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Hanlon's Razor

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10. In which Derek drives a pickup truck




Stiles S. (4:15 pm) I’M STILL MAD AT YOU.



Stiles S. (12:12 pm) THE SILENT TREATMENT?

Stiles S. (12:29 pm) SERIOUSLY?

Stiles S. (12:29 pm) REAL MATURE.



Stiles S. (1:02 am) MISS YOU

Stiles S. (1:03 am) I MISS YOU


Cora H. (10:44 am) FIX IT.

Stiles S. (10:45 am) HOW? I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!

Cora H. (10:45 am) I DON’T CARE HOW


Cora H. (10:47 am) JUST FIX IT.



Stiles S. (10:29 am) COME ON, DEREK.

Stiles S. (11:24 am) PLEASE PICK UP



Stiles S. (9:34 pm) YOU KNOW WHAT? FUCK YOU.

Stiles S. (9:35 pm) SERIOUSLY

Stiles S. (9:35 pm) FUCK. YOU.


Stiles S. (9:39 pm) SO I’M NOT SORRY I LIED TO YOU.










Stiles S. (4:11 pm) I HATE YOU



Stiles S. (12:08 am) ARE YOU UP?

Scott M. (12:09 am) YEA.


Stiles S. (12:09 am) AWESOME.

Scott M. (12:10 am) ????

Stiles S. (12:10 am) I MEANT AWESOME FOR ME.


Scott M. (12:11 am) TOW TRUCK?

Stiles S. (12:11 am) I AM SO BROKE IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY

Stiles S. (12:12 am) CAN YOU JUST COME GET ME?

Scott M. (12:12 am) SURE

Stiles S. (12:13 am) I OWE YOU BIG TIME.

Scott M. (12:13 am) NP.

Scott M. (12:14 am) WHERE R U?

Stiles S. (12:14 am) I’M NOT ACTUALLY SURE

Scott M. (12:14 am) ?????



Scott M. (12:20 am) SO UR AT LEAST 2 HRS AWAY

Scott M. (12:20 am) IM GONNA CALL U

Stiles S. (12:20 am) DON’T, MAN

Stiles S. (12:20 pm) I HAVE LIKE 4% BATTERY LIFE

Scott M. (12:21 am) KK



Stiles S. (12:22 am) I DON’T HAVE FRIENDS HERE.

Scott M. (12:24 am) WHAT ABOUT UR ROOMMATE?


Scott M. (12:24 am) O

Stiles S. (12:26 am) IF YOU CAN’T COME JUST CALL MY DAD.

Scott M. (12:27 am) NONONONONONO

Scott M. (12:27 am) IM OMW



Scott M. (12:28 am) SEE U SOON ISH


“Where’s your jacket?” Derek asks, stepping out of his truck and slamming the door shut behind him.

Stiles gapes at him. “Where’s my—” he makes choked off noise. “Is this some kind of joke? You’ve been ignoring me for almost two weeks straight, and now you show up here—I don’t even get a ‘hello, how are you’ before—” Stiles growls and tugs at his hair in clumps. “It was eighty degrees out today!”

“I’m aware of that, Stiles,” Derek says patiently. “But it’s forty degrees now and you’re wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and you’ve been out here for how many hours?”

“Why are you here?” Stiles asks, figuring Derek’s question was a rhetorical one. “I didn’t call you, I called Scott.”

“I know your scent better than Scott,” Derek tells him. “And since you were stupid enough to get yourself lost in fucking wine country at two in the morning…”

“Go to hell,” Stiles says. “I didn’t call you for a reason.”

“Yeah,” Derek says, “but you had to know Scott would pass this off onto me. I’m willing to bet that you were counting on it. Don’t act like this wasn’t your plan all along.”

What the actual fuck? Has this dumbass been paying attention at all? At all? Stiles doesn’t play games. Not like this. When he wants to call Derek he calls Derek. When he wants to see him he goes to see him.

Stiles fixes Derek with a level stare. “I’m tired and cold and I just want to go home.” He straightens up. “I didn’t call you because I didn’t think you’d actually come.”

“Right,” Derek says, rolling his eyes. “Because that makes sense.” He looks so goddamn superior. Stiles can feel his jaw clenching in anger.

“It makes perfect sense,” Stiles says through his teeth.

Derek raises his eyebrows and asks, “You really believe that? You’re not just being dramatic?”

“You’re damn right I believe it!” Stiles half-shouts. “You won’t even bother replying to my text messages, and you don’t pickup when I call. Stupid isn’t getting lost. Stupid is assuming you’d drive out into the middle of nowhere to come get me. I’m not stupid, Derek.”

“Okay,” Derek says, observing Stiles carefully. “I may have misjudged our situation.” His expression turns slightly apologetic.

You think?

“Look,” Derek says, “I didn’t realize how upset you were. Your text messages…” he exhales loudly again. “I still don’t understand why you’re so pissed at me.”

Oh really?

“You kicked me out,” Stiles reminds him, and it hurts just saying it. “I sat in traffic for four hours so I could be in Beacon Hills in time to bring you dinner. I thought you’d be happy to see me, and instead you kick me out.”

Derek closes his eyes and scrubs at his face with his hands.

“In retrospect,” he says, dropping his hands. “I didn’t handle that well, and I’m sorry for that.” He sighs again. “But I stand behind what I said. You shouldn’t have come. You shouldn’t have skipped orientation in August. You shouldn’t have lied about it. You shouldn’t skip classes, and you shouldn’t keep lying to me about that too. You don’t have friends at school because you spend all of your free time finding ways to see me.”

“I’m an adult, Derek,” Stiles says. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that before it sinks in. My social life and my schoolwork are my problems, not yours. You have to stop being so controlling.”

“All I want is for you to be as happy at school as you are in Beacon Hills. I don’t want to be your distraction. I was trying to give you space.”

But Stiles doesn’t want space.

“I thought you were trying to break up with me.”

“I wasn’t,” Derek says plainly.

“Okay,” Stiles replies.

“Here.” Derek shrugs off his leather jacket and hands it to Stiles. “You’ve got goosebumps.” And since Stiles isn’t stupidly prideful and is actually freezing his ass off, he takes the jacket and immediately puts it on.

“Wipe that smirk off your face,” Stiles says, glaring up at him. “You’re still the bad guy in this story so if you want my forgiveness you’re going to have to earn it.”

“Look.” Derek rubs the back of his neck. “I don’t know how to tell you how I feel without sounding like a total sap.” He gestures vaguely. “Do you want to just hug or something?”

“Seriously?” Stiles stares at him. “That’s the best you can do?”

“Uh, yeah.” Derek blinks. “I’m not exactly Don Juan so I don’t know what you were expecting.”

Oh please.

“I’ve seen you charm the pants off of women. This shouldn’t be difficult.”

Derek huffs. “Stiles, all that shit is a lot harder to say to someone when you actually mean it.”

Well, as long as he actually means it…

“Oh, alright,” Stiles heaves a sigh. He doesn’t want to be angry anymore. Anger is exhausting. “Let’s do the hug.”


Derek arranges for the Jeep to be towed and drives Stiles back to school himself. Stiles isn’t about to let Derek go back to Beacon Hills now that he’s finally got him out here, and it’s not like the dude has a job. But then there’s the whole bigoted roommate situation to worry about. So instead of taking Derek up to his bed, he brings his bed down to Derek.

“I feel like we’re in a T Swift music video,” Stiles says, adjusting the pillows behind them.

“And why’s that?” Derek asks, smoothing out the comforter so the feet are covered.

Stiles burrows down under the blankets. “Cuddling in the back of your pickup truck.”

Derek raises an eyebrow. “We’re not cuddling…”

“We’re not?” Stiles eyes the distance between them and feigns surprise. “Well, would you look at that! Is it because today’s the Lord’s Day? Are you reverting back to your Calvinist ways?”

“Oh, for the love of—” Derek grabs him by the waist and drags him closer. “You are a manipulative little shit.”

Victory! Stiles – 1, Derek – 0. And, for the record, he’s not being manipulative, he’s being helpful.

Stiles makes a satisfied noise and rests his head on Derek’s chest. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“We should look into getting you an apartment,” Derek says after a minute or two of silence.

“Yeah?” That sounds nice, only Stiles would have to rob a bank to finance living off campus. Something tells him John wouldn’t approve of grand larceny.

“I wasn’t going to suggest it before because I thought living in a dorm would be good for making friends, but if your roommate really is as bad as you say he is.”

Stiles nods. “Giant homophobe, I’m telling you.”

“It might also be nice to have the option of doing this inside in an actual bed.”

“This isn’t so bad,” Stiles says. The mattress in his dorm room really isn’t much better. Derek’s just gotten used to the deluxe sleeping accommodations back home.

“We could be having sex right now,” Derek deadpans. “You do realize that, right?”

Uh, yeah… Stiles has been… realizing  that since the moment they both took their pants off.

“Nobody ever comes up here, you know,” he says. “Especially not on a Sunday morning.”

“No,” Derek says.

“No?” Stiles asks innocently.

“No, I’m not fucking you in a parking garage.”

“Technically we’re on top of a parking garage,” Stiles points out.

“Still not happening,” Derek says, and Stiles sits up a bit to look him in the eye because this is starting to sound like a challenge.

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” he asks. “I thought you’d be way kinkier.”

Derek gives a long suffering sigh and says, dutifully, “I’m sorry that I can’t keep a straight face roleplaying.”

“Yeah, you should be,” Stiles grumbles. “You used to have two expressions; menacing and murderous. Those I can work with. Your happy face? Not so much.”

“It’s not my fault you pick the most ridiculous scenarios.” His lips twitch like he’s trying not to smile. “Alien and astronaut? Mattress salesman and escaped felon? Communist spy and FBI janitor? I’m a werewolf, Stiles. Can’t you just have werewolf fantasies?”

“No, I cannot just have werewolf fantasies,” Stiles says, because really this should be obvious. “I don’t get the whole appeal of vampires and werewolves. I don’t want fangs anywhere near my dick. Also your claws are gross.” Stiles isn’t even going to mention the whole bestiality thing.

Derek actually rolls his eyes and says, “I’m not going to just whip out my claws during sex.”

That would be horrifying. Like, legitimately upsetting. Although, Stiles can think of at least one more unsettling transformation.

“Can you just imagine…” Stiles starts, trying not to laugh. “I know the vampire trope is for surprise mid-coitus blood sucking, but can you just…” he purses his lips momentarily to suppress an impending bout of laughter. “Instead of blood sucking…”

“Spit it out, Stiles,” Derek says. He’s wearing his angry eyebrows now.

Stiles takes a breath. “What if the vampire transforms into a bat in the middle of sex? Don’t you think that’s way more disturbing then a little blood sucking…?”

“If I promise to do neither will you shut up about it already?”

“Why don’t you just make me shut up,” Stiles says. “You know,” he waggles his eyebrows, “with sex.”

Derek’s not impressed. “The answer is still no.”

“Oh, well,” Stiles sighs. “I guess I’m going to have to just seduce you then.”

Derek snorts. “Yeah, okay.”

“You don’t think I could do it.” It’s not a question, it’s a statement.

“I didn’t say that,” Derek says, though he doesn’t deny thinking it. Stiles narrows his eyes.

“Well, I’ll have you know that some people consider me extremely sexy”

“Really?” Derek looks doubtful. “Like who?”


“Right,” Derek says softly, like the condescending asshole that he is. Stiles shoves him in the chest.

“Come on,” he says. “You have to at least think I’m a little bit sexy. We’ve done it thirty-eight times.”

“Did you just make that number up?” Derek asks. “Or have you actually been keeping track?”

Oh he’s been keeping track. He’s made a chart and everything, recording specific sexual acts in an attempt to correlate them with phases of the moon. It’s all very scientific.

“Shut up.” Stiles can feel his face and his neck heat up.

“Gladly.” Derek sighs and closes his eyes.

Unacceptable. Unacceptable.

“Pay attention!” Stiles orders, snapping in his fingers in Derek’s face. “I’m going to seduce you now.”

“Alright.” Derek sits up. “Go for it.”

That’s bound to be harder than it sounds and it sounds impossible.

“Hi there,” Stiles says. That’s not a very sexy greeting. The greeting was probably unnecessary, come to think of it. Maybe he should bat his eyelashes or lick his lips? If he had his phone he’d look it up on the internet.

“Hello,” Derek says, looking smug. He’s sees right through Stiles.

Stiles gets an idea. The art of seduction is more or less out of his reach (also it would probably take effort). But there might just be another way.

Stiles wets his lips and asks, “You want to maybe give me a hint?”

“A hint?” Derek repeats like he’s not sure he’s heard Stiles quite right.

Stiles nods. “Maybe even a step-by-step.”

“Let me get this straight,” Derek says slowly. “You’re asking me to help you seduce me?”

“I’m just asking for a few pointers,” Stiles says earnestly.

“No.” Derek wrinkles his nose and furrows his brow. “No, Stiles that defeats the whole purpose—”

Please?” Stiles whines. “You’re an expert, right? How else am I supposed to learn? Porn?

“What…” Derek scratches his jaw. “It’s four in the morning, aren’t you tired?”

“There’s tired and then there’s tired.” He gives Derek his best attempt at a puppy-dog look. It’s pitiful, he knows, but right now it’s all he’s got.

Fine,” Derek says, sighing, exasperated. “I don’t know how the hell I let you talk me into these things”

Yeah, LOL he ‘lets’ Stiles talk him into these things.

“It’s because you have a giant, embarrassing crush on me.” Or because all the time he’s been spending with Scott and Isaac lately has pushed him into ‘mentor mode’ permanently. Stiles feels no shame taking advantage of that.

“Do you want my help or not?” Derek asks.

“Yes,” Stiles replies. “Yes, please. I’m all ears.”

Derek stares at him for a moment, somehow managing to look both reluctant and eager at the same time. God, his face is weird. It’s the weirdest face Stiles has ever seen.

“Okay,” Derek says eventually, “first, remember eye contact. You shouldn’t ever sleep with someone you can’t look in the eye.”

“You learned that one the hard way, didn’t you?” Stiles blurts out.

Oh my god.

“Second,” Derek says, glaring now, “never bring up past relationships.”

“Yeah,” Stiles tries to look apologetic. “Oops. Sorry, my bad.”

Derek makes this cut-off hesitant sound then says, “Maybe we should skip the talking part.”

But talking is what Stiles does best!

“No, no,” he says quickly. “Tell me. If you tell me what I’m supposed to say maybe I’ll stop saying stuff that’s inappropriate.”

“Just…” Derek falters again. “Either say something kind of nice, or really dirty You should be able to handle that."

“Alright, alright.” Stiles nods. This he can do. “So something along the lines of…” He thinks for a moment then says, “I like your face even though it’s weird and making out with you sometimes gives me beard burn?”

Derek stares at him, then blinks hard. He’s wearing his ‘what the hell am I even doing here?’ expression, and has the ‘please make it stop’ look in his eyes.

“Okay then,” Derek says after a minute or two of heavy, uncomfortable silence. “For you…” he sighs. “We’ll just have to set the bar a little lower for you.”

Nice. Real nice.

“That’s how I found out about my roommate’s homophobia,” Stiles says conversationally. “He wanted to know what was up with my face and after I told him it was because my boyfriend has a really sexy beard he started shunning me.”

“Shunning?” Derek echoes.

Stiles shrugs, feeling uncomfortable. “I don’t know. He… he’s stopped speaking to me, mostly. And I’m pretty sure he’s been telling the people in our hall not to invite me anywhere. We have a class together, and… nobody will sit next to me now.”

Derek sighs. “Stiles—”

“I don’t think it’s a gay thing for everyone else,” Stiles says. “He’s probably spreading lies about me.”

“You know if you asked nicely I’m sure Peter would kill him for you,” Derek says, much too serious.

Already shaking his head no, Stiles says, “I’ll keep that in mind.” Because as much as he hates stupid Rodney, and stupid Rodney’s music, and the sound of stupid Rodney snoring—Stiles has seen enough teenagers die of unnatural causes. That’s the kind of thing he wants to prevent from happening.

“Beard burn, huh?” Derek murmurs thoughtfully, raising his hand to his face. “Do you want me to shave it?”

“God no!” Stiles reaches out and strokes Derek’s cheek. “It makes you look like a sexy lumberjack.”

Derek smiles his tiny smile. “Touching is important too. You just have to make sure you’re touching the right places.”

Ohhhh this is getting good!

“And what exactly are these ‘right places’ your referring to?” Stiles asks.

“Do we need to review the erogenous zones?” Derek asks, eyebrows raised.

“Yes,” Stiles says, nodding enthusiastically. “That’s exactly what we need to do. Good thinking.”

“Right.” Derek gives him a knowing look. “Take your shirt off.”


But the victory is short lived. As Stiles lies back down, his naked back meets an uncovered patch of the cargo-bed, and his bare skin touches cold steel

“Shit!” Stiles yelps and shoots back up. “It’s fucking freezing. Why, why, why…

Derek shakes his head. “All you do is complain…” He peels off his own shirt and uses it to fill in the gap. “You know this was your idea.”

Stiles shivers. “It sounded good in my head.” And they’re in Palo Alto, California not Barrow, Alaska. It shouldn’t be this cold!

“You’ve schemed your way this far,” Derek says. “You’re not bailing on me now, are you?”

“And let this contrived, and poorly disguised excuse to grope me go to waste?” Stiles smirks. “As if.”

“Okay.” Derek crawls on top of him. “Do you want to maybe just cut the crap and tell me what you want?”

Stiles blinks. “Uh, for you to fuck me? Did I not already make that clear?” And of course Derek just rolls his eyes.

“Well you can’t have that,” he says, and Stiles must look upset because he adds, “We don’t have enough pillows.”

Pillows? He’s being cockblocked by pillows?

