Allison’s mom scares the shit out of Stiles. Beacon Hills isn’t a large town and Mrs. Argent is the secretary at the high school, which means she knows everything and can rattle off information at a moment’s notice. Between Allison’s mom, Mrs. McCall, and his dad, nobody can get away with anything. Well, most people can’t.
Most people aren’t Stiles. Stiles spends a lot of time listening to the police scanner his father keeps. There are no secrets in their house, mostly because Stiles doesn’t let any stone go unturned. He’s done this since his mom died, at first to check up on his dad and predict his moods and later because it became habit. He knows about the stash of alcohol his dad keeps stocked in his room and the box under his dad’s bed with his mother’s things in it.
He knows how to catch Mrs. Argent in a rare chatty mood and he knows how to exchange information in order to find out what he needs to know. He knows how to talk to Mrs. McCall because she’s the closest thing he’s had to a mom in a long time.
Between the three of them, they’re an information trifecta - his dad is the sheriff, Mrs. McCall is a nurse, and Mrs. Argent effectively runs Beacon Hills High School.
Stiles knows how to be a good kid. It’s this fact that allows him to misbehave.
“Do you happen to know where Allison was last night, Stiles?”
Stiles looks up from his seat in the office - he’s an aide this semester, and he will never get over the novelty, he thinks - and into the sharp eyes of Mrs. Argent. He weighs his options quickly before he settles on, “She was at my house.”
It’s almost the truth. Mrs. Argent doesn’t seem to believe him, so he embellishes.
“Harris has that huge chemistry test coming up, you know? It’s thirty-percent of our grade for the semester. We were studying.”
His father had the late shift last night, so no one would be able verify if he was telling the truth or not. Mrs. Argent knows this. She glowers at him for a moment, trying to trip him up in a lie, but Stiles is smart. He fidgets, and it would be odd if he didn’t. He throws a half-smile in her direction and says, “We’re going to ace it.”
She hums under her breath, not completely convinced but not sure enough to dispute him. Instead of pursuing, she hands him a bunch of number-two pencils and says, “Sharpen these.”
Stiles grins and does as she says.
It’s lucky that Stiles and Allison share a lunch, or it would be if they hadn’t had the same lunch period for the entire year. He slides into the seat next to her with a tray full of curly fries and says, “If anyone asks, we were studying for Chem last night.”
Allison does her best not to look surprised and barely looks at him when she asks, “And by anyone, you mean my mother.”
He just grins slyly in response. “You owe me.”
She laughs and it sounds like bells. Stiles can see why Scott likes - no, loves - her. This is why he covers for the two of them when they secretly rendezvous in the woods because it’s the only place the Argents don’t look for them.
“I always owe you, Stilinski.”
This is part of a bigger truth. Mostly everyone in their ragtag bunch owes him for one thing or another. Stiles likes to keep himself in people’s back pockets.
Stiles digs in his backpack and quickly produces his camera. “Smile,” he prompts, uncharacteristically, and the click of the shutter catches her face twisted into a question. She holds out her hand, expectation clear, but Stiles shakes his head. “No,” he hums, “this is for someone else.”
Allison laughs again, and lays her hand on his arm. “You’re a good friend,” she says, and Stiles grins even as he shoves a handful of fries into his mouth.
Stiles likes that people owe him favors. He never tells them what the favors are for, just hums and tells them he’ll let them know. The one outstanding favor he holds is from Danny and they have an agreement. Danny supplies Stiles with weed as long as Stiles helps Danny through messy break ups. It’s not something they’ve ever said out loud because that would ruin the tenuous something they have going, but every so often Danny will slip Stiles a baggy and Stiles will know to bring himself and a movie to Danny’s house.
Jackson has a time and a place, and he’s good for telling Danny his exes are dickheads and don’t deserve Danny, but Stiles has an entirely different skill set: no strings attached make outs and a guaranteed blind date via his good friend Kay Sara, who he met at the local gay club.
It works out pretty well for Danny.
Stiles can’t really complain either.
So when Danny comes up to the side of his car at the end of the day and slips him that tell-tale baggy, Stiles puts his hand over Danny’s and asks, “What movie do you want to watch?”
