Manda nudged Stiles with an elbow. “Who’s the gorgeous dude glaring at you?”
Stiles sighed. “I owe money to the Russian mafia.”
“What?” she asked, because she’d only known him a few months. They had a coffee and studying thing with a couple other people from class, because Stiles was trying to make the occasional friend who couldn’t smell him from across the room or break him with their pinkie. It took a while to train people on his humour. Like smelly cheese and certain wines, he was more of an aquired taste.
“Nothing,” he said instead of explaining. “See you on Tuesday.”
Unease twisted in Stiles’ stomach as he walked across to Derek. If something was going on at home, someone probably would have texted or called. Scott’s been pretty good about it lately, not trying to hide things from him to protect him, and if his dad was involved, Stiles usually got at least one exasperated, confused phone call.
So, whatever this was, it was probably just Derek’s thing. That he came to Stiles for help with. Research, maybe.
“Dude, what’s up? You—” Stiles faltered as he got closer to Derek. “You look like shit.”
“We’re not Russian.”
“My family isn’t Russian.”
Stiles stared at him for a second. “Yeah, it’s called a joke. You forget how those work?”
When he didn’t answer, Stiles immediately started worrying. They had a sorta thing with the snarking and the sarcasm. Derek Hale was a sarcastic asshole. He’d snarked at Stiles when he was actively dying. That he wasn’t was so not a good sign, a suspicion that only confirmed when Derek pushed away from the wall he’d been leaning against and immediately sagged at the knees.
Stiles managed to shove a shoulder under his arm before he actually hit the ground, but it was a close call. “Okay, pretend you’re a little tipsy or we’re gonna start getting weird looks.”
“Hey, it’s either that, or–” Stiles bit off the end of the sentence before he said something about pretending they were hooking up. That was a bad, bad idea, and a bad, bad mental place to go. If his mind went there, his body thought it was okay to go there, and considering all the people who could smell his emotions and shit, that was just bad and awkward and terrible. It was bad enough he was pretty sure that everyone thought he got fear boners and were only waiting for the best moment to use that belief against him.
Which, you know. Wasn’t an entirely untrue belief.
His dorm room luckily wasn’t too far from class, but Derek was seriously drooping by the time they got there. Stiles propped him up against the door and flipped the lock next to his shoulder. His hand hovered there in the air for a second before pressing against Derek’s shoulder. It almost felt like his palm alone was holding Derek against the door for a heartbeat, and a weird thrill that he’d have to examine later went through his stomach.
“Hey,” Stiles said, voice lower than he meant. “Are you going to be okay for two minutes while I set up?”
“Mm,” Derek said, eyes shut, and okay. He’d take that for yes.
Normally he’d let Derek sit in the metal chair he squeezed into his dorm room despite not really having room for it for, you know, times when people showed up bleeding and needed somewhere to sit. But he wasn’t entirely sure they’d be able to get him back up if he sat down.
From the depths of his closet where nobody could see it, Stiles took out the first aid bin. It was a giant plastic tub from Walmart. Green, so nobody can see inside even if they did go into his closet like a creep. He pulled one of the giant stained towels out and spread it across his bed, shoving off the pillows and blankets at the same time, and followed it with an industrial size garbage bag. It looked super freaking creepy, but so did dealing with sheets covered in blood on multiple occasions without a uterus or something to explain it. You could only say nosebleeds so often, and it made him queasy when people started talking about cauterization and stuff.
He tossed another giant black towel over the garbage bag, and went to get the very pale werewolf slowly sliding down the length of his door.
“So what’d you get into this time?” Stiles helped Derek ease onto the side of the mattress. “Jacket?”
Wincing, Derek eased it off and threw it to the floor, then flopped back onto the bed. His entire body visibly relaxed a few degrees, and if that wasn’t pathetic considering the shape he was in, Stiles didn’t know what was.
Then Derek dragged his shirt up.
God, why did everyone and everything evil have to actually stab Derek Hale in the gut? There was actually a spot about the size of a quarter where he couldn’t feel anything at all right above his belly button, Stiles discovered once when he had to pick glass out of Derek’s torso. Permanent numb spot on a werewolf. How fucked up was that? Stiles was actually at the point where he couldn’t even appreciate the abs anymore. Half the time he just wanted to give Derek the hot water bottle he kept under his bed for when his friends got cramps.
