“It’s all bullshit, that’s what it is,” someone’s telling Derek, their voice shaky and slurred with drink.
Derek’s busy staring at the neon-blue budweiser sign hanging over the bartender’s head as if it holds the secrets of the universe. His fingers are tap-tap-tapping against the counter, a heavily doctored gin and coke hanging listlessly from one hand. He can’t taste the wolfsbane anymore, which he’s pretty sure means that he’s actually drunk. He’ll have to thank Laura later.
“Are you even listening to me?” the someone demands. He thinks it might be a girl.
No, Derek thinks.
“Sorry, what?” he says, tearing his eyes away from the sign. The girl sitting next to him frowns.
“I said,” she drawls, setting her elbow down in a saucer of ketchup and grimacing. She makes a face, and proceeds to dab ineffectively at the stain with a napkin, talking as she goes. “That this whole soulmate thing is fucking stupid. You’re supposed to find someone based off of the music they’re listening to? How would you even know what was really stuck in your head and what was in theirs? It’s complete shit.”
Derek, who has had everything from Dancing Queen to the Barney theme song stuck in his head all night, winces, and says abruptly, “I think my soulmate is in middle school.”
The girl blinks. “What?”
He’s about to tell her about the case in ‘92 where a Palestinian girl found her soulmate because he’d set up camp on a bridge and started singing to passerbys, but before he can open his mouth, Blink 182 starts up in Derek’s head, a nightmarish queue that just won’t end.
“Oh god,” he says helplessly, and vomits all over her lap.
The first time it happened to Derek, he was seven years old. No one really caught on for a few days, least of all Derek. He was a kid, after all. Kids make up weird shit all the time and no one pays them any mind.
The fourth day though, his grandparents came home from their trip to Belarus.
Derek spent the morning sitting on the floor of his Nana's room, watching them unpack the luggage. It wasn’t very fun once he was through playing with all the stuff they’d brought back with them, so he decided to entertain himself.
The song wasn’t a very nice song, he didn’t think, but it was pretty. The words were unfamiliar, the language thick and foreign on his tongue, but for some reason, it always seemed to come out right when he sang it.
Derek had just gotten to his favorite bit when his Nana straightened up and fixed him with a curious look.
“We never taught him any Polish, did we?” she’d asked his mom, surprise coloring her voice.
And that was that.
Derek had a soulmate. And everyone in his family knew it.
With Paige, Derek would have cello solos stuck in his head for days. They would weave in and out of his head, all the songs she played for him, and he would go to sleep humming them. He would wake up humming them.
Those songs were his.
Sometimes, Derek wonders if his soulmate ever got sick of it. If he or she hates classical music as much as Derek hates Eminem. He wonders sometimes, if they know why Derek’s had string concertos replaying in his head for weeks and weeks, remembering the feel of her lips on his.
He pretends that it doesn’t make him feel guilty.
The day of the fire, Derek has Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl stuck in his head on loop for six and a half grueling hours. When he starts mindlessly humming it in the police station after, a dazed look on his face, Laura turns to him and snarls until he stops.
Derek doesn’t think that she’s trying to be an asshole. He gets it. She’s dealing with the same broken heart that he is right now. She’s a new alpha, and Derek isn’t blind. She isn’t dealing with the instincts very well.
Laura doesn’t have a soulmate. She’s never gotten lullabies or pop songs stuck in her head just because, and maybe she’s jealous, that when she’s just lost everything, Derek still has someone out there that’s not her.
Four years later, he hears the song by chance as he’s heading home from work. He’s rounding a corner, not particularly playing close attention to anything, and there it is, playing in the deli that Laura hates.
Derek doesn’t remember the run home, but doesn’t think that he’d shifted.
He stops shaking seven hours later, when Laura walks through the door with a bag of take out in her hands, her steady pulse drowning out the melody in his head.
It means no worries, for the rest of your days, the inside of his head tells him. Derek smiles. Just a little.
When it finally happens, when Derek comes face to face with his soulmate for the first time, he doesn’t notice at first. It’s like that girl said all those years ago — how are you supposed to really know when they’re just songs. It’s not like you have a name to go by. And by that point, Derek has gotten so used to his soulmate’s eclectic taste that nothing stands out. It’s just any other day, dozens of songs popping up in his head, fast and fleeting.
They’re just songs.
The theme from Peter and the Wolf. Little Red Riding Hood. Howlin’ For You. Hot In Here. A truly awful song by a band called Duck Sauce with a music video that scarred Derek to his very core.
It’s kind of embarrassing that it takes Stiles humming Hot Mess aloud while he’s keeping Derek’s intestines in to make it click. Because of course it’s Stiles. Of course, he’s the kid that made Derek listen to Spice Girls for three straight weeks a few summers ago.
