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Based on this prompt.

 

*

 

It goes something like this: Stiles had been soundly, innocently asleep when Cora had come barging into Scott’s bedroom, a confused-looking Derek trailing in her wake.

Stiles assumes Melissa let her in, but the more pressing question as far as Stiles is concerned is what the hell they’re doing there. At barely seven in the morning. On a Saturday.

Don’t werewolves need to sleep too?

(Stiles knows they do, in fact, because Scott had been completely sacked out on the bed beside him until approximately three seconds before his bedroom door banged open to reveal… well, the Hales.)

Scott’s immediately in Damage Control Mode, and while Stiles manages a bleary “Wharghh???” Scott is already frowning at the pair. Cora frowns back at him, angrily. Derek still looks confused.

“What’s wrong?” Scott asks, and Stiles is pretty certain he’s getting ready to leap out of the bed and to Cora’s aid.

Cora just looks angrier. Furious, even. She spits, “This isn’t Derek!” and then gestures at him violently.

Stiles’ confused expression matches Scott’s perfectly as they both turn their attention to Derek who… almost shrinks under their questioning gazes? Who looks almost apologetic, as he ducks his head a little.

Stiles, because he’s sleep rumpled and grumpy, snaps, “What the hell are you talking about?”

It either says a lot about how early it is, or a lot about how fucked up their lives are, that he finds he can’t even muster a proper reaction to another Derek Hale appearing in the doorway in lieu of an answer to his question.

Scott’s mouth falls open, because Scott still thinks he can retain a sense of normalcy in his life.

Obviously, he’s wrong.

This Derek looks angry, murderous even, on a par with Cora that makes them look eerily like twins. Stiles just watches from his place on Scott’s bed as the second Derek slams the first into the wall, a low growl filtering through the room.

Stiles says flippantly, “Well, I was not expecting that,” and gets the joint force of three Hale glares for his efforts.

Two of them are from Derek.

*

It goes something like this: Cora, technically, is wrong. Because it is Derek. He is Derek. As in, Derek Hale. They’re sitting in front of two Dereks. Plural.

As usual, nobody has a single clue what’s going on, and Deaton won’t open the vet up until ten am, because it’s a Saturday. And Saturday is the day of rest.

(Cora argues that Sunday is the day of rest, but since she’s the one who dumped this problem in their laps at seven in the morning, Stiles thinks she can shove her opinion somewhere impolite.)

They’ve been tossing around the idea of parallel universes, and by they, Stiles really means he, because everyone else had dismissed it as impossible. As though they didn’t grow fangs and sprout hair once a month.

He’d been surprised, however, when the Derek that didn’t belong to them had actually heard him out.

Stiles, because he’s a boor, had immediately suggested that they keep him forever. Or swap him out with their Derek. Despite Cora’s painful punch to the shoulder, he’d been unrepentant.

“I don’t see what’s wrong with my parallel universe idea,” he insists, for the fifth time. It never fails to make the other Derek look up at him and smile, and Stiles grins back at him happily. He has an ally in this Derek. They’re totally keeping him.

“Because it’s a fucking dumb idea,” Cora spits out, also not for the first time, sounding very personally offended to be dealing with Stiles right now. Which, whatever, she totally brought this on herself.

Scott, ever the mediator, says, “There’s nothing wrong with it, Stiles, we’re just looking for something a little closer to home.”

*

By the time ten o’clock rolls around, they have nothing closer to home. In fact, they have precisely this: Derek doesn’t know who Kate Argent is, or any of the Argents for that matter. His whole family is alive, apparently, and fires are the furthest thing from his mind.

He’d been aghast when they’d told him what had happened in their timeline, and Stiles hadn’t missed the way their Derek had tensed up when the other Derek wrapped his arms around Cora in a hug that was so easy and familiar it made Stiles’ throat ache a little.

He knew their Derek and Cora didn’t have that. He knew they probably hadn’t had that for a long time, now.

It also turns out that the other Derek doesn’t know who Paige is, or who Jennifer is. He knows nothing about kanima, about nemetons, about any of it.

Scott starts to fill him in, before Stiles reminds him that they maybe shouldn’t be trusting this guy who looks like Derek and sounds like Derek but isn’t. The brief look of surprise and hurt on Scott’s face is rivalled only by that of the other Derek.

