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Derek only goes to the bar down the street because he knows the bartender and he can't stand another night sitting around in the silence of his apartment, dreaming about the way things used to be.

He goes to The Beacon often enough that he could probably be considered a regular, and it's a neighborhood dive, so there's not a lot of new faces, and all the regulars know him well enough to leave him to himself. He's friendly with a couple of them, enough to chose to sit next to one at the bar if he comes in and there's a spot. Most nights, though, he keeps to himself. It's enough to just be around people, enough so he doesn't feel completely adrift. He sits at the bar and watches baseball on the tv above the shelves of liquor and lets the whiskey and wolfsbane burn his throat. He doesn't get drunk; he drinks a glass, two at most - just enough to let him sleep at night.

Boyd's working when he goes in and he smiles faintly when Derek sits at the bar, reaching to pour him a drink without asking what he wants. Instead, Boyd says, “How you doing?”

“I’ve been better,” Derek replies. He hasn’t been sleeping well lately. He dreams of a stag every night, massive antlers and a third eye in the middle of its forehead. Sometimes Laura stands next to it, her feet and the deer’s hooves shrouded in fog. He doesn’t know what it means, but it unsettles him, waking him in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

"You're just in time for the party,” Boyd said. “Maybe that’ll cheer you up.”

"What party?" Derek asks, wrapping his fingers around the cool glass Boyd slides him. Boyd jerks his head toward a flyer on the wall and Derek frowns at it. "Trivia night?"

"Peter's trying to draw in more business," Boyd says. "Like Fridays aren't busy enough." He makes a face at the room in general, and Derek follows his gaze. It does seem more crowded than usual, a lot of younger, college-age kids standing around talking. Boyd grins at him, pulling a slip of paper out from under the bar. "You want to play?" he asks. "Winner gets a hundred dollar open tab."

"Like I need to drink more," Derek retorts, but he takes the paper, because he's got nothing better to do.

The whole thing is stupid. The trivia's projected on the wall and it's a lot of pop culture stuff that he doesn't know. Derek gives up halfway through and stares around the bar. All the college kids are having a great time, laughing and shouting false answers. He resents them.

"Hey," Boyd says, and Derek turns to look at him, eyebrows raising. "Are you going to do the baseball league this summer? Sign-ups start next week."

"I don't think so," Derek says with a quiet shake of his head. It's where he met Boyd last summer, but he doesn't think he can do it without Laura to come to the games. She always used to drag her heels, sighing and complaint she had better things to do than watch a bunch of over-grown boys hit a ball around a field, but she'd always been there, every game, cat-calling and cheerfully making a scene.

Boyd nods quietly, not pressing the issue, and moves down the bar to talk to a blonde-haired girl Derek thinks he's been seeing. Derek looks down at his drink, suddenly overwhelmed and irritated. He wishes all the college students would shut their mouths. He can smell their drunkenness and it makes him want to gag.

He's even more irritated when someone sits down at the bar next to him, which is irrational, he knows, because there's only a couple open seats, but he likes his space. Derek glances over and finds an attractive young man just pulling down the hood of his sweatshirt. He’s got a kind face freckled with moles, and full, pink lips. There are tattoos on his knuckles and the backs of his hands – diagrams, like he’s a witch, maybe – and Derek’s heart skips in his chest, because this guy’s exactly his type, lithe and slim, though his long fingers suggest hidden strength. He notices Derek looking at him and offers Derek half a smile, which Derek returns with a nod and then fixes his eyes on the television.

He doesn’t come to The Beacon to pick up people. It’s precisely the reason why he doesn’t go anywhere else. People in this neighborhood know him, know he’s not interested in being hit on, which allows him to have a drink in peace. Derek knows he’s good-looking, but the type of people it attracts disgust him. At least other werewolves can smell the unfriendliness on him and stay away, but that doesn’t stop the others. He went to a gay bar with his coworker Isaac once and it was horrifying.

Boyd comes over to get the new arrival’s order, and it seems they know each other because Boyd says, “Hey, Stilinski. Didn’t expect to see you here.”

