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Derek's voice is sleep roughened but edged with a practiced concerned awareness, gained from too many late night emergency phone calls, “Stiles? What's wro-”

 

“Derek!” Sites interrupts with his usual exuberance, tinged with the softened slur of unaccustomed drunkenness, and Derek relaxes marginally as Stiles continues. “How are you man? I haven’ seen you in like- wha’ time izzit?” Stiles whips his phone away from his ear to check the time, but he's too intoxicated to fight his own momentum and ends up twirling after the arc of his arm, stumbling. He barely manages to catch himself before he falls to the ground, but Derek is on his feet and getting dressed as soon as he hears the muttered “Oh, shit.”

 

Before he can yell for the human, he hears an honest to god giggle through the tiny speaker, and he relaxes ever so slightly. He can hear the indistinct baseline of something irritating and popular distantly playing in the background, the sound of the wind a low whistle through the phone line, and Stiles, laughing.

 

“Stiles, where are you?” Derek is grabbing his keys and toeing on shoes as he prepares to collect the human before he can get into trouble. Beacon Hills is relatively safe, if you don't count the supernatural threats, but a good looking and clearly intoxicated seventeen year old shouldn't be out wanting the streets at one thirty in the morning.

 

“I wuzzat a party with Scott. But he left with this girl, an’ he said I shouldn’ stay long, but he was ‘sposed to be my ride, and Der’k, I'm drunk,” he finishes seriously. “I'm drunk, an’ I can't call my dad, and you're like, my bes’ friend, an’ your car is awesome, an’ i-"

 

Derek is caught off guard by the sincerity in Stiles’ voice, but he focuses on the rising panic and cuts him off with a gentle, “Hey, just tell me where you are, I'll be right there.”

 

Stiles slurs through his location, and Derek is relieved to hear it's only a few minutes away. He keeps Stiles talking as he speeds to close the distance faster, and the wave of pure relief that washes over him at the sight of Stiles slumped against a lamppost is like an electric shock.

 

Stiles pours himself into the passenger seat with more grace than he usually possesses and flashes Derek a grateful smile. He's more tired and regretful drunk than boisterous drunk now, and he lets his head rest heavily against the seat as Derek drives at a much slower speed toward the Stilinski house.

 

“Thank you for coming to get me, Der,” Stiles’ voice is clearer, but small sounding, his words not quite their usual crispness. “I'm glad it's you, because I don't have to worry about not saying how burning hot Derek is, or how I want him to push me up against a wall and kiss me, because you're not him, and, oh fuck! You're you!” he says accusingly, as if Derek had forgotten who he was talking to, and not the other way around.

 

Derek can feel the hot blush color his ears and flash down his neck at the image Stiles paints with his accidental confession.

 

“Stiles,” he begins, gently, but Stiles doesn't let him finish.

 

“Derek, can we please blame the alcohol and forget that pretty much this whole night happened?”

 

Derek considers it. Stiles is clearly embarrassed, his scent gone sour and his heartbeat unsteady. It would be easy to ignore it, he's had plenty of practice ignoring his feelings. But if Stiles wants him, and he doesn't have to pretend he doesn't want him back- why should he? “What if I don't want to?”

 

Stiles gasps, and it sends a shiver down Derek's spine. “You- what?”

 

“We'll talk when you're-recovered. Alright?”

 

“Yeah, sure,” Stiles doesn't sound convinced

 

After a brief internal argument, Derek reaches over and takes hold of Stiles’ hand and gives a reassuring squeeze. He’s immeasurably gratified when Stiles sighs happily and the tension melts out of him, his scent spiking sharply with contentment, fingers wriggling slightly to settle between Derek’s. Derek can hardly suppress the echoing sigh from his own chest.

 

Stiles careens back to drunken rambling quick enough to make Derek’s head spin, but since Stiles is now using their clasped hands to gesture as he speaks, he lets a fond smile curl his lips as a steady stream of mostly nonsense tumbles from Stiles’ lips.

 

As they reach the Stilinski house, Stiles speech has slowed and gone heavy with sleep, Derek tries and fails to not find it endearing, especially in combination with the lazy drag of Stiles’ thumb along the back of his hand. Derek opens the passenger door to assist Stiles in exiting the car, both of them making small surprised sounds when Stiles stumbles and crashes into Derek’s chest. Derek steps back reluctantly, draping Stiles’ arm over his shoulders and holding his waist. Stiles leans heavily against him, murmurs things like “You’re so strong,” and “All that scruff and you’re so soft under the grrr,” as he draws a finger along Derek’s jaw and stares through barely opened eyes gone hazy with sleep and liquor.

 

Derek manages to get Stiles upstairs and into his bedroom, settles him on the bed and kneels to remove his shoes. Stiles groans above him and something that sounds an awful lot like “Not fair you’re on your knees and I’m too wasted…” and Derek can feel the rush of blood through his entire body as he catches the meaning. By the time Derek is done with Stiles’ shoes, Stiles is flailing above him, half trapped in the sleeves of his shirt. Derek is torn between watching him struggle and helping him, but the strained, frustrated sound Stiles makes pushes him to help. He very pointedly does not look when the overshirt catches his t-shirt, lifting it to reveal a tantalizing strip of creamy pale skin and a hint of hair leading into the waistband of Stiles’ jeans.