*

Deaton is singularly useless, which comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. Well, it comes as a surprise to Scott, who continues to trust him for reasons Stiles doesn’t quite understand. But still. Not a surprise. At all.

He essentially suggests that they’re stuck with other Derek in their lives until someone either accidentally stumbles across an answer or a miracle occurs.

Since this is Beacon Hills, Stiles is relatively certain they’re all out of miracles.

*

They get Derek in shifts.

Their Derek refuses to allow him to stay in his loft, and Stiles almost doesn’t blame him. After all, he has everything their Derek presumably ever wanted. Stiles would be pretty bitter about that, too, if their positions were reversed.

And maybe he’d feel guilty about liking this other Derek, if he wasn’t so nice. But he doesn’t; can’t.

The first time other Derek stays over at his place, he apologies for being an inconvenience. Then he makes a popular culture reference and actually laughs at the look of shock on Stiles’ face. Stiles is kind of horrified to find that he actually likes seeing Derek laugh. Even if this isn’t technically their Derek.

It’s hard to forget that this isn’t Derek, in fact. It’s as though he’s this other person completely. He’s self-assured and shameless; shoulders relaxed and smile easy. He still wears leather jackets and dark colours, but hey, Stiles can’t really criticise his fashion choices.

Especially not the sinfully tight jeans he seems to enjoy wearing. Not that Stiles has noticed, or anything.

*

Other Derek teaches Scott how to play basketball. Somehow, this turns into teaching Isaac how to play basketball. Then Kira. Then Cora. And finally Allison.

Stiles doesn’t really know what to think when he pulls up outside of Scott’s house to find them all shooting hoops, sweaty and laughing.

Other Derek tosses the ball into the hoop with ease, letting out a triumphant yell as he high-fives Kira, before doing a mini victory dance.

Stiles has to pick his jaw up from the floor of the jeep before he scrambles out.

*

When Stiles finds Scott sulking alone in the cafeteria on a Friday, he immediately goes to find out what’s wrong.

When Scott says, “Kira has a date with Derek,” Stiles doesn’t have the self-control required to stop the bark of shocked laughter as it bubbles over.

“Kira has a date. With Derek?” he echoes scornfully.

He almost feels bad as Scott lifts his head from his arms, all wide, hurt puppy eyes, and nods. “Yeah,” he sighs despondently, “They’re going to the mall.”

Stiles can feel his eyebrows crawling up to his hairline as he asks, “Seriously?”

Scott just nods again. Stiles feels bad enough for him that he slaps him on the back and says, “Want me to take you to the mall too?”

It’s enough to get a half-smile and a snort of derision out of Scott, which Stiles totally counts as a win.

*

On Saturday, Kira takes Scott out to a picnic lunch wearing an outfit that other Derek helped her pick.

*

“What’s this?” Stiles asks, frowning down at the book in his hands in confusion.

“It’s a book,” other Derek answers. The obviously hangs heavy in the air between them.

Stiles looks up at him, and says, “I got that. Why’re you giving it to me?”

Derek shrugs, and looks almost bashful when he says, “I saw it and thought you’d like it. I don’t—Cora paid. So it’s—a gift from us both.”

Looking down at the hard, shiny cover again, Stiles runs his fingers over the spine of the heavy tome, unable to hide his smile. “Thanks,” he finds himself saying, almost thoughtlessly.

He misses the way other Derek flushes, red creeping up the back of his neck and into his cheeks.

He also misses the softness in his gaze as he watches Stiles thumb through the newly printed pages.

*

The basketball games kind of become a thing. They start gathering on the school court in order to play, Stiles and Lydia sitting on the side lines and cheering them on.

Other Derek gets them uniforms from somewhere, calls their team The Wolves and gives everyone a number. Stiles and Lydia are both gifted with sports jackets, and even Lydia drapes hers around her shoulders. Stiles is privately certain that she can’t resist other Derek’s smile, either.

Stiles and Lydia are both on their feet towards the end of the game, because it tends to get surprisingly intense, and Stiles is cheering Scott on as he goes to shoot, failing to score because of Isaac.

Derek’s laughing nearby, yelling taunts, and just generally relaxing, a light sheen of sweat across his brow. Stiles catches sight of him out of the corner of his eye and grins, teasing, “I don’t see you scoring any winning shots, Hale.”

