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The Sanctuary

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"I know this isn't exactly how you pictured your first season going, Stiles," Dad said, looking out over the snow-covered backyard. He cradled his mug to his chest, letting the steam from the coffee float around his head. "I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for you."

Stiles finished stuffing his clothes into his duffel, and bit his tongue hard on what he wanted to say. It wouldn't actually make him feel any better, and it would make his dad feel worse about something neither of them could change. "No problem," he said, making sure he had his stuff arranged the way he wanted it. "You know I can take care of myself."

"You shouldn't have to," Dad answered, finally turning to watch Stiles finish. He face always changed when he looked at Stiles, sorrowful, but not as full of pain as when he was alone. The six years since Stiles' mom had died had left marks, both in dust on the mantle and his dad's face. "I still can't fathom what Scott was thinking."

"It's not Scott's fault." Stiles took up for his erstwhile best friend even though he still kinda wanted to punch Scott in his face. Everyone had expected Scott and Stiles to be together this first winter after they turned sixteen. Everyone had been surprised when Stiles was left out of the Friday night ceremony. "I mean, yeah, I wish he would have said something earlier, but I knew there was something going on when Allison moved to town."

Beacon Hills was the first experiment in bringing werewolves out of the dark ages of bloody pack battle and arbitrary pack rule. There were wolves, from more than three dozen packs and about a hundred lone wolves, living together in some measure of peace and safety. They had a school system, postal office, a salon and boutique, and several restaurants all doing brisk business. And yet, one week a year threatened to undo all their hard work.

Other places had spring break; Beacon Hills had heat week in the first part of February. All unclaimed females regardless of dominance and any receptive males had to accept segregation in the Sanctuary, a building with better construction and more security than the jailhouse. In any year, that population hovered around ten percent of the total, and no one thought much about it until a person had been there several years in a row. There were several of Stiles' classmates going for the first year, and it shouldn't bother him to go there either.

But it did.

"There were offers for you after the ceremony," Dad coughed, apparently forcing the words out despite his better judgment. "I could still make some calls."

"No, I don't want to be someone's afterthought," Stiles said, his skin crawling at the idea of a strange dominant being the first to touch him. He and Scott had made a pact when they started the fifth grade that they would be each other's first. Scott had always kept the other guys from rolling Stiles over, but when Allison's family moved in during the first week of December, everything had changed.

"I'm proud of you, son," Dad said, grabbing Stiles in to a hug that lasted several minutes. He wiped his eyes when he pulled away, and skated his thumb over Stiles' cheek. "I think you're making the right decision, and your mom would be proud of you too."

Stiles winced, but slung his bag over his shoulder before his dad could pick it up for him. He didn't know if she'd be proud or not if she knew what he was about to do. He didn't remember much about her anymore, but he had loved the sound of her voice when she read to him and she always had milk and cookies ready for him after school. Maybe she would have had better advice, but he'd never know.

"Thanks, Dad," he said, leading them out front to the cruiser. "We'd better get going before they lock the doors for the week."

Sanctuary sat deep in the woods in a clearing behind a massive electrified fence. The defenses might be overkill now, but when Beacon Hills first started protecting the unclaimed some dominants had rioted. Stiles didn't really understand all the fuss. Werewolves could and did have sex anytime of the year, it was just some quirk of genetics that still sent them into heat anyway. It generally started after their sixteenth birthday, and Stiles had been checked every month since August to see if he'd matured. It was embarrassing, and he'd hated it; only knowing that Scott would be there for him had made it bearable.

Turned out the joke was on him.

Dad stopped the car at the gate and shifted to park. "I can't go any further," he said, gripping the steering wheel tight enough that he could have ripped it off if he'd wanted. "We cut this a bit close. I want you to take care of yourself and follow directions. They're going to make you comfortable and get you through this."

"I will," Stiles promised, and lied. He grabbed his dad's arm and squeezed. "You too. Take your medication and stay away from anything fried or salty."

"Yes, boss," Dad forced a grin, and watched as Stiles walked down the path and turned to wave. Then he made a u-turn and slowly drove back to civilization.

Stiles smiled until his face hurt, and then he turned his attention to escape.

 


 

Maybe escape hadn't been his best idea ever. Stiles glanced up, but between the cloud cover and the tree limbs, he didn't have a chance of finding the sun. If he'd managed to stay on course, then he should have already made it to the clubhouse he and Scott used to play in. Instead, he would swear he'd never been in this part of the woods before. His nose didn't tell him anything, and if he didn't hurry, he would have to stumble around in the dark.

Sighing, he set his bag down and pulled out his phone. He might be able to get a signal bounce from the tower near the lake. Surely one of his many apps could help get him out of this. He almost wished he had stayed at Sanctuary for dinner, but the chance to squeeze out a back window and hoof it off the property had been irresistible. After ten minutes squeezed in with so many other freaked out wolves, he knew he wouldn't have made it the entire week without going insane. So, here he was, alone in the woods.

"Check out this bitch."

Stiles squeaked and dropped his phone to the ground. There wasn't as much snow under the canopy in the forest, but he managed to lose his cell in the one bank of the stuff in sight. He twisted quickly, adopting a defensive pose when he caught sight of three strangers fanning out around him. Suddenly, he wished he had paid more attention when his dad tried to teach him how to fight instead of blowing it off to look at comic books.

Three omegas prowled toward him. He didn't think they were local; their clothes were dirty and thin, and their body language told him they were feral, unused to thinking about anything or anyone but themselves. As he watched, they started to shift, gaining bulk as fur sprouted down the side of their faces.

"Didn't anybody want a turn on top of your scrawny little body?" one of them asked, laughing around the yellowed fangs growing in his mouth. His reddish hair lifted like hackles, and he sounded more like a hyena than a wolf.

The last omega looked the most dangerous. Scars covered his face, proving the three of them were too violent to form even a rudimentary pack to help heal themselves. "Maybe you thought you were too good for them?" he snarled, thick saliva dripping down the side of his mouth. His dirty blond hair stood on end, making him seem even bigger than his already massive frame. "A snobby little bitch who refused to bend over."

With their words ringing in his ears, Stiles did the one thing he should have known better than to do. He tried to run. Stiles made it maybe four steps before one of them hit him, taking him down with a bigger body used to hunting more than the bunnies too stupid to escape the backyard. It knocked the wind out of him, and all he could do was gasp and jerk, trying to will his lungs to work again.

He was so fucked. Prossibly literally.

The wolf on top of him smelled like rot, decaying flesh that sweetened the stench of garbage and sweat. He twisted Stiles' arms together, barely stopping short of breaking bone. The omega planted a knee in the small of his back, shoving his face into the frozen ground. "You're a ripe one, aren't you?" he said, sniffing and blowing hot gusts of breath over Stiles' body. "This is your first isn't it? I enjoy it so much more when you bitches cry and bleed."

"Leave enough of him for the rest of us," another of the wolves said, crouching in front of him and jerking Stiles' head back. He pawed at his crotch, and Stiles smelled the arousal coming off all three of them.

Stiles whimpered, struggling to get his knees underneath him; he never been so scared in his life, never been touched so cruelly. He couldn't even convince his body to shift. He couldn't stop shaking, wishing he was home and warm playing Dragon Age on his Playstation. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen; heat week was supposed to be roses and kisses, and perfectly chosen rising music, not strangers forcing him on the dirty ground and drowning in his own fear.

"You're not going to touch him."

They dropped Stiles in the slush, growling at the interruption. He took the chance to scrabble backwards, forcing dirt under his nails and mud caking down his jeans. Everything moved so fast, it took him several seconds to locate his rescuer. A large werewolf, well dressed and well fed, raced at the omegas, jumping over and into trees gaining momentum until he bowled into one of the redhead, landing again lightly on his feet.

Derek freaking Hale.

Stiles felt like he'd jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. He tucked his knees up under his chin, making himself as small as he could, huddled by the tree trunk. The fight didn't last long, even at three to one. Derek was stronger, faster, and smarter. The smallest of the omegas cut and run at the first sign of Derek's abilities, but the others stuck it out longer.

Derek ripped a gash through the belly of one, but by then that omega was too enraged to break off his attack. He kept leaping at Derek who either blocked him easily or simply moved out of the way. Blood decorated the previously scenic spot as if fed through a sprinkler system. In their cat and mouse dance, the largest scarred one disappeared, leaving a thick trail of blood behind him.

The sound of water in the lungs had never been one of Stiles' favorites, but actually seeing the red-flecked foam bubble out of the omega's mouth twisted his stomach. He turned away and retched up lunch and the last bit of breakfast. When he wiped his mouth, he looked to see Derek standing, still tensed, over a motionless body. After a handful of moments it was obvious that the omega would never move again, and Derek relaxed slightly.

"Are you hurt?" Derek asked, his voice deep and full of gravel. He was still wolfed out, but slowly his hair settled and his claws retracted. His black clothing absorbed most of the splattered blood, but his hands and neck were both painted red. "Answer me."

Stiles shut his mouth with an audible click, and stood, brushing the worst of the muck off his pants. "I think I'm fine," he said. Though his sides hurt from puking, the rest of him had already rebounded from getting tackled and manhandled into the ground. He edged around the body, making sure not to turn his back to Derek.

"What the hell are you doing out here alone?"

Shrugging, Stiles took another couple of crab steps until he bumped into his bag. He slung it over his shoulder and then kneeled to look for his phone. "Taking a walk, that's not illegal," he said, hoping Derek would have something more important to do and leave him alone. "I can take a walk if I want."

He'd never actually met Derek, but after reading his dad's files, Stiles knew a little bit about almost everyone. Most of Derek's family had died in the fire that finally convinced the majority faction of werewolves to sign the Treaties. The new law had taken power from the Alpha and given it to everyone. The new massive pack hired Stiles' dad who moved to Beacon Hills to bring more civility into their lives. Instead of rival packs, they started a town and werewolves started to prosper. Not everyone was happy with the new direction.

"You're in heat, and you weren't claimed on Friday," Derek advanced on him, narrowing his gaze until Stiles abandoned his search for his phone and stood awkwardly, taking a step backward. "Do you have a death wish?"

The few times Stiles had happened to see Derek in town, he watched the way wolves found other places they desperately needed to be. Generally, werewolves loved gathering together for the most random of reasons. They were physical with each other, whether it was affectionate or violent, but he'd never seen anyone touch Derek Hale. He seemed very careful to keep a distance between him and everyone else.

"Don't run, kid," Derek said, his eyes continuously tracking as if he expected sex-crazed wolves to jump out of every shadow. "The Sanctuary wouldn't open the doors for you even if I could get you there in one piece. I'd like to tell you that you have a choice, me or whatever omega finds you first, but you're the sheriff's son. I can't let you go."

He was right. Even if they could miraculously get there before they locked the gates, the caretakers would never open the gate with an unmated wolf as dominant as Derek close by. That's if Derek would be able to let him go. Stiles knew he needed to get out before Derek decided to get possessive.

"You're the Alpha's nephew," Stiles said, trying to retreat out of arm's reach, not that he had a prayer of outrunning Derek. Derek was a little older, but he was a lot bigger, and the most dominant wolf Stiles had ever sensed so close before. Everyone whispered about him being the Alpha's hitman, but there was never any proof when his dad went looking. "How's it going to look if you take me against my will?"

They had an uneasy truce between the Alpha, the most powerful werewolf in the area, and the city council's law enforcement. It was a balancing act to keep the peace even so long after the original agreements. When they wanted to be generous, they said the Alpha was still trying to look after them, keep their best interests. Other times, they said the Alpha would never be satisfied until he'd culled the weakest and the traitors to take back control.

"Better than if I let you die because you were too stupid to keep yourself safe!" Derek's eyes flashed blue, and he growled deep in his chest. "There are a lot more dominant males than there are willing mates. Without the ceremony to protect you, they will pass you around, use you until you bleed and then start all over again. It would be like before the Treaties were signed."

Stiles grimaced as Derek spelled it out. His dad never talked about what life was like before the Treaties or even what happened in the couple of years between that and when Beacon Hills hired him as the sheriff. He hadn't realized how sheltered he'd been, even when he stole a police radio so he could make sure he father was safe while he worked overnight. He knew he was lucky to have his father instead of some of the others out there. Scott's dad wouldn't have thought twice about beating Stiles and then selling him to the highest bidder.

"Stilinski, I will beat you repeatedly in the head and then drag you out of here if that's what it takes," Derek said, his throat sounded like rolling thunder and his eyes had changed from murky green to light blue. He picked up a handful of snow and used it to clean away the worst of the blood. "Decide."

"It's Stiles, and okay. Fine. I'll go with you," Stiles said, still holding his bag in front of him like an incredibly useless and bulky shield. He kicked a lump of moldy leaves, scattering them faster than his thoughts. So what if Derek was bigger, stronger, faster, and an all around better werewolf than Stiles? Maybe he could trick Derek into letting him go, but until he figured out how he needed to make sure he would still be in one piece when the time came. During the claiming ceremony, pairs exchanged tokens and caresses. "Do I need to, like, I don't know. I'll whatever, just tell me."

He didn't think Derek was the kind of wolf to push him down in the dirt and take him fast, but he didn't really know anything about Derek at all. Derek never claimed anyone, never stayed with anyone in town. It wouldn't be outrageous for Derek to want a show of submission, and Stiles had no idea what would be appropriate. Anytime Scott had 'disciplined' him for mouthing off at the bigger, dominant douche bags, it had been a game. Stiles knew all about pretending to be sorry, but nothing about real submission. Derek would know the difference, and probably not be as amused as Mrs. Binks.

"Follow me. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut," Derek said, taking one last look aat the way the omegas had run before turning the other direction. He walked fast, forcing Stiles to jog to keep up. After about ten minutes, he swerved to his left and led them out of the woods. A slick black car took up three spots by illegal parallel parking. Derek pulled the keys from his pocket and clicked the doors unlocked. "Get in. And don't get mud everywhere."

"Why aren't you, you know," Stiles asked, scuffing his shoes on the ground to knock anything gross off. He pulled his seatbelt across his chest as Derek gunned the engine and pulled out of the parking lot, spitting gravel behind them. "Like those other guys?"

