IN HONOR OF THE STUPID SAGA OF TOO-YOUNG COWORKER can somebody maybe write me a thing where Derek is a 27-year-old loser who works at a bakery and crushes on the cute 18-year-old Stiles who is just a dumb kid and goofs off all the time but also is Stiles so Derek is pretty massively doomed anyway
and Derek’s like FUCK I’M A 27-YEAR-OLD CASHIER THIS KID PROBABLY THINKS I’M SUCH A CREEP but all Stiles is probably really thinking is how cute Derek looks with powdered sugar in his hair.
(Because this is fanfiction and not real life please)
Because, like, Derek looks in the mirror and there’s wrinkles. Just real faint, around his mouth (“You can’t really see them that well, actually,” Stiles assures him around a mouthful of doughnut contraband. “The model hobo scruff sort of hides it.”) and his eyes (“They just make you look jolly.”) and especially his forehead (“Well, if you would quit making that painful-looking expression of incredulity whenever I eat a free doughnut—” “I am incredulous because those doughnuts are not free.”) and it is disconcerting because it means that Derek is getting old. These wrinkles won’t be faint forever. He’s three years from thirty.
"How do you think I feel?” Stiles demands, catching the damp cloth Derek whings at his head. “I’m a legal adult.”
"I can’t imagine," replies Derek.
Stiles begins wiping down the counter. “Drop the attitude, Groucho. I can’t afford my own car insurance.”
"Are you saying," Derek snaps, "that your car is uninsured?"
Stiles folds his arms. Derek emphatically hates forearms. “So what if it was?”
"So if you get into an accident, you’ll have to pay for it out of pocket."
"Not if I die," sniffs Stiles.
Derek punches a large wad of dough without looking at it.
"Jesus, calm down, Banner. My dad’s paying for it."
Stiles is stupid. Stiles look extremely stupid. He should try wearing his sleeves so they cover his arms, like a normal person. He should wear his baseball cap forwards. He should tie his left shoe. He should walk around the counter instead of hopping over it. What if he kicks the cash register? What if he breaks the sneezeguard? What if he falls and cracks his stupid little head open on the tile? Derek has two birthday cakes, a pizza crust, a set of cupcakes, three loaves of banana bread, and a batch of cinnamon rolls to make, and he has to get all these done before the breakfast crowd shows up and takes all his perfect danishes. He simply doesn’t have time to watch Stiles and make sure he stays furry-side-up while he traipses around the front in his early-morning stupor. This dough is stupid.
"Why do you care?" Stiles asks, abruptly two inches from Derek’s face, and Derek inhales sharply through his nose, represses his instincts, which are to grab Stiles and javelin him out the back door, into the dumpster, which contains a yeast monster from earlier this morning (Cora thinks wasting company products is funny. It is not).
"What?" Derek says sharply.
"Why," Stiles folds the dough over Derek’s hands, "do you care?"
"Why do I care what.”
"Why do you care if my car’s insured."
"I’m old," Derek reminds him. "Old people care about that. Car insurance, stocks, letters to the editor, noise ordinances—"
"You’re not old. You’ve been crotchety since you went into kindergarten." Stiles quirks a grin at him. "Cora told me."
"Like Cora was even born then.” Derek throws caution to the wind and hands Stiles a section of dough. This is hazardous because the veins and tendons on the backs of his hands, through his wrists, work visibly when he eagerly begins to knead it. Derek hates hands. Derek hates bakeries. Derek hates the human condition.
"You’re not old."
"I’m nine years older than you are."
"So what? My grandmother was eleven years older than Gramps."
Derek grabs the rolling pin. “Are you comparing us to an ancient married couple?”
Stiles face blooms red. “Uh,” he says, wiping his hands on his apron, “I think it’s time for my lunch break.”
Derek squints at him. “It’s five in the morning.”
He starts backing out the door to the front. “Gotta, maybe, what if we get a phone call?” There’s a phone back here. “A customer?”
"They’ll ring the bell. They ring it even if you’re out there already.”
"People like bells. Bells are fun. Festive, joyous. I better go polish the bell—"
"Stiles, you—" Stiles crashes into the foot-lever trash can right by the display case. "Damn it.”
"I’m fine! I’m fine!" Derek picks him up anyway. "I’m fine."
"Sit up here. You might have a concussion."
"You hate when I sit on the counter."
"Sit on it anyway or I’ll hit you with this." Derek holds the rolling pin aloft, and Stiles doesn’t make fun of him. Or call his bluff. He just stares at the floor.
“Sorry,” Stiles says. “I know it weirds you out, because I’m, like, five, and you have a business and it’s my sixth month and I still think it’s funny to answer the phone, ‘Al’s Pancake House,’ but it just sli—”
“It just slipped out,” Stiles tells him firmly. “It won’t happen again.”
“What are you—”
"Don’t patronize me. I mean, you can let me win at Words with Friends, you can keep doing that, but not about this. Maybe you think I can’t take a hint—"
"But I can. I got the message, the whole ‘Wow, Stiles, I’m really old, have you noticed how old I am’ bit, and then you started eating grapefruit and prunes—”
"They were raisins—"
"And I get it, believe me, it was a freudian slip, or something. Maybe my eighteen-year-old impulse control is—"
"Stiles, goddamn it."
“Let me finish.” Derek rolls his eyes, petulantly leans against the cooler. “Thank you. I just want to say, you don’t need to turn me down, because I am making an effort. To not creep on you. And for the record, putting me on the night shift so that in my sleep-deprived delirium I don’t lick powdered sugar out of your beard would be something to consider.”
Derek has forgiven this bakery. In fact, it smells really nice in here, like vinegar and flour and sugar. And Lydia’s cupcake decorations are amazing. That one looks like a cheeseburger. But it’s a cupcake. That is amazing. Some things are really amazing.
"Okay," says Stiles meekly, holding out the rolling pin. "You can bludgeon me now."
Derek refuses the rolling pin. Instead, he takes Stiles knees, drags him to the edge of the counter, and kisses him. “You,” he tells him, “are—” He stops to kiss him some more. “Stupid.”
"Me, I’m stupid, I literally told you to your face that I had a filthy dream about you—”
"You were kidding.”
“I was blurting.”
"It didn’t sound like a blurt.”
"I was being blurtatious.”
Derek bites Stiles’ neck hard enough to make him cringe, but he cringes into Derek, pulls him close by his apron strings, and Derek tears Stiles’ flannel untucked from his jeans, rakes a hand up his back just to hear him—
Derek hears a bell. There is a man at the cash register, looking expectant and surprised. No, confused. Definitely confused. The clock reads 5:30.
"Shit," says Derek.
"Welcome to Paper Moon Bakery," says Stiles faintly.
"Yeah, can I get a dozen cherry danishes to go?" says the man.