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The Only Exception

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“Hey baby bro,” Laura croons, way too sweet. Derek’s just getting home from Thanksgiving dinner at Isaac and Allison’s, almost missing her call because he was juggling all the Tupperware containers of leftovers Allison insisted on sending him home with.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, kicking the fridge door shut and shuffling to the couch.

“Before I tell you, I want you to remember how much I love you, and all of the nice things I’ve done for you.” Derek hears the din of laughter and loud voices in the background of the call – his family, cleaning up after dinner and getting ready to play board games until midnight, when the wolves will go out for a moonlight run. He can hear Laura’s twins, Tyler and Dylan, play-growling at each other, his dad’s laughter, his mom and Cora chatting about a book. He feels a small pang of sadness and reminds himself that he didn’t go home for Thanksgiving because he has a dissertation deadline to meet, and besides, he’ll see his family soon when he goes to Beacon Hills for Christmas.

The raucous background noise goes silent after the quiet sound of a door closing, Laura sighing in relief at the silence. “Laura. What’s wrong?” he asks again.

“Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Der.”

“Happy Thanksgiving,” he says, rolling his eyes and turning on the TV. He’s going to get stoned and watch Supernatural until he falls asleep early, so he can get up at the crack of dawn to write, so he can actually meet this chapter deadline. “Now, what nice things am I supposed to remember?”

“Well, all of them, but specifically, remember about six months ago, when I told you mom kept asking me whether or not you were dating anyone?”

Derek groans, reaching for a lighter. His complete lack of relationships over the past eight years – ever since the disaster with Kate – has become an increasingly tense sticking point with his mother, his alpha, who seems genuinely concerned and upset when she tells Derek that it’s not right for a wolf to go unmated for so long. “Yes, I remember,” he says cautiously, not liking where this is going. At all.

“And she started talking about calling up other alphas, looking around for packs with unmated members to set you up with? Even dropped the words ‘arranged mating,’ several times. And, me, being the wonderful big sister that I am, knowing how much you would utterly loathe that, made up a tiny little lie and told her that you were dating someone, and that you seemed pretty serious about him?”

Derek lights a joint and closes his eyes, inhaling deeply. He remembers getting Laura’s text and being utterly confused by it. FYI Mom’s trying to pimp you out to other packs so you have a boyfriend now. You’re welcome.

“Yeah….” He wasn’t happy about the lie Laura had thrust him into, but it seemed to please their mother enough that she stopped talking about matchmaking and arranged matings, so Derek had been begrudgingly thankful.

“And I even ran interference with her when she wanted to call you immediately and ask about him, convinced her that you were still really hesitant about it because everything that happened with Kate?”

“Yes, Laura. Thank you. I’m guessing you’re reminding me of this because it’s not working anymore?”

“Oh no, it’s working. Too well.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, she’s demanding to meet him. Says you need to bring him bring him home for Christmas.”

He pulls hard on the joint and leans back into the couch. “So I’ll just tell her that we broke up. I’ll have imaginary heartbreak for my imaginary boyfriend.”

“I thought of that, actually mentioned that you guys were going through a rough spot, that maybe you wouldn’t want to introduce him to the family quite yet.”

“God, how are you so good at this?”

“Years of experience lying to mom,” Laura explains, and Derek knows she’s smiling. He smiles too. Overwhelming and meddling as she can be, he loves his sister dearly. He knows how much she loves him too, and is grateful for how they’ve always been a united front against their well-intentioned but overbearing alpha-mother. “Anyways, as soon as I mentioned that she started asking dad about other packs and their single members, about how a lot of packs back east and in Europe still do arranged matings regularly and most of them are stronger for it and blah blah blah. Point is, bro, she’s determined to see you mated, like yesterday.”

“It’s not like being a thirty and single is unusual,” he half-yells, exasperated.

“For humans, no, it’s not,” Laura agrees. “But not for werewolves. Mom and dad were mated when they were seventeen. I was twenty-one. Hell, Cora just turned nineteen and she and Erica are about to make it official. You’re a wolf spinster.”

“I’m not a spinster,” he grumbles. “I have sex.”

“Never with the same person more than once.”

“So? I don’t have time for a relationship. There’s this little thing called a PhD that I’m trying to get.”

“Don’t get bitchy with me, dude. I’m trying to help you, remember? And we both know damn well that you’re not interested in seriously dating anyone because you’re scared shitless of getting hurt again, of putting the pack at risk again. And I respect that, and I think mom does too, in her way. I think her pushing you is her way of letting you know that you don’t have to be scared anymore, you don’t have to feel guilty about what happened.” Laura pauses for a moment, sighing, is very quiet when she speaks again. “You don’t have to punish yourself anymore Der, you never did. I know you think it was your fault for bringing her to the house but you always forget that you stopped her too. You saved us. Everyone’s okay. Even you.”

“Dammit, Lo,” he mutters, pulling on the joint, sighing loudly. “So, what do I? How do I avoid getting forced into an arranged mating?”

“Easy,” she says, voice back to normal, full of snark. “Ask Santa for a boyfriend for Christmas.”