“I don’t get it.” Stiles stares up at him. “Why would we need more pillows?”

“You’ve got a vivid imagination,” Derek tells him. “Think back on all the times we’ve had sex and replace the mattress or the couch cushions—”

“And the grass,” Stiles interrupts. “On Monday, July 15th we had sex in the grass.”

Derek gives him a half incredulous look before continuing, “You’re not very coordinated and you do a lot of flailing and you get so distracted— we’re lying on steel, remember?”

Oh my god. Why didn’t Stiles realize it before? He’s a total spaz in bed, isn’t he? It would be so bad if he were sleeping with someone… in his league with the same amount of inexperience. But Derek was hardly a virgin. He’s used to having insanely hot sex with people who actually know what they’re doing. His sex life before Stiles was probably pornographic.

And now he’s stuck with a teenager who talks too much, and laughs at the most inappropriate times and… oh god, he flails. Stiles flails.

“So,” Stiles starts slowly, “you’re saying we can’t have sex right now because you don’t trust me to injure myself.”

“Yes.” Derek actually sounds relieved that Stiles finally gets it.

“Because I’m bad at sex and weird in bed.”

“What?” Derek asks sharply. “No!”

“And you let me believe I was normal.” Stiles covers his face with his hands. “Oh my god.” His voice comes out muffled. “You let me believe I was normal this whole time! What the hell is wrong with you? How could you do that to me?” He groans. “This is so embarrassing. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god!”

“Stiles…” Derek tries.

“You know what?” Stiles asks, turning over. He wants to get away from Derek but it’s a little difficult when the dude is more or less holding him down. “You should probably just go.”

“Stiles…” Derek sounds like he’s trying to suppress laughter and Stiles just wants to die. “Stiles, come on, please look at me.”

“No.” Stiles settles onto his back, but hides behind his hands again. Derek easily grabs hold of Stiles’s wrists and uncovers his face.

“Yeah, okay, I’m not going to lie, you’re kind of weird in bed, but—”

“Oh my god,” Stiles moans, closing his eyes. “Just kill me now. Put me out of my misery. Please. You are the absolute worst. You’re the worst boyfriend ever.” And then suddenly it’s cold again. It takes Stiles a moment to realize it’s because Derek is no longer hovering on top of him. “What gives?” he asks, sitting up.

“You’re being an idiot,” Derek replies, looking all pouty and irate. “That’s a turnoff for me.” He’s gathering his clothes. He’s gathering his clothes.

Stiles gapes at him. “I’m sorry are you blaming me for running the mood? You’re the one who said I was weird!”

“Yeah,” Derek says shortly, still scowling. “I did, and you are. But I like it and I like you and we have fun so I don’t really get what you’re so upset about.”

Stiles eyes widen in disbelief. “You like it?”

“Of course I like it!” Derek half shouts. “You don’t think I’d tell you if I didn’t? You think it wouldn’t be completely obvious if I wasn’t enjoying myself?”

“Oh. Right. I guess I got a little bit caught up in the moment.”

“Caught up in the moment?” Derek repeats incredulously.

Stiles nods. “Are you mad at me?”

“Am I mad at you?” Derek throws a shoe at him. “What do you think?” Stiles laughs when he misses, and Derek shoots him a murderous glare. It makes the urge to laugh even stronger.

“Come on, baby,” Stiles says, snickering just a bit. “Don’t be like that…”

Derek jaw drops.

“Is this all just one big joke to you?” he asks—no, demands.

“If I had a nickel for every time you’ve said that to me—”


“I’m sorry,” he starts helplessly, “it’s just…”

“Just what?”

“My personality,” Stiles says finally. Derek stares at him for a long moment, and Stiles can’t help getting his hopes up.”

“You’re sitting on my shirt,” Derek says, and Stiles feels his heart sink.

“Are you asking for it back?” Stiles questions.

Derek stares at him some more then says, “No.” He sighs tiredly and runs a hand through his hair. “I want to stay mad at you though. I’m going to stay mad at you.”

“You look really hot when you’re mad,” Stiles offers kindly. “So I don’t mind. I like your sexy serial killer glare.”

“That’s not going to work,” Derek says, but he’s pulling back the comforter and sliding back in next to Stiles. “You’re not cute.” Except Stiles knows for a fact that he’s kind of cute, and now it’s time for him to man up and be adorable.

“Tell me something.” Stiles shuffles closer, and then climbs on top of Derek, covering Derek’s cold body with his own significantly warmer one. “Aren’t werewolves supposed to have above normal body temperatures?” Because right now Stiles feels like he’s hugging a giant ice cube.

“That’s only when we’re transformed.” Derek shifts so he can slip his arm around Stiles’s shoulders. “I’m actually slightly anemic.”

“Really?” Stiles asks, not quite believing him.

“Yeah. I ate a lot of spinach growing up.”

“You told me you don’t like spinach.” There had been some Popeye jokes early in the relationship.

“I don’t.” Derek smiles slightly. “But when my mom said ‘eat your vegetables’ you ate your fucking vegetables. Laura was the only one of us who’d actually challenge her to her face.”

“My mom loved Jane Austen books.”


Stiles nods. “I would read them to her at the hospital. I did voices and everything.”


“I know, right?” Stiles says. “So I’m kind of well versed when it comes to love and romance.”

“Are you now?”

Stiles nods again and says, “I’m going to say something really sappy to you in a second but you’re going to just have to take it like a man. No cringing!”

“I’ll do my very best,” Derek says wryly.

“Okay.” Stiles takes a breath. Here we go. “Thanks for picking me up in the middle of nowhere. You’re still a satisfactory boyfriend even if you’re unable to satisfy me.”

“Stiles,” Derek starts, eyebrow already raised. “What exactly are you trying to say?”

“I’m unsatisfied,” Stiles tells him, then in a stage-whisper adds, “sexually.”

Derek shakes his head. “I can’t stay mad at you even when I try. Even when I try.”

“One of these days you’ll figure it out,” Stiles says reassuringly, giving his chest a sympathetic pat. “Then we’ll have lots of angry sex. In a bed, of course, so you can throw me around a little without having to worry about broken bones or traumatic brain injury.”

“Angry sex, huh?”

Stiles shrugs a little. “Fighting with you does make me kind of horny.”

Derek works a leg between Stiles’s thighs. “I’ll have to remember that.”

“Yes, please.” Because let’s be honest he’s been hard for a while now and he likes where this conversation is heading.

“Do you have any idea how difficult it is to say no to you?” Derek asks, twisting and shifting his weight until he has Stiles spread out under him. “I bet you don’t.” He’s cupping Stiles’s face now, tracing Stiles’s jawline with his thumb.

“I’m not…” Stiles feels his face heating up. “If you don’t want to…” Derek’s touching his neck now, the pads of his fingers brushing over Stiles’s Adam’s apple and the delicate bones of his throat. “I wasn’t actually trying to pressure you.”

“You’re didn’t,” Derek says simply. “But it’s kind of cute that you think you can manipulate me into doing something I don’t already plan on doing. And how hard you try to make me want the things I already want.”

Stiles smirks. “You just admitted that I’m cute.” And maybe insulted him too? It’s kind of unclear.

“I was being condescending,” Derek tells him.

“Is that part of your seduction technique?” Stiles asks, the smirk morphing into a grin.

“Yes,” Derek deadpans. “That’s step four.”

 “Well then consider me seduced,” Stiles says, and he’s still laughing when Derek kisses him.


In the end Stiles gets his way and they have sex on the roof of the parking garage in the bed of Derek’s truck. Derek is careful and gentle and does all of the work. He likes to pretend that he’s the responsible one with the brain sometimes, but he’s not.

Stiles still somehow manages to break his arm, and Derek, the smug jackass, never lets him forget it.



9. Stiles Stilinski and the Mystery of the Fancy Soap




Stiles S. (3:15 pm) WHAT PICTURES?


Stiles S. (3:18 pm) I DIDN’T POST ANY PICTURES

Cora H. (3:18 pm) SOMEBODY DID



Cora H. (3:19 pm) PETER DOES.

Stiles S. (3:20 pm) I’M SCREWED AREN’T I?

Cora H. (3:20 pm) CALL HIM






A week after Derek’s surprise visit and Stiles’s adventures in wine country they go condo shopping. Derek keeps everything in his name, but lets Stiles make all the decisions. It should be weird because they haven’t been dating for very long, but it’s not. They built a house together, for Christ’s sake, and that was before they became a couple.

Derek tells Stiles not to worry about price tags so he doesn’t. It’s Derek’s money, and if he wants to spend it on Stiles, that’s his prerogative. Stiles trusts Derek and evidently Derek trusts Stiles.

But maybe he shouldn’t. When he hears what Stiles did he’ll probably ask for his key back. Oh god.

“We need to talk,” Stiles announces.

Derek blinks. “Like, right this second or can I put my stuff down first?” He’s only just walked through the door.

“You can put your stuff down,” Stiles says. He follows Derek into their bedroom, nervously wringing his hands the entire way.

At the time, the thought of Derek finding out didn’t bother him one bit. He laughed about it actually. Like it was a joke. Like it wasn’t real. The mental image of Derek’s reaction had been hilarious. In his mind, Derek’s anger is comical. It’s all eyebrow theatrics and glares. In reality, when Derek is angry and Stiles is at fault… there’s nothing funny about it.

“Are you okay?” Derek asks, genuinely concerned it would seem, which makes the whole thing about ten times worse. “You look like you’re about to jump out of your skin.”

Stiles shakes his head. “I did something really bad and before I tell you what it is you have to promise you won’t hate me forever.” Because he’s ashamed of himself now. He didn’t realize it until he got Cora’s message, but this is kind of a huge betrayal of trust. He should be freaking out. He should be hard-core freaking out.

Derek usually scoffs at these antics, and has never once agreed to do or say anything Stiles has asked. But Stiles must look really spooked out because this time Derek gives him a solemn nod.

“I promise,” he says. “I wont hate you.”

“Okay,” Stiles says. “Okay.” He sits down on the bed because he’s starting to feel a little lightheaded. It could be nothing or it could be the prelude to a panic attack. Determined to stay calm, Stiles takes a deep breath and tries to relax. Derek looks really worried now.

“Stiles…” Derek crouches down in front of him and puts his hands on Stiles’s knees. “Stiles, you’re making me nervous. Can you please just tell me what’s wrong?”

“I…” ugh why does his mouth have to be so dry all of the sudden? Stiles swallows a bit convulsively. “I… on Thursday night…” Oh god. Oh god. Derek’s going to kill him. “On Thursday night I had a party,” he manages finally.

“You had a party?” Derek repeats. “Here?”

“Yeah.” One that he foolishly thought he could keep a secret. One that he definitely should have consulted Derek before throwing.

“Did you trash the place?”

Stiles nods. “Kind of, yeah.” To think he had been proud by how out of control the party had been. That little voice that was egging him on the whole time is strangely silent now.

And then Derek gets up and walks right out of the room. Stiles would go after him if he could still feel his legs. He waits to here the sound of the front door slamming shut, convinced somehow that Derek’s going to leave leave. Stiles closes his eyes for a minute and when he reopens them Derek is back. Derek’s back and his expression isn’t angry. It’s… bewildered?

“Everything looks fine…” he says.

Now it does,” Stiles tells him. “But on Friday morning it was a disaster. I spent the whole day cleaning.” Which was especially miserable given the fac that he had the worst hangover.

“You should have told me,” Derek says seriously.

“I know,” Stiles says, lowering his eyes. It was outrageously inconsiderate.

“I could have helped. I would have helped.”

“Helped with what?” Stiles looks up at him, confused as hell.

Derek says, “Next time this happens I want you to call me so I can help you clean up. You shouldn’t have to do that by yourself.” He frowns. “You didn’t miss class, did you?”

Stiles shakes his head. “It was cancelled.” Good things do happen to bad people sometimes. It was a reprieve Stiles didn’t deserve.

“Then I don’t understand why you’re freaking out,” Derek tells him. “I don’t care if you throw parties. I want you to have fun, and this place is just as much yours as it is mine.”

“But the blender is broken,” Stiles protests. “And the picture in the hall won’t hang straight anymore, and I couldn’t get the beer stains off of the blue chair, and the fuzzy pillow you like smells like vodka now, and I had to throw out the kitchen mat because some kid from my seminar hurled on it, and—” he puts his head in his hands. “Oh god, the fancy soap! Our fancy soap is missing. Somebody stole our good soap!”

“So?” Derek raises an eyebrow. “It’s just stuff, Stiles. It’s not worth getting this upset over.”

“But the soap, Derek!” Stiles cries. “That soap smelled so good and we barely got to use it.”

Derek looks likes he’s trying very hard not to roll his eyes. “Somehow I think you’ll live.”

“I betrayed your trust,” Stiles says, his voice still taut. “I did all of it behind your back and I never planned on telling you ever.”

“I’m perfectly okay with that,” Derek says. “You’re allowed to have secrets. You’re allowed to do things by yourself. I trust you.”

Except Stiles can’t help feeling that he shouldn’t. Trust him, that is. Derek shouldn’t trust him.

“So,” Stiles starts, “you’re not angry?”

“Not really.” Derek shakes his head. “Not at all, actually.”

“Are you sure?” Stiles asks. It sounds too good to be true.

This time Derek nods. “I’m kind of glad, actually. If you do your partying here you’re less likely to get into a drunk driving accident or something.”

Oh god. Oh my god. This is… This is…

“I love you,” Stiles blurts out. It’s the first time either of them has ever used the L word, but Stiles has known how he feels for quite some time, though he has no idea whether or not Derek returns the sentiment. He told himself that he wasn’t going to mention it until he was sure his feelings weren’t unrequited. But the cats out of the bag now. It’s not like he can take it back.

“I love you too,” Derek replies calmly, without missing a beat.

“Oh.” Stiles blinks rapidly. “That’s… good.” And suddenly it no longer feels like his chest is caving in.

“Yeah.” Derek gives him the side-eye. “Good.”

“You’ve handled all of this really well.” If Stiles wasn’t so numb right now he’d probably be feeling impressed.

Derek sighs and runs a hand through his hair. “I wish I could say I didn’t know why you sound so surprised.”

“Well, statistically speaking, you can’t completely screw things up one-hundred percent of time.”

It only occurs to Stiles after the words have already left his mouth that it wasn’t a very tactful thing to say given the circumstances. He doesn’t want Derek to feel like a failwolf when he’s done something right for a change.

“Yeah.” Derek lets out a long breath. “Losing half of your family and everything you own in a house fire kind of puts things into perspective.”

“That’s one way of looking at it.” A healthy way, all things considered.

Derek shrugs. “It’s how I stay sane. Furniture can be replaced. People can’t.”

Sometimes Stiles forgets that Derek Hale is a lot smarter than he looks, and he always appreciates the reminder.

“Valuing people over material possessions?” Stiles raises his eyebrows in mock skepticism. “Sounds kind of un-American, if you ask me.”

Except Stiles would gladly trade everything he owns for just one more hour of his mother’s life. Another hour and his father could have said goodbye. He would have been holding her hand too. Maybe then she wouldn’t have looked so afraid.

“I’m a rebel without a cause,” Derek tells Stiles. “Being a bisexual werewolf isn’t subversive enough for me anymore.”

“So you thought you’d just add communist to the list?” Stiles offers a weak smile. “No offense, but red really isn’t your color.”

“See that?” Derek points to Stiles’s face. “I did that. I successfully cheered you up. Can we be done with this now?”

“As if,” Stiles replies, standing up, pushing Derek aside, and heading for the doorway. “There’s still the mystery of the missing soap to solve.”

Because that soap is actually irreplaceable. It was a housewarming present from Lydia. She’d gotten it in France.

“Do we have to?” Derek asks, following Stiles out of the bedroom. “I was kind of hoping food would be next on our agenda.”

“Oh.” Stiles freezes. “Hm.” Decisions, decisions…

“Dinner?” Derek suggests hopefully. “Say yes or I’m going to stop giving you the illusion of choice.”

“I could go for some dinner,” Stiles says. His stomach’s been in knots so he hasn’t eaten all day.

Derek puts an arm around him and starts leading him towards the kitchen. “Do you want to do stir-fry or go get wings?”

“Wings,” Stiles says, his stomach growling. “Definitely wings.”


They have sex later that night, and it’s a little bit weirder than usual. Derek’s a little rough to make up for the fact that he was so sweet earlier, and for once in his life Stiles is at a loss for words. Derek’s distant afterwards, physically and emotionally, but Stiles doesn’t mind. He needs some space too.

Sunday is a little awkward. Stiles can’t tell what Derek’s thinking, and his face gives nothing away. Maybe he regrets it? Maybe he only said it to appease Stiles. Maybe it really was too soon.

Monday morning Derek gives Stiles a goodbye kiss before he leaves for class. It’s a first for them, and Stiles doesn’t really know if it’s going to become a regular thing, but he liked it, and so he drives to school with a smile on his face.

It does become a regular thing. It becomes a Monday thing, because Mondays suck and Derek apparently likes to do what he can to make them better.

Derek Hale, ladies and gentleman. Derek fucking Hale.



8. The psychology of sex and group projects

Derek has always liked Stiles’s face. Even before the attraction happened, Derek could see a strange kind of beauty in the shape of Stiles’s lips, and in the slope of his cheekbones and nose. His eyes are nice too. They’re brown. Derek’s always been partial to brown eyes, don’t ask him why.

Stiles is expressive. Stiles is animated. The kid couldn’t keep a straight face if he tried. He smiles for no reason. He just…smiles. Even when he’s not particularly happy. Who does that?

Even worse, he doesn’t turn to stoicism and anger when he’s sad. Instead he just kind of shrinks into himself and his eyes get all watery and impossibly huge. It’s awful. It’s really fucking awful

His real anger is just as bad. Stiles starts up with this wild gesticulating bullshit and jumps around like some kind of angry chimpanzee. Because it’s not enough to just let his face convey emotion. His whole body has to be involved.

