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"What," said Derek.

Just that: one syllable, not even a hint of a question mark in sight. Had it been anyone else, Stiles would feel insulted, but this was Derek – social skills were not exactly his forte. Hell, Stiles was mildly-to-moderately surprised that Derek had opened the door to him in the first place. Well done, Stiles; not even Derek is immune to your charm. He'd pat his own shoulder approvingly if he weren't using both hands to hold the present.

"Yeah, I'll let that negligence of punctuation slide," Stiles said. "Also hi, it's so good to see you too, yeah, lovely weather we are having, hey, are you all recovered from the whole werewolf alpha pack attack showdown thing? 'Cause everyone else seems great, actually, Erica won't stop bragging about the one she took down on her own—"

One of Derek's eyebrows arched up.

"—and the wound in my side scarred over nicely, it's almost completely healed. Um, but you're obviously not very interested in this conversation – well, it's more of a monologue really, because, you know, you're not really responding, except for the eyebrow thing, which I guess in a way is more than I was expecting—"

"Stiles," Derek said.

"Okay, yes," Stiles said, and mentally cursed himself for allowing Derek to have this effect on him every damn time Stiles saw him. "Let's try that again. Hi, Derek. I got you a housewarming gift."

He followed Derek's gaze on its quiet way down to the package in his arms. Stiles was not exactly a gift-wrapping genius, and while his efforts had seemed passable in the forgiving light of the kitchen lamp they looked somewhat pathetic here on Derek's sunlit porch. The fact that the wrapping paper was Christmas-themed even though it was October also did not help. (He and his dad didn't really stock up on wrapping paper these days. Not anymore.)

"Thanks?" Derek offered, eyes still on the present.

"Was that a—dude, you and question marks have a really fucked-up relationship," Stiles told him. "Somebody really needs to give you a crash course on punctuation. Or—hey, come to think of it, did you ever even finish high school at all?"

Derek's face darkened, and, okay, this was not going exceptionally well.

In Stiles' defense, he had never been comfortable around overly reserved people. He preferred happy bouncy people, like Scott, or even people like Lydia; they provided him with the constant input his brain so craved, even if in Lydia's case it tended to come cloaked in ice-cold haughtiness. (Though she had become slightly more laid-back since her inclusion into the whole werewolf business.) But silence, silence made Stiles anxious, made him overcompensate. It itched through his skin and sunk into his veins and corroded every last shred of his already questionable brain-mouth filter.

"Just—here," Stiles said, pushing the present against Derek's broad chest until Derek took hold of it. "My mom used to always bring housewarming gifts, you know, it was sort of her thing. So when I heard you bought a house for, like, the pack, I thought hey, why not. Continue the tradition. It's probably stupid, but. Whatever."

"Thank you," Derek said again, which was a little weird. Someone must have been giving him introductory classes on how to interact with normally-functioning human beings in everyday situations, or something. Boyd, perhaps. (Definitely not Erica.) Obviously Derek still was still failing responsiveness and punctuation use, but at least his politeness skills appeared to be improving.

Derek looked at the present for a few seconds and then turned around and disappeared down the corridor without saying anything or even looking back.

So much for politeness.

"Neanderthal," Stiles muttered. "I shouldn't even be surprised." He started patting around for his car keys, locating them in his back pocket, but didn't move from the porch yet. If Derek wanted him gone, he would have just commanded Stiles to get the hell out of here, right? Stiles was morbidly curious to see the inside of this place; whenever Erica and Isaac spoke of it, which was… basically all the time, they made it out to be some sort of second coming of Christ. In real estate shape. And fuck it, Derek wouldn't leave the front door open by accident. Dude's every move was calculated. He probably didn't even breathe without planning it ahead.

Stiles put his keys back into his pocket and took a deliberate step forward.

The house turned out to be – it turned out to be not what Stiles had expected. Then again, he wasn't really sure what he had expected. Ash and cobwebs? Subway cars? Compared to the burnt-down Hale mansion and Derek's first Alpha lair, this place was divine: hardwood floors and thick carpets, tall windows and off-white walls. That in itself was surprising, but what surprised Stiles even more was the fact that the house was chockfull of… stuff. The living room was dominated by a number of mismatched couches and armchairs, arranged around a gigantic flat screen TV; there were books and DVD cases on every flat surface, and the dinner table was littered with dishes and empty pizza boxes. In the corridor, Stiles almost tripped over the pile of shoes and scarves underneath the coat rack.

The house felt warm and inviting and lived-in. It was a home. How the hell had Derek – Derek! – managed to create that feeling, and in so little time? Did he have some secret degree in interior design that no one knew about? Seriously, Derek was such an enigma that Stiles could never imagine him doing normal things like picking out a dining table or reading a book or doing anything remotely house-related. He had evidently been underestimating the guy.

After a thorough round of the ground floor and a few seconds of hesitation at the bottom of the stairs, Stiles located Derek in the living room. He was stood in front of the windows with his back to the room, arms stretched out to either side, palms resting on the window-sill. Derek's shoulders were drawn but in a contemplative way, not in a tense way; the afternoon sunlight falling in emphasized the contours of his biceps, the thick bumps of vein beneath the skin of his forearms. Stiles' gaze fell to the fuzzy hair at the nape of Derek's neck and lingered there.

"The place is nice," he said eventually, tearing his eyes away.

"Yeah," Derek said without turning around.

Stiles' present was on the coffee table, the Christmas-themed wrapping paper half-undone and even sloppier than it was before.

 


 

"Thanks for the fondue set," Erica said, sliding into her place at their lunch table with that nonchalant werewolf grace that still left Stiles a little dry-mouthed at times. "We're using it for dessert tonight. Chocolate fondue! Best thing ever."

Stiles took another bite of his grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich and tried to imagine Derek chocolate fondueing.

"You gave Erica a fondue set?" Scott asked.

"Not Erica." Isaac plucked a few fries off Scott's plate. "The house. You'd know this kind of stuff if you came over more often. You know, the way you promised you would."

"Hey!" Scott said. "I'll come over, all right. I've just been busy studying. And anyway, you guys have only been living there for what, a week or two? When's the official housewarming anyway?"

"Derek doesn't do parties," Boyd said.

Erica shook back her thick wave of hair. "But I do."

"You wouldn't," Isaac said.

"Oh, watch me."

"Bite me."

"A week or two?" Stiles cut in, incredulous. "How'd it get that messy in a few weeks?"

"You've been inside?" Scott asked at the same time as Erica and Isaac yelled "Hey!", audibly and visibly affronted.

"Well, not messy," Stiles said, backtracking. "You know what I mean! Filled with stuff. Whatever. Non-gloomy and depressing. I never thought Derek owned, like, any furniture or whatever." Not that Stiles spent a lot of time contemplating Derek's home situation. Of course he didn't. Why would he? Never.

Erica shrugged. "Well, Isaac had the stuff from his father's place, of course. And Derek had some stuff in storage or something. I don't know, we also bought a lot of things new and in secondhand stores and the like."

Stiles tried to imagine Derek in a secondhand store, looming over a threadbare leather chaise longue and haggling for a better price. He took another bite of his sandwich to stifle the amusement pulling at the corners of his mouth.

"Scott, you're coming over for pack dinner tonight, right?" Isaac asked.

"Yeah! Bring Allison," Erica cut in. "Jackson's having Lydia over and Stiles is coming too."

He was? "I am?"

"You are," Erica said decidedly. "Come on, Scott, it'll be fun."

Stiles drew his face into a frown just to make a point. He totally could have had plans! Theoretically. It was Friday night, after all. There was a serious possibility that he, Stiles, had had other plans, completely normal plans that did not involve pizza and chocolate fondue and movies with a bunch of newly domesticated werewolves.

"Will it?" Scott said. "Is Peter gonna be there?"

A collective groan traveled around the semi-lupine part of the table. Even Jackson, who had a Chemistry book in his lap for some last-minute revision, rolled his eyes in time. "Will you get over that?" Erica said, exasperated. "For the last time, he completely redeemed himself when the alpha pack attacked. We never would've won that fight without him."

"The dude was dead!" Scott said. "For weeks! He used to be dead!"

"Yeah, well," Erica said, following the progress of a young substitute teacher making his way through the cafeteria with a dark glint in her eyes, "I used to be human. Ain't nobody making a big deal out of that."

"He got Stiles injured," Scott said stubbornly.

"Stiles got Stiles injured," Stiles countered. "And Stiles is fine. Stiles was never even in life danger, and Stiles' scars look pretty fucking cool. Wins all around."

Scott popped the last fry into his mouth with a sigh of defeat. "Fine. Just don't expect me to be all nice to him."

"Don't worry, he's not gonna be there. But everyone else is." Erica reached over the table to ruffle his hair, but Scott ducked away. Erica laughed. "See you at six thirty then, grumpy wolf." She picked up her lunch tray and sauntered away, no doubt in pursuit of that hot sub from before. God. Stiles watched her go, turning heads at every table she passed. Could that have been him, if he'd said yes to Peter Hale's offer? He kind of liked to think so.

"Shit," Isaac muttered, rubbing at a ketchup stain on his shirt. "Shit, Derek just did laundry yesterday."

Stiles must have misheard. "I'm sorry, what? Derek does your laundry?"

Isaac glanced up at him, brow half-furrowed as though he was surprised that Stiles could hear him. Must not have realized he was speaking out loud. That happened to Stiles all the time. "Yeah, usually."

"Oh my God," Stiles said. Hearing this information made him feel strangely elated. "I can't picture that guy doing anything normal, but laundry just takes the fucking cake. I need to see this. What were the zoo's opening times again?"

"Derek's a good alpha," Boyd spoke up quietly. "He takes care of the pack."

"I think he'd surprise you," Isaac said. "And you too, Scott, I know you're not exactly Derek's biggest fan but he's much more relaxed nowadays. Now that everything's sort of… settled. You know, with Kate dead, and his sort of truce with Peter, and the Ka—" He glanced sideways at Jackson, who was still engrossed in his Chemistry book. "—the other things dealt with, you know, the Alpha pack as well. And the house calms him down, I think. It's good for him. Almost like denning, and stuff. Yeah, you'd be surprised."

Well that joke fell flat. Damn werewolves and their pack protectiveness. "I was just saying that I can't imagine him washing clothes," Stiles repeated, lamely. "Or, like, mowing the grass. Or eating! Does the man eat? I've never seen Derek eat. Scott, have you ever seen him eat?"

Scott shook his head.

Isaac cracked up. "Believe me, he eats," he said, right before the school bell went off.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Jackson hissed, slamming his book shut. "Here goes my GPA."

 


 

Turned out Derek ate a lot. Even if the pack hadn't appreciated his joke, Stiles did kind of feel like he was at the zoo during feeding times as he witnessed Derek devour two entire pizzas quattro stagioni by himself, washing them down with Mountain Dew and strawberries coated in melted chocolate. Actually no – it was more like being at the supermarket and seeing the principal, in sweatpants,or watching a documentary about some very private celebrity and finding out they're actually not all that different from you. It was the strangest feeling.

Apparently it was Erica's turn to pick a movie (Stiles suspected it was Erica's turn to pick a movie disproportionately often) so they all piled into the TV corner to watch Cabin in the Woods. Stiles had been meaning to watch it for a while, but now he found himself unable to concentrate; he felt too full, and too sleepy, squeezed all warmly between Erica and Isaac on one of the smaller couches. These days, horror movies tended to leave Stiles with a weird taste in his mouth anyway. In his current life, the line between fiction and reality was not as starkly drawn as it used to be.