~*~

A week and a half later, Derek sits in a crowded coffee shop avoiding grading final exams for the Intro to Latin American Literature class he TAs for by staring morosely at the first chapter of his dissertation. He leaves for Beacon Hills in a week and he still has no idea what he’s going to do about the fake boyfriend Laura made up or his mother’s insistence that he bring him home.

Isaac suggested – only partially joking – that he “put that trust fund to good use” and hire someone. Derek had scoffed at the time, but now, facing increasingly pushy texts from his mother that he’s answering as vaguely as possible, he’s actually considering it. An unpleasant prospect, sure, but if the alternative is admitting to his mom that he’s single – again or still – and an arranged mating? He’ll take the lesser of two evils that lets him stay actually single.

But how to even go about finding someone? A craigslist ad? That seems to be asking for trouble. And how much does one pay for a fake relationship? And he can’t just find someone at the last minute and bring him along either. According to Laura’s lie, Derek and his imaginary boyfriend have been dating for almost eight months. His family’s wolf senses will be able to tell immediately if Derek brings home a stranger. If a fake boyfriend has any chance of working, he’s going to have to spend the next week rolling in the guy to get their scents mixed enough to even stand a chance at making it work.

Derek sighs, frustrated, not yet willing to resign himself to his fate of an arranged relationship even though it’s seeming more and more inevitable.

He forces the whole ordeal out of his mind and stares hard at his laptop, re-reading the same sentence over and over again, trying to stare it into submission, when a familiar scent distracts him, jolts him out of his pitiful attempt to focus.

Through the heavy haze of rich coffee and warm cookies that fills the café he can smell that weed-tinged spice and fresh citrus, cool rain water and the slight hint of another werewolf. Vivid memories flash and fill his senses: the way that scent sweetened with mouth-watering arousal, the solid, steady thrum of a wildly quickened pulse, running his tongue over soft, delicious skin, throaty mewls of pleasure punctuated with muttered curses and pleas not to stop, a firm, tight ass bouncing against his thighs.

Stiles Stilinski.

Derek knows he should look away, doesn’t want to get caught staring, but he can’t seem to help himself, slouching back in his seat to watch him more surreptitiously. He’s drawn in by those big brown eyes, square black glasses that he wasn’t wearing the first time they met, and his pink, cupid’s bow mouth, his narrow hips and broad shoulders. Stiles is wearing a red beanie pushed back enough that Derek can see his dark, unruly hair, much longer now than it was three months ago when he could barely get a grip on it. The scatter of beauty marks on his cheek stand out even more under the flush of pink, probably from the cold he’s still shaking off. Derek removes his headphones so he can listen to Stiles’ voice as he orders his coffee, rich and deep like he remembers.

Derek has a rule about hooking up with other grad students in the department, learned that the hard way the first year of his master’s. But he gladly broke it for Stiles when he invited him home after the department’s fall mixer, once all the free wine was gone, after an evening of aggressive flirting and eye fucking while everyone around them was compulsively name dropping theorists.

Stiles made him for a werewolf right away, he had bragged, cocky and smirking when Derek pushed up him up against the brick wall of his building and scented his neck, soft growl escaping his lips as he mouthed at his warm, delicious skin. By the time they got into Stiles’ apartment, Derek was so turned on his control was starting to slip, eyes glowing, fighting back his fangs. He never lost control like that, ever, but something about Stiles got under his skin, beckoned at him, made him lower his defenses.

He knew it had something to do with the fact that Stiles’ best friend and roommate was a were, and the smell of another wolf on him, saturating his cluttered apartment, called up something possessive and primal in Derek. Stiles had laughed and called him big bad wolf, his already intoxicating scent blossoming even more with sweet lust, spurring him on. Stiles was getting off on Derek letting that part of himself out, making him growl even louder when he bent him over and pounded into him.

Derek broke another one of his rules for Stiles by staying all night. He told himself it didn’t really count since there was very little sleep, just dazed catnaps between rounds of the best sex he's ever had. In the morning, he gathered up his clothes and let himself out after giving Stiles his usual this was fun but it’s not going to happen again speech. Stiles had mumbled a sleepy yeah man that’s cool thanks for the good time, not bothering to get out of bed or fully open his eyes.

There have been others since then, a couple guys he picked up at bars and a woman he met in the produce section at Whole Foods. Fun times were had, sure, but nothing like his night with Stiles.

Stiles is a first-year MFA and Derek is in his fourth year in the comparative literature program and the department’s big enough that he's managed to avoid him all semester, but that hasn’t stopped him from thinking about those long fingers and that talented tongue. More than once he’d come close to asking around for Stiles’ phone number, or maybe finding his office - he even once looked up his office hours - but he always talked himself out of it, even though he would only be looking for another night of insanely hot sex. He only has one night stands because relationships – no matter how casual their intent – are always too complicated. It’s easier to just get off and leave and never have to deal with messy feelings and half-truths and declarations that can’t be trusted.