Stupid, Bambi-eyed freak.

Derek likes to pretend he finds this all very irritating, but he knows he’s not fooling anyone. Not anymore, at least.


Derek spends as little time on campus as possible. He knows Stiles is happy at Stanford, but he only sort of understands why. His own college experience was vastly different in almost every discernable way.

New York was colder, and busier, and louder. There were a lot less white people at his school. Nobody wore flip-flops in public. Derek was comfortable on campus and in his classes. He never fit in anywhere, but he somehow still felt a sense of belonging.

He didn’t have a lot of friends. He didn’t need friends. He did have a lot of sex, though. Lots and lots of meaningless sex, with lots of women and quite a few men. It helped him get over Kate. It helped him forget her hair and her skin and the sound of her laughter, low and throaty and wrong. Broken English and Brooklyn accents helped erase the memories of her strange southern drawl. Distractions. Derek needed distractions.

These distractions healed his broken heart but did nothing to ease his guilt. It never made him hate himself any less, but, then again, it didn’t make him hate himself any more either. He was irrationally angry much of the time, and sex, if nothing else, was a great way to blow off some steam.

Laura never said a word about it. She probably figured that Derek had every right to be fucked up. She must have known that there was nothing she could say or do to make it better so she let him do his own thing. Most of the time she was insanely judgmental and overbearing, but she never acted like his sex life was any of her business.

They shared a two-bedroom apartment in Hamilton Heights. It was kind of a shithole. Laura was always really weird about money. Well, that’s not exactly true. She wasn’t weird about money until after the fire, and even then she was only weird about the insurance money.

So for Derek, college is tracing paper and protractors, the sound of forklift alarms and jackhammers, the taste of Dominican food and greasy pizza. College is peeling linoleum floors, pillows that smell like cigarettes and sheets that smell like sex. He had a thing for smokers, which is both a little ironic and a lot fucked up.

Living in Palo Alto with Stiles Stilinski is like living on another planet. Sometimes it feels a little unreal, and that’s… disconcerting. Derek is glad his permanent home is his house in Beacon Hills. Sure, the majority of his nightmares are also set in his hometown, but Palo Alto just feels too good to be true.

Derek doesn’t actually visit Stiles on campus until the first semester of his sophomore year. He waits in the courtyard outside a building where he knows Stiles attends most of his classes. It’s quiet and beautiful and it makes Derek itch.

The students here seem younger and they stare at him. At first Derek thinks it’s because they can tell he doesn’t belong. He’s embarrassed and flattered and maybe secretly pleased when a little eavesdropping reveals that they haven’t made him as an outsider. They’re checking him out.

If he weren’t anxious and on edge he’d flash them a smirk. Instead he just scowls and regrets having left his sunglasses in his car.

When Stiles finally emerges from the building he’s flanked by a girl in a striped crop top and a boy with greasy hair. He’s complaining about the members of his group project while his companions console and commiserate. He stops in his tracks when he finally notices Derek leaning against a column just ten or so feet away.

“You!” Stiles cries in what appears to be pure delight. “It’s you! You’re here!”

Derek rolls his eyes because enthusiasm is so uncool.

“Obviously you haven’t looked at your phone recently,” he says, straightening up. “This isn’t supposed to be a surprise.” Although it occurs to him that a surprise visit is the kind of thing Stiles would love. He would love if Derek showed up for no reason, or a reason that at least didn’t involve delivering bad news.

“My battery’s dead,” Stiles says, hurrying over to Derek, leaving his friends to trail awkwardly behind.

Derek stuffs his hands into his jacket pockets because he’s not sure what to do with them. They’ve been dating for almost a year and a half but this is the first time they’ve met like this. Are they supposed to hug? Stiles isn’t going to try to kiss him, is he? They’re not big on PDA, and he hopes Stiles remembers that.

“What was the point of buying that car charger if you’re never going to use it?” Derek asks, choosing not to call Stiles out on what was a blatant lie. Battery died my ass.

“Says the caveman,” Stiles replies, grinning. He hands Derek his messenger bag. He expects Derek to carry his books for him. That’s cute.

Derek accepts the bag anyways. He doesn’t say anything but he does give Stiles a look.

Stiles introduces his friends. Derek’s polite, but not overly friendly. He’s relieved when they get the get the hint scurry off, probably eager to gossip and take pictures of themselves in bathrooms, or whatever it is teenagers do these days.

Though Derek can’t resist eavesdropping again.

“So that was him?” the girl whispers to the boy.

“He said boyfriend, didn’t he?” the boy asks her. “Stiles doesn’t have more then one boyfriend does he?”

Does he?

“Not that I’m aware of.”

Oh, that’s good. Derek wasn’t really worried, but it’s nice to be sure.

“Then that must be his boyfriend.”

The girl makes a thoughtful noise then says, “He’s not what I pictured.”

“In what way?” the boy asks.

“Stiles said he looked like a sexy lumberjack,” the girl replies. “I guess I was expecting flannel and plaid.”

Oh, for the love of—

“What are they saying?” Stiles asks excitedly. “They’re talking about us, aren’t they?”

Derek briefly entertains the idea of telling him the truth, then says, “They think you whine too much and wonder why I put up with you.” But the insult just seems to roll right off of him.

“It’s a group project, Derek,” Stiles says darkly. “You know how I feel about group projects.”

 “I know that you like to complain about them,” Derek offers. The last time Stiles was assigned a group project it’s all he talked about for days, and he did nothing but bitch and moan about his obstinate, control freak partners and their inferior ideas.

Stiles grins. “I do actually. It’s righteous anger, and my complaints are justified.”

Derek narrows his eyes suspiciously. “Why are you in such a good mood?”

The last time Derek saw Stiles was the morning he left for Alaska with Cora. The memory of that morning isn’t a particularly pleasant one.

“It’s because of you, asshole!” Stiles tells him, bumping shoulders. “Because I’m happy to see you.” He’s contemplating kissing Derek now, it’s written all over his face. “I just can’t believe you’re here. It’s been three weeks since I last saw you.”

“You weren’t answering your phone,” Derek says by way of explanation. He really wishes Stiles would stop acting like this visit is some kind of thoughtful gesture on Derek’s part. “I’m not here to take you to lunch.”

Stiles’s face falls and Derek feels like a monster. Then he remembers that he is a monster, and Stiles knows he’s a monster. Derek’s not a white knight, and he’s certainly no Prince charming. 

“What’s wrong?” Stiles asks seriously. “Is it my dad?”

If Derek were here to deliver bad news about Sheriff Stilinski he wouldn’t be this calm. Would Stiles really expect him to be this calm? The present circumstances have him feeling more volatile than usual, but he’s keeping his shit together like a pro. If John were in serious trouble and Derek had to be the to let Stiles know—

Okay, let’s be honest. Derek would just make Scott do it. It’s Scott’s responsibility as an alpha to be the bearer of bad news. That’s what Derek would lead him to believe, anyways. Scott is way better at that touchy-feely shit. He’ll take one for the team if the time ever comes.

“Your dad’s fine,” Derek says. “It’s Isaac and Scott.” And it’s bad. It’s really bad. “Isaac mostly, but Scott too.”

“What happened?”

“You’re not going to believe this,” Derek says, as they start walking towards the parking lot. Derek needs to be walking. He needs to be moving. “I’m having trouble believing it myself.”

“What happened?” Stiles asks again. “Is it serious?

“They’re going to be fine,” Derek assures him. That was probably the first thing he should have done. Stiles can’t always tell when he’s lying. “The whole thing—it’s pretty fucked up.”

Stiles nods, distracted, of course. “Do you want to drive?” he asks. “I can leave my car here. We can go straight to Beacon Hills. I don’t need to stop at home first.”

It’s a Tuesday, and Derek’s not sure Stiles returning to Beacon Hills is the best idea, but he knows better than to express the sentiment aloud.

“We can do whatever you want,” Derek tells him. There’s going to end up doing whatever Stiles wants anyways. Might as well earn points for being agreeable.

“We were going to do whatever I wanted anyways,” Stiles says, giving Derek a look. “Don’t think you’re earning any points for being agreeable.”

Well, then fuck it.

“I think this is a bad idea,” Derek announces thirty minutes later when they’re already in the car on their way back to Beacon Hills.

“You never told me what happened,” Stiles says, completely ignoring the remark.

“Scott’s fine,” Derek tells him. That’s the part Stiles actually cares about. “By now he’s probably completely healed.”

“And Isaac?”

“I…” Derek scratches his jaw and avoids Stiles’s eyes. “I don’t know.”

Last he heard Isaac was at Deaton’s. Last he heard Isaac was unconscious and badly wounded. As far as he knows, Isaac’s condition hasn’t changed. Scott’s supposed to call or text him if and when it does.

Derek hates this. Derek really fucking hates this.

“So what happened?” Stiles asks again. “You said it was messed up. You made it sound interesting.”

Derek has learned to be wary of anything Stiles considers interesting. This is definitely something Stiles would consider interesting.

“Remember those King Arthur freaks?” Derek asks. “The Knights of Beaverton, or whatever?”

Stiles snickers. “How could I forget?”

The flippancy bothers Derek—it always has. And of course Stiles will act like it’s completely unreasonable for Derek to expect him to take these things seriously. He’ll go on and on about how humor and sarcasm are how he copes best, and Derek just needs to lighten up. And yeah, maybe Derek would be able to laugh about it if he didn’t have the image of Stiles convulsing on the floor, blood leaking from his eyes, nose and mouth, burned into his brain.

Derek’s grip tightens on the steering wheel. “Remember that Hector thing?

“Yeah,” Stiles says, and Derek can feel him staring. “I remember.”

Stiles doesn’t joke about the torture, in fact he never brings it up. But sometimes when they’re in bed and Stiles is touching him—Stiles is kissing and stroking Derek’s chest so lightly he can hardly feel it—Derek just knows Stiles is remembering those horrific burns.

Part of him is glad he hasn’t seen Isaac yet. He was told that the wolfsbane bullets stunted the healing process. The kid must look bad. Scott was more affected by Isaac’s injuries then he was by his own. Melissa was the one who called Derek and explained the situation. Scott was too riled up. He couldn’t pull himself together long enough to make a quick phone call. Isaac must look really fucking bad.

“There was an incident at a bar in San Fran,” Derek says finally, swallowing dryly. “The Knights were hired to hunt down Hector. Scott and Isaac were meeting with him—they didn’t know who he was at the time.”

“Then the hunters showed up,” Stiles guesses, and Derek nods in affirmation. Stiles is an excellent guesser and pretty insightful. Derek would sooner eat a cactus then tell him that.

“Their plan was apparently to ambush Hector on his way out,” he explains. “But they got bored and went inside and started drinking…”

“Then one thing led to another and all hell broke loose?”

“Pretty much,” Derek breathes.

“I’m a good guesser, aren’t I?” Stiles tries to poke Derek in the side but fails. Derek easily catches him by the wrist. Stiles seems to forget that Derek has superhuman reflexes.

“I’m trying to drive, Stiles,” Derek says, giving him a stern look. They have rules. Stiles is ridiculous so they have to have rules about touching and distracting Derek while he’s driving.

“Why do you think this is a bad idea?” Stiles asks, shaking him off. He’s blushing. That means he’s remembering the disastrous ‘road head’ incident too.

Derek gives him the side eye. “You have to ask?”

“I guess not,” Stiles says.

“Well then you’re a good guesser.”

Stiles smiles this kind of self-satisfied smile that Derek both loathes and adores, then mutters, “Damn straight” under his breath.

Derek waits until they’re right outside Beacon Hills to check his phone for messages.


Scott S. (3:25 pm) HE HASN’T WOKEN UP YET.




He can feel Stiles staring at him again so he makes a real effort to keep his face carefully blank. Derek doesn’t want Stiles to know his stomach is in knots. He’s not Isaac’s alpha, and he hasn’t been for a long time, but he still feels responsible for him. He feels guilty. Derek feels like it’s his fault Isaac is hurt.

“We can spend the night at your house,” Stiles tells him. “I don’t have class until noon tomorrow.

And that’s when Derek realizes that he’s not here for Stiles. Stiles is here for him.

“That’s fine,” Derek says, noticing for the first time that Stiles is remarkably calm. It’s possible that he’s holding himself together for Derek’s sake, but it’s likely that he’s just not that concerned about Isaac’s condition. Stiles has never liked Isaac, and Isaac just doesn’t get Stiles.

But Stiles isn’t here for Isaac, apparently. He’s here for Derek.

Derek’s not sure how to feel about that, but at the moment his only concern is Isaac.



Later Stiles asks, “Are you going to kill Hector?”

Derek raises both eyebrows, a little taken aback by such a morbid question. They’re in bed watching The Daily Show. It’s a commercial break, but still.

“Hector didn’t attack Isaac,” Derek says. “Hector’s not the one who hurt him.”


“So I can’t just hunt him down and kill him in cold blood.” In fact, Derek’s ideologically opposed to hunting people down and killing them in cold blood. He’s not a killer. He’s not Peter. He’s not Kate.

“But…” Stiles wets his lips, a nervous habit Derek finds… distracting to say the least. “But it’s his fault. It’s his fault bad things happened—not just to Isaac. I’m not just talking about what happened to Isaac.”

“I know.” Derek turns to face Stiles because he wants to looks at him a little bit. He likes looking at Stiles. “Is that what you want?”

“Is what what I want?” Stiles asks. Their bedroom is cold and dimly lit, and his eyelashes are casting shadows on his cheekbones.

“Do you want me to kill Hector?”

Stiles looks thoughtful, and after a few silent moments says, “No. No, I don’t want you to kill Hector.”

“Why not?” Derek asks, genuinely curious.

“I don’t know man,” Stiles says, giving a one-armed shrug. “I guess it’d just be beneath you. You’re too good for that shit.”

Derek waits for him to laugh or grin or give some sign that his words shouldn’t be taken seriously, that he doesn’t actually think so highly of Derek, but apparently the kid really can keep a straight face after all.

Sometimes… sometimes Derek just doesn’t know.

“I’m tired,” he tells Stiles. “We should try going to bed.”

Stiles looks like he wants to object, but doesn’t. He instead shuts the television off and agrees.

“I have to meet with my group before class so we need to leave here around nine,” he says. “Is that okay with you?”

“Sure,” Derek replies, closing his eyes. “No problem.”

He shouldn’t have any trouble getting to sleep because he knows for sure that Isaac is going to be okay. Deaton worked his magic and now there’s nothing to worry about. Isaac is awake and healing and Derek can breathe easy.

But unfortunately for him, he’s just not tired.

Stiles is having a similar problem, if his fidgeting is anything to go by. He either can’t get comfortable or just doesn’t feel like sitting still. The tossing and turning is a little irritating but Derek can control himself. He’s not going to be a dick to Stiles. Not tonight.

But after about twenty minutes of non-stop restlessness he finds his patience wearing thin. He turns over and opens his mouth up to say something, but Stiles beats him to the punch.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers.

“For what?” Derek whispers back.

“I’m keeping you up,” Stiles says. “I’ve still got all of this energy…”

“It’s fine,” Derek tells him. It really is fine too. Most people would be exhausted after the day they’ve had, but not Stiles. It usually takes him a while to calm down. He could very well be up all night. Sometimes Derek makes him go sleep in the guest bedroom.

But not tonight.

“Maybe we could talk a little more?” Stiles asks. “Just for a few minutes?”

The room is dark now, but Derek can see Stiles perfectly. He can see that the marks his mouth left on Stiles’s neck have completely faded. Hickies make Derek feel like a stupid teenager, but Stiles likes them, so they’re worth the effort and embarrassment.

It’s been over a month since they last had sex.

“I don’t feel like talking right now,” Derek says. Stiles looks good. Stiles looks really good. Derek was a little afraid that the time apart would make things worse between them, but it seems to have done the opposite. Stiles looks really, really, really good.

“That’s…” Stiles swallows audibly. “That’s fine.”

But it’s not. Derek can tell by his tone that it’s definitely not.

“Stiles,” he says softly. “C’mere.” There’s at least a foot between them, and Derek knows it’s for his sake, not Stiles’s. Stiles is pretty good at sensing when Derek needs space, but sometimes he errs on the side of caution. Derek needs the opposite of space right now. Or maybe he just wants it.

But Stiles doesn’t move. Not one inch.

Derek has never understood why the little shit feels the need to be so fucking contrary all the goddamn time.

All that it means is that it’s time for Derek to show a little initiative. He has to make his intentions perfectly clear with Stiles, because vague overtures and subtle hints give Stiles too much to analyze and consider. The kid’s mind just takes off, and then he gets all distracted and introspective, and it totally kills the mood. On those nights Derek’s lucky if he can get a lousy handjob.

So Derek shuffles closer. They’re both lying on their sides, face to face, only their knees touching. Stiles’s eyes are narrowed and his gaze is calculating. Derek does his best to look sure of himself.

They’ve been together almost a year and a half, but the sex is still—it’s stressful, it’s stressful and it requires—Derek has to think, and he can’t just—there are all these feelings involved, and Stiles, Stiles seems to require—he doesn’t make it easy.

For either of them.

“If you’re tired you don’t have to…” Stiles lets his voice trail off. It’s probably because Derek has started touching him. He’s got one hand curled around Stiles’s hip.

“I’m not tired,” Derek says.

Stiles licks his lips and tries, “It’s just I know that with Isaac—”

“Shut up.” Derek leans in. “I’m not thinking about Isaac; I’m thinking about you.”

“Me?” Stiles asks. He’s got this goofy looking smile on his face now, which is definitely a step in the right direction.

