Derek could hear them before anything else. He'd been minding his own business really, sitting on the lounge, flicking a coin through his fingers. A soft snarl escaped him. They had to be from that damn city. It was just outside his territory, or he'd have dealt with it already. But they'd stayed away from his territory for the last few months.
But apparently these two, didn't get the idea that Derek would kill any human he found wandering into his territory.
Standing slowly, Derek shifted, feeling the long claws protrude from his fingertips, fangs sliding out of his gums, and the large wings pushing past the sleeveless tunic he wore. He could tell his eyes had changed, the room warped slightly, perfect for seeing at a distance but not the best for up close. Derek couldn't resist flicking his gaze to his arm, swearing he could see the faintest outlines of the red scales. He was so close.
The voices dragged Derek from his own thoughts. The intruders weren't trying to hide themselves. They must have been stupid to think he would ignore their presence. Derek flew up through the pit, perching at the edge of his perch. His eyes quickly focused in, two young men were walking together, engaged in conversation. One of them seemed to be trying to convince the other to go back. Smart boy. The other though, he didn't seem so interested in going back.
"Stiles, come on," the smart boy was saying, pulling on the arm of the other. The other - Stiles - didn't seem to care about that, pulling back so he wouldn't be dragged. "Your mom says we're not supposed to come out here. There's a dragon around here somewhere. And everyone says it's really vicious. No one that's come out here has survived. Come on Stiles, let's go back before it finds us."
Stiles rolled his eyes. "Where's your sense of adventure Scotty?" He asked, prying his arm free. "Look, I just need to find those flowers for Master Deaton, then we can go back. Besides, if the dragon was here, don't you think it would have killed us by now?" The smart boy - Scotty - had stopped walking after Stiles. "Okay fine, go back if you're too scared. I'll get the flowers and be back in an hour tops."
"I don't know Stiles," Scotty was saying, fidgeting nervously. "The king said I wasn't to let you out of my sight. Even if we weren't supposed to leave the city limits. Why are you even helping Master Deaton anyway? He's an herbalist, and can get flowers himself. Or actually get an apprentice, like all the other shop keepers." Stiles shrugged, still walking without Scotty. "Stiles! Come on! Your dad will kill me if something happens to you!"
Stiles stopped at that, turning to face the other man. "He's not going to kill you. He likes you too much. Besides, you know he's totally in love with your mom anyway," Stiles explained with a wave of his hand. "Alright, I'll be fine. Just go back if you don't want to come with me. But I told Master Deaton I'd help, so I'm helping." Stiles turned again, walking away. Scotty hesitated a moment more before turning and all but sprinting back towards the city. Smart boy. "Chicken shit," Stiles muttered under his breath, the words nearly escaping Derek with the softness of it and the distance.
Derek flicked his wings, leaping from his perch. He swooped in just as Stiles disappeared into the trees. Derek landed nearly silently, returning himself to his human form. He glanced at Stiles, immediately freezing. From the distance he'd only seen a human-shaped figure. From up close like this, he was knocked breathless by the beauty of the human.
He was tall, not quite as tall as Derek, and slender. Derek could see the lean muscles rippling under his clothes. Rather fine clothes at that. Much finer than any clothes Derek had stolen from merchants passing through his territory. His tunic was a dark blue, trimmed with gold. Derek licked his bottom lip, increasing the effectiveness of his ability to smell. The gold trim was real gold. Derek had to have this tunic. The finery aside, the boy was beautiful. Dark hair stuck up in many directions, as if he were running his fingers through it absently. His skin was fair, emphasised by the dark colour of his clothing. Derek could almost imagine the way it would look near the flickering of a flame, the warm light dancing along the mole-dotted flesh. And his eyes were brown, but not simply that. They glowed faintly, glittering with curiosity. They looked almost bronze in the afternoon light.
Derek had never had this reaction to a human before, to anyone before. He never thought humans could be beautiful. Delicious, yes. He did have a taste for them. But never beautiful. He'd never felt the urge to cherish one, but something about the way he smelled made Derek's stomach flip. He smelled soft and clean, most humans didn't smell clean. He smelled faintly sweet and almost refreshing. He couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was, but something about this human had Derek's eyes glued to him as he wandered deeper into the woods.