And cold winter nights, if he was being entirely honest.
“Not healing?” Stiles asked as he pulled on a pair of rubber gloves. Blood under the nails was really hard to explain. And gross. He wasn’t entirely expecting to get an answer, was in fact almost hoping Derek was passed out by now. Considering this was the part where he had to kneel on the floor with Derek on his bed… even with the blood, awkward, and at least a small part of his brain was tangenting somewhere in a way that would seriously come back to haunt him later.
After a second, though, Derek waved a hand in the air, making some vague gesture. “Ugly fucking clawed thing. One of them broke. I can’t reach it.”
Stiles pressed gently against the skin above the wound. It was hot even through the gloves, and looked tender and fresh. This close, too, Stiles could see the slightly darker fabric of Derek’s jeans, damp with blood at least halfway down his thighs. Probably clawed the shit out of himself trying to get it out, and made it worse because he was too stubborn to ask for help until he’d half killed himself, half bled to death, trying to solve it on his own.
“This is gonna suck,” Stiles said, pulling a pair of needle nose pliers out of the bin. “Get it over with, though, yeah? Yeah.”
It was awful. The worst thing, Stiles thought, was that Derek didn’t actually make any noise. It wasn’t even like it’d stand out in a dorm. Fair chance someone was having sex at all times, or watching horror movies, or falling off one of the loft beds some of the rooms had because they were so stoned they forgot it wasn’t a normal bed. It was a freshmen dorm. Noise happened.
He worked out the broken claw with the pliers until there was enough to grasp, and tossed the pliers onto the bed next to Derek’s hip.
“Okay, this should be easier now.” He moved the palm of his left hand over the wound and pressed down as he pulled the broken claw out as fast as he could without, you know, gutting Derek more, which was a steady pace but not nearly as fast as Stiles would have liked. The claw was disturbingly long, and heavily curved, and he vaguely worried he was pulling liver or something out with it.
It was done, though, at last, and Stiles dropped it into the Tupperware container on the floor. Derek was healing now, sluggishly, but the bleeding had stopped in the seconds since the claw was removed. Stiles cleaned the wound anyways and taped some gauze over it, then gave his T-shirt a tug back into place. Something about the stark white against his skin made him look too vulnerable, and Stiles was not able to handle that right now.
He threw the pliers into the container, and pulled one glove off. “Hey,” he said, shaking Derek’s knee briskly. “Still alive?”
After another shake, Derek muttered something intelligible and threw one arm over his eyes. The sweat glistened in the hollow of his throat, and Stiles dragged his gaze away from it before he made things weird.
He sighed and sat back on his heels. Then he reached into the first aid bin, grabbed a regular sized trashbag, and threw the bloody rubber gloves into it. Later the towels and garbage bag would join them until he could get to a Laundromat in the middle of the night to wash the towels and ditch the trash. And then he got the really weird task of taking Derek’s shoes off and yanking at one of his knees until he was mostly lying the right way across the bed.
“Hey, you don’t get to bitch about the garbage bag when you won’t get up and change,” Stiles said, and grabbed the pillow out of the closet that he’s already had to bleach bloodstains out of a couple times. And he was always at least a little bit of an asshole, so he threw the pillow in Derek’s face.
Something about surprising a werewolf amused him.
By the time he’d finished cleaning up, Derek had passed out. Stiles turned off the lights except for the lamp on his desk and settled into his desk chair with the plastic container holding the claw next to his laptop. Maybe whatever it is that Derek killed was the only one of its kind, but if there were more, he wanted to know that. Not to mention if it turned out to be poison or something.
It was going to be a long night, but his bed was taken anyways.
“You know, I feel like this should be funnier,” Stiles said and plucked another quill from Derek’s back. “Mostly it’s just gross.”
Apparently porcupines don’t like wolves.
Especially not a group of them. Stiles didn’t actually know porcupines lived in groups.
Derek groaned and shoved his face into Stiles’ mattress. “Shut the fuck up.”
“What were you even doing?”
For a moment, Derek was quiet. Almost hesitantly, he said, “Running.”
“All wolfy running?” Another quill, and Stiles ran a damp cloth over the stretch of skin slowly becoming empty and smooth again, cleaning away the blood before it had a chance to drip anywhere. Something about the marks they left made him kind of dizzy and he was just grateful Derek was healing fast. “Cool. Next time maybe avoid porcupine dens, though.”
