“I’m sorry that I flung your head in the steering wheel,” Derek blurts before he has time to change his mind. He’s been going through a mental list of things he’s done, and tried to apologize for everything. He has been repenting and given sincere apologies literally all over the place; the pack, Scott, the Sheriff… Stiles is the last one because he is the hardest one to open his mouth around and not spew sarcasm all over the place. Also, there was this thing where Stiles always talks that doesn’t help. Stiles makes a left turn, without using his turn signal.
“I didn't want…” And Derek stops himself, because in the moment he had actually wanted to hurt Stiles. “I shouldn’t have done that, or injured you in any other way,” he settles on.
“It fine, dude,” Stiles says lightly and Derek can just feel it in his bones that Stiles isn’t taking him seriously and Derek really need him to take his words for what they are.
“I am really sorry,” Derek says and Stiles just waves a hand at him, keeping his eyes on the road.
“Don't worry about it!” He laughs and something knots in Derek’s stomach.
“No, Stiles, it's a big d-”
“No, really, I was doing some… saying some stupid shit and-”
And this makes al the color drain from Derek’s face and he interrupts without even realizing. “Are you saying it's your fault I almost broke your nose in your own steering wheel?”
Stiles gives him a look and a quick, short laugh through his nose as to ask Derek if he’s kidding. “C'mon,” Stiles scoffs and looks to the road again. Fuck, Derek thinks, has Stiles always put the blame on himself when things really aren't his fault? It hurts. It hurts Derek to understand that Stiles don't think he's worth more than that. He's about to say something when Stiles continues speaking. “‘Course it is. I know you have a lot of built up anger and I am just the person to bring it out of you. I have that effect on people.” He smirks like it's his life's mission to annoy people. Like him getting beat up is what he wants. Maybe it is, Derek thinks, because then nobody else needs to get hurt. But it’s wrong. Stiles shouldn’t have to have taken all the shit he’s taken, he shouldn’t feel like Derek can do anything to him, because that is just not okay.
“You’re not my punching bag.”
“Disputable,” Stiles says, “but now when you mention it, you haven’t even thrown me against a wall in a while.”
Derek knows. He hasn't laid a hand on him or the Betas or Scott or anyone. He’s been trying to do good. Physical harm, mental harm, change every approach he’s ever had. “I haven’t touched you at all in quite a while,” Derek says and realizes too late how that sounds.
Stiles heart stutters. “But, you know, that I kinda like that, right?” Stiles says, squeaks really, and when Derek arches a brow at him he quickly adds, “I mean, the wall shoving. Not the punching bag-part or the not touching at all.” Now it’s Derek’s heart that is stuttering and he is so glad that Stiles can’t hear it. Obviously, he must have sensed something though, because all of a sudden the Jeep is still. Only a warm buzz from the engine slowing down and a couple of sputters from it is audible. And Stiles is extremely shallowly breathing. Stiles is still for all of three seconds before he turns in his seat towards Derek and practically shouts in the silence.
“You did know I like that, right?”
Derek knows a little too well. He’s sensed it since the beginning, that Stiles always fought urges he hadn’t understood in the fist year. And when he finally had understood, he’d been fighting them even harder. “That’s why I’m telling you that I’m sorry and that it’s a really big deal when I hurt you.”
“Because you know I like it sometimes when you do?”
Derek growls. But nods. “Because I just did it, not because you told me to.”
“So, if I tell you that it’s totally okay to just shove me up against this car and f-” Stiles quiets when he sees Derek’s death glare. He holds his hands up. “Okay, okay,” he says. They sit in silence for a while.
“I will never hurt you again,” Derek says and when Stiles nods, Derek finally believes Stiles really do understand. Stiles starts up the jeep again and when they're back on the road Derek continues, “Unless, you know, you ask me to.” He grins, the look on Stiles face is priceless, like he’s dying in the seat beside him and trying not to crash the car at the same time.