"Did you mean it?"
It’s the first thing that leaves Stiles’ mouth, once the tiny pixels of Derek’s screen make up his face. Cheeks all flushed and splotchy, the soft pink of his tongue darting out to lick his lips in that tell-tale nervous habit of Stiles.
"Mean what?" Derek replies, elbows bracing on his knees as he leans forward in his chair. His laptop is sitting on the smooth bedsheets of his mattress, a healthy distance away from his hands that keep curling into themselves because reaching out to touch is not an option. Instead he watches Stiles’ mouth screw in discontent at the way Derek’s eyes regard him teasingly. Like this is a game, just their normal banter.
But then Stiles’ brows furrow tight and his mouth sets in a pinched line, small grooves digging in at the corners.
"No," he says sharply, "you don’t get to do that." and Derek’s face takes on a stuttered loss of confusion. "You don’t get to make light of this, Derek, not when I— do you even know what that message did to me? When you said that— no, you don’t get to act like this is a joke.” his voice falters, cracks a little, for a moment letting all of that seventeen-year old vulnerability spill forth, all soft and breakable and so so young.
"Okay," Derek whispers, and it’s meant to come out stronger but god he can barely breathe, chest all tight and squeezing painfully around his ribs.
Stiles gives a slow nod, pupils blown wide. Runs his tongue along his bottom lip again, watches Derek’s mouth when Derek catches the movement with his eyes.
"So if I ask—" he says and Derek says "Yes," and then "Just—”
"Will you come to prom with me?"
It’s said so softly, like Stiles is holding his breath too, but it sounds so loud in the still-quiet of Derek’s apartment, shatters through the staccato echo of his own breathing.
“Yes,” and god it sounds like seven months of waiting and alone and relief in just that single word.
There’s a moment, where Stiles’ face doesn’t seem to register having heard Derek’s reply at all. He’s all crouched into the screen, breathing open and heavy.
"Wow," he breathes out, soft and reverent, like it’s the best thing that Stiles has ever been told. He laughs, a surprised burst from his mouth and he tries to smother it with his hand, long fingers tugging at the delicate skin of his face and distorting his features when he lets his hand drag away. "Wow," he says again, all teeth and stupid wide grin that makes Derek smile back, lips pulling back so hard it hurts.
"So you’re coming back, yeah?" Stiles says, "Just for prom, I know, but— oh my god, Derek, you’re coming back.”
Derek nods, can’t seem to get that grin off of his own face, and he can’t seem to say anything in return. Because he’s afraid that if he does it might be something stupid like I miss you or god i’ve been going insane without you or what he’s been wanting to say since that last call, something utterly inane and perfect like I love you.
And Stiles’ chin jolts forward with another startled laugh, his shoulders shaking with the mirth tumbling from his bright bright eyes. He tilts his head almost fondly as he looks at Derek.
"I love you too, you ridiculous idiot. And don’t even think of booking a hotel because you’re staying in our guest room, or at least that’s where we’ll let Dad think you’re staying. I’m going to spend every minute of your time here all over you.”
(Derek purchases a plane ticket that evening.
It’s one way.)