Stiles gave up trying to pay attention even before the first on-screen death took place. It was so hot in the room, what with the werewolves radiating heat like there was no tomorrow, and all the cherry coke was taking a toll on his bladder. With difficulty, he untangled himself from Isaac and Erica. The downstairs toilet was in use, so he padded up the stairs in search of one of the many bathrooms Erica had boasted about. Stiles hadn't been upstairs before. The upper floor was big; he counted five doors, a few of which were ajar. One of the rooms was most definitely Erica's. Even with his hundred-percent-human nose, Stiles could recognize the scent of her perfume when he stuck his head inside. Not to mention the mass of girl clothes strewn everywhere, and— was that a condom wrapper?

"Oh man," Stiles groaned, hurrying past. The second door led to Isaac's room. It was smaller than Erica's, which did not make sense considering Isaac was the one who lived here full-time, but did make sense considering it was Isaac. From what Stiles could see it was all tidy, bed made and everything.

Stiles' mom used to tell him (long ago, back when he and Scott were about six or seven and went through a 'let's play hide and seek in other people's houses' period) that it was considered impolite to look inside someone else's house, let alone bedroom, without their consent. Stiles loved this, though. He loved the way a person's room tended to reflect their personality. And Stiles was part of this pack, in some way; that much was clear from the calm big-brother way in which Boyd had sliced up a pizza for him, from the casual leg that Erica had thrown across his lap during the movie. To some degree, this was Stiles' house too.

He halted in the doorway of the last room, which was dark, darker than the other rooms. The floor was wooden but the walls were painted the same moonless-night shade of dark blue as the carpeting in the corridor. This was probably supposed to be the master bedroom, but it didn't look all that… masterly. There was no huge bed, or even a proper bed at all; only a king-size mattress in the corner covered in a heap of sheets, blankets, and pillows of various colors and sizes. It looked cozy. Stiles was tempted to launch himself face-first onto it.

Thankfully, before he gave in to that urge, his brain registered the man-shaped silhouette near the window.

"Whoa, dude," Stiles said, his heart making a startled little jump in his ribcage. "I thought you were downstairs."

"I was," Derek said, turning his head slightly to the side. Stiles could see one of his eyes gleam.

Almost involuntarily, he said, "I'm sorry."

"What for?"

"I don't know. Coming in here, I guess. I was just curious to see what it looked like up here."

The fabric of Derek's shirt rustled softly as he shrugged. "No secrets here." The words carried a slightly sad undertone. It made Stiles wonder if the Hale mansion had been different. In its glory days it had totally looked like the type of place that contained, like, hidden staircases or secret doors behind bookcases. And what about all the other things the fire must have consumed? Books, heirlooms, photo albums… surely there had been some secrets there somewhere. Every family had them, right? Stiles was still waiting for his dad to whip out an ancestor chart that traced their origins to angels or unicorns or something equally cool.

"What's it even like, growing up in a family of werewolves?" Stiles asked.

Derek's head jerked a little, as though the suddenness of the question physically affected him. It was a reaction Stiles was not entirely unfamiliar with – his train of thought ran a lot faster than the pace of most conversations. Mismatches between the two happened. Frequently.

He was just about to say, "Sorry, that made more sense in my head," when Derek said, "Safe."

Stiles closed his mouth again.

"It was safe," Derek repeated, his eyes locked on something out in the night. "I grew up in a large family. Everyone knew everything, whether they were wolf or human. At home we never had to hide our true nature. We were free to be who we were. That's the beauty of belonging to a pack. Of having a pack."

Stiles looked at the tight line of Derek's shoulders and thought, yes, that makes sense. Derek was brusque and distant and disastrously inept at human interaction, but not in an insecure way. (Stiles, a teenager surrounded by teenagers, was an expert on insecurity.) Even though his decision-making skills were questionable at times, Derek carried himself with the unblinking confidence of a man taught to believe in himself and his self-worth from an early age onward. It wasn't arrogance – it was the sign of a warm, secure childhood.

Suddenly, Stiles wondered what kind of person Derek could have been if Kate Argent hadn't come along.

Derek broke his gaze away from whatever he had been staring at. "Let's go downstairs," he said and abruptly stalked away from the windows with the same gruff determination he brought to everything, from Kanima-hunting to pizza-eating. Stiles hesitated in the doorway for a second too long, his breath hitching slightly at the smell of aftershave and leather and general manliness that enveloped him as Derek brushed past.

"You stink of leather jacket," Stiles muttered, and almost choked on surprise when Derek turned back to flash him an honest-to-god smile.

 


 

Before long, Stiles' life fell into a routine centered heavily around the wolf house, as he had taken to calling it in his mind. At first only Friday nights were official pack nights, with dinner, a movie, and sometimes drinking games – the latter of which only Stiles, Lydia, and Allison were able to enjoy to the fullest, with Isaac and Erica looking on ruefully as the humans grew tipsier and tipsier, More often than not, Peter Hale of all people ending up driving them home, giggling and falling into each other in the backseat.

But the more pack nights he attended, the more restless Stiles grew amid the quietness of his own home. He was thankful when Isaac started inviting him and Scott over after lacrosse practice. The wolf house, always bustling with people, sure beat sitting at his desk at home, half-waiting for a text along the lines of Stiles, things are busy at the station, lots of paperwork, won't make it home for dinner sorry.

After a couple of weeks, Stiles was spending more time at Derek's house than at his own place. He went there almost every day after school to lounge on one of the couches with his textbooks and a cup of decaf coffee (packages of which had magically started appearing on the kitchen shelves), to study, to annoy Jackson, or to tutor Erica, who was failing half her courses because she was too busy doing… well, Stiles wasn't sure he even wanted to know the things she was doing instead of schoolwork these days. Even Scott did not manage to resist the alluring busyness of the wolf house for long; after he got over his Peter grudge, he was there almost as often as Stiles was.

"You and Scott seem to spend an awful lot of time at Derek Hale's place lately," Stiles' dad said one evening, piling more potatoes onto Stiles' plate. "I thought you hated the guy."

Stiles swallowed his bite of meat. "I never hated him. We just thought he was a murderer, that's all. And he turned out not to be one, so." He shrugged. "And I don't go there to see him, Isaac lives there. All my friends are there all the time. It's, like, our new hangout."

"Isaac Lahey?"

"Yeah."

Stiles' dad smiled sadly. "How's that kid doing?"

"He's fine," Stiles said. "He's good. He's really good, actually."

"Such a tragedy for him to lose the only parent he had left. At such a young age, too." His father had that look in his eyes, the troubled one that had the tendency to surface when he'd had a few too many drinks. It was a look Stiles didn't like. To him, it seemed to border far too much on guilt.

"Yeah," he said, slicing a potato in two with the blunt side of his knife, "though they didn't exactly have a stellar relationship, Dad." Dude was fucked in the head, he didn't say. Isaac hadn't told him a lot, but he'd said enough. Stiles couldn't even begin to imagine how hard that must've been. Thankfully, Isaac had Derek now.

"That doesn't mean it's any less tough on Isaac," his dad said disapprovingly. "His father was still the one who raised him, who provided for him. When all that suddenly falls away… especially when you're only sixteen…" He sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose. "I suppose it's a good thing Derek Hale took him under his wing, then. They have a lot in common."

Honestly, you have no idea just how much they have in common. Stiles nodded and took a long drink of his water to avoid having to reply. Discussing Derek – or even Scott – or just about anyone in his current circle of friends, really – with his dad was not really on his list of favorite things to do these days. (Given the general instability of his brain-mouth filter, Stiles feared it was only a matter of time before he started sputtering, "Werewolf werewolf werewolf werewolf," by accident in the middle of a conversation.)

Unfortunately, Stiles' dad was not done yet. "Derek Hale," he said, shaking his head. "I honestly never thought I'd see him again in this town, after everything that went down."

"Dad," Stiles said. "We haven't properly talked in, like, a week. Is it okay if we don't waste the time we have now discussing Derek Hale, of all people?" Derek who is a supernatural creature, his brain chimed in. Just like almost all of my friends. Surprise!

He regretted pulling the 'I haven't seen you in ages' card the moment he noticed his father's crestfallen face, but at least it succeeded in steering the conversation clear of dangerous outing-his-friends-as-werewolves territory.

 


 

It wasn't like Stiles was watching Derek, or anything. That would be weird. It's just, the conversation with his dad had reminded Stiles of the good old days when Scott had just been turned and Derek was their prime suspect, and they were still trying to figure out whether or not Derek was the antagonist in the surreal movie-like state their lives had assumed, leaning mostly toward 'hell yes' as an answer.

It was funny how that memory of Derek as the potential bad guy could not be more incongruous with the current Derek – the Derek who flipped pancakes with a concentrated frown as though it was all that mattered, the Derek who sometimes touched Isaac's forearm in a way that reminded Stiles of his parents (both his parents), the Derek who stepped in when Peter wouldn't stop pestering Scott. The Derek who took care of his pack.

Stiles didn't watch Derek. Not on purpose. It's just that Derek sucked in his attention like fucking gravity or a black hole or something.

 


 

Another difference between big-bad-wolf Derek and caring-alpha Derek: what he lacked in verbal skills, he made up for in physical actions. Some days Stiles would exchange no more than a few words with him, which was something he was used to from before. What he was not used to, however, was feeling Derek's warm hands weigh down on his shoulders for a few seconds as he was sitting at the kitchen table with a stack of Physics books and a seriously unimpressed Erica. Or Derek sullenly saying, "Here," and putting down a steaming mug of coffee in front of Stiles as he was stretched out on a couch scrolling through stupid sites on Peter Hale's iPad.

These were totally things Stiles could get used to, though.

"I'm a little in love with you right now," he yelled after Derek, who was already stalking out of the room.

"Everyone's a little in love with Derek," Isaac said from where he was stretched out on the floor with his Maths exercise book. "The man oozes natural charm. Like George Clooney."

"Tone down the sarcasm, Isaac." Erica threw the remote control at Isaac's face. It went past Stiles at a speed too fast for his human eyes to register, but Isaac didn't even have to look at the damn thing in order to catch it. Fucking werewolves. Erica continued, "You're just jealous because no matter how much you work out your body will never look anywhere near that good."

"Ouch," Jackson said. "Better go put some cream on that burn, bro."

Isaac just snorted.

"She's right, you know," Peter said, tapping his foot against his armchair (no one ever wanted to sit next to Peter, so he was the only one who had his own regular seat in the living room). "The Hale genetics are pretty damn spectacular. Personally, I—"

"Eh, newsflash, Peter, no one here would sleep with you," Scott interrupted. "We're not into necrophilia. Or psychopathy."

Peter shrugged. "I wouldn't be so sure. I mean, Isaac does work at a graveyard. And I've heard Erica's into some pretty wild shit."

Erica flew growling to her feet, eyes flashing yellow. Peter lowered his newspaper and lazily bared his fangs in response. "Do you really wanna try me, darling?"

"Hey!" Scott said. "Be nice to her or we're omegaing you."

Peter raised an eyebrow at Scott. "While I'm not usually one to discourage belligerence, do you two even realize you're puppies and that I could easily tear out both your throats before either one of you could say woof?"

"Oh my God," Stiles said, and reached for his coffee (which turned out to taste super fucking delicious, by the way). "You know, some days I wonder why I hang out with you guys, but then moments like these make me think it's probably because I'm actually unbelievably normal in comparison."

As always, things calmed down as quickly as they had heated up. Erica stayed irritable for a few hours, but she snapped out of it easily enough when Lydia and Allison arrived after dinner with as many plastic bags as they could possibly carry. With their every step, a chorus of glass clanking together went up from the bags.

"Oh dear," Stiles said when he saw the looks on the girls' faces.

"There's even more in the car," Allison said gleefully.

"We used Jackson's credit card," Lydia added.

Jackson looked up from the dishes. "Whatever. As long as you brought enough."

"Oh, it's enough," Allison said, and she started unloading bottles of absinthe, tequila, vodka, whiskey, and – okay, Stiles felt queasy just looking at the collection of alcohol on the kitchen table.

