Derek had started reading the column by accident. Well, inasmuch as you can read something by accident. He was waiting for a dentist appointment and they were running behind schedule, to the point where Derek had read through the entire paper twice – barring a certain section, that is.
Really, reading strangers’ questions about knotting and heat had never really appealed to him. However, at that point in time, he was a little desperate.
And he was right: most of the questions submitted by anonymous readers didn’t appeal to him. The answers, though, did.
“Oh my god, you need to get laid,” Laura groans, peering over his shoulder and nearly making Derek jump out of his skin with surprise.
“I thought the whole point of the column was to give advice to people who were getting laid,” Cora snorts from across the table.
Not for the first time, Derek regrets sharing an apartment with his sisters. It had seemed logical at the time, after Boyd and Erica had moved out into a place of their own, but more often than not Derek finds himself wondering how much happier he would have been if he’d just put an ad in the newspaper or something.
“I read the paper. It’s part of the paper,” Derek protests, his cheeks growing hot.
“Yeah, but you save it for last,” Cora points out as she spreads peanut butter on a toasted bagel. “Like how you eat the chocolate and vanilla parts of Neapolitan ice cream and then the strawberry, and how you do an intense workout and then watch an episode of Parks and Rec.”
“Yeah,” Laura says around a mouthful of toast. “You save the best parts for last.”
“It’s funny,” Derek tries, trying to bore holes in the newspaper with the intensity of his glare. “The columnist is a good writer.”
“Sure,” Laura and Cora say in tandem, eerily coordinated.
Derek huffs and hides behind his paper.
I know that something at work has been bothering my alpha lately, but she refuses to talk to me about it. She always leaves whenever I try to bring it up. However, my heat is next week, and I know that when we’re knotted together, she’s much more open to talking about sensitive subjects. Is it wrong of me to take advantage of this?
I happen to be the king of horrible ideas, so believe me when I say that your idea is horrible. My mom used to say that there are three things you should never bring up at Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws: politics, religion, and personal grievances. The same goes for knotting. Sure, I understand the temptation, but it certainly won’t do anything for the trust and communication issues in your relationship if your alpha feels trapped or cornered by you.
How I’d suggest going about this is just by gently confronting them about it in a more casual context. Cook your alpha dinner or something and start by addressing how you feel about the situation. Stress that you’re worried and want to help. It’s less likely to put them on the defensive and should give them a good opportunity to explain things for themself. Hopefully that works for you!
Derek’s in the basement of the apartment building doing laundry when the subject comes up again.
“I’ve figured it out,” Laura announces, popping up behind him and making him nearly tear in half the shirt he’s attempting to fold.
“Don’t do that,” Derek grits out, his heart pounding in his chest. From across the room, they guy who lives across the hall from them and also tends to do laundry around the same time gives them a strange look. “And what do you mean, you’ve ‘figured it out’?”
“Why you’re suddenly so obsessed with an advice column on knotting,” Laura says, smirking.
“I’ve told you, I just – ” Derek starts, but Laura cuts him off.
“You have the hots for our cute neighbor!” she crows, and Derek once again finds himself nearly ripping a shirt in half. He flushes bright red, quickly glancing over at said neighbor, who thankfully is consumed in setting his washing machine on the right cycle.
“I do not,” he hisses keeping his voice low.
“You totally do,” Laura insists. “Not that I can blame you. If Braeden wasn’t my one true boo then I’d be willing to blow off some steam with him.”
“Does Braeden know you call her that?” Derek shoots back, resuming his laundry folding, although perhaps a little more… aggressively than before.
“We’re not talking about my love life right now,” Laura replies, hopping up onto one of the unused driers and perching there, craning her neck to look somewhere behind Derek. Derek follows her gaze and immediately regrets it, his cheeks pinking up at the sight of their neighbor bent over and rummaging through one of the washing machines, his ass nicely on display.
“His name is Stiles and I’m not interested,” Derek grumbles, tearing his eyes away.
“You know his name?” Laura asks, blinking at him in surprise.
