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out of the nightmare, into your arms

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Stiles wakes up in the bathtub.

He’s fully dressed in a t-shirt and pajama pants, sitting on the cold surface, arms wrapped around his bent knees, and shivering because he’s soaked. The shower drips like it’s just been turned off, and there are low voices outside.

“…third time this week.” His father’s voice is soft and careful, like he doesn’t want to disturb Stiles, or maybe he just doesn’t want to be heard. “It’s getting worse.”

There’s a low rumble, and his father’s answering chuckle. “I don’t have werewolf hearing. You’re going to have to speak louder than that.”

“I can hear you.” The words chatter from Stiles’s lips, the shivering worse now that he’s awake. He feels like he can’t stop shaking, something cold wrapped around his heart and refusing to let go.

The door opens and Scott rushes in, goes to his knees by Stiles and wraps a towel around him. “Shit, dude, I knew we should’ve woken you up.”

“No, son,” his father corrects him. “I spoke to your mom the first time this happened, and she said we shouldn’t wake him. That it could be dangerous to him or to us, if he wakes up disoriented. He needs to be able to work it out in his mind.”

“And if he gives himself hypothermia?” Scott looks at the sheriff worriedly. “This isn’t good.”

Stiles blinks at him, words muzzy in his mind. “You slept over,” he says, because he dimly remembers falling asleep mid-conversation while Scott crashed on his floor.

Scott and the sheriff exchange a look, and Scott looks back at Stiles. “Yeah, I did. Your dad thought it would help, since Malia staying obviously didn’t.”

Right, that was on Tuesday, when Stiles woke up with muddy bare feet three miles from home, and pretty sure he’d walked the whole distance there. Malia was by his side, but she hadn’t been able to wake him up until she grabbed him and pulled him out of the path of an oncoming car.

On Monday, when he slept alone, his father had found him searching through closets for something Stiles couldn’t explain either asleep or awake.

“It’s getting worse.” Stiles echoes his father’s words. “I don’t know how to make it stop.”

The sheriff sits on the edge of the tub, puts one hand on Stiles’s shoulder. “Do you remember what’s happening in the dreams?”

“Nightmares,” Stiles says. “And no, I don’t remember.” It’s a lie, a flat out prevarication. Or maybe it’s just an omission, since he’s just not going to tell anyone what’s going on in his head. It’s bad enough that he has to live with it, with the fear that the demon is still inside of him. His mind replays the things he’s done, and there are times… there are times when he just needs to escape.

The shakes have stopped. He’s sodden, yes, but he’s not freezing anymore. He pushes to his feet, standing slowly, and water drips off of him. He takes a step out of the tub, then stops as Scott and his dad look at him, and he realizes that he’s leaving puddles on the floor. “I think I need new clothes,” he mutters, rubbing at his eyes.

“You dry off, I’ll go get you something to sleep in.”

Stiles does as Scott says, and by the time Stiles makes it back to bed, he’s exhausted. He knows there are more nightmares to come—there are always more nightmares—but he also knows that nothing is going to get him out of that bed again. He’s going to sink into his dreams and be trapped there, unable to escape, until dawn rouses him.

And there’s really nothing Scott can do to help.

#

Scott takes his role as Alpha and best friend seriously, and he does everything in his power to find a way to help Stiles sleep.

Nothing works.

Malia comes back, but after his fourth sojourn with her by his side, his father points out that when Malia is there, Stiles is more likely to actually leave the house while sleepwalking, and refuses to let her try again.

The one night Kira stays, Stiles wakes up in his Jeep, his key in the ignition and the car rumbling to a start. He’s buckled in with the Jeep in reverse, ready to back down the driveway, and his jaw aches. Kira shakes her hand, knuckles bruised, and she apologizes quickly for punching him.

Stiles apologizes to her for almost driving while asleep and even though she points out that it was her idea to get in the car with him, he feels sick with guilt that he could have killed them both.

Kira doesn’t stay over again.