Because this Derek always rises to the bait, Stiles is only partially surprised when he says, “Yeah, but I can do this!” before executing a perfect back flip. Just like that. Like it’s that easy.

Stiles knows he’s gaping only because Lydia reaches over and pushes his mouth shut for him, wiping imaginary drool off on his shirt a moment later. At least, Stiles hopes it’s imaginary.

“Show off!” Cora yells accusingly from where the rest of the group are still playing ball. Derek looks up, shooting her a shit eating grin, but doesn’t deny it.

Stiles is still kind of gaping when he lopes off to join in with the last of the game, and Lydia plants a sharp elbow in his ribs.

“Ow! Lydia! What!” he explodes, unsurprisingly indignantly, before following her pointed gaze over to where their Derek is pulling his car to a stop. He lets it idle, but doesn’t actually cut the engine, and Stiles frowns.

“I thought Cora said he was busy,” Stiles says, knowing full well that that’s code for Derek just simply not wanting to join them.

Lydia nods. “She did,” she confirms, gaze trailing over to where the others are apparently too busy playing basketball to notice that they’ve got company.

Since both Dereks apparently smell the same, as confirmed by Scott, Stiles surmises that they might not even know he’s there.

“Go on,” Lydia says, before Stiles can even start to voice his train of thought. He smiles at her, gratefully, and then jogs over to where their Derek is sitting in his car.

He doesn’t wind down his window, even when Stiles taps on it, which, rude. Huffing out his irritation, Stiles says loudly, “Are you gonna sit there like some kind of pedo or come and join us?”

He’s not entirely sure what he’s expecting, but when he realises that their Derek is flexing his hands against the steering wheel, grip so tight that his knuckles have gone white, he finds his feet propelling him around to the passenger side of the car. Before he lets himself think about it too much, Stiles slides into the seat, slamming the door shut behind him.

Derek seems surprised as he scowls at him.

“Look,” Stiles begins, evenly. “I know it’s kinda weird, and all, but it’s not like we don’t want you—“

“You smell like me,” Derek cuts him off.

It says a lot about Stiles’ life that the words don’t perturb him. “Meaning?” he asks, instead of trying to continue his apparently pointless olive branching.

Derek lifts a shoulder. “You usually only smell like Scott, the rest of the pack. Not—me.”

Stiles is pretty certain there’s an accusation in there, somewhere, but he’s not actually fluent in Derek, who is about as forthcoming as Deaton sometimes. It’s fucking frustrating.

“What d’you want me to do about that, dude?” he asks, instead of bothering to mention it.

“Nothing,” Derek says on a sigh.

It’s enough to make Stiles look over at him; really look. To see the way his shoulders are hunched, grip still flexing too-tight on the steering wheel, arms held out stiffly in front of him. To see the angle of his jaw, skin pulled taut over sharp cheekbones.

He looks like a shadow next to the version of himself playing basketball with a bunch of teenagers.

Stiles would know. He’s spent enough time observing them all.

“We’re going to Kira’s tonight, I think we’re ordering pizza,” he finds himself saying. Kira’s house is still the most neutral space, and her parents go on bi-monthly dates, like they’re still teenagers. It leaves the real teenagers with the house to themselves for the night.

Their Derek is silent, even as Stiles glances over at him. “You know where she lives,” he presses, “If you decide you want to join us.”

When Derek remains silent, Stiles slips out of the car and goes back to join the others.

*

Stiles isn’t drunk, okay, he’s just giddy. They haven’t been drinking because half of the people present can’t even get drunk.

It’s just… he’s never really had this before, the whole—it’s the pack thing, Stiles supposes. The group of people, his friends, who he’s nearly died with, who have saved his life more than once, and vice versa. Having that is… he just never really knew he was missing it before now.

Scott looks at him with understanding, draws him into a tight embrace at some point during the night. As it progresses, Stiles only gets giddier, buoyed along by other Derek whenever he laughs at something stupid Stiles has said.

It kind of becomes a game, seeing how often he can make other Derek throw back his head, exposing the curve of his neck, mouth split open in laughter.

Still, he’s not sure how the night progressed into this, exactly. Vaguely, Stiles is aware that Lydia is at fault, smirking at him from her perch on the couch, as other Derek catches Stiles’ hands in his own.

