Ink and Flowers and Love - TheyDraggedMeInNowIAintLeaving (2024)

Mondays are the worst, Stiles thinks to himself while squinting at the too bright screen, trying to figure out where he’s managed to hit the wrong number, something which is made significantly more difficult with all of them looking the same as well as matching the ones on every piece of paper in front of him, and still the figures don’t tally with one godsdamn cent.

He lifts the paper with the account statement and lets his eyes sweep from paper to screen. 4 and 4, 3 and 3, 9 and 9, and so on and so forth and still there’s one teeny tiny cent too much and Stiles is this close to either scream out his frustration or kick his desk, which would probably not end well for him but really, who cares about one stupid cent? he growls as yet another look through reveals his mistake.

Thankfully, before he can actually do anything stupid, the little jaunty tune the bell above the door makes when it’s opened chimes through the air, providing the perfect excuse to get away from the accounts. Truly, if he’d known there was this much paperwork involved with owning his own business, he never would’ve left the east coast and his insane boss and crazier co-workers.

He stretches his arms above his head, rolls his head a few times from side to side before he gets up, stretching his back until it gives a satisfying pop and he feels like he can walk without looking like he’s ninety. He walks over to the office door and with a final, annoyed look at the screen steps through it and makes his way to the shop.

“Order for Mr. Stilinski,” the guy standing at the counter says, grinning bright and wide when he sees Stiles who grins back just as cheerfully.

“Just in time, too,” he said, reaching for the bouquet wrapped in brown paper the other was holding.

“Books kicking your ass again?” he asked. After delivering flowers to Stiles’ shop for the past year and a half he was well aware bookkeeping was Stiles’ least favorite part of his job.

“And for what,” Stiles rolled his eyes, “one piffling cent. As if anybody would even care.” He sighed dramatically and the other laughed.

“I’m sure you’ll find it. But I gotta run, see you next week, Stiles,” he turned and waved over his shoulder.

“See you, Sam” Stiles said to his back, then watched him get into the van where the old logo had been peeled off and replaced with a simple Hale’s in a nice enough but, in Stiles’ opinion, completely bland cursive.
He put the bouquet down next to the till and walked over to lock the door now that no one else was supposed to show up, considering Monday was the one day a week the shop was closed. Mostly to give him a day to catch up on paperwork lest one day he’d really find himself crushed underneath a pile of invoices and account statements and other equally boring stuff, but also because customers usually didn’t stand in line to get a new tattoo on Mondays.

And as every other Monday, Stiles grabbed a vase from under the counter and with it in one hand and the bouquet in the other headed back to his office. There he’d carefully unwrap the flowers and put them in the vase, placing it next to the screen so he could look at them while finishing up his work as quick as he possibly could, then he’d lightly re-wrap them and head out to give them to his mom before going shopping for the week, taking most of it back to his own apartment then head for his Dad’s house where he’d have a few hours to make dinner before his dad’s shift ended, and then they’d eat together and then dad would clean the dishes while Stiles would tell him about any interesting pieces he’d be doing, and then they’d have coffee in the living room and dad would fall asleep in his chair and Stiles would stretch out on the couch and do the same, and it would be a whole week before they’d do it again.

Except on this particular Monday Stiles didn’t get much further than unwrapping the bouquet, his brain refusing to make sense of what his eyes were seeing.

The bouquet had more green than he was used to, long fuzzy stems Stiles didn’t know what were but were kinda pretty and looked good among the flowers, a lighter green to dark green of the characteristically wide leaves ending in sharp points framing the bright white and purple flowers - which were only somewhat right and totally and completely wrong and might cause him to burst into tears the instant his brain caught up to his eyes.

Carefully putting the bouquet down on his desk Stiles grabbed his phone, keys and wallet, put on his jacket with mechanical movements and then picked up the bouquet again before once more heading to the front of the shop, where he unlocked the door, stepped out on the pavement and with shaking hands took entirely too long locking the door again. Then he turned towards and took off at a light jog.

Cursing at Isaac for screwing up his order - which had been the same ever since Stiles had first found himself inside Lahey’s Flowers and rather than leaving when the salesman had greeted him and asked how he could help he’d blurted out an order for his mom’s favorite flowers. He’d been handed a simple bouquet of ten variegated tulips, most of the flower a beautiful purple red while the edges of the petals had been white, paid a ridiculously low price and somehow made it to the cemetery and his mom’s grave, where he’d left the flowers and then walked in a daze to his dad’s house. The next week he and dad had gone together, another bouquet of the same tulips placed in the first’s place, and since then Stiles had gotten a new bouquet every week though this is the first time Isaac has screwed up the order.

