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Stiles only has to keep running for another ten feet before he’s literally home free. The terrifying sounds of snarling and snapping jaws are practically right behind him, so he feigns to the left, goes right and leaps at the wood fence, sinking his claws into it and pulling himself up towards the top.

 

There’s a jarring thud below him as Derek braces against the surface, jumping up in an attempt to bring Stiles back within reach.

 

“Down dumb dog.” Stiles hisses, finally balancing precariously on the border between their two properties. He’s doing better than last time, when he hadn’t even cleared the fence and Derek had gotten his teeth around the back of his neck.

 

“I will rip your throat out.” The 'dog' had slurred threateningly around his mouthful. Astonishingly enough, he hadn’t hurt Stiles that day. Just like he hadn’t every day after that.

 

“Get back here you soulless feline!” Derek ordered, jaws continuing to snap hungrily at him. Stiles was just about to hiss obscenities in return, but Derek’s ears twitched in the direction of his back door, and Stiles heard it too.

 

“Busted.” The brute growled, and Stiles’ own ears flattened down ever so slightly. Isaac; Derek’s owner, had already spotted him, and at the obnoxious squeak his sliding glass door omitted, Scott wasn’t far behind, the noise like an alarm bell going off in his head.

 

Stiles leapt off of the fence and into Scott’s waiting arms, curling up and playing demure. Scott petted him obligingly while biting at his bottom lip in a nervous habit. Stiles swatted his mouth with the soft pad of his paw in a reminder that he was not allowed to tear the shit out of his lip, which he had been known to do in the past.

 

“Your cat is a menace!” Isaac exclaimed from the other side of the fence, pompous English accent grinding on Stiles’ sensitive ears, and by the way Scott winced, his as well. His owner was trying to glare at their neighbor through the tiny cracks between the boards that separated them, but it was a no go. He attempted jumping up, but when Stiles let out an outraged yowl and sunk his claws in both his shirt and skin, Scott let that idea go quickly.

 

 

“I will not yell at you with a fence between us, so either come over or rant by yourself.” Scott offered, turning heel and heading back into the warmth of the house. Even Stiles could admit it was getting chilly outside. Absently, he wondered how Derek could stand it. Being left out all the time without the promise of a warm fire and a cushiony bed was barbaric.

 

Not two minutes later the doorbell blasted obnoxiously, Scott muttering unflattering names the entire way before answering it. Isaac was already in the middle of a tangent.

 

“Your cat is the most-”

 

“You’re not English, Isaac. Drop the accent!”

 

Stiles watched lazily as the strange man pointed an accusing finger at his human.

 

“You know it’s a nervous habit brought on by stress, which your cat provides in abundance!” He stammered in his natural American accent this time. Scott rolled his eyes.

 

“Would you stop saying ‘your cat’ already? How many times do I have to tell you his name?”

 

“I don’t think Stiles is an acceptable name for a cat.”

 

Scott snorted. “And Derek is an acceptable name for that wolf you call a dog? There are laws that forbid people from keeping wild animals as pets, you know.”

 

“I have all the paperwork,” Isaac seethes, “and you know it.” Scott was the local vet and had to deal with everyone’s animals. He often came home smelling of interesting things that Stiles enjoyed puzzling over. “Derek is the only name he’ll respond to. What’s your excuse?”

 

“Look at him.” Scott said, pointing to his cat with pride. “He’s full of Style!”

 

They both watched as Stiles attempted to swat at a fly in midair, missed, and knocked into the wall instead.

 

Isaac looked uninspired.

 

“Riiiight.” He drawled. “The point is that he keeps sneaking into my yard, Scott. He’s a house cat, isn’t he? Keep him in the house.”

 

“I do!” Scott defended. “He just…gets curious, I guess.”

 

“It’s more than that. He’s purposefully baiting my dog! Everyday Scott! Every day. Don’t come crying to me if Derek eats him or something.”

 

“You are heartless.” Scott growled, and Stiles watched as Isaac returned the glare, not backing down.

 

“I just know how overly sensitive you are.” He returned mockingly, moving for the door.

