"Hey Derek," Stiles asks, rolling over in his sleeping bag to face his best friend.
"Yeah, Stiles?" Derek replies sleepily from his own sleeping bag, which he is using instead of his bed, so Stiles wouldn't be lonely on the floor of his bedroom.
"Do you think we'll still be friends when we're old like, in middle school?" he's so earnest in asking, that Derek can't really laugh at the idea that old enough for sixth grade is old; his sister is in seventh, and even though she acts like she's in charge all the time, she's not old.
"O' course, silly. We'll always be best friends." And he's 100 percent certain it's true, Stiles is his best friend, it's just a fact. Like: the sky is blue, Jackson Whittmore is a bully, nine comes before ten, Stiles Stilinski and Derek Hale are best friends. "Now go t' sleep, Stiles. My mom'll be mad if she hears us. And maybe we won't get pancakes." Derek smiles when Stiles makes an urgent sound, his friend loves food.
"She makes the best pancakes, but don' tell my mom. G'night, Der."
Stiles looks so small sitting on Derek's bed, Derek can hardly stand to look at his best friend.
It's their first sleep over since Stiles' mom died. The funeral was weeks ago, and they're closer to high school now than elementary, but still young enough that Derek is totally uncertain what to do to make his friend feel better.
Derek sits next to Stiles on his bed, close enough that their knees almost touch. He's not sure what to say, so he bumps their shoulders together lightly and starts with a safe "Hey, dude, what do you feel like watching tonight?"
Stiles shrugs, and Derek realizes his shoulders are shaking slightly, so he wraps his arm around Stiles and pulls him into his chest, lets his friend cry, tears staining his shirt and Derek feels helpless in the face of Stiles' grief.
His hands absently soothing up and down Stiles' arm and back, like his mom used to when he had bad dreams. He wishes this was all a bad dream, that he could spare his best friend the pain of this loss.
Stiles tries to apologize after he's pulled himself together, wiping his face with his sleeve, but Derek won't let him. They set up a movie and sit side by side against Derek's headboard to watch it. When the movie ends, Stiles is half asleep and dozing on Derek's shoulder; when Stiles attempts to get up, presumably to grab his sleeping bag, Derek stops him with a hand on his shoulder.
"Just stay here, the bed's big enough," he half expects Stiles to object, or make a joke, but he just smiles gratefully and settles down further on the bed with a sleepy "Kay."
When they're both comfortably arranged, Stiles turns toward Derek, "Hey, Der?"
Derek turns so they face each other, only a few inches between them, "Yeah, Stiles?" he answers quietly, a smile in his voice.
"Do you think there's like, a heaven, and angels and ghosts and stuff?" He sounds so hopeful, like if Derek says it's true, it'll be true.
Derek makes a thoughtful noise, so Stiles knows he's not speaking lightly, "I think- I think that the people we love, the people that love us, never really leave us. And I think that there is a lot we don't understand, so I think it's possible, yeah," he hopes Stiles can hear his sincerity. Hopes it makes him feel the smallest bit better.
Stiles grins, and the small amount of moonlight filtering through his curtains glint off his teeth, illuminating his wide mouth and casting his pale skin in silver and shadow. "I wonder if that means like, werewolves and stuff are real, too?"
Derek laughs, his hand settling on Stiles' where it rests on the bed between them, he squeezes his hand gently and Stiles turns it over so they rest palm to palm. "G'night, you weirdo. Werewolves, really?"
When Derek starts dating Paige, and Stiles falls into infatuation with Lydia, they have a harder time scheduling time to hang out, and it sucks. Especially as Derek becomes more aware of his more than best friend feelings for his best friend.
They're studying together, and it turns into a last minute sleep over as they both start to fall asleep in their respective textbooks.
They lie on Stiles' bed, each resting on a bent elbow, heavy heads cradled in large palms they haven't quite grown into.
"So," Stiles asks, drawing the word out in a way that means he's trying to work up the nerve to say something, Derek waits him out. "Have you um, you know- had uh, had sex yet?"
Derek chokes on absolutely nothing for a moment, and then needs another to collect himself because now he's thinking of sex and Stiles, and Stiles is on his bed; crap.
"Um, n- No. I'm not- uh, I'm not sure I'm in love with her, so it just doesn't feel. Um, right," Derek stumbles over the words, looks away, struggles not to just confess right then that he's in love with Stiles, that he and Paige broke up months ago after Derek told her about his feelings for his best friend, but Stiles squeaks out an "Oh," that sounds like it means a hundred or so other things, and he stops himself.
After long enough that he thinks Stiles may have fallen asleep, Derek looks back at his best friend to find Stiles staring at him, his plump bottom lip between his teeth, a thoughtful look on his face, almost like he-like he wants Derek. But that can't be, can it?
But Stiles is looking at Derek's mouth, and he can't help but dart his tongue out to wet his lips, mouth suddenly dry at the thought of Stiles' lips on his.
Even though the thought turns his stomach, Derek has to ask, "Uh, have you?"
"No," Stiles scoffs, "I mean, I don't get why no one's jumping to get at all this," he makes a sweeping gesture at himself, "but I've hardly even, uh, kissed anyone. I'm probably no good at it," he forces out a laugh.
Derek knows it's a terrible idea, but he doesn't stop himself. "Um, first off, watch what you say about my best friend," he smiles widely, hoping Stiles knows he's sincere, "You're very attractive," Derek feels the blush on his cheeks even as he watches one rise on Stiles'.
