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Aversion Therapy

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It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Though if Stiles had had more than a second to think about it, he probably would have remembered that his spur of the moment ideas weren't always his best ones. That sometimes, in fact, they went spectacularly wrong.

But he doesn't have a lot of choice right now, the rest of the pack is a mess. Isaac's slumped against the side of the trashed movie theater, still trying to heal whatever getting smashed into the wall had done to him. Erica's not moving, Boyd looks dead on his feet, and Derek is about to get gutted by something that looks like a giant gorilla which had stolen the claws and teeth from the entire rest of the animal kingdom.

The only weapon Stiles has is roughly two tons of steel, which he's currently in control of. So he makes a judgment call, and hits the gas.

"Stiles, what are you doing?" Scott's voice is high, and scrambling closer, as if he can't believe even Stiles would be this crazy. There's a 'what the hell,' and more than a little 'are you insane,' crammed in there somewhere too. But Stiles is pretty much committed at this point. Scott grabs, hastily and blindly, for something to hold on to, and then swears. Which is how Stiles knows that this is bad, because Scott never swears. Stiles doesn't really blame him though, because he knows a thing or two about physics and the relative mass and speed of objects colliding.

He thinks this is probably going to hurt.

There are no real words to describe impact, it's like the whole world is suddenly made of noise and things breaking, and Stiles can't help but think, suddenly, about the fact that he's really just a fragile bag of bones and blood. Before he slams into the side of the door, hard enough that he wonders for a second if he's actually gone through it.

It's very confusing for a second - or maybe less than a second, probably not even half a second really. He feels like he's moving, but not moving, and he thinks he hits his head, more than once. The world is spinning weirdly, and oh, right, rolling. He's rolling, and up and down no longer apply for a sickening period of time, which he's not enjoying at all. Everything hurts and he really wishes it would stop.

As suddenly as that it does. He's not rolling any more, but he can't hear anything, he can barely drag in a breath, and there's blood dripping in his eyes -

- someone's shouting his name. Shouting like they've been trying to get his attention for a while, all wavering panic and screeches of metal.

Scott comes into focus, there's blood on his face, there's blood all over his face. Stiles wants to tug him in closer, check he's ok. Until he remembers that Scott's always ok now. He's a werewolf so he's always going to be ok. Which is when the shaky relief sinks in.

Scott doesn't look relieved at all though. Stiles can't understand why that's so surprising. Until he can - what the hell did he do to his Jeep?

"Stiles, are you ok?" The words shake out of Scott between bursts of air.

The answer to that question is absolutely and definitely no. So much in the way of no. Stiles is really not ok.

"No." Everything still hurts, and he's bleeding from somewhere, because it's still dripping on him, and it's horrible. Until Stiles tries to move, and discovers that horrible was the understatement of the fucking century. There need to be new words invented immediately, so he can use them. He stops trying to move, which all his self-preservation instincts are screaming at him to do right now, and whimpers in a way that isn't manly or heroic at all. He's broken something, he has to have broken something, no one could be in this much pain and still have everything attached - he really, really hopes everything is still attached.

"Don't move," Scott says, thready and panicked, because he always notices stuff after everyone else.

Stiles wants to throw him a 'really, you think,' expression, but he's a little busy trying not to die from injuries that he's not entirely sure of the extent of yet. Scott's already clambering carefully over to him, from wherever he was thrown, when Stiles's door gets ripped off. It's a lot of noise and movement he's not expecting, and he jars everything trying to flinch away from it, world going gray at the edges. And of course it's Derek, of course Derek is the one who's being loud and breaking his things, and Stiles is absolutely going to complain about that at some point. Derek's angry face kind of spasms, and then drops in favor of something that looks sort of ill. Which means Stiles is probably going to die, that's not a comforting expression at all, not even a little bit.

Scott passes something to Boyd, and Stiles registers that it's part of his Jeep, and he's probably going to need that back, unless he doesn't, because he's lying in the mangled wreck of it, and it's clearly totaled. This is officially the worst day ever.

There's something squashy under his head, something that squeaks like leather, and Stiles is probably getting blood all over it - which he suspects Derek will be pissed about. Even though there's probably enough of Derek's blood ground into it already that only someone with superhuman senses would be able to tell the difference.

Stiles notices then - belatedly, but he figures someone will cut him a break - that his arm is at a really weird angle, as if it doesn't join his body properly any more. He panics for a second that his arm isn't attached to his body, before he realises that his shoulder is dislocated. Which is better, horrible and gross, but significantly better than gone, or missing, or unattached.

Derek shifts a little closer, and Stiles's panic skips up several notches.

"Don't touch it, don't touch it," he says, in what he hopes is a firm and controlled tone of voice, but probably isn't, it's probably squeaky and panicked and half-crazy. He's working with what he's got here.

"No one's going to touch it," Scott says quietly, though Stiles can feel where his hand's fisted in the fabric of his shirt, lower down. As if he's prepared to make sure, and that does get a huffy little noise out of him, not a laugh, something breathless and dizzy and pained.

"Where's Bigfoot?" Stiles manages shakily.

"Bigfoot's dead," Erica says, from somewhere to his left, she looks waxy but conscious, and her eyes are fixed on the horrible bend of his arm. "You did good."

Thank God for that, seriously, because Stiles thinks he's going to have to take a break from doing things for a while. Doing things is really bad for his health. Though he thinks there are probably endorphins, or he's in shock or something, because it doesn't hurt as much as it did. In fact he can barely feel his shoulder at all.

It should hurt more right?

"Why doesn't it hurt?" he complains. "I should hurt more, am I in shock, I don't feel like I'm in shock?" How much blood has he lost exactly? Should he be panicking more than he is already?

He looks down.

They're all touching him. The whole pack is touching him. Which makes sense, and that's...that's kind of awesome.

But Stiles thinks they should probably get rid of Bigfoot, before the emergency services get here.

He tells them as much

 

*****

 

They only keep him in hospital a couple of days. He's kind of surprised about that - not that he wants to stay, God no, he's just surprised they didn't find a reason to keep him in longer. Because it feels like someone shook him so hard that his internal organs haven't have a chance to settle yet. But they pop his arm back in (which is exactly as horrible as it sounds,) put a bunch of stitches in his shoulder, and the side of his chest (he hadn't even known he'd slammed into the metal hard enough to cut himself,) and give him a bunch of tests to make sure he's not bleeding into any body cavities that aren't supposed to be bled into. Then by noon the next day he's been given a satisfying supply of the good drugs, and a dramatic but restrictive sling, and his dad's taking him home.

He pretty much sleeps through until the next morning anyway though. Whoever was in charge of his drugs is an awesome, awesome person.

His Jeep is officially dead, mostly due to impact damage, possibly also due to general lycanthropic destruction. But he's blaming it on Bigfoot, because he's a good friend. Also, because of the amazing drugs.

Stiles still smells like hospitals, he has a ton of bruises in a variety of colors, and he really wants a shower, but he doesn't feel up to taking anything off. He's fairly certain that his clothes and his sling are doing an awesome double-team job of holding him together right now, in a way that feels pretty reassuring. He doesn't want to mess with that. He has to wear the sling for two weeks. But he's already certain that the flailing around with one arm is going to be preferable to accidentally bashing his right arm against something. Even with the good drugs. The good drugs are not up to the challenge of smothering the sort of pain that threatened to white out his vision and take his knees out from under him when he'd jarred his arm trying to dress to go home.

His dad's hovering, like he doesn't really want to go to work, like maybe he never wants to leave the house again, which is kind of awful. Stiles is a terrible son. Because his dad's under the impression that he got plowed by a drunk driver, rather than what actually happened. His own recklessly stupid idea to try and slam into a Bigfoot at speed, to save his werewolf friends. Because, yeah, put like that Stiles isn't sure how he could explain that to anyone.

