Stiles stood at the door to the kitchen, not really believing what he was seeing. His dad was there, talking on the phone – police business, judging by his tone. But what really, really couldn't be real – Derek Hale was leaning against the counter. In jeans and a vest. With a bowl of cereal in his hand. In Stiles kitchen.
Derek was paying him no attention at all as he continued to eat the fruit loops, but Stiles knew that the Were was fully aware of Stiles standing in the door frame.
His dad put down the phone with a resigned "I'll be there in five." Which was enough to make Stiles momentary push aside the fact that Derek Hale was in his bare feet in his kitchen.
"It's your day off." He managed, as his dad gave him a long suffering look.
"It's your day off! We're supposed to be painting the spare room." Stiles tried not to look at Derek who was watching the exchange with interest. Stiles didn't care if he was laughing at him – this was one of the only times he'd get his dad to himself, real father/son time doing something together.
"Stiles." His dad said, holding up his hand. "I know." He ran his fingers through his hair and Stiles just knew, knew that his dad would be gone most of the day, knew that he'd probably miss dinner – knew that whatever was out there was more important than what was left at home.
Disappointment heavy in his throat, he managed to shrug, trying to keep his expression blank. "It's fine, I'll get started and then we'll finish when you get back." His dad looked relived, and Stiles felt it like a blow to the gut. Practice, repetition – that was the only thing that kept Stiles together, to stop him from flying apart at the seams – stop the hot disappointment in his throat rising up like bile.
Unknowing, or unwilling to see, what was going on with his son, his dad smiled. "Derek here was a great help last night – there was a huge fire down at the old subway station, and he managed to help us get some squatters out before the whole place collapsed."
Stiles snapped his head up to stare at Derek – who was all smiles. Oh yeah – that would be the fire that HE STARTED! Stiles wanted to yell. The fire to hide the supernaturally morphed body of Gerald Argent. Who Derek had needed to rip to shreds just to make sure the creep stayed dead.
"That's cool." He managed, between gritted teeth.
"Seems Derek here was sleeping in his car, and saw the fire."
"I just did what any one would do," Derek said, and good god – didn't he just sound like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth?
"I told him that he can't be sleeping in his car, you know – with the colder weather coming in, so I said he could stay here until he found something."
Stiles stared at his dad as though he'd lost his mind. Derek stay here? Derek who a few months ago you had arrested for murdering his sister? Derek who last night ripped a person in half and set fire to the bits that were left twitching? But all he said was:
"You really don't need to do this, Sheriff, I hate to put you out like this." Derek said, and his white teeth glinted in the morning sunlight like some toothpaste advert.
"No, you did a good thing last night." His dad said, and Stiles rolled his eyes. "And you deserve a break. I didn't know how bad things were – you know, after your sister and that whole misunderstanding. You should have talked to me sooner."
Stiles wondered if maybe Derek had some magical properties in his smile, cause it had obviously managed to charm his dad into thinking that the guy who was standing opposite him in his bare feet wasn't some kind of serial killer. Although, Stiles admitted, he didn't look like a dangerous guy right now – with his smiles and humble looks. In fact, he looked downright puppy dog – and not the rabid wolf he actually was.
"I wish I could pay you back for this, sir." Derek said, and didn't he just sound as threatening as a butterfly? Stiles wasn't convinced.
"The best thing you could do right now is stop Stiles here from burning down this house while I'm gone." They both laughed as Stiles glared.
"I can help out – I'm pretty handy with a paint brush." The barefoot wolf smiled.
"I can manage." Stiles spoke up, at the same time his dad said, "That would be a great help."
Stiles stared at them both – couldn't quite get his head around what had just happened. Derek Hale would be living in his house? This would not end well…
"Dude, you can't stay here!" Stiles managed to hiss as his dad left them to get changed into his uniform. Derek slowly ate a spoonful of fruit loops and shrugged.
"In case you hadn't noticed, the place I was staying burnt down last night."
"Then go live with Scott! He's like… he's… you can't stay here!" Stiles repeated.
"I can't go and live with Scott." Derek said, still looking stupidly relaxed leaning against the counter. "On account of his mom not trusting me as far as she could throw me."
"My dad thinks you murdered your sister!"
"No, your dad thinks I'm a troubled guy having issues adjusting to the horrific murder of my sister." Stiles couldn't help but stare at him stupidly. "Oh, you've no milk left." He said, lifting up the bowl to his lips and drinking the leftover milk that he couldn't get with his spoon. For some reason, Stiles found that incredibly funny – and started laughing. The wolf looked at him like he'd actually lost his mind for a moment before turning and putting the bowl in the sink and turning on the hot water.
