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Ain't Nothing so Good as the Cake and Eating it

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Prologue

Stiles had always felt at home at the station house for as long as he could remember. His mother would come by with him when he was a toddler to visit and take his dad, then just a deputy, out to lunch. When his mom went back to work when he got a little older he would stay at the station whenever there was a school closing, always demanding sips of coffee from his dad and his coworkers so Stiles could be more like them, then screwing up his face at the first taste and accepting a hot chocolate instead.

And when he was eight and his mother had an aneurysm it seemed like he spent more time there than at home. The house seemed so empty without her, and anyway he needed to stick close to his dad and make sure nothing bad happened to him. Even when he realized that just staying glued to his father’s side wouldn’t actually protect him, that didn’t mean it didn’t make the both of them feel at least a little better.

Besides, he had pretty much been the stations mascot since he was in diapers, always being underfoot and charming, but with an emphasis on the charming. Just always around. So even when he was ten and something major went down, it took everyone awhile to remember that no, Stiles was not supposed to be there, and shouldn’t someone get him the hell out of there, especially when they were bringing in the crazy Argent woman who had just tried to burn down the Hale place during a family reunion by seducing their fifteen year old son? And was now currently ranting and raving about werewolves and other nonsense?

So while everyone was focused on the mad woman and her accomplices, Stiles just made his way through the chaos of the squad room, trying to keep a lower profile than was his usual in the hopes that everyone really would forget about him for long enough so that he could find out everything that happened. Still, he was pretty sure he caught Deputy Gore giving him the side eye and decided that ducking into his dad’s office until the deputy forgot about him was probably the best course of action. He just wasn’t expecting anyone else to be in there.

Justin and Amelia Hale, as well as their twins Laura and Derek were clustered on and around the beat up old couch that both Stiles and his dad had slept on countless times. Mrs. Hale and Laura were seated on the couch almost curled around each other and had obviously been crying earlier, a few smears of streaked makeup still around their eyes. Mr. Hale looked grim standing to the side, and was holding his wife’s hand so tight Stiles almost swore he saw a drop of blood drip down one of her finger nails.

Derek looked like he wanted to die.

“Hi Mr. and Mrs. Hale and…everybody,” Stiles said awkwardly, completely unsure of what to say or do. For the first time in his life he felt a modicum of sympathy for the people who had given him ham handed condolences when his mother died.

“Hello, Stiles is it? You’re the Sheriff’s son?” Mrs. Hale asked softly, prompting a jerky affirmative nod from Stiles.

“I’m real sorry, I didn’t know anyone was in here. I can go, or I can get my dad, or I can show you were I hid the good cookies so I could find them but my dad couldn’t or if you don’t want cookies I think I still have some Hawaiian Punch in the fridge or…anything. You know, that I can help you with.” Stiles babbled on with the thought somewhere back in his mind that when people were guests you offered them refreshments, and his dad’s office was kinda like his office so…

“I think we’re all fine. Thank you Stiles,” Mrs. Hale spoke up interrupting his thoughts, a bemused smile erasing some of the tension from her face. Laura was looking at him like he was some sort of bizarre science experiment, and it even looked like Mr. Hale had relaxed his grip ever so slightly on his wife’s hand.

Derek’s expression hadn’t changed at all.

Something about the look on the older boy’s face just went right through to Stiles’ heart, making his chest hurt. He wanted to fix it. No one should look like they hurt that much. Stiles knew that from experience.

His feet seemed to move on their own until Stiles somehow found himself sitting next to Derek on the couch. And well, once he was there the next logical thing seemed to be to wrap the teen up in a hug. He heard what sounded like Laura let out a small gasp.

Derek didn’t say anything.

Stiles wasn’t sure if it would be as effective as his dad’s hugs, especially since his arms seemed so small and puny circled around Derek instead of big and secure like his dad’s, but at least Derek hadn’t pushed him away yet.

“I know that someone tried to do something bad to your family and really bad to you. I don’t know or understand all of it, but I know it must be really scary. But you should feel better cause my dad is in charge out there right now and he doesn’t let criminals get away with anything. He’s the best, cause he’ll take that lady and lock her up and find all the evidence to make sure they never let her out. He protects everyone that he can, and believe me, I know he’ll protect you.” Stiles felt a tear slide down his face, and was embarrassed to be crying in front of people he barely knew for no real reason. He wasn’t the one who’s house almost got burned down after all. But as he made a move to disengage from Derek the teen suddenly shifted and wrapped his arms around Stiles.

“OK,” Derek whispered. “I believe you.”

Chapter Text

“Mom, Derek’s being pathetic. Make him stop doing that,” Laura called out plaintively to their mother from her seat at the breakfast table as the Hale matriarch entered the kitchen.

Derek glowered at his sister but opted to take another bite of his oatmeal rather than get into it with her. The hard learned lessons from their childhood together told him that trying to argue with Laura frequently ended badly for him. Whether it was being trapped in a headlock by is twin sister in front of the rest of the extended Hale family, being carried around like a pup by the scruff also in front of all their older, cooler cousins, or somehow photographing him sucking his thumb in his sleep at age twelve, she always managed to come out the victor. Derek decided years ago that it was better to just wait it out and hope she got distracted.

Though one day he would find those photos. And destroy them.

“Shouldn’t you have grown out of teasing your brother? I was just thinking this morning how wonderful it was to have had my children grow from such foolish cubs into mature and responsible adults. Why must you try to prove me wrong?” Their mother said as she serenely made her way over to the gourmet coffee machine Derek and Laura had gone halves on for Mother’s Day last year.

Derek tried to hide his smirk with another spoonful of oatmeal; if there was a soul anywhere to go toe to toe with Laura it was his mother. Unfortunately, Laura used what she called her ‘mystic twin powers’ to look up from her grapefruit to notice Derek’s expression and bristled.

“But he is being pathetic mom,” Laura said, noticeably less playful than before. “I can practically it smell wafting off of him. He needs to find a mate or he’ll just become more of a morose sad sack.”

“I am not a morose sad sack,” Derek said, unable to resist defending himself any longer. “And I don’t need to find a mate. Just because I’m not like you, with your weird long distance scent exchange thing going on, it doesn’t mean I’m dying of loneliness.”

“My sweaty t-shirt exchange with Mark until he gets back is brilliant, not weird. It’s the perfect solution until he finishes grad school and we can get a place together here,” Laura rebutted, flicking a spoonful of grapefruit at Derek.

Please don’t throw acidic produce around the kitchen Laura. It diminishes the validity of your argument,” their mother admonished.

“So you admit that I’m right!” Laura said triumphantly while smirking at Derek.

“Mom, you can’t seriously-“ Derek began to say.

“While Laura’s word choice was lacking to say the very least,” his mother interrupted as she sat across from him at the table, taking a moment to glance reprovingly at a still very self satisfied Laura, “We are all worried about you.”

Derek looked down into his now empty bowl to avoid what he knew would be nothing but love and concern radiating from his mother’s gaze.

“I don’t need a mate. I’m fine on my own. I have a good job, and I have my family, and I don’t need anything else,” he said softly eyes fixed on a small smear of oat and milk remnant left in the bowl.

“Honey…most wolves…you know it doesn’t go well for them alone,” his mother said gently.

“Well it can’t go much worse for me then when I tried to find someone before,” He said pushing his chair out from the table, and gathering up his dishes. He made it to the sink before Laura evidently lost her inner battle with decorum and spoke up.

“So a crazy cradle robber wanted to burn our house down. She didn’t, she’s in jail until she’s a decrepit old hag, so now it’s an amusing family anecdote I plan to tell my future children about their goofy uncle Derek-“

“Laura, don’t.” Amelia interrupted glancing anxiously between her two grown children.

“Just get over it! Nothing happened! No one blames you for anything because nothing happened.” There was no more flippancy left in Laura’s voice. Derek remained standing at the sink, afraid to look back at the two most important women in his life. No one spoke as he ran the tap the rinse his bowl out, then his mug.

“I have to go, or I’ll be late for work,” He said turning around, trying not to dwell on the look of worry on his mother’s and sister’s faces. He walked over and gave them each a kiss on the cheek, all of them relaxing slightly at the contact. He grabbed his coat from the stand and his car keys from the hook on the wall. He slowed his steps slightly and called out over his shoulder as he neared the door.

“You know what a stickler Sheriff Stilinski is about punctuality.”

*

The thing was a part of Derek knew they were right. The feeling of emptiness and wrongness within him had been growing stronger and stronger recently. If it wasn’t the natural state of a normal human to be alone, that fact was even more true for a wolf. And the longer he remained alone, the more it felt like something had come and cored the very essence out of him. But as much as he yearned to have someone to hold, to scent, to protect, to love…he just couldn’t risk making a mistake like he had before. He’d let himself go mad, no regrets, so long as it meant keeping his family safe.

But, lonely and pathetic like Laura said or not, he was still a long way away from crazy, and he honestly believed that his job as a deputy with the Beacon Hills Sheriff’s department had some sort of a hand in that.

There were some days he’d be at work and feel almost whole again.

As Derek parked his car in a spot and made his way into the building he began to feel more at ease. In fact once he entered the squad room and made his way to his desk he was feeling the best he had in days, despite the morning’s earlier confrontation. He sat down, checked to see if he had any phone messages, and was debating whether it was worth it right start a fight with the coffee maker before he really needed it when the door to the Sheriff’s office opened. But it wasn’t the Sheriff coming out to survey his domain, it was instead-

“Derek! My man!” Stiles Stilinski called out as he burst from the doorway and jogged over to Derek’s desk, almost running into at least two different people and four inanimate objects on the short trip over. He managed to get to Derek’s desk unscathed and hopped up to perch on its edge, promptly knocking the phone off its cradle.

“That was smooth,” Derek commented, replacing the phone while giving Stiles a glance and doing what Laura insisted on calling a ‘wolf check’. Just a moment to take stock of all the things a normal human or a stupidly unobservant werewolf would miss. Derek was always sure to learn from his mistakes.

Stiles was the same as he always was, the right mix of smells that, at this point in their acquaintance were both very comfortable and familiar to Derek, seeing as it was a rare day that Stiles didn’t stop by to visit the station at least briefly. The same deodorant and shampoo, the hint of an over sweetened coffee mingling with some remaining mint from his toothpaste, and the base smell underneath all of those that simply identified him as Stiles. His heart rate seemed a little faster than average for a human, but it always seemed to be like that whenever Derek saw him. He didn’t seem to have any adverse health issues from it, so Derek just brushed it off as him being an excitable boy.

“Dude, I am smoother than smooth. You’re just unable to appreciate my epic and awe inspiring smoothness.” Derek stared at Stiles while the teen seemed to replay what he said in his head. “That actually sounded kinda weird. Not a hundred percent if it was dirty or not, but definitely weird.”

“I’m willing to overlook everything you just said if you’ll tell me why you’re here and not at school right now. I usually don’t have you interrupting my work until after lacrosse practice”

“Everyone’s off because of some sort of teachers’ conference. They say it’s to learn new teaching methods, but having heard Coach Finstock and Ms. Lis extolling the virtues of the mud baths at some spa where the convention is located, I doubt their purely academic related intentions just a bit. Also, it would be great if brain bleach was real so I could stop picturing my teachers in a sauna. Possibly together.” Stiles said with a theatrical grimace.

“So don’t picture it,” Derek said, finally getting around to booting up his computer.

“Dude, you know I can’t not not picture it after you say don’t picture it. It’s like the don’t think of pink rhinos thing. The pink rhinos get me every time.” Stiles said dejectedly.

“Okay,” Derek said, unable to keep a hint of laughter out of his voice any longer. “But why are you here? Shouldn’t you and Scott be out terrifying the hardworking populace of Beacon Hills on your day off?”

“First off I think you mean enriching the lives of the populace, and as for Scott, he wanted to hang out with um…with Allison,” Stiles mumbled the last few words quickly and became very interested on the hem of his sleeve. Derek could smell the worry mixed with a bit of fear wafting off of him. A lot of people around town gave off a similar scent whenever one of the Argent family was mentioned in his presence, but with Stiles it was just that little bit different. Derek thought it was because while others were afraid of how Derek would react, Stiles was afraid of how it would make Derek feel. At least that’s how it felt to Derek.

“Stiles, I know Scott’s dating Allison Argent. Every deputy here has caught them parking at least once-“

“No sense of discretion, that’s my BFF,” Stiles interjected ruefully.

“And I don’t blame the Argents…well I certainly wouldn’t blame Allison for what her aunt tried to do. She was only a kid then anyway.” Derek finished.

“Yeah, I know just…you wouldn’t need me to tell you why if you did blame…I understand…I mean not Allison, but yeah,” Stiles trailed off leaving Derek with the very unusual occurrence of a quiet Stiles. Though he knew that some people in town probably asked for Stiles to be quiet in their nightly prayers, it seemed incredibly unnatural to Derek.

“Stiles don’t worry about it. And you still didn’t answer my question; why are you here? Doesn’t your dad get enough of you at home?”

“There’s no such thing as enough of me.” Derek quirked an eyebrow. “OK, moving on, cause even if there was such a thing having enough of me, which there is decidedly not, and my dad had in fact had enough, which he didn’t cause he couldn’t, that still means that many outside the Stilinski abode have been sadly bereft of my company. And I was bored out of my skull at home”

“Really? Bereft?” Derek asked after Stiles finished his spiel.

“You know you miss me when I’m gone, Deputy Hale,” Stiles said brightly.

“You do make the day more interesting,” Derek admitted, though at Stiles’ preening felt the need to add, “Note that I said interesting, not better.”

“That may be what you said, but I know what you mean,” Stiles rallied back.

Once again Derek felt a small smile making its way to the surface.

The morning’s breakfast seemed very far away.

*

Laura texted him multiple times throughout the first part of his shift, a mix of half hearted Laura-esque apologies and increasingly creative threats if he didn’t reply. Apparently her dual jobs as a dietician and martial arts/ yoga instructor at the Beacon Hills wellness center still afforded her the flexible schedule to harass family members at her leisure. The final one was a fairly tame threat of carrying him out by the scruff of his neck for lunch, so if nothing else Derek knew who was picking up the tab for his food today.

After he finally managed to temporarily shoo Stiles away so he could get some work done, the teen spent the rest of the morning hanging around the station room, alternating between helping out the dispatcher with some filing, and after he finished with that, trying to engage everyone (primarily Derek) in conversation. Around noon he ducked back into his father’s office and emerged a few minutes later, the Sheriff in tow. The Sheriff glanced around the mostly empty squad room. In that day was only Derek, the dispatcher and three of the four other deputies who were on days this week. They would swap with the other five for the night shift the week after next. A small town like Beacon Hills didn’t warrant much more.

Sheriff Stilinski, satisfied that his staff had managed to refrain from letting chaos reign throughout the town, or at least the squad room, went back into his office briefly and then returned to the main room now wearing his coat.

“My son and I are going out to lunch. Apparently it is going to be an awesome bonding experience that will no doubt end up with Stiles stealing all of my curly fries. So nobody call me unless there’s a body. A real body, not Mrs. Clansky complaining about the mice her neighbor’s cat likes to leave on her doorstep, alright?” The Sheriff said to affirmative nods from everyone, and then walked over to the exit.

Stiles ambled after his father but paused when he got to Derek’s desk.

“Hey Derek, do you want me to bring something back for you?” Stiles asked, smiling brightly. “We’re going to the diner on Blackwell, so they make practically everything, like gyros or chicken cordon bleu or whatever you want.”

“Stiles, I’ve lived in this town all my life, I’m pretty sure I know what they serve at one of the only two diners in town. And no, I don’t want anything.” Stiles’ smile dimmed slightly, and Derek felt compelled to explain. “My sister was threatening to take me out to lunch, and I don’t want to disappoint her.”

With that Stiles blanched. “No, no, you’re right. A disappointed Laura is an upset Laura is a scary Laura. Please go to lunch with your sister.”

“You know, I’m a man with a gun,” not that he really needed it, but still, “why is everyone more scared of Laura then of me?” Derek asked.

“You grew up with her, yet you need to ask that? Not that she’s not awesome and a super nice person just…she has a very forceful personality right? That’s the way to phrase it?” Stiles asked licking his lips nervously.

Derek was momentarily distracted by the motion when Stiles continued, “And one time I swear I heard her growl at some dude hitting on her.”

“I…”

“Stiles, let’s get a move on!” Derek was thankfully interrupted by the Sheriff coming back inside to fetch his son. Derek was not quite as thankful that Laura was standing in the doorway next to him, a speculative look on her face.

“Gotta go! I’ll see you later Derek,” Stiles said with a smile while jogging backwards, narrowly avoiding a collision with Laura.

“Have fun with your brother at lunch Laura, and know that I hope never to disappoint you!” Stiles called out as he and his father disappeared from view.

“What was that about?” Laura asked, looking thoughtfully over her shoulder at Stiles leave, before walking over to Derek.

“Apparently you’re the Hale twin that inspires a healthy amount of fear and respect in our community.”

“Well that’s just because I’m me and you’re an awkward puppy dog,” Laura said coolly.

“Didn’t you come here to apologize to me?” Derek asked.

“Did I say that?” Laura asked toothily.

“In your own special way you did,” Derek replied.

“Then I shall do so in my own special way by not saying I was wrong in any way shape or form and instead paying for your lunch.”

“I’ll take what I can get,” Derek said rising to his feet.

“How are you with the place on Clinton?” Laura asked already on the move to the exit.

It really wasn’t as good as the place on Blackwell, but… “That’s fine,” Derek said as he shrugged his coat on and followed his sister out the door.

*

They had just placed their orders when Laura tried to bring it up again.

“OK Derek, I admit that I may, may, have been a little…harsh this morning, but-“ Derek raised his hand, cutting her off.

“Laura don’t. Just don’t. You know my reasons why and… and I’m fine. You stop by my work all the time. You know I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I was anywhere as close to losing it as you’d like me to be.”

“Do you honestly think I like the idea of my brother losing his mind and becoming nothing more than an animal begging to be put down!?” Laura hissed, her eyes flashing violet.

Derek refused to be cowed. “I keep telling you I’m fine. Look at me. So maybe I don’t have a mate, and maybe it’s a little lonely, but I can take care of myself, and my family and I can do my job, and that’s all that matters to me.”

The violet faded from Laura’s gaze and a speculative look took its place.

“You are very good at your job aren’t you? I mean some days you come back to the house better than other, but really the more you’re working the better off you are. The last time you had a week off you were completely unbearable by the end of it,” she mused.

Something about her shift in demeanor made Derek apprehensive. “You know I love working for the Sheriff’s Department. It gives me something worthwhile to focus on. Why are you suddenly acting like it’s some kind of great revelation?”

“No reason. I’m just…thinking some things through is all,” she said evenly.

Their food arrived and Derek had never been so glad to see a thoroughly mediocre burger and soggy fries in his life. He was pretty sure that whatever time was in second place also involved Laura.

“So Derek…Stiles has really grown up, hasn’t he? I can’t help but think of him as still that little kid offering us snacks and giving you a hug. What year is he again? Sophomore, junior?” Laura asked with affected guilelessness between bites of her chicken club. Her french fries did not look soggy at all.

“He’s a senior,” Derek answered warily.

“Boy, time sure does fly doesn’t it? Do you know what colleges he’s applied to?” Derek wasn’t sure what was making him more uneasy, Laura’s smile or the direction her questions seemed to be taking. Even more confusing was why her asking about Stiles should mean anything to him.

“He’s mentioned a few. UC Davis, University of Washington, Ithaca, Brandeis, Rutgers…a few others.” There were actually fifteen more schools that Stiles had mentioned he applied to, but the more he listed the more light headed Derek began to feel.

“Wow, that’s all across the country, isn’t it?” That smile. Laura thought she knew something.

“I’m pretty sure he just got on a roll with the applications and applied to anywhere that looked remotely interesting. You know how he gets with projects,” he said, his voice sounding far away to his ears. He shook his head as Laura continued on.

“Not really, but I suppose you would know. But still, he could end up all the way on the East coast. That’d be a pretty exiting change for him, right?”

“I’m pretty sure he’d want to stay closer to his dad.” Derek felt like he couldn’t get enough air into his lungs, he could feel the bones shift in his hands…

“No, I bet he’d like the chance to have some real freedom. A cute guy like him is going to be real popular with all the college girls. Or guys, right?”

Heads throughout the diner swiveled to look at the twins’ booth as a low growl made its way out of Derek’s throat unbidden.

Laura continued to smile, a little smug, a little sad.

“Oh brother mine. You may have a mate waiting for you whether you like it or not.”

*

Derek went back to work, but the chance of him getting anything accomplished was shot to hell. He didn’t even think he could handle even a routine traffic stop at this point. It seemed so wrong… but it made sense. He didn’t want it to, he didn’t want this at all, but once Laura said it he knew it was true. Just her talking about the possibility of someone else touching Stiles made him want to feel the flesh of the interloper give way beneath his teeth, to teach them not to touch what was his.

He wondered what he would have done if Stiles had actually dated anyone around town before. Would he have been pushed to realize the truth sooner or was he already too far gone that he would have hurt someone? Luckily Stiles didn’t date. Sure he waxed poetic about Lydia Martin, but Derek knew that was all one sided. He had thought that his frustration with hearing Stiles talk about her was just a combination of anger on his friend’s behalf that no one was able to appreciate what a great guy Stiles was, and just being sick of having to listen to rapturous descriptions of the girl’s looks and brilliance for what seemed like hours on end. Obviously, in retrospect those assumptions were incorrect.

Stiles hadn’t come back with his father from lunch, apparently opting to get a jumpstart on some schoolwork. Derek felt that he should be relieved, that he wouldn’t be confronted with Stiles, having realized that he was…it was just better that he wasn’t there for now. Still, he could smell Stiles in the air, the residual scent of Stiles permeating the station house due to his frequent visits. It calmed Derek a little and helped to clear his head from its fog, but it was like having tofu when you wanted steak; it sustained but didn’t satisfy.

Having Laura point out everything was, despite the serious of the circumstances, somehow still more embarrassing than anything else. She was still worried about him enough to keep her gloating about being right to a minimum…but even a minimal amount of Laura’s gloating was plenty. Just going by what she had observed she was able to break everything down like she had a prepared checklist. Derek honestly wouldn’t be surprised if by the time he got home she would have made a PowerPoint presentation to show their parents.

But even if she couldn’t keep down her smirk completely, everything she said made sense. Derek didn’t like people outside of pack in his personal space, except for Stiles who seemed to think he had an open invitation to take up permanent residence. In general Derek tried not to concern himself too much with the feelings of others, or what they thought of him, but whenever he somehow manages to upset Stiles he tried to immediately make amends. Derek frequently felt more at peace at work than at home, because even though pack was there, Stiles scent wasn’t. And while Laura obviously couldn’t have known this part, Derek had been having dreams that involved him licking a path between moles on someone’s face and neck: someone who he had convinced himself each time he woke up couldn’t have been Stiles.

Derek was completely lost in his own head, wondering how he could have missed something so obvious. Something that was, the more he thought about it, so right. He didn’t realize Sheriff Stilinski was standing in front of him till the man put his hand on Derek’s shoulder.

“Derek? You alright son?” He asked, a look of concern on his face.

“I’m alright, I’m just…” What was Derek again? In love with and subconsciously lusting after his boss’s teenage son? Realizing that everything he’d been afraid of and denied himself was happening anyway? Feeling foolish? Feeling elated, terrified, finally-

“Derek, I think you should go home for the day. You don’t look so hot,” the Sheriff said gently.

“But I don’t get sick,” Derek weakly protested, knowing that he should just go. He needed to go home and get his head straight.

He needed to talk to his parents.

“There’s a first time for everything. Go home, get some rest, let Amelia mother you a little, alright?”

“Alright,” Derek conceded. “I should be fine for tomorrow though.”

“Just feel better, OK? You don’t do anyone good, least of all yourself, working ill.”

Not for the first time it occurred to Derek that the Sheriff tended to act paternalistic towards him at times. It was understandable since they had known each other since Derek was a kid, but now he hoped to look at it as encouraging. Like he was already part of the family.

Derek really should leave before he tried to hug his employer.

Sheriff Stilinski started walking back to his office as Derek gathered up his things to leave, but paused in the doorway.

“Oh, and Derek, don’t worry if you’re not feeling better by tomorrow. I’ll send Stiles over with some soup.”

He closed the door to his office as Derek tried to remember how to move.

He needed to talk to his mother now.

Chapter Text

John thought he was pretty good at dealing with a wide range of different situations. For one thing, being the Sheriff for seven years had shown him the true capacity of human nature, both in the positive and negative. And being the father to a kid like Stiles had pretty much prepared him for anything else. In theory at least.

John had never, not for one moment in his life, regretted that Stiles was his son. When other parents at the sixth grade talent show stared at him with bewildered pity after Stiles performed he just felt bad for them; that they would never be lucky enough to have a son who would perform a dramatic reenactment of Molly Pitcher during the Battle of Monmouth, portraying everyone from Molly and her husband, other soldiers, and even the cannonballs, just because his mom had once told him the story one time when he had said girls weren’t tough. What did the other parents have? Just a kid who begrudgingly tap danced to ‘Tea for Two’, or played ‘Moonlight Sonata’ very, very badly. Stiles was one of a kind.

That didn’t mean that there weren’t times that being a father to Stiles wasn’t a little…trying.

Like the time he wanted a pet rat, but decided instead of getting a nice, clean one from a pet store he tried to catch his own, and soon after discovered the joy of getting multiple rabies shots in the stomach. Or the time he convinced Scott that the best way to show that they were grown up enough to not need a babysitter was to shave like real men. Only they were seven at the time so the only thing they had available to shave was their heads. Luckily Melissa McCall was, due to her profession and already prolonged exposure to Stiles, not particularly prone to freaking out when Stiles accidentally nicked Scott’s ear.

And the time right now, where he was trying to find a way to ask if Stiles has been ineptly trying to flirt with one of his deputies. Awkward as hell, but still, he’d take it over the rat any day.

They were almost finished with their food (Stiles did, in fact steal most of his fries. He could say that it was for John’s own good all he wanted, but he didn’t have to obviously enjoy them that much.) when John finally mustered up the will to broach the subject.

“So Stiles…you still interested in that Martin girl?”

“Yes? I mean yeah, of course Lydia’s fantastic. How could anyone not be interested? Um… why are you asking? Cause it’s not like I’m going to get her pregnant cause she’s with Jackson, but I really wouldn’t worry that he’s gonna get her pregnant either, cause she’s way too secret smart and methodical to let Jackson even touch her if there was a chance to…not that I know what they do. Or what anyone does. Not that anyone does anything. Some things are best saved for the marriage bed, right dad?” Stiles rambled, finally grabbing the rest of his french dip and shoving it in his mouth as if to stop himself from speaking.

As Stiles attempted to chew the overlarge chunk of sandwich, it occurred to John that maybe he should have initiated this conversation later in the day. At least then it’d be much easier to justify wishing he had a beer right now. Or something stronger.

“That wasn’t what I was asking, though I suppose it’s good to know I won’t be a grandfather anytime soon. And just so you know, I was so relieved to hear that, I actually didn’t hear a single word of anything you said afterwards.”

Stiles managed to swallow his food, and then promptly took a giant swig of soda. “It wasn’t anything worth listening to anyway. So what were you trying to ask?”

“Well, I had just been wondering if you still had a crush on Lydia, or if your affections had been at least partially transferred elsewhere. Possibly to someone we both know pretty well.”

A spot of color appeared on Stiles’ cheeks, at least partially confirming John’s suspicions. Maya had been the same way, never able to truly hold anything back.

Funny how seeing her in Stiles didn’t hurt as much as it used to.

For his part Stiles was, for lack of any other distractions having finished off both his food and drink, fishing the ice cubes out of his glass and crunching down on them, one by one.

“Stiles?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Stiles said carefully around a piece of ice.

“So if I said that the other day Derek was showing me pictures of his new girlfriend on his phone…” John trailed off as Stiles looked like John had kicked an entire box full of puppies right in front of him, before trying to school his face back into ‘disinterested teenager’. Even if John was being generous, it was only marginally successful at best.

