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The virtue of patience

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The first time Derek notices something, he is just barely standing. Blood is running down his arm, dripping from his fingers to the forest floor. He is out of breath but it hurts to breathe so he tries to take in air in small gulps. Stiles and Scott are standing to his right, Stiles’ eyes locked on Derek’s. He’s not even looking at the goblin that Derek hadn’t managed to disable. The goblin that is still angry and seems like he could attack anything within reach at any given time. Derek can see it in Stiles’ eyes, something intense and meaningful. Instead of saying anything, Stiles just turns around and faces the goblin with a determined look on his face. Derek wants to reach out and stop him. He wants to put himself between Stiles and that fucking goblin, but before he has a chance to do anything, his vision blurs, dots appears and he is falling to the forest floor unconscious.

Derek wakes with a start and is completely disoriented until he realizes he is in his own bed at his loft. Everything smells funny, like goblin and goblin insides and gore, and it tickles his nose and makes him want to sneeze. He cautiously gets out of bed, rolling his shoulders, testing how much he’s healed already and it’s only after he has peeled off an extremely gross t-shirt that he notices the noises coming from the kitchen. When he goes to investigate he finds Stiles and Scott eating breakfast in the kitchen. When they notice him standing in the doorway Stiles’ eyes gets real wide and his jaw slackens. He is looking unabashedly at Derek’s chest, which makes Derek feel completely exposed and extremely self-conscious in a way he hasn’t felt like since he was 15.

Scott kicks Stiles under the table, and Stiles splutters. “Dude, we totally cooked ourselves breakfast. Hope it’s fine. We kinda needed the energy after dragging your heavy ass home,” he says, smirking at the end. Derek almost can’t breathe, the smell of Stiles’ lust is so overbearing that it is drowning out the smell of bacon. Even Scott looks uncomfortable, and he really isn’t the best at scenting so that is saying a lot.

Derek just turns around, eager to leave the kitchen and the smell of Stiles’ want and exits with a “’s fine…”

He doesn’t let himself really breathe until he is in the shower, where he most certainly cannot smell Stiles.

Derek is oblivious to many things. He knows this. He can be especially oblivious to the things he doesn’t want to realize. Like the fact that Stiles has somehow inserted himself into his life in a way that makes Derek uncomfortable when he thinks about it. So he doesn’t. Think about it. He’ll be opening the cupboard in the kitchen, reaching for a mug, when he sees the one with the Captain America logo on it, and he’ll just know not to use that one as it surely belongs to Stiles. Or he’ll be reading on his couch when he notices just how much his couch smells like Stiles. And he studiously ignores how much that pleases him. The thing is, Derek shouldn’t notice Stiles. Not like that. Stiles is too young, and Derek knows firsthand how an age gap can bring imbalance into a relationship. Obviously Derek wouldn’t take advantage of Stiles knowingly. But he is afraid of what kind of damage he could do, without realizing it. And then there is the fact that Derek is a complete disaster when it comes to relationships. Everything he touches turns to ash. He doesn’t really want to be, but he is much too trusting. Still, after everything that has happened he let himself fall for Jennifer. And after that disaster he has decided not to bother anymore. Clearly, his own emotions and desires cannot be trusted. And even though he is quite sure that Stiles won’t take advantage of him, he still can’t let himself open up like that. He has a very hard time envisioning himself be that vulnerable again for anyone. Especially during sex. He’s never been much of a one-night stand kind of guy, every time he has done it, trying to fill out the hole inside of him, he ends up just feeling even more hollow. So no casual sex either for him. Mostly he has made peace with this. Or at least that’s what he tells himself when he has his hand around his dick and the imagery in his head of Stiles on his knees in front of him with Derek’s dick in his mouth. He is fine. No, he really is.

So he does what he does best. He ignores the shit out of all the clues Stiles leaves behind. And generally does his best to avoid Stiles as much as possible. The problem is that Stiles generally isn’t the kind of person who is easily ignored. Basically, Stiles is a little shit, who seems to instinctively know when he isn’t wanted, and then he just goes ahead and studiously ignores that. So the more Derek tries to avoid Stiles, the more Stiles inserts himself into Derek’s life and loft, and simply stink the place up. Derek is in over his head, he just doesn’t know what to do about it. And that makes him uncomfortable.

Derek’s head is swimming with the scent of blood to the point where he has a hard time controlling himself. He is constantly clenching and unclenching his fists, rolling his shoulders trying to relieve the tension. He is surrounded by pack in Deaton’s office, but Stiles is the one who is bleeding. He is looking exhausted and smells so wrong, of pain and panic and adrenaline, but he keeps saying that he is fine. And that just pisses Derek off to the point where he wants to smash something.