Sex was easier in the beginning. It was actually a lot of fun. Stiles just kind of let go, laughing outright and mouthing off the entire time. Derek did most of the work, but that was fine. Sex with Stiles felt good. It felt right. No shame. No guilt. No judgment. No disgust.

Derek can’t remember when or why things changed, but it’s different now. Not different in a bad way, just… different.

“Who else would I be thinking about?” he asks. That’s not to say Derek doesn’t think about other people. That Hunger Games girl is hot when she’s blond, and the kid who plays Spiderman has a strange appeal.

Except Derek doesn’t think about fucking other people when he’s in bed with Stiles. He’s not going to win boyfriend of the year, but he’s not a total scumbag either. He doesn’t always show it, but he really does love Stiles.

Which is pretty much the only reason he puts up with this bullshit. 

Stiles gives Derek an unreadable look and asks, “Do you want me?”

Derek can’t help but roll his eyes. “Of course I want you.”


“Yes, now.” Derek sighs, maybe a little exasperated. “Stiles, I always want you.”

“Okay.” Stiles leans in. “Okay.”

And then he’s cupping Derek’s face and pressing an innocent kiss to the corner of his mouth.

What the hell is Derek supposed to do with that?

Stiles is staring at him expectantly, so obviously he’s supposed to be doing something. This must be one of those moments. Derek’s supposed to put himself out there and say something nice to Stiles, something honest and sincere, something sarcasm proof.

Lately he’s been thinking a lot about the night of the meteor shower, trying to remember how he justified letting Stiles go. Right now the idea is unfathomable, and that scares him a little bit. This thing with Stiles was never supposed to come to fruition.

After Jennifer he told himself that he was done with relationships. Obviously the universe was trying to send him a message. He was being punished for what happened—no, for what he let happen to Paige.

And then he walked into that coffee shop and saw Stiles.

It wasn’t an epiphany or love at first sight or something profound like that. It was just the quiet realization that the kid wasn’t really a kid anymore, and that Derek would totally hit that. Cora said that she could tell by the look on Stiles’s face that the feeling was mutual.

Derek’s made more than his fair share of mistakes, but he’d like to think he’s learned a thing or two from them. It’s why he swore off relationships. It’s why he swore off this one in particular. There are certain people in the world who are just off limits, and he thought for sure that Stiles was one of them. Scott McCall’s best friend, the town sheriff’s teenage son, whip-smart, selfless, loyal, arrogant, obnoxious, mouthy—there are about a million reasons why it would be a terrible idea.

He promised himself he wouldn’t get involved with Stiles Stilinski and now they’re practically married.

“Do you remember…” Derek sits up to get a better look at Stiles’s face. “Do you remember that night you drunk dialed me? The night of the meteor shower?”

Stiles blinks rapidly. “Yeah, I remember,” he says. “But I kind of wish I didn’t. It wasn’t exactly—I don’t know if you remember, but you kind of broke my heart.”

“I also… lied to you,” Derek says hesitantly. “There’s something I’ve never told you.”


“On the phone…” Derek starts, “you propositioned me.” Stiles gives him that ‘what the fuck are you talking about’ look, so he figures he should just go ahead and explain. “You asked me if I liked men, and if I liked your lips, and if I’d fuck you. You said you’d let me do whatever I wanted to you.”

“Oh my god,” Stiles groans, hiding his face in his hands. “Why would you tell me that? Why couldn’t you have just let me go on believing that I didn’t make a complete ass out of myself that night? No wonder you rejected me!”

Okay. So maybe Derek didn’t think this one through. He should have known Stiles would freak.

“I just wanted to give some context,” he says, “to what I’m about to tell you.”

“Yeah?” Stiles asks, his voice muffled. “What are you about to tell me?”

Derek reaches out and pulls Stiles’s hands away from his face. There’s nothing for him to be embarrassed about. The phone call didn’t make Derek think any less of him. It was actually kind of cute.

“I think you have very nice lips,” Derek says finally. “I like them, and I like you, and…” he shrugs a little. “I think you have very nice lips.”

“That’s it?” Stiles raises his eyebrows. “That’s your A-game?”

Derek nods. Was that not good enough? Because he’s pretty sure it’s the best he can do. He doesn’t really know what Stiles expects from him. Nothing he ever says or does seems to impress him.

“If you want—” Derek tries.

“What I want,” Stiles says, cutting him off. “Is for you to shut up and kiss me. Like, right now.” He crawls into Derek’s lap and winds his arms around Derek’s neck. “Just shut up and kiss me.”

That Derek can do.

About a month or two ago he made the mistake of telling Stiles that he’s fucked more people than he’s kissed. His sexual history is not something he’s ashamed of or embarrassed by. He has a few regrets, the most obvious being Kate Argent and Jennifer Blake. Aside from that, all of his partners have been consenting adults, and he’s never been anything other than honest about his intentions.

Stiles overthinks shit. When Derek admitted to him that he used to sleep around the poor kid probably had some kind of mini meltdown. He probably inferred all kinds of crap that just isn’t true. Derek doesn’t know the specifics because for once Stiles has kept his mouth shut. Usually when something’s bothering him he comes right out and says it. Not this time though.

But Derek loves kissing Stiles. He loves having Stiles naked and warm in his arms. Before Stiles, Derek didn’t know it was possible to be sarcastic in bed. He’d never experienced a sarcastic kiss, and he probably shouldn’t like them as much as he does, but it’s all kind of perfect. It’s difficult to explain why.

Sometimes when Stiles wants it hot and dirty, and Derek just hasn’t gotten there yet, Stiles will back off and only offer these tiny, chaste kisses and won’t touch Derek below the waist. Once he even went as far as to whisper in Derek’s ear, mockingly, “Maybe we should just hold hands and watch PBS tonight.”

Oh, and there was this one time he apparently thought Derek was moving too fast or being too aggressive, and instead of saying something like a normal person he bit Derek’s shoulder—hard—with his canines and everything—hard enough to draw blood.  And when Derek was all, ‘what the fuck?!’ Stiles just narrowed his eyes and asked, “Were we not role playing animals in the wild?”

Don’t even get Derek started on the weird-ass role-playing. He won’t deny that he loves every minute of it, but he never manages to stay in character or keep a straight face. Stiles doesn’t get angry though. He seems to have fun criticizing Derek’s performance, and there’s always lots of laughter.

Derek secretly loves the laughter too.

Lately it’s been different though. And by lately he means five or six weeks ago. Maybe Derek’s been avoiding sex because he’s a little terrified. Maybe the only reason he agreed to go on that trip with Cora in the first place was because he’s a big fat coward.

Stiles is straddling him now and kissing him, deep and searching. There’s no exaggerated, pornographic moans that always seem to dissolve into unmanly giggles. The only sounds Stiles makes are soft and breathy and desperate. He doesn’t talk, joke, or taunt. The episodes of flailing and awkward fumbling are rare occurrences now. Stiles has somehow found rhythm in all of this.

Derek pulls him closer because sometimes it feels like they’ll never be close enough. He loves the smell and taste of Stiles’s skin. He loves how every part of Stiles’s body has become familiar, yet Stiles stills finds ways to surprise him. He loves how the moment Stiles starts grinding against him and moving his hips is also the moment he begins to sweat.

Stiles usually lets his hands wander when Derek is kissing his neck. Stiles has a very sensitive neck, and Derek’s attention can apparently be a little overwhelming, but Stiles seems to enjoy it too much to tell him to stop. His hands wander because his mind needs to wander, and Derek’s okay with that because the one time Stiles tried to stay focused he forgot how to breathe. That was terrifying, truly terrifying.

Derek remembers one afternoon; he was in the midst of giving Stiles an excellent blowjob, when he noticed Stiles’s fingers tapping a strange pattern on his shoulders. He asked about it later and Stiles admitted that he’d been playing Für Elise. Für fucking Elise. Derek didn’t know whether to be exasperated or impressed.

Mostly he was impressed.

Stiles is clinging to him now. That’s his new thing. Derek’s lips are on his neck, and he’s sucking and kissing, hot and wet, scraping his teeth against Stiles’s pulse, determined to leave marks because, okay, he likes them just as much as Stiles does, maybe even more.

Except this time Stiles isn’t distracted, and he’s managed to stay breathing. He’s panting a little bit, but definitely breathing. Derek’s heart is beating so fast it’s either in danger of giving out or exploding. He’s not usually this affected, but it’s exhilarating in the best of ways, so he won’t complain. The dizzy helps neutralize the urgency, and Derek feels like he could do this for hours. He could do this all night.

Stiles has his hands tangled in Derek’s hair. They’re shaking, which means he’s anxious or nervous. What the hell does he have to be nervous about? This might feel new but it’s not. Stiles is hard. He’s rolling his hips and seeking friction, and Derek wants to give it to him, he really does. It’s ridiculous that they’re both still wearing underwear. They didn’t use to wear underwear to bed. Derek can’t remember when or why that changed.

Time passes slowly, or quickly, it’s difficult to tell, and Derek’s completely lost track of it. They’re both sweaty. Stiles’s face is pink, his skin flushed. He’s looking at Derek with these giant eyes, really looking at him. His lips are red and his pupils are blown. He looks like sex. He reeks of sex. Derek is so hard it hurts.

And then Stiles does something that’s not completely and utterly confounding. He smirks at Derek. It’s weak and a tad uncertain, but still smug, and Derek sees it for what it is: a challenge.

“So,” Stiles murmurs, all low and breathy. “Are you going to fuck me or what?” Like Derek hasn’t long given up on saying no and showing restraint. Like Derek still has the willpower to refuse. He wasn’t lying when he told Stiles that he always wants him. He quite literally always wants him.

Derek kisses Stiles a little bit on the mouth, then pulls away and says, “All you had to do was ask.” Because really.

Stiles looks relieved. Relieved. Derek just doesn’t get it. Where is the insecurity coming from? How does Stiles not know? Derek loves him. He actually loves him. Real love. Not flowery, first time, stolen kisses under the bleachers, teen romance love. Not hot, forbidden, bad idea, seedy motel room, wrong love. Love love.

Yeah, okay, Derek’s never actually told him in so many words. He shouldn’t have to, right? It should be obvious. If Derek weren’t totally into the relationship he’d have dumped Stiles a long time ago. He wouldn’t have gotten involved with someone like Stiles in the first place if he weren’t certain of his feelings.

And so Derek fucks him. Slowly at first, because he knows that’s how Stiles gets comfortable, and he wants Stiles to be comfortable. He takes his time because he knows that he can; they both can. Stiles is more patient now and less prone to distraction. That’s not to say Derek has a problem with Stiles’s distractions.

Stiles used to give a running commentary. It was a little sarcastic, and a little encouraging, full of criticism, observations and advice. It detracted from the overall hotness of the act, and it wasn’t very sexy, but it was hilarious and sweet and so unlike anything he’d ever experienced with anyone else. Derek loved it. It was impossible not to.

But Stiles is quiet now. Mostly quiet. He makes soft noises. Tiny gasps and moans. Occasionally he’ll whisper fuck, or Derek, or harder, or faster, or please, but it’s all ardent and achy. There’s no irony and no sass.

And it’s outrageously hot. It’s so fucking hot. It feels like they’re melting, like Stiles is pure heat, and Derek is made of wax.

They sweat through the sheets, and Stiles somehow manages to come all over his pillow. It’s pretty gross, and Derek doesn’t know why they’re suddenly so messy. He used to have everything under control, but now…now not so much.

Afterwards, while Stiles is in the bathroom, he strips the bed and makes a quick trip to the linen closet. Stiles has this weird thing about… fluids, and Derek doesn’t want him to be uncomfortable, and he really doesn’t want to deal with him complaining.

“You’re the best, you know,” Stiles says, emerging from the bathroom, and stopping in the doorway to watch Derek finish making the bed.

“Yeah?” He shoots Stiles a small smile over his shoulder. “You’re not so bad yourself.”

“I meant at sex,” Stiles says. “You’re really good at sex.” He’s openly staring, and not in a suggestive way.

“Uh, thanks?” Derek replies, a little uncertainly. That was a compliment right?

They go to sleep after that. There’s no cuddling, but Stiles is close enough that every time he exhales, his breath tickles Derek’s skin. It’s comforting and nice, and Derek kind of wants to hold him a little bit. Only for a minute or two. Just until he falls asleep.

But he doesn’t.


Derek wakes to the sound of his phone vibrating. It’s 5 am. It’s three hours before his alarm is set to ring. Scott McCall either doesn’t realize the time, or just doesn’t care that he’s disturbing their sleep.

“Hold on,” Derek croaks into the phone before slipping out of bed and tiptoeing over to his dresser in search of pants.

“Who’z it?”  Stiles mumbles, voice muffled slightly by his pillow.

“Just Scott,” Derek tells him. “Go back to sleep.”

“Mm.” Stiles makes this horrifyingly cute sleepy noise. “I’ll write the abstract and the annotated bibliograph machine. You’re all too stupid and lazy.”

He’s dreaming about group projects again. That’s never a good sign.

Derek waits until he’s downstairs to speak. There a 50/50 chance that Stiles will drift off, and Derek doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. Stiles needs his rest. He doesn’t really rock that sleep-deprived look. Not even a little.

“Are you there?” Scott asks, sounding kind of impatient, which is bullshit because it’s five in the morning.

Derek groans. “What do you want?”

“Hector surfaced.”

Of course he did. At five am. Because he’s the bane of Derek’s existence and out to ruin his life. Fucking Hector.

“And…?” Derek asks expectantly. There has to be more to the story, because if not this conversation is definitely over.

“And I thought you’d want to know,” Scott finishes.

Fuck this shit. Derek ends the call.

Hanging up on people used to be so much more satisfying when he could slam the phone back down onto the receiver. Touching the ‘end call’ button on a screen isn’t nearly as fun.

Before heading back upstairs he pours a glass of water from the filtered pitcher in the fridge. Stiles is always really thirsty the morning after they’ve had sex, and Derek can’t hear whether he’s fully woken up or gone back to sleep.

Derek reenters the bedroom and sees that Stiles is in fact awake now. He’s sprawled across Derek’s side of the bed, god only knows why.

“Is that for me?” He asks, probably referring to the water.

Derek raises his eyebrows. “You’re supposed to be asleep.”

“So are you.” Stiles sits up and holds his hand out for Derek to give him the glass. “What did Scott want?”

Derek blinks. What did Scott want? Is it bad that he doesn’t really care?

“I don’t know,” he answers honestly, watching Stiles gulp down the water. “I hung up on him.”

Stiles snorts into the glass. “Good. Just because he’s the alpha doesn’t mean he gets to wake us up at the crack of dawn whenever he feels like it.”

Actually, it kind of does, but Derek’s going to keep that bit of information to himself. Stiles isn’t really big on pack dynamics.

“If he was up all night with Isaac he probably just didn’t realize the time,” Derek says, only half believing it.

Stiles rolls over and sets the empty glass down on his nightstand, then turns back to look at Derek.

“Why are you still standing there?” he asks him.


Stiles sighs. “Come back to bed already so I can turn the light off.” He pulls the covers back invitingly. “Sleep is our friend, remember?”

Derek crawls back into bed, and after a minute or two of lying next to Stiles in the dark he gives into the urge to wrap his arms around him. It’s going to make sleeping comfortably nearly impossible, but somehow that seems worth it.

“This is okay?” he asks Stiles.

Stiles twists to give Derek an incredulous look. “When have I ever said no to cuddling?”

“Right.” It was a stupid question. Not once has Stiles rebuffed him.

“You know,” Stiles says after a long, comfortable silence. “Last night was the first time we’ve had sex in thirty-two days.”

This is not a conversation Derek is prepared to have, but there’s really no avoiding it now. That doesn’t mean he won’t give it a shot.

“I was away for a couple of weeks,” he tries.

“Were you really?” Stiles asks, and there’s some bitterness in his tone. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“I’m sorry,” Derek says, meaning it too.

“What for?”

“I…” Derek falters. “I don’t know.”

“Of course not.” Stiles rolls his eyes. “You never do.”

And what’s that supposed to mean? Are they about to fight? Derek’s really not in the mood for a fight. The post-orgasmic bliss hasn’t fully worn off, and he really just wants to relax together for a while.

“You’re different now,” he says, not knowing how else to explain it. “At sex.”

“Different?” Stiles repeats, pulling back to look Derek in the eye. “How am I different?”

“I didn’t mean it in a bad way,” Derek says quickly. “And I’m not saying that I don’t like it. You’re just… more serious. Everything feels more intense.”

“That’s because it is,” Stiles tells him. “Not all the time, but sometimes. I…” Stiles shifts in Derek’s arms a little bit so they can stay face-to-face and Derek can keep holding him. “I know what I’m doing now. I don’t have to improvise. I don’t always feel like laughing.” His frowns. “I thought you’d be happy. I thought you’d like having normal sex like normal people.”

For being so smart, Stiles still somehow manages to astound Derek with his stupidity.

“First of all,” Derek starts, “last night wasn’t normal, not in the way you seem to think, at least.” And maybe that wasn’t the right thing to say because now Stiles looks kind of pissed. “It was better than normal,” Derek continues. It’s always better than normal with Stiles. “If you were to go out—” And, oh god, now suddenly Derek’s feeling possessive. “It’s not going to be like with other people,” he finishes.

Not unless the person Stiles is with loves him as much as Derek does, and not unless this completely fictional and hypothetical person also has werewolf strength, stamina, and superior reflexes.

“We’re not normal people, are we?” Stiles says, almost to himself.

Derek shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter whether we’re weird or normal, and it doesn’t matter how we act in bed. Not as long as you’re happy and I’m happy and it makes both of us feel good.

“But—” Stiles tries.

“If you want to role play actuary and extreme snowboarder I’ll do it,” Derek says, because he’s not done talking. “If you want to be on top I’m willing to try it. If you want to be lazy or be romantic or go slow, we can do that too. If you’re not in the mood, that’s fine, I’m not going to push it. If you want me to tie you up and fuck you hard all you have to do is ask.”

