It’s late. Way too late to still be up and watching TV.
Stiles knows all this, has been telling himself to turn the TV off and finally got to bed several times during the last few hours. He never moves an inch from his blanket nest on the couch. His das has given up trying to coax him upstairs and into bed hours ago as well. Stiles can hear him snore when he turns the TV on mute.
At least one of them is getting them decent sleep in these days.
It’s a school day, not that it matters to his brain or his sleeping pattern – but logically he knows he needs all the sleep he can get. Especially after… well, after everything. It’s only been a month. Not enough distance to even start dealing with it all.
The thing is he has been sleeping ok for the first few weeks after. No overly dramatic nightmares, no hallucinations that made him doubt his sanity – just sleep and sometimes even nice dreams. It’s not really sleep itself that is the problem, it’s falling asleep that seems impossible these days.
At first he didn’t even notice, just laid awake reading, thinking, turn over from side to side and never going to sleep. It had been the normal status quo before… just before. If only for a few days at times but his mind has always been hard to shut off so he didn’t really think about it.
Until it became a routine.
Go to bed, lie there, read, shut off the lights, lie there some more, turn the lights back on, listen to his iPod, lie there, turn over, close his eyes, lie there and then shut his alarm off never having slept the entire night.
Now he has resorted to misuse the TV as a sleeping aide. It works sometimes, when he puts the volume on as low as possible but was still able to hear something and then turns his face to the back of the couch to not be tempted to actually watch the screen.
He falls asleep when he’s exhausted beyond belief and actually sleeps just fine when it happens.
He also falls asleep when someone keeps him company.
And he only figured that out after he crashed at Derek’s place during a very boring and therefore very cruel pack meeting. He’s not sure if the presence of everyone helped with that or if it was just the place itself – which would be very ironic considering all the bad things that happened there.
But he feels weird asking for it, everyone’s so caught up in their own grieving that he feels bad even thinking about it. No, it’s not like he thinks he deserves all the shitty things life throws at him but he does think that his dad and friends deserve a break once in a while. So he uses the next best thing, the TV. It’s a bad substitute but it’s something at least.
He’s on the fifth episode of “Say yes to the dress” when his running commentary is interrupted by a stifled snort and a dip at the other end of the couch. Stiles knew he wasn’t alone the second the werewolf stepped through the door. Yes, the door. It has been the door ever since the Sheriff handed over keys and told the pack to use them whenever necessary. The window is still used frequently enough though.
“What? Come on, you have to admit that the Jackie-O style really isn’t hers,” Stiles mumbles into the pillow without looking up.
Derek just snorts again, settles deeper into the cushions and lifts Stiles’ legs up and into his lap. This shouldn’t feel as normal as it does. But then they have been doing that exact routine for days now and have never even mentioned it.
They don’t have to look at each other to communicate these days. It’s a little weird how that happened, but somewhere between getting rid of the Nogitsune and getting rid of Kate… again… they developed something that has been there all along - under the surface of all the bickering and initial distrust.
Derek is just there now when Stiles actually needs him to be there, even though it took Stiles a while to realize how much he actually needed the comfort Derek was offering.
Stiles would actually call them friends now but he knows it’s more, just a step away from much more. And he knows Derek is just as aware of it.
They just don’t really acknowledge it. Not yet.
It’s not the right time and they know it.
For now it’s enough that Stiles feels safe when Derek is around and that Derek actually opened up enough to just sit there with Stiles and watch stupid shows about wedding dresses just because Stiles can’t fall asleep.
“I’d go with more lace and a longer tail,” Derek answers so deadpan that Stiles actually looks up and feels himself start to grin. Derek just raises an eyebrow and shrugs, but Stiles would swear that there is a smile tugging his lips upward a little.
“Yeah, true. Classical style.”
Stiles falls asleep, nestled into his blankets with Derek’s thumb stroking his ankle and to the bride-to-be taking the dress Derek favored.
The blood is slippery between his fingers making it hard to grab on to the car door that is holding him up.
The pack’s still fighting; Stiles can see them in the clearing moving through the shadows.
The fae - or whatever they actually are, because Stiles doubts they have all the information about those bluish guys with sharp teeth and claws wanting their territory – are backing off now not having expected this kind of opposition.
One of them had chased Stiles through the woods, made him fall and slice his side open on a low hanging tree branch before Stiles just twisted around and rammed a knife between the creature’s ribs.
So the blood on his fingers is not only his own. The wound at his side isn’t all that severe but it hurts and Stiles just wants to go home and lie down. He actually feels tired and exhausted enough that he thinks he could falls asleep the second he hits the mattress.