In his head, it sounded more nonchalantly curious, but when he said it, he winced at how needy he sounded. He'd always thought he didn't need the validation of having half a dozen wolves trying to court him, but maybe he'd just been fooling himself since he hadn't ever been interested in anyone like that. The therapist had been so worried about Stiles' inability to focus on looking for a dominant that she'd called his dad, who had merely seemed happy to keep Stiles at home with him.

"Because I'm better than them," Derek answered, concentrating on the road as he took turns Stiles had never noticed before in that forest. He shifted through the gears like he was part of the car, anticipating every click of the engine.

After a few more miles, Stiles was completely lost; he wasn't even sure they were still in the Beacon Hills municipal territory. That could be a problem if Derek actually turned out to be a murdering psychopath like the kids in school whispered. Their treaties didn't hold outside of the town's limits. As a dominant, as the Alpha's family, Derek could do almost anything with Stiles and he'd have no say in it.

Derek slowed as he followed a winding road that turned into a driveway to a beautiful log cabin. Snow covered the roof and icicles hung all along the front porch. The garage was very modern, the door barely making a sound when it slid up so Derek could park the car. The door shut again, leaving them in the dim light from the emergency system.

Despite the earlier attack and fear, the sudden silence made Stiles feel real, like an actual wolf about to go into heat and be claimed by another. He smelled Derek all around him, strength and dominance that he wouldn't even begin to fight. He couldn't help breathing faster, feeling his heart grind through gears as jerky as the car had been smooth. The seatbelt constricted him and he flailed trying to hit the button to release it. A hand landed on both of his, keeping them pressed to the seatbelt. Stiles looked up to find Derek glaring at him.

"I'm better than those werewolves, but I'm not perfect," Derek said, his voice barely contained violence. His hand was rough and hot enough to burn. "You need to calm down. Now."

Stiles took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was stuck right now, and if he wanted the chance to take control of this situation before he was mindless in heat, he'd have to play the game. "All right," he said, carefully freeing his hands and releasing the seatbelt. Out stubborning himself, he shoved his fear down deep. He inched away from Derek and opened the door, "I'm fine. Sorry."

He pulled his bag from the back seat, and decided to put a little more distance between them. If he could just get by himself in a bedroom, he could slip out the window and get gone before Derek figured him out. Before he'd even finished that thought, a body hit him and slammed him into the door, holding him still when he wanted to fight back.

"Don't kid yourself that this isn't going to happen," Derek breathed in his ear, stroking up and down tendons on the front of Stiles' neck. The nail on his thumb gouged under Stiles' jaw, making him lift his head or suffer a stabbed jugular. "You're starting to smell so good, I won't be able to hold myself back. Your body will turn against you, and you won't want me to hold back."

Derek's body set him on fire. This wasn't a teenager still rounded with baby fat like Scott. Derek was every inch a man with hard muscles and sharp edges. He didn't care that Stiles was young, that he was new. He was going to take what he wanted because he could, the way all dominants did. Stiles whimpered, trembling despite himself, and he bit his lip until he tasted blood.

"Here's a hint, Stiles," Derek said, turning him with hands on his hips until his back was against the door. He touched Stiles' lip, pulling it down until the blood welled and dripped onto Derek's index finger. "That's not the best idea when you're a werewolf in heat cornered by a stranger."

Derek licked the blood off his finger, grabbed Stiles' bag and then brushed by him into the house. Stiles closed his eyes, and counted to ten, trying the focus trick his therapist taught him. He licked the inside of his mouth and found the cut already healed. This might be harder than he'd thought.

He followed Derek through the laundry room and into the kitchen, where he found Derek going through his bag and taking out all of Stiles' supplies. "Hey! I need those!" he yelled, diving across the table to grab at the hiking boots Derek just pulled out.

"I'll give you everything you need," Derek said, completely out of patience. He knocked Stiles into a chair and glared at him until he stayed put. "Get it through your thick head. You're not leaving here until after you've finished your heat."

"I hate this, and I hate you," Stiles muttered, glaring right back.

"I don't care," Derek answered, sniffing at the protein bars Stiles had added to the bag at the last second.

This was worse than school, worse than when Lydia had made him submit during a game of dodge ball in gym. Derek thought he was some brainless teenager just thrilled to death to take it up the ass. He sat in silence while Derek separated out anything Stiles might use to escape from his clothes and toiletries. He couldn't help making a noise when Derek pulled out the photo album Stiles took with him everywhere.

Derek thumbed the edges of the book, and then handed it over to Stiles without opening it. Stiles took it and held it to his cheek for a moment, breathing deeply to try to find the phantom perfume that sometimes lingered on the papers. He slid it back on the table, into the pile of soft clothing Derek deemed he could keep. Refilling the bag with all of Stiles' contraband, Derek put it back in the garage, shutting the door firmly behind him.

"Touch that again and you'll regret it," Derek threatened, crossing to the sink and washing his hands. "Are you hungry?"

The sun had slipped away some time between when Stiles started running and when Derek caught him. He hadn't even realized it was late, but the sun went down so early anyway. His stomach growled right on cue. He fidgeted with the bottom of his shirt, and shrugged, "I guess I could eat."

"I'll make dinner. You sit there and don't make any noise," Derek ordered, splashing some water on his face. He pinched the bridge of his nose, and then knuckled the water out of his eyes.

"Great," Stiles agreed, knowing that if he let his sarcasm out to play, it would just be worse for him later. "That sounds awesome." Besides, he would probably agree to just about anything at that point. At home, he did any cooking that involved actual skill, even if he didn't have that much to begin with. Usually, his dad held up a fistful of takeout menus and let Stiles pick at random.

He watched Derek move confidently through the kitchen, tending both skillets and mixing a salad on the counter. He pulled two bottles of water out and gestured for Stiles to take whatever he wanted. Stiles ate quietly, unwilling to prod Derek into acting on his intentions before he absolutely had to. When they finished, Stiles cleaned up, putting most of the stuff in the dishwasher, but scrubbing the pans.

"I need to call your dad. They'll have told him that you're not at Sanctuary anymore."

Stiles shook his head, "I should be the one to talk to him and tell him I'm all right." They were all each other had, and his dad would be upset enough without having to hear about it second hand. He reached for the wireless phone on the counter, but Derek beat him to it.

"No," Derek held the phone out of Stiles' reach. He actually looked apologetic about it, but he still held Stiles away. "If he hears your voice, he'll want to come protect you, and he can't right now. I don't want to kill your father, Stiles. The peace wouldn't survive."

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Stiles nodded and retreated to the far side of the living room. He concentrated on not listening to the phone conversation, unwilling to hear his father's disappointment without having the chance to try to defend himself. Most of the room was bare, white walls, no pictures, but the TV was huge and the bookcases on either side were filled with DVDs. Stiles poked through the collection; the guy had an unfortunate penchant for depressing, gritty, based on true stories movies.

"He's not happy, but I think he understands this is the best choice in a bad situation," Derek said, joining Stiles in front of shelves. He rolled his shoulders and finally took his jacket off, flinging it at an innocent easy chair. "I think you're in trouble once I take you back."

"Great," Stiles now had enough guilt to last him a lifetime. He grabbed a movie at random and shoved it at Derek. "What's this one?"

"It's about a hired gun trying to save his son's life," Derek answered, taking it before Stiles could do any real damage with it. "I'll put it in; you get comfortable on the couch."

Stiles settled as close to the arm of the couch as he could, curling his feet up toward the middle in an effort to make sure Derek gave him some space. It failed utterly. Derek picked up his feet and twisted him until he leaned into Derek's chest. It was horrible. Derek smelled nice and felt like a living heated blanket. Before he knew it, his whole crappy day caught up with him.

 


 

Stiles woke up to Derek spooned tightly behind him and slightly on top of him, pushing him down into the couch cushions. Derek's hips jerked against Stiles' ass, and his arm felt like a metal band locked around Stiles' stomach. Somewhere in the house, a clock chimed and Derek buried his face in the back of Stiles' neck.

His fear of mating for the first time made his stomach clench and heart stop. Stiles twisted his head, trying to see if Derek had shifted, but teeth at his neck froze him. At least the pressure was blunt; usually the first thing to change was the sharpening of fangs. If Derek was already out of control, then Stiles wouldn't have time to even wonder. "Derek?" he asked quietly, trying to keep the panic out of his tone.

"Don't move, don't struggle," Derek licked across Stiles' hairline where sweat had started prickling to the surface. "Give me a second."

Derek shifted his grip until his fingers dug into Stiles' hips, grinding his cock into the soft underside on Stiles' ass. Even through their layers of clothing, Stiles could feel how long, how hard, how hot it felt. His body responded despite his desire to follow Derek's instructions for once. He didn't struggle, he stretched, falling into Derek's gravity and rubbed backward.

The next thing he knew, the world spun around him and he hit the wood floor hard. He rubbed his elbow, which had taken most of his weight in his fall. The pain helped him snap out of it, but seeing Derek holding himself stiffly behind the couch finished clearing his head.

"Go to your bedroom and lock the door," Derek said from behind the couch. He didn't look anywhere near Stiles, and kept his forearm up, covering his nose. "I'm going to check the perimeter in case those morons decided to follow us here. Don't open the door to me no matter what."

He didn't scurry, Stiles definitely managed something a little more manly as he rushed down the hallway to the spare bedroom Derek had dumped his stuff in. He didn't breathe again until he had the door shut and the deadbolt slammed. It was false security, nothing would stop Derek if he wanted in, but the extra few seconds it took to break the door down might give him time to reconsider his actions.

The room was cool and dark, as sparsely decorated as the rest of the house. The bedspread was either blue or black, but it was soft and warm when Stiles buried himself underneath it. Somewhere out there, Scott and Allison were curled up together, probably talking and laughing with each other, and not thinking about Stiles at all. The heavy blankets weighted him down and the memory of being held by his parents made him feel a little better, but mostly he was confused.

Yesterday, he would have said that Derek was wild, uncontrollable, and a menace to law abiding werewolves. Today, he owed Derek his life, his safety. Derek was bending over backwards not to take advantage of Stiles' heat. Stiles didn't know what to think. He still would rather have had Scott, or taken care of himself, but it appeared that Derek wasn't the worst option in the world. He wasn't nice, exactly, but he seemed fair, he was clean, and he didn't make Stiles feel like shit.

For some reason, there weren't many people who wouldn't take every opportunity to tweak Stiles' tail. His therapist said it was his fault, his attitude that made dominants want to watch him squirm. He didn't fit into any of the neat little packaged wolf roles, too mouthy and proactive to be submissive and too meek and soft to be a dominant. Stiles didn't fit anywhere, and no one except Scott had wanted to make a place for him.

Now, he'd even lost Scott.

Stiles curled up tight, fluffing the pillow up only to hide his head underneath it. He was starting to feel like an idiot for ever leaving Sanctuary. At least there he'd have had his own space and nobody breathing down his neck. He could have saved this experience for someone who maybe even liked him a little.

He thought sleep was a thousand miles away, but apparently he managed it, waking again when the sky outside his window had barely begun to lighten. He had tossed and turned until the blanket wrapped around him, trapping his limbs. Sweat stained the sheets, and something slippery seeped through his sweats. Stiles felt like he was going crazy, needing something to make him fit in his body again.

Going through heat was different for everyone, but they'd tried to prepare him for what he could face. The first time usually warmed up slowly and lasted two to three days, building up to six or seven when they reached full maturity. Some wolves went completely insensible, unable to do anything but arch and writhe. Others kept most of their personality, but they still had to deal with the instinctual drive to mate with whoever took them.

At Sanctuary, they'd would lock themselves in small but comfortable rooms and given Winter Cherry to manage their symptoms. No one would touch them, and they'd get another year to find someone they actually wanted to spend their heat with.

Stiles felt like his veins had been stolen, leaving him a floating, warm puddle of goo. His heart pounded in every atom of his body. He was harder than he'd ever been, though he woke up with his hand on his dick and at least two orgasms coating the front of his thighs. It wasn't enough, he needed someone else, someone to touch him, and keep him from dying alone.

He rolled off the bed, hitting the floor shoulder first, but the pain didn't slow him down for a second. Luckily, the blanket came loose, and he did the only think he could think of, crawled across the room to the bathroom. He felt himself changing, his hair growing and senses climbing. It only made his body feel worse, slick and sweat dripping from him as he hunched through the pain of his shifting bone and muscles.

A whimper escaped his throat, but when he heard the springs creak from across the hall, he choked the rest of his noises down. The last thing he needed was Derek in here. Stiles turned the cold water knob all the way on and crawled into the bathtub still wearing his clothes. The water dropped his temperature, and eventually washed away the evidence of his heat. He lost track of how long he laid there under the spray. Eventually, he felt his control come back and shifted until his was all human again.

It wouldn't last; his heat would get worse until he and Derek wouldn't have a choice besides mating, but he thought he might hold it off for another day. Stiles lifted his head until the water hit him in the face. Derek was already there, under his skin. He just hoped there was enough of him left over after all this to keep going by himself.

 


 

When Stiles finally pulled himself out of the bathtub and dried himself off, he felt a little better. Like a fever passing in the night, his heat came and went. It would be back, but there wasn't anything he could do about it, not until Derek decided to take what he considered his. When that happened, Stiles would lose to nature until his heat ran its course.

Speaking of Derek, Stiles didn't hear any further signs of life out of him all morning. He had no idea what time Derek had come inside from prowling around the perimeter. Stiles tried to watch a movie, but found he couldn't sit still, so he went looking for his duffel only to find that Derek had hidden it somewhere. He did find several heavy-duty lock boxes that made him sneeze uncontrollably when he sniffed at them trying to figure out their contents.

Eventually, his stomach growled, demanding food which led him back to the kitchen. He was half inside the fridge, pushing things around to see what his options were, when he heard Derek get up and start the shower. Stiles didn't think he could go through another day as confusing as the last several he'd suffered through. His dad always talked more while he was eating, so Stiles pulled out his choices and got to work.

