Derek is always careful about never breaking skin when he bites Stiles, even though it’s only the wolf’s teeth that are capable of delivering the bite. It’s not worth the risk, not yet at least. He’s careful with his claws as well, not wanting to cause undue harm. The few times Derek has been around a still-bleeding or otherwise injured Stiles, the wolf has tried to surge up. So Derek is careful, perhaps to the point of ridiculous, but that’s just how it has to be.
The thing about werewolves is that that they have an amazing metabolism. They burn energy quickly, especially right before and right after the full moon. So alcohol doesn’t have quite the same effect, as Derek knows Scott has discovered. That does not mean, however, that alcohol has no effect. It simply requires far more than the normal human body could ever safely consume. Derek doesn’t explain this, because the last thing he needs it absolutely blitzed beta wolves. He knows their temperaments: Jackson would no doubt become morose and whiny, Scott would get angry and Danny... Well, he doesn’t know Danny all that well, but Derek is fairly confident that if any of his pack—wolf or not—could handle their liquor, it’s Danny.
On a good day, Stiles talks a lot. Sometimes he rambles, but over the years he’s gotten good at staying focused on the conversation at hand. It took Derek some getting used to, and he understands that a large portion of that is due to both the Adderall and his ADD. And where at first Derek had found it annoying, he now finds it soothing.
Stiles in bed is an even bigger talker, something Derek finds great enjoyment in. There’s a general lack of brain-to-mouth filter when Stiles is talking about day-to-day things—and that should say something, that Stiles now considers werewolves to be a part of the daily norm—but when he’s in bed, when Derek’s mouth and hands are all over him, the filter falls away almost completely and every thought revolving around Derek touching Stiles comes tumbling out. Add that to a night of drunken revelry—Stiles’ 21st birthday, making everyone in the pack now of legal drinking age—and Derek has a Stiles completely and utterly without filter.
Which is how Derek finds out about Stiles’ less-than-healthy fixation with his claws. He’s got four fingers stretching Stiles open, so he only tunes into what Stiles is saying when he hears—
“...know you ca—can’t bite me. Cuz then I’d be a werewolf. Or dead. God, that would suck. If you bit me and I died. Lamest non-werewolf-turning ever.”
“But I was thinking, that, like, you’re really careful, you know? About never hurting me. And I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not a werewolf and so, like, you think I can’t handle it or if—but just. I mean, it wouldn’t—I wouldn’t, you know, mind.”
“Mind?” Derek knows this conversation is getting out of hand, that he should maybe put a stop to this. He’s pretty sure he knows where it’s going, but he’s also curious.
“Dude. Dude, Scott marked Allison right after his 18th birthday. She asked me if you’d marked me and I said no but that I was pretty sure that’s because you can’t, you know, bite me, not without making me a werewolf and since you can’t do that, I’m, like, totally mark-less.”
“You want me to mark you.” It isn’t question. Derek can smell the way Stiles’ arousal shoots up at the words, can hear the way his heart starts beating faster and he can feel the way Stiles goes tight around his fingers, nearly coming from the idea alone. “How should I mark you, Stiles? Hmm? With a penknife? The switchblade Allison got you for your birthday? Or—” He swallows, drops his gaze down to where the fingers of his free hand are splayed across Stiles’ taut belly, and watches as they slowly morph. “Or do you want me to mark you with my claws?”
Stiles doesn’t so much agree with words as he does with his body, clenching down hard on the fingers still spreading him open as he arches up. His eyes close and his teeth sink into the meaty flesh of his lip, threatening to break through, and it’s clear—painfully, obviously clear—that yeah, he wants that very much. Then he whines high in his throat and hisses out a yes, like he knows Derek needs to hear the word.
“Anywhere,” Stiles pants, and when he opens his eyes, his pupils are completely blown, the need burning bright in their depths.
