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he is and as he is

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Derek met Kate (or in reality, Kate met Derek, deliberately, as everything that happened between them had been cold, calculated, deliberate and perfect like nothing in real life ever was) on the side of the road in October, he remembers that it was October because his mother had sent him into town to get pumpkin spice to put in her coffee because she used to do little stupid things like that all the time, like drink pumpkin spice around Halloween and peppermint around Christmas and fruit lemonade in the summer.

Kate drove a huge tank of a car back then, a '72 Pontiac GTO, and it was bright, emerald green with little vines of rust creeping up from the undercarriage, and stalled alongside the road, it almost blended into the trees. Derek stopped and gave her a jump start and they talked about cars and she had seemed so beautiful to him then, smiling and joking and laughing with him, listening to him when he spoke like he actually said something worth listening to, not like his family, his huge family who were so busy talking and listening to everyone else that sometimes Derek felt like screaming just to see if they would even notice.

She said, give me your number, cutie, and Derek did, and two days later she took him to a bar on the edge of town and they did shots of gin and Derek didn't get carded because Kate knew the bartender, and he went down on her in the backseat of the Pontiac and she tasted like copper, like rubber and that acrid taste when you get perfume in your mouth, like the sulfuric residue that explodes in the air right after a gunshot. Like sneaking out and not getting caught, like freedom.

Stiles doesn't taste like any of that bullshit, Stiles usually tastes like whatever it is that he's just eaten. Mostly it's chocolate.

Tell me about how you lost yours, Stiles asked him once, they were lying in bed eating a bag of mini-muffins because Stiles always does that, shoves food at Derek with this look on his face like he can't trust Derek with his own nutrition, and the window was open and Derek could smell the forest, but mostly he could just smell Stiles, and the mini-muffins, and the scented candles that the Sheriff bought Stiles as a joke that sit on the nightstand, that Stiles burns whenever Derek comes over, as if that's going to somehow disguise the mountain of dirty laundry shoved into the closet.

No, Derek told him, I'm not telling you about that, this isn't a slumber party, shut up, why are you trying to eat five muffins at once, you're disgusting, and Stiles just smirked and poked his shoulder and laughed when Derek smacked him in the stomach and accidentally made him spit out two and a half muffins onto the carpet.

This is called sharing, Stiles just said, exaggerating it like Derek is actually the stupid one, this is called being in a reeeeelationshiiiiip. Talking about things. Things like sex, and how you've totally had it before, probably a lot, don't even, Derek, you big whore, I've seen your slutty bedroom eyes. Whatever, you totally have bedroom eyes, don't lie.

Derek lied on Stiles's bed and ate a mini-muffin and thought about saying, I snuck her into my house through the sewer, I showed her the cellars where we kept our chains and our weapons and my grandmother's canned fruit, I took her to my room and let her go through my sister's books, and we fucked for hours while my family had dinner in town, and that's how she knew how to get in, because I showed her the way, I handed it all over like it was nothing, because I was a stupid teenager and I was angry at my family and I fucking lost everything.

It sucked, is what he actually said.

First times always suck, Stiles said, like he actually knew what he was talking about. No really - my first kiss? Callie Franklin, third grade, she sneezed in my mouth. Seriously - don't laugh at me, this is a very tender sharing moment we're having here, you dick. You're a dick, that's what you are.

You're an idiot, Derek said, only he really meant, you're incredible, not that he's going to admit that any time soon. Out loud.

Our first time isn't going to suck, though, Stiles said, I mean, how could it? What with the...abs and the pecs and everything you've got going on there, very nice, by the way, how could it not be awesome? And me, well, I'm very cute, in an indie romantic comedy sort of way, I've been told. I have some charm. Seriously, quit laughing or I'm confiscating the muffins.

I'm not laughing, Derek said, and Stiles said, you're snorting and huffing, that's totally laughing in Alpha-to-human speak, also you're doing the eyebrow thing, the mocking eyebrow thing, you know what I'm talking about. You can take your mocking eyebrows and Alpha laugh your way on outta here if that's what you really want.

No, that's not what I want, Derek said, and Stiles smiled, big and toothy, and fed him a mini-muffin as a reward.

Good boy, he said, and yelped when Derek kicked him.

(Kate used to call him names in bed, tiger, big boy, daddy, puppy, stud. She would egg him on, taunt him, like it was a race and he was constantly losing. She'd get up and leave right after, pull on her clothes and say something like, hope it was good for you snookums, and sometimes she'd turn over her shoulder and wink at him, and the way the moonlight shone in her eyes it looked like she was sneering at him, which she probably was.

Stiles doesn't sneer, Derek doesn't actually think that Stiles is even capable of sneering. He laughs, and he smirks, and he giggles, and he makes faces all the time, because every emotion that he feels translates directly into his expression, unless he's scared or angry, because that's when his face goes blank. He drives a Jeep that he paid for himself, and he doesn't know a thing about cars but he somehow manages to keep the thing running after all the time he spends crashing it into things and shredding the tires driving away from scenes of crimes. He calls Derek by his name, or 'dude' when he's being deliberately annoying, but when he's drunk or really tired or terrified out of his wits, he'll call Derek 'babe,' and one of these days Derek should really work up enough something to tell him that his mother used to call him that, and that she and Stiles would've loved each other, Derek is sure. They would've made his life just absolutely miserable together, and been gleefully smug about it, too.

This is what Derek thinks about, sometimes, when he lies in Stiles's bed. But really, he mostly just thinks about Stiles.)