They’ve been together for a fucking year and a half it’s ridiculous that Stiles still needs Derek to spell it out for him.

“You’re kind of intimidating,” Stiles says.


“You are!” Stiles snaps. “You’ve slept with like… a billion people, and you have no idea how it feels to constantly wonder whether or not you measure up.”

Derek knew telling Stiles about his sexual history would come back to bite him in the ass.

“If you’re looking for reassurance I don’t know if I can give it to you,” he says. “I don’t compare you to other people.”

“You do though!” Stiles insists.

How and why is this conversation even happening? Is it because the kid’s got a dead mom? Most of Derek’s family is dead, yet he doesn’t feel the need to freak out over every little thing.

“It’s apples to oranges, Stiles,” Derek tells him. “Why would I compare someone I met at a club and fucked once in the back of a car to someone who was willing to cut my arm off to save my life, held me up in a pool for two hours to keep me from drowning, and let me hide in his bedroom when I was a fugitive?”

“That’s not…” Stiles wiggles out of his arms and looks up at him. “It was my fault you were living on the lam in the first place.”

Derek snorts. “It was Scott’s fault. You would have come up with a much better lie.” He shakes his head. “And anways, I stopped caring about that shit a long time ago. I wouldn’t care even if it had been your fault.”

“But why?” Stiles asks.

Why? Why? Why the hell does he think? He can’t not know. It’s not possible.

“Because you woke me up when I was passed out in that elevator,” Derek tells him. “Because you’re here with me now. Because you helped me build this house.” He gestures to the surrounding walls. “None of this would be here if it weren’t for you. I would have never stuck with it if it weren’t for you.”

“You’re making me out to be some kind of saint.” Stiles shifts uncomfortably. “I’m not a saint, Derek. I had selfish motivations. For all of those things.”

No shit. Derek’s not blind to Stiles’s flaws. He is very much aware of them.

“Regardless, all of that was before we started sleeping together.”

“So?” Stiles asks. “So what?”

This is bullshit. This is such bullshit. Derek doesn’t know why he puts up with it.

“We’re in a relationship,” he says evenly, trying hard to stay calm. “I’m committed to you. We live together. We care about each other. I’m in love with you.” He makes a frustrated noise. “Stiles, all of that shit is immeasurable. What the fuck do you want me to say?”

Stiles stares at him for a long moment, swallows audibly, then says, “You can’t just disappear on me. You can’t just take an impromptu vacation to the Alaskan wilderness when things get weird. You’re not allowed to run away!”




Maybe Stiles is being slightly less unreasonable than Derek initially thought. His anger might even be justified. It’s like he said: Derek ran away. Instead of talking about the weirdness and fixing a potential problem Derek did what Derek does best. He bolted.

“So, what, are you feeling abandoned or something?” Derek asks. “I wasn’t planning on moving to Alaska or anything. I always intended on coming back.”

Stiles gapes at him. “Are you playing dumb or do you really not get it?”

Here we go…


“Let’s do a recap,” Stiles says, interrupting, always interrupting. “Sex has become more and more intense over the past few months, and that’s fine. I don’t worry because you still seem into it, though apparently that’s only because you just haven’t noticed yet. When do you finally realize what’s going on, you get weird, announce you’ve fucked half of Manhattan, then drop off the face of the planet for three weeks without any real explanation.”

“Stiles—” Derek tries again.

“It’s not okay. None of that is okay. That shit will never be okay.”

“You’re right,” Derek says. “Leaving was probably the worst possible thing I could have done, but at the time it seemed like the best option” It seemed like his only option.

“I know.” Stiles deflates a little. “I get why you did it, and I’ve already forgiven you, but I’m not going to sit here and act like everything’s okay and pretend it didn’t happen.”

What does that even mean?

“Do you want to fight?” Derek asks, hoping that the answer is no. “I don’t want to fight, but if you want to fight we can fight.”

“No.” Stiles sighs and shakes his head. “No, I don’t want to fight. Fighting sucks. Fighting with you doubly sucks.”

“Then what do you want?”

“I want to go to sleep.” Stiles closes his eyes and groans. “Oh god, I have to meet with my group before class. Ugh.

“I’m sure if you asked nicely Peter would kill them all for you,” Derek tells him. It’s true too. Peter is such a freak.

Stiles laughs a little. “That’s a tempting offer.” He flops back down next to Derek. “A very tempting offer.”

“I’m sorry,” Derek says after a beat. “For everything.”



“Whatever.” Stiles shrugs. “I’m over it.”

Derek blinks in surprise and asks, “Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

“Really?” It can’t be this easy.

Stiles nods. “I figure we can just blame it all on Hector. He deserves it more than you do. From now on we should blame all of our problems on Hector.”

“I hate Hector,” Derek says.

“Same here.” Stiles yawns. “I hate his guts.”

Derek sighs and says, “Fucking Hector.”

“I know, right?” Stiles agrees. “Fucking Hector.”

“I could come with you tomorrow,” Derek offers. “To your group meeting.”

“And do what?” Stiles asks, snuggling closer. “Stand in the shadows and glare them into submission?”

“Sure,” Derek says, fitting his arm behind Stiles’s shoulders. “If you think it’ll help.”

Stiles smiles up at him and asks, “What were Edith and Tommy really saying about us yesterday?”

“You mean the two kids you walked out with?” Derek was a little distracted when they met so his memories are fuzzy.

“Yeah. They’re from my social psychology class. I’ve talked about them before.”

“Oh, of course.” The names sound vaguely familiar. “I remember now.” Sort of.

“Liar.” Stiles elbows him in the side. “I want to know what they said.”

Derek huffs a sigh. “Have you been telling people I’m a lumberjack?”

“No,” Stiles says. “I’ve been telling people you’re a sexy lumberjack.”

Derek wants to be annoyed, and if he loved Stiles any less he probably would be. Instead he shrugs it off.

“I’ve been called worse,” he admits.

“Yeah.” Stiles laughs. “By me.”


They check on Isaac before they leave Beacon Hills. Derek’s relieved to find he no longer looks like road kill. Deaton assures them that he’ll be good as new by lunchtime.

Derek goes with Stiles to his group meeting. He sits next to Stiles, not in the shadows. He’d rather sit in the shadows, but Stiles insists. The kids seem nice. Derek was sure they’d be snotty elitists but that assumption was wrong. If anything they’re extremely eager to gain his approval. They actually compete for his attention. It weird and Stiles looks like he wants to strangle them all, but instead he just seethes in silence.

Derek wears a red flannel shirt and lets Stiles tell everyone he’s a lumberjack, partly out of guilt, but mostly because the shirt is really soft and Stiles has promised him oral sex.

The bribe is unnecessary. Derek would have done it without the extra incentive, and he suspects the same is true for Stiles. He’d probably blow Derek regardless. When Stiles gives head it’s because Stiles wants to give head, it’s not to fulfill his end of a bargain.

They make out a little in the backseat of Derek’s car. Stiles has an hour and a half break between his two classes, and if he wants to spend that time with his tongue in Derek’s mouth Derek certainly won’t complain.

Except after about five or so minutes of PG-13 kissing, Stiles falls asleep. Derek tries to make him as comfortable as possible, but holding him becomes a little unbearable after his arms go numb.

He wishes Stiles weren’t totally worth it. He is though. Stiles is totally worth it. And Derek resigns to suffering, because, after all, he’s done a lot worse for people he likes a lot less.

Maybe someday he’ll tell Stiles how much he loves him. Probably not though. But maybe. Weirder things have happened.

Still, probably not. He just—no. Definitely not.

He can’t. He can’t admit—no, he’s not ready to admit how much he loves him.

Because it’s a lot.

It’s just—


It’s a lot.



7. The one with the X-Men reference


Stiles’s junior year is especially stressful. Most of his classes at Stanford have been challenging, but this semester they’re legitimately difficult. By finals week he’s taking twice his prescribed dosage of Adderall, he’s barely eating, he’s certainly not sleeping, and his relationship with Derek is at an all-time low.

They’ve had fights before, plenty of them, but this is the first time Stiles has ever truly suspected Derek might be cheating.

Her name is Ashley. She was friends with Derek when he lived in New York. Both times. She’s a beta, and Stiles has never actually met her but he’s seen pictures. She’s hot, like Victoria’s Secret model hot, and she’s staying at the Hale house. For a week. Apparently she has a job interview in San Jose.

Derek never asked Stiles if he was okay with her coming to stay. It took a ridiculous amount of cajoling to get him to admit that they’d slept together before he moved back to Beacon Hills. Multiple times. Derek said he didn’t say anything before because he knew Stiles would freak out. Whether or not he was really trying to spare Stiles doesn’t matter. The whole thing is really fucking shady.

They argue about it over the phone for what seems like hours. It’s probably the nastiest fight they’ve had to date. Stiles is especially cruel, and Derek gives just as good as he gets. Stiles wants to cry but he doesn’t. Derek’s the one who suggests they take a break, and Stiles is too horrified to object.

He has a panic attack in the bathroom after his cognitive neuroscience final. The exam was hands-down the most difficult test he’s ever taken, and he didn’t even have enough time to finish, only completing sixteen out of the eighteen pages. Forget about getting an A, he’ll be lucky if he even passes.


Most of the people who live in the condominium are the young professional type, but there are a handful of students. Stiles is more or less friends with the kids living at the end of his hall. Grant and Tyson are legacies with trust funds. They love surfing and weed and were both captains of their respective lacrosse teams in high school. Stiles wanted to hate them on principle but they’re actually really nice guys. Derek sometimes goes over there to drink microbrews and watch basketball, and they invite Stiles to every party they have, including the one that they threw for Henri, the doorman’s, birthday, and the one that’s happening now to celebrate the end of finals.

Stiles plans on crashing after his last exam and going straight to bed, but in the hallway just outside his front door he can hear them blasting that CHVURCHES song he shamelessly loves and changes his mind.

He’d rather get shitfaced.

Stiles is a loser now. His sexy werewolf boyfriend dumped him, his GPA’s down the toilet, his father is going to marry that woman, and—oh god, he’s going to have to move back into the dorms now. He’s going to have to live with Rodney again.

Basically his life is over.

Grant and Tyson welcome him with open arms, and he hooks up with his old friend, Jack Daniels. Jack’s actually a family friend, but Stiles doesn’t like to think about that.

He has the Marvel vs. DC Comics argument with this jag wearing thick-rimmed glasses. He lets a blond freshman with a nose ring dance up on him. She smells like hand sanitizer, but whatever.

Rock bottom has to be when he goes out onto the balcony with a redhead who bears an uncanny resemblance to his first love and good friend, Lydia Martin. He explains that he recently broke up with his boyfriend, a lumberjack named James.

“His friends call him Logan,” Stiles tells her. “But he doesn’t have many friends.”

Lydia II nods sympathetically and when she tries to kiss him he throws up on her.

Grant helps him back to his—no, wait, Derek’s room; Grant helps him back to Derek’s room because he’s is too drunk to walk. Stiles is such a loser. How did he become such a loser? Has he always been a loser and just not noticed until now?

The second time he throws up at least it’s in his—ah, fuck—it’s not his bathroom and it’s not his toilet. It’s Derek’s. It’s all Derek’s.

Grant calls him ‘bro’ and offers to stay, but Stiles wants to wallow in his misery alone.


Stiles isn’t sure how long he’s spent hugging the toilet when he hears the front door open and close again. He’s vomited eleven times since Tyson came in to check on him. It’s gotten to the point where he’s just dry-heaving stomach bile. He doesn’t even feel drunk anymore. Mostly he’s exhausted and just wants to sleep, but his body has turned on him and now that’s not possible.

“Do I need to take you to the hospital?” Is the first thing Derek says to Stiles. He’s standing in the bathroom doorway. Stiles assumed the sound of the door opening and shutting meant either Grant or Tyson had returned to make sure he wasn’t dead but he was wrong.

“No,” Stiles says, wondering if he’s just hallucinating Derek. “There’s nothing left in my stomach to pump.”

“Okay.” A monosyllabic answer. It’s the real Derek alright.

“So are you here to evict me?” Stiles asks bitterly.

“No,” Derek replies, frowning. Stiles stares at him. He’s wearing his sexy leather jacket. He looks good, a little pale maybe, but good. Stiles looks like shit.

“What’s in the bag?” he asks, because Derek’s holding a canvas shopping bag.

Derek drops it on the ground next to Stiles and says, “See for yourself.”

And when Stiles peers into the bag he finds three bottles of Pedialyte and a box of cinnamon graham crackers. Pedialyte and graham crackers.

Pedialyte and graham crackers!

Stiles is going to kill him.

Shit,” he breathes. Shit. Shit. Shit. Graham crackers. Fucking cinnamon graham crackers. That’s like first-class, five-star, blue-ribbon romance. That’s… that’s…

Stiles leans over and heaves into the toilet. His throat burns and his chest aches and he’s tired. So, so tired. Derek’s kneeling behind him and rubbing his back with his giant hand. Stiles wants to elbow him in the nose but doesn’t. He likes the comforting too much and won’t risk doing anything that might make Derek stop.

“I was at the Save Mart getting the cookies when Grant called and told me you were sick,” Derek explains. “Apparently this Pedialyte shit works wonders. You can try drinking some later.”

“I hate you,” Stiles says, speaking into the toilet bowl because he’s a little bit of a coward. “And if I had the energy I’d punch you in the face.”

“You’re mad because I brought you food and water?” Derek asks it in a way that suggests he really doesn’t know.

“I’m mad because while I was busting my ass studying for exams you were busy banging werewolf Miranda Kerr!”

Derek groans ands asks, “This again?”

This again? This again?

No. No. No. NO. Fuck no!

Stiles may be circling the drain but his spirit isn’t dead yet. Through his anger he’s able to muster up enough energy to whip back around and push Derek away. To shove him away. Indignantly. Violently. With two hands that just will not stop shaking.

“Get away from me,” Stiles says in a dangerous tone. “Get the hell away from me.”

“Stiles—” Derek tries.

“Stop,” Stiles says, cutting him off. “Just stop talking. I don’t want to hear it. I’m not interested.”

Derek rolls his eyes. Derek rolls his fucking eyes, and Stiles wants to rip them out of his head. How the hell did he fall in love with such an asshole? Has he been sniffing glue for the past two and a half years?

“You know you’re blowing this whole thing way out of proportion,” Derek tells him.

“Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?” Stiles’s voice sounds painfully hoarse. His throat is raw but that doesn’t stop him from shouting.


“You’re the one who’s always getting on my case for not taking things seriously,” Stiles says, raising his tone another decibel. “But when I care about something—you’re always acting like my problems are stupid and trivial. You don’t take me seriously. You never have.”


“And what gives you the right to just waltz through the door with fucking graham crackers and fucking Pedialyte like some fucking knight in shining armor?” Stiles is panting now. “You’re the one who broke up with me!”

“Stiles—” Derek’s starting to sound annoyed. Good. Good.

“Did you fuck her?” Stiles asks. “Was she worth it? Did you fuck her?”

“Did I fuck her?” Derek repeats, standing up because when he can’t keep still when he’s really pissed. “Are you seriously asking me if I had sex with Ashley?”

He’s evading the question. Stiles feels his heart clench. Evading the question means he did it. Derek slept with someone else. They’ve been broken up for barely two weeks and he’s already started moving on.

“It’s a yes or no question,” Stiles says. “So give me a yes or no answer.”

Derek’s eyes flash blue and his jaw clenches.

“No,” he grinds out, fixing Stiles with an unrelenting stare. “No, I did not fuck Ashley. I was never going to fuck Ashley. I have no desire, whatsoever, to fuck Ashley. I’m not a cheater. I don’t know what I did that made you think you couldn’t trust me. I’m always honest with you. You’re the one who likes to lie.”

Yes, but Stiles’s lies are good lies. Little lies. White lies. Necessary lies. If Derek thinks that omitting the truth isn’t lying—well, okay, it’s technically not lying but it’s still shady as fuck.

“You slept with her before,” Stiles says accusingly. “She’s even hotter now than she was three years ago.” Providing that her Facebook photos are accurate. “Why wouldn’t you want to sleep with her again?”

Derek just stands there and stares at him again, looking more stunned than angry this time. Eventually his eyes grows distant and he slowly shakes his head.

“I don’t get you,” he says. “I really don’t get you.”

Stiles lets out a long breath and asks, “What is there to get?” He’d like to think he’s a pretty straight forward guy.

“I don’t get how you can sit here feeling sorry for yourself, having temper tantrums and throwing little pity parties, when you’ve got it so fucking good.”

Stiles squints at him. “What does that even mean?”

“Your life, Stiles,” Derek says, exasperated now apparently. “I’m talking about your life!”

“But my life is terrible!” Stiles shouts in protest. “I’m a loser now. I suck at everything.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Derek mutters under his breath. “I can’t believe we’re really about to have this conversation.”

“What conversation?” Stiles asks, because his human ears hear just fine.

“Who is the most important person in your life?” Derek asks.

“My dad,” Stiles answers automatically, and Derek nods.

“And how’s your Dad? Is he happy? Is he healthy?”

“He’s marrying that woman,” Stiles spits.

“That’s not what I asked!” Derek growls. “Is he happy? Is he healthy?”

“Yeah,” Stiles whispers, swallowing hard. “He’s happy. He’s blissfully happy. And he’s healthy. His doctor said that even his cholesterol is down.”

Derek nods again then asks, “And what about your friends?”

“What about them?”

“They’re all doing well too, right?” Derek says. “Scott and Isaac both have girlfriends who aren’t Allison Argent. Neither of them is in any danger at the moment. Scott finally has a handle on the Alpha stuff. And Cora, Cora doesn’t really do happy, but she’s better. Peter…” Derek falters slightly. “Peter’s kept his sociopathic tendencies to a minimum, and it’s been a while since he last maimed or killed anyone.”

