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delicate in every way but one

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Derek is not, despite what some people may think, an auror. He’s got the face for it sure, and could probably be a great one if he really wanted, but he’s never given Stiles the impression that he’d ever wanted to join.

Derek Hale is a woodworker. Well, sort of. He makes things. Magical, awesome things, like the coffee table that Stiles had convinced Allison to buy from him. He specializes in protective runes, which he carves into his works like they’re pretty designs just thrown in for the hell of it. Instead, the runes will protect most households from things like fire, water damage, wayward spells. They’re actually really cool.

Stiles bought his bed frame from Derek, a year after he’d been partnered with Allison; its gorgeous, carved from a rowan tree that Stiles had helped him pick out, runes cut into the curved headboard. Protection, Derek had told him. Rowan, like Stiles’ wand, was meant for protection, expression, and connection. Apparently it was a good choice.

It’s not a profession that most people expect when they see Derek, with his ever-present stranger danger scowl and his dragonhide coat tugged up to his ears. They expect auror or cursebreaker, maybe even dragon tamer.

Or Death Eater.

They’ve gotten that one a few times, when Stiles is out with him and someone recognizes Stiles as an auror, then automatically assume that Derek is a criminal he’s detaining. It was funny the first time it happened, but now, after a dozen or so times, Derek gets that cagey look whenever they’re out and someone looks at them for longer than two seconds.

Stiles has known Derek for years, okay? And yeah, maybe when he first met him he’d accused Derek of murder, but he was sixteen and a girl had just been killed, all right? And Derek was just some creepy dude lurking around the edges of the Forbidden Forest. How was Stiles supposed to know that it was his sister who got killed or that Derek was trying to hunt down his uncle, who had just happened to also bite Stiles’ best friend?

Point is, Derek’s not a murderer. He’s scowly on the outside and all custard creampuff at heart. So Stiles can get a little defensive when it comes to him, as he rightfully should. Derek’s pack. Regardless of everything they went through together during Stiles’ Hogwarts years, Derek is Scott’s second. Sort of. Officially, anyway. In reality, Stiles is probably a little closer to that position, emissary status be-damned. Stiles is allowed to be protective of his pack.

According to Allison, who has been in Derek’s position a couple times when it comes to Stiles’ protectiveness, it’s a little off-putting.

“You feel dangerous when you smile like that,” she’d told him one time, not shrugging Stiles’ arm off her shoulder until the creepy asshole that was hitting on her shuffles off. “Like you’re going to tear their throat out with your teeth instead of going for your wand.”

“It’s all that time spent running with wolves,” he joked, grinning and ruffling her hair despite her protests.

Despite the fact that Derek’s not an auror, he’s there often enough that all of Stiles’ coworkers recognize him on sight. They call him Stiles’ hot werewolf boyfriend or the McCall pack messenger boy, and Stiles stopped correcting them on the first point after the second month.

Him and Derek have had standing lunch dates every Tuesday and Thursday for the last three years. They’re not date-dates, because all they ever do is bicker like an old married couple and talk pack business, and every time that Allison’s around when Derek shows up, they make a point of inviting her too. She never takes them up on it.

It’s a Tuesday, and Stiles is exhausted. He and Allison spent a good portion of the morning stalking around Honeydukes, because rumor had it that there was a witch peddling love potions concealed inside of sweetheart chocolates. They’d caught her around nine, the words ‘love potion number 9’ written in curly script above her head. There were a cluster of students skipping their morning classes around her, which made things difficult, because after they’d incapacitated her, Stiles had to go hunt down everyone who’d purchased a box.

So he’s not in the best mood, the chocolates stacked perfectly on his desk, waiting for the right people to come and dispose of them. It was supposed to be a thing that he did, but the last time he’d taken something to evidence, he’d knocked over a cursed musicbox and been turned thumb-sized for three weeks. After that, everyone had agreed that he should just wait for someone to come by and pick it up.

It’s two, which means Derek’s late, and Stiles’ stomach will just not shut up.