"Impressive," Peter said. "I'm glad to see that your feelings of aversion toward my character do not stop you from heeding my excellent advice."

Erica picked up a bottle of absinthe with a hesitant look on her face. "Are you sure this will get us drunk?"

"One hundred percent certain, darling. I was young once too. You have no idea how often my wolf siblings and I tried to achieve a state of intoxication when we were your age." Peter sighed nostalgically. "The solution is so simple. Drink enough and not even our healing system can break down the alcohol so fast that you don't notice it. Just down one bottle of strong liquor every fifteen minutes for an hour or two. After that, one every half hour should do the trick. Believe me, you'll feel it."

Stiles almost slipped into a coma at the thought alone. "How the hell did you even manage to buy this much booze?" he asked.

Lydia flashed him her brightest cheerleader smile. "We went to five different stores. And as you know, my fake I.D. making skills are impeccable."

"You two are geniuses," Isaac said. "I'd kiss you both if it wasn't for Scott and Jackson."

"Thank us later when they're too drunk to care," Lydia said with a wink. "All right, boys, let's get this show on the road. Everyone grab a bottle!"

 


 

Derek got home exactly four and a half hours later.

They were in the middle of a 'truth or dare' game. Isaac and Scott had already made out, as had Erica and Allison (and Allison and Lydia, but Stiles was pretty sure that hadn't been a dare). By now, everyone had done numerous tequila shots, and Jackson had had to strip down to only his boxers. In order to avoid a worse fate, Stiles – who was three-quarters through his very own personal bottle of rum and starting to feel exceptionally tipsy – chose a truth this round.

Before anyone else could come up with anything, Erica yelled, "How many people have you had sex with!" from the kitchen, where she was mixing another drink for Allison.

Peter snorted from his armchair. "I can't believe this. Aren't you children, like, seventeen years old?"

"Shut up, Peter," Lydia said, slowly sounding out the vowels. "If you're not playing, you don't get to comment. And no offense, but we probably have more sex than you ever did."

Isaac muttered, "I think I hear something."

"Yeah, the sound of Peter's ego shattering into a million pieces," Jackson said, pecking Lydia on the cheek.

Peter just rolled his eyes.

"Stiles!" Erica yelled from the kitchen. "Answer the damn question! Truthfully!"

"Seriously, guys—"

Stiles took a lovely long throat-scorching swig from his rum-and-coke. "Four," he said.

"What?!" Scott sat up so suddenly that Allison, who had been leaning against him, fell over into his lap giggling.

"What 'what'?"

Scott looked super hurt. "You never told me about the fourth one."

Eh," Stiles said. "I'm pretty sure I did, dude."

"No!" Scott's frown deepened. Stiles wanted to reach out and pet it off his face, but that would be weird. He snorted at the thought. Meanwhile, Scott was counting on his fingers. "Danny, that dude from the gay bar, that other dude from the gay bar… who's the fourth?"

"Remember Sam? Who I dated? For a few months?"

Isaac said, "Did anyone else hear—"

"I thought Sam was the dude from the gay bar," Scott said, confused. "One of them, anyway."

"Dude, no," Stiles said. Scott was so silly. Silly, silly Scott. With his floppy hair and his puppy eyes. "Just how little attention do you pay to my life?"

"Are you sure you're not, like, counting wrong?"

"I'm pretty sure I've had sex with four dudes, dude," Stiles said.

"What. The. Fuck," Derek's ice cold voice came from the doorway, "is going on here."

As if on cue, everyone's heads snapped up. Stiles giggled at the pack's synchronicity.

"Hi Derek!" Lydia chirped.

"Oh my God, Derek," Erica said, reaching out for her alpha with both arms. "Derek, Peter explained to us how to get drunk. It's glorious. I'm so happy. Come have some absinthe."

Derek redirected his Murderous Glare(™) to Peter, who shrugged. "It's generally known that I should not be the designated babysitter. I'm surprised your mother never told you the story of when—"

"My mother," Derek said through clenched teeth, "is dead."

An uncomfortable silence descended on the living room.

"And… there goes the party mood." Peter sighed. "Well done, little nephew. Just as I was starting to enjoy myself for the first time since, oh, my resurrection."

"Dude," Isaac said. "You're not Jesus." He struggled audibly with the 'j' and the middle 's'.

"And we had plenty of fun taking down that alpha pack," Erica reminded Peter. "Remember the way I—"

"Erica, if you tell us about you killing the female again I swear to God—"

"Enough!" Derek roared. Everyone fell silent again. "Everyone out."

"But the vodka is not even—"

"Out. Now."

Everyone scrambled to unsteady feet and started collecting empty bottles, except for Peter, who just rolled his eyes and left. (Derek growled at him, all red eyes and protracted canines.) Once the living room had been restored to its usual state, or something vaguely resembling it anyway, Erica and Isaac waved goodbye and disappeared upstairs with their figurative tails between their legs. Stiles overheard Jackson whispering to Lydia, "I'm not risking my Porsche. We'll sleep in the guest room," and watched them go, too. He was starting to feel slightly panicked, as were Scott and Allison, judging by the looks on their faces.

"Dude," Stiles said, trying and failing to stand without having to hold the back of the couch. "I am in no condition to drive." A hysterical cackle escaped his throat.

"We can wait until my body has broken down the al—alcol," Scott said with difficulty. "That shouldn't take too long, right?"

"You did—" Allison glanced in the direction of the doorway, where Derek was still hovering. "You did drink quite a lot," she whispered. "Even for a werewolf, I guess. I lost count at fifteen."

"Oh my God I'm gonna puke," Stiles said.

"No, no, don't, he'll kill you, he'll kill you," Scott said, sounding genuinely concerned even though Stiles was fairly certain Derek wouldn't do such a thing. Not without probable cause, at least. Right? "You sit down and we'll go see if there's a spare bed anywhere. Isaac and Erica might, eh, be sharing, so one of their rooms will be free. C'mon, Allison."

And then there was one. Derek Hale really knew how to clear a room. Stiles sat down gingerly on the nearest couch, cradling his stomach. From the periphery of his vision he noticed a dark shape moving closer.

"Please don't kill me," he said, and giggled a little for reasons unknown. "This was so not my idea."

The couch cushions dipped. "Yes," Derek said, which did not make sense, and was therefore funny. Oh God, Stiles was having a laughing fit. He bit the side of his index finger to stop it and tried to think about non-amusing things. Derek was currently – and usually – maybe even always – nah, Derek could be pretty amusing – but almost never intentionally – number one on the list of non-amusing things Stiles could think of. But maybe concentrating on Derek was a bad idea. It probably was, given the fact that Stiles tried to avoid it even when he was sober and in full (well, more or less full) command of his brain. Better not focus on Derek.

But not-focusing on Derek, Stiles observed, was pretty damn difficult with him so close. His presence was so, so tangible; the muscular curve of his thigh so close to Stiles' visibly skinnier leg, the warmth that radiated off of him, the angered, uneven rhythm of his breathing. And the not-focusing became downright impossible when Derek put his elbows on his knees, rested his head in his hands, and started brushing his fingers through his stubble beard, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The sound of hairs bristling together crackled through Stiles' haze of intoxication and sent a jolt of electricity down his spine. He actually shuddered.

"Dude," he said, swatting at Derek's hand and accidentally hitting him in the face in the process.

Derek jerked his head away sharply. "What, Stiles?"

He looked so tightly wound, so angry, so hurt, that Stiles lost any remaining urge to laugh. "Why are you so upset?" he asked, frowning.

"I'm not."

"Yes you are. I can see it." Feel it, almost.

Derek laid his chin back into the hollow of his hands.

"Dude," Stiles said. "Dude, you are so not—"

"I was at the graveyard," Derek said, tightly.

Oh.

Oh.

Quietly, Stiles asked, "Was today…"

Derek nodded.

Oh.

"I'm sorry," Stiles said. "Anniversaries are… hard." For some reason. Come to think of it, it was ridiculous, really, that out of every three hundred and sixty five days, there was one on which it hurt just a little bit more. It didn't make sense – why would a specific date make it harder to breathe, harder to get out of bed, harder to think about her painlessly? Somehow it did, though.

Derek wasn't saying anything, and Stiles didn't know what else to say. Eventually he just let himself fall sideways into Derek, upsetting the latter's careful construction of elbows, hands and chin. Derek grumbled low in his chest but did move to accommodate Stiles.

This position was not extremely beneficial for his nausea, but it made Stiles feel warm and rosy, and hey – it wasn't every day that he got to lie on top of someone who resembled a Men's Health model. He shifted onto his stomach and crossed his arms under his cheek, allowing his eyes to drift close.

"Don't go to sleep." One of Derek's big warm hands settled atop Stiles' head.

"But you're so warm," Stiles countered.

"I should bring you home."

"My dad's on night shift," Stiles said. "He won't be home until seven AM at least. And I'm feeling all right at the moment, but if you make me sit in a car I'll prooobably puke all over the seats."

He could feel Derek's body stiffen under him, which, no lie, was pretty sexy.

"Besides," Stiles continued, "I really don't understand why I don't have my own room here yet. That injustice should be recti—recti…"

"Rectified?"

"Yep. That." Stiles stifled a laugh in the crease of his elbow. "Hey, hey, Derek, you know what, you should really try downing five bottles of absinthe in a row sometime. It seemed to work véry well for the rest of your pack."

"I've done that," Derek said, quietly.

"You have?"

"Yes."

It was pretty impressive, the way Derek managed to steer every single line of conversation into a cul-de-sac. Stiles sat up so that he could look Mr. Sourwolf in the eye and shake his head at him, muttering something like, "Derek, Derek, Derek," in a disapproving tone of voice. But the sitting up made his head spin. Stiles sighed, deeply.

"Jesus," Derek said.

"What?"

"Nothing, you just – reek of rum."

Stiles pulled a face. "Whatever. You reek of…" He sniffed at Derek. Huh. "Cigarettes?"

"I smoke," Derek said. "Sometimes."

Well, then. You learn something new every day. "I didn't know. Does that even work for you?"

Derek shrugged. "We don't feel the nicotine high. But we also don't get any of the health problems."

"I've never seen you smoke." The words came out about twice as dejected as Stiles had intended them to. "I'd like to see you smoke," he added, as an afterthought, deducing that fact more or less from the sound of his own voice – which was weird.

Derek cocked an eyebrow. "You want to watch me smoke?"

"Apparently."

They looked each other in the eye. Derek had such good eyes, authoritative and calm, the color that Pallas Athena's eyes must have been; gray as the sea and all that jazz. Come to think of it, Stiles couldn't remember ever having been this close to Derek's eyes.

If his life were a book, or a movie, or a Supernatural fan fic, this would probably be the moment at which Stiles would surrender to his drunken impulses and kiss Derek. Roughly. Push him back against the couch and pull him in close and kiss him, teeth clashing tongues meeting hands roaming. And then he'd slide down and blow Derek long and hard until he was moaning and palming at Stiles' head—

"Stiles," Derek said. "Hello."

Stiles blinked. "Yes?"

"If you're going to throw up, do it outside."

"I wasn't gonna puke on you," Stiles said, offended. "I was thinking."

Derek pulled up both eyebrows. "About?"

"Oh, you know," Stiles said. "Just wondering if you've ever thought that maybe there's more to life than being really, really, really, ridículously good-looking." Because that's what Derek was, no matter how adamantly Stiles tried to ignore it on a daily basis.

Derek cracked up, which was – somehow – the most gorgeous thing ever, his eyes scrunching up and his teeth glistening white.

"Jesus, Stiles, you really are something," Derek said at the same time as Stiles' brain-mouth filter crashed and he blurted out, "God, I want to make out with you."

Derek stopped laughing. Stiles looked at the choppy rise and fall of his chest. The curve of his mouth. The way his eyes were still slightly crinkled with amusement. Would he look like this if he was morbidly opposed to what Stiles just said?

