Stiles is thinking about bricking up his window. He barely uses it as a window any more anyway. It's become the revolving door through which all werewolves and various nocturnal monsters tend to visit. One day an actual mountain lion is going to get in - probably because someone left said window open - and it's going to maul him to death while he sleeps, and everyone is going to feel awful about it. They'll all feel awful over his horribly mauled corpse.
Derek has found his way in tonight, bringing in the cold night air, and an aura of moodiness, and smelling like whatever a tragic inability to relate to other people smells like. Stiles is seriously tempted to throw his history textbook at him. Maybe it would even hit him.
"Derek, hey, come in, feel free to stand creepily in a corner, you'll probably do it anyway." He doesn't even bother to look up.
"I need your help."
Stiles isn't even surprised that that's what Derek's opening with. Because he doesn't know how to say hello, or ask people how they are, make small talk like a normal person. Stiles thinks he'd be rude and demanding even if they were friends. In fact he's pretty sure it would be exactly like this. There are probably no perks to being friends with Derek at all.
"Have you been cursed to be nice to people? Because I hear there's no cure for that." Stiles can see the vague shadowy shape of him in his computer screen. He's still pretending he actually has things to do.
Derek sets down a pot of something inky dark on the desk next to him. It sloshes slowly, thick like paint. "I need you to use this to paint these on me." Derek thrusts a collection of printed pages at him. Not really giving him the option to refuse them. There are words that Stiles can't read, and then a line of repeating symbols, a collection of dots, swirls and lines. This is obviously not one of those 'ignore Derek until he goes away' situations. Stiles picks up the pot, which is warmer than he's expecting, suggesting it spent the last hour in Derek's jacket. He tips it from side to side, swivels his chair round. This all sounds like a pretty huge thing he's missed, Scott hasn't said anything to him.
"Why? What's going on?"
"Because if you don't bad things will happen," Derek growls, like Stiles isn't supposed to ask, and yeah, that was never going to happen. Expecting him to not want to know things is like expecting werewolves to knock.
"That isn't an explanation, that's like a portentous warning at best. You realise there's absolutely no way I'm just going to do something for you without knowing exactly what it is, don't you? If there's something going on I need to know about -"
Derek takes a step forward, frustration obvious.
"This has nothing to do with Scott, or anyone you know."
"That's not what I asked." Stiles waits, because he can be stubborn when he wants to be. Even against Derek and his tendency to randomly threaten terrible violence if people don't immediately do what he wants. Stiles is trying to cure him of that, but it's a slow and painful process - mostly for him.
"It's protection," Derek bites out.
"Ok, I get that, magical protection, protection from what?"
Derek doesn't look like he has any intention of answering that.
"I really enjoy these conversations we have," Stiles says sarcastically. "The way you just open up."
Derek's expression doesn't change at all, and Stiles is pretty sure he could grow old waiting for him to give up anything else.
"Ok, why come to me? Why not Boyd, Isaac or Erica?"
Derek frowns harder, and Stiles can tell that he especially doesn't want to explain this part.
"They can't do it," Derek says stiffly.
"Because they're not involved, or because they're werewolves?" Excuse him for not knowing how this works. If Stiles had known he'd be screwing with magic tonight - if someone had bothered to call ahead maybe - he would have attempted some sort of research.
"Seriously, throw me a bone here, Derek. Are we playing twenty questions? Because I have to tell you, you can't even get that right."
"You don't need to know." Derek still sounds angry - which tells Stiles that, yes, he absolutely needs to know. This is something important, and there will be no helping while there's withholding.
"I'm pretty sure you don't need any sort of special skills to draw all over someone. So this is another magical thing, right?"
Derek's jaw clenches and relaxes. It's like pulling teeth out by the root, seriously.
"Yeah, I'm not doing anything until you tell me why it has to be me, because that is in no way suspicious." If this is a 'throw my least favourite kid to the wolves' scenario, than Stiles wants nothing to do with it. "I know how suspicious tends to end. Badly. It always ends badly for me."
