It catches Stiles off guard when it happens. One minute he and Derek are confronting a witch who has set up camp in the preserve. Derek's getting grumpier by the second, his eyebrows are no longer eyebrows, they're just eyebrow. Singular. He looks like Bert from Sesame Street. The witch starts mouthing off as witches are wont to do, and Stiles can tell Derek's about to lose his shit. He's probably about thirty seconds away from shifting and ripping her throat out, with his teeth. (At which point he won't have any eyebrows at all, it's one of life's great ironies.)
Before it can get to that point though, the witch grins, sharp and nasty. She raises her fist to her mouth, spreads her palm, and blows a load of weird, greyish purple dust, straight into Derek's face. Then she vanishes. Fucking vanishes. Into thin air.
Stiles blinks, mouth slack, “Shit!” he breathes. “Is that a thing now? Who does that? I mean that's like BAMF! Nightcrawler style! Except without the blue skin and the lingering smell of brimstone... and the tail. Still though, that was badass! ”
Next to him Derek sneezes loudly.
Stiles whips round to look at him, “What was that stuff dude?” Derek opens his mouth to answer, but then sneezes again, and then again, and then three more times in quick succession. Derek's nose wrinkles and there's a brief pause while they both wait to see if he's gonna sneeze again, but then it seems to pass.
“I wond-” Stiles begins, Derek sneezes so hard and so suddenly that he shifts in surprise. He blinks at Stiles, wide-eyes streaming.
Stiles grins. “Y'know my neighbor had a dog once that always sneezed whenever-”
Derek swipes at his eyes and glares furiously at Stiles.
Stiles swallows. “Not that you're a- obviously - I just meant-”
Derek shifts back out of his beta form, still glaring balefully at Stiles. He's rocking the uni-brow again, forehead knit in a little vee of disapproval. Stiles shouldn't be finding it as hot as he does but his fear response may actually, legitimately, be broken. On the upside though, Derek's sneezing seems to have stopped.
Derek sniffs pointedly and turns to stride back through the preserve.
“What was that stuff though?” Stiles asks, scrambling after him. “Could you tell?” because there's no way it was nothing. His life is not that easy and Derek's definitely isn't.
Derek shrugs, “I- I don't know.” he says with unusual candor. His gaze flits back to Stiles and for one moment, Stiles almost thinks he catches a brief flicker of something in Derek's eyes.
Shit. This is definitely going to come back and bite them both on the ass.
Stiles thinks they should probably go to Deaton and at least ask if supernatural sneezing powder is a thing. Derek refuses point blank. Stiles tries to argue it for a bit, but ultimately Derek's a fully grown alpha werewolf and Stiles can't make him do anything he doesn't want to. So once he's dropped Derek off at his loft he goes back home and tries to forget about the whole thing. He's not responsible for Derek Hale. He can barely keep himself alive half the time.
Blowing that dust in Derek's face was probably just a distraction so that the witch could escape. There doesn't seem to have been any permanent damage, no obvious side-effects except for the initial, and hilarious, bout of sneezing. Derek would know if there were, he'd have said something, wouldn't he?
Oh God, they're all gonna die.
The next day he's almost forgotten about the whole incident. He's got so much homework to do and werewolf stuff has been sucking up all his time lately. If Derek's got a problem he'll get in contact, right? Well, he probably won't, seeing as manfully dealing with impossible problems all by himself is Derek's schtick. However, Stiles has come to the conclusion that if there is a problem the universe will throw them together, because that's what the universe does. Apparently.
He still hasn't heard anything from Derek by the time he gets home from school that afternoon. Which is hardly unusual in itself, but Stiles can't shake the niggling feeling that something isn't right. He sits in his chair, tapping his pen against his desk and staring blankly at the History essay he has open on his laptop.
He's not responsible for Derek.
He's not responsible for Derek's fledgling pack.
He's not responsible for getting the witch off the preserve.
Those are all Derek's responsibilities and he won't welcome Stiles' interference.
He taps out a quick text to Erica. Despite their rocky beginnings, she's the member of Derek's pack he's closest too.
Did you find the witch?
He's only texting because if the witch is still about, then he wants to know about it, okay? It's not like he cares about them or Derek or- his phone beeps with a reply.
What is it with these people? Is Derek's terseness catching or something? Did it happen when he bit them? Stiles sits there for a moment, glaring at her reply, fidgeting and frustrated. He's not going to text them again, he's not going to beg to be included. He doesn't care what happens to them, or to the stupidly hot alpha asshole that turned them. So there.
Besides, how harmful can sneezing be?
Nobody ever died from sneezing.