Danny just shrugs and Stiles immediately knows that this breakup was a bad one. He wonders if maybe he should invite Jackson.
Jackson is Danny’s best friend, Stiles thinks to himself, and Jackson owes him a favor.
“Jackson!” Stiles says loudly, and catches him before he goes into the coffee shop.
Jackson looks disgruntled, but when is he not? “What, Stilinski?”
Stiles steps up right into his space, too close by miles, and his hands barely trace the scarves around Jackson’s neck. “You owe me a favor, you know.”
Jackson groans, because it’s true and because he hates being in Stiles’ debt.
“You’re going to like this one,” Stiles says before Jackson can speak. “Be at Danny’s at six, bring a movie and your sweet mouth.”
Stiles steps back and Jackson suspiciously asks, “Why Danny’s?”
Stiles’ smile turns rueful and he just says, “Breakup.”
Jackson swears under his breath. He looks like he wants to rush right over to Danny’s, but Stiles put a hand on his arm. “Wait until six.”
Jackson sends him a look that isn’t half as nasty as it could be.
Stiles shrugs. “Please.”
He waits until Jackson nods his assent and smiles softly. He fishes for his camera again and snaps a quick picture. “I want to remember this moment,” Stiles says.
He finds that it’s almost the truth as he pockets the snapshot.
Jackson pulls into the driveway right at six, and Stiles is already waiting on the hood of his Jeep. He’s got that stupid camera, Jackson notes, and a small xylophone in a plastic pink elephant base and Jackson doesn’t know why but he viciously thinks that it suits Stiles.
Of course, that isn’t the sort of thing that would bother Stiles. Stiles accentuates that fact by playing a tinkling note for every step that Jackson takes.
Jackson taking a breath and reminds himself that he’s there for Danny.
“Good, you’re here!” Stiles says, as if for one second he thought that Jackson wouldn’t come. Please. “What movie did you bring?”
Jackson holds up three and Stiles immediately nixes two of them. “Did you seriously think that (500) Days of Summer and Eternal Sunshine were good movies for someone going through a breakup, Jackson? Really?”
Jackson just shrugs. I Heart Huckabees it is. Jackson hasn’t seen that one in a while anyway. Lydia only ever wants to watch The Notebook.
Stiles pops up off of the hood of his Jeep and barrels on. “The movie’s not really the important part though, but I’m sure we’ll watch at least the first ten minutes. It’s gotta set the mood, though, that’s what’s important.”
Jackson has no idea what Stiles is talking about. He levels an almost reptilian glare at Stiles though. The effect is kind of ruined, though, when Stiles just smiles.
If Danny is surprised to see Jackson there, Stiles doesn’t let him say anything. He just shoulders Danny up to his bedroom, making sure that Jackson follows along. Nobody says anything for a few moments, which is kind of miraculous since Stiles is never quiet, and Stiles starts the movie.
Jackson quickly realizes that the movie isn’t the point of this endeavor.
The three of them are sitting on Danny’s bed, backs pressed against the headboard, and out of the corner of his eye Jackson watches as Stiles pushes forward and swings a leg over Danny’s lap. Danny’s hands find Stiles’ hips like they’ve been there before and Jackson loses all pretense of watching the movie when Danny leans forward to catch Stiles’ mouth.
Jackson watches them and realizes quickly that they’ve done this before. Their moves are too purposeful, too familiar, and the slip-slide of Stiles’ mouth against Danny’s looks easy. Stiles has three fingers pressed against Danny’s jaw and he licks into Danny’s mouth in a way that seems obscene.
After a few moments of this, Stiles pulls back and cocks his head. A smile barely graces his face before he turns to Jackson and smacks a kiss on his cheek. There’s a question in Jackson’s eyes, but Stiles just shakes his head and presses his free hand against Jackson’s jaw.
When Stiles tugs him forward, Jackson goes and Danny meets him in the middle. Stiles hums under his breath as they kiss.
Stiles disentangles himself from the pile and presses pause on the movie. He lifts his camera and takes a picture of them kissing, of bitten lips and the slide of tongues, of the tender touch of hands to cheeks and smiles. He puts the picture with the one of Jackson from before.
