Stiles is not one of those helpless little omegas that fall apart the instant they catch a whiff of an alpha. He's just not, okay? The fact that he hadn't been able to say a word to the hot neighbor guy is because he's hot like the surface of the sun, not because he's an alpha.
Holy Jesus, is he an alpha. Stiles had been minding his own fucking business, just hanging out on his back patio with a pitcher of lemonade and a book when the smell of fresh-mown grass and flowers had been overwhelmed by a smell so indescribably manly and delicious that he'd been in the kitchen baking chocolate chip cookies and making fevered plans to get that scent all over him almost before the hot neighbor guy had finished wiping his sweaty face with the hem of his tank top.
He'd ended up eating a hell of a lot more cookies than any one human should, because somehow in his haze of hormones and nesting he'd decided that tripling an already huge recipe was a good idea. He took even more into work with him, because it's not like a bunch of cops were going to turn down free cookies. If he'd also wrapped some up in plastic and stuck them in hot neighbor's mailbox with a sticky note saying welcome to the neighborhood, no one had to know. It was a valid neighborly gesture, and anyway he hadn't signed the note.
That had been three months ago and Stiles had managed to work up to polite little smiles and the occasional wave as he came and went. There may have also been excessive amounts of peering through the curtains - to the point where he could identify every member of the man's large family, even if it was as first niece or second sister - but at least he'd refrained from actually stalking the guy. Checking the public records to find out his name was Derek Hale didn't count. He had countless databases available to him and could twist the way the dude seemed to have money without any visible sign of a job into probable cause for a search or two. He needed to get points for his restraint there, even if he never told anyone about this, ever. He was not going back to Lydia levels of crushing; he still had moments of painful retroactive embarrassment nearly a decade later.
He was a fucking grown-up. He was a respectable member of the community who owned his own house and was trusted to protect people. He was certified as a marksman, he had a sixth sense about evil that led to having a pretty damn good conviction rate, and his dad had stopped calling him "kid" while they were at work. He was a strong, independent omega that didn't need an alpha or your outdated class and gender roles, thank you very much.
The scream he let out when he slipped on some wet leaves and fell off the roof of his own damn porch was both justified and manly.
"Stiles!" Who the fuck was trying to talk to him? He was way too busy with the pain radiating from his arm to think about anything other than breathing and trying not to vomit. "Stiles, are you okay?"
"Of course I'm not fucking okay, do I fucking look okay? Arms aren't supposed to bend this way." The force of his anger at the immensely stupid question gave him the strength to sit up, cradling his arm as he glared at the moron. The hot moron. The hot next door neighbor Derek Hale moron. Shit.
Worried was a disturbingly good look for him. "Are you sure you should sit up? I… Shit, I don't have my phone to call an ambulance. Just… Just hold still, okay? I'll go grab my phone and then come right back, okay?"
"Get your keys." Stiles winced as he shifted around. "Actually, help me up first."
Derek hesitated, his hand hovering behind Stiles's back. "What--"
"Ambulances are fucking expensive." Jesus, it was taking all he had not to shriek and whine and cry. Couldn't this guy catch a clue? "Drive me or call a taxi."
"You..." Hale looked like he was going to say more, but then he squared his shoulders and stood, picking Stiles up as delicately as if he had 'fragile' stamped on his ass. It was seriously swoon-worthy, although that might've just been the pain talking.
Soon enough he was ensconced in Derek's ridiculous sports car and riding along at a speed that would've left any ambulance in the dust. Stiles would've seriously considered panic if he could've bothered with anything other than gritting his teeth and enduring the fresh pain that accompanied every bump and turn.
Things got chaotic at the ER, until he was being wheeled into x-ray with Derek hovering nearby and a nurse typing things into a computer as he answered basic questions. Finally, just as Stiles was ready to break and plead for some pain medicine - even a fucking Tylenol, something - she asked, "Is there any possibility that you're pregnant?"
"No," he snapped, his good hand clenched into a fist.
She looked at him, then at his chart, then gave Derek a long, lingering look. "Are you sure?"
"Oh, fuck you, lady. If I was banging all that, don't you think I'd have it fucking tattooed on my forehead? I'd have a fucking billboard that announced to the world I'd managed to hit that, okay? So can you just throw down the radiation and make with the drugs already? In case you didn't notice, my arm is fucking broken."
Her face pinched, the nurse went through the procedures and retreated with a vague promise that someone would be along shortly to assist them. Stiles scowled after her, already mentally filling out a comment card. "Three out of ten, would not recommend."