After Kate’s betrayal and the near-deaths of his family, his pack, Derek has no intention of ever being in a relationship again. Something he’s told his mother several times, but which she stubbornly refuses to believe.

“Derek?” Stiles is standing at his table, long fingers toying on the back of the empty chair in front of him, other hand cupped around a large, steaming coffee mug.

Derek looks up his lean torso, swallowing hard, taking in the loose-fitting khakis that are low on his narrow hips, a tight black t-shirt under a gray and red flannel. “Stiles, hey. How are you?”

“I’m good.” He waves a hand towards the full café and the other customers searching for open seats. “Can I, uh, share your table?”

“Yeah, of course.” Derek moves his books and coffee mug to the side, making room.

Stiles smiles and takes a seat across from him, setting down his coffee and pulling a Macbook out of his messenger bag. “Thanks, man.” He pulls off the beanie and runs a hand through his hair, which is wild and adorable and Derek works very hard not to stare. “I’ve got to finish this paper for Dr. Morrell’s class. Did you ever take a class with her?”

Derek nods. “Yeah, I took her black women writers class my first year. She’s great. Tough, though. But she helped me get my paper on Meridian published.”

“That’s awesome. I’m writing about The White Boy Shuffle and damn, it’s kicking my ass. What are you working on?”

“Dissertation. Or, trying to at least. I’m about to give up and grade, which is when you know it’s bad.”

Stiles laughs, and Derek feels a strange twinge of pleasure and pride at making him smile so beautifully. “You trying to get done soon so you can get out of town for the break?”

Derek sips at his coffee and groans internally at the reminder of his upcoming trip and the bind he’s in. “Heading back to California next week to spend Christmas with my family. You?”

“Nah, I’m staying in town. My dad’s working Christmas, so I’m just going to hang out, relax, try to recover from the semester. There’s a few of us sticking around so we’ll probably do an orphan’s Christmas dinner or something.”

“Sounds nice,” Derek says, and he means it, Laura’s lie and his mother’s pressure making his trip home seem more like a burden than a chance to relax and spend the holiday with his pack.

Stiles shrugs. “I’ll save money not traveling, maybe even get some writing done.”

They fall into silence for awhile, each of them typing away on their laptops, Derek not putting his headphones back on because, well he’s not sure why, but he thinks it might have something to do with the pleasant rhythm of Stiles’ heartbeat, strangely comforting, stealing glances as he works.

He feels Stiles’ gaze on him too from time to time, curious and assessing, his tired eyes always flitting back to his screen when Derek looks up. The third time it happens Derek lets his eyes flash blue for a second and growls low, just to see what Stiles will do. He erupts in laughter, his whole body moving with its melody. “Big bad wolf,” he mutters quietly, as if to himself.

But Derek knows that Stiles knows damn well that he can hear him, and he grins and looks down, starting to formulate an idea.

Stiles is comfortable with werewolves, doesn’t have plans for the break, and is definitely someone Derek wouldn’t mind spending the next week mixing his scent with.

Fuck. Asking a one night stand to pretend to be his boyfriend? That’s a special kind of pathetic.

But so is an arranged mating, he thinks grimly.

He stares at the screen, thinking through his options. The thought crosses his mind that he could just ask Stiles out, see if he actually would like to date him instead of just fuck him again (because no doubt about it, one night only rule be damned, seeing Stiles again, smelling him up close like this again, Derek wants). If he does, then, well, he can bring Stiles to Beacon Hills as his actual boyfriend and they can just fib about the details.

But the very idea of actually dating anyone, even someone as hot and funny and smart as Stiles makes his stomach twist and sour with anxiety. Besides, that would only complicate things further, wouldn’t it? Dating someone for a week and then pretending for ten days to be in love? That’s way too complicated and confusing, no way to start a relationship.

No, it would be easier, simpler, if there were no feelings involved. And no sex either. In fact, Derek should offer to pay him, just like Isaac suggested.

He can’t believe he’s actually considering this. He should forget about it, tell his mom that there was never any boyfriend, and he’ll be adamant about refusing her attempts to set him up with an arranged mate. It might work.

His phone brightens with a text alert from Laura. Hey mom just asked what your boyfriend’s name is so she can make him a stocking. What should I tell her? Derek sighs loudly, rubbing his temples.

“Everything okay there, big guy?” Stiles is looking at him over the brim of his coffee mug, eyes wide in concern.

Derek meets his gaze and sighs again. “Not really,” he admits. It’s a small thing, being honest about it, even just this little bit, but it feels good.

Stiles sets his coffee down. “Anything I can do to help?"

~*~

As a rule, Derek doesn't invite people over. Isaac and Allison, occasionally, his buddy Boyd who’s also a werewolf. Never a hook up though. He hasn’t had sex in his own bed since Kate. In fact, now that he thinks about it, he hasn't had sex in this particular bed at all. He moved and bought all new furniture after she tried to kill his family, got rid of everything she ever touched.

Last night Stiles had thankfully not laughed in his face, but listened sympathetically and then, unbelievably, agreed to Derek’s plan that they fake a long-term relationship. They went out to dinner and talked about how it would all work. When Derek brought up the possibility of paying him – in addition to covering all of his travel expenses, of course – Stiles refused the money. “It’s fine, dude. You don’t need to pay me. I’m happy to help you.”