Derek’s watching the game, but he hears the guy next to him speak, and the timbre of his voice is the first noise in a while that hasn’t overwhelmed Derek upon hearing it. He closes his eyes for half a second, listening to the guy say, “Yeah, it’s not really my thing, but Danny set me up with one of his new tech guys – Matt, I think? Do you know him?”

“I don’t have a lot to do with those guys,” Boyd replies, and Derek remembers that he’s got a day job at a security firm or something. He doesn’t pay much attention to the conversation after that, because this guy’s waiting for a date, and it’s a close game, so things are starting to get interesting.

Derek finishes his drink and Boyd serves him another without bothering to ask if he wants one. Behind him, the trivia game finishes and the music gets louder and people start dancing. Derek would have gotten irritated that his normally quiet bar has turned into a dance club, but the wolfsbane-infused whiskey has dulled his senses somewhat, swaddling him in a cocoon of warmth. It’s probably a half hour later that he realizes the guy is still sitting next to him with an empty beer glass in front of him, tapping his fingers against the bar in a manner that’s either angry or nervous. It looks like he’s been stood up, and Derek feels for him.

Boyd comes over and tells Derek he’s gotten second-place in the trivia game, which is surprising considering he didn’t even finish. He hands Derek his prize, a neon yellow t-shirt with an abysmal drawing of a lighthouse and The Beacon written across the chest in garish type. Derek stares at it in bemused horror while Boyd leans against the counter and says to the guy next to him, “No luck?”

“No luck,” the young man replies grimly. He taps a fingernail against his empty glass and then pushes it away with a sigh. “Story of my life, dude.”

Boyd grimaces in sympathy and gets the guy a new glass of beer, setting it down on the counter with a thunk. “On the house.”

“Thanks,” he says, and points a long finger at the shirt that’s on the bar in front of Derek. “That thing’s a crime against humanity, dude. Are you trying to drive people away?”

“If I’m lucky,” Boyd replies, and Derek snorts.

“You should give it to Goodwill,” the young man advises Derek. “I bet Macklemore would pay good money for it.”

It’s clearly a reference to something that goes straight over Derek’s head, but he says, “I’ll keep it in mind.”

Boyd gets a thoughtful look on his face that Derek eyes mistrustfully. Boyd says, "Derek, this is my coworker - "

"Stiles," the young man interrupts with a laugh, like his name is some kind of inside joke. Maybe it is, Derek thinks warily, because he can’t imagine a parent cruel enough to name their kid Stiles. "Hey."

"Hi," Derek replies, taking the hand Stiles offers him. A jolt runs through his body when their hands touch and he pulls back quickly, though Stiles doesn't seem to notice. Boyd smiles triumphantly and moves off down the bar. "Derek Hale."

Stiles smiles like nothing in the world could make him happier than meeting Derek and he turns in his seat to face him fully. Derek leans, just enough to catch his scent, and it's - it's not like anything he's ever smelled before. The young man next to him smells like happiness and content and life. It's the most vibrant thing he's ever experienced, and leaves him reeling.

"Are you from the neighborhood?" Stiles is asking him.

Derek blinks, trying to clear the haze from his head and says, "Yeah, just up the block. You?"

Stiles shakes his head. "Nah," he says ruefully. "This was a failed blind date." He doesn't sound all that upset though.

"Sorry," Derek says uncomfortably, shifting in his seat. "You, uh, work with Boyd?"

"Occasionally." Stiles says. "I'm a consultant."

Derek raises an eyebrow at Stiles' tattooed forearms. "A consultant."

"In magical security measures," Stiles grins, like he knows what Derek's thinking. "I contract with private firms, mostly, but I've done a few jobs with the federal government. Right now I'm doing some long-term stuff at the firm Boyd works at."

"Oh," Derek says, impressed.

Stiles takes a long drink from his glass and says, "Let me guess what you do. Lawyer?"

Derek shakes his head, smiling faintly.

"Hmm. Cop?"

Derek shakes his head again.

Stiles narrows his eyes at him. "Model?"

