What a day. What a long. fucking. day.
Stiles plopped down in front of his computer, needing a minute to process everything before going to bed. He was tempted to pop a few Adderall and stay up to research the Kanaima and start deciphering the Argent’s information, but-- he was exhausted.
His muscles ached down to the bone, and protested every time he tried to move. Even the hot shower he had stepped out of just minutes earlier hadn’t fully warmed him. He dropped his face into his hands and tried to shake off the feeling of water closing in around him. He had almost died, for the second time in just as many days.
Worse than that, he had watched another man die, and had nearly let Derek drown. Since when had he become the town Savior? Saving Scott was one thing, he was his best friend after all and hadn’t tried to kill him in ages, but Derek and the rest of the pack shouldn’t be his problem.
Which is why he should have run earlier, but he couldn’t leave people behind to die. He knew under all that bravado Derek had to be scared shitless sometimes. Plus they had no idea what they were dealing with at the time. Stiles had stayed because he would have never forgiven himself if something would have happened to Derek when there was a small chance he could have helped.
Stiles felt him before he actually heard or saw him. He kept his head in his hands and sighed in exasperation.
“If you’re here to kill me, I’m really too tired to care. You should remember that I still saved your life and regardless of dropping you I came back. Also, I can’t do any research for your lazy ass if you off me. I doubt you can decipher the stuff on your own.” Stiles mumbled.
Derek came up right behind him, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
“Just make it quick, ok?” Stiles requested, not bothering to put much effort into it. He figured he’d already be dead if Derek actually wanted to kill him.
Derek leaned in close and growled low in his ear. Stiles didn’t move, but his heart rate picked up and shoved adrenaline through his veins. He lifted his head and narrowed his eyes as he saw Derek smirk in the computer’s reflection.
“You’re an ass.” Stiles said wearily, too tired to fight with him. “What are you here for anyways?”
When Derek didn’t answer right away Stiles swiveled around in his chair. Derek was standing a few feet away with his sourwolf expression back on. He looked as if he was contemplating what to say next.
“Listen, I don’t really care what you’re here for, but I can’t deal with anything else tonight. Maybe not in the next week. My Jeep was impounded, I watched someone die, I was mean to my dad, your werebitch tried to hurt me again, I almost got you killed and I don’t know how to protect me or my dad against that thing yet. So while I can appreciate your frustrations, I think I’ve had a worse day.” Stiles pushed past Derek and sat down on the edge of his bed. He did what he had to do to keep people safe, but he could only give so much before it ran out.
He felt the bed dip beside him and Derek’s hand moved to hover over his leg. It remained there for a while before finally lowering to rest between them on the bed. Awkward. .
“I wanted to make sure you were ok, and to say--.”
Derek’s words caught in his throat as if he didn’t know how to continue. Stiles looked up to see his face open in a rare moment of vulnerability.
“Even though you surpassed your capacity for idiocy, thank you for staying with me.” Derek finally said, voice just above a whisper.
His instincts were telling him to mouth off as usual, but the look in Derek’s eyes stopped him. Something there confirmed the fear and doubt he suspected laid just under the Alpha’s skin. So instead of being his typical zero brain-to-mouth filter self, he sat quietly and inched his hand towards Derek’s.
“You’re welcome,” he said just as quietly.
“Why didn’t you run?” Derek asked, not moving his hand.
“I was worried you’d get hurt.” Stiles said before thinking. Welp. There went his brief go at filtering.
Derek chuckled, and Stiles wasn’t sure he’d ever heard the sound before. He kind of liked it.
“Sometimes I think you forget I’m the werewolf.” Derek said and looked out the window, serious face returning.
“Sourwolf is more like it.”Stiles retorted.
“Dammit Stiles, I mean it.” He whipped around to face him, eyes glowing a faint red. “You can’t protect yourself.”
With what little energy he had left, Stiles jumped from the bed and towered over Derek. “Yes I can!” He spat in his face. “I’ve been taking care of me and my dad for years. I’m not a child and I’m not some damsel in distress. I didn’t need you in the pool, and I don’t need you now.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he felt the last of his reserves leave him, muscles twitching with sheer exhaustion. His shoulders slumped and he took a step back.
“Then why did you help me?” Derek stood up and invaded his personal space.
Stiles would have been irritated if he couldn’t feel the confusion rolling off Derek in waves.
“Is it really so hard to believe I don’t want to see you die?” Stiles nearly shouted, barely remembering to keep his voice down.
By the look of shock on Derek’s face, he really didn’t understand. The reality of that slammed into Siles with the force of a freight train. The guy was so traumatized and emotionally stunted that he honestly thought people only liked him or helped him to see what they could get in return. He thought everyone around him was trying to manipulate him in one way or another.
Taking a chance, Stiles stepped forward. “I don’t want anything from you Derek. Besides maybe a straight answer once and awhile, because lets be honest, the dark and mysterious thing gets annoying real fast.”
Derek stared at him for a long time, Stiles refusing to look away. He must have found what he was looking for, because he eventually gave him a little nod. “You still need to stop sacrificing yourself.”
“Why do you even care?” Stiles was exasperated and ready to crash.
Before he could register what was happening, a large hand gripped the back of his neck and hauled him forward. Warm lips covered his own, tentative at first and then demanding. Stiles groaned and leaned into it, savoring Derek’s unique taste. Derek’s hands were everywhere; on his hips, running over his sides, grasping at his neck.
“I care.” Derek said when they finally parted. “Get some sleep Stiles.” He left the room swiftly, jumping out the window as usual.
Stiles stayed grounded in the middle of his room wondering what the everloving fuck had just happened.
Derek had kissed him. He had liked it. So apparently that was a thing now. Hm.
Tomorrow. He could think about what it meant and what he wanted tomorrow morning, after a long night’s rest.
He collapsed on his bed and fell asleep with a smile on his face.