The explanation is obvious when he stops in front of the flower shop and sees the brand new sign glinting in the sun proclaiming this to be Hale’s, and Stiles wants to slap himself for forgetting Isaac had sold the shop and moved out of state just last week. Heck, Stiles had even been at the guy’s farewell reception and it had still somehow slipped his mind just because somebody had mixed up his order, which while annoying wasn’t the end of the world, and hopefully this Hale, or whoever they’d employed to man the shop, would acknowledge the mistake and give him another bouquet with the right flowers.

Calmed down and no longer on the verge of either crying or screaming at some poor, undeserving sales person, Stiles reached out and pressed down the door handle, listening for the bell as he opened the door and stepped inside.

The shop was darker than he’d expected and he took a few seconds to let his eyes adjust to the light, taking a deep breath and letting the smells of a million different flowers wash over him. Once he figured his eyes were as adjusted as they were ever going to get and he could hopefully avoid tripping over anything that may have somehow found its way to the floor he headed for the counter.

A few steps away he looked up and nearly tripped over air at the sight of the person standing behind the counter.
A man with broad shoulders, arms dusted with dark hair and biceps trying to escape the confines of the green t-shirt he was wearing. Dark stubble, though maybe it should be considered a beard - regardless it looked like it would feel amazing against his skin; Stiles shook his head to dispel the thought - and even darker hair with gray streaks that would’ve made him look unapproachable is not for the fact the pink tip of the man’s tongue as poking out between his lips as he stared down at his hands in concentration. Stiles couldn’t help staring too, though more at fingers a little shorter and thicker than his own than the wreath the man was doing… something to; it wasn’t as if Stiles knew anything about the sort of things one would do in a flower shop.

It took a few seconds but then the man made a victorious noise, put the wreath down and turned fully to Stiles.

“Hello, and welcome to Hale’s. What can I help you with?” The voice was lighter than Stiles would’ve expected but somehow now that he’d heard it he couldn’t imagine him sounding any different, though he couldn’t help but wonder if maybe, under the right circ*mstances, his voice would get deeper, richer, and f*ck Stiles had totally spaced out lusting after the guy rather than act like a normal human being.

“Eum,” he began intelligently, opening and closing his mouth like a fish on land, then lifting the bouquet up so the guy could see it. It didn’t immediately spark recognition but with a shake of his head Stiles managed to get a hold of himself and stammer out an explanation as to why he was here waving a bouquet of flowers around as if he was some demented magician.

“Oh. I’m so sorry,” the man said once Stiles was done. “Lahey, the guy who sold me the shop, his notes just said purple and white tulips, I didn’t realize they were supposed to be variegated.
I’ll get you another, free of charge of course.”

Stiles, charmed beyond belief at the faint dusting of pink high in Hale’s cheeks, smiled;

“That’s kind of you, but you don’t have to. I was just going to tease Isaac for being a scatterbrain. Not that he’s the only one, considering I had forgotten he’d sold the place,” he laughed awkwardly, relieved when Hale’s smile turned a little less ‘customer service polite’ and more genuine. “It was nice meeting you, Mr. Hale..”

“Derek,” Hale interrupted, his blush a little more pronounced and a surprised look in his eyes as if he hadn’t meant to tell his name. Stiles’ smile grew a little wider.

“Very nice, indeed, Derek. And I’m Stiles, though you obviously knew that,” Stiles could feel his cheeks burning as he reached out his hand, the blush getting worse when it got enveloped in Derek’s.


The bell above the door chimed, announcing the arrival of potential customers in unknown numbers, so Stiles nodded a quick goodbye and hurried out the door before he could say anything embarrassing.

It hadn’t been in the cards that Derek should one day open a flower shop.
When he’d been a kid he’d had zero interest in either indoor or outdoor plants, had barely managed to correctly identify dandelions when his mom had tried to get him to take an interest in gardening, but it had at least spared him being enlisted in the endless weeding, considering he was just as likely to remove something useful as something his mom didn’t want in her garden.

Then, when he’d left for college and his parents had helped him move his mom had handed him a cactus before they’d driven back home. It had survived a few months, and Derek found himself missing it; admittedly some of it was probably home sickness - he also missed his dad’s cooking and his mom’s hugs - but there was a part of him that looked around the room and was sad there wasn’t anything green in the windowsill or on his desk.