"You want me to stop after work for groceries?"

Stiles shakes his head, carefully, so he doesn't jostle anything which will regret it later.

"Scott's already offered to pick up some stuff. He said he was going anyway." Stiles is not doing a fantastic job of eating breakfast with his left hand. But he has an acceptable enough spoon-to-mouth ratio that he's going to consider it workable.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, Scott's good, Scott is the best."

That doesn't seem to help as much as he'd expected.

"You realise he probably feels guilty, that he didn't get hurt, and you did." His dad gives him a significant look.

"Yeah, I know, Scott was lucky. I'm not going to ruthlessly milk his survivor guilt or anything."

His dad gives him a sharp look at his choice of phrasing. But then puts a hand on his good shoulder and carefully squeezes, because, yes, Stiles knows he scared the crap out of him, he does. And he feels guilty enough about that for the both of them.

When the door shuts Stiles eyeballs the long spatter of milk he's left on the table. Considering the amount of unnecessary movement he makes in a day you'd think nature would have given him more fine motor control in his left hand. No, this is his fault, taking his left hand for granted all these years. This is what laziness gets you. He stalls over his breakfast until his dad leaves, because he doesn't want to see that stiff look any more, the one that says his dad thinks he should have done something. Which isn't fair at all, because Stiles - well he didn't hurt himself on purpose, not intentionally on purpose, but the whole thing is still kind of self-inflicted. And, ok, he's not badly hurt, but that doesn't matter, because he saw photos of his Jeep and he knows it looked like the Hulk had just smashed a fist straight into it. Then ripped the doors off. Then jumped on it a few times.

He texts Scott, awkwardly, with his left hand, and only fifty percent of the words are spelled right - normally he's kind of anal about that, but his perfectionism is on vacation. Which is lucky, since he's already thrown milk all over his pants. He sits on the table, heels drumming on the chair legs below him, until the doorbell goes. Then he slides off, and goes to answer it.

Only Scott McCall is not at his door with groceries. Derek Hale is at his door with groceries.

"Er." Stiles gets stuck there. He looks from Derek to the bags he's carrying, and then back to Derek again. "What are you doing here?" he asks curiously.

"Scott said you needed these." Derek gestures with the bags. As if that answers everything.

It really doesn't.

"What happened to Scott?" He's probably wearing slightly too much of a suspicious squint but in his defence...Derek...groceries.

"I told him he could go see Allison."

That makes no sense, because this is probably the one time Scott wouldn't abandon him for Allison, which means that Derek must have suggested it. Derek must have suggested, without any urging, that he bring Stiles his groceries, and even then Stiles is pretty sure Scott wouldn't have given in right away. Derek would have to have insisted. Stiles tries to imagine that, but his brain's just not up to it.

"You bribed him with Allison, so you could bring me groceries?" It sounds even less likely out loud.

Derek is still frowning on his doorstep. Stiles should probably...let him in. But this is very strange, he's never seen Derek at his front door before. He opens the door, awkwardly and then realises he doesn't have a free hand to gesture him inside, so kind of multi-tasks with the one that's holding the door. Derek coming through the front door is weirdly different from Derek coming in through the window. Stiles has the weirdest urge to treat him like a guest, rather than some sort of constant, supernatural home invasion he has to grudgingly put up with.

"Scott made a list," Derek says, and makes an awkward attempt to go for his pocket, and maybe produce it, before stopping himself. "So everything should be right."

Stiles stops, and if Derek had been anyone else he would have slammed straight into him.

"Wait, you actually went grocery shopping? He didn't just hand the stuff over and bail? Really?"

Derek looks offended by all the surprise. He seems to be taking Stiles's disbelief as some sort of personal insult.

"I do know how to buy groceries," Derek says very slowly, wearing his 'you're an idiot,' expression. Though it gradually shifts into something more offended when Stiles doesn't stop looking surprised.

"No, I know, I mean, obviously you do. It's just - I'm sorry, I just can't picture you shopping with all the ordinary people. It's just not dramatic enough. I have trouble picturing you doing non-dramatic things in general. You didn't hurt anyone, did you? Because they pushed you with a shopping cart, or stole the last can of beans or something?"

"No," Derek says stiffly.

"This is weird - don't pull that face at me, it's weird." Stiles cautiously takes a bag from him - and ow, yes, it's heavy and that's awkwardly painful - he sets it on the counter, and the way Derek takes an abortive step forward is really easy to read. "I've got this," Stiles tells him, when he looks like he's thinking about whether to help put stuff away. Derek is not a domestic wolf, he should not be doing domestic tasks. This is damaging to Stiles's world view. But Derek still hovers, in an awkward, and ever so slightly creepy way, while Stiles takes care of it, and then he hovers some more when Stiles stares at him expectantly.

"I should go," Derek says at last.

"Umm, ok, thanks," Stiles says. Which he manages not to turn into a question, but it still sort of hangs in mid-air, uncertain. Because that's what you do when people pick up your groceries for you. You thank them politely. Which is weird, because Stiles hadn't thought that he and Derek had a 'thanking each other politely' sort of relationship.

And then Derek just leaves - as if he hadn't wanted him for anything else.

Stiles is worried that maybe he slipped up and took twice as many pills as the bottle told him to. Forgetting shit like that wasn't good for you.

-

Scott shows up later, after school, though judging by the smile he's wearing Stiles isn't going to get any sense out of him. That smile has Allison written all over it. Scott does wince when he sees him though. He does that every time, like it keeps slipping his mind that, yeah, he was in a car crash three days ago.

"You sent Derek to buy groceries," Stiles accuses, pretty much straight away. He's expecting some sort of guilt, or surprise or something, but he's sadly disappointed because Scott just nods.

"Yeah, did he get everything?"

Stiles squints at him, to check if he's serious.

"Yes, he got everything."

"Cool," Scott decides, and then fishes in his backpack, like that isn't even a thing. "I brought you homework. Umm, Allison and Isaac helped, because I knew I'd miss something. Dude, I know you can probably do more with one hand than I can with two - and, wow, that sounded unexpectedly dirty." Scott grins, and Stiles has to wonder whether he missed something important. Are they all awkward friends now? That do friend chores for each other, without ulterior motives? Did his horrible, traumatizing injury actually get everyone to chill the hell out?

 

*****

 

Derek is lurking outside his window again.

Stiles's phone tells him it's almost midnight, and that's about an hour past where it officially becomes weird. Even on his new 'adjusted for werewolves,' scale of weird. He's literally just taken his pills so he can sleep without the throbbing in his shoulder keeping him awake.

Normally Stiles would just roll his eyes, go to bed, and let Derek do his thing, but he's spent all day on pain medication and caffeine, slowly going out of his mind. So he stomps downstairs and out into the yard. It's cold, and he doesn't have any shoes on, and Derek comes over straight away, takes one look at his feet and then hustles him back into the house, using a combination of concerned glaring and looming (and it's kind of annoying how he can loom when he has like half an inch on Stiles - ok, more like two inches, since he's barefoot, but still.) He's not even embarrassed about letting Derek hustle him anywhere right now, because he currently still feels like he's made of very fine sticks.

He pours Derek a glass of orange juice, he doesn't have a clue why - maybe the caffeine and the medication - it's just this weird disconnect that there's a visitor in the kitchen and he should be a good host and offer something. Still he's not quite sure why he immediately decides on orange juice. Derek looks briefly confused, but he drinks it anyway. Vitamin C is probably good for you, whether you're a werewolf or not.

