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Wish That I Could Just Be Brave

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“How many, sir?”


I'm meeting someone, actually.” Stiles flicks a quick gaze over the room, and even in the restaurant's dim lighting he can clearly make out Derek sitting in a corner booth. “There he is.”


He offers the hostess his best smile and strides forward, steady on his feet despite the half-empty bottle of Jack he left stashed in Scott's car. His dad was the sheriff for most of his life, and it's a source of pride that no one on earth is better at convincing people he's not completely wasted than one Mr. Stiles Stilinski.


Fancy meeting you here.” Stiles slides—okay, half-slides, half-topples—into the booth, winning grin still plastered across his face. He casts an appreciative gaze over the parts of Derek he can see across the table, pointedly ignoring the irritation that's quickly overtaking his expression. “You look nice.”


Stiles. What are you doing here?” Derek's voice is a low growl; Stiles shifts uneasily as he tries to ignore what he considers to be his purely Pavlovian response to it.


Here for dinner,” he lies blithely. “Same as you! And since you're here by yourself—”


I'm not. You know that.”


Ohhhh, that's right!” Stiles says in patently false surprise. “Tonight's your date.”


It's not a date, it—”


With your old friend.”




Which was so important that you cancelled our plans—”


This is not the time—


“—even though you've been saying we need to talk, and that's what we were going to do, finally—


Stiles.” There's a snap to his voice that finally shuts him up, because this is a really nice restaurant and Stiles thinks blood would probably be kind of a bitch to get out of the nice white linen tablecloths. He sits there in silence as Derek's nostrils flare, as the suspicious look on his face turns to annoyance. “You're drunk.”


No I'm—yeah.” Stiles lifts his chin in defiance. “Okay, yeah, I am. I got a bottle of Jack, and I blackmailed Scott into driving me here while I still had the courage to do it, even if it's liquid courage, whatever, it still counts, because you can't—look, okay, you can't just spend the first week I'm back from school fucking me senseless, and then say we need to talk, and then cancel our plans to do that so you can go on a goddamned date, and I just—”


God damn it, Stiles—”


Look, if you're gonna dump me, just do it, okay?” To call the silence that falls once the words are out of his mouth awkward would be an act of extreme charity. “Not that—I mean, I don't even know if that's the right word. Because you can't really dump someone who's just a fuckbuddy, and like, maybe that's all this is, I don't know, and I thought that's maybe what we were going to talk about, but—”


Look, I promise.” Derek leans forward enough for Stiles to be able to smell him: that warm, deep, Derek scent that smells like woods and musk, and the soft edge of leather from the jacket he wears so often that the scent has become part of him even when it's nowhere in sight. It's not fair, Stiles thinks distantly, because now he just wants to curl up warm against him, and he's pretty sure that Derek knows that. “We'll talk later. As much as you want, okay? But right now you need to go.”


I . . . no.” Stiles firms his resolve because damn it, he convinced Scott to drive him thirty miles out of town, and he put on a coat and tie just to get in here. “We'll talk now.” He allows himself a smirk. “Since your date's stood you up, and all.”


He's not my date,” Derek snarls, eyes rimmed with red now, “and he didn't stand me up. He's in the bathroom, and you need to be gone before he comes back. I'm not fucking kidding here, Stiles.”


Why?” Stiles swallows heavily, asking the question he needs an answer to even if he doesn't necessarily want it. “Are you really that . . . I don't know. Ashamed of me? This guy obviously means a lot to you, if you're taking him out here. It's sure a hell of a lot nicer than anywhere in Beacon Hills; I mean, I didn't even know you owned a tie.” A short, nervous laugh escapes him. “So . . . is that it? You just don't want him to know you were bored enough to kill time with me?”


I swear to god, you are an actual—oh shit. Shit. He's coming back. Stiles, you really need to—oh for fuck's sake that's not what I was going to say.”


The hint of actual panic in Derek's eyes has Stiles slipping into automatic survival mode, and since all of his instincts are screaming DOWN that's where he goes, sliding under the table in a graceless heap. He vaguely hears Derek mutter something like oh, fuck it , and he's just gotten his limbs straightened out when a foot hooks around his back, tugging him forward until he's tucked safely between Derek's legs. It's less than a full breath later another pair of legs slide under the table; they stay carefully on their side, but Stiles finds himself glaring at them nonetheless. Interloper.


It's dark, and the tablecloth muffles the sound from above, and between that and the alcohol still swimming through his bloodstream Stiles can't help but feel that the entire situation is more than a little bit surreal. He feels like an idiot, curled up on the floor while his maybe-boyfriend goes on with his maybe-philandering. Their voices are low enough that even from this close he can't quite make them out, but the sudden burst of warm laughter from the stranger is clear as day. Stiles glares at his legs again, wrapping an arm around Derek's calf like that'll make a damned bit of difference. Strong thighs squeeze a little tighter around his shoulders, which is either reassurance or an attempt to keep him still. Stiles hates that he doesn't know which one it is; he hates that Derek has him tied up in knots like this; but most of all, he hates that he's hiding under a table in a town thirty miles away from home because he's too terrified of rejection to confront Derek without half a bottle of whiskey in him, and this had seemed like a really good idea when he thought it up.


He doesn't exactly mean to start something. Not really. It's just that Derek is warm, and his scent is comforting, and Stiles can't help but take a moment to rest his head against Derek's leg. He feels Derek tense beneath him before very deliberately relaxing again, and oh . . . oh . That's interesting.