Derek followed him silently, unable to stop himself from wondering why exactly he was following him. Normally, Derek would have already killed the trespasser. Yet something about this Stiles had Derek enraptured. He was powerless to do anything but to follow him, the idea of killing him making Derek sick to his stomach. Stiles might be the first human he really let go. He'd caught him, he could easily take him out, but he couldn't do it. Stiles looked to Derek like a treasure, and Derek wanted nothing more than add him to his hoard.
"Stupid Scott and his stupid cowardice," Stiles was grumbling to himself. Even his voice captured Derek's attention, like music. "Stupid Deaton and his stupid flowers. Where are those stupid things? I bet they're not even out here. Probably a stupid test to see if I can deal with a fucking dragon. He knows I'm not ready for that. That dragon would snap its fingers, wait, talons? No, claws. That dragon would snap its claws, can claws even snap? Not the point Stiles. That dragon would just have to look at me and it could probably kill me." Derek felt a smile spread across his lips. He could easily kill the boy, but he wouldn't.
He watched as Stiles flicked his wrist at the forest, his eyes following those long, slender fingers as Stiles gestured at trees randomly. "And stupid Kate, I bet dragons aren't even that bad," Stiles continued his rant to no one in particular. "Not that I've personally met one to say so, but still. I would ask what Dad even saw in her, but that answer is nothing. Stupid political marriage. I liked it better when it was just me and Dad... I wasn't trapped in that damn city. I haven't been out here in since I was twelve. Ten years of being trapped in that city, a prisoner in my own home. And stupid Scott, the first time I get out, he tries to drag me back in."
Derek stopped, watching Stiles continue to rant. Stiles wasn't paying attention to anything in his surroundings, not really. Derek's heart clenched. The cliff. Stiles was walking right towards the cliff and the edge of the cliff in this area was at the bottom of a steep incline. As long as Stiles could keep his footing, he should be alright. But of course, Stiles had to be clumsy. Derek could only watch for a moment in silent horror as Stiles' foot caught on a root, his body pitching forward as he fell. Fuck. All thoughts of stealth quickly leave Derek's mind as Stiles began to tumble down the steep incline, yelling and reaching out for anything to slow his descent.
Derek was sprinting, hurrying towards Stiles as he shifted. Stiles had already slipped past the incline. He was in free fall, his cries for help echoing in Derek's mind. He didn't think twice as he flew after Stiles, wings beating against the air as he tried to catch up. His heart beat loudly, the sound filling his ears nearly blocking out the sound of Stiles. He had to catch him, he just had to. Derek had always been a fast flier, he could do it. He could catch him. But Stiles was several feet away, the head start given to him by gravity made it difficult for Derek to catch up. A fall like this? Stiles wouldn't be able to survive.
That thought alone propelled Derek faster than he'd ever flown before. He swooped under Stiles, catching the falling man in his arms as he flew forward. He closed his arms tightly around the man, knowing full well that his sharp claws were digging into his skin. He could feel Stiles' heartbeat against his chest, his hands trembling as they closed tightly into Derek's tunic. As Derek slowed to land, he felt Stiles press his face into Derek's neck, shallow breaths tickling Derek's skin. With his feet firmly on the ground, he squeezed Stiles a little tighter. He could smell faint traces of blood, knowing full well that his claws had broken Stiles' skin. "Are you okay?" Derek asked softly, his voice muffled slightly by the fangs. He carefully set Stiles on his feet, keeping an arm around him to keep him steady.
Stiles blinked for a moment, his eyes darkening slightly as they raked along Derek's wings, staring at the large fangs protruding from between his lips. It would have been impossible not to smell the sharp tang of fear. Derek could practically taste it as Stiles scrambled back, his knees shaking as he pulled a dagger from his belt. Derek froze. That wasn't an ordinary dagger. An ordinary dagger wouldn't have been an issue. Derek was a dragon. His skin was impenetrable. With a singular exception. By the claws and teeth of other dragons. The dagger in Stiles' hand looked to be a dragon's tooth dagger. The long fang sharpened to a deadly point.