“I’d call you a liar, because Derek is somehow even worse off with the functions on his phone than you are. He didn’t even know his phone had a camera function till two weeks ago, and that was only because I showed him.”

“I know, I saw you trying to teach him how to use it. And then I saw you make him take a picture with you.”

Stiles gave up on the ice and dropped his head to his hands. “Why are you asking me this stuff? Can’t you let your own son pine in peace?”

“Pining- how long have you had a crush on Derek that it’s moved on the full on pining already? I swore you were head over heels for Lydia for years.”

“My affections may have run concurrent for a couple years. Like maybe six of them.”

John stared at his son. “Six years.”

“Well it’s not like I was two-timing as I wasn’t actually dating either one. So it’s no big deal.”

“Stiles,” John sighed, “why didn’t you ever tell me about this? Lord knows I’ve heard enough about the finer attributes of Lydia Martin over the years. And you know I don’t have a problem with your liking boys. We discovered that the time you forgot to clear the browser history, remember?”

“Yes, that was a very mortifying yet touching Stilinski men moment that I really wish you would never bring up ever again.” Stiles took a breath and continued. “The thing is, I tried talking to Scott about it when I was twelve, but he just got that really confused look on his face, you know the one, right?” John nodded wearily. “Not like mean or judgy or anything, but I just kinda figured it was easier to just try and focus on the girl who was my own age instead of the guy who was five years older. And Lydia kinda had to put up with me no matter what because of school, but what if Derek didn’t like the idea of some little kid having a crush on him? That he let me hang out with him sometimes was so much more than any highschooler had to do. If he stopped letting me be around him I don’t know what I would have…and then he went to college, and then he started working for you…there just never seemed to be a good reason or time to bring it up. And you know, the fact I have even less of a chance with him than with Lydia,” Stiles said, not a little sadly.

So John had his suspicions proven correct and then some, but now he was at a loss for what to do. This sounded very different from when he talked about Lydia. Even if he went on about how a jerk like Jackson didn’t deserve her, he would talk a mile a minute, filled with righteous indignation on her behalf. He never looked like the lost and scared kid he had long since grown out of being. He looked at Stiles across the booth, now staring forlornly at a smear of ketchup on his plate.

“Stiles…I want you to be happy.”

“I know dad,” Stiles said with a watery smile.

John turned to look out the window. “You’re going to turn eighteen in a few weeks.”

“Dad?”

“I’m not going to pimp my deputy out to you. Or vise versa. But if two adults who I know to be good men want to try and make something work, well, that’s just fine by me,” John said firmly.

Stiles gaped at John. “Dad, it’s great to know my great nonexistent homosexual romance has your blessing, but the nonexistent part is still really the main issue.”

“You saying you’re not happy to have my blessing?”

“There’s nothing to bless!”

“Your mother and I danced around each other for ages before we…I’m just saying if you do want to try, I’ll support you alright? Emotionally, I meant it about not pimping either of you out.”

“Dad, that’s actually…thank you dad.” John reached across the table and took hold of Stiles’ hand.

“No problem Stiles,” He said with a squeeze.

“But please never say the word pimp in conjecture with me or anyone I know ever again. Some things a son just isn’t meant to hear come out of his father’s mouth,” Stiles said, returning the squeeze.

*

Stiles decided to go home instead of back to the station house, and John pretended that his given reason of wanting to get ahead on some chemistry work wasn’t just an excuse.

He went into his office and started on the budgetary paperwork that he had been putting off for ages. He didn’t foresee any problems for this year, but it was a pain in the ass to have to justify everything from new tac vests and training to an increase in the number of staples they anticipated using.

After about forty-five minutes of soul sucking itemizing John decided he deserved a coffee break for a job nowhere near done, let alone done well.

He grabbed his mug, one that Stiles had made for him at some pottery painting place that used to be downtown when he was in elementary school. Hence why it said “World’s Best Dad” on it, and also featured a crudely painted depiction of Batman. Every other Christmas someone around the station would try to gift him a new one that always ended up on the community use shelf.

After John had doctored his coffee to something vaguely drinkable, (and making a mental note to see if he could sneak a new coffee maker into the budget), he started back to his office, stopping when something caught his eye.

Deputy Derek Hale…did not look good.

His chair was positioned as if he had just sat down or was preparing to get up, but it had been that way since John first went for his coffee. And as John walked closer he could see that Derek’s face was at least two shades paler than it should be. His eyes, though seeming to be aimed at the increasingly uneasy looking Deputy Bern’s desk, were glazed and unfocused.

John walked over, blocking Derek’s sightline to Bern’s desk, much to the other Deputy’s obvious relief. Derek didn’t acknowledge his presence, until John reached out to touch his shoulder.

“Derek? You alright son?” John asked.

Derek started and his eyes unclouded, looking more alert, but still not resembling the serious and responsible man John knew.

“I’m alright, I’m just…” Derek started but trailed off, a lost look coming over his face.

“Derek, I think you should go home for the day. You don’t look so hot.” He actually looked like his world had just been upended, but John wasn’t sure how well actually saying that would go over.

“But I don’t get sick,” Derek protested weakly.

“There’s a first time for everything. Go home, get some rest, let Amelia mother you a little, alright?” For some reason John was reminded of trying to cajole a feverish six year old Stiles into actually swallowing his medicine instead of spitting it out because it tasted bad.

“Alright,” Derek conceded. “I should be fine for tomorrow though.”

“Just feel better, OK? You don’t do anyone good, least of all yourself, working ill,” said John, and started walking back to his office. He stopped by the door to make sure Derek was actually going to leave. He thought back to his lunch with Stiles and almost couldn’t help what he said next.

“Oh, and Derek, don’t worry if you’re not feeling better by tomorrow. I’ll send Stiles over with some soup.”

He went into his office before he could see what, if any, reaction Derek had.

Still, he had kept his word. Offering to send Stiles over was just being a concerned employer, nothing at all like pimping out his son. Because Stiles was right, and that was really not a word a father should be using, no matter what the circumstances. Especially when it was not the case in any way, shape, or form.

Because that’s just weird.

He took a drink of his cooling coffee got out his cell to text Stiles.

Can you make a batch of your Mom’s chicken soup? -Dad

why u feeling sick?-Stiles

Just in case –Dad

*

Laura had called Amelia as soon as Derek left her sight so the three of them, Amelia, Justin, and Laura were ready and waiting in the living room for when he came home.

Amelia knew that this must be hard for Derek, and for him to have willfully tuned out what his instincts had been telling him was worrisome and made her heart break once more for how badly he had been used.

But she couldn’t deny that more than anything she was also just so damn happy.

Trying to stay calm, to not push, when she could feel one of her children slowly coming apart at the seams had been nigh unbearable, but now…

She knew there were real issues to be dealt with: taking the Stilinski’s into their confidence about the Hale family’s true nature, whether John would approve once he knew everything, if Stiles would want the bite or choose to stay human, or more importantly if he even felt the same for Derek as Derek felt for him. She knew that just because Derek had finally come to his senses didn’t mean things were even close to simple.

Still, Amelia couldn’t help it if the thought that kept coming to the forefront of her mind was where she could get customized cake toppers to look like Derek and Stiles.

Laura was tapping her nails impatiently against the end table, while Justin was sitting so still in his chair that Amelia knew that he was just as exited and anxious as his wife and daughter were if not more. Amelia had learned very early in their courtship, after a few misunderstandings that the more Justin held back, the more he was feeling. And right now if it wasn’t for her werewolf hearing she would have doubted that the man was even breathing.

At the sound of Derek’s car pulling up all of them perked up, but remained where they were seated. It was best for Derek to come to them.

The individual sounds of Derek coming closer each rang out with crystal clarity to his waiting family. The cessation of the car motor’s hum as he turned the key, the car door swinging open, creaking faintly, and then a dull clunk as it was slammed shut. Purposeful but uneven footsteps, at first slightly muted by earth, then clearer and hollow once they reached the porch steps. The click of a hand turning the doorknob, the protestation of the hinges, the brief whoosh of the air. The footsteps coming closer as the door slowly falls back into place with a small thud. And then he’s there in the room.

Derek. Her poor, lost, little boy.

“Will you come sit with me Derek? I think you know what we would all like to talk about,” Amelia said as she patted the space next to her on the sofa.

He walked to her, pale and noticeably shaky. When he reached the sofa he didn’t sit down next to his mother. Instead he curled up on it as best he could, like he did when he was little, and laid his head in his mother’s lap. And, as when he was small, Amelia tenderly stroked his hair.

“Mom, I was wrong. I didn’t want to risk something like Kate again, because I wanted her even though I knew she wasn’t really…if I could almost let that happen with her…what if I brought another monster into our lives?”

Amelia let Derek continue, not daring to reassure him or to stop her hands ministrations to wipe away the tears trickling down her face.

“I never wanted to do anything that could ever hurt you like that again… but I was so, so wrong, I need a mate to be alright.”

“We all just want you to be whole and healthy Derek,” Justin said stiffly, as he rose to stand behind the sofa and put a hand on Derek’s shoulder.

“I need Stiles. How could I not realize I need Stiles? He’s the farthest thing from a monster there could be. I need to be with him. What will I do when he leaves and finds someone? Even if I didn’t know what he was to me…he still helped me just by being.

“You don’t know that he’ll find someone else,” Amelia said gently.

“He will. Because he’s secretly wonderful. It’s a miracle no one’s tried to take him from me already,” Derek said with such sincerity that Amelia couldn’t help but smile at the affection that had always been an undercurrent when Derek spoke about Stiles, but was now there plainly on the surface. Honestly the whole family was responsible for missing the obvious.

“Well you just have make sure he doesn’t want to find anyone else.” Laura said, having migrated closer and taking one of Derek’s hand’s in hers. “Now that we all know that I was right, you have to take control instead of this slow decay business you’ve embraced for years.” She went on, ignoring the glares of both her parents.

“Now is the time for you to get your act together and start courting. I’m sure everyone here agrees that Stiles is a guy who deserves a proper wooing.”

Chapter Text

Derek felt like he hadn’t quite caught up with the situation at hand, which seemed very wrong as he was a pretty integral part of everything. It wasn’t enough that in the course of a few hours he had realized that:

A. He loved Stiles and was his mate.

B. That Stiles’ omnipresence in his life had actually been the only thing keeping him from falling completely off the deep end.

C. And that he must really be as sad of an excuse of a wolf as Laura had liked to call him when they were kids if he had missed all of that for so long.

The only solace he could find in everything was that Laura had decided to postpone the bulk of her gloating in favor of giving Derek a crash course in romance. She had even found a whiteboard and marker to illustrate her points. He was relatively sure she had bought them on her way home.

Derek decided that it was really only a solace if you looked at it from a certain angle. He wished to god he could find that angle right now.

“So first what we really should do is establish what the baseline is for your current interactions with Stiles so that we can evolve from there. The fact that you’ve already been friends for years with him is good, but we need to move beyond that as smoothly and quickly as possible,” Laura said.

Derek nodded dumbly from his seat in the center of the couch, his parents on either side of him.

“So?” Laura prompted, “I know what it was like when he was a kid, but what would you say your normal interaction with Stiles is like now?”

“We…talk?” Laura shot him an exasperated look. “We talk a lot when he’s at the station. Or when we run into each other around town we’ll usually talk for about ten, fifteen minutes. Or more. And after lacrosse games I usually end up talking to him, sometimes we get pizza after that. And we text each other occasionally.”

“Define occasionally.”

“At least every other day? Usually every day.”

“And? Anything else?” Laura asked.

“Sometimes I’ll get him a soda or something from the vending machine because it never works for him. And once in awhile he’ll bake stuff, and sometimes will hide it from everyone else at the station and only give some to me and his dad, so in return I’ve brought him some of mom’s chocolate chip meringue cookies when she makes a big batch. And a few times we’ve gone out to lunch together. A bunch of times we’ve gone to the movies together, because we both wanted to see the same thing. And I took him and Scott to the beach once or twice this past summer because Stiles’ Jeep was in the shop. Actually, I remember that Scott was sick the second time so it was just me and Stiles,” Derek smiled at the memory. “He forgot his sunscreen so I had to keep putting mine on him. You guys know how easily he sunburns.”

Laura had a pained look on her face, and used her free hand to massage her temples. “While it is excellent to know who has been taking more than their fair share of cookies-”

“He just really likes them, and it’s not like mom doesn’t always make plenty, so I thought-“Derek began in his defense.

“But really, the problem is that when you lay out all of your everyday interactions with Stiles, it already looks like something that would be considered by other people, namely ones not completely oblivious to every single one of their human and werewolf senses, as the foundations of a pretty solid flirtation. What we need to think about is a way to step it up gracefully without going too much too fast, because while I am certain we’ll get you your mate, I am admittedly not 100% sure on how Stiles would react to just leaving you naked on his doorstep with a few strategically placed bows on.”

“Laura please don’t even joke about stripping and decoratively trussing up your brother. Everyone has had a very trying day,” Amelia said wearily.

“Who says I was joking? It’s not like I was planning to lead with it, just keep it as a possible fallback.”

Derek felt like his body was currently being torn between flushing red with embarrassment or going green with nausea. He wondered distractedly if the colors would combine to make brown or if he would just pass out first.

“I know Derek appreciates your help,” Justin said, “but maybe we should just let him rest for the night? Laura, you remember how you felt when you first discovered Mark, and that was nowhere near as…delicate as the situation we have right now is. Why don’t we just let Derek rest for the night and start planning on how to help him win Stiles’ affections tomorrow.”

“Fine. The three of us will brainstorm while Derek sleeps off his years of foolish behavior.” She swept out of the room, Justin sighing and following her into the kitchen. It sounded like Laura’s urge to gloat was starting to edge out her desire to be helpful, or at least what she considered helpful.

“It’s good to see that you’re really aiming for the high road in all this,” Derek grumbled as he clumsily rose from the couch. His limbs felt like jello, as if during the day, instead of finding out his mate had been right in front of him for years, he had spent the entire day standing still while every heavy weight champ who had ever lived or ever would live lined up and given him body blow after body blow.

“She does mean well in her own way,” said Amelia as she helped Derek steady himself. “You two have always been similar enough that the differences you do have just seem to stand out so starkly, and both the similarities and differences are the sorts that…can potentially lead to conflict.”

“You’re very diplomatic mom. If you went into politics you could be the first werewolf ambassador to China,” Derek said as his mother walked with him up the stairs to his room, her hands on his arm, not helping him up the stairs, just…with him.

“First werewolf ambassador that you know of,” she said with a small chuckle. They had reached the door to Derek’s room. Derek reached for the doorknob but paused, and turned to face his mother.

“In what way am I so different from Laura?”

“Well, Laura has always gone through life with the brash conviction that no matter what, she knows what’s best and it’s her duty to show others what she believes is the truth, no matter what. She’s the next Alpha, and was made to stand on her own if she truly needs to. She would not do well without Mark in her life, but she would manage eventually. But you… you’re fragile in a way that she’s not.

You feel things so deeply, and I want you to know that that doesn’t make you weak; what it means you can give so much more as well. You’re good at your job because you care, even if you try to hide it, you care so much. You want to protect people, but you need someone to look out for you as well. You need someone to balance you, to take all that you have to give and give it right back to you, enhanced and stronger and complete. I’ve known since you were very little that things were going to be harder for you in life than they would be for Laura.”

“Mom…”

“But I also knew you could have such a wonderful, richer life if you only let yourself.” Amelia reached out and took hold of Derek’s head, gently guiding him down so she could press a kiss onto his forehead.

“I want you to be happy. I want you and Stiles to have a truly wonderful life together. And everyone in this family will help the best that they can to make that life come to fruition. Because we’re your family, and we know that you deserve this love.”

Amelia released her soft grip on Derek and went back down the stairs, leaving Derek alone. He went into his room closing the door behind him. He made his way to the bed, leaving his shoes and clothes wherever they fell as he stripped them off until he was completely nude. He got underneath the covers and laid down, letting all of the exhaustion of the day over take him.

Derek dreams of running through the woods as his wolf, the sounds of the forest vacillating between silent and cacophonous, the smells revolting and fetid, when suddenly he catches a new scent on the wind. He follows it through miles of trees, over streams and rocks, through the underbrush and across trails long abandoned by humans until he finally reaches the source. Where he should be out of place, but is instead perfect and right, is Stiles, waiting for him in the roots of a massive tree, unclothed and calm. Stiles rises up to greet him, whiskey eyes shining as stray shafts of sunlight touch his face. Derek remains perfectly still, not so much as twitching his tail until Stiles reaches him, bends down, and kisses him tenderly on the snout. He then lies down on the ground, which had moments ago been uneven rocks and dirt, but is now soft moss. He presents himself before Derekthewolf, thewolfDerek, and tilts his head at an angle to expose the tendons in his neck. The wolf carefully and methodically licks Stiles all over his face and neck, and when the wolf is satisfied Derek transforms back into a man. He lies down beside Stiles and takes him in his arms, and pulls his mate close ‘til they are flush one against the other. Derek can feel the blood pulsing through Stiles’ veins, every flutter of breathe though his lungs, the relaxed strength of his muscles beneath his warm skin. He kisses Stiles slow and sweet, their lips moving together not as a prelude to something else, but just to be. Derek reluctantly breaks away from Stiles’ mouth, and instead begins to pepper his chin, jaw and neck with tiny kisses, stopping when his face reaches the crook between Stiles’ shoulder and his neck. He breathes deep, savoring the heady scent and says:

“I would have you if you would have me. Oh god if you would have me…”

When Derek woke up it was still dark out, he was hard, and his face was wet with tears.

*

As he turned onto the dirt road that lead up to the Hale house, three quarts of special Stilinski homemade chicken soup beneath the passenger seat next to him, Stiles was pretty sure he should be having some strong feelings toward his father right now; he just wasn’t sure if he should be pissed off or thankful. Because whatever his dad was thinking, sending Stiles out as an angel of soup dispensing mercy, he knew that it had to do with their lunchtime conversation from the day before. And as mortifying as that conversation had been on its own merits, reconfirming that Stiles should really get over all none platonic Derek related feelings, because once he said it out loud it was even more obvious that his feelings being returned in any way whatsoever was so, so far beyond a lost cause, the thought that his dad may actually have gone back on his word and was trying to play some sort matchmaker was even more unsettling.

Though at least matchmaker was a better word than pimp. The situation itself was still pretty disconcerting, but if nothing else at least Stiles could improve the vocabulary.

Stiles had admitted to himself some time ago that what he felt for Derek surpassed what he felt for Lydia, even if both of them were equally out of his reach. A hopeless case anyway he looked at it. But even if he knew it was completely stupid and impossible and something he should be getting over, so that when he went to college he wouldn’t end up making a creepy dorm room shrine to his not-boyfriend back home and traumatizing any and all potential roommates, he still wanted to see Derek. Wanted to see him, wanted to be around him all the time, wanted to fill him up with the most delicious chicken soup ever created in the history of humankind.

To be completely honest the list of things that Stiles wanted involving Derek was fairly extensive, ranging from wanting to watch the extended editions of The Lord of The Rings trilogy all in one sitting curled up in one another on the sofa, to wearing dorky themed Halloween costumes together, to dropping to his knees and taking Derek’s cock into his mouth and making him moan like Stiles was the best thing to ever happen to him.

About four years ago Stiles had caught a glimpse of Derek naked when he had been visiting the Hale house while Derek was back on a break from school. Stiles had gotten there earlier then Derek was expecting, and had gone straight up to Derek’s room where he got an eyeful of Derek changing after a shower. Stiles was pretty sure he remembered making some sort of knee jerk crack about covering up, but that half second peek had been incredibly influential on his journey of physical self discovery up to and including the present day.

Though he really should stay away from those thoughts before he popped a boner in front of Derek’s parents. They had always been extremely welcoming of Stiles and indulgent in regards to some of his more excitable tendencies, but climbing up on their roof and getting stuck there when he was twelve was a very different situation than sporting an erection inspired by their son. Not that they would know it was a Derek inspired erection. Would they? What if they could somehow guess it was a Derek related erection like his dad now would?

As he parked in front of the house Stiles was glad that if nothing else, the thought of the majority of the parental figures in his life contemplating his junk ensured that his pants would be fitting properly for the near future. He hadn’t even needed to think of the time Scott’s mom took him aside and told him it was completely natural, and not to be ashamed, after she had seen him get up for a drink of water after a pretty vivid dream during what Stiles always thought of as the most awkward sleepover ever.

Stiles killed the engine and walked around the front of the car to grab the soup. Once he had managed to get them all in his arms he remembered that he had brought the soup out to the Jeep in two trips, and that there had been a pretty good reason for that. He stepped back and closed the door with a hip check, and then carefully walked up to the house’s front door, taking extra care on the second step that Mr. Hale had checked out and swore was even but still managed to trip up Stiles on at least a third of his visits. When he actually got to the front door and realized that neither knocking nor ringing the bell were really viable options. He was weighing which would be marginally less rude, kicking the door or yelling when Laura suddenly opened the door with a broad smile on her face. And while Stiles liked, and more importantly had a healthy respect for Laura, for some reason this smile made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end, being that it was a hell of a lot closer to manic than welcoming.

Maybe she was just really glad the soup was here. Stiles decided he was going to go with that piece of reasoning for his own peace of mind.

“Stiles, so good to see you! And you brought us soup,” so it looked like Stiles had been right on that front, “You brought us a lot of soup.”

“Well, I wasn’t sure how sick Derek was, or if anyone else was sick, and it’s really good soup. Like, really good. Soup of the deities of your choice good. I would never bring over inferior soup for you guys,” Stiles said, wishing Laura would move so he could go in and set down said superior soup.

For some reason whatever he said brought another superficially pleasant, but still slightly unsettling expression onto Laura’s face, though at least she made a move to usher him into the house.

“It is so sweet of you to bring this over for Derek, and to even be thinking of the rest of us as well,” said Laura as Stiles followed her into the kitchen.

“Well, it’s easier to make the soup in large batches, and of course I like all of your family,” Stiles said as he entered the kitchen, nodding to Justin and Amelia, both seated at the kitchen table, coffee mugs in hand. “Can someone give me hand? I don’t want to drop them.”

“Sure Stiles,” said Justin, getting up and taking the two containers that Stiles had the least secure grip on and setting them on the kitchen table.

“Thanks Mr. Hale.”

“Mom, dad, did you hear how Stiles saying how much he likes our family?” Laura asked, looking like she was either desperately holding back a wink or had developed some kind of a facial tic.

“Laura are you getting sick too? You seem a little…different today,” Stiles said, hoping he had chosen his words carefully enough.

“Laura just stayed up much too late working on something last night,” said Justin. “Laura, why don’t I help you tidy up what you were working on and then you can take a nap or something.”

“Yes! Yeah dad, if you could help me clean up that would be great. Don’t want things to be messy when we have guests around,” Laura said, practically sprinting out of the room, her father following at a much more sedate pace behind her after giving a rueful look to his wife.

“Always good to see you Stiles,” he said with a nod as he exited the kitchen.

Stiles stood, unsure of what he should do. Everyone was acting so weird he wasn’t sure if he should just go, but…he still wanted to check on Derek and make sure he was ok.

“Why don’t you sit down for awhile Stiles? We can check on Derek in a little bit, I just feel it’s so long since I had a chance to talk with you,” Amelia said as she got up and retrieved a covered plate from the counter. “I made some chocolate chip meringue cookies if you’d like some.”

Stiles sat down, as a guarantee he could see Derek later and chocolate chip meringue cookies were both pretty compelling reasons for him to stay. Derek more than the cookies of course; but still, cookies.

“It’s hard to believe how grown up you’ve become. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday you were getting lost in the woods trying to visit Derek on your own.”

“Hey, I was, like, ten. Ten year olds do some inadvisable stuff, but they get away with it by virtue of still being on the cusp of being adorable,” Stiles said grabbing a cookie.

“Inadvisable like hugging someone you barely know in a police station?” asked Amelia as she sipped her coffee.

“Ye-yeah. Stuff like that. But it was adorable right?” joked Stiles, praying that the Stilinski family’s blushing reflex would give him a break today.

“Yes, it was. I’ve always thought you and Derek were sweet together,” Amelia said, and yup, there was that blush coming on full force. Amelia smiled over her coffee cup.

“That’s…good to know? I always strove to leave people with enjoyable childhood memories of myself, and now that the window on that is pretty much closed, it’s nice to know I was successful,” said Stiles. He took another cookie, because if his mouth was full that meant he would have to stop talking.

“Well, you should certainly feel proud of you successes, but I didn’t mean just when you were children.” Stiles choked on his cookie. “Stiles, are you alright? Do you need something to drink?” Asked Amelia with concern.

“Yeah, water please,” Stiles coughed out as Amelia was already up and pouring him a glass. “Thank you,” he said as she handed it to him and took a big gulp. “Crumb went down the wrong way,” said Stiles as he took another drink.

“I thought as much. Are you alright now?”

“I’m fine Mrs. Hale, thanks.” Stiles took a last swig of the water and set the glass down.

“So…how is Derek? He seemed ok when I was with him yesterday, but my dad said he was looking really bad later that afternoon. And I can’t remember Derek getting sick ever. I remember when I had that really bad bug when I was thirteen he stayed overnight to look after me so my dad could go to work, and he wasn’t worried about getting sick at all. Pissed that I got snot all over him yes, because, snot, but he didn’t care if I coughed in his face. My dad was even wearing one of those flu masks around me for a couple days.”

“The Hale family has always had a very healthy immune system. It’s very rarely that anything affects us, so Derek probably didn’t even think to be worried,” Amelia said.

Stiles felt his stomach drop. “But that means if he’s actually sick now, it must be something really bad. Has he been to the doctor? Should he be in the hospital? I can call Mrs. McCall and ask if she has any advice or anything-“

“Stiles, you don’t have to worry. Just because we hardly ever get sick doesn’t mean that it can’t happen every so often.”

“A ‘once in a blue moon’ sort of thing?” Stiles asked, trying to feel less worried at Amelia’s words, but not really succeeding.

He’d feel much better if he could see Derek himself.

“Probably not the phrasing this family would use,” Amelia said, a small smile back on her face, “but yes, let’s go with that.”

“So do you know what’s wrong with him?” Stiles asked.

“Yes..it’s not contagious, and… he should be good as new very soon hopefully,” Amelia said, seeming to take great care with what she said. “In fact, you coming today could help him immensely in getting better.”

“You really think my soup is going to help that much?” Stiles asked, pleased at the thought.

Amelia started and glanced to where the soup containers sat on the table as if she had forgotten they were there. “Ah, yes. Yes I do. Excellent soup.”

“It has parsnips in it,” Stiles volunteered when Amelia remained silent for what felt like a few beats too long. “Lots of vitamins.”

“Wonderful. Wonderful soup from a wonderful young man.”

“Mrs. Hale?” Stiles asked. While Amelia had always been very fond of Stiles, even people who liked Stiles generally stopped short of calling him wonderful.

“Why don’t I go see if Derek’s feeling well enough to come down and have some soup. Would you mind heating some up for him?” Amelia asked standing up from the table.

“Sure. Everything in the same place?” asked Stiles.

“Haven’t gotten around to implementing the grand reorganization plan yet, so yes. I’ll be down with Derek in a few minutes.” She smiled at Stiles and left the kitchen, leaving Stiles to his own devices.

Stiles rose from his seat and went over to open the pantry door and grabbed a small saucepan from the pot hooks on the wall. He set it on the stovetop and popped the lid on one of the soup containers and poured about a third of the soup into the pot. He knew that on a good day Derek could pack it away like nobody’s business, but if he wasn’t feeling good it was better to start at least a little smaller. He set the saucepan on the front burner and turned the heat up to the second lowest setting. He replaced the lid on the remaining soup and put it and the other two full containers in the fridge.

He then went to the china cabinet and pulled out the soup bowl with a chip in the rim that Derek always seemed to favor for some reason. One time when he had been over for dinner Stiles had been helping set the table and had accidently set Derek’s bowl at Laura’s spot. As soon as Derek walked into the kitchen and saw the placement, he had gone and swapped bowls without a word.