Lydia’s presence ends up with Stiles sleeping in random locations, waking up in closets, the bathtub (thankfully without the shower running), and once under his own bed. Every single time he has his hands pressed to his ears, her scream echoing in his ears even though she assures him that she never actually screamed. When he does slide into the nightmares, he sees the dead walking by him, telling him everything he did, reminding him in gruesome detail exactly how they died.

Allison sits on the end of his bed, telling him stories of heaven and hell, her chest still bleeding across his sheets.

“I can’t do this,” he tells her, and he reads the relief in Lydia’s posture. He knows it couldn’t have been easy for her, either, after all that the Nogitsune did to her, and he can’t quite look her in the eyes. “We’re pack, and thank you for trying, but the dead cling to you, and I can’t listen to them anymore.”

#

There really isn’t much of a pack in the end.

They each try, and they each fail, and after everyone’s done, all that’s left is Derek.

He sits on the end of Stiles’s bed, hands clasped awkwardly between his knees. “You’re closer to the rest of the pack,” he says, and Stiles snorts, because that’s an understatement.

“Maybe, but even Danny pretending he cared about cuddling me didn’t work,” Stiles says dryly. “The next option is dragging Jackson’s ass back from London, and we all know that that will only end in bloodshed so no one wants to try it.”

“Yours or his?” Derek raises an eyebrow.

“His. At Lydia’s hands. I wouldn’t even have to do anything,” Stiles replies, because it’s easy. Banter is easy, snark is easy.

It’s sleeping that’s impossible.

Stiles sighs. “Look, I know Scott guilted you into this with the whole Alpha thing, and if you were still an Alpha you could just ignore him and go on your way. But you’ve got this thing where you think you’re brothers, and you have to help him out, which means trying to help me out. But at the same time, you and I know that being here, helping me, is the last thing you want to do.”

“Is it?” That eyebrow quirks again. “Why are you putting words in my mouth, Stiles?”

“Why are you sitting on my bed, Derek?”

“Because you haven’t told me where I’m sleeping yet.” Derek pushes to his feet, grabs the bag he left on Stiles’s chair. He paws through it, finds a pair of sleep pants, and slings them over his shoulder. “I’m going to go get changed. Either you put something on the floor for me to sleep on, or I’m climbing into bed when I get back.”

There’s a perverse part of Stiles’s brain that wants to push Derek, see just how far he can make him go. “I don’t care where you sleep,” he says, and Derek rolls his eyes in response and leaves.

Stiles flops onto the bed, arms bent and head pillowed on his hands as he lays back, looking at the ceiling. His eyes ache, he’s so tired, and his body feels caught simultaneously limp and so tense it hurts which is an unpleasant sensation. He doesn’t feel like he can move, but at the same time, there’s something under his skin telling him to get up, go, disappear before he can hurt anyone else.

When the door creaks, he rolls onto his side, faces toward the wall, refusing to look at Derek.

The bed dips, and Derek stretches out next to him, body werewolf-hot and taking up too much space.

“I’ll just climb over you,” Stiles mutters, but he doesn’t really have a choice right now. Sleep is tugging him down, and he can see the nightmares there, just out of reach, painted on the inside of his eyelids. He wants to resist, but he can’t, not when he’s warm and exhausted and when skeletal hands grab onto his shoulders, he lets them pull him in.

#

Nightmares are like a rollercoaster, skating from one trauma to the next with no time to recover. He has a blade in his hand, sharp enough to make his fingers bleed, and he shoves it forward. He feels the way it slices through sinew, grates against bone. He catalogs every little hitch in Scott’s breath, breathes in the swift scent of fear and holds it like a treasure in his lungs.

He sees forgiveness in Scott’s eyes, and he twists the blade, tugging it up, cutting through vital organs and smelling the rich iron of Scott’s blood as it spills over his hand. The blade slips from his fingers and he pushes backwards, screaming.

Something catches him, wraps him up and holds him, whispers into his ear a soft shhshhshh. Stiles gasps for breath, kicks out, and there’s a hand over his head, lips against his shoulder, and he slowly eases, falls back into that welcome warmth.

“It’s going to be okay. I’ve got you.”

