“I want a bungalow,” Sam announces loudly, for what’s probably the fifth time in the last half hour.
“Sam, baby, we agreed that this time we would camp in tents, remember. We did a hand show and everything.”
Sam rolls her eyes and glares at the orange tent like it has personally offended her. Derek’s honestly afraid she’s just going to stride over and kick it down. His older cousin isn’t exactly famous for having the best temper.
He eyes his uncle, worried, but Uncle Michael limits himself to a shrug and continues assembling their third smaller tent, motioning for Derek to pass him the instructions manual.
“Just because Derek doesn’t have anyone to babysit him and we had to bring him along-“
“Sam!” Aunt Emily chastises.
“I’m seventeen, I don’t need anyone to babysit me,” he scowls, aggressively shoving the black stick things that support the tent together.
“Then why didn’t Aunt Talia just let him stay back in Beacon Hills? He could very well have stayed alone if he didn’t need a babysitter and we could be renting a nice little bungalow where everyone could relax and not sleep on the floor,” she continues as if he weren’t there and completely ignoring her mother.
“Sam go take a walk,” Uncle Michael says calmly, looking down at the instruction manual with his zen face on. But then again that’s just his resting face. Derek has never seen that man get truly exalted. Not once in his entire life.
“Go take a walk,” he says again, deigning to lift his eyes up to his daughter.
“Just because he doesn’t have anyone that likes him back home and Aunt Talia didn’t want him to spend summer like a loser, moping, it doesn’t mean I have to suffer for it.”
Derek drops his things and gets up. “I’ll go take a walk.” He smiles nastily at her and it feels unpleasant on his face. “Don’t think too hard about how your last girlfriend dumped you because of your nasty attitude, Sammy.”
Derek never claimed to be a nice person, and if he gets a little twist of satisfaction at seeing his cousin’s cheek redden with anger, then so be it.
“We’re inside a camping park, you dickhole,” Sam shouts after him, which Derek very maturely decides to ignore, turning his back on her and walking away.
It’s kind of nice wandering around in the woods, if you can even call them that.
The camping park is large enough that they have little pathways connecting tiny clearings where you can set up your tent, everything meticulously organized and arrange while still giving the feeling of camping in a real forest.
If it weren’t for the electrical cords giving power to the different camping spots there really wouldn’t be a difference. Well that and the bungalows neatly stacked in the other side of the park, closer to the pool, the tennis court, the mini-golf court and the restaurant.
Still, for a moment Derek can close his eyes and just pretend that he is in the woods back home on one of his runs and there aren’t annoying cousins nearby to annoy him.
It smells nice out here, like earth and the trees that grow tall and tantalizingly climbable around, he can smell a few squirrels, hiding in a tree or two, hear the carefree chirping of birds that are probably prowling for the occasional dropped crumb and the squawking of a teenage boy falling off a tree.
Derek snaps his eyes open and looks slightly upwards just in time to see a lanky boy, losing his balance from a low branch and careening to the ground. He knows he shouldn’t do it, knows that using his speed in front of muggles, like Cora calls them after Derek started reading her the Harry Potter books is a big no-no.
Derek is shit at rules if he’s being honest and he really can’t stand for watching someone else get hurt and also the boy smells good so maybe that’s a little bit of a factor in what makes him dart forward suddenly and catch him just under the knees and armpits.
The boy in his arms continues flailing and shouting, both eyes tightly shut.
It takes him a couple of seconds to assimilate that he’s not still free-falling towards his probable death and he opens one eye slowly and suspiciously.
“Oh,” he breathes out, blinking widely at Derek. “Am I hallucinating? Did I become a Disney princess on my way down?”
His arms thankfully have stopped flailing and he lays one carefully around Derek’s shoulder, supporting a little of his weight.
“Man, if I accidentally snorted a mushroom Mom is gonna be so pissed.”
Derek snorts at that.
“You’re not hallucinating,” he tells him, boosting him up a little so he can get a better grip. Somehow it doesn’t occur to him that he should put this random falling boy down.
The boy squints at him suspiciously. “Are you sure?”
The boy pinches Derek’s bicep and he hisses, almost lets him fall but apparently Cute Bambi Eyes is too busy groping his bicep to actually notice it.
“If you could stop groping me that’d be great, thanks.”
Can I Please Lick Your Moles blinks wide and kind of embarrassed at him, a pretty blush growing on his cheeks, before taking his hand off. “Sorry about that. I’m Stiles, by the way.”
“Derek,” he offers.
“Sorry I dropped by on you like that.”
Derek snorts. “It’s fine. I didn’t mind you dropping by.”
Stiles gives him a grin, bright and gorgeous. “Cool. Mind putting me down?”
Derek clears his throat awkwardly and lets his arm slip from under Stiles’ legs. “Sorry.”
“It’s cool dude, really.”
Stiles dusts himself off and turns to the tree he fell off, chin tilted up and eyes half shut in a disappointed squint at the offending life form.
The sun filtering through the trees catches his face and lights it up and suddenly Derek finds it a little hard to breathe. Which is ridiculous. It’s just sunlight, hitting his cheekbone, his moles, in stark contrast with the shadows caressing his other cheek, making his doe eyes almost glitter.
Derek looks away and hopes he doesn’t write bad poetry about those eyes when he’s all alone and there’s no one to witness.
“What were you doing on a tree anyway?”
“There was a squirrel,” Stiles says shiftily.
Derek blinks, peers at the tree. “A squirrel?”
“Stiles,” he starts slowly. “Did you get treed by a squirrel.”
Stiles looks at the floor and huffs, “I have no idea what you’re even implying. I just got a little lost and decided to climb the tree to situate myself”
It’s almost silly how that pulls at the corner of Derek’s lips. “You totally got treed by a squirrel didn’t you.”
“They’re tree rats, Derek. They’re dirty.”
He almost chokes on the burst of laughter that falls easily out of his mouth.
Stiles huffs and rolls his eyes dramatically at him, turning away and almost smacking against a low branch. Derek throws out his arm and grabs his wrist.
“No, come on. You have to admit that’s hilarious.”
“The wounds are still too fresh Derek. I can’t admit to such thing.”
Derek huffs another laugh and straightens himself up.
“Fine, we can talk about it later. How about I help you find your way back?”
Stiles’ shoulders slump a little and he sighs out. “If you could, that’d be great. What about you, wouldn’t you get too far from your own camp or did you leave breadcrumbs along the way Hansel.”
Derek grins at him showing teeth and he knows it’s tacky and lame but he still says it, “Wrong fairytale.”
Stiles squints suspiciously, but follows him when he sniffs out where Stiles had come from in a totally not creepy way.
He’s helping him, it’s not creepy shutup.
Derek starts walking and Stiles falls into step at his side.
“So,” Stiles starts, dragging out the o. “What were you doing wandering around the dark, dangerous woods.”
Derek looks over with a raised eyebrow. “There’re guards patrolling these. On segways. They’re hardly dark and dangerous.”
“Don’t change the subject, Phillip.”
“Sleeping Beauty?” he takes a guess.
“We met in the woods. It seemed appropriate.”
“I don’t think Disney princesses are scared of squirrels.”
“Disney princesses consort with actual rats, so they don’t get an opinion.”
Derek snickers, covering his mouth with his hand quickly.
“Aw don’t do that.” Stiles bumps their shoulders. “You smile really pretty.”
Derek’s ears pink up and Stiles flicks one, eyes crinkling in a smile.
“Stop that,” he grumbles. “I could leave you here stranded.”
“But you wouldn’t. You’re gentlemanly and shit like that.”
“Gentlemanly and shit. I feel so special.”
Stiles trips over his own feet and Derek throws his hand out to stabilize him.
“See,” he says proudly. “Gentlemanly and shit.”
“You did that on purpose.”