Despite himself and the blood on his hands, Stiles grinned. It was a pretty cool thing. Not that he’d ever admit that to Derek’s face.
The next quill made Derek’s muscles jerk, and a small, involuntary noise escaped him. For some reason, Stiles immediately felt guilty. It wasn’t like it was his fault Derek had the worst luck ever.
“Are you going to Cora’s thing?” he asked, to try to distract Derek or something. He wasn’t really sure.
“Yeah.” Derek cleared his throat. “You?”
“If I can get away. Hopefully. She seems excited. Well, for Cora, at least.”
“No, she is,” Derek said. “She’s just nervous. She… worries when good things happen.”
Yeah, Stiles knew that feeling. The fear that anything remotely good would be taken away like everything else you’d lost. Damn it. Now he was going to have to go to Cora’s stupid art show and probably buy her some flowers or explosives or something.
Ugh, he hated having to wear a suit. And she knew it, too, so there was no way he could get away with not doing it.
“Last one,” he said, and pulls the quill free. Derek’s back was already healing, and there were just a few drops of blood to clean up before he could toss his gloves and the bloody cloth into the bucket filled with porcupine quills. He’d figure out what to do with the whole thing later. Derek was just lucky it was a long weekend and nobody was around to see the wolf covered in porcupine quills slinking across campus and into his dorm window. “Back in a minute.”
Stile went to the bathroom down the hall and washed up. And brushed his teeth while he was at it, because with his attention span, he was likely to forget by the time he passed out… sometimes surrounded by empty Reese’s cups wrappers and gummy worm bags, and he wondered why his dentist was always annoyed at him.
And by the time he returned to his dorm room, Derek was asleep facedown in his pillow.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Stiles hissed. If Lydia found them, she was going to kill him for letting this happen in the middle of her girlfriend’s art show. For the love of God, this was the worst timing ever.
“Shh, some - someone’s gonna hear.”
“Fuck you,” Stiles spat and taped more gauze onto Derek with shaking hands. He’d used almost everything he had in his Jeep already, and it was barely enough to patch Derek up enough that his innards were no longer outards.
Derek released the death grip he had on the edge of the counter and took Stiles’ wrist in his. “Help me put my shoulder back where it’s supposed to be before it heals wrong.”
“I so can’t do that without passing out.”
“I know!” Stiles let Derek press his palm into the hot, misshapen lump of his shoulder. “Okay, go.”
But Derek hesitated, hand resting on Stiles’ elbow for a long moment. He was pale, sweaty and shaking, and he looked away from Stiles, throat bobbing as he swallowed. Stiles kind of wanted to bite it, and he wasn’t entirely comfortable with how well on his way to a serious hard-on he was, but they usually ignored that whole situation, and the dislocated shoulder was probably more important anyways that his dick anyways.
“Just,” Derek said. “Just this is important to Cora. She’s happy. I don’t want to ruin this.”
“Oh my God, it’s not your fault that – that – things I will have to research later things attacked you,” Stiles snapped. “Shut the fuck up and tell me what to do to so we can go look at more of Cora’s weird paintings.”
It was absolutely disgusting. There were noises, crunching and grossness, and Stiles’ knees almost went out from under him. He was pretty sure the only reason he didn’t hit the ground was that Derek gasped and grabbed him. And out of the two of them, Stiles was pretty sure the dude covered in blood had more right to pass out. Or, you know, to shove his face into Stiles’ neck like a fucking weirdo.
Werewolves, man. No matter how old he got, he was never going to get used to them.
Before Stiles realized what he was doing, he found his fingers at the base of Derek’s skull. The hair there was soft and a little sweaty, and he immediately didn’t know what to do after touching it. Him. Derek.
Just gonna stand awkwardly like this forever, Stiles decided.
Or at least until Derek came to his senses and eviscerated him.
Over the last year, Stiles had put a decent amount of stitches in Derek, pulled dozens of porcupine quills from his skin, bandaged countless wounds, and dealt with that really weird gnome bite that they didn’t talk about much because it still made Stiles want to throw up and Derek always got embarrassed about, you know, getting bit by a gnome. And that was only the short list.
This, though, he wasn’t entirely sure he could handle. There’s only so much the human body was made to take, and a half-naked Derek Hale in his bed was bad enough without the idea of having to get very, very close to him.