The real travesty though, is that Derek doesn’t even get to protest Stiles’ song choice, because he’s too busy passing out.
It’s hard to go to work with a boner—
Derek tries to ignore it at first. From the neck down, he can’t really feel his body, and there’s foul tasting water everywhere, getting in his mouth and making his eyes water. This is not the time. It’ll pass. It always passes. Eventually.
It’s hard to drive a car with a boner—
Or not. Whatever. He can ignore this. He’s good at that.
It’s hard to mow the lawn with a boner—
It’s different now, though, he thinks. Derek might not be able to feel Stiles’ erection against him, but he can definitely smell it, and while he may have come to terms with the fact that Stiles is somehow his soulmate, that doesn’t mean he understands how the little fucker is hard right now.
There’s a man eating monster stalking them and Stiles is singing about boners in his head. Because he has one. Despite the life or death scenario.
It’s hard to keep scowly assholes alive with a boneeeer—
“Please stop,” Derek finally hisses, face flushing red. “Dear god, make it stop.”
Stiles snorts water against the back of Derek’s neck, gasping a little when his head (and subsequently Derek’s) dips below the surface.
“What?” he coughs when they both resurface, tucking his arms more securely around Derek’s ribs. It could be worse, Derek thinks. He could have a soulmate that would have actually left him to die instead of just whining loudly about it. Stiles is annoying and lanky and stubborn as all fuck, but he’s also loyal. Strong. Someone that Derek wouldn’t mind having his back in a pinch.
Stiles might be an asshole, but so is Derek. Maybe that’s why they’re soulmates.
He sighs. “Please stop singing about your boner.”
Stiles is frowning against the back of his neck.
“But I wasn’t—” he starts to say, and Derek can feel the moment that he gets it, because there’s a sharp, painful sounding inhale and then Stiles is flailing so hard that he ends up dunking them again.
This time, Derek almost wishes that Stiles would let him drown.
“That wasn’t funny,” Stiles tells him when they both come sputtering back to the surface again, gagging on water. He spitefully spits a mouthful out against Derek’s cheek.
“I wasn’t trying to be funny,” Derek sighs, making an attempt to twitch his fingers.
Derek sighs again, as explosively as possible. “Yes.”
After everything they’ve been through, this is what makes Stiles hesitate. This is what he goes soft over.
Derek takes a deep breath, trying to make himself go soft. He can’t fuck this up. Stiles is brash and loud, and Derek doesn’t love him yet, but he thinks that given time, he could. Stiles challenges him to be a better person. He doesn’t take Derek’s shit. He gets under his skin in a way that he hasn’t felt since Paige.
“Yeah, I’m yours,” he says, voice as gentle as he can make it.
God help me, he thinks.
Stiles is quiet. Too quiet. And then, just as Derek’s starting to get worried, he blurts out, “God, you listen to Linkin Park. That’s just wrong.”
Derek narrows his eyes at the lip of the pool.
“Spice Girls, Stiles,” he reminds him, and feels Stiles wince.
“Yeah, okay. That was my bad.”
Derek scoffs. “Damn right.”
Later, after Scott, after abomination, Derek gets in his car and drives.
“Just because you’re my soulmate doesn’t mean that my dad won’t shoot you if he sees you sneaking in through my window in the middle of the night,” Stiles drawls, not looking up from his computer as Derek pulls himself through the open window.
“Your dad isn’t here right now,” he says with a shrug, kicking off his shoes and settling carefully onto the edge of the bed.
Stiles is still flushed from his shower, pink all over, the neck of his t-shirt damp. The smell of the chlorine persists, but beneath that, he smells fresh. Clean. Spice up your life, goes the inside of his head, and Derek grimaces.
“You better not be getting my bed wet,” he warns Derek, fingers tapping over the keys. Slam it to the left, if you’re having a good time, his brain adds.
Derek looks down at himself. He hadn’t taken the time to shower, but he’s dried off a bit since the pool. He pokes a sleeve, skeptical. It’s definitely still wet.
Over at the computer, Stiles snorts. When Derek glances up, Stiles is watching him, lips quirked into a half smirk.
“Towels are under the sink,” he chirps, looking amused. He waggles his eyebrows. Shake it to the right, if you know that you feel fine.
Derek glares at him, reluctantly pushing to his feet. “We’re going to have to talk about this.”
“Yup.” Stiles smiles at him, beatifically. “After you shower.”
Chicas to the front.
Derek pauses in the doorway, looking back with a frown. “And we’re definitely going to have to do something about the inside of your head.”
Stiles shrugs, still smiling. “Shouldn’t have said anything about them. The Spice Girls are like Voldemort. Speak their name and you’ve doomed yourself.”
Derek sighs. Really, he brought it on himself.
Hi, ci, ya, hold tight!