“He's not good for you.”
Stiles looks up at her, his biology notes spread around him, and it actually takes him a second to get past the fact that Allison is even talking to him.
Four months of silence.
She bites her lip, shoulders her bag, looks for all the world like she's about to sit down and be Allison, his friend again, but Stiles isn't interested, not at all, and maybe she sees that. Maybe that's why she doesn't sit.
“We um,” she shifts from foot to foot. “I was on patrol with Thomas. We um. We were by Madison Park? On Saturday night?”
And now Stiles knows what she's talking about, can still feel that low burn inside, down deep, as Derek held him still by his jaw, or the back of his neck, one hand up under his shirt, can still hear how loud they'd both been breathing, how Derek's stubble had felt on his neck when he'd ducked down to suck a mark there, and lower. Lower.
Because Madison Park isn't a known spot to the cops, so it'd been safe, and he can still feel that burst of nerve that had made swing himself into Derek's lap in the driver's seat, how Derek's fingers had dug into his thighs, all the things he'd said in Stiles' ear as his hands undid Stiles' jeans.
And he thinks, Allison saw. Allison and some guy, Thomas, that Stiles doesn't know. They'd seen something that wasn't any of their business, only now Allison apparently thinks it is her business, thinks she has any right to tell Stiles what is and isn't good for him, and yeah, okay, he knows that what he and Derek are doing is probably the worst idea ever, but fuck her.
“Hey,” he says. “You know what else isn't good for someone? Being strung up and electrocuted just for being something your family decided is wrong by default.”
Allison has the nerve to look wounded.
“My mom,” she tries.
Stiles stands, starts stuffing everything into his bag messily, and he'll regret that later, but right now he just wants distance between him and her, as far as he can get. “You know what, don't even try that card with me. Just don't.”
And he doesn't say, your mom chose to die. Your mom was weak. And he doesn't say, your mom wasn't a good person.
And he doesn't say, your mom chose to leave you. And not everyone gets that luxury.
Derek pushes, always, pushes and pushes, until he has Stiles pinned down, and Stiles has never felt more solid than when Derek is pressing him down and holding him in place, butterfly to a pin board.
“I can smell him on you.” Scott says, spinning in Stiles' desk chair. “I can smell him on you, in here.” He hitches his chin at Stiles' bed. “Stiles,”
“Scott?” He raises his eyebrows, prompts him to keep talking when it's clearly the wrong course of action, not at all what Stiles wants. What he wants is for Scott to say he gets it, that he gets Stiles and how everything that makes him up would inevitably draw him to Derek. He wants Scott to back off and say he'll trust Stiles knows what he's doing, that he thinks Stiles can make good choices.
But what he says is, “It's Derek.” Like his name is an insult, like Stiles should get why he's so fucked up and wrong to want this just from that, because Derek isn't their friend, and Stiles loves Scott so much. But he's never been able to see that just because someone isn't right for them doesn't mean they're not right for Stiles.
And Derek can grab him, can push him down on the bed, cage him in with his body, can make it hurt in that way that goes straight to Stiles' marrow, can push and push and push, until Stiles is all in one space, thinking about only one thing, pinned and whole and owned, and doesn't Scott get that?
Because Stiles has always been the person fascinated by the flame until he got burned, and no one is more the epitome of that metaphor than Derek Hale, Derek who is too old and damaged and inhuman to ever be anything a sane person should want. Derek who forgets how to be human, forgets that humans don't know he's Alpha, don't know how to bare their throats and show him submission, forgets that humans don't heal like werewolves, that he can't be who he is with them because they don't understand him and never will.
Derek, who never forgets ash and smoke and loss, in the same way Stiles never forgets bleach and hospital and gone, gone and never coming back, and the jagged holes in them are so huge they might not ever be closed, but they both understand that. Understand that the pieces can be stitched back together, patched over, but they'll always be there, always in them, in a way no one else seems to get, because people talk about healing and moving on, like it's just another rung in the ladder, and it's not, okay, it's not. It's not.
And Derek can say, “My dad taught me how to play baseball.”
And Stiles can say, “My mom played field hockey.”
And they both get it.
And Stiles can crawl into Derek's lap, and he doesn't have to say, “Please make me stop thinking for a few minutes,” because Derek doesn't have ADHD, but he knows what it feels like to be vibrating out of his own skin, for his brain to be a percussion section of thoughts, and to just want someone to anchor him, keep him there forever and ever, or until he feels like he makes sense again. Until he can face the world and everything it entails again, and it's so much easier when someone had reminded you how to stay still, how to focus, how to be human, because who knows better than Derek how to pretend to be normal?
And Stiles just looks down, looks to the window, where Derek has come through a hundred times by now.
“Yeah. It's Derek.”
And Scott is his best friend, and he loves Stiles.
So he drops it.
Derek says, “I've never wanted anyone like this,”
“So what's this, like, the fourth night in a row?”