Stiles grins. “So what if I did, whatchu gonna do ‘bout it?”
Derek drops his mouth open to answer. He has an answer in the tip of his tongue, really he does, but before he can tell Stiles exactly what he could do about it he’s interrupted. Figures.
“Stiles!” a female voice shouts and both their heads snap towards the source of the sound.
“That’s my mom,” Stiles says, making a face. “I gotta go.”
Derek is not disappointed by this. There’s nothing to be disappoint for. He was leading Stiles back to his parents anyway, so it was gonna happen sooner or later. It just happened sooner than he could gather up the courage to ask Stiles if he would like to get ice cream or something.
“This was fun,” Stiles punches him awkwardly on the shoulder. “Thanks for saving me. See you around, Derek,” he says throwing a quick grin over at him before he dashes off.
Derek blinks a little after him, waves his hand seconds too late and mutters. “Bye.”
Well, that was short lived.
Just like most of my social interactions, he thinks bitterly and heaves a sigh, kicking up some dirt and turning around.
He doesn’t feel like going back to the campsite. Not yet at least, so he just- runs.
Derek runs until the buzz under his skin calms down and Stiles’ scent isn’t lingering just around him, where they touched, on his clothes and skin.
“You’re in front of my sun,” Sam tells him snottily.
Derek glares at her and scoots to the side, putting Day down on one of the pool chairs they rented after Sam had thrown a fit about already having to sleep on the floor and not wanting to be on the floor while she’s tanning too.
Uncle Michael and Aunt Emily had looked like they had regretted all of their life choices when they’re grown ass daughter had been terrorizing the poor boy renting the chairs.
Guess that’s what happens when you overly protect a human in a pack of werewolves. They’ll just get used to getting their way.
“Swim! Swim, swim swim swiiiiiiiim,” Day cheers, throwing her little skinny arms in the air and grinning at Derek.
“Yeah, we’re going swimming,” he smiles indulgently, skims his fingers over her soft tummy and makes her squirm and giggle. “You need your floaties first, remember?”
She pouts a little. “No.”
Day giggles and tries to wriggle her arm away.
“Don’t you want to wear your Hello Kitty floaties? Hello Kitty will be sad.”
“No! I want the Spidey ones.”
“Okay,” Derek concedes, reaching for the other pair of floaties his uncle had stashed in the bag.
He fills it up and carefully slides it onto her arm.
“No! The Hello Kitty ones.”
Derek raises an eyebrow. “How about a Hello Kitty one and a Spidey one.”
Day frowns, her little too thick eyebrows for a baby dashing down over her smooth forehead in thought. “Okay!” she agrees easily.
“Okay,” he says and fills up the other floatie.
As soon as he’s done she dashes around him, just a fraction too fast for a baby and throws herself in the pool with a harsh splash, one of her floaties coming off with the impact.
Derek’s on his feet and running towards the pool without a thought, but before he can really do anything Day comes up, coughing water and wind milling her arms around, catching someone by the neck and clinging.
“Hey there, little one,” the person says in a slightly amused voice. “Cool floaties,” he remarks grabbing the stray Spiderman one.
Derek’s heart stutters in his chest because one his cousin could’ve drowned and two ohmygod that’s Stiles.
“Thanks,” Day says shyly.
“Want me to help you out of the pool?”
Day nods and he sees Stiles smile kindly.
“Wanna go on my back and play sharks?”
“Yes!” she squeals “Shaks awe the bestest!”
“Even better than dolphins?”
“The bestests,” she assures him.
Derek is pretty sure he’s melting.
Stiles passes her to his back easily and then slides down until his mouth is underwater, blowing bubbles in between thundering the theme of Jaws.
They reach the end of the pool and Stiles sits her on the edge.
“Where is your mommy and daddy?”
“Mini-gowf with TomTom and Kity. Unca Dewek and Sammy bwought me.”
Stiles looks up, searching for the people the random child who clung to him might belong to until his eyes land on Derek.
A slow smile curls the corner of his mouth.
“Is that Unca Dewek?” he asks, pointing right at him.
Day looks over and squeals, clambering up and running towards him, hugging him around the legs and grinning up at him.
“Unca De, come see I made a fwiend.”
She takes his hand and drags him over to Stiles.
“You did, huh?”
Stiles wiggles is fingers at him. “Hey-a, stranger.”
“Unca De, this is my fwiend-“ she stops and frowns, crouches down and leans in to whisper loudly, “What’s yo name?”
She nods solemnly and looks at Derek, proudly.
“This is my fwiend ‘Tiles. We pwayed shaks.”
“Yes, I saw.”
Stiles grins at him. “Nice to meet you,” he says, solemnly, extending a hand up towards Derek.
Derek smirks back, wrapping his fingers around Stiles’ palm carefully and it’s a split second, really. That’s all it takes for him to register the glint in Stiles’ eyes and how his grin is a tad too wide and then he finds himself diving headfirst into the pool’s cold water.
He splutters as he breaks the surface, blinking water out of his eyes, the sound of Stiles’ laughter and Day’s high pitched giggling ringing through the air.
There’s a lot of things for Derek to consider here.
First, he doesn’t really know Stiles (but god how he wants to), secondly his little cousin is right there and she is a terror unsupervised, thirdly Sam is watching all this and will probably make fun of him, forth Stiles could very well be a werewolf hunter which brings him to fifth, he’s a werewolf and it’s not safe for him to create connections with random attractive strangers.
Does he consider them as he lunges and dunks Stiles underwater, no. No, he does not.
Does he consider them when Stiles comes up gasping and splashes him. Nope.
Does he consider them when they hurriedly put the floaties back on Day and engage in an epic water fight that is surely bothering the other good people frequenting the pool?
He can most assuredly say he really, really does not.
But then again how could he when he’s too distracted by the water dripping down Stiles’ eyelashes, how could he ever when Stiles’ flush sits high on his cheeks and slides smoothly all the way down his chest.
Honestly, how could anyone consider things like caution when you have someone like Stiles, gorgeous and laughing because of you with his stupid wide lips and the moles sprinkled all over his skin.
You hardly can blame him.
Especially when he keeps lunging at Derek and wrapping an arm around him, when he gets so close that their chest are millimeters from touching, just so Day can dog paddle from back to back to help whoever is winning the water fight splash the other.
“Derek, honey, do you want to go get lunch?” Aunt Emily asks kindly, crouching down the side of the pool and calling his attention.
Derek swipes the water from his eyes and pants a little, out of breath with excitement or something equally stupid. Stiles makes him out of breath. He has no idea what Laura would say about that, but he bets it would be something with laughter hiding just under the edges.
“Um?” He looks over at Stiles who froze in the middle of throwing Day.
“Your friend can come if he wants to,” she smiles, eyes crinkling as her hair spills over one shoulder.
Derek coughs awkwardly, totally not blushing. No. Nope.
“So, um, do you want to come have lunch with us?” he asks Stiles, turning towards him.
Stiles carefully lowers Day back down and grins his best grin. Derek can hear his heart tripping over itself all the way from where he’s leaning against the edge of the pool.
“Sounds cool,” he nods. “I have to ask my parents first.”
Derek nods, bites the inside of his cheek a little bit because he’s sure the smile he’d let out would be nothing short of ridiculous.
“Cool,” he says. Because he’s cool. Yeah, super cool. Decisively not infatuated with the boy standing in front of him.
Someone snorts loudly by his side and he turns just in time to see Aunt Emily cover her mouth with a hand.
“Day baby, swim to mommy so Derek’s friend can ask his parents if he can come to lunch.”
“He’s my fwiend too!” she shouts. “We pwayed jumpy fishy.”
Aunt Emily looks over at Stiles appraisingly. “Okay, if you want your friend to come to lunch you need to let go of his neck, baby.”