"They couldn't do it," Derek says at last, stiffly. Shifting like he's uncomfortable with where this is going.
"Why the hell not?" Stiles demands.
"Because none of them are virgins."
Stiles is pretty sure Derek didn't mean to snarl that word out so loudly, and he can already see him reeling back his anger, teeth clenching. Stiles is so very glad he's home alone, because, seriously? The rest of the supernatural crap wasn't enough. This bullshit magical stuff is obviously just the latest in a long line of the universe's plan to make his life miserable.
"Wow, yeah, you're an asshole," Stiles says flatly.
Derek stabs a finger down on the paper that's still on his desk.
"It was very specific about who had to draw the symbols out. It won't work if anyone else does it."
"And of course you came straight to me, thanks for that, really," Stiles says stiffly. "Well maybe I'm not qualified to paint all over you."
Derek continues to stare at him, in a way he can read perfectly. Stiles is offended, and embarrassed, but mostly offended. Because he could have had sex, at some point. It's not completely out of the realms of possibility, thank you very freakin' much.
"Fine, maybe I don't want to paint all over you. Because, dude, your 'asking people for favours' manners suck."
"I wouldn't ask -" Derek's mouth tightens even further, until it looks like it hurts. "I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important. Believe me."
"Yeah, no kidding, because you can't exactly go around asking random people if they're virgins, and if they'll help you with your magical symbols. Some people might think that was crazy."
Derek looks physically pained, shifting in his jacket as if even the thought of asking nicely will taint him in some way.
"Oh my God, you're really serious aren't you? This is like a thing that's actually happening - and what am I saying, you're physically incapable of joking without straining something, of course it's happening." Stiles sighs, because is this his life now? And is there any way to get a refund on it? He picks up the pot again, and watches the liquid run from one side to the other. "What's in it?"
Derek makes an impatient noise, like he thinks Stiles is doing it on purpose. Because jumping into things without thinking has worked out so well for everyone so far.
"Hey, if you want me to stick my fingers in it I think it's only fair."
"Mountain ash, herbs, dirt, blood."
Stiles holds the thing away from him a little. "And suddenly I'm wishing I'd never asked."
"Will you do it, or not?" Derek makes it sound like he actually has other options, and much as it pains Stiles to admit it, even in his own head, he probably doesn't. His life is a disaster.
"You're pretty much screwed if I say no, aren't you?"
Derek looks like he wants to growl at him, or possibly stomp off in an angry huff, but he doesn't, and yeah, Stiles is totally right. When he was wishing he could be more useful to the pack this is not the sort of thing he meant. But he's here, and he's all Derek's got. Derek may be kind of an asshole, but letting him down is still like kicking a particularly mean and confused puppy.
"Fine, take your shirt off."
Derek's already stripping, as if knew Stiles would agree before he did, and that's just rude, creepy werewolf mood reading or not.
"But just so you know, this is the one and only time I will admit to being qualified for this. There will be no mentioning of this to anyone. Or using of it in the future. The shitty way you treat me you're lucky I do anything for you at all." Stiles picks up the top sheet of paper and folds it so the symbols are right in the middle. They look a lot more complicated than they had a second ago. They're scrunched together, fluid, as if whoever drew them had known what they were doing. "Do these have to be in order?"
Derek nods sharply.
"I mean you realise there's probably a million ways I could screw this up -" he stops talking to unscrew the top of the pot the paint's probably congealing in. It smells like old leaves and dirt and something darker, something animal. He pulls a face where Derek can't see. "Holy crap that smells awful. I'm re-thinking my decision to stick my fingers in here, just so you know."
"Just do it."