"That might be a little generous," Derek rumbled, startling a laugh out of Stiles.
It was a slow enough night in the ER that they were seen quickly, and soon enough Stiles was climbing into Derek's still ridiculous - although also criminally sexy - car and ignoring Derek's attempts to fuss over him. He had to accept help with the seatbelt, but holding his breath accomplished the dual tasks of avoiding dizziness due to the proximity of the seriously unfairly delicious alpha smell and not moaning due to Derek's chest being so incredibly perfect and right in Stiles's face. The fact that they hadn't given him the good drugs and his arm was still achy only helped so much.
He tried thinking of something else, anything else, but as Derek went around to start the car, all Stiles could think of was every single humiliating moment of the day. The phrase 'tattooed on my forehead' featured heavily. The drive home passed in silence, with Stiles shooting nervous looks at Derek and then looking down quickly if it seemed like Derek might look back. It wasn't until they were pulling into Derek's driveway that Stiles managed to say anything, and even then it was just a croaked-out, "Thanks."
"You're welcome," Derek said, his eyebrows pulled down as if to really emphasize just how sincerely he was frowning.
"So I'm just going to..." Stiles trailed off, his good arm halted mid-gesture. "You knew my name."
Derek blushed, and it was adorable. "Your friends always yell for you when you're running late."
"Oh my God, I'm sorry, that must be so obnoxious. I never thought--"
"It's fine." Derek got out of the car, coming around to help Stiles out of the car. "Can I just--"
Stiles wasn't sure what he was trying to say until Derek made a move like he was going to pick him up and, just, no. A glare was enough to convey his feelings on repeating the damsel in distress moment, and Derek trailed after him as Stiles stalked to his front door and almost tripped over the loose shingles that had fallen off the porch roof right along with him. Derek caught him easily and, seriously, swooning was imminent.
"I'm not a stereotype," Stiles said, even as he melted into the big strong alpha's arms. "I'm not."
Derek smiled wryly and it was completely unfair. Stiles had absolutely no defense against it. "I know. You're a cop, not some housewife who stays home and knits all day."
"There's nothing wrong with knitting," Stiles said as Derek brought him into his house and settled him on the sofa. Maybe getting mad would help him resist the temptation to lick Derek's teeth. "Or with being a housewife. Fuck anyone that says there is."
"I'm glad you think so, since that's basically what I do," Derek said, and now there was a blush and a shy smile and Stiles was done. "Without the wife part, obviously."
Slapping his good hand over his face, Stiles said, "That's it, you have to go now. You have passed the threshold of perfection and now you're just getting on my nerves because it's too soon to propose and I just can't talk to you."
Derek's eyebrows lifted and he just looked at Stiles for a long moment before he said, "I just have one question."
"Go ahead," Stiles groaned, still hiding his face. Maybe he could pretend to have been so out of it on the pain meds that none of this could be held against him. It might work.
Clearing his throat, Derek shifted his weight from foot to foot. "Would the tattoo and billboard be absolutely necessary, or is there some room to negotiate there?"
Stiles froze, then slowly peeked out from between his fingers. "Are you-- Is it because you rescued me?"
"It's because I want the recipe for your chocolate chip cookies," Derek said solemnly.
"There's a secret ingredient." Stiles felt dazed as Derek perched on the edge of the couch and leaned over to brush his hair back from his eyes. "Wait, you knew they were from me?"
Derek nodded. "Your scent is... pretty distinct."
"Distinct like sewage or distinct like--"
"Like every delicious thing in the world all wrapped up together in an amazingly hot body that sometimes wears a uniform," Derek said. "I would've been over here the day after I moved in if I'd thought I had a shot."
Flailing his arms was a lot harder with one in a cast, but Stiles managed. "Have you seen you? You don't just have a shot, you have a guarantee! And that's before it turned out you're the kind of adorable that rescues baby raccoons. You probably knit hats for little babies in the hospital, don't you?"
Derek looked taken aback by the accusatory tone and said, "It's really important for them to retain their body heat, and the hospital is usually cold."
"You..." Stiles ran out of words and sagged against the couch. "Seriously. We're going to end up married and telling our grandkids about how you were stupid and I broke my arm and you need to kiss me before I keep talking. Please."
"I think I might ask you for a date soon," Derek said, a smile tugging at his lips as he leaned in brush a kiss along Stiles's jaw. "I'm feeling a little optimistic that you might say yes."