The car seats looks way too inviting so he slides down and then leans his head against the window, look down at his blood soaked shoes and cringes at the sight of them. Great, those were new.
He thinks he loses time for a second there because when he looks up again Derek is just a step away and then he’s kneeling down right between Stile’s legs. It’s a sight he would appreciated the hell out of during every other time, right now he just sighs in relief.
He doesn’t need to glance around for the others because the look on Derek’s otherwise stoic face tells him that everyone is okay.
“Stiles?” The low growl shouldn't make him smile.
“’M good. Just a scratch. It’s not all mine.”
Derek just nods but doesn’t move. He looks at Stiles for a minute, then places his hand gently against Stiles neck and leaches the pain. It’s such a relief that Stiles sags forward a little. He hadn’t realized in how much pain he’d been in. Having his pain taken away is the best thing ever - always.
His brain goes on a tangent - about pain. It’s usual reaction to stress.
“Guess you always wanted to be blue-blooded,” Derek says out of nowhere and it’s only then that Stiles realizes that the fae blood he’s covered in really is more blue than read. He snorts at that and swats Derek a little with the hand that is least covered in fluids and smiles.
But the thing that settles his mind and makes him relax his shoulder is the way Derek just used words to get Stiles out of his own head, and all that with a small smile on his lips and eyes on Stiles all the time.
So maybe it’s more the comfort he feels in the knowledge that Derek is there that is the best thing ever.
There are no more words needed but Stiles mumbles a low “thank you” any way and only is peripherally aware of being move into the car properly before he’s asleep.
“So how are things with you and Derek?” isn’t really the way Stiles wants to start his day. Especially not a day after a night spent trying to fall asleep and only managing it way too late. He thanks all the deities there are that it’s Saturday and he doesn’t have to face school.
“Good,” he answers curtly and squeezes past his dad to reach for the overly sugary cereal he’s only allowed on weekends, you know, sugar rush combined with Adderall and all that. He feels his dad’s eyes on him the entire time and doesn’t really know what else to say.
Because things are good.
They spend time together outside of the supernatural crisis or pack meetings. They spend nights watching stupid reality shows or documentaries when Stiles can’t sleep. They even go to the diner at the edge of town that serves chili curly fries and burgers with blue cheese. They do all that without the pack. They do it so frequently that Scott has stopped commenting and Kira sends them small smiles every time Stiles stays behind after a pack meeting.
It’s all very normal and not dangerous which is something considering who they are and where they live. He tells his dad as much and hopes that the topic is closed now.
Of course it isn’t.
“You hang out quite a lot these days,” his dad says and Stiles can actually hear the air quotes right there around the ‘hang out’.
He knows he sounds vaguely pissed off and that’s because he is. He doesn’t deserve the third degree. His dad knows what’s going on, they had that talk already and it was the Sheriff himself that handed over keys to the house the pack, Derek included. Stiles doesn’t know why this is a topic again now.
What he doesn’t know either is what’s actually going on between him and Derek.
Because they still don’t talk about it.
They end up tangled on the couch in either Stiles’ living room or Derek’s loft more often than not these days. Derek’s touching him every chance he gets and Stiles doesn’t even think about it anymore because it has become such a normal occurrence.
“What? Dad, I don’t know what you want me to say, what you want to hear. I don’t know what else to say.”
His dad gently places a hand on his arm and stirs him towards the table. Stiles gracelessly and flops down on one of the chairs and looks up at his dad. He knows he looks like a morose teenager but he had to grow up so fast these last few months that he thinks he’s a lot one teenage miserable day in a month.
“What’s going on? What’s got you in such a mood.”
Stiles shrugs, picks up his spoon and plays around with his now totally soggy and weird looking cereal.
“Let me guess, you feel left out and are pouting because of it?”
“What? No? No, dad come on, that would be childish,” Stiles does not squeak, thank you very much, but his voice goes a little higher at the end there.
“So the fact that Scott and Derek are away this weekend on a diplomatic mission and didn’t take you with them has nothing to do with you biting my head off just now?” The Sheriff doesn’t sound angry but rather amused.
“No,” and now Stiles is pouting.
Because really, it’s unfair. He’s the one with the plans and the ideas and the research. They need him. Yeah, okay, so Derek is one of the most intelligent people Stiles knows and Scott’s trying to fill out is Alpha role and Stiles does know that they can manage that just fine on their own. But Derek had just taken one look at him last night and actually sent him to bed like he was five or something.