Derek snorts and says, "Try stock broker."

"With that body? What a waste." Stiles actually looks disappointed. Derek blinks, his cheeks coloring. Stiles seems to realize what he just said because his cheeks go bright red and he twists in his seat, draining his drink in one long pull. Derek watches the muscles in Stiles' neck move as he swallows and it takes everything in him not to lick his lips. He takes a slow sip of whiskey instead, watching Stiles tap his fingers against the bar, his cheeks still flushed with color.

"So," Stiles says, not quite meeting his eyes, "you're a werewolf, right?"

Derek raises his eyebrows. "How'd you know?"

Stiles grins faintly. "You breathe through your mouth," he says. "Every were I know does that in public."

Derek nods slowly. It helps keep the overwhelming scent of other people at bay. Too many scents at once give him headaches, confuse his instincts.

"So what are you?" Stiles asks cheerfully, apparently over his momentary embarrassment. "Omega? Beta?"

"Alpha," Derek says quietly. It's never anyone's first guess. He was never supposed to be alpha, and he doesn't act like one - not that he has a pack to lead.

"Oh," Stiles says, and Derek's no stranger to the surprise on his face. "You're not like any alpha I've ever met."

"I know," Derek says, and takes a long drink.

"I didn't mean that as an insult," Stiles says hurriedly. He twists around in his seat to face Derek and his knees press against the side of Derek's thigh. Derek tenses slightly, then relaxes. He can feel the warmth of Stiles' skin through the layers of cloth that separate them, oddly reassuring. Stiles' scent is closer too, and Derek breathes in deeply, as subtly as he can while Stiles continues, "I just meant - you're a lot less intense. All the alphas I've ever met are super pushy. Rude, too, like the word owes them something."

Derek looks over at him and there's nothing but sincerity in Stiles' honey-colored eyes. "Tell me about your magic," Derek says, changing the subject. "Did you go to school?"

"Tufts," Stiles says, and then he's off, waxing rhapsodic about his major, the classes he'd taken, the benefits of a liberal arts school over a magic college, how much he liked Boston, how much he hated the traffic in Cambridge. Derek watches him in slight awe as his hands jab the air with every word, his long fingers telling a clearer story than most novels. The tip of his tongue occasionally sweeps across his lips and Derek can't help but stare at it, like a cat watching a mouse. He's starting to think that whoever stood Stiles up was the biggest idiot he’d never met.

Stiles catches Derek staring as he turns to accept a new glass of beer from Boyd, cutting himself of mid-sentence with a wry smile. "Dude, you have to stop me when I start ranting," he says. "I could talk about magical education forever."

"I can tell," Derek replies, shaking his head at Boyd when the man eyes his empty glass questioningly. “I don’t mind.”

“Nuh uh,” Stiles grins, shaking his head. “Tell me about you. Are you from around here?”

“California, originally,” Derek replies.

“Oh!” Stiles says, delighted. “Me too! Whereabouts?”

“North,” Derek says, “up past Redding—”

“Beacon Hills,” Stiles exclaims, snapping his fingers. “You’re Derek Hale.”

“Yeah,” Derek frowns. “How did you—”

“My dad’s the sheriff,” Stiles replies, and some of his cheer slipping away. “Oh, um…”

Derek’s head is whirling. This kid – this man – is from his hometown? He remembers the sheriff from after the fire, a kind man with a grim smile and gentle hands. He’d been good to Derek and Laura after the fire. How is it that Derek’s managed to meet his son in a bar on the opposite side of the country? And where was Stiles the whole time he was growing up in Beacon Hills?

He looks at Stiles in a new light, searching his face for any trace of the sheriff in him, but they’re hardly alike; Stiles is dark-haired and pale, while what Derek remembers of the sheriff is tan and light-haired. They’ve got the same kind light sparkling in their eyes, though.

“Um,” Stiles says again, looking embarrassed and worried. “I’m sorry, dude. I didn’t mean to bring up anything unpleasant—”

“Don’t worry about it,” Derek says swiftly, because he’s not upset. “I just – it’s a small world.”

