The first time it happened, well, it wasn’t until the second time that Stiles had hugged Derek that he’d realized he’d already hugged him a first time.
Derek was dripping blood everywhere (Again. Although he didn’t look as bad as the time Allison’s aunt had shot him, but it was a close second) and Stiles, who had watched Derek nearly die enough times that it could be considered worrisome, couldn’t stop himself.
“Hey, hold up,” he’d said, catching Derek around the shoulders and helping him ease down against the wall. “Why don’t we just park it down here and wait for your mutant healing powers to kick in. Unless there’s something wrong again. That’s not the case, is it?”
“No,” Derek growled through clenched teeth.
And as sweat beaded Derek’s hairline and broken bone and skin started mending itself together, Stiles had stayed sitting next to him, his arm wrapped tight around Derek’s shoulder.
The second time was also an accident, or at least not planned. It had just sort of happened after another by the skin of their teeth escape. Yeah, half of Allison’s family and other things that go bump in the night were still gunning for them, but they were still breathing and OMG not DEAD. So it was just on pure instinct that after Stiles hugged Scott (and might have said “Oh My GOD we’re not dead,”) he’d hugged Derek, who didn’t rip his throat out, but he didn’t do anything else either.
So Stiles unwound his arms as quickly as he’d thrown them around Derek’s rigid shoulders and that was that.
Who knew that he’d smell that good, even after running for his life?
Okay, Stiles knew, because a handful of his shirts smelled like Derek after the whole “hide the fugitive” thing, which when said aloud sounds dirty. But it wasn’t. Sadly.
The third time... it had been a close call, but they were all still standing and could chalk that one up as a victory. For hug number three, Stiles very intentionally wrapped his arms around Derek’s shoulders in a situation-appropriate and non-threatening way to help remind them both that they were not dead.
He was expecting the tensing of Derek’s shoulders, and Stiles promised to himself that he’d count to three and let go. But then, Derek’s arms twitched and moved. There may’ve even been some manly back slapping amid that thankfulness that they would all live to fight another day.
The fourth time that Stiles hugged Derek was a display of bro-ly affection. An arm around the shoulder from one guy to another that said “You’re cool. I’m cool. We’re cool. You no longer want to tear me to pieces, right?”
Derek’s brief arm around his shoulder and a quick shoulder squeeze told Stiles that they were cool.
Stiles forgets at the time to take note of the fifth time that he hugged Derek... probably because they were most likely making out for the first time. But he discovers pretty quickly that once you start dating someone, it’s amazing how many freedoms come with it. Like the freedom to bear hug your boyfriend when he least expects it.
Stiles is taking his life into his hands, sure, sneaking up behind a guy who can wolf out at will and pinning his arms to his side as he buries his nose in the crook of Derek’s neck and inhales deeply (because, has he mentioned, Derek smells good.)
It’s not like Derek can’t hear him coming from a hundred yards away.
And if Derek grumps--because a positive attitude just isn’t something that comes natural to Derek Hale--Stiles tells him to deal.
Derek always does. And he might even lean back a little, letting Stiles take some his weight. Stiles just smiles because he knows that Derek not-so-secretly loves it.
Stiles is in the middle of an unbroken stream of consciousness ramble that has so far included: homework, lacrosse, a yellow spray paint-happy graffiti artist that the sheriff is trying to find, college, the soap opera that is the lives and loves of Scott McCall, and … the decline in quality of the Burger Bar curly fries, when Derek steps quite literally into the middle of his thoughts. The movement puts a successful end to Stiles’s words and his pacing.
“What? What’s going on? What’s wrong?” Stiles asks, looking up at Derek. He’s got the string of his hoodie hanging out of his mouth, having been chewing on it as he waxed on the various topics, and his eyes are wide.
Derek has a protective streak the size of Beacon Hills, but sometimes when he looks at Stiles, it scares him how certain he is that he would tear out the throat of anyone who would think to hurt him. Even asshole teachers who yell at him for writing book essays when it’s a Calculus class.
He’s not going to tell that to Stiles, though, so instead he slides his arms around Stiles’s shoulders and pulls him forward so their chests are pressed together.
“Why with the sudden cuddles? Not that I am complaining,” Stiles says against Derek’s shoulder as he hooks his arms around Derek’s waist.
“Just shut up, Stiles, and let me hug you.”
“You’re such a sweet talker.”
Derek laughs and cups his hand around the the nape of Stiles’s neck, smoothing his thumb over the ridge of Stiles’s hairline.