The Jeep gave out one final time after a golum attacked Beacon Hills during winter break of their senior year. As BH catastrophes go it wasn’t terrible, especially after the Dread Doctors, and Lydia eventually won the things loyalty with her knowledge of Hebrew. Apparently she started Latin after realizing Hebrew was too easy. Anyway, the town was saved and no sentient beings were killed, but poor Roscoe just couldn’t survive her pipes being filled with magical clay.
Stiles somehow managed to get through he beginning of Spring semester without her (biking is good for heart health, right?) and no more supernatural beings came stomping in to town that demanded he have transportation. While nothing came stomping, that doesn’t mean nothing supernatural came at all, however, and that something was Derek.
He showed up at the high school parking lot one day in his ridiculous SUV and when Stiles got out of class and headed to unlock his bike he caught sight of the werewolf and simply stopped and stared. Derek smiled timidly and lifted a hand in greeting but Stiles couldn’t get his brain to work and merely continued to gawk until Lydia brushed past him and uncharacteristically crashed into Derek in as big a bear hug as her tiny body could manage.
Her abrupt arrival shook Stiles from his stupor and he walked forward until he was standing directly in front of Derek. Lydia had moved on to much more awkwardly greet Cora who had gotten out of the passenger seat when she saw the banshee. Stiles would have teased them about the UST if he weren’t currently experiencing some tension of another kind.
“Where’ve you been?” He tried keeping his voice neutral, but it cracked a bit and Derek frowned, clearly smelling the anxiety laced with resentment.
“Go easy, Stiles.” Cora spoke up when her brother clearly wasn’t going to do so. “He came down to Argentina to find me, but got captured by some mountain trolls. It took me a while to hear about it and even longer to convince them he wasn’t their cute, furry pet. We got out of there as soon as we could.”
“So you’re back?” Stiles vaguely heard Lydia ask Cora, as he looked Derek up and down for signs of injury he logically knew wouldn’t be there.
“Were they nice to you?” He asked dumbly.
Derek chuckled. “As far as my times being held captive go, this was the most pleasant. Got to eat anything I wanted and had a nice bed. Only thing I wasn’t able to do was shift back into my human form. Troll magic.”
They stood nodding at one another, not quite looking at each other’s eyes until Derek spoke again.
“You’re riding a bike. What happened to the Jeep?”
“A golum.” Stiles replied and Derek nodded like no further explanation was needed. It probably wasn’t. Derek was a walking Bestiary. Stiles swallowed thickly before asking his next question. “Are you back?”
“Yep. I figured it was time for the Hales to take back Beacon Hills properly this time.”
“You mind giving a man a ride to school now and again?” Stiles asked shyly. He had never really established a normal rapport with Derek, so he wasn’t really sure how to ease back into something that hadn’t truly existed. Jumping in and setting a new normal seemed the best way to start a new, hopefully more fruitful, chapter with Derek in his life.
“Sure thing. God knows I owe you a few rides.”
They smile at one another and both startle noticeably when the rest of the pack enthusiastically appears.
The rides are nice. They don’t talk much at first, Stiles not being a morning person, but gradually Derek starts telling stories about his time away and Stiles just stares. Derek doesn’t share willingly. Or he didn’t. Yet here he is, telling Stiles about the the troll kids who made him play fetch, and the street festivals he walked through searching for Cora and practicing his Spanish, and fighting with Braeden about involving Malia in the hunt for the Desert Wolf.
One day, Stiles asks Derek if he can do his homework at the loft, so they go there instead and Derek makes them coffee. They sit on the couch and Derek reads while Stiles types a paper. A week later Derek tells him Lydia is coming over for dinner with him and Cora and he asks Stiles if he wants to stay too. As they’re eating and Stiles is watching the heart eyes Cora and Lydia are making at each other, he realizes this is something of a double date and he wonders if it was purposeful. Derek focuses intensely on his mac and cheese when Stiles looks at him searchingly.
The morning of graduation is full of mixed emotions for Stiles. High school had truly been a nightmare to the highest degree. He had lost every sense of innocence he’d ever possessed, friends, mentors, sanity. But he’d developed a bond with Lydia deeper than his ten year plan ever could have established, found reserves of inner strength he’d never imagined, and met Derek. Since that first dinner, Stiles had eaten many of his evening meals at the loft, sometimes only with Cora, sometimes only Derek, sometimes in the group of four from the first night. They fit together in a sort of pack they hadn’t had in what felt like eternity and Stiles didn’t want to graduate because graduating meant leaving. He and Lydia were going to Stanford together but Cora and Derek were staying in Beacon Hills. Cora had to finish high school and Derek was getting a job there as the new English teacher. Maybe together they could keep the place safe.
When he stepped out of the house in his cap and gown he found Derek standing in the driveway in front of a Jeep. A Jeep that happened the be the color of an incredibly vibrant bubble gum. Derek stood awkwardly, hands in his khaki pockets, a chagrined look upon his face. When he saw Stiles’s bewildered expression he forced a smile.
Stiles swallowed. “You got me a car?”
Derek blushed and looked bashful. “Um, well yes. But I didn’t mean to get you this car. I mean, I meant to get you the Jeep, but not the color. They copied down the color code I gave them wrong and instead of sky blue it came out Peptobismol pink but it didn’t come in soon enough to have them fix it so I promise I’ll get it painted as soon as possible. I just wanted you to have a car so you weren’t trapped at Stanford all the time and you could come visit sometimes.”
It was the kind of word vomit Stiles would only have expected from himself. For it to be coming from Derek’s mouth just showed how truly nervous and sincere he was and Stiles quickly enveloped him in the first hug he’d ever awarded the werewolf. Derek didn’t even take a beat to return the embrace, pressing his stubble into Stiles’s neck where Stiles could feel his smile.
“You aren’t having it painted. I didn’t choose blue when I got Roscoe from my mom but the color isn’t important. It’s who it came from.”
That evening, after Lydia’s valedictorian speech about ‘finding your voice’ and Stiles’s salutatorian speech about ‘finding your power even when you think you’re powerless’ Stiles took Derek in Rosie’s inaugural drive.
He parked at the highest point in the preserve and they lay next to each other on the hood and watched the stars. It was the most utterly banal thing either had ever done and therefore the most remarkable.
“You really bought Rosie so I could come visit?” Stiles asked quietly after they’d been still and silent for almost half an hour.
“Yeah.” Derek breathed back. “I don’t want the loft to stop smelling like you.”
Stiles looked over at Derek in surprise. It was probably the closest thing to a real confession he would ever get from the werewolf who was currently staring resolutely at the sky, likely fearing rejection. Stiles reached out his hand and slipped his fingers between Derek’s gently.
“Neither do I.”