He gnaws his lip, glaring balefully at his phone.
He's typed the text and sent it before he even knows what he's doing.
He blushes as he hits the send button and he's not even sure why.
For one moment he stares at the darkened screen of his phone, willing Erica to respond. Then in a fit of embarrassment he flings it across the room, aiming for his bed and missing. It falls to the floor with a clatter. Stiles glowers at his laptop.
They don't need him.
They don't want his help.
He doesn't care about any of them.
Especially not Derek.
When his phone starts to ring he startles in surprise and nearly falls off his chair before diving across the floor to pick it up.
“Why do you ask?” Erica asks abruptly.
“Why did I ask what?” Stiles pants, flustered from the rush to answer his phone.
“Derek. He's not... okay. He's being weird. Do you know something?”
“The witch did something the other day.” Stiles admits. He knew that asshole wouldn't admit if there was a problem. He knew it.
There's a long pause, “Maybe you better come over.”
He arrives at Derek's loft to find Boyd, Erica and Isaac all standing around, tense and awkward.
“Where's Derek?” Stiles asks as he walks through the door.
The other three look at each other, and then Isaac nods at the spiral staircase. Stiles follows his gaze and hesitates for a moment. He’s never been up there before. “He didn't meet us for training,” Isaac says.
“When we came round to find him he disappeared upstairs.” Erica adds.
“He was being really jumpy.” Boyd finishes.
Stiles glances at the wrought iron staircase uncertainly, “Do you think I should?” He jerks his thumb at the stairs.
They all look at each other and then back at him. There's a tension there that he's not seen in a little while. Not since they were first turned. Nobody says anything for a long moment.
“Why not.” Isaac says eventually, “it's not like he's talking to any of us.”
“Okay,” he says, “well, I'll um-” He gestures with his thumb behind him again and then edges awkwardly across the room.
They're watching him as he goes, he can feel the weight of their gaze on him with each step he takes.
Upstairs is a dark, dank space that's rocking the same air of industrial decay that permeates the rest of the loft. Derek's moved his bed up here at some point, and there's a battered looking chest of drawers that looks like it's been found on a street corner somewhere. At some point, when things calm down, Stiles is going to suggest a pack trip to Ikea or Pottery Barn. A few throw pillows and a pot plant could really liven this place up a little bit.
Derek's bedroom is empty but there's a door off to one side and after a moment's hesitation he knocks at it. There's a brief scuffling noise and then silence.
“Derek?!” Stiles says, voice small and uncertain in the stillness of the room.
There's no response.
“Derek are you in there?”
He's about to try the door, when he hears the sound of it unbolting and it opens a crack. He can see Derek peering out at him.
“Stiles! It's you!” He sounds relieved.
“Well yeah!” Stiles says, “Couldn't you tell that with your super-enhanced werewolf senses?”
Derek opens the door a little more and peers cautiously around Stiles, like he's checking to make sure they're alone. Stiles follows his gaze.
“Were you expecting someone else?” Stiles asks. Derek doesn't answer and Stiles is at a loss.“Want me to bring one of your wolfy minions to you?” he asks, hazarding a guess.
“No!” Derek jerks back, “No. Just um- they're still down there then?”
Stiles stares at him in confusion, “Your pack? Yeah. They're downstairs lurking in dark corners. It's sweet really, kind of a like an homage to their Alpha.” He studies Derek intently, the guy looks like shit. Clammy and pale, his eyes are red-rimmed. “Are you okay?”
Derek balls his hands into fists and stares about the room looking a bit lost. "Yeah. No. Just- I might- um- head out.” He's edging along the wall to the open bathroom window. It takes Stiles a second to realize he might be about to launch himself through it and down the fire escape.
“Hey!” Stiles starts forward and places his hand on Derek's arm. "Seriously, what's going on? Why don't you want to see your pack?”
“They're just a bit...” Derek makes an expansive gesture, trailing off.
“Terrifying? Intimidating? Needy? Creepy?”
“They really are, aren't they?” Derek agrees sagging a little, “Look, if they're still about, I'm just gonna...” He nods his head toward the window and grins weakly at Stiles. “Okay? It was good to see you though.”
With that, he dives through the open window like the hero in a bad action movie. The next thing Stiles hears is the clatter of Derek's footsteps racing down the fire escape. Then silence.
Stiles stands there for a moment, blank and disbelieving, “What the fucking fuck?”
He makes his way slowly back downstairs to find the terrible trio glaring at him from exactly where he left them. They haven't moved at all, like the world's most terrifying art installation.
"So, uh," Stiles proffers a weak smile, "Derek seems to have decided to... uh... go for a walk?"