He looked up at Derek's soft footfalls, freezing as he tried to look his fill. Truthfully, Derek was probably the most handsome man he'd ever seen in his life. Most werewolves were easy to look at, but Derek combined the darkness inside with the animal outside. His hair curled, still damp and free of any product. He moved like a predator, confident and incredibly graceful. He was all pale skin and stunning eyes, the beginning of a shadow shading across his cheeks, jaws, and neck.

"I made you breakfast, or lunch, whatever," Stiles said, holding up the skillet to show his work. He curled his lip as he realized what this probably looked like. At least he didn't have an apron on. "Not that I'm your bitch. I don't care what those jackasses said; I'm not anyone's bitch. Ever."

At that, Derek's stone-cold killer mask twitched into something that was almost a smile. He sniffed, and followed his nose until he stood behind Stiles looking at the skillet. "That smells good, what is it?" he asked, rubbing his prickly cheek against as much of Stiles' skin as he could reach.

"It's a mess," Stiles answered, desperately trying not to hum his contentment. His hormones were not about to get the upper hand on him. "That's what we call it at home. I took a bunch of random stuff out of your fridge and mixed it together. It's kind of a hit or miss thing."

"This looks like a hit," Derek said, sniffing behind Stiles' ear and watching as Stiles divided the food between two plates.

"You can't treat me like a child," Stiles said, holding as still as he could, though he was sure Derek could feel him trembling. He wanted, no he needed Derek to look at him and see him, see Stiles, not just a semi-willing body. He needed it if he wanted to look in the mirror next week and not wince at the sight. "You can't just send me to my room whenever you want."

Derek hooked his hands around Stiles' waist and drew their bodies together. He slipped his hand under Stiles' shirt, lightly drawing his fingers over Stiles' bellybutton. "Okay," Derek said, a definite hint of amusement in his voice. "Next time, I'll fuck you raw, give you a cigarette, and then take you out to a strip club for a whiskey."

Laughing nervously, Stiles covered Derek's hand with his own. "You spend a lot of time at the strip club? Do you dance with the pole or on someone's lap?" he asked, trying to imagine which one he'd like to see better. Derek shirtless would be a worth it no matter what the rest of him was doing.

"I guess you'll have to wait until you're legal to find out," Derek said, pressing a hard kiss against Stiles' cheek as he snatched the plate with the larger portion and took it to the table.

Stiles touched his cheek; his imagination made his skin tingle. Nobody who wasn't family had ever kissed him before. It was stupid; Derek hadn't kissed him on the lips. It didn't mean anything. He shook it off and joined Derek at the table, silently eating his food while it was still warm. Every few seconds, he'd glance up at Derek and then back to his plate.

"What?"

"I don't get it," Stiles said, the words tripping over themselves to jump off his tongue. He stood up and dumped his plate in the sink. He turned around and leaned against the counter. "Yesterday, you told me I didn't have a choice, but then you're all cool with dinner and a movie. Then you got scary and run off, and now it's like you're nice."

"I can't be nice?" Derek asked, pushing away from the table. He splayed his legs so the worn denim of his jeans clung to the muscles in his thighs.

Stiles shook his head, struggling to move his eyes away. He wouldn't mind living in that space between Derek's knees, tracing his fingers along the inseam and teasing the bulge of Derek's cock. "Not according to what everyone says," he said, trying to shake the impulse off before he did something he would regret.

Suddenly, Derek was all danger again, a tightly coiled spring ready to snap closed on the unwary. "So you know all about me?" his voice was ice cold. "Is that it?"

"I- I didn't mean-"

Derek blurred across the room and pushed Stiles back against the pantry door, jerking his shirt up to expose his belly. "No, they were right," he said, purposefully growing his claws out and grazing them across Stiles' vulnerable flesh. This wasn't the caress from earlier; it was a warning. "I'm not nice. I'm a killer, and right now, you're at my mercy."

"Please, don't," Stiles screwed his eyes tightly shut and canted his head down and to the side, showing his throat. He would have dropped to the ground if Derek hadn't been plastered to his side. "Please."

"Goddamn it!" Derek roared, tossing the table over as he crashed through the backdoor, leaving the screen frame hanging by one screeching hinge.

 


 

"I'm sorry I lost control."

Stiles looked up guiltily from the photo album he was flipping through. His body tensed for fight or flight, or actually and more probably, running in crazy eights like a headless a chicken, but Derek just rubbed tiredly at his eyes. "You're apologizing to me?" Stiles asked, immediately looking for the catch.

"As I understand it, that's what nice people do when they know they're being a jackass," Derek said, holding his hands out in a gesture of peace as he walked closer and knelt down next to Stiles. He pursed his lips while he looked over all the stuff that Stiles had dragged out.

"I'm sorry too, then. I shouldn't have brought it up," Stiles said, unconsciously tracing his fingers over Derek's younger face. The photo album had been in a back closet after he'd snooped through every other accessible place. He also found a couple of singed yearbooks and a handful of letters he hadn't dared to read. The one place he steered clear of was Derek's room when he discovered Derek's scent concentrated in that area. "I was just looking, I didn't hurt anything. I wanted to get to know about you better."

Someone had taken the time to put the album together scrapbook style, with buttons, ribbons, tiny brass plates, and pressed flowers. They looked like such a happy family, the kind Stiles used to dream of having. Pictures, ticket stubs, drawings, everything to remember lives that ended years ago. Stiles smiled when he found a picture of Derek swinging in a batting cage, wearing a purple and white uniform.

"I'm not mad," Derek said, rearranging himself until he sat cross-legged with the bare bones of his life surrounding him.

"Good," Stiles said, steadily relaxing when Derek didn't make a move to rip his throat out. Derek smelled like pine and earth, fresh with barely a hint of sweat layered underneath. He was nearly sure he still would like the scent even if his hormones weren't messing with his head. "Believe it or not, but I don't actually set out to piss everyone off."

He flipped the page again and did a double take, recognizing a younger Argent family mixed in with the Hales. Toddler Allison was clearly stealing the show, but in the background, he spotted Derek watching a blonde woman with intense concentration. He looked almost hungry and reached out to her. She was caught her with her mouth open in laughter, but her eyes told a different story. Stiles shivered without knowing why she bothered him so much.

Derek took the book from Stiles' lap and stared at the pictures. "I turned fourteen right before these were taken. This was my birthday party," he said, brushing his fingers over faces while he told Stiles who each person was. He'd had a big family, eight people living together with several others nearby. "I don't remember a lot about it. Someone got me a bike, my parents engraved a watch for me, and my sisters bought me a new baseball mitt. We had chocolate cake."

The pictures ended there despite a dozen blank pages filling in the rest of the book. Stiles watched Derek's face, cataloged the emotions that made him more understandable. Anger and pain, but mostly sadness, the same things Stiles felt when he thought about his mom. He knew from experience that words, even well intentioned, often made things worse. Sitting idly by wasn't an option he could stomach either. Slowly, he inched closer, brushed his fingers over Derek's wrist, and dropped his head on Derek's shoulder.

Automatically, Derek dipped his shoulder making the angle more comfortable for Stiles' neck. "The next week, it was just me and Laura. We moved in with our uncle and nothing was ever the same again," Derek continued, leaning into Stiles' body and taking the comfort offered. "And now I'm alone."

A noise escaped from Stiles' throat again. Against his will, he started feeling real empathy for Derek. He hated being alone; more than anything, he wanted someone close to talk to and touch. Most families were like Derek's, large and always together. Sometimes he thought that he and Scott got along so well because they were both a little awkward and lonely from living in single parent houses. They'd never had any sibs to lean on.

Trying not to think too hard about what he was doing, Stiles pressed his forehead against Derek's jaw. Derek's stubble scratched him, but he kept close, swallowing hard on all his insecurities. If Derek pushed him away, then he'd know for sure that all Derek wanted from him was his heat. All the oxygen sucked out of the room as he waited breathless for Derek's response.

"Stiles."

The moment stretched past the breaking point before Derek bent his head, bringing them face to face. Their noses bumped and their breath mingled. Derek curled his arms around Stiles and pulled them closer together. Stiles could feel Derek's eyelashes fluttering against his cheek, and he decided then he'd give up anything just for Derek to kiss him and mean it. Anything.

The sound of the phone ringing jarred them apart. Stiles cursed, and Derek reluctantly pulled away. "I'll be right back," he said, rubbing his thumb over Stiles' cheek as he stood up and walked into the kitchen. He picked up the phone before the next ring and snarled, "What?"

Stiles flopped down on his back and decided he'd unplug the phone on his next trip into the kitchen. Either that, or he had to be thankful to whoever was on the other side of the line for interrupting something that had been getting a little too hot too quickly. Stiles couldn't even begin to explain it, except that starting his heat was messing with his mind. He'd thought he'd always faced up to his hang-ups, knowing that when he found someone he wanted, the chance that they'd want him back were slim to none.

Stiles knew he was a catch; he just needed someone else to see it too. Derek was… he was complicated, but Stiles liked him, even if Derek also equally scared the crap out of him most the time.

"I apologize," Derek said formally, his tone a complete one-eighty from the irritation he'd displayed just a few seconds ago. Curious, Stiles scooted closer and tried to listen in. "Give me a second."

Derek started the dishwasher, effectively blocking Stiles from hearing the voice on the other side of the call. He looked out the window and continued, "Yes, I found them. One died and the other two ran off."

"I know, but-"

"I need a few days. Something came up."

"I have never asked you for anything, and I've always followed orders. Please."

"Fine."

Derek's scowl was firmly in place when he came into the living room. There might as well be a tiny storm cloud hovering over his head, raining on his parade. His expression grew even colder when he spotted Stiles lounging on the floor. He cracked his knuckles before he forced them to relax.

Scrambling to his feet, Stiles tugged his shirt down from where it had ridden up. "Problems?" he asked, feeling all the good will from earlier dissolving in a second. He knew he smelled like fear, and most likely, that would either excite or irritate Derek further, but he couldn't help the cold lick uncurling in his belly.

"I have to go out," Derek growled, shrugging into his jacket. Striding forward, Derek grabbed Stiles' chin and curled his fingers under Stiles' jaw. He tugged Stiles forward and kissed him hard on the mouth, forcing Stiles' lips apart as he laved his tongue against the points of Stiles' teeth. He pulled away and had to hold Stiles to keep him from following. "When I get back, we'll finish this."

Stiles surprised himself but not the fire burning in his chest by saying, "Hurry."

Derek kissed him again, worrying Stiles' bottom lip between his teeth. He jerked Stiles hips into his, palming Stiles' ass and squeezing him close. It was obvious exactly which brain they were both using. Derek quickly shoved him away before things escalated, and walked out the door without looking back.

 


 

A three-hour cold shower later and Stiles almost felt normal again. There was still a sugar rush buzzing right beneath his skin that had nothing to do with the pint of chocolate ice cream he scarfed down. The heater was only set for sixty, but even that made Stiles sweat until he turned it off and stepped outside for a minute. He smelled snow in the air and it would surprise him if there wasn't an extra inch or two layering the ground in the morning. He wondered why Derek lived so far away from Beacon Hills when the Alpha had several empty properties in town.

When twilight covered the forest and Derek still wasn't back, Stiles went in to pick through the cabinets again. Everyone liked spaghetti, so he set a pot of water on the stove to boil and set out everything he'd need. Derek's house was well stocked, he must be preparing for the last big snowstorm that always managed to wipe out normal activity in town around the middle of spring. He didn't turn around when he heard Derek's car pull into the garage.

"Hey," Stiles said, stirring the sauce so it wouldn't stick to the bottom of the pan. "I thought you'd be back quicker, but this is about ready if you're hungry."

"Why the hell were you outside?"

That wasn't Derek's normal voice. Stiles turned slowly, keeping his eyes lowered. Derek was fully shifted, bigger, meaner, and acting on instinct. Tension almost made the air crackle between them. Fur covered the sides of Derek's face and down his hands where thick yellow claws curved out from the tips of his fingers. His arms and legs were longer, corded with thick muscles that bunched and trembled under pressure, barely contained.

When werewolves shifted, the eyes of most of them turned golden, flashing in the light like their canine counterparts. Sometimes when they felt strong emotions their eyes would change color without shifting. That was an easy way to tell who had more control and who felt things more deeply. Stiles used it as an early warning system for when he'd mouthed off a little too much.

Derek's eyes were a brilliant, reflective blue instead of his human combination of brown and green flakes.

"I'm sorry," Stiles whispered, knowing he had to tiptoe over broken glass for the next few seconds or risk deeper cuts. He kept his head down and crept so slowly to Derek, freezing every time Derek even breathed a little heavier. As soon as he was close enough, he stretched out and bumped his nose against Derek's jaw. He kissed the bone and the soft part underneath, feeling Derek's Adam apple move against his cheek. "I didn't know."

"I could smell you halfway to the main road," Derek snarled, still tense but managing to keep his claws at his side instead of impaled halfway through Stiles' ribs. "Anyone could have come for you and I wouldn't have been here. I couldn't have… someone else would have touched you."

Stiles whimpered, feeling that his efforts weren't enough; Derek was working himself up instead of calming down. A dominant's sense of possession was one of the strongest instincts they had, and probably the most annoying for Stiles to deal with. He didn't want his heat to be about who grabbed dibs first, and he'd thought Derek was different. "No one else will touch me," Stiles promised, taking a chance on Derek's instincts when he lifted Derek's hand to his neck. He felt Derek squeeze for just a second before the claws retracted. "I'm sorry, I won't do it again. I promise."

He'd said it before to irate wolves looking to take a piece out of his hide. It wasn't a lie, exactly, since he always made sure to think rather loudly in his head, until the next time I do it. It didn't matter what 'it' was, Stiles just needed to mollify his aggressor and then get the hell out of Dodge. It felt different this time; he wanted to mean it if it meant that Derek would feel better. He cared what Derek thought of him.

"Go lock yourself in your room," Derek groaned, hunching in on himself. Stiles finally noticed that Derek favored his right side and his clothes were torn and bloody. The flesh that wasn't ripped was bruised; Derek wasn't in the right frame of mind to take care of himself. "I'm hurt and I can't control this. Not right now."

The smart thing would be to do what Derek said, run and hide again, but Stiles didn't think he could leave Derek here alone in pain. Established packs were illegal, but nothing could stop a healing bond if two wolves were both willing. Stiles sank to his knees in front of Derek, touching, but trying not to rub in case Derek was badly hurt in places he couldn't see. He held onto Derek's leg and turned his head, breathing hotly at Derek's hip through the canvas material of his pants.

