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Bloom

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“What is it?” Derek asks, when Stiles shoves the little thing into his hands.

“What’s wrong with you?” Stiles’ face is contorted into that smug/exasperated expression again. “It’s a plant.”

“It’s dirt,” Derek tells him.

“Ugh.” Stiles rolls his eyes and his entire body goes with it, he even throws up his hands. “Just. Water it, okay?”

Stiles shoves his hands into his pockets and leaves. He walks a little faster than when he came and the door makes a lot of noise when it closes behind him. Not for the first time, Derek regrets putting it in. He and his pack are the only ones who squat in this run down building. It’s not like they need a door anyway.

They definitely don’t need a plant. A plant. What the hell was Stiles thinking? Derek scoffs and looks down to stare at it. It’s just a little stub a couple inches out of the dirt, ugly and brown in a terra-cotta pot that’s small enough Derek can fit his hands around the whole thing.

Whatever. It’s just a plant. He decides to sit it next to the kitchen window in the light. Plants like light. Well, most plants like light, and if this one doesn’t, it’s not like it was going to last long anyway. With Derek’s luck, he’ll just be used to looking at the little stump of a thing before it dies horribly. He glances up at the calendar. It’s January. He gives it a month.

When February comes, the plant isn't just alive, it grew. Derek’s not sure how it happened. He knows he didn't water it enough. Hell, he threw stale coffee on it at least twice. But there it is, a little green stalk shooting several inches out of the brown stub.

“Stubborn little shit, aren’t you?” Derek asks, then looks around to make sure no one heard him. He’s alone, so he sticks the pot under the running faucet until the dirt is wet and puts it back near the window.

“You kept it,” Stiles says, next time he comes over. He’s not at the loft a lot. Sometimes he trails in after Scott, but this time he’s there to tip Derek off about police business, or something. There’s probably a reason. There has to be, for Stiles to be over here when Derek just saw him in town yesterday.

“Um,” Derek replies.

Stiles laughs. It sounds like a bubble bursting, “I’m surprised it’s still alive. I mean, it’s not like you ruin everything you touch or anything, but—”

“Stiles. Quit while you’re ahead.”

“I was ahead?” Stiles grins. He laughs again, this time a little breathless. “Right. I’ll just—here. Turn it around. It’s leaning toward the sun.”

“It likes leaning toward the sun.”

“If it leans too far, it’ll break. Then there won’t be any flowers to put on the table at all your little werewolf tea parties. What would Uncle Peter say?”

Derek grins this time. “He’d probably say to kill you and to water it with your blood.”

“Nice threat.” Stiles gulps. “Effective.” He turns the plant anyway. Derek takes it from him, turns the water on, and holds it under the tap.

A few weeks later, there are weird little pods on the top of the stalks.

“It’s blooming,” Stiles informs him. Derek has no idea what he’s even doing there. It’s the second time he’s been over this week. “Hey little guy. Look at you, growing big and strong for your alpha.”

Derek hits him on the back of his head. Except not really. He does it really softly, so mostly he just ruffles Stiles hair a little bit. “Idiot. You’re talking to a plant.”

“Hey.” Stiles tries to bat Derek’s hands away. Derek puts up fight and ends up with his wrists encircled in Stiles' hands for his trouble. “You’re supposed to talk to plants,” Stiles says, and squeezes before he lets go. “It was on Mythbusters. It makes them grow.”

“Why aren’t you taller?” Derek asks. “You talk all the time.”

Stiles measures a line from the top of his head across to Derek, where it hovers a bit over the tips of his hair. “I’m taller than you, Weewolf.”

Derek smiles, predatory, walks toward Stiles until their bodies are almost pressed together. Then he keeps walking, and crowds Stiles against a stool until he sits. Derek’s smile glides to a smirk. “Who’s taller now?”

The plant blooms suddenly several weeks later. Except it's not sudden, not really. It’s not like Derek grabbed a pot of dirt and out of nowhere, two red, bell-shaped flowers popped up on the end of the thick, green stalk. They’ve been coming for awhile now. He should’ve expected it.

“Oh, hey,” Stiles says when he sees them. “Flowers.” He reaches back and rubs his head with a deceptively lanky arm. “They grew.” He punches Derek on the arm. “You did good.”

“Well,” Derek corrects him, because he’s an asshole, and because Stiles corrected him the week before.

Stiles laughs. “Fuck off.”

“I would if I could,” Derek says, “and I’d tell you to, but you wouldn’t listen.”

“Probably not.”

They don’t say anything for a minute. Not to each other anyway. Stiles coos at the flowers and Derek stews silently, lost in his head.

“You know what kind of plant this is?” Stiles finally asks. He looks up, and even though Derek nods, he continues. “It’s an amaryllis. The amaryllis myth —”

Derek reaches out and touches his wrist, which stops Stiles mid sentence. He tends to talk with his hands. “I know what it means,” he says.

“Oh.” Stiles licks his lips. “Did your, ah, family tell you? When you were a kid?”

“I googled it.”

“Right. I always forget you do menial shit like the rest of us.” He pulls his hands away and stuffs them in his pockets again. “Like, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen you eat.”

Derek steps closer. “I eat.” He tilts his head up.

Stiles licks his lips again. “What big teeth—you know what, I feel like this is an inappropriate time for a wolf joke.”

“Since when has that stopped you?”

“You’re right,” Stiles says. Then he puts a hand on the back of Derek’s head, pulls him forward and kisses him. Derek gasps into it, unsure why he’s surprised. Stiles hums, though, and gets his hands on Derek’s belt loops while Derek looks for a place to put his, and settles on under Stiles’ flannel, high on his sides.

When they manage to pull apart, Derek smiles. “I like being right."

“Don’t get used to it,” Stiles says, and presses a kiss to Derek’s jaw, his lips catching against stubble. “Nothing’s going to stop me now.”