"Is there some sort of supernatural menace that's lurking round the neighborhood or something?" Stiles asks.

"No." Derek frowns, as if even the idea of it is stupid.

"Did you want me to look something up for you?"

"No," Derek says.

Which, good, because Stiles doesn't do his best work while still mostly post-dislocated, medicated, and his bruises won't really let him lean anywhere comfortably yet.

"Then why are you here?" He doesn't manage suspicious there, he makes it sound more as if Derek is some tricky math problem that he's not sure how to go about solving.

"I was in the neighborhood." Derek says, with a hint of annoyance, he may have caught the math problem thought and been offended by it. "I thought I'd check up on you."

"On your way to where?" Stiles can't help asking.

Stiles thinks Derek's trying for a 'that's very important werewolf business that I can't tell you about,' expression. Where, in actual fact Stiles is going to forever tag it as his 'caught trying to make up some bullshit,' expression.

"I should get back," Derek says, possibly because Stiles's expression has given away that he's now an accomplished bullshit detector.

"Do you want a sandwich?" Stiles asks, because he really wants a sandwich now, and Derek needs to stop lurking outside and socialize more. Because, seriously, eventually someone is going to see him and call the cops, and they all know how that ends. How it has actually ended before. There are only so many times Derek can get arrested before something sticks. So, yes, they should combine sandwiches and socializing into some sort of mutual late night thing...a sandwich social?

Derek gives him the weirdest look.

"It's gone midnight," he points out.

Stiles pulls a face at him.

"So? What, it's too late for sandwiches, but not to lurk outside my window? Also, you would be wrong, because it's never too late for sandwiches. Pfft, don't even pretend you never made midnight sandwiches and told ghost stories under a sheet. Every kid's done that." He's already deciding which things out of the fridge would make the best sandwich. Whether he's in a meat, or cheese, or miscellaneous sort of a mood. Whether there should be bacon involved. That's a stupid question, there should always be bacon involved.

He's already sort of half in the fridge, and it's cold and there's plenty of bacon. But Derek's quiet and so he twists around to look at him - and finds him right behind him, he could have taken one more step and been pressed all along Stiles's back.

"Jesus."

Derek's holding the fridge door open, so it doesn't swing shut on his bad arm.

"Bacon?" Stiles offers, because he's considering it.

Derek sighs, like he has a million other things he could be doing and he's grudgingly spending time in Stiles's kitchen having an opinion on sandwiches.

"Stiles, I should -"

"You should like bacon," Stiles finishes for him, which probably wasn't what Derek was going for there, but it's true. What sort of werewolf doesn't like bacon? "What sort of werewolf doesn't like bacon?" Because that's a thought he has to share out loud.

There's half a minute of tense silence. Stiles isn't sure why it's tense exactly.

"Bacon," Derek agrees reluctantly, and then breathes out, as if they'd been having an argument which Stiles had unexpectedly won.

"I knew you had to have taste in something." Stiles starts piling butter, cheese and lettuce into Derek's free hand.

 

*****

 

Four days is long enough to stay home. Any longer and Stiles is going to start carving messages into the walls, possibly in his own blood.

Most of the bruises are started to mute into yellowy-browns, and, ok, they're still there but not in a way that's obvious and noticeable any more. They sort of blend in with the rest of him. Also, he's mostly worked out how to wear the sling and do eighty percent of things with his left hand, without spilling things all over himself. There is still a little spilling things all over himself, but not in a way anyone seems to notice - which come to think of it, isn't exactly flattering.

He'd told Scott that he'd need a ride to school, for all the foreseeable future, and he's still pissed about that. But Scott had said 'no problem.' So Stiles assumed since his mom was on night shifts this week, she was letting him use the car, because, yeah, Scott's mom is awesome like that.

Only it's not Scott waiting at the end of the drive. Not unless Scott has stolen Derek's car, and also Derek's body - which even thinking about that is a level of creepy he doesn't want to cope with. Not that Scott would steal Derek's body and wear it, because - ok, that's more than enough of that train of thought.

He lets his bag hit the ground.

"What are you doing here?"

"Scott said you needed a ride," Derek says. Stiles can't tell if he's angry or not, because he's wearing sunglasses. He's cloaking any and all possible anger behind them, and that bland not-even-close-to-a-smile thing that his face does when it's not being grumpy or miserable. Or frustrated by the constant teenage angst of his werewolf pack.

"That was not the agreement. That wasn't what I meant. I didn't expect you." Is Derek just randomly hanging around waiting to do things for him? Only, no, he's obviously not because that would be insane. There's clearly something going on here that he's not aware of.

Derek mouth-glares at him.

"By which I mean you totally don't have to," Stiles amends, when he realises the first thing out of his mouth might have sounded horrified and ungrateful. Because Derek is clearly in a super pissy mood this morning, and much as Stiles usually kind of enjoys poking that, he just doesn't have the energy.

"Get in the car." Derek has a problem with over-enunciation, and not in a good way. Someone should bring that up at some point.

Stiles tries for a 'what the fuck, no,' head jerk, and mostly messes it up. There are twinges, there are painful twinges everywhere.

"Get in the car, Stiles," Derek says, quieter now, without so much murder behind it.

"Oh my God, fine, it's not like you can make my reputation any worse," Stiles says with a sigh, and awkwardly eases himself in beside Derek. He's joking, but Derek's grumpy mouth looks mortally wounded, like he thinks Stiles actually gives a crap about his reputation. Or like Derek could make it any worse - no, actually he probably could. Derek had obviously lost the ability to be embarrassed years ago. "I thought you took Erica and Isaac?"

"I did that already."

"You took them to school early? Wow, yeah they're going to be so happy about that. Is that my fault? Because that'll be awesome. It'll be awesome explaining to them later about how it's my fault they got to school at, like, six in the morning."

"How's your arm?" Derek asks. Which completely derails Stiles's rant, possibly on purpose.

"Still attached, thanks. Which is awesome. I'm enjoying the fact that I will eventually regain the use of my arm and all of its arm-like qualities." Stiles is fully expecting a glare, maybe some bitching about his sarcasm, a creative threat. Instead Derek's mouth just thins out and he nods.

"Good."

God, it's like being in a car with a pod person. Derek normally only has his moments of weirdly protective irritation during life or death situations. Maybe this time it was delayed or something? Is he getting delayed concern, overlaid with a smattering of guilt?

"You realise I'm not going to get kidnapped, or crash another car, which I don't have, you might have noticed that I don't have another car. You don't have to..." Stiles gestures at the car and Derek in general, at whatever Derek's doing, which there's really no appropriate gesture for, what with it all still being a mystery.

Derek just shoots him the 'you're an idiot,' look, and then they've stopped. They have achieved proximity to school.

"Forgive me for reminding you, because you seem to be lurking around like you're waiting for something horrible to happen to me, so you can save me - like it's your turn and you have to get it out of the way. I've told you before that this is not like a barter system. This is not a goods for services kind of relationship. This is being friends." He carefully moves his hand back and forth between them, just in case Derek doesn't get it.

More mouth glares, there is so much mouth glaring going on right now.

"Don't even look at me like that. We're friends, I've decided now, you're officially my creepy friend. Everyone should have a creepy friend." Stiles isn't entirely sure if the creepy friend and the stupidly hot friend are allowed to be the same person though. You'd think they'd be mutually exclusive.

"Stiles, I am not your creepy friend." Derek sounds insulted.

"You're creepy, and you're my friend. It's already a done deal I'm afraid - where's my bag?"

Derek picks it up off the floor, and then very carefully loops it over Stiles's good shoulder, before leaning across to open the door for him.

"Go, learn things, don't jostle your shoulder."

"Creepy friend," Stiles insists, and carefully pushes the door shut.