 

As Stiles falls back into the bed, Derek helps to guide him onto the pillow, wrestles the covers from under him and tucks them gently around the sprawling form of Stiles’ body. He can’t help but smooth Stiles’ hair away from his forehead, the gesture hopelessly fond, and Derek is fairly certain he’s never done it so easily before.

 

Derek turns to leave the room, return to his own bed to try to sleep, knowing the clock will mock him and that all he’ll be able to do is hear Stiles’ drunken declarations on repeat in his head. As he makes to step away from the bed, his feet gone heavy and uncooperative with reluctance, he feels the brush of clumsy fingers at his wrist, wrapping around it in a loose grasp and sending a pleasant tingle through Derek’s arm, settling warmly in his belly.

 

Stiles’ voice is sleep soft, but steady, the words cutting through Derek painfully, “Don’t go. Please? I don’t want to be alone, I’m always- please. Don’t go.”

 

In the face of Stiles’ plea, Derek finds himself not only powerless, but having absolutely zero desire to turn back toward the door. The relieved whimper that Stiles releases as Derek drops gently onto the edge of the bed and turns his hand so their palms meet, threading their fingers back together, is like a punch and an embrace all at once.

 

They wake in the morning wrapped around each other, and it’s shockingly easy to smile at each other as they untangle their twined limbs.

 

********

 

When Derek is visiting Cora, his phone rings, and he smiles at the ridiculous picture Stiles set as his profile. “Hey, you,” he answers fondly, voice going soft and light like it always did now that he and Stiles were DerekandStiles. It quickly bleeds into panic tinged concern at the hitch in Stiles’ breath; the realization that Stiles has been fighting tears, has a reason to be, is a painful weight in Derek’s chest. “What’s wrong, Stiles. What is it?” His urgency is a palpable thing, an uncomfortable sizzle under his skin.

 

Stiles releases a shuddering breath, “God, I will never not appreciate how the sound of your voice makes everything feel better.” Derek’s worry is ameliorated slightly by the knowledge that he’s a comfort for the hyperactive human he calls his mate.

 

“I’m glad to hear that, babe, but what’s going on?”

 

“You’re going to hate it,” Stiles is hesitant, his voice is tinged with uncertainty, and Derek wishes he were there to wrap his arms around Stiles, to hold him and reassure. He makes an affirmative, encouraging sound, “Try me,” he says with more enthusiasm than he feels.

“So, there’s this… thing. Some kind of monster. We haven’t figured it out yet…” Stiles goes on, details a truly horrible plan, one that relies heavily on Scott’s frankly laughable leadership and Stiles as some kind of glorified bait. It’s a shit plan, and Derek does in fact hate it. Hates it so much he’s growling, actually, and it takes Stiles’ pleading “Der, please,” to break him out of it, to wash the red tinge from his vision.

 

All Derek can do is choke out a pained “Don’t go!” He knows it’s desperate and can’t bring himself to care, “Stiles, please. Please don’t go. This plan is fucking terrible. You know it is. I will get on a plane, I will be there tomorrow morning, just wait. Don’t go, any of you, but you can’t. Please?” He’s begging, and will continue to beg until Stiles agrees, “I can’t lose you. Don’t go. Remember, the night we started this? You asked me the same thing, please, Stiles.”

 

“Ok, Der, ok, ok. I won’t go. Please, don’t cry. I won’t go.”

 

Derek takes a deep breath, it catches in his chest, but he pushes past it, “Thank you. Thank you thank you, thank god.”

 

Derek is on a plane two hours later. Twelve hours after that, Stiles is in his arms; unruly hair sweet smelling and tickling his nose, wide, smiling lips pressed into his own.

 

*******

 

When Derek needs to leave Beacon Hills, Stiles understands, he really, truly does. But it also feels like he’s being slowly pulled apart.

 

They stand quietly in Derek’s loft, silently embracing, Stiles still in his dressy graduation clothes, intermittent tears running down both their faces, until Stiles grips the front of Derek’s shirt tightly, hauls him impossibly close to devour his mouth in a desperate kiss. Their teeth clack, and their tongues swirl together in practiced rhythm, lips dragging slick and wet together. A great, sob of a moan tears out of Stiles’ throat and he buries his face in Derek’s neck.

 

“I can’t ask you, I know I can’t, but I want to, Der. I want to ask you to stay with me. I want to beg you. To scream ‘Don’t go!’ But I won’t. You deserve to go, to be ha- to find happiness, even if-”

 

Derek feels his heart breaking; hurting Stiles is killing him. He can’t bear the ache in Stiles’ voice, the sorrow laced through his scent. “Come with me,” rushes past his lips with force and sincerity, and he can't believe he hadn't thought of it before.