Day sighs her long put upon sigh, and lets go of Stiles doggy paddling over to the edge of the pool and letting her mother lift her off.
“So precious,” he hears Stiles whisper too low for it to actually be meant to be heard, looking at his little cousin with a gentle smile.
Derek wants to kiss him.
Derek really wants to kiss him.
“Anyways.” Stiles clears his throat. “I better go ask my parents.”
“Yeah. Alright.” He bobs his head like an idiot.
Stiles nods and splashes him one last time before swimming towards the edge and lifting himself off, his wet shorts clinging to his ass and Derek gives himself a minute to bless America and also the baby Jesus for this moment right here. He also gives himself a moment before he gets out of the pool because he’s still a teenager and awkward boners at inopportune times are still a thing.
He decides that swimming a few laps should fix that particular issue.
Stiles comes back when Derek is letting his little cousin Katie dry off his hair messily with a towel and attempting to give him a Mohawk.
Two adults are following on his heels, looking curious and a little cautious. Derek has to give them reason. After all, a random family just asked their son to lunch with only knowing him for a handful of hours.
Aunt Emily gets up from rubbing more sunscreen on Day and pushes her gently towards Uncle Michael before turning to the newcomers.
“Hello,” she greets pleasantly. Aunt Emily is always pleasant. That’s why she’s the liaison between their pack and other packs that border with their territory. “I’m Emily. Are you Stiles’ parents?”
A woman whose resemblance with Stiles is striking steps forward with a nice smile that doesn’t reach her eyes, her entire demeanor whispering caution. “Hi. Yes, we are. I’m Claudia and this is my husband whose name is too complicated to pronounce. You can call him John.”
The man sighs a weary sigh and looks over at his wife, eyebrows unimpressed and eyes fond.
The woman flashes him a smile, quick as you please and bright like the sun.
John’s heart stutters a little and that’s what Derek wants. That right there.
He wants to grow old with someone he loves and have his kids all grown up and still have his breath catching in his throat because his significant other smiled at him.
“Great to meet you.” Aunt Emily offers her hand and Claudia shakes it, as soon as their hands make contact something loosens a little in Claudia’s demeanor.
Derek has been raised to notice things. Mom is hoping he’s the next interpack liaison. He highly doubts he’ll ever be anything resembling, but well. Parents can dream, he guesses.
“That’s my husband Michael,” she points at Uncle Michael that freezes in the middle of making soft piggy noises and muttering about mud while he tries to apply sunscreen on Day and waves a little awkwardly. “And my youngest daughter Day.” Day turns her head as she hears her name, sees strangers and dashes to hide behind her dad.
John looks about three seconds from going over to coo.
“Then there’s my twins, Thomas and Katie,” she points down at them, Tom laying under one of the pool chairs for whatever reason and Katie still messing with Derek’s hair. She, at least, has some manners, waving distractedly at the newcomers.
“My eldest, Sam,” she points at Sam, still lounging on her chair and slowly turning a worrying shade of red.
“And of course, my technically cousin twice removed Derek. But we call him nephew. You can call him Derek, though.”
“That was lame,” Sam remarks with a snort, stretching and finally deigning to sit up and acknowledge Stiles’ family’s presence.
Aunt Emily dismisses her comment completely.
“Nice to meet you all,” Claudia says pleasantly.
Derek notices how she’s the same kind of pleasant Aunt Emily is. The trained kind. The carefully measured kind.
Stiles is staring at the floor in between his parents, scrubbing at the back of his neck absently, like he’s trying to scrape the embarrassment off.
“We were wondering if Stiles could come have lunch with us? But of course if you’re not busy, you could come too. I’m sure the restaurant is big enough.”
“That was lamer,” Sam notes, shrugging on her t-shirt and wincing slightly.
Stiles turns back to his mom and Derek fidgets a little in worry over the fact he can’t see his expression like this.
Claudia looks at him for a couple of seconds before nodding slowly.
“Thank you for the invitation-“
Derek braces himself for the but.
“-we’d love to.”
The air rushes out of him so fast he feels dizzy for a moment.
“Derek!” Katie complains loudly, “I can’t make you look pretty if you keep moving.”
He pokes her tummy and skims his fingers on her neck, making her shy away with a soft giggle. “Sorry, Kity-Katie.”
Someone whispers a quiet “ohmygod” and he lifts his eyes to watch Stiles watching him, looking the particular kind of upset baby kittens make you feel.
“Let’s go then,” Aunt Emily says cheerily.
“Of course,” Claudia agrees. “We have to pick up our things first. Just tell us the name of the restaurant and we’ll meet you there.”
Aunt Emily rattles it out and Derek gets to see Stiles walk away for a second time.
Indeed, bless America and everything that’s born within it, namely Stiles’ ass
“Stop fidgeting, you dork, your crush will be here,” Sam snarks at him, half distracted by the cute waitress that keeps passing by their table.
“I don’t have a crush,” he growls.
Sam lifts an eyebrow, completely unimpressed. “Even Day can tell you’re nervous, right little one?”
“Right!” Day cheers. Sam smiles gently at her littlest sister before turning back to Derek with a flat look.
“Whatever, why don’t you ogle the waitress’ ass some more and-“
His head snaps so fast towards Stiles he gives himself whiplash.
Sam snorts grossly next to him, watching in glee as he rubs at his neck.
Stiles waves at him, pulling his mother and father gently along.
“Told you they’d be here soon,” Sam tells him and it’s not like she cares about Derek’s- infatuation, crush, whatever. It’s not like she was reassuring him. She just likes to be right all the time.
Stiles sits down in the empty chair at Derek’s right, that he might or might not have bullied the rest of his family into leaving empty (and by bullied he means looked at them imploringly until he got what he wanted. His best puppy eyes might’ve also been involved).
“Hope we didn’t keep you waiting,” Claudia says politely, sitting down next to Aunt Emily.
“Not at all,” Aunt Emily reassures and Derek blinks at them, trying to pinpoint why their interactions seem so strained.
Warm fingers tap his arm and he looks over at Stiles and his soft smile and wide eyes and yup, Derek is so utterly screwed it’s not even funny anymore.
If this was a harlequin Derek would be swooning right now. He doesn’t even have a real reason to but he would anyways. Stiles is that good looking. To him, at least.
It’s like some asshole thought, hey you know what would be fun, make a person that’s exactly every kink Derek Hale ever had, wouldn’t that be hilarious. And then they made Stiles.
Stiles bumps their knees together, too accidentally to be accidental. “Have you been here before?”
“A couple of times,” he shrugs.
“Good, you can tell me what’s good to eat.”
Derek opens his mouth, ready to deliver a corny line accompanied with a flash of a smile that usually works for him but then he remembers there are children present and shuts it closed with a click.
Stiles’s eyes laugh at him like he knows.
He clears his throat. “Sure.”
Derek bumps their knees tentatively, if there is such a thing as tentatively knee bumping and gets a brilliant smile back accompanied by Stiles leaning in closer.
Stiles picks up the menu someone had discarded on the center of the table and flips it open, scooting even closer to Derek so their thighs almost touch.
He opens it in front of both of them, turning to Derek. “So?”
Derek swallows because wow, okay. That’s- that’s really close. Some of Derek’s higher brain function might have stopped just now.
Is he blushing? He feels like he’s blushing.
Derek looks at the menu and rubs the tips of his ears a little self-consciously.
“What’s good to eat?”
Derek opens his mouth to speak, probably something idiotic like you’re so pretty let me kiss your face but is thankfully stopped by Stiles’ chair scrapping back noisily and Stiles flailing to keep his balance on it.
“Dad,” Stiles huffs. “What the hell?”
His father looks impassively at him. “Whatever you and Derek were talking about, you can do it from this distance.”
“We were just discussing the menu.”