"Dude," Stiles laughed. "Seriously?"
"Well, at least you two are getting along." His dad said from behind him. Stiles turned to see him belt on his gun, already in uniform. Desperately fighting down the urge to say 'stay', Stiles shrugged. "I'll be back as soon as I can." His dad lied, walking to the door. "And then we can spend some real time together."
"Careful with those!" Stiles choked out as Derek started hauling boxes out of the room. The wolf gave him a dark look as he carefully placed the box down at his feet.
"It's just paper." He said, nudging it with his foot.
"Just… just be careful with them." Stiles said, looking about the room. His dad had just boxed everything up, everything. Stiles knew what was in some of them, papers – medical records, photos, clothes. Somewhere was a half used bottle of perfume that had somehow managed to seep into the room, filling it with a scent of vanilla and lily that made him want to lay on the floor and cry. No wonder his dad had put off decorating this room – just walking in it was like a punch to the gut.
"Where do you want these to go?"
"The attic." Stiles managed, fighting back the lump that had formed in his throat, making it difficult to swallow. They would throw nothing out, not even one scrap of paper, because that was all that was left of her. If Derek thought Stiles was a bit strange insisting they keep everything, he didn't say anything – which he was grateful for. They managed to figure out a pretty good system, Derek, the stronger of the two, would lift the boxes up into the attack, and Stiles would neatly stack them up. The attack was dark, which was good, because Stiles just knew he looked like hell, especially when the box Derek handed up had slipped, spilling photographs all over the hallway. Stiles had scrambled down, tried to pick up each photo without even looking at them, but it was impossible. Smiling, laughing – her pale face, a few moles, clear amber eyes, every photo was like someone punching him in the throat. Derek had helped, carefully lifting the photos and putting them back in the box – ignoring the fat tears that were running off the end of Stiles chin.
So now he was up in the attic, glad of the dark and the solitude as he stacked boxes of memories away, knowing that the next time he saw these would more than likely be when his dad died. He'd have to empty the house then, but until that day they would sit up here in the dark – half forgotten.
It was well after noon by the time they got the boxes moved – there was still a hell of a lot of stuff to do before the place was even ready to prep for painting, move the bed with its saggy mattress and the wardrobe full of metal hangers than clanged and rattled every time Derek bumped into it. The empty dresser that Stiles would never admit he used to sit by and make faces in the large mirrors. The carpet that needed more than vacuuming – strange stains that looked like coffee or soda left for years to just dye the fibres. It looked grubby, dirty, abandoned, which was pretty much true. The smell lingered though, lilies and vanilla.
"I guess we'll stop for food." Stiles said, standing in the centre of the room. Trying to breath in the smell, hold on to it in his memory before he opened the window and the smells of the world would wash her away.
"What do you want?" Stiles said, looking in the empty cupboards. "We have… erm… I think this is tuna – and…. Ah! Peaches!" He held the tin up, before disappointment hit him. "In fruit juice. Gross. I told dad to get the stuff in syrup."
"I don't think a half tin of tuna is going to be quite enough." Derek said, leaning back against the counter where he had been propped up this morning.
"Dad was going shopping last night." Stiles said. "Before you turned into an arsonist." Derek just shrugged, as though burning down buildings was just something he did every Friday night. "I'll go to the store and get something." Stiles sighed. He hated going grocery shopping. There was always too much going on, the shelves full of stuff he just couldn't help but put in the trolley – he ended up spending a fortune. His dad had all but banned him from going anywhere near the place.
He opened the drawer that had the 'household' money in there – pulled out a £50 and stuffed it in his jeans pocket. Walking to the door he turned back for a moment, "Try not to…" He was going to say: 'Burn the house down while I'm gone.' But the words died in his mouth. Derek was already behind him, pulling on his leather jacket and scowling. "Nevermind." He quickly corrected.
They took Stiles Jeep, although he knew Derek wasn't too happy about it. By the time they had pulled into the massive parking lot, Stiles was about to strangle the wolf beside him. He complained about everything. The crappy radio, the stupid station Stiles had programmed into it, the lack of air con and the sticky door.
"You know what – this jeep has been through a lot! Deranged werewolves keep ripping stuff out of the engine, people keep slamming me into the doors, some psychopath hammered my head into the steering wheel! So Don't talk about my car like it's some piece of junk." He seethed, clambering out of the door (which stuck).
"I didn't realise you were so touchy about it." Derek grumbled.