 

Stiles looks at him, hopeful but unsure, so he kisses the confusion off his face, cradles his jaw with careful hands. “I mean it, Stiles. It's summer, you don't start school for months. Come with me. Please?”

 

The smile that breaks over Stiles’ face is bright and honest, it's everything Derek loves about the boy.

 

“Yeah. Ok, yeah, let's go,” Stiles replies eagerly, peppering Derek's face with kisses, hands restlessly petting as thigh assuring himself Derek is still there.

 

Derek laughs lightly, “I thought maybe we'd have a last go in a real bed, before it's all motel rooms and truck stops for a while. And you know, pack, first.”

 

Stiles makes a considering sound, “Both good things. I'm especially interested in the first part,” he grins as he grabs Derek's hands, walking backwards toward the bed.

 

********

 

Two and a half incredible months later, they're laying naked in a motel bed, tangled together and still catching their breath, trailing gentle fingertips over one another's faces, cataloging details. Preparing for time apart.

 

Stiles’ half packed suitcase sits on a luggage stand across the room, taunting them with the short time they have left measured out in clean and dirty socks.

 

Derek traces the curve of Stiles’ mouth, their eyes searching, but unwilling to leave the others gaze for more than a second or two. “You know-” the words are stuck in his throat, heavy on his tongue, he clears them away with a hard swallow, “I want to ask you. I guess it's my turn to know better, huh?” He laughs without a traces of humor, and Stiles kisses his furrowed brow, smooths it with a long finger.

 

“You’re not ready to not be moving, and Berkley is pretty stationary, babe,” Stiles answers easily, his voice tinged with regret. “I understand,”he says, quieter than the rest, but without a stutter in his heartbeat, and Derek would know it's true even without the added senses. Because Stiles understands Derek probably better than Derek does, and the loss of his constant presence is already aching dully in his chest.

 

“I'm going to have to say it. Just once. It's practically tradition, now,” Derek attempts to joke, but the truth is it feels like the words are tearing at his throat.

 

Stiles kisses him, long and slow, as if to cool the burn of the things he can't say. It almost works. They part reluctantly, hands and lips both clinging together, and it breaks out of him with a sob, “Don't go.”

 

Stiles gathers him close, let's Derek bury his face in his chest, strokes his back in soothing circles and holds his neck. “I have to,” he says simply, pressing kisses to Derek's head. “But I promise I'll always come back to you, wherever you are, until you're ready.”

 

When they wake some time later, Stiles has to leave. Derek drives him to the bus station, because Stiles wouldn't let him set a foot in California until he was ready to. Derek isn't sure he will be, but he wishes he was now so he could steal those last miles with him.

 

********

 

They wake to cool morning light filtered through the curtains, and the muted sound of a cell phone ringing in the other room.

 

It's been six months since they last got to wake up together, and it feels indulgent and surreal all at once. Video chats and constant phone calls and texts are an ok way to bridge the distance, but there is nothing so wonderful as waking up like this. Sleep warm skin and muscled limbs tangled together, warm breath on the back of his neck. Stiles is afraid it's a dream.

 

Derek wakes, runs his nose along Stiles neck and places a long, hot kiss there. “Morning,” he says sleepily, arms tightening briefly before he shifts in the bed. Stiles panics, grabs Derek's forearms in suddenly shaking hands, “Don-.”

 

Before he can finish, Derek is wrapping himself around him again, “Not going anywhere, babe. You're not either.”

 

Stiles takes a deep breath, calms his heartbeat. “Sounds perfect, because I have plans for us that don't involve leaving this bed unless it's to hydrate or pee.”

 

Derek laughs into Stiles’ shoulder, the sound rich and deep, the rumble in his chest echoes through Stiles’ chest pleasantly. “I like the sound of that.”

 

********

 

A small cry pierces the predawn quiet, and Stiles and Derek startle awake at the same time. They blink tiredly at one another for a moment, taking time to acclimate and assess.

 

Stiles smiles at Derek, notices the slight greying of his still artful stubble, the lines starting to show around his eyes that he knows are from laughter instead of worry.

 

Derek smiles back, taking in the defined jawline, and the more beard than stubble that his husband has favored these last few years.

 

They say in unison “I'll go,” and then laugh, kiss. Let it linger just a moment until the baby reminds them why they're awake so early. Stiles places a quick kiss on Derek's cheek, runs his thumb over his jaw briefly.

 

“You got her down last time, it's my turn. Go back t’ sleep.” Derek makes a sound that Stiles takes as agreement, and he heads to the nursery across the hall, scooping up the small, unhappy bundle from the crib and settling her against his chest.

 

When Derek stumbles in moments later, Stiles is in the rocking chair, cradling their daughter and dozing slightly. Derek crosses the distance with a few long strides and moves to take the baby from her current Daddy shaped pillow and back to her own bed, intending to do the same with Stiles after, when he feels familiar fingertips against his wrist.


He looks down to where Stiles is holding him, turns his palm so their fingers thread together with the ease of years of practice. They smile at one another for long moments, until the sun starts to rise and add a warm glow to the soft lilac walls.