“Yeah it is,” Stiles says with a relieved smile. “When was the last time you were back there?”

They talk about Beacon Hills for a while, about their favorite places to eat and the crazy varsity lacrosse coach at the high school. Stiles tells him, looking guilty, that he and his best friend used to go out to the derelict shell of Derek’s old house, far out on the preserve, and sit on the sagging front porch and get high. Derek laughs and tells him that the one time he tried bringing weed home and hiding it in the house, his mother sniffed it out within minutes and shoved it down the garbage disposal and made him do thirty laps around the house.

They talk for what seems like hours and probably is. The college kids all give up and move on to the next bar and then its just them and some of the locals. Stiles is leaning into his space and Derek is fiercely aware of the place on his thigh were Stiles’ knees press in to him. He’s not drunk, but he’s intoxicated with the smell of Stiles, and he wants to feel him, wants to taste that brilliant, vibrant life under his tongue. Stiles has his elbow on the bar, halfway between them, and Derek stares at the long length of his tattooed forearm, wondering if he has the courage to brush his fingers against him. Before he can move, Stiles does. He’s gesturing avidly, telling a story about a teenage joyride in a borrowed cop car, and when he sets his hand back down, he doesn’t rest it on the bar but on Derek’s wrist.

Derek’s not even sure Stiles is aware he’s done it, because he’s still talking, gesturing forcefully with his other hand. He smells slightly nervous, though. Derek looks past him to see Boyd watching them, and the man raises his eyebrows as if to say, What are you going to do now? Derek furrows his brow at him and, carefully keeping his upper body still so the contact is kept between him and Stiles, rearranges his legs, twisting slightly so that their legs slot between each other, the insides of their knees touching. Stiles pauses, so briefly that a human probably wouldn’t have noticed, but Derek’s not human. He can smell the blood rising to Stiles’ skin and he knows, he just knows that they’re going to go home together.

He can’t think of anything that would please him more.

“So, hey,” Stiles says after a while, and when Derek glances over at the clock above the bar, he’s both surprised and not to find it’s nearly three in the morning. Stiles’ fingers tighten against his skin and then pull away abruptly, falling into his lap. “I should probably get going.” Behind Stiles, Boyd makes a frantic gesture at Derek, who glares at him. Stiles sees the look and glances over his shoulder at Boyd, who pretends to be busy refilling the ice chest.

“Okay,” Derek says, and he smells the disappointment gather on Stiles before plunging briskly forward. “You want to come back to my place?”

Derek doesn’t go to bars to pick up people. He’s not interested in fucking people he’ll never see again. The few times in the past year that he has gone home with someone, it was always to their place, not his. He and Laura had an unspoken agreement never to bring people home because the apartment was their den, a safe space. It smelled like them and no one else. Now the smell of Laura is fading and Derek keeps the door to her room shut, afraid she’s going to disappear altogether someday. He lays in her bed sometimes, on the worst days, and it makes him sick that the pillows are beginning to smell like him, and not her.

But Stiles is different than anyone he’s ever picked up. He’s bright and intelligent and interesting. His touch is electric and his smell is intoxicating, and Derek wants him badly. When he smiles and looks into Derek’s eyes, it’s like a light bulb goes off in his brain and a little voice says to him we are never letting this one go. And Derek thinks okay.

Stiles nods and they get to their feet. Derek puts two twenties on the bar for Boyd and picks his jacket up off his chair while Stiles zips up his hoodie. They head out into the night together but pause outside the bar.

"Where to, captain?" Stiles asks cheerfully, sticking his hands in his pockets.

"I'm just up the block," Derek says, but he doesn't turn yet. He leans into Stiles' space instead and kisses him. He can feel Stiles smile against his lips.

When they pull apart, Stiles' cheeks are red and he says, "I can honestly say that this is the first time I've ever been glad to have been stood up."

"His loss," Derek says, and leans in for another kiss. Eventually they break apart and start heading for Derek's apartment, shoulders brushing as they walk.