"Fine, fine, I'm doing it." Stiles angrily strips off his hoodie and throws it on the bed, rolls his sleeves up. Then he puts the paper on his desk where he can see it. He lifts his hands and sort of rests them in the air above Derek's shoulders. He's just realised how much this will involve actually touching Derek, and now it's a little scary and little weird - and a tiny bit exciting, in a way he ruthlessly stamps on. Derek's 'get the fuck on with it' expression is intimidating enough that he manages to sort of grip skin and turn him, and Derek goes obediently. Which may be the only time in his entire life he's done anything without complaining, or refusing or pulling some sort of angry face.
Derek's back is a huge, pale expanse of nakedness, and Stiles honestly doesn't know what he's doing here. No one even let him flick through Magic for Dummies.
"Do I go over your tattoo or leave it?"
Derek's quiet for a minute, and Stiles gets the impression he doesn't have the faintest idea himself.
"Well it's not magical so I'll go over it - it's not magical right?"
"No." It's the one thing Derek has sounded confident about since he rudely invaded Stiles's room. Honestly, he thinks their Alpha werewolf doesn't know what the hell he's doing, half the time. He's just winging it and hoping no one notices.
The stuff is cold, cold and slippery and kind of gross, and Stiles really doesn't want it on his fingers. But he's sticking them in there anyway and then pulling them free with a vaguely obscene noise. It's black and disturbing and dribbling down to his palm. He takes a breath and then very carefully starts painting a spiral on Derek's right shoulder. Derek's skin is noticeably warmer than Stiles's, and he can feel the muscle rolling underneath it. It takes him a second to work up the courage to wrap a hand round Derek's waist, so he can brace himself, and then he's just insanely aware of them there, of the way they keep tensing every time he paints a shape. Or presses his fingers in for dots.
"I have no idea if I'm doing this right?" Stiles is probably being overly careful and he has too much paint on his fingers, because it's dripping all over his shoes.
"Just follow the symbols," Derek says quietly, and that's about as friendly and reassuring as Stiles has ever heard him. Stiles suspects he's faking it for his benefit, which is something...maybe?
"I am, but I don't exactly have natural artistic flair. I don't want you to die because my swirls weren't swirly enough."
"It'll be fine." Derek sounds like he genuinely believes Stiles is trustworthy enough to do miscellaneous magic on his skin. He's not sure whether that's a compliment, or just more of Derek's awful decision making.
"That's easy for you to say, you haven't seen my spiral. It looks like an ugly whirlpool. It looks like one of those storm warnings on a weather map. Or a really badly iced cake. I don't think you're getting any magic to work if you look like a badly iced cake. The mystical forces will probably be horribly offended. And they'll probably blame me, so thank you for that." He's babbling and he knows it, mostly to distract himself from the flex and twitch of Derek's skin. The way the unnatural heat becomes more obvious the longer he keeps touching. Stiles follows the hastily scanned pages, spiral, weird dots, spiral, lines chasing weird squiggly thing, different weird dots, three lines, and back to the beginning. "Just so you know I have homework I'm supposed to be doing. Which I probably won't get time to do, and that will be entirely your fault."
The inky black symbols now cover all of his back and one arm. Derek twists under Stiles's drifting fingers so he can reach his chest, skin softer than it has any right to be under every swipe of paint. Which is warming now, the dirt-animal smell of it not quite as horrible. Holding Derek's waist feels somehow weirdly intimate now they're face to face, so his fingers just sort of hover there, touching occasionally when Stiles forgets. He pretends he knows nothing about it.
"So what happens after I've done this then?"
"I let it dry and then I wash it off, and that's it," Derek says, shoulders twitching where the side of Stiles's hand presses in.
"You wash it off, doesn't that defeat the purpose?"
"It's just supposed to sink in."
"Supposed to?" Stiles pauses long enough to frown at the back of Derek's neck. "Please tell me you're not doing magic you just randomly found online, because I'm pretty sure that never ends well."
"No, Deaton said -"
Stiles can't help the messy noise of amusement.