"You don't see me talking trash about your car." Stiles said, not looking at the look of utter distain on Derek's face.
"My car, MY CAR, is perfect." He ground out. "Perfect."
"Maybe because your car hasn't ever had the engine ripped out of it by a pissed off werewolf!"
They walked into the store in silence.
"Put that back."
"But it's on special."
"Put it back." Derek said, before taking a few extra items that Stiles had managed to sneak past him and putting them on the shelves near them. "And will you stop trying to put this crap in here?"
The trolley was half full, but unlike normal when Stiles and his dad went to the store, it wasn't filled with packets and frozen meals. Derek had taken control of the trolley as soon as they walked in and Stiles went right for the candy at the door. He'd dragged him down to the fresh produce, and the trolley was full of peppers and carrots and a few veg Stiles was sure he'd never even seen before. Then he'd talked to the in store butcher about what cuts he had – who'd been so happy that someone else understood the difference between shoulder and back (like, who even cared?) that he'd undercharged them and given them a few different cuts that Stiles just knew his dad was going to flip over.
"I hope you know how to cook this all." Stiles grumbled, putting the packet of easy whip back on the shelf. "Cause dad doesn't have the time to make dinner most nights, and it's a house rule that I don't get near the oven."
"Why does that not surprise me?" Derek said, lifting a bag of flour and a packet of yeast and putting them in the trolley with a smile.
"You laugh now, but we're still trying to scrape the stew off the ceiling." Stiles said, and then, for the first time since he'd met him, Derek actually did laugh. Okay, so it wasn't a full out 'Scott and Stiles laughing so hard that they couldn't breathe laugh,' but it was a laugh.
"Yeah, so it said to secure the lid, so I did." Stiles paused as Derek lifted a bottle of oil, then changed his mind and picked up a different brand. "With those metal clip things." Derek stopped and turned to face him, slowly.
"You sealed a pot of boiling stew with metal clips."
"How long did it take before it exploded?"
"About half an hour."
"That long, huh?"
"Do me a favour." Derek said, starting to move the trolley on again as Stiles hurried to keep up with him.
"Stay out of the kitchen."
They were sitting in the kitchen eating burgers and fries from the drive-thru they had passed because they'd spent too long at the grocery store, thanks to Derek's anal selection of every item of food he'd put into the trolley. He'd even helped put the stuff away, because apparently the drawer at the bottom of the fridge was for salad and not soda.
"So after this, what's the plan?" Derek said, between bites of his XXL triple quarter pounder. The thing was massive – even Stiles had to admit defeat and order the Double Cheese.
"Well," Stiles said, swallowing a mouthful. "I guess take out the furniture? Dad said they could go in the garage till we're done."
"Cool." Derek said, taking a bite. "Should probably lift the carpet too." He said, mouth full.
Stiles nodded, unable to reply with his mouth stuffed with curly fries.
It turned out that having a stupidly strong werewolf handy when moving solid wood furniture down stairs was undeniably worth the bitching. Derek, it seemed, did not appreciate almost being crushed to death when Stiles lost his grip on the wardrobe at the top of the stairs.
But the room was now totally empty, the carpet rolled up and laying on the garage floor, stains and fading perfume. It had taken them most of the afternoon, but Stiles was pretty happy with the result. Even if his dad had been there, Stiles didn't think they could have done any better.
"I'd better get started on dinner." Derek said, suddenly.
"Don't bother." Stiles said, wandering about the room. "He's never back till after 9."
"Well, I'm still hungry. I'll put some aside for the Sheriff for later." Derek said, looking at Stiles. "Why don't you start wiping down the woodwork?"
"Don't I get to see the great Michelin Star Alpha get his domestic goddess out?" Stile asked, grinning.
"Stiles, if you come anywhere near me when I'm cooking, I'll rip your throat out." He paused. "With my teeth." He growled, stalking out of the room.
"That gets pretty old, after the first 500 times!" Stiles called after him, grinning when he heard Derek's bark of laughter as he walked down the stairs.
They didn't bother eating at the table, Derek sat on the sofa while Stiles used a pillow on the floor, propping his plate up on his knees. The food was amazing, so much better than anything his dad had ever made – miles better than the frozen meals that they'd come to depend on. The TV was on, Derek refusing to relinquish the remote even though Stiles had threatened him with castration next time he was unconscious.
"I can't believe you like this." Stiles said, as the two main characters wrestled with sexual tension as well as a coin that gave people good luck – with disastrous results.
"It's great." Was all Derek said before ignoring him again.
"So are they dating?"