"S-stay away from me," Stiles warned, brandishing his dagger. "I know how to use this, and, and I'll kill you, and I'll be a hero. And maybe Kate will stop looking at me like I'm a failure, so just, stay back." Derek wanted to shift back, show Stiles that he wasn't a threat, but he didn't dare lower his own defences. He didn't want to hurt this human, but he wasn't going to let him kill him. "So, just, go away dragon. I'll do it."
"Derek," Derek said, lifting his hands as a sign of surrender. So to speak. He was still shifted, his fangs still crowded his mouth and his claws were still stained at the tips with Stiles' blood. He tried to look as non-threatening as possible, to convince Stiles to lower the dagger. He didn't want to fight him, because Derek would win that fight. He'd always been a good fighter.
"Wh-what?" Stiles stammered, the dagger lowering slightly as he looked at Derek closely. Derek met his gaze, knowing his eyes weren't shifted. "Y-you, what?" The dagger fell to the ground, Stiles' fingers locked in place as his hands trembled. "But, you, you're a dragon."
"I knew that, thanks," Derek said, allowing himself to shift back, his wings disappearing back to the marks on his back, claws retracting into fingernails, and his mouth able to form a proper smirk now that it wasn't hindered by the fangs. "And that's my name, Derek."
"Uh, Stiles, I'm Stiles," the boy said, as if Derek hadn't already gathered that much. Stiles tilted his head slightly, squinting at Derek, as though he were trying to puzzle something out. "You're a dragon, and you're not trying to kill me. That, is the opposite of what Queen Kate has told everyone. She always says dragons are ruthless vicious killers. But you're not trying to kill me. That's, a lot to take in."
Derek nodded. He got that. Hell, standing here with Stiles now was against the stories he'd always been told. He was told that humans hunted dragons for their claws, teeth, and their inner fire. But Stiles seemed different. He didn't seem like those humans in the stories. "Are you alright?" Derek asked again. "Sorry about the claws, it just happens. I needed the wings, so the claws are a package deal."
Stiles continued to stare at Derek, almost as if he expected Derek to remember what he was and tear Stiles to pieces. "Uh, considering the alternative is splat, I'll live with a few scratches," he said, forcing a smile on his lips. And holy shit, how had Derek missed those lips? They were full, perfectly shaped, almost demanding to be kissed. And he knew they were soft from the fleeting moment they'd pressed against his neck. "Are any of them really bad?"
Derek took a small step forward, giving Stiles a chance to move away. Stiles didn't though, standing firm. His body still trembled slightly, but that could be from the near death experience. Derek touched Stiles' shoulder gently, trying not to startle him and he examined the places where his claws had dug into Stiles' fair skin. Most of the marks were shallow, nothing to really worry about. But one looked deep, the thumb of his right hand. "This one here doesn't look good," Derek murmured, tracing a finger passed it. Stiles sucked in a sharp breath. Derek pulled his hand back quickly. "Sorry, I can close that for you. It needs to be cauterised, or it might stay an open wound."
Stiles immediately tensed. "No no no," he said quickly, stepping back and nearly tripping on a loose stone. Derek was there in a second, arm around Stiles' waist, keeping him standing. "Thanks, but, that's not, we don't have to do that," Stiles said, pushing Derek's arm away. "I can do it myself thanks. Just, I'm not sure which one. They all hurt the same right now, and that's hardly at all." Derek nodded, adrenaline could do that. "Just put my hand over it please?" Derek nodded again, taking Stiles wrist gently, trying not to stare at his long, beautiful fingers. He laid Stiles' hand over the open wound and Stiles' eyes flickered closed.
Derek took the opportunity to look at Stiles closely. He was stunning, and touching Stiles' bare skin was cool. It was refreshing. Derek swallowed, making sure to pull back his flame. He didn't want to burn the human. Then Stiles was talking, but Derek didn't understand any of the words. He spoke lowly, under his breath. A flash of light caught Derek's attention, and his eyes locked on to Stiles' hand. The space between his palm at the wound was glowing white, the air tasted faintly of ozone, of magic. "You're magic," Derek whispered softly. He didn't think humans could be magically inclined. He knew a few rare humans from dragon families that were magic, but those were so rare.