He was just closing the silverware drawer after taking out a soupspoon when he heard someone enter the kitchen behind him.

“Hey Derek!” he said happily as he spun around.

“Hey Stiles,” said Derek, and boy Stiles’ dad had not been kidding when he said Derek wasn’t looking that hot.

Well actually he still looked unfairly and devastatingly hot to Stiles, but he most definitely looked unwell.

His eyes were red, almost like he’d been crying, though Stiles knew that couldn’t be the reason, with dark circles beneath them, standing out starkly from a face that was a few good shades paler than normal. His hair was mussed and his stubble was heavier than he usually kept it. He was barefoot, and was wearing a battered pair of sweatpants paired with a Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Department t-shirt with the collar partially separated from the actual shirt.

He was still the most beautiful thing Stiles thought he could ever hope to see.

“So we have soup! It should be ready in a minute, so just sit down, you look like you’re about to keel over,” Stiles said as he set the spoon on the table next to the bowl and went to stir the soup, telling himself that just because you thought someone had attractive toes, it didn’t mean you were a fetishist.

“Yeah, I didn’t sleep all that well last night,” said Derek. Stiles heard the scrape of a chair against the floor tile and a small exhalation from Derek as dropped into the seat and continued stirring the soup.

“So what’s wrong? Was it coughing, sneezing, vomiting, some horrific combination of the three? Are there lesions? You can tell Dr. Stiles, I’m tough. When others passed out during fetal pig dissections I just turned a charming shade of green.” Stiles turned off the burner and brought the soup over to Derek was sitting ramrod straight at the table and poured it into his bowl. “Seriously, what’s wrong? You never get sick. When my dad told me he had to send you home I thought something had happened to him and that he was having hallucinations or something.”

Derek looked up at Stiles with eyes that could only be described as vulnerable. Derek was a lot of things, most of them wonderful to Stiles’ mind, but vulnerable had never been one of them before. He stared at Stiles and opened his mouth as if to say something but then closed it with a grimace and cast his eyes down to the steaming bowl of soup. Stiles sighed, and on impulse reached out and stroked Derek’s hair.

Stiles froze. He had just pet Derek.

Derek didn’t snap or duck his head away. If anything he appeared to lean slightly into Stiles’ touch. Stiles guessed that any comfort you could get when you’re feeling as bad as Derek seemed to be was good enough. Figuring if he’s in for a penny he’s in for a pound, Stiles indulged himself and caressed Derek one more time before taking his hand away.

“You should eat your soup. Get your strength back up.”

Stiles walked away from the table to set the saucepan in the sink when Derek spoke up.

“Would you stay with me awhile?”

“Su-sure,” Stiles said, the voice in his head alternating between cheering and yelling the words ‘only platonic’ in quick succession. He went to the chair opposite Derek and sat down. “I want to see how much you appreciate the brilliance that is my soup.”

Derek picked up his spoon and took a small sip. “It’s good,” he said, giving Stiles a small smile. “Is there parsnip in this?”

Stiles beamed. “You, my good man, are a connoisseur.”

Chapter Text

As Stiles chatted away and Derek ate his soup, he thought that it was probably the best meal he had ever eaten in his entire life. The smell of Stiles permeating the kitchen mingled with the smells of home and pack and family, in a way it never quite had before. Or maybe it had always been like this when Stiles was over, and it had just been so right and natural, and Stiles had just fit in so seamlessly that Derek had never bothered to think why. It was yet another obvious sign he had missed, but he couldn’t feel all that upset about his past failures when his mate was right across from him, his voice rising and falling as he talked about whatever came to his mind while Derek ate every last spoonful of his soup.

The fact that the soup was really, truly, good was just a bonus. Of course it could have tasted like dishwater and he still wouldn’t have wasted a drop, though the actual taste was definitely preferable.

“You know, I think you already look way better than you did when you first came downstairs,” Stiles said, having come to the end of his latest tale of lacrosse and Scott related shenanigans.

And Derek realized, that he could just say it, say it now, and forget about all of Laura’s ridiculous plans about going slow and wooing…

“It’s because you’re here,” Derek said, relived that Stiles couldn’t hear his heart beating in his chest. And as for Stiles, his face pinked, his heart rate jumped even higher, and…

And he laughed.

“Dude, I know I’m totally awesome, but I don’t think I’m a panacea.”

“No, I -,”Derek began but was interrupted by the sudden chirping of Stiles’ cell phone announcing he had a text.

“Sorry, just let me check-oh shit. I forgot, I hafta meet up with Danny and Erica at the library for our econ project, I was supposed to be there like fifteen minutes ago,” Stiles said hurriedly, pushing his chair away from the table. “Do you want me to go get your mom or someone to stay with you, cause you’re looking better, but you still don’t look goo-normal. You still don’t look like you normally do.”

Somehow, without Derek’s consent, his mouth worked on his own and said, “No, I’m fine,” when what his brain wanted to say was ‘screw your study group, stay and take care of me for the rest of our lives’. So it was probably just as well that his mouth decided to go rogue.

Stiles was now beside him, looking indecisive and bobbing back and for a few moments before lunging forward to give Derek a quick, one armed hug. His scent filled Derek’s nostrils, leaving him in such a state that he couldn’t tell if Stiles’ cheeks were red or if he was just so happy he was imagining things. By the time he was fully back to his senses Stiles was already out the kitchen doorway, calling out, “If I get sick I am holding you completely responsible!”

Derek remained seated as the heat from Stiles’ touch dissipated, and the sound of his jeep driving off drifted through the air to the kitchen, both eventually fading away completely.

“Well that certainly could have gone worse,” Laura said walking into the room.

“You were listening to everything, weren’t you?” Derek asked resignedly.

“Of course I was. Honestly what else would I be doing? In any case, I think you now understand why an actual, intentional courtship is necessary? Why should he think that you actually mean what you say when you two have been non flirting for years? Stupid boys unable to treat anything as serious.” Laura walked over to the fridge and opened the door. “I could have sworn we had more ginger ale,” She said peering inside.

“Stiles isn’t stupid,” Derek growled, his canines extending.

“Oh, it just got shoved to the back behind the soup…and in this situation he kinda is. But don’t worry, you’re stupid too, so it’s still the perfect love match,” Laura said as she took out the bottle.

“So tell me then. Tell me what I should do.” Derek asked, not begging. No matter what the look on Laura’s face said, he wasn’t begging.

Even though if he was honest with himself, should it come down to it, he would beg like the most obedient lap dog if it would help.

“For right now you’re just going to focus on an escalation of affections, so that the ambiguous flirtation song and dance you two have had going becomes decidedly unambiguous. As for any more specific plans, ask me later today. I do believe I have an ‘in’ with Stiles’ econ group.” Laura smiled as she twisted the cap off of her drink, the sound of the carbonation fizzing seeming to complement her mischievous smile.

*

Stiles stopped off at the convenience store to pick up some banana chips and iced teas for covert snacking and bribes to overlook his lateness. He felt like a criminal smuggling them in past the librarian at the desk. That would explain why his heart still felt like it was going at hummingbird speed, right? The fact that it had been like that since he hugged Derek goodbye was simply correlation, not causation.

Danny and Erica were holed up at the best table in the building, right by the windows but obscured from view of anyone actually in the library. Erica was dressed like she had a date planned after the meeting, wearing a flirty dress and makeup, in lieu of her usual fitted tee, jeans and basic tinted chapstick that she tended to favor at school. She was texting on her phone like mad, her expression ranging from dreamy smiles to confusion. When she looked up and saw Stiles she giggled and sent another text. Danny was looking over his notes, and wearing a very tight blue t-shirt. Not for the first time Stiles wished that since guys were an option, he could have fallen for Danny. He was nice, he was hot, he somehow managed to make Jackson marginally easier to be around…

But he just wasn’t Derek.

“Hey guys, sorry I’m late,” Stiles apologized with a loud whisper. “I lost track of time.”

“Doing what, may I ask?” Erica asked with a smile, tucking her phone away.

“I was um…tending to the sick and wounded of the land?”

Danny raised an eyebrow. “The land? Seriously Stiles? What are you, the lord of the manor? Anyway, you were just at the Hale house, weren’t you?”

“How-“

“You tend to get a certain expression stuck on your face when Derek is involved. Also, the only Jack’s convenience store in twenty miles is on the road between here and the woods.”

“Danny, you promised,” Stiles hissed, his eyes darting over to Erica. He confided to Danny once, at one of Jackson’s parties that he had somehow managed to get invited to by virtue of being at least technically on the lacrosse team. The Whittemore’s liquor cabinet had played a pretty key role in that confession from what little Stiles could recall.

“Don’t worry Stiles, I didn’t hear a thing. Though that shade of red is lovely on you,” said Erica.

“I’m not wearing red…oh.” Stiles lifted his hands to his face and felt the heat practically radiate off. “Arrg, can we all just pretend that the past minute was nothing but dead silence, in which nothing may or may not have been revealed and move on to something else now? I brought lateness forgiveness snacks,” he said hefting the bag. “Banana chips are ok for you, right Erica?”

“I can have a couple. I’ve been on the ketogenic diet long enough with no more seizures so Laura’s decided that this would be a good time to try weaning me off of it. I mean, it was totally and completely worth it, but it’s great that soon I can finally eat more of the yummy stuff.”

“Like when you go out to dinner with Isaac?” Asked Danny as he picked up a chip. Erica blushed.

“Ah, sweet, sweet, turnabout. Now should we get something resembling work done today or what?” Asked Stiles as he pulled out his notebook.

The rest of the meeting went smoothly, with research shared, new tasks assigned, and all snacks stealthily hidden from view every time the librarian stopped by to check on them. After a little over an hour, the last fifteen minutes of which Erica had been looking pointedly between her watch and the setting sun outside, they decided to call it done for the day. Danny, realizing what time it actually was booked it out of there, saying he had to pick up a cake for his parents anniversary party before the bakery closed, while Stiles and Erica stayed to clean up the debris from the session.

“So Erica…” Stiles began hesitantly, “before you go, I just wanna clear up what Danny was joking about earlier.”

“What joke? You mean about you panting after Deputy Hale?” Erica asked with a smile. Like it wasn’t a big deal.

“Erica, I’m serious, I’m really, really, serious. I know Laura is like your mentor or whatever, and I’m sure the idea that I could ever have a chance with Derek is hilarious, but you can’t tell her like it’s some sort of joke, cause it’s not to me. I know it’s stupid, and I just have to get over it, but…please.” Stiles felt like if he talked anymore he might actually cry. He didn’t know what he was doing, he was supposed to be trying to get over his feelings for Derek, not making borderline tearful confessions to a classmate.

“Stiles, I…I would never…I promise I won’t joke about it to Laura, I wouldn’t... I know how cruel people can be, I would never want to be like that,” Erica said, a little shaken. “Your feelings aren’t a joke and I won’t make them one.”

“Well, yeah they are a bit of a joke, not in the ‘funny ha ha’ sense, more in the ‘this is so far beyond the realm of viability’. But even though I know that, if you tell Laura, she’ll tell Derek and…I just want to keep being his friend. I don’t want to make things weird and lose that.” Stiles shoves the last of his books into his bag and gave a thin smile to Erica. “So you won’t tell anyone?”

“I promise I won’t tell Laura that you like Derek, but Stiles…I know I only really know Derek through Laura, but he doesn’t seem the type to just throw you away over this,” Erica said, reaching out to gingerly touch Stiles briefly on the shoulder.

“I know, but even the slightest chance…I’ve been thinking about it more and more lately, and I just…I don’t have it in me to risk losing whatever I have left.” Stiles turned and started walking through the stacks, completely missing Erica pulling out her phone and texting furiously.

*

Derek had just returned from a much needed full tilt run through the woods and was still on all fours with a brace of rabbits for his mother, though having learned his lesson as a child he had made sure to leave them on the butcher block instead of dragging them through house to show her when Laura’s phone signaled the text they had been waiting for. She looked down at the message on her phone and gave a pleased huff.

“Well, some good news; Stiles is definitely not uninterested. But you’re still going to have to work for it, and you’re also indebted big to a teenage girl that broke a promise to a friend for you,” Laura reached down to skritch Derek behind the ears. “You’ve never done anything the easy way, have you Derek?” Laura asked as Derek let out a whine.

*

Going back to school after a long weekend was always the worst. Even just one extra day of reminding you that you could be any were but there made the return that much more stifling. Even if you liked learning, which Stiles did, high school just really never felt like the best place for it. Not much for outside the box or easily distracted thinkers was the Beacon Hills school system. Luckily Stiles knew he was awesome enough to easily ace his classes despite feeling decidedly under nurtured, but how great would it be if he was given more freedom to experiment?

“You would blow up the school,” said Scott bluntly after Stiles had gone on to wax poetic about his ideal educational experience during lunch.

“Hey!” Stiles said indignantly.

“I’m sure Stiles would never accidentally blow up the entire school,” said Allison.

“Thank you-,”

“A classroom maybe, a wing maximum, but not the entire school.”

“Why do I hang out with you two again? You’re so unencouraging.”

“Years of experience have taught me that you don’t really need any of my encouragement to do anything. And whenever I do, it’s even odds whether it ends up being something awesome or something emotionally or physically scarring,” said Scott.

“Alright, I’ll own up to the physically scarring, but it’s not my fault that you’ve never taken advantage of your scars to impress girls. Allison, you would have totally believed him if he told you the scar on his ear was from a ninja shuriken, right?” asked Stiles.

“Oh, of course,” Allison said with a smile. “In retrospect I don’t know why I ever got together with someone who has no ninja related injuries.”

“Allison!”

“Don’t worry Scott, I’m sure you can make me forget all about the ninjas,” Allison said as she gave Scott a kiss. And another one. And there was tongue…

“Dudes, the cafeteria is meant to be a place for fostering the spirit of community and consuming sustenance, not for the exchange of bodily fluids in front of an unwilling audience,” Stiles said looking around wildly, hoping to find anything else to focus on. Luckily the text alert on his phone went off just as he was debating stealing the cucumbers from Allison’s salad to put over his eyes in order to both spare his poor sight and combat puffiness. “Oh nigh omnipresent technology that has invaded nearly every aspect of our lives, how I love thee,” he said pulling up the message.

It was from Derek.

He was asking Stiles out to dinner tomorrow night to thank him for the soup.

At Stiles’ favorite Japanese restaurant two towns over.

Derek didn’t even like Japanese food.

“This is…this is not fair,” Stiles said softly, unable to keep quiet or stop his voice from breaking slightly. “This is just not fair.”

“What’s not fair Stiles?” asked Scott, having finally disengaged from Allison’s lips.

“That…that you have a primo makeout partner such as Allison at your side, and Allison, I know you are so much more than just Scott’s makeout pal, you are a wonderful and intelligent girl with frightening accuracy in archery class so please don’t hurt me, and what was I saying? Oh yeah, that you have Allison while a real catch like myself is sadly devoid of that special kind of companionship.” After he finished Stiles wished that he hadn’t used something that had a grain of truth so much as an entire buckets worth as an evasion.

“Stiles, you’re great and all, but you always set your sights on people so out of your league. I mean I lucked out with Allison,” Allison smiled indulgently at Scott and shook her head slightly at Stiles at that, “but you’ve always set your sights on people so far out of reach. Not even just Lydia, I remember you telling me when we were kids that-“

“Oh man, I forgot my textbook for my next class in my jeep, I gotta go get it now so I’m not late for class,” Stiles said as he stood up, interrupting Scott. It figures that now his memory would be impeccable instead of which nights were game night and not date night.

“Isn’t your next class art?” asked Allison.

“Yes. Yes it is. That is why I meant to say sketchbook instead of textbook, and why I must go,” Stiles said making a break from the table, internally groaning as he heard Scott ask, “I thought they were doing pottery this week?”

Stiles did go out to his car after all, just to get some space. He leaned against the driver’s side door and stare at the message on his phone, thinking for his own mental health he should really say thanks but no thanks, as his thumbs typed out that tomorrow night was no good because of lacrosse, but Wednesday night was good for Stiles if it was good for Derek.

Stiles looked down at his traitorous hands as he walked back to the school, and made a vow that if they started sculpting a bust of Derek out of clay during class without his say so he was going to go see a doctor immediately about the Dr. Strangelove situation he evidently had going on.

Chapter Text

Derek always managed to stake out the same spot in the bleachers for lacrosse games. Considering how lacrosse seemed to be the lifeblood of the town and the turnout was always substantial even for non tournament games this was pretty solid accomplishment. Derek had always liked to think that the townspeople were instinctively respecting his authority; however now he thought it was probably because his preferred spot only had a so-so view of the field, but was an excellent vantage point for looking at the benched players.

Derek was glad that Laura’s utter indifference to lacrosse trumped her desire to micromanage his wooing wows. He didn’t think he could take her mocking him for yet another Stiles related influence on his behavior that he had somehow missed. Any more encouragement on that front and she might take up scrapbooking just to document his shame.

They were in the second half and Beacon Hills was hanging on to the lead by the skin of their teeth, running through subs quickly. The other team was pulling fouls left and right with no response from the referee, leading the Cyclones’ supporters to mumble or shout, depending on their inclination, that the man must be drunk or stupid. Derek’s nose said drunk once he got a good whiff when the ref came close, but not much he could do about it. And in any case, a drunken man wearing a uniform in desperate need of washing was not the scent he was inclined to focus on.

Stiles was still on the bench, but inching forward with every Beacon Hills player that had to be taken out, eager for a chance to get to play. Derek unconsciously mirrored the action as another player staggered off the field, his lip split and blood dripping down his chin despite the faceguard on the helmet.

“Stilinski!” bellowed Coach Finstock, “You’re in! Go out there and try not to bleed as much as Greenberg here! I swear to god Greenberg, you bleed more than a Russian hemophiliac!”

Stiles leapt up, his smile looking wide enough to split his face before it was obscured as he pulled down his helmet. He ran out onto the field and got in position just as the ref blew his whistle to resume play.

The game continued in a flurry of bodies running, flailing, and slamming into each other, with the ball at least tangentially related to all the action. Derek tracked number 24 across the field, his agitation growing every time his view was block by the crush of bodies. He had gone to nearly every lacrosse game since Stiles had joined the team, but this was the first time he was actually on the field, thrown in the mix with a bunch of adrenaline infused hyper aggressive teenagers. Derek felt his nails pierce through the bleacher beneath him and took a deep breath. Stiles would be fine, it was just a game, he scrimmaged against his own teammates all the time and knew how to take a hit…

Seemingly out of nowhere Stiles suddenly got the ball and had a shot on goal. He took the shot and was immediately body slammed by an over sized goon from the other team. Everyone in the Beacon Hills bleachers was on their feet, Derek among them. Derek was snarling, his snout elongating while the rest of the crowd was too distracted by the ball sailing past the goalie into the net to notice. They cheered and stomped, rattling the bleachers as Stiles was helped up by one of his teammates. He was moving gingerly, but as soon as it sunk in that he had scored he was jumping up and down with the rest of his team, wincing at the pain but unable to hold back his excitement.

Derek had finally gotten himself under control when Stiles looked up into the stands and their eyes met. Stiles gestured wildly between Derek, himself, and the goal, easily translatable to anyone who knew Stiles as ‘Oh my god Derek, did you just see that?! Seriously, did you just see what I did?’. Derek grinned back at Stiles, nodding emphatically to make sure Stiles saw him. Stiles waved again and gave a thumbs up and then limped off to the sideline where Finstock had another player recovered enough to sub in for him for the last few minutes of play.

Derek didn’t even pretend to watch the rest of the game, instead keeping his eyes and ears glued to Stiles as the team medic checked out his injuries. After making Stiles wincingly flex his foot the medic deemed it a sprain and wrapped it, instructing Stiles that he wasn’t to participate at practice for at least two days. Stiles hopped back to his old spot on the bench clutching an icepack, and was pulled into an enthusiastic hug by a black eye sporting Scott. Derek had never before felt an iota of ill will toward Scott in his life, so he really wanted the hug to be not quite so prolonged so he didn’t have to start having any such thoughts now.

Soon the final whistle blew, declaring Beacon Hills the victors with a score of 9 to 11. Derek stood awkwardly next to the bleachers as everyone else disassembled talking excitingly and wondered what he should do. He usually hung out until the team was out of the showers to meet with Stiles, but wasn’t sure if he should. He was already taking Stiles out on a Laura approved escalation affections dinner date tomorrow, and what if Stiles wanted to celebrate with his teammates after actual scoring? He made the decision to just leave and text congratulations to Stiles later when a solid, warm and delicious smelling body barreled into him and enveloped Derek into a hug. Derek automatically wrapped his arms around an exuberant Stiles and lifted him off the ground as Stiles’ joyous laughter became the only sound worth hearing on the still crowded field. Derek set Stiles down and took a step back before the desire to switch to a very different kind of embrace became more than just an idle thought.

“Did you see that? I mean really, did you see that!? I know we would have won without it anyway, but-“

“It was fantastic Stiles. It was the most incredible goal ever scored in the history of lacrosse. It was a goal full of majesty and-“

“Dude!” Stiles laughed as he punched Derek in the arm. “Any reason you’re laying it on so thick?”

“Just wanted to show I know what a momentous occasion this is, and thought it most appropriate to respond in a Stiles-ish way” said Derek with a smile, earning another laugh and halfhearted whack from Stiles. The smile fell from his face when someone jostled into Stiles, causing him to switch his weight onto his bad ankle with a grimace. Derek instinctively reached out to steady him. “How are you feeling after that hit? Are you ok?” He kept his hands on Stiles’ shoulders holding him in place against the still dispersing crowd, not caring that his uniform was damp with sweat and splattered with mud.

Stiles looked at Derek’s hold on his shoulders, but he didn’t try to shrug them off. “Yeah, I’m good. I mean, I gotta baby my ankle for awhile ‘cause I landed on it wrong, but no big deal.”

“Be careful on it or I’ll be coming to your house to take care of you,” Derek said, desperately trying to convey both sincerity and levity. Laura had stopped just shy of making him do nonthreatening flirtation drills, so he was sure he had the right balance now. Mostly sure. Stiles’ heart rate jumped slightly, his already flush face taking on a slightly darker hue, and his scent started to change, a mix of embarrassment and something else that was making Derek salivate. Stiles opened his mouth, drawing Derek’s gaze and-

“Stiles! C’mon and shower off! You’re gonna come out with team tonight, right?” Scott called out from the edge of the field, by the entrance to the locker room. “You scored a goal so you don’t have to pay! And Jackson didn’t score so he does!”

Derek reluctantly took his hands off of Stiles so he could turn and respond to Scott. “Be there in a minute!” Stiles turned back to Derek, his smells more muddled than they had been just a moment before. “So I know we sometimes hang out after games when my dad can’t make it, but…”

“Go celebrate with your teammates, and order the most expensive fast food crap you can think of.” Stiles gave a smile and a double thumbs up as he turned to go. “Anyway, we’re still on for tomorrow, right?” Derek asked before Stiles had walked more than two steps, trying not to sound too eager.

Stiles turned back to him and raised his eyebrows in mock shock. “Derek man, if you think I’m gonna take advantage of someone else paying tonight, you just wait until tomorrow. I promise to fleece you for everything you’re worth,” he said with a laugh and then ran off to the locker room.

Everyone else had finally left, either to their cars or the school, leaving Derek by himself, with no one around tell him he had the goofiest smile ever on his face, or hear him say, “I look forward to it.”

*

He was so elated that he had to go on another run, burn off the extra energy and howl his pleasure to all of Beacon Hills. Derek honestly couldn’t remember the last time he felt so exited. Of course that changed when he got back to the house and Laura was still up.

“You have on the goofiest smile I have ever seen right now. Did you find a hiding place and spy on Stiles in the showers or something after the game?” asked Laura from her sprawled out position on the couch as she muted whatever trashy reality show she had been watching on TV. Derek was relatively sure it involved fashion models and unarmed combat.

“What!? Laura how can you even think I would…I’m not some perverted stalker that would do something like sneak into a high school locker room! I’m a cop for god sakes.” But despite Derek’s protests, the image was now in his head; of Stiles alone in the echoing shower room, standing naked and beautiful under the warm spray, soap suds sliding down his pale body, lean and muscular but still with a certain softness, every wonderful mole and freckle exposed. His eyes closed, wet lashes clumped together, water droplets hanging onto his bottom lip, threatening to fall off but instead just trembling temptingly with every breath, waiting to be licked off. Rivulets of water running over the length of him downwards, catching in the trail of dark hair that started at his belly button and went all the way down to his groin. Stiles reaching down with a strong, long fingered hand to touch his-

“Ok, eww, stop that look on your face. I believe that that wasn’t a pervy creeping in the showers smile earlier, because I can now see what your pervert smile actually is because you’re definitely thinking Stiles wet and naked now, aren’t you? Not while I’m in the room please. Mom and Dad are so lucky they decided to visit Uncle Peter and Aunt Mel so they didn’t have to see their son directing a porno in his head,” Laura said sitting up, a grimace on her face.

“I wasn’t-“

“You were.”

“I-”

“I saw a look on your face a sister should never have to see,” Laura said with finality. “So what was the first, in comparison non disturbing smiling in regards to?”

“I talked to Stiles after the game.”

“You said you do that all the time. What else?”

“It’s…it’s just so good to be around him, now that I understand, now that I know there’s a real chance I can actually have him. And he smelled so good.”

Noting the tone in Derek’s voice Laura leaned forward slightly, her expression serious. “Remember, you don’t go from one dinner date to a proposal. Of any sort. You have to find the right way to tell him everything without scaring him off first, because as brave as he is, our family is a lot to take. He doesn’t know anything yet, not just about us being wolves, but what that means. What a mate means,” Laura cautioned. “And aside from that…according to my inside informant-”

“A teenage girl.” Derek interrupted flatly.

“Who better to get the dirt on a teenage boy? The point is, Stiles doesn’t think that you would be interested in him in that way. That you could see him as anything other than a sweet and goofy kid. So you have to show him that you do, and make him really believe it. Before you can even think about properly claiming him as your mate, before you show him the wolf, you need to do that. And I know that you’re impatient and want to just settle everything now, but I am telling you that may not work. You say out of the blue ‘I love you’ and he might think you’re playing a joke on him,” Laura said somberly.

“But I would never do that to Stiles. He should know that I would never do that to anyone. That when I tell him I love him I mean it,” Derek said aghast at the possibility that Stiles could ever think that of him.

“I’m not saying that it will happen that way, but you need to consider that just because it’s crystal clear to you, it may not be for him. And you if anyone should know that just because someone is telling you the truth, it isn’t always easy to take it to heart. He’s a little bit broken, just like you are. That’s what drew you two together back at the Sheriff’s station that night. You need to be conscious of that.”

Derek stood silently. It was so easy to forget that for all of her love of messing with people, of tormenting Derek as she saw fit saying it was a sisterly right, that she was born to inherit the Alpha mantle. So that even now she could instinctively feel out what was wrong with what would one day be solely her pack, and be compelled to sooth them, to keep them healthy and safe, physically and mentally. Even if she had to say things they didn’t want to hear.

“I’m going to bed now. I still have work tomorrow, and I’m taking Stiles out for dinner after that. Does that still fit in with your acceptable timeline?” Derek asked, letting his frustration bleed through. He knew her point was valid, but that didn’t mean he wanted to hear it. Not when he had smelled Stiles’ arousal, and knew that it was for him, not Lydia Martin, not his teammate Danny, not any one of the attractive but ultimately unworthy people who might try to catch his attention just to show that they could. Just for him. Anything not in line with Stiles being in his arms and carrying his scent as soon as possible was not something he wanted to listen to. He was already a third of the way up the stairs when Laura spoke again, quietly, but knowing that Derek could hear her.

“You know I’m not telling you this just to make your life more difficult. I’m telling you this to keep every member of the pack healthy. And I don’t mean just you. Stiles is already beginning to feel like pack to the rest of our wolves. I talked with Mom and Dad and they agree, they feel it too. Even without worrying about you we all have a vested interest in keeping Stiles happy.”

Derek resumed walking up the stairs, warmth spreading throughout his chest.