At half past, Derek jogs into his office. His robes are notably absent, and he’s still in the muggle jeans that Stiles had given him last christmas and his working shirt, which is little more than a cut up, singed tanktop. He’s sweaty too, like he’d run here; probably he got caught up on whatever project he’s got in the works. Stiles doesn’t mind, glancing away from the sweat beading along Derek’s upper lip to get a hold of himself. Paperwork is pretty good for that.

“Sorry I’m late,” Derek apologizes, and Stiles can hear him perch on the edge of his desk. He doesn’t look up, because the sight of Derek’s ass on his property always makes him a little tingly — makes him want to spread Derek out over his desk and get his hands all over him, and well, when the object of your affections can smell your lust, that way lies madness.

Derek’s fond of celtic music, the kind that will forever sound like something off of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack to Stiles, and over the years, he’s converted Stiles, so he’s got it playing softly in the background. Sometimes, when he’s here, Derek will hum along with it. It’s fantastic.

Stiles signs his signature on the last paper and steels himself, breathing deep before pulling his attention away from his papers and up to Derek, who is smiling softly in his direction as he pops a chocolate into his mouth.

At first, Stiles doesn’t even get it. He’s too busy watching the way that Derek curls his tongue around the candy before popping it into his mouth, his eyes lidding heavily with bliss. It’s kind of hilarious, that every single werewolf Stiles knows has a thing for chocolate. He’s made so many dog jokes over the years.

After Derek’s swallowed, Stiles blinks the want from his eyes, and gets to his feet with a grin. He doesn’t offer a hand to Derek, just rounds the desk and raises an eyebrow at him, jerking his head toward the door. Derek smiles again, but there’s something different about it, his eyes glazing over with contentment.

Stiles’ eyes finds the box of spelled chocolates, the lid off of the top-most one. There’s a chocolate missing. Of course there is.

He looks at Derek in horror, the feeling growing when Derek frowns and sways toward him, nose-first, and murmurs, “Hey, you smell really good.”

“Fuck.”

.

Stiles hates love spells. He hates them so fucking much. When Scott had first become the true alpha in their seventh year, after the shit with Derek’s crazy uncle and Allison’s crazy grandfather and the alpha pack, he’d garnered a lot of attention from their house mates. The stigma attached to being a werewolf had more or less faded into the woodwork after Harry Potter’s crusade to free his godson from the ministry’s hold, after he’d discovered the Hales, along with the dozens of other born packs who got along just fine without the wolfsbane potion.

Being a true alpha though, was a big deal. There hadn’t been one in hundreds, maybe even thousands of years, and that last year had been rough for them. Stiles had spent the second half of it in Gryffindor tower with Scott and Erica, feeling incredibly out of place with his green and silver tie.

He’d been up there before, sure, he’d been best buds with Scott since the train first year, but sleeping there was an entirely different matter. The Gryffindor common rooms were nothing like the Slytherins, and it left him feeling too exposed, without the perpetual dampness of the walls that always seemed to find a way around the anti-leak charms.

Him and Erica had spent a lot of time sorting through Scott’s mail, dumping boxes upon boxes of bespelled chocolates into the fire. Sometimes Boyd or Danny came up with him, to make him feel less like the only snake in the henhouse, but more often than not, Stiles was the only non-Gryffindor up there.

The shitty thing about love spells is that there isn’t a simple spell to get rid of the effects, nor is there a simple cure-all potion recipe. It’s why they’re so dangerous — you have to figure out exactly what love potion was ingested before you find the right antidote, and sometimes, especially when the witch or wizard who actually made the things wasn’t present, it got a little dicey.

Stiles has to drag Derek along with him through half the Ministry, and all the while, Derek’s doing things like nuzzling into his throat or wrapping his hands around Stiles’ hips. It’s distracting and terrible. He hates it.

He finds Allison with Lydia, just outside the Department of Mysteries. For an Unspeakable, Lydia’s really bad about keeping her identity a secret. She doesn’t even take the suggested confundus potion that will change her appearance to make her more anonymous. She’d told him once, that it would be a tragedy to make her face into something easily overlooked. It’s against ministry policy, but she’s Lydia Martin, the little Ravenclaw that had started the same year as him and passed all her N.E.W.T.S. and graduated two years later. No one is going to argue with her.