Actually, scratch that. He much preferred when Stiles was hiding both of them behind the menu and everyone wasn’t judging him.
He rubs at his thigh and keeps his eyes trained downwards.
“You don’t need to be in his lap to discuss the menu, son.”
Stiles splutters. “That’s not- I wasn’t even- how- Can’t I have a civilized conversation with another guy?“
Derek chances a peek over the corner of his eye to see the blush high on Stiles’ cheeks smoothing neatly down in his neck and into the open collar of his shirt.
“As long as you don’t do it in his lap while there are children present, sure.”
Stiles turns three shades darker red and looks away, rubbing at the back of his neck, his heart beating a beat or two too fast and unsteadily in his chest, scent swirling with something sour for a couple of moments.
All of this accompanied by Sam’s suppressed laughter in the background, because she’s a little shit. Just like every other member of his family.
“Does that mean I can discuss the menu in his lap when there aren’t children present?”
John looks heavenwards, probably praying for strength and Stiles looks the special kind of smug that one gets when they make their own parents despair a little bit.
He scoots his chair closer to Derek again, but keeping it at a respectable distance this time.
“So, the menu?” he asks and for some reason it’s like a punch in the solar plexus, mostly because of how Stiles looks, still blushing and with his mouth curled in delight, heart still a little too fast to be normal and eyes shining with mirth.
That’s what Derek blames on his next words anyway.
“I heard they have a great slab of meat.”
Stiles drops his mouth open, blinks at him for two seconds too long before he starts laughing so hard he almost falls out of his chair.
Derek grabs the back of his chair where it was leaning precariously and pushes it securely to the floor.
The next time Stiles shifts his knee over to touch Derek’s he lets it stay there for the rest of the meal and then he gets this quiet smile like he accomplished something.
Derek is so infatuated it’s getting to be disgusting.
He wonders if his journal (it’s not a diary, goddamnit Laura) is somewhere in the bag he packed or not.
They hang back when they leave the restaurant.
Stiles grabbing Derek’s wrist and making him wait just long enough for the others to get a good headstart so they wouldn’t be in hearing distance, which would be great if Derek’s family wasn’t constituted by lycanthropes.
“We should do this again,” Stiles tells him, walking slowly, shoulders bumping with Derek’s.
Derek nods, looking over at Stiles and pretending he’s only doing it because the sun is too high in the sky and looking ahead hurts. “Yeah. It was fun, I guess.”
Stiles curls the corner of his mouth and his eyes smile at him. “Especially when your littlest cousin covered your biggest cousin in ice cream.”
Derek snorts. “I’m pretty sure she used that as an excuse to take the waitress aside and ask her out.”
Stiles nods, his smile spreading. “Your cousin got game.”
Derek makes a face and Stiles laughs. “She’s like my sister. Sometimes.”
“Don’t want to be thinking about her going down on that waitress then.”
Derek gags and shoves Stiles away. And because it seems to be a common theme for Stiles he overbalances and almost falls over.
Derek snags his hand, lightning fast, too fast to be passed as normal human reflexes, and pulls him close.
Stiles uses a hand to stabilize himself on Derek’s chest, eyes wide and heart tripping with the falling and readjusting sensation. “Thanks,” he breathes out.
“Do you have any equilibrium at all?” Derek huffs, sliding his hand down Stiles’ wrist until it’s gripping his elbow.
“Eh, sometimes. Me and the floor don’t have a very good relationship.”
“I can tell,” he snorts.
Stiles licks his lips and Derek’s eyes immediately catch the movement, tracking it carefully before he makes his eyes trip back up towards Stiles’.
His ears feel like they’re burning and he almost reaches to rub at them, but Stiles beats him to it reaching to flick one experimentally.
“Your ears blush for you. It’s cute.”
Derek ducks his face, feeling the blush spread to his cheeks.
“Your face is cute,” he mutters, feeling the need to smack himself on the forehead because really, really Derek. Way to be smooth. He bets Laura is laughing at him wherever she is doing illegal things with her college friends.
“Yeah?” Stiles breaths, sways forward, just a little bit closer and it would be so easy it makes something in him itch. All he has to do is lean forward and just kiss him.
“Yeah,” he whispers, watches a little awestruck as Stiles’ eyes crinkle at the corners, a full beam just in the corner of them like a secret.
He could do it.
He could kiss him and Stiles wouldn’t stop him, not going by the way he dips his eyes to Derek’s mouth and his falls open just a little.
He could just-
“Stiles,” Claudia calls and Stiles almost jumps out of his skin, taking two steps back that almost feel like two miles, and no he’s absolutely not being overdramatic.
“Yeah, we’re coming,” he calls out, looking guiltily over at Derek and rubbing at the back of his neck.
Derek would like to be able to say the entire interaction didn’t give him whiplash, but then he’d be lying.
“Come on,” Stiles mutters, keeping his eyes turned down. “They’re waiting for us.”
Derek takes a deep breath, feels a little dizzy when Stiles’ sweet scent clings to him.
“Okay,” he says and follows because- because what else is he supposed to do if not follow Stiles wherever he wants to go.
This might become a problem really soon.
They go to the mini-golf course in the afternoon.
Well, it started with Derek bashfully asking Stiles if he wanted to go play mini-golf, which had been quickly followed by Katie and Tom begging to go again and then Day had made fuss about also wanting to play which, somehow, had turned into a family outing, Stiles’ parents included.
This- this really wasn’t what Derek had in mind. At all, but well three holes in Claudia and Aunt Emily are in hard mode competition and John and Aunt Michael are placing bets while talking their own wives up, so it’s easy for Derek and Stiles to hang back and Derek gets the alone time he had been aiming for all along.
(Derek isn’t internally cackling over the fact that Sam gets babysitting duty. He’s not. Really.)
Derek tries to hit the ball gently and sends it flying.
Stiles laughs at him. “Dude, there are only so many balls the guys at the counter will give us, you know.”
His plan was to show off, not get distracted by Stiles bending over or leaning in or goddamn smiling and suddenly he doesn’t know his own strength and he sends the ball flying into the tiny pond a few meters away.
This is the fourth ball he sends flying.
Derek scowls after it as if by the sheer force of scowling the ball will cower in fear and come back.
“Aw naw, don’t make that face,” Stiles grins, leaning on his club with a hand and fondling his orange ball with the other, tossing it in the air and catching it again in a taunt, because he’s apparently that kind of little shit.
It shouldn’t make Derek feel that bit more interested. Such asshole-ish behavior really shouldn’t make Derek be that tiny bit more captivated.
“Here we can use my ball, I’ll help you.”
Stiles bends to place the ball down and Derek is momentarily distracted.
“I’ll teach you,” Stiles assures, straightening up
“You- I’m- What?“ Derek stutters, all sorts of images of Stiles helping him running through his brain.
Which is stupid because certainly Stiles will demonstrate by doing it, right?! He’s certainly not going to-
Stiles drops his club and slides up to Derek’s back, pressing close, voice right in his ear.
“You have to slide your hand down a little,” he whisper, putting his hands over Derek’s and trying to move it down the club.
Derek’s entire body is a tense line, muscles locking up with the shock of Stiles’ closeness, how warm he is and how he smells like sunscreen and sweat and the sun and something a little electric, like the subtle scent thunder leaves behind when it strikes the earth.
It’s too hot for them to be this close together. Derek can feel his shirt sticking to his back and Stiles sticking to him, leaning impossibly close.
Stiles puffs a little short amused laugh of a breath right into his neck and strokes his fingers over the death grip Derek has on the club.
“You need to loosen up a little if you want this to work, Der. Can’t be all clenched up now, can we?”
This is the story of how he dies, of an aneurism because a hot guy was stroking his fingers. He doesn’t know what he did to deserve this and he’s conflicted if it was a good thing or not.