With a knife.
“Either – either you cut them out—” Derek stopped to gasp in a shallow breath. “Either you do,” he panted, “Or I do. Can’t breathe.”
Stiles turned from the dresser with the bowl in his hand, and walked over to the bed, setting down the other things on his nightstand. “Keep in mind here I have pathetic human ears and Melissa won’t give me a stethoscope.” Then he did the most awkward thing ever and leaned down to put an ear against Derek’s chest. “Take a breath as deep as you can.”
Derek inhaled deeply once, then two or three times short and fast. Stiles moved to the other side, ignoring the feel of his skin as hard as he could.
He listened for a moment before straightening and standing to grab his phone. “Your left lung sounds fucked up. I’m gonna call Deaton.”
Before he could dial, though, Derek coughed, shoulders coming off the bed as he grabbed the bowl from Stiles’ hands. Loud, violent coughs wracked his body, and Stiles heard several disturbing splats into the bowl – and then a ping of metal against ceramic. When he looked, there were several bloody lumps and a small metal ball.
“That was in your lung, wasn’t it?” he asked faintly.
Derek nodded and fell back against the mattress, wiping the blood from his mouth.
“Okay.” Stiles got another bowl, and sat down on the edge of the bed next to Derek’s hip. Mostly because if he didn’t sit down, he was pretty sure he was going to fall down. After a deep breath – okay, a couple, until he stopped being slightly dizzy - he picked the scalpel up off the night table. “You know, not a lot of people would trust me with one of these.”
“You have – haven’t broken anything flailing in we-weeks,” Derek said, still breathless, still stopping to pant between words. “Well. Scott’s nose.”
“I apologized for that.” Stiles looked down at his hands. He watched the light reflect off the sharp blade, and shrugged. “I meant more that thing where I stabbed a bunch of people.
Derek’s eyebrows did that thing that meant he understood what you meant, but he didn’t exactly agree and wouldn’t hesitate to tell you how stupid you were being if necessary. Or at least that’s what it meant aimed at Stiles, he was pretty sure. And considering how many conversations he had with Derek Hale’s eyebrows, he’d gotten pretty good at interpreting them.
“I do remember how it felt, you know. It wanted me to feel how much it enjoyed cutting people open. Wanted to convince me it felt good, wanted me to like it.” He glanced up at Derek. “Where first?”
When Derek looked away, he thought it was too awkward or too much, but instead he took Stiles’ hands and pressed his fingers just under one ear. There was a hard lump under Derek’s skin, because Derek was the kind of idiot to get a chest full of shotgun pellets on top of everything else tonight.
Stiles leaned over too quickly and hissed when a sharp pain shot though his ribs.
“Careful,” Derek rasped and the next thing Stiles knew, dark veins were creeping down his arm.
Stiles shook his hand away. “Knock it off. I’ve got a couple sore ribs. I had to pull seven arrows out of you before I could even get you in my Jeep. You win.”
“Look who’s talking!” Stiles laughed, and carefully bent forward again. “This is gonna suck. Try not to move.”
To be honest, he was mostly being sarcastic. Or mouthy, maybe, would be better to describe it, running his mouth without thinking about it to keep his hands from shaking so much. Really, he didn’t expect much. Besides the thing where his body had been used to stab people, werewolves got weird about their necks sometimes. He had to spread his fingers across Derek’s throat to pull the skin taut – and then really, really not think about how Derek’s stubble felt under his fingers – and he expected more reaction than Derek just turning his head so Stiles had better access.
Stiles held his breath, and a moment later pulled the pellet out with a pair of tweezers.
“One down,” he said, dropping it into a dish. “Eight hundred to go.”
The thing that always made him feel incredibly guilty was Derek almost never made any noise. Stiles was literally cutting shot out of his skin, and the loudest sound he made was a sigh through his teeth, like he was trying to make it as easy on Stiles as possible. Which somehow made it worse. And wasn’t even necessary considering they were in his dad’s house, not his dorm room.
Stiles pulled a particularly stubborn pellet from right under Derek’s armpit, and sat up, stretching his spine a little. “You need a break?”
He looked up, and swore. “Derek?”
Derek’s eyes were closed, eyelashes a dark shadow against his cheeks, and he’d gone pale and limp. Stiles reached up and tapped him on the side.
“Derek. Hey, come on. Derek.”