Danny and Jackson don’t pay any attention to him. That’s good.
Since Danny and Jackson are taken care of, Stiles decides to go to Derek’s. He checks his phone before he pulls out of Danny’s driveway and sees a text from Scott, but he ignores it for the moment. He sends a quick message to let Derek know he’s coming by.
The two Polaroids find a new home in his backpack and Stiles pulls out of the driveway. It’s nice enough out that he rolls down the windows, but he knows he’s going to need to wear a jacket because Derek’s house is always too cold by far.
His back seat is a veritable closet, much to his father’s chagrin, so he’s not too worried about it.
He turns onto the road that will lead him to Derek’s hulking wreck of a house.
Derek only lives in a few of the rooms - the kitchen, a bedroom and bathroom, and an area that Stiles suspects was a living room at one point. The rest of the house is blocked off, because it’s much too big for only one person and because Derek hasn’t had a chance to restore all of it since the fire.
When Stiles lets himself think about it too much, he thinks it’s sad that Derek is living in what amounts to the remains of where his family died. He doesn’t think about it too often, though, just tucks Polaroids into the open rooms and hopes they give Derek something good to think about.
A few more turns, and Stiles in on the road that curves out to Derek’s house. No one else is ever on this road, especially coming from the direction of Derek’s house - until suddenly there is.
A bright red car comes flying around the curve, stuttered horn shrieking. Stiles can’t tell who the driver is, although whoever it is has a shock of blonde hair and a wide smile, and there are at least two other people in the car. They’re gone before Stiles has the time to do more than gape, and Stiles is to the house before he knows it.
He pushes the car to the back of his mind. Derek is sitting on his porch.
Derek is to the car door before Stiles can get all his stuff in some semblance of order. The door opens easily under his hand and Stiles shoots him a sunny smile before he grabs his things, including his red hoodie.
The sky is starting to get dark now and the sun dips behind the trees. It’s nice, Stiles thinks, peaceful. He slides out of the Jeep and right into Derek’s personal space. He still has his camera and his xylophone and his jacket and his backpack in his hands though, so he can’t touch Derek like he wants to, but he can lean up and forward so he does that instead.
Derek doesn’t disappoint. He bends down that scant amount to press his lips to Stiles’ and Stiles can’t help the wriggle of pleasure he gets from that. Derek breaks away and he doesn’t quite smile, but Stiles can tell that he isn’t so dour anymore. Stiles is sometimes good, he thinks, at reading Derek.
“Expecting anybody?” Stiles slyly asks, and Derek shakes his head in response.
Stiles pushes away from the Jeep as Derek closes the door with a snick.
Stiles jogs the slight space between the Jeep and the house and drops all of his things on the porch as soon as he can. He even manages not to trip! Mark a point in his favor.
Derek follows him at a more sedate pace. Sometimes Stiles feels as if he’s moving double time while the world around him moves at half.
“Do you have a - hang on, shit,” Stiles rambles and he wriggles to pull something out of his pocket. It’s more challenging than it looks. “No, I brought a pipe. It’s in my backpack, can you grab it?”
It’s probably not the wisest choice to carry a pipe and weed around when he’s the Sheriff’s kid, but Stiles likes to live dangerously. Derek murmurs an assent and goes to root around in Stiles’ bag.
When Stiles finally wrestle the offending bag of weed out of his constricted pants pocket, Derek has found the pipe - and the pictures. There’s a weird set to his mouth, but Stiles doesn’t notice, eyes and hands reaching for the pipe.
He’s well on his way to packing a bowl when he finally notices that Derek hasn’t put the pictures back in his backpack. Stiles isn’t sure what the downward line of Derek’s mouth means, so he starts to talk as he works.
“I think I’m going to start keeping them, you know? I have the space on my wall, and why not? I’ve given so many away, I might as well reap the the benefits.”
Derek doesn’t speak, and Stiles’ mouth starts churning out all these words he wasn’t even filtering.