Erica rolls her eyes.
They call Deaton who agrees to take a look at Derek, which would be great, except nobody knows where Derek is.
They call Scott in, but even he is unable to track Derek’s scent in any meaningful way. It's like he's just disappeared and he's not picking up his phone. It's nearly 3AM by the time Stiles finally staggers through the door to his bedroom, toes off his sneakers and collapses on to his bed with a loud sigh. He can feel the buzz of unspent adrenaline thrumming just under his skin. At least his Dad is still out at work so he doesn’t have to find an excuse for late it is.
The whole situation sucks, but there's nothing he can do now. He should get some sleep, but that'll be impossible if he doesn't find some way to settle in his mind. A witch. An evil witch. The universe really needs to start balancing this shit out. If there are going to be witches there should also be a Hogwarts, or at least a magical gateway to Narnia in the back of his closet.
Fortunately he has a magical gateway to naked people and it's called his laptop. He leans precariously off of the bed to reach for it. One good jerk off session ought to settle him and take his mind off things, ready for a good night’s sle-
His head twitches up suddenly as he hears a noise.
There's a scuffling noise coming from his closet. He flails and falls off the bed. For one wild moment he wonders if he's actually managed to summon a magical portal to Narnia just by thinking about it, because that wouldn't even be the weirdest thing that has happened to him this year.
“Aslan?” he whispers, and holds his breath.
There's nothing. No sound. He's about to chalk it up to too much caffeine and an overactive imagination when it happens again.
A scuffling rustle. There's somebody or some thing, in there.
He lunges for his baseball bat and scrambles to his feet, hands trembling. He can barely hear the rustling noise now over the sound of blood rushing in his ears.
Softly, oh so softly, he moves toward the closet, holding the bat in shaking hands.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he reaches out with one hand and places his hand on the doorknob. He's heart is pounding furiously now. He swallows. On the count of three...
He throws the door open with a bang. “Surprise, motherfucker!” he yells at the top of his lungs, waving the bat threateningly.
There's a high-pitched shriek and someone tumbles out of the closet, wrapped in what appears to be one of his dirty bed sheets.
Stiles staggers back in shock letting out a scream of his own and nearly drops his bat.
At that the person in the blankets screeches in fear and scrambles backwards, crouching in the corner and...
“Derek!” Stiles says, dropping his bat in confusion, “Is that you?”
Derek. Derek HALE, stares up at him with a pale face and wide eyes. “Stiles!” he says, “You scared me!”
“ I scared you ?” Stiles says, his voice squeaking with incredulity, “I know you like to lurk big guy, but wrapping yourself in an old blanket and hiding yourself in my closet is a step too far, okay? I have my limits. A line has to be drawn in the sand and this is my line, Derek. This right here!” He gestures firmly and then moves to slump on the side of his bed. “You nearly gave me a heart attack! My whole life just flashed before my eyes and all I could think was, ' Jesus, I have eaten a shit ton of curly fries.' ”
Derek is still huddled in a corner staring up at him and now that Stiles is a little less surprised, he can see that there's sweat beading on Derek's brow, his skin has that pale clammy look to it that reminds Stiles a little of that one time Derek had been shot with a wolfsbane bullet back when they first met. Except that back then Derek had looked pale and clammy and angry. He'd been angry as Stiles was driving him about, and angry as he was asking Stiles to cut his arm off with a saw. There's nothing angry about him now. Now he just looks awkward and a little... scared.
It's enough to make Stiles pause, enough to make him swallow the angry words on the tip of his tongue and breathe. Just for a second. Something is clearly very, very, wrong. Finally, when he's calmed himself down, he moves forward carefully and crouches down in front of Derek. “Hey, buddy!” he says cajolingly, “Wanna tell me why you were in my closet?”
Derek pulls the old bed sheet closer round his shoulders and hunches in on himself. Stiles winces. That bed sheet must smell foul, it's been sitting in the bottom of his laundry basket for days marinating and to Derek's sensitive werewolf nose it must reek of stale sweat, hormones and sexual frustration.
“I came to see you,” Derek begins, “but then in the backyard next door there were...” he trails off.
Stiles watches him carefully, “What, Derek?” there's a long pause, “Tell me. I want to help, but you need to tell me. Was it the witch?”
Derek shakes his head. “It's the ears,” he confesses, “and the teeth and the way they move. I've never liked them.”
Stiles wonders for a moment what could possibly be in his next door neighbor’s yard that has an alpha werewolf hiding in a closet like a scared kid.
“I don't like the way their noses twitch either.” Derek says eventually, he's staring at Stiles now, there's a terrified, desperate look in his eyes.