"And, um, if you wanted, we could practice? Kissing, I mean."
"You and me?" Stiles asks tentatively, curiosity and uncertainty warring in his voice.
"Yeah, if you want to," Derek tries to keep the longing from his voice, but isn't entirely sure he succeeds.
"Won't it be weird because we're-" Stiles motions between them, and Derek breeders himself for the ' both guys ' he's sure is coming, his heart drops to his stomach at the idea that Stiles might not accept his sexuality. "You know, best friends?"
Derek lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding, relief flooding his system. But, he needs to be sure, "You're not bothered by the uh, the kissing another guy part?"
Stiles blows out a loud breath between his lips, a ridiculous sound whooshing between them, "Well, might not be the best time to mention it, but I'm probably not what you'd call totally straight, Der." Stiles says it breezily, but Derek sees him swallow heavily, sees his posture stiffen, waiting for rejection.
Derek smiles, shyly replies, "Me either, Stiles," and it's Stiles' turn to choke on nothing.
"Oh, ok then. Then, I mean are you sure you want to kiss me, because you're, like, incredibly good looking and-"
Even though Derek gets a thrill at Stiles saying he's attractive, he can't let his friend, the boy he loves, continue on his self effacing rant, "Stiles!" Stiles stops talking, goes still. "Trust me. I wouldn't offer, if I didn't want to, ok?"
"Ok, ok I just don't wa-" before he can get started again, Derek presses his lips to Stiles', effectively cutting off whatever tangent he was about to spiral into. He pulls back after a brief moment.
"Trust me," he repeats, a bit of desperation sneaking into his voice.
Stiles smiles, "More than anyone else," and something warm settles in Derek's chest. And then, they're moving toward one another, and their lips are meeting, fitting together like they were made to be joined like this. Then, Stiles' lips part a little, and Derek takes the opportunity to dart his tongue along his lower lip, tasting him.
Stiles whimpers , his hand moving to cup Derek's cheek, and it tilts Derek's head just enough that the kiss deepens as their lips drag and slide wetly together. They both groan as their tongues meet for the first time, and then, like a switch, the kiss is no longer tentative, it's hungry even as it remains slow, they're licking into each other's mouths and their hands are grasping and they're holding each other so close ; it's the single best thing that's ever happened to Derek.
After long, glorious minutes, with Stiles in his arms and their tongues twining together, and their soft moans wrapping around them, they part, panting into the scant space between them.
“Wow,” Stiles says through a smile, eyes searching Derek's face.
Derek can't help but respond with a smile of his own and a fond roll of his eyes.
“Hey, Der?” Stiles is still cradling Derek's face and holding his hip, their legs tangled together, and Derek feels the heat of his palms like a brand. Derek makes a low noise in response, rubs his nose along the bridge of Stiles’ before he can think too much about it. “I have a small confession to make, please promise you won't be mad?”
Stiles is absent mindedly stroking his arm, and Derek is reminded of that night years ago when his best friend sobbed in his arms, his heart beats a little harder in his chest, and he pulls Stiles a little closer, half sure Stiles is about to tell him everything he's ever wanted to hear, half afraid he's about to say it was all a mistake.
“I can never stay mad at you anyway, you know that.” Stiles smiles at him, a quick uptick of the corners of his mouth.
“So, when I said I wasn't entirely straight before? It's more that I'm really just crazy for this one person in particular.” Derek feels his pulse picking up speed, feels a hot rush of hope in his veins.
“Really?” Derek manages to squeak out. “Um, anyone I know?” he asks as if they don't know all the same people, and Stiles snorts a little. It's way more endearing than it should be for such an inelegant sound.
Stiles’ grin is wicked and fond at the same time. “I'd say that you know him pretty well, yeah. But up until-” Stiles leans away from Derek for a moment, looks at the alarm clock on his nightstand before curling in close to Derek again, “about fifteen minutes ago, I thought there was no way in Hell I had a shot with him.” He runs his thumb along Derek's jawline, Derek arches into the touch and shivers, “So, what do you think? Is he interested?” Stiles asks into Derek's ear, his breath is warm but it sends a pleasant chill down Derek's spine.
Derek looks into his best friends warm, amber eyes, and so he doesn't blurt out “I love you,” because twelve seconds into a relationship is definitely too soon, he answers with a kiss.
They manage to become roommates at their first choice college, and it's like their childhood dream come true to have a sleepover every night. Stiles still whispers “Hey, Der,” in the darkness, only now he does it into Derek's chest, our into his ear, with his arms wrapped securely around his waist. And Derek still answers, “Yeah?” only now it's “Yeah, babe?,” and it's punctuated with a kiss to Stiles temple, or their joined hands.
And it's usually “I love you,” and sometimes ridiculous random thoughts, and once “Do you want kids someday?”
And one night, not far from graduation, it's “Do you think we'll still be in love when we're old?” And Derek laughs, remembering, and says Of course, silly.”
Stiles hums a happy sound, is silent long enough that Derek starts to fall asleep, and then, “Hey, Derek?”
Derek smiles into Stiles’ arm where his head is pillowed, turns toward Stiles as he feels the man shift around behind him. “Yes, Stiles,” he grins sleepily at his best friend, threading their fingers together and kissing where they join.
“Will you marry me?”
Derek can only kiss him in reply.