“Why?” Derek had asked bluntly, honestly curious and only a little suspicious.

Stiles shrugged and smiled. “It’s kinda my thing, helping werewolves in need.”

Derek raised an eyebrow at him and sipped at his beer, noticing the way Stiles’ eyes watch his mouth curl around the bottle. Stiles drank from his own bottle before elaborating.

“My best friend Scott, my roommate – was bitten by a rogue alpha when we were in high school.”

Derek couldn’t stop his eyes from going wide in surprise. An alpha biting a human without their legal, notarized consent is one of the most abhorrent crimes a were can commit, a profound violation of bodily autonomy, the perpetrators swiftly punished, often with execution, by the Lycanthropic Court. Until about a hundred years ago it was a fairly frequent occurrence, but since the Lycanthropic Council finally gained legal recognition and shared political power – something the Hale pack had played a huge part in – it happened less frequently. Derek hadn’t heard of it happening in years.

“That’s terrible. Did he testify at the trial?”

“Never got the chance. Hunters tracked the alpha down. They had been after him for a while, killed him just a couple of days after he bit Scott. Not a lot of LC presence on the Oregon coast, so it was probably the only way he would have been punished.” Stiles shrugged. “It also meant Scott was on his own with the transition, no other wolves around to help him. I did a shitload of research, got him through the first few full moons, helped him learn how to control the shift, find his anchor.”

Derek had looked at Stiles in a new light then. It must have taken extraordinary courage and loyalty – not to mention pure luck – for him to survive helping a newly bitten wolf adapt on their own, as teenagers no less. Derek’s family had fostered a couple of newly bitten wolves when he was a kid, and even with his mother’s powerful alpha guidance and his father’s gentle encouragement, they were dangerous and unpredictable; one had attacked Laura once, clawing her up so badly she might have died if she were human.

“That’s impressive, Stiles,” he had said, hoping he knew how much he meant it.

He shrugged again like it was no big deal. “So yeah, helping you out is a cakewalk in comparison to that. Free trip for the holiday and I get to hang out with a smoking hot werewolf? It’s a win-win for me,” he winked then, laughing into his beer, so melodic and infectious Derek found himself smiling too.

“So is your mother really going to force you into an arranged mating if this doesn’t work,” Stiles had asked then, slurping at his pho. “Because, not that I doubt my abilities – I’ll fake boyfriend the hell out of you, dude – but, you know, I don’t want to be responsible for you ending up mated to someone you don’t want to be with.”

Derek wasn’t sure what to make of that. “Force is a strong word. She would never, you know, use her power to make me do anything I didn’t want to. But, we’re an old pack, traditional in a lot of ways. The fact that I’m not mated yet is pretty rare.” Derek looked down at his soup, embarrassed.

“You’re only thirty, dude – but wait – does that mean you’re 210 in dog years?” Stiles’ grin was way too self-satisfied.

Derek leveled him with the harshest glare he could muster while watching the curve of his devious mouth. “Something like that,” he muttered. “I just need my family to think that I’m in a serious relationship so they leave me alone about it for a while.”

Stiles knows enough about wolves that he wasn’t surprised when Derek told him about how they would need to mix their scents. He had raised his eyebrows when Derek explained that meant they would have to spend the next week together to make it seem as if they had been together longer. “When people spend a long time around each other, their scents become so intertwined that they actually create a new one. We don’t need to be that intense, obviously, but we need to smell like we’ve spent a lot of time together.”

“Immersion then,” Stiles had said, nodding. “Going for depth to make up for our lack of breadth. So, uh, does this mean I should like, stay at your place for the next week before we go?”

Derek had nodded and squeezed his spoon tighter, anxiety rising at the thought of having a stranger, even one as compelling as Stiles, in his space. 

“Tonight?” Stiles asked, voice even.

“Let’s start tomorrow,” Derek had said, voice just as even, he hoped.

~*~

Derek had also told Stiles that he didn’t think it was a good idea for them to have sex again. Stiles had looked like he was about to argue with him, but he stopped himself, probably thinking better of it when he saw the stern look Derek gave him.

It will be easier this way, he knows, will make this whole thing less complicated, but it still doesn't change the fact that Derek’s so fucking attracted to him he can barely think clearly when he’s around.

It’s infuriating.

Derek works hard at not thinking about how badly he wants to kiss him again as he straightens up his place a bit, not much to do to prep for company, naturally neat and fastidious as he is. Stiles said he would come over around four, after finishing and turning in his paper, and Derek can’t focus on his own work as he waits, so he goes for a long run, clearing his mind for a bit.

The unsettling mix of excitement and dread returns as soon as he gets home. Sweating, thinking about Stiles in his space, getting his scent everywhere, he heads to his bedroom and strips naked, crawls on his big bed and leans back against a pile of pillows, laptop at his side. He scrolls through his favorite porn site, the specialty one produced by werewolves for werewolves that has real knotting videos.