Derek’s in a public place, he needs to remind himself, he needs to think of something that’s not how wide Stile’s shoulders are or how strong his arms feel around him or even how he can hear Stiles’ heart beating too fast, how he can practically feel it against his back.
“Relax,” he breaths out, dragging the ‘a’, and Derek, by some sort of miracle, does, unclenching his fingers slowly.
“Good,” Stiles praises. “Now move your hand down a little.” He uses his own hand to slide Derek’s down the club. “Awesome. Now nice and gentle, come on.”
Derek feels his fangs pop down and reflexively snaps both hands over his mouth.
The club clatters to the floor and Stiles steps back, peering at Derek’s face. “You okay? Did I-”
“Yes,” he nods, keeping both hands over his mouth. “I just need to go- brush my teeth.”
Stiles frowns, “Brush your teeth?”
“Oral hygiene is really important,” he says, and then because he kind of feels like throwing himself into the tiny stream that runs through the golf course flowing into the pond, he bolts it out of there and into the closest place that offers a locked door.
Sam finds him because the universe hates Derek for some sort of reason and, because she is the most terrible family member to ever be, she not only laughs at him but she also tells his uncle and aunt in between wheezing.
Derek is going to shove her hand in a bowl of water in her sleep.
“You shouldn’t have run away like that,” Aunt Emily says not unkindly. “Stiles pouted the rest of the afternoon, the poor boy. He was so confused.”
“Yeah, I should’ve stayed and showed him my fangs so he could punch me in the face and run away screaming. What a better idea Aunt Emily!”
Aunt Emily looks over at Uncle Michael who cuffs Derek over the head. She would probably have done it herself, but given that she’s sitting opposite to him and out of smacking distance she imparted her husband with that important job.
“Thank you dear,” she says sweetly.
Uncle Michael smiles and then ducks his head back to where he’s braiding Katie’s hair.
“Derek, honey, you should ask for the boy’s number if you like him so much. They’ll be gone in three days you know.”
“I don’t- I don’t like him,” he stutters.
“Liar!” Day squeals, pointing a finger at his chest. “Liar, liar liar! Mommy I caught the liar!”
Aunt Emily runs a hand through Day’s curls. “So you did baby. Good ears,” she says proudly, flicking one.
“You’re such a hopeless loser,” Sam laughs, thoroughly amused. “Even an underdeveloped baby ‘wolf can hear you lie so terribly. I bet Tom could tell you were lying as well.”
Tom hums his assent from where he’s lying on a low branch in a nearby tree.
“And he’s human.”
Derek sighs and considers digging a hole in the ground and just hiding there for possibly the rest of eternity.
“You suck. All of you.”
“If you don’t like, you can walk back home,” Sam smiles, sickly sweet.
Derek decides that’s enough interaction for today and goes to brood in his tent.
“Looking for someone?” Sam asks, smile twisting her lips.
“No,” he mutters, turning his face away to hide away the lie.
Sam is annoyingly perceptive, learning fast in a house full of that they could hear the lies, and being born human she didn’t have the same equipment to so she just started paying closer attention and practicing keeping her heart steady through a lie.
A lot of humans in packs could pass a polygraph test without a hitch in their heartbeat even if every word they said from the moment they opened their mouths was an utter lie.
It’s kind of scary, if he’s being completely honest.
“You know what your problem is, little cousin?” she pokes him on the side and Derek wonders why he had volunteered to accompany her in the first place.
“I’m taller than you,” he grumps, holding his chin a little higher and straightening his back to get his point across.
“You won’t be if I knee you in the balls,” she throws back with a roll of her eyes.
Derek bares his teeth.
Sam flips him off.
“Anyways. Your problem is that you fall for the first fucker that dares smile at you and looks like they’re even a little bit in distress. And when you fall you fall from a sky scraper, face first into tacks littered concrete. That’s your problem.”
“Graphic,” he says, feeling an overwhelming need to cross his arms over his chest defensively.
He ends up shoving his hands in his pockets.
“You should learn from me.”
He raises an eyebrow. “Yeah because your relationships always end so well.”
“At least I have the balls to go out there and actually have relationships.”
“Seriously, Derek. It’s not that hard. Just ask him out, shove your hand down his pants, let your hair down a little. Drop your top. That sort of thing.”
“So you’re telling me the key to successfully asking someone out is to show them my tits.”
Sam snorts disgustingly then winks that lascivious wink that seems to run through his entire family. “Works for me.”
“You’re terrible at relationship advice,” he shakes his head.
“And you’re terrible at relationships. At least I’m getting laid.”
Derek sighs. His family, he swears.
Sam spots the waitress from yesterday, gives Derek a watch-and-learn look, pulls her top down a little and goes over to flirt the other girl’s panties off. Or so she claims. Derek really, really doesn’t want to know.
He decides to turn away back into the woods to wonder for a bit. And no he’s not looking for Stiles, he hasn’t been looking for him for the last couple of hours.
That’s- He doesn’t even know where anyone would even get such an idea. Because he’s not looking for Stiles.
And with that being said and well understood, he’s absolutely not completely elated when he catches Stiles’ scent, hears his heartbeat, a tad too fast somewhere a couple of miles ahead and just follows the sound to- apologize. Yeah, he’s going to apologize for his behavior. And maybe- ask for his number or something.
He doesn’t run there but it’s a close thing. He might power walk there but there’s no one there to see him so it’s not like anyone but the stray squirrel will judge him for it.
“That’s not fair,” Derek hears Stiles say when he’s within earshot.
“I know that, baby. But you know the rules.”
He’s talking with his mom, Derek realizes, slowing down slightly.
“Well, the rules are fucking stupid.”
“Stiles!” It’s John’s voice this time, joining in the conversation with a chastising tone.
“The rules are there to protect you.”
“From what! Getting dicked?”
“For fuck’s sake, Stiles!” John calls out.
“You can’t call me out on the swearing when you’re doing it too.”
“I’m an adult, I’ve earned my right to swear.”
“It’s just a boy. You won’t die if you don’t kiss him.”
“You’re being overdramatic.”
“What if I’m not what if he’s-“
“He’s a wer-“
The conversation cuts off abruptly and Derek almost stops slowly edging closer, almost stands completely still and holds his breath, waiting for what’s next. But he doesn’t because nothing could stop him from going to Stiles right now. It’s like his legs have a mind of their own.
“Don’t get attached,” he hears Claudia say carefully.
“Too late,” he hears Stiles mutters and it should be barely a whisper. Derek has honestly no idea how he’s listening to this much of the conversation given that he really shouldn’t be capable to. Maybe his senses are amplifying or something?
Laura did say that when you reach a certain age your senses become clearer. Maybe this is it.
Leaves start crunching under the weight of someone and it breaks him out of his musings, the sound coming directly towards Derek. He perks up his ears and catches Stiles’ heartbeat becoming clearer.
Derek has one moment of confusion, trying to figure out how Stiles could possibly have heard him, have known he was there, but then Stiles is in his line of sight and it isn’t really that important anymore.
“Hey, Stranger.” Stiles grins, “Fancy meeting you here.”
Derek smiles. “It is.” He nods, then curls the corner of his mouth and turns his smile into a smirk. “So, have been chased by any squirrels lately?”
Stiles huffs and punches him in the shoulder as soon as he reaches him. “You’re such a dick. Seriously, what are you doing in the deep dark woods?”
Stiles waves his hand in a dismissive gesture. “Semantics,” he says, reaching for his arm and tugging him away and then not pulling back, just letting his hand stay there on Derek’s arm as they walk. It’s nice. It makes something bubbly slosh in Derek’s stomach pleasantly.
“I was looking for you, actually.”
Stiles grins. “Missed me?”