“Their noses?” Stiles says, beginning to understand but not quite believing it. “Derek, are you talking about the next door neighbour's pet rabbits?”
Derek shudders involuntarily and nods.
It should be funny, Stiles should be fucking hysterical, but something about the way Derek is sitting here, all curled in on himself, leaning into Stiles' side like he can help, like Stiles can protect him, that makes him pause. Derek's scared of rabbits. Apparently. That's a thing now. Huh. There must be more to it than that though.
“Why here though?” Stiles asks. “What made you come over here in the first place.”
“Needed somewhere safe.” Which... okay, Stiles doesn't know whether to be offended or not. Derek's scared of his own shadow, but not scared of Stiles apparently. Just because he's the human doesn't mean he can't be scary and badass. If anything he's more badass because he's the human who runs with werewolves.
Now may not be the time to point that out though. Derek's staring at him with wide, worried eyes. Stiles swallows and reaches for his phone. Just when he thought things couldn't get any weirder.
“I don't know Scott!” Stiles says, gesturing wildly his cell phone tucked in the crook of his neck, “He was hiding in my closet, and he's acting weird. ” He hisses that last bit, hoping that Derek won't hear him.
Derek, who he left wrapped in that scuzzy sheet and curled up on his bed . Derek Hale is in his bed, cuddling up to his pillow like it's his long lost teddy bear . Stiles has dreamed about Derek ending up in his bed okay? Many times in fact. Many, many times. It was never supposed to happen like this. There was supposed to be arguing and then making out and then nudity and then mutual orgasms and then maybe more arguing. It's what they do. The arguing. Not the other stuff. Unfortunately.
“Do you need me to come over?” Scott asks, “I mean is he dangerous?”
Stiles hesitates for a long moment, he wants to tell Scott about what happened this evening, but even as he thinks about it he feels guilty. Something is clearly not right with Derek, and once they sort him out he'll be mortified if Stiles has told everyone he was hiding in a closet afraid of Stiles' six year old neighbor's new pet bunny rabbits. Stiles is an asshole, he's not that asshole. “He's not dangerous, not to me anyway,” he says. “He's sick though or cursed or something . He seems so – scared .”
There's a noise behind him and Stiles wheels round, Derek's standing there, still wrapped in the ratty old sheet, hair flat on one side, eyes wide and fearful.
“Hey buddy!” Stiles manages weakly, “You okay?”
Derek looks around the room cautiously before stepping in, “Yeah, I just,” he edges closer to Stiles, “I think I'd feel better down here.” He's right up in Stiles personal space now, hovering by his shoulder. Stiles can feel the warm puff of Derek's breath against his neck, he barely suppresses a shiver.
“We'll come to Deaton’s,” Stiles says to Scott, “Meet us there.”
Getting Derek to Deaton’s seemed like such a simple idea. It turns out it's not quite as easy as Stiles anticipated. Derek follows Stiles from room to room like a lost puppy while Stiles gets ready to leave. He also won't let go of that damn bed sheet and Stiles cannot let him take it with them. Derek might not mind the idea (or the smell) of it, but he doesn't want to see the look on Scott's face if Derek turns up clinging to a security blanket like Linus fucking Van Pelt. Without it though, Derek insists on sticking as close to Stiles as humanly possible. Personal space is a thing of the past. He plasters himself along Stiles back, making it almost impossible for Stiles to put his coat on, not to mention-
“Are you... sniffing me?” Stiles says suspiciously.
“No! Of course not,” Derek says eyes darting shiftily.
“Hmmm...” Stiles says, unconvinced, “You're going to need to take about two steps back, buddy boy, I need a little space.”
Derek grudgingly backs up a step. He still looks like shit.
“Okay, big guy,” Stiles says, tugging on his grey jacket, “let's get you to Deaton's.”
Derek herds him towards the Jeep, glancing warily around them. 'Constant vigilance!' has always been Derek's motto. He's taking it a little too far now though, glaring at bushes and parked cars like he thinks unseen attackers are about to leap out from behind them. The wind blows the lid off a trash can and Derek jumps about a mile and clings to him.
“O-kay, Mad-Eye,” Stiles says patting him gently on the arm, “it's okay.”
Derek gives him a tight smile, glances pointedly at the Jeep. “Fine,” Stiles says, unlocking the car, “In you get.”
Derek slides in, glaring round the inside of the Jeep like something might be about to leap out at them. Stiles closes the door after him and then scurries round to the driver's side. He scrambles in and shuts the door. When he glances at Derek, the guy is carefully buckling his seat belt. He scowls a little when he catches Stiles watching him.