Derek's apartment is in a building that's nice enough to have a doorman during the day. He's not rich, not by far. He and Laura were technically rich after the fire, but they used most of the insurance money to move to New York and pay for school. Now he does pretty well for himself, and he could probably afford something better, but he won't leave until Laura fades completely.

"I like your place," Stiles offers, looking around the living room admiringly. Laura worked hard to made it feel like home; the couch is big and overstuffed, the walls lined with bookshelves she made Derek build. It's a comfortable space.

"Thanks," Derek says quietly, hanging his jacket by the door. He watches Stiles wander around.

Stiles'' scent changes as he moves around, souring like he's uneasy, and he says, picking up a framed photograph of Derek and Laura at Coney Island, "Hey, do you live with someone? I'm not interested in helping you cheat on your girlfriend."

Derek sighs, gently taking the photo out of Stiles' hands. "That's my sister."

"Oh," Stiles says, relief washing his expression. "She lives here?"

"She did," Derek says, his throat tightening.

Stiles looks at him, and there’s something knowing in his face. "She died," he says.

"Yeah," Derek says quietly. "Three months ago. Rogue hunters."

Stiles sucks the air in between his teeth. "That really sucks," he says quietly.

Derek stares down at the photo, his throat constricting. He thinks he can hear her sometimes, her bright laughter ringing in his ears. He still holds out hope that she'll come waltzing back through the door someday, that the ashes in the urn on the bookshelf belong to some other dark-haired alpha and there’s been a huge, horrible mistake.

"Man," Stiles says next to him, "I really know how to ruin the mood. I'm sorry."

"Don't worry about it." Derek shakes his head. "Do you want a drink?" The loneliness is creeping into the corners of his mind and he suddenly, desperately, needs something to fight it off.

"Sure," Stiles says agreeably. Derek goes into the kitchen to grab some beers and when he comes back, Stiles has settled onto the couch. He accepts the beer Derek offers him with a murmur of thanks and Derek lowers himself down next to him. Stiles eyes him cautiously. "Do you want to talk about it? I know we came here to – well, I don't mind listening. I know I talk a lot, but I'm good at listening, too."

"Thanks, but no," Derek says quietly. "I'm just - it's tiring."

"I hear you," Stiles commiserates. He carefully leans against Derek, relaxing when Derek turns his face and presses his cheek to his hair. "My mom died when I was twelve and it - it was so strange, because she was alive, but it was like she was already dead. I'd go to the hospital to visit her and even before she went into a coma at the end, it was like visiting a corpse." Stiles' lips twist as he thinks. "You know, I don't know what's worse - seeing her day after day, knowing she was going to be dead soon, or something quick, like an accident, and not knowing it's coming, but knowing they didn't suffer." Stiles turns his head into Derek's shoulder.

"I don't think there's a good way," Derek says quietly, sliding a hand around Stiles' thigh.

"Sorry," Stiles says softly. "This is the most depressing hook-up ever."

"I don't mind," Derek says, very quietly. "I feel like I can trust you."

"Yeah," Stiles replies, sounding a little startled. "I kind of feel like I've known you forever. Is that - is that a weird thing to say?"

"No," Derek murmurs, because he feels the same way.

"Okay," Stiles says briskly, shifting abruptly so he's suddenly sitting on Derek's thighs, facing him. "Question. Are you happy here? In NYC?"

Derek considers this. Even after nearly ten years here, he has few friends and little to do except go to work, and now that Laura's gone... "Not really."

Stiles tilts his head to one side, smiling faintly. "Would you move back to Beacon Hills?"

Derek thinks about this too. "I don't know," he admits, slipping his hands around Stiles' waist. He presses his thumbs against Stiles' hipbones, sharp even under his hoodie. "There's a lot of memories there."

"Fair enough," Stiles says. He leans forward, pressing their foreheads together. "If you could choose anywhere to live, where would you go?"

Derek watches Stiles' lips, his breath warm on his skin. "Montana," he decides. "Or Europe. Austria, maybe. Somewhere with mountains and trees."

"Back to your roots?" Stiles asks, his eyes lidded.

"Hale's an English name," Derek retorts.