Derek fucks Stiles hard and frantic, the wolf right beneath the surface, begging to be released. He takes Stiles on his back first, presses their bodies tight together, separating only enough to get a hand between them, tugging at Stiles’ dick until he cries out, shaking as he comes. Derek is right behind, and he pulls back just enough that his knot doesn’t breach Stiles—because they still haven’t discussed that, even now, three years down the line—and spills into the tight heat of Stiles’ body. He pulls out, one hand wrapped around the base of his dick, and flips Stiles onto his front so he can plunge back in. He feels only mild guilt when Stiles hisses, but it isn’t enough to stop, and Stiles is already moving with him once more.
He has to wait for the knot to ease before he shoves in deep, and he tells himself that soon, very soon, they can talk about this, about all the things tying implies and how badly Derek wants it. Wants to press in deep and stay there, locked together with Stiles the way mates are supposed to do. But that talk will have to wait because right now, Derek and his wolf are too wound up to deal with anything more than this.
The second time he comes, Derek pulls out completely, his hand working hard and fast over his cock until he’s pulsing out his release in stripes over Stiles’ thighs, back and ass. He uses two fingers to gather some up, pushing it into Stiles’ still gaping hole and feels a rush of smug pride at how good his mate looks like this. It’s as he is working his fingers in again that he smells it, the rich, musky scent that tells him Stiles has come again as well and Derek growls out his pleasure.
“Fuck,” he says, staring.
Stiles laughs weakly, twisting to look at Derek over his shoulder. “Yeah, you can say that again. Liked that idea, did you?”
“You have no idea.”
“I really, really think I do.”
Derek wolf-grins, lets his fangs drop and relishes in the way Stiles shivers with anticipation. If things were different, Derek wouldn’t hesitate to give him the bite. To answer the moon’s call, to run side-by-side with his mate, as wolves—but neither Derek or his wolf are willing to risk their mate’s happiness. Derek carefully tucks away the wolf’s teeth.
~ * ~
He has to wait to do it, until he knows Stiles will have enough time to heal properly. They fuck first, because Derek needs to get that out of his system or he will end up hurting Stiles. Afterward, he takes his time wiping Stiles down, takes advantage of Stiles’ ease and comfort to touch the soft patch of skin on his belly, to trace the veins that twist along the inside of his thighs and follow the faded curves of his scars. Derek tastes all these places too, slides his tongue over the hollow between Stiles’ collar bones, along the backs of his knees where the skin is thin and he’s the most ticklish.
It comes down to two places. He could put his mark on the back of Stiles’ neck, where anyone could discover it with little effort, or he could mark his claim on the inside of Stiles’ thigh, where only he and Stiles will see it. Something intimate. He’s jolted from his thoughts by the rough rasp of Stiles’ voice.
“Jesus, Derek. Just—just one for now, ‘kay?”
Derek’s breath catches somewhere low, before it even reaches his throat because that—just knowing Stiles will let him put his mark anywhere, more than once, has Derek dangerously close to going off again, like a hair-trigger teenager. He swallows hard twice, then pulls away, looks up so that he can catch Stiles’ gaze with his own.
“It’s going to hurt,” Derek warns.
Stiles shrugs. “It’s you. I think I can deal with a little pain.” There’s nothing hesitant in his gaze, nothing to make Derek doubt the sincerity of his words.
Derek glances down at his fingers, contemplates the claws that are sliding out and thinks that next time he’ll take Stiles to his parlor after hours, put his mark high on the back of Stiles’ neck with ink, where everyone can see it. The wolf likes the idea as much as Derek. That’s for later, though. Right now, Derek has Stiles spread out on the bed, a dark towel beneath him to keep the sheets stain-free, his body thrumming with anticipation.
Leaning over the side of the bed, Derek grabs the discarded belt he left there, and loops it high on Stiles’ leg, cinches it tight. Gaze locked on the pale skin of Stiles’ thigh, Derek lays a careful hand down, his claws barely touching. He can smell Stiles’ worry, can feel how he tenses, but there is no fear, no distrust. Derek sinks his claws in and Stiles’ pain explodes into the air around them, sharp and bitter in Derek’s nose and on his tongue. The wolf howls silently, wanting to soothe that hurt, and Derek hesitates until Stiles grates out,
“I swear to god, if you stop now I will cut you off. No sex ever again.”
