You wouldn't think a leather jacket and simple pair of jeans stood out in public, but when they were being worn by Derek Hale, any exterior components were considered peripheral. The man himself exuded supremacy in every way - quite a talent for someone who'd spent a majority of his life in solitude away from most humans, who'd often feel threatened by a mere glance from those intimidating amber eyes. The fact that his brow was perpetually stabbing into the bridge of his nose didn't help either.
Stiles filed through the reasons in his mind as to why Derek would need to put on his big bad wolf act in an ice cream shop of all places. Was he about to rob them or something? Start huffing and puffing, maybe?
The couple still waiting at one of the tables looked as if they were about to witness a brawl, and who could blame them? Stiles' own concern probably didn't ease their worries any further.
The adam's apple in his throat bobbed once before the boy finally spoke. "Uhh… hey, Derek…??" He semi-asked, the question in his voice prompted by the werewolf's own baffled expression.
The millisecond pause between Derek opening his mouth and moving his lips to speak seemed to elicit a surge of adrenaline that set everyone's hair on end, as if the older boy were about to breath fire.
"What are you doing here?"
Stiles was speechless for a bit before looking down and letting out a short laugh. The humor in his face when he made eye contact again did not mirror onto the werewolves' in the slightest. "Seriously? The goofy hat and name tag doesn't give you any clues? And anyway, shouldn't I be the one asking that?"
"I…" Derek stopped himself before answering, letting out the breath he'd saved for his explanation, and averted his eyes. Typical Derek Hale habit.
"Well? Did you need to see me? Is something going on?" The seventeen year old was becoming uneasy under the pressure of Derek's silence, or at least more so than usual. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. "… Is the pack making you get ice cream because you lost in a game of rock-paper-scissors?"
"No. It's just…" He cut himself off once more, right when Stiles thought he had cracked him. The werewolf looked him straight in the eyes as he replied, "It doesn't concern you."
Of course. Since when did anything ever concern Stiles? He was used to being left out of all his friends' business after all. Why should this time be any different?
"Fine. Keep your little secretive secrets of secrecy." The boy dismissed the subject with an eye roll. "If you're not gonna buy anything, dude, then could you move along? I've got customers."
Derek glanced back at the two lone high schoolers in Stone Cold and scoffed. "Right. I can tell." After getting a good look at Derek's face, the girl swooned a bit, straightening her posture so her breasts appeared larger. This in turn caused the jealous boyfriend to sneer and scoot his chair in her line of sight.
Stiles' pressed his lips together. Derek Hale, bewitching every female gaze within a 20 mile radius? Not surprising in the least.
The same enchantment, however, didn't seem to phase Jessica as she came back out with a refill for the birthday cake ice cream. One look at the older man and her eyes grew as wide as dinner plates.
"… Do we owe money?"
"Jessica, meet my friend, Derek." The boy wasn't even sure the term "friend" was fitting in light of their overall estranged relationship, but felt that maybe it'd ease the tension wafting throughout the shop if they knew Mr. Jailbreak wasn't just some walking WANTED poster.
"…… Do we owe your friend money?"
Stiles stifled his laughter, having experienced the exact same apprehension she was feeling when first meeting Derek, and placed a reassuring hand on Jessica's shoulder. "Look, I know he's a little rough around the edges, but don't worry! He just came to buy something, right?" He raised an eyebrow at the werewolf in a silent plea of 'stop freaking people the fuck out and do something normal, quick!' Without giving him a chance to answer, Stiles took the tub of birthday cake out of his co-worker's hands and set it in the display himself, seeing as she had gone a bit stiff. The couple had approached the counter as soon as they saw their order was ready.
While Stiles took care of them, Jessica was left to deal with his shady friend. She put on a smile, albeit timid, and asked in a professional voice, "What can I get you, sir?"
Derek sighed through his nose, eyes boring into the side of Stiles' fuzzy head. Nonetheless, he would go along with it, if only so Goldilocks here wouldn't end up hitting a silent alarm on him or something. He ended up going with the first thing that he saw on the overhead menu.
"I'll have a… cookie."