He did what he couldn't do for his mom.

Stiles focused into his heart, his core, where a werewolf's power came from. He tapped into it and drew it out, spinning the delicate energy like cotton candy on a spindle that he passed to Derek. It wouldn't have worked unless Derek was willing to open himself up and take it.

Derek slumped, shifting quickly until soft hands touched Stiles on his shoulders, holding him in place. Not that he needed it; Stiles held on like a dying man and felt his body siphon off its reserves to give to Derek. It didn't hurt; actually it felt like that moment just before sleep when he'd either float away into a dream or jerk back to reality. He felt Derek's flesh knit together and his strength flow into Derek's ribs.

"That's enough," Derek's voice was his own gravelly, annoyed, sound again. His hands pulled Stiles up and they both swayed in place, Stiles from being unused to running on empty. Derek reached down to check his newly mended flesh, and even his eyes were mostly back to normal. "Couch. Now."

"I have to turn off the burners first," Stiles said, taking Derek with him over to the stovetop. Then he gladly followed the older wolf to the couch and collapsed. Somehow, he ended up on the bottom with Derek's heavy body making every breath an event. He felt drained but amazing, and Derek's bulk held him together when he couldn't even try to think straight. "So, that was kinda awesome, right? I think I'm kinda awesome."

"Yeah, you're all awesome," Derek said, propping his head up on his fist. He narrowed his eyes down at Stiles. "You do that with all the people you hate?"

Stiles blushed, but there wasn't anywhere he could hide his eyes with Derek so close. "I don't hate you. I never did," he sighed, and tried to find something to do with his hands so they weren't awkwardly flopping around. He finally tucked them under Derek's coat, feeling muscle shift beneath his fingers. "I was just mad that nothing ended up like I wanted it to. When it was me and Scott, my heat wasn't supposed to be a big deal. Then he gave his pocket watch to Allison and I think I went a little crazy."

He'd probably always remember how the auditorium had hushed as Scott passed him and offered his token to Allison. She had looked startled, but she'd quickly put her hand in his and nuzzled his cheek. Everyone had expected Scott to take Stiles, his shock probably showed on his face. They'd been inseparable through thick and thin for years, their pranks tolerated and usually enjoyed on the sly. When he left the stage, Scott avoided Stiles eyes, but Allison looked at him briefly, confused and a little embarrassed, before trying to smile for the crowd. The rest of the ceremony was brutal, standing there with the rest of his age group and the older unclaimed wolves. No one offered him a token.

"I was there," Derek said suddenly, breaking Stiles memories like a sheet of ice. His fingers skritched through the short hair at Stiles' neck. "I'm not usually, but I… You looked sad."

"It wasn't supposed to be a big deal, but I didn't want it to be nothing, either," Stiles searched Derek's face for any sign of understanding. He got the feeling that most of the young wolves didn't take it as seriously as he did, and some of the older wolves wanted a return to the chase instead of the ceremony. Once again, Stiles was the odd one out.

Derek took a deep breath, "I don't know what your dad's told you, but claiming doesn't have to be permanent. You don't have to be monogamous or mates."

"I know that, he made sure I'd know everything I needed," Stiles said a little defensively. When it became obvious that not only was Stiles not dominant but he was also receptive, his dad had brought home an armful of books and tried in his own halting way to answer Stiles' questions. No one was going to say that his dad hadn't done his best. "I also saw him and mom together. It was different with them, less a battle and more a partnership."

"You've also seen how it changed him when she died."

"For a long time, I thought I'd never want to let someone that close to me. Not when I could see how much dad wanted to eat his gun every day for months and I was the only reason he didn't," Stiles chewed on his bottom lip until Derek growled softly in warning. "But, Scott's parents weren't mated and it sucked all around for them. So, it's not like there are any guarantees either way."

"I knew your mom. I mean, she ran the library, right? I liked her; she was nice. She always smiled when she saw me. Nobody else has ever done that," Derek trailed off, brushing his thumb over Stiles' abused bottom lip. Between one second and the next, he changed again, shutting down. "I can't be that for you. I don't know what you're imagining, but we're not going to be lovers or hold hands while walking through the moonlight. I'm going to fuck you and try to make it bearable for you. That's it."

Two steps forward and three jumps back. Stiles tried not to let his disappointment show. He was probably suffering from some kind of Stockholm Syndrome anyway. They should just do it; then Stiles could start the process of repression and denial. "Fine," he said, putting his arms over the top of the couch, closing his eyes, and stretching his head to the side. "Let's get this over with."

He braced for whatever came next, expecting claws and pain, not Derek's chuckle. He angrily jerked his head up and opened his eyes, knowing that they'd flash gold at Derek, even if it wasn't the smartest thing to do in their position. His canines grew until he had to open his mouth and snarl or risk cutting himself.

"What are you doing?" Derek asked, completely unimpressed with Stiles' display.

Flopping down, Stiles instantly lost his anger and settled for irritated sulking. "Assuming the position," he said, staring up into Derek's eyes and challenging him to punish Stiles for the insult. "What does it look like?"

"I'm not going to answer that because I think you could possibly do some damage, probably by accident, if you put your mind to it," Derek said, immediately immobilizing Stiles arms when he started struggling. He sealed their mouths together and urged Stiles into the kiss until he finally relaxed.

Stiles tugged until Derek let his hands go, and then he buried his fingers in Derek's thick hair. If nothing else, this experience taught him that he really liked kissing. He liked the slide of Derek's tongue, the heat, and losing his breath until he thought his lungs would explode. He liked the burn of Derek's stubble against his lips and cheeks. He loved the noises: a soft whimper, the smack of lips, a gasp.

He choked when Derek slipped his hand between them and palmed Stiles' dick. He froze like a deer caught in a spotlight before desperately trying to get away.

Derek sighed, his nose twitching as he cataloged Stiles' scent. He curled his fingers under Stiles' balls for a second and then moved his hand up to Stiles' hip. "Let's watch another movie," he said, completely uncaring that Stiles had derailed their entire evening with his freak out.

Their relationship was going to give him whiplash. Stiles thrashed violently until Derek's slipped to the side, almost between his body and the couch, giving Stiles a chance to breathe and think. He felt so moronic about his reaction; he knew it was going to happen sooner rather than later, and teasing Derek wouldn't make it any easier. "I thought you said-" Stiles started.

"I can wait another night," Derek cut him off, flicking on the TV and changing the channel to ESPN. "Sleep with me tonight and you'll get used to my scent, my body. Then it won't be so frightening for you when I take you."

"I'm not frightened," Stiles said automatically, but immediately flinched when Derek quirked an eyebrow. Of course, a werewolf could sniff out a lie that obvious, but Stiles had to try. He didn't want to give up his man card that easy. "Maybe I'm a little trepidatious."

Derek stretched his neck out until he rested his pointy chin against the soft spot on Stiles' shoulder. "You made that word up," he said, taking pleasure in making Stiles squirm underneath him.

"It's still valid," Stiles argued, touching Derek's thigh where it met Stiles' ass. He didn't want to ask for another favor, but once his terror receded, his body made it known that it could only handle so much in one day. "Would you mind if we went to bed early? I'm more tired than I thought."

"Yeah. I'll go take a shower while you eat something. The pasta still smells warm," Derek said, climbing back on top of Stiles to kiss for several minutes before he got his feet underneath him and headed down the hallway.

Stiles waited until he heard the water turn on, and then he put one of the couch cushions over his face and groaned. "Oh my God," he said, unsure if he was glad to put off having sex or disappointed. On a good day, Derek scared him, and the last two days had made him wonder if Derek was bipolar too. None of the literature or endless lectures from the adults had covered anything like Derek's weirdo behavior.

"I don't hear you eating!" Derek yelled over the shower, knowing Stiles would hear him.

With a groan, Stiles rolled off the couch onto his hands and knees. He adjusted himself as he stood, wondering how many times he could jerk off and still not be satisfied. Because he was technically submissive, he'd eventually end up with a dominant partner. Because he was receptive, he needed a male partner. It was a fact of life he'd always known, but it had never meant anything bigger picture. Now, he could feel the small part inside him that wanted to submit and wanted to be fucked.

Derek was right about the pasta. Stiles didn't bother with a plate; he just grabbed a fork and started eating out of the pot. Helping Derek heal had taken a lot out of him, more than he'd noticed at first. He perked up at the idea that maybe he'd be so exhausted that he'd sleep through Derek fucking him.

"You've got some sauce on your chin."

A split second later, he had Derek's tongue on his chin.

"Dude!" Stiles yelped, trying to jerk his head away before Derek caught him, but he was too late. Water dripped off Derek and soaked all down Stiles' shirt and pants. He caught Derek's hips and found him wearing only a towel slipping dangerously low on his waist. Derek licked and kissed the corners of his mouth, following the curve of Stiles' cheekbone to his eyelids. It was tender; Stiles felt cared for under Derek's attention and he swayed into the larger body in front of him. "Derek?"

Reluctantly, Derek held on to Stiles' wrist and dragged him through the house, turning off lights as they went. "C'mon," he said, twisting Stiles in front of him and into his bedroom first, "before I regret this more than I already do."

Derek's bedroom was barely more lived in than the rest of his house. His entire wardrobe seemed to consist of black, gray, and white. A few knick-knacks sat on the dresser in the corner along with a dictionary bigger than Stiles' head. A crisp breeze curled under the cracked open window, making everything seem sharper, more immediate. He was surprised he didn't feel the cold again, but it looked like his heat had decided to hang around in a rather literal sense. He could hear the snow fall on the branches of the nearest trees.

"Strip."

Stiles turned in time to see Derek drop his towel. Thankfully, or not depending on his freaked-out-o-meter, Derek faced the bathroom, so all Stiles got was an eyeful of Derek's strong back, his trim hips, and finally his firm ass. He could feel his mouth hanging open, but Stiles couldn't manage to care, not with the best porn he'd ever seen standing in front of him, live and in person.

"Stop staring and get a move on. Unless you want me to undress you."

Swallowing around his suddenly arid throat, Stiles fingered the buttons on his shirt. Derek had moved into the bathroom, brushing his teeth, but Stiles’ eyes skated away from him. "Are you serious?" he asked, knowing his stomach was about to stage a revolt. Who in the world could hold a candle next to Derek's cut abs and toned body? Not Stiles and his less than amazing pale chest.

"Would you rather I wore my boxers to bed?" Derek asked, spitting and rinsing into the sink. "But otherwise yes, I hate sleeping hot, and your temperature is starting to rise."

"Okay, okay," Stiles took a deep breath, already adjusting to being surrounded by Derek's scent. "I can do that."

Luckily, Derek didn't appear to be a neat freak. A pile of his dirty clothes crumpled in the corner, so Stiles threw his abandoned shirt and pants in that direction too. He was glad that he'd only packed the new blue boxers his dad had bought him. If he had to stand there with SpongeBob on his crotch, he might not have been able to lift his head to see Derek finish shimmying into his tight pair of boxer-briefs.

Stiles cleared his throat. "S-so," he had a hard time forcing that word out. He felt his blush travel down his neck and chest. "How 'bout those Mets, huh?"

"Shut up and get in bed," Derek said, rolling his eyes. He made one last circle around the room, flicking the lights off and closing the door and the window.

Stiles hurried and burrowed under the covers, actually shivering when his toes hit the ice-cold sheets at the base. He curled into himself as close to the edge as he could and clutched the comforter under his chin. The bed dipped as Derek climbed in the other side and swayed as Derek settled his body.

"Sometimes I wonder how two virgins ever make it through this week alive. Don't you have any instincts at all?"

"I have instincts!" Stiles said; they obviously weren't any good as he fell right into Derek's trap and uncurled enough for Derek to wedge an arm between his knees and his belly and haul him across the bed. Accepting defeat, Stiles sighed and continued with his theory, "Survival of the fittest is totally a lie. It's the wolf that runs away who lives to eat another day."

"I don't know where you put it all," Derek said, tapping on Stiles' ribs. He molded his chest to Stiles' back, "Remember that you're the little spoon in this sleeping arrangement and we'll be fine."

Derek moved one hand to the pillow under Stiles' nose, so he couldn't help getting a lungful of his scent with every inhale. After a little while, Stiles relaxed, fully melting into the body behind him. The skin on skin contact made Stiles simmer in his skin, wishing for a quick second that Derek had done it earlier. Then the waiting would be over. He yawned, restraining himself from biting down on one of Derek's fingers in spite. It did help, smelling and touching Derek without worrying about what came next.

"Why do your eyes turn blue?" he asked sleepily, not really expecting a response when Derek had been silent for so long. Stiles traced one of the veins that scrolled down Derek's forearm and toyed with Derek's loose fingers. Exhaustion made him brave.

"Before the Treaties were signed, tradition said that wolves born with blue eyes were destined to be Alpha. They would fight among themselves until only one was left," Derek explained, curling his feet underneath Stiles'. "Don't they teach you pups anything in school?"

Stiles shrugged, tugging Derek's arm until it covered Stiles better, "I don't really pay that much attention in class. I mean, who's going to ever use that stuff in the real world? Math. English. The basic ability to read and comprehend small-to-complex words. Your uncle's eyes aren't blue."

"He's the Alpha," Derek tensed, his voice hard. "You should show your respect."

"I thought respect was earned?" Stiles asked, because he never did know when to shut up. That was half the reason he had so many problems playing well with others. "What did he do to become Alpha?"

"He survived," Derek said, and nipped the back of Stiles' neck in a gentle rebuke, effectively closing that conversation. "Why does everyone call you 'Stiles'?"

"Maybe because it's my name?"

Derek thumbed Stiles' nose and angled them a little closer, "No it's not."

"You know what my real first name is?" Stiles asked, startled. He tried to crane his neck around to see if Derek was messing with him. He didn't think Scott knew what his real name was, let alone the rest of his classmates.

"Yes."

"But can you pronounce it?" Stiles asked, let a note of triumph creep into his tone.

"No," Derek snorted, and playfully bit Stiles' shoulder with an open mouth.