 

*****

 

"Derek's what?" Scott's forehead is creased with confusion.

"I think he's gone crazy, he's acting like a crazy person. It can't be just me? He's doing things for me, and being nice - does he want something? Did he say anything about wanting something? He's being nice, and I realise I've now said that twice, but it's the sort of thing I just need to hear myself say out loud. Because, though I wouldn't worry about that from anyone else, it's Derek. Is there some sort of magical explanation that could - " Stiles gestures vaguely, and then when that isn't helpful just sort of stabs at the air with his fingers. "Explain why he's acting like he wants to be a person, like witches? Some sort of pollen - there's pollen that does that right? Or fairies. Though I do not want to exist in a world where fairies can do things like that to you whenever they want. They won't be Disney fairies will they? They'll be like proper, old-world fairies made of blood and teeth. The type that steal children and eat your eyeballs and feed you things which mean you can never leave, or you fall asleep for a hundred years - and I'm pretty sure I'm getting my mythology mixed up, but what does it matter when it's all creepy, creepy shit."

"What?" Scott shakes his head. "I lost most of that after you mentioned pollen - wait, there's pollen that can make you crazy?!" His face looks horrified, and Stiles kind of thinks he's missing the point here.

"Focus Scott, Derek is acting seriously weird. Don't you think he's acting weird?" Because to Stiles it's kind of obvious, and it's weird that no one else is mentioning it.

"I haven't noticed anything," Scott says with a shrug. "He's just acting like Derek."

"He is not acting like Derek," Stiles protests. "He drove me to school." He hisses that last part out like he's afraid someone will overhear.

Scott shrugs and gestures towards where Stiles's arm is still in a sling, like that explains everything. In Scott's brain it probably does.

"He's being nice," Stiles says.

Scott doesn't have an immediate response to that, and that proves Stiles point.

"Ok, maybe it's a little out of character," Scott says at last. "But it's no reason to go and throw holy water on him...or whatever works for pollen people."

Stiles shakes his head, because clearly Scott is not getting this.

"He ate all my bacon," Stiles offers, because that's genuinely the last argument he has.

Scott raises an eyebrow, and then seems to be waiting for some sort of punchline. So, ok, maybe Stiles got a little off track there, he's blaming the medication.

"Never mind, you really think it's ok for Derek to be wandering around out there, possibly being insane, when there might be something dangerous doing things to people?"

"Well if there is anything dangerous out there it's not like Derek would let anything happen to you," Scott says.

And Stiles is officially lost.

"What? What's that supposed to mean?"

Scott snags the door Stiles has just backed his way through, so it doesn't swing round and hit him.

"Y'know, what with his thing. I know I can be slow sometimes so it took me a while to get it, but you know exactly why?"

"What?" Stiles has officially lost his grip on the conversation.

Scott shakes his head, like Stiles is honestly baffling him.

"Ok, it was kind of weird at first, because it's Derek, but I figured you were -"

"Scott!"

Allison's waving cautiously for Scott's attention from across the room -

- Stiles gets a careful pat - on his bad shoulder, on his bad shoulder, Scott, you douche - and then Scott's flinging his bag onto his back, and scurrying off to bask in the glory of her face, or something equally ridiculous.

Stiles guesses he'll just bask in the glory of his chicken sandwich then, by himself.

 

*****

 

Stiles is not in a good mood come Sunday, he's supposed to be easing off on the medication, but he keeps rolling onto his arm in the night, and he's more aware of it than ever. Now it's somewhere between the muffled cotton-wool stiffness from before, and a new, but persistent, gnawing discomfort. It never quite slips into pain, not bad enough to actually take anything for it. It's just there. Healing is bullshit, and he's never been so annoyed that werewolves get to go through the whole thing on fast forward. Especially considering how much they still complain about it.

So he's not going to have a shower this morning, he's not even going to make an attempt at moving his arm in any way, until after he's had breakfast and made sure today is completely aware of how unhappy with it he is.

He can hear his dad moving around in the kitchen. Which is odd, because Stiles swore that he'd said he was working an early shift today. So, yeah, that's weird. Not weird enough that he's going to force himself to get up and go down there, just to find out he's taken a shift off for some reason. Not for Stiles, or he assumes not for him. He's been out of hospital long enough now that his dad's stopped looking at him like he thinks he might crack if jostled the wrong way. Which was a relief, because he really hated that look.

So Stiles doesn't exactly rush, he doesn't even bother to change. He just stumbles downstairs as he is, only to stop half way, because there's an odd sort of rumbling noise coming from the kitchen. One that doesn't fit in the normal side of his life. One that he's more used to encountering when there's running, and screaming, and werewolves.

He leans carefully on the door frame, one hand wrapped round the wood.

"Dad...?" he calls cautiously.

It's not his dad.

It's Derek.

It's Derek, standing in the middle of his kitchen, glaring into a bowl, wooden spoon held like an implement of death - or soon-to-be-death. And if Stiles hadn't been wandering around for twenty minutes he would have immediately slapped himself to make sure he was actually awake.

"Derek?!"

Derek eyes him over the bowl.

The kitchen is a disaster of flour, sugar, and broken eggs. It looks like someone had a fight in here. A fight which they lost.

Is he wearing an apron?

"What are you doing?" Stiles hears himself say. There's a healthy dose of 'what the fuck are you doing' going on in his voice. But he's not sure if it's enough, if it could ever be enough. There's a smear of batter on Derek's cheek, Stiles notices absently, which is probably going to be hell to get out of his stubble.

"Making pancakes," Derek explains. Then glares into the bowl he's holding, then glares at Stiles, as if he's annoyed at the interruption to his...pancake making.

The groceries Stiles can handle. The protective stalking he can handle, the carrying heavy objects, driving him to school, and helping him with his arm, he can handle. This - this is disturbing. This is an alternate universe. He's not sure if he can handle this.

"Oh my God, did I wake up in an alternate universe? Is this a universe where you can bake in my kitchen, and I'm not supposed to be surprised by that? Is Scott going to come through the door later sporting an evil goatee? Will there be stormtroopers in this universe?" Stiles has gradually made his way into the kitchen through his speech, and he's now within poking distance of both Derek and the suspicious bowl of batter. He's not sure that's an improvement to the situation.

Derek continues glaring. Honestly he could probably make balloon animals in a sinister and threatening way. But now Stiles is closer he can see the spots of beige on Derek's shirt, he can smell the batter, and it's very real - but he still has no idea why.

"How do you even know how to make pancakes?" He asks quietly.

"I looked it up on the internet," Derek says stiffly, and ok, yes, Stiles sometimes forgets that just because he lives in a creepy, burnt-out house in the middle of nowhere with no water or power, he's not actually a savage wild man. Derek grew up normal, after all. Until...yeah, that happened.

"Why?" Stiles isn't sure whether he's going to regret asking or not. "Why, is my question. Why are you making pancakes?"

Derek's face goes through some sort of complicated internal fight.

"Oh my God," Stiles says, because he actually knows the answer to this. Strange as that may sound. "This is because I said I wanted them the other day, isn't it?"

Derek refuses to confirm or deny that, but his face - his face is not under his control right now. Stiles isn't sure whether he can cope with this. He looks around the kitchen, attempts to grasp at something less disturbing - finds something almost straight away.

"Dude, how did you get batter all over the fridge?"

Derek glares at the fridge.

"Balancing the bowl in one hand wasn't a good idea," he growls out - like it's just the latest in a series of bad life choices he's made. He looks like he wants to slam the bowl down onto something, and the only thing stopping him is that it's not his bowl. "I was going to clean it all up afterwards."

Stiles is going to ignore that last part for now.