"Oh well that's fine then, it has the Veterinarian's seal of approval, it's bound to be totally safe. Everyone can stop worrying." Stiles does the eyebrows of sarcastic disbelief at him, even though Derek isn't really looking at him. He feels like Derek knows the eyebrows are there though, because Stiles can see the side of his scowl go sharp. "And just so you know, if my dad comes home and finds me painting up your naked body I officially have no excuse that would come even close to making this ok."
"I'll hear him," Derek says stiffly.
Stiles tries to think of an excuse anyway, because he feels like he's the only one of them who plans ahead, and if he stops doing that they'll all be completely doomed. But he's got nothing other than the truth. Which he just knows would come out sounding like an unbelievable and hastily made up lie to cover up something his dad would consider worse - and he knows exactly what that would be. Derek's lucky he's mostly bulletproof.
"You're not allowed to tell Scott about any of this, because he's still mad at you. He would disapprove and then worry you had sinister motives, and he has enough to worry about already."
"This isn't Scott's problem." Derek makes it sound like he and Scott are brothers who've had a terrible falling-out, in which he was the wounded party. He's just waiting for Scott to come around and apologise. And, yeah, good luck with that.
"Oh, so I'm freelancing now?" It sounds a little tighter than he means, because really? Scott gets to be the misunderstood younger brother who everyone supports, and Stiles gets virgin fingerpainting duties? Screw his life, screw it sideways.
"No, you're helping me." Derek makes 'helping' sound like a dirty word, but it's mostly sincere. Which is something, but if they're half-naked body art friends now then Stiles is going to expect a little better than that. Maybe this time he'll actually hold out for a thank you.
"Yeah, yeah, out of the goodness of my heart." Stiles's voice cracks when his fingertips catch and then trip across a nipple, and that's not weird at all, definitely not weird, his brain decides. Then because his body hates him he's hyper-aware of it when he trails back for the spiral's end, thumb so close he can almost touch it again. Could make it look like an accident.
He hates Derek, so much, but right now mostly for refusing to be an ugly hunchback with bad hygiene. Derek's abdomen is just as stupidly perfect as it looks, solid and warm under Stiles's fingers, all curves and valleys that he can't even try and ignore, and his fingers have warmed the paint enough that it feels slick and alive wherever he lays it down. He reaches the waistband of Derek's jeans and breathes a sigh of relief.
"And you even have some stuff left. Hey, I wonder what would happen if I -"
Derek's popping the button on his jeans and shoving them over his hips, and he's not wearing underwear and - Oh my God. That's...that's a lot of Derek to look at. There's a noise somewhere in Stiles's throat, but he knows it will just make everything a thousand times more awkward, so he swallows it back down. It turns into a choked little huff of air.
"You weren't kidding when you said everywhere were you?"
The stiffness of Derek's mouth says not. There's no way Stiles can do this. He can't just put his fingers all over Derek's naked body This is going above and beyond. He's going to react to the nakedness, and then Derek will make that face at him, only this time it will be a thousand times worse. It will either be smug, or offended or just disappointed in some sort of terrible sex-related way, and he's been through so much of that already.
Standing there staring at Derek's naked body without speaking for five minutes is almost certainly a bad start.
Stiles pushes at Derek's shoulder, because he thinks it's going to be safer to do the back first. Only it's obvious straight away that Derek's ass isn't even close to safe territory, and Stiles has no idea how on earth he ever thought it might be. Derek's ass is fucking perfect, and Stiles hates him a little bit more for making him touch it. He kneels down, sets the pot on the floor. Derek adjusts his stance a little and - oh my God - there is no justice in the entire world. He did something awful in a past life because this one is all about flaunting stupidly perfect things that he can't have at him.
"You owe me for this," Stiles manages, while he drags his fingers down Derek's left ass cheek. "So much. There is so much owing going on." He bites his lip and flares an angry breath over the skin in front of him. He hopes Derek can feel it.
He does the backs of Derek's thighs, calves, the strangely fragile looking bones of his feet.
The smell of deep earth and living things is thick now, not half as terrible as Stiles had originally thought. Instead it's warm and there's a hint of open water to it. Stiles finds himself inhaling without thinking about it.