They don’t, Stiles knows. They can’t help him. No one can help him, it doesn’t matter who it might be.

But there’s a heaviness in his limbs and he can’t fight it, can’t wrestle against it. With a whimper and a low groan, he tumbles back into the dark depths of sleep.

#

Stiles wakes just before dawn, unable to breathe.

He’s crashed out in his bed, starfished face down, and there’s a weight across his back and legs. He twitches, and something moves, shifting against him, and he realizes that those are legs and hips, lazily moving, rutting against his body.

He also realizes that this is the first time he’s had morningwood in more than a month.

And he’s in his bed. In his bed. Not the tub, not the closet, not his car, not the Preserve, not somewhere random a few miles away. His eyes still ache, and his body still feels limp with exhaustion, but he doesn’t feel the heavy futility weighing on him.

He feels, relatively speaking, almost good.

The arm around his waist tightens, and words whisper against the nape of his neck. “Too early. Go back to sleep.”

He could get free, if he needed to. But he doesn’t need to, so he lets it happen. He presses back, feels the line of a body behind him, almost too hot, and definitely in some places much harder than expected, and he falls back into an easy sleep.

#

He’s alone when he wakes again, the sun higher in the sky. He can hear the rumble of voices somewhere in the house, but it’s too low for him to make out words. They’ve learned since this started, his father barely vocalizing, just barely loud enough for werewolves to hear.

It frustrates Stiles that no one wants to talk to him, only about him in scattered conversations held far away from him.

He rolls out of bed, stumbles down the hall as quietly as he can to the bathroom where he takes care of one kind of business before he’s able to take care of the rest. It’s a strange way to wake up, not really arousing, but he feels like it’s a good sign that parts of his body might be back in working order.

Maybe all he really needed was one night’s worth of sleep.

He washes up, then runs his fingers through his hair in a valiant effort to tame it before giving up and letting it stick up however it wants. Dimly he realizes that the voices have stopped, that there are footsteps on the stairs, walking down the hall and stopping. Waiting.

Stiles opens the door to the bathroom and both his father and Derek are there, looking worried.

“I’m awake,” Stiles says, as if he needs to reassure them, and maybe he does. He sees Derek’s shoulders loosen, and his father sighs, pushing a hand through his hair when Stiles repeats the words. “I’m awake.” His gaze narrows as he inhales. “And do I smell bacon?”

“Turkey bacon,” the sheriff says. “Derek wouldn’t let me get the good stuff.”

“Good man.” Stiles claps Derek’s shoulder on the way by, heading back to his room. “And in case you’re wondering—since I know you are—I’m much better today. Slept like a rock, only had a couple of nightmares, and didn’t sleepwalk once. So thank you. You may not be the Alpha, but you are the best at terrifying away the bad dreams.” Stiles wiggles his fingers next to his mouth. “Must be all the born wolf pointy teeth.”

He stops as he enters his room, considers them both. “Now that I’ve finally slept, I’ll probably be better. I owe you one, Derek. Or maybe it just means it’s my turn to save your ass next. I’ve forgotten who owes who on that tab.”

He shuts the door, but listens quietly to hear his father say, “I’d really rather not be reminded just how dangerous life has been for him this last year. I’m still shocked he made it to seventeen.”

“He’s a good kid.” Derek doesn’t try to hide his words, speaking at a normal volume. “If you need my help again, just call, sir. I’ll come over.”

Stiles searches for clothes, pulls a hoodie on over his head and lets it muffle the sound of his father’s voice. Stiles knows he’s all set now. He’s good. He’s slept and he’s rested and his body has healed. Everything’s going to be fine.

#

Everything’s not fine.

It almost is. For a few days, Stiles falls asleep around eleven and wakes up at five. It’s not enough sleep, but at least he’s not remembering the rollercoaster of nightmares, and he’s still in bed.

Then he wakes up one night sitting by the side of the road on top of a duffle bag that’s filled with a random assortment of clothes and toiletries (he packed his toothpaste and razor, but apparently sleeping him forgot the toothbrush and shaving cream), one thumb stuck out. There’s someone leaning out of a car asking if he wants a ride, and Stiles blinks at him and shakes his head.