“Do you know Danny? Danny just broke up with his boyfriend. Not Jackson - Jackson’s not the boyfriend, but Jackson’s usually only good for disparaging the ex. And the ex totally deserves to be disparaged, you know?” Stiles pauses to breathe in, and continues on, “Dude’s a real dickhead. And we’ve got this thing, see, where Danny gives me weed -” He gestures to the pipe - “And I provide him with sweet make outs!”
Derek’s frown deepens, and Stiles panics.
“But! I thought, ’Hm, well, Jackson owes me a favor, and Jackson is Danny’s best friend!’, so I thought that maybe Jackson could provide Danny with sweet make outs! And it totally worked! My lips are total matchmakers!”
Nothing that Stiles says seems to lessen Derek’s displeasure - in fact, it only seems to serve to dig his hole a little deeper. Stiles doesn’t understand and he can feel the panic creeping in but he doesn’t know why he’s panicking.
All of these words seem to tumble out of his mouth and instead of saying anything productive, he gasps out, “Are you mad at - lighter? I mean, do you have a lighter? I don’t know where mine is, I can’t find it.”
Stiles is frantically patting his pockets at this point, but he can’t think, let alone find anything.
Derek produces a lighter out of thin air.
Stiles takes a second to breathe - just in, out - and then lights up. Says thanks. Passes the pipe when he’s sure it’s lit.
Stiles doesn’t know what this feeling in his gut is, but he knows he doesn’t like it.
Later, Stiles asks, “Are you mad at me?”
Derek doesn’t reply.
Ahhh, oh God, what have I done? Also, movies - I floundered for a bit coming up with movies and eventually just googled it. I'm not a movie person, I don't even remember what I Heart Huckabees is about, just that I kept up a low level of confusion the entire time I watched it.
Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter! If I can't get everything resolved in the next chapter, I might add on a fourth. We'll see how it goes!
Stiles calls Scott - not because Scott is his best friend but because Scott is probably in the general vicinity of Allison. Allison generally knows what she’s talking about when it comes to relationships and if Stiles has to sit through another phone call where Allison coaches Scott through relationship advice, Stiles might do something drastic.
“Hey, man!” Scott says when he answers the phone.
“Hey, Scott, listen, can you put Allison on the phone for a second?”
Scott doesn’t even say anything, just hands the phone over, and Stiles briefly wonders if he sounds as wrecked as he feels. Probably so if Scott can tell. Allison probably reads something on Scott’s face, because when she answers, she just says, “What’s wrong?”
It’s like a chorus of heavenly angels when Stiles hears her. “Hey, um, shit. Shit, Allison.”
His hands are shaking. This is so dumb, he thinks as he presses his free hand to the steering wheel. His Jeep is parked on the side of the road because he isn’t sure if he can drive or not. He still doesn’t even know what he did wrong. Panic spreads in his stomach, clawing, and he thinks, Nobody is worth this.
Except Derek. The realization comes barreling into him like a train. He really wants this thing he has with Derek to work. Stiles sags in his seat and says, “Shit.”
“Stiles, do you need us to come to you? Where are you?”
Sometimes Scott and Allison aren’t totally wrapped up in themselves and Stiles can forgive them for all the other times, because when he really needs them, they come. “Maybe, no - yeah, I’m not sure I can drive right now.”
He rattles off where he is and when they get off the phone, he presses his forehead to the top of his steering wheel and tries to breathe.
“How did you think I get weed? I’m the Sheriff’s son, nobody will deal to me.”
Stiles is honestly baffled. He thought his friends knew about the thing with Danny, but apparently not. His mouth might be hanging open a little.
Allison shoots him a look that he isn’t sure that he knows how to decipher before shooting a look at Scott. Scott shrugs.
Allison rolls her eyes and says, “Start from the beginning.”
Stiles tells them about the arrangement with Danny, how he decided maybe that Jackson could be that person for Danny now, about the pictures and how Derek found them and the tight line his mouth shaped itself into. He tells her everything, doesn’t leave anything out. He tells her about the tight knot in his stomach that persisted even as they smoked the weed on the porch of the Hale house and how Derek didn’t say anything to him after Stiles asked if he was angry. He tells her how he walked to his Jeep and when he looked back for Derek, there was no one on the porch.