Derek huffs, bumps their shoulders. “I wanted to apologize. For having run off like that. That wasn’t really cool of me.”
Stiles hums. “You’re not a very cool person. Quite the opposite-“
“I’d say you’re pretty hot.”
Derek trips over his own feet and almost faceplants into the earth.
Stiles catches him in his deceptively strong arms and props him back up.
“Oh, how the tables have turned,” Stiles says smugly. “I’m the one saving you from certain death n-“ he trips over himself and Derek pulls him closer, laughing at him.
Stiles pouts and it’s the most charming thing Derek’s ever seen.
“The universe hates me.”
“Don’t blame the universe for your bad equilibrium.”
Stiles makes a huffy face that turns into a grin in a split second as he pushes away from Derek.
“You should carry me, then.”
Stiles gives a little balance and hops on Derek’s back, making him stumble two steps forward before he gets his hands under Stiles’ thighs and hikes him up.
“If my equilibrium is so bad you can carry me,” he says, logically.
Stiles leans forward and peers at Derek, a slight blush tinting his cheeks. “Too far?” he asks, loosening his grip and starting to slide down.
It’s weird what they have. What they’re playing at, this tug and pull where they both toe the line to see how close they can get. Derek doesn’t know what’s keeping them of throttling that line, exactly, but there’s something about Stiles’ behavior, how he winces when his parents are close by that keeps him just at the edge of it, waiting for the go ahead signal.
Derek grips him tighter, hikes him back up and starts walking,. “No. I was just-“
Stiles hunches a little, pressing his cheek against Derek’s.
“Surprised? I’m a surprising person.”
“Yeah,” he breathes because yeah that’s definitely one way to put it. “It’s just, we met two days ago.”
“Three if you count today.”
“Doesn’t feel like it,” he feels his cheeks heating up because god this is such a cliché, he’s so lame.
“Yeah,” Stiles agrees quietly, “It feels more like three years.”
“Two if you don’t count today.”
Stiles huffs a little and pulls back to lay his head on Derek’s hair.
“You don’t mind this do you. I’m kind of- tactile,” Stiles mutters.
“No. I really, really don’t mind it.”
One of Stiles’ hand clutches at the sleeve of his shirt where it had been laying gently.
“Cool. Put me down when you get tired.”
“Okay,” he says and keeps walking. He decides to weave through the trees, circling half back before turning towards the more civilized part of the park again.
He doesn’t put Stiles down.
How could he when he’s got a good pace going which seems to have lulled Stiles into dozing off, breath coming slow and steady, ghosting over Derek’s hair, arms loosely holding himself up, thighs giving some help where they squeeze against Derek’s hips.
“Stop here,” Stiles mumbles and wiggles out of Derek’s hold, landing softly with his feet on the floor and groaning when he stretches. “Ugh, that was great. I needed a nap.”
Derek snorts and leans against a tree, he’s not even winded from carrying Stiles around but maybe he should look it. Uncle Peter always complains how much of a disaster some of his family – Derek included – are at keeping appearances.
“Anytime,” he says and stuffs his hands in his pockets before he does something stupid like hug Stiles or worse, kiss him.
Stiles grins. “I’ll remember that. No taksies backsies.”
It’s edging on late afternoon now, the sun filtering warmly through the leaves above and casting a glow around them.
“So, how much of the conversation with my mom did you hear?”
He shrugs, tries to pretend it doesn’t really matter. “A little.”
Stiles inches forward, looks down and toes the dirt softly. “She doesn’t let me date.”
Stiles looks up at him through his lashes. “I can’t tell you.”
“It’s- it’s complicated. We have to travel a lot for my, um, education, and she says I shouldn’t get too attached because I’ll invariably leave and it’d- it’d break my heart.”
Stiles offers him a little rueful smile and Derek decides fuck it and reaches out to pull Stiles a little closer, his fingers wrapping loosely around Stiles’ wrist as he steps forward into his space and pulls Stiles a little towards him, keeps his hand there just because.
“We could try. It’s- We could just- I really like you Stiles,” Derek ducks his head, biting the inside of his cheek. The leaves underneath Stiles’ feet crunch, a loud sound in the quiet bubble they’re in, as he shuffles forward that little bit more.
“I like you too,” Stiles says and Derek doesn’t dare hope because he can feel a but coming on.
“But she’s right,” he continues.
Derek looks up at him, frown creasing his forehead roughly, and takes in how Stiles looks sad, regretful that he has to utter those words. Derek feels himself swaying closer to him invariably, like gravity keeps the moon going around the earth.
“Because you’re not the kind of guy someone could just get over,” he answers quietly and it feels like a confession.
Stiles rolls his eyes like Derek’s being a particular kind of obnoxious oblivious. “You’re really not.”
The corner of Derek’s mouth ticks up.
“You’re not either. You know that, right?” Derek informs him.
“I’m really not that-“
“Even if we don’t, I’ll always remember you.”
Stiles sways even closer, and now they’re mere milimeters apart. So close Derek can feel Stiles’ breath on his lip and his scent thick in the air between them, making him a little lightheaded, a little punch drunk.
“Don’t say things like that,” he whispers, begs really, his eyes straying down and focusing their sneakers as if he could read the right thing to do in the mud splattered across them.
“Because- because I’ve just met you, and I’m leaving and you’re just- and I can’t.”
“No one is making you,” Derek breathes out because Stiles is so close and there’s no one around and he could just- lean a little forward.
“You are. You are with your stupid eyes and your dumb smile.”
“Sorry,” he says and leans forward, not enough to make their lips touch but almost there.
“No you’re not,” Stiles mutters and they’re so close Derek can hear him swallow, they’re so close that his breath hitches and something starts tightening in his chest, anticipation wrapping itself tight just under his ribcage.
Their noses bump together and they’re so close but neither of them moves, neither of them dares to.
“What now?” Derek asks, makes it a whisper, afraid to disturb this- this almost there they have here.
Why can’t things just be easy for him?
“We stay here and play gay chicken, I guess.”
“Opposite gay chicken, whoever kisses first loses.”
Stiles laughs and it’s something so gorgeous it makes Derek want to kiss him.
He doesn’t. He can’t.
“Sounds hard,” Stiles says.
Derek huffs a breath of laughter and Stiles’ eyes light up with merriment.
“What happens to the loser?” Derek asks.
“We’re both already losing. At this point, we’re clutching at a silver lining.”
Stiles smirks. “I get it from my mother’s side.”
Derek hums and slowly lets go of Stiles’ wrist, skims his fingers over his pulse point just there and feels it jump against his fingertips, hears Stiles’ breath hitch just once before he exhales slow and measured.
“What if we just do? Just one kiss? How would she know,” he tries, a little desperately.
“Trust me, she would know.”
Stiles sways back. “I’m a terrible liar.”
Derek sighs, and leans back too, puts a little distance between them so he can breathe a little better and clear his head.
“You can’t kiss me.”
“I can’t kiss you.”
He looks up at the green leaves overhead oh so gently rustling through the slight breeze and squints slightly when the sun that is filtering through catches his eyes, blinding him.
“But I could kiss you just- not on the lips,” He looks back down at Stiles and gages his reaction, “You wouldn’t be kissing me,” he reasons.
Stiles drops his mouth open a little and breathes out an almost laugh,. “Wow, you really want to kiss me.”
“I really like you.”
A couple of painful seconds pass by in which Stiles seems to ponder that offer and then when he looks at Derek he doesn’t even need to open his mouth for him to know what Stiles has decided on.
He can tell by the way his cheeks are a little red and his eyes drop to Derek’s lips and stay there.
Derek licks them experimentally and watches a little thrilled when Stiles seems to sway forward, tracking the movement.
“Not on the mouth,” Stiles whispers.
He nods, straightens from his slouch. “Not on the mouth.”