Stiles just nodded, still speaking lowly as he slid his hand along the other marks on his skin, leaving only slightly pink skin behind. Derek just watched. He might have been a dragon, but he'd never had an affinity for magic. His older sister, Laura, did. She was always using a magic trick of some kind. But Derek really couldn't do it, and he did try when he was younger. Stiles opened his eyes and Derek was floored. Stiles' eyes were glowing gold, literally sparkling like so many pieces in his hoard. He just stared as slowly, the light dimmed, settling back into the soft bronze. "Yeah, since I can remember," Stiles said, his legs trembling.
Derek's arms were around Stiles again mere moments before Stiles' legs gave out under him. "Sorry," Stiles mumbled, his eyelids looking heavy. "I'm not that good yet. Magic takes a lot of energy. Master Deaton says I put too much into a spell, more than I need to." Derek just nodded. "Maybe just, let me have a bit of a nap. And I'll be good to go again." Stiles hummed softly, nestling against Derek. "You're so warm. I have so many questions to ask."
Derek just shushed him. "Sleep," he instructed, lifting Stiles into his arms. "We can talk when you wake up." Pausing, Derek glanced at the dropped dagger. He bent down, carefully cradling Stiles to him to pick it up and tucked it into his belt. Derek shifted, more aware of his claw position so they didn't dig into Stiles' tender skin. He jumped, wings spreading to give them lift. He felt Stiles nuzzling his neck again, his breathing slowing as he drifted closer to sleep. If Derek were being smart, he'd have just flown Stiles to the edge of his territory and left him for someone else to find.
But Derek wasn't exactly being smart. He flew Stiles to his lair, laying the human on the lounge, pulling the heavy boots from his feet, and draping a blanket over him. Derek frowned slightly. What was he doing? He barely even let family into his lair and now he'd brought a complete strange, a human stranger at that, into his lair willingly. He got a goblet from his hoard, filling it with water before setting it next to the couch. Now he was allowing a human to touch a piece of his treasure? Something was very wrong with Derek.
By the time Derek heard the boy coming to, Derek had gotten hungry. He was in his kitchen chamber, stirring a stew. He looked up, his attention already stolen by the sound of Stiles sitting up, grabbing the goblet and drinking from it. Derek tensed. Yes, he'd left the goblet for Stiles, but that was still his hoard. He'd allowed this, but that still went against his instincts.
The sounds of Stiles' feet hitting the stone floor made Derek's heart beat loudly. This was his lair, and he'd brought a human here. Now Stiles knew where he lived. He knew that the knights and guards from that city have searched for his lair for years, ten or so he thinks. And now, he'd given one of them the information. "Derek?" Stiles' voice echoed softly, reverberating off the cavern walls he walked towards Derek. "You in here big guy?"
Derek just snorted. 'Big guy'. That one was new. He's surprised that wasn't something his sisters had come up with. Derek looked up as Stiles stepped into the cavern. "Hi, um, I think I might have forgotten to say thank you. You know, for the part where you saved me from falling to my death. Even if it is pretty embarrassing because I tripped, over a root. And, hey that smells delicious."
Derek cracked a small smile, lifting the spoon and holding it out to Stiles. With eagerness akin to a wyrmling, Stiles hurried forward and sipped at it carefully. His eyes closed and his body slumped back slightly. "That good?" Derek asked, stirring the stew again. Stiles nodded, his lips breaking into a real smile. Derek could barely tear his gaze away from the way it transformed Stiles' face. He was easily more beautiful than any of Derek's treasures "Good to know you like it. It's almost done. You can go sit at the table."
Stiles nodded, hurrying over to the stone table. Derek had tried keeping a wood table, but when he powers his own kitchen, well, things got too hot for the wood. So he'd taken a boulder and melted and shaped it into a table. It was rough and certainly not perfect, but it was functional. Derek grabbed two bowls made of simple metal. These weren't part of his hoard. He'd just come across them and thought they'd be functional. He served up the stew and delivered one bowl to Stiles and took the seat across the table. "So, you said you had questions?"