"Stiles," Derek said, and Stiles put his hands on Derek's shoulders and pressed their mouths together experimentally, just to see what would happen. Derek's lips were soft and warm and pliant, and at first extremely unresponsive – so unresponsive that Stiles' heart lurched a little sickeningly – but then Derek let out a little sigh or noise or something and parted them for Stiles. Stiles couldn't help it; he moaned in return and pressed closer, moving one leg across Derek's lap to straddle him, and when Derek didn't object to that either Stiles allowed himself to stop thinking and run freely.

Stiles was a good kisser. People had told him so; boys, girls, men, even Lydia, after that game of 'spin the bottle' a few weeks back. He liked the way it slowed down his mind and allowed him to concentrate on this one thing, this one simple task of finding out what made someone's breath catch in their throat, what made them shiver. With Derek, touch appeared to be the key. Biting and sucking at his bottom lip worked to a certain extent, but Derek didn't really start losing it until Stiles began to touch him intently – cupping his jaw, stroking the short hair behind Derek's ear, teasingly pressing his fingertips into Derek's throat. When he did that, Derek actually moaned, loudly, his hands tightening where they were safely anchored on Stiles' hip bones, his body rocking upward. Stiles peeked through his eyelashes and smiled when he saw just how tightly Derek was squeezing his eyes shut.

I wanna blow you, he wanted to whisper, but he didn't. Instead, he started leaving a trail of wet kisses down Derek's jawline, nipping at his Adam's apple, his collarbone, slipping a hand underneath Derek's shirt—

"Stiles," Derek said, breathlessly.

"Hmm?" Derek's skin was impossibly hot against the palm of Stiles' hand, the muscles beneath straining with every ragged breath.

"We shouldn't."

"No," Stiles agreed, pushing Derek's shirt up so that he could continue his kissing trail. Derek's heart thundered against his mouth. Stiles smirked, bent his head lower—

"Stiles, stop."

Stiles sat up.

Derek's eyes were glowing red. "We shouldn't do this," he repeated, voice strained.

Stiles cocked one eyebrow – a skill he had acquired and perfected through close observation of the Hales. By now he was painfully aware of his own heart rattling away inside his ribcage. "Why not?"

"You're drunk."

"And you're hot," Stiles blurted out, which was slightly embarrassing but on the other hand, Derek owned mirrors, and Stiles did just kind of jump him. The secret was out. "I don't see the problem."

Derek looked at him, pained. The alpha glow had dissipated from his eyes. His shoulders, which had definitely been relaxed during the kissing (oh God Stiles had made out with Derek), were all strung tight again. Stiles moved to touch them but Derek's hands flew up and locked around his wrists.

"Hey," Stiles protested. He felt his body sway backward. If it wasn't for Derek's vice-like grip, Stiles would probably fall off his lap – hey, he was still straddling Derek's lap. Ha. One point for Stiles. Well, more like ten points. Or a hundred.

Derek's glare softened. "Stiles. Go drink some water. You can sleep in my bed."

Okay, that sounded good. That sounded sexy.

God, Stiles really felt like having sex right about now.

He leaned back in, but Derek turned his head away. "I'm going for a run," he said and deposited Stiles next to him with infuriating ease, as though Stiles was a fucking newspaper he had finished reading.

"Hey," Stiles protested again, more feebly this time.

Derek was already in the doorway (damn werewolves). "Go to sleep," he said, not unkindly, and disappeared from sight.

The front door slammed shut.

"Fine," Stiles said and stomped upstairs, the world swaying a little around him.

Derek's bed was… well, if you ignored the fact that it was just a mattress on the floor, it was amazing,huge and impossibly comfortable, with about six thousand blankets and pillows for Stiles to burrow his alcohol-heavy head in. Everywhere smelled of Derek, and he fondled his dick for a while, wanting nothing more than to get off but not daring to. Stiles realized he was half-waiting for Derek to come back.

But Derek didn't, and before too long Stiles' intoxicated body grew too exhausted for him to even consider jerking off in Derek's bed. He fell into a fitful sleep, half-waking up every half hour or so only to find the other side of the mattress empty, and at six o'clock he tiptoed out of the still-quiet house and drove home.

 


 

It was unfair, really, that Stiles could now add the name of unarguably the most handsome guy in Beacon Hills to his kissinglog.docx but couldn't tell anyone aside of Microsoft Word. Well, technically of course he could, but he'd decided he wouldn't. For various reasons. One of those being that Derek had excused himself before either of them had even as much as come in their pants; not exactly something to brag about. And then there was the fact that Derek basically served as an authority figure to Stiles' entire circle of friends, which meant that telling someone – say, Scott – would be like telling him Stiles made out with his father. Or, mother, in the Scott example. Either way, it'd sound kind of gross.

So instead of telling anyone, Stiles posted a vague, poetry-like collage of relevant pop song lyrics to his LiveJournal in a friends-locked entry, and then crawled into bed with a hot water bottle. He cocooned himself in his sheets and wondered – not for the first and probably not for the last time – why his drunken self always had to leap headfirst into situations without thinking about the potential consequences of his actions. In this case, endless embarrassment and awkwardness. And probably many Murderous Derek Glares(™). And possibly, most upsetting of all, no more casual touches or spontaneous coffee refills.

Stiles groaned and squeezed his eyes shut. No more thinking. What's done is done.

Just as he was about to nod off, his phone buzzed with a message from Scott. Dude where are you?

Crashed on couch, drove home earlier

No breakfast in bed?

 

Get your own damn breakfast, Scott

 

:( Scott sent back, and then How hungover are you?

Even just reading the word 'hungover' sent an uncomfortable signal to Stiles' stomach. He winced and replied, Puked twice already

Oh man. Sucks to be you right now.

Stiles groaned and threw his phone onto the bed. Damn werewolves probably weren't feeling anything. If their bodies needed one bottle every half hour in order to maintain a state of tipsiness, they must have burned off the alcohol in, what, an hour or two, three? By the time everyone in the wolf house had awoken, none of them would even have as much as a headache left to remind them of the previous night. And then there was Stiles, nursing a hangover the size of Derek's di— the size of something big, what the fuck, brain? It wasn't fair.

Stupid werewolves.

Stupid fucking werewolves.

Stiles hated werewolves. In fact, if it were up to him, he'd never see any of them ever again.

 


 

(How Stiles ended up at the wolf house again two days later:

"Stilinski!" Erica's voice rang across the parking lot before Stiles even had a chance to close his car door, Jesus. "We're still on for tutoring this afternoon, right?"

"Eh, hi," Stiles said, accidentally slamming the door of his jeep shut with about twice as much force as necessary. He grimaced. "Good morning to you too. Whoa, you look great today, did anyone tell you that yet, because you do. All wild hair, leather jacket, aviator glasses…" Kind of like a blonde, female version of—

"Tutoring," Erica said impatiently, whipping the sunglasses off and giving Stiles a 'don't fuck with me' glare. Also kind of like— yeah. "We have that super important Physics test the day after tomorrow, right, and you have lacrosse training tomorrow, and you always come over on Mondays anyway so I don't even know why I'm asking."

"Eh," Stiles said.

"Stiles, come on!" Erica tilted her head to the side and pulled a sad Golden Retriever face. "Please? I really, really, really need you.")

Stiles had just finished his fifth explanation of Eucledian vectors to Erica when Derek more or less Apparated at his elbow.

"Jesus," Stiles said, almost knocking his empty tea cup off the kitchen table. "Don't do that, Harry fucking Potter."

"Hi, Derek," Erica said, unperturbed, and then to Stiles, "I still don't get these fucking things."

From the corner of his eye, Stiles registered that Derek was wearing too-tight jeans and a dirty tank top, slivers of skin showing through claw-shaped holes. Jesus. Stiles kept his head down – purposefully not looking up at Derek – and refocused his attention on the Physics book.

Derek put a hand on his neck.

Stiles had to engage the full capacity of his willpower not to flinch or blush or do anything out of the ordinary. This is Derek, he told himself, staring at the cheerfully colored vector diagrams on the page. This is what Derek does. To everyone. All the time. Just be glad he's not being awkward.

But his heartbeat accelerated anyway, and his mind took off in a confused panic.

Maybe Derek had forgotten about Friday night?

No, that couldn't be. Derek hadn't been drunk. Unlike yours truly.

But—

Erica was looking at Stiles.

"Eh... that's okay, Erica," Stiles said. "It's kind of hard. Difficult! Difficult, I mean. Yes. Let's just try to make a few of the exercises." He tried not to shiver at the rough swipe of Derek's thumb across the bump of his upper cervical vertebra.

"Erica," Derek said in a perfectly calm and controlled voice. "Training at six."

"Sure thing, boss."

Derek gave a little squeeze to Stiles' neck and Disapparated.

"Fucking wizard," Stiles muttered.

Erica smiled at him. "He's teaching me to move like that, but I don't have it down yet. It's really hard. Probably a born-werewolf type of skill."

"I sure hope so," Stiles said, exasperated. "If all of you learn to creep up on me like that, I'll probably die of heart failure before I even turn twenty."

 


 

Because the universe had apparently declared an International Let's Embarrass Stiles Week, his jeep wouldn't start.

"Oh baby," he said, leaning his forehead against the steering wheel. "If this is about me slamming your door shut earlier, I'm sorry, okay, but please just – punish me later because right now it's five thirty and I need to get home in time for dinner and I don't have time for this…" He rolled his head to the side.

Derek was standing next to Stiles' jeep with raised eyebrows, holding up a set of car keys.

"Oh universe," Stiles sighed, and got out. "Are you sure?"

"Whatever." Derek took off in the direction of his Camaro.

"Whatever," Stiles mimicked, following.

The car ride was… fraught. Derek drove in silence, and he was still wearing that stupid clingy size S tank top, and once Stiles caught sight of the way his arm muscles shifted under his tanned skin whenever Derek steered around a corner he couldn't look away. It was like a fucking train wreck. So much for subtlety. All the lust Stiles had ignored the past few months – all the carefully suppressed observations that went beyond the objective acknowledgment of Derek's handsomeness, the casual "Yeah, sure I'd do Derek, who wouldn't," during truth or dare – had been unleashed, it seemed, by that one little make-out session. Which was great, just great, no, really.

"Thanks for bringing me home," he said once they (finally, finally) pulled up in front of his house.

Derek shrugged one shoulder. "It's fine." He activated the hand brake but left the engine running. "Is your dad here yet?"

"I don't think so," Stiles said, leaning forward. "No, the driveway's empty—"

"Okay," Derek said, and he took Stiles' head between his large hands and kissed him.

Just like that.

Out of nowhere, Derek's tongue in Stiles' mouth, pushing against his in passionate desperation; Derek's fingers curled around his skull, holding his face at the right angle; Derek's nose bumping against his when he pulled back and tilted his head to the other side and immediately came back for more. Derek making a rumbling noise of contentedness in the back of his throat. Stiles – Stiles didn't even know what to think. He let his eyes slide shut. Of their own accord, his fingers began to trail up and down Derek's insane biceps.

The kiss came to a natural end, but Derek didn't pull away; he stayed so close to Stiles that their foreheads were touching, his eyes strangely calm. One of his hands was still curved possessively around Stiles' head, the other resting in-between Stiles' thighs.

"Eh," Stiles said. "Okay. Wow. What. That. I. What."

"Sorry," Derek said but he didn't sound sorry. He was looking at Stiles' lips, which felt wet, and red-hot with budding stubble burn. One corner of Derek's own mouth was curled into a satisfied little smirk.

"That's all right," Stiles said, dazed. He hooked his thumb into his sleeve and wiped at his mouth. "Eh. Yeah. Okay. Wow. Okay. So. Eh. I'll. See you tomorrow?"