“I have sisters!” Derek cries defensively, drawing Stiles closer. “I took five years of dance classes!”

Stiles isn’t quite sure what’s happening when Derek’s hand lands on his waist, warm and heavy, pulling him into some kind of slow dance. It involves more than swaying, which is definitely above Stiles’ pay grade.

He says so. It comes out pleadingly, and Derek throws back his head and laughs.

“You’re doing great,” he encourages, and the tinny music coming out of Kira’s laptop speakers isn’t even appropriate for slow dancing, but it really doesn’t seem to matter to Derek.

He forces Stiles to move with him, ever gentle, and apparently completely unaware of the fact that Stiles is pretty certain he’s on fire. When did the room get so stiflingly hot?

“Didn’t you learn anything modern?” Stiles bites out, eventually, completely ignoring the way it comes out slightly breathlessly.

Derek only laughs again, twirling Stiles around. Stiles stumbles under his arm, and Derek’s already there, supporting him with one arm, the other gently guiding him back to an upright position.

“I’m not going to teach you to twerk, Stiles,” he goads, and Stiles—Stiles knows other Derek can twerk, okay, because that particular image is probably burned onto his retina for the rest of his life. But that doesn’t mean Stiles wants him to teach him how to do it. For a start, Stiles is pretty certain he wouldn’t get through that ordeal without popping a really obvious boner.

He aims for a sneer, but it ends up coming out as more of a petulant huff as Derek twirls him around again. “Who says I don’t already know how?” he shoots back, meeting Derek’s gaze challengingly.

Other Derek doesn’t get a chance to answer, mid-twirling him again when everyone in the room comes to a kind of halt, heads swivelling around toward…. their Derek, as the wood of the doorframe cracks underneath the pressure of his hand.

He looks trapped, and it takes Stiles a moment to realise that he’s looking right at them, at Stiles and other Derek, expression briefly young and heart achingly vulnerable.

Stiles’ good mood suddenly dissipates, and he finds himself feeling cold as he pulls his hands away from other Derek and lets them dangle uselessly at his sides.

He’s vaguely aware of Scott asking their Derek if he’s alright, of Kira leaping toward him in concern, but Stiles can tell from the way their Derek is still looking at him that he hasn’t heard a word anyone is saying. Just before Kira reaches him, their Derek jerks away, turning around and exiting the house at a frankly impressive speed.

Nobody goes after him.

*

Stiles doesn’t know how it crept up on him, this thing with other Derek. He feels sick when he looks down at his phone and realises just how many text messages they’ve traded. It used to be that the only person who ever texted him was Scott.

Now, he even has brief text message conversations with Cora.

He’s not sure how long he spends looking down at the phone in his hand, finger hovering over delete all messages.

It doesn’t make him feel any better when he finally gets up the courage to do it, and Other Derek disappears as a recent contact in his text message inbox.

*

Derek, their Derek, is sitting on the steps leading up to Stiles’ house when he gets home from school. Stiles checks his phone before he gets out of the jeep, worried something might be wrong.

He’s got an armful of papers stacked on top of the book other Derek gave him, and they slip a little as he hefts his bag up his shoulder. The rustling is enough to make their Derek look up at him, finally, but he doesn’t actually say anything.

Stiles doesn’t know if he’s trying to get up the courage to speak or if he’s just being an asshole, but there’s only so much waiting he can do before his patience wears thin.

“We found a way to send him back,” he ventures, eventually, unable to stand the silence any longer.

Their Derek inclines his head a little, and then stands. “Scott told me,” he says.

“Well, great,” Stiles answers, words falling flat, since he doesn’t know where they’re supposed to go from here. He shifts, papers rustling in the light breeze, one hand clamping down to stop them from fluttering away.

Derek just watches. It makes Stiles unbearably uncomfortable, and he’s just about reaching breaking point when Derek blurts, “I’m sorry.”

Stiles says, confused, “What?”

For a moment, he thinks Derek isn’t going to answer, and then he’s saying, “For the other night. I shouldn’t—I had no right—“ and Stiles is more confused, if that’s even possible.

“What’re you talking about?” he asks, frowning.

Derek huffs out a sigh. “You like him a lot, don’t you?” he asks, and it’s not really a question.