“Cool,” he whispers and takes Stiles by the elbow pulling him in until their chests touch and then he looks and considers, eyes skimming over Stiles’ feature looking for the best place.
“How many could I?”
Stiles blushes a little brighter, ducks his head. “I don’t-“
Derek takes his chin and tilts his head down. They’re almost the same height, Derek being a scant couple of centimeters taller.
He hums thoughtfully and leans over, stretches a little and places his lips on Stiles’ forehead, feeling the warmth there for too many seconds for it to be considered proper.
Stiles sighs out, something that is long and stutters and when Derek finally pulls back he sees Stiles’ closed eyes, eyelashes almost touching his cheeks.
He leans back in and touches his mouth to Stiles’ cheek, right over one of his moles, kissing there. Then a little lower on his jaw and then he pulls back with what he’s sure is a little satisfied smile marrying his features.
Derek doesn’t go further because he doesn’t think he’d have the self-control to stop then, and because if the way Stiles’ heart is beating right now he’s not sure if it won’t just collapse.
Stiles opens his eyes slowly and then blinks at Derek.
“Oh,” he says and ducks his head, leaning his forehead on Derek’s shoulder and hiding there for a little bit.
Derek feels too full, on the brim of spilling over in that moment.
“Okay?” he asks, quiet as he can.
“Okay,” Stiles says and reaches for his hand.
Their fingers slot together easily and quietly as they walk back.
“Did he suck your dick?” Sam asks bluntly when Derek appears with a smile stretching his face so wide he’s afraid it’ll break.
He makes a face at her. “No.”
“Did you suck his dick?” She raises an eyebrow.
“No! Not everything is about getting your mouth on genitals, Sam.”
Her raised eyebrow turns disbelieving as if Derek had just told her the earth goes around the moon.
“Then what are you looking so happy about, loser?”
Derek looks away and starts walking back to camp, forcing Sam to follow him because he knows she won’t be able to find it on her own. Terrible sense of direction that one.
“None of your business.”
“I bet he sucked your dick.”
“Ohmygod! No one sucked anyone’s dick!”
“Mommy what’s a dick?” Day’s voice calls out and Derek very slowly turns to see his uncle and aunt and their three little kids standing right there behind them.
Seriously, his life.
They have two days and it’s not enough. It’s not even close to enough but Derek takes all he can get even if all he can get is Stiles being closely watched by either of his parents when both of their families hang out together, interspaced with some sneaking around whenever they manage to.
In the few times they are together Derek kisses upon him and with each one he lingers a little more, unwilling to let him go.
He kisses him on the back of his hand and endures what feels like an eternity of Stiles making fun of him by calling him a harlequin hero even though he blushes and grins stupidly and fondly at Derek while he does it.
There’s a kiss on Stiles’ nose that makes him go cross eyed and twitch it, a blush spreading through the bridge of it and connecting the redness in his cheeks.
There’s more kisses on his cheek, over his moles and over unmarked skin, too close to his mouth, treading on dangerous territory that have both of them blushing and something in Derek’s chest ache for more.
There’s a kiss on his shoulder when Stiles makes a pun so bad Derek folds in and on himself with laughter and just lays a kiss there in the sun warmed skin just next to the sleeve of his tank top.
A kiss on his throat that has Derek’s fangs itch to come out while Stiles giggles, ticklish, and squirms away.
And on the very last day there is a kiss.
Just that, a proper kiss, mouth on mouth, chapped lips to smooth ones, breaths mingling and gazes lingering behind shut eyelids.
It’s late afternoon and Stiles is standing outside the camping park, helping his mother stuff a few more things in their car before they’re off to bumfuck nowhere.
Derek is helping, using it as an excuse to be with Stiles until the last possible moment, carrying a suitcase in one hand and a couple bottles of waters the Sheriff had passed over in the other.
He helps put those in the car and takes a step back, watches Stiles lightly banter with his mother and his father. Just- watches him. He’s beautiful to watch.
Claudia sighs at one point, her gaze falling heavily on Derek and he takes solace in the fact that she looks sorry, like she doesn’t like doing it any more than Stiles likes to follow through.
“Go say goodbye.”
Stiles looks over at his mom and nods, pulling Derek away from the car and tucking them just behind a minivan a couple of parking spots away, half blocking the view.
“So,” he starts, throat clicking.
“So,” Derek says and swallows.
When he was little he used to cry every time someone had to go out the door, cling to them as soon as they walked back in. Of course when he was little he had no concept of object permanence he only knew that people disappeared when they walked out the big wooden door at the front and center of the Hale house.
He’s grown out of that, like every child does. He now knows that when people leave they’ll come back. He knows that just because he can’t see someone it doesn’t mean they’re gone. It just means they’re not there. Objects don’t disappear just because they’re out of sight.
Stiles, though. Stiles won’t come back. He’ll walk into his car and drive off and disappear. Forever, possibly.
“I’m sorry we-“
Derek steps forward and hugs him, pulls him tight against his body and just- clings a little bit.
Stiles immediately wraps his arms around Derek, turning his face towards his neck and hiding there, breathing open mouthed against his shirt.
“Maybe we’ll meet again,” Derek whispers. He’s gotta be hopeful, even if hope is stupid.
“I hope so. God, I really hope so.”
Derek steps back a little, stealing himself for what comes next. He won’t let himself hold on any longer. He’s afraid he won’t let go if he does.
The sun is burning low on the horizon and the day will fade to night soon. The air smells like summer, like warm grass, chlorine and warmth, mixed with Stiles’ sweet scent.
He wants to remember this moment exactly as it is, heartbreak included.
Stiles scrubs at his eyes, making a face at himself. “I’m ridiculous.”
“You’re not,” Derek tells him, pulls his fists from his eyes and sees how they’re a little blood shot and shiny. It’s the first time he sees Stiles’ eyes get wet with emotion.
“It’s stupid. I’ve known you for five days.”
“I’ve know you for five days too. It’s not stupid it’s-“
“Love, I guess.”
Derek looks down because yeah, yes. That’s what it is, against everything that’s what they have between them. Love conquered in just five days.
How utterly adolescent and pathetic.
“One more,” Derek says, pretends his voice isn’t on the edge of begging, breaking. “One more for the road.”
Stiles peers at his mother over the side of the minivan and then looks back at Derek. “One more for the road,” he concedes and then leans in, takes Derek’s cheeks in both hands and lays a kiss on his lips. Their first and last all at once.
It’s quick and tragic, their first kiss.
Stiles’ lips catch on Derek’s and press against them just like his fingertips are pressing against Derek’s jaw to keep him in place. His lips are chapped from biting and the heat of the summer and his breath stutters through them, touching Derek’s lips.
Derek doesn’t open his eyes when Stiles pulls back, doesn’t dare to.
“Bye, Derek,” he hears it whispered, voice wavering and he still doesn’t open his eyes. He can’t watch Stiles walk away. He won’t watch Stiles walk away.
“See you,” he says instead because it sounds so much more hopeful.
There’s a huff of breath; an engine starts in the background.
Lips press against his one more time, too quick, too fleeting before someone calls for Stiles.
“See you,” Stiles says back, almost like a promise and then he walks away, heavy steps on asphalt, getting faster until Stiles is sprinting towards the car.
Derek turns away from it and looks at the camp with its sealed gates and tall trees.
He doesn’t look back. It’s stupid but- he doesn’t want the image of Stiles driving away to get burned into his retinas.
The downside of being a werewolf is that he gets to hear all of it. The door opening and slamming closed, Stiles muttering he doesn’t want to talk about it, the car rolling off into the freeway and out of reach.
Derek starts walking back, contemplating what he’s supposed to do now.
After all, Stiles isn’t the kind of boy someone could just get over.
“Went to blow your bo-“ Sam starts and the immediately cuts herself off as soon as she sees his face. “He’s gone isn’t he?”