"Yes," Derek said, and leaned even closer, impossibly close, so close, scent of aftershave leather whiff of tobacco coffeemasculinityDereknessohGod, and opened the door on the passenger's side. "See you tomorrow."

"Yeah," Stiles said. "Yeah, okay, yes," and he scrambled out of the Camaro.

 


 

Derek did not initiate any more sneak-attacks of a sexual nature that week.

Things that Derek did do (not that Stiles was keeping track, or anything):

- On Tuesday afternoon, he wandered silently into the living room with sleep-mussed hair, wearing nothing but sweatpants, and brewed coffee for everyone including Stiles. Shirtless.

- On Wednesday, he laughed at one of Stiles' jokes during dinner. Also, their arms brushed against each other at one point, and their knees touched for a while under the table (although there was a possibility that had been Jackson's knee).

- On Thursday, he texted Stiles. Granted, all it said was pack night tomorrow 19:00 be there boyd picks movie and Stiles was pretty sure it was a mass text, but still.

- On Friday, he commanded Stiles to open the door for the pizzas, and, when Stiles said "No can do, man, get one of your actual betas to do it," grabbed Stiles by the upper arm and manhandled him to the corridor, and once the delivery guy was gone Derek pressed his palm against Stiles' chest and pushed him against the wall and held him there for what felt like minutes, just staring and breathing, until Stiles said "The pizzas are getting cold!" in a stupidly squeaky voice.

- On Sunday, he allowed Stiles to attend pack training, after Stiles had spent all morning and afternoon bombarding Isaac, Boyd, and allegedly even Jackson with text messages along the lines of What are you guys doing, I'm so bored, I miss Scott, This is going to be the worst fall break ever, Wanna play fetch, Is it next week yet, Why aren't you responding, Let's hang out, Guys?, etc.

As little fun as sitting outside for two hours and not being allowed to move or speak was, Stiles still felt incredibly cool to be at pack training, which had always been strictly non-humans-only. He couldn't help but send a gloating text to Lydia and Allison, who were on some stupid week-long ski retreat with Lydia's parents somewhere up in Washington. (Their responses of obvious jealousy were much more gratifying than the LOL LOSERthat Scott, whose mother had dragged him out of town to visit family, sent back). Perhaps his favorite part was watching Jackson getting his ass kicked – Jackson being the newest werewolf, and therefore the strongest but also the most inexperienced fighter.

"Try harder," Derek snapped, deflecting a roundhouse kick. "I can predict your moves five minutes before you even think of them. Try harder."

Jackson clenched his jaw and tried again, but Derek flicked him against a tree with ease. "Seriously? That's all you got?"

"Go fuck yourself," Jackson groaned. He sat up; sweat was dripping down his face. "Jesus. I think you broke my spine, you absolute douchenozzle. I need a break. Fucking hell."

"Reality doesn't hand out breaks," Derek said, "no matter how much you might need them."

"Derek," Boyd said.

"Fine. Take five." Derek flopped down in the grass a few feet away from Stiles. He was close enough for Stiles to feel the glow of body heat against his side. Oh, that felt good. Stiles tried to shift closer unnoticeably.

Derek glanced at him. "Cold?"

"A little," Stiles admitted, putting his hands in the front pocket of his hoodie. "Not all of us are heaters on legs, you know."

Derek rolled his eyes and shouldered out of his leather jacket. "Here."

Stiles said, "Are you—"

The eyebrows shut him up.

"Fine," Stiles muttered. "I'll put on the damn jacket."

"Good boy," Derek said, and ruffled Stiles' hair before jumping to his feet again. What the hell. Stiles lowered his head and focused on zipping up the jacket, which was warm as though it had been lying on a radiator. And, okay, watching Jackson getting beaten up was fun but Derek in a too-small T-shirt was totally Stiles' favorite part of training now.

 


 

It hadn't been Stiles' intention to fall asleep on the couch until everyone else but Derek was gone. He'd like to take credit for the move, cunning as it was, but really, it happened by accident; he just woke up when the living room was dark and the house was suspiciously quiet. At first, he couldn't even locate Derek, and he was starting to panic a little – had he woken up in one of those AUs where suddenly the protagonist is the only person left on the planet? Because that would seriously suck – but then he caught sight of the open pack of cigarettes on the coffee table.

He found Derek on the porch, smoking.

"Hey," Stiles said, hovering in the doorway. How the fuck was Derek still only wearing a stupid little T-shirt? It was practically freezing outside. "Where's Isaac?"

"Spending the break with his aunt," Derek said, exhaling a long plume of smoke.

"Erica?" Stiles tried.

"Sleeping at home."

"Jackson and Boyd?"

"Home."

"Cool," Stiles muttered. "Cool, okay, I'll just… call my dad to come pick me up then." His father wouldn't be happy. Then again, it wasn't Stiles' fault that his jeep was still at the garage.

Derek threw his cigarette filter over his shoulder in a careless motion. "Okay."

"Okay," Stiles repeated, like a tool. "I'll… do that, then."

Derek looked stupidly attractive in the moonlight, almost like a black-and-white photograph of a model, all chiseled body and sculpted stubble and oh God. Stiles probably shouldn't be alone with him for too long. By now it was pretty clear that he could not be held accountable for the actions his silly teenage brain cooked up in Derek's infuriating presence. He averted his gaze and fumbled for his phone.

Derek's hand slid into his field of vision and closed around Stiles' wrist. He moved closer, fluidly, snake-like, crowding Stiles against the doorframe. His breath against Stiles' throat elicited a wave of goose bumps.

Stiles swallowed thickly. "Um, okay," he repeated.

"Yeah?" Derek said.

"Yeah," Stiles said, and then they were kissing again. Derek's mouth tasted like ashes, like long nights of sweat and lust, and Stiles. Stiles wanted. His stomach twisted a little when Derek bit down on his bottom lip, twisted a little more when he felt Derek's rough, callused hands scramble against the skin of his abdomen, touching, stroking, wanting.

"You could stay the night," Derek suggested, pushing their hips together, and oh.

"Jesus," Stiles muttered. He closed his eyes. When he opened them again, Derek was still there, all handsome hair and perfect stubble and straight nose and razor-sharp jawline and Pallas Athena eyes, looking straight at him.

Stiles had no idea how this opportunity could possibly have come about, but there was no way he was going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Not when the gift horse looked like Derek. He'd think about the consequences later.

He wrapped his arms around Derek's neck and dipped in for another kiss. Derek smirked against his mouth. One of his hands was sliding into the back of Stiles' jeans. Stiles didn't even try to stop the groan from escaping. The back of his head thudded against the wall as he let his lower body jerk upward to meet Derek's.

They were practically dry-humping in the fucking doorframe of Derek's house.

"Let's – let's," Stiles gasped into Derek's mouth. "Let's go upstairs, okay? Yeah. Let's move this party upstairs."

"All right," Derek murmured.

Derek's bed felt approximately eight thousand times better with Derek in it as well. Derek seemed to like it with Stiles in it, too, because they were both naked in no-time, Derek putting his hands and lips onto every next inch of Stiles' skin he uncovered with intense, maddening focus. Stiles basically just got to lie back and shudder as Derek mouthed at his throat, his collarbone, the faint claw-shaped scars on his side (courtesy of the alpha pack), his hipbone, his dick, fleetingly.

"Christ," Stiles voiced into the darkness.

Derek crawled back up his body and sucked a hickey into Stiles' throat. He was heavy, their dicks pressing together in a way that Stiles almost couldn't stand. He wanted Derek. His entire body wanted him. He couldn't remember the last time he'd wanted someone this badly, this wholly.

Pressing his mouth against Stiles' cheek, Derek asked, whispered almost, "D'you wanna fuck me?" His stubble scraped agonizingly across Stiles' skin. Stiles thrust up his hips, blindly.

"Jesus," he panted. "Yes. I'm surprised you even have to ask. But really, right now, what I want most is for you to fuck me. If that's okay." Derek bit down on his earlobe at that, and Stiles almost attached a high, whiny 'please' to his sentence. Which would be ridiculous.

"That's okay," Derek said. He supported himself on one forearm and slipped the fingers of his other hand into his mouth, gaze locked with Stiles', and oh Jesus motherfucking Christ.

Stiles was half-expecting Derek to be all dominant – to take him doggy style, or to hook Stiles' legs over his shoulders and fuck him hard without ever once breaking eye contact. Stiles was down for either of those options, just for the record, but there was also something insanely, mind-blowingly sexy about the way Derek allowed himself to be pushed onto his back, about the way he tilted his head back into the pillow when Stiles sank down on him, about the way his throat worked and his eyes slid shut and a long, low groan escaped his mouth.

Neither of them lasted very long. After he came, Stiles resisted the urge to collapse onto Derek and instead caught himself on his forearms, forehead burrowed in the slope of Derek's shoulder. He could see the glint of sweat on Derek's chest in the vague glow of moonlight that fell through the curtains. He smiled to himself.

"C'mon," Derek murmured against Stiles' temple once they'd both caught their breath. "I need to throw away the condom." He eased Stiles off and crawled out of the bed, his fantastic ass jiggling as he disappeared into what Stiles assumed to be the bathroom. Derek was back within a matter of seconds, pulling up the sheets to cover them both a little haphazardly. "Is this all right?" he asked, his hand ghosting across Stiles' shoulder.

Stiles nodded. Encouraged by Derek's touch and that comfortable post-coital haze of bonelessness, he huddled against Derek's side and put his head on his broad chest. Derek's arm came up around his middle, fingers drawing some meaningless pattern on the skin of Stiles' lower back. Stiles closed his eyes and sighed.

"I thought you'd be louder," he contemplated out loud, kind of accidentally.

Derek stilled beneath him.

"Not," Stiles hastened to add, "that there's anything wrong with—" He gestured in the air. "This. You. I'm not saying that. Dude, seriously, I'm not complaining, at all, okay? Seriously, not at all. Ever. I mean, whoa. I'm just saying that I thought you'd be… more… alpha-like?" Wince. "Oh, that sounds wrong. You know what I mean, more, more… vocal, I guess. Bossy. I don't know. In retrospect I guess that doesn't make sense, really, because you talk mostly in one-sentence words, I mean one-word sentences, but I was thinking that maybe you were… I don't know, saving all your words for in bed, or something, I—"

"Stiles," Derek murmured. His voice was lower than usual. "How are you not exhausted."

Stiles lifted his head. From what he could see, Derek's face was slack, eyelashes casting long downward shadows across his cheeks. He looked the way he did after a long afternoon of pack training, when he was sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a book, his toes tucked under Isaac's thigh; he looked tired but content, and mostly relaxed, and Stiles couldn't help but feel a little proud that he, Stiles, had coaxed Derek's guard down like this. He bent down to steal a kiss and he got one, a soft, lingering, almost sweet kiss, open-mouthed but no tongue.

"You know, tired you is a you I could totally get used to," Stiles said, settling back into his spot on Derek's chest.

"Don't push it," Derek told him.

When Stiles woke up in the middle of the night, Derek was curled tightly around him, their legs entangled, one of Derek's arms heavy around his waist and the other stretched out under Stiles' pillow with the fingers circled loosely around Stiles' wrist. His rock-hard chest rumbled deeply with every slow intake of breath. Stiles smothered a stupid smile in his pillow and closed his eyes again.

 


 

They fucked again in the morning, silent, sleepy sex that had Stiles lazily nodding off again almost right after he came. When he woke up a few hours later, Derek wasn't in bed anymore; the curtains were open, a painfully bright fall sun heating up the room. This was probably what lying in a giant pizza oven must feel like.

"Ugh," Stiles said, throwing a pillow in the direction of the windows. The bed sheets were sticky, as was his skin, and he felt a little dirty but in a good way, somehow. (Upon remembering the morning sex, he totally didn't high-five himself. He didn't.)