*

Stiles was really unsure about what was going on in his life. Most of the goings on were positive and everything, getting invited to a real dinner out by Derek, even if it was just as friends, actually getting to play and score in an official lacrosse game, making Jackson pay for his curly fries…and now he was in the woods, sitting next to Jackson on the hood of the guy’s Porsche, and passing a flask back and forth on a Tuesday night. Granted Jackson was drinking a lot more of the gin than the sip or two Stiles had allowed himself, as he was already toying with the idea that he might be losing it mentally, and figured that crawling into a bottle could wait until he was completely sure one way or the other.

“So you haven’t been staring at my girlfriend as much lately,” Jackson said as he lifted the flask for another drink. Stiles was unsure whether his decision to remain sober was a good or a bad one.

“No? Not that I ever did anything as vulgar as stare, I just appreciated from a distance. But even if one chooses to interpret that as staring, Lydia is still her own person, so if she wants to take it up with me about the frequency of which I look at her that’s one thing. You’re another.”

“It’s a good thing. Even if we broke up she wouldn’t go out with you.” Jackson said bluntly.

“I am very much aware of that, thank you Jackson,” Stiles sighed, because Jackson was an asshole and he was probably going to have to drive him home if he didn’t want to feel responsible for him wrapping his stupid, way too good for him, expensive car around a tree.

“I’m kind of an asshole,” Jackson said suddenly, making Stiles wonder if he had said his last thought aloud. “I don’t deserve Lydia. You don’t either, but in a different way. She would eat someone like you for breakfast. She’s still too nice for someone like me. In her way.”

Stiles had known Jackson since they were both kids, and he was pretty sure this was the first time he had seemed even remotely like a real, feeling, human being. It was just another level of surrealism in his life lately.

“I don’t know why I’m saying this, because I don’t actually like you, but Lydia loves you. I mean, you are an asshole, so she has to love you to stay with you.”

Jackson looked at Stiles blearily. “I don’t think I’m worthy of her,” he said, the sadness plain in his voice. Stiles tentatively reached out a hand to pat him on the shoulder.

“Then maybe you should work on that. Make yourself worthy of her. Be worthy of each other.”

Jackson was silent for a moment, a small smile, much softer than his normal one making its way onto his face.

“You should do that too,” he finally said.

“Become worthy of Lydia? I thought you were pleased that I had decreased my long distance admiration?” And Stiles thought that he had been following Jackson’s drunken train of thought so well…

“I meant find someone that you can be all worthy of each other. Together. With each other. Whatever. You’re still a loser so they’ll never be as good as Lydia, but even losers deserve someone.”

“That may be the nicest thing you ever said to me Jackson. Now you’re going to give me your car keys so I can drive you home to sleep this off, thus there will be at least a slim chance in hell you’ll be getting over your hangover by third period, ok?” Stiles asked, holding out his hand.

“OK,” Jackson said with drunken agreeability, digging into his jacket pocket and pulling out the keys, handing them to Stiles. “You dent it and I will end you.”

“Don’t ever change Jackson,” Stiles said sliding off the hood, already planning out what classes would be optimum for napping during the day. History notes could be gotten later, but he was not going to be yawning through dinner.

As he opened the car door he heard what he could have sworn was a wolf howl, but dismissed it as someone playing a weird joke; no wolves have lived in this part of California for decades, and real wolves didn’t sound happy when they howled.

Chapter Text

The school day seemed to drag on, save the periods when Stiles got some light snoozing in. Or the few concentrated efforts to avoid running into Jackson just in case he was having some regrets about pouring his heart out to Stiles, and might be inclined to express his regrets through fisticuffs. Thankfully though, that fear was laid to rest after one awkward nod between them in the hallway. But aside from those halcyon little naps and bursts of fear infused adrenaline, the rest of the day was like being stuck in molasses.

And apparently teachers are not super fond of one writing about the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 when the assignment was supposed to be on the founding of Boston. They took place in the same location, was it Stiles’ fault that food product floods were more interesting than the Puritans? No, no it was not.

Then finally, finally, the day was over. Stiles practically flew out of the building to the parking lot, or as much flying as someone with a sprained ankle could do without further injury. He made it to his Jeep, narrowly avoiding Scott sans Allison, but with a questioning look on his face. He drove home, all nice and legal within the speed limit as appropriate for the Sheriff’s kid, but cursing every red light. The driveway came into view before him, and he pulled in, not skidding at all. It was only when he had finished racing upstairs to his room to get ready did it sink in that it was only 3:30. Derek was not coming to pick him up until around 7. Even factoring in a quick shower, Stiles still had three and a half hours to kill before his not date/in Stiles’ heart date/but in the cold harsh reality of, well, reality, not really date with Derek.

No problem, Stiles was an old pro at filling time. When waiting at the doctor’s office he had at one point or another read probably everything on both STI’s and the best positions for pregnancy sex that had been written within the past five years, as that was the reading material you apparently got when your General Practitioner shared a waiting room with an OB GYN. So he could definitely find something to occupy himself in his own room with a myriad of entertainments and distractions, no problem.

Nothing was due tomorrow, but getting homework done early was never a bad thing, so math it was. Except the numbers seemed to be awfully reluctant to stay in one spot on the page, and he was pretty sure that d and s should not be the only variables used on the entire page. So maybe math could in fact wait awhile.

Fourteen minutes had passed.

So homework was out, no big. That was just the most studious and responsible of the options Stiles had in front of him. His effort was valiant and parental unit approved, but it was time to look toward something else. Like the comic trade paper backs he had picked up last week and hadn’t gotten a chance to read yet. Stiles was made for comic books, and knew in his heart he would be an aces Batman. Well maybe not Batman, but at least Blue Beetle, either the 80’s version or the current one, cause both were pretty cool, despite their superhero identities being insect related. However, for once in his life he couldn’t get into the supreme awesomeness that was Batman running wild through Arkham Asylum to get to the Joker, so he tried switching to an indie publisher. But even an atomic robot created by Nikola Tesla fighting Thomas Edison couldn’t hold his attention for more than a page or two.

Seventeen minutes.

Video games! There were always zombies and/or Nazis to kill, high scores to beat, and noobs to benevolently teach the error of their noobish ways to. Except when he tried to do that, Stiles ended up being killed and respawned in increasingly embarrassing ways eleven times.

In nineteen minutes.

Two hours and forty minutes left.

Maybe he should try to pick out what he should wear. Because even if it wasn’t technically a date, the restaurant was still a nicer place than he usually went to with Derek so he should at least put some effort into not looking like a slob. Not that he wanted to put in so much effort that it looked like too much effort. He needed to reach the delicate balance of putting in just enough effort to look effortless but not uncaring. Easy. After all, he was a pretty low key guy so that shouldn’t be all that difficult, just something clean and free of any profanity, right? Stiles pulled out half of the clothes he owned and laid them out on the bed and just stared at them. His usual sartorial choices were pretty basic so he was looking at an expanse of image tees and plaid over shirts, which despite fitting the criteria he had set forth just seemed altogether lacking. Stiles stared at his clothes some more, moving them around so that different ones were next to each other, trying to will one to leap out at him and yell ‘Pick me! I won’t make you look like an asshole, I promise!’.

Stiles was debating whether he should try calling Allison, as she always seemed to have pretty good taste in general, though she would probably want to know what her expertise was being used for, when he looked at the clock again.

6:31.

How the hell had he spent over two hours trying to pick out clothes? More importantly, how had he spent over two hours trying to pick out clothes yet not actually manage to choose anything?

Still, worrying about the possibility that he had somehow entered a fashion induced fugue state had to be put on the back burner if he wanted to be actually clean for when Derek came. Not that Derek would be getting close enough to…

“Fuck my brain,” Stiles grumbled to himself as he made his way to the bathroom to shower. He showered quickly and gave himself a perfunctory shave even though he really didn’t have all that much facial hair, a fact which essentially ruined his childhood dream of one day growing a handlebar mustache. So probably for the best then.

He was toweling off when his text alert sounded.

at gas station on ward st eta < 5 min –Derek

Stiles looked at his clock, and wondered how didn’t it occur to him that in real life, for most people, himself usually included, around 7 meant a fifteen minute buffer either way, not 7 on the dot. Looking again at the clothes strewn over half of his room he sighed and grabbed a dark blue dress shirt he had originally dismissed as being too formal and trying too hard, but figured that if he wore it with no tie, the top button undone, not tucked in and with jeans it wouldn’t look too weird. He shrugged the shirt and a clean pair of jeans on and went downstairs to wait for Derek, and be totally, completely, nonchalant.

*

It had been hard for Derek to get through the day at work. He normally wasn’t an anxious or jittery person; when half of your nature was prepared to patiently stalk prey over a number of hours across miles of forest, the other half tended to follow along the same lines. But today he just couldn’t keep himself from constantly checking the time, feeling as if he were going to vibrate straight out of his chair from sheer anticipation as another minute slowly ticked by. He began to wonder if this was what Stiles had felt like that time he downed a half dozen pixie stix followed by a Jolt chaser on a dare, but clamped down on that train of thought as having anything Stiles specific in his head was not going to help. He just had to concentrate on reminding himself not to think about it.

Damn it, it was like those fucking pink rhinos Stiles had been talking about. Which itself was a Stiles related thought.

Derek made a sound halfway between a sigh and a growl and tried to refocus on finishing up the incident reports he hadn’t finished up from his time out on patrol yesterday.

He had managed to make some decent headway when Sheriff Stilinski came back from a meeting with the local forestry service over at town hall. Derek ducked his head with embarrassment. He had heard the Sheriff discussing it through the wall on the phone before he left; apparently last night multiple people reported both hearing, and more importantly in a few cases, seeing a wolf worryingly close to town. Derek had been schooled since he was a pup to be careful of letting loose unless he knew that it was safe, but he had been running on the high on Stiles’ scent.

Luckily, from what he heard of the Sheriff’s initial conversation the rangers thought at most people saw an oversized coyote, or more likely a stray husky mix rather than a real wolf, so nothing for Derek to worry about, but still something to hope his family would not be hearing about. Mom and Dad would look so disappointed in such different ways, and Laura would be Laura.

“How was the meeting boss?” Derek asked as Sheriff Stilinski came over to his desk.

“Waste of time. Seems that one of the movie channels had been running An American Werewolf in London on a loop last night. So the way people’s imaginations work, they watched part of that and then saw a Labradoodle that slipped its leash. Just if anyone asks, the Sheriff’s Department is going to be extra vigilant protecting the populace from rogue wolves until said populace gets distracted by something else and stops asking.”

“I will be most sincere,” Derek said with a smile. After all, Hales don’t stand for outside threats to their territory.

“So…” the Sheriff said with a small cough, “you have anything planned for tonight?”

“Yes, going out with…a friend. Why do you ask?” He knew very well why he was asking; Derek was very familiar with that tone paired and cadence. This was the way Sheriff Stilinski was fond of beginning interrogations. It was a lot less satisfying to witness the technique when it was being used on Derek instead of trapping lowlifes who beat their son and other trash like that.

“Just thinking how maybe I should be trying to find myself more of a social life. It seems that Stiles is going out with a friend for dinner tonight and I’ll be left to my own devices, though he did text me a list of forbidden food items. I will be ignoring them of course.”

“He just likes to take care of you,” Derek said, trying to keep his tone jovial. He knew that at some point that he was going to have to seriously deal with the fact that Stiles’ father was his boss, he knew that, but he had just been so focused on Stiles that he was nowhere near ready for it.

“It was kind of odd though…” the older man trailed off.

“What?” Derek asked, and then immediately berated himself. He needed this conversation to end, he shouldn’t be suckered into furthering it.

“Stiles just seemed a little evasive when asked who he was going out with. If it was just Scott he would have told me.”

“Probably just another friend from school,” said Derek, wondering if he should have asked permission. Was that too archaic? He still felt too unsure of where he stood with Stiles himself to worry about the disapproving dad waiting at home. Not that a father with a gun could permanently damage Derek, but still.

“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter so long as he’s back home no later than 10:30. It is a school night after all.”

“Sounds reasonable,” said Derek, unable to fully believe what was being implied.

“Of course weekends he does get until 2:00; he is almost eighteen after all, and I understand giving the kid some freedom. But definitely no later than 10:30 on school nights.” The Sheriff took a step back from Derek and glanced over to his office with a sigh. “All that time wasted at town hall set me back a bit on dealing with the smash and grabs downtown, so I’ll be here awhile yet. But you have a good time tonight, whatever you got planned,” John said, walking past Derek to his office, giving his deputy a quick pat on the shoulder.

Derek’s eyes followed John to his office, thinking that it was very unfair that a human was able to throw a werewolf so off balance in just a few sentences. That was one of the reasons he had always admired the man though. The Stilinski family always kept you on their toes.

And only a few more hours to go ‘til he got to see Stiles.

*

After Derek left work at a little after 5:00 he drove home and then promptly stripped and went on an all fours run. Being more cautious than last night of course, but he knew that if he wanted to make it through a dinner with Stiles he needed to burn off some of the nervous energy that had been building up within him all day. He ran briskly through the forest, letting himself open up his senses the way he rarely did unless necessary when he was in town. The purity of the leaves, the dirt, the fallen branches covered with mushrooms, the whiffs of frightened prey that could so easily be his if he only cared to find them. Actually, as he really wasn’t all that enamored with Japanese food, a little snack couldn’t hurt…

Soon he was trotting back up to the house, nerves more settled and bits of vole between his teeth. They were the first animal he had ever caught when he was just a tiny pup, and every so often he would catch one to for a nostalgic snack, though they were hardly even a mouthful for him now. He padded round to the back of the house, hidden from what passed for the Hale’s driveway and shifted back to human to go inside to shower and brush his teeth. It was getting close to a reasonable enough time to go and pick Stiles up without seeming overeager, and he didn’t think Stiles would really be all that fond of vole breath.

Soon he was showered, and in addition to brushing his teeth he had gargled twice with mouth wash, just in case. He efficiently towel dried his hair and walked back to his room, not bothering to cover up with a towel. His ears and nose told him no one else was home, but even if they were, casual nudity in werewolf families was pretty much a given, as it was hard to develop much body modesty when everyone got together to shift for night runs. It was only when company was over and they remembered that other people had an issue with it did things get a little awkward.

Derek walked over to his closet and took out the clothes he had decided on last before he fell asleep, a pair of black jeans and a heather grey long sleeve t-shirt. It hadn’t been a very hard decision, as Derek’s wardrobe consisted of basically four categories; work related clothes, workout clothes, that one suit that he had worn to his cousin Della’s wedding two years ago, and lots of dark colored everyday wear. Stiles frequently teased him that one day he would team up with Laura and replace everything in his wardrobe with some less monochromatic attire. Occasionally Laura mentioned it as well, causing Derek to legitimately worry that it might actually happen one day. Because for all that he loved Stiles, he really, really was not inclined to wear shirts with things like ‘Jawsome’ written on them, and Laura’s contributions would probably be even worse. He heard her mention to their mother on at least one occasion that Derek was a man that could pull off pink.

If it ever should to come to pass, he knew that Stiles he would indulge, at least for a little while. Laura on the other hand would have to deal with a muddy wolf shaking out his coat on top of her shoe collection.

Dressed and no longer willing to make himself wait any longer, Derek grabbed his leather jacket and was opening the front door to leave when his father pulled up, back from his office hours at the county college.

“Hi dad,” Derek said, making himself stay put instead of racing off to his car like he wanted to, as his father walked up the steps to meet him on the porch, battered briefcase in hand. “Good day at work?”

“Maybe if more students would come to me with actual questions about organic chemistry instead of just asking for extensions on assignments it could be considered good, but as it stands it wasn’t a bad day. Frankly I’m surprised you’re taking the time to ask when your mind is already ringing the Stilinski’s doorbell,” his father said with a knowing smile. “I wish I could give you some fatherly advice in all this, but your mother was the one who set her mind on me first and followed through, though who knows why. Just…try to emulate your mother. She always knew how to strike the perfect balance between persistence and stalking.”

Derek let out a short, sharp, laugh at his father’s favorite description of his parents’ courtship; it was the way his mother tended described it as well.

“I’ll keep that in mind dad,” he said leaping off the porch, feeling too energized to even bother with the stairs. He opened the door to the Camaro and slide right in, starting the ignition and closing the door in one smooth motion. It had technically been a gift from Uncle Peter for both him and Laura to share, proving that while he was without a doubt generous and loving, the man was not without a very warped sense of humor. For the sake of sibling harmony Derek usually ceded the use of it to Laura and drove a more practical car for work and errands, but tonight it was all for him and Stiles.

One of the upsides of being a deputy was knowing exactly where all of the local speed traps were located. Using that knowledge, he cut the time it took to get to Stiles’ house down to a third of what it normally should be. He was nearly there when he realized that Laura hadn’t refueled the tank in awhile and stopped off to fill it up. He sent a message to Stiles to let him know that he was almost there and went inside to pay. He noticed some grease had gotten on his hand from using the pump and went to wash his hands in the restroom, and on his way back out he passed the store’s display of prophylactics and paused. Even if Derek had been with anyone since…since he was a teen, diseases just were unable to set up shop in a werewolf’s body. In addition, Derek’s wolf hated the idea of anything, even a thin piece of latex separating him from his Stiles when mating, and Derek’s more rational half knew that they wouldn’t be needed tonight anyway with his intention to take it slow and show Stiles that he truly cared about him.

But when it did happen, and Derek just had to believe that it would, Stiles, as a human who’d been hearing ‘always use protection’ from his father and every authority figure for years might feel more at ease if there were condoms involved, at least at first until he fully understood. And there was something to be said to being prepared instead of having to stop once they got going...

Derek went up to the register to pay for his gas, a half a dozen condoms, and double that in packets of lubricant. As he handed over the cash he repeated to himself in his head that he was an adult, an officer of the law, a big scary werewolf, and there was no reason for him to feel his face heat at the cashier’s knowing smirk.

Derek stowed most of the condoms and lube in the Camaro’s glove compartment, though he did slide one of each into his wallet with the optimistic thought that even if it wasn’t going to be tonight it would be sooner rather than later, and he should be ready.

The Stilinski house was only a few blocks away from the gas station, and soon Derek was pulling into the familiar driveway. He parked and got out to walk to the front door, pausing to take a few deep, calming breaths before ringing the doorbell. He had barely taken his finger off the button when he heard footsteps racing up to the door and then stopping right in front of it. The door remained closed while Derek tried to commit the pattern of Stiles’ rapidly beating heart to memory. ‘This is what it sounded like when I picked him up for our first real date,’ Derek thought. ‘Soon I’ll know what it sounds like when I tell him I love him, when we kiss for the first time, when we strip each other bare…’

The door opened, snapping Derek out of his reverie. Stiles stood before him in a blue shirt that seemed to make his skin glow, unbuttoned enough to show the tantalizing hollow of his neck in which a drop of water from the shower he had obviously just taken remained. Derek reminded himself that licking away that drop was not appropriate first date behavior, and definitely not before the date even started. He looked back at Stiles’ face and smiled to match the one there.

“So,” said Stiles shutting the door behind him, “we ready to go? I am craving some sweet potato tempura sushi like nobody’s business.”

Chapter Text

Sukiyaki Fusion had been the first Japanese restaurant Stiles had ever been to, and even after trying a couple others, he maintained it was the best. He had first gone there with his parents for his seventh birthday because he wanted whatever it was that ninjas ate after having watched a heavily edited ninja marathon on TV when he was home sick with strep throat. Later of course he figured that real ninjas probably did not gorge themselves on sushi, sukiyaki, tempura and fried tofu on a regular basis, but he loved the food so much he got over his disappointment in the lack of historical accuracy pretty quick. It may not be what he usually went for, as he would always honestly believe that curly fries might be the pinnacle of man’s gastronomic achievement, but as man could not live on curly fries alone, might as well get some nice Omega 3 fatty acids from a delicious sashimi platter.

Derek on the other hand, didn’t have the same sense of culinary adventure that Stiles did. Really, aside from Laura, the Hales were a very basic meat and potatoes type of family. A very rare meat and potatoes type of family as Stiles had discovered the first time he and his father went over to have dinner with them when he was a kid. He didn’t care what his father said, he never freaked out when he first cut into his ultra rare steak and screamed that it was still bleeding. The man’s recollection was obviously faulty. As was Derek’s, who still liked to tease him about it from time to time. Even though it never happened.

Which was actually helping make Stiles feel a little bit more at ease on this…Stiles was just going to call it an ‘ambiguous outing’ with Derek. Because even though a part of him wanted to leap over the table and taste the soy sauce on Derek’s tongue, and another part was telling him ‘no no no’, and just wanted this unfair torment to end, there was yet another part who was really just enjoying mocking Derek’s hesitant reaction to the food and his complete and utter inability to use chopsticks.

“If you want we can ask the server for the training chopsticks connected with rubber bands,” Stiles offered smugly, deftly picking up a piece tuna maki roll topped with salmon, yellowtail and tobiko and dipping it in his soy sauce. “You know, the ones they keep around for kids.” He popped the sushi into his mouth and chewed happily.

“I’m fine,” grumbled Derek, trying to pick up a piece of shrimp tempura, and almost succeeding until it fell into his soy sauce, splattering the condiment all over his shirt and Derek’s half of the table. Stiles leaned back in his chair instinctively and checked his own shirt for any stray drops. Finding none he looked back at a desolate looking Derek staring at his now soggy piece of shrimp.

“Or we could as for forks, no shame in that,” Stiles couldn’t help himself from saying, “Or you can even use your fingers, I sure won’t judge. At least not much. Hardly at all. Only on the inside.”

Derek finally looked up from the table, and oh lord Derek Hale was blushing. Stiles was pretty sure the world must be ending or aliens must be messing with his head or something, because he was out to dinner with Derek, who just always seemed so suave and assured to Stiles, and the man was blushing.

Stiles had thought he had figured out every way that Derek could look attractive, but the older man just had to unintentionally find a new one, didn’t he?

“I didn’t get any on you, did I?” asked Derek looking over at Stiles guiltily.

“No worries man, I am clean as a whistle. But really, we can ask for something else for you. There is no shame in not being the master of the chopsticks that I am. This is the product of true dedication and training,” Stiles said clacking his chopsticks in his hand.

“Dedication and training?” Derek asked, his blush fading and the more familiar, but equally attractive, slightly droll expression taking its place.

“Have you ever seen in a martial arts movie, when somebody is trying to front and show off and then the master snatches a fly from the air with his chopsticks to show everyone his vastly superior speed and precision? For awhile it was my life’s ambition to be able to do that, so for like three weeks I did everything with chopsticks, even things that one would think could not, or even should not, be done with chopsticks. I became a true master.”

“Of something you only use when going to certain restaurants. And you know you could just buy a fly swatter to deal with insects. Much more effective and sanitary than eating utensils,” Derek said with a smile.

“I didn’t use the same chopsticks for everything! That would just be weird and gross,” Stiles said, picking up another piece of sushi. “And besides, it looks like it paid off for me, doesn’t it? I’m not the one wearing my dinner,” he said pointedly, gesturing with his sushi to the mess on Derek’s shirt, before eating it with gusto.

Derek looked down as if he had just noticed that his clothes were distinctly soy sauce flavored now. “Maybe I’m making a fashion statement?”

“Now that sounds like an excuse I would use, were I not the only one wearing a still pristine and spotless shirt at this table tonight. How much have you actually been able to get in your mouth tonight?” asked Stiles looking at the mostly full platter in front of Derek. “You’re taking me out, you might as well enjoy the food.” On impulse Stiles reached over for a piece of Derek’s shrimp and dipped it delicately in his soy sauce before holding it out across the table to Derek. “Say ah,” Stiles commanded with mock seriousness, barely able to contain his laughter.

Derek looked briefly at the proffered morsel, but then brought his gaze up to lock eyes with Stiles. Stiles suddenly felt foolish, but he had been having such a good time and it had just felt so natural for a moment that he had forgotten himself. “Just kidding,” he said lightly as he could manage, hoping that Derek would just be willing to let this slide and not make a big deal of it all, and began to withdraw his hand.

“No,” Derek said softly, halting Stiles’ retreat. Derek slowly leaned forward, something about the lights seemingly making his light hazel eyes flash electric blue for a moment, and bit down on the piece of shrimp still held in Stiles’ chopsticks. He chewed slowly , never breaking eye contact with Stiles, who slowly pulled pack his hand, unable to stop the slight trembling that was visible in the vibrations of his chopsticks that now only held the shrimp’s tail. Derek swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing with the motion. Both men leaned back into their chairs at the same time, Derek very deliberately, Stiles almost collapsing till his body hit the chair’s back.

“I think it may taste better that way,” Derek said, picking up his cup of green tea to take a sip.

“I guess most things would taste better when they’re not flavored by frustration,” Stiles said trying to stay cool while wishing he understood what the hell had just happened.

“Could be, but don’t downplay your contribution. I think the improved presentation definitely helped,” Derek said smiling. Ok, so Derek had just been playing along. That was cool, Stiles was the king of intentionally awkward social situations. The most recent of his efforts was him having a messy public breakup with Scott on behalf of his avatar from his favorite MMORPG, whose heart Scott had cruelly broken when Allison started playing. He had ditched Stiles’ poor Dhampire for Allison’s Dark Elf Maiden, and retribution was needed. And Derek had seemed to think it was pretty funny once Stiles had explained what an MMORPG was. So who was Stiles to prematurely put an end to a solid joke once it got some steam behind it? Even if it seemed like the ‘joke’ status might be tenuous and possibly about to veer off into something…something else.

“So you think the patented ‘Stiles Food Distribution System’ would be a hit? Should I start advertising myself? Should I start local with some flyers, or go right to developing a web presence?” Stiles joked.

“No, I don’t.” And now Derek was starting to look grumpy, like a petulant kid. Stiles wanted to hit his head on the table; thinking a blush was attractive was one thing, thinking that a sour look like that was alluring was something else.

“So you want I should feed only you? Maybe you should recline while I stand by feeding you grapes while wearing only a loincloth and body oil?” Stiles asked, trying to blithely press on in the face of Derek’s seemingly random shifts in mood.

“Do you own a loincloth?” asked Derek with a look that Stiles could only think to describe as ‘wolfish’, before apparently catching himself and schooling his face back to a marginally more neutral expression. In another situation Stiles would find the contortions Derek’s face went through as hilarious, but not so much tonight.

“Nope, wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to read the tag that said it had to be line dried instead of thrown in the dryer, and it shrunk so much it couldn’t even cover up what a Ken doll doesn’t have,” Stiles couldn’t believed he actually answered like that, but when the only other option was awkward dead silence, it is not in a Stilinskis nature to take that path. Still stuck on his own special brand of auto pilot he hesitantly reached out once again with his chopsticks and picked up another piece of tempura, eggplant this time, and repeated his earlier actions, dipping it in soy sauce and holding it out to Derek. “So no loincloth, but I still need to make sure you don’t wither away from hunger, right? Will what I’m wearing do?”

Derek leaned forward to take the vegetable in his mouth, but instead of taking a bite he spoke, his breath warm on Stiles’ hand even down the length of the chopsticks.

“I suppose so,” He said, and then bit down on the tempura held in the chopsticks.

Stiles drew back his hand, his face hot, and wondered if this could possibly, maybe, be more of a date than he had allowed himself to think.

*

The test of the meal somehow managed to pass in a manner that most people would consider normal, with Derek actually feeding himself for the most part, and without Stiles giving himself a stress induced heart attack, or indulging in further attempts to test his ‘real date’ theory by trying to initiate a round of awkward public footsie with Derek. Partially because he didn’t think he was ready to face the truth if he was wrong, and partially because with his luck, even if he decided to go for it, he’d probably end up molesting one of the table legs. And he was not the sort to impose upon a table against its will.

But he still couldn’t help but start to try and categorize every interaction from the night as a potential date indicator. He was picked up at his house, not in Derek’s usual ride, but in the Camaro, he had totally let Stiles pick the radio station, and when Stiles’ seatbelt got stuck after they got to the restaurant and he was taking longer to get out of the car, Derek had started to walk around the other side like he was planning to open the car door. Then when they were shown to their table it looked like in hindsight that Derek may have been pulling out that chair for Stiles to sit in before Stiles just sat in the one opposite. That might explain the slightly panicked and unsure look Derek had adopted for a split second.