“And then I called Scott, because you’re good with this sort of thing, Allison.”
“She has a phone too, dude,” Scott says, but falls silent when Allison shushes him. That’s what Scott took out of the story, really?
“Do you think, maybe, Derek doesn’t want you to kiss other people?”
Stiles stares at her, dumbfounded. If it was really that simple, then why hadn’t Derek just told him that? “But,” he says, fumbling for something to say, “but you and Lydia make out all the time! We all make out with everyone else, I am pretty sure that is a thing we do!”
Allison dips her head in acknowledgement. This is a true fact, this is something that happens often within the confines of their little group. “But we all know about it, Stiles. Everyone knows and is okay with that. Not everybody does things like we do, you know that.”
It makes sense, Stiles wonders why he didn’t think about it like that. He should apologize. He repeats out loud, “I should apologize. I should go apologize.”
Allison nods and lets him go.
When Stiles goes back to the Hale house, he’s sort of shocked by what he sees. A somewhat familiar blonde girl - and she’s gorgeous - is crowding into Derek’s space, hands on the side of his face, tugging him down to meet his mouth with hers.
There are two other guys there too and Stiles distantly connects them with the car he saw zipping down the road from before. Stiles is stumbling back toward his Jeep before he can even begin to process the scene and a thick knot of dread pools in his stomach and he realizes, Oh. Oh, this is what Derek must have felt.
He sticks his key into the ignition as fast as he can, hands trembling, and he’s scared and embarrassed and just wants to get away from the house.
Stiles doesn’t stay long enough to see Derek push the girl away, or the stormy look that he shoots her, or the disappointment on his face as Stiles drives away.
“I get it,” he says, head pressed into Allison’s stomach. “I get it, I do.”
Allison runs her fingers down the back of his neck and makes quiet noises of comfort and looks helplessly at Scott, who curls around Stiles’ back.
Stiles has his face pressed into her stomach, because he doesn’t want them to see how devastated he is, how he wishes he could take everything back, how he wishes he never went back to the Hale house in the first place.
“I went back to apologize,” he mumbles, “I was going to tell him I was wrong.”
God, he wants to get drunk and let himself forget that Derek Hale exists. He says as much out loud.
Allison says, “Do you think that’s such a good idea, Stiles?”
Scott pushes back from Stiles and wrestles for his phone. “I got this,” he says when Allison quirks her mouth into a question, “Don’t worry.”
Scott is a really good friend, Stiles thinks, even as he realizes that Scott isn’t getting alcohol, that he’s calling Lydia. Stiles thinks it’s probably a good thing his dad is won’t be home until tomorrow.
Lydia sweeps in his bedroom and she’s brought Jackson and Danny. Stiles sits up and drags the sleeve of his hoodie over his eyes. He tries to smile at Lydia but the smile crumples on his face.
“Do you want me to beat him up?” She asks it seriously and Stiles doesn’t really doubt that she would, but it startles a laugh from him. Lydia smiles, like this was what she was going for, and Stiles likes that it’s a smile that only they get to see.
She lays down on her back on his bed and pulls her to him and Stiles would be concerned about how many people they can fit on his bed, except that he knows the answer is ‘a lot.’
Jackson crowds in behind Stiles’ back and usually that’s Scott’s place, but Stiles doesn’t say anything. Instead, he presses his head against Lydia’s shoulder and watches as Danny moves around to Jackson’s side of the bed. Allison presses herself against Lydia’s free side and Scott slides in after her. It’s a tight fit, but Stiles doesn’t mind. There’s something comforting about having his closest friends within touching distance.
Scott reaches over Allison and Lydia and links his first two fingers with Stiles’, like they did when they were kids. Stiles shoots a soft smile his way.
They lay there, quiet, long enough that the sun starts to rise, leaking light into Stiles’ window. Stiles almost thinks he could sleep, but he feels a jostling coming from behind him. Danny gets up, but when he sees Stiles looking at him he just smiles.
Danny picks up the Polaroid camera sitting on Stiles’ desk and takes a picture of the bed’s occupants. Everyone is asleep except for Stiles. Somewhere along the line Jackson wrapped his arm around Stiles’ hip. When Stiles presses back into his warmth, Jackson snuffles at the back of his neck and sleepily says, “G’to sleep, Stilinski.”