Stiles smiled, and wiggled into the pillows, "That's why everyone calls me 'Stiles'. How did you get hurt?"

"I needed to relearn a lesson," Derek said so softly that even Stiles' sensitive hearing could barely make it out. He bumped his nose against the short hair on Stiles' neck, blowing out a long breath.

"What does-" Stiles said, until Derek's fingers pressed against his lips.

Derek intentionally pressed his groin against Stiles' ass and pushed until once again, he was lying partly on top. "Go to sleep, Stilinski," he said, kissing the corner of Stiles' jaw. "We've got a big day tomorrow."

"Is this like a thing?" Stiles asked, failing to keep the petulance away. "You have to always be on top?"

"I'll show you topping tomorrow," Derek said, with another nip. "Now, shut up."

 


 

"Stiles. Wake up."

Blinking awake, Stiles wondered who turned the furnace on. Dawn's light barely crept through the window, but he felt like he'd slept away an entire week. His body reacted slowly, stretching down to his toes until like a snapped band, everything rebounded straight to his groin. He moaned, trying to pull his legs up, but a heavy weight kept them down.

"Stiles, we can't wait any longer," Derek said, panting through an open mouth. He kneeled between Stiles' legs forcing him to keep them splayed wide while he kneaded the tense muscles in Stiles' thighs. His eyes were pale white, glowing almost silver in the dim light. He wasn't shifted, but his back was up and Stiles wanted to cower in front of the dominant wolf.

They were both naked; Stiles' cock pointed up his body, stiff and leaning slightly to the left. The tip flushed bright red and leaked. Evidence that his cock had started without him coated his belly, and he knew the slippery slide of his heat seeped onto the sheets. There was something, something he needed to remember, but every time he almost had it, his body pulsed, jolting him back to his cock.

And how someone needed to touch it, right-the-fuck now.

"I'll take that as agreement," Derek said, batting Stiles hands away and replacing them with his own.

Stiles thrust up into the heat and friction, seizing and completely out of rhythm, but he came almost at once, his come shooting out on Derek's chest. He didn't feel any relaxation, not like when he jerked off normally. No, he felt like he was standing on top of a speeding train naked, heading into a tunnel without knowing what was on the other side. The build-up in his chest made it hard to breath; there wasn't room, not for his heart and not for his lungs.

Mostly, he really wanted Derek to be fucking him.

"God, the way you smell," Derek licked along the base of Stiles' cock, lapping the come up while jerking Stiles hard again. He breathed deep in the short hair under Stiles' belly button. "I can't believe I ever…"

"Derek," Stiles said, whining. He twisted his legs over Derek's back, urging him closer. He dug his heels into Derek's spine until Derek finally put his tongue where Stiles wanted it the most and swallowed his cock deep enough to hit the back of Derek's throat. It took a little longer for him to come, but Derek swallowed it all and then ducked down, sucking Stiles' balls into his mouth.

While he didn't want to complain about the free orgasms, Stiles knew what he needed. Just because he was a male didn't mean that he didn't have the same drive to mate like the females. He was just lucky enough to have all the fun without the chance of getting saddled with a baby later. Like a fever, his heat wouldn't burn itself out until his biology was satisfied that he'd at least tried to whelp a litter of puppies.

He planted his foot on the top of Derek's shoulder and kicked, managing to move Derek without ripping off any of his delicate parts. Before Derek could do more than growl a warning, Stiles twisted belly down and lifted his ass in invitation. He didn't know what else to do besides snuggle under Derek and make the most embarrassing sounds that had ever come out of his mouth.

He'd said some pretty embarrassing things in his time, too.

The sheets burned his knees when Derek dragged him to the foot of the bed despite the softness of the ridiculous thread count. Stiles teetered on the edge, but Derek quickly plastered himself over Stiles' back to steady them. His dick pressed between Stiles' thighs, and he moaned, thrusting a time or two before he got his control back. Hanging his head, Stiles felt Derek pull his legs further apart and experiment with two slick fingers straight into his hole.

"Jesus, fucking Christ," Derek cursed, twitching his fingers in Stiles' heat. He managed to stretch the rim enough to fit three fingers, but neither one could wait any longer.

Derek pushed his cock in, and it was amazing. Stiles shredded the sheets fisted between his fingers, and he probably took out a good chunk of the mattress too. Thankfully, the rest of him was too busy to shift; all that power, like electricity, making him ache and all of it focused inside where he and Derek connected. Derek's body boxed him in, keeping him from thrashing like he dearly wanted to.

"Does it hurt?" Derek asked, holding completely still.

"No, no, please," Stiles gasped, trying to suck enough air into his lungs to keep from passing out. They were both so slick, flesh gliding against each other. He wanted so much.

"Stiles," Derek's voice had passed wrecked five minutes ago; it sounded painful, and begged Stiles to answer.

"More, Derek," Stiles said, licking his lips. He forced one hand to relax and reached back to urge Derek to move. "Please, I need more."

Derek didn't need any more coaxing. With both hands on Stiles' hips, he set a punishing pace and Stiles could only barely keep up. He arched back, keeping his arms wide to support him while he rode out their frenzy. His heat had turned off any pain receptors and he felt like he was racing cloud nine. The time the nurse had accidentally given him the wrong prescription and he'd spent the afternoon watching imaginary butterflies land on his hands couldn't even compare.

Stars exploded behind his eyelids, and Stiles grunted when his elbows gave out, crashing chin first into the mattress. Everything happened so fast, so hard, all he could do was hang on for dear life. It almost didn't feel like his body, not when he didn't have any control over the way his limbs clutched and seized or how he came again the second Derek touched his cock.

Derek bent low over Stiles' back, raking his teeth over Stiles' shoulder blade and kissing down his spine. He had Stiles in a bear hug, working his hips to keep fucking into Stiles' body while the rest of him smothered them both. Time didn't really mean much, not when Stiles wasn't sure he hadn't actually spontaneously combusted and was stuck in a heaven or hell where he burned from the inside out.

When Derek came, Stiles roared loud enough to rattle the pane of glass in the window.

The second time was even better.

The third time almost killed him.

 


 

"Stiles, wake up."

Groaning, Stiles flopped over on his belly and covered his head with his arms before he mumbled, "No mas."

Derek palmed Stiles ass, digging his thumbs into the trembling muscles in the small of Stiles' back. He worked the tension out until Stiles was about ready to fall back asleep, then Derek leaned down and bit the soft skin covering Stiles' tailbone. "Sure you don't want to go one more time?" he asked.

"You're going to kill me," Stiles answered, struggling to get his elbows underneath him. Sunlight reflected off the snow, painful when he turned his head and got an eyeful through the window. "How are you even mobile?"

"Practice," Derek said, letting a fraction of his weight rest on Stiles. "I was screwing with you anyway. You might have another cycle tonight, but otherwise you should take it easy. Come take a shower with me."

Stiles twisted and elbowed Derek in the ribs, grinding the bone in until Derek finally got the hint and rolled to the side. He didn't want to lose all contact, so he followed and flopped his arm over Derek's chest. The sheets bunched uncomfortably under his shoulder and hips, and between him and Derek, the smell was starting to stick in his nose. "You want to shower with me?" he asked, just to make sure he hadn't misheard.

"Did I stutter?" Derek asked, a grin spread across his face completely transforming from the Dire Wolf he showed the rest of the world. "Do you want me to say it in Spanish?"

"Yeah, you're hilarious," Stiles smiled back, tipping his head so he could kiss the corner of Derek's grin. "Let's go before I start moldering or something and I'm stuck to your mattress for the rest of my life."

He was simultaneously slimy, sticky, and gritty, but he felt so much better. All the fear and the anticipation he had worried over was gone. The steps his body had taken to prepare him for his heat were fulfilled, and he hadn't realized how much physical stress he'd had to live with over the past month. Suddenly he was free.

Derek pulled him up by both arms and herded him into the bathroom. Stiles could barely recognize himself in the mirror. Sure, Derek had gone a little crazy with the hickeys, but he looked so satisfied. He looked like he'd finally won something, tripped over a log and found a million dollars. A gold ring edged the dark brown of his eyes, making Stiles blink in surprise.

After he started the water to warm, Derek came back to Stiles and stood behind him, watching in the mirror. Steam and moisture filled the room as Derek gently brushed his fingers over every mark he'd left on Stiles' body, scratches on his hip, a bite on his pec next to his nipple, and bruises sucked across his collarbone and up his neck. Stiles almost fit entirely within the contours of Derek's body, narrower and thinner, but nearly as tall.

"Come on," Derek said, a hushed sound barely more than a whisper that Stiles felt it vibrate in his chest, deep and real, "before I bend you over the sink so you can watch while I fuck you again."

Stiles let Derek take the lead, mostly because he was too tired to put up much of a fight, but also because it did feel good to let someone take care of him. Maybe he'd judged the other submissives too hard. He knew his dad had tried, but he was so busy with work and missing his mom, that Stiles couldn't remember a time he hadn't shouldered the majority of responsibilities around the house while trying to get through school in one piece. Letting Derek touch and wash him, angle the shower spray so it wouldn't hit him in the face was a relief.

He'd have to enjoy it while he could until his heat finished. Before, Stiles had never thought about what he would feel like after his first time, but now, the next year until next February stretched long and cold in front of him.

The water sluiced him clean and the warmth loosened his sore muscles. Stiles leaned into Derek's chest, rolling his hips into Derek's thigh while Derek gently fingered him. He wasn't as slick as before, but Derek's big fingers slipped in and worked him up easily. Winding his arms around Derek's neck, he grunted as Derek pulled their dicks together and jerked them both. Stiles went up on his toes as he came into Derek's fist, biting Derek's neck.

They stayed in the shower until the water ran cold. Even that felt good, waking Stiles up and giving him energy to get him going. When his stomach started growling, Derek reluctantly let him out to dry off. The towel roughed his sensitive skin, and he realized he'd have to go to the other bedroom to find some clothes to wear. He caught Derek watching him with a gleam in his eye, and hurried through the hallway before Derek caught him again. Heat or not, there had to be some serious medical issues with coming so hard so often that his brains almost turned to mush.

Lunch turned out to be a pizza barely cooked through. Stiles couldn't stop flicking the light switch in the oven off and on to see if it was done yet, and Derek eventually shoved him out of the way and cut the still slightly gooey crust for them. Derek made him drink glass after glass of water until he'd swear he sloshed every time he moved.

He flinched when Derek grabbed his wrist and led him to the bedroom. As much as he had actually enjoyed that morning, he'd been looking forward to taking it a little easier like Derek had promised. When they got there, Derek walked to his closet and to Stiles' surprise, picked up a laundry basket.

"You helped make the mess, you can help clean it up," Derek said, dumping the basket in the middle of the room and kicking his dirty clothes towards it. "Strip the bed."

Stiles guessed that was fair, but once he yanked the top couple of layers to the floor, he grimaced. Several large claw marks scored the fitted sheet and bits of mattress stuck out through the holes. He vaguely remembered doing that at some point, but he thought he had shown remarkable restraint in not taking the whole bed completely apart. "Um, Derek?" he said, getting Derek's attention.

"Huh," Derek looked over, saw his ruined bed, and frowned. "Throw the sheet away. I'll flip the mattress over for now, and buy a new one later."

"I'm sorry," Stiles said, feeling awful. He knew a good bed cost money. Maybe he could work out a payment plan or something.

Derek hooked his fingers into the waistband of Stiles jeans and yanked him close. He caught Stiles' chin and held him in place for a filthy, tongue-driven kiss. "Don't be," he said, dragging his thumb across Stiles' cheekbone. "Now get your ass moving."

Unfortunately, the basket obstructed his view of Derek's backside as he once again followed the older wolf through the house to the laundry room. He set the basket down and caught Derek looking worried as he glanced between Stiles and the machines. "You think you can handle this by yourself without making anything explode?" he asked.

Rolling his eyes, Stiles answered, "I'm not a complete moron. How hard can it be?"

Sure, the washer and dryer were a little better quality than the ancient pair he had to wrangle back home. Okay, actually they were a lot better, but it still wasn't like they were space-age technology. There were only so many buttons and knobs that would fit on top, and they were all clearly labeled.

Whatever Derek saw on his face clearly didn't reassure him but he toed on an old pair of sneakers sitting by the door and said, "Right. I'll be in the garage if you need me."

"You're abandoning me with your dirty laundry?" Stiles frowned. Submissive did not actually mean domestic slave regardless of what some dominant wolves thought.

"I still have to clean out the mud you left in my car the other day," Derek answered, snorting as if he could read Stiles' mind. "You want to trade jobs?"

Stiles shook his head. "Nope, you go right ahead," he said, opening the lid on the washer and dumping the laundry in. The last thing he wanted to do was crawl through a car scrubbing the leather with a toothbrush. "I'll be fine."

Derek rubbed his hand over Stiles hair, and left, shutting the door tightly behind him.

Suddenly, it felt like the garage was a hundred miles away. Stiles shook his head and smacked himself; he couldn't get attached to Derek after only a couple of days, especially when he'd probably never see him again. The last counseling session his class had attended warned them all about the strong emotions they'd go through during heat. He hadn't paid much attention at the time, because he and Scott had already decided no matter what they'd go back to best friend status immediately.

Derek was definitely not Scott, but at least Stiles wouldn't have to sit behind him in third hour and pretend he wasn't remembering what it felt like lying underneath him.

He rifled through the cabinets, he found the soap, poured a capful on top of the clothes, and shut the lid. Pushing the buttons on the washing machine at random, Stiles jumped up to sit on the lid. Without Derek close by getting him all hot and bothered, he felt normal. His normal, at least. He was glad he hadn't lost his mind when his heat cycle started. Sure, he kinda liked Derek, having him close, and just talking with him, but it wasn't an all consuming need. He could hang out here while Derek was somewhere else. No problem.

He imagined Derek coming back into the laundry room, standing between Stiles' spread thighs and kissing him again. Stiles would wrap his legs around Derek's waist, holding him close. He'd feel the heat radiating out from Derek's groin and flick open the fly on Derek's jeans. Derek would lick up his neck and suck on his earlobe until Stiles whined, trying to get even closer.