And of course there was the fact that Derek was paying for this whole thing. Well, Derek usually picked up the tab when they went out to grab a bite, as being gainfully employed by the county he definitely had rosier finances than Stiles did most of the time. But burgers and pizza and gyros are a world away from multiple plates full of sushi finished off by green tea ice cream.

On a side note, Derek’s heretofore undiscovered love of green tea ice cream was not something that Stiles had been expecting, but he filed it, and what he was calling ‘Derek’s surprised yummy face’, away as something very good to know.

The drive back to Stiles’ house was quieter than rides with Stiles usually tended to be, at least until “Gone Daddy Gone” by the Violent Femmes came on and Stiles started singing along without fully realizing it, earning himself a slightly puzzled look from Derek.

“I thought this song was done by that guy who sang that “Fuck You” song that Laura liked so much,” Derek asked briefly, taking his eyes off of the road to shoot a questioning look at a still singing Stiles. Stiles held up a finger for Derek to hold on and finished out the chorus and then turned to him with a laugh.

“Dude, that was just the cover version. This is the original Violent Femmes from like, way back in the 80’s.”

“And you of course are a true music historian.”

“Well of course I am. I am a man of much knowledge and many, many talents that you could hardly even begin to imagine,” said Stiles, earning what either could have been a laugh or a choking sound from Derek. “No, but as far as the Femmes go, my mother was a big fan. She even got to see them in concert a couple of times when she was my age. She had their records on vinyl and would get out her old record player from when she was a kid and play them for me, and every time they cursed or something on the record she would clap her hands really loudly to try and distract me.”

“Did that work?” Derek asked glancing over.

“What matters is that she thought it worked,” said Stiles, smiling at the memory. “I got digital copies of all their stuff now, but I still like to listen to her old records sometimes. It just feels…I feel closer to her sometimes like that.”

“I…I never really met your mother. I mean I must have at some point, but…I wish I had gotten a chance to know her,” Derek said haltingly, keeping his eyes locked on the road. “If you don’t feel comfortable me saying that…”

“No, it’s ok…anyway I know she’d like you.” Stiles saw the gentle smile spread across Derek’s face and turned to face the passenger side window and shut his eyes. The idea of Derek meeting his mom had crossed his mind before, and always somehow made him feel like he wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. Not exactly a feeling he wanted to indulge in right then; the night had been enough of a trip already, Stiles definitely didn’t need to tear up in front of Derek to top it off.

Soon they had arrived at Stiles’ house. When Stiles turned in his seat to say goodnight to Derek he found that he was already opening the driver’s side door. Looks like Stiles was getting an escort all of the fifteen feet to his front door.

They walked together side by side to his door, shoulders bumping once or twice along the way. They stopped at the door, and Stiles tried to think of something to say. “So I guess this is good ni-“

“Did you have a good time tonight?” Derek blurted out while looking somewhere over Stiles’ shoulder, his nostrils flaring slightly.

“What? Of course I did-” Stiles began, feeling his face heat once again.

“Would you want to do it again with me? Sometime soon?” asked Derek, his eyes now staring into Stiles’ like he could find the secrets of the universe in them. And all Stiles could think was ‘Oh my god I wasn’t losing my mind, this was a date’.

“Stiles?” asked Derek sounding as unsure and afraid as Stiles had ever heard him.

“Of course I would,” said Stiles, way more breathily than he intended, but considering he was relatively sure his heart had stopped for a second there he thought it was forgivable in this instance. “How soon is soon?”

Derek inhaled sharply and a smile blossomed across his face. “Is this weekend too soon? We can go wherever you want or-”

Stiles, trusting in the same instinct that had told him to essentially hand feed Derek, reached up and put his hand on Derek’s cheek, leading his head down the inch or so, so that all Stiles had to do was lean forward slightly and press his lips lightly to the corner of Derek’s mouth. Staying in place, he spoke softly, thrilling at the feel of Derek’s stubble on his lips.

“You choose the next one, one that you really like. I know you picked tonight’s for me. So yeah, even if all they serve is still mooing cows we can go there if you want.”

Derek nodded stiffly against Stiles’ lips, his breathe puffing hot and fast across Stiles’ face. Stiles tried to take a step back, but Derek’s arms were suddenly around him, holding him close. It was a position that felt to Stiles both very familiar and right. Derek ducked his head down, positioning himself so that his face momentarily rested in the crook of Stiles’ neck. He inhaled deeply and then released Stiles abruptly, taking more than a few steps backwards.

“I…I’ll talk to you soon. Tomorrow. I’ll call you tomorrow,” Derek said, eyes wide and bright, as he all but fled back to his car.

Stiles watched the Camaro drive off, feeling incredibly unsteady on his feet. Once the car was out of sight Stiles dug his house key out of his jeans and turned around to open the door. He went in and quietly closed the door behind him, and began to stealth it up to his room. His heart was still beating a mile a minute like it wanted to punch right through his ribcage, and he wasn’t quite sure if he was up for anything, even so basic as exchanging pleasantries with his dad.

“Hey there Stiles. Have a nice night out?” His father’s voice called out from within the kitchen.

Why did his sneaking skills never hold up around his father? They always worked with Scott. Though, and Stiles loved the guy like a brother, using Scott as the barometer of observational skills could be a bit of an iffy proposition sometimes, especially if Allison was around.

“Yeah, it was fine,” Stiles answered quickly, determined not to falter in his quest to get the hell upstairs before his dad had a chance to ask much more.

“So did you make poor Derek pick up the entire bill? I know better than anyone how much you can eat.”

“He offered, I didn’t make- dad!”

“Just remember,” Stiles’ dad said walking out of the kitchen, a bowl of most likely much too buttered and salted for his own good popcorn in his hands, “even though I do approve over all, you’re still not eighteen for a little while yet.”

“Oh my god,” Stiles mumbled as he ran up the stairs to his room, but even the embarrassment over the fact that his dad was not only in the know, but so damn smug about it, couldn’t make him lose the smile he wore.

And then when he was sure that his father was definitely settled in front of the TV to watch the NCIS episode he had DVR’d the other day, and would not be coming up anytime soon, Stiles kicked off his shoes and shimmied out of his jeans faster than he ever had before in his life, grabbing a squirt of the truly all purpose lotion he had on his desk. He collapsed back on his bed and took himself in hand because good god he had just been on a date with Derek. As he stroked himself to full hardness, and then to completion in almost embarrassingly short order, he marveled at how he had managed to say goodnight without jumping Derek right in the driveway when he had pulled him close. He bit down on his hand as he came to muffle the sound just in case, and lay panting on his bed, pants off, socks on and shirt rucked up, idly wondering about what Derek had thought he smelled like when he had sniffed his neck.

*

Laura was out on the lit porch when Derek pulled up, swinging idly on the porch swing, her laptop on her lap and running a Skype session with Mark, her mate to her family, fiancé to his, up in Washington State. Derek was so keyed up he could hear them being ridiculously saccharine even over the dull roar of the Camaro’s engine before he turned it off. He got out of the car and started making his way to the house. Without taking her eyes off the screen Laura nodded to acknowledge Derek’s presence.

“Hey Marky, Derek’s back from his date, do you wanna say hi? Derek, say hi to Mark,” Laura ordered, now looking up from her laptop to see her brother walking closer. Derek didn’t even get a chance to begin to respond when Laura screwed her face up into a grimace.

“Oh no, no, no. What did I tell you about making those sorts of expressions around me!? That you are not to do it! No pervy Stiles induced faces in front of your sister! Go be elsewhere with that face!” As Laura continued to yell at him, Derek decided that a second run for the day might not be out of order. He turned away from Laura to strip, because though modesty wasn’t an issue with them, if she was that annoyed over the state of his face he didn’t think she’d be amused with the state of some of his other parts.

“Uhg, Mark I did not realize how easy I had it when he was pathetic and refused to find his mate. I am like the most patient sister ever.”

Derek, now completely furred and on all fours, gave a snort at his sister’s delusions and took off running into the woods before he could hear Mark make his without a doubt completely whipped reply. As he started getting into the run with little effect, he wondered if he might see if he felt any calmer after a quick hunt. The smell of Stiles’ arousal was still clouding his senses, even after such a brief scenting, and he needed to try and clear his head. And in all honesty he was still a bit hungry; Japanese food had never been his thing, even though tonight it had tasted better than it ever had before.

But if he didn’t catch anything more tonight it didn’t matter. Even in the shape of the wolf, the small spot where Stiles had pressed his lips still burned on his skin like a brand. And though he knew he couldn’t find out as soon as he would like, had to at the very least wait those few too long weeks out of deference to the Sheriff, to say nothing on letting Stiles in on the family secret, Derek was looking forward more than he could possibly say to finding out what those lips would feel like everywhere else.

Chapter Text

John had to admit that even though he supported Stiles dating his favorite and most promising young deputy, it was only natural that he had a handful of concerns and reservations. He knew Derek and the Hale family were good people, no problem there, but… he was older. And even though he really wasn’t that much older than Stiles, those five or so years seemed huge during the times that John looked at Stiles and saw a four year who had snuck into the kitchen and covered his face in green butter cream icing while his mother answered the front door because he wanted to be like the Incredible Hulk but he didn’t think that he could get angry enough. Maya had just laughed and said that she preferred the Hulk Stiles’ way. After she passed away and Stiles found that he could have that much anger inside of him, John had realized how much he missed that more innocent hulk. John knew that the Stiles covered in icing and Maya licking a swipe off to make him squirm would still always be with him, but the thought of him in a real relationship with someone, not just a crush, made it seem that much farther away.

Realistically, he knew that with Stiles just shy of eighteen, John’s focus on the age issue was simply a father reluctant to let his son go, nothing more. The issue of Derek working for him was something he wondered about as well, not so much for how it would affect himself and Derek directly; he knew Derek was not the sort to attempt to use a personal relationship to try and curry favor, and as for himself, if he could say no to Stiles without qualm, he could sure as hell do the same to Stiles’ boyfriend. More of a potential problem was how the rest of the deputies and support staff would react to the perception that Derek had John’s ear by virtue of his relationship with Stiles; even in a fairly quiet town every officer needed to have each other’s back, and even the slightest whiff of favoritism could cause serious resentment. However, as just the other day John had overheard a few of the deputies discussing with the daytime dispatcher about what the current status of the Derek/Stiles dating pool was, he realized he didn’t have all that much to worry about on that count. Though he wasn’t completely sure if he should feel slighted or thankful for not being asked to opt in.

In fact, the one possible concern that had never crossed his mind was that Derek would get it into his head that he had to win John over almost as much as Stiles. In the past few weeks since their first date, that they had both were so incredibly unsubtle about that John still didn’t know how he didn’t break down laughing in either of their faces, Derek had taken to bringing in wild game to give to John after each and every one of his and Stiles’ dates.

So far John had been the recipient of three braces of rabbits on three separate occasions, wild goose, duck, pheasant, wild boar, and now Deputy Hale stood in front of him with a cooler filled with eight pounds of venison.

“I really hadn’t known that you liked to hunt quite so much,” John said with a touch of wariness, taking the cooler from Derek, who, god help him, looked so much more like a puppy that had just proudly dropped a dead frog at his owner’s feet instead of the responsible and hardworking deputy John knew him to be. John never thought he would be in a position to have to remind himself not to scratch one of deputies behind the ear and tell him he was a good boy.

“I’ve just had a lot of excess energy lately and hunting is a bit of a stress reliever for me,” said Derek, “And I just thought that as you have been…are being…with Stiles. It would be a good way to, not say thank you exactly, because you didn’t directly give…but ah, to show my respect. And appreciation? And most game meat is really more heart healthy than what you can get in the super market. So Stiles should be happy about it too. Me giving it to you.”

Like. A. Puppy.

Like a puppy that was not only trying to ensure that he had John’s approval, but also seemed to be trying to show that he was a good provider and could keep the Stilinski clan flush with edible woodland creatures till the end of their days.

John might be running out of freezer space, but overall he had to say that he was pretty pleased with the state of things. If he had to think of his son dating an older man, Derek was pretty much the cream of the crop as far as he was concerned, and he was pretty sure his uncle Albert had some pretty good venison recipes.

And though he tried very, very hard not to think about this aspect of Stiles and Derek dating, if Derek was trying to find other avenues to relieve his stress, that implied pretty strongly that the two of them were behaving for the most part until Stiles was legal, those makeout sessions that John kept narrowly avoiding walking into the farthest they’ve gone.

Yes, John really was as pleased with the state of things as any father could be when his son was sporting hickies like they were a hot new fashion statement.

“Well, I certainly do appreciate your willingness to share the bounty that results of your…excess energy. It’s good to have an outlet.” John couldn’t help but think back to paying his respects to Maya’s parents, and boy was he letting Derek off easy. Her father didn’t have a gun, but he did have an extensive collection of Japanese swords that he started when he was stationed in Okinawa. Derek might look like he wanted the earth to swallow him up right now, but he did not know how lucky he was to just be getting pointed looks and coded phrases instead of demonstrations on watermelons on exactly how sharp those swords could be.

“So I wanted to double check with you before I asked Stiles anything, but does he have plans with you for his birthday this Saturday?” Derek asked, tilting his head slightly to the side as he spoke.

“What were you thinking of Derek?” John’s cadence was laconic, but he could tell that Derek was registering his ‘just because the situation is going to change, don’t forget where we all stand’ unspoken undertones.

“The Violent Femmes. Their reunion tour is stopping at the Stoneland, and a few weeks ago Stiles was telling me how he used to listen them with his mom, and that she had seen them in concert when she was his age…I just thought he might like to go as his present from me. With me.”

“’It s already Wednesday. You sure you can still get tickets?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I ordered them online the next day after he mentioned he liked them,” said Derek straightening his head and looking John straight in the eye. John held his gaze, and when Derek dropped his eyes, John couldn’t help but chuckle to himself.

“Stiles and I always have a birthday breakfast to celebrate, so no worries about upsetting any plans with me. Can’t say for sure he wouldn’t have something planned with Scott but…I think Stiles would love to go to the concert with you. And I am going to delude myself into thinking that all you two could possibly be doing is going to a concert.”

“Sheriff-” Derek choked out, color rising to his cheeks.

“Derek, do me a favor? When it’s strictly Stiles related, and not in a work capacity, just call me John. And allow me my fatherly right to stick my head in the sand and pretend that certain aspects of my son’s personal life are not happening, alright?”

“Alright,” Derek said with a firm nod, coming back to the more familiar face John was used to seeing at work. Derek held out his hand, as if to seal a deal, and John took it in his own and gave it a solid shake. “John, all I want to do is make sure he’s happy,” Derek said pulling his hand back.

“I know,” John said, “That’s all I want too.”

*

From time to time Amelia honestly couldn’t help but wonder that in the minds of all the horror movie nuts and hunters out there, if they ever pictured the big bad werewolves of the world, not prowling through the woods to rend some girl wearing primary colors to shreds, but instead having popped out of the office and taking a break from pouring over other peoples taxes as a CPA and waiting with increasingly thinning patience for coffee while some oversized jerk at the front of the line berated the poor trainee barista.

Probably not. The hunters like to imagine themselves the hero’s of the story as a way to justify their own bloodlust that prevented them from seamlessly fitting in with the rest of society even more so than most wolves, and would scoff at the idea of anything that didn’t involve Amelia and her family picking bits of viscera out of their teeth. The horror fans would just think it boring and start talking about zombies instead.

Amelia had never been fond of zombie movies. She always ended up feeling as if she could smell the decomposition, no matter how silly the makeup job.

Though she honestly wouldn’t mind if some undead came in to chomp on the man at the front who had escalated in the abuse he was hurling at the barista, both in content and volume.

“This tastes like crap. What sort of idiot are you that you made it so strong?!”

“I’m sorry sir, but you asked for a small latte with three extra shots of espresso. Did you mean you only wanted one extra shot in addition to the two already in the latte? I can remake it for you no charge if that’s what you want.”

“No you stupid cow, I want my latte with three extra shots, I just want you to make it not taste like shit! What the fuck is wrong with you!?”

“Sir, I’m not really sure what-“

“Where do you get off interrupting me bitch!”

“But If I remake it with the five shots it’s still going to taste strong…” the harassed girl said, tears beginning to run down her face.

“Just do what I say you-”

And neither the barista nor the other patrons ever found out what else he was going to call her as a hand came down hard on each of his shoulders and he was forcibly dragged out of the café by Amelia and the newly arrived Sheriff Stilinski.

“You are an awful excuse for a human being, making that poor girl cry just because you’re too stupid to order a drink correctly without your mother holding your hand,” Amelia said tightening her grip just enough to make the man wince.

“Look you stupid-”

“Sir, we are about to do you a favor here. If you would use your eyes for one moment you would see that I am, in fact, a law enforcement officer. And it would be absolutely no trouble at all for me to arrest you right now for causing a public disturbance. I could just get my coffee to go and haul your ass back to the station to spend the night in a holding cell.”

“You can’t-” The man blanched at the Sheriff’s words.

“I can. But lucky for you, I’m going to cut you a break so long as you apologize to this lovely lady here, that sweet girl inside, and every other customer who had to deal with your bullshit. Otherwise I take you in and toss you in the cell with the blocked up toilet.”

Amelia decided that all in all, it was rather satisfying to see a six foot plus man being made to begrudgingly apologize to the five foot one barista, though if she had been by herself she was confident she could have gotten him to straight up grovel, complete with tears.

She was Laura’s mother after all; just because she was more even tempered than her daughter didn’t mean that certain traits didn’t run in the family.

“Would you really have arrested him John?” Amelia asked as they left the café after finally getting their coffees and leaving the still distressed barista a healthy tip.

“For a guy like that, most of the time just the threat of any sort of repercussion is enough. But if he tried to keep playing tough I probably would have. I like it better when they crumble though. Less paperwork to deal with.”

“Well, as a taxpaying member of the public, it’s good to know that you would ‘probably’ enforce the law even in the face of having to do paperwork,” Amelia said with a smile over the top of her chai latte.

“Ouch Amelia. Just ouch. This is why I prefer dealing with your son. Much more deferential.”

“Well, Derek has always had something of a vested interest in keeping you happy hasn’t he? Even more so now than he did before.”

“About that…I have to ask, is it some sort of Hale family tradition to pay court with dead animals?”

“Why do you ask?” Amelia asked wondering what Derek had done. Had he been giving into the wolf too much? Normally she would never have thought so, but he had started out courting Stiles in a very fraught condition…

“He’s just been bringing me enough game to feed an entire hunting lodge twice over. In fact he just gave me a cooler chock full of venison this morning.”

“Oh, that’s all,” Amelia said, unable to keep the touch of relief out of her voice. “And yes, you could say it is.”

“You seem sort of surprised. What, did you think I meant he was leaving dead squirrels on my doorstep?” John asked with a laugh.

While Amelia had been thinking along those lines, she decided this was probably not yet the time to share. “Oh, Derek never liked squirrels. Too much fluff in their tails for his taste. Sticks in his teeth,” Amelia said with a wink just as John had taken a sip of his Americano, causing his cheeks to bulge much like the said squirrel’s to prevent himself from spitting his coffee out with a laugh. Once he swallowed he wiped his lips and pointed an accusatory finger at Amelia.

“Your sense of humor is a danger to the public good. I am definitely sure I prefer dealing with Derek.”

“I’m glad,” Amelia said, looking up straight into John’s eyes. “I’m glad that you do like Derek so much, that you approve, because we all love Stiles, and if you had objected… Derek respects you so much, ever since that night, and if you had been against them…”

“Amelia, I’ve seen them together. I don’t think I could have kept them apart if I wanted to,” John said ruefully, keeping her gaze.

“But it would have hurt him. Both of them …and we’ve all had enough hurt in our lives.”

“It’s just as well we don’t have to think about any of that then. They’re good to each other, they balance each other. I honestly think that they can make each other happy. I mean I’m not planning their wedding or anything but-”

“Oh, don’t worry about that, I’ve got it completely covered,” Amelia said with an authoritative nod.

“Ah, not that I’m unhappy with the possibility, but they have only been actually dating a few weeks, and Stiles is still technically not eighteen for a few more days…”

“I’m not saying it would be immediately or anything like that of course, but it pays to plan ahead. Did you know I found a company online where all you have to do is send them a few photos of the couple who are getting married, and they make made to order cake toppers in the exact likeness? Very reasonably priced as well.”

John looked at Amelia with an expression that she could only categorize as somewhere between bemused and awed.

“Well, should the occasion arise I will certainly leave it all in your very capable hands.”

“A wise choice John. A very wise choice.”

Chapter Text

The Beacon Hills locker room really shouldn’t have been any different from any other locker room in California. It looked like all the others, and Stiles could only assume it smelled pretty much the same as all the others, but the Beacon Hills locker room just had that extra layer of insanity that Stiles couldn’t make himself even imagine any other locker room having. He would definitely be lying if there weren’t times that he envied those crazy, i.e. Finstock free locker rooms. A guy should be able to be sweaty and half naked around his classmates without having to listen to the coach speak from personal experience about the warning signs of testicular torsion, or how a professional dominatrix is not the same thing as a hooker, or why a man should never be ashamed to be photographed dressed as Sailor Moon, or-

“Unicorns! How many of you have seen one? Put your hand down Greenberg, we all know you’re lying. None of you have seen unicorns because you’re all horny bastards. And because they don’t exist. Or do they? The point is that on the lacrosse field you need to be a cryptozoologist, always searching for that perfect unicorn. And by unicorn I mean scoring opportunity, and not the type of scoring that keeps you from seeing unicorns. You need to-“

“Hey Stiles, you haven’t said what you’re doing for your birthday tomorrow. Do you wanna go bowling like we usually do?” Scott whispered in Stiles’ ear, mercifully dragging his attention away from Finstock’s latest inspirational…something.

“I figured if you still wanted we could do that another time? Derek’s taking me to a concert,” Stiles whispered back as Coach started in on a mangled metaphor about horns and how they related to offence.

“Oh, ok. So you and Derek are really real?”

“No, Allison has just been trying to talk me into inviting him on a double date with the two of you because she has a warped sense of humor, which to be fair, I think she does.”

“She does not.”

“The most surefire way to make her laugh is for you to fall down. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but you should really just be aware. Eyes wide open dude.”

“I did think she was joking about going double…” Scott mused.

“Nope, when she was asking about that she was terrifyingly serious, trying to plan out coordinating outfits in her head,” Stiles said as Coach switched to talking about the unicorn’s hooves, and how it was not the same thing as regular horse hooves, shut it Greenberg. “Besides, how could you doubt that Derek and I are…are. Did you miss the hickies he insists on giving to me? Because my dad sure didn’t miss them. I’d almost feel bad about Derek having to face dad at work except he totally deserves some of the awkward I come home to everyday.”

“Yeah, been meaning to congratulate you on that Stiles. Nice work,” Danny said sidling up on Stiles’ other side. “I honestly did not expect you to ever actually go for it.”

“Well, it was sort of a mutual going for it kinda? In stages?”

“Stiles, however you did it, you got the guy, that whenever the school has a public safety or drugs assembly involving the Sheriff’s office, every single hetero girl or gay guy spends the entire time trying to figure out scenarios that would get him to take his shirt off. So whatever you did? All that matters is that you did it.”

“Did you try to plot ways for Derek to take his shirt off for you?”

“Of course I did. And some of them might have even worked if I actually tried them. But don’t worry, poaching other people’s boyfriends isn’t my thing.”

“Why would it be? You wouldn’t need to because everyone loves you Danny,” Scott said earnestly, earning him an amused smile from Danny as Finstock, who still had miraculously not yet run out of parts of the unicorn to discuss, had now moved on to talking about the unicorn’s ‘flowing mane’ and how it represented strong fundamentals.

“Scott, this is why even though you’re dating Allison, half of the people you talk to think you’re hitting on them,” Stiles sighed.

“Really?” Scott asked looking to Danny for confirmation.

“Don’t worry, I find it very flattering,” Danny said.

“Hey Danny, as you are so kind and benevolent,” Stiles began, getting a raised eyebrow in return, “I was actually wondering if you could give me some pointers? For possessing matching sets south of the equator fun times? Because I don’t have what one could call hands on experience with anyone other than, umm, myself, and any and all advice would be appreciated and utilized for the betterment of mankind. Or at least my sex life.”

“I don’t want to hear about this…” Scott groaned quietly.

“I had to hear you talk, in excruciating detail I might add, about your and Allison’s oh so tender love making, multiple times. You can listen to this.”

“How about I don’t want to listen to this?” Jackson chimed in, making Stiles startle. Definitely startle, not flail. Not even a little.

“No one asked you. And where did you even come from?” Stiles asked with a glare.

“I saw you bothering Danny and came to rescue him.”

“My knight in shining armor,” Danny said with a roll of his eyes.

“Hey! what are you boys yapping about back there while I try to impart my hard earned wisdom to you!?”

“Just the fleeting nature of unicorns Coach. And how soon it’s going to be even harder for Stilinski to find one,” drawled Jackson.

“Which is why we need to focus on the unicorn’s tail, which is teamwork, where everything comes together!” Finstock said with gusto, as all four boys had a moment of solidarity in deeply regretting their choice to join the lacrosse team.

*

Birthday breakfast with his dad was always the best. It felt right that his birthday actually was on a Saturday this year, but no matter what day of the week his birthday actually fell on they would always have the breakfast on the closest Saturday after the actual day, so Stiles wouldn’t have to worry about school, and whatever the situation was at work, his dad would always take the day off. They would go out to the pancake house about ten miles north of town as soon as it opened at 7:30 and order everything. Tradition dictated that it was the one day of the year that Stiles would not scrutinize every scrap of food that his dad put on his plate, something that John couldn’t even get a pass on during his birthday breakfast. There was some leeway then yes, but should he even try to reach for a second helping of bacon, Stiles would confiscate it for himself, eyes brimming with admonishment as his cheeks puffed out with pork products.

But this was Stiles’ birthday, and he was nothing if not magnanimous with his birthday boy powers. So magnanimous that between the two of them they both ordered and finished off; buttermilk pancakes, strawberry pancakes, sweet potato batter pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, turkey sausage, pork sausage, bacon, fruit salad, and to drink, orange juice, butter milk, hot chocolate and coffee. That’s why they had to make sure to get there early: it just wasn’t a birthday breakfast if they finished eating in less than two hours and didn’t completely succumb to the food coma once they got home. If there was any hope for Stiles to even move for the rest of his birthday he needed at least a couple of hours to sleep it off before anyone expected him to be anything other than a receptacle for morning deliciousness.

Stiles began to stir a bit from his traditional post breakfast snooze around 2ish. He was pretty sure he could still smell the maple syrup. He didn’t think he had spilled any on his clothes; it had probably permeated his very essence and would always be a part of him now. If it had he hoped Derek would like it, but seeing as Derek at times already seemed to exist solely to get his mouth all over Stiles, though so far unfortunately in no more than a PG-13 manner, if Stiles got anymore delicious Derek’s tongue would probably never leave his skin.

Stiles recognized his fuzzy sleep/food coma thought process for what it was, and was very glad his dad had decided to conk out on the couch downstairs. He was pretty sure that monologue had stayed internal, but he had been wrong before.

He groggily forced himself out of bed long enough to use the toilet and brush his teeth before lumbering back to bed and socking out for another two hours, gradually drifting back to reality after a dream where Jackson had become the Geico Gecko and kept on trying to sell him car insurance but Derek kept on stealing the paperwork to make origami animals for Stiles and floating them in a stream, before finally waking up proper when he felt the bed shift as someone sat down near the foot of it. He pried his eyes open completely to see his father sitting on the side, tilted forward with his elbows on his knees, his face turned to face Stiles. Stiles sat up, studied his father, and then fell back down to his pillow with a groan.

“Not the sex talk. We’ve already had the ‘so your body is changing and you’ll start getting urges’ and the ‘so you may be into penises’ one-“

“I don’t quite remember that being the way I phrased it…”

“Do we really have to do the Derek specific sex talk? I mean is it really, really necessary? I mean, I know all the basic safety stuff, and any other details needed I got from the locker room and the internet.”