Stiles laughs and Derek swears he can feel it like a burst of energy, a dose of positivity thrumming through his veins. It makes him grip at Stiles' hips and Stiles makes a quiet, desperate sort of noise. "Dude," he says. "Can I please get your cock in my mouth?"

The abrupt change in topic startles a laugh out of Derek. "Am I that boring?" he teases.

"Are you saying no to a bj?" Stiles shoots back, grinning.

"Well," Derek says diplomatically, "I can't turn down a guest's request."

Stiles laughs again, the sound sending sparks shooting down Derek's spine, and he tilts his head forward so that his lips are just brushing against Derek's. Derek stares at his face, at the way his long lashes frame his amber eyes as he looks down, long fingers unbuttoning Derek's shirt.

It's ridiculous how turned on he is just by Stiles' breathing and the light touch of his hands, but something about the closeness, the soft sound of his breath - he feels like Stiles cares about him, and maybe that's a stupid sentiment to attach to a hookup, but he doesn't care.

Stiles bends to kiss at Derek's chest while his deft fingers work at unbuckling his belt, and his lips feel like a brand, searing their mark into his skin. He wonders if he'll be marked forever after this, and makes a quiet noise of disappointment when Stiles leans back.

"Getting hot," he remarks, unzipping his hoodie and shrugging out of it, letting it drop to the floor behind him. Derek breathes in sharply and runs a hand up his chest. He's not as skinny as the oversized sweatshirt made him look; he's wearing a tight-fitting t-shirt underneath and though he's lean, his shoulders are broad and strong. He’s just as heavily tattooed on his biceps as he is on his forearms; on one side, an intricate latticework of leaves and vines disappears under the sleeve of his tee. Derek’s never really been in to tattoos, but the sight of Stiles does a number on him. He hisses quietly and curls his hand around the back of Stiles' neck, pulling him in for a sloppy, open-mouthed kiss. Stiles groans against him and slips back, clambering off Derek to kneel in front of him. Derek obligingly lifts his hips so Stiles can pull his pants and underwear to his knees.

"Fuck," Stiles says quietly, running the tips of his fingers along the vein on Derek's cock. Derek shudders at the touch, his stomach muscles clenching as Stiles licks his lips and leans forward. He curls his fingers around the base of Derek's dick and drags his tongue across the head almost torturously slowly. The breath rattles between Derek's teeth, one hand flying out to slide through Stiles' hair. Stiles licks a thick line up the length of him, tongue swirling around the head before taking him into his mouth. Derek groans at the warmth of him, at the slick sound of wet skin on skin.

He's breathing fast before he realizes it, head swimming in a fog of pleasure. Heat's building along his spine, pooling between his legs. It's been a while since he's been with anyone - maybe six months, and definitely not since Laura -

“Stiles,” Derek says, pressing his fingertips against his scalp.

Stiles lifts his head, tightening his fingers around the base of his dick. His dark eyes are lidded and blown with lust, his lips red and wet. "You close?" he murmurs, trailing a finger across the head of Derek's cock. Derek watches him lick a bead of precome off the pad of his finger and he swallows, his dick jumping in tandem. "You wanna blow? Or take this to bed?"

"F-fuck," Derek breathes, pressing his fingers to the line of his jaw. Stiles turns his head to the side and sucks Derek's thumb into his mouth. The hollowing of his cheeks is obscene. "Bed, definitely bed."

Stiles laughs softly and clambers to his feet. Derek is swift to follow, kicking his pants off the rest of the way, and Stiles slips his hand into Derek's, letting him lead them down the dark hallway. Derek stops just inside his room to press Stiles up against the wall and they kiss like it's a fight, like if they could extract each other's souls through their mouths they would. Derek wants to consume him.

Stiles is still maddeningly clothed and Derek pulls at his shirt, aching for the touch of more hot, smooth skin. Stiles moves obligingly, lifting his arms and sighing when Derek licks down his neck, presses his mouth over his heart. Stiles' hands are moving between them; he's unbuckling his belt and shoving down his pants and Derek pulls him away from the wall and onto the bed.