He makes himself stop.
"Turn around." Stiles is proud of the fact that his voice still sounds sensible and mature. Derek shifts, tenses, there's a stiff reluctance to his movement. Stiles smacks him on the foot. "Come on, turn around."
Derek turns - and it quickly becomes obvious why he was so reluctant. Derek's hard, he's rock hard, and there's no way Stiles can't notice that. He kneels there stupidly, holding the pot, and his brain goes to a hundred places it shouldn't, at about seventy miles an hour.
"Ignore it," Derek says tightly.
Which is possibly the stupidest thing in the entire world. Because it's right there.
"Is it because of the stuff - ah - the paint?" Stiles kind of wants to kick himself for asking, but he also wants to know. He badly wants to know
Stiles doesn't have the nose for these things but he's pretty sure that's a lie. He spends far longer than he needs to getting paint on his fingers, before he's drawing spirals on Derek's bare thigh. Carefully concentrating on them and nothing else. He's ignoring everything else. Stiles is attempting to ignore it so hard that it takes him a second to realise that from this angle he's kind of...breathing right onto Derek's dick, and that might be the reason why Derek has clenched both his hands into fists, hard enough that Stiles can hear bones creaking. He swallows and colours, fast and hot, before shuffling over a little, fingers dipping back into the pot and coming up again. His artwork is a little harder, a little less careful round the solid line of Derek's hipbone, the curve of his waist.
Stiles wets his lips and hears a low hiss from above. He absolutely refuses to connect the two for fear that his brain will implode with arousal in some humiliating way. Instead he continues, a little shakier, onto the low plane of Derek's pelvis, black paint gliding through hair, the soft crease where hip meets body. Which is so close, so fucking close, the edge of his hand in danger of brushing the skin, which he knows would be fragile-soft. It's all painfully, unbearably arousing and the rushing in his ears is so loud that his position knelt on the floor doesn't even feel stable any more.
"Just so you know, I hate you, so much." Stiles's voice is shaking horribly, and he doesn't care, because if Derek hasn't smelled his arousal by now then he never will. Even over the smell of dirt/animal coming off the paint. The pot is rapidly emptying, he's running his fingers round the edges to collect the last of it. "And if anyone walks in on this you're now officially doing the explaining." Even the thought of it leaves him hot in a way he's not entirely sure is only embarrassment.
Stiles has to go down low to reach Derek's shins, and he has no idea whether Derek's watching him or not. Whether he's staring down at the back of Stiles's bowed head. It feels like he is, but Stiles is too afraid to look up. Even when he finishes.
He doesn't think he can stand.
He has to look up eventually, has to tip his head back, and Derek is looking right at him, eyes dark, chest heaving. When Stiles swallows Derek's hand makes an abortive move forward, only to stop and clench at his side. Stiles's eyes move sideways and down, without his permission. He has a hand pressed to an unpainted curve of Derek's thigh, fingers digging in.
All he'd have to do is open his mouth, and Derek could slide right in.
Arousal knifes through him and he can't help thinking that if he did - if he did what was the worst that could happen? Until Stiles remembers that that would probably defeat the whole point of this.
He manages some sort of wobbly float, until he's in an upright position. One of his sleeves has rolled down, and it's covered in smears and spots of black. The air feels syrup-thick. Derek catches his wrist and Stiles's heartbeat jumps. But Derek just lifts his hand to his face and - oh, yeah, that's pretty important. Stiles puts a spiral round his eye, pulls three fingers down his mouth, where it's rough and wet, and Derek's breath flares over his knuckles in a way that makes his insides curl and stretch. He drops his hand abruptly.
"You're done." He sounds like he's been breathing dust, voice full of grit. "I think I'm finished anyway - I mean unless -" he waves vaguely in the direction of the thing they're both supposed to be ignoring. He can't quite believe he's done it, but it's out there now, and he's just sort of standing there looking ridiculous with only one sleeve rolled up, flushed and sweaty and hard, and asking if he needs to touch Derek's dick.