That they know of, at least.

But okay, fine. All of the important people in Stiles’s life are safe and relatively happy, but it’s not really making him feel any better. So now he can add selfish and ungrateful to the list of reasons why he sucks so hard.

“And I’m happy for them,” Stiles says. “I really am, but that just makes me an even bigger disappointment.”

“I forgot to mention Lydia,” Derek adds. “Lydia is great. I know this because she called me up yesterday to yell at me for hurting you. Nobody thinks you’re a loser. Your dad acts like you hung the moon. Cora says you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Liz’s weirdo kids look up to you. Peter flat out told me that he likes you better than me. Grant and Tyson obviously think you’re worth their concern.”

“I know,” Stiles tells him. “I know.”

“Then will you cut it out with this ‘woe is me’ crap?”

No. No he will not cut it out. Why isn’t Stiles allowed to be sad and pathetic every once in a while? He deserves it. Right now, both his body and his mind are exhausted, leaving him especially exposed and vulnerable. Why does he have to be reasonable and mature?

“So do you get off talking down to me or what?” Stiles asks. “Because I’m beginning to think you derive some sort of sick pleasure from being so judgmental.”

“Forget it.” Derek’s expression hardens. “Just forget it. I don’t know why I even bothered.”

“Fuck you,” Stiles bites back. He feels worse about himself than he did an hour ago, and he didn’t even think that was possible.

“Whatever,” Derek says, turning around and retreating from the bathroom. “I’m done,” Stiles can hear him say in the hall. “I’m done with this.”

Ugh and Stiles starts to feel a little panicky watching him go.

“Wait!” he calls. “Wait, that’s not fair! You can’t walk away from me. That’s cheating. Derek, I can’t even stand up by myself.” He makes a frustrated noise in the back of his sore throat and that hurts. He winces and asks, “How am I supposed to chase after you?”

Maybe he’s not supposed to chase after Derek. The dude doesn’t look back. He just stomps off. Maybe it really is over between them.

Stiles hugs his legs to his chest and rests his chin on his knees. When he was a little kid he used to curl up into a ball whenever he was feeling down. His mom would call him her little armadillo. Times like these are when he misses her the most.

Derek does eventually return a few minutes later, and this time he’s carrying fresh clothes. Stiles recognizes a t-shirt he forgot he owned, and a pair of flannel pajama pants he hasn’t seen for months.

“When’s the last time you did laundry?” Derek asks. “I had to dig through my stuff to find these.”

Laundry? LOL. Like he has time for laundry.

“You can’t keep doing this,” Stiles says. His voice breaks but he’s too tired to care. “You can’t be this nice to me when all I want to do is stab you in the kidneys a little bit.”

“I’ll stop when you stop,” Derek tells him. “I learned that move from you.”

“Oh.” Stiles puts his head in his hands. Derek’s right. Stiles tries to diffuse Derek’s anger with kindness all the time, and more often than not it works. If Derek wants to stop fighting, Stiles is all in. He feels like he’s about to keel over and die.

“Talk to me, Stiles,” Derek says. “This is obviously not just about Ashley, and for once I don’t think this is something we can blame on Hector.”

Fucking Hector. Stiles wants to cry.

And sleep. And sleep some more. Then maybe drop out of school. And hang out with Hector. And hate himself. And then sleep and cry some more.

“I had a really bad day,” Stiles says, because he might as well spill. It’s not like things can get any worse. “An epically bad day.”

“No shit,” Derek breathes. “When’s the last time you slept?

“Sleep is for the weak.” Which is code for I can’t remember.

“I should have come back earlier,” Derek says. “I knew I should have come back earlier.”

“I’m fine,” Stiles insists. Derek gives him a look that says quite plainly, no you’re not, and, okay, Stiles is really not fine at all.

“You should shower then put these on,” Derek says, setting the clothes down on the counter.

“I don’t have the energy to shower,” Stiles says, but Derek seems to disagree.

“You have the energy,” Derek says, and he says it like he actually believes it.

“I don’t.”

“You do.”

“But I really don’t,” Stiles whines.

“Except you do,” Derek tells him. “You’re a lot stronger than you think you are.”

And he’s right. Again. Stiles takes a shower and manages to not slip and fall and die. He feels even better after he gets dressed and brushes his teeth.

He sits in the kitchen and sips chilled Pedialyte while Derek does his laundry.

“Are we going to stay broken up?” Stiles asks when Derek comes back into the kitchen and joins him at the table.

Derek raises an eyebrow. “Do you want to stay broken up?”

“No.” Stiles blinks. “Not if you don’t want to.”

Derek studies him for a moment then says, “I wasn’t interested in doing anything with Ashley because I’m happy with you. You get that, right?”




Stiles feels his cheeks warming and the back of his neck growing hot. Why couldn’t Derek have just said that in the beginning? He could have said that weeks ago and then none of this would have happened. Stiles has no idea what he’s supposed to say. He should have known better. They both should have known better.

“I’m pretty sure I failed my neuroscience final,” Stiles says eventually. “I spent eighteen hours studying for it and…”


“And now I’m a failure,” Stiles finishes.

“In the morning you should call Scott,” Derek tells him. It’s a good idea, actually. Failing was just a phase for Scott.  Stiles wants it to be a phase for him too. For Derek it’s more of a lifestyle.

“What did Laura say to you when you failed English?” Stiles asks.

“Nothing really,” Derek replies. “She did kick my ass though. I remember that part clearly.”

“I wish I could have known her,” Stiles says.

“Me too.” Derek smiles faintly. “She would have liked you better than me too.”

Stiles smirks a little. “Probably.”

“I’m sorry,” Derek says after a moment or two. “For tonight, I mean. I shouldn’t have taken the bait. I should have realized that something was wrong. You don’t usually get this stressed out over exams.”

“I know.” Stiles yawns. “That’s probably why I imploded.” He’s silent for a moment then asks, “Do you ever feel like we’re having the same fight over and over again just under slightly different circumstances?

“I’ve honestly never thought about it that hard.”

“But you’re happy with me.” Stiles wants to be sure.

Derek shrugs. “I guess.”

“Really?” Stiles asks. “Even when I completely lose my shit like I did twenty minutes ago?”

“Doesn’t change the way I feel about you,” Derek replies.

“You’re not getting sick of me?”

Derek shakes his head. “Repetitive arguments are inevitable for people like us.”

Stiles blinks. “People like us?”

“Yeah,” Derek says softly. “People like us.”

Whatever that means.

“It… it wasn’t just today,” Stiles admits. “These past few weeks have just been especially shitty.”

“Look,” Derek says, “We both know that I’m not huge on talking—”

“You’re a master of nonverbal communication,” Stiles offers, making nice like a pro.

“You should tell me when something’s up,” Derek continues. “I don’t want to make you feel worse, but if I don’t know what’s going on…”

He has a point. They need to work on their communication skills. Derek has a bunch of superhuman abilities, but mindreading isn’t one of them.

“This is a first.” Stiles smiles a little. “Asking me to talk, not telling me to shut up…”

Derek smirks and says, “Don’t get used to it.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Stiles closes his eyes ands sighs. Speaking of dreaming…

“Okay,” Derek says, standing up. “Let’s get you to bed” Maybe he is a mind reader after all.

“Are you going to carry me?” Stiles asks hopefully.

Derek gives him an incredulous look then asks, “Are your legs broken?”

“Not to my knowledge.”

“Then no.” He rolls his eyes. “I’m not going to carry you.”


Derek wakes Stiles up at the crack of dawn the next morning, around 1 or 2 in the afternoon to be precise. Stiles is groggy and belligerent and has a splitting headache. Derek speaks softly and feeds him painkillers and more purple Pedialyte.

“My purple drank,” Stiles rasps.

“Finish this bottle and I’ll let you sleep another sixteen hours,” Derek tells him. “Uninterrupted.” And that’s too good of an offer to pass up.

When he wakes again it’s dinnertime, and almost a day and a half has passed. Derek makes him soup and watches The Walking Dead with him, even though Derek hates The Walking Dead.



Stiles  S. (11:02 am) ????


Stiles  S. (11:03 am) THANK YOU

Stiles  S. (11:04 am) THANK YOU FOR THAT


Scott M. (11:05 am) AT LEAST U DONT HAVE FLEAS

Stiles  S. (11:05 am) ILU MAN



Scott M. (11:06 am) U SURE U FAILED?

Stiles  S. (11:06 am) POSITIVE

Scott M. (11:06 am) ITS OK TO FAIL U KNOW



Stiles  S. (11:07 am) FAILURE IS LIBERATING

Scott M. (11:08 am) SEE! THATS THE SPIRIT!


Stiles gets A's on all of his finals and recieves an A+ in cognitive neuroscience.



6. The honeymoon


Derek H. (11:51 pm) CAN I CALL YOU?

Stiles  S. (11:52 pm) UH… YEAH…OF COURSE…?


“I wasn’t sure if you were studying or sleeping or something,” Derek says. He’s rambling a little. He’s gets weirdly apologetic and/or timid when something’s bothering him.

“What’s wrong?” Stiles asks immediately.

“It’s Cora.”

Fuuuuuuuuuck. Not again. The universe isn’t allowed to dump this shit on him again.

“What happened?” Stiles asks. “Is she okay?”

“She was attacked by an alpha,” Derek explains. “It’s some weird love triangle—I honestly don’t know what the fuck is going on but she’s injured.”

“How badly?” Stiles asks, dreading the answer.

“Badly,” Derek replies, and he sounds so far away.

Okay. Okay. Stiles can do this. Stiles can handle this.

“Where is she?” he asks, opening up his laptop.

“New York.”

“Mm.” Stiles pulls up a travel site, pinning the phone to his shoulder with his ear. “Is someone looking after her?”

“Yeah,” Derek breathes. “Their emissary, Joyce, she’s good, and she promised Cora was going to be okay but…”

“You’re still worried,” Stiles provides. “I get that. If it were my dad I’d feel the same way.” Though Stiles has never known an emissary to make a promise they couldn’t keep.

“I want to see her,” Derek says. “I need to see her.”

“Waaaay, a head of you, buddy,” Stiles says. “I’m buying plane tickets now. What’s your credit card number?”

“Tickets?” Derek repeats. “As in plural? You don’t have to come with me, Stiles.”

“Yes, I do,” Stiles says, distracted by the table of times and prices.

“No, you don’t,” Derek tells him. “You have school, and your internship interview. You don’t have time—”

“I’m going. I want to go. Give me your credit card number and we’ll meet at the airport.”


“That’s not a number, Derek,” Stiles says patiently. “We’re flying first class and I don’t have three thousand dollars in my checking account. Do you know what the overdraft penalty is? Do you want me to get fined?”


“Ugh…” Stiles groans. “Really? You’re going to make me say it out loud?”


“This is more important then anything I have going on here right now.”


“And I love you.”

“4267 8859 0088 1035,” Derek reads. “The security code is 217.”

“See,” Stiles says, maybe a little bit too satisfied. “Now was that really so hard?”

“You are such a child,” Derek mutters, but he does sound a little relieved.

Stiles snickers. “Oh yeah? And what does that make you?”

“If our roles were reversed and I were you I’d be making a really inappropriate joke about how quickly I gave up my credit card number.”

“It’s called a sugar-daddy,” Stiles says. “You’re not into that kind of thing are you?”

Derek makes a noise of amusement. Well, hopefully that’s amusement. He could also be choking on a carrot stick. He made that noise one time when he was choking on a carrot stick. That was pretty funny.

“Better make it three tickets,” Derek says.

“Uncle Peter?” Stiles guesses.


“What do you say we stick him in economy?” Stiles says, typing away. “Maybe he’ll get stuck next to a screaming baby.”

This time Stiles is certain that the huff on the other end of the line is laughter.

“This is serious, Stiles,” Derek says. “No screwing around.”

“Screwing around, huh?” Stiles smirks. “In-ter-esting choice of words. Does that mean I won’t be joining the mile high club?”

“You’re ridiculous, you know that?” Derek tells him. “Will you please just email me the details and confirmation so I can hang up on you?”

“That depends,” Stiles says. “Is that a yes on the sex?

“I’m not having sex with you on an airplane,” Derek says flatly.

“That’s what you said about sex on the roof,” Stiles reminds him.

“And we both know how well that ended,” Derek shoots back, and yes, Stiles does detect a hint of smugness in his tone. He had a feeling giving Derek a chance to bring that up would lift his spirits. So predictable.

“Practice makes perfect,” Stiles says.

“You’re not cute,” Derek tells him. “I know you think you’re cute but you’re not.”

See, Stiles is on to him. When he says Stiles isn’t cute, what he means to say is that Stiles is being especially cute, and since their both dudes, Derek’s not really sure how to appropriately express the sentiment. It’s kind of charming.

“Yeah, yeah…” Stiles sighs. “Whatever you say, man.”

“I mean it.”

“Sure you do.”

“Did you—”

“I sent it, yes,” Stiles says. “You have to click on the—”

“I know how to check my email!” Derek snaps.

“I’m only trying to be helpful…”

“Stiles—” Derek starts.

“Shut up,” Stiles says, because it’s time for Derek to stop talking. “In two hours you’re going to meet me at the airport. We’re going to get on that plane. You’re going to sit there and listen to that bad Swedish techno music you love. I’m going to get a little drunk because I’m not actually a huge fan of air travel. Cora’s already going to be awake when we get there. She’s going to be mean and sarcastic but secretly happy to see us. It’s all going to be fine.”



“I’ll see you in two hours,” is all Derek says before the line goes dead

“Love you too,” Stiles says to, well, no one, now that he’s been hung up on.

But just this once he’ll give Derek a pass. Emotional constipation is charming, after all, right?






Derek H. (12:07 am) WHERE?


Stiles S.  (12:08 am) DUH

Derek H. (12:09 am) ARE YOU INSANE?


Derek H. (12:10 am) NOT FUNNY, STILES

Stiles S.  (12:10 am) BE SURE TO PACK CONDOMS!

Stiles S.  (12:10 am) LOTS AND LOTS OF CONDOMS



5. Derek gets a job



Stiles S.       (3:45 pm) YEAH… WHY WOULDN’T I BE?


Stiles S.       (3:46 pm) ???


Stiles S.       (3:47 pm) ????????????????



“Are you fucking kidding me?” Stiles shouts into the phone.

“Thought that might get your attention,” John says, sounding pleased.

“Dad, Derek and I have been dating for years. We live together! I’m not going to hide that to keep Liz’s bigoted relatives from feeling uncomfortable. I can’t believe you’d even ask!”

Of course Liz would have bigoted relatives. She’s probably a secret bigot too. She doesn’t let those creepy kids of hers watch television. She probably pulls them out of school on the days they’re supposed to be taught sex-ed and evolution.

“Liz doesn’t have any bigoted relatives,” John says. “Not to my knowledge at least.”

Stiles blinks rapidly. “Did you or did you not just tell me they were in with the ‘traditional values’ crowd?”

Because obviously ‘traditional values’ is code for people who eat lots of white bread, watch Dancing with the Stars, and have really boring sex. People who don’t mesh well with the queer community.

“Yeah…” the sheriff breathes. “I might have made that up.”

“Dad!” Stiles cries. “What the hell?! You lied to me? You never lie to me!”

Liz has obviously been a bad influence. John’s probably a chain smoker now. He probably spends his free afternoons throwing empty beer cans at stray cats. He probably has online gambling debt. Stiles should have seen this coming. All of the signs were there!

“You’ve been dodging my calls all week,” the sheriff says defensively. “I had to get creative.”

“I haven’t been dodging your calls,” Stiles says, crossing his fingers behind his back. “I’ve just been really busy.”

“Classes don’t start for another week, and I know Scott’s been staying with you. So when you tell me you’ve been busy, I can only assume you’re referring to being busy playing videogames in your pjs.”


But what did Stiles expect? His father is a lawman! A man of the law! Law Enforcement.

“Come on,” Stiles says. “Give me a break! Ninety percent of the time you call it’s to complain about wedding preparations.” And the last thing Stiles wants to hear about is wedding preparations.

“Well this time I’m calling about the bachelors party,” John informs him.

Bachelor party? That’s Stiles’s job right? John had originally said he didn’t want one, and Stiles was kind of on board with that, but Scott was over when they had this discussion, and he managed to convince them both that it was a great idea.

“I’ve got it covered,” Stiles assures him. It’s kind of a lie so he adds, “Or I will soon, at least.”

“Well…” the sheriff starts, “Jim said he’d be happy to take care of it if you’re too… busy.”

Jim? Jim? As if! That guy’s idea of a good time is probably hours of golf followed by hours of Boardwalk Empire.

“But Jim’s not your best man,” Stiles says. “I am. Therefore it’s my responsibility. I’ve got this, Dad, I promise.”

“Stiles, listen carefully to me because I’m only going to say this once.”

“Yes, Father.” Stiles nods dutifully. “You have my full, undivided attention.”

“No strippers.”

“Not going to be a problem,” Stiles assures him.

He’d really rather not witness his dad receiving a lap dance. That's too weird for him. Whose idea was that, anyhow? And then there's Lydia to worry about. Lydia dabbled in radical feminism earlier this year, and if she found out Stiles hired a stripper he’d never hear the end of it. Last semester she drunk dialed him at 2 am for the sole purpose of berating him for having a penis and letting Derek 'buy his love'. A few weeks later he got another 2 am phone call in which a slightly less drunk Lydia apologized, claimed that she had 'seen the light,' ranted about intersectionality, and told him that Jackson used to cry a lot during sex.

And then never mentioned any of it ever again.


Stiles now knows better than to pick up when Lydia calls him at 2 am.