His eyelids twitched. “What?” he asked faintly.
That should have been way grouchier than it was, all things considered.
“There’s no wolfsbane,” Stiles said, more to himself than Derek all things considered. He probed at the places he’d cut shot out, but most of them were healing already, and none of them had bled that much to begin with. “What the fuck, Hale?”
Derek exhaled. “Leg feels weird.”
“Weird?” Stiles twisted to look and his stomach twisted. “Holy shit. Holy shit, gonna make this awkward. I’d apologize but you probably don’t care at this point,” he mumbled under his breath as he used the scalpel to slice open Derek’s jeans. Then he shoved his fingers into the cut and ripped until he could see where the blood was coming from.
Some seriously disgusting poking later, Stiles found an arrowhead buried too deep to see and curses.
“Hey, dickhead, if I take this out are you gonna bleed to death?”
“No,” Derek said. “I can feel it trying to heal.”
So Stiles yanked it out.
For a normal person, after the bleeding slowed to a near-stop, he’d clean everything up before bandaging it, but Derek would probably shower in an hour or two and make it pointless, so Stiles bandaged up his leg as best he could, and went back to cutting buckshot out of Derek’s shoulder.
By the time he finished, Derek was down for the count. Stiles cleaned up as much as he could with an unconscious, still-bloody werewolf on his bed, and took the towels and rags downstairs to throw them in the washing machine, adding his own bloody shirt. He added a shit ton of soap and started whatever cycle the machine was on already, slapping the start button with shaking hands. He'd clean up the smear of blood he left later.
He made it to the laundry sink before throwing up, at least.
Stiles’ knee bucked under him, and he cursed as his shoulder bounced off the wall, nearly taking both himself and Derek down.
“Easy, careful,” Derek said in his ear, close enough he could feel breath on his ear, and that did not help his mood at all.
“Pretty rich coming from the guy leaning on me,” Stiles snapped. “What, did I jostle you to much?”
He could practically hear Derek’s eye roll. “Careful of you, idiot.”
Okay, he didn’t know what to say to that, and frankly he couldn’t bring himself to care. His knee hurt and his ears were still ringing from the fucking explosion and he was pretty sure if he spoke to Derek right now, Stiles was going to murder him himself.
“Here, sit,” he said instead, and helped Derek lower himself onto the edge of the bed. Derek’s apartment was gloomy and cool, and the rain hitting the windows makes Stiles restless, like his insides were bouncing around jarring his spine wrong.
Derek exhaled. “Get the first aid kit from under the bathroom sink.”
Stiles nodded. His hands were shaking, he realized in the bathroom, and he wasn’t sure why. Maybe the explosion. He was going to blame the explosion. That was his story and he was sticking with it.
At least until the guy who had been exploded took the first aid kit out of his hands and gestured for him to sit.
“Let me see your leg,” Derek said.
“I can literally smell your burn.”
Stiles grimaced and sat down. Well, great. Now he felt even more guilty. Bad enough Derek had fucking tackled him two seconds before everything exploded and Derek was probably the only reason Stiles is alive. Because Stiles was probably the only reason Derek became an incredibly crispy critter and nearly died on them until Deaton did some weird magic healing thing that put his skin back on.
It was gross.
And his fault.
So he let Derek wrap his leg in clean gauze and bandages, with a shit ton of burn cream underneath. Probably overkill, but he wasn’t going to say anything considering Derek had every reason to have issues with, you know. Burns. Fire. All of that.
No, he wasn’t going to say anything, no matter how strange it was to sit on Derek’s bed and watch him actually do it. The sharp white bandages contrast against the skin of Derek’s hands, still nicked and beat-up and not yet healed. He was very, very careful with everything, too, like he wasn’t sure what would hurt or how much. Like Stiles hadn’t been injured plenty of times around him, from fights and attacks and tripping over his own feet constantly.
“Thanks,” he said after, and couldn’t find any other words.
Derek put the supplies back in the first aid kit and set it on the nightstand.
“You should probably get some sleep.” Stiles stood up, rubbing his hands against the thighs of his sweats. His palms were damp, weirdly.
Derek nodded, sighing, and reached for the hem of his blood-stained, charred t-shirt. Halfway to his shoulders, he froze, what little colour had been in his face draining away.
“Wow, that looked like it hurt,” Stiles said and stepped a little closer. “Here, I’ll help.”