Danny doesn’t let him see the picture once it develops, just tuck it beneath a pushpin on the cork board above his desk and climbs back into the bed.
There’s still a weight in Stiles’ stomach, but he thinks that maybe everything will be okay.
Hi, guys, long time no see! So, as you can see, this isn't going to be wrapped up in three chapters. The fic just went somewhere completely different. However! there will be one more chapter after this.
Why is this chapter so sad? I mean, I was listening to this song pretty much the entire time I wrote it. Uh, whoops? Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this chapter, sob.
When John pulls into his driveway, he’s somewhat surprised to see all the cars surrounding his house. There are the usual suspects - Stiles’ blue jeep, Allison’s car - but he also sees Lydia’s car and Jackson’s flashy Porsche.
He hopes distantly that Stiles didn’t take advantage of his absence to throw a party. He pulls out his key and lets himself into the house, and is quietly pleased that there isn’t any mess. So, no party then. But where are Stiles and his friends?
A short pad up the stairs gives him his answer and a soft smile crosses his mouth. Everyone is passed out across Stiles’ bed, even Danny, who he’s surprised to see.
He turns, ready to leave, when a soft sigh distracts him. He turns back and Lydia is waking up. Her bright eyes focus on him and he nods when she mumbles, “Good morning, Mr. Stilinski.”
He points downstairs and she nods and begins to untangle herself. He’s already in the kitchen by the time she makes it downstairs, and she’s brought Allison with her. The two girls are sleepy eyed, and he asks if they want some breakfast.
“I can make it,” Allison says. “I’m sure you’re tired. How was your shift?”
This same situation has happened often enough that he doesn’t even question it anymore. “Pretty quiet, honestly. No animal attacks, no underage parties to break up,” he says pointedly.
Lydia laughs, and says, “No, nothing like that happened last night.”
“Good,” he says. “You guys think I don’t know, but.”
“We know,” Lydia confirms.
A thump comes from upstairs and three pairs of eyes turn up to look at the ceiling. Allison is standing at the stove, making pancakes, while Lydia soon turns to the fridge. “Stiles will be angry if we don’t at least try to put something healthy into breakfast”
She pulls out peaches, and everyone laughs.
Stiles stumbles down sometime later, dressed in Scott’s favorite brown wolf shirt and jeans, socked feet sliding on the hardwood, and he says, “Pancakes?” and then, “Dad!”
John looks up around a forkful of pancakes and says, “Hello, Stiles.”
The rest of the boys start to trail down, lured by the smell of peach pancakes.
Scott nearly falls down the stairs, and John notes that he’s wearing Stiles’ clothes, which is not as rare an occurrence as he would hope. At least they’re clean, he thinks.
Jackson and Danny are the next to come down and they both say hello to John. It’s nice, he thinks, to have the house so full of people.
He finishes his pancakes and stands up, “I’m going to bed, don’t be loud. I’ve got another late shift tonight.”
Stiles nods and leans in toward his dad. “I’m probably just going to go to the record shop. Nothing too exciting.”
“Stay out of trouble,” John says, pressing a hand to Stiles’ shoulder, and leaves.
Lydia and Jackson corner him before he can get to his Jeep. Scott and Allison are already in her car, headed for the record shop.
Stiles fidgets under their twin gaze. He says, “I’m okay.”
Neither of them bother to call out the lie.
Stiles is surprised when it’s Jackson who says, “No matter what happens, you’ve got us.”
Stiles is not going to tear up, okay? He’s not even drunk, okay, this is not happening. The world is not crumbling under him. Stiles is strong. He can get through this.
Lydia drags him into a hug and with the two of them pressed around him, Stiles thinks maybe someday he’ll even start to believe himself.
Stiles flips through the ‘W’ section of the music bins in the record shop. Scott and Allison are - somewhere, he doesn’t even know. There are a couple cds he’s interested in, but one catches his eye in particular. He recognizes the people on the front of the cover - and, oh. Oh.
It’s the girl who kissed Derek and the two boys she had with her.