He’s sleepwalking and attempting to hitchhike in his sleep.

He is so very not okay.

He’s got a jacket on, which is handy because somehow his phone is in his pocket, and it still has 32% battery. He looks at the time—just past three in the morning—and shuffles through his contact list. He’s about to call Scott when he changes his mind, switches into the messaging app and types you awake and hits send.

Need me to come over? comes back a few minutes later.

Stiles stares at the phone, trying to figure out how to word this. I need you to come get me. But I don’t know where I am.

It’s not perfect, but it gets the point across.

Somehow he’s not surprised when Derek’s Toyota pulls up ten minutes later, and the doors click unlocked. He gets up, throws his bag into the back seat, then climbs into the front and buckles the seatbelt. “Thanks,” he says quietly.

“Where am I taking you?” The car rumbles, but Derek doesn’t pull out yet. He has both hands on the wheel and stares straight forward, waiting for instruction.

And there are options. Stiles knows this. He could go to Scott’s, where Melissa’s on a night shift and Stiles has a key and could let himself in and crash on the couch. He could go home and risk waking up his dad, if he isn’t already awake having realized Stiles is gone.

Or he could just leave, which is obviously what his inner psyche thinks he should do.

He shrugs one shoulder. “Not home,” he finally decides, texting his dad that he’s okay, that Derek picked him up, that he’ll call in the morning. He might still be grounded for not coming home, but at least Dad will know he’s alive and safe.

They pull up in front of the old building that Derek owns, and Stiles grabs his bag and follows Derek up and into the loft. When he gets there, Derek points at the bed in the corner, and Stiles sits heavily on the edge, body slumped.

“I’m not okay,” Stiles says quietly, and Derek makes a noise that he interprets to mean obviously. “I thought I was.” Stiles feels the need to defend himself. “I slept so well that night—hell, I think you slept on me so I couldn’t sleep walk at all. And I felt good after. And I was okay. I really was okay.”

Derek sits down next to Stiles, not so close that they touch, but close enough that Stiles could reach out and close the distance between them. Derek takes Stiles’s hand, turns it palm up, and he quietly counts the fingers.

One-two-three-four-five.

Derek repeats it one more time, and Stiles lets go a breath he didn’t know he was holding. “Yeah,” Stiles murmurs. “I’m awake.”

“You have school tomorrow?” Derek asks, and Stiles nods, which makes Derek nod in return, like something makes sense to him. “Get some sleep then.” Derek pats the bed. “I’ll wake you up for school and drop you off, and I’ll talk to your dad tomorrow.”

Stiles strips by rote, taking everything off but a t-shirt and his boxers. He might have pajama pants stuffed in his bag, but he doesn’t feel like looking, not when the heavy weight of darkness weighs on him. As he crawls under the covers, he looks at where Derek still sits on the end of the bed. “You need to sleep, too,” he says, and Derek offers a small smile.

“I will,” Derek promises, and Stiles takes ease in that and lets himself fall.

#

Stiles is sprawled across Derek’s chest, one of Derek’s hands resting at the small of his back. His groin presses into the bone of Derek’s hip, and Stiles tries to slide away before Derek realizes just how awkward this is. The arm around him tightens, and Derek makes a noise, his face pressed against the side of Stiles’s head. “Don’t,” Derek murmurs, and Stiles goes still.

“I have to go to school.” Stiles can hear an alarm going off somewhere in the distance. “I need to get out of bed, Derek.”

Stiles can feel the moment that Derek’s breathing changes as he comes fully awake. Stiles pushes back as Derek’s hold loosens, watches Derek blink sleepily at him.

“Did you sleep okay?”

Stiles licks his lips, his gaze falling to Derek’s bare chest. “Yeah, actually, I did. I don’t remember anything after I passed out. I don’t even remember you getting into bed.”

“You were pretty out of it,” Derek tells him. He shifts, his hand sliding up Stiles’s back to cradle his hand, fingers threaded through his hair. “But you curled into me the moment I laid down.”