 

“You’re one to talk Isaac.” Scott threw at his back, pronouncing his name in a horrible attempt at an English accent. Isaac didn’t turn around, but even Stiles could see the tense line of his shoulders.

 

“Just keep your cat out of my yard and away from my dog.”

 

“Yeah whatever. Don’t forget your appointment on Tuesday!” He yelled, Isaac’s “I won’t, McCall.” Following before the slam of the front door. Scott let out an exhausted sigh, shoulders sagging before throwing himself on the couch, jostling Stiles from his perch on the sofa’s arm.

 

“Come here, you.” He demanded, lifting Stiles up and placing him on his chest for a cuddle session. “How do you keep getting out, anyways?” He wondered absently, scratching behind Stiles ears just the way he liked.

 

“Don’t know why you keep trying to bother Derek.”

 

Why indeed.

 

“Don’t you have any self-preservation?”

 

Stiles lifted a paw up to lick between his claws. He had seven lives left, so it wasn’t a major concern.

 

“I know how much you like going outside, but if this keeps up…I’m gonna have to cut off your access.”

 

Stiles bristled at that. He loved Scott to death, but no one was going to rain on his parade.

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles was lounging about in a patch of heated sun by the window. He didn’t laze, he lounged. There was a distinct difference. However, he had had enough for now, and decided to move on to bigger and better things.

 

Climbing to his feet he stretched gracefully and moved towards the window. The lock had a tendency to stick, and if Stiles was patient and applied the right kind of pressure he could get it to swing open just enough to squeeze through.

 

The air outside was cold and biting, but Stiles’ fluffy brown fur had grown in thicker to compensate, so he didn’t let it bother him. His bushy tail flicked up at the breeze that wrapped around him, bringing with it the familiar smell of Derek from next door.

 

Stiles didn’t waste any time. He was as light as a feather on his feet and managed not to make a single sound as he climbed up and over the fence, landing on all fours on the other side.

 

Derek was nowhere to be seen.

 

Stiles felt it then. The moist warm breath brushing against his neck. Of course the giant wolf would already be behind him. Of course. Stiles hadn’t even heard him this time and he almost wanted to praise his skill if he wasn’t too busy trying not to shake with muted fear.

 

“Don’t you ever grow tired of this game?” Derek whispered, making Stiles’ ears twitch and his fur stand up with how deep his growl reverberated. Derek nipped softly at Stiles’ flank and the cat turned around to face him fully, moving back until the fence impeded the way.

 

“Game?” Stiles asked in confusion. “What game? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

 

Derek’s ice blue eyes continued to mock him silently.

 

“Go home, Stiles.” He finally said, getting to his feet and turning his back on the feline.

 

Stiles watched with widened eyes as the sun caught on his ink-black fur, bushy tail swishing on the wind as if he were excited about something.

 

“That’s it?” Stiles demanded, following at a quick and easy pace to catch up. “No chasing or maiming attempts?”

“Nope.” The wolf answered easily, heading for his giant dog house. “Go home before you get caught.”

 

Stiles plopped down on the ground in front of the opening, watching wide-eyed as Derek got comfortable on his oversized fluffy pillow that Isaac spoiled him with.

 

“What’s wrong with you?” Stiles demanded, but Derek only gave him an amused look while his tongue snuck out to lick around his mouth.

 

“Scott’s home.” Derek said rather than answering, and Stiles seethed at the wolf.

 

“I can hear, thanks.”

 

“You should get back.”

 

Stiles wasn’t going anywhere. He wrapped his tail around his body and sat pristinely while he waited.

 

In the end, Stiles couldn’t force Derek to do anything, the insufferable wolf meeting his stare with quiet amusement over his stubbornness.

 

“It’s going to rain.” Derek remarked offhandedly, and Stiles finally lost patience and turned his back on the animal.

 

“Thanks for an amazing afternoon.” He growled with as much sarcasm as he could inject into that sentence. Derek merely smiled wider.

 

“Anytime.” He promised to Stiles’ back as the cat sauntered away. Stiles hurried, jumping up and over the fence with ease. He saw it then.

 

The window was closed. Damn it.

 

Stiles climbed up onto the ledge, scratching pitifully in hopes of getting Scott’s attention. It was starting to sprinkle and rain drops were making a mess of his well-kept fur.