“We’ve been living across the hall from him for nearly a year now,” Derek says, a little defensive. “How do you not know his name?”
“And you still haven’t tapped that?” Laura counters, quirking an eyebrow at him.
“It’s not like that,” Derek huffs.
“Keep telling yourself that,” Laura snorts, jumping back down off the drier.
Derek glares after her as she leaves.
I’m helping an omega friend through their heat, but I’ve never been with anyone during heat before. What are we supposed to do when we’re knotted together? All of the suggestions I’ve seen so far are for romantic couples, like reading poetry and watching romantic movies, but we’re just friends and I don’t want to make things weird. Do you have any suggestions?
Out of Ideas
Dear Out of Ideas,
First off, the vast majority of what’s printed about knotting in magazines is bullshit. Read poetry? Who even does that? Whether you’re in a relationship with your heat partner or not, the best route is always to just find out what they like. You don’t like romantic movies? Watch Star Wars. Don’t want to read poetry? Take a nap. (Trust me, you’ll need it.) Listen to music, play chess, whatever. Just do what the two of you normally do. Trust me, it won’t be weird.
Derek does his best to ignore Laura’s meddling, but that’s easier said than done. It’s not like he hadn’t realized that Stiles is attractive, but now he has both Stiles and knotting on his mind. Such a combination can only lead to disaster.
Of course, it’s not until the subsequent week, when he goes down to the basement to do his laundry, that he realizes this.
When he opens the door to the laundry room, it feels like he nearly gets knocked over with the force of the music blasting from the laptop laid out on the small table near the front of the room. Nicki Minaj’s voice only distracts him for a second, though.
Because dancing around in the middle of the otherwise empty laundry room is Stiles.
Derek can’t help but wonder what Stiles would look like jumping around his apartment instead.
Stiles’ back is towards him and Derek finds himself frozen, staring as Stiles waves his arms around like overcooked noodles. It’s completely at odds with the lewd little hip-swirl he does, and Derek has no idea if the whole combination is more endearing or arousing.
He settles on both, which is quite possibly more dangerous than either one separately.
“My anaconda don’t – ” Stiles crows as he spins around, but he freezes as soon as he catches sight of Derek.
“Don’t stop on my account,” Derek replies dryly as he hauls his laundry basket over to the nearest washer. The music continues to blare in the background as Stiles’ face flushes bright red.
“I’m so sorry you had to see that,” Stiles squeaks, hurrying over to press the mute button on his laptop.
“I’ve seen worse dance moves,” Derek says, shrugging. “And I don’t mind the music. You can keep it on if you just turn down the volume a bit.”
“You like Nicki Minaj,” Stiles replies, disbelief clear in his tone.
“I have a wide variety of tastes,” Derek answers, sorting the right clothes into his first load of laundry.
“Huh,” Stiles says, cocking his head slightly. “I always thought that was one of your sisters playing Va Va Voom and Starships at three in the morning.”
“That was one time,” Derek protests, his cheeks growing hot. In his defense, he was also completely smashed.
“Hey, I’m not complaining,” Stiles laughs, walking over to hoist himself up onto the washer next to Derek’s. “How else would I ever learn anything about my mysterious neighbors?”
“We see each other every day,” Derek says, frowning. He busies himself with his laundry to avoid doing something stupid like leaning in to take in another lungful of Stiles’ scent, thick and a little sweet.
“Uh huh. I say hi to you in the morning and you grunt at me,” Stiles replies, quirking an unimpressed eyebrow at Derek.
“I nod,” Derek protests, his face heating again. He’s never been good at talking to people, particularly cute omegas – or cute anyone, for that matter.
“Is that what you call that strange head motion you make?” Stiles asks, a grin spreading over his face. “It looks like someone’s given you a static shock or something.”
Derek’s face grows even redder, and he opens his mouth to protest, but before he can say anything Stiles’ eyes light up and he asks, “You like Star Wars?”
Derek’s confused for a moment, unsure how that relates to anything, but then he realizes that he’s holding an old, worn t-shirt with the Death Star plastered on the front.