Derek's big hands would be everywhere at once, pulling his legs apart, palming his ass, supporting his back. Stiles wouldn't know what to do first, so he'd catch Derek in a kiss, moaning as the washer underneath him kicked into a spin cycle.

"Cut it out, Stiles!" Derek yelled through at least one door.

Guiltily, Stiles jumped off the washer. He wasn't going to crush on Derek Hale. Not when he knew that after tonight, his scent wouldn't be such a knee-jerk turn on to Derek. At the end of the week, he'd get a pat on the head and a ride home where he'd watch Derek's taillights disappear. What he needed to do was concentrate on his own reactions, if he remembered enough, maybe he could find a better solution to next year's heat. Because there was no way he would go through it all over again with someone who didn't particularly even like him.

The washing machine spun to a slow stop. He'd managed to waste a lot of time without getting any closer to an answer. Stiles opened the dryer and had to move fast to catch the mountain of clothes falling out before they hit the floor. "There's still stuff in here from the last time you did a load," he yelled, irritated when he realized there was lint falling out of an overstuffed trap. "Also, this is a fire hazard."

"Then make yourself useful!" Derek yelled from somewhere further away than before in the garage.

Muttering to himself, Stiles started folding the mix of clothing, towels, and rags. At least Derek didn't seem fussy about throwing everything in together and letting the washing machine gods sort it out. He tried to divide everything into smaller piles, but he came to a couple of midsized towels covered in stains. They smelled a little like grease, so he set them aside and stuffed the wet laundry in the now clean and empty dryer.

"I'm half finished and no exploding yet," Stiles called loudly. He picked up the set aside stack of towels. "I think some of these belong out there with you."

No sooner had he put his hand on the doorknob, then it swung open, almost smashing his nose. Derek surprised him at the door and took the bundle from him, absently setting it on a table to the side.

"When those omegas had you cornered in the forest, why didn't you fight back?" Derek asked, crowding Stiles back into the house. He ran a hand through his hair and shook his head, grinning, "Or run better, I guess."

"I was waiting for my moment," Stiles answered, only slightly confused. He poked Derek in the chest, and tried to hide the fact that the action probably hurt his finger more than Derek's sternum. "But someone had to bust in and show off."

The second Derek grin ticked into something a little more predatory than goofy, Stiles knew he was in trouble. Derek sidled past him and then stood blocking the doorway to the kitchen. "Come on, then," he said, gesturing the universal symbol of 'get some', and taking a step back. "Show me what you've got."

"What?" Stiles asked, wondering what had gotten into Derek. Maybe he breathed in too many fumes while hanging out in his garage.

"Tag me."

It was an undeniable fact that every wolf loved to play tag. Some would deny it; teenagers tried to repress it to act more adult, but nothing was as fun as chasing, catching, and running away again. Scott and Stiles would play for hours, and Scott at least, showed the improved skill on the lacrosse field. Stiles mostly just liked the freedom to be a little silly and running without being afraid of what would happen when he was caught.

He didn't ask if Derek was serious; you didn't throw a bone like that if you didn't expect it to get chewed on. Stiles pounced, but Derek had already crossed the kitchen into the living room. With a deranged shout, he followed, rounding the couch and leaping over a box he'd left out the day before. He grinned happily, and let his instincts tell him when to reach, when to feint, and when to jump. Derek teased him, looking over his shoulder and letting Stiles almost touch him before he always slipped away.

Stiles growled and herded Derek down the hallway to the bedroom, thinking maybe he could corner him in a dead end. Derek waited until Stiles gambled on a diving catch and leapfrogged over his back, running back to the living room. They went around and around until Stiles finally waved and bent over with his hands on his knees.

"You're not quitting yet, are you?" Derek taunted, not out of breath at all.

Stiles rolled his shoulders and his eyes in one smooth move. "You're too fast for me," he complained; half the fun was switching from chaser to chasee.

"Maybe you should try to think outside the box," Derek suggested.

Inspiration hit, and Stiles narrowed his eyes trying not to give it away. He remembered how Derek had taken on the three omegas by never doing the expected and using the stuff around him. Stiles feinted left, but actually jumped up against the wall and pushed off to the left. He hit Derek in the stomach and they both crashed down into the coffee table.

"Um, tag?" Stiles winced, glancing around the room at the overturned furniture and splintered coffee table. "We kinda destroyed your living room."

"At least it finally got some living in it," Derek said, rolling up to pull a chunk of table out from behind his back.

Stiles rearranged his legs until he was more comfortably straddling Derek's stomach. He watched Derek's face relax, the first time he looked content instead of scowling or acting like a maniac. The atmosphere shifted, and his hands reached out, but he remembered to pause first, "Can I-"

"Yes," Derek interrupted.

"What if I were going to ask for a million dollars?" Stiles asked, lifting his eyebrows at Derek's easy acceptance.

"I would give you a million dollars," Derek answered simply.

"Weirdo," Stiles said, shaking his head. He traced his thumbs up Derek's neck and across his chin. He traced all the dips and planes of Derek's face, and combed his hair away from his forehead. Derek stayed mostly still, but moved into Stiles' touch and sucked Stiles thumb into his mouth when it got too close.

Stiles lifted up and walked backwards on his knees until he could pull up the bottom hem of Derek's shirt. "Take this off," he demanded, ignoring the tiny voice in his head that said he was being too pushy and he would get in trouble. He pulled at the offending material until Derek knocked his hands off and yanked it over his head.

Like a kid in a candy store, Stiles didn't know where to start. He grazed Derek's abs and smiled when the muscles jumped at the contact. "Ticklish?" he asked, thinking that was one battle he could win. No one had ever found his one weak spot.

"No. I like it when you touch me," Derek said, capturing Stiles hand and pressing it down harder than his earlier feather light touches. "You can touch me any time you want to."

"What about licking?"

"I encourage licking."

Derek's eyes faded to a sky blue, watching while Stiles leaned down and kissed just above his belly button. He spread his fingers over Derek's ribs and flicked his tongue out, tasting clean skin with just a hint of salt. Leaning up, his nose bumped the muscle of Derek's pec, and he bit it for just a second, worrying the flesh between his teeth. He let go when Derek bucked beneath him, and licked up Derek's collarbone to his neck.

"Fuck, Stiles," Derek said, his voice hoarse. He rubbed his hands up and down Stiles' back and under his shirt, digging his fingernails in. "Say it's okay. Say you want me to fuck you."

"I want it," Stiles said immediately, sliding his legs down so he could stretch out on top of Derek's body. He felt Derek's instant hardness against his belly and knew he was probably leaking already too. It wasn't a heat cycle, but he couldn't resist the idea of Derek wanting him again. "Please."

They kissed until Stiles' lips felt bruised and rubbery. He humped Derek's thigh like a stray dog, and didn't feel a bit of shame about it. Derek rolled them over, his hand on the back of Stiles' neck to make sure he didn't hit any of the sharp bits of former table. Stiles held Derek's face between his hands and kissed as much as he could reach.

Somehow, Derek managed to haul them back to his bedroom, get them naked, and lay Stiles out on his bare mattress. Stiles tried to roll over on his belly, but Derek stopped him with a hand on his hip before he lowered himself between Stiles' thighs. "This time, we'll do it like this," he said.

"O-okay," Stiles stuttered, swallowing the sudden excess of spit in his mouth. Derek reassured him with his eyes and soft touches before he reached into the nightstand drawer and pulled out a tube of lube.

Derek took his time, mapping out Stiles' body and cataloging every reaction, even Stiles' unwilling giggle when Derek grazed the back of his knee. He pushed his fingers inside slowly, twisting and pressing until he found that spot that made the 1812 Overture shoot off the cannons. He only sparked it for a second each time, watching Stiles face, clearly unwilling for Stiles to come even once before Derek wanted. He concentrated on stretching Stiles, adding another finger and moving faster.

A cramp attacked his calf muscle making Stiles wince and hiss in pain. Derek froze instantly, and asked, "What's wrong?"

"Charlie Horse. Keep going," Stiles said, struggling to straighten his leg out so the pain would go away and Derek could go back to what he'd been doing.

Derek rolled his eyes, grabbed Stiles' leg with his slick hand, and massaged with his clean hand. He rested it on his shoulder, and pressed his palm against the thickest part of the muscle until it unknotted. Stiles rotated his foot carefully, but smiled when the pain didn't return. Derek trailed his fingers down Stiles' knee and thigh, and leaned over, quickly kissing the abused muscle.

Then the bastard tickled under Stiles' knee.

Stiles squawked, and nearly bashed Derek in the nose with his other knee. Derek laughed and pushed Stiles legs as far apart as they'd go, until he could see everything and Stiles couldn't hide anything. After he looked his fill, Derek leaned down to suck Stiles into his mouth. Stiles wanted desperately the thrust up into Derek's wet tongue, but Derek wouldn't let him get any leverage. Even the mattress was made out of something slick that made his hands slide under his weight.

Somehow, Derek knew when Stiles got close, and pulled off before he could come. He coated his cock with a cursory layer of lube, and pushed in one slow torturous inch at a time. Stiles really felt it this time, not just the incessant burn of need and now. The stretch hurt, but the second Derek bottomed out, his hips warm and snug against the bottom of Stiles ass, it was worth it.

Derek's face closed down, smoldering and serious, and maybe a little intimidating. His muscles bunched, and Stiles couldn't help feeling a little inadequate about his own less than cave-man like definition. Dad called him lanky, and he was better than average at slipping away from bigger, stronger males. He didn't want to slip away from Derek; he wanted Derek to like him and his body.

Almost as if he could read Stiles' mind, Derek stroked across Stiles' chest and down his belly. Stiles breathed deeply, smelling Derek's arousal real and undeniable. He wrapped his legs around Derek's back and covered Derek's hand with his own. Derek started moving slowly, a gentle but firm rocking of his hips in and out.

"Open your eyes."

He hadn't realized he'd closed them but suddenly Derek was there, leaning low over him as he stretched Stiles' back up for a better angle. He kept his pace slow but constant, winding Stiles up and keeping eye contact. One hand supported Stiles' back and the other planted right by Stiles' head supporting Derek's weight. Stiles felt covered and protected.

"Kiss me," he said, blinking sweat out of his eyes. He couldn't help squeezing Derek's shoulders, and he arched up, begging. Derek felt so big inside him, and his muscles simultaneously protested and accepted every move.

Derek claimed his mouth again, thrusting his tongue in with the same rhythm as his hips. He groaned, and Stiles swore he could feel it vibrate all the way down his body to his cock. He listened to Derek grunting with every rock of his hips and he found a way to flex into the motion, egging Derek into finally increasing his speed.

"Such a pushy little bottom," Derek teased, slapping his hips into Stiles' ass.

"I know what I want," Stiles defended himself, gasping to find enough air to speak. Derek had him nearly bent in half.

"What do you want?" Derek asked, stretching down again to nip Stiles' chin.

"You."

 


 

"Where do you think you're going?" Derek asked, a yawn breaking him up mid-word. He shot his hand out, but just missed catching Stiles' wrist.

Stiles bounced off the bed and backed away, ignoring the painful stretch of his well-used muscles. For about half an hour, he would have sworn that Derek had broken him. He eyed the bed, watchful for any sudden movement. He'd almost fallen asleep in Derek's arm a couple of times, but the mattress irritated his skin, and he really wanted something to cover up with. "I'm going after the sheets and my sweatpants," he said, wrinkling his nose as he felt Derek's come ooze out of his ass. "I'll be right back."

The house was silent and dark, but Stiles easily found his way through the messy living room, to the kitchen and then the laundry room. He pulled his sweatpants on and found the sheet to take back to Derek. Light shone under the door from the garage and managed to distract him. He'd just turn it off and then go back to bed where he could put his cold feet on Derek's shins and make him cry.

His sneeze ricocheted through the garage the second he opened the door. Frowning, Stiles went down the stairs and hissed when he hit the freezing cement floor. It took him a minute looking around; everything seemed to be in place, but the air felt different. The car was the same, tools hanging neatly, boxes stacked, and then he saw them. The two lock boxes he'd avoided earlier had been pulled out and left with the lids open.

Curious, Stiles quickly knelt in front of them and looked inside. Another sneezing fit caught him, but after that, he wiped his eyes trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Two bundles of Coyotebrush lay in the lid, explaining his sneezing. Most wolves were allergic to the stuff, though they could build up their tolerance if they wanted to put up with the irritation. In the chest was an entire stack of candid photographs, most featuring him front and center. Pictures from school, of him walking across the street, of him and Dad doing yard work.

As he thumbed through them, a piece of torn notebook paper fell out covered with writing that he easily matched to Derek's neat scrawl from the grocery list pinned to the refrigerator.

The boy's death will drive the point home.

Easiest access will be to gain the child's trust and lead him away from town. Seems disgustingly needy so it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe I'll offer him candy.

I plan to leave just enough of his remains in the Stilinski mailbox for identification. The rest will never be found.

"I can explain."

Jumping to his feet, Stiles scattered paper everywhere. He glanced down to see the rest of the chest filled with weapons, rope, and tape, making a handy kidnap and kill kit. He picked up the closest thing he could find, a short ball-peen hammer, and backed up around the car, watching Derek closely. "I really don't think you can," he said, hating the tremor in his voice. He flung the hammer at Derek's head, snarling when Derek ducked and let it crash into the door behind him.

"Stiles, please," Derek held up his hands, but otherwise kept completely still. "I was mad with grief when I wrote that. Look at the time stamps."

Stiles grabbed a hacksaw off the wall behind him and flung it like a frisbee. For a second he imagined Derek's head flying off and a fountain of blood that sprayed up like a geyser. In reality, Derek caught the saw by the safe end and dropped it carelessly to the floor.

"That was early September when I took those," Derek continued low and evenly, as if Stiles wasn't out to kill or be killed. "If I wanted you dead, you'd be dead already."

"Is that supposed to reassure me?" Stiles cursed himself for getting into this situation because he was too proud to go claimless through his heat. Now he was stuck with a homicidal maniac and his father wouldn't have anyone who'd annoy him into eating healthier. He grabbed a row of sockets and lobbed them one at a time, smiling when he finally landed one hard in Derek's knee. "Because, surprise! It's not working!"