"No." Derek said. "But they should be."
"Cause Pete loves her."
"The dark haired girl?"
"Mika." Derek snapped. "Can I please watch this in peace?"
"It's not as good as Supernatural." Stiles commented as the credits started.
"For that, you get to wash the dishes." Derek said, staring at him like he'd lost his mind.
"What's wrong with Destial?"
"What's wrong wi-" He gaped. Stiles had never seen Derek at a loss for words, but he was sitting on the sofa in his jeans and vest (which had a gravy splash on it) looking at Stiles like he'd started talking in tongues.
"I think they rock." He defended, but Derek just groaned.
"Next you'll be talking about Wincest and I won't even be able to look at you in the face." He said, handing him the dirty plate. "Dishes."
Derek had made him do all the dishes, including the pots (which was totally unfair) but had come through and stood by the sink with a fluffy dishcloth and had dried, which he didn't really need to do. And they talked. Talked about TV shows and music, and food and school and sport. Talked for so long that Stiles forgot that Derek was the big bad wolf, the guy who was so fucked up in the head that he'd set fire to a whole building because it was the easiest way to hide a dead body.
He forgot that his dad would rather spend his day off at work rather than deal with his messed up kid, that his mom was really, really gone.
Forgot everything, until he was sound asleep on the sofa, feet tucked under him.
He awoke to the sound of voices. Warm and safe, his dads voice drifted around him.
"He sleeps like the dead."
"I'm really sorry. Just push him off."
"It's okay. There's some food in the oven."
"Just let me take him upstairs."
"I'll do it, get something to eat."
Then he was lifted, easily – smoothly, before the familiar comfort of his bed was around him. He grabbed a fistful of covers and rolled, cocooned and warm, before drifting further into sleep.
It was well after nine when he finally woke up – the smell of bacon drifted up the stairs, tugging on his stomach. Rolling out of bed, he wandered lazily down the stairs. Derek was standing by the cooker, frying pan in one hand.
"So, the domestic Goddess is still here then?"
"Shut up, Stiles." Derek groaned, half turning to face him. "Do you want some of this?"
"Does the 'Were shift at the full moon?" Stiles grinned. Glancing about, he saw something that made his heart sink. There was a plate and a coffee mug already on the drainer. His dads.
"He left about an hour ago." Derek said, handing him a plate with bacon and eggs on it.
"What?" Stiles said, looking at his plate and swallowing the disappointment again. "No happy face?"
Derek looked at him blankly, as though he had no idea what Stiles was talking about – which was probably the case. "Dude, eggs and bacon should be arranged like this." He quickly moved the hot rashers with his fingers and displayed his plate to Derek, who just rolled his eyes. "Like a happy face."
"Yeah, okay." Derek said, putting bacon on his own plate. It wasn't a happy face.
Derek grinned as he started to eat his 'frowny face' breakfast, which actually made him look like a really normal guy – and Stiles found himself smiling even after he'd finished.
They were just painting the room white – as Stiles and his dad had no idea what to do with the place. Stiles had wanted a games room, but his dad had wanted an office. So while they figured it out, the walls would just be white.
Derek used his nails to pry open the tin of paint, which Stiles thought was awesome, and started carefully painting around all the fixtures in the room. Stiles got to paint the big wide spaces – which was great cause he was really bad at delicate stuff.
"What colour have you picked?"
"This." Stiles said, waving his brush around the room. "At least until we know what we want to do with this place."
Derek nodded, returning to his painting. "Cool."
They stopped for lunch (which was the leftovers from the night before) and Stiles looked at his own paint splattered clothes, and back to Derek – who had managed not to get a single speck of white paint on his black jeans.
"Seriously!" Stiles groaned. "I look like I've caught some deadly tropical disease and you look like you've spent the morning in a bubble."
"If you weren't waving the brush around like a deadly weapon, you'd not have paint in your hair." Derek said, reaching over the kitchen counter and pulling a dried clump of paint out of Stiles' buzz-cut. "Jesus, it's on your back – how the hell did you get paint on your back?" He asked. "You've got the brush in front of you!"
"Maybe…" Stiles said, face thoughtful. "Maybe, this paintbrush is an artefact. Like in that show."
"Yeah! And… and its super-power thing is that you get paint everywhere."
"And any moment now, the little ginger girl is gonna run through the door with that old guy, and cover you in purple crap."
Derek looked pointedly at the back door.
"Any moment when you least expect it." Stiles clarified.
"Until then," Derek said, picking up their plates and putting them in the sink, "Let's just try to get the painting done without covering yourself in it."