Derek twitches and then gives one, rough headshake, like he's forgotten how to speak, throat rolling in a swallow. Stiles knows he could do it. He knows Derek wouldn't stop him. He can almost feel the way he'd be hot and tight-hard in his hand, the way he'd react to the cold, body tensing all over.
But Derek steps back, arms stretched out and he checks his painted skin with a furious sort of concentration - rather than look at him again. He's all curling lines of dark and light, wet and shiny, and no longer so familiar. That rich, animal smell is strong enough that Stiles can't smell anything else. He has to stop looking at Derek just so he can breathe.
He sits at his desk and stares at his chemistry textbook until it doesn't even make sense any more, not even bothering to pretend to turn pages, hard and too warm all over - hand stretched out in front of him, black paint drying between his fingers. Eventually the door to his room opens and he can hear the sound of soft footsteps, then the sound of the shower starting in the bathroom.
"I hate my life," Stiles whispers with feeling, and tries to find a comfortable position on the chair. There isn't one. He wants to touch himself, wants to push his hand inside his jeans and just shove into his fist until he comes, it wouldn't take much. It wouldn't take anything at all. But Derek will know. Which at this moment in time is probably the worst thing ever. Derek is probably jerking off in his shower because he just doesn't fucking care. And even thinking about it makes it worse. Stiles swears and leans his face against the cool pages of his textbook. That doesn't help either. It crushes the ache at his crotch in a way that makes it almost bearable though.
Until Derek appears back in his room, skin clean, hair still wet, a whole new and different sort of untidy to normal. He's put his clothes back on, but if Stiles had thought that would help he's completely wrong. Because he knows what Derek looks like naked now, and he's pretty sure that's doomed him in some terrible way to spend the next six months fantasizing about him from every conceivable angle.
Stiles pushes himself off the chair, there's really no way to do it subtly. He wipes his sweaty hands on his jeans and tries to pretend his skin isn't burning, that he isn't still painfully hard in his jeans. He's never been so eager to get rid of Derek before, and the fact that Derek probably knows it - worse, that he knows the reason for it. That Derek has to know what Stiles is going to do the moment he's gone.
"So, this has been super awkward. I guess if I see you again then it worked and -"
The rest of the words choke to a stop when he's shoved back into the wall, pinned there by the angry weight of Derek's chest and thigh. Derek's so far into his personal space that there is no personal space any more, there's just the space they're both occupying. He's so close their noses are almost touching, and there's a curl of red in his eyes. It's exactly like every other time Derek's done this - and nothing like it at the same time.
"Oh my God." That didn't come out scared at all. Stiles takes a shaky little breath, incapable of doing anything other than wanting, and then there's no space between them any more. Derek's hand is painfully tight on his neck, and his mouth is a furnace. Stiles is kissing him so hard that it actually hurts. A grate of stubble and teeth and strength. But he's been on edge for so long that even that's good. It's going to be so obvious what he's been doing tomorrow, and Derek is so unbelievably bad for him, but he doesn't care.
Derek inhales and eases away from his mouth - growls like it's an effort to stop - and Stiles's fingers dig into Derek's jacket, curl like he can pull him back. Impossibly he actually manages it, and he gets Derek's mouth against his again. This time it's not furious, it's slow and dirty, and completely mutual, and Stiles is pretty sure that he's broken Derek in some way to make him do this. But he's selfish, and he doesn't care, because Derek's mouth is amazing, and Stiles is completely on board with the kissing. Which is showing no signs of stopping any time soon - until there's a sudden hint of unnatural sharpness to the teeth dragging over his lip. Derek swears into his mouth, and then he's not touching Stiles any more, not leaning his unbearable heat into Stiles's personal space. The breeze from the open window is cool on his overheated skin and when he eventually opens his eyes he knows that Derek's gone. He's probably already a mile away doing his skin-painted magical thing.
But Stiles is pretty sure he'll be back.