"Would you stop and listen to me?" Derek growled, his eyes ice-white and tinged with blue. He circled around the hood of the car, forcing Stiles back around the trunk. He blocked a heavy wrench with his forearm and sent it skidding cross the paint of his car.

"Why should I?" Stiles asked, calculating the distance to the door and whether he could open it before Derek ripped his throat open. He groped down and closed his hand over something wooden. "You planned this whole thing! You probably set those omegas on me so you could come swooping in to the rescue. You've been laughing at me since the beginning, and now you're going to kill me to hurt my father for no good reason."

"I thought I had a reason!" Derek roared, the sound animalistic as it bounced off the aluminum car door. He leaped using the roof of the car as a springboard and yanked Stiles back against the car. "And I've never laughed at you. Let me explain!"

"No!" Stiles whipped his arm around and clobbered Derek with the rubber end of a toilet plunger. They stared at each other, blinking in surprise and silence. Derek winced and brushed his hand over the spot while hysterical laughter bubbled up Stiles' gut until tears rolled down his cheeks. He was going to die with a plunger in his hand.

"Stiles, please," Derek dropped his voice to a whisper and he took a page out of Stiles' book. He grabbed Stiles' hand and put it at his neck, unflinching as Stiles immediately popped his claws out and drew blood. "I'm sorry."

Taking a deep breath, Stiles calmed himself and watched the blood run down Derek's neck. He might even be able to take the older werewolf out from this position. He couldn't imagine what was going through Derek's head. "Why?" he asked, feeling drained.

"Because you're strong and smart and funny," Derek answered, breathing steadily without any spikes in his heartbeat. "You're not going to take shit from anyone, and I find that unbelievably sexy. You seemed to like me despite everything everyone says about me, and I want to be better for you. So I can deserve you. Because right now I don't."

"That's actually kind of sweet," Stiles said, retracting his claws while keeping his hand on Derek's throat. It felt powerful, and he understood a little better why dominants liked it, but he felt sick too. "But I meant, why were you planning to kill me?"

"I thought your father had arranged Laura's death to send a message to the Alpha," Derek answered slowly. He pulled each word out like it hurt his throat to speak. "It was right before the council voted not to bring in that Texas pack who would have shifted power back to us."

Stiles remembered that night. He'd badgered his dad into taking him on a ride along since Beacon Hills had been so quiet. When the call came through, there hadn't been enough time to drop him off. Dad had given him strict instructions to sit in the car and wait, and if he'd been any other submissive he would have.

The wreckage didn't even look like a car, caught about six feet high between the trunks of two twisted trees. Liquid poured down from several places, and caught fire before their eyes. There wasn't anything they could do, but thankfully, there had been no signs of life from the metal before the blaze flared up forcing them back. It was only later they found out it was Laura Hale, the voice of reason in the Alpha's family.

She was supposed to chair a council meeting before the vote to accept or deny membership to a pack out of Texas looking for asylum. They had been a little too obvious in their infighting and bullying. Neighboring packs had put aside their own differences to go to war. The first pack had suffered serious casualties. The twenty of them were going to have to relocate no matter what, but they had proved a powerful group. Supposedly, they promised to reform and wanted to move to Beacon Hills for safety.

The Alpha pushed for their inclusion, but no one else had been convinced, not even the Alpha's niece. After the vote, the pack was told to go elsewhere, but without Laura there, the count had been close.

"We didn't have anything to do with that," Stiles said, angry that Derek would believe that his family would ever go so far. "My dad would never want to claim power by hurting other people."

"I know. I know that now," Derek said quickly, shuffling slightly closer when Stiles made no move to hit him again. He was only wearing the black boxer-briefs, and goosebumps lifted the hair all over his arms and legs. "I watched you both, planning my revenge, but all I saw was a man who worked too hard for no thanks and loved his son more than anything. I saw you struggle and never give up even when the loneliness I felt from you choked and tried to swallow me."

Stiles dropped his hand from Derek's throat and ducked under Derek's arm so he could have some breathing room. He dropped the plunger and listened to it roll along the cement. He didn't know what to think, suddenly caught up in the almost ten year struggle between the Alpha and the town. All his memories of Derek needed to be tempered through this new information, and Stiles didn't know if he could stand to give them up.

"Stiles, I swear, when I found you in the woods, I thought it was my lucky day. I wanted to take you home, protect you, show you how amazing it would be with me. I came out here today to get rid of all this stuff so you'd never know the real me," Derek said, visibly holding himself back from grabbing Stiles back to him. He held Stiles' eyes at first, but then dropped his gaze to the floor. "I heard you coming out here, and realized I forgot to hide it. I can't think about anything but you anymore."

"I don't know what to think right now," Stiles said, and breathed deeply, smelling Derek's fear and desperation, but that could be about anything. He hadn't heard any obvious lies, but older wolves often got canny and learned to work around the truth. "How can I possibly trust you?"

"After Laura's accident, I never thought I'd be happy again," Derek said, finally putting out his hand to brush Stiles' side. The touch calmed them both down, even if Stiles still felt twitchy at the contact. "But I'm happy with you here. Now you know the very worst thing I've ever thought, and I don't have to hide. Please, just give me another chance."

Something clicked in Stiles' mind, but he couldn't quite catch it. "Wait," he said, trying to remember what Derek had just said, "What?"

"Give me another chance," Derek whispered, curling around Stiles and dropping his head on Stiles' shoulder. "I'll be better. Don't leave me."

"No, about Laura."

Derek pulled back and quirked his head. The pain from losing his sister scored lines across his face and in his eyes. "She died in a car crash last summer," he said.

"No, I know that," Stiles cut in impatiently. This was important, he could tell, if they could just put it together, "but who told you it was an accident?"

"What are you talking about?" Derek asked, his irritation made Stiles smile before he remembered that he was still mad. "Peter showed me the report when he thought I was still going to rip your throat out. He didn't know I convinced myself that it wasn't your father."

"My dad thinks it's a homicide. I'm sure that Laura's case is still on the active investigation board," Stiles said, chewing on his thumbnail as his mind raced over the new information. "I've seen his files, and I know he'd never show an open case to anyone, let alone the Alpha. That jerk never gave a straight answer about why Laura had been driving on a full moon. Um, no offense, of course."

Derek paced away from him, the muscles on his body tensed for a fight. "You're asking me to believe that my uncle lied to me and covered up evidence in my sister's murder?" Derek asked, this time keeping his voice soft, steady, and cold. Scarier than when he shifted and growled loud enough to wake the dead.

"I'm asking you to believe me the same way you want me to believe you," Stiles answered, caught between his own rising anger, and knowing he walked a fine line right now. Push Derek too much and Stiles could still end up splattered on the floor whether Derek meant to do it or not.

"Goddamn it," Derek muttered, then turned and slammed both his forearms into the worktable, breaking it in half. His ragged breathing filled the garage, but after a couple of seconds, he found his control.

The whole situation was over Stiles' head, and he knew his father would be beyond annoyed that he'd been poking it with a stick. Even after everything, he still wanted Derek. He wanted him as a friend, and he wanted Derek's body pressing against his. He wanted to make Derek forget about every shitty thing that had ever happened to him, because he was too busy kissing and playing tag. It was fragile; Stiles had been hurt and laughed at too many times to shove his heart back into Derek's hands.

"Look," Stiles said, after the silence had lasted past his point to tolerate it. "You need to talk to my dad about this if you want to figure out the truth. I'll tell him what's going on and he'll help you. And I need to talk to someone who hasn't spent the last couple of days in this cabin going crazy."

Derek scrubbed a hand down his face and nodded. "Okay, if you don't go through a cycle before tomorrow afternoon, then you're done for this year and it'll be safe. We'll go back to town and talk to the Sheriff," he said, looking at Stiles through his eyelashes. "Will you sleep with me for the rest of the night?"

Stiles took an automatic step back, shaking his head in denial. "I don't think that's a good idea right now," he said, ignoring every impulse he had that told him to run back into Derek's arms.

"Fine," Derek said, heading into the house before Stiles could get a good look at his face. "I'll see you tomorrow."

Looking around the empty garage and the scratched car, Stiles felt completely deflated. He didn't know if either of them had won or lost. He kicked the plunger. "Well, fuck," he said quietly.

 


 

A noise jolted Stiles out of a restless sleep. He'd turned the heater back on before going to sleep in his original empty bedroom. The quiet hum had given him something to focus on besides how lonely the big bed felt when he knew Derek was right down the hall. He froze, cataloging everything he could hear and stretching his senses out through the house.

There was a car crunching down the driveway, going slowly, but obviously headed to Derek's cabin. Stiles glanced at the radio clock on his nightstand and grimaced. Nothing good ever happened during a visit after three a.m. He rose quickly, dressing for the cold, and opened his door just as the car stopped and turned the ignition off.

Derek brushed by, putting a hand on Stiles' chest and pushing him back, "Stay in your room, Stiles. Don't come out no matter what."

In the complete silence, the both heard the Alpha's voice clearly: "Derek, is that any way to treat a guest? Bring him out so I can finally meet the young man."

Something about the voice, the tone or the physical power behind it, sent Stiles into an immediate freak out. He clutched Derek's arm, forgetting for the moment that he didn't know whose side the older beta would land on. While the Alpha made frequent appearances in town, Stiles had never actually met the man. As often as his dad dealt with the Alpha he made sure Stiles stayed away despite his curiosity.

Stiles opened his mouth to ask a question but shut it again with a click of his teeth when Derek shook his head. Derek didn't say anything either, but he cupped Stiles' cheek in his palm and dropped a quick kiss on Stiles' forehead. Then he grabbed the front of Stiles' hoodie in his fist and pulled him all the way outside.

The lights from the car blinded him at first, but he did make out two silhouettes standing ready for them. Stiles shrank instinctively behind Derek when they stopped, facing the strangers. Tension filled the air, as it usually did when two extremely dominant wolves met in one of their territory. The taller wolf was clearly Peter, the Alpha, but the other was smaller, slimmer, probably a female under the layers of clothing. Derek hit something on the side of the house and floodlights spilled into yard, reflecting the snow and making Stiles squint.

"Derek, my boy, I see you've healed up nicely," Peter said, confidently sliding his hands into the pockets of his long coat. "Such a shame we had to beat that lesson home to you again."

Stiles felt more than heard the growl rumble through Derek's body and he understood. When the Alpha called, Derek had tried to put him off to spend time with Stiles. He'd come back bruised, beaten, and on the edge. If Stiles hadn't helped heal him, he would have been still sore at least. He wanted to be outraged the Alpha would treat any of his wolves like that, especially his own family, but he knew his father's gentleness wasn't the norm among dominants.

"I don't recall inviting you out, Uncle," Derek said, watching the two of them with steady intensity. If it had been anyone but the Alpha invading and threatening a submissive he'd claimed, he would have attacked first and never bothered to ask questions. "But it's always a pleasure to see you. Maybe you could come back next week and help me start the new storage building."

"Sounds great; I'll pencil you in. Unfortunately, we have some business to clear up first," Peter said, staring Stiles down until Stiles finally dropped his eyes like he should have the instant the Alpha stepped on the property. "I need that boy. Give him to me and I'll send him home in style since the Sheriff can't seem to learn his place."

Derek curled his fist back in the material of Stiles' hoodie. He narrowed his eyes and glanced at the edge of the clearing for an instant before staring back at Peter's shoulder, "If you wanted him dead, why didn't you let me do it last year? Why wait?"

"It wasn't an appropriate time. Now it is. There will be no ramifications to the death of a runaway sub in heat. Nothing legal at least," Peter said, smiling as Stiles started to tremble under the threats. He addressed Stiles, "It's nothing personal, of course. I need the leverage to cow some of the more outspoken members of our community."

He was very, very glad he'd managed to avoid the Alpha before and wished the trend had continued. He wished his dad were here with a dozen cars of shotgun-toting deputies. He wished he'd been born dominant so he never had to worry about going through heat or acting like dominants were gods to be worshiped. Mostly, he wished he knew what Derek would do.

"I knew you smelled like bitch the other day," the female grinned, moonlight flashing off her teeth. "I wondered what could possibly make you turn down my offer. Don't you remember how good we used to be?"

"I remember what a psycho bitch you turned into, Kate," Derek said, cocking his head to speak to Peter. "I didn't think you were going to work with the Argents again after they proved so unreliable."

Kate Argent. That made her Allison's aunt, and the woman from the picture he'd found. She was still beautiful, with long flowing hair that curled around her face, and delicate hands. Derek had been in love with her, he realized, that look on Derek's face in the picture, it had been want. Jealousy drove a spike through his belly, and he wondered when they'd first slept together. He could tell she flirted with the line of dominance, a bully to the meek but willing to roll over at the first sign she could use her submission to get what she wanted. He'd seen several of his classmates exhibit the same two-face show.

She would look good on Derek's arm, but she would sink her fangs into him the first chance she got.

Stiles stood up straighter and pulled Derek's hand off his chest. He slipped his hand into Derek's, their fingers tightened and curled around each other automatically. Derek breathed easier, his mouth curling when he glanced down at Stiles. Kate hissed, and Stiles snarled at her, staring her down. Only Peter's chuckle drew his attention back to the Alpha.

"Our family always did like the spunky ones. Though we usually pick ones a bit more, hmm, conventional," Peter said, cracking his neck. He pulled his gloves off his hands and tucked them in an inside pocket of his coat. "Imagine my surprise when we captured the omegas I had dispatched you to convert, and they told me not only had you lied to me but were protecting the Sheriff's son. I had to turn to someone. Even Kate."

"Convert?" Stiles asked, glancing over at Derek. He dropped Derek's hand and put a step between them. Earlier Derek had said he'd just happened to be in the forest when those omegas had caught him. Now he'd been there on the Alpha's orders. Kate's laugh drifted through the air. Stiles ducked his head and took a deep breath. He knew the chances that he'd live to see the sunrise had just dropped to something near zero.

"Stiles-"

"Yes, explain to the boy, Derek," Peter said, walking closer with a flourish of his coat. His boots crunched over the snow. "Tell him how you've intimidated others into doing my will. Tell him what happened to the Weedens when they suddenly had to leave town. Tell him what kind of man you are, and tell him who you belong to."