Disrobing Derek Hale wasn’t weird or awkward at all. This probably was one of those things they were better off not talking about.
“You shouldn’t drive on that leg,” Derek said, rubbing his palm against his shoulder. It was bruised dark and ugly, and Stiles was just grateful he didn’t have to put it back into the socket again. “You can stay if you want.”
“Sure,” Stiles said, and escaped into the bathroom to trash the destroyed shirt and avoid the awful everything of standing next to a half-naked Derek Hale while holding his clothing. When he came back, Derek was stretched out on the bed, and Stiles was pretty sure he didn’t have pants on anymore.
It probably wasn’t a good sign that he didn’t even find this strange anymore.
He went over to turn off the lamp and nearly jumped out of his skin when Derek grabbed his wrist.
“Stay,” Derek said, voice muffled by the pillow. “C’mere, stay here.”
He sounded far away, maybe not even awake. Probably dreaming already, Stiles thought somewhat desperately. Thinking Stiles was someone else.
Yeah, he thought and clicked off the lamp. That was it. He sat down on the empty side of Derek’s bed, put his back against the headboard.
That had to be it.
The bed shifted, waking Stiles up.
For a moment he forgot where he was – which believe it or not, wasn’t a very common experience for him. He liked sleeping in his own bed as much as possible, whether it was his bed at home in his dad’s house or the one in his dorm room. Too many times waking up in weird places with no idea how he’d gotten there or what the murder demon hanging out in his skin had done, he guessed.
By the time he realized where he was, the shower was running in the bathroom.
Stiles opened his eyes, sat up, and leaned over to turn on the lamp. Okay. Derek’s bedroom. Derek’s bed.
He ran his hand through his hair and glanced around. He wasn’t sure how long he’d slept, and that was almost as disorienting. He hadn’t exactly been a deep sleeper the last few years, and waking up not sure if he’d slept an hour or eight was weird as fuck. He was starving, but he’d had a late growth spurt six months ago, grew two inches, and that was sort of a constant these days when his Adderall wore off. Everything about this was so fucking weird.
And the biggest weird, that whole Derek Hale’s bed, he was ignoring as hard as he could.
The shower shut off as he was leaning over the edge of the mattress looking for his shoes, and a minute later, Derek yanked the bathroom door open. “I was serious about you not driving on that leg.”
“No, I…” Stiles stumbled off the bed. “I need to go.”
“I can’t do this.” The words ground out of him, sharp like glass cutting him from the inside out.
Derek froze. His hair was wet, slicked back like he’d run his hand through it straight out of the shower, dripping onto the shoulders of his t-shirt which was already clinging where his skin had obviously still been damp when he’d put it on. The smell of soap and steam reached across to where Stiles was standing. Something about it made him ache, like it was intimate in a way he didn’t fully understand himself.
The next thing he knew, he closed the distance between them, planted one hand on Derek’s shoulder, and shoved him back against the wall.
And kissed him.
Derek inhaled sharply, and Stiles took shameless advantage of his open mouth to chase the taste of his surprise with his tongue. He was sort of expecting to get pushed away at any moment, but instead came a hand wrapping around the back of his neck and pulling him closer.
One of them had to come up for air eventually, though, and Stiles was surprised it wasn’t him.
“Stiles,” Derek said, voice hoarse and the slightest bit shaky.
His hand was pressed against the wall, Stiles realized, staring at it next to Derek’s shoulder to keep from looking him in the eye. He couldn’t make himself look Derek in the eye. Something was going to happen here. One way or another, he was pretty sure things were going to change. Something had to give. Something had to break, and he didn’t know if it was going to be the tension or himself.
“I’m either gonna leave, or I’m going to kiss you again,” Stiles said, blunt and shocking himself with his words. What did he have left to lose though? His cards were all on the table, and there was no getting them back now. “And I really need you to pick which one of those things you want to happen.”
Warm fingers touched his jaw, turning his face until he had no choice but to look at Derek. His stomach dropped down to his knees and his mouth went dry. Oh. Derek’s eyes were dark and considering, and he smirked just a little as his chin dipped. Oh.
“Of the choices here, which do you really think I’d go for?” Derek asked. “C’mere.”