Somehow he finds himself the last one to leave with Stiles. He doesn’t quite realize how it became his job to drive Stiles home, but when he sees the way Stiles gingerly holds on to his arm when he lowers himself inside the car Derek chooses not to say anything about it.

There’s a tense silence in the car. It’s not awkward, or remotely comfortable, as their silences has become of late. Derek really wants to yell at Stiles for being so stupid and always put himself at risk, but he knows that is not his place. So he keeps quiet.

When they get to Stiles house Stiles doesn’t make any moves to get out of the car. Derek just lets him sit there, doesn’t quite know what to say to him.

“You make me feel like I should be apologizing,” is what Stiles eventually says. He’s looking at Derek. Like he’s worried how that sentence will make Derek react. Derek just clenches his teeth.

After a long stretched out moment of silence Stiles finally sighs and tries to get out of the car. He winces in pain long before his hand has reached the handle of the door, and that has Derek moving. He gets out of the car and before he is realizing what he is doing he is carefully helping Stiles out. Stiles leans heavily on him and Derek cannot have that so he deposits him against the side of the car. Stiles stands there just looking at Derek like he wants to say something.

Finally Stiles settles on; “Is that what you want? Do you want me to say I’m sorry to you?”

Derek finally looks at him. His eyes roaming his face, seeing the bags under his eyes, that makes him wonder how long it has been since Stiles got a good nights sleep. “No.”

Stiles smiles that half smile he has, not quite a smirk, but not really a smile neither. “No?” he says.

Derek has to look away. “Stop getting yourself hurt, Stiles.”

“Is this you caring about me?” Stiles says, looking at him from under his lashes.

Derek can feel his heart rate spike. He doesn’t want to be affected by this, he really doesn’t. So he just looks off to the side, pretending that the last sentence isn’t hanging between them.

Stiles cautiously takes a step towards Derek. And then another. Slowly, like he is afraid of scaring him. Which is stupid, why should Derek be afraid of him. But suddenly Stiles is standing so close to him, that Derek can almost taste him, and before Derek can think of a way to push Stiles away, Stiles leans forward and kisses him.

Derek can feel Stiles relax into the kiss. Stiles makes this sound in the back of his throat that makes Derek want. But Derek doesn’t kiss back. He is stiff as a board, with open eyes studying the lashes of Stiles’ closed eyes. He wants to push Stiles away, wants to stop the kiss but he can feel his body shutting down. He can do nothing but just stand there and let Stiles kiss him. Hoping for it to end.

Finally Stiles seems to realize that Derek is not kissing back. He opens his eyes and slowly leans away from Derek. Derek shouldn’t think that he looks adorable like that, blinking with his lips still slightly pursed. Stiles takes a step back and looks down at the ground. He takes a deep breath and suddenly the air between them is flooded with the smell of humiliation. Derek wants to reach for him, wants to let him know it’s okay, but he can’t. His body still won’t move. So he just stands there and looks at Stiles. Looks at the blush that is spreading from Stiles’ cheeks down his neck.

“I’m sorry…” Stiles says and finally looks at him, “I thought you wanted this as well.” He looks at Derek like Derek holds all the answers. He probably does, but Derek still can’t make himself move, let alone talk.

Never one for long pauses, Stiles keeps on talking; “Dude, you gotta know how I feel about you…” he says and makes an elaborate hand movement that seems to encompass the air around them, “I can’t even imagine how I stink up the place every time I’m around you.”

Derek finally finds his voice; “I do.” is what comes out.

Stiles rubs his neck with his hand like he’s still embarrassed, but his eyes never leaves Derek’s. “You do what?” he asks obnoxiously, “you do want it or you do realize it?”

Derek doesn’t really have an answer to that. Probably both, but he can’t really say that to Stiles. Derek’s silence seems to set something off in Stiles. He grins and the air is once again flooded with chemo signals, only this time Derek smells determination and relief. “Dude, I’m gonna make you want it so bad. The next time I kiss you, you can’t help but kiss me back.” He huffs a laugh at that, winks at Derek and finally slowly, gingerly walks towards his house.

Derek keeps standing still, his entire body tense and poised for a fight. His fist clenched. He doesn’t turn around to see Stiles entering the house, but he can hear it. He knows he should get into the car and drive home, but he still can’t move. He takes a deep breath, and another, and another. Slowly he seems to get his movements back and finally he can climb back into his car.

He somehow manages to drive himself home, but keeps sitting in the darkness of the car after he shuts it off. He doesn’t really know why he is reacting so hard to this. Why now, why not with Jennifer. Why this stupid kid who doesn’t quite realize what he’s doing.

Derek leans forward and rests his forehead against the steering wheel when the first tears fall. He stays in the car for a very long time that night.