark brown."
Stiles laughs, delighted that Derek's playing along.
"Why don't I make you something that matches that color instead? Try something new?"
Derek doesn't try anything new as a rule but he finds himself shrugging anyway. Stiles doesn't wait for an actual answer, just turns to the machine and syrup pumps.
"Make it a to go cup?" Derek says glancing at his watch and wincing. He's supposed to meet Laura in fifteen minutes.
"Sure thing." Derek watches the long fingered hands move across the machine and over pumps. He really wants to just spend a couple of days drawing those hands and only those hands.
"Here you go." Stiles slides the cup across the counter and tells him the total.
"What is it?" Derek says eyeing the coffee warily.
"It's not on the menu." Stiles smirks then rolls his eyes at the suspicious look on Derek's face. "Have a little faith, dude."
Derek nods and then walks back over to his table to gather up all his stuff and put on his thankfully dry jacket. As he's walking out into the gray autumn day he takes a sip of the coffee and his eyebrows shoot up. It's good. Perfect even. It tastes mostly like the unadorned coffee Derek prefers but has an underlying flavor of cinnamon and an after taste of hazelnut. He turns and looks back through the large bay window to see Stiles watching him. The barista laughs and waves. Derek just turns back around, a small smile is tugging at his lips and he doesn't even try to hide it.
Laura is waiting at a table by the window of a restaurant; long red nails tap on the wooden surface while she stares angrily at her phone.
"You're late!" She snaps when Derek drops down in front of her. "And you look like a homeless serial killer. Why is your hair sticking up like that?"
"I do not, Laura." Derek says resisting the urge to reach up and flatten his hair. Laura just raises her eyebrows expectantly.
"I got stuck in the rain this morning." Derek sighs. "I stopped in a café to dry off and wait out the downpour. Then, I got distracted."
"Hmm." Laura says glancing down at his graphite smudged fingers. "Can I see them?"
"Come on Derek you haven't drawn in months! This is huge. Since Kate…"
"I don't want to talk about her." Derek snaps. Laura's eyes drop and she puffs out her lower lip. Sighing, he slides his sketch pad across the table. Laura flips it open, brow creasing and her eyebrows knitting together.
"Derek." Laura says. "Derek these are wonderful! Better than even before the-bitch-who-shan't-be-named. It's like you caught him mid movement."
Derek looks down at his lap, a blush warming his face. Laura slides the sketchpad back over to his side of the table.
"Who is he?"
"I don't know."
Laura reaches over to squeeze his arm and gives him a small warm smile.
"Let's eat, baby brother."
Derek goes back again the next day. It's a bad idea but he'd woken up earlier than usual after a very graphic dream starring pale hands and whiskey eyes. He had tried to drink his usual coffee but for some reason this morning it just didn't taste right. So, he'd given up, grabbed his bag and left.
He walks into the small café noticing the name for the first time, Chaleur. It's French, he thinks, for what he doesn't know. He studied German in college. The bell jingles above the door as he pushes it open to an empty room. The fire's been lit so Derek assumes they're open. He doubles back to check the sign outside just in case.
"We're open." Says an amused voice and Derek quickly ducks back in the door. Stiles is standing behind the counter, a self-satisfied smirk on his face. It says something about Derek's frame of mind that it makes him feel warm all over instead of annoyed. He's wearing a black apron over a long sleeve gray Henley. Both are covered in flour and what looks like raspberry jelly.
"Liked the coffee then?"
"I did." Derek says, not even begrudging him that. It was damn goodcoffee. "Cinnamon? And Hazelnut?"
Stiles raises his eyebrows, smile widening. "Yeah, how'd you know?"
Derek shrugs. "My Mom really likes to cook. I got good at guessing ingredients."
"Huh." Stiles says cocking his head to the side a little. "Well, what can I get you today?"
Stiles beams in response, making Derek's stomach flip.
"Up a little early on Sunday aren't you?" Stiles observes as he busies himself behind the counter.
Derek shrugs even though Stiles can't see him. "So are you."
"I take the early shifts because most of my classes are later in the day. And I take the weekend shifts because nobody else wants them. It works out well."