 

The house appeared completely empty and Stiles’ stomach sank in realization. Scott had come home for lunch; as he was oft to do, saw the window opened and closed it quickly before leaving back to work.

 

Stiles was locked out, and the rain was pouring down now. He sneezed when a drop of water landed directly on his nose. His ears were back in an effort to keep them from getting the insides drenched, and his fur felt thirty pounds heavier. His reflection in the window said it all. He looked like a drowned sewer rat that had been brought back to life and was miserable at the second chance he had been given.

 

Stiles’ own yard was bereft of anything that could offer him shelter in the storm, so begrudgingly, he made his way back to the fence, failing to scale it nearly four times before he finally made it over. He trudged through grass and mud before collapsing in front of Derek’s dog house in a pathetic heap.

 

“Scott locked you out again, didn’t he?” Derek asked, a hint of warm amusement in his tone that made Stiles want to sink his claws into his muzzle. Instead, he mutely nodded.

 

“And you’re back over here because?”

 

The brute was going to make him say it. Of course he was going to make him say it.

 

“You’ve got a lot of room in there. I bet it’s warm.”

 

“Dry, too.” Derek added, almost full on laughing now.

 

“This is all really funny to you, isn’t it?”

 

“Hilarious.” Derek agreed easily.

 

“But do you think we could put aside our differences just long enough so that I don’t freeze to death?”

 

“I don’t know. Wet is a good look on you.”

 

Stiles glowered, but mutely Derek scooted over to make room and the cat didn’t hesitate. Rushing inside, a slopping splash noise echoing when he settled.

 

“You’ve got half the storm in your fur alone.” Derek felt the need to point out.

 

“I can’t help how fluffy I am.” Stiles answered miserably, itching to lick the water away but not knowing where to start.

 

“You don’t look so big anymore.” Derek grinned, eyeing how skinny Stiles’ face was now that his fur was weighed down.

 

“Ha ha.” Stiles said dryly, curling up and shivering for his troubles. He was shocked speechless when the warmth of a tongue licked along his sensitive ears, slowly traveling towards his face.

 

“W-what are you doing?”

 

“What’s it look like?” Derek demanded before going back to his task. “You’re getting water everywhere and I don’t want you soaking my bed completely.”

 

Stiles stayed still while Derek groomed him, putting on an indignant air for show while he tried and failed not to purr. When trying became too much effort he gave up completely and showed Derek his belly in encouragement.

 

“You cats are all hedonists.” Derek accused, letting go of a rumbling chuckle that vibrated pleasantly throughout Stiles’ body.

 

“I don’t think you understand how good this feels.” Stiles purred in a half-hearted attempt to defend himself and his feline brethren. His claws kept flexing with the desire to bury deep into something and curl.

 

Stiles fell asleep like that, the smooth glide of Derek’s tongue; so unlike his own, lulling him down into warmth and slumber.

 

-*-*-

 

Derek was a warm and surprisingly welcome presence beside him when he awoke, curled around his body like those soft blankets Scott was so fond of.

 

Scott…was calling his name over the fence.

 

Derek shifted and stretched next to him, eyeing Stiles with heavy lids.

 

“You should get going.” He said, voice raspy with sleep.

 

“Yeah, I should…” Stiles disentangled himself from the wolf and arched his back in a stretch of his own.

 

“So, uh…” He started awkwardly, turning back to look into Derek’s eyes. In the shadowed dome of the dog house, they looked almost lighter. “Thank you. Thanks…for this.” He finished lamely, and Derek wore that dangerous grin again.

 

“Don’t mention it.”

 

“Stiles!” Scott called again, and Stiles eyed the fence and tried to ignore the feeling of disappointment.

 

“I better…”

 

Derek nodded towards the fence in encouragement and Stiles made his way back, ignoring Scott’s disapproving frown when he jumped easily into his arms.

 

“I swear, if I didn’t know any better, I would think you were in love with that damn wolf.”

 

Absently, Stiles wondered what the chances were that Derek didn’t hear that comment.

 

-*-*-

 

“Here.” Stiles said, dropping the heavy bone directly in front of his nemesis/friend.