And then Stiles had woken up to a text telling him to relax and sleep today, and that Scott is totally capable of a simple talk about flowers with another pack’s alpha. Seriously, it was really just about flowers, well a special strain of wolfsbane but still just flowers. He didn’t need to be wide awake for that.
He really would have liked to be there. Just to be part of the pack.
Then he blinks at his dad.
“Wait… how do you know about that?”
The Sheriff outright laughs at that and Stiles wonders when it was the last time he’s seen and heard his dad do that. It sounds good and there’s a little tug in his chest that feels like guilt but actually doesn’t weigh as much.
“Derek called me this morning and wanted to make sure that I let you sleep in. Told me that you fell asleep way too late.” Now the Sheriff looks at him with a raised eyebrow and Stiles refuses to blush.
There is this stupid curling sensation in his stomach that always shows up when he realizes that Derek actually cares for him. It offers a comfort he doesn’t want to miss anymore.
“Creeper,” he knows the smile on his face reveals what he really feels, his dad just rolls his eyes.
“He also said that he’ll come by tonight and bring the chili fries. Asked if it was okay to do that for you.”
The curling sensation intensifies and Stiles just smiles some more. They both know that this isn’t about the chili curly fries but about the fact that Derek actually asked for the Sheriff’s blessing. He did so in a vaguely weird and twisted way but just knowing that Derek actually took a step – the first step – for Stiles is enough to make him smile even more.
“How about we use the time until then and spent some quality time together,” his dad smiles again and Stiles suddenly feels like he needs to hug him. So he does and then he doesn’t let go for a long time. His dad hugs back just as hard.
The flowers radiate with colors, shine in the sun light like a beacon. It’s almost a little too much but he places them down anyway. The place is gloomy enough as it is and he thinks they’d like the flowers if they could see them.
The bouquet for his mom ranges from yellows, soft rosé and whites to soft blues. Light colors that fir the time of the year and make him smile when he sees them right next to the headstone.
The second bouquet could almost be called neon. The colors flash in orange, red and purple. They are vibrant just like Allison had been.
He hasn’t been here since everything happened. Hadn’t felt strong enough or awake enough to be able to deal with everything.
But he’d woken up this morning feeling good for the first time in ages and had looked at the sun through the window thinking it was time.
He sits there for a while, talks to both his mother and then to Allison about everything and nothing. It makes him think about a conversation he’s had with Derek late at night. He’s known it since his mom died and he didn’t speak for almost a year, that words are only important when they mean something. When he started back up he used words as weapons, as a shield to hide behind. Derek’s told him he talks too much and never really says anything until it’s really important.
He knows Derek listens to all those important details, finds comfort in the fact that Derek always hears them now, no matter what.
So he sits at their graves and talks for hours and all of it is important. He doesn’t even feel the tears until his skin burns and he has trouble breathing through his blocked nose. Still, he keeps on talking.
He only stops when arms come around him and he can hide his tear stained face against fabric and strong muscles.
The nightmares bother him less and less but when they do he flees his bed.
Sometimes he even flees his home and can only breathe properly again when he’s in front of Derek’s loft and raises his hand to know.
Today is one of those nights.
He has his pillow tucked under his arm and his hand raised when the door opens and Derek’s just there. Stiles smiles slightly and shrugs as if this isn’t him being slightly pathetic and not a traumatized teenager.
Derek doesn’t say anything, just walks back to the couch and settles down again. The TV is new and Stiles knows it’s only there because of him and for once it’s actually turned on.
He blinks at the screen and then snorts.
Of course. A would-be-bride is about to choose ‘the’ dress but the look on her mom’s face says it’s not the right one for her and Stiles is about to agree.
He flops down next to Derek, so close that he can place his pillow against the back of the couch and still move in when Derek lifts his arm.
“This shit is addictive, right?”
“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek answers but Stiles can hear the amused undertone and grins.
He lets himself sink down, lets the comfort of being safe and close to Derek settling over him before he turns towards the TV.
“I’ve always wanted to know what Southern Chic,” Stiles mumbles against Derek’s shoulder and then grins when Derek just snorts.
The movement is instinctual and later he won’t remember who actually moved first but when he lifts his head from Derek’s shoulder and turns it just so they are kissing. Lips move slowly against each other and Derek’s hand gently cups his face holding him in place.
It’s such a natural progression that they just look at each other afterwards, smile slightly and then settle back against the cushions.
This time Stiles falls asleep with Derek’s hand in his hair and his lips pressed slightly against Stiles’ forehead and the thought how the chosen dress really is way better than the first one.