“Stiles…”

Stiles bolted back up to a sitting position and pointed and his dad. “If anything I should get a free pass on the talk because we were all good and law abiding! Being and exemplary model for all other law enforcement kids dating their dad’s employees and waiting so that said dad would never have the temptation, obligation, let alone reason, to arrest said employee. I never wanted to be a role model for those hypothetical kids dad!”

“Are you finished?”

“For now.”

“You sure? Nothing else you want to let out?”

“I’m sure. But I reserve the right to revisit at a later time.”

“Ok then,” his dad said with a small smile. He straightened out and angled himself so he was facing Stiles more rather than his desk. “I’m not exactly here to give you another sex talk.”

“When you say ‘exactly’…”

“I know you know to be safe. And that just because you don’t have to worry about certain issues that a girl would have to, both physically and socially, you’re not treating…it… lightly. I know you’re with someone who genuinely cares about you.”

“So what is…?”

“I wanted to thank you. The both of you, but saying this to Derek is just a step too far, for respecting my wishes. For not putting me into a nebulous situation as far as legality and…for letting me pretend I still have some influence over your life.” As he spoke he turned away from Stiles, going back to his original position of facing the wall.

“Dad…” Stiles pushed himself up more and scooted til he was right next to his father and mirrored his pose, feet on the floor, facing the desk. “You know that me actually doing what you tell me has always been an iffy proposition…”

“That’s a generous way of describing it.”

“But you know I’ll always listen. And c’mon, think of how I might have turned out if someone who wasn’t as upstanding as you had been my dad? We’re talking delinquent city here. I mean, I know I could be an awesome graffiti tagger if I really applied myself, but I never would because of you.”

“So I managed to prevent a one man crime wave just by being your dad?” His dad asked, bumping his shoulder with Stiles.

“Really, they should give you a medal,” said Stiles, bumping back. His dad reached his arm around and pulled him into a shoulder hug.

“Honestly I think I deserve one.” With that he momentarily tightened his grip on Stiles and then got up to leave the room. As he was about to reach the door Stiles spoke up.

“Hey, just curious…would you have given me the whole not sex, but ‘I know you’ll be responsible, he cares for you’ speech if I had been your daughter instead of your son?”

His dad paused and leaned on the doorframe, tilting his head up in thought. “You know, the urge to lock you up in some far off tower would probably come over me at some point, but I honestly hope I would give you the same speech. Though I probably would have roped Melissa McCall into giving you the other sex talks.”

“Yeah, you had enough trouble getting through ‘there will be hair where there wasn’t hair before’ and ‘start feeling new feelings in your nethers’ without having to deal with menstruation,” Stiles mused.

Stiles smiled when he got the reaction he was looking for as his dad groaned and raised one hand to massage his temples. “Have a good time at the concert tonight. I’m probably going to go to sleep early, so be quiet whenever you come in,” his father said as he walked out of Stiles room.

Stiles swung his feet back onto the bad and laid back on his pillow with his hands behind his head. That had simultaneously been one of the most awkward and most heartfelt conversations he had ever had with his father. It still felt more awkward now, but Stiles knew that with the passage of time it would take on a rosy warm glow and erase most of the emotional discomfort that occurred. At least until one of them dragged it up to embarrass the other at some later date. Stiles knew his family dynamic well enough to know that all that would happen at some point, even odds on who would be pulling it out to embarrass who. But for right now he had other things to think about.

Like the advice he had finally got from Danny after school while Scott waited in the passenger side of the Jeep, peering out window at them talk, looking for all the world like a kid who had just realized that his parents did indeed have sex.

Like how he planned to put that advice to good use as soon as possible.

Like how he did intend to have a hell of a good time at the concert. And hopefully an even better one afterwards.

Chapter Text

Derek hadn’t actually been to all that many concerts, so he wasn’t completely sure what to expect. This show seemed to attract a fairly diverse audience of both old and newer fans, a slight majority of people being close to his parent’s age, but he and Stiles were far from being the only younger people there. Derek supposed that ratio seemed about right for a band like this, and he was actually starting to get into their sound more than he thought, but he was beginning to remember why he hadn’t been to many concerts. He liked music, and some of his favorite albums were live albums, but actually being at a show, in an enclosed venue with speakers and amps set to max assaulting his ears, and the crush of other people around him, a mix of both the unwashed and over perfumed doing the same to his nose, was really more than any werewolf could be expected to withstand for any real length of time.

He knew that Laura went to a fair amount of outdoor concerts with Mark; Derek decided that the next time he took Stiles out to a concert it would be something like that, where they could sit on a blanket outside in the fresh air, far enough from the stage to spare Derek’s ears, but close enough that Stiles would still be able to hear well. Though even more than the sound issues, the ‘sitting on a blanket’ part of outdoor concert going sounded the most appealing to him right now, as it would prevent complete strangers from slamming and sliding and touching his mate like it was a perfectly alright thing to do. It was like half the people in the audience were all trying to find the most blatant way possible of saying that they would very much like to be disemboweled by a werewolf tonight, and would Derek possibly be so inclined to help out with that? Needless to say, keeping the claws in had been an ongoing effort for Derek, starting right from the first of the opening acts and continuing to the present.

Stiles, however looked like he was having the time of his life, singing along with nearly every song, and either not noticing or caring when a particular drunk woman who looked old enough to have been his mother purposely brushed her hand against his ass again. Derek clamped down on the urge to maul her as an example to others, and instead situated himself behind Stiles, wrapping his arms around his waist, taking a moment to enjoy the heat radiating from his body, even through his now slightly damp T shirt. Even having unambiguously staked his claim, Derek still couldn’t quite resist the urge to bare his teeth at the woman, to great effect. Even staying human, in the course of his police work he had heard from a fairly sizable number of perps that he could convey a warning that way almost as good as he could as a wolf. Not that they knew that they should be comparing it to anything at all, but what mattered is that the perps wet their pants and the drunk wannabe MILF scurried off wide eyed and shaking back to the bar area, as did another girl closer to Stiles’ age, who Derek had noticed giving Stiles much more than a once over earlier. Derek felt a momentary glow of pride in his efficiency at keeping his mate away from those would be interlopers, as he leaned in close to lick at Stiles’ neck to make the situation clear to anyone else who might think they had anything so close as half a chance with Stiles. The little wriggle and gasp he got in return from Stiles was just a very enjoyable added bonus.

He pulled Stiles closer to him, so that his front was almost flush against Stiles’ backside. Even partially restrained by Derek’s arms, Stiles continued to sing and dance to the music along with the rest of the crowd, except now instead of strangers touching his ass it was all Derek, feeling every hop, sway, and shift in pressure that made Derek feel like losing control in a much more enjoyable way than he had been close to earlier. And Stiles knew it, damn he knew it, even amongst the overwhelming stench of the crowd he could still smell Stiles’ arousal, mixed with a healthy sense of satisfaction, grow and thicken until it overwhelmed the odor of strangers’ sweat and cologne, of the cheap beer spilled on the ground, so that it was all he could smell. He ground against Stiles even as the younger man sang along with the band on stage about not remembering if they were lovers or if he just wanted to. Stiles writhed against him.

Derek wanted to go, wanted to takes Stiles away from all these other people and claim, him, mark him, mix their scents so deeply that even a human would know that they belonged to each other.

Stiles wanted to stay for the encore.

“C’mon Derek, what if they get pissed at each other over song rights again and this is their last tour ever? Don’t you wanna see it all?” Stiles asked imploringly, twisting around in Derek’s grasp so that they were now face to face. And even though his face was flushed, his arousal so strong he was making Derek feel high, he was also incredibly sincere in wanting to see everything.

“Alright,” Derek said, not caring that he was speaking in what Stiles called his ‘grumpy’ voice.

“Hey, but after the show…if you don’t want to wait ‘til we get back to Beacon Hills...” Stiles leaned in close, each word out of his mouth like a fire on Derek’s cheek. “There are lots of practically abandoned off roads on the way there. I know the Camaro doesn’t have a whole lot of room, but I can think of a lot worse things than having to be very…physically…close to each other,” Stiles said, as he slipped his hand in between the top of Derek’s pants and his shirt, and slid his finger along the base of Derek’s spine.

“You’ve been thinking about this haven’t you?” Derek asked huskily, his hips thrusting forward of their own volition.

“Now where would you get that idea?” Stiles asked with a grin before pushing off of Derek just enough to rotate back around in his arms to face the stage as the band began to play again, Stiles singing jubilantly along with the lead singer and the crowd once again.

“Big hands I know you’re the one!” he sang out as he reached down and put his hands over Derek’s where the rested at his waist. Derek leaned forward and smiled into his hair as the song finished and the crowd broke out into applause and cheers.

He’d be alone with Stiles soon enough.

*

Getting out of the parking lot after the show was…trying for Derek. Cars blocking other cars in their spots, the line to the venue’s parking lot’s sole exit essentially unmoving. Derek was reasonably sure that if he got out he could flip enough of them to at least get the Camaro positioned in a more advantageous spot to leave, but didn’t allow himself to entertain that thought for more than the briefest of moments. Taking his position as an upstanding werewolf officer of the law very seriously sometimes had its disadvantages, especially when one’s boyfriend was practically vibrating in the passenger seat while wafting arousal like a bakery pumping the scent of fresh baked cookies outside to attract customer interest.

And Derek was very, very interested in becoming a loyal and enthusiastic customer.

Finally they were out of the lot and slowly making their way down the one lane road, before turning on to the North bound turn off that would take them back toward Beacon Hills. After driving along for about fifteen minutes with only a few other cars sharing the road with them, Derek saw what he had been looking for, and turned off onto the service road, driving down the twists and curves of the path about half a mile, so that no one from the main road would be able to so much catch a hint of the Camaro being there, even if he put on the high beams on. He pulled over to the side of the road and parked the car, trying not to look at Stiles, even though he heard him moving around next to him, until everything was settled so he wouldn’t get too distracted and accidently pull over too far into a tree stump or something. He only allowed himself to look over once he had pulled the key out from the ignition, and was very, very glad that he had made himself focus on parking.

Stiles had already taken off the hoodie he had put back on after feeling cold once he was outside of the too warm concert and tossed it in the backseat, which would have been enough to make Derek perk up, as the sight of Stiles’ forearms, so often covered up, were always a welcome sight. But Stiles had apparently decided to take even more of an initiative, having already unzipped his fly, and was doing his able best to shimmy out of his jeans, and despite having neglected to unbuckle his seatbelt, was still making some very admirable progress.

Derek hastily undid his own seat belt and all but lunged over to undo the Stiles’, letting himself fall forward further more than was strictly necessary so he could rub his face against Stiles’ stomach where it was laid bare between his shirt sliding up as he twisted and his jeans being not there. Derek smiled as he felt Stiles’ muscles give an involuntary twitch beneath his cheek, and tilted his face so that he could taste his mate, starting out by grazing his teeth just above Stiles’ bellybutton, then letting his tongue slide out and circle around the indentation, earning Derek another enticing twitch, this time paired with a sharp intake of breath from above. He licked further down until he met with the waistband of Stiles’ underwear. He took the elastic in his teeth and pulled back slightly, looking up at Stiles. His eyes were blown, his cheeks a red almost too much to be believed on a human face, and his mouth slack and open, like it was just waiting to have something to fill it. His heart was beating a mile a minute, and his scent, his arousal overlaying the perfect base that was just Stiles…it was so strong that Derek didn’t think he’d ever be able to smell anything again after this, that the scent of Stiles wanting him would make every other smell in the universe meaningless and indistinct, and Derek did not care. He inhaled deeply once more and pulled back further, before releasing his bite on the band, letting it snap back, hitting Stiles like a rubber band, making him thrust upward with a barely perceptible to anyone but Derek cry as the elastic stung his skin.

Derek sat back up and took Stiles’ face in both his hands and kissed him deeply. Stiles eagerly reciprocated, bringing up his hands to tangle them in Derek’s hair as his tongue twisted with Derek’s. Derek wondered what it would be like if Stiles grew his hair out so that Derek would have something to grab onto as well, even though he adored the feel of running his hands and face over his buzz cut. He pulled back slowly and reluctantly, nipping at Stiles’ lips as he pulled back.

“Backseat. We should…backseat NOW.” Derek growled, his voice sounding inhuman to his own ears, but Stiles didn’t seem to notice or care. Instead he smiled roguishly and pulled Derek in for a brief but fierce kiss before jumping into the back seat. Or rather attempted to, as his jeans were still around his ankles and were hindering his movement to no small degree. Stiles tried to finish kicking both his shoes and the jeans off, with his upper body already partially in the back, his arms on the seat holding him up as his legs kicked trying to divest themselves of the offending articles of clothing. Derek held back on the laughter that wanted to bubble forth, and instead turned and gripped Stiles’ hips firmly so he would stay still. After Stiles had settled, he himself having no issues with letting out a hysterical chuckle or two, Derek eased one of his hands off Stiles and took of the one remaining shoe that had shown an incredible amount of resistance to Stiles’ method of ‘flailing wildly’ shoe removal, and then pulled Stiles’ jeans the rest off the way off his legs, letting his hand encircle and caress Stiles’ calf as he did so. It was such a simple part of his mate that he had never had access to before, and now it was right before him for the taking. Speaking of things before him for the taking…

Stiles remained in the same position as before, just with less movement, meaning he was half in the front and half in the back, his ass turned up and all but presenting himself to Derek. Derek decided that, all in all, this was a position he could grow very fond of, but not the right one for now. Keeping his one hand that remained on Stiles’ hip steady, he pulled back his free hand and used it to give Stiles’ backside a smack, not enough to hurt, but enough to make a very new and satisfying sound come from Stiles’ mouth. It was followed by some more familiar Stiles sounds, also satisfying to Derek’s ears.

“Ah! Dude, that was…I know that we discussed that we would wait until now for you to tap my ass, but I thought we were using that phrase as a euphemism as opposed to, you know, literarily tapping my ass. Are we going to have to discuss safe words? Because, while I would not be averse to trying some of that at some point, I really did not think that it would be our starting point-”

While Stiles talked Derek leaned over and pulled down Stiles’ underwear just enough to expose the area where he had slapped him and kissed the spot.

“Finish up getting back there Stiles,” Derek said as he once again settled both his hands on Stiles’ hips, helping him finish his problematic journey to the backseat. Once Stiles was a settled as he could be, Derek came after in a comparatively more graceful fashion, as even being a werewolf there was only so much he could do in such a tight space with a massive hard on hampering his movements. He was almost completely in the back when his foot caught on something, making him topple onto Stiles, who was now laid out across the seat, waiting for Derek with a smile that was somehow both guileless and hungry. Of course once Derek tripped that smile morphed into a smirk, which Derek happily kissed away as he aligned his body with Stiles’.

They continued to kiss and grope at each other Stiles eventually working his hand between them to pop the button on Derek’s jeans and tug down his fly. Derek shifted forward up the length of Stiles’ body, his pants sliding down off his hips with the movement. Soon their erections were grinding against each other, separated by only two thin, damp layers of fabric. The wolf in Derek was howling, they were close, so close, so close.

Derek reached back with one hand, the other having made its way underneath Stiles’ shirt and settled on his ribcage, to get his wallet out of his back pocket, and tried to work on opening it one handed and blind, not having the will to take his mouth away from Stiles’. He didn’t think they’d be doing anything that anyone would actually need a condom for at this point, but showing that he had Stiles’ safety in mind, even if it was actually unnecessary in every way couldn’t be wrong, and a little extra lubricant would never go amiss…

He finally fumbled the wallet open and tried with growing frustration to feel out where the little packet of lubricant was. Eventually he heard the crinkle of foil and felt his finger pierce something. He reluctantly withdrew his face away from Stiles to see what had happened and froze at what he saw. His nails had turned to claws and had punctured the condom he had stashed in his wallet. Suddenly he heard Laura’s in his head.

‘He doesn’t know anything yet, not just about us being wolves, but what that means. What a mate means.’

Derek had been so inpatient to be with Stiles, the way Stiles would understand, the human way, that he had somehow almost forgotten what he was. He had taken to heart his family’s warnings of going slow for Stiles’ sake, letting him know that Derek cared beyond all reason about him, but in his desire to prove that he loved Stiles, and to ensure that Stiles loved him, he had neglected to show Stiles the wolf. And now, looking at his claw shift back to a regular hand, he knew it was because he had been afraid. Afraid that Stiles would reject him, would see him as a monster. He knew that Stiles would never do what Kate had tried, but even if he should just ban Derek from his life, it would be the end of him.

But Derek knew he had to tell Stiles before this went any further. There was so much more at stake than Stiles could possibly know and it was all because Derek hadn’t told him. Mates were forever. Derek was minutes away from claiming Stiles properly and irrevocably, and he hadn’t told Stiles any of that. As much as the wolf was yearning, panting for more, for mate, for bond, Derek knew he had to stop. He would rather be turned away and put down than betray Stiles in any way.

“Stiles stop,” Derek panted, as Stiles had decided to latch onto Derek’s neck during his distraction. “Stiles, we have to stop.” Derek forced himself back so that his back was against the side of the car. Stiles was still lying prone across the seat, breathing heavily and looking thoroughly debauched. Derek fought the urge to jump back on him and taste every square inch of his body.

“Get back down here right now Derek. Remember I’m the birthday boy now, it’s all cool,” Stiles said tilting his head up just enough to look at Derek.

“No Stiles, it’s not, it’s…” Derek didn’t know what to say. He should have asked Laura more questions about how she told Mark, should have dropped hints, should have done so many things before he was half naked in the backseat of a car with the love of his life.

“Am…am I doing something wrong? Because it’s my first time with this, obviously, so you just need to tell me what you want if I’m not doing it. Just tell me, and you know I learn quick and-”

“No!” Derek could smell Stiles’ scent shift from arousal mixed with confusion to apprehension and rejection. Derek felt another spike of self loathing shoot through him for letting Stiles think that there was something wrong with him. “No, that’s not it at all, it was wonderful, you’re perfect, you…There are things I haven’t told you. About me. Things you deserve to know before we do…anything. Anything more than we’ve done.”

Stiles had propped himself up as a mirror to Derek on the other side of the car. “So tell me! I’ve known you for years, it can’t be anything that bad, so just tell me whatever it is, I’ll tell you it’s no big deal, and we can go back to what I thought was a good time being had by all.”

Derek thought about it, just blurting it out here and showing him but…if Stiles rejected him…how would Stiles feel being trapped out in the middle of nowhere in a car with what most would consider a monster? What if he tried to run and got hurt out in the woods trying to get away. And even if he wasn’t repulsed to that extent, Derek wasn’t sure that he could handle the car ride home knowing that his life was essentially over with Stiles sitting right next to him.

“No, I can’t tell you here. It should be somewhere where you won’t be trapped or pressured or…it should be someplace you can leave if you decide it’s too much,” Derek said as he zipped and buttoned his jeans and started climbing back into the front of the car.

“Derek, just tell me. I mean, I freaking love you, so I am pretty sure I will not care whatever it is,” Stiles pleaded.

Derek stopped in his tracks when Stiles said ‘love’. To hear Stiles say it first made Derek’s heart fill with joy, but he couldn’t turn back. Stiles deserved to really know who he was declaring his love to before he made any decisions. Derek slide down into the driver’s seat.

“I love you too. I’ll never love anyone but you. And that’s why I can’t let myself touch you anymore until I’ve told you what you need to know,” Derek said as he picked up and handed Stiles’ jeans and shoes to him in the backseat, not trusting himself to actually turn around and look.

“So when are you going to tell me what is sure to be a stupid secret anyway?” grumbled Stiles over the sounds of denim sliding over skin.

“Tomorrow,” Derek promised as he started the car for what was sure to be one of the most uncomfortable car rides in recorded history. “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

When Stiles woke up Sunday morning, he didn’t move from his position staring at his ceiling for a few minutes, taking an inventory of himself and deciding that yeah, he was feeling pretty much the same way he had when he had gone to bed. In that he was still pretty peeved, still kinda horny, and more than anything else, he was still very confused.

The night had…it had seemed like it had been going pretty good. Screw good, it had been going fantastic, right from the get go. Before the Violent Femmes had even played a note Stiles had remembered for the first time in years that his mother had used to joke that Gordon Gano had been kind of cute when she saw them in concert, but that she had decided she liked his dad better, causing a young Stiles to walk up to his dad once he got home from work and proclaim that he was happy that his daddy was cuter than that Gordon guy, leaving his dad looking very confused and his mother almost doubled over with laughter. So by the time the opening acts had done their sets and it was time for the Femmes to take the stage Stiles was already just…joyous, filled with nearly every type of good feeling he could quantify; a bond with his mother even if she was gone, the energy from the crowd growing and churning around him, amping him up, and Derek. Derek who couldn’t hide his unfamiliarity with the band and how uncomfortable he was with the crush of people surrounding them, but was there for Stiles, just for Stiles, a smile sliding over his face when the first song had ended and Stiles had launched himself into his space to kiss him on the cheek and yell out ‘Thank you!’ over the start of the next song. It had been incredibly obvious that Derek wouldn’t have been within miles of the concert if left to his own devices, but he was there in the thick of it because that’s where Stiles wanted to be. Knowing that made every note coming from the stage seem purer, every flash of light brighter. Stiles had never had a better time at a concert before in his life.

Even once the groping by other concert goers started to get going, that really hadn’t put much of a damper on the experience. The few that had tried to get all up in his business when Derek had been getting a bottled water from the bar area had been put off easily enough by in most of the cases a firm ‘no’, and if not that, the threat of dislocating all the fingers on the offending hand has pretty effective as a last resort. Papa Stilinski didn’t raise no wilting lily, and before Stiles had hit his growth spurt had taught him a few of the more underhanded fighting techniques, just in case. So really, any drunk and over amorous audience members who could not resist the allure of the Stiles had been decidedly handled, no problem. But when Derek came back and Stiles saw his reaction to that really persistent older woman trying to cop a feel…well it hadn’t been like he was playing at being a helpless damsel, he just wasn’t being as proactive as he had been when by himself. And when Derek drew him in close and acted like he fighting the urge to have sex with Stiles right there in the middle of the show…Stiles decided that even though it might have been under slightly duplicitous circumstances, there were way worse things in the world than letting his hot law enforcement boyfriend feel all possessive and protective of him once in awhile.

Actually as he had danced against Derek he had been hard pressed to think of anything better than letting Derek indulge in some caveman possessiveness. The music pounding in his ears, mixing with feeling of Derek hardening against him, almost like he was ready to slot right in...Stiles could not have been more exited for the post show part of his birthday celebrations.

And it had started out so perfect. Yes, if Stiles was being entirely honest with himself, his attempt at a passenger seat striptease had probably been a hell of a lot closer to something like ‘endearingly awkward’ as opposed to anything even resembling ‘incredibly sensual and erotic’, but Derek had seemed to like it pretty well, what with the kissing, and the beard burn that was still showing on his stomach even after close to ten hours consisting of a mix of mortification, anger, and unconsciousness. Not to mention the playful spanking followed by a kiss, a dynamic which, as Stiles had told Derek, he was definitely not against experimenting with more at a later date. And then they were horizontal and down to their underwear and it was the best, feeling Derek’s weight on top of him, and just knowing that he could finally touch and feel and taste without having to worry about being jailbait or anything else, and Derek had just…shut it down. Without giving any reason, because saying ‘I’ll tell you tomorrow’ is not anything resembling an explanation, it is just a straight up evasion.

Stiles sat up on his bed and scrubbed his hand over his scalp. And of course there was the matter of the ‘I love you’s’, which while Stiles hadn’t been planning to wait until they were under a gentle shower of rose petals to say, he had assumed that one of them would say it someplace natural and cozy, like curled up together after a movie, or post coital or something. Stiles had really been imagining the post coital scenario. But really he expected one of them to say it at any other time rather than when Derek decided he needed to cockblock himself and by extension Stiles.

But what really mattered about each of them saying ‘I love you’ is that Stiles, pissed off as he was both now and when he said, really, truly meant it. And when Derek had said it in return…he meant it. There was not the slightest glimmer of a doubt in Stiles’ mind that Derek loved him more than he thought anyone could ever have the want or capacity to.

Which is why all the sudden secrecy and from his perspective totally unnecessary self-restraint had left him with not only some residual irritation and horniness, but also the beginnings of a stress headache, even after a full sleep.

The only real solution was to stop dwelling on it by himself. Derek had said they’d meet in the woods later on in the afternoon to share whatever the hell his deep, dark, secret was, so until that time came around that meant that Scott was going to get the honor of being Stiles’ sounding board, as was both his solemn duty as a best friend and what he owed to Stiles for trying to rope him into helping him compose a poem dedicated to Allison. Scott had wanted a villanelle, but Stiles had managed to talk him down to a haiku in the interest of preserving their friendship as well as not having to find something flattering that rhymed with Allison.

Stiles looked at his phone. Scott would be awake-ish at 9:30 am on a Sunday, right?

Stiles decided that whatever they were Scott’s sleep or lack thereof was going on the backburner for the day and hit dial. Stiles swung his feet over the edge of the bed as the phone rang a couple of times before a groggy sounding Scott picked up.

“Stiles, its Sunday. I don’t have to be awake on Sunday until noon. Why are you calling me before noon?”

“Well I-“

“Oh god, please don’t tell me about the sex you and Derek had!” Scott interrupted, now sounding wide awake. “I’m sorry I told you all about mine and Allison’s first time, I was just so excited and happy because Allison but please don’t give me a play by play-”

“Scott…” Stiles tried to interject.

“And it’s not the Derek’s and you are both guys thing, you know that, it’s just you and me are brothers and I finally understand how awkward it is to hear your brother talk about his sex life.”

“Really, Scott…”

“I mean I’m glad you’re having one, and you’re glad I’m having one, but we probably shouldn’t discuss them in detail anymore. I mean you at all or me ever again.”

“Scott my brother, you had better believe me when I say I am going to hold you to that promise after the next time you and Allison sneak off together for fun times, but I am honestly not calling to subject you to a critique of Derek’s sexual prowess.”

“Oh. Ok. Sorry about all that then,” Scott apologized. Stiles could perfectly picture Scott doing his ‘sad puppy sorry face’, and let himself smile for the first time that morning.

“I’m calling because of blueballs.”

“Maybe it’s because you woke me up, but I’m getting the feeling that this conversation is going to be awkward and confusing,” Scott said, his voice sounding vaguely forlorn and tinny over the phone.

“Scott, at least a solid 25% of our conversations fit at least one of those two criteria.”

“Did you really calculate that out?” Scott asked.

“Maybe, maybe not, but whether I actually did or not, let’s remember who checks whose math homework. Back to the key issue here.”

“Blueballs.”

“Yes.”

“But…not that I want details, but I kinda got the vibe that after the concert you and Derek were definitely going to do it, cause he wouldn’t have to arrest himself if the two of you did anything like he would have had to before your birthday. I mean that’s why you had me wait in the car while you got some tips from Danny, right?” asked Scott.

“First, Derek arresting himself would have been a hell of a neat trick to watch, and yeah that was the plan, complete with helpful pointers courtesy of Mr. Mahealani. It was a plan that had been running incredibly…relatively smoothly until Derek just…stopped.”

“Like right in the…the middle…he just stopped?”

“Well, we still had our underwear on so I’m not sure if that fits the bill of being in the middle of anything…”

“It’s middle enough for me. So what happened?”

“Like I said, he just puts the brakes on all of a sudden. One minute I’m about to finally have sex with my boyfriend, after the two of us being ridiculously good about waiting until all parties involved are legal, and the next he’s plastered himself against the car door, saying that he has something important to tell me but he couldn’t do it there.”

“Well what was it?”

“I don’t know yet. He was all about me going home and being well rested after that so we’re not meeting up until later today for him to tell me.”

“So what do you think it could be? I mean its Derek, what sort of big secrets could he even have?”

“I don’t know! I mean, obviously no secret criminal past while he was away at college, because no way he’d have a gotten a job at the sheriff's with something like that.”