"Can you turn the light on?" Stiles whispers, clutching at his shoulders. "I want to see you. I don't have night vision like you do."

"I can't see in the dark," Derek replies, but he's happy to oblige. When he flicks the light on, Stiles is staring up at him, smiling broadly. Derek smiles back, and it's probably the first real smile he's given anyone since Laura died. His eyes move down, taking in Stiles' lean body, and he freezes.

Stiles' chest, like his arms, is heavily tattooed. There's a huge piece across his collarbone, a massive three-eyed stag's head. Its face dips between his pectorals, broad spread of antlers stretching the width of his shoulders. Derek stares, his mouth going dry.

"Hey," Stiles says, one hand sliding up Derek's bicep. "You okay?"

"That stag," Derek says, and swallows. "I've been dreaming of it."

Stiles frowns faintly, his lips parting in surprise. "You have?"

Derek nods, running his fingers over the inked skin of Stiles' collarbone. "Does it mean something to you?"

"I - I had a friend in college who was a spell writer," Stiles says quietly, watching Derek touch his chest. "He drew this. It's got a protective spell I designed written into it. I call him my guardian."

Derek stares at the tattoo, his heart hammering in his chest. He can't help but feel that this was meant to be, that he's been having these dreams for a reason. He doesn't say this to Stiles, because he doesn't want to seem obsessive; it’d be a pretty heavy thing to say when they’ve only known each other a few hours. Stiles still looks worried, so Derek leans forward to kiss him, sliding their hips together until the lines leave his brow and he's panting into Derek's neck.

"Dude," Stiles groans. "Are we going to do some fucking here or what?"

Derek stills, his mouth going dry again. He wants something from Stiles, and he doesn't think Stiles would care, but it's hard getting the words out. "Would you," he tries, and swallows. "I—”

Stiles cups the sides of his face. "Do you want me to top?" he asks gently.

Derek nods and licks his lips, his cheeks burning.

"Derek," Stiles says gently. "You should never be afraid to ask for what you want, especially if it's what you need. Do you ever ask?"

Derek shakes his head and mutters, "Everyone assumes I don't bottom, because I…"

"Because you're an alpha?" Stiles offers and Derek nods tensely. He's not, though, not at heart. He's sick of people assuming he likes being in charge, that he knows what he's doing, that he'll just take what he wants.

"I've got you," Stiles tells him softly, running a hand up his back. "You have lube?"

"Uh," Derek says thickly, trying to think over the pounding of his heart. He never brings people here, but he takes care of himself because he's too embarrassed to ask to be fucked and it's a need sometimes. Derek reaches into his nightstand and hands Stiles a bottle. Derek slips off of him, rolling onto his back. Stiles sits up and leans over him, looking thoughtful.

"Has it been a while?" he asks carefully, squeezing lube into his fingers. Derek nods, his jaw working tightly. It's been years. Stiles gives him a small, encouraging smile, running his hand across the tense muscles of his stomach. Derek's breath hitches when Stiles bend down, taking his cock into his mouth once more. One of his hands slips between Derek's legs, fondling his balls before reaching further. Derek tenses when Stiles presses a log finger against him and Stiles hums, lifting his head and sinking his teeth into the pale skin of Derek's inner thigh. Derek groans at the brief flare of pain, and again when Stiles' finger slips inside him. "Shit!"

Stiles kisses the spot he just bit and watches Derek carefully. "You okay?"

"I'm good," Derek says, biting his lip as Stiles moves cautiously, fucking him with his hand. He slips in a second finger eventually, then a third, which has Derek arching underneath him, panting roughly as Stiles’ long fingers brush against his prostate.

"You ready?" Stiles murmurs, biting at the inside of Derek's knee. He's watching Derek, not his hand, his cheeks flushed.

Derek nods, feeling like he's about to explode. Stiles smiles and gets to his knees in front of him, pulling one of Derek's against his chest, aligning himself. Derek swears when he starts pushing into him and Stiles pauses when he’s in all the way, fingers rubbing up along Derek’s ribs. He waits until Derek starts moving impatiently, shifting his hips in a way that says fuck me now. That’s when he starts rolling his hips forward, hips undulating in a steady rhythm that has Derek fisting his hands in his sheets, nails fighting the shift into claws.