"You did not just do that." Derek's voice was a low, dangerous growl.
"Ah, no." Stiles grinned. "I did not." He waved the paintbrush around his head as though he had no control over it. "It's this crazy artefact!"
Derek, standing by the wall, with a pure white stripe up the back of his grey t-shirt, just watched as Stiles stumbled around the room, holding onto the paintbrush as though it was dragging him all over the place.
"Dude! I'm telling you!" He yelled. "Mike! Pete!"
"Yeah! Mika! Help!" Stiles swung the paintbrush madly, little paint splatters flying all over the place. This was the kind of stunt he'd normally pull with Scott, but Scott wasn't here and Stiles was so bored of painting in silence. Swinging around, he misjudged the distance between Derek and the paintbrush – it swiped full up the side of his face, paint in his stubble, side-burns and hair. His eyes glowed red.
"Fuck." Stiles said, as he dropped the brush and did the only thing he could – He broke into a run.
He'd half jumped down the stairs, not really expecting Derek to follow him, but when he heard the roar, he knew that he was about to get his ass kicked. Derek didn't even bother with the stairs; he just leapt, following Stiles into the living room.
Stiles, who had a survialistic nature, broke into a sweat as adrenaline kicked in – he ran out of the living room and fled back up the stairs – a pissed off werewolf only a few seconds behind him.
Seeing the ladder to the attic, he bolted for it, using his hands and well and his legs to get up there double time. Derek though, just leapt – completely bypassing the metal ladder and landing on his feet in the dark attic, which was a pretty bad idea as he smacked his head on a beam, which forced him on his knees.
"Jesus, Derek." He managed, his voice wavering between true panic and laughter. Derek roared again, grabbing Stiles by the ankle and hauling him across the floor toward the hatch. Stiles started to laugh, true hysteria kicking in as Derek grabbed his shirt and pulled him to his knees.
"Dude," He gasped. "You have no idea how stupid you look with a big white stripe down one side of your scary wolf head." Laughing so hard he lost control of his limbs, he sunk to the floor. Derek, who hadn't expected Stiles to suddenly collapse, lost his balance and crashed on top of him, which just made Stiles laugh all the harder.
"Oh my God!" Stiles gasped, mouth inches from Derek's ear. "Get off me! Fragile human getting crushed to death here!" before laughter took hold of him again.
"My leg is caught in the ladder." Derek ground out. "I can't move."
"Oh god." Stiles laughed. "Okay, let me just…" He started wriggling from under Derek, who suddenly stopped breathing. It took a few moments for Stiles to understand why. "Um… Dude?" He managed, thankful for the darkness that covered his sudden blush as heat flooded to his face.
"Shut up and move." Derek ground out.
“Well, yeah – but um...” He wasn’t quite able to think straight, because DEREK HALE, ultimate badass, had a hard on. A fucking massive hard on, one that got Stiles attention through Derek's jeans, his jeans & his boxers – and his full on hysteria.
No wonder he was popular.
“Are you going to move?”
“Are you going to beat me to death with a concealed weapon if I do?”
“I’m going to beat you death either way.” Derek hisses, only to Stiles it didn’t sound like much of a threat. Laughter bubbled again.
“Beat me to death? Gettit?” he snorted.
“STILES!” Derek roared. Still laughing, Stiles wriggled out some more, but paused again as Derek sucked in a sharp breath. “Stiles, I swear to God, if you don’t move right now.” He hissed.
“Well, Yeah... I’m thinking about that.”
“Like you are?”
Derek managed to glare at him, even in the darkness. “Move, Stiles.”
“Well...” Stiles said, wondering just how far he could push it before Derek actually snapped him in half. “Seems to me like my ‘moving’ is part of the issue here.”
“There is not an issue here.” Derek ground out. “This is not happening, so move and help me up.”
“So... this,” He said, flexing the lower half of his body under Derek. “Isn’t happening.”
“No.” Derek bit out. Stiles could almost hear his teeth grinding together.
“Or this?” Stiles twisted his head around so he was just centimetres from Derek's face. He could feel each warm breath, felt the suck of air as he very, very slowly rocked his hips into Derek's.
“Stiles.” Derek groaned. “Stop it.”
“I think...” Stiles said, “That you actually might be enjoying this.”
“Really?” Derek snapped, and Stiles could feel his breath on the skin of his face and neck. “And what makes you think that?”
“Aside from the dick pressing into my stomach?” Stiles grinned. “The fact that you can still move your arms but you haven’t even tried to push me away yet.”