As of now, one thing should be clear -- Stiles really has no set opinion on thunderstorms.
He's read enough clichéd romance novels (and no, nobody needs to know how or why Stiles procured clichéd romance novels) to know that it's an often-used trope to have one character deathly afraid of thunderstorms and have to cower in the strong arms of their lover. Or, on the flip side, there are those brave souls that like to dance in the midst of a thunderstorm like an idiot and mystify their potential partner with their whimsy.
(Stiles honestly can't believe he just used the word whimsy.)
But when it comes to him, he's neither the former nor the latter. He doesn't get invigorated by thunderstorms, but he doesn't get scared by them, either. He'll stay up and watch TV through a storm until the power eventually cuts out, or, if it doesn't cut out at all, he'll normally fall asleep on the couch and his dad will have to wake him up so he can go up to bed.
It's just something he's dealt with his whole life, so he doesn't find himself all that hard-pressed to have any extreme emotions over it. Are they fun? No. Are they scary? No.
Does he care? Not in the least.
Which is why spending time with Scott or Allison or anyone from school, really, during a storm is tough, because everybody always acts as if it's the coolest, most rare thing they've ever seen. It's a thunderstorm -- if he asked Lydia nicely enough, she could probably explain in exact terms what it is and how boring it really is.
But there's always someone who shrieks and giggles every time there's a clap of thunder, or somebody that shouts, "Whoa, look at that!" whenever the sky flashes. And while everyone is crowded near the window, Stiles is still on the couch, watching whatever bad movie the group has decided to forget about and suddenly feeling very... well, bored.
That's another reason why -- and Stiles can't actually believe he has a growing list of these -- Stiles finds himself enjoying the company of one Derek Hale, badass werewolf and take-no-shit scary dude, more often than not.
Because Derek's the take-no-shit scary dude. If a thunderstorm rolls in, Derek acts as if it's nothing but a few clouds overhead, which is the way Stiles' handles it, more or less. Sure, sometimes he wonders if the gutters will be a mess afterwards, but Derek? There's really no one in the universe, Stiles figures, who could care less than Derek.
Not until he steps through the back window of the Stilinski house and the power gets cut, though. And not when he's rain-drenched and aggravated.
Stiles tries to keep himself from laughing as Derek peels off his jacket. He stands up, intent on finding a towel for the other man, but the lack of light in the room really isn't helping. "I keep telling you to just drive here and use the front door. Why do you insist on breaking in every time?"
"Old habits die hard, I guess." Derek grumbles, and Stiles really hopes that he's trying to decide whether or not he really cares if Stiles' floor gets covered in mud. He can practically hear the frown in Derek's voice when he asks, "Can you even see?"
Stiles doesn't want to admit it, but he still smiles sheepishly, mostly to himself. "Not a damn thing."
He can hear Derek grunt, and the sound of him slipping off his shoes (how courteous, Stiles muses) before taking a few steps further into the house. "Stay here, I'll find some flashlights and a towel."
"Don't get puddles all over the floor, if you could." Stiles tells him, and he's almost kidding. "My dad's gonna start wondering if water's getting into the house on its own."
He hears Derek mumble something as he disappears into the darkness, and Stiles smirks a bit to himself. He's almost sure that whatever it was, it was some sort of snappy retort, but Derek's foul attitude is nearly as drenched as he is. Still, he feels kind of stupid, standing in the middle of the dark kitchen, waiting for Derek to come back, and there's a part of him, a very small part, that curses Derek's stupid super-eyesight.
The perks of being a werewolf. Stiles sighs.
Soon enough, there's a shining light from the end of the hallway, and Stiles squints. "Yeah, thanks for that." he says, putting a hand up to block his eyes, and Derek emerges from the hallway with two flashlights and a towel slung over his shoulder.
Derek hitches an eyebrow and hands the flashlight to Stiles. "I can't imagine what it's like to not be able to see during a power outage."
"Rest assured, it sucks." Stiles replies dryly, and he clicks on the flashlight, heading back into the living room. He opens the shades on the windows to try to let as much natural light in as possible, but there's not much to speak of. "What are you doing here, anyway?"
Derek rolls his eyes. "I didn't know the power was going to cut out the minute I walked in, so I figured you'd have some bad DVD playing. Like you normally do."
"You totally love the bad movies."
"Think what you want."
There's a crash of thunder from outside and a patch of light flashes into the room as the lightning strikes. Stiles frowns out the window, but otherwise isn't bothered by the weather, and he can feel Derek's eyes on him.
Eventually, Stiles turns away from the window. He goes toward the sofa and collapses into his normal seat, which is starting to sag into the cushions from how often he's there. "Sit down if you want. We don't have anything to watch, but I can't just let you stand there."
And, like he expects, Derek sits.
Stiles grins in the darkness and he shines his flashlight into Derek's face. The werewolf doesn't flinch the way a human would, but he does give Stiles a confused look. He seems contemplative, like he's mulling something over.
Derek speaks before Stiles gets the chance to ask. He watches Stiles carefully, not bothered by the light shining in his eyes. "You seem like the kind of person who would really enjoy thunderstorms."
Stiles' smile disappears, and his expression is left neutral. "Not really, no." He shrugs, and he hopes it's simple enough of an answer for Derek. "Everybody acts as if it's the coolest thing ever, or like it's somehow gonna kill them. It's just loud rain, is all."
Derek's brow is furrowed, but he nods before looking away, his eyes falling on the rain-spattered windows. "I'm not saying I disagree with you. I'm just surprised." he says quietly.