Similarly, Stiles doesn’t need to ask which him they’re talking about. He shrugs. “He’s a nice guy. You’d know that if you’d bothered to get—“

“You care about him,” Derek cuts him off, sounding frustrated and not meeting his eye.

It throws Stiles for a loop, and for a moment he’s silent, contemplating. Finally, he says, “No, not—not the way you think, dude.”

When Derek finally looks up at him, he looks young and vulnerable again, like he had back at Kira’s house—hopeful despite his better judgement, even. He doesn’t even seem to have registered Stiles calling him ‘dude’, which usually rankles at least a little.

“I don’t—he’s not you,” Stiles elaborates. It’s his turn not to want to meet Derek’s gaze, and he finds himself suddenly endlessly fascinated with his battered sneakers.

Derek lets the silent stretch expectantly, and Stiles adds, “We’ve been through a lot, y’know?”

He doesn’t expect Derek to say, quietly, “Yeah.”

When he looks up, the expression on Derek’s face is one that Stiles can’t place. He’s not sure what else he’s supposed to say, and then in a sudden rush of courage admits, “I like to make him laugh, because I’d like to make you laugh.”

Derek seems surprised, and Stiles plows on. “We all would, y’know. It’s nice. I know—we don’t want you to be someone you’re not. We want you to be happy. That’s all.”

“We?” Derek asks, and there’s a hint of something wry, even teasing, in his tone.

“We,” Stiles agrees, firm. “Me, Cora, Scott—all of us.”

“You?” Derek asks, then, and this time it’s not wry or teasing, but soft.

Stiles nods, breathes, “Yeah, me.”

The silence seems to stretch between them forever as Derek just looks and looks and looks at Stiles, like he’s really seeing him, like he’s seeing beyond the gangling limbs and the mussed up hair and the loose, plaid shirts.

For once in his life, Stiles manages to stand completely still.

“I could use some help with this,” he says, after an age, holds up the book and the papers to indicate the research he’s been doing. It’s another olive branch of sorts.

When Derek smiles a little and agrees, Stiles is only half surprised.

*

It doesn’t go the way they planned, because nothing ever does.

Stiles is horizontal when he comes to, finds himself lying flat on his back in the middle of the forest, sunlight filtering down between the leaves on the trees.

His head hurts, and his palm is throbbing, and it takes him a few long moments to get his bearings.

When he looks to the left, he finds Derek crouched down beside him, a little muddy, maybe even a little bloody, but otherwise entirely intact.

Stiles rasps, “What happened?” and Derek snorts out a laugh.

“You fainted at the sight of your own blood,” he says, and Stiles can’t even find it in himself to be indignant. He’d warned them, okay, he’d told them that making him do the blood sacrifice thing was a really horrible, terrible idea.

Scott had said apologetically, “Deaton says you’re a spark,” like that had made it all entirely acceptable.

Stiles vaguely remembers the way other Derek had looked at him, then, before pulling their Derek aside. After that, though, everything gets a little bit hazy.

“Did it work?” he asks, eventually, pushing himself gingerly into an upright position. Nothing protests too much, his palm still stinging beneath the stark white of the bandage wrapped around his hand.

Derek lifts a shoulder. “It seems to have,” he answers cautiously, and then doesn’t say anything else, moving forward to help Stiles to his feet. Stiles lets him, but only because he doesn’t have much say in the matter.

Maybe he steadies himself against Derek’s arm for a moment with his good hand, too, legs wobbling under him like traitorous sacks of useless humanity. Derek is warm to the touch, gentle as he makes sure Stiles doesn’t fall.

Resisting the urge to curl in closer to him, Stiles asks, “Where’re the others?”

“They went home,” Derek says, and Stiles frowns.

“Without me?” he blurts, sounding almost hurt, before he can stop the words from coming out.

Derek huffs, and they’re standing close enough together that the warmth of his breath rushes against the side of Stiles’ neck. “I asked them to,” he explains.

The hurt feelings subside pretty quickly, at that, to be replaced by a rush of… excitement. Stiles glances over at the jeep and then tilts a smile toward Derek. “You mean you’re expecting me to give you a ride home?” he teases.

Derek surprises him by smiling back. It’s small and a little cautious, but also warm and fond and… surprisingly private. Stiles finds that maybe he likes this smile more than he liked the wide openness of other Derek’s smile.

“I guess am,” Derek agrees softly.