“Sure,” he replies, shoving the shirt into the washing machine, internally cursing himself for revealing his nerd tendencies barely five minutes into their first real conversation.
“You don’t sound too sure about that,” Stiles says. “You know, I’d be more than happy to take that shirt off your hands if you need me to, because I am of the firm belief that all Star Wars memorabilia should go to those who will give them the amount of love they truly need.”
“It’s a shirt, not a child,” Derek replies, trying to keep his voice steady as the image of Stiles wearing his t-shirt flashes through his mind. “And I do love it, very much. My sisters are the ones who keep trying to get me to throw it away.”
“Throw it away?” Stiles repeats, sounding alarmed. “What sort of barbarians are they?”
“The type that saw the prequel trilogy before the original,” Derek quips, watching as Stiles’ eyes go wide in horror. He makes a sound akin to a dying whale, which Derek has felt but always been too dignified to voice aloud.
“Thank god at least one of you inherited basic sanity,” Stiles says, looking over at Derek with big, whiskey-brown eyes. Derek feels a smile tugging at the corners of his lips and, for once, doesn’t try to fight it.
I’ve noticed that my omega girlfriend acts kind of weird the week before her heat. She eats everything and anything in sight, and it’s really off-putting. Once I saw her eat an entire watermelon in one sitting! How do I tell her to stop?
Dear Weirded Out,
First of all, who gave you the right to police your girlfriend’s diet? Unless you’re severely worried about her having an eating disorder, it’s not your place. Capiche? Second, your girlfriend’s eating habits are completely normal for an omega getting ready for heat! Hell, my go to calorie source is a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s, straight from the carton, so if your girlfriend’s sticking to watermelon, then she’s taking the healthier route.
See, heat takes a lot out of an omega. It puts a lot of strain on our bodies and oftentimes we’re so focused on meeting our bodies’ sexual needs that we neglect other ones. In fact, the more fat an omega has on their body, the less taxing their heat is likely to be! So should you talk to your girlfriend about her eating habits? No. It’s rude and completely unwarranted.
They actually talk now, he and Stiles. Mainly it’s when they do laundry, and Derek’s rapidly become accustomed to short greetings and conversations in the mornings and longer ones while they’re doing laundry. Most of them time they’re the only ones doing laundry on Wednesday afternoons, and so Derek is regularly subjected to Stiles’ musical whims – everything from Nicki Minaj to one memorable instance of creepy Russian children’s songs.
Derek has yet to actually see the inside of Stiles’ apartment, though.
He’s also reluctantly admitted to himself that although he was being truthful when he told Laura that he wasn’t reading the knotting advice column because of Stiles, that’s changed somewhat.
Which, of course, is why he’s spent the last five minutes staring at Stiles’ apartment door instead of knocking. He clutches the sweatshirt Stiles accidentally left in the laundry room tightly in his hands and wonders why he thought it would be a good idea to return it immediately in person instead of just giving it to Stiles when they saw each other the next morning.
He looks down at it, then back at the door, before finally reaching a hand up to knock.
“One sec!” he hears Stiles yell, the sound muffled somewhat.
True to his word, the door swings open a moment later to reveal Stiles, a spoon in his mouth and a half-eaten pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream in his hand. Derek finds himself staring for a moment, his cheeks heating as he takes in Stiles’ scent. It seems a little thicker than it was earlier, but maybe that’s just his imagination.
“Oh, hey, is that – ?” Stiles asks, his voice a little muffled around the spoon as he reaches for the sweatshirt with his free hand.
“You forgot it in the laundry room,” Derek answers, his voice a little rough, but hopefully not enough to be noticeable.
“I’ve been looking for it for, like, an hour,” Stiles says, delighted.
He takes the sweatshirt from Derek and a moment later Derek finds himself holding Stiles’ ice cream instead as Stiles pulls the sweatshirt on over his head. It messes up his hair a little, making it look incredibly soft and fluffy.
