It took a little while to figure something out about Sourwolf McFiestyPants AKA Derek Hale. Underneath all the gruff pushing and shoving, Derek was still a werewolf and if there was something that every bit of folklore would agree on (even the Hunters agreed on this sometimes) was that werewolves need constant contact with other pack members and friends, it helped them to feel at ease.
Scott didn’t really need to add any tactile attention in the beginning because Stiles was already a tactile person, always shoving and hugging, sticking close to his puppy-like friend. Add that to Allison and later Kira’s romantic interest in touching (gag), Scott was doing okay.
But Derek, he never really touched anyone, unless he was threatening them. Stiles had seen more than a few training sessions to see how angry and out of touch (literally) Derek could be with his betas.
Derek was touch starved and Stiles had just the way to help him out.
It started small, brushing his fingers along Derek’s arm in passing. Sometimes Derek would give him this stare, like ‘how dare you touch me’ but Derek never corrected Stiles on it. So he continued. He would reach out sometimes and just grab Derek’s shoulder and tell him, ‘You’re doing great.”
It probably sounded more like sarcasm than sincerity but the words weren’t important and without the sarcasm, Derek might have figured it out sooner. As it was, when Stiles started gripping Derek’s wrist sometimes on the couch, or running his fingers along Derek’s shoulders, the alpha would just give him a strange look and go back to whatever he was doing but something started to shift on a much larger scale than Stiles ever planned for mostly because he didn’t really plan out most of his schemes.
The first time Derek reached out and pressed a warm hand to the side of Isaac’s neck, whispering something to the beta who’d been fighting off a triggered attack from being confined in the Camaro, Stiles couldn’t stop smiling.
Nothing made him happier than watching Derek clasping Boyd’s shoulder, pulling him close and imparting some werewolf wisdom, or maybe something stupid. Stiles didn’t know, the only thing that mattered to him was that Derek was touching his betas.
And Erica, who seemed to thrive on manipulation and violence and her body, when Derek pulled her aside and asked her why and she cried into his shoulder, all Stiles could do was walk over and wrap his arms around both of them.
And it didn’t stop there, Derek started touching all of them more, feeding his own need for closeness but also seeding the others with the acceptance that it was okay to need to feel each other. The walls started breaking down until one day Stiles looked around to a literal puppy pile he found himself in the middle of, one of his arms tucked into Derek’s side and the other wrapped around Lydia’s shoulders.
That night when Stiles was cleaning up in the kitchen area, Derek walked over to him and hip checked him a little so Stiles could wash and Derek could dry, “Look, it took me a long time to figure out what you were doing but I really appreciate it. I don’t think I could have accepted them like this any other way.”
Stiles looked over at him for a second before focusing on the plate in his hand, “Why?”
“I lost everyone that I had ever loved, I thought it would be easier to just live without touching them or anyone else. I could be a so-so alpha without strengthening the bonds by being close and teaching them about what it really meant to have a werewolf pack/family. Turns out, I needed it just as much as they did. I was scared shitless okay?”
“Been there and got the t-shirt,” Stiles chuckled and bumped Derek again gently.
“You deserve to have a family Derek, you deserve all the best life has to offer and if one of my life goals is to see that you get it then I think that’s time well spent,” Stiles said as he turned his head and grinned at Derek.
“Did you ever expect anything to come of it?” Derek asked and Stiles frowned at him.
Derek took a deep breath through his nose, “When you reach out and touch me, invite me to touch others, was it about me and them or was it about the lust I can smell on you sometimes?”
Stiles jerked back away from Derek, shocked and appalled, “What? NO! I wouldn’t do that to you. I’m—I just wanted you to be okay with needing them. With needing to be close to other people.” He pushed away from the counter, soap and water dripping on the linoleum making it a little slippery as Stiles kept moving away. “I should go, sometimes I can’t control how I feel about you and that’s not your fault. That’s on me and my hormonal teenage body.”
Derek reached out and took one of Stiles’s wrists in his hand and pulled to a stop. Stiles looked around the loft, wondering where everyone else went. He was pretty sure Erica and Isaac had been there moments before. “Stiles? I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just had to ask. I’m sorry. Sometimes what happened with Kate and Jennifer, it comes out of nowhere to bite me in the ass.”
“Yeah, its called trauma,” Stiles said, pulling his hand away quickly then losing his balance on the slippery floor. His feet slipped out behind him in probably comical fashion and Derek reached out to grab him before Stiles struck the ground.
Stiles’s hands gripped at Derek’s shoulders, making the dark red of the Henley darken under the moisture being transferred. Stiles chuckled while Derek held him close, his wet hands making handprints in the back of Stiles’s shirt. He could almost imagine Derek’s body heat drying the spots and burning into his skin. But in a delicious way, like being in a hot bath after being stuck out in the cold for too long.
“I don’t want you to leave Stiles, I don’t want you to stop showing me all the love and comfort I deserve. Please don’t go?”
Stiles nodded, “Okay,” he husked. He cleared his throat, “You know, you can always ask for what you want.”
Derek smiled that little soft smile that made Stiles’s stomach flip flop as he set Stiles comfortably back on his feet and took a half step backwards, making Stiles hyper aware of the loss. “I think I’m getting that so I am going to ask for two more things from you and we can go from there.”
Stiles nodded, “Just ask.”
“I need time, this is a new thing for me and what your feeling isn’t as one sided as you thought.”
Stiles nodded again, swallowing roughly at the implications of Derek’s statement, “And the other?” he croaked.
Derek’s grin widened a little, the bastard, “Can I kiss you on the cheek? Can you kiss me on my face somewhere, just not my lips. Not today. It’s too much too fast on the lips.”
“I will kiss you all over given half the chance but I agree to the terms,” Stiles babbled excitedly.
Derek laughed, leaning in again and pressed a firm kiss to Stiles’s cheek. He smiled into the contact, started to bounce on the balls of his feet as Derek pulled away. “Now you?” Derek asked.
Stiles leaned in close and pressed his hand to Derek’s shoulder, moving to slide his hand up to the side of Derek’s neck then paused, “Is this okay? I know werewolves are particular about their necks.”
Derek nodded, “It’s okay. I trust you Stiles.”
Stiles watched Derek’s eyes, for any uncertainty and pressed his fingers into Derek’s pulse point but there wasn’t a hint of concern in that gaze. His chest filled with warmth at that, pulled Derek’s head down a little and kissed him on the forehead. They were about the same height but it would still have been impossible without Derek’s willingness to bend his neck, show a vulnerable place to Stiles and he knew what kind of respect and trust that showed but it wasn’t why he picked kissing his forehead. Stiles wanted to kiss him there because everyone deserves to be loved and held and cared for, especially Derek and he’d read somewhere long ago that it was about more than lust, it was about respect and care. That’s what he was offering Derek in that one kiss. He rubbed his nose a little into Derek’s forehead before stepping back and releasing Derek’s neck.
Derek looked soft and a little sad so Stiles reached out and touched his hand, linking their fingers together, “Time then?”
“Time,” Derek responded with a nod and a deep calming breath.
They had time.