He’d gone to a plant nursery and bought a cactus like the one his mom had given him, and asked an employee how to care for it - had also felt a little stupid when he realized he’d watered the poor thing to death, but he swore to himself he’d do better the second time around - and the next time he went home he’d asked his mom advice on other potted plants that were easy to care for. He’d gone back to school with a list of suggestions and how to care for them, and once he had a free moment went back to the nursery to buy a new plant.

He kept coming back, asking questions about the plants and their care, the pots and machines and anything else the nursery sold or the employees were willing to tell him about, and he got hired as an extra for the summer. The pay wasn’t great and maybe not the kind of work he’d like to do, but it was definitely something along those lines. When he went home for christmas that year he told his parents he was going to study horticulture.

And now, here he was, the proud owner of his very own flower shop that amazingly came with a surprisingly long list of regular customers, most of them local shop owners, and a wealth of goodwill if Derek could keep the same standard they were used to.
Which of course meant he’d screwed up the very first order, and while Stiles - and what kind of name was that even, it definitely hadn’t been the name written in Isaac Lahey’s illegible handwriting - had been kind enough to not demand a refund or a free bouquet, Derek was well aware he’d most likely take his business elsewhere.

So when the bell above the door chimed a few minutes after he’d unlocked the front door and set out the ‘Open’ sign and he looked up from the bouquet he was currently making only to be met with Stiles’ brilliantly bright smile, he was pleasantly surprised.

“Goodmorning,” he managed before Stiles was standing right in front of him, large whiskey colored eyes glowing in the lamp light stealing the breath from his lungs.

“Morning Derek,” he grinned, “thought I’d stop by, save Sam the trip, since you shop’s on the way and I decided my paperwork could wait a few hours while I got a good night’s sleep.”

“Sure. Would you mind waiting a few minutes while I finish this?” Derek held up the nearly finished bouquet.

“Not at all. Mind if I look?”

“Sure,” it came out with a questioning lilt; people usually either stayed put, staring into thin air or they went browsing until he was done, whichever suited their temperaments. Never before had someone asked let alone indicated an interest in watching him make a bouquet.

Stiles looked a little sheepish, the tip of his ears slightly pink, head ducked as he explained;

“Professional interest. Not sure you know where you were delivering flowers, but I own the tattoo shop a few streets over. Besides, it’s fascinating how easy it seems.”

Derek smiled, “by all means, look away then.” He changed the grip on the stems and began putting more flowers, leaves, and foliage in the bouquet with quick, practiced movements; it turned out just the way it was supposed to but if he was honest with himself, Derek would have to admit most of his attention had been on Stiles, on the way Stiles’ eyes had tracked his every move, how his mouth had moved around soundless words. He turned around and carefully placed the finished bouquet in a bucket, then carried it to the cooler.

“There,” he said once he was back behind the counter, “thanks for waiting, what can I help you with?”

Stiles laughed, throwing back his head and showing off the long expanse of his neck, and Derek had the sudden and inappropriate thought that the soft looking skin would look even better with a few marks in the shape of Derek’s mouth. Hopefully oblivious to the direction Derek’s mind had gone Stiles just asked for a bouquet of tulips.

“Variegated this time though, please,” he winked and Derek who’d doubted he’d need them yet still had placed them nearly in arm’s reach nodded and went to get them.

“Just the flowers, or do you want some decoration?”

Stiles shrugged, “maybe some of those big leaves I sometimes see in bouquets? I don’t know dude, I’m used to just the flowers, but the long, fuzzy things you’d stuck into it last week looked good.”

Derek grinned. “Okay. A little decoration it is,” Stiles watched in fascination as Derek quickly removed some of the tulip leaves, stuck in a few stalks of the same grass he’d used last week as well as what looked like a branch with umbels; then he tied it with bast string and held it up for inspection.

“What do you think?”

“Holy crap, Derek. That looks amazing.” Derek grinned at the praise, handing over the bouquet; Stiles took it, reaching for his wallet.
Once paid Derek handed him the receipt, Stiles thanked him and said goodbye, then headed outside. Derek followed him with his eyes as long as humanly possible, and then a little longer, pretending he could still see the other though he’d long since turned around a corner and would be out of sight for anyone without x-ray vision. Luckily Derek was saved by the bell before he could lament the fact he wasn’t Superman by someone who needed a birthday bouquet for their mother, then a young couple asking about wedding bouquets. Sam stopped by shortly after lunch to pick up the day’s deliveries and then there were more customers and eventually it was late enough he could close for the day, go home and make dinner, call Laura to wish his niece happy birthday and pretend he didn’t know she was turning four and head about the presents she’d been showered with. All in all not a bad first day of his second week as a business owner.