“Thanks,” Stiles says with a smile, taking the ice cream back. Derek watches in mild fascination and awe as Stiles then proceeds to take the largest spoonful of ice cream he’s ever seen someone attempt to eat and shove it all in his mouth at once. He has to bite back a whimper as he watches Stiles slide the spoon back out from between his plush, pink lips, tongue darting out to lick it clean.
Something must be showing on his face, though, because Stiles blinks at him for a moment before his expression goes pinched and tense.
“I need the calories, alright?” Stiles says, defensive. “My heat’s in about a week.”
“I wasn’t – ” Derek stutters, blushing as he realizes Stiles must think he’s judging his eating habits. “You just have a little…” He indicates the smear of chocolate on the left side of Stiles’ upper lip helplessly.
“Oh,” Stiles says, and now it’s his turn to blush. Derek watches with a mixture of horror and fascination as Stiles tries to lick the chocolate off his lips, failing spectacularly. “Did I get it all?”
“Just let me…” Derek replies, leaning forward and wiping off the remainder of the chocolate with his shirt sleeve.
“Didn’t you just wash that?” Stiles asks, his nose wrinkling. Derek refuses to find it adorable. Unsuccessfully.
“It’s fine,” Derek says. “I should go now.”
“Oh, okay,” Stiles replies, and for a moment Derek could swear he seems to deflate a little. “Thanks again. For, you know, bringing me my sweatshirt and all.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Derek says.
Stiles just nods and sticks another spoonful of ice cream in his mouth.
I never know what sort of food to store for my heat. Obviously, most of the time I’m too out of it to do any real cooking, but I can hardly stomach heat energy bars. The texture just puts me off. Do you know any good quick and easy food options for omegas in heat?
Dear Just Wondering,
Trust me, I feel your pain. Energy bars taste like dirt at best, and some might even say I’m being generous. That being said, don’t make the mistake I once did and try to order pizza. I would be worried about having scarred the poor man for life, if it wasn’t for the fact that he asked to join in on the fun.
Therefore, your best bet is be prepared with some nonperishables from your local grocery store. Peanut butter’s always good, high in calories, protein and fat, which are your ideal heat fuel. I know a lot of people like fruit, too. Apples are good, because they can be kept at room temperature for two to four weeks before going bad. Bananas, on the other hand, only last a few days. Eat those within the first few days. Additionally, granola and cereals can be stored at room temperature, along with certain cured meats. Good luck with your heat!
It doesn’t even occur to Derek that he’s bought two jars of peanut butter until he gets home from the grocery store. He stares at them blankly for a moment before he opens the cupboard above the sink to stare at the half full jar already sitting there.
He proceeds to unpack six apples, a box of granola, and a few other assorted food items which SS had suggested before he really realizes what he’s done.
He’s prepared for Stiles’ heat as if he was Stiles’ mate.
Fuck. If only he hadn’t read that stupid advice column.
“So you finally got that guy across the hall to go out with you?” Cora asks, peering over his shoulder, startling Derek. Sometimes he hates that stealth appears to be hereditary in Hales.
“This isn’t – ” Derek growls, fixing her with a glare.
“Isaac likes muffins when he’s in heat,” Cora interrupts, talking over him.
“Stiles and I aren’t together,” Derek snaps, turning his glare on the jars of peanut butter instead.
“So this is you being hopeful?” Cora snorts, snaking a hand around him to steal an apple. Derek grabs her wrist as she makes a move to bite into it and she gives him an unimpressed look.
“That’s not yours,” Derek finds himself saying.
“I thought you just said you weren’t going to give it to our hot neighbor,” Cora retorts, unflinching, “so why can’t I eat it?”
“Maybe I was going to bake a pie,” Derek replies, tone just the wrong side of petulant.
“You can’t bake for shit,” Cora says, which, admittedly, is true.
“Well maybe I want to change that,” Derek growls. Cora rolls her eyes and then sets the apple back down with the others.
“Fine, whatever,” she says, stalking back out of the kitchen. “Your crush is getting pathetic, though. You should do something about it.”