“Where is she?” Stiles snaps, refusing to feel guilty when Allison’s hand, which had been on Lydia’s kneecap, jumps away as if she’s been burned. Lydia glares at him. For that matter, so does Allison. Stiles doesn’t give a shit, because Derek chooses that moment to tug him backwards by the belt loops, dragging Stiles’ back into his chest, his arms looping around Stiles’ belly as Derek’s chin hooks onto his shoulder with a soft sigh.

“Where’s the witch?” he manages to ask, voice going strangled as Derek hums happily and nips playfully just under his jaw.

Allison cocks her head at them, mouth parting in surprise, but it’s Lydia who raises an eyebrow and purrs, “I see you two got your shit together. Finally.”

Stiles shudders, thighs trembling when Derek drags a finger in a loopy circle around his belly button. He gasps shakily, breathing uneven as he bats Derek’s hand away. Two seconds later, it’s back, and this time, it's under his shirt. He groans.

“No, we haven’t,” he snaps, ignoring the sharp look that Lydia gives him. “Allison, come on. The witch with the chocolates — where the fuck is she?”

It’s possible that he sounds a little unhinged, but that’s okay, that’s totally fine, because Allison’s eyes are going wide in realization. He hopes, briefly, that this is going to be an easy fix. A moment later, Allison’s mouth opens, and she dashes those hopes to the ground.

“She’s already been processed. They sent her back to Germany like an hour ago.”

Stiles groans, loudly. Why, why does the system have to be fast about something the one time that he needs it to be slow.

Derek mutters something about bearing his young and tries to stick his hands down Stiles’ pants.

.

“This is what I get for associating with Hufflepuffs,” Stiles huffs, pushing Derek’s face gently away from his. Lydia had to go back to work, but Allison’s supervising them, borrowing Mr. Weasley’s car and driving them back to Scott. She keeps shooting worried glances over her shoulder, like Derek is going to ravish Stiles in the back seat if she doesn’t keep an eye on him.

There is no ravishing going on. Derek’s too close and has no personal bubble, but all he’s wanted so far is to rub his scent all over Stiles and tell him how wonderful he is. There’s a lot of love going on in the back seat, but no sexy times. On cue, Derek grins soppily at him, eyes glittering in the witchlight. “You were the best Slytherin ever. I remember.”

Stiles snorts. “Well,” he says. “You got one thing right.”

.

Scott has absolutely no idea what to do, which isn’t all that surprising. They hadn’t headed to his place to ask for his help, they’d headed there because the pack house was huge, and because all of Stiles’ books and advanced potions supplies were there. They, meaning Stiles, had also figured it was probably a good idea to tell the alpha that his second was currently under a pretty intense love spell that made him whine like an injured puppy whenever Stiles made him get out of his lap.

He’s mostly given up, flipping through a book blankly and trying to ignore the fact that Derek Hale is happily straddling his lap, when Kira bounces into the library, long hair fanning out behind her. She stops in front of Stiles suddenly, skidding a bit on the rug. The movement dislodges one of the bricks holding it down, and the whole rug shudders, trying to buck up underneath her.

Kira’s been part of Scott’s pack since just after they graduated. Her and her family had moved from Japan, and she spent the last month of her schooling as a Slytherin. Stiles hadn’t noticed her at the time, because he’d been dealing with the fall out from the whole alpha thing, and it wasn’t until they were on the train home that she’d gotten around to introducing herself.

Her and Scott are more of a recent thing, romantically, even though she’s been in the pack for years. First there was Allison, who Stiles had gamely introduced to the pack when she first became his partner, and Scott had immediately fallen in love with.

That had lasted for a good few years, long enough for them to make plans for little werewolf babies before Victoria Argent had ruined it all by trying to kill Scott.

(Derek still regrets killing her, Stiles knows. He has nightmares about it sometimes.)

Allison had taken a swan dive off the deep end after her mother’s death and it was pretty much the messiest breakup known to man. Chris and Stiles had both put a stop to her eventually, just before the truth came out at the trial, but for awhile, Allison’s biggest goal in life was to kill most of the pack.

You didn’t really come back from that.