“Safety is important Stiles.” he says snippily.
Stiles shakes his head and starts the engine.
It's a weird night.
Both Derek's pack and Scott are already with Deaton by the time they arrive at the clinic. Derek stands behind Stiles pressed so close that Stiles has to close his eyes, count to ten and will away the inappropriate thoughts. Now is not the time to be at half chub. Nobody seems to have noticed his issues though, they're all staring at Derek with a kind of horrified fascination, and Stiles can literally feel the way Derek is shrinking under their gaze.
“I think maybe Derek should speak to Deaton alone,” he suggests.
Boyd and Isaac scowl and Erica begins to open her mouth in protest. Deaton looks at them all impassively, “That seems reasonable.”
Realistically, with their werewolf hearing, it's not going to give Derek any privacy, but the presence of all the other wolves seems to be making him really tense. Slowly Scott and the pack file out into the waiting room. Stiles makes to follow them, but Derek makes a soft noise of protest as he starts to pull away.
“You- uh... want me to stay?” Stiles says, uncertainly.
Derek shrugs, “Maybe. If you want...” he says crossing his arms and looking away.
Stiles lets out a noisy sigh, because clearly Derek is constitutionally incapable of admitting he needs help. Whatever. “Fine. I'll stay.”
“Tell me exactly what happened then,” Deaton begins.
Stiles waits a second to see if Derek is going to dive in and explain things, but obviously that's too much to hope for. He sighs again, “There was a witch in the preserve. Derek and I confronted her yesterday because he wanted her to move on from Hale pack territory. They had a debate about it and then just as things were about to turn nasty she blew dust in his face and disappeared into thin air.”
Deaton raises an eyebrow, “Dust.”
“Greyish-purplish dust. Derek sneezed a lot. Now he's acting weird.”
Derek makes a little noise of protest, but given that he's currently hiding behind Stiles rather than speaking to Deaton himself, Stiles decides to ignore it.
“Can you define weird for me?”
“Clingy? To me at least. Scared though, that's the main thing.”
Deaton purses his lips and looks at Derek, thoughtfully, taking in his red eyes and clammy skin. “ Aconitum Timore,” he says eventually, “A rare strain of wolfsbane. If ingested the side-effects are singular.”
“Singular how?” Stiles says, feeling Derek press a little further into his back.
“An escalating fear response. Derek will be become steadily more and more afraid as his body produces more and more adrenaline.”
“So it's not fatal-" Stiles begins. Deaton winces. There's a heavy silence.
“Make no mistake,” Deaton says carefully, “Like any strain of wolfsbane, untreated it will kill him. Anyone, even a werewolf, can only survive in fight or flight mode for so long. His system is flooding with adrenaline. If we don't stop it, the fear will kill him.”
Stiles can feel Derek go still behind him. He knows the others in the next room will have heard it too.
“What do we do?”
“I think you need to find that witch. Unfortunately I don't keep a supply of Aconitum Timore . If you can bring me her supply, I can prepare an antidote.”
“Right.” Stiles says. It's a solid plan. He can get behind that.
“In the mean time, try and anchor him,” Deaton adds, “keep him as calm as you can.”
Stiles nods, as he makes to move to the door though Derek shuffles behind him glancing nervously about. Erica, Boyd, Isaac and Scott are all sitting in the waiting room on plastic chairs like naughty children outside the principal’s office.
“Did you hear that?” Stiles says gesturing to the door.
“We better go find us a witch then.”
Except Stiles can't.
Stiles has to baby-sit Derek who has apparently decided that Stiles is his safe space.
In the end, the betas bound away into the night on the look out for the Witch and Stiles drives Derek back to his house. He offers to take Derek back to his loft but Derek just looks at him with wide, earnest eyes and says, “I'd rather be near you.”
“I'm kind of insulted that I'm so completely non-threatening to you that even when you are literally about to die of fear. When you are scared of your own betas and the wind and... bunny rabbits, you're still not even a tiny bit scared of me,” he grumbles as he pulls up to the house, “I'll have you know I can be pretty intimidating!”
Derek blinks at him owlishly, saying nothing.
Stiles sighs in disgust and gets out of the car. He let's them in and then stomps up to his bedroom and throws his coat over his desk chair. “You can have the guest room.” he calls out, “It's along the hallway to the right.”
He half turns to see if Derek heard him and is only half surprised to see Derek hovering in the doorway, a hangdog expression on his face.
“Guest room not going to cut it huh?” Stiles says reluctantly.
Derek slinks into Stiles' room without looking at him.
“Fine,” Stiles grumps, “I'll get some bedding you can sleep on the floor.”