Derek snarled once, his eyes clearly blue, but he bowed his head to accept the Alpha's authority. Kate snickered, and Stiles took another hurried step back. He stupidly thought about running for a split second until he heard a branch crack behind him. Turning, he watched the big omega from his first blunder step out from the tree line. There wouldn't be any escaping, though he hoped he didn't end up in the mailbox.

"Hand him over, Derek," Peter continued, his voice dripping with persuasive honey when it was obvious that Derek wouldn't answer. "It's time the pitiful excuse for law and order in that town respected real power. Give me the boy; you won't miss this poor excuse for a sub once you come to your senses. Honor me, nephew. A bitch in heat is not more important than family."

"I've always done your dirty work, and I've never asked any questions. If you want me to believe that family is the most important thing, then answer this one," Derek said, grinding his teeth together. "Why is my sister dead?"

The change in the Alpha put shame to the difference of night and day. His lips pulled back and his tongue snaked out once, licking his chops. The skin on his face rippled, as his eyes flashed a warning red, contorting to his monstrous other shape. He didn't look like the other werewolves when he changed. Peter was the nighttime terror that haunted children's closets.

"She is dead because she would not obey," Peter roared, his voice caught somewhere between human and animal. The seams on his clothes ripped as he grew, muscles and bones caught in a meat grinder that would leave him stronger and faster.

Stiles barely had the chance to see Derek leap on Peter before something hit him in the stomach and sent him flying. The snow burned his bare hands, and made his knees and feet slip as he tried to scramble up. It felt like a dream where he knew there was something big and nasty behind him, but the ground turned to quicksand dragging him down. His gasping breaths filled the air and he couldn't think; nothing made sense except the all consuming need to get away. He didn't even know which way he was pointed, which way to the house or the fight was, he just needed to move.

The second that he almost got his balance, Kate materialized in front of him and kicked him in the head with her massive hiking boot. He cradled his head and tried to roll away, but she jumped over him and kicked him again in the stomach. Stiles lost his wind, staring up at her with wide eyes even as he heard the omega join the fight between Derek and Peter. He tried to grab her leg, but she stomped hard on his fingers until he heard the bones crunch and he cried out.

"Not much of a fighter, are you, baby?" Kate asked, dropping down to dig her knee into Stiles' gut. She pursed her lips, studying him. "If only we could give you a couple more years, you might grow up into something worth fucking."

Her eyes were vicious neon yellow with cracks of red running to her pupil. She was mad, utterly and completely wild, but she still had control enough to grow her claws on her first two fingers. "You have such a pretty smile. I guess I can see why Derek wanted to play with you," she said, grinning around a mouthful of pointed teeth. "Let's see if we can make it wider."

Trying to jerk away from her, Stiles only managed in bashing the back of his head against a particularly hard slab of ice. He saw spots on his eyelids and froze gasping, giving her the chance to stick her fingers in his mouth and rake her claws through the skin of his cheek. Blood filled his mouth before he felt any pain. Then it stampeded through his head like a herd of killer buffalo, pricking his eyes and stealing his breath again.

His lungs burned and felt like they'd burst with the need to draw in a clear breath. He looked up at Kate through a haze of red, but she was simply watching him with a satisfied smirk in place. She glanced over her shoulder and the smirk widened. Reaching down, she tilted Stiles head the direction she looked, yanking until he felt like a rubber band just before it broke.

Derek was holding his own, but only barely, and mostly because he kept making the omega blunder into Peter's path. His shirt was in shreds and the snow under foot frothed with a pink slush. They moved too quickly for Stiles to focus, not with the pounding in his own head, as he tried to heal the cut in his cheek. He knew Derek wouldn't be able to go on much longer, and the thought stabbed him quicker and deeper than anything Kate could do.

Kate leaned down until her hair obscured most of the sight. She put her mouth next to Stiles' ear so her lips tickled him when she spoke. "I'll tell you a secret," she said, sounding like she was at a slumber party not a fight to the death. "Unlike Derek, I've always enjoyed the messy part of killing."

She flexed her hand, showing her elongated fingers and the wickedly pointed claws at the ends. Then she pushed them slowly into Stiles' shoulder, straddling his stomach and wiggling as she got off on his pain. Stiles tried to throw her off, but they were evenly matched, and he couldn't concentrate enough to change. He howled his torment and heard Derek's growl grow in response. He had to fight this if he didn't want to distract Derek and get him killed faster. Stiles bit his lip until it bled, struggling to control his reactions.

"I'll tell you another secret," Kate said, licking blood from the oozing wound in his cheek. She kept her mouth close to his in a teasing mockery of a kiss. "I'm the one who set the fire at the Hale house."

Stiles howled again, in rage this time, and slapped Kate hard enough to send her spinning off him. He shifted and felt stronger as his wounds healed faster. Before Kate could get her bearing, he jumped on her back and sent them both spinning toward the other fight. He tried to close his jaws around the back of her neck, and managed to take a chunk out but she elbowed him before he could get a killing angle. She gained enough room to get her feet into his stomach kicking him off.

Someone caught him in midair, and Stiles swung, desperate to connect with something. At the last second, he saw Derek's blue eyes and managed to pull his swing back, landing a glancing blow at Derek's chest. He struggled until Derek let him go and then he turned, crouched at Derek's side to face the others.

The red haired omega lay in pieces off to the side. Someone had yanked his neck completely around until his face matched up to his back. His mouth was still open in a snarl with spit dripping from his teeth. Peter had fared much better, even with parallel gashes marring his chest and arm. Kate had blood streaming down her side from his bite and it looked like he'd torn a fistful of her hair out too.

He glanced down and saw he still had several strands wrapped around his fingers. He wiped them off on his jeans and then sneered at Kate, showing her his healed cheek. "Who's pretty now?" he taunted, only flinching a little when she lunged at him.

Peter caught her with an arm around her throat and flung her behind him. Fur covered his massive shoulder and neck muscles making him seem even bigger. His muzzle chomped furiously and his eyes darted back and forth without settling anywhere for more than a second. The transformation had blown out most of his clothes, but tattered remains of his expensive dress shirt and slacks still clung to him in ribbons.

"You want me to tell him who I belong to?" Derek asked, never taking his eyes away from Peter. "I don't belong to you. Now go, and hope that by the time I catch up with your stench, I'm in a better mood."

Stiles didn't believe it would be that easy for a heartbeat, he'd never heard of a fight like this ending in anything but death. He managed to contain his shock when Peter began taking small steps away. There was a gash in his thigh, and Stiles nearly puked when he realized a muscle had severed and flopped down like so much dead meat. He watched, holding his breath as Kate scrambled after him, and listened until they were too far away to track.

Derek stayed still for several more minutes, and then he too took a deep breath. "'Who's pretty now?'" he repeated, a dopey smile curling the corners of his mouth up as he looked at Stiles. He snorted and his eyes burned dark.

"It seemed appropriate at the time," Stiles argued, grimacing as his wolf left him a bleeding and bruised teenager again. "I'll work on my punning for the next time I get into a hair-pulling match with one of your insane ex-girlfriends."

Immediately, Derek shook his head, "She was never a girlfriend. I was young and stupid, and she used to be better at hiding her mean streak."

"I- Derek, did you hear what she told me?" Stiles asked, his voice small again. He hated her more than he'd ever hated anyone, and he was probably just as afraid of her. She was out there, and he knew she'd show up again, and then she wouldn't be content to simply scratch him up.

"I was busy fighting for our lives, if you hadn't noticed," Derek gruffed, slowly dropping out of his fighting stance. Blood dripped down his fingers from bites on his arm, pooling in the snow. "Don't thank me or anything."

"She said she was the one who started the fire at your house," Stiles blurted out, balling his hands into fists and Derek crumpled forward to his knees in the mess. "Do you think he knew?"

"He knew," Derek said, clenching his eyes shut on the tears that leaked out the corners. "He might even have told her to do it."

Derek slumped and Stiles barely managed to catch him and ease his body the rest of the way to the ground. His breath caught when he heard the gurgle of liquid in Derek's lung and pushed aside the bit of t-shirt on his left side. It had luckily hidden the fact that Derek's entire ribcage had crunched down, bowing in instead of out. If the Alpha had seen that, he would have closed for the kill and Stiles would have been Katechow by then.

He carded his fingers through Derek's messed up hair and felt his heart kick start itself. For better or worse, he'd chosen his side, Derek's side. All this time, he'd thought Derek was some sort of badass grownup lone wolf, but really he'd been just as lonely and lost as Stiles. The Alpha had manipulated him, used him, and abused him nearly all his life. It was a miracle he hadn't turned out as twisted as Kate.

"Stiles, I'm sorry," Derek said, tucking his cheek into Stiles' chest and allowing himself to be vulnerable, something most dominant wolves would rather die than show. "For everything."

"Sorry enough to let me update your movie collection with the collective works of Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, and Kevin Smith?" Stiles asked, distracting them both enough for him to start a healing bond. He didn't have a lot to give, but he'd do what he could.

Derek's nose flared, but he settled down again and nodded.

"Sorry enough to let me borrow your car when my Jeep breaks down and I need to drive to practice?" Stiles continued, sweating as he pushed energy into Derek's bones, mending the shattered breaks.

"Stiles-"

"I'm just saying, you manipulated my feelings, slept with me under false pretenses, and endangered my life," Stiles said, sighing when he felt his energy ebb away. Derek would make it until they could call for help, at least if they didn't freeze to death or something stupid first.

"You can have the goddamn car," Derek growled, reaching out and lacing his fingers through Stiles in a strong grip.

Stiles grinned, cupping his other hand under Derek's chin as he leaned down for a kiss. He nipped Derek's bottom lip, but pulled back when Derek tongued at the cut on his cheek. "Can I sleep on top of you for once?" he teased.

"Don't push it," Derek growled, sitting up with a lot of work and stiffness though he still managed to put Stiles over into a clean bit of snow and climb on top of him. That's about all he had the gas for, as he collapsed the next second. "I think it's time to call your dad."

 


They waited together on the front steps until the flashes of red and blue were visible reflections through the trees and snow. Derek leaned over and turned Stiles head to him with fingers on his jawbone and kissed a line from the outside corner of Stiles eye to the edge of his mouth. He sat there with his nose pressed into Stiles cheek sharing their breath.

"You have to stay with your dad until you turn eighteen, and then you can decide what you want for yourself," Derek said carefully, setting his hand on Stiles' knee. "I hope you'll think about choosing me."

Stiles pretended to think about it. "I don't know," he said, searching the row of cars for his dad's cruiser and smiling when he found it the third one down. "I didn't even get a token out of this."

Derek shifted his weight heavily into Stiles, almost knocking him off the porch. He pulled something out of his pocket and held it out on his palm to Stiles. It was a necklace with a wheat chain strand and two stylized outlines of wolves with their tails linked together.

The metal radiated the warmth from Derek's body when Stiles touched it. He glanced up into Derek's face, but he couldn't read anything in Derek's stoic expression. "It's beautiful," he said, picking up the heavy pendant locked in the chain. "This is too much. I was kidding; I want to be with you. You don't have to give me this."

"I want you to have it, no matter what you decide," Derek said, closing Stiles fingers around the wolves. He watched the cars pull to a stop and sighed when the ambulance appeared. "It's been in my family for generations, and I know they'd want you to have it too."

"Thank you," Stiles started to say something else, but his dad pulled up right next to them and jumped out. He flung himself up and into his dad's chest, holding on tightly. He smelled the aftershave that had been his mother's favorite and he wanted to curl up in his dad's lap. "Dad."

"God, Stiles, I'm so glad you're okay," Dad said, holding Stiles back so he could get a look. He traced the scar on Stiles' cheek and the puncture marks through his hoodie. "I could just kill you for putting me through this."

"Sorry, Dad," Stiles grinned, finally connecting why he liked Derek's grumpy voice so much.

"Sheriff! What do you want us to do with Derek Hale?"

Stiles looked over, watching Derek in a standoff with both the EMS and the deputies, stiffly retreating up the stairs. Immediately, he abandoned his dad, and pushed through the crowd and put his body under Derek's shoulder. "You shouldn't be up," he said, glaring at the encroaching wolves. They shouldn't have gotten anywhere close to Derek in his condition unless he asked them to.

Derek growled low in his chest, and Stiles realized that he might have made everything worse. He didn't know if he'd ever get used to someone, especially as dominant as Derek, caring about what happened to him. Derek would hate Stiles putting himself between Derek and danger.

He'd just have to get used to it.

"Back off, guys," Dad said, shooing everyone away and directing them to perimeter and the omega's body. "Derek. Stiles had some interesting things to tell me over the phone. Are we going to have a problem here?"

He could feel Derek's body losing momentum, and they slowly slid back to the ground. Stiles was thankful when his dad crouched down as well so he wouldn't tower over them. Derek sighed and looked off to the side where the deputies had brought out a body bag to collect the omega before he said, "No problem. I deserve whatever punishment you want me to have."

Stiles hadn't thought of that. If Derek had been the Alpha's enforcer, then he'd be responsible for any of the crimes he took part in. He made a low noise in his throat and leaned in, kissing the bare patch of skin between Derek's ear and his sideburn. Derek turned into it and kissed him on the mouth.

The sound of a throat clearing quickly forced them apart again. Stiles felt a blush cover his cheeks as he caught his dad in an expression somewhere between amused and protective. He realized he still clutched the pendant in his fist, so he unhooked the tails and slipped it over his head, reattaching it over his collarbones. Derek smiled shyly at him, and then they both looked up.

"Given the circumstances and in exchange for your testimony against Peter Hale, I'll consider you dealing with Stiles punishment enough," Dad said, sharing a put-upon look with Derek as Stiles started to plot a suitable revenge against both of them. Then he continued and dropped the bomb, "Especially since you seem to be the new Alpha."

Stiles jerked his head to see for himself. Derek's eyes weren't greenish-brown, or even blue. They were a dark red shaded with black around his iris. After seeing Peter, he thought he'd always be frightened of those burning red eyes, but on Derek it wasn't scary. With Derek, he still felt safe, like he'd finally found his sanctuary.