After he had cleaned himself up in the bathroom as much as possible, he found a pair of sweatpants that were so big on him they almost slid off his hipbones. That was good, though. Stiles had experienced enough – not very many, but enough – awkward morning-afters to know that right now, he could use all the extra help he could get. He decided not to wear a shirt. He had no idea where to even start looking for his own clothes, anyway.

Stiles hated himself for it, but he actually felt a little nervous as he padded down the stairs. He wasn't stupid – he was very much aware of the way sex could turn things ultra-awkward, and that there was a possibility that last night he had (literally) fucked up his right to be here, or part of the pack, or whatever. Which would suck. Big time.

Derek was in the kitchen, leaning against the countertop with a mug of coffee cradled between two hands. "Morning," he said. His hair looked floppy and there was a still small red blotch of pillow-crease on his right cheek. He was wearing impossibly tight pants and one of those flimsy tank tops that Stiles absolutely couldn't handle on him.

Stiles swallowed down the desire to drop to his knees and elicit a 'Good morning' from Derek's vaguely kiss-swollen lips. "Morning," he replied somewhat stiffly.

"Coffee?" Not even awaiting an affirmative answer, Derek began to fill a second mug.

"Thanks." Stiles sat down at the kitchen table, muscles humming in good-natured protest, and grabbed a random magazine to leaf through. Derek stayed where he was. They didn't speak. Which was not exactly surprising, considering Derek was not into small talk at the best of times, but still – silence and Stiles, not a stellar combination. Fuck. This was going to be awkward, wasn't it?

Stiles downed his coffee at lightning speed, only burning his tongue a little bit.

"So," he said, eyes fixed on the ad covering the back of the magazine. "I should probably go soon?"

"Or you could stay a while," Derek said, calmly.

They ended up having sex on the kitchen table, Derek pressing down Stiles' head so hard that a dusting of fingertip-shaped bruises blossomed on either side of his neck.

 


 

Dude we need to talk, Stiles sent to Scott the minute he arrived home, but it took Scott four days to reply (Sorry, bad service! See you tomorrow!) and by that time Stiles had reconsidered and decided he wasn't going to tell Scott after all. Or anyone else, for that matter. This went against his usual policy of telling Scott everything, and also against his unfortunate habit of publically blurting out the details of every single embarrassing thing that happened to him, but he'd manage. Scott's mind was still above-averagely occupied with Allison, and Stiles had also gotten a lot better at controlling his mouth ever since he started hanging out with supernatural creatures whose existence had to remain a secret to the rest of the world.

It was a little harder to control what happened within his own head, though. That was the bad thing about fall break: without mind-numbing classes and schoolwork to keep him busy, Stiles was just about thrumming out of his skin by the time the last weekend of the break came around. He couldn't help but analyze everything that had happened with Derek – every touch, every look, every word, he analyzed every little thing over and over again from different perspectives. It wasn't as though he'd allow himself to reach a viable conclusion of any kind, but he felt like if he didn't at least try to apply some sort of logic the situation, he'd lose his mind. Or what was left of it anyway.

Oddly enough, the first time since sleeping with Derek (Stiles had slept with Derek) that Stiles didn't feel all restless and itchy was when they all gathered at the wolf house on the Tuesday after the break for a pack catch-up dinner. Not that Derek said or did anything to acknowledge the fact that his dick had been inside Stiles about half a dozen times. But he did cast Stiles a genuine smile when he arrived, and they sat next to each other at the table, and the warmth of Derek's leg against his was enough to slow down Stiles' mind and ease the tightness that had plaguing his stomach the past week.

After the official werewolf talk was over – Chris Argent had contacted Derek about a possible omega sighting a few towns south of Beacon Hills, but Peter had gone to investigate and the story didn't check out. Or something like that. Stiles wasn't really paying attention – the pack fell into easy banter about their fall break shenanigans. Stiles didn't really pay attention to that, either. He sat with his chin propped on his crossed arms, raking his nail along a groove in the wooden table and trying not to think too much about the way Derek had bent him over this same table a little over a week ago, the pressure of Derek's forehead in-between Stiles' shoulder blades, his shuddery breaths across Stiles' skin.

"You know what?" Erica said, her voice sudden and loud, cutting through Allison's recounting of Lydia's first ever attempt at snowboarding. (Stiles kind of wished he'd tuned in for that part of the conversation – judging by the volume of Scott, Peter and Jackson's laughter, it was a pretty hilarious story.) "I could really go for a milkshake."

"Oooh," Scott said, instantaneously distracted. "Milkshakes! Best idea ever!"

Erica shook her hair over her shoulders. "I say MacDonald's. My treat."

"I'm in," Isaac, Jackson and Boyd said in unison.

"I haven't had a McFlurry in ages," Lydia mused.

Peter sighed, loudly. "You kids are insane. Wasting perfectly good fuel and money on shitty food."

"It's not food, Peter," Erica shot back. "It's dessert. Now, if someone hadn't forgotten to buy a proper dessert…"

Derek grumbled. "Pineapple is dessert."

Erica shook her head. "Nuh-uh. Not nearly enough calories. C'mon, guys, family road trip to MacDonald's!"

A cacophony of chairs scraping across kitchen tiles went up. Stiles stopped pushing his nail into the table and raised his head. "Do we even have enough cars for that?"

"You ride with Derek," Erica decided promptly. "Isaac, Scott and Boyd can ride with me. Lydia can take Jackson and Allison. Problem solved."

"Why am I being excluded from the party?" Peter wanted to know.

"Seriously?" Scott said. "You are seriously asking this question?"

Peter threw him a 'bitch, please' look.

"Come on, guys," Erica said, pulling Isaac out of his chair and in the direction on the door. "Milkshakes!"

Stiles got up as well, but Derek's hand on his arm stopped him from following everyone else. "We need to talk," he said, adding, "In private," when Lydia hesitated in the doorway.

"Sure, see you outside," she said with one of those mysterious Lydia smiles and slammed the door shut behind her, leaving the kitchen to Derek and Stiles.

Stiles swallowed. The flutter of nerves that had settled down as soon as he'd set foot in the house today came rushing back. We need to talk. In private. What the hell was that supposed to mean? Had he done something? Said something? Had something happened? Had—

"Stiles," Derek said. It sounded like look at me, but Stiles felt a little frozen in place. His heart was pounding away at an embarrassing speed. Derek's hand was still lying on his forearm, heavy and warm; he could probably feel Stiles' pulse rush through his veins.

And sure enough, "What's wrong with your heartbeat?" Derek asked.

"Nothing is wrong with my heartbeat," Stiles said, defensively crossing his arms in front of his chest. His voice sounded a little wobbly – Jesus Christ, what the fuck even. He forced himself to meet Derek's eyes. Derek looked confused, his brow furrowed. "What do we need to talk about?"

"What?" Derek said, frown deepening.

"What 'what'?" Stiles threw his arms up in exasperation. "Derek, you literally just, a few seconds ago, said that we need to talk! What do we need to talk about?"

"I only said that to get Lydia out of the room," Derek said. He scratched at his stubble, which made Stiles want to die and attack his mouth at the same time. "I was— I just wanted… but then your heartbeat went all weird—"

"Dude," Stiles spluttered, moving a few steps backward so that he was leaning against the counter and not so distractingly close to Derek and his stupid stubble beard and his stupid fucking hands. "What the fuck, man, you can't just tell someone 'we need to talk' when you don't mean it like that, Jesus! I thought you were gonna tell me, I don't know, that you have accidentally turned me into a werewolf or something, or that you… killed my father! Or want me to leave the pack! Or something like that!" Something along the lines of, 'You are incredibly bad at sex, Stiles' or 'Stop (not) looking at me like that because I totally regret fucking you and I don't ever want to see you anywhere near my dick ever again'. "Oh and by the way, my heartbeat isn't weird. Jesus. You scared the shit out of me."

Derek looked sufficiently embarrassed, albeit in a somewhat grumpy fashion. "Don't be ridiculous," he said, but it sounded a lot like I'm sorry. His cheeks were tinted pink.

"You must not watch a lot of romantic comedies. Or crime shows," Stiles said, crossing his arms again.

"No," Derek said. "No, I don't." He grabbed his leather jacket from the back of his chair. "Come on, everyone must be waiting."

Stiles, his heart finally – thankfully – calming down, lead the way to the front door. "Got your keys?" he asked over his shoulder, and whoa, Derek was standing close. Very close.

"Got 'em," Derek said, voice low, and suddenly he kind of engulfed Stiles from behind, one hand sneaking around Stiles' jaw to pull his head a little more to the side. Stiles didn't even have time to blink before Derek's mouth was on his, kissing him hungrily, insistently, his grip so tight it hurt a little. The angle was awkward, but there was something about being enveloped by Derek this wholly and inescapably that only added to the tight flare of desire coiling in Stiles' stomach.

Stiles let Derek in without thinking, the scrape of stubble against the corners of his mouth a stomach-twisting contrast to the strong yet soft swipe of Derek's tongue against his. When Stiles reached back to fist a hand into Derek's hair, Derek grunted and crowded even closer. He bit down on Stiles' lip and then on his jaw, his throat, the slope of his shoulder, the back of his neck. A broad warm hand slid under Stiles' shirt and settled on his lower back.

"God," Derek whispered into the hair at the nape of Stiles' neck, fingers flexing against his skin. "You have no idea how hard I want to fuck you right now, Stiles."

How hard,not how much.Stiles bit back a moan. The way Derek murmured his name sent an actual honest-to-god shiver down his spine. He closed his eyes and tried to breathe normally. Derek moved away. Stiles' back felt cold without him pressed against it. He exhaled another shaky breath and took a step back as well. "Um…" he said, trying to clear his mind. Jesus. "We should probably go outside, huh?"

Derek smiled. He reached out and swiped his thumb across Stiles' bottom lip, slowly, his eyes on Stiles' mouth. Stiles felt it all the way into his toes.

"Let's go," Derek said.

"Yeah," Stiles muttered, following Derek out of the house in a daze. "Yeah."

 


 

"Stiles is driving back with me," Lydia announced once their party had been provided with enough extra-large milkshakes and limited-edition flavored McFlurries to placate everyone. "No buts," she told Jackson and Allison before they even had time to consider protesting. "I haven't spoken to him in over a week. You two can walk back for all I care, I'm taking Stiles."

Everyone knew better than to argue with Lydia when she used this tone of voice. Stiles meekly followed her to her Mini Cooper. His Oreo McFlurry suddenly didn't seem half as appetizing as before.

"All right," Lydia said, snapping her seatbelt shut with a resolute click. "Stiles. You got something to tell me?"

"Um," Stiles said, glancing in the wing mirror. Erica hadn't driven off yet— it would get seriously cramped in the backseat of her car, but—

Lydia pushed a button. The doors locked. Stiles swallowed.

"Well?" Lydia peeled out of her parking space and sped off the MacDonald's property. "I'm waiting for an answer, here."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Stiles said somewhat mechanically.

Lydia squinted at him – which would be terrifying in any situation, but seemed about a million times worse now that they were in a moving vehicle. Jesus Christ. Maybe Stiles should rethink his circle of friends. These people were way too liable to give him a heart attack someday. "All right, all right, keep your eyes on the road!" he shouted.

Lydia rolled her eyes and turned them to the traffic, like a normal person. "Let me rephrase," she said. "What's going on between you and Derek?"

"Nothing is going on between me and—"

"You can't lie to me, Stiles."

"Well, technically I—"

"I won't buy it," Lydia said. "Something is going on between you two. And you are going to tell me what it is, now."

"I—"

"Stiles Stilinski."

Stiles gave up. "Fine," he said, balancing his McFlurry on his knee. "I had sex with Derek."

"You what?!" Lydia yelled.

"A couple of times."