“Yeah,” he says and goes to hide in his tent, sprawling on the sleeping bag and pretending the world doesn’t exist.
Twenty minutes later he has his pack laying with him quietly and supportively stating that they’re here for him, like they always are.
The rest of their vacation is kind of a bummer for Derek and he knows he’s bringing everyone down but doesn’t know how to stop himself.
They leave two days before they were supposed to and head back to Beacon Hills where the house is full again and everyone is too loud and chaotic.
Derek tries to keep up with it but ends up going to his room, with his earbuds in and looking at the ceiling imaging every what if.
“What happened?” he overhears Laura demand on his way to get snacks from the kitchen.
“He fell for a boy.”
Laura growls slightly. “Who’s he? I’m gonna rip his dick off for turning my brother into a pathetic sack of chewed bread.”
“It’s not his fault,” Derek says, quiet and calm as you please while he loads up on Pop Tarts. “He had to leave. It’s complicated.”
“Oh, Der,” Laura sighs. “You can’t do anything the easy way can you?”
He shrugs, adds another box to the pile because he deserves it for having to answer this.
Needless to say he gets aggressively cuddled for the rest of the week.
He takes up running and doing more patrols through the preserve, trying to keep his mind clear and get out of his house where everyone is aggressively and suffocative worried.
School is scant days away from starting back up and he’s still not over it.
He went all the way from being sad to being mad to being resigned.
“Derek, are you listening?” his mother calls out.
Talia sighs, setting down her cutlery and Derek does the same, paying attention.
“Deaton has been a good emissary-“
Peter laughs loudly like that was the best joke ever told, Laura snorts rudely.
“Like I was saying, Deaton has been a decent emissary, but he’s decided to take a couple years to travel to Scotland, leaving us without an emissary.”
“That’s not good,” he mutters. Emissaries are the link between packs, but more importantly they’re the link between a pack and their land. They’re vital.
“Yes, it’s not good. Luckily Doctor Deaton has procured an experienced emissary that has experience with stepping in when other packs’ emissaries need a vacation. She has a young son who’s training to do the same. They’re both Sparks and we all know how very special a people those are.”
Talia gives a moment for that to sink in.
“So, please, be nice to them. Make them feel welcome. According to Deaton they are the best of the best at their job and the boy shows a lot of promise for the future, alright?”
Everyone mutters their assent.
“Good, they’ll be here tomorrow. The boy will enroll in school with you, Derek. Be nice.”
“I’m always nice,” he mutters, picking up his cutlery and going back to his food.
Derek is really not looking forward to some boy clinging to him at school as he shows him around.
It’s the day the new emissary and her family are supposed to arrive and Derek decides that his best option is to stealthily get out of the house and go for a run before he is forced into niceties with virtual strangers.
He likes doing this. Running through the woods and letting his senses catch every little sound, filling him with so much sensory input he can stop thinking for a little while.
There’s the steady crunch of leaves and twigs under his sneakers, the spread sounds of critters skittering off whenever Derek gets too close, the overwhelming scent of the earth , sun warmed and stagnant, having it been a while since it rained. He can smell every single different scent of every single different tree, and the random wildflowers that blossom here and there.
The sweet tantalizing scent that’s all teenage boy, sweat, a hint of sunscreen and electricity, like thunder hitting the earth, and it makes something buzz through Derek’s bones and he’s veering paths before he evens knows what he’s doing, drawn in.
It takes him too long to realize what it is, who it is and when he does he almost faceplants on the dirty ground in his rush to get there.
It’s impossible, improbable, highly unlikely, but there it is, his scent and Derek follows.
He reaches a little clearing where he knows a huge tree stump lies on, having been warned time and time again to stay away, except when he gets there there’s no tree stump, in its place there’s an actual tree, impossibly tall, easily surpassing all the other trees and putting them to shame, with branches starting to twist off the trunk just a couple meters up.
Derek drops his mouth open and tilts his chin up and there he is.
He’s just, standing on one of the lowest branches, muttering something under his breath as he touches the tree, carving something into it with a pocket knife.
“Stiles,” he breathes out, and then louder, “Stiles!”
There’s a startled sound just above him, Stiles looks down and takes a step back, right into thin air.
Derek darts forward not even caring that Stiles can see the extra burst of speed that makes him inhuman.
Stiles falls into his arms easily, eyes shut close waiting for an impact that won’t come and when he realizes it he slowly opens up his eyes and blinks wide and confused.
“Derek? What are you doing here?”
“I live here. What were you doing up the magical tree of evil?”
“Fixing it. No wait. Put me down.”
Derek does but doesn’t step back, he couldn’t because Stiles is here against all odds and he’s just so incredibly happy. And confused.
Stiles takes a little glass vial out of his pocket and shakes it, the firefly inside buzzing angrily at him. He pockets it again and looks Derek over.
It takes him a couple of seconds, eyes skittering over Derek’s features before his smile breaks over his face and he throws himself at him, hugging him tight and close to his chest.
Derek hugs him back, lifts him a little off the ground.
“Ohmygod, I can’t believe- wait-“ Stiles pulls back so they can face each other. “Please tell me you’re a Hale.”
“I’m- yeah- how do you-“
Stiles kisses him and Derek loses his breath and his words all at once, clutches at him and lets his eyes flutter shut, feeling Stiles against him, lips on lips his hands on Derek’s shoulders and it’s so slow.
Their second kiss is sweet and slow and uncovering of everything they feel for each other. It’s a hello, I’m finally home.
When Stiles pulls back the beam is breaking over his face like the sun, or something equally important and blinding.
“Alpha Hale’s second son?” he hazards and Derek drops his mouth open because what.
Stiles winces. “Right, you don’t know I know, but I know so it’s okay.”
Stiles curls his lips, eyes laughing. “Maybe we should introduce ourselves again.” He takes a step back and offers his hand. “Hi, Stiles Stilinski, certified spark and emissary in training.”
Derek grasps his hand, squeezes it in a shake.
“Derek Hale, interpack liaison in training.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Stiles tilts his head in the half nod of royalty and pulls Derek closer by the hand he’s grasping.
“This is why you couldn’t-“
“Yeah, emissaries can’t date someone from a pack they don’t belong to. They’d be compromised. Conflict of interests and all that.”
“So you’re here with your mom, who’s going to be our emissary. For years.”
Stiles grins. “Yup.”
Derek feels the smile wrinkle the corners of his eyes and slowly escalating into a full beam.
“So,” he starts.
“Want to go on a date?”
Stiles kisses him as an answer square on the lips, pulls back and stretches up placing a kiss on Derek’s forehead, then on his cheek, on his jaw, squirting the corner of his mouth.
It’s absolutely ridiculous how breathless it makes Derek, how it makes his heart swell with happiness to the point of bursting and spilling mushy stuff all over the forest ground.
“I have to.” A kiss on the tip of his nose. “Catch up” A kiss just under his chin, then a trail of them down his neck and on his open neck line. “Our kissing quota is way off.”
Derek huffs a laugh and redirects Stiles’ lip to his mouth for a taste of Stiles on his tongue.
Stiles hums something low and pleased that seems to rumble from low in his throat.
“I supposed we can work on that later,” he mutters when he pulls back, smiling with his whole body. “After all, we’ve got time.”
Derek beams and he’s sure he looks like a complete idiot but it’s okay because Stiles is here and he’s going to stay.
He’s here and for once easy, it’s something Derek can have, it’s something that won’t suddenly disappear and he won’t get to see ever again.
This is a reality, a certainty, it’s almost absolute. At least in what regards the few years to come.
So Derek smiles and leans in, both hands on Stiles’ hips keeping him close and whispers just before dipping in for another kiss, losing count of how many there were already. “We’ve got time.”