"Okay… What kind?" Jessica was almost afraid her question would offend him in some bizarre way.
"Sure thing!" She rushed out from under his stare, despite that he was looking up at the menu most of the time, to grab a pair of tongs and the little wax paper baggie they used to place cookies in.
By this time, Stiles had handed the young lovers their cones and rung them up. The boyfriend received a few pennies back and decided he didn't want so little change inhabiting his pockets for months to come, never to be used unless one was buying a single stick of gum. His eyes spotted the colorful "TIPS" label stuck to its jar, adorned with cartoony drawings of ice cream and banana splits.
Stiles barely held in the groan that wanted to escape his lips. 'Oh god. Please don't do it, please don't do it, just pleeeease spare me this once…'
Alas, the tip jar beckoned.
"Somebody once told me that Stone Cold's great employee's
Aren't the best singers around
I said yep what a concept
We're all just a bunch of teens in debt
And we could all use a little chaaaange~"
Okay, at least there was some kind of rise out of the crowd this time, despite it being a bunch of snickering from the couple who'd caused this whole thing to happen. So maybe the tune from "All Star" wasn't the coolest jam around, but it beat all the other ooey-gooey jingles Stiles had to pick from. It was the first one he'd memorized, to be honest.
Normally, if there was more than one employee on the floor, they all had to join in and sing the tip jar tune. But, since Stiles had neglected to consult with Jessica about which song they'd be doing, and with the poor girl still slightly abashed by the less than friendly-looking customer, he had regrettably gone solo.
A tentative look at Derek's reaction just made the situation all the more humiliating. The werewolf's eyes had opened three sizes wider than anyone thought those sharp soul-starer's of death could, and although it was subtle, getting any kind of feedback from Derek Hale was a quite a feat.
Mr. and Mrs. Giggles had finally left the counter and headed back outside, the amusement obviously too much for them to handle, or so Stiles thought with disdain. Tension hung in the air like dust in an old library, the kind that makes you go into a coughing fit every ten seconds (Stiles briefly thought back to his own terrible experiences with mild asthma as a kid.)
Honestly, the boy wouldn't mind if somebody broke the ice already, and that 'somebody' happened to be Jessica.
"Okay! So, that'll be $1.50, sir," she chirped in an strained happy tone.
Derek snapped out of his stupor almost flawlessly, showing no sign that he was ever affected in the first place as he laid the one dollar bill and fifty cents on the counter.
Stiles moved to the sink, his sulky back facing away from Derek and any lingering mortification in the atmosphere. It was kind of comical, actually, how pouty the boy had become.
"DON'T. Just. Don't. This is my job, Derek. This is the cruel fate I resigned myself to in order to make money, because I kind of need it to get into college and yeah it's not the best job out there and I'm sure my father isn't too proud of the choices I've made, but it's not like there's much I can do about it when I've been cast out by everyone else."
"Why are you talking like you've joined the prostitution ring?" Jessica chuckled, yet Stiles continued to ramble.
"And to be honest I'm not the one who made the rule about having to sing every time a customers tips us and I bet you'd do it too if it meant half your pay! In fact it's not all that bad, every once in a while I put a smile on someone's face and that's what it's all about isn't it? Bringing joy to the poor unfortunate souls of our fair city! So don't judge me, man, don't you--"
"Huhhyeah?" The high schooler jumped from the biting tone and quickly made it to look like he had just moved to rest his arms on the counter top.
"I. Don't. Care."
There was no lie in Derek's voice, and Stiles actually became a bit crestfallen at the fact that his friend(???) couldn't give two shits about his problems. Nevertheless, he played it cool.
Derek glanced at Jessica for a split second before focusing back on Stiles, as if hesitant to say what he was about to say. "I just wanted to tell you… to keep an eye out around here."
"……. Oooo… kaayy?? Is that, like… are you thre--"
"No, I'm not threatening you, I'm telling you to watch your back."
"Ah ha, okay, and you realize that doesn't sound any less threatening, right?"
The werewolf let out a frustrated huff from his nose and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "I'm saying that there's something weird going on around this area lately. Just…" for emphasis, he pointed a finger at the boy, "...be careful."