Derek’s only watched the knotting videos a few times, mostly out of curiosity. Because of the nature of the knotting bond – something only born wolves are capable of, and instinctively preserved for mated couples – real knotting videos are rare, and deeply intimate in a way that has always made him feel a little uncomfortable when he watched them. There’s fake knotting all over the sites produced by humans, of course, but those have never appealed to him.

He’s not sure why he clicks over to the knotting section now, probably all this time he’s spent lately stressed out about getting mated has him thinking subconsciously about someday giving someone his knot, which he’s only ever experienced a couple times, always by himself, of course.

Most of the videos seem to be werewolf couples, but there are a couple human-werewolf pairs, and Derek clicks on one of these, the human’s dark blonde hair shorn close, the wolf big, an alpha, heavily muscled with a red-tinged beard.

Derek is hard in no time at all, the memory of Stiles’ warm, spicy scent fresh again, reminding him so viscerally of how good he felt underneath him, on top of him, running his long fingers all over his skin, muttering appreciation for his thickly-haired chest, his chiseled abs. Derek's lubed hand moves fast over his leaking dick, and he spills all over his hand and stomach while he watches the wolf eat out his mate. He stays hard, using his come to slick up the fingers he presses against his rim, barely registering the burn that simmers into pleasure when they slide in, other hand still working his cock.

On screen, the wolf is fucking his panting mate from behind now, petting his sides, calling him a good boy. The mate’s bouncing back on his cock, meeting the hard thrusts, eager and compliant when the alpha reaches forward to cup a big hand around his neck, making him expose his throat. Derek groans, shoves his fingers in deeper.

Stiles had done that, bared his throat to Derek’s barely-contained fangs, had moaned when Derek accepted the offer, bit and sucked at his tender skin, pulse beating rapidly under his tongue, worrying a purpling bruise there.

Derek slows his hands, edging off his second orgasm, wanting to make it last. He fingers himself slowly, wondering what Stiles’ fingers might feel like inside of him, how deep they’d be able to go. With his other hand he squeezes his balls, strokes slowly up his shaft and teases his foreskin, milking more sticky precome from his slit.

You always get this wet, Stiles had asked, licking his lips.

The alpha’s eyes glow red when he comes, stilling his hips with a hard thrust, growling, his mate begging for his knot. The camera zooms in close to where the wolf’s buried deep, filling him up, the bottom crying out, muttering about hot come. The alpha spreads his ass and pulls back slowly, slightly, showing the camera the thick, rounded base of his engorged knot, stretching his mate's hole wide, making him come untouched.

Derek thrusts up into his hand, breath coming in heated bursts, skin growing hotter, stomach and legs flexing and twitching, groaning loudly when he feels the swelling start at the base of his cock. Overcome with the building waves of coiling pleasure, he gives into it, gasping, pulling his hand from his clenching hole to fist around the heavy bulge, squeezing as it thickens and hardens.

He always comes more when he knots, sprays heavy ropes, splattering across his stomach and chest, streaking across his beard. He lies back, hands still cupping his hard knot, sensitive and pulsing, throbbing, more sticky dribbles of come spurting from his flushed head. He watches the video to the end, the alpha making his mate come again, and then several minutes of long, lingering touches and soft smiles as they lie tied to together, talking and laughing as the camera focuses in close on their hands, their mouths, their beseeching eyes sparkling with love. After awhile it cuts to a shot of the wolf pulling his still slightly swollen knot out, a quick rush of come gushing from his mate’s pink, puffy hole.

Derek groans, cock twitching, and closes his laptop, falling asleep almost immediately, still covered in come and thinking about long fingers and brown eyes and pink lips, a knowing smile and a bared neck.

~*~

He wakes with a jolt at the loud knock, heart pounding. It’s been a long time since anyone has snuck up on him.

Disorientated and groggy, he takes in his laptop, half covered by rumpled sheets, his naked body, skin itchy with dried come, blinking hard, remembering knotting his hands and coming so hard he apparently fell into a post-orgasm coma.

There’s another knock, louder this time, and Derek finally scrambles out of bed, cursing, faint traces of Stiles’ scent just starting to reach him. “Just a second,” he yells, wincing, throwing on his sweaty running clothes, darting to the bathroom to splash water on his face to clean off the flaked come, drying his beard with his shirt as he rushes to the door.

“Everything okay?” Stiles asks when Derek yanks it open.

“Yeah, fine. Come in.” He stands back and gestures vaguely, thankful Stiles can’t hear his pounding heart. He’s carrying a big black duffel bag and his messenger bag, and a canvas grocery bag overflowing with food. Grateful for something to do with his hands, Derek grabs the food from him and carries it to the kitchen, tells Stiles to put his stuff in the living room for now.

“You seem tense,” Stiles calls, walking over to the large wall of windows overlooking the lake. “Having second thoughts?”

Derek leaves Stiles’ food – mostly pop-tarts, chips, and ramen, it seems – on the kitchen counter and joins him in the living room. “No. Are you?”