"Ok, I'm guessing baking isn't really your thing then?"

Derek surprises him by looking something other than annoyed, some sort of brief, wry amusement that still manages to give the impression it wants to smack him.

"But you decided you'd power through, using your finely honed determination, inner rage and sheer stubbornness," Stiles guesses. Batter drips off the bottom of the bowl, and Stiles may be grinning now. Derek doesn't seem to find this half as funny, though the murderous intent seems to be going. "You're kind of bad at it," Stiles admits.

Derek sighs and tosses the spoon he's holding in the sink.

"I know," he says thinly. "I don't even know what I was thinking." He takes two steps and tips the bowl, like he's going to pour the whole lot away.

Stiles darts forward and curls the fingers of his good hand around it, tipping it straight again.

"Hey, no, I didn't mean it like that. I was just surprised. It was surprising, I was genuinely surprised. You realize you can buy pancakes though, that's a thing you can do. Which some people do. When they feel like the grand, pancake-making adventure is beyond their skills."

Derek continues to glare, which Stiles is unnerved to discover still works over the top of a bowl full of eggs and flour and milk. He's starting to think he might know what's going on here, and he doesn't like it, it makes him feel a lot like he's been kicked.

"Is this like a thing," he asks, fingers still holding the bowl. "Where I get smashed up protecting the pack, and you have to kind of - make the scales even, or something? Because if it is then it's fine, y'know, weird overtures of a confusing nature accepted and whatever. I'm not protecting you guys to be owed anything. We're all in this together, right? You have my back, I have yours. It doesn't have to be a thing. We're even, Derek, you don't have to do this. I don't want you to feel like you owe me anything, that's kind of - that isn't why I do it, you know that."

"That's not what it is," Derek says, mouth pinched, like he's angry at Stiles for coming to the wrong conclusion. Honestly, Derek gets mad at people for flailing around in the dark, but he's usually the one standing right next to the light switch.

"It's not that I don't appreciate it. I mean, really, I do appreciate it, but this is weird. Do you not get how weird this is? Most of our interactions before now have consisted of glaring, throwing me around, and pushing me out of danger, and this is -" Stiles waves his free hand helplessly, trying to explain that this is like pod person levels of strange. "Seriously, you can stop, really. You can totally stop now. Seriously stop it, because I can't handle you being nice to me. I keep getting this weird urge to run for the books and check if you're possessed. Do you get how terrifying it is, that I've been seriously considering the fact that you might be possessed? I almost researched that yesterday, I almost researched the fact that you might be possessed, because you were being nice." That sounds kind of awful said out loud.

Derek very carefully sets the bowl down on the table, angrily wipes his hands on his jeans, leaving tacky smears of beige, then he just stares around him at the devastation, like he has no idea what he's doing. Stiles feels as if he's literally kicked a puppy. Which isn't fair because in this scenario the puppy is Derek, and that's just not right.

Stiles sighs and bends down, pulls a pan out.

"You hold that." Stiles passes it over, and Derek stares at him for second, and then takes it.

"You can pour, but I'm turning, because I suspect you'll burn things, which is unacceptable. Though you have to hold the pan, or there'll just be pancakes all over the floor, which is some sort of terrible blasphemy, and I will make you eat them."

It's still weird, it's weird and different, like they skipped about a dozen steps of awkward friendship and went straight to cooking each other breakfast or something. Which, seriously, does that even happen? Why is he not surprised that it happened to them. Nothing normal ever happens in his life any more.

Stiles would be more worried about that, but the pancakes are really good. Also, his arm doesn't actually hurt any more.

 

*****

 

His dad gives him a lift to school on Monday, because he's starting work late, and Stiles thinks at some point that they're going to have the car discussion. Possibly not now, not while he's still wearing a sling, because that's something of a focal point, something that reminds everyone fairly obviously what happened the last time he was in charge of a vehicle. Which was totally not his fault - or, ok, yes, it was absolutely his fault. But in his defense it was to kill a Bigfoot, which had already proven itself a danger to the public, also saving Derek's ass. And it's a bitch that he can't actually say any of that. Because he thinks the conversation would go a lot better if he could. Though it may also involve the phrase 'reckless endangerment.'

So, yeah, at some point they're going to have the car discussion, because if Stiles has to rely on other people for transportation for too long he's going to go completely mad.

Scott's late, which means he's left trying to jam everything into his bag himself, with one arm, and he's had a week to get used to this, but he still mostly sucks at it. Until Erica appears from nowhere and starts helping, before he can say anything, or drop anything, or protest that he's not feeble and he does still actually have one working arm. Though it's not exactly easy, because the whole werewolf thing seems to immediately bestow some sort of 'trample all over everyone else,' mentality. Which explains a lot, if he thinks about it.

"Did you and Derek have a fight?" Erica asks. "He was in a mood all day yesterday, worse than usual."

Stiles frowns.

"No, we didn't have a fight. I may have accused him of being a lunatic, and also briefly of being possessed, but I apologized for that. There was no actual fighting."

"Does he know that? Because training doesn't usually involve so much flying through the air. It's like he wasn't even trying to let us win." Erica tilts her head and stares at him, as if that might be all his fault. Then carefully thumps his bag into his chest, like she's trying to make a point without actually hurting him. "Just kiss and make up, or whatever," she says sharply. "We can't take getting thrown into any more walls, under the blatant false pretext of 'training.'"

"What?" Stiles doesn't understand why it's his fault that Derek is insane all of a sudden. But Erica gives him a look, a 'this is not funny, I'm serious,' look, and then swirls herself away.

The world has gone mad.

 

*****

 

Stiles doesn't see Derek until after seven, he's trying to decide whether he can bothered to even make an attempt at homework, because writing with his left hand sucks. It's legible, mostly, it just takes forever and makes it look like he's suffering from something contagious. Typing with his left hand is easier, but takes too long, and he ends up with a logjam of words between brain and fingers, that leaves him stabbing at the keys harder than he probably should. Having a dislocated shoulder is frustrating.

He registers the blast of cold air, and the soft sound of boots on wood. That's crashingly loud for Derek. Stiles peers over his shoulder, and sure enough there's Derek's grumpy face and grumpy hair, and his leather jacket, which by Stiles's count has been punctured by at least three supernatural creatures, probably more, and yet it still looks mostly the same. Like he invests in magic, invisible duct tape or something.

"Stop taking it out on Erica, whatever you're pissed at, whether it's me or the world in general."

Derek's frown gets deeper and more suspicious, and he works his way over to the desk, leaking cold night air, expression genuinely confused.

"Why what did Erica say?"

"Dude, I'm not getting her in trouble," Stiles says. "But since she got a handle on her inner werewolf the only time she ever acts like she wants to shred people into ribbons is when you're treating your Betas like your own personal whack-a-mole game. I'm the one that gets the long, unpleasant aftermath, and I'm the one that has to watch them in school. Also, that's totally a dick thing to do, you know that."

"If you like Erica," Derek says stiffly, with what Stiles thinks is a completely uncalled for amount of growl underneath. "I can ask her to come check on you instead."

"That's what you got from that, seriously?"

"Because you clearly don't want -" Derek snaps, and then clenches his teeth, as if he was going to say more but stopped himself.

Stiles swivels his chair to face him.

"Don't want what? You stalking around, because I didn't say that, I didn't mean - I don't get this weird new you, ok. The helping, and the showing up at random moments when I'm in peril, like I'm Lois Lane or something. Because, seriously, if I completely discount the way you sometimes look at me like you want to strangle me to death, I'd have to hazard a guess that you like me and this is some sort of weird, angry courtship."

Stiles is laughing, he can't help it.