So Kira’s standing in the pack is different, now that her and Scott are a thing. She’s no longer a background member of the pack; the kitsune who uses a katana to channel her magic instead of a wand and does her spellwork in Japanese instead of Latin.

“I called my mom,” she explains in a rush, pressing her socked toes to the edge of the rug as she gets the brick back into place. “Sorry, I know you don’t—”

Like her, she’d been about to say.

It’s a lie. Stiles does like Kira’s mother, but it’s always a bit awkward looking at her and knowing that she wasn’t seeing him, but instead the ancient fox spirit that she’d helped exorcise from him before the creature did any permanent damage to both the Ministry, and Stiles’ reputation.

That was years ago though, and she’d given him tea afterwards. She was nice. But she’d also tried to kill him.

Derek is still sitting in his lap when Mrs. Yukimura walks through the doors moments later, holding a steaming cup of tea cupped between her hands. She gives them one look, rolls her eyes, and hisses, “western magic,” like it’s a curse.

Then she places the tea in his hands, blows on it once (which changes the color from a sickly neon pink to a more pleasant forest green), and tells him, “Make him drink it while its hot.”

And she leaves.

He levels a look at the innocuous teacup and offers it to Derek, who takes it with a pleased smile, and starts to drink. So trusting.

“You probably want to leave for this,” he tells Kira, watching Derek’s adam’s apple bob five inches from his nose. “He’s probably going to be embarrassed.”

She nods and makes herself scarce.

Two minutes later, Derek kind of sways, and blinks the glazed look from his eyes. He looks at Stiles, then glances down between them, and shifts uneasily on his lap. Stiles, who has been sporting a semi since Derek first climbed into his lap — hell, who is he kidding, he’s been unreasonably horny since Derek first leaned in and told him he smelled good — hisses.

“Oh,” Derek says, hesitating when the movement makes their erections drag together. “I—”

He stops and bites his lip, then finishes, “Those chocolates weren’t snacks, were they?”

“Noooo,” Stiles says slowly, holding himself as still as possible. Derek blushes, but he’s still sitting in Stiles’ lap, not scrambling off the way he’s supposed to. He looks guilty, which just, what.

“I’m sorry,” Derek mutters, angling his hips up, so that their dicks aren’t touching. He doesn’t make a move to climb off though. “I didn’t— it’s all kind of hazy, but I didn’t—?”

He trails off, and Stiles’ eyes widen, realization flooding through him. “Oh my god, no, no, no way. Don’t worry about that dude. I’ve just been dragging you around with me trying to find an antidote for the last few hours.”

At that, Derek looks slightly relieved. He sighs and slumps forward all at once, forehead thumping gently against Stiles’ shoulderblade. Stiles makes a quiet, strangled noise, and jolts like he’s been hit.

Derek snorts into his shoulder and rolls his face around in the fabric for a moment, like he can’t help himself. “Sorry,” he murmurs after a minute of that. “You smell like me right now. A lot.”

Stiles laughs, a loud, bark of a sound that makes him sound a bit like a goose. “Well, you’ve kind of been scent-marking the shit out of me since two, so, yeah. I would.”

Derek groans and if Stiles isn’t mistaken, his hips give an aborted little twitch, like he just stopped himself from humping Stiles. “Sorry,” he says again, stubbled chin dragging over the paper-thin skin of Stiles’ neck.

He sounds so ashamed, but there’s a definite rumble there that isn’t embarrassment or guilt — the sound is a lot more like the way Derek’s voice goes all low and throaty whenever they’re having quiet conversations in the pack kitchen, heads tilted together to give them some semblance of privacy with all the werewolves in attendance.

“That’s okay,” Stiles says again, slowly, awed realization making him go slack-jawed with pleasant surprise. When Derek’s cheek drags against his again, he nuzzles back, firmly, and murmurs, “I kind of like it.”

Derek goes still all over, pulling back very carefully to look down at him.

Whatever he sees in Stiles’ eyes, he must like, because he makes this high-pitched whining sound, gorgeous and desperate, and buries his nose back into Stiles’ neck.

This time, when Derek laps cautiously at his pulse point, its a question.

Stiles doesn’t push him away; instead, he lets out a pleased hum, and draws him closer.