“Maybe there’s like, a crazy relative locked in the attic of the Hale house that all the family has to take care of and keep secret?” Scott offered, causing Stiles to physically pull the phone away from his face and look down at it in disbelief before bringing it back up to his ear.

“Scott, where the hell did you even get that from?”

“Allison had rented that Jane Eyre movie and we watched it last night.”

“You actually watched it? Not ‘watched’ it?” Stiles asked with emphasis.

“Well her parents were home so yeah, we actually watched it.”

“You know, I’m genuinely glad that you’re expanding your literary knowledge even during Allison date time, but I highly doubt that that’s it. For one, it’s not like the Hale’s have any majorly mentally unstable relations, just Derek’s uncle Peter, who’s not crazy so much as has a really weird sense of humor and a tendency to try and give me makeovers whenever we were visiting at the same time. And more importantly, I know you haven’t been around them as much as I have, but the Hales are seriously all about family. They would never just shut a family member up in the attic to be hidden away like that, even if they were crazy. I mean, that’s how I was able to eliminate my first crazy paranoid theory that he had gotten somebody pregnant while he was away at school before we were even halfway home from our aborted sexy times pit stop. If he had a kid out there somewhere there would be just no way that Mrs. Hale and Laura wouldn’t know about it and be parading the kid around town dressed in custom made baby outfits and feeding it gourmet organic snacks.”

“Now I’m picturing a baby with Derek’s eyebrows.”

“Focus Scott. We’re brainstorming about what Derek could possibly have to tell me, the hypothetical grouchy looking babies are just a side street. Just… seriously, what the hell could it be that he couldn’t just tell me?”

“I’m trying to think Stiles, I really am, but I just can’t… oh! Herpes!”

“Herpes,” Stiles repeated flatly as he stood up and began to pace across his room.

“I mean that’s what it could be? What if he has herpes and wanted to tell you before your two, y’know, junk touched?”

“Then I could understand stopping, but why couldn’t he just tell me that in the car? He was all about I should be able to leave his immediate vicinity if I wanted to after he tells me whatever it is. I mean an STI is serious, but how is it too much for a car conversation?”

“I don’t know what else to say, herpes is the best I got,” Scott said, quickly followed by a loud shout of “Mom!” sounding further away from receiver before Scott returned to Stiles. “Damn it Stiles, my mom heard me talking about STIs! She’s gonna pull out all the pamphlets she gets from work again, and they all have really gross pictures!” Stiles stilled in his pacing and winced in sympathy.

“Oh yeah, she’s shown me those pamphlets too…umm, sorry dude. Really sorry, for what I can recall from my inability to completely block out some of the syphilitic photos. But thanks bro. For talking with me about this.”

“Hey man, we’ll always have each other’s backs. Even if I have to look at pictures of genital warts because of it.”

“You’re a true friend Scott.”

“And you’ll let me know later if things between you and Derek are cool, right? I mean no details, but…”

“You got it. Now go meet your fate before your mother pulls out the Chlamydia puppet.”

“She has a puppet?”

“Talk to you later Scott,” Stiles said, ending the call. He tossed his phone on the bed and walked to the bathroom to take a shower and clear his head, still unable to stop wondering how Derek could say that he loved him so easily, but not tell him whatever the secret was.

Because Stiles knew that whatever the hell it turned out to be, so long as Derek loved him, it wouldn’t matter to him at all. Not one damn bit.

*

After Derek dropped Stiles off at his house he didn’t go back home, not right away. Instead he parked in a dead end path in the woods from when other families had considered building there before certain animal interference convinced them otherwise, and shifted into the wolf in the hope that things might seem clearer then. He had felt barely in control of himself on the ride back, and with every passing mile the possibility that he may have really and truly fucked things up became more and more real. To say that his wolf was on edge and frantic was an understatement of massive proportions. Now, being faced with the idea once more that Stiles might reject him, after being so very near to having him, claiming him in every way…it hurt. It was almost physically painful, and familiar as well; this had been what he had been feeling always at the edge of his being, but trying to deny, all the time he had been apart from Stiles before acknowledging that the kind boy from the police station grown into a man was meant to be Derek’s mate. Was the only one there could ever be to keep Derek from becoming so unbalanced that his family might themselves have to put him down before he became all but feral, breaking the Hunters’ vaunted code and bringing the family to their attention.

And Derek would not fight them. He was never going to put his family in danger again, and that included Stiles and the Sheriff, if there was even a chance that in his maddened state his instincts would drive him to the Stilinski home and…

Derek whimpered at the thought.

‘It wasn’t over yet,’ he tried to tell himself. Just because he had messed up the timing of everything didn’t mean that things still couldn’t turn out alright.

Stiles had said he loved him.

That didn’t mean that a knot of trepidation and fear wasn’t growing and twisting its way through Derek’s center…

But Stiles had said he loved him. He had to focus on that and believe that Stiles would feel the same after he knew the truth.

He slept out in the woods, in the hollow under a tree until late morning, unable to face his parents or Laura. Only after he knew that they were gone to town, his parents off to do their habitual Sunday morning coffee followed by the weeks major grocery shopping, and Laura down at the Wellness Center to teach her Mommy and Me yoga class, did Derek venture out from his hiding spot and change back to drive the Camaro up to the house.

Once there he went inside the empty house to take a shower and put on a clean set of clothes. He shrugged on his leather jacket and looked at his reflection in the mirror before quickly turning away; his eyes were that of an animal’s. He needed to calm down, he needed to stay focused, he needed to stay human. He needed Stiles.

He walked to spot where he had arranged to meet with Stiles, even though it was still hours too early. The meeting place was a grassy clearing about a fifteen minute walk on two legs from the Hale house where they had actually had a picnic of all things, with Stiles making them drive to town and get a red checkered blanket and a straw basket for authenticity. The sight of Stiles sprawled out on the blanket, cheeks flushed after chasing a rabbit of all things around the clearing, definitely had made it a detour and purchase Derek was incapable of regretting.

He waited there, laid out flat on the grass and watched the clouds go by, desperately trying convince himself that everything would be alright.

After what seemed like both forever and no time at all, Stiles was coming, clomping through the woods surrounding Derek, the sound of his heartbeat the only sound in Derek’s ears as he forced himself up off the ground to his feet to try his best to look nonchalant as Stiles breached the barrier of trees and entered the clearing.

“Hey, you been waiting long?” asked Stiles, stepping forward as if he wanted to hug Derek, but stopped short, his hands swinging at his sides, his scent radiating uncertainty.

He was just so very close.

“No, I just got here a few minutes ago,” Derek lied, as he took one hesitant step forward, and then another, before surging forward to take Stiles tightly in his arms. If this was the end of it he at least wanted to hold Stiles against him one more time.

Stiles wrapped his arms around Derek in turn, curling into his body like it was where he belonged, his scent mellowing and becoming less acrid with apprehension, and more the simultaneously soothing and enticing aroma that suited him so much better.

Stiles was the first to break the embrace. “So what do you have to tell me?”

Derek backed up further away from Stiles, unsure of how to proceed. He had never been the best at forming detail oriented plans; loathe as he was to admit it he probably should have gone to Laura for a step by step method as to how to reveal himself long before it came to this, but he had been so happy, thinking of the future in broad strokes of Stiles never being far from his side, that he hadn’t wanted to think about anything that could even potentially stand in the way of it happening.

“Derek?”

“It…it might be easier if I just show you,” Derek said, taking off his jacket and handing it to Stiles, before stepping back to put more distance between them. He then brusquely stripped off his clothes, doing his best to ignore Stiles’ gasp and spike of arousal.

“Derek, what are you…” Stiles began to ask as Derek started shifting.

Derek tried look away from Stiles and to just focus on the change, but he had barely changed into his hybrid form when he couldn’t keep himself from looking back once the rapid uptick of Stiles’ heart and the smell of shock permeating the air sunk in.

The look on Stiles’ face…

He was terrified of him.

He had fucked up.

It was all over.

Derek ran.

*

Stiles stood stock still, staring off into the direction Derek had run off to for a few seconds before his legs gave out and he collapsed to the ground, still clutching Derek’s leather jacket.

“So,” he said aloud to the empty air. “I think my boyfriend may be a werewolf.”

“My boyfriend is a werewolf.”

“My boyfriend is a werewolf,” he repeated a third time, testing out the words once more. Against all conventional reasoning he started to feel calmer with each repetition.

“My boyfriend is a werewolf,” he said once more, finessing his phone out of his pants pocket. He quickly scrolled through his address book, found the name he was looking for and hit send.

“My boyfriend is a werewolf,” he said, idly tapping his thigh as the phone rang. Finally it picked up.

“Hello? Stiles?”

“Hi Laura. Your brother can be a fucking moron sometimes, you know that?”

Chapter Text

Derek had completed his transformation as he fled from Stiles, and saw no reason to change back once finished. Whatever form could get him farther away the fastest was the one to be in. He ran directionless at first, just anywhere away from Stiles and his look of fear that had sliced right through Derek’s heart. He ran across broken tree limbs and rocky outcroppings with no regard at all for proper footing and his own well being, battering and bloodying himself enough that the wounds remained far longer than they rightfully should have, though avoiding such injuries and missteps in the first place would normally have been second nature to him, especially when the wolf was at the forefront. But he couldn’t focus at all on his surroundings as he usually was able to without so much as a though, not when all he could hear was the too rapid beating of Stiles’ terrified heart, when all he could smell Stiles’ shock and fear, when all he could see was his face drained of blood…Derek could have blundered into a campsite full of hunters and he would never have known until the first bullet hit, if then. He just had to get away from Stiles before he truly went mad. So he could be sure that no matter what he wouldn’t hurt Stiles more than he already had.

Eventually, after the initial burst of shame and grief fueled adrenaline had been burned off, he stopped to reorientate himself. He had actually only ran about five miles away from the house, though to an area of the woods the pack rarely bothered to venture out to as the land was craggy and generally devoid of any worthwhile prey. Derek panted harshly, tongue lolling out of his mouth as he took in his surroundings in a daze, before misstepping and tumbling down about fifteen feet on the rocks before he stopped himself. He whimpered with pain, even knowing it was temporary, and made his way back up to where he had fallen and started off towered home, though much more gingerly and at a slower pace than his flight from his utter failure had been.

Derek still wasn’t thinking as clearly as he normally did, but all he could focus on was that he had to get home, because if he couldn’t be with his mate, he needed to be with his pack.

He limped at first, leaving bloodied paw prints in his wake, though after the first mile or so the wounds had healed themselves for the most part, the only evidence that he had ever been injured the blood matted in his fur. As the physical damage faded away he was able to increase his speed to a steady trot, and soon enough the Hale house was coming into view, the smell of pack thick and permanent in the air. He didn’t know how much time had passed since he first snuck in to shower to meet Stiles, but however long it had been the house was as empty now as it had been then. It didn’t matter, the pack would return to the den eventually. He went inside through the mudroom, the door equipped to allow easy entry and exit to those on four legs. He went through the house, up the stairs to his room and scrambled up onto his bed, not caring that his nails tore and shredded the sheets as he did so. Near the top of the bed, right next to Derek’s pillow was a hoodie of Stiles’ that he had left in Derek’s car after one of their dates that Derek had meant to give back to him eventually, but had never gotten around to it, instead bringing it up to his room so that he was never too far away from Stiles’ scent. He pawed at it and brought it closer, burying his snout in it with a mournful whine, and waited in his home, with his mate’s scent but not his mate, not ever again, for his family to come home and do what needed to be done.

*

Stiles readjusted his legs again while remaining in his seated position on the grass, Derek’s leather jacket laid out across his lap and his phone glued to his ear like it had been for the past half hour after Laura, upon being filled in on the basics of the situation, had told him to stay where he was instead of meeting her in town. Stiles so far had found his phone conversation with her to be extraordinarily illuminating. A little frustrating and scattered at times, with Laura going off on tangents that Stiles did not have yet have the necessary background information to follow, and rages at her brother that did little to hide how worried she was, but all in all incredibly eye opening.

“Ok, so I’m just going to stop you for a minute so that we can reestablish the key points here. Primarily for my benefit, but whatever. Anyway, fact one: werewolves exist, can shift into both a freaky looking Lon Chaney Jr. like hybrid form and a full on Canis lupus. They have enhanced strength, senses, especially of smell and of hearing, and a Wolverine like healing factor. Right?”

“Right.”

“Fact two: the entirety of your family are werewolves.”

“Yes, though sometimes a child is born and for all intents and purposes they are human, but their kids might still be werewolves.”

“Interesting to know that even the supernatural have recessive and dominant genes, though unless werewolves can get guys pregnant that’s sort of a non issue for me right now. Umm, can a werewolf get a guy…?”

“I’ve certainly never heard of it happening.”

“Good, that’s… good to know…back on track. Fact three: werewolves have mates, that can be human or werewolf, and said mates help to stabilize werewolves emotionally, mentally, and physically once they are properly mated.”

“Yes.”

“Fact four: I am Derek’s mate.”

“Yes. Stiles…”

“Fact five: Derek was… without me he would…”

“Stiles, you have to know that he loves you, truly from his heart, this isn’t just some pheromone and hormone driven biological preservation deal, he-” Laura started, just shy of frantic.

“Look Laura, I’m working on the assumption that him loving me right now is a given, what I need to is make sure I all the information straight before I do anything else,” Stiles snapped. Laura remained silent on her end of the line. “I need to do this right, I need to help him, because yeah, this was probably the stupidest and most ass backward way of trying to tell me, and my initial reaction was probably not entirely optimal, but I get why he tried to do it that way.”

“My brother is an idiot, that’s why,” Laura said quietly, and despite having only ordinary human senses instead of supernatural shapeshifter previously only thought to exist in horror, or possibly erotic horror fusion fiction ones, Stiles was pretty sure he heard tears in her voice even over the phone.

“But he’s my idiot now, and as I really have no intention of giving him up, I have to take care of him.”

Laura let out a sound halfway between a laugh and a sob. “God Stiles, right from when I first met you I thought that you were the weirdest and bravest little kid I had ever met. And I stand by that first impression, especially the weird part. But when we found out it was you…that you were the one for Derek…just…we were all honestly so damn happy it was you.”

“So…so Laura, what do I do?” Stiles asked, his fingers clenching around Derek’s jacket, trying to draw comfort from the familiar feel of the well worn leather under his fingers.

“Alright, well…do you know why I told you to stay where you are instead of coming down into town or me coming up to meet you?”

“Well, when you first said it I thought it was because time was of the essence and all that, but seeing as this has been more of a teaching rather than planning and executing course of action phone call so far…” Stiles suddenly felt incredibly exhausted. He released his grip on the jacket, the indentations from his fingers lingering and scrubbed his hand over his face trying to collect his thoughts. His hand smelled like leather and some subtle spiciness he always associated with Derek. He lifted the jacket up to get a clearer smell as the realization hit him hard.

“So I wouldn’t smell like you. Or anyone else.”

“Yes. Normally smelling like me shouldn’t be a problem because I’m pack, but if he’s not thinking straight, any other scent on you could mess him up more.”

“So I gotta go to him smelling like nothing else but Eau de’ Stiles, no problem. Still getting used to scent being important outside of making sure it’s just not offensively rank, but I figured me going to Derek was always going to be part of the equation. But again. What. Do. I. Do? Give me all your wolfy protocol and etiquette so I can make sure I’m doing everything right so Derek will understand. Should I bring him a dead rabbit? Do I bare my neck, crawl on my belly, what?”

“Ah…I’m not actually sure.”

“What?! How can you not be sure? You’re the one with a lifetime of werewolf related expertise!”

“Stiles, this is a very specific and unique set of circumstances. There is not a lot of precedent for a wolf with as many trust issues as Derek is being in love with a human as…you as you are.”

Stiles sighed with frustration. “Should I have called your mom or dad instead? I thought that it would be slightly less… something talking to you about all this while still being able to get all the info, but if I called the wrong Hale who isn’t currently inclined to turn tail and run away from me, tell me so I can figure out what I should do.”

“If you really want to talk with my mom, I told her to meet me at the wellness center so she should be here any minute now, but-“

“Oh my god, do werewolves have telepathic pack bonds? If you guys do why isn’t she there already? You said that you had told me all the important wolf powers stuff!” Stiles accused.

“We don’t have telepathic pack bonds. I mean, we all can generally sense the well being of pack members, especially the Alpha, but we are not members of the freaking X-Men. My phone has a talk and text option so I messaged her like five minutes after you first called, once I was sure what was going on. She and dad just always forget to put the ringer back on after she goes to the movies. Believe me, if I had telepathic abilities she would have checked her damn phone a lot soon.”

“Ok, so the many, many allowances I spent on comics through the years still have yet to yield any kind of real world benefits, fine. So would your mother be able to tell me any specifics on what to do or not?”

“I’m afraid not Stiles,” a new, non Laura voice said over the phone.

“H- hi Mrs. Hale,” Stiles said, suddenly apprehensive about talking to Mrs. Hale for the first time in his life. He had called Laura rather than her mom for a reason. When it came down to talking about the important stuff, not just light gossip and how’s school, and here, have some cookies… he just wasn’t sure he knew how to talk to a mother anymore.

Mrs. McCall almost counted, but then again she almost didn’t; she had been there for years, side by side with his own mother, and when it was eventually just her she had always felt as a hybridization of a mother should be and an extension of Scott. Even when Stiles woke up crying in the night at Scott’s house in the weeks after funeral he never confused Mrs. McCall’s hugs for his mother’s, even half awake, not for an instant. She comforted him the best she could, but as much as he knew she loved him, they didn’t belong to each other the same way that Stiles and his mother had belonged. But Mrs. Hale…in the times he had seen her once he and Derek had started going out properly, Stiles had come to realize that she wanted him to belong to her as a son, fiercely, like an ember burning underneath the surface whenever she saw him. Sure, it might just be a part of it was wanting Derek to be happy and balanced. Maybe it was the entire pack thing and all the tight bonds that it apparently needed. And he was ok with it, mostly. Hell, maybe he was getting closer to being ok with having a mother figure again. He didn’t think his mother had been all that closely acquainted with the Hales, but he knew, in his heart, that she would have liked them very, very, much.

That all still did not mean he was quite ready to engage his potential new maternal figure in a discussion of his love life regarding her son.

They should at least go on a camping trip where it rained and everyone bonded through their misery first before he felt comfortable laying quite that much out to her. But werewolves probably never had any awkward camping trips anyway, trying to get the fire lit in a downpour, so he might as well get over his hesitation know.

He felt mildly proud that he was more anxious about talking to his might as well be mother-in-law instead of the werewolf stuff.

“So none of you can tell me what I should be doing? Not even any hints?” he begged.

“Aside from making sure your scent doesn’t get muddled, which Laura messaged that she had prevented you from doing-” Stiles faintly heard Laura interrupt with ‘Yeah mom, he should be good,’ in the background. “Yes, good, thank you Laura,” Mrs. Hale responded, barely bothering to direct her voice away from the receiver. “As I was saying, aside from that there honestly is nothing we can tell you. There is no magic word or ritual to help Derek right now. He just needs you.”

“But he already ran away from me once. What if I mess things up more? Laura kinda alluded to, not in so many words, but still, I got the gist that… that something most decidedly ungood would happen to Derek if this isn’t resolved soon. I just want…I want to do this right,” Stiles said curling in on himself, his throat tight.

“Stiles, you love my son. Don’t you?” Mrs. Hale asked gently.

“Yes,” Stiles said, not at all ashamed of the tears now falling from his eyes down onto Derek’s leather jacket.

“You just have to trust that. I wish I could tell step by step what to do, what to say, but I don’t know. I don’t know what my son needs right now, only that it has to be from you,” Mrs. Hale said, sounding like Stiles’ end of the line might not be the only place where waterworks were occurring at the moment. “You just have to trust yourself Stiles. Please, just trust what you two have.”

Stiles took a deep breath.

“Alright. I can do that. It’ll be all cool, no worries.”

“I know that whatever you do, it will be the right thing. You have a good heart Stiles. You always have.”

“So the rest of my internal organs just get short shrift then?” Stiles joked, at a loss at how to react to so much abject sincerity. “I’ll talk to you later, when whatever it is that needs to be done is. Done.”

“Alright Stiles. Good luck,” Mrs. Hale said, some lightness making its way into her voice for the first time during the conversation.

“Thanks. Bye,” Stiles said before thumbing the button to end the call and shoving the phone back into his pants pocket.

Stiles wiped his eyes and cheeks with back of his hand, then hauled himself awkwardly to his feet, stumbling slightly as one of his legs had decided to fall asleep while he had been on the phone. He shook it around for a minute to try and help the blood circulate to regain feeling. He picked up the jacket from where it had fallen on the ground during his incredibly graceful transition from sitting to standing, and started walking toward the Hale house without quite knowing why he thought Derek might be there.

*

With every step that Stiles took toward the house he kept on hoping that some kind of divine revelation from above would come along and give him a lead on what exactly his ‘good heart’ should do once he got there. True love conquers all sounds really good and all, but Stiles would really have appreciated something with a bit more of a proven track record as opposed to a poetic flair.

Soon enough he was at the house, still not having enough of a plan to even call it an ill defined one. He walked up the steps the front door before remembering that he didn’t have a key, and if Derek was even actually here the chances that he would be willingly up to receiving company was negligible. He went back down the stairs and walked around to the back where the Hales mudroom connected to the house. The mudroom with an incredibly large doggy door in the door, which Stiles had always wondered about because he had never know the Hale’s to have a dog, but made a hell of a lot of sense now. Not so much a doggy door but a must have for the modern werewolf family.

Throwing dignity by the wayside Stiles got down and crawled through, thankful that the entry had been constructed with full size adult wolves in mind instead of a Pomeranian, and that he was not overly hippy by nature.

Driven by the same unnamed feeling that had led him to the house in the first place, Stiles went to the main part of the house and up the staircase to the second floor. He walked down the hall to Derek’s room, a sense of calm growing within him the closer he got, and upon finding the door open, walked right in.

There was a wolf asleep on Derek’s bed.

A wolf, asleep in bed, with his muzzle partially hidden by what Stiles was more than pretty sure was one of his hoodies that had gone AWOL a little while back.

Stiles hadn’t really put all that much thought into what Derek would look like as a wolf in the short time he had had to deal with the whole knowledge of werewolves info dump, but he hadn’t expected him to look so striking, like something a National Geographic photographer would swoon over, with dark brown, almost black fur covering most of his body, with tan colored fur on the sides of his muzzle, as well his belly and paws.

‘Like little wolfy socks,’ Stiles thought to himself as he went and sat down on the window seat, trying to focus on that and not the fact that there looked like what could only dried blood matted in Derek’s fur, but on his paws and his flank, none around his mouth as there would have been if he had just been messy eating a rabbit for an early dinner. Stiles took off his own shoes and socks, before standing up once more, taking off his own sweatshirt and picking up Derek’s jacket that he had set down when he sat. He put the jacket on.

Stiles walked around to the other side of the bed that was not currently occupied by an apex predator and crawled on as quietly as he could, trying not to make the bed jostle too much. He still was not completely sure what he was doing, but lacking any other options, he laid down next to Derek and carefully laid his arm across him, letting his fingers lightly card through the dense fur for a moment before stilling his hand and closing his eyes.

Chapter Text

Derek had had dreams like this before. No abstract vistas or creatures, no images that were in all likelihood fraught with symbolism and meaning; just a feeling of warmth and contentment and belonging, the air itself smelling of nothing but goodness, of pack and mate and love. They were always some of Derek’s favorite dreams, and he would give anything not to wake up from the one he was currently having, where Stiles had his arm wrapped around him, spooning him from behind, fingers unconsciously rubbing a small patch of his fur. True, Derek was usually a tad more human shaped, or became that way quickly enough when he had dreams involving Stiles being so close to him, but this still felt wonderful all the same. And he knew that once he woke up it would be closest he would ever be to Stiles again in the short time left before his family did what was necessary to protect the community and themselves.

Derek tried to fight against wakefulness, but he knew it was a losing battle. His room faced west and always caught the sun as it set, beams of light slicing across the room like gold and orange blades. One in particular was angled right at his eyes, almost prying them open with its brightness. He let out a small whimper at the loss he knew would come once he let the dream slip away for good and opened his eyes.

Stiles’ arm was still draped over Derek’s body, his fingers still playing with his fur.

Derek took a moment to weigh all of the options: he was still asleep and was having the most realistic dream he had ever experienced in his life, he had gone truly and completely mad, or…

Or Stiles was really there on Derek’s bed cuddling with Derek while he was decidedly still lupine.

Derek fought his dueling instincts to either bolt quickly or turn around to lick Stiles’ face, and instead tried the slowly ease himself out from under Stiles’ arm so as not to wake him. A dream was one thing, but Derek didn’t think he could handle looking into Stiles’ eyes and know that it wasn’t meant to be.

His stealthy plan was somewhat less than successful though, as somehow in his sleep the bed sheets had tangled around two of his paws, making his decent from the bed to the floor far from a graceful one. More of a short and vaguely controlled plummet than anything else.

As Derek lay stunned on the ground wondering what had just happened, Stiles poked his head over the side of the bed and looked down at him, rubbing sleep from his eyes.

“Hey, so looks like you’re up. That’s good because we really need to talk.”

Derek stared up at Stiles, completely at a loss for what to do. Stiles was actually there, in Derek’s room in Derek’s bed, and he didn’t smell of fear at all, some anxiousness yes, but not afraid, and he was wearing…

He was wearing Derek’s jacket, a little too broad in the shoulders but still looking perfect on him. Like wearing something of Derek’s was the most natural thing in the world for him to be doing.

“And, just floating this as a possibility, but it would much easier to have that talk if you were in a shape that possessed vocal cords with the ability to produce human speech,” said Stiles, pulling himself up to sit close to the edge of the bed, cross legged, his bare feet tucked underneath them.

Derek tried to get to his feet but remained tangled in the sheets as he lurched and slid on the floor, finally freeing using his teeth and unencumbered paws to disentangle himself with what must have been some pretty humorous maneuvers, given that he heard Stiles trying to muffle a laugh with limited success.

Once righted and on all four legs Derek slowly padded over to where Stiles remained on the bed and gently nudged his knee with his snout, still unable to fully believe that his mate was right in front of him, waiting patient and unafraid. Stiles reached out and tentatively stroked Derek’s head.

“As much as you are looking simultaneously really cool and really cute like this, I really wasn’t kidding about that talk we need to have.” Stiles reached out with his other hand so that he was holding Derek’s face steady. “Please Derek.”

Derek looked into Stiles’ eyes, bright with emotion and with the last rays of the day’s light coming in through the window, and thought that no matter what was said, he could never regret seeing Stiles though a man’s eyes at least once more. He ducked his head and backed from Stiles and the bed, all the way to the wall on the far side of the room and shifted, making a conscious effort to try and block out the sudden uptick of Stiles’ heartbeat as his bones lengthened and cracked sliding into their new spots, his fur receded and his muscles twisted and reformed on his human frame.

Even after he finished his transformation Stiles’ heartbeat remained rapid, though the cadence was different in some way that in Derek’s still discombobulated state he was unable to define. When Stiles still hadn’t spoken after Derek had been fully human for a few moments Derek dared to look up, trying to subdue his fear that for all of Stiles’ proclamations that they needed to talk had been forgotten at the no doubt incredibly discomforting sight of his change, to see how Stiles was doing.

While Stiles wasn’t saying anything, he certainly didn’t look frightened of Derek; instead Stiles’ face was flushed, his gaze was skittering all over Derek’s body, focusing in seemingly randomly on different parts of exposed flesh. First he settled on Derek’s calves, then his hips, then thighs, then chest, then his genitals. Derek quickly darted forward and grabbed the previously troublesome sheet off the ground and wrapped it around himself like a shroud. Stiles coughed self consciously and waved his hand at Derek.

“Sorry, I just…never really got a chance to see all of you in your altogether before.”

“I…I forget that other people aren’t used to nudity quite the way we are,” Derek said tightening the sheet around himself, for the first time in his life not feeling completely at ease with his body.