Derek glares at her retreating back, but as soon as she’s out of sight he lets out a frustrated sigh. He stares at the food for a while longer before sweeping it back into a paper bag. Might as well not let it go to waste.
Which is how he finds himself awkwardly waiting outside Stiles’ door again, this time with a bag of groceries.
“Heeey – ” Stiles says as the door swings open, but his eyes go a little wide as they land on Derek. “ – Derek?”
“Stiles,” Derek greets, his cheeks a little pink. He tries not to be too obvious about how he kind of just want to roll all around in Stiles’ scent right now. It’s thicker with his oncoming heat, still sweet but with an undercurrent of something a little spicier.
“Did I leave something else down in the laundry room?” Stiles asks, his tone joking, but Derek doesn’t miss the way he fists a hand into his shirt, uncomfortable.
“No, I – ” Derek starts, his cheeks flushing hotter. “I thought I was out of peanut butter and accidentally bought too much, so I thought you might want it, because your heat is soon and – ”
“Not fair!” Stiles whines suddenly, cutting Derek off. Derek stares at him with wide eyes, startled. “That’s just – no. You’re so not playing fair, showing up with food and smelling like – ”
He shuts his mouth with an audible clack, face turning bright red.
“Smelling like what?” Derek asks, unable to help himself.
“Uh, no, I’ve already stuck my foot far enough into my mouth,” Stiles answers, shaking his head and crossing his arms over his chest defensively.
“I think you smell amazing,” Derek blurts out, his mouth moving before he can properly think his statement through.
“Really?” Stiles asks, peering at him with big, amber-brown eyes.
“Thank god,” Stiles groans, and pulls him in for a kiss.
I’ve never knotted anyone before. Neither of my previous partners were interested, but my current partner is going into heat and I’ve read that knotting helps it pass quicker. He wants to try, but I’m not sure. What if I hurt him?
You sound like an awesome alpha. The mere fact that you’re so concerned about this shows that. Be aware, though, that if you don’t want to knot your partner, you don’t have to! Sure, recent studies have shown that it may help with the release of certain hormones which stop an omega’s heat, but it’s not necessary. If you’re uncomfortable with it, then don’t do it. And if your partner tries to pressure you, then maybe they’re not the right person for you.
However, as an omega, let me tell you that knotting feels amazing. Maybe it has something to do with hormones or maybe it’s just the feeling of being so full, but unless you have a monster-sized knot, then you don’t have to worry about hurting your partner. Additionally, certain heat hormones help increase an omega’s pain tolerance, so it’s even less likely that your partner will feel any pain or discomfort!
Still, above all else, remember that whether or not you knot your partner is your decision. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, then don’t.
Derek spends the subsequent five days at Stiles’ place. He tries not to think about how smug his sisters will look when he finally heads back home. Hearing Laura’s wolf whistle when he stopped by to pack an overnight bag had been bad enough.
“Oh my god,” Stiles groans into the couch cushions, arching his back and grinding his ass back against Derek’s tongue.
Derek makes a contented noise against him, reveling in the taste of Stiles’ slick in his mouth. He continues to lick at Stiles, tongue fucking into Stiles’ loose hole. He’s already knotted Stiles once today, making Stiles a little less desperate to be filled – enough so Derek can take his sweet time eating Stiles out.
“Derek,” Stiles groans, voice breathy. Derek doesn’t know how many times he’s heard Stiles say his name like that by now, but it never fails to go straight to his cock.
He doesn’t reply, though, just continues to lick at Stiles’ rim. He reaches up to spread Stiles’ cheeks a little further, allowing for better access. He fucks into Stiles with his tongue, enjoying the way it makes Stiles keen and shove his ass back into Derek’s face.
“Not that this isn’t amazing,” Stiles manages, his breathing labored, “but do you could get in me already?”
“Pushy,” Derek mutters, but there’s a fond note to his voice. He obliges Stiles a little, though, slipping his fingers inside. Stiles’ eyes flutter shut and he clenches around them, rocking his hips and fucking himself on them.