Stiles wanted to be soft and careful. Or, no, he wanted to want that. He wanted to be better, but he wasn’t, so instead he buried his fingers in Derek’s hair and pulled until Derek's head tipped back and his eyes went dark. He wanted to do better, but he needed the sound of Derek sighing, ever so quietly.
At this point, Stiles figured he might as well admit to himself that he was never going to be better, or good, or anything Derek really deserved, but this here, this moment, well, there wasn’t a lot he could do about that, and there was a whole lot he could do about grinding his thigh up between Derek’s legs until he moaned, muffled by Stiles’ tongue, and clutched at Stiles like he was drowning. And considering that had actually happened once, Stiles kind of knew what he was talking about.
Fuck, his hands were shaking so bad. He shoved them up Derek’s shirt instead of dealing with it, and discovered he was burning hot under Stiles’ hands. He traced the lines of Derek’s ribs with his fingertips, the dip of his back, the curves of his hips.
“Hey,” Derek said eventually against Stiles’ mouth, gently nudging him back. He was trembling and rock hard against Stiles’ thigh, and his voice was breathless when he said, “Hey, easy. You don’t have to…”
Stiles shifted, pressing into Derek. Hard. “I like this.” His voice came out rougher than he expected, surprising himself. “Frankly I’d actually also like to do this, too.”
And so he planted the heel of his hand on Derek’s erection and pressed.
Derek cursed, head tipping back. “I…”
“Shh,” Stiles said, and kissed him to shut him up. He began working into a steady, grinding rhythm, something probably on the verge of not even feeling good, but that apparently worked for Derek, judging by the way he arched into the feel.
Only a moment later, it felt like, Derek went stiff, then shuddered and dropped his head to Stiles’ shoulder.
And since Stiles wasn’t a complete ass, he eased up and away, and let his hands come to rest on Derek’s hips. After a moment, he leaned into the boneless weight of him, letting his body absorb how wrecked Derek felt. A little part of his brain – okay, a fairly large part of his brain wondered how much more Stiles could ruin him, how much he could make him fall apart.
Even with Derek’s breath hot against his neck, it surprised him when Derek spoke. “Still angry?” he asked.
Stiles jolted. “What?”
“Dunno what’s got you all wound up…” Derek paused to take a breath, exhaling loudly. “And I can’t feel my knees.”
Stiles took flexed his fingers, and slowly relaxed them. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Got that, actually,” Derek said, and straightened for a moment before slumping back against the wall. He looked ridiculously dishevelled, flushed and hair messy, and Stiles hated him a little for how beautiful he was. “So what are you gonna do about it?”
Well. Stiles couldn’t very well let that pass by, could he?
Everything was awful and his head hurt and his feet were cold and everything was awful.
Scott snapped his fingers in front of Stiles’ face and he nearly jumped out of his skin. A frown creased Scott’s forehead. “I’m gonna make you drink a juicebox. You gonna do it without arguing, or do I gotta call my mom?”
“I’m fine,” Stiles started to say, then raised his hands when Scott picked up his phone. “I’ll drink the juice, jeez.”
Get kidnapped by gnomes one time and have to get stitches from Scott in Derek’s loft and everyone freaks out. He probably didn’t even have a concussion, so he didn’t know what they were all so worried about. Kira had even held his hand while Scott sewed him up, and she was almost as awful with needles as he was. When they got drunk last spring break and ended up in that tattoo place, they’d both barely made it out without throwing up or fainting.
Kira’s nose ring looked adorable, though.
Stiles accepted the apple juice Erica handed him, and sat back against the arm of the couch. Everyone else was a little bloodier than he really thought they should be. Gnomes were surprisingly vicious, or at least that was the excuse the werewolves were using for having been attacked by gnomes twice in one year.
And then Derek walked by.
They’d been avoiding eye contact for almost two weeks now, and Stiles considered this quite a successful project that he hadn’t been alone in a room with Derek since… since. Now he just had to go back to school next month, never come home for summer again, and maybe move to Alaska when he graduated.
Derek had a smear of blood on his neck from something and it was almost exactly in the same place Stiles had left a dark, deep bruise with his teeth.
When no one was looking, Stiles slipped out of the apartment and up to the roof for a panic attack.
It was a little cool, unseasonably cool, really, but the air was refreshing and calmed him down a little until he could sit down on one of the chairs up there. God, how was he supposed to do this? How was he supposed to act normal when he knew what Derek Hale felt like pinned to the mattress underneath him? That he liked having Stiles’ hand in his hair holding tight when he came? Or ever look him in the eye when he’d fucked him, then snuck out when Derek was asleep?