“Well I’m pretty sure that given a chance I could get used to it. As much as one can get used to you naked. I mean, I have the capacity to get a pretty good handle on almost anything, as long as I can prepare for it.” Stiles said evenly, even though Derek knew that inside his chest his heart had barely slowed in tempo. But now instead of straying all over Stiles’ eyes were locked on Derek’s, daring him to look away. Derek couldn’t, trapped by eyes that glowed amber with the dying light.

“I mean,” Stiles continued, “When my dad tried to start dating again when I was thirteen; he straight up told me that he was going out to dinner with Ms. Cole and that it wasn’t strictly as friends. Of course it didn’t really work out even before she figured out that she was a lesbian, but as much as I hadn’t liked the idea of dad going out with her, him trusting me enough to tell me the truth of the situation helped me come to terms with everything and react to it in at least moderately acceptable way.”

Derek desperately wanted to talk, but while he was trying to convince his mouth of that, Stiles just continued to plow onward.

“And you know when I think back on it, if he hadn’t told me about it, the fact that he was going out on a date wouldn’t have bothered me as much as the fact that if he didn’t tell me, that would mean that he didn’t trust me.” Derek heard the tightness in Stiles voice and wanted to go to him, take him in his arms and apologize, but he had obviously made so many wrong choices lately he couldn’t tell what was the right or wrong move to make anymore, and so remained frozen as Stiles fought back tears.

“I know it’s a big thing, a huge thing, but…but you’ve known me since I was ten. Did you think I would…I know Kate Argent knew, she had to have, that’s why she tried to…did you honestly think I could ever do anything like that? That I would betray you-”

Derek finally convinced his legs to move and was across the room and on the bed in a heartbeat, partially unseating Stiles and pulling him forward, engulfing him in his arms.

“No, no, I know you would never-”

Then why did you run? Why would you lie to me, and say that you love me, and then run the fuck away if you didn’t think so little of me?”

“I didn’t mean to lie, I just didn’t want to think about it, I was just afraid that…I knew you would never do anything…that even at your worst you could never even come remotely close to being the monster that she was. But…you could still reject me, and I thought you had, I smelled your fear-”

“That’s because you thought the best approach to tell me was to suddenly start shape shifting with no warning! I know you must be used to it, but let me tell you, it is a pretty damn disconcerting event to witness for the first time when you have no idea what the hell is going on!” Stiles yelled, pushing Derek just far enough away so that they could look at each other properly, Stiles’ hands remaining pressed up against Derek’s chest, Derek’s having slide down to hold onto Stiles’ hips.

“I didn’t know how to tell you, I-” began Derek desperately.

“How about saying ‘I’m a werewolf?’ And if I, quite understandably, didn’t believe you at first, how about showing off some of that super human speed you used just a minute ago to try and convince me? Or you know the super strength, lift me over your head with one hand, bench press six hundred, whatever you want, I assure you I would have been duly impressed. Maybe just showed me some claws, or at least stop short of the transformation that completely rearranges your muscular and skeletal structures as an intro,” Stiles said, his voice vacillating between anger and just plain exasperation.

“I just didn’t think. I didn’t think, I didn’t think,” Derek murmured, trying to pull Stiles closer to him once more, to show him through touch now that words were failing him how much he cared, how sorry he was, how much me loved him…

But Stiles resisted, and even though Derek could crush his human form against him with only the barest bit of effort, he let him.

“I mean, you say you have something to tell me, and then nothing. No hints, no clues, no idea what to think. I went out to meet you with lycanthropy not even on the menu of possible things you had going on. I mean for god’s sake I thought you were going to tell me you had something inconvenient but conventional like herpes.

Derek couldn’t keep back the bark of laughter at both Stiles’ almost affronted tone at having been so far off base, as well as the thought of him ever having an STI to begin with.

“Something funny Mr. Wolf?” Stiles asked with a glare that still came off as soft around the edges. Derek felt the misery that had gripped hold of him earlier, but had been slowly fading since he saw that Stiles was wearing his jacket, slip even further away.

“Just the idea that you thought I had herpes,” Derek said, again tugging gently at Stiles to bring him closer. This time Stiles did allow a few inches before resisting and Derek smiled, unable to believe how lucky he was to have a mate like Stiles. One who wouldn’t run away, would come back and face what others would be convinced was nothing more a storybook monster, either unreal or horrific, and then admonish that creature for having poor communication skills.

“What, it was actually a pretty reasonable assumption when one isn’t working with the knowledge of werewolves and their stupid supped up immune systems,” Stiles said, letting his hand drift from where they had been braced against Derek’s chest down to his waist, the his fingertips electric even slightly dulled by the sheet Derek still wore.

“That, and how I would have gotten it in the first place.”

“I assume you, and again this is taking out the werewolf factor, would have gotten it the usual way, as you are a distractingly sexy individual, and, as such, many people wanted to have sex with you even if they forgot to take their Valtrex.”

“Well they did, but I didn’t. I haven’t since…well you know. But that’s why it’s kind of funny, I guess, though having a pair of sibling fraternity and sorority houses deciding that one of their initiation rituals should be pledges breaking into my room to wait for me naked in bed got old pretty quick,” Derek said with a small chuckle, and tried to draw Stiles in closer to him again, but instead of finding him progressively more pliant as he had been, Stiles was now stiff, with what smelled like…Derek inhaled deeply, relishing all the parts of Stiles’ scent, and picking out the emotion that gripped Stiles now: shock.

“Are you telling me, that in eight years…even all that time you were away at college, you never…”

“I can’t say I was waiting for you, not really, because I didn’t know, consciously at least, but...I didn’t feel as if I could trust anyone enough to let them get that close, even if it was just for a one night stand. It was easier to just try to put my energy into other activities or just go it alone when I needed to.”

“So. So I’m the first one since…wow. You must have been…I thought I was horny all the time, but at least I’m a teenager, it’s expected, but for you…damn I was actually kinda glad, when I wasn’t feeling homicidally jealous of everyone else, that you had more experience so at least one of us would know what they were doing,” Stiles said, obviously flustered. Derek, feeling like his foolish and hurtful behavior from the afternoon was already years in the past, leaned in and nuzzled Stiles’ neck, ecstatic over the scent of his leather jacket combined with Stiles’ own.

“Are you seriously telling me you don’t have any inkling of what to expect going into this? That if I was to look at your search history it won’t be full of inquiries regarding gay sex?”

“Yeah, but that and bugging Danny for advice doesn’t really equal firsthand experience.” As Stiles spoke he absent mindedly rubbed his hands up and down Derek’s sides, making Derek regret that in his earlier unsureness he had covered up with the damn sheet. “And you can’t blame me for being a little thrown by that-”

“After all you found out about me today you really are going to fixate on that?” Derek asked, reluctantly pulling away from Stiles’ neck to look him in the face, still unable quite to believe that after how wretched everything had been, Stiles was here in his arms, practically nonchalant about werewolves already, and the aroma of his arousal growing steadily as he talked.

“Hush, I adapt fast, its part of my charm. Anyway, aside from the obvious fact you look like you should have been getting laid left and right, you seemed pretty sure of yourself in the car last night.”

“I had thought about it, how it would be and what I would do, a lot,” admitted Derek.

“Well I thought about it too, and look how suave I was,” Stiles said ruefully.

“Stiles, suave is not really a priority for me. You, in any way I can have you, is.”

Stiles’ eyes dilated, and the scent of his arousal grew thicker in the air. Derek was sure that if he looked down he would see Stiles’ cock beginning to strain against his jeans, but to do that he would have to look away from Stiles’ face, where cheeks were coloring and his mouth parted in a very charming fashion.

“Good to know, good to know…so you say you thought about it with me?”

Derek decided that they had had enough of important, too long delayed, emotionally gutting talks for the day: while he knew that there was still much, much, more to discuss that would all have to come later, because right now Stiles’ tongue was darting out to lick his lips, and Derek had waited long enough for this, and now that he had finally come clean…

Derek surged forward and captured Stiles’ mouth just as his tempting pink tongue had retreated back inside. He kissed his mate urgently, eager to have once more what he thought was lost to him. And though Stiles’ probably hadn’t had the same despairing thoughts running through his head earlier he seemed pretty damn eager all the same.

Stiles removed his hands from Derek’s sides to then wrap his arms around Derek’s neck, partially dislodging the sheet in the process. He kissed like he wanted to steal the very breath from Derek’s lungs, and Derek would let him do so in an instant. As they continued to kiss each other urgently, tongues twisting around and caressing each other, Stiles tightened his hold with one of his arms and started using the other to pull at Derek’s sheet, his goal of getting it off Derek completely slightly hampered by his apparent inability the resist running his hands along ever inch of flesh he exposed instead of continuing straight through with his original mission.

Derek, in the interest of expedience, broke off from kissing Stiles to stand and rip off the blasted sheet that was acting as less of a cover up now, but had tangled around him once again. Derek made a mental note to buy different sheets as soon as possible.

Bereft of Derek to hold on to, Stiles had fallen backwards onto the bed and was now trying to catch his breath while partially sprawled out, his upper body propped up on his elbows, his legs spread wide open, revealing that he was without a doubt at least as invested in the proceedings as Derek was. From that position he was looking at Derek very appreciatively, his eyes settling first on Derek’s erect cock before sliding slowly up his body to look him in the eyes. Derek couldn’t help but preen under the most definitely far from harsh scrutiny.

“You never did confirm that you thought about doing it with me,” Stiles said with a smirk.

Derek looked over Stiles’ prone form hungrily before responding, feeling emboldened by ever piece of information his senses gathered from Stiles; his eyes eager, his heartbeat fast but steady, and his scent a heady blend of desire and affection.

Derek prayed that no one else would ever have the opportunity to see Stiles the way he did right now, because he knew that if they did, they would fall just as deeply in love with him as he was.

“Do you really want to know about what I thought about doing to you?”

“Oh, I do, I do,” Stiles said raising himself up higher on his arms.

“I thought about laying you down and tasting every inch of your body, from the soles of your feet to where the sweat drips down right at your temples after lacrosse,” Derek said walking to the bed and pulling Stiles forward by the legs so that his ass was barely still on the mattress.

“I thought about taking you in my hand while I hold your hands above your head, and jacking you off until you just cum again and again and I get to lick you clean in between.” Derek knelt on the floor next to Stiles’ crotch, careful of his own jutting erection, and began to slowly unzip his fly, the sound of Stiles’ panting, mixed with moans as each little bit of freedom was granted to his swollen cock, sounding better than the greatest symphony in existence.

“I thought about taking you in my mouth and sucking on your dick like it’s the only real thing in the world, and I’d look up at you when you came, so when I swallowed you all down I could watch you fall apart because of what I could give to you.” He tugged gently at Stiles’ jeans, unable to resist bringing his head in closer to get an even stronger hit of Stiles’ arousal when Stiles thrust his hips up to aid in his pants’ removal.

“I thought about just laying you out naked and kissing you breathless as we rutted against each other, our cocks catching and sliding in each other’s cum from some earlier fun.” Derek let his claws out and carefully lifted up the band of Stiles’ underwear. He looked up at Stiles’ face, asking for approval. Stiles, eyes cloudy with lust, swallowed hard and nodded. Derek ripped the underwear apart, leaving nothing but shredded remnants of cotton, exposing Stiles’ leaking erection.

“I thought about just rubbing up against your ass while I jerk you off, then spread your legs just enough so I can fit between them and thrust until I climax between your thighs and finish you off, slicked up even more with my cum.” Stiles reached out to pull Derek down into a kiss, but Derek stopped his hand in the air with his own and kissed Stiles’ knuckles instead.

“I thought about fucking you in every position in every place we’ve ever been or could hope to go. I thought about taking you on your back behind the bleachers on the lacrosse field after a game when you’re still sweaty and covered in mud.” Derek turned Stiles’ hand over and laid a kiss onto his fingertips. “I thought about going with you out to the woods and having sex up against a tree, your legs wrapped around my waist gripping me tight as I hold you up, tightening each time I thrust into you,” Derek said against Stiles’ fingertips before sliding his mouth down to lay another kiss against his palm. “I thought about you sitting on my lap at your desk and riding me, you controlling the pace until I can’t take it anymore.” Derek edged up the sleeve of the leather jacket and placed the next kiss on Stiles’ wrist. “I thought about you on your hands and knees, looking back at me with your eyes blown as I cum in you.” Derek bit down lightly, so lightly, with blunt human teeth on Stiles’ wrist, eliciting a throaty moan in response. “I thought about you bent over the Camaro…and I bet you thought about that too…”

“Maybe…” Stiles said breathily, and then laughed as Derek leaned down with a broad smile and silenced his laughter with a kiss. He then pulled just far enough to speak, his breath ghosting over Stiles’ skin.

“And right now I’m thinking that I’d like to actually try out some of the things I’ve only thought about with you right now while you’re wearing nothing but my leather jacket.” Derek’s hand drifted down to the touch the hem of Stiles’ T shirt. “How attached are you to this shirt?” he asked.

“You can always buy me a new one,” Stiles said thrusting his hips upward, his cock bobbing with the motion and smearing pre cum on Derek’s wrist. Derek let go of the shirt to bring his arm up to his mouth and lick the clear fluid off.

“Oh my god…”Stiles moaned as he threw his head back. “Let’s get on with this already; deep dark lycanthropic secrets are out in the open and I am liking this shirt less and less, let’s do it.”

“I had a feeling you might be bossy,” Derek said as he extended his claws and tore the shirt straight down the middle from collar to hem, careful not to even nick Stiles, before yanking what remained out from underneath Stiles and tossing it to the side, before pushing Stiles back to the center of the bed and pouncing on top of him.

“You would have been disappointed if I wasn’t. You need a mate that won’t take any of your crap and you know it,” Stiles said before tilting his head to lick playfully across Derek’s mouth.

Derek stilled at Stiles’ words momentarily before dropping his head and sighing with happiness against his neck. “Yeah, I really, really do,” he said into the crook of Stiles neck before lifting his head to meet Stiles’ lips in another kiss, starting out soft, but quickly becoming more passionate as he slotted himself better against Stiles and took hold of his cock.

Stiles gasped into Derek’s mouth and worked a hand free to eagerly reach down to and get a grip on Derek’s own member in order to return the favor.

Between the two of them they were generating enough lubricant on their own to ease the irregular sliding and pulling of their hands on each other, neither able to, nor particularly concerned about finding a rhythm at this point, not when they were finally able to touch.

Derek let go of Stiles just enough to maneuver it so that he could grab onto Stiles’ hand, stilling its ministrations as Derek grasped it, and wordlessly worked his fingers through Stiles’ own so that their hands were now laced together.

“More touching, the two of us, we should-“ Derek tried to explain, even as the all of the scents coming off of Stiles, mixing with his own in air of the sex filled room, worked on driving the capacity for even the most basic conversational skills out of his head.

“I got it, I got you…” Stiles said, and intuiting what Derek meant, moved and bucked beneath Derek until they were both repositioned, their clasped hands encircling both of their rigid cocks in something of a miniature embrace.

Their hands now moved together in unison, each rise and fall stimulating and pushing their cocks together in a way that made Derek’s vision go hazy and made him feel like his entire being was a flame, and blazing with love for this moment, for Stiles, for his mate

Stiles was making gorgeous noises beneath him, a combination of inarticulate sounds and a repetition of his name, again and again like it was a type of prayer.

“Derek Derek Derek Derek I love you I love you I love you I’ve loved you forever…”

“I love you Stiles, so much, you were meant for me, we were meant, always…” Derek felt himself getting closer and closer to the edge, and from what he could tell Stiles was almost there as well.

“All those things I said earlier, all those things I thought about with you-”

“Yes yes yes, I want all of that I want you to Derek I do…”

“I want you to do them to me too, I want you to lay me out and fuck me until I can’t think, I want to ride you until I forget that anyone exists outside of us, I want-”

“Oh god Derek Derek Derek!” Stiles exclaimed as he came, his cum spurting all over himself and Derek. Derek continued to pump their hands, now bathed with the results of Stiles’ orgasm, milking every last drop out of Stiles as he continued to moan ecstatically, and bringing himself off in short order soon afterwards.

He rolled to the side off of Stiles, bit didn’t feel quite ready to let go of his mate’s hand yet. They laid there for a few moments, both sated and breathing heavily. Stiles lifted his head with some effort to glance down at where they were still tightly holding hands.

“So do you know of a dry cleaner that won’t balk at having to get cum off of a leather jacket?” he asked.

Derek lifted their joined hands up, arms bent at the elbows, and settled his and Stiles’ still intertwined hands closer to their heads, then leaned in slightly to lap at their combined release.

It tasted… right.

He then nosed at the leather cuff, which was truth be told a dry cleaner’s worst nightmare, but…

“I’ll wipe off the excess later of course, but I think I like it like this.”

Stiles gaped at him. “But, correct me if I’m wrong, but won’t your fuzzy family be smelling… us all the time if you wear that around without cleaning it?”

“I’ll get another one to wear then,” Derek said, rising up on his elbows to then lean down and kiss Stiles again. “We’ll keep this one just for us.”

Stiles let out a bark of laughter, covering his face with his free hand. “Just FYI, I’m on the fence whether that’s romantic, sexy, or creepy.” He uncovered his eyes and smiled up at Derek. “But I actually think I’m ok with D: all of the above so long as you don’t start making dolls out of my hair.”

“You don’t have all that much hair to make dolls out of. And besides, I’m not very crafty.”

“I like you anyway, lack of craftiness, poor communication skills, and all,” Stiles said with a smile as Derek graced him with another leisurely kiss.

“Though,” Stiles began once they separated, “in regards to your completely lackluster communication skills, you are going to shut up, do what you’re told, and not under any circumstances take the initiative in any way whatsoever when we tell my dad, alright? In fact I was thinking about getting your mom to help out with all the heavy lifting, details wise. All you’ll have to do is stand around and be a werewolf who loves me, ok?”

“I think I can do that,” said Derek with a wry smile. “In the meantime, do you think you’re ready for round two?”

“Oh hell yeah,” said Stiles as he flung himself on top of Derek, both of them laughing with pure joy.

Chapter Text

Stiles had very quickly come to the conclusion that there was probably nothing on the earth quite like a Hale family barbeque, especially one were everyone was in on the family’s little furry eccentricities. Apparently getting the ok from the adults that it was alright to shift in front of the new humans was all the younger members of the clan felt was needed in order to let loose. Wolf cubs that had been little five year olds in sun dresses and swim shorts only minutes before were now running around on all fours, nipping at Stiles’ heels as he tried to carry a tray full of pies out from the Hale house kitchen out to the temporary picnic tables.

“Emma, I know that’s you, you still have a Hello Kitty barrette in your hair. Fur. You know what I mean. Which by the way, I still find it very odd for a werewolf to be showing their allegiance to, and wearing the mascot of, those of the feline persuasion, but whatever. The point is you need to quit trying to trip me up if you actually want to be able to eat any of this world renowned Stilinski family pie or just be covered with it.” Stiles said to latest one of Derek’s pint sized cousins to decide he was essentially a fun new toy to play with.

The little blonde wolf cub shrunk back and whined.

“Oh stop the wounded little wolf act. I’ll play with you later, but the fact of the matter is that I do not possess any of your Hale family wolf related reflexes, so if any of these pies go down, they are going down. And my dad and I spent like a day and a half baking them, so that is not going to happen if I can help it.”

Emma cocked her head, and then padded off to the impromptu dressing room made of old bed sheets set up in deference for the sensibilities of the human guests at the barbeque who, while for the most part were fairly comfortable with wolves running around and choosing to have their steaks cooked beyond rare, were not quite as at ease with the rampant, unselfconscious nudity. Stiles was totally alright with Derek being naked as much as possible, more than alright really, but in private, and not in front of others, especially his dad. And neither Stiles nor his dad were honestly all that comfortable with the idea of seeing every member of the Hale clan in the buff while they were trying to eat corn on the cob.

Emma emerged from the changing area a few moments later, now wearing a Hello Kitty sundress to match her barrette, and walked back over to where Stiles was setting all of the pies out onto one of the tables. She crawled up onto the bench to get a better view and tugged at Stiles’ t-shirt.

“What’s in the pies?”

“Are you looking for the one with rabbits in it Little Miss Hello Wolfy?” asked Stiles, placing the last pie on the table

“You put sweet stuff, you don’t put rabbits into pies!” Emma replied, sounding very affronted. “Momma cooks them in sauce in the oven, or Daddy rips them apart when we’re in the woods so they’re easier for me to eat.”

“That’s very considerate of Peter…your dad I mean.”

“My daddy’s wonderful. He knows what’s supposed to go in pies.”

Stiles decided that getting into an argument with a five year old over what constituted proper pie filling probably wasn’t the best idea in any situation, even if said five year old didn’t have particularly vicious canines at their disposal, and that it was for the best to just try and move on.

“So do you still want to know what’s in these pies then?”

Emma looked at him like she was debating whether or not she needed to put Stiles in his place more, so he plowed onwards in the hope that food would distract her. Honestly, it worked on ever other single member of the family so far, so he thought his odds were pretty good.

“So this pie is a summer berry pie with blackberry, strawberry, and raspberry, this one is peach and raspberry, this one is peaches and cream, the one with the lattice crust is sour cherry, this is banana cream pie, and this one is strawberry rhubarb,” Stiles said, pointing to each of the pies with a dramatic wave of his hands.

“What’s a rhubarb?”

“Delicious is what it is. I’ll cut you a small piece, ok? My dad wanted me to make sure he got a piece of this one, but you’ll get the very first piece.”

“Ok,” Emma said, acting like she was being incredibly magnanimous and doing Stiles a big favor, even as she stared hungrily at the pies.

Stiles cut her a small piece that unfortunately came out a little mangled as Stiles had never quite mastered the technique of elegant pie serving. However, Emma didn’t seem to mind all that much, because as soon as the pie touched down on the paper plate, before the filling even had a chance to start oozing out, she was shoveling it into her tiny mouth with her bare hands and running toward her mother yelling, “Momma, Stiles makes good pies so I get to marry him instead of Derek!”

Stiles wondered if there was some sort of werewolf equivalent to catnip that he was unaware of and had somehow ended up as an ingredient in his shampoo as he cut another larger, but not too large, piece of pie for his father who was sitting at a table near the grill drinking a beer with Peter Hale.

His progress to actually get to his father and deliver his gift of pie was somewhat hampered by still more of Derek’s younger family members, not to mention a few of the older ones who should really know better, running around at his feet. And even those in the clan still in human form were delaying his advancement by continuously stopping him to welcome him to the family, which felt very gratifying, but he was a man with pie to deliver.

He thought he was in the clear when Emma, back as a wolf but still with smears of strawberry sauce around her muzzle, and her two little brothers started playfully circling around his feet. Stiles just sighed and debated calling out to Peter to manage his kids, but he was locked in conversation with his dad and decided to listen in instead and make sure his dad really was doing as well with everything as he said he was after the initial shock wore off.

“I just wanted to say, as we do get humans marrying into the family ever so often, that you seem to one of the better adjusted soon to be in-laws I’ve seen. You’ve only known for a few months, yes? Usually at that point even the ones who say they’re alright with it show up to the first family gathering wearing an amusing overabundance of silver jewelry,” said Peter taking a sip of beer. Laura’s fiancé’s parent’s were also guests at the barbeque, and were definitely looking a lot less relaxed and a lot more glittery than the elder Stilinski.

“First off, my kid is not get married until he finishes college, that is a done deal, so you guys really need to hold off planning out the actual ceremony for a little while yet. And second, I’m not much of a jewelry man myself, and even if I were I’ve always been told that yellow gold suits me better,” Stiles’ dad said, glancing off to where Mark’s parents were sitting stiffly together.

“Yes, that would certainly work better with your coloring. But in all seriousness, it is rather heartwarming to see you so accepting of our…quaint little differences.”

“Peter, once I got over the surprise that people like you actually existed, which admittedly did not happen overnight, my next thought was that Kate Argent had actually been telling the truth about why she tried to do what she did, and I wished I could have been able to tack on multiple hate crime charges in addition to everything else for targeting a specific group like yourselves.”

“Sheriff, may I say once again, welcome to the family,” Peter said lifting his beer bottle in a toast, an action Stiles’ dad copied just as the cubs around Stiles’ feet got distracted by someone turning on the sprinkler. Stiles bolted forward while he had the chance.

“And I present to you: pie.” He said placing the plate in front of his dad with a flourish.

“What, no pie for me?” Peter asked Stiles with a look at the already rapidly shrinking piece of pie on his dad’s plate.

“As you neither helped wash and chop fruit nor asked for me to save you a piece, you can go to the table over there and try to get one for yourself,” Stiles said gesturing back to the table now obscured by dessert seeking Hales.

“You’re a cruel one Stiles,” Peter said with a laugh before casually vaulting over the table to make a dash for the pies, leaving Stiles with his dad.

“So, having a good time?” Stiles asked leaning against the table.

“If nothing else, I can say that werewolves definitely supply a good spread. I’m pretty sure they bought out the entire butcher departments of at least three stores.”

“Of which you only ate a sensible, human sized portion and then had a salad, right?”

“Well I wouldn’t want to seem like I was ungrateful for their largesse…”

“Next time I’m leaving a note with Mrs. Hale to make sure that you stick to salads.”

“Stiles…”

“Really, consider it already written.”

“Peter was right, you are a cruel one,” his dad grumbled around the last bite of pie.

“I do what I must,” said Stiles with faux seriousness. “However, I could be distracted long enough to let you at least attempt to get another piece of pie if you could tell me if you’ve seen Derek around? I haven’t seen him for like the last hour.”

His dad shot a speculative glance over to the dessert table, probably thinking if he could manage to play the fragile human and cut in line. “Last I saw he was going inside to change shirts after one of the little ones…Lily I think, there’s too many to keep track, managed to open up and upend her sippy cup on him.”

“Yeah, all his younger cousins kinda view him as an oversized plaything…I think it’s the eyebrows. So he’s still inside?”

“Haven’t seen him come out. And now if you will go be distracted looking for Derek as promised, I have somewhere I must be…”

“Only a small piece!” Stiles shouted after his father’s retreating form, and made his own way back to the house, passing Laura and Mark cuddling on the porch swing, utterly indifferent to his parent’s discomfort. He gave them a little wave which they ignored as well and went inside.

Derek was in his room, sitting on his bed shirtless, with the hoodie of Stiles’ that he had never got around to taking back as well as that leather jacket laid out across his lap.

“You know, I was right downstairs. You don’t have to restrict yourself to second hand scents while I’m here,” he said, sitting down next to Derek on the bed, looping one hand behind him in a half hug and leaning against him.

“But you won’t be here soon, so I thought…I thought I should start getting used to it,” Derek said, scooching away from Stiles just enough so that he was at the right angle to lay his head on Stiles’ shoulder.

“But not yet, and my school isn’t that far, I mean it’s barely a six hour drive, and I bet if you totally abused your cop powers and drove with the siren on you could knock a good ninety minutes off of that.”

“Even if you weren’t trying to encourage inappropriate usage of police equipment, it’s still you being there and me being here.”

“We’ve talked about this though,” Stiles said, tightening his grip on Derek. “We can do it, you can come over for weekends, cause you definitely have an in with getting scheduled, and I’ll be back for breaks, and we’ll phone and Skype, and do the scent exchange mailing like Laura and Mark did except way better because it will be us instead of them. Honestly I am looking forward to the first time I get your underwear in the mail; if nothing else it’ll make whatever future roommates I have to afraid to go through my packages to steal your mother’s cookies.”

Derek laughed softly, the small puff of air warm against Stiles’ neck. “I know all of that…maybe not how you planned to handle your roommates, but the rest. But that still doesn’t mean I won’t miss you. I’ve gotten pretty used to having you around you know,” he said as he nuzzled against Stiles’ pulse point.

Stiles pulled back and took the hoodie and the jacket off Derek’s lap and tossed them to the side, leaving Derek’s lap free for him to swing himself over and straddle. He wrapped his arms around Derek’s neck and kissed him softly.

“We’ll be alright. Believe me, we’ll be better than alright. We’re mates, and we’ll be wonderful, no matter what.”

“OK,” Derek whispered tenderly, as he wrapped his own arms around Stiles and pulled him in closer for another kiss. “I believe you.”