The hand that he runs slowly up Derek's thigh is entirely intentional, he'll admit, as is the way he turns his face to nuzzle into the strong line of muscle beneath his cheek. Derek reaches down to tug sharply at his ear, and Stiles just sinks his teeth into Derek's thigh in retaliation. To his surprise he feels Derek actually tremble at that, a moment before his legs fall open wider, and now we're fucking talking.


The soft material of Derek's trousers feels intriguing beneath Stiles's lips as he begins to kiss his way up, pausing every so often to nip and suck at whatever spot he's happened to reach. The unmistakable bulge between Derek's thighs feels like victory, and Stiles spends several long minutes unabashedly nuzzling there, sucking intently through the fabric before letting warm breath ghost over the wet spot he's made. For all that Derek talks about Stiles's mouth—and since they started having sex he talks about it an awful lot , as it turns out—Stiles doesn't usually get the opportunity to do this for any length of time. He's generally lucky to get his mouth on Derek's cock for more a full minute before he finds himself hauled up and flipped over, with Derek between his legs and pinning him down. And that's fine—better than fine, that's freaking awesome— but he's enjoying the chance to draw things out for once, to tease and tempt and take his time.


Still, he doesn't last terribly long before he's reaching up, easing Derek's zipper down as quietly as he can and grateful for the drape of linen that keeps them both covered as Stiles carefully pulls him out. He can't believe he's doing this, can't believe he's hiding beneath a table in a restaurant where a meal costs more than he spends on food in a week at school, with someone else sitting less than a foot away while he blows his maybe-actual-boyfriend. This is crazy. Derek's made him crazy , it's the only explanation, because that is exactly what he's doing: breathing deep and wrapping a hand around the base of Derek's cock to guide it into his mouth, eyes sliding closed as the taste and scent fills his head and leaves him wanting more .


He loses himself to it quickly: to the heat and weight of Derek against his tongue; to the stretch of his lips as he sinks down again and again and again; to the way a low, gentle hum makes Derek's legs clench tightly around his ribs. A large, heavy hand settles on the back of his head, urging him on, and Stiles has to reach down to grind his palm against his own erection, hard and begging for attention as he sucks at Derek like it's the most important thing he's ever done.


He doesn't know how long it lasts. Not long enough, despite the ache in his jaw and the cramps in his legs; they need more space for this, need enough privacy that Stiles can stretch this out without worrying they'll get caught. He's thinking about Derek's bed, and all the ways they could break each other apart, when Derek's hand slides down to the back of his neck and tightens there, holding him in place. Stiles's heart is a sudden jackhammer in his chest, his fingers gripping Derek's thighs hard enough to bruise, and later on he knows he'll probably be embarrassed that he comes in his pants just from the feeling of Derek emptying himself down his throat. For now, however, he's drifting on a blissful wave of alcohol and endorphins. He feels smug as hell as he lets Derek's softening cock slip from his mouth and tucks him back into his trousers, because Derek might not have cracked his composure over it, but he just let Stiles blow him in the middle of a goddamned restaurant. That's gotta count for something, Stiles thinks hazily, and like hell is he giving up his idiotic, infuriating sourwolf without a fight.


There's laughter from up above again, and Stiles's euphoria isn't quite strong enough to hold out against the words that are spoken loud enough for him to hear this time.


You know,” the stranger's deep, amused voice rumbles out, “you could've just said he was off-limits.”


I told you twice already, my pack stays with me.” Derek's smiling; Stiles can hear it in his smug, sated voice, the bastard. “I've cut you some slack because we used to run together, but if you come into my territory trying to recruit again, we're going to have a problem. And if you come anywhere near my mate with that look in your eyes,” he suddenly snarls, “I will rip your fucking throat out. Got it?”


Hey. You've made your point.” The stranger's voice is placating, and just a little bit afraid. Stiles thinks that's probably significant, but he's too distracted by the way that Derek's hand has tightened possessively around the back of his neck to bother working out why. “Little Red's out of bounds. Got it.”


Good. Thanks for dinner. Stiles, come on, we're leaving.”


Um.” Stiles squeezes his eyes shut. “Actually, I'm good here. Where no one can see me. Ever again.”




Derek's hand tightens again, warningly this time, and Stiles grumbles as he scrambles out from under the table. He glances around, paranoid that everyone in the entire restaurant is bearing witness to his embarrassment, but tucked away in the corner as they are he seems to have miraculously escaped notice. He turns back to find Derek's friend—who Stiles is slightly irritated to note is also unfairly gorgeous, seriously , what is even with the werewolves in his life?—smirking as he pointedly looks anywhere that isn't at Stiles. Derek rises from the booth with a look of fond exasperation.


You're all wrinkled,” he says, brushing a hand over the sleeve of Stiles's jacket and letting it linger there possessively. “Let's get you home.”


There's a good coffee shop on the way out of town,” his friend offers, eyes still carefully averted. “If your mate needs to sober up a little.”


Derek makes a sound that might be agreement before he grips Stiles's shoulder and leads him out of the restaurant, sparing nods to the waitstaff who thank them for their patronage. Stiles marches alongside him in a daze, trying to ignore the increasingly uncomfortable mess in his boxers. They make it out to Derek's car before he finds his voice again, which he thinks might actually be some sort of personal best at keeping his mouth shut.


So.” He opens his mouth, closes it again. “Mate?”


He's caged up against the side of the car an instant later, Derek's arms braced on either side of him as he hovers close enough that Stiles can feel his body heat.


Mate,” Derek growls. His eyes flicker down to Stiles's lips. “Do we still have to talk?”


Um.” Stiles feels himself beginning to smile. Well, he thinks, I guess there's a first time for everything. “I'd really rather we didn't,” he says out loud, and leans up to kiss the smirk off of his mate's smug face.