Stiles' face lit up eagerly and Derek had to resist the urge to preen. Stiles' face had looked particularly beautiful and Derek had put that expression there. "So many question," Stiles said, grinning while he ate. "What kind of dragon are you? How old are you? Do you live forever? Why didn't you kill me? I'm not-"
"Hold on," Derek said quickly, chuckling at Stiles' enthusiasm. "Can we keep the questions to a one-at-a-time thing? I'm a red dragon, I'm twenty-eight, no I don't live forever, and I really don't know why I didn't kill you. Just didn't seem like the right thing to do."
Stiles blinked, taking in that information. "Queen Kate says that dragons are immortal unless you kill them with a dragon blade," he said, immediately freezing and patting his sheath frantically. "Nonononono Alpha! Where is it? Did you leave it? Dad gave that to me! He's gonna-" Derek hurriedly pulled out the dagger, and held it out to Stiles. Lunging forward, nearly dumping stew down his tunic, Stiles snatched the blade and held it to his chest. "Thanks, um, yeah."
Derek quirked an eyebrow. "You named your dagger Alpha?" He questioned, and amused glint in his eye. "I'll admit, never heard that one before." Stiles was unique. He was in the presence of a dragon, something he'd been initially fearful of. Now he was rattling off questions and clutching his only real defence to his chest.
"It's my first one okay?" Stiles informed him. "It's my alpha blade, you know the beginning, the first, and all that. I was thirteen. I thought it was clever... Wait. You said you were only twenty-eight and don't live forever. Why does everyone say that you do? I mean, not you personally, but you know dragons in general. And you don't look like the pictures. You know, you look, human. I mean, not totally human with the claws and the teeth and the wings, but you know what I mean."
Derek nodded. "The Ancient Ones are ageless. Well, not entirely, but they might as well be. They're pure dragon. The rest of us have diluted blood-"
"Like a half-dragon!" Stiles chimed in.
"Something like that," Derek continued. "The, half-dragons, look human most of the time. With age comes power, and with power, we gain the ability to shift further into full dragon. I'm only at claws, teeth, eyes, and wings. Scales are next, I'm getting there. But my mother can take full dragon shape. It's awesome."
Stiles seemed to think about that. "You said you were a red dragon," he said slowly. He's squinting at Derek again. "That means you're one of the most dangerous dragons. You breathe fire. Is that why you're so warm?"
Derek nodded. "Inner flame, burns hot sometimes," he said with a shrug. "And yes, red dragons are the most dangerous. When we reach full shift, we are larger than any other kind of dragon. Large, powerful, naturally territorial, and known to be the most ruthless."
"But you're not ruthless," Stiles stated, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "If you were, you would have let me fall to my death. I was trespassing..."
Derek raised his eyebrows. "If I were ruthless, I'd have killed you myself before you even tripped," he said, leaning forward slightly and giving Stiles a small smirk. Stiles' face paled more than it was naturally.
"You, you were following me?" Stiles squeaked, leaning away from Derek. "That's, you could have just killed me. Why didn't you?" Derek shrugged, reclining back in his seat. "You, you're different aren't you? You're not like other dragons. You're not a killer."
Derek's eyebrows scrunched up. He wasn't sure what Stiles was talking about. "I am a killer Stiles," he stated, his eyes locking on Stiles'. "Just because I made a singular exception doesn't change that fact."
"But what about Scott?" Stiles asked, his eyes sparkling and the corners of his mouth quirking up. "You were too busy following me to kill him. You made two exceptions today. I think you're not as scary and mean as you want people to think you are. Maybe you just want to be left alone, but people keep coming out here to try to hunt you."
Derek narrowed his eyes slightly. Stiles was perceptive and intuitive. He'd pretty much nailed Derek after knowing him for less than an hour. "Something like that," Derek grumbled, standing quickly and stalking out of the kitchen before he started to overheat and seared Stiles along with it.
