Derek is stretched out all along Stiles’ side in Derek’s big, wide bed; all hot and heavy and incredibly, wonderfully alive. They’ve had a rare stretch of time where nothing and no one has tried to kill them in weeks and Stiles is fucking reveling it. Reveling in being able to stay in bed with Derek for more than a few hours at a time without fear that someone is about to ruin it. Reveling in skin and heat and the relentless beating of Derek’s heart.
Stiles shifts under Derek’s weight, sighing as Derek settles more comfortably against him and buries his face in Stiles’ throat. He’s gotten use to the nearly constant scratch of Derek’s rough beard against his skin. There’s no point in even thinking about protesting. He knows how much Derek likes to scent him, what it means to him and his wolf. Stiles sweeps his hand up Derek’s broad, naked back to tangle his fingers in Derek’s thick hair, holding him steady.
"So…what do I smell like?" Stiles asks, voice pitched low. Derek’s bedroom is dark and quiet and even he finds it hard to disturb that peace. He’d tried to ask once, years ago when all of this was still new and strange and, but Derek had just lifted an inscrutable eyebrow and gone back to ignoring him.
"What?" Derek’s breath is hot against his throat.
"What do I smell like? I mean, Scott goes on and on about the different…notes or whatever of Alison’s scent. Like it’s some sort of delectable, irresistible perfume to his wolf and come on, man, tell me. What’s Eau d’Stiles?"
Derek is silent for a long moment, but Stiles can hear and feel the slow, deep breaths. He knows Derek is taking his scent in and making it a part of himself.
"Water," Derek finally rumbles. Stiles frowns. That is so not what he was expecting.
"What? Dude. No. Get your werewolfy nose checked. Water doesn’t have a smell."
"Yes, it does." Derek runs his huge, hot hand up Stiles’ waist. "Water carries with it the scent of the things it’s passed through. And over. And under. Grass. Wood. Brick. Earth. Copper. Stone. You - it changes. With every day. With the hour and wind. You - your scent - brings the world with you. Makes you part of it."
Stiles feels like, well, he doesn’t know what the hell he feels like. Derek’s voice is low and reverent and Stiles’ doesn’t know what at least half of that meant. Except that it must be good. It sounded good. It sounded important.
"Then how can you find me? If my, my scent changes? How do you track me when you can’t hear my heartbeat?"
Derek snuffles against his throat and Stiles shudders at the light touch of his tongue. ”Because underneath the water is your magic. And it smells bright and electric. Like the spark.”
Stiles shudders. ”Oh.”
Derek doesn’t say anything, just continues to breath against his skin and trace the pattern of his ribs with heavy fingers.
"So..has anyone every told you want you smell like? Does Scott sniff you? I hope not - that’s kind of weird. Hey, can you smell yourself? Is that a thing you can do?"
Stiles’ knows by the way Derek goes still - preternaturally still - that it’s something he shouldn’t have asked. That happens to him a lot, even now.
"Ash." Derek’s hand goes motionless over Stiles’ heart. "They tell me I smell like ash."
Stiles is glad they’re in bed because he thinks he’d have to sit down after that. Even now the true impact and devastation of the fire is too much for him to understand. He tries not to think about it, but it’s always there. Always around Derek, no matter how good things are between them. And things are so, so good. But Derek thinks he smells of ash and that’s, well, that’s awful.
Stiles shifts around and shoves at Derek, managing to get him over onto his back, spread out across the rumpled sheets. Stiles knows it only happens because Derek lets it happen.
"Well, I think they’re wrong," Stiles says, straddling Derek’s hips.
Derek stares up at him with pale eyes. ”Stiles.”
"I think you smell like…" Stiles drags his nose up Derek’s sternum. "Sweat, because you didn’t shower after your run this morning. And garlic from lunch." Stiles moves up Derek’s body, swiping his nose across Derek’s solid collarbone. "And you smell like paint from helping dad fix up the basement. Thanks for that, by the way."
Stiles chances a look up. Derek’s eyes are glittering at him from beneath half-closed lids. Stiles leans in, burying his face in Derek’s neck in just the spot Derek loves so much on him. Derek is solid and still underneath him, breathing deeply and evenly.
"And here, here you smell like me. " He nuzzles into the skin, scenting the way Derek does to him, even if it doesn’t quite mean the same thing. "Like my soap. And my cologne and my laundry. And probably other…parts of me that I'm not going to ruin this devastatingly romantic moment by mentioning."
The muscles in Derek’s stomach jump in the way that lets Stiles know he’s stifling a huff of laughter.
"But you know what I don’t smell?"
Derek grumbles low in chest.
"Fire or smoke or ash. Don’t smell any of that." Stiles spreads himself out across Derek’s body, pushes him down to the bed. "And you should trust me. I have a very good nose. This nose knows."
Derek’s hand comes up to rest on his back, palm heavy and fingers spread wide, stretching between his shoulder blades, holding Stiles against his body.
"I do," Derek whispers. "Trust you."
Stiles hides his grin in Derek’s neck and takes another deep breath, drawing Derek’s scent down deep into himself.