 

“What’s this for?” Derek asked with a confused glower, sniffing the treat with caution. He didn’t even bat an eye over the cat trespassing these days.

 

“It’s a thank you. Got it from that house across the street.”

 

Derek looked slightly angry at him. “You shouldn’t be wondering around like that, you know. You could get hurt.”

 

“You care?” Stiles asked sarcastically, trying and failing to hide his pleasant surprise. Derek didn’t answer, and instead chose to stare at Stiles’ present.

 

“You said the house across the street?” Stiles grinned evilly at the same time that it dawned on the wolf. “You stole Jackson’s bone?”

 

Stiles nodded in pride and Derek released another one of his rumbling chuckles that made Stiles’ spine roll pleasantly.

 

“Thought you’d like that.” Jackson was the Rottweiler who belonged to Lydia, the lady who smelled like flowers and crushed dreams. The spoiled dog had the annoying tendency to bark over the slightest noise.

 

“You’re lucky they keep him chained.”

 

Stiles snorted. “Luck had nothing to do with it.” He preened in satisfaction, watching as Derek clamped his teeth around the rawhide. “I’m as silent as the grave.”

 

Derek gave him a pointed look. “And all those times I caught you bumbling your way into my territory?” The wolf questioned, causing Stiles’ fur to bristle in embarrassment.

 

“You’re in a slightly more challenging class then someone like Jackson.” He muttered, feeling his insides flutter at Derek’s brief affectionate look.

 

Stiles didn’t mention how he rather enjoyed it when Derek caught him.

 

-*-*-

 

“Do wolves really not live in California?” Stiles asked, surprising Derek as he bent his head to drink. His ink-black fur looked particularly shiny today.

 

“I’m here, aren’t I?” He asked, long tongue snaking out to lap at the small pool.

 

“Yeah…how’d you get here?” Stiles pressed, jumping down from the fence and landing next to the wolf.

 

Derek shrugged. “Don’t remember. I was just a pup.” Stiles followed as he walked towards his house, tail swishing with the breeze.

 

“You remember nothing?” Stiles needled. “Not anything?” Derek was stomping around on his bed, settling once he deemed it comfortable enough.

 

“I remember some things.” He answered, a slight frown marring his muzzle.

 

“Like what?” Stiles questioned, letting his intrigued curiosity show.

 

“Like…not being alone.” Derek admitted gently, and Stiles could sense the muted sadness coming off of him in droves.

 

“You’re not alone now.” He offered in an effort to cheer the wolf up, and the fake irritated look Derek shot him was better than the hurt expression it replaced.

 

“Can’t say it’s an improvement.” Derek muttered, but Stiles knew it was all bluster, and he stretched languidly before inviting himself into Derek’s dog house and making himself comfortable on his bed, leeching off of the wolf’s heat.

 

Derek stared at him with peeved amusement which was met with Stiles’ loopy grin.

 

“You’re warm.” Stiles said in contentment, and Derek snorted.

 

“You’re bony.” He countered, but the cat couldn’t help but smile in triumph over the fact that he wasn’t being kicked out.

 

“I was taken from my mom when I was little.” Stiles blurted, unable to stop the flow of words. “I don’t even remember what she looked like, or smelled like. If she misses me.”

 

“She misses you.” Derek said with easy conviction.

 

“You think so?” Stiles asked, voice slurred as he neared sleep.

 

“You have one of those personalities that takes up a lot of space.” Derek admitted, almost too quiet for Stiles to make out. “I bet when you were taken…it left an emptiness that was impossible to fill.”

 

It was simultaneously the nicest and saddest thing Stiles had ever heard.

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles tried not to be too bummed when Scott dragged him to work one day.

 

“Don’t give me that sour look, kitty. Didn’t think I would notice how many times I come home to the window wide open?”

 

Usually Stiles would have a blast at the clinic, all those new animals to meet and badger, but today found him moping with just how much he wished he were home so he could trespass on a certain neighbor.

 

“Cheer up, Stiles.” Scott would say every now and then when he’d pass, fingers scratching behind his ears and making him purr against his better judgment.

 

Stiles’ ears perked up when he caught a familiar heartbeat and scent. It was Derek. Derek was here!