Stiles jumps a foot, drops his coffee mug, and of course it shatters once it hits the floor, the handle cracking off into pieces, a great big chunk separating from the lip, a dozen tiny splinters spinning off into places unknown. Stiles swears, picks up the biggest piece right as Isaac kneels in front of him, picking up the pieces of the handle. “Sorry,” he apologizes, probably means it. “I didn't mean to scare you.”
“Not all of us have super awesome werewolf senses okay, if I don't say good morning, I don't know you're there. Give me some warning.” Derek is still in the shower, doesn't seem to think this is a big enough issue to come out, but then, it isn't the first time he's dropped something in Derek's kitchen.
“Yeah, well, it's one in the afternoon.” Isaac says, raising his eyebrows. “I've been here since last night.” Stiles hasn't been out of Derek's bedroom since dinner, so no surprise he doesn't know, though he's sure Derek knew the second Isaac put the key in the lock. “I figured you knew I was in the apartment.”
Stiles shakes his head. “No, I crashed pretty hard last night.” Which is the truth, because he'd had six pages of calculus that had taken three hours and the reading for English that had taken another hour, and by then, it had just taken all he had to curl into Derek and go to sleep, barely enough energy to change. “Calculus test in two days.”
“Right.” Isaac sweeps the broken cup into a dustpan he's pulled from under the sink, dumps it all out into the bin, puts everything back. Stiles waits until he's done, waits for Isaac to say something, anything else. Because he knows how weird and awkward this is for Isaac, to see a classmate practically living with someone Isaac lives with, and Stiles doesn't know how he knows, but he thinks this is awkward even when you're older trying to navigate a relationship with someone who you're not close to, even when they're close to someone you're close to. This is how he used to feel about Allison, trying to be her friend, thinking she was sweet and deserved Stiles' leniency when it came to her best friend stealing ways, but still not actually knowing her.
He wishes he could say that this is just how Scott feels about Derek, but he knows that's not true at all. Scott knows he doesn't like Derek.
“So,” Stiles says, feels so awkward, doesn't know what to do, wants Derek there to break the tension up. “You slept on the couch?”
Isaac nods, doesn't meet Stiles' eyes. “You and Derek just slept too.”
It's the way he says it, like he's a little confused, a little put off, that makes Stiles frown, wonder what the fuck is going on that Isaac feels the need to comment on his and Derek's sex life, which is just fine, thank you very much, but for real, Stiles had been exhausted last night, which isn't exactly Love Potion #9 for Derek, even though it is for some people, sleep and sex, and hey, Stiles isn't judging, okay? Whatever, anyway, it's not like it's Isaac's business if Stiles and Derek have sex or not
Isaac shifts, says, “This isn't about sex, is it? This thing you and Derek have.”
Stiles looks away, looks over Isaac's shoulder, and there's Derek, in the hallway, leaning on the wall, eyes on Stiles, and he realizes Derek is waiting for his answer too, that for all they do together, for all Stiles has shown Derek and vice versa, Derek is still Derek, still paranoid and unsure of the people around him, even the one in his bed.
So he says, “No. It's not.”
And he kind of loves the way Derek smiles at him, and the way it disappears as soon as Isaac looks over his shoulder. Because that smile is just for Stiles right now, just for him, no one else.
“I'd give you the bite, you know,” it's said into his neck, Derek on top of him, like he likes, like Derek likes, holding him down and caging him in and making him real. “You'd be mine,”
Stiles laughs, “Pretty sure you already think I'm yours,” and now Derek stiffens.
“Aren't you?” He asks, and he suddenly sounds very vulnerable, not at all Alpha or threatening, sounds like someone asking a question they're not sure they'll like the answer to, not sure they're on the same page here.
Stiles pulls him down, loves it, the weight of Derek on him, wanting him and keeping him, “Calm down, alright? Yeah, I'm yours, okay, and you're mine, all that stuff that makes you wag your tail like a happy dog.” Derek laughs into his skin, always laughs at the dog jokes now, because they're the kind of jokes couples make, and god if that doesn't make Stiles' stomach twist and transform into a thousand birds in his chest, fluttering and fighting to break free and making him laugh. He's one part of a couple, and it's with Derek, who looks at him like he's annoyed and amazed by him in the same instant, and god. God. “I'll ask when I want it.”
That's all he can offer, all he can say, and he's not sure he'll ever want it, maybe he'll always be content being the human in the group, being the Xander of the Scoobies, and hah, Scoobies, get it?
But maybe he will. Maybe one day he'll be ready to take that step, as long as he knows Derek is waiting on the other side.
“So my question is, what kind of loser is Derek Hale?” Lydia sits down across from him at his lunch table like this is where she belongs, and fuck the random people raising a curious eyebrow, she's Lydia and they can go screw themselves.
Stiles thinks he might have a type.