Derek licks around his fingers and crooks them just so, rubbing against Stiles’ prostate. Stiles lets out a breathy whine, but it’s muffled slightly as he buries his face into one of the pillows on the couch. Derek adds another finger and continues to fuck him with them until finally his own arousal is too much to ignore.
He removes his fingers, and repositions himself, sliding into Stiles with one smooth thrust. From there, it’s all systems go. Stiles shoves himself back onto Derek, letting out pleased moans, and Derek is helpless to do anything but give him what he needs. He thrusts in deep, hands coming up to grip at Stiles’ hips.
“So good,” Stiles slurs, voice thick with arousal. “So good for me, Derek.”
Derek finds his knot swelling with those words, catching against Stiles’ rim as he clenches down.
“Stiles,” he gasps before he’s coming deep inside Stiles, pulsing inside his tight, slick heat.
Stiles lets out a contented hum, and swirls his hips, playing with Derek’s oversensitive cock, still trapped inside of him. Derek finds the wherewithal to snake one of his hand around to grip Stiles’ cock, jacking him off quickly while Stiles continues to grind against his knot. It doesn’t take too many strokes before Stiles is coming with a contented sigh.
They stay like that for a moment, content and fucked out, before Derek manages to turn them on their sides so that they’re lying on the couch, Stiles’ back flush against Derek’s chest. Stiles twists around to kiss Derek. Their mouths move against each other lazily, sloppy and sweet.
“I have Star Wars set up on the TV if you want to watch some while we’re waiting,” Derek says when they break apart again.
Stiles stares at him for a moment, before blurting out, “How the hell do you keep being more prepared for this than I am?”
Derek shrugs, but he regrets the movement as it shifts his oversensitive knot inside Stiles slightly.
“I’ve read a lot about it, I guess,” Derek replies, hoping he doesn’t sound obsessed or anything. “There’s this advice column in – ”
“Oh my god, you read that?” Stiles squeaks, his face flushing red.
“I like the author’s writing style,” Derek says, trying to keep his defensiveness at bay. “Their advice is good too. You certainly seem to have appreciated it so far.”
“That’s because I wrote it!” Stiles blurts out.
Derek stares at him for a moment, unsure what to say.
“You’re SS?” he finally manages.
“I mean, I write other articles, too, but that’s kind of my pet project, I guess, and – ” Stiles babbles, his cheeks still red, but Derek cuts him off with another kiss.
“Well, then I’d like to thank you,” Derek says, nuzzling Stiles’ neck, “because if I hadn’t read your column then I never would have accidentally bough extra groceries, and if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
“Yay me,” Stiles replies, mouth quirking up into a smile.
Derek laughs and kisses him again.
“Was the story about the pizza guy actually true, though?” Derek asks once they pull apart. It’s Stiles’ turn to laugh this time.
“Yep,” he says, popping the ‘p.’ “And let me tell you, trying to get to the door while stuck to someone else wasn’t fun.”
Derek can’t quite smother the growl that wells up in his throat.
“You’re not jealous, are you?” Stiles asks with a smirk, clenching down on Derek’s knot.
“The alpha was irresponsible,” Derek retorts. “And the pizza delivery man’s proposition was inappropriate.”
“I was the one who showed up at the door naked,” Stiles replies, shrugging, but he’s still smirking. “Asking for a threesome wasn’t entirely inappropriate. He also offered to just watch instead.”
Derek growls again and his grip on Stiles’ hips tightens.
“You wouldn’t even be willing to let him watch?” Stiles asks, looking at Derek with big, innocent eyes, but Derek isn’t fooled for a second.
“No,” he answers, burying his face in Stiles’ neck. “No one gets to see you like this but me.”
“I don’t know, I’m kind of craving pizza right now,” Stiles replies with a wicked grin.
“Star Wars, clean up, clothes, and then pizza,” Derek counters stubbornly.
“I can do that,” Stiles says, his expression softening slightly.
When the pizza finally arrives, Derek and Stiles are both fully clothed. There may be a few more hickeys dotting Stiles’ neck than strictly necessary, though.