"A couple of—"

"Yes!" Stiles shouted back. "A couple of times! Why are we shouting about this?!"

"Why are we—Stiles! Sex! Derek! You…"

"I thought you knew this! I thought that was why you were asking questions!"

"I thought you might have made out with him or something. Not—Stiles! Jesus! Sex! With Derek!"

Stiles was pretty sure the tips of his ears were on fire. "Are you saying I shouldn't have?" he asked, quieter than he meant to.

Lydia glanced over. "Oh, honey, no," she said, reaching out to touch his knee for a second. "I didn't mean it like that. I just wasn't expecting you to say that, okay? Just… let me process this for a second."

Stiles nodded. He carefully carved out a square of ice-cream, let it drop back into the carton box, dug up another spoonful, dumped it again.

"So how was it?" Lydia asked. "How did it even happen? When did it happen? Does he have a big dick? I need details, damn it! You can't just drop a bomb like that and then not elaborate!"

Stiles willed the blush in his cheeks to go down. "Um," he said. "I—well, I kind of accidentally… threw myself at him a few weeks ago. On that night when everyone got so drunk, remember?"

"Oh my God," Lydia said.

"And then I stayed over in the first weekend of the break. And we kind of. Yeah."

"Had sex," Lydia said. "How many times?"

"Um," Stiles said. "Like, about… I don't know, actually." He tried to count in his head: bed, bed, table, shower, bed, bed…

"Oh my God, you had sex with Derek so many times you can't even remember! This is officially the best thing I have ever heard," Lydia declared. "So what's his dick like?"

"Um," Stiles said, again. Were they back at the house yet?

Lydia continued, "I kind of always imagined it to be all big and thick, you know? But then I realized, usually the whole big house leather jacket hot car thing is a man compensating for an unfortunate dick situation, so then I wasn't sure anymore."

Stiles coughed. "Definitely not overcompensation."

"Details, Stiles!" Lydia said, impatiently.

"My God, you just don't give up." Stiles held his McFlurry to his overheated face. "You were right, it's big and thick. He—he's got a great dick."

"I knew it!" She fist-pumped the air. "So, are you two, like, dating now?"

What— "Dating?"

"Yeah, Stiles, you know, when a guy and a guy like each other very much—"

"Ha, ha," Stiles cut in. "Very funny. No, we're not dating. Where'd you get that idea? We're just—we just fucked a few times, that's all. It's no big deal."

Lydia glanced at him with a look that probably would have conveyed a million different sassy messages at once, if it hadn't been for the Land Rover that suddenly swerved into their lane. "Motherfuck—" Lydia slammed her hand down on the claxon. "Seriously, some people are such assholes." She stuck up her middle finger as they sped past the car. "Yeah, you can't drive, you dumbass! …all right, so you're, like, fuckbuddies. With Derek."

"I guess," Stiles said. He balled his hands into fists. "If you want to call it that. I mean, we don't… we haven't really talked about it, or anything. Stuff just happens, you know? Stop—stop look at me like that!"

"I'm not looking at you like anything."

"Yes you are. Control your face, woman, Jesus."

"I'm just wondering if there isn't really more to this."

"No, there isn't!" Stiles felt his nails dig into his palms. "Sex doesn't always have to mean more for everyone, okay, Lyd? It's—maybe it just works different in the gay scene, okay? We're not all that into relationships and stuff."

"Oh, stop." Lydia held up a hand. "Seriously, if you want me to shut up, then tell me to shut up. But do not resort to stupid stereotypical generalizations just to build a lame excuse for yourself. I don't want to hear them, and they sure as hell don't suit you."

Stiles had to hand it to her – there was no one like Lydia Martin to call you out on your bullshit. He let out a long, frustrated sigh and leaned back in his seat. "How the fuck are we not home yet?"

"Oh, I took a longer route."

Stiles smiled wryly. "Sometimes I really wonder why I love you, you know?"

"Because I'm cute," Lydia said with a sweet smile. "So, just 'cause I'm wondering: have you given Derek head yet? Because he looks like he'd make fantastic noises during…"

Stiles groaned and hid his face in his hands. "Can we please, for the love of god, stop having this conversation?"

Lydia just chuckled.

 


 

Because shrewdness is an acquired skill, Stiles quietly hung back on an armchair in the corner of the living room until everyone else had left. He didn't even have to be all that cunning about it; he just pretended to be engrossed in the copy of Fifty Shades of Grey that Erica had jokingly given Isaac for his birthday while the pack members trickled off to their own houses one by one. (The writing was spectacularly bad, but the first few chapters were at least somewhat interesting.)

Once Isaac had gone upstairs for the night as well and Stiles and Derek were the only ones left in the living room, Stiles put down his book and got up. Derek, who was watching television, looked over his shoulder. "You're not leaving, are you?"

"No," Stiles said. He walked around the couch and dropped to his knees in front of Derek, shuffling forward until he was positioned in-between Derek's legs. "I'm not leaving."

He ran his hands up the insides of Derek's thighs and started to undo his belt and the fly of his jeans. When Stiles glanced up before pulling down his boxers as well, Derek's eyes were dark and wide, Adam's apple bobbing up and down in his throat. His dick was already mostly hard when Stiles' lips closed around it.

"Fuck," Derek said, his eyes sliding shut and his head hitting the back of the couch with a thunk. "Stiles…"

Stiles smiled to himself and focused all his attention on the dick in his mouth. It didn't take long for Derek's thighs to start quivering under his palms. Lydia had been right – Derek was making beautiful noises up there, soft strangled sighs and a stream of whispered fucks. His hands were clenched into tight fists at his sides.

After a while, Stiles pulled off. "You can touch, you know," he said, blinking up at Derek, whose lips were parted and wet. His pupils were completely blown-out. Derek frowned down a little uncomprehendingly, so Stiles took one of Derek's fists, gently uncurled it, and guided the hand to the top of his head before returning to his blowjob.

"Jesus Christ, Stiles," Derek panted, blunt fingernails digging into Stiles' skull. "So good— can I—" Stiles nodded once, and Derek bucked up his hips. Stiles swallowed him down. Derek's other hand came to rest on his cheek, the fingers curved around his jaw. "Is this okay," Derek asked, breathlessly.

Stiles nodded again, as far as he could. Derek started giving shallow little thrusts that matched the restless, helpless noises falling from his mouth. His pace increased, the noises becoming louder, less controlled. Derek groaned, "Fuck, Stiles," andstilled, coming down Stiles' throat with a long, low moan.

Well, okay. That didn't leave him with a lot of time to have the 'to swallow or not to swallow' debate in his head. Stiles scrambled to his feet with his hand clamped across his mouth and rushed into the kitchen, half-gagging and spitting into the sink a few times before rinsing. When he turned around to search for the towel, Derek was standing in the doorway, a look of desperate guilt etched into his face.

"I'm sorry," he said. His hair was all disheveled, even though Stiles hadn't put his hands anywhere near it. "Stiles, I'm so sorry— I should've—"

Stiles waved the apologies away. "It's fine," he said, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. "I don't mind. You can come in my mouth. I just… don't really like to swallow."

Derek continued to look pained, as though someone had run over his puppy, twice, and then laughed about it in his face. Stiles went up to him, pulled Derek close by the collar of his shirt, and kissed him. "Seriously," he said. "Don't worry about it."

Derek was still frowning, but at least his hands came up to lie on Stiles' hips, so that was something.

Stiles rested his forehead against Derek's shoulder. He couldn't help but laugh a little. "Seriously, dude, if someone had told me a few weeks ago that a few weeks from then I would be telling you that it's totally fine for you to come in my mouth I don't know what I would've said to them but I most probably wouldn't have believed them, that's for sure."

"…okay," Derek said, weakly. "Sometimes it's as though you and I don't even speak the same language."

"Not everyone speaks in super short sentences, man. Get used to it."

To Stiles' surprise, Derek took hold of his hand – not his wrist, his actual hand – to lead him back to the living room couch. They settled into a horizontal position with Stiles face-down on top of Derek, his head tucked under Derek's chin and their waists aligned, one of Derek's legs dangling off the couch. Stiles' head rose and fell slightly with every slow, deep breath Derek took.

"Isn't this too heavy?" he asked, sleepy from Derek's body heat.

"Don't flatter yourself." Derek squeezed his side.

"Dude, shut up. I'm not that skinny. This hot bod is all muscle, okay."

"I didn't say anything." Derek's hand snaked up under Stiles' shirt and began to trail across his lower back. Stiles closed his eyes. A comfortable feeling was pooling and swaying in his stomach.

"Are you sleeping?"

"Mmm," Stiles said, not looking up. "Giving excellent head wears me out."

Derek let out a short but loud burst of laughter that reverberated painfully in Stiles' tired brain. "I finally found a way to calm you down, then."

"Such a high horse you're sitting on there, Mr. Hale."

"Says the one who claims of himself that he gives 'excellent head'."

"Well, I didn't hear you contradict that, so." Stiles reached back to push at Derek's hand, which had stilled on his back a few words into the conversation. "C'mon, touch me. You can't just start doing that and then stop."

"I was wondering when you'd start getting demanding," Derek said, but he continued his effort of tracing patterns on Stiles' skin with his callused fingertips. Stiles sighed deeply and concentrated on the feeling.

"You're like warm milk," he murmured after a while, with some difficulty. His eyes felt so heavy he didn't even want to consider ever opening them again. But in a good way. "Make me feel all warm and safe."

"My mom used to make me warm milk," Derek said quietly from above him.

Stiles made a "Mmm?" sound that appeared to convey his 'tell me more' well enough, because Derek continued, "I used to have these dreams when I was young. Bad dreams. All the time. When I was, I don't know, eight years old, something like that. I can't remember what they were about, but I remember they absolutely scared the shit out of me. So she started giving me a cup of hot milk before bedtime. And it helped."

"Do you still get nightmares?" Stiles asked, quietly.

"Almost never." Derek started brushing through Stiles' hair with his free hand. "Which is slightly ironic, I guess," he added with a soft, humorless snort.

Stiles snuggled even deeper into Derek's chest. You're talkative tonight, he wanted to say, but he also didn't want to say that, because it would probably result in Derek shutting down, which he didn't want to happen, because talkative Derek was… well, he was cute. But then it was also kind of awkward not to say anything, so eventually Stiles just let the words fall out.

Derek snorted again, although this time it sounded like actual amusement. "Having excellent orgasms opens me up," he said, teasingly.

"Whoo," Stiles murmured into the fabric of Derek's T-shirt. "Self high-five."

"What?"

"Self high-five. You just admitted that I give excellent head."

"No I didn't. I said I had an excellent orgasm."

Stiles exhaled loudly in protest. "Whatever. I'm too tired to argue with you." He was arguing with Derek – Derek! – about blowjobs and orgasms. Apparently this was his life now.

Stiles drifted off to a semi-sleep. Derek appeared to be dozing off, too; his hand on Stiles' back slowed to a halt and the pace of his breath evened out even more.

"You staying the night?" Derek asked in a deep and rumbly voice after what felt like (but probably wasn't) hours.

Stiles rubbed at his face with one hand. "I don't know?" he said, trying to focus his thoughts. "Tomorrow's a school day."

"I can drive you home if you want."

"Is my dad on night shift?" Stiles mumbled.

"Are you asking me?"

"I'm asking the universe." Stiles shifted into an upright position in-between Derek's legs. Derek stayed as he was, sprawled across the couch, his head hidden in the dark shadows of the living room. It was kind of creepy. Stiles leaned over him until he could see Derek's face again. Derek reached up and pulled him down for a long, slow kiss.

"Yeah, whatever, I can stay," Stiles heard himself say, putting his hands on either side of Derek's jaw and moving to kiss him again. He stopped an inch away from Derek's mouth. "Wait, Isaac is home, though. Right?"