Stiles feels his skin heat, knows he’s flushed and warm. “Um. Yeah. Sorry, I didn’t mean to encroach on your personal space. It’s just…”

“Stiles.”

He goes silent when Derek says his name, cautiously meets his gaze. “Yeah?”

“It’s fine,” Derek tells him. “I said I’d help, and I will. If this is what you need, then I’m here. Now go shower and I’ll get something for you for breakfast and lunch so you can get to school.”

Stiles tries to turn as he gets out of bed, unwilling for Derek to see the tent in his boxers (or worse, see anything peeking out of them). It’s just morningwood. Derek probably has it too, doesn’t mean anything. But since he’s in a werewolf’s apartment, he can’t exactly do anything about it, other than standing under the cold water and trying to think of anything unarousing that he can manage while willing it to go away.

By the time he gets out and hunts through his bag to find clothes, Derek has an omelet and toast waiting, and a brown bag of lunch. It’s strangely domestic, and Stiles is halfway through gulping down a glass of orange juice when he remembers. “Fuck. I don’t have my Jeep.”

“I’ll pick you up after school and take you to it,” Derek offers, and when Stiles glances at him uncertainly, Derek just raises and eyebrow and jerks his chin at the last slice of toast. “Finish up. You’re going to be late.”

#

Derek picks him up and doesn’t say a word until they’re at the Stilinski house and Stiles is about to get out. Derek leans across the front seat of the Toyota and says, “Get anything you need from inside and drive over to my place.”

“What?” Because that sounded like… that sounds like… “What?”

“Get your things—whatever’s not already packed in the bag you brought to the loft last night—and drive to my place,” Derek says slowly. “What part of that did you not understand?”

“The why.” Stiles shakes his head, looks at the house and the empty driveway other than his Jeep. Dad’s not home, and Derek’s kidnapping him, and… something just doesn’t make sense.

Derek sits back again, tilts his head back against the headrest. “I talked to your father today, let him know what happened, and that you’re okay. He said that if you sleep better when you’re with me, maybe you should stay at my place for a while. I’ve got more room, you’ll be out of the place where you have bad memories—”

“I have bad memories of the loft, too,” Stiles points out. “I have plenty of bad Nogitsune memories of that loft.”

“But I’m there, and my bed is bigger,” Derek says, tone flat. “So go get your things and come over. Your dad’s joining us for dinner to lay some ground rules.”

“What ground rules? It’s not like you’re stealing me away to be your fuckboy.” Because that would never happen, Stiles is more than aware of his status in Derek’s mind. “Fine. I’ll just… I’ll go get my things.” Stiles slams the Toyota’s door, hesitates there in the driveway because this is awkwardly like have an argument and moving in anyway, and they aren’t even dating. Once he finally moves, Derek backs out of the driveway and waits to pull away until Stiles is inside.

Stiles leans against the door, lets his head thunk against the wood. He can’t do this. He really can’t do this. How the hell is he supposed to live with Derek? He needs to get better on his own, sleeping in a bed by himself, and preferably in a place where he can deal with morning issues in peace.

This is going to be impossible.

#

Dinner’s not bad, and they have a movie night afterward that’s only somewhat awkward. Scott and Kira show up, and they squish onto the couch with Stiles and his dad, while Derek takes over the armchair. Stiles puts his feet up on the coffee table, and when Derek arches one eyebrow, Stiles carefully uncrosses his feet, then recrosses them again the other way round, still on the table.

Derek grumbles under his breath and it makes Stiles grin inwardly. It really is fun to push his buttons.

The ground rules are laid down neatly after Scott and Kira leave, but before the sheriff heads out for the night. No naked snuggling. No naked touching. Nothing illegal that could happen between a 17 year old and a 23 year old, including everything from sex to alcohol.

Stiles breaks the beer rule the second the sheriff is gone, and is thankful that Derek doesn’t seem to care.