"I'm serious, Stiles," John says. "Because if a stripper shows up at my door, I'm going to blame you and then make sure you're put at the kiddie table for the reception."

"Message recieved, dad," Stiles says seriously. "No strippers." Because as terrifying as he finds Lydia, the threat of being put at the kiddie table with Liz's demon spawn is a much stronger deterant. 

“Oh, and by the way,” the sheriff starts.


“I know I already congratulated you on getting the internship, but I just wanted to say…”


“I’m proud of you, Stiles.


“Have you ever considered becoming a stripper?” Stiles asks Derek later that night. The dude routinely struts around the apartment in his Calvin Klein boxer briefs so he’s obviously not lacking confidence.

“I was an erotic dancer in a strip club for about three months when I lived in New York,” Derek says casually. “I never told you that?”

Uh, no. No, he never told Stiles that. He’s never once even alluded having such a scandalous skeleton in his closet.

“You… you…” Stiles gapes at him. “You were a stripper?”

“Oh yeah,” Derek deadpans. “My stage name was ‘The sexy lumberjack.’ I just love dancing so much and I really needed the money. It was a win-win.” When he looks back up at Stiles he’s grinning.

God that smile really is the worst.

“Hah-hah,” Stiles says, giving Derek a scathing look. “I thought we agreed to leave the joking to me. I’m the funny one, remember? And we talked about that face. We’re going to have to buy you a mask or something.”

“Kinky.” Derek smirks.

“You really are in a good mood today, aren’t you?” Stiles asks, maybe a little amused.

“I guess.” Derek shrugs and closes in on Stiles, grabbing him by the waist and pulling him closer. “Mm,” he hums, leaning in to nuzzle Stiles’s neck.

“What?” Stiles asks, stiffening because Derek’s being a little weird.

“You smell nice.”

“The full moon isn’t until next Tuesday,” Stiles says. This degree of forwardness and spontaneous sexual interest is usually reserved for nights of the full moon. It’s rare for Stiles to be caught off guard.

“I know.” Derek kisses the thin skin behind Stiles’s ear. “It’s like you said. I’m just in a good mood.”

“Warriors beat the Grizzlies?” Stiles guesses.

“Crushed ‘em.”

“You’re itching to play, aren’t you?” Stiles may have Derek domesticated, but the dude still has plenty of pent up testosterone.

“Your dad offered me a job, you know,” Derek says. “So I could play on his team.”

The sheriff’s office is part of a rec league, along with several fire department companies, and a few other local law enforcement offices. They play basketball in the Spring, softball in the Summer, football in the Fall, and in the Winter they bowl.

“Doing what? Working in the mailroom?”

“There’s a deputy position open.” Derek pulls back to look Stiles in the eye. “He really hasn’t said anything to you? This isn’t the first time he’s approached me about working for him.”

Stiles shakes his head. “He’s never said a word. You’re not considering it, are you?”

“I already have a job.”

“You don’t have a job. You have a hobby.” Stiles might consider Derek’s carpentry thing a job if he were making money. Instead of selling his work he donates it. Now suddenly everyone in Beacon Hills loves him. Stiles has even heard them refer to him as a craftsman.

A craftsman.

“Do you want me to take the offer seriously?” Derek asks, and it’s a good question. Does Stiles want Derek to work for the Sheriff’s department?

“It might be good for you to have some law enforcement experience,” he says finally.

“What for?” Derek asks. He has a firm grasp on Stiles’s hips, and he’s somehow managed to back Stiles up against the kitchen counter without Stiles noticing.

“After I get my masters I want to open a paranormal detective agency,” Stiles explains. He lets his eyelids flutter shut when he feels Derek slip both hands underneath the fabric of his shirt.

“Yeah?” Derek asks, and it doesn’t sound like he’s really paying attention.

“I think it’d be cool if we could be partners,” Stiles says on that off chance that he is paying attention.

“Partners?” Derek echoes. His hands are curled around Stiles’s sides now, and he’s stroking Stiles’s ribs with his thumbs.

“Lydia and I have a plan. She’s going to infiltrate the government, and then when she’s Director of Homeland Security or heading up the NSA she’s going to establish a secret agency—I’ll travel around the country and investigate monster crimes.”

“You want to be a hunter?” He’s kissing his way down the slope of Stiles’s neck now. If Stiles weren’t momentarily distracted by the word hunter he’d probably be going weak at the knees.

“What? No!” He grasps Derek by the shoulders and pushes him away “I want to be an investigator!”

Derek raises an eyebrow. “What’s the difference?”

What’s the difference? What’s the difference?

“Remember how when Beacon Hills had a rogue, mysterious Alpha going around mauling people to death, the Argents kind of just rolled into town and started shooting innocent werewolves with wolfsbane bullets and arrows?” Stiles looks at Derek expectantly and Derek nods. “Their goal was to find the alpha and kill him,” Stiles continues. “Period. Chris was all preachy and self-righteous about ‘the code’ but that didn’t stop him from harassing you and Scott, and treating you both like animals. He’s an example of a hunter.” Stiles takes a breath. “Are you with me so far?”

“Sure,” Derek says, but he’s staring at Stiles’s lips. Stiles half hopes this is going to be one of those times when Derek tries shutting him up with a kiss, only this is kind of an important discussion.

Fuck it. Stiles can multi-task, and the look of approval Derek gives him when he takes off his shirt is hella gratifying.

“Investigators care about motive,” Stiles explains. They want to solve a crime. I wouldn’t have been such a dick to you and Scott.”

“Oh really?” Derek takes his own shirt off then leans in, so they’re half naked and chest-to-chest. He’s already hard.

Stiles is twenty-one years old. He and Derek have been together for three years. They’ve been sleeping together for three years. He knows Derek better than Derek knows himself, and Derek has seen Stiles at his very worst yet stills seems to like him.

So Stiles doesn’t understand why his body reacts like this is all something exciting and new, or how Derek still manages to make him blush.

Not that he’s complaining.

“Until you give me reason to suspect otherwise,” Stiles says, trying to ignore the hand currently unbuttoning his jeans. “I’m going to assume that you want the person who killed your sister caught and brought to justice as much as the rest of us do. My dad had the right idea. If Peter hadn’t killed Kate she would have gone to prison.”

There are probably people like his dad all over the country. Hardworking cops who want to help but can’t because they just don’t know enough.

“If only you’d been this mature five years ago,” Derek says. He pulls back to glare at Stiles, but there’s affection in his tone. “I wouldn’t have been arrested so many times.”

Stiles swallows dryly. “I thought you said you weren’t mad about that anymore.” That glare will never not be hot.

“Did I?” Derek grabs Stiles by the wrists and forces his arms back so his palms lie flat on the counter. His grip is vice-like. “I still think you owe me.”

“O-owe you?” Stiles stutters when Derek rolls his hips. They’re both hard now.

“Yeah,” Derek says, giving him one of those dark, smoldering looks. “I think it’d only be fair if I got to put you in handcuffs.”

Oh. My. God.

“You should take the job,” Stiles says quickly. “You should totally take the job.”

“Really?” Derek looks like he’s trying not to smile.

“Really.” Stiles nods enthusiastically.

Because handcuffs.


Handcuffs are one of three things Stiles has never been able to swipe from the station. The other two are guns and batons, which don’t really interest him sexually but would still be fun to have around the house. Like, in case someone breaks in and his werewolf boyfriend isn’t around to protect him or is in the shower or something. Oh! Or if there are two intruders and his werewolf boyfriend is busy with one, Stiles can take on the other. They could be a team! Partners!

Partners who do kinky shit with handcuffs.

“Sounds good to me,” is the last think Derek says before dropping to the floor.

And the next thing Stiles knows—

Jesus Christ that’s his mouth. That’s his mouth.

The next thing Stiles knows Derek’s kneeling on the ground sucking his cock—like when did that even happen? When did the pants come off? When did he lose his underwear? Why—oh my god, why is Stiles always so surprised by how amazing it feels? And—holy––how, how did he get so good at this?

Fucking werewolves…

Not that Stiles is complaining.




4. Interview with the Vampire



Stiles S.   (5:44 am) YEAH


Stiles S.   (5:45 am) ?????????????




Stiles S.   (5:47 am) ????????????

Lydia M. (5:48 am) IT’S SPRING BREAK



Stiles S.   (5:49 am) SO YOU WANT TO STAY HERE?


Stiles S.   (5:50 am) OUR????

Lydia M. (5:50 am) AJAY IS A VEGAN





Lydia M. (5:52 am) WE CAN BRING HER WITH US


Stiles S.   (5:53 am) I WON’T BE HERE

Stiles S.   (5:53 am) I’M TAKING DEREK TO JAZZ FEST

Stiles S.   (5:53 am) DON’T SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE

Stiles S.   (5:54 am) ONLY MY DAD AND CORA KNOW

Stiles S.   (5:54 am) IT’S GOING TO BE A SURPRISE



Stiles S.   (5:55 am) SO HE’S NEVER BEEN

Lydia M. (5:55 am) SERIOUSLY?



Stiles S.   (5:56 am) HE’S GIFTED IN OTHER WAYS

Lydia M. (5:57 am) SUCH AS?


Stiles S.   (5:58 am) HE DOESN’T KNOW THAT I KNOW

Stiles S.   (5:58 am) HE TELLS ME HE’S GOING JOGGING.


Lydia M. (5:59 am) BULLSHIT.






Stiles S.   (6:07 am) YOU GUYS SHOULD ALL COME

Lydia M. (6:07 am) ?



Stiles S.   (6:09 am) YES WE’RE STAYING IN A HOTEL.

Lydia M. (6:09 am) AND NO DRUGS EITHER.



Stiles S.   (6:25 am) CAN I GO BACK TO SLEEP NOW?


Stiles S.   (6:26 am) NERD



“I’ve never liked Derek,” Lydia says conversationally. She and Stiles are sitting outside on the balcony of his hotel room. It’s early in the evening, and the others are all out exploring the city. Stiles wanted to go too, but even now he has trouble saying no to Lydia. Nobody says no to Lydia.

“He’s an acquired taste,” Stiles tells her, because let’s face it, he wasn’t a huge fan of Derek either before they got to know each other.

“Is it serious between you two?”

“Uh… yeah,” Stiles laughs a little. “Do we not look serious to you?”

“Do you want an honest answer?”

No. “Yes.”

“It varies,” Lydia tells him. “Sometimes you guys look like you’re just friends. He never holds your hand. You guys don’t ever really touch in public. He didn’t even dance with you at your father’s wedding.”

“We’re not big on PDA,” Stiles says defensively.


Stiles frowns and looks away because ouch. “That doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.”

“I know,” Lydia says a little more gently. “That’s apparent too.”

“Really?” Stiles asks, and it must be true because Lydia would never lie to protect his feelings.

Lydia nods. “It’s the way you look at him and the way he talks to you.”

“I…” Stiles blinks rapidly. “I think I know what you mean.”

“Do you now?” Lydia sighs wistfully, which is a little unlike her, but given the nature of this conversation Stiles isn’t too surprised. “I didn’t think you guys would last this long.”

“Why not?” There are probably a million reasons why not. Lydia probably has a long list of reasons why not.

“Derek’s damaged goods,” she says, very matter of fact. “He’s too broken to be in a functional relationship.”

“He’s been through a lot,” Stiles tells her. “And he’s a lot stronger than you think.”

Lydia doesn’t reply, which is probably a good thing. Stiles can hear music in the distance. The air is humid and smells unfamiliar. Derek let it slip that Cora used to play the saxophone and his impression had Lydia cackling. Coming here was a good idea. Stiles wants to commit every detail of every moment to memory.

They’re happy.

“Stiles,” Lydia says later. “What are you going to do with him after you graduate?”

“What do you mean?” Stiles feels cold, like the sun just moved behind a cloud.

“Well, you’ll be moving to Maryland, right?” she asks. “They have the best criminology program in the country.”

Lydia…” She doesn’t play fair. She’s never played fair. Stiles scrubs at his face with his hands then sighs.

“It’s a simple question.”

Stiles turns to her and shakes his head. “This is my vacation, Lydia. Can we not…can we just not do this right now?” Because it’s not a simple question. Not at all.

Lydia stares at him for moment then sighs, “Fine.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Stiles says after a beat.

“You’d better start thinking. Applications are due at the end of the year. It may seem like you have time now, but…”




3. The Three-Part Proposition


“Apply,” John tells him.

“But, Dad—” Stiles whines into the phone.

“Talk to him. He’ll want you to apply.”

“Why can’t I just wait?” Stiles asks. “I might not get in…” It’d be a crushing blow, but would solve the problem nonetheless.

“You’re going to get in,” John says confidently. “Talk to him,” he repeats. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“Uh…” Stiles laughs humorlessly. “Let’s see… oh, I don’t know, he could break up with me?”

John sighs wearily. “He’s not going to break up with you.” Except he can’t know that. He can’t know that for sure.

“What if…” Oh god. “What if I accidentally break up with him?”

“How do you accidentally—” the sheriff sighs again. “Stiles, you need to figure out what it is that you want. Do you want to study criminology? Do you want to go to UMD? Do you want to break up with Derek? These are decisions you can’t keep putting off.”

“You haven’t said anything to him, have you?” Stiles asks. They must go on patrol sometimes together, what else would they have to talk about but Stiles? Convincing Derek to work at the sheriff’s station might have been a huge mistake after all.

“Of course not,” John assures him, and he sounds truthful. “We both respect your privacy. He doesn’t talk about you and I don’t ask.”

Oh. Oh, that’s nice.

Stiles swallows hard. “Dad, I don’t know what to do.”

Talk to him,” John says for the umpteenth time.

Talk to him? Talk to Derek about the future? Easier said then done.


Stiles is awoken by the sound of footsteps in the hall. Heavy footsteps. Familiar footsteps. Derek’s footsteps.

And sure enough just moments later a shadowy, Derek-shaped figure walks through the bedroom doorway.

“What’s wrong?” Stiles asks immediately, sitting up and rubbing at his eyes.

“Nothing,” Derek says quietly. And, okay, if nothing’s wrong then…

“What are you doing here?” Stiles asks, confused as hell. Is he even awake? Is this even happening? It doesn’t make any sense. Derek is supposed to be Beacon Hills tonight.

“I’m here to sleep,” Derek says, kicking off his shoes.

“Don’t you have work tomorrow,” Stiles ask, brow furrowing.

“In the afternoon,” Derek tells him. He’s stripping now, and not in a sexy way.

“It’s 3 am.” Why is he here at 3 am? If he wanted to spend the night here why didn’t he come earlier, at like, a normal time?

Derek, suddenly snippy, says, “Yes, Stiles, I know. I can tell time, believe it or not,” before retreating to the bathroom and shutting the door behind him.

“But—why are you here?” Stiles asks when he emerges a few minutes later.

“To. Sleep,” Derek says slowly, as if talking to a child.

Stiles blinks, a thought occurring to him. “Is this a booty call?”

Sleep.” Derek bends down to take his socks off. “What part of I’m here to sleep do you not understand?”

“I just—” he falters. “Why here? Why drive all the way here just to sleep?”

Derek shrugs then pulls back the comforter and climbs into bed. “I’ve had trouble falling asleep at the house and I thought I might have better luck here.”

What if—oh god, what if it’s not about location? What if it’s about company? Derek drove all the way over so he could sleep in a bed with Stiles. That’s the subtext, right? That’s what he means but can’t bring himself to say.

“Do you want to cuddle?” Stiles asks a little uncertainly.

Derek makes a frustrated noise. “Sleep, Stiles. I want to sleep.” He turns to face then wall then says, gruffly, “Stay on your side of the bed.”

Well okay then.


“Wakey, wakey.” Stiles pokes a sleeping Derek in the shoulder with one finger. “It’s time to wake up.”

“No,” Derek grumbles, still mostly asleep. “Not time to wake up.”

“It’s morning,” Stiles tells him. “I’ve been awake for two whole hours already.” More like twenty-minutes, but Derek’s probably too out of it to recognize the lie.

“I don’t care,” Derek says, pulling the blankets up to cover his face. “Leave me alone.”

Stiles yanks them back down. “Look,” he says, presenting Derek with a tray.


Look.” He bumps Derek in the nose with it.

Derek opens one bleary eye. “What?

“I made you breakfast in bed,” Stiles say sweetly. “Out of the goodness of my heart.”

Derek sighs and slowly starts to sit up. “You—” he blinks sleepily then stares at the tray Stiles has set down on his lap. “This is just a bowl of cereal.”

“Just a bowl of delicious cereal.” Stiles waggles his eyebrows. “Magically delicious.”

It was literally the only edible thing left in the kitchen.

“Stiles,” Derek starts, wide awake now, apparently. “Ignoring the fact that it looks like you’ve already picked out all of the marshmallows, this cereal is dry. Don’t I get milk?”

Stiles scratches the back of his head. “We’re sort of out of milk.”

“You forgot the spoon too.”

Stiles didn’t forget shit. There just seems to be a shortage of clean spoons in their kitchen. Forks, knives, and drinking glasses too. Somehow.

“Well, it’s dry so I figured you could just use your hands,” Stiles explains, avoiding Derek’s eyes.

Derek is not impressed.

“When’s the last time you washed the dishes?” he asks. “Or for that matter, when’s the last time you went food shopping?”

Stiles gives a little shrug. “Those are your jobs.”

“I haven’t been here in over a week,” Derek tells him. “What have you been eating?”

“Oh, you know…” Stiles clears his throat. “Stuff.”

Derek fixes him with a deadpan stare. “Stuff?

“Yeah, you know, uh…” he shrugs again. “Stuff.” Stuff like Ramen and Easy-Mac and beef-jerky and microwave burritos.

Dear Lord he’s turning into his father.

“You’re going to get scurvy,” Derek tells him. He hands the tray back and adds, “Do something with this, will you?”