"Wait, Derek," Stiles called after him, his bare feet slapping the floor as he ran after him. "I'm sorry, I didn't, I didn't mean to upset you. I just, I told Dad we didn't need to hunt you. But Kate insisted. She said you were dangerous and we going to burn our city down..." Derek turned back, the stricken look on Stiles' face made his heart clench.
"The city is outside my territory," Derek said softly, wanting to see Stiles smile again. "I wouldn't burn it down. Something outside my territory isn't my responsibility. Besides, if I burned the city down, I'd be hunted until I was killed. Not just occasionally hunted. You know a lot about the Queen." It's not a question. It doesn't have to be. Stiles called her by name without her title. That spoke to familiarity.
Stiles nodded and looked down, his face looking sad for a moment before looking up again. "Yeah, she's my step-mom," he said, something about his voice made Derek frown. "So, um, congrats, you just saved the prince?"
Derek blinked a few times. "Wait, back up, you're Prince Stilinski?" He questioned, his mind jumping to billions of different things. "Your dad named you Stiles Stilinski?" That's what he settled on? Really? But it did get the smile back on Stiles' face, so that was a win.
"No you idiot," Stiles murmured, reaching over to nudge Derek's shoulder. "But my real name is a monstrosity that should never be spoken aloud, so I go by Stiles. I don't even like being called Prince Stiles... Pretty sure I'm not really prince material, you know?"
Derek that all too well. He was a prince in his own right, but he never really didn't any of his princely duties. Not that it mattered. His uncle was the high prince and therefore more princely than Derek. "Well, you can be just Stiles here," he said, immediately realising he practically invited Stiles back. And Stiles seemed to realise it, because the grin on his face was brighter than any light Derek had ever seen. "I do want to know your real name. I'll tell you mine."
Stiles snorted, laughing softly. "You're telling me 'Derek' is a nickname? Yeah right," he said, still chuckling. "No deal my not-scaly friend. So, I probably should get home before dark, but I have no idea where you brought me. Other than to your lair. I got that much."
Derek nodded, moving in to lift Stiles into his arms again. "Wait wait," Stiles said quickly, squirming as he glanced around Derek. After setting him down, Stiles squirmed behind him. Derek froze as those long fingers touched the mark on his back. "What is this? It looks like hot embers. It's glowing Derek. Actually glowing." Stiles pulled at Derek's sleeveless tunic, trying to get a better look.
Derek huffed, pulling the material over his head. Stiles gasped, his fingers tracing the design. "They're like, wings, stylised wings that glow like hot embers," the human murmured, the cool of his fingers against Derek's hot skin making him tense. It felt, incredible. "Derek? Still with me big guy?"
Derek nodded, pulling himself from his own mind. "They're my wings," he explained, trying to keep from turning back to Stiles. He wanted to see the look of wonder when he explain. "You can't grow something from nothing. Our fangs grow from our teeth, our claws from our nail, scales from our skin, and our wings from our marks. Every dragon has them as long as they can manifest their wings, which usually happens around age fifteen. They're all different and glow with the energy of our inner flame."
Stiles' fingers paused on Derek's skin, just resting against the mark. "What if you were a different dragon? Like one that breathes ice or something?" Derek smiled. Stiles was curious. He liked curiosity without malicious intent. He could feel that Stiles wasn't a danger to him.
"Than I'd call it my inner ice, and all the same things apply," Derek explained, turning to face Stiles. He couldn't totally suppress his grin as Stiles' eyes raked down his bare torso for a moment before Derek pulled the tunic back on.
"So that's why you ripped off your sleeves?" Stiles asked as Derek lifted him again. Derek didn't even think of that. Most humans covered their arms. Derek probably would too. But his wings would have nowhere to go. They'd either be trapped in his tunic or tear themselves free. Derek nodded, holding Stiles close as he shifted. "Oh wow," Stiles murmured, his voice awed. Derek looked at him, his face warped slightly, eyes shifted this time. He was about to fly after all. "Your eyes are beautiful, they're like, red and the pupil is slitted. Can I, touch your fangs?"
Derek gave him a perplexed look, but Stiles seemed only genuine. He nodded, allowing Stiles' fingers poke at the points of his fangs. "They're sharp," Stiles murmured, tracing each fang carefully before withdrawing his hand.