“No, I’m happy to help if this is what you want.”

“It’s the easiest option,” he says, again, struggling to remember why exactly that is at the moment, distracted by the way the early evening light makes Stiles’ eyes glow like sunlit honey.

“Okay, then. What’s the plan for tonight, big guy? I’m officially done for the semester so I am all yours, Wolfman.”

“Wolfman? Really?”

“I’m trying out nicknames. I figure we’d have nicknames, right?” Stiles is wandering around his big living room, eyes scanning quickly over the wall of bookshelves, picking up the framed photo of Laura and the twins and studying it for a minute before putting back on the shelf. “I guess you can have veto power,” he muses, running long fingers over the edge of the long table that serves as Derek’s desk, flipping open a book and reading at random. It’s strange; now that he’s here, the anxiety Derek had been feeling about having someone new over is all but gone, replaced by a new, quiet excitement at watching him, curious eyes and hands roaming all over. Stiles looks good in his space.

“Veto,” Derek smiles despite himself.

“Well don’t go and do that,” Stiles admonishes. “Smiling will ruin my other nickname idea.”

“Which is?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Derek rolls his eyes and turns away from Stiles’ playful flirting, leaning over to pick up the duffel bag. “I’ll show you where you can put your things.”

Stiles follows him down the hall to his room, walking close, scent clouding the dark hallway. Derek sets Stiles’ bag on the bed, stealing a quick glance and opening up the dresser drawer he cleared out for him, the closet too, to show him the empty hangers.

Stiles’ eyebrows are practically in his hair, ridiculous mouth hanging open. “Dude, seriously?”

“What,” Derek asks, confused, sounding defensive. “I know you’re only here for a week but don't you want to put your clothes away?”

“Since I rarely do that at home, I wasn’t expecting to here, but uh, yeah sure, okay.” Stiles opens his bag, rumpled, unfolded clothes spilling out. “I’m more of a piles of clothes on the floor type of guy.” He starts pulling clothes out of the bag, and Derek’s nostrils flare and the pungent scent, mouth watering.

“Haven’t done laundry in awhile,” Stiles mutters, cheeks pinking.

“It’ll help with the scent mixing,” Derek replies, fighting the urge to roll around in Stiles’ dirty clothes. “Laundry room’s next to the kitchen, though, if you want to use it.” He realizes then that he’s picked up one of Stiles’ shirts, a particularly fragrant one, sweat-sour scent calling him like a moth to a flame. He drops the shirt before he can bring it to his face and howl with pleasure, feeling heat rising to his cheeks, Stiles watching him, glittering eyes curious as ever. “I just got back from a run,” Derek mutters. “I’m going to take a shower. Make yourself comfortable.” He turns on his heel and escapes to the bathroom, not giving Stiles a chance to reply.

~*~

After he cleans up and pulls on sweats and a loose t-shirt, Derek finds Stiles sitting cross-legged on the couch, typing rapidly at his laptop. He grabs a couple of beers from the fridge and his bong from on top of the fridge and joins him, sitting at the opposite end. They’ll have to get closer, a lot closer, for this to work, but he thinks it’s best to ease into it.

“I thought you were done for the semester,” he says, loading a bowl, nodding towards the laptop.

“I am. I’m writing our love story.” He wiggles his eyebrows, and the typing stops a second after he finishes speaking and Stiles reaches over, grinning, taking the glass and lighter from him while Derek stares at him in confusion. Again.

Stiles takes a hit, clearing the bong expertly, and passes it back to Derek before further explaining. “You know, the story for your family. How we met, who asked out whom, all that junk. Lydia, Scott, and I stayed up late last night brainstorming all the relationship-y things your family might ask. I hope you like having your picture taken, because we are going to be taking so many adorable selfies this week. Anyways, I thought I’d write it down so we won’t forget.”

Derek takes a deep hit and passes back to Stiles, eyebrows still raised, looking him over. “You’re nervous.”

“Well, yeah, a little dude. Lying to a badass alpha werewolf and her whole werewolf family.”

“They’re not all wolves. My aunt Teresa and her kids are human. And you don’t need to be nervous. It’ll work.” Derek sounds a lot more sure than he is, but he’s not going to let Stiles know that.

“If you say so, dude. It’s your ass on the line after all.”

“The scent’s what really matters,” he reminds him.

Stiles runs a hand across the back of his neck and moves his laptop to the coffee table, moving closer. “About that. I was talking to Scott, and Jackson too, Lydia’s boyfriend. They said they can always tell when two people are having sex. Especially monogamous couples.”

Derek’s eyes narrow as he takes a hit, relaxing finally as the pot starts to kick in, Stiles’ spicy citrus scent still beckoning at him through the thick cloud of hazy smoke. “Did they?” He hands the piece back, shiver running through him when Stiles lets his fingers brush over his as he takes it.

“Scott said he could smell you on me for a week after our night together,” Stiles croaks out, exhaling a thick plume.

Derek wants to preen at that, but he reins in the urge, keeps his gaze steady on him. “You think we should have sex,” he says evenly, impressed at his control when nearly everything inside of him is screaming to claim Stiles again.