Derek face seems...weirdly neutral all of a sudden, as if he's forcing himself not to make any sort of expression at all.

Stiles stops laughing. That's not - he thinks he should probably say something because the staring is really incriminating, for both of them.

"Oh my God, is that what this is? Do you have a - for me - seriously?" For a second Stiles thinks he's completely wrong, and Derek is going to laugh in his face. Or make some sort of disgusted noise at the thought of it. But instead there's this haunted, guilty expression, quickly followed by a tightness, that makes Derek look like he's regretting everything in his whole life. "That's insane," Stiles says simply, because it is, this is Derek. This is Derek who doesn't like anyone. "Hold on, you have to give me a minute to let this sink in, oh my God. Seriously?" He shakes his head. Because he's genuinely having trouble with this. Derek likes him, Derek has a thing for him. Holy crap, he's an idiot, Derek made him pancakes, of course he likes him. "Why didn't you say anything - what am I'm saying, it's you, of course you're not going to say anything."

It's pretty obvious from his face that Derek thinks he's mocking him, expression twisted between anger and misery.

"Forget it," he says, words dropped like lead weights, and he makes for the window.

Stiles meets him half way there, awkwardly straightening his good arm across it.

"No, no, we're not forgetting anything. Do you have any idea how stunned I am right now? I'm trying to, like, fit this into my world view. Because I'm me, and you're you - and you clearly have no idea how insane that is, judging by your angry face." He should probably try and do something about the angry face. Stiles realises, belatedly that he hasn't really done anything yet but call Derek insane, and blurt out a few random sentences, which probably didn't make any sense. "I thought this whole thing was just you stalking me because you couldn't cope with the being in debt thing. I thought you were just waiting for a chance to get rid of it. Or reluctantly spending time with me in some sort of awful attempt to force yourself not to hate me, for the good of our mutual cooperation thing we have going on."

"You're an idiot," Derek supplies. But a lot of the anger that usually goes with that is missing. It mostly sounds confused and defensive now.

Stiles lets his arm fall. But Derek doesn't try to escape into the night. Which he takes as a good sign.

"I kind of - well you've seen you in the mirror, and I am a teenage boy, so you must know that I'm not in any way averse to you, with the liking. With the whole werewolf smelling thing that's all probably fairly embarrassingly obvious. Like, obvious all over the place. Oh my God, lets not talk about that right now. But, I mean everyone probably has a thing for you, right? You could have become awkwardly attached to any one of them. Only, really, me? You probably hate that don't you? So, yeah, I can understand the not saying anything."

"I don't hate it," Derek is still biting out his words like they're in an interrogation. "You keep saving me, you keep helping, even when I tell you not to, when I give you every reason not to, and you're always there. It's impossible to ignore you, and I don't...always want to." The last part of that is said through his teeth, and so grudgingly that Stiles wants to laugh. Because from anyone else this would be maybe an acknowledgment of tentative friendship, but for Derek this is...something else entirely. "But I don't know how to do this," Derek finishes, low like it pains him to admit it. Or like it embarrasses him to admit it. "I don't know if I can. If I can just -" he makes an angry gesture that doesn't mean anything to Stiles, but then doesn't say anything else.

At all.

"You could, er, you could kiss me?" Stiles says. Because it's honestly the first thing that comes into his head. He hadn't actually realized what it would sound like out loud, what he was suggesting, because the words 'you could kiss me,' and the thought of Derek actually kissing him - there are oceans between those two things.

Derek looks at him, and Stiles can see the slow, deep breath he takes at the words. Stiles suspects he's thinking about it. Possibly considering whether it's a terrible idea or not. Whether he's going to give this whole thing up now Stiles has reminded him that there will have to be actual physical touching.

Stiles is genuinely afraid that's exactly what's going to happen, right up to the moment that Derek fists a hand in his shirt and pushes his mouth down over his. Maybe a second or two after that, if Stiles is being honest. But that's mostly shock.

Stiles is a little too eager, and he's probably not coming over as the sort of suave man-of-the-world that he'd like. But Derek's easing him back against the wall, where he thumps gently - though not quite gently enough - and he breaks away from Derek's mouth with a gasp and a wince. Derek's jerking away.

"Fuck, sorry, I'm sorry." Derek's mouth is curled up in disgust, though not at Stiles, at himself.

"It's fine," Stiles says hurriedly, even though it's obviously not, because he sounds breathless, and he's holding himself carefully still.

Derek's hand lifts, settles where Stiles's neck meets the stretched material of his shirt, and he manages not to flinch when Derek's palm curves wide over the skin. It does take him a second to realize that the gnawing thump of pain Derek had woken is gone. Stiles had almost forgotten they could do that.

"You did that, after the thing, all of you," he says quietly. Because he remembers how it had hurt so much worse at the hospital, even after they'd given him the good drugs.

"Yeah." Derek doesn't offer any more than that. But his fingers don't leave Stiles's skin, still lightly pressing against the bare slant of his shoulder, thumb pressing gently on the fragile skin over his collarbone. "I shouldn't be doing this," he says at last, and it's clear he doesn't just mean the whole skin-touching, pain relief thing.

"What - no, you should, you absolutely should." Stiles's fingers are in danger of slipping under Derek's shirt and he thinks that if they're kissing now he's probably allowed, he's probably allowed to put his hands all over Derek's stupid muscles and warm skin. Which suggests something has gone wrong with the universe - not that Stiles is going to complain, he's just going to wing it until the universe notices (hopefully never.) "Because no one has ever actually wanted to touch me before." That hurts to admit to someone who actually maybe does want to touch him, more than he thought it would. "So the fact that you're going to do it and then stop, dude, I'm pretty sure even you're not that much of a dick."

"You're stupid if you believe no one wants to touch you," Derek grumbles, but he's already backing off, jaw clenching like it's not as easy as he wants it to be. Stiles doesn't know how to stop him, can't quite make himself dig his fingers in Derek's clothes and haul him back.

"No one has ever said anything anyway," Stiles corrects. He clears his throat. "Please, just, I don't even know what's going to happen if you leave. That maybe you'll decide you went temporarily insane and -"

"No," Derek says roughly. "It's been weeks, since before the crash. I can't be around you any more without wanting -" He glares at Stiles pointedly rather than finish that sentence, which Stiles is disappointed about, because he really wants to know what exactly Derek wants to do to him. "Everyone knows," Derek says at last, frustrated, irritated, accepting? Stiles doesn't even know any more.

Until what he actually said registers.

"Everyone knows?" Stiles says faintly. It takes a while for that to work its way round his brain and sink in. "Everyone knew except me?" That comes out tighter than he means, verging on angry. Because, seriously?

Derek looks at him like he's an idiot. As if it was his fault for not knowing, and not everyone else's for not telling him. Everyone is in so much trouble.

"I'm not going to change my mind," Derek says, firm and a little scary, and his face must show something, because Derek's hands clench into fists, as if he's said too much and been slapped down for it. "Unless you decide you don't want to," he finishes through his teeth. How in the name of hell did Stiles miss Derek having any sort of feelings for him, let alone...ones that could make him look like that? Stiles just gapes at him uselessly.

Derek does not take his gaping well, reads something into it that he didn't intend. Because now he's doing that closing off thing, all stiffness and flat, blank expression.

"Derek?"

"I have to go." Derek says, fast like he's trying to talk over something Stiles isn't even saying. He hauls himself out the window without even letting them finish the freakin' conversation.

Stiles is still working on fixing his dislocated shoulder, it's not like he can just jump out the window after him.

"God damn it."