“Is that a question or an accusation?” Stiles asks, raising his own eyebrows. “Because see, it sounded like both, and,”
And Lydia cuts him off, “ Isn't he in his twenties? But he's trolling for high school jailbait? That's a loser, right there.”
Stiles doesn't know how to say that Derek isn't like most twenty-somethings, isn't like most humans. Werewolves don't think like humans, he knows that, especially not a born wolf like Derek, who still doesn't understand that humans are small and delicate and need all the care he can exert, and seriously, what did his parents teach him? Either way, Lydia can't understand what Derek and Stiles have been through together, that Derek wants someone he can trust and touch without worry, and Stiles is it. Because even when Stiles didn't like Derek, even when he wasn't sure what side Derek was on, and no, he still doesn't know exactly, but Stiles is starting to see the world isn't all black and white anyway, that maybe Derek doesn't intend to take any side but his own, and maybe that's okay, maybe. But anyway, even then, Stiles held Derek up, saved his life from the kanima, and he really didn't like Derek then, thought Derek was unbelievably hot, but didn't like him very much, and Derek knows that. Knows Stiles didn't like him, but saved him anyway.
And Stiles thinks that maybe that's when it started, this odd thing between them where they didn't like each other, but trusted each other to do the right thing, always. And maybe then Stiles didn't mind Derek so much, maybe he liked that Derek would just let him ramble about wherever, that Derek seemed to like the rambling even, and then maybe it became a lot more important that Stiles was kind of into Derek, because now he was starting to actually like Derek, like how Derek was forceful and strong and there and he held Stiles in place with just one order.
Look it up.
Okay, he can do that.
Find the weakness.
Okay, you trust me enough for that? Okay, okay, I've got this.
Do you ever stop thinking?
And then a kiss, a kiss and hand up his shirt, and then Stiles was gone, no more pretending, Stiles was into Derek and Derek is everything wrong for him, Derek is strong and older and inhuman, and not as a metaphor. Derek isn't human at all, is a predator masquerading behind a pretty face, but maybe that's what Stiles has always needed, a predator to hunt him down and give him purpose, except he's not running from the Big Bad Wolf, he's not. He's pulling up the red hood, wandering off the path, picking flowers and saying my, what big teeth you have, and yeah, Stiles knows what they're doing is no game. He's playing for keeps, Derek, he's drawing Stiles in and saying Stiles is his, and maybe Stiles should mind more than he does.
But finally, he can be defined.
“What did you get for number twenty-four on the homework?” He asks, instead of saying anything, because he's just now realized that Lydia won't get it, that Scott won't get it, that no one gets it but him and Derek, and those are the only two people who need to get it.
“I want you to ride me,” Derek orders, and no, no, that's not what Stiles wants at all, he wants Derek above him, holding him down and keeping him still, but it's too late, he's straddled across Derek, and Derek is in him, and god, it feels so good, and Derek groans, claws in Stiles' hips, and that hurts in such a good way. “You're always mine,” Derek says, growls almost. “You're always mine,”
And Stiles rises, falls, feels every inch of that ownership.
And he stops.
His dad is sitting at the table, a tumbler full of whiskey in front of him.
It's three in the morning, and Stiles was dropped off by a Camaro, the distinctive rumble in the driveway before Derek pulled out, and not without his good-bye kiss, his reminder to Stiles that he's waiting, he's always waiting, for Stiles to come back, back to his apartment on the other side of town, or the warehouse they're squatting in, either way, back to him. Back to Derek and his bed, his side, his shoulder, back. Just back.
He looks at his dad, and knows he knows.
So he sits, and waits.
“Is Derek Hale aware of what statutory rape means?”
“It means he's never touched me once.” And Stiles hates this, hates he can't come home and tell his dad everything, like he always has, because Stiles loves his dad like he loves no one else on this planet, and he would gladly take a bullet for him, would give anything for him, but not this. Not Derek. This is that line Stiles always told himself he wouldn't cross, always swore he would never do, because boyfriends come and go, but family is forever, except now he gets it. Now he gets what it's like to look at someone and feel your whole heart tear out of its chest and lay down at someone else's feet. He gets it now.
His dad looks so old and tired, and Stiles wishes he could say no, no, Dad, it's not what you think, but it is what his dad thinks, it's all that and more. It's everything. “Do you know how old he is?”
“Yeah,” because on Derek's birthday he'd made a cake, a little cake, a just-for-us cake, a yellow cake with buttercream like Derek liked, drawn a full moon on the icing, and it had been a bad circle, but Derek had laughed, said, I love you and they'd had sex before the cake had been touched, and they'd eaten it naked, watched something on Netflix while they did so, wrapped up in the blankets and each other.
“I'm not okay with this,” his dad says. “Stiles, I am really not okay with this.”
And Stiles says, “I love him. He loves me.”
His dad sighs, says, “I am really not okay with that,”
So Stiles says, “What do I have to do to make you okay with it?”
And Derek asks, “What do you want?”
And Stiles says, “You,”
And that's it.