It became a thing, with Stiles stopping by every Monday. Rarely before lunch but never later than two in the afternoon the bell above the door would chime and Derek would look up or come out from the cold storage and Stiles would be standing there with a smile on his face, and always the same order of variegated tulips in purple and white.

He was curious, who wouldn’t be when someone comes into your shop week after week and always orders the same, but despite him and Stiles maybe being friends - at least when he talked about Stiles to his mom he referred to him as such, to which his mom laughed knowingly and let him ramble to his heart’s content - he didn’t dare ask.

And then one day Stiles was standing outside the door early enough Derek was still putting away the deliveries.

He hurried over to unlock the door and let Stiles in, noticing his red rimmed eyes and red tipped nose, the way his hair was sticking every which way, and the coffee stain on his shirt. He locked the door behind Stiles, gently grabbed his arm and let him into the back room where a fresh pot of coffee was brewing and there were two decent chairs they could sit on.

“It’s my mom’s birthday,” Stiles finally said, long after Derek’s cup was empty and the coffee in Stiles’ had gone cold, “and I woke today and had forgotten.” He took a deep breath. “They were her favorite, you know. The whole garden a wealth of color in the spring, but the two-colored ones were her favorite and of those she preferred the purple and white. And I’ve been bringing her a bouquet every week ever since I came back, and I still f*cking forgot.”

Stiles looked down at his hands, then up at Derek, a lost expression on his face. “What kind of son forgets his mother’s birthday?”

“I don’t know,” Derek said carefully, turning the words over in his head before letting them out, “but whichever kind it may be it isn’t you.” Stiles snorted disbelievingly, Derek leaned in and put a hand on Stiles’ shoulder and when the other didn’t pull back he put the other hand on the other shoulder and pulled Stiles closer.

“You’re not, because you didn’t forget.” Derek wasn’t sure what to say next, but it didn’t matter because Stiles practically fell into his arms and burst into tears. Unsure what to do, Derek decided to do what he’d done to his niece when she was crying, which was holding Stiles closer and gently stroking down his hair and back.

Eventually Stiles’ tears dried up and he pulled away, straightening in the chair. “Thanks man,” he said, voice still thick with tears, “I.. well. Thanks.”

“Any time,” Derek said and squeezed his hand, the two of them sitting there in companionable silence for a little while longer.

Eventually though Stiles grew restless and got to his feet. “Sorry for intruding,” he said.

“No worries.”

“Still, I should make it up to you. Anything simple I can help you with?”

Derek grinned, “well, I didn’t get last week’s bookkeeping done.”

“Oh, hell no,” Stiles mock growled, “but I can help lift heavy things.” Derek raised an unimpressed eyebrow and Stiles punched his shoulder and headed for the shop. “Bet you didn’t put the flowers away yet, at least let me help with that.”

“Sure,” Derek said and picked up one of the tubs, “follow me.” It took longer than if he’d done it himself but it was way more fun than he’d had in a long while so he didn’t complain about it. Once they were done Derek made a bouquet of tulips for Stiles who took it with a quiet thanks and then left just in time for Derek to open for whoever’d need flowers at 9.30 on a Monday morning.


For years, almost since he’d first set foot in the nursery back in college, Derek had wanted to get a tattoo. However, he’d never found an artist whose style he liked well enough to actually go through with it. But then he’d decided to open a flower shop, and when negotiations with Lahey had gotten serious he’d spent a few hours driving around what would hopefully be his new neighborhood, and there he’d seen the sign with Flower Ink in huge, dramatic letters.

He’d gone home and instantly googled the name, found their website and spent an hour looking through the pictures of people’s tattoos. They were beautiful in a way he’d never seen before, small art pieces with an impressive amount of detail despite being fairly simple, every plant and flower recognizable in a way Derek had never felt when looking at other artists’ work, and he’d promised himself if the deal went through and once he’d settled into Beacon Hills he would make an appointment.

What had happened though was that he met Stiles and once he made the connection between him and Flower Ink he figured it might be a little… weird, perhaps, to ask Stiles for a tattoo, especially as the more time they spent together the more Derek realized the tattoo wouldn’t be enough.

Then Claudia’s - as Stiles had told him his mom’s name was - birthday had happened and Derek figured if Stiles trusted him enough to actually cry in his arms then Derek should trust him enough to not turn his back on him even if he would never see Derek as anything but a friend. And so, almost a year to the day he’d first met Stiles, he finally talked himself into going to the other’s shop.