Just when he thought this couldn't get any more awkward, he's now got to sleep in the same room as the object of his unwilling affections.
He stomps off to the guest room and drags all the bedding from the spare bed, before bringing it back through and tossing it haphazardly on the floor. Tonight is going to be a long night.
He pulls off his hoodie and steps out of his jeans, leaving on his boxers and a t-shirt. He's too tired now to be self conscious about the fact he's undressing in front of Derek. At least he thinks he is, until he turns to see that Derek is standing their in a pair of tight black boxer briefs and nothing else .
Stiles swallows hard, and averts his eyes. “I'm just gonna-” he says turning his back and climbing into his bed. He pulls the covers over himself and turns to face Derek , who looks at him, then down at the nest of bedding on the floor, then back at Stiles bed with hopeful eyes.
"You can’t sleep in my bed," Stiles says firmly. He is not going to share a bed with Derek while he's under the influence of anything.
"But-" Derek blinks down at him, clammy and nervous and kind of mournful.
"I'm serious. If you want you can cuddle up to my old sheet or the t-shirt I wore today, but we are not sharing a-"
Derek reaches out a hand and it takes Stiles a moment to process what he wants.
"Seriously?" he says, sitting up in bed and yanking his t-shirt off. He throws it at Derek and then dives back under his covers trying not to blush.
Derek is already burrowing into the makeshift nest of bedding on the floor, face buried in Stiles' t'shirt. Stiles reaches out and turns out the light.
In the darkness he listens to the sound of Derek's soft breathing, barely able to make out the shape of him wrapped in the comforter in the gloom of the room.
He's never going to get to sleep.
He's woken with a start a couple of hours later. Derek is thrashing around on the floor in the middle of a hallucination or a nightmare or something. Stiles leans over and flicks on his bedside lamp to get a better look.
Derek is pale and sweating, hands fisted in the comforter. He lets out a low groan. He's awake, at least his eyes are open. They're glassy though, unfocused. Whatever he's looking at, it's not in the room.
“Derek,” Stiles mumbles, still half asleep. He tumbles out of bed and kneels beside him on the floor. Without thinking he reaches out a hand to grab Derek's shoulder, “Derek!” he calls, “Wake up!.
In hindsight that may have been a mistake.
Without warning Derek grabs him by the throat, pulling him down. Flipping their positions so that he's looming over Stiles, pressing him into the nest of blankets on the floor.
“D'rk!” Stiles chokes out. He flails, hitting out with his fists to try and bring Derek back to himself, but nothing seems to work.
Derek pushes in harder, a low growl rumbling in his chest. It's not like any noise that Stiles has ever heard Derek make before. He can see spots dancing across his vision and he knows he's about to lose consciousness if he doesn't do something quickly. How do you even hurt an Alpha for crying out loud? Derek shifts his position, lifting his weight off Stiles, and Stiles does the only thing he can think of. He brings his knee up hard right into Derek's crotch.
Derek yelps and falls back, releasing his grip on Stiles' throat. Stiles drops back into the nest of bedding gulping down greedy lungfuls of air.
“Oh my God!” he moans.
Across the room, Derek groans. Stiles chances a glance at him. He still looks manic, hair sticking up in sweaty tufts, skin waxy, dark purple smudges like bruises under his eyes. He's obviously not hallucinating any more though. He's doubled over in pain and Stiles feels a very small flash of guilt.
“Sorry,” Stiles rasps, “It was the only way to stop you killing me.”
Derek nods, still doubled over, eyes squinting shut. “S-fine,” he manages.
Stiles waits a minute, giving Derek a chance to recover. “Were you hallucinating?” he asks eventually.
Derek looks pained, but nods. “I thought you were K-” he stops himself.
There’s a loaded silence.
“Sorry,” Derek says eventually, “I'd never intentionally hurt...” He trails off, gaze flickering over Stiles.
Stiles nods. He gets that, but it doesn't mean he feels all that comfortable sleeping in the same room with Derek at the moment. He massages his aching neck with his hand. Derek winces guiltily. “I don't think I'm gonna be able to sleep after that!" He glances around for inspiration, “Want to watch a movie?”
Derek looks at him warily, “Which one?"
“I've got Die Hard, or the Alien quadrilogy” Stiles begins enthusiastically. Derek pales visibly and Stiles winces. “Actually," he says, "I really feel like watching Wall-E. What do you think?”
Derek nods tersely.