“I’m sorry my dad’s up your ass about making sure you don’t deflower a minor,” Stiles says dryly. “It’s his way of saying that he thinks I’m going to jump you. Which I wouldn’t do. You’ve had enough traumatic relationships with people who don’t respect you as it is, and besides, I’m well aware I’m not your type.”

“I’m not going to molest you in your sleep,” Derek grumbles, and Stiles stares at him.

“I just said I know that, dude. I’m not your type. I mean, I’ve got mass murderer nailed down, but I’m a guy. I get it. I’m lacking in the tit department.” Stiles pushes past the low growl that Derek gives him, aiming right for crude and irritating. He holds up his hands. “I also brought pajamas so I won’t be stripping before bed. But you and me, we need some ground rules, too.”

“We do,” Derek says flatly.

“Yes. Like. If one of us happens to wake up in an awkward state, the other shall not comment on it.” That’s the first rule of bro sleepovers, and Stiles has had it in place with Scott for years. “And if that person goes off to deal with it, the other should not listen in, even if they have werewolf hearing.”

“And shower after, and clean the tub,” Derek says dryly. “Make a mess, you clean it up. I don’t want my house smelling like hormonal teenager.”

Because smell is important, and Stiles has just moved into the wolf’s den and now it’s going to smell like him. And he doesn’t really belong.

Well fuck.

“It’s only for a little while,” Stiles mutters. “Don’t worry, I’ll be out of your hair soon enough. It is not my fault that the Nogitsune is afraid of your wolfliness. Because I’m not afraid of you.”

“I’m aware.” Derek slumps down in the chair, reaching for the book on the nightstand. “Go to bed. I’ll leave a lunch in the fridge for you, and there’s cereal for breakfast.”

“Not getting up to send me off to school in the morning?” Stiles flutters his eyelashes at him and Derek growls.

“Giving you some privacy,” Derek points out. “You can have a hot breakfast, or you can go fuck your fist in the shower.” Derek’s ears are a bright pink, as if just saying the words that crudely was embarrassing. “Your choice.”

“Second option.” Stiles almost squeaks, jumping up from the couch. “I’m just going to… I’m just going to go get ready for bed. And sleep.” And try not to think about the fact that Derek and he just discussed masturbating, and the fact that now he really kind of wants to do that. To relax before sleeping. But he can’t. Because Derek’s bed.

Fuck his life.

#

They develop a pattern.

Stiles goes to bed first, climbing under the covers wearing only his sleep pants and boxers. He wakes in the morning to the breadth of Derek’s back pressed against his front, his hard dick nestled in the crack of Derek’s UnderArmour-clad ass. Or sometimes he’s sprawled across Derek’s chest, idly humping his thigh, and other times Derek has him tangled like an octopus, and Stiles is well-aware that he’s not the only one waking up hard.

Natural bodily function. Stiles knows this and reminds himself of it often, usually when he’s got himself in hand and is taking care of things during his morning shower.

It’s awkward and uncomfortable in some ways, but in other ways it’s perfect. Because Stiles sleeps.

There are occasional nightmares, and he wakes into the darkness with Derek’s arms around him, hauled back against the heat of Derek’s chest, a hand stroking over his skin while Derek soothes him. He can trust that Derek will keep him safe, and Stiles sinks back into the darkness of dreams without nightmares.

A week passes, and it’s strangely easy as they go into the weekend, the pack coming over for Friday night.

Scott walks in the door, his nose wrinkling. “Dude.”

Stiles flushes, wondering if he didn’t clean the shower well enough that morning. Derek hasn’t said anything, so Stiles has assumed he’s done a good enough job keeping the scent of teenage angst to a minimum. “Hey, Scotty. Problem?”

“This place smells like longing and frustration.” Scott’s nose wrinkles. “I mean, it’s really bad if even I can tell the difference.”

Stiles feels the heat on his cheeks. “Yeah, well, I’m spending every night in bed with Derek. Can you blame me for having a little bit of want going on? I feel bad for him, because getting groped by a bisexual horny octopus can’t be pleasant, but at least I’m sleeping. And he’s good enough to keep me around.”