A stone sinks in Stiles’ stomach. Well, of course Derek doesn’t want him, not when he can have her. The album is obviously local - the artwork is slipshod in the way Beacon Hills is known for (it reeks of Greenberg’s handiwork, if he’s honest with himself).
Stiles pulls the album out halfway and runs his fingers over the top edge.
Stiles is just the kid Derek buys alcohol for - he’s just the kid who brings him weed. He’s not the person wants to date. Stiles shoves the case back down in the bin.
And when he looks up, his heart sinks down even further, settling somewhere down near his feet, because -
Because, there’s Derek. On the other side of the racks, Derek is staring right at him, something dark in his eyes.
“Stiles,” Derek says, carefully.
Stiles panics. He looks around for Scott or Allison, but he can’t find either of them because they’ve apparently left the building. Some friends, he thinks.
Stiles backs up as much as he can, but there’s a low wall he bumps into and Derek is in front of him in what seems like seconds.
Derek has his hands tangled in Stiles’ hoodie before Stiles can wriggle his way from him. “Stiles,” he says, sharper.
Stiles pays attention, because he can’t not pay attention to Derek, even if he feels like his stupid teenaged heart has been trampled. He goes still and fixes his gaze somewhere on Derek’s left shoulder, because he’s stupid and can’t even look past Derek even when he knows it would be easier.
One of Derek’s hands comes up to cup Stiles’ jaw and it’s a really shitty way to let him down easy, Stiles thinks. Nothing about this is going to be easy.
Stiles strikes preemptively and says, “I was coming to apologize.”
Derek makes a wounded noise in the back of his throat, but Stiles continues before he lacks the nerve. “I talked to Allison and she explained some things to me and I was coming to apologize. I’ve never d-” he stumbles over the word ‘dated’ before deciding to just shut his mouth. He wasn’t going to put a name to them if there wasn’t going to be a them anymore.
Derek tugs Stiles’ head so he can look him in the eyes and how cruel can he be? Stiles tries to shut his eyes, but Derek soothes his thumb over Stiles’ cheek. “Hey,” he says. “I wish you would have stayed last night.”
“I told Erica that I had someone else in mind,” he says. Stiles’ eyes flicker back to the bin where the album sits, but Derek reels him back in. “Stiles, I don’t care. I just want you.”
“But you were angry with me.” Stiles states softly.
“I can’t say that I’ll never be angry with you. That’s not how relationships work, Stiles. You’re going to be mad at me too, sometimes.” Derek huffs a breath and presses his forehead against Stiles’ shoulder. “You’re just going to have to trust me that the good times are going to be worth it.”
Slowly, Stiles presses a hand against Derek’s side. Before he can chicken out, before he can do anything, he spills out, “Why me?”
Derek smooths a hand across Stiles’ back and Stiles can’t help but lean into the touch. Derek pulls Stiles into a tight hug, mouth close to his ear, and says, “Because I’ve never met anyone like you before. Because you sneak into my house and leave me pictures. Because you write in my books. Because you’re so much better than you give yourself credit for.”
Stiles thinks this is the most Derek’s ever said in one go - for him.
Stiles wriggles until Derek’s looking him in the eyes again and he lets his hand wander to Derek’s sternum. “Okay,” he says.
Derek quirks an eyebrow at him. “Okay?”
Stiles nods. A grin breaks out across his face. “Okay.”
Whatever Derek tries to say next is lost under the hot press of Stiles’ mouth.
They're going to be fine.
Another Polaroid finds its way into Stiles' collection. He isn't sure who took it, but he's glad he has it now.
In between the white frame of the picture shows both Stiles and Derek. Stiles is laughing, mouth thrown open in joy, arms flailing, and Derek - Derek looks on fondly, grin stretched across his face.
Oh my gosh, you guys! I know you have been waiting on this - school has been killing me, let's be honest - and I had a hard time writing this. Mostly because I never want this 'verse to end. Anyway, I hope you liked this chapter, guys, and I'm going to go hide under a rock now. Ahhh!
Also, the playlist I promised is up at my tumblr - for anyone who hasn't seen it, it's here!