He closed the shop since he was going on a Tuesday; smiled at the jaunty tune the bell played and looked around the relatively small front room. Along one wall there were three chairs for people to wait or look through the portfolios lying on a small table, the wall behind them nearly covered with framed photos and drawings, while on the opposite wall the frames contained enlarged replicas of drawings from old floras, the style Stiles very much mimicked in works and was what had drawn Derek to this place before he’d the other.

He could hear the buzzing of machinery and low voices talking though he couldn’t make out the words.

“Erica,” Stiles’ voice sounded over the buzzing followed by the click-click-click of heels, a bombshell blonde in jeans and tank top showing off an impressive amount of tattoos coming out from the back.

“Hello,” her voice was low and hoarse, her lips red and smile dangerous and Derek smiled and returned the greeting.

“I was hoping to talk to Stiles,” he gestured to the replicas, “I like his style.” The blonde grinned and unlocked the computer.

“If you wanna wait, he’s got time after that guy. Shouldn’t be more than a few minutes plus instructions.” Derek nodded and took a seat.

Half an hour later he and Stiles were sitting in Stiles’ cramped office, pen flying over paper as Stiles sketched whatever Derek said.

“Where do you want it?” Stiles asked causing Derek to choke on the coffee he’d just taken a sip of. Stiles grinned unrepentantly, clearly aware the interpretation Derek’s filthy mind had come up with.

“Ankle,” he finally managed once he was able to properly breathe again, “preferable no higher than here though,” he added indicating a few inches above the edge of his sock.

“Gonna take a while though, I don’t usually do cacti considering people prefer flowers to thorns,” he grinned and Derek smiled back.

“There’s a flower though,” he pointed out just to be contrary, then laughed at the playful glare Stiles sent him.

“Yeah, yeah. Not smart laughing at the guy about to stab you repeatedly with needles.”

“Not the only thing you could stab me with,” Derek blurted, then ducked his head as he realized exactly what he’d said.

Across from him Stiles was sputtering, noise and half-formed words that didn’t make any sense, but when Derek finally dared looking up at him he didn’t look disgusted, or offended, or any other horrible thing Derek would’ve thought he’d see on Stiles expressive face.

“Did you just,” Stiles finally managed, “you f*cker you did,” he crowed, delighted, and the blush in Derek’s face intensified a little more.

“Sorry,” he began to which Stiles shook his head.

“Don’t apologize. Not unless you didn’t mean it,” Stiles voice started out strong and confident but quickly veered towards insecurity.

“I did. Do. I’ve… f*ck,” Derek swore, then got up from the chair and stepped around the desk, leaning in close enough his lips nearly brushed against Stiles’ earlobe as he whispered;

“Since the first time I saw you, waving around a bouquet of tulips I’d put together not two hours earlier.”

“Jeez,” Stiles sounded breathless, “your timing sucks!” he put his hands on Derek’s chest and pushed gently, and for a moment Derek was terrified he’d crossed a line that couldn’t be uncrossed. “Now I’m gonna have to go out there with a boner and Erica’s gonna laugh at me for the next three years, so you better make it up to me, Derek.”

Relief coursed through him at the words. “Anything.” Stiles smirked.

“Pick me up at seven. I expect you to wine and dine me. And who knows, maybe we can get some more pleasant stabbing in before calling it a night.”

“Deal,” he laughed and leaned in to seal it with a kiss.

(They barely make it past the front door of Derek’s apartment before clothes are flying everywhere as the stumble through the dark hallway to Derek’s bedroom and the promise of a bed.

Later, both of them still heaving for breath and various substances drying on their skin, Derek notices the tattoo on Stiles’ ribs: a purple and white variegated tulip wrapped in a single leaf of mother-in-law’s tongue. He traces the leaf with the tip of his finger causing Stiles to jerk and complain it tickles.

”I’d begun to think you didn’t have any,” he says, asks really, because he’s curious about everything Stiles and he thinks that now he’s allowed to ask. Stiles opens his eyes and looks down at his side as if he’d forgotten the tattoo was there.

”Mom and dad,” he says and Derek nods and kisses him gently before he lies back down and pulls Stiles close. They fall asleep like that, doesn’t wake until the sun’s peeking above the horizon and a new day begins.)

Ink and Flowers and Love - TheyDraggedMeInNowIAintLeaving (2024)


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