 

Scott looked at his clipboard, saw the name for his next appointment and sighed.

 

“It is Tuesday.” He said in exhaustion, moving to try and catch Stiles. “You’ll have to go in the office for this one.”

 

Stiles dodged easily, scrambling up high and away. Scott muttered at him, shooting him a glare but leaving him be.

 

“You leave that wolf alone, you understand?” He demanded before disappearing to lead Isaac and Derek from the waiting room to the examining room.

 

When they came in, Isaac looked frayed and Derek was heavily alert. His nostrils flared and his ice blue eyes roamed the room almost frantically. Stiles stayed perfectly still, feeling delight well up in his chest when Derek finally caught his scent and spotted him, tail wagging slightly to give away his excitement.

 

“She was in the neighborhood, Scott! I saw her right next to my fence!” Isaac’s distress was palpable even in the spacious room, and Stiles took the opportunity to jump down from his high perch.

 

“Did she try anything?” Scott asked, sounding genuinely concerned.

 

“Not with me standing there she didn’t. Thank god I took the day off work for the appointment. What if I hadn’t been there? She’s tried to poison Derek’s food before.”

 

“Are you sure it wasn’t just a coincidence?” Scott asked. “Maybe she was going to see a friend?” It didn’t even sound like he believed the possibility.

 

“A coincidence? Please. Kate Argent would shoot Derek with a gun if it wasn’t so obvious. Did you see what she did to the rest of his pack?”

 

Stiles could feel Derek’s misery as if it were his own. He wanted to take it all away, replace it with something good.

 

“Kate was never found guilty-”

 

“Don’t play devil’s advocate, Scott. You know it was her.”

 

Scott’s shoulders sagged and he nodded.

 

“Maybe you should start keeping Derek locked up inside.” He suggested, and Isaac ran a hand through his unruly blond hair.

 

“Derek hates being cooped up like that.”

 

“But it might be a good idea. For a while, at least.”

 

Isaac sighed and cracked a surprised grin when he looked back down at Derek. Stiles was rubbing his way along Derek’s side, arching his body while the wolf sniffed at his neck and gave his scruff an affectionate tug.

 

“They seem to get along well these days.” Isaac commented in complete bewilderment. Scott snorted.

 

“I’ve seen stranger combinations I guess.”

 

“I never said thank you.” Isaac suddenly proclaimed, and Stiles watched the confusion that came over his human’s face.

 

“For what?” He asked gently.

 

“All that you’ve done. For me and for him.” He said seriously, motioning toward the spot where Derek rested with Stiles.

 

“Our animals are our family.” Scott said with an easy smile, and there had never been this type of relaxed environment between Derek’s human and his own. Even Stiles could tell something important was shifting. He stared at the way Isaac’s smile met his eyes and Scott’s face flushed, not quite understanding the complexity of just what exactly was happening.

 

Stiles let it go and sunk further into Derek’s warmth, glad that things were simpler for him.

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles watched lazily through the window while Scott drilled something just below the overhanging gutter. It was small and square-shaped. Surprisingly plain and dull, but Scott handled it as if it was breakable and priceless.

 

Stiles yawned.

 

“You’ll let me know if you see the bad lady, won’t you?” Scott asked him, teeth slightly chattering as he came in from the cold. Stiles rolled over in answer.

 

“Didn’t think so.” Scott muttered. “That’s what the camera is for.”

 

Stiles eyed the contraption outside the window and burrowed deeper into the top of the couch cushion. Scott had been talking a lot about that Kate Argent lady lately. Stiles didn’t like her. She smelled like oil and burnt hair.

 

Kate hated animals. The one time Stiles had gotten close to her she’d hissed as if she were a feline herself and raised her boot-covered foot at him as if ready to strike. Others called her a hunter, and whenever Derek heard her name he let out these low whines that tore at Stiles heart.

 

She killed his entire family. That’s the rumor going around, but Derek won’t say anything on the subject and Stiles won’t press, no matter how curious he is.

 

“Stiles!” Scott yelled when he saw the mess his cat had made. “The tree hasn’t even been up for five whole minutes!”