Stiles falls forward to kiss Derek, forearms bracketing his head. They kiss frantically as Stiles picks up his pace, snapping his hips forward so hard that his balls slap against Derek’s ass with every thrust. Derek groans against his lips, loud and wanting. The feeling is everything he’s been craving for a long time. He’s not worrying in this moment, not lonely, not thinking at all. Something in his head says submit, submit, and he tilts his head back without thinking, exposing his throat to Stiles. Stiles hisses and takes the gesture, sinking his teeth into the expanse of Derek’s throat. He slams into Derek over and over, the drag of his cock inside Derek’s body an exquisite rush of pleasure that has him digging his toes against the mattress, arching his body up to meet every trust.

“Bite me,” Derek moans. “Please, fuck, bite me.”

And Stiles does, his jaw clamping tighter, teeth breaking the skin. Derek chokes on a sob and comes messily, spilling in long white stripes across his heaving stomach. Stiles releases his throat and starts coming undone inside of him, his hips jerking without coordination as he orgasms. They lie still for a few moments, catching their breaths as they come down from their orgasms. Derek rubs a hand over the tattoo on Stiles’ chest, breathing in deeply. Stiles moves eventually, slipping out of Derek carefully, but he doesn’t go far; he lays himself down on top of Derek, arms curling under his chest. He smiles at Derek, and it sends a weird shiver down his spine when he sees that Stiles’ teeth are smeared red with his blood.

“Was that what you wanted?” Stiles asks him, running his tongue over his lips.

“Yes,” Derek says quietly, laying an arm across Stiles’ back. “Thank you.”

“Any time,” Stiles replies with a smile, leaning forward to kiss him. Derek kisses him lazily, lightly dragging his fingernails up his spine, his head growing heavy as the drinks and late hour begin to hit him.

They drift apart eventually, Stiles slipping off to the side, though he keeps an arm across Derek’s chest. There’s quiet in the apartment, but the air doesn’t seem as heavy as it has for the past few months.

That night, Derek dreams of Laura and the three-eyed stag, but he’s standing next to the stag now, and Laura stands across from him. “You’ve found a good one,” Laura says. Derek turns his head to look at the stag and the beast drops his head to lick the salt from Derek’s fingers. Laura laughs, bright and happy.

When he wakes in the late morning, Derek is on his stomach and the sound of his heartbeat, the only one in the room, tells him that he is alone. Derek rolls over, his stomach twisting, and the bed is empty next to him. He slides a hand over the spot where Stiles slept, but the space is cold, abandoned.

His heart aching, Derek rolls back over and pulls the sheets up around his shoulders. He didn’t even get Stiles’ number, but maybe he doesn't want it if Stiles couldn’t even wait around for him to wake up. Derek drifts in and out of sleep, and it’s a wrench every time he wakes up and remembers he’s alone.

Derek’s just thinking he should probably get out of bed when his hearing picks up a faint jingling noise from the hall. It’s at his door a moment later, then it’s keys in the lock, and the door opens. Derek tenses, listening to his intruder walk through the living room and toward his bedroom. His nose picks up the scent of coffee and bread and eggs and then it’s Stiles coming into the bedroom, a cheery smile on his face.

“Hey,” he says, setting a bag of food down on the nightstand. “I grabbed your keys – I hope you don’t mind. Thought I’d get us something to eat.”

Derek watches him shimmy around, kicking off his pants. The mattress dips as Stiles climbs back into bed. “I thought you’d left,” Derek mumbles.

“Me?” Stiles laughs, pressing a kiss to Derek’s shoulder. “’fraid not, dude. I’m not that easy to get rid of.”

I think this was meant to be, Derek says in his head. Out loud he says, “You’ll stay for a while?”

Stiles laughs again. “I’ll stay forever if you want me to.”

Derek does, and Stiles stays.