Scott opens his mouth, tilts his head, then closes his mouth abruptly again. “Yeah. Okay. I get it,” he says. And… that doesn’t actually make sense, but Stiles lets it go because it’s better than talking it to death.

The pack gathers in the living room, sprawled across every bit of furniture and half the floor. Stiles ends up on the floor with his knees bent, toes propped against one leg of the coffee table as he leans back against the sofa. Malia’s legs are on one side of his shoulder, while Derek’s knee presses into his other shoulder. When he feels fingers tangle in his hair, he drops his head to one side, and it’s halfway through the movie before he realizes that it’s Derek, not Malia, that’s touching him.

He tries to keep his heartbeat steady, but he knows it must change by the way the touch stills, and fingers pull away.

“It’s okay,” Stiles says, but Derek stands up, offers to get drinks for everyone and disappears into the kitchenette. Stiles lets his head fall back against the couch, eyes closed.

There’s a sharp poke in his shoulder, and Malia gestures at the kitchen.

Stiles shakes his head.

“I have to study math,” Malia announces loudly. “Lydia, I need you to help me study math. We’re going now.”

“Yeah, I have a thing, too.” Scott pushes to his feet, brings Kira with him. “And I need you guys to help me. Except Malia and Lydia.”

“Because math,” Malia says, her voice still far too loud.

It’s ridiculous, and so staged, and Stiles just wants to melt into the couch and disappear. “You don’t have to go,” he says, but Scott’s nodding emphatically and saying that yes, yes, he does, and yes they all need to go. Now.

Fuck his life.

The pack drifts out in a wave of gathered coats and hugs goodbye, and Stiles sinks back onto the couch when they’re gone. He leans over, head in his hands, muttering, “Well, that wasn’t weird.”

A mug of steaming mocha coffee is placed on the table in front of him, and Derek carefully sits next to him on the couch. “They think they’re helping.”

“They’re not helping me. They’re embarrassing me and making things awkward for you, and I’m sorry,” Stiles grumbles. “They know better. They know you’re not into me, and they know you’re straight, and they know how awful this has to be when you wake up and I’m grinding on you—I’m sorry for that again, by the way. But they’ve just….” Stiles waves a hand at the door, out of words, because he knows his friends think they’re helping. But they’re not. “Anyway. Maybe I should try sleeping on the couch. See if I can wean myself back to sleeping on my own.”

“Stiles.”

It’s just one word—just his name—and it’s said so seriously that he has to look over. Derek sits there, his own cup of coffee cradled in his hands, the steam billowing out, and he’s staring at Stiles. When Stiles licks his lips, Derek’s gaze drops to his mouth, and Stiles feels like someone’s punched him in the gut.

“Scott’s a werewolf,” Derek says slowly. “I heard what he said when he came in.”

Stiles flushes all over again, face flaming. “Oh God. I was hoping he couldn’t still smell me jerking off in the bathroom.”

Derek’s silent for a long moment and Stiles feels like he’s falling into an abyss. The bottom drops out of his stomach, and it’s like a waking nightmare. “Fuck,” Stiles whispers. “I’m sorry.”

“He could smell me,” Derek says quietly. “Scott’s gotten good enough that he could smell that it was me. Not your emotions, not your chemosignals. Mine.”

“Yours?” Because that makes no sense. None at all. “Why would you…?”

Derek sets his mug down with one hand, pinching the bridge of his nose with the other. “You’re not making this easy.”

“Are you coming out to me, Derek Hale?”

Derek jerks backward, just a bit, and Stiles realizes he’s hit the nail on the head. Stiles puts one hand on Derek’s knee, squeezes slightly. “Holy shit, you’re bi. And fuck, I’m so sorry, because I really have been taking advantage of you. I just figured you wouldn’t be turned on, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but—”

“Shut up, Stiles.” Derek presses one finger to Stiles’s lips. “Just be quiet long enough for me to get this out, so we can move on. Yes, I’m bisexual. Yes, I’m attracted to you, and yes, it’s been hard sleeping with you.” One eyebrow rises. “But you’re not taking advantage of me. I invited you here. And I’m not a horny teenager. I know how to keep my emotions in check. So if I’m jerking off thinking about you, that’s my problem, not yours. I won’t take advantage of you, so you don’t need to worry about it.”