 

Stiles grinned in satisfaction as Scott righted the tree he’d covered in twinkling lights earlier. It was his own fault, taunting Stiles with all those warm glowing bulbs.

 

“You leave the Christmas tree alone!” Scott chastised, pointing a finger at Stiles’ lazy form. “I can only wonder what you’ll do to the presents.” He muttered under his breath.

 

-*-*-

 

Derek’s not outside anymore lately. It’s getting too cold for Stiles to try and sneak out anymore. White flakes litter the ground to create piles, and sometimes the house gets unbearably chilly if Scott forgets to turn the heat box on.

 

Stiles likes the heat box.

 

He’s worried to find that he misses Derek. Sometimes Isaac comes over, and he and Scott will talk for hours. Isaac smells like Derek, and Stiles will jump on his lap and curl into a ball before falling asleep, tastefully ignoring his human when he growls out, “Traitor.”

 

Absently, when Isaac goes back home, he wonders if Derek can smell him as well.

 

Under the tree sits a pile of different sized packages, each wrapped in shiny paper and dotted with bows. Stiles enjoys the bows, even when Scott yells at him for enjoying them too much. There’s even a box under the tree with Stiles’ name written on it in Scott’s block-letter handwriting. Isaac has one too, as well as Derek. It’s a bone, Stiles can already smell it.

 

He wonders when Derek will come over to claim it.

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles can’t take it anymore. He misses Derek and the days are too long with boredom that he decides he’ll brave the white dusted ground and the cold in order to see the wolf.

 

The window sticks more so than usual, and Stiles loses how much time passes as he works the biting glass open, hissing as a blast of freezing air hits him square in the face.

 

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

 

Stiles jumps down to the ground before he can change is mind, letting out a startled yowl when his paws are encased in white.

 

This is worse than rain!

 

The fence is brittle and frozen when he struggles to climb it. With each stilted breath Stiles takes, more cold air enters his lungs and makes it slightly difficult to breathe. Still, he presses forward, heading up the steps to Derek’s porch and Scratching at the back door.

 

Derek’s dark form comes quickly, easily visible through the glass with perked up ears and a wagging tail. Stiles watches as Derek licks at the glass, warm air puffing up against the door with each exhalation.

 

Stiles feels lighter, paw still scratching at the barrier in frazzled excitement. He’s just about to say something stupid and emotional when his ears pick up the sound of the back gate opening.

 

Derek’s eyes track where Stiles is looking, trying and unable to see much of anything. Stiles watches, unmoving as a familiar figure comes around the side of the house.

 

Kate Argent is in Derek’s backyard.

 

She’s got something pouch-like in her hand, on route to Derek’s food dish when she stops and stares directly at Stiles. Derek can see her now, and his mouth is drawn back in a snarl to reveal his razor-sharp canines while he growls and lets go of a barking roar.

 

“Clever.” She mutters vindictively at the barrier between her and the wolf. “Looks like Isaac’s not as dumb as he looks.”

 

Derek jumps up onto the door, pawing at it viciously in an attempt to get to her, eyes shooting downwards in worry when he realizes that Stiles is still right there, easy prey.

 

“Get out of here.” Derek ordered frantically, but Stiles was rooted to his spot, unable to move due to the cold and his own building outrage. This woman had killed Derek’s pack, and was now trying to get rid of one of the things that brought honest joy to his life. She was trying to kill his only friend outside of Scott. His friend who had never hurt anyone.

 

Stiles leapt at her just as she was pouring something into Derek’s food bowl, the smell of which had Stiles nose twitching with how sickly sweet it was.

 

Stiles sunk his claws into Kate’s thigh, relishing the surprised cry that echoed in the air when he added his teeth to the mix as well.

 

“Fucking animals.” She growled, very much like an animal herself before throwing Stiles off of her and landing a solid kick to his ribs. Stiles let out a pitiful yowl when he hit the ground, barely registering how crazy Derek went behind the glass that separated them.

 

Kate fled, muted curses following her departure as she picked up her pouch full of poison and left. Behind the glass Derek was still panicking. Stiles could barely hear him calling his name. He tried to get up to assure the wolf that he was fine, but his ribs pulled painfully in protest and he collapsed in a heap on top of the soft snow.