 

*****

 

Derek makes himself suspiciously absent for the next few days, which is worrying - no, that's an understatement. Stiles is quietly freaking out. At one point he actually wonders - in something of a panic - if he hallucinated the whole thing on too much pain medication, but he's been mostly off of it for a week, so unless someone switched it out with something much stronger - or possibly hallucinogenic - then yeah, the whole thing definitely happened. Derek kissed him. He made it happen, in some way. Possibly in the same way those unrepeatable experiments happen.

So either Derek is a huge liar and he's regretting the whole thing, like he specifically said he wouldn't, or he's been killed by some sort of vicious monster, or he's totally chickened out, because he's decided that he hates feelings and prefers not to have them.

It's depressing that all of them are equally likely. This is Stiles's life, vicious monsters and emotionally constipated werewolves. If someone had told him a year ago - no, seriously, if someone had told him any of this a year ago he would have laughed, and then immediately had them committed to the nearest psychiatric facility.

Just when he'd kind of accepted the idea that Derek was into him. Which - wow, that feeling had lasted a whole entire day.

 

*****

 

Scott tends to finish things before him at the moment. Which hasn't happened since - which has never happened, now that Stiles thinks about it. Having him in the background getting cheese dust all over his stuff, while Stiles frustratedly makes his way through homework, is a new experience. Everything still takes three times as long to type with only one hand, longer when Stiles gets extra frustrated and starts just stabbing at the keys. He'd figured he could just settle his other arm in the right place and use it anyway. But it turned out that typing was definitely a no go, and he was all for having this thing off as soon as possible. He'd been pissed about that ever since. Still two weeks is nearly up, so there's something.

"Have you seen Derek today?" Scott asks, eyebrows quizzical, as if that's a perfectly harmless question, that Stiles is expected to know the answer to.

Which, ok, he does.

"No, no I have not seen Derek today, I did not see Derek today, and I didn't see Derek yesterday either, or the day before." Laptops are probably not made for this type of punishment.

Scott frowns at him, and Stiles can tell that he wasn't expecting the bite, or the wounded sense of abandonment - he's kind of hoping the wounded sense of abandonment isn't coming through to be honest, because that's just embarrassing.

"Did something happen?" Scott seems to be working up to something like concern. Which would be great and everything but Stiles isn't sure he wants to admit to any of this yet. What the hell is he supposed to say anyway? 'Oh, yeah, Scott, me and Derek had a fight and then he kissed me. We considered dating, and I was absolutely up for that, but he changed his mind like an hour later and then never spoke to me again.'

Trashy soaps would discard scripts of Stiles's life for being too unbelievable.

"No." Stiles shakes his head. "Nothing happened, just Derek being Derek, doing Derek things."

Scott frowns. "Did you guys have a fight?"

"Aren't we always fighting?" Stiles wonders. "Isn't it the weird, quiet moments of detente you should worry about, that's usually when the real shit's going down."

Scott shoots him an oddly sympathetic look.

"I don't mean like before fighting, I mean proper fighting now you're...you are, I mean, you are? Unless you broke up."

Stiles stares at him for a disbelieving handful of seconds. Oh my God, when Derek had said everyone knows, he hadn't been joking.

"You don't think someone should have told me that Derek was into me? You didn't think that was something I might have wanted to know?"

Scott blinks.

"You didn't know?" His expression right now seems to be accusing Stiles of being the dumbest man alive. "You're kidding right, you're messing with me. You know everything, like, a week before everyone else. How could you not have known that? Is that what you fought about?"

"We didn't fight," Stiles snaps out, shoving the chair round slightly too hard and jarring his elbow, which just makes him more angry. "There is nothing between me and Derek. There was a whole lot of awkward personal interaction, which was pretty great, but now I think we're pretending it never happened."

Scott winces, and then just sort of stares at him for a long minute.

"Do you want me to..." He looks like the very idea of doing anything horrifies him, but he's offering, in the name of friendship.

"No," Stiles says, then repeats it, in several tones, before giving up and pushing his laptop shut. "No, dude, I am so not going to make this any worse than it is."

The sad face Scott makes in response to that makes Stiles feel as if this is worse than he thinks it is, in some way he doesn't know about yet. Which he really doesn't need right now.

"Don't worry about it. Like it was really going to happen." He gives a careful shrug, then glances at the clock. "Didn't you have to meet Isaac at seven?"

"Crap." Scott panics and collects his stuff, in what's probably the least efficient way possible, before standing awkwardly in the doorway with his open bag dangling precariously over his shoulder.

"I could make the effort, y'know, if that would help."

Stiles isn't sure if he wants to smack Scott or himself.

"No, really, no, I'll text you later just...just leave it alone."

Stiles finishes his assignment with frustrated determination and almost zero enthusiasm, then sprawls out on his bed in one of the two comfortable positions he can lie in now, and watches a movie. Before throwing on more comfortable clothes and heading downstairs to make himself a drink. The house is quiet, but it still makes noises, ticks and creaks. Familiar - even if they do make him think about how many ghost stories are true, when he's home alone at night. If werewolves and shapeshifting lizard monsters are true, why the hell not ghosts - zombies, vampires, wraiths, ghouls - where the hell does it all end?

When he gets back upstairs Derek's lurking by the window.

"Did you wait for me to go downstairs so you could sneak in when I wasn't looking?" Stiles asks, with what he thinks is a calm tone of voice that Derek doesn't deserve.

Derek doesn't say anything, but Stiles thinks there's something guilty about the way he's standing.

It's all very awkward for as long as it takes him to get back to his chair, Stiles holds his steaming mug but doesn't really try and drink any of it. Derek stares.

"I told you didn't I?" Stiles says at last, voice carefully bland. "I told you that if you left you'd do the brooding thing, and rethink all your life choices, and stew in some sort of fog of torment and angst. Decide it was all a horrible idea. You know how much work I am on a regular basis."

"I didn't - " Derek glares at him. "Really, a fog of torment?"

"It's what you do, isn't it? With the whole -" Stiles gestures at the whole outfit and hair and broody glare. "Thing, with the lurking in the distance."

"I didn't change my mind," Derek says stiffly, hard-turning them back to the beginning. "I was giving you time for your shoulder to heal, and to think about things. If you really wanted to do this." Derek shrugs, and it's the most self-conscious movement Stiles has ever seen him make.

The noise Stiles lets out is nothing like the amused irony he was going for. He sets his drink down so hard it sloshes hotly across his knuckles.

"Oh I had an awesome time thinking about things," he bites out. "Thinking about how you pretty much made yourself unavailable after kissing me. There was really no way to misinterpret that. That was great, thanks for that."

Derek pulls a face, like that thought hadn't even occurred to him, and suddenly Stiles is trying to cope with frustrated anger that's taking on an edge of dizzy hope.

"And everyone thinks we're dating," he adds. "That we've been dating, for I don't even know how long."

"I told you that already."

"No, you told me everyone knows, which is vague and open to interpretation and -"

Derek clearly doesn't want to hear any more of his arguments, so he settles for pushing Stiles back. Until he knocks into the wall - gentler this time, and on his left shoulder - and then Derek's kissing him. Stiles doesn't fight it, but he's still muttering about how Derek is the dumbest person who ever lived, who shouldn't get to just come in here and kiss him, and think that everything's fine. Until Derek makes it physically impossible to talk, but Stiles doesn't really care, because his mouth is occupied in the best way, and there's a hand on the back of his neck, squeezing every few seconds like it can't help itself. Derek's mouth is ruining him for everything else. He's going to be the person Stiles judges everyone else against, and that is completely unfair.

Stiles does eventually have to pull away, so he can breathe, not far though, not far enough to look like he doesn't want to kiss him again.

"You're an ass," he says, quiet and breathless, and so much more forgiving that it would have been a second ago. Mostly because it's hard to be anything else after that.