Those were two words Stiles rarely heard from the big guy. Plenty of times from his friends, yes, but Derek? It was… strange, but in a good way. At least now Stiles knew that Mr. Sourwolf cared about his wellbeing to some extent.
"Right. Will do," he responded, trying to remain skeptical so as to mask how touched the teenager felt. "Same to you, man. Not like you really need to be told that or anything, just… yeah."
Once he got his point across, the werewolf grabbed his bag of a single chocolate chip cookie that he probably wouldn't eat anyway, and turned to exit the shop. As a last minute thought, he added, "If you see anything, let me know."
"No problem," Stiles gave the older man a thumbs up before letting his arm inharmoniously drop onto the counter again. What he was supposed to look out for, Stiles would never know.
A few feet away from the door, Derek stopped and put a hand into his pocket. Jessica took a couple steps back, afraid he had a concealed weapon, basically assuming the worst about what could happen. It was a relief to see that all Derek pulled out was 25 cents. To Stiles, however…
'Oh shit no.'
Derek smirked, and flicked the coin backwards. It landed in the tip jar with a solid ring.
Curse that werewolf aim!
Stiles began singing with a sneer.
We thank you for your dough
We come and work and play all day…"
Derek left the shop, the grin still etched into his smug features.
"Heigh-ho heigh-ho heiiiiii'm not even gonna…" Stiles swiped his hand at the door in a dismissive gesture and ended the song short. If there wasn't anyone left to hear his singing, then he sure as hell wasn't going to finish the performance. 'Screw you, Derek. Screw youuuu.'
Meanwhile, Jessica had shoved the cash register drawer back into its slot and stared at the exit for a good few seconds before saying anything. "Holy shit. Dude, you have interesting tastes in friends."
"Tell me about it," Stiles grumbled, burying his head into his arms on the edge of the display case.
"What the heck was he talking about, anyway? 'If you see anything, let me know'? Sounds like some shady ass business to me, haha!" The girl picked up the receipt Derek hadn't bothered to take and threw it away. "You sure you never got in trouble with the mafia or something?"
"Pfft. If only that were the case," Stiles huffed.
"Well, at least he left. I think the murderous aura around that guy was keeping customers away." Jessica yawned and looked at the clock, figuring it hadn't changed much since she last looked at it a minute or two ago. "Oh hey, before I forget, could you take the trash out back? It's starting to overflow. Mr. Manager won't be too happy to see that when he comes in tomorrow."
"Um, yeah, isn't that your job?" Stiles asked suspiciously. It wasn't the first time this girl had tried to push her duties onto him.
"I can't! My doctor said I'm not allowed to do anything strenuous that would put pressure on my back."
"Oh… right." Jessica's party incident. It was a lesson to all that night at Tracy Cardella's birthday bash that standing drunkenly at the end of a water slide was not the smartest thing to do when you had a 200 lb lacrosse player coming your way.
"Oh!" Jessica pulled out her vibrating iPhone and checked the caller ID. Judging by how her face lit up, one could only guess who it happened to be. "Hello? Hi, babe! What's up?" She started heading towards the employee's bathroom on the opposite end from the kitchen, mouthing a quick "thank you" to Stiles before continuing the conversation with her 21 year old dreamboat boyfriend. Stiles watched as the door closed behind her, the normally monotone quality of her voice suddenly taking on a certain lilt.
Stiles rolled his eyes and dragged himself to the kitchen for trash collecting, making sure to grab the smaller can underneath the counter. There were two large bins near the back exit, a few medium sized ones in each customer bathroom, and one in their manager's office. He approached the big cahoonas first, gathering the edges of the trash bag together and heaving upward. It took a couple tries, but he finally managed to dislodge the hefty bag from it's confines.
'Wow, this is lighter than I thought,' the teenager mused. It wasn't until he pulled out a half empty trash bag with a gaping hole in the bottom did he realize why he'd miraculously gained super strength. He looked down at the plethora of cups, wrappings, and sludgy ice cream residue that had decided to make the pit of the bin its new home. Stiles grimaced and let out an irritated grunt.
"Seriously?! Could this day get any worse?"