 

Derek pawed at the door, claws marking up the glass in his attempt to get out while he howled his name. Isaac found him like that. Pushing Derek out of the way so he could get outside. Derek wasn’t deterred, rushing out once the door slid open and reaching Stiles’ side before his owner could.

 

“You’re gonna be fine.” Derek soothed as he reached him, letting his warmth sink into Stiles. “We’ll take you to Scott…he’ll know what to do.”

 

Stiles didn’t get the chance to answer as Isaac gathered him up carefully and rushed him through the warmth of the house, Derek hot on his heels. When Isaac tried to shut the wolf up inside, Derek let out a high pitched whine that had Isaac giving in.

 

“Alright, come on.”

 

They all piled into the moving box that Stiles sometimes got to ride in with Scott, and Isaac settled him easily into the front seat while Derek watched over him from the back.

 

Isaac pulled something out of his pocket before starting the moving box up and began to speak in that accent he sometimes got when he was nervous.

 

“Scott! Something happened to Stiles…….I don’t know, I just came home and he was out in my yard, not moving………yeah, I’m bringing him in now.”

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles had something called “bruised ribs” and stayed perfectly still while Scott had x-rayed him and wrapped the majority of his body up in a snug bandage, Derek and Isaac watching on in combined worry.

 

Stiles drifted as Scott gave him something for the pain, cooing soothing praise and compliments. Distantly he could feel the familiar sensation of Derek’s tongue lapping at his ears.

 

When Stiles woke up next, he was curled up on his favorite pillow at home, Derek wrapped around him, careful not to add any pressure to make Stiles uncomfortable, but allowing his warmth to sink into the feline.

 

Isaac and Scott were pressed close together on the couch, watching something from Scott’s light box with intent.

 

“She was in my yard.” Isaac whispered in disbelief. “She tried to poison Derek again.”

 

“Looks like the idea didn’t sit too well with Stiles either.” Scott said just as quietly, voice sounding almost wrecked while his eyes watered.

 

“We have proof now, thanks to you.” Isaac said with meaning. “Trespassing, attempting to poison Derek. Animal cruelty. We’ll see what PETA has to say about this. Did you want to call the police, or shall I?”

 

“Put it on speaker.” Scott said with a smile.

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles woke up disoriented, able to feel how tense Derek was around him. There were strangers in his house, but Isaac and Scott were talking to them calmly so he didn’t think it was too bad.

 

“Relax.” Derek said above him, and Stiles’ eyes met his in relief.

 

“Whas goin on?” He slurred, tongue heavy and eyes struggling to open.

 

“These people are going to take Kate away for what she did to you.” Derek answered, moving down to nuzzle into Stiles’ neck.

 

“And you.” Stiles felt the need to add, barely feeling Derek’s nod.

 

“Sleep.” He whispered, and Stiles drifted, safe and surrounded in the wolf.

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles got his bandages taken off the same day everyone got to open their wrapped boxes under the twinkling tree.

 

Derek was sitting by the fire, pleased as a puppy with his bone, and Stiles had been given a delightful ball of yarn that was sprinkled with cat nip and made him want to touch everything. But Derek was by far his favorite thing to rub against.

 

When Isaac opened his gift from Scott, his cheeks turned red and he stuttered into that English accent again. When Scott entwined their fingers together, the nervous habit fell away easily as he was left speechless. They both entered the bedroom and didn’t come out for several hours.

 

“What do you think they’re doing in there?” Stiles asked, trying unsuccessfully to burrow his head into Derek’s side.

 

“You are young, aren’t you?” Derek said with amusement, causing Stiles’ ears to perk with curiosity. He wanted Derek to lick him. It felt really good when he did that.

 

Stiles must have said so out loud, because no sooner did he think it, Derek was running his long tongue behind Stiles’ neck, traveling across his body and making him shiver and purr.

 

Between the earlier effects of the catnip and the way Derek was touching his body had Stiles experiencing new and unfamiliar things. He was arching into the wolf’s touch, seeking more and being greedy. He let out mewls that made Derek growl in response, getting lower and lower.

 

“Derek?” Stiles whispered in slight fear and surprise when the wolf’s wet tongue and nose bumped up against an intimate part of him.