"Yeah," Derek agrees. "Sometimes, I don't - I don't get things."

That's something of an understatement, but Stiles thinks Derek's working on it.

It comes to Stiles, slower than usual, that he's pressed against the wall of his bedroom, in the clothes he wears to bed, by the stupidly attractive older werewolf he's been aggressively crushing on. And he's more than half way to fully hard. He's not quite sure how that wasn't obvious before, but now it definitely is.

"Hnh," Stiles says eloquently, then tips his head back far enough to get words out. "If everyone thinks we're dating -" he manages.

"You said that already," Derek says.

Stiles clears his throat.

"I thought it was important enough to make a point of twice. Then everyone probably thinks we've -" He stops, not sure how to actually say it.

"Yes," Derek agrees, which makes Stiles suddenly breathless. Because Derek knows what he was going to say.

"Would you -" he starts uncertainly.

Derek eyes go briefly, sharply red.

"What do you think."

"Ok," Stiles says simply and even he doesn't know whether he's acknowledging that, or agreeing to vague, future possibilities.

Either works for him.

Especially when Derek's hands are suddenly on his waist and he's kissing him again, slower than before, tugging him in a little, so his back isn't pressed against the wall, but his chest is carefully held away from where Stiles's arm still rests in the sling. Stiles gives an annoyed little huff and pulls him in tighter.

Derek's hands are slipping low enough that every breath comes out shaky. The waist of Stiles's pajama pants is absolutely no match for the combination of gravity and Derek's warm fingers. Which shorts his brain a little, because even that tiny shove of fabric somehow registers as Derek undressing him, and he's not sure how to cope with that. Not sure how to cope with how much that feels like a prelude to something. Sort of makes him want to haul Derek closer with his one good hand, and do something embarrassing, possibly something vocal and embarrassing. Begging may be involved.

Derek's fingers are spread low on his stomach, fingernails scraping lightly, in a way that slams straight through him. Teasing at the edge of his pants. Stiles is pretty sure Derek wants to touch his dick, and he is completely and absolutely down with that. He lifts his hand until he can dig his fingers into Derek's arm.

"Could we - could we do that, I think that would be awesome." Stiles wets his mouth and gives a short tug on Derek's elbow.

"Don't say 'awesome' if you want to convince me," Derek says, but his hand's moving now, turning, knuckles dragging over the skin just below Stiles's waist, and Stiles is holding his breath, and listening to his heart pound as he tugs a little more, giving appreciative hums of sound. "Your shoulder," Derek says, like that's supposed to mean something.

Oh, right.

"Fuck my shoulder," Stiles says simply. "Also, you're touching me, you're doing the touching thing, touching is good."

Derek must get something out of his babble because his hand is slipping down, warm and bigger than his own, and curving exactly right around him. It makes all his breath shudder out in one go, fingers tightening, whole body tightening and easing forward into Derek's grip. Touching is really, really good.

"Oh my -" Stiles tugs, and grunts, and gets Derek's mouth down over his, hard sighing out something that sounds like surrender, like Derek wants this just as much as him, which is insane, and kind of flatteringly amazing, and confusingly hot. There are really just too many emotions to get a handle on right now. Stiles decides to just ignore them all and concentrate on the way Derek's hand moves on him - while the other slides down the back of his pants and curves over his bare ass.

Stiles is breathing, hot and damp, against the rough curve of Derek's jaw, one hand still buried in the hair at the back of his neck.

"I'm going to come," he says quietly. "So fast, but don't stop, just don't stop doing anything."

"You want this?" Derek asks, low like it's important for him to say it. His hands aren't so firm any more, sliding over Stiles's skin like he just wants to touch him, without getting him off.

"Yes." Stiles drags the word out, tightens his fingers, tries to push up or back, or something. He wants that aggressiveness back, the way Derek touched him to start with.

Derek must understand, or maybe he was just waiting for an answer, because everything after that is rougher, all edges. Stiles has to ease away from Derek's mouth, drag in air desperately, and then swear when it all shakes out of him, when he drops his head down and watches himself come over Derek's fingers.

"Fuck," he says shakily, sweaty hands clenching in Derek's shirt, and Derek kisses his panting mouth like he can't help it, sticky hand sliding up Stiles's stomach, dragging the waistband of his pants with it.

Derek groans against his throat, and Stiles can hear the snap of a button and the rasp of a zipper.

"I want to see you," Stiles says, tugging at Derek's shirt and nudging him back with shaky-numb fingers, when he shoves the front of his jeans down. Until Stiles can see the pale slope of Derek's stomach, and the thick jut of his cock, angry-red and leaking. He takes a shuddery breath, and thinks 'yes,' for no particular reason, or maybe every reason. But then Derek's hand lifts and wraps loosely around himself and Stiles's stomach twists and clenches - and he's pushing Derek's hand out of the way, and replacing his fingers with his own, curl and grip - and it's a rigid line of heat, aggressive and real.

"Jesus," Derek huffs out, shocked like he didn't expect it.

Derek is heavy in his hand, and it's strange from this angle, with the wrong hand. But Derek pushes into his grip, like he can't help it, fingers tight on Stiles's waist, and even though he's just come everything feels warm and close and tight, and Stiles is almost certainly going to get hard again. But right now, right now he's watching Derek's face react to the squeeze and shift of his hand, and he doesn't want to get distracted.

Derek grunts and takes a stumbling step forward, like he wants to come on him, which is furiously hot, and Stiles makes a cracked noise and tightens his fingers, movements a little quicker. Because he's completely ok with that.

"Kiss me again," he demands, and he must be doing something right, because Derek is uncharacteristically obedient, mouth pressing down over his own and opening, and everything is hard and wet and he can feel how close Derek is in the way he's breathing.

Derek pushes Stiles's shirt up, moves closer carefully easing his injured arm aside, until Stiles's free hand is trapped between then, still moving, the curl of it shifting back into the harder pushes of Derek's hips. and Stiles can feel the wet smear of it against his own skin. Which is dirty-hot and perfect.

"You want to come on me?" Stiles says, words dry and raspy and embarrassment hot.

Derek growls agreement, like he doesn't have any words left, body rocking into Stiles's. His shirt's shoved up an extra few inches, until it's bunched under his armpits. Derek presses Stiles into the wall again, pins him there, hands curving him back and Stiles goes with the movement, lets Derek press against him. His hand covers Stiles's, closes it tighter, and it only takes a few more strokes before Derek's coming, pressing into him and leaving his stomach wet, over and over.

Stiles can feel it against his skin, under the spread of Derek's palm.

His hand's still moving, stroking the low tense muscle of Derek's stomach, and his hipbone, and the softening line of his dick. He can't make himself stop. He doesn't want to stop. This is pretty much the best thing that's ever happened to him. He's even calling the fact that he only has the use of one arm an unexpectedly exciting turn of events. He doesn't know what the hell is up with that.

Derek's still kissing him, shaky and hard, murmuring words that Stiles can't quite catch. He suspects it's something to do with how this is all his fault, probably, and about how Derek should know better. So Stiles makes it his personal mission to kiss him until he's not making them any more.

"So, yeah," he says eventually, mostly into the roughness of Derek's throat. "There was that, we did that. That's a thing we do, right, that's a thing, with us, where we're a thing now?"

"Stiles, stop talking."

Stiles is grinning into his skin, he can't help it.

"That's a yes, isn't it?"

"That was a yes," Derek grumbles, and Stiles is pretty sure he's the only person who can sound that harassed after an orgasm. But Stiles discovers that he can kiss him until it goes away, and Derek's just making cracked noises in his throat. Which he thinks is a power he might have to abuse the hell out of.