Just like that, all of Derek’s, and the wolf’s, anxiety dissipates. This strength and resolve is what makes Stiles such a good mate. And even though what is coming next will hurt more, even though Stiles’ thigh will continue to burn for several days and he’ll be laid up in bed, Derek knows he can handle it.
His wolf sings as he drags his claws through the fragile skin, rending Stiles’ thigh open.
There’s a moment where nothing happens, where time seems to still as Stiles remains lying there, tense and panting. Then he gasps, and the sound breaks whatever spell has fallen over them. Blood wells up, spills over in thin rivulets that grow thicker with every beat of Stiles’ heat. His fingers clench and twist in the sheets and a low, broken sound falls from his lips. He reeks of pain and even with the belt in place, there’s a lot of blood. Derek lies down carefully, grips just below the torn skin and licks across the deepest slice.
There is probably something fundamentally wrong with how much Derek enjoys the taste of Stiles’ blood hot across his tongue, but he does. He’s licked Stiles’ hurts before, but this is different. This is something Derek has done, that Stiles consented to, and somehow that makes it taste all the richer. Derek can’t help the way his cock swells with each pass of his tongue, can’t help how badly he wants to roll Stiles over and mount him.
He stops before the wounds close all he way so that they’ll scar, and he traces alongside them after he removes the belt. Stiles is still shaking, the scent of his pain still heavy in the air. The hand that reaches down and settles in Derek’s hand is trembling, but after a few more minutes, some of the tension in his body eases. Derek shifts over so that he’s lying against Stiles right side, tucks his face into the curve of Stiles’ throat and licks over his pulse while rutting gracelessly against his uninjured leg.
“‘S'it good for you?” Stiles mumbles.
The wolf is too close to the surface, so Derek answers with a growl that’s half whine, nipping gently at Stiles’ neck. He want to fuck Stiles badly, wants to pull out and come across the marks he just made, and even though he knows it’s too soon, he slides a hand down and brushes a finger over Stiles’ hole.
“Fuck off, dude. I’m still trying to convince my leg it’s not dying,” Stiles bitches.
Stiles shoves his hand away, but he’s not put off enough to push Derek away completely. In the next second, his fingers are curling around Derek’s aching dick, stroking lazily. On the fourth upward pass, he brushes his thumb over the head, smears the slickness gathered there. Derek tightens his grip on Stiles, and continues to roll his hips against Stiles’ hip in tandem until he’s gasping wetly against Stiles’ throat and spilling over Stiles’ hand and leg.
After he cleans them both up and delivers into Stiles' grateful hands a glass of water and some painkillers, Derek curls around Stiles once more. His fingers pet gently over the fresh marks he’s made, pride and something else, something sweeter, more intense filling him. Stiles falls asleep after a few moments, and Derek follows shortly thereafter.
~ * ~
Derek is just glancing at the clock for the fifth time when the bell on the door chimes. The shop is closed, and as Stiles is supposed to be meeting him, he doesn’t bother pausing in his work. A second later, Stiles’ scent reaches his nose and Derek grins, finally straightening up.
“Sorry I’m late,” Stiles says, dropping his backpack on the ground. “Thomas’ essay needed a lot of work, and I lost track of time.”
“I knew where you were. You ready?”
Stiles strips off his shirt and drops down onto the chair in a single fluid movement, and Derek marvels all over again at just how lovely his mate is. Strong, lithe and unafraid. He watches as Stiles drops his head down against the rest and lets his gaze travel the length of his spine. His fingers follow, sliding over the knobs and he makes a note to see that Stiles starts eating more meat. College has had the opposite effect on him, the stress of classes, a sudden adjustment being required in his T levels and being away from both his father and the pack causing him to lose weight he didn’t have to spare.