"Of course they are," Derek said, his voice muffled. "Dragons are predators. It's necessary. You carry a sharpened around with you. You know how sharp they can get." Stiles nodded. The moment Derek began flying, Stiles clung to him tightly, his hands fisting into Derek's tunic.
"Wait!" Stiles said suddenly. "My boots, I need those." Derek huffed a laugh and landed quickly. He set Stiles down and watched the human hurry over and shove the heavy boots on his feet. He bounded back over to Derek, flailing as he nearly lost his balance tripping over his own feet. "Well that's embarrassing. You almost got to see me fall twice in one day."
Derek laughed softly, unable to hide his smile. "Do you have everything this time?" He asked, quirking an eyebrow. "Because if I have to set you down again, you'll just have to stay here." Stiles seems to ponder this for a moment before nodding. Derek lifted him again, pausing as Stiles nuzzled into him. He seemed a bit tense. Derek couldn't help but frown. "Are you okay?"
Stiles nodded, his face pressed into the crook of Derek's neck. "Just, don't really like heights much," he admitted, his cool breath tickling Derek's hot skin. "Promise not to drop me?"
Derek nodded. "I promise Stiles," he said with more sincerity he'd ever had before. "I promise I will never let you fall." With those words, Stiles relaxed a bit, still tense but trusting of Derek. That made Derek's stomach do flips as he flew out of his lair, and down near the forest where he'd first seen Stiles.
After a few beats of his wings, Stiles lifted his head, his brown eyes wide with wonder. "Oh, you, you get to see the world like this all the time?" He asked, looking at the mountain range behind them. Derek just nodded, too focused on the steady beat of his wings and making sure Stiles didn't get hurt by his claws again. "It's beautiful, but everything is moving so fast. How do you even see it?"
"The eyes Stiles," Derek said, sounding much shorter than he intended. Stiles didn't seem to notice. "They're built for seeing in the distance." Derek didn't want to go into exactly what sort of vision he had. Near flawless, and built for distance. But more than that. Dragons had a near perfect spacial awareness. Derek could 'see' with his eyes closed.
"I have to find a spell for this," Stiles murmured, leaning his head back to Derek's shoulder. "I want to see what you see." Derek felt his stomach doing that flip again. He landed by the tree line where he'd first seen Stiles gently. "Derek?"
Derek set him down and hummed softly. "Am I ever going to see you again?" Stiles asked. Derek froze, searching Stiles' face for any signs of deception or some form of scheme. But all he saw was sincere curiosity, no ulterior motives. He just wanted to see Derek.
Derek nodded. "I'm sure you will," he said softly, smoothing Stiles' windblown hair back into the messy style he'd been wearing it earlier. "Whenever you want to see me, just come into my territory and call for me. You don't have to shout. Just say it normally. If I'm around, I'll hear you."
Stiles' face morphed into that breathtaking smile. He threw his arms around Derek, hugging him tightly. "Thank you," Stiles whispered as Derek's arms wrapped around his waist. "For everything." Derek nodded, about to say something when Stiles' soft lips brushed against his cheek softly. "I'll see you around Derek. Tomorrow, if I can sneak out."
"Goodbye Stiles," Derek said, watching as Stiles smiled before running back to the city. Derek was in way too deep, and he barely knew the boy. He'd told him things about dragons he shouldn't have. Things humans didn't know, nor should they. Too much information about dragons makes it easier to hunt them. He felt he could trust Stiles, but that didn't stop him from feeling tension settle in his gut. What if his instincts were wrong? It's never happened before, but there was a first time for everything. Right?
Derek stared after Stiles, his clawed hand reaching up to touch his cheek, feeling the lingering coolness of Stiles. As soon as Stiles' shape disappeared from Derek's view, Derek flew back to his lair.
As soon as he landed, he licked his lips, enjoying the smell of Stiles still lingering on the lounge. He laid down and buried his face into the little pillow. Maybe it's a bad idea, but he really didn't care. He fell asleep breathing in the sweetness of Stiles. He didn't even like sweets.