But he doesn’t, even though he knows Stiles is right. Sex is part of a couple’s combined scent, more for some than others, of course, just another facet of the strange chemistry that makes a pair into something more than two individuals. Derek was hoping he would be able to rely on his family either not noticing the absence of it from their scent or would at least have enough respect for their privacy not to ask.

“Don’t you think your family of keenly-nosed werewolves will find it weird if we don’t smell like we have sex on the reg?”

Stiles’ eyes are a little bloodshot now but still glittering, pupils big and fathomless, and Derek wants to keep staring into them, wants to keep listening to him to say ridiculous things like that. “I think that would complicate things,” he mumbles lamely, not at all convincing, he knows.

“You’re overthinking it,” Stiles scoots closer. “Look, I don’t want to make you do anything you don’t want to, Derek. I’m just saying that I am one hundred and ten percent down with having sex with you again. If that’s something you want. I’m into it no matter what, but if we can have some fun – and you know goddamn well how fun it will be – and it helps our story, then where’s the downside, Wolfman? But only if you want to.”

Stiles’ smile is intoxicating, and Derek feels himself moving closer to him without consciously willing it, his body drawn to Stiles like he’s a new gravity, just for him. All of his reasons for not fucking Stiles again seem utterly irrelevant now, minor concerns that fade more and more with each nervous lick Stiles gives his bottom lip, his sweet arousal starting to thicken the air between them. “I want,” Derek whispers, leaning in to nuzzle at his neck.

Stiles moves quickly and in a flash of weed-tinged flannel he’s straddling Derek’s lap, grinding against him and cupping his big hands around his neck, thumbs sweeping through his beard. “Good,” he whispers back, smiling, kissing him, mouth soft and tongue greedy, even better than Derek remembers.

~*~

They’re both naked by the time Derek tosses Stiles onto his bed, the smell of his come from earlier still thick in the air, mingling with Stiles’ growing arousal. Derek licks up his bicep, tongue following the graceful gray lines of the fox tattoo there, along the tail flowing into a plume of smoke that drifts over his strong, square shoulder and down his chest. Derek rubs his beard into his pale skin, grunting in appreciation at how it reddens, smiling at the little yelps of pleasure Stiles lets out.

“Goddamn, your beard,” Stiles mutters, a little breathless, back arching. “I need to feel it all over me.”

Derek pulls a pink nipple between his lips and flicks his tongue across the tip, feeling it harden and tighten, sucking gently. “Demanding.” He nuzzles over to Stiles’ sternum, happy to oblige his request, working his way down the taut, sweet skin of his flat abs, licking wetly across the dark hair under his navel, rubbing his cheeks and his chin in into skin, grunting in delight as it rises in response, blossoming.

Stiles twists his fingers Derek’s hair as he moves further down his gorgeous body, scenting and kissing, nibbling on the sharp points of his hipbones, mouthing hot and wet at the soft spray of coarse hair at the base of his flushed, full cock. Derek rubs his cheek over the tip, both of them groaning as a thick string of fragrant precome wets his beard. He raises his head up and catches Stiles’ eyes, blown nearly black, running a finger through his beard, gathering up Stiles’ slick and bringing it to his lips, licking hungrily, cock throbbing when the sweet flavor explodes across his tongue. Stiles tosses his head back, muttering curses. “Derek, please,” he whines, thrusting up, rubbing the wet head of his cock along his lips. “Want your mouth.”

Derek lets his eyes flash blue and growls, seizes Stiles by the hips and rolls him over to his stomach, eliciting a high yip of surprise and the ratcheting up of his already pounding heartbeat. Stiles recovers quickly, spreads his legs and settles on his knees, rocks his hips in invitation, presenting, instinctual. “Fuck, Stiles.” Derek doesn’t like the way his voice shakes, the way his hands tremble ever so slightly as he reaches for him, palming the gentle swells of his ass, thumbing over a small beauty mark high on one cheek, leaning over to kiss and suck at the spot, eyes rolling back at the taste of his skin here, at the delicious sounds Stiles is making. When he pulls away his skin is wet with his spit and blooming red, and Derek grunts in pride, spreading him wide to peer adoringly at his twitching pink hole.

His cock starts to leak, aching, seeking the tight heat spread out before him, every inch of his body feeling alive and hot, skin too tight, low growls rumbling deep in his chest, mouth watering. Stiles is muttering curses and Derek doesn’t have the patience to tease anymore, so he falls forward and licks, over and over, lapping at him, savoring his taste, roughing up his tender skin with his beard, just like Stiles likes.

Stiles makes the prettiest noise when Derek breeches his rim with the tip of his tongue, a choked off, gasping groan that’s somehow both surprised and insistent, sweet and sinful. Derek doesn’t relent, pushes in harder, works his tongue hard and fast, devouring him. Stiles has fallen headfirst into the pillows, muffled moans loud, Derek drinking them in along with the heady taste of him, Stiles rocking his hips too, fucking himself on Derek’s mouth.