"A college student that wants to get up early on the weekends?"
Stiles snickers again and Derek wishes he could draw sound but he's never been good with abstract stuff. "I'm double majoring in Psychology and Criminology so I don't really have time for the night life. I got my fill in high school anyway."
Derek nods and takes a sip of the coffee handed to him, making an involuntary noise of satisfaction, closing his eyes. Amazing. The coffee is still strong but with mocha and…vanilla?
Stiles makes a choking noise and Derek's eyes open again. There's a faint blush across the boy's cheeks and he won't meet Derek's eyes.
"Well I'm just going to…" He motions behind him. "Yup…well."
He practically scrambles through the door leaving Derek bemused but a little distracted because Stiles has a really nice ass.
Derek sits at the same table as before and pulls out his pad. He brought colored pencils today. While graphite is the best to capture the harried movement Stiles embodies, it doesn't let him portray the warmth in his eyes or the flush of his skin.
He starts with a quick sketch of the fireplace because Laura's right; it has been a long time. He gets caught up in the dancing flames and practically jumps a foot when a hand makes it's way into his vision holding a muffin.
"Sorry, didn't mean to scare you." Stiles chuckles. "Thought you'd like to be the unofficial taste tester to the first batch of baked goods."
It's a simple blueberry muffin, or at least Derek thought it was until he takes the first bite. He groans, is that white chocolate? Stiles flushes all the way down his neck.
"I can see why they keep you around." Derek says, not caring at all that he's basically talking with his mouth full. He doesn't want to waste time when he could be eating.
"I like to think it's mostly my charm but you're probably right." Stiles laughs then shifts nervously. "You like it, huh?"
"It's great." Derek says as earnestly as he knows how.
"It was my mom's recipe." The words tumble out of his mouth as if he didn't mean to say them. Derek hears the past tense and feels an aching sadness. Stiles is too young to have lost a parent.
"A good recipe requires good execution." Derek says. Stiles mood visibly lifts and his smile is even better than the muffin.
"You're really good." Stiles says motioning towards Derek's mostly finished drawing of the fireplace. "It looks like I'd get burned if I touched it."
"They're just sketches." Derek shrugs.
"Just sketches…wow." Stiles scrubs his hand through his hair. "Wow."
Just then a group of ruffled hung over looking students tumble through the door, laptops under their arms.
"I gotta go, but I'll talk to you later…?" Stiles says, reluctantly backing towards the counter.
"Stiles." He smiles over his shoulder and Derek's heart clenches.
Stiles takes care of the customers while Derek finishes the fireplace and the muffin. During a lull Stiles pulls out a textbook and starts reading, leaning up against the counter. It's the most stationary Derek's seen him, even if he continuously chews on a pen or taps his fingers on the counter. Derek quickly takes advantage, pencil moving effortlessly across the page.
He leaves two hours later, with a wave from Stiles, two full body colored sketches and a sense of peace he hasn't felt in two years.
Derek goes to Chaleur every day for a week. On the third day Stiles laughs as he walks in the door.
"Don't you have a job?"
"I used to work in animation." Derek says, cataloging the look of surprise on Stiles face. "I've been taking a break."
Stiles studies him for a moment, making Derek feel open and exposed as those sharp eyes understand more than Derek meant to say. He finds that he doesn't mind as much as he probably should.
"Thinking about getting back into it?"
"Yeah." Derek says taking the coffee cup Stiles had waiting, never breaking eye contact. "I am."
On the fifth day, Laura makes an appearance. She wears her most terrifying I-will-eat-you-for-breakfast-and-still-have-room-f or-eggs smile that makes men cry in the courtroom. Stiles doesn't bat an eyelash. Five minutes in and he has Laura in stitches and Derek's cheeks hurt from smiling. Heat floods his body when Stiles turns to look at him mid conversation, grin shrinking into a smaller more private smile. Laura is practically vibrating in her seat, eyes flicking from Stiles to Derek.
On Saturday Lydia comes in again, spreading worksheets and textbooks across the counter. It's slow so Stiles strips off his hoody to reveal a thin t-shirt. Derek's mouth goes dry as he stretches out in the window seat, paperback raised above his head, shirt riding up to reveal a thin line of pale skin and pronounced hipbones.