Guess he’s not hungry.

Stiles brings the tray back down the hall to the kitchen, mostly because he’s stalling now. So much for the ‘put Derek in a good mood by feeding him and making a romantic gesture’ plan. He didn’t really think that one through.

He dawdles in the kitchen a little longer, trying to make the mountain of dirty dishes in the sink look slightly less horrifying without actually washing anything. Stiles did most of the cooking and cleaning and shopping in high school when he lived with the sheriff, so it’s not as if he’s unused to the responsibility.

Yet somehow he managed to make Derek his wife.

When Stiles returns to their room he finds Derek still in bed. It doesn’t look like he’s moved at all, actually. The dude’s a lazy lump. A lazy lump that’s been waiting, judging by the expression on his face.

Stiles takes a deep breath and says, “We need to talk.”

Finally,” Derek sighs. It’s unclear whether he’s relieved or exasperated.

“Excuse me?” Stiles narrows his eyes. “What do you mean finally?”

Derek rolls his eyes and pats the spot next to him on the bed. “Get over here.”

“Get over where?” Because what the hell is even going on?

“I refuse to have this conversation with you standing there squirming like you need to use the bathroom,” Derek tells him. “Sit down with me and relax.”

“Oh.” Stiles blinks. “Okay.”

He’s no less anxious lying in bed next to Derek, but he is more comfortable

“I was wondering when you were going to bring it up,” Derek says, turning to face him.

“Bring what up?” Stiles asks, still confused.

“Graduate school,” Derek says, and Stiles must look surprised because he adds, “I’m not totally oblivious. I do occasionally listen when you speak.”

“Oh,” Stiles sighs. “So you know then.”

“I know about the criminology program at UMD,” Derek says lightly. “I haven’t heard about your second choice though.”

“I don’t have one,” Stiles admits.

“So,” Derek says, looking thoughtful.

“So?” Stiles feels a little like throwing up.

“Do you want to break up?” Derek asks calmly, much, much too calmly.

“Why would I?” Because Jesus Christ what kind of question is that?

“College was supposed to be a fresh start,” Derek says. “A chance to redefine yourself. Try new things. Be irresponsible. Sleep around.”

“What’s your point?” Stiles keeps his hands underneath the covers so Derek won’t see them shaking.

“Being with me kept you from all of that. I’ve been holding you back.”

“Oh,” Stiles says dully, and this must not be the reaction Derek was hoping for because he starts to hardcore frown.

“You can’t honestly tell me none of this has ever occurred to you.”

“I mean yeah, but…” Stiles shrugs. “It’s not something I’ve ever been upset about.”

“You don’t have to lie,” Derek says. “You’ve never had a chance to be independent because of me. I can understand why you might be resentful.”

Okay, 1) Stiles isn’t lying, and 2) who said anything about being resentful? Stiles isn’t resentful.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“And if you really do eventually want to work for the government,” Derek continues as if Stiles hadn’t just spoken. “Maryland is probably a good place to be.”

 It occurs to Stiles now that’s he’s no longer nervous. The anxiety is gone. Now he’s just pissed.

“This needs to stop,” Stiles tells him. “What ever it is you’re about to say, whatever it is you’re thinking—just stop.”


“Hey!” he shouts. “What did I just say?” And Derek looks like he’s just been slapped so Stiles adds, “I need a minute to think.”

“Fine.” Derek says curtly. “It’s not like you’ve been sitting on this for months.”

Ugh snapping at Derek was not a good move. Now he’s got this idiot’s bad attitude to deal with too. And to think Stiles brought him breakfast in bed this morning…

“Look,” Stiles says. “Maybe reinventing yourself, making bad decisions, disappointing the people who love you, and sleeping with strangers is something you do in college when you’re single and hate yourself.” The key word of course being you. Because that’s all Derek, not Stiles. “I like who I am and I don’t want to change. I want my dad to be proud of me. I want to make the people who love me happy. I don’t want to sleep around; I want to be with you.”

“I didn’t hate myself in college,” Derek says, and Stiles wants to laugh but doesn’t.

“Derek, dude, come on,” he says. “You made self-loathing into an art form.”

Derek narrows his eyes Stiles. “Branching out and trying new things, and yeah, maybe going a little wild, isn’t just for people who have…” he shifts a little. “It’s all completely normal. It’s healthy. It’s how you find out who you are.”

“After all the crazy shit I went through in high school…” all of the death and all of the fear and all of the suffering and bravery and sacrifice and love… “I know who I am. I know exactly who I am. I don’t need to go vegan or join a frat or dye my hair blue to find myself.”


“And I have no regrets either. None.”

Derek gives him one of those long, searching looks then asks, “Really? Are you sure about that?”

Stiles thinks about it for a moment. “I mean I have always wanted to have sex with a girl, but… you know,” he makes a dismissive gesture, “you’re the best ever at sex so… it’s not something I can consider a regret.”

“That’s it?” Derek seems to be having a hard time accepting that Stiles is totally cool with their relationship and wants to keep things the way they are.

God, he’s so messed up. Maybe Lydia was right.

“I guess I kind of regret not letting you buy those jet-skis,” Stiles tells him. “They looked like something out of Tron.” But he had to draw the line somewhere. Derek Hale would single-handedly save the US economy with all of his careless spending if it weren’t for Stiles and Cora.

Derek closes his eyes, and at first Stiles thinks the dude’s gone back to sleep or something. Stiles plans on kneeing Derek in the stomach, because this is no time to be napping. But then he opens them again and starts speaking to Stiles, so false alarm.

“I have a proposition for you,” he starts. “It’s got three parts.”

“I’m listening,” Stiles says.

“Right,” Derek takes a breath, “providing you get in—”

“Oh I’ll get in,” Stiles assures him. “Trust me on that. I’ll get in.”

Derek gives him a half-incredulous look then shakes his head. “Anyways, as I was saying, if you get in, I say you move to Maryland and we’ll try that long-distance crap for a year or so.”

“A year?” Stiles echoes. “You’re kidding me, right?”

“It won’t be that bad,” Derek tells him. “I’ll visit you once every five or six weeks, because I’m pretty sure my boss will allow it—”

“Oh, he’ll allow it,” Stiles says, thinking of all the ways he can bully his father into doing what he wants. Most of them involve begging or asking nicely.

“And you’ll come back to California for all of the holidays,” Derek continues. “This way we can still be together, but we’ll have time and space to do our own thing.”

Okay, okay. So far, so good.

“What’s the second part of the plan?” Stiles asks.

“If after your first year you decide you really like the school and think you might want to find a job in the area, I’ll buy us a place in DC.”

“Seriously?” Something tells Stiles that this isn’t a spur of the moment decision. Derek didn’t suddenly come up with this idea off the top of his head

“I was planning on selling the condo after you graduate,” he says. “I thought maybe I’d put the money aside in case you wanted someplace more permanent out East.”

Christ, at this rate, give it a few more years and they’ll probably be married.

“And the third part?” Stiles asks, and oh god, oh god, it better not be marriage because Stiles is so not ready for that. He is so, so not ready for that.

The corner of Derek’s mouth twitches a little bit like he’s trying not to smile, which Stiles appreciates. It’s such an ugly smile and so unattractive except it makes Stiles want to kiss him and hold him and then maybe kiss him some more.

Then Derek says, “If you were serious about the whole ‘wanting to have sex with a chick’ thing we should probably look into having a threesome.”

Stiles gapes at him. “I thought you said you weren’t big on sharing!”

“I’m suggesting we invite a third person into our bedroom,” Derek says. “Not our relationship.” He gives Stiles an oddly soft look. “You should have said something sooner. Haven’t I already made it clear that I’ll try just about anything with you?”

What is this? What the hell is this? Why…? Why is this working out so well? Why aren’t things falling apart? Stiles was so certain that they’d fall apart. He didn’t want to get his hopes up. He was afraid but maybe he should have known better. Derek’s not perfect, but when it counts he eventually gets it right. Beautifully right.

“Lydia said she thinks you’re too damaged to be in a functional relationship,” he blurts out.

Derek rolls his eyes. “Fuck Lydia. She dated Jackson so there’s obviously something seriously wrong with her judgment. Fuck Lydia.” He makes a face then quickly adds. “But not literally.” His eyes get big and earnest. “I mean, it’s cool if you want a redhead, I’m not going to be weird about that. Especially if it’s been your lifelong fantasy or something. But... it just can't be Lydia.”

“That’s so sweet,” Stiles says, reaching out to pat Derek affectionately on his sexy lumberjack cheek. “You know…” he pulls back. “A girl who kind of looked her tried to kiss me at a party that week we were broken up.”

“Oh yeah?” Derek doesn’t look particularly upset or concerned. “What happened?”

“Projectile vomiting. I threw up all over her.”

Derek barks laughter. “I bet your face was priceless.”

“Hey!” Stiles pulls the pillow out from under Derek’s head and starts to beat him with it. “I was ill! I was deathly ill! It was awful and embarrassing and—oh my god, stop laughing!”

And then Derek does what Derek tends to do when he’s in a particularly good mood. He wrenches the pillow out of Stiles’s grasp, rolls on top of him, pins him to the bed, and kisses him stupid. They’re the sweet kind of kisses that involve lots of happy noises and tongue.

They fool around a little more then get dressed and go out for breakfast.  

“Do you sleep better when you’re in bed with me?” Stiles asks while they wait for their order.

Derek raises his eyebrows and gives Stiles his patented ‘you’ve got to be fucking kidding me’ look.

“I sleep about a hundred times better when I’m by myself,” Derek tells him.


“But I still prefer sleeping with you.” He says it casually and very matter-of-fact. “So you can chill the fuck out and stop making that stupid face.”

Stiles scoffs. “I don’t make stupid faces. You’re the one with the stupid faces.”

Derek flashes him a toothy grin, and Stiles pelts him with sugar packets in retaliation. Derek catches every single one of them.

“After this we’re going to the grocery store,” Derek announces. “I know what you’ve been eating and if you don’t stop I’m going to tell your dad.”

“No way!” Stiles makes this choked off offended noise he’s kind of known for. “He said you guys don’t talk about me.”

“Yeah?” Derek snickers. “Well he lied.”

What is this world coming to?





2. Time management 

“I’ve already booked my flight for the beginning of November,” Derek tells him.

“I know,” Stiles says. His voice is kind of muffled by a pillow because he’s currently in bed and lying on his stomach.

“Two months isn’t a long time,” Derek says. He’s sitting next to Stiles. “It’s going to fly by.”

“I know.”


“Give me a minute,” Stiles says. Because he’s shirtless and Derek’s stroking his naked back, tracing the length of his spine with the tips of his fingers.

“Okay,” Derek says quietly, and Stiles can feel the heat of his stare. Stiles shivers.

“We’ve got forty-five minutes before you have to leave for the airport.”

“More or less.”

“How—” Stiles falter briefly because he can now feel hot breath on his skin. “How long do you think it’ll take to finish packing?”

“Ten…” Derek kisses the nape of his neck. “Fifteen minutes tops.”

“That means we have a half-hour,” Stiles says, taking a shaky breath.

“Yes,” Derek murmurs. His mouth moves lower and he leaves a wet kiss on the top of Stiles’s spine. “We should make the most of it.”

“I agree.” Stiles swallows audibly. Derek drags his tongue and lips across Stiles’s back, and Stiles bites his lip. He’s not shy, but the whimpering moans are kind of embarrassing when all of the touching and kissing is still above the waist.

“What do you want?” Derek breathes against his temple. “Stiles?”

What does Stiles want? The rollercoaster repairman/lonely lion tamer thing they did last week was ridiculously fun. He felt so much love for Derek that afternoon he thought his heart would burst with it. And the way they said goodbye to the Palo Alto condo, the rough sex on the kitchen table and the unadulterated filth Derek was whispering in his ear the entire time—it’s a vivid memory Stiles doesn’t plan on ever forgetting and can’t seem to think about without blushing.

“What do we have time for?” Stiles asks.

“Anything you want,” Derek replies.

“Just…” Stiles lets out a long breath. “Just fuck me.”

“Yeah?” Derek starts to toy with the waistband of Stiles’s boxers.

Stiles nods. “I unpacked the lube already. It’s in the nightstand drawer.”

Derek doesn’t get up right away. Stiles can feel him hovering behind him.

“Hey,” he says kind of softly. “Stiles?”

Stiles twists a little bit so he’s facing Derek, because he’s got a feeling that whatever Derek’s about to say to him he’ll be wanting to look Stiles in the eyes when he says it.

“What’s wrong?” Stiles asks.

Derek’s silent for a beat then says, “Could you maybe not look so sad? It’s two months. Two months is nothing. And I don’t know if I can fuck you when you look so sad.”

Okay, did he not just say that Stiles could have whatever he wanted? There’s no point in asking if he’s not going to give Stiles what he wants. And yeah, maybe Stiles is a little glum, but he’s not sad. He can’t be boner-killer sad looking if he’s not sad.

“If it’s such a problem for you then just say something to make me happy,” Stiles tells him.

“Like what?”

Stiles shrugs. “Something nice, I guess.”

“Ugh,” Derek groans. “You play too many video games. People in real life don’t make you complete a task or solve a riddle before doing what you want.”

“I’d like to think I’m worth it,” Stiles says.

Derek snorts. “You have no idea.”

Maybe Stiles is being a little unreasonable? This isn’t a game to him. This is in no way a game to him.

“Derek—” he starts.

“I’ll take you to the Spy Museum,” Derek says, cutting him off.

Stiles’s face screws up in confusion. “You’ll what?

“The Spy Museum,” Derek says again. “I’ll take you to the Spy Museum. You mentioned wanting to go, so when I come back in November we can go together.”

This is the moment Stiles realizes that no one in his life has ever worked as hard as Derek does to make him happy.

“Twenty-five,” Stiles say somewhat abruptly.

“Twenty-five what?” Derek asks, and now he’s the one who’s confused.

“If we’re still together when I’m twenty-five you have to marry me.”

Derek stares at him for a long moment then shrugs. “That sounds fair. I was thinking twenty-four, after you graduate maybe, but I’m willing to wait.”

“Oh my god.” Stiles gets the sudden urge to hide his face because he’s smiling like a loon. “This is so weird.”

“But you’re happy now, so it’s okay.”

“I feel like the world’s sappiest sap,” Stiles says.

Derek sighs. “I’d love to embarrass and make fun of you for a while, but the clock’s ticking, and frankly I’d rather be fucking you.”

“Me too,” Stiles says. Derek is the best ever at sex and if he’s about to go two months without it—this is not an opportunity that should be wasted. “You’ve got twenty minutes.”

Derek leans forward and kisses him briefly on the mouth. When he pulls back he says, “You know, I don’t think I’d be heartbroken if I missed my flight. I bet there’s room on a later one.”

“Even if it means riding coach?” Stiles asks.

“Even if it means riding coach.”

Now that is the definition of true love.


1. Epilogue

Derek ends up missing his flight. His misses the flight after that too and ends up having to stay the night. He kisses Stiles goodbye and leaves when Stiles is still half-asleep, and Stiles appreciates that because as far as goodbyes go, it was relatively painless.

Stiles will text Derek when he can’t sleep and Derek will call him and sometimes they’ll almost have phone sex. They’ll run into Magnus the Huldrekarl at Ashley-werewolf-Miranda Kerr’s birthday party. Magnus will flirt with Stiles and Stiles will try not to burst out laughing when Derek gets all possessive and puts an arm around him and calls him ‘babe’ and later Stiles will blow Derek in a coat closet because they’re in love.

Luther will send him postcards, which he’ll be tempted to keep but ultimately burn. They tortured Derek and that will never, ever be okay.

And someday his sexy werewolf boyfriend will become his sexy werewolf husband—that’s a thought that’s going to take some getting used to—and they’ll partner up and solve monster crimes together, and fight with each other, and be super weird. John will be proud of them both.

Their sex life will never, ever be boring.

Cora will be attacked by hunters. She’ll almost die, and Derek will freak out and get into a fight with another pack of werewolves he’s apparently been feuding with for years. This will be the angriest Stiles has ever been at him. Peter will find and kill every hunter responsible for the attack on Cora, and suddenly Derek’s temper tantrum won’t seem so bad. He’ll apologize to Stiles with a dozen boxes of cinnamon graham crackers and a goldfish named Terry.

In 2022 Lydia will be the youngest person to win the Fields Medal. Derek will give her a two-hundred year old vintage perfume bottle as a gift. She’ll sob in his arms for a good fifteen minutes and NOBODY will ever know why.

Scott and Allison will reunite, marry, and have five children together. The boys will all have his crooked jaw, and the girls will have her ridiculously long eyelashes. They’ll call Stiles ‘fun Uncle Stiles’ and Derek ‘scary Uncle Derek.’ Dr. Deaton will deliver their second son and they’ll be forced to name him Alan.

Isaac will become the alpha of his own pack. He’ll make all of his betas dress fashionably and wear scarves. He’ll have a fling with Lana Del Ray and take up snowboarding. Sometimes he’ll look sad but everyone will know better than to ask him why. That will be a line straight out of the song Lana writes about him.

They’ll keep in touch with Grant and Tyson and Stiles will be overjoyed to see them every time they visit. The two former lax bros will have started a law firm together. They'll spend both of their trust funds doing pro bono work because they’re actually really nice guys.

And when Derek is a grouchy old man, and Stiles is a slightly younger, significantly less grouchy, old man, they’ll buy a farm and raise sheep together and maybe a few goats too. The goats will be Derek’s idea, Stiles will be the one who appreciate irony and wants the sheep.

Derek won’t get any points for being agreeable. Every time something goes wrong they’ll blame it on Hector. They’ll sit back in their rocking chairs and laugh about the time Scott had fleas and Liz’s freaky kid joined that cult in Montana.

And they’ll live happily ever after.



0. The end