Which is how he ends up sitting next to Derek on his bed, his laptop shared between them, watching one of Pixar's finest. He's horribly aware of how close they are, how little they’re wearing, how inappropriate every one of his thoughts are right now. Derek's body is a warm line against his own and he keeps leaning into Stiles' space, like it's natural. Comforting even. Stiles can't suppress a shiver as Derek leans his head onto Stiles shoulders and huffs out a laugh at Wall-E's antics on screen.
Stiles grabs a pillow, throws it over his lap and closes his eyes.
This is a special kind of hell.
Stiles wakes at nine o'clock the next morning, blearily aware that something very big and very warm is sprawled over him like a giant sweaty octopus. It takes him about a minute to realize that he's being aggressively spooned by Derek. Derek, who has his face smooshed into the back of Stiles' neck and is mumbling feverishly. Derek, who's hands are wound tightly round Stiles' belly pulling him into the hard line of his body. Stiles shifts nervously and... woah. Yup. That's Derek's rock hard dick pressed up against his ass.
Stiles closes his eyes. The universe hates him, and he's not sure why because he doesn't think he's done anything to deserve it.
Maybe if he can just reach his phone, he can find out if the Scott and the rest of the pack have had any luck with finding that antidote.
As he shifts to reach for it Derek murmurs and drags Stiles back against him possessively. Stiles sighs and gives up, relaxing back into it. It's probably the only time he's going to get a hug from Derek. He might as well enjoy it.
Of course at that precise moment Scott and Boyd burst into the room, “We got it! We got the antidote! Woah, dude! My eyes!” Scott slaps a hand over his eyes and stumbles to a stop.
Stiles struggles for a moment to extricate himself from Derek's iron grip. "It's not what it looks like!” he begins, trying to worm his way out from under Derek, while a blush crawls up his cheeks.
Derek, finally starts to rouse himself, disturbed by all the commotion and Stiles' incessant wriggling. There's this moment where he just pulls himself right up against Stiles, drawing him in and all Stiles can feel is the hard press of Derek's dick against his ass and his warm hands and then... then he's launched off the bed at speed as Derek's conscious mind catches up with his body and he realizes exactly what he's doing and who he's doing it to.
Stiles scrambles to his feet indignantly. “Hey!” he says glaring at Derek but the words die in his throat. Derek is wide-eyed and wrecked looking. He's cowering behind the far side of Stiles bed staring up at at Boyd and Scott with a look of absolute terror.
Stiles swallows his pride and stalks across to Scott. He reaches for the vial, “Does he need to drink it?” Stiles asks curtly.
Scott hands it to him, silently. Boyd is watching him one eyebrow raised sardonically.
Stiles ignores them both, grabs the vial. “Hey Der,” he begins, approaching cautiously, “You just need to drink this okay. If you drink this, you’ll feel a lot better.”
Derek doesn't move from his position hiding behind the bed. Stiles picks his way over and then crouches next to him. “It'll be okay,” he promises, “just drink this.”
Derek watches him warily, but he takes the vial from Stiles hand. “Are you sure?” he asks, and something in Stiles breaks a little.
“Yeah. Yeah I'm sure,” he says with more conviction than he feels.
Derek nods and then swallows down the contents quickly.
For one moment nothing happens. They just sit there watching each other, but then slowly, slowly Derek's skin starts to look less waxy, color returning little by little, and as those changes occur a creeping look of realization dawns across his face. He's looking at Stiles like he's absolutely fucking horrified.
For one moment they just stare at each other and then Derek stands abruptly looking round the room a little dazed.
“Th-Thanks.” he manages, barely glancing at Boyd and Scott, “I feel better.”
“That's okay, dude,” Scott says, “Good to have you back.”
“Great, well, I'm just gonna...” Derek gestures to the clothes he left piled on his chair and tugs them on.
There's a long pause while no-one says anything.
Derek flings open the window and just like that he's gone.
Stiles stands there in shock for a moment before staring at Boyd and Scott in disbelief.
“Why is everybody in this pack except me so fucking dramatic all the time?” he asks flinging himself back on to his bed.
Boyd snorts in derision.
It's been two weeks since he last saw Derek. Since Derek shared his bed with him and then disappeared without a goddamn word.
There have been no texts, no phone calls, no lurking in his bedroom or calling him for help with whatever supernatural shenanigans are going down this week.
It's like Derek's just erased himself from Stiles' life.
Stiles gets it okay? They were put in a shitty, shitty situation, and Derek kind of got a little comfortable there towards the end in way that he would never have done if he hadn't been poisoned or afraid or whatever. Stiles gets that. He does. He's not going to ask Derek to talk about it or hold it against him. He barely lets himself think about it to be honest. The look of complete repulsion on Derek's face once he'd been 'cured' had been enough to squash any lingering fantasies about that night Stiles might have harboured.