"Yeah," Derek said, glancing up at the ceiling.

"Doesn't that…" Bother you, Stiles wanted to ask, but.

Derek raised an eyebrow.

"Is that, like, okay?" Stiles asked. "Isn't that kinda awkward? I mean, he doesn't…" He doesn't know about us, he was going to say, but he swallowed down the words just in time. A few minutes into foreplay was not exactly the ideal moment to be on the receiving end of the 'there is no us' conversation. And he couldn't imagine it being fun to hear Derek say those words, either.

Derek shrugged. "Are you okay with it?"

"Sure, I mean, yeah."

"Okay," Derek said, and aligned their mouths again.

 


 

"Morning," Isaac murmured as he sauntered barefoot into the kitchen. His hair was tousled and wet. He made a straight line for the coffeepot.

"Morning," Derek and Stiles replied at the same time.

Isaac poured himself a full cup of coffee before turning to blink at Stiles in confusion. "What… are you still here? Did you not go home?"

"Yeah." Stiles glanced at Derek, who was engrossed in the morning newspaper. "I… my car is still broken, remember?"

Isaac gaped at him. "So you slept here?"

"Yup," Stiles said.

"What, like on the couch?" Isaac leaned back to look around the kitchen door. "That can't be good for your back, man."

"No, I…" Stiles looked at Derek again. "Or, well, yes, actually, I—"

"Stiles slept in my bed," Derek interjected, turning a page.

Isaac blinked at the both of them. "So you slept on the couch?" he asked Derek, slowly.

Derek pulled up his eyebrows. "In what universe would that even make sense, Isaac?"

"I…" Isaac looked from Derek to Stiles and back again. "Are you…"

"Drink your coffee and have some breakfast. I'm taking you two to school in twenty minutes." Derek folded up the paper and put it down on the table. "Oh, and I think we need to work on your scent detection skills, because frankly, they appear to be subpar."

Isaac just stood there and blinked.

 


 

"Stiles Stilinski," Lydia said, putting her purse down on the desk next to Stiles'. "What the hell are you looking so smug for?"

"Good morning to you too," Stiles said, smiling up at her and stretching his arm out above his head. His shoulders popped satisfyingly. All across his back, muscles he didn't even know he existed were aching in a wonderful way.

Lydia cocked her head to the side. "Spill the beans," she ordered, sitting down. "What did you do?"

"Aside of having fantastic sex?" Stiles said, loud enough for a few people in the front row to look up. "Nothing much. You?"

"What?" Lydia hissed, leaning closer. "You stayed over? On a school night?"

"Totally worth it," Stiles said. "He pounded—"

Lydia raised a perfectly manicured hand. "Not in class!" She leaned even closer. "What did you tell your dad?"

Stiles felt all the blood drain from his face.

"Stiles?"

"Fuck," he whispered, and started frantically digging around his bag for his phone.

Seventeen missed calls from 'home'.

He was so, so fucked.

 


 

His father picked him up in the Sheriff's cruiser at the end of the school day, which was a sign that Stiles had really, truly screwed up. They didn't speak at all on the way home. Once inside, Stiles' dad directed him to the kitchen and made him sit at the dining table.

"Talk," he said. It sounded like an order. Scratch that – it was definitely an order.

Stiles swallowed. "Dad, I'm sorry I didn't call—"

"You were at Derek Hale's place," his dad said. "I know you were. You spend all your time there. What do you do there, Stiles? Why didn't you come home? And most of all, why didn't you pick up your goddamn phone?"

"I forgot to call!" Stiles said. "Dad, I'm so sorry, it just got late and I didn't want to trouble you or Derek and I—"

He nearly jumped out of his skin when his father slammed his flat hand down on the table, causing the vase at its head to topple over and smash to smithereens on the tiles. "That's bullshit!" his dad yelled. "You know I'd come pick you up from anywhere, even if it was the middle of the night, even if it was fifty fucking states over! You know that!"

Stiles wrapped his arms around his torso to stop himself from shaking. He didn't think he'd ever seen his dad this infuriated. "Dad, please—"

"You know just as well as I do what it's like when someone unexpectedly doesn't come home," his dad said, suddenly quiet. "You know what your mind does when that happens. You start to imagine the worst. And you know – we both know – that sometimes the worst is what actually happens. How could you do that? You just forgot? One phone call? You couldn't make one phone call?"

It was as though his lungs had doubled in size, pressing against his ribcage from inside. Stiles forced himself to breathe. He couldn't see through the film of tears in his eyes. He tried to blink them away and swallow them down but they just kept crowding into his field of vision. Stiles' throat felt like it had been welded shut.

"I know you're not romantically involved with the Lahey kid," his father said. "I know you aren't, because you would've told me. So is there something else going on? Is there something else you need to tell me, Stiles?"

Stiles wiped furiously at his eyes. "I'm—"

"I know you're sorry," his dad said, voice softer. "I'm not doing this to make you feel sorry, or to make you feel bad. I'm doing this because I carry the sole responsibility for you, and I need to know what's going on in your life. And if you don't tell me, I'll find out some other way."

Stiles tried to swallow around the ball of glass shards in his throat.

"Stiles!"

"I'm sleeping with Derek," Stiles said, a sob escaping despite his desperate efforts to keep it in. "I'm sleeping with Derek, okay?" He hid his face in his hands so his dad wouldn't have to see him. Or so that he wouldn't have to see his dad. He didn't know. He just wanted to hide.

"You can go to your room," his dad said, voice dark.

Stiles fled.

 


 

Scott, good old Scott, arrived within fifteen minutes of Stiles texting him. He didn't say anything, just wrapped his arm around Stiles' shoulders and pulled him close. Stiles squeezed his eyes shut and remembered the time when he'd broken his arm during P.E. in primary school and Scott had comforted him until the ambulance came.

"He was so mad," Stiles said, when he felt like he could talk. His voice sounded raw. It hurt to speak. "He was so mad, Scott. I've never seen him that mad. I really fucked up. He broke a fucking vase, for fuck's sake."

"I saw," Scott said, quietly. "I cleaned it up. I'd show you the cuts to prove it, but, y'know, werewolf healing powers." He shrugged.

"My dad isn't home anymore, is he?"

Scott shook his head.

Stiles moaned and put his forehead on his knee. "Fuck. Fuck, he's probably off to arrest Derek or something. Scott, I've been— I'm so sorry, I really meant to tell you but—"

"It's fine," Scott said. "I know. Isaac told me."

"Oh my God, I screwed this up so badly." Stiles dug his teeth into the knee of his jeans. "Now my dad is going to be mad forever and Derek is going to be in jail or dead and I don't even think he realizes I'm actually starting to like him, so he's going to be in jail or dead over what were most likely just a few casual hook-ups to him—"

"He made you breakfast this morning," Scott said. "He drove you to school. Isaac said he kissed you goodbye in the car. That really doesn't sound like a casual hook-up to me."

"It doesn't? I don't know anymore," Stiles moaned, crossing his arms over his head. "I just want all of this to go away." He was aware he was being somewhat dramatic, but then again – his father had just found out about his felonious sexual antics with an ex-murder suspect who was more than five years older than him. Some dramatics were in order here.

"It'll be fine," Scott said. "We'll fix this."

"I think you're being slightly optimistic," Stiles said. "I'm pretty sure we need to start planning a funeral or two."

His phone rang. DEREK HALE, said the caller ID. Stiles picked up.

"Your dad is not amused," Derek's voice said. "I think I managed to get him out of the door just in time before he started wondering why the bruises on my face weren't showing up."

"Oh my God," Stiles said. "Are you okay?" He hated the smallness and tearfulness of his voice compared to Derek's, which sounded calm and slightly grumpy as ever.

"I'm fine. Are you? You sound… distressed."

I am, Stiles wanted to say. Another sob bubbled up in his chest. He bit it back.

"Do you want me to come over?"

Stiles' entire body ached with how much he wanted to say yes. He wasn't sure his dad would ever allow him anywhere near Derek again, though. "Scott is here."

"Good."

"Derek, I'm sorry. About… all this. My dad."

"Don't worry about it. But just so you know, we're explicitly forbidden from, what was it, 'participating in sexual intercourse' until your next birthday."

Stiles smiled despite everything. "Wait, what?"

"Did you know your mother was sixteen when your father met her?" Derek was silent for a few seconds. "He said he's not going to stop this if it's… if there are feelings. Involved."

Stiles bit down on his bottom lip. His heart was thudding painfully fast in his chest. Scott squeezed his shoulder.

"And… what did you say?" Stiles asked, eventually.

"I told him," Derek said after another relatively long pause, "that that condition works for me."

Stiles' heart had apparently turned into that of a mouse. "Okay," he whispered.

"If it works for you, too."

"Yeah, it— it does. It does. Work for me. Feelings. Yeah."

Scott was having a one-man dance party next to him.

"I could come over," Derek said. "Drive you to the garage. Your jeep is ready to be picked up. Not that I really understand why you gave them my landline number instead of your cell number."

"I'd like that," Stiles said, ignoring the last part of that sentence for the time being. "Yeah, I'd… I'd like that."

"Okay," Derek said and hung up without saying anything else, because he was Derek.

Stiles put his phone down and sat staring at the wall. "Did he just…"

"I think he did, dude," Scott said, and bumped their shoulders together. "So cool. You have some adjustments to make to your Facebook profile."

Stiles hit him in the face with a pillow.

 


 

Unpleasant as the situation itself had had been, Stiles was ultimately glad that his involvement with Derek was public knowledge now. (The word 'relationship' hadn't come up yet, because it kind of terrified Stiles, and Derek, well, words in general weren't exactly Derek's friends.) For one, he didn't miss having to wait for a room to clear before he could touch Derek. In fact, the pack now suavely made sure the two of them ended up sitting next to each other on the couch during television time, which much facilitated inconspicuous hand-holding and under-shirt-groping. Stiles suddenly didn't really mind horror movies anymore.

Oh, and walking through town with a guy who could totally be a Men's Health model on your arm? Yeah, that was something Stiles could really get used to as well.

Tonight was pack night, pizza and a movie (Erica's choice, of course). Everyone was already present and the usual chaos was ruling in the wolf house. Isaac had just accused Erica of stealing something – Stiles didn't think anyone knew what, exactly – from his room. They were now chasing each other around the living room, yellow-eyed and snarling. Boyd was trying but failing to calm them both down. Peter was sitting in his armchair and laughing at everything, as were Allison and Lydia, who were onto their fifth glass of wine each. Scott and Jackson clearly didn't know what to do with them.

Derek scowled at all the commotion and turned to Stiles. "Why do I let all these people in my house again?" he asked, trailing his fingers along Stiles' forearm.

"Because you're just such a charitable, gentle soul?" Stiles suggested.

"Right. Of course. That was it."

Stiles leaned into him. Derek put an arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer. Just like that, casually. Damn, they were getting good at this. In the corner of the room, Isaac shrieked when Erica finally caught up to him and tackled him to the floor with a loud growl.

"Jesus Christ, they're being so loud," Stiles complained, ignoring the complete hypocrisy of that statement. Derek snorted but – wisely – didn't say anything, just continued to touch Stiles.

"You wanna get out of here?" he said suddenly. "Leave these lunatics to each other?"

"But it's pack night," Stiles said.

Derek shrugged. "We can have pack night tomorrow. I'm the alpha. We would have pack night every day of the week if I demanded it."

Stiles rolled his eyes. "Oh I'm sorry, I forgot about the amazing authority you have over this pack for a second. Please forgive me, almighty alpha."

Derek shook Stiles a little. "I'm serious. Let's go out for dinner."

"Derek," Stiles said, slowly, making sure to bask in the glory of this moment. "Am I hearing this correctly – are you asking me out?"

"Don't push it," Derek told him.

Stiles grinned and tilted his head up for a kiss. He got one.