Stiles could say something about how he's not hyperactive all the time, or about how his attention span isn't that short, but he really doesn't have the energy to start anything with Derek and really doesn't figure it could lead anywhere good. So he just lets it slide and chooses instead to slip a little lower on the sofa, aiming his flashlight at the ceiling and making badly-formed shadow puppets.
He's talking before he knows it. "I think it's cause of when I was little. Or something."
"How do you mean?" Derek asks calmly, and he doesn't sound overtly interested, but he doesn't sound bored, either.
Stiles shrugs and makes a dog with his hand, and he grins a little bit. Derek looks up at the ceiling and even Stiles can tell he's fighting a smile, even if it's just a small one. "When I was really little, I didn't like how loud they were, I guess. The storms, I mean. Freaked me out."
He changes the shape of his hand and the dog on the ceiling is suddenly a rabbit, and though Derek's eyes are on the ceiling, Stiles can tell he's listening. "My mom," he continues quietly, "would always calm me down, if I remember correctly. She always used to say that storms are just loud rain. They can't do much." He shrugs, and it's an awkward motion, considering his position on the couch. "Barring getting struck by lightning."
Derek hums in the back of his throat, but otherwise doesn't say anything, and Stiles is left wondering if it was a good idea to bring up such a personal story at all. He lets his hand drop to his side and tries to swallow the awkward feeling crawling up his throat, and he's forced to watch an empty circle of light on the ceiling that Derek surprisingly still hasn't taken his eyes off of.
The werewolf looks pensive, like he's trying to decide whether or not to say something, and Stiles is scared that he'll explode if Derek doesn't say something soon. Otherwise, he'll just be left cramped on the couch having honestly talked about his mom in God knows how long.
But Derek does say something, after what seems an eternity. But he lets his flashlight drop into his lap first, and he brings his hands up above Stiles' light. He hooks his thumbs together and curls his fingers around, and Stiles can feel a smile spread on his face as a spider forms on the ceiling above him.
"I used to live in Seattle, you know."
Stiles looks away from the shadow puppet to look at Derek, but his face is passive, his eyes still on the ceiling. Stiles is struck by how odd this is, sitting during a power outage and making shadow puppets with a werewolf, but there's a part of him that just... really doesn't mind. "Yeah? What was that like?"
Derek shrugs. "I can't remember it all that well. It was a long time ago." He breaks his hands apart and they kind of just hang there for a second, like he's trying to figure out what to do, but he folds them together again and soon there's a bird on the ceiling. "I just remember one time when I was really little, back when I was eight or nine. Uncle Peter was driving Laura and I home from where another pack was staying."
Stiles tries to resist the urge to flinch, but instead keeps watching Derek, who tells the story as if it's the most distant, puzzling thing to him, like he's trying to recall someone else's memory. It's a sort of determination, like he's trying to remember something that never really happened.
"It was raining." Derek says simply. "And I was almost asleep, I think. I just remember being really exhausted. There was this... carnival or something in town, or maybe it was a circus." He frowns with concentration. "All I can remember is falling asleep against the window, and that the lights were shining through the water on the other side."
He lets his hands fall then. "Everything else about it is a blur. But I remember those lights, and how bright they were through the water."
Stiles really doesn't know what to say.
He watches Derek, who still has his eyes on the empty circle of light on the ceiling, until he finally wrenches his gaze down to look at Stiles. He looks confused, like the memory he just recounted wasn't his.
"I don't know why I just told you that."
Stiles is only hurt for a moment or two until he realizes that Derek's just as confused as he is. It's not that Stiles isn't worthy of a story like that, but that Derek isn't sure exactly where it came from. Stiles, though, is still stuck on how someone who's an alpha werewolf, who murdered his own uncle and found the dead body of his sister, could still remember something so... serene.
Even after watching his entire family die at the hands of Kate Argent, after losing everything and being alone for so long, the one thing Derek can remember is a bunch of carnival lights and a rainstorm.
The flashlight rolls from his hand and thumps onto the carpet, casting odd shadows across the room, and suddenly Derek's kissing him, insistent and firm. There's a very small, very quiet part of him whose first instinct is to grab the light, but then Derek's got a hand curled around his neck, and Stiles' tries to push himself up a little bit using his elbows, both to get himself into a more comfortable position and because he finds the strangest urge to push back.
It's different this time -- it's not gentle, and Stiles is almost sure that it will never be gentle, but it's not as rough either, not as careless. Derek's actually thinking about something other than his own needs this time around, like he's fully aware of Stiles underneath him, his ribs and his sides and his hips and his stomach, and Stiles is overwhelmed by that most of all, and his own hands go up to palm at Derek's chest, down his back --
There's another loud roar of thunder and the lights flicker back on.
Derek pulls away from him and is left looming there, his expression confused, studying Stiles' face. Of course, Stiles thinks, the lights had to come on right then, and Derek's sure to run off into the rain again.
But he bends down and presses his mouth to Stiles', just once, before pulling away and standing himself up. His expression has returned to that passive scowl that Stiles has become so used to, and he places the damp towel that he used on the coffee table.
"I'll see you later, Stiles."
He sits up to watch Derek go back over to the window, and he's trying to find something to say, because there's something in his throat that wants to be said, but he just can't figure out what it is. He can't think of the words, so instead, he mumbles, "Don't forget your coat."
Derek doesn't. He grabs it from where he left it and slips out the window into the rain, and he's gone.
It's quiet in the living room after that, and Stiles doesn't move for a long time. He just sits there and thinks -- not about anything in specific. He mostly spaces out, staring at the small puddles of muddy water on his floor, feeling the wet patches on the sofa and on his shirt.
And the next time thunder bursts and rocks the house, no one sees him flinch.