Fuck him. Stiles thinks viciously, I don't need him. I don't even like him that much.
Scott only tries to broach the subject with him once and Stiles just glares at him until he drops it. It's a tactic he's adopted from Derek actually, and it's surprisingly effective.
Still he's not prepared for the day when he finally sees Derek again, in the grocery store of all places.
He rounds the corner to see Derek in the cereal aisle holding a box of Lucky Charms speculatively and decides to just go for it.
“So,” Stiles says, stepping right into Derek's personal space, “Are we gonna talk about it or are you just going to ignore me for the rest of time.”
Derek huffs out a sigh and places the box of cereal carefully back on the shelf.
“What's there to talk about?” he asks, folding his arms.
Stiles glares at him, “Fine. We won't talk about it. We'll just pretend that nothing happened. Right? Is that what you want? We'll just... never talk again. Apparently.”
“Stiles-” Derek begins.
“I just want you to know something though!” Stiles says, because fuck it , he's going to get this out. He's been angry and hurt for two weeks now and he just needs to say it, “I get it, I'm just the puny human. So unintimidating that even when you're literally dying of fear you're not scared of me. I get that. I'm not important to you. Not really. Not enough to actually want to stay in contact, or to let me know how you are after your near fatal poisoning! I just think you should realize that I'm valuable. To your pack and to you. You may not realize it now, but I'm worth something. I helped you, and I deserve more than to have you cut me out. It's not like I want, or even expect a thank-you but I expect a bit fucking more than just being ignored.”
He flings his shopping basket down into the aisle and storms out of the store without looking back. He climbs into his Jeep and drives around aimlessly for half an hour not ready to go back home yet. When he does finally get in and climb the stairs to his room, Derek's waiting for him.
“What are you doing here.” Stiles says pausing to glare at him.
“We need to talk.” Derek shifts uncomfortably from foot to foot.
“Oh now we need to talk.” Stiles grouses. He folds his arms and stands there. He's not going to make this easy for Derek. He refuses.
Derek scowls, “You've got it all wrong Stiles. As usual.”
“What? I'm sorry, is this what passes as an apology because let me tell you something. It sucks. ” Stiles storms up to him and jabs a finger in his chest. “You owe me an apology.”
Derek slaps his finger away, “Will you just listen for once and stop assuming you know everything?”
Stiles crosses his arms. “Oh my god, this had better be really, really good.”
Derek scrubs his fingers through his hair and glances at him in irritation. “You're right. I've been avoiding you,” he begins.
“But!” Derek continues loudly, “You're wrong about almost everything else.”
There's a long pause. “What do you mean?”
“I avoided you because I thought you might be uncomfortable with me after that morning when we woke up together-" he trails off, gaze flicking away, before continuing, “but you're wrong about me not valuing you, about me not realizing you're an asset to the pack!”
"Just-" Derek cuts him off and begins to pace the room in agitation. "Do you know why I was okay with you being around when I was poisoned?” he asks, “I was okay with you, because I trust you. Even in that state. Even poisoned and afraid and dying of the most ridiculous strain of wolfsbane ever I knew I could trust you. Do you get what that means? Do you even know how important that is to me? It wasn't because you're human, or because I think you can't handle yourself... it was because I knew I would be safe with you! ”
Derek steps closer, “It doesn't matter how much I try and stop these... feelings , it doesn't matter how often I try and push you away, you keep being there. You keep showing up, you keep caring. ” Derek glares at him, “Why do you do that?”
“If you don't know why that is by now then you're a fucking idiot and I'm not going to tell you,” Stiles says, blushing furiously.
Derek steps forward until he's right in Stiles personal space. “Fine, asshole, don't say it then,” he mutters and kisses him.
At first it's hot and hard and desperate, like they're both still trying to win an argument. Open mouthed and angry. Stiles staggers backwards under the force of it in surprise but Derek steadies him. They break apart and stare at each other, breathing hard. “You're infuriating, and impossible,” Derek says, dropping a kiss on the corner of his mouth.
“Yeah,” Stiles mumbles, “Well you're a dick.”
Derek grins down at him and brushes their noses together and it’s so fucking fond. “I trust you,” he says and Stiles shivers under the weight of those words.
“I trust you too.” he replies, and means it.
Derek dives in for another kiss walking them backwards until Stiles legs are bumping against the back of his bed. Stiles breaks the kiss again and grins at him impishly, “So Derek, I have to ask, bunny rabbits, is that a thing we should talk about?”
Derek bares his teeth in a wolfish smile and pushes Stiles back onto the bed.
“Shut up Stiles.”