Derek scrambles for this sketchpad and wonders, not so innocently, whether Stiles has moles all over his body.
He's so absorbed in what he's doing, in how the light makes Stiles's skin glow and eyes shine, that he doesn't notice he hasn't looked up in awhile until he does and Stiles is gone. Uncertain, Derek looks around and flinches when he sees the younger man standing behind him.
"I…" Derek says but can't think of anything other than 'I think you're beautiful and I want to draw you for the rest of my life' so he keeps his mouth shut.
"Derek…that's so good! No fantastic! The light…" Stiles trails off still staring at the picture. "You're so talented."
Derek throws caution to the wind and asks before he can chicken out.
"I want…to draw your face." Derek blurts. Stiles eyes snap to him, wide, familiar, safe. Its Stiles, who's best friend's name is Scott, the man marrying his high school sweetheart, Allison, in six months. Stiles, who came to New York to study criminology and follow his Dad's footsteps into law enforcement. Who is brilliant and funny and warm.
"I can only do a portrait if you're sitting still. And close."
"Okay." Stiles says, the small private smile is back as he sits in the chair opposite Derek.
"Just find a position that's comfortable." Derek pulls a drawing board out of his bag to keep the pad on his lap so only he can see the paper. Stiles chooses to fold his arms across the table and rest his chin on them, looking up under his lashes and Derek's breath catches. Stiles smirks and opens his mouth but stops when Derek holds up a hand.
"No Titanic references."
Stiles laughs, the full and happy sound Derek loves. "You know me so well."
"Not nearly well enough." Derek blurts before he can think better of it. Stiles inhales sharply and looks at Derek with soft fond eyes.
They sit there for two hours as Derek draws, talking about everything. Stiles asks how he got into art and Derek tells him about his Dad's hidden talent and his Aunt who owns a tattoo parlor. Derek talks about Laura, Cora, Isaac, Boyd and Erica. Stiles talks about his Mom, saying she would have laughed to see him sitting still for anything, let alone to get his portrait drawn. Derek tells Stiles about Kate, how she broke his heart and used him. Stiles replies with a vehement fuck her. Derek laughs and it feels like bleeding off poison. They don't even notice when customers come in but Derek sees Lydia take a few orders. Their eyes meet for a brief second and the you owe me is clear but she glances at Stiles back with a fond smile. All the while Derek's pencil moves across the paper making the sharp plains of Stiles's face, the soft curves of his mouth and fills in the deep color of his eyes.
When Derek is done, he sits back with a sigh.
"I think so."
Stiles moves around behind him and freezes. Concerned he's done something wrong, Derek looks up and a warm mouth presses to his. A desperate sound escapes him and he immediately reaches up to tangle his hand in Stiles's hair, pressing him closer. Stiles's mouth is warm and soft and there are slender hands holding either side of his face firmly. The angle is weird and a little uncomfortable on his neck, but it's perfect because Stiles lips move across his like they were born to do it and when their tongues meet Derek loses all coherent thought.
When they part, they're both panting. Stiles only pulls far enough away to rest their foreheads together.
"Want to come to my apartment tonight? I'll cook."
"Yes." Derek kisses the corner of the mouth he's been staring at for a week, just because he can. "I guess that means you like the sketch?"
"Yes." Stiles laughs. "It's beautiful."
"I only draw what I see."
Stiles laughs again, brighter. "Only you could get away with a line like that." It sounds fond so Derek just smiles what he's sure is a disgustingly smitten smile in return.
Derek presses the whole sketchbook into Stiles hands. He raises his eyebrows, takes it and flips to the first page.
"Oh…" Stiles breathes out, flipping to the second page and the third. By the fifth page, which was the day Derek spent the entire time drawing Stiles's hands in different positions, the pad is tossed onto the table. Derek get's pulled into another searing kiss that leaves his body aching with need. Throwing all propriety out the door he pulls Stiles onto his lap.
They don't resurface until Lydia throws a rag at them.
Comments and Likes are much appreciated:) Thanks for reading! And a HUGE thank you to my beta reader Catie for putting up with me.