Derek barely has the self-control to pull back before they both come, searching in the tangle of sheets for the lube, making quick work of slicking him up and stretching him open, litany of curses punctuated by mewling cries and pleas to be fucked spilling from Stiles’ mouth. He feels undone by it, by him, by the way Stiles is both so cocky and bossy but oddly vulnerable and tender in his way, a way that Derek understands too well, strikes deep at him, making his chest ache with how good and right it feels to have him under his hands, in his bed, drowning in his greedy, tortured little noises.

Derek pushes in slowly, holding him tight by the hips to keep him from shoving back hard like he wants. He bites back a snarl, fang sliding into his bottom lip, tasting blood, when he’s buried to the root, breaking into a shuddering gasp. He’s buzzing with heat, giving in completely to how perfect Stiles feels, lets his body take what it wants again, has wanted since he said goodbye that first morning months ago.

He lifts Stiles upward by the hips and rises higher above him so he can thrust down with more force, rolling his hips in hard, sinuous waves that have Stiles panting in no time, still mumbling encouragement. “Oh fuck Derek..god you feel so good...you're so deep, never been fucked this deep…harder...fuck.” Derek grunts in response, ruts faster, tries to get even deeper, hands bruising into his hips. “Derek.” It’s a plaintive, needy whine, the way Stiles say his name, and Derek is overcome with the urge to kiss him, to wrap his arms around him.

Stiles objects when he pulls out, but still goes pliant and smiles as he lets Derek roll him onto to his back. He spreads his legs and slides in easy, tight heat taking his breath away again. He falls against him, kisses him messily as he sets a hard, fast rhythm, smiling into his mouth when he feels Stiles’ cock, tip wet, dragging between against his abs.

Stiles’ eyes are watering and his mouth is red and raw and he’s the most beautiful thing Derek’s ever seen, exquisite, almost unbearably pretty as he shakes and quivers, a loud, aching moan against Derek’s cheek, splattering come between them, musky scent making Derek growl in delight, Stiles' ass clenching tight around his cock. It wrenches the orgasm out of Derek, blunt teeth biting into Stiles’ neck, hips spasming hard, emptying himself inside of him, entire body aflame and pulsing with sizzling waves.

He goes limp and he falls heavily on to him, breathing hard, sighing in contentment at the hot, sticky feel of Stiles' come between their sweaty torsos, his long fingers drifting softly down Derek's spine and over the swell of his ass. When Stiles starts to fidget, probably from the exhausted, dead weight of Derek on him, hot and panting, mouthing at his neck, he finally rolls off of him, slipping out with a warm gush.

Stiles closes his eyes and sighs, smiling, mumbling sleepily, adorably really, despite the delicious filth coming from his kiss-reddened mouth. “I like that feeling, being so full of your come I’m overflowing with it.” Derek groans and bites at his shoulder, can never get enough of Stiles’ incessant chatter, it seems. “You blow the biggest loads I’ve ever seen. It’s fucking extraordinary. Next time I want you to come in my mouth. I wanna see how much I can take.”

“Fuck, Stiles,” he gasps, blushing but preening. Stiles’ still-fast heartbeat echoing, Derek reaches between his legs to gather a puddle of his dripping come from his sensitive, puffy hole, bringing his fingers up to rub the mess into Stiles’ chest, fingers tangling in the dark tuft of hair between his pecs. “For the scent,” he explains, suddenly feeling shy.

Stiles smiles and turns towards him, notching closer, pressing up against him with his face buried against his chest, kissing softly, relaxing and settling. “For the scent,” he murmurs, lifting Derek’s arm by the wrist and pulling it across the shallow curve of his waist, pressing Derek's hand into the small of his back.

Derek is overcome with a swell of affection for him, heart racing so fast he’s sure Stiles hears it, pressed so close like he his, perfectly comfortable, it seems, to fall asleep naked and snuggled up with a werewolf. It’s terrifying, the powerful rush of feelings, but exhilarating too, something like hope maybe.

His reasons for not wanting a real relationship seem distant and vague now, as do his reasons for not just asking Stiles to date him for real. Whatever he’s feeling for Stiles, new and strange as it is, he knows it’s real, and he wants more of it, wants to see where it might take them.

He imagines pulling Stiles gently up the bed so he’s face to face with him, kissing him and looking into his big brown eyes, holding that perfect face in his hands and telling him that he wants it to be real, wants them to be real. He’s not sure, but he thinks Stiles would say yes, if his not-so-subtle flirting is anything to go by, not to mention the fact that he’s the one that initiated sex again.

Derek’s gathering the courage to ask him when Stiles speaks again, voice thick with sleep. “All of the benefits with none of the bullshit. I think you’re on to something with this whole fake boyfriend thing, Sourwolf.”

Derek barely registers the new nickname, distracted by the sudden feeling that all of the air has been sucked out of the room, like he’s been jarred awake from a too-pleasant dream, disappointed to remember his real life. “Right,” he says, voice sounding distant and hollow. “Fake,” he mutters softly, quietly, but it doesn’t really matter, because Stiles is already asleep, still curled against his chest.