“We should probably talk,” Derek said from the door to the stairs.
Stiles isn’t even surprised at this point. “Well, talking is the worst so how about no?”
Derek sat down in the chair next to him. “Would that I could,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned back in the chair. “But we’re locked out of my apartment until we deal with this.” He paused. “And I don’t like making you smell so anxious.”
“Oh God.” Stiles dropped his head into his hands, hiding behind them. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have – I shouldn’t have touched you with my head so fucked up.”
There was a long, quiet moment before Derek said, “Okay, not exactly where I was going. What?”
“I shouldn’t have…” Stiles scrubbed his hands over his face. “I barely gave you a chance to say no.”
“No, the parts where you stopped and checked in with me meant nothing,” Derek snapped and grabbed the arms of Stiles chair. He pulled sharply, and when Stiles looked up, they were a whole lot closer. “You’re blaming yourself for things you didn’t do. I know that voice, okay? You can safely tell it to fuck off. Next time we’ll talk more, if that's what you need, but stop.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow. “What exactly makes you think there’ll be a next time?”
Derek just grinned and raised his eyebrows, the bastard.
The worst thing is, he was somehow not wrong. Goddamnit, Stiles hated it when he lost arguments to Derek’s eyebrows. It made him so arrogant.
“Sorry I ran away,” Stiles said eventually. Not that he wouldn’t do it again if he had a viable escape route. Or keys. Or shoes. There was a reason he ended up on the roof and not back at his dad’s house.
Derek shrugged. “Me too. So let’s talk about what you were so pissed about.”
Stiles twisted the sleeve of his sleeve between his fingers. He could really use some of that anger now. All he’s got right now is emptiness, like he was wrung out and left bare, and… cold feet. “Sitting right in front of me.”
“Colour me shocked.” Derek leaned forward, arms on his thighs. “I’m listening.”
“Yeah, well, usually you’re bleeding too much to listen,” Stiles blurted and surprised himself. He ran his fingers through his hair, and tried to ignore the shaking. Fuck. Might as well go for it now. “Why is it always me? Why do you keep showing up half dead and expecting me to put you back together? Scott or Deaton or like literally anybody else would know what to do way better, and not, like, constantly feel like you were about to die if I screwed up.”
Derek looked up at him. “I trust you.”
“I don’t know what to do with that information,” Stiles said.
Derek snorted. “Should have known you’d ruin the emotional parts. When you’re hurt like that, and trying to heal it, your brain is… you feel vulnerable. You want to be with someone you trust, someone you know won’t hurt you more.”
Stiles kicked him in the ankle. Lightly, though, not hard enough to hurt, especially considering the no shoes thing. “You could have just asked me to hold your fucking hand instead.”
Rolling his eyes, Derek straightened. “Yeah, well. Neither of us are so good with our words, huh?”
“I’m scared shitless every time,” Stiles said instead of taking the bait. “I want you and I want you safe and I don’t want to have to cut you open on my dorm room bed when I’d rather be kissing you.”
For a moment, Derek looked flummoxed. Stiles didn’t blame him. It was probably the most honest thing he’d ever said to Derek. And maybe the nicest.
“Okay,” Derek said, and put his hand on Stiles’ knee. “In the future, you stay, but someone else can take over?”
“Be more careful. Get hurt less.”
“I can try.” Derek’s face went soft and open, and Stiles’ heart ached. “You want to try?”
Stiles exhaled. “Kick everyone out of your apartment. And I want pizza tomorrow.”
“I’m picking any movies we watch.”
“Okay, it’s off then.”
Derek laughed and stood up. He stretched lazily, arms over his head, and Stiles stared because, well. It was Derek. He was starting to get the feeling he was always going to stare. “Damn, and I was thinking of going down on you tomorrow morning.”
Stiles held up a hand. “Split the movies and the blowjobs?”
“Sure.” Derek pulled him to his feet – and kept pulling until he was a whole lot closer, closer enough for a hand around the back of his neck. “Stick around this time. I’d like to wake up with you there for once.”
“Yeah, okay,” Stiles said, and let himself be guided towards the stairs.
Yeah. This could be okay.
Maybe more than okay, even.