 

“Want to make you feel good.” Derek whispered, and Stiles let him continue, because he wanted that too. Wanted the wolf. His claws flexed and sunk into Derek’s fur, desperate for something to hold onto.

 

Derek didn’t mind.

 

They moved together like that. Arching and rubbing and it felt so fucking good. Stiles could barely keep his eyes open. Having to rely on his other senses. The way Derek was hard against him. How excited his movements became when Stiles began to purr and whine.

 

“Hush. They’ll come out of the room and see us like this.” Derek panted between the thrusts and surging of his body.

 

Stiles was beyond caring.

 

“Why haven’t we been doing this the entire time?” The cat demanded, spine bowing at a particularly delicious angle. Derek gave a deep growl rather than answer, teeth clamping somewhat delicately on the back of Stiles neck.

 

That was it. Stiles let go, tail twitching, claws flexing as all the air left his body in a rush. Very distantly he could still register Derek moving against him, almost uncontrollably before a bloom of warmth coated the fur between them.

 

The wolf collapsed, breathing heavy and eyes tightly closed. Derek was heavy, but Stiles found he didn’t mind, and let him rest.

 

It was almost the least selfish thing he’d done.

 

“Come on.” Derek sighed, rolling over slightly and allowing Stiles to rest against him. They fit quite well, considering.

 

“This is odd, isn’t it?” Stiles felt the need to ask, unable to control his urge to fill the silence. “The two of us…like this?”

 

“Does it feel odd?” Derek asked, amusement coloring the edges of his voice.

 

Stiles took a moment to think about it before snuggling deeper into Derek’s warmth.

 

“Naw. Feels awesome.” He answered, and Derek hummed in agreement. “You’ve always had a thing for me, haven’t you?” Stiles accused with a coy smirk and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “That’s why you never hurt me. You looooove me, don’t you?”

 

“You’re pushing it, kitty.” Derek grumbled, one eye opening to take in Stiles’ self-satisfied smirk.

 

“Sure I am. You’re so scary. You might cuddle me to death-”

 

Derek’s mouth closed over that spot on his neck that made his limbs fall useless like deadweights at his side. Stiles still found it in himself to purr while Derek’s tongue quickly followed.

 

“I could get used to this.” The wolf rumbled deeply.

 

It said a lot that Stiles was too tired to accuse Derek of being just as big of a hedonist as he was.

 

-*-*-

 

Stiles cried and flailed but it was no use. Scott had mastered the correct hold perfectly, and there was no escape from the likes of him.

 

He was forced to endure yet another bath in the kitchen sink.

 

“I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t clawed up your arm.” Isaac said from his spot on the couch, watching the tiny man in the picture box talk about midnight approaching fast.

 

“He keeps getting something sticky in his fur.” Scott complained, missing the smug look Derek directed at his cat from the ground, tongue flicking out to lap around his lips. His gaze sent shivers through Stiles’ body.

 

“Aw, are you cold, kitty?” Scott cooed, quickly finishing and wrapping Stiles up in a towel. Stiles endured Scott rubbing his poor fur in the wrong direction, subjected to the rough material of the cloth he used.

 

“Maybe you’ll learn your lesson and stop messing with whatever’s making you so dirty.”

 

Stiles glanced at the wolf and shivered again from his hungry gaze. Yeah. Not likely.

 

Stiles wiggled out of Scott’s hold and hid between Derek’s front legs, pressing into the warmth of his underbelly. Derek leaned down and licked along his disheveled fur, pushing Stiles’ hair in the right direction because he knew how much it bothered the cat if it was off.

 

“The ball’s about to drop.” Isaac informed in a slightly husky tone.

 

“So it is.” Scott said with a lecherous grin while the tiny man in the box counted down from ten.

 

“You look like a poof ball.” Derek said with amusement, and Stiles bristled as he rubbed against the wolf.

 

“It’s all your fault, you know.”

 

“I know.” Derek said with smugness, not sounding the least bit contrite. “I’ll try not to mess you up too much next time.”

 

“Liar.” Stiles smiled, nipping playfully at Derek’s ear.

 

Neither couple waited till midnight to celebrate the New Year.