“Wait.” Stiles flails out with one hand, nips at the finger right in front of his lips. He thinks about that and his tongue darts out, licking at the tip of Derek’s finger, teeth capturing it to drag it into his mouth, lick at it properly.

Derek’s eyes flare blue.

“Holy shit.” Stiles scrambles to his feet, twists around and straddles Derek’s lap. “You are not taking advantage of me. If I’m not taking advantage of you. If this is okay. Because, I’d really like to kiss you right this second.”

“Kiss yes. Anything else, no.” Derek’s hands fall to Stiles’s waist, holding him in place. “You’re underage, and I’m not getting arrested.”

“Fine. Kiss yes.” Stiles ducks in, tests the waters with a light brush of his lips. When that goes over well (so very well), he tries again for a deeper kiss, licking into Derek’s mouth and encouraging him to deepen the kiss as well. Derek’s beard burns against Stiles’s chin; he can feel the pricks against his face, but it also feels good.

“I’m okay with this,” Stiles whispers, pulling back just enough to lean forehead to forehead. “Very okay with this. We can add it to the nighttime ritual if you want, and the morning one as well.”

“Nothing naked,” Derek says solemnly, although Stiles can see the hint of a laugh around the corners of his eyes.

“Nothing naked,” Stiles agrees. After all, they wear clothing in bed, right?

#

Stiles wakes into Saturday morning with his arms around Derek’s waist, and his hips pressed tight against Derek’s ass. He wiggles a little, just because he can, and groans at the feel of sliding against him. There’s a low growl, and Derek rolls over, pins Stiles to the bed, hips grinding down.

They’re not naked, but it’s close. And if they keep this up, Stiles is going to be very, very close. He lifts his hips, presses back against Derek, and is gratified by the groan he gets in return.

“Go clean up,” Derek whispers against his neck, sucking a fresh mark to join the ones he placed there the night before.

Stiles heads into the bathroom, but leaves it open just a crack. He leans back against the sink and shoves his boxers down so he can get a hand on himself. It won’t take long, and he lets himself imagine that it’s Derek doing this for him, Derek helping him get off. He whines, hears an answering groan from the living room, and he knows that Derek’s listening. He doesn’t hold back, groaning when he finally gets off, and he listens for the slap and moan as Derek finds completion as well.

He showers off quickly and doesn’t bother wiping everything down. He likes the idea that the bathroom smells like him, and that maybe Derek will like it too.

“I turn eighteen soon,” he offers as he heads out.

“You have to go home sometime, too.” Derek’s at the stove, flipping pancakes onto a plate. “When you think you can sleep alone.”

“What if I can’t sleep alone?” Stiles slides into the spot behind Derek, wraps his arms around him and kisses his bare shoulder. “What if I need you to sleep?”

“We’ll figure it out,” Derek says. He twists his head, steals a kiss when Stiles offers one. “We have to talk to your dad, though. I’m not sneaking around.”

Stiles is pretty damned sure that his dad won’t approve. On the other hand, in the last few months Stiles has almost died more times than he can count, and he’s become a murderous demon and is still recovering. Dating a guy six years his senior isn’t the worst thing he’s done. “He’ll be okay with it. As long as I’m happy and healthy and sleeping, Dad will be fine. And as long as you’re with me, all that is true, right?”

Stiles isn’t above making sure logic works out in his favor when he wants something. And knowing that Derek wants this too makes Stiles absolutely certain that he’s going to keep it. He lowers his head, lips pressed against Derek’s shoulder. “Thank you,” he whispers.

“For what?”

For everything, Stiles thinks, but that doesn’t say enough. “For being my anchor,” he says. “For pulling me out of the nightmare. For helping me live.”

“As if I could let you go.” Derek turns to face him, cradling Stiles close, and Stiles relaxes into him.

He can do anything, now that he’s found a way out of the nightmares.