Dragging his thoughts away from such serious matters, Derek pulls on a pair of non-latex gloves. He reaches for the disposable razor and spray bottle of rubbing alcohol, carefully cleaning the patch of skin he’ll be working on. He’d been surprised when Stiles insisted on having the tattoo so high up, and had explained that when done so close to the bone, the pain would be greater. Stiles had been firm, though, and Derek is glad for it now. The tattoo—Derek’s mark—will be visible to all here, unless Stiles suddenly decides to grow out his hair.
Once certain the area is completely clean, Derek wipes the place the tattoo will go with greensoap and very carefully places the stencil on the back of Stiles’ neck. When he peels it back, the eyes of his wolf stare back at him from the middle two toe pads of the paw print. When he’s done, they will burn red with the power of the alpha, just a touch of pack magic helping to preserve the tattoo indefinitely.
“If you need me to stop,” Derek says, voice low, “tap the armrest. Otherwise, you need to hold still.”
At the first stroke of the needle, Stiles sucks in a sharp breath and under the buzz of the machine, Derek can hear the change in his heart rate. He remains still, though, and by the time Derek has inked in the points of the claws and outlined what he can in black, Stiles has relaxed into the chair once more. Every so often he hums, and it’s so soft, so unobtrusive, that Derek doesn’t think he even realizes he’s doing it.
He breaks to change out the needle and tube, then begins on the eyes. Derek falls into the routine quickly, moving on to fill in patches with a light grey, then finishing with a color just a few shades lighter than black. The whole process takes about an hour and a half, and then Derek is smoothing a final layer of Vaseline over the tattoo and covering it with a light bandage. It will need time to heal, but already the wolf wants to see it, wants to touch and lick and scent the mark they’ve made on their mate.
“How’s it look?” Stiles asks, his voice is thick from disuse.
“It’s good. When it’s healed, I’ll take a picture for you. How does it feel?”
“Aches a bit, but nothing too painful.” He shifts on the chair, his hand dropping to his thigh and the marks that lie hidden beneath his jeans.
Derek cleans up, breaking and disposing of the needles, meticulously getting rid of all the leftover ink before he bleaches all the surfaces. Stiles reaches into his bag and pulls out a plaid button-up, slipping that on instead of his original tee. When everything has been accounted for, Derek leads the way out, setting the alarm and locking up while Stiles hovers just nearby.
The drive to Stiles’ father’s house is short and Stiles fills it with chatter about the kids he’s tutoring, the classes he wants to take next term and his dad’s decision to retire in two more years. He keeps up a steady stream, but his words aren’t rushed and jumbled like they used to be, and Derek responds genuinely. It’s not until they pull up to the curb that he falls silent, one hand reaching up unconsciously to touch just beneath his tattoo.
“Hey, I just—I wanted to say—thank you.”
Derek can feel his eyes go ice blue then red, but he doesn’t force down the wolf. Instead, he lets it add power to his voice, just a hint, as he places his hand over Stiles’, his thumb pressing against the tender skin.
“You’re mine, now,” he replies.
Stiles grins and shakes his head. “Moron, I’ve been yours for a while. This—this just means everyone else knows too. Now come on. I promised my dad he could lecture me once it was done.”
Derek follows him in but pauses just outside the doorway to the kitchen, listening to the sheriff huff about disfigurement and mutilation of the flesh. There’s no heat behind his words, just fondness and when Derek steps into the room, the sheriff meets his eyes.
“You did a good job, son. A bit creepy, but it looks good.”
Derek relaxes, shoots off a message to his pack.
Two and a half hours later everyone is gathered around the Stilinski table, steaks, salad, wine and beer in abundance. At the center of it all is Stiles, cheeks flushed and eyes bright. Derek takes a sip of his beer and thinks, not for the first time, that this is what happiness is: his pack gathered together. Wolves, humans, Hunter and witch. His wolf rumbles in agreement, and they turn themselves over to the conversations. He almost doesn’t notice when his hand comes up to cup the back of Stiles’ neck lightly, only realizes it when he smells the spike in Stiles’ scent, his arousal sharp and insistent.
It feels good.