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What the World Needs Now

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What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some, but for everyone.
-Jackie DeShannon

 

Stiles is blearily dumping ingredients for whole grain flaxseed waffles into a stainless steel bowl— a trial run recipe for a heart-healthy breakfast with his dad next weekend— when his cell phone abruptly vibrates, blaring Hungry Like the Wolf at a decibel he is not equipped to handle.  Some pale, gooey batter smears across the touch screen when he makes a fumbling grab for the device dancing across his kitchen counter.  He quickly wipes it on his fleece Batman pajama pants and sees it’s Scott calling him. Stiles immediately taps the green answer button with his sticky thumb.

 

It’s 8:15 A.M.  Unless someone has died, a terrible supernatural being has maimed a pack member, or he has the early shift at the vet’s office, Scott’s never awake before ten.  And even then, he’d text.

 

“What has you up so early, Scotty?” Stiles inquires, propping the phone between his right shoulder and ear, trying to keep a breathless tremor from his voice.  With the Nemeton’s blaring beacon dying down to a gentle grumble, they haven’t faced a supernatural threat of any substance in almost six years, but Stiles has never been able to stop his heart from backfiring whenever the phone rings too early or too late.  The reaction can’t be helped; he’s the pack’s defensive driver, always on the lookout and ready with a proactive strategy. Old habits die hard.

 

“Stiles!”  Scott shrieks into the receiver, voice several octaves higher than Stiles has heard since they were in middle school.  “I did it, man! I actually fucking did it!”

 

His first cup of Saturday morning coffee isn’t consumed and his adderall hasn’t jump started his brain, but judging by Scott’s jubilant screech, nothing seems to be wrong.

 

Stiles takes a deep, calming breath.  “Huh?” he replies dumbly, still not firing on all cylinders.     

 

“I did it!  I asked her. I asked Malia to marry me and she said yes!  We’re getting married!”

 

Those last three words are a fuel injection straight into Stiles’ brain and Boom, he is wide awake.

 

Stiles Stilinski wants the record to show that he is a good bro.  A person would be hard pressed to find someone who would deny his epic friendship skills.  He’s always been there for Scott, from their days in the sandbox playing with action figures to werewolf politics and every moment in between.  Hell, he abandoned the FBI intern program when Scott and the pack needed help beating the Anuk-Ite. A good bro would be sharing in his friend’s euphoria right now, and Stiles is happy, but there’s something effervescent bubbling in his gut; something sudden and subtle that he can’t put a finger on.  He’s queasy, the steady throb of his heart turning erratic, and the spatula falls from his fingers into the slimy waffle mixture with a soggy plop.  

 

Luckily, he’s an accomplished liar; the talent comes from being one of the only human members of a supernatural pack that can hear the slightest blip in a heartbeat.  It’s one part survival instinct, one part being a sarcastic asshole. But in the eight years since his best friend was bitten by Peter Hale, Stiles has only lied to Scott a handful of times.  

 

“Oh, wow!”  Words trip and tangle on their way off his tongue, and he cringes at his opaque reflection in the kitchen window.  This, apparently, is going to be one of those times.  “Holy shit, man!” He now understands how much effort women in porn put forth to fake an orgasm.  And why the fuck is he having to simulate his way through heartfelt good wishes to his best friend on his engagement, anyway?  What the hell is happening to him? Stiles clears his throat and tries again. “Congrats to you and Malia! Wow, that is… this is so great.”  Marginally better, but he won’t be winning an AVN award anytime soon.  

 

Scott laughs, booming and carefree, oblivious—as usual—to Stiles’ plight.  “I can’t believe it! I’m getting married.” They are practically brothers, so Stiles doesn’t need to be a fly on the wall to know Scott is staring off into space right now with mammoth moon eyes and a sappy grin, picturing himself being the kind of husband Rafe McCall never was to Scott’s mom, Melissa, and Stiles’ melancholy intensifies.

 

As Scott chatters away about the size of the diamond he bought and where he popped the question, Stiles takes inventory of his inexplicable reaction.  There’s a startling amount of pressure building up behind his eyeballs, painful and hot, and a bittersweet ache in the pit of his stomach is steadily rising until it’s strangling him.   Is Stiles excited for Scott and Malia?  Yes, he absolutely is. So what’s with the agita?  Sure, Stiles and Malia were once together romantically years ago, but they were teenagers, circumstances were dire.  He certainly loves Malia and always will, but he can honestly say he isn’t jealous.  Scott and Malia are good together, in a way Stiles and Malia never were.  Good in the way Stiles had hoped, once upon a time, he and Lydia would someday be.

 

Maybe he’s lonely?  It’s been months since his last disastrous date, and he hasn’t been with anyone he can bring himself to care about since Lydia. The thought of her still sends a pang of sadness through him. They'd been so confident, so sure they were soulmates after everything they’d gone through together.  He doesn’t regret their break-up, but sometimes he still mourns the life he'd pictured with her.  

 

The more he chases this wild feeling winding tendrils around his brain, the more tangled the mess becomes in his mind.

 

“You’ll be my best man, won’t you?” Scott demands, breaking into Stiles’ inner rumination.  

 

The words reach into his chest and gently unravels the curl of discomfort planting itself there.  “Of course, Scotty. I’d be honored to stand up for you.” Stiles doesn’t want to dissect what’s going on inside his hyperactive brain.  Wasting time in a life-or-death situation—and this certainly qualifies as life— just isn’t his style.  “You’re getting married, dude,” Stiles hums, and no matter how strangely incongruous he feels, he can't help but smile.   

 

“I’m getting married,” Scott repeats reverently.    

 

Maybe all this disharmony isn’t about Scott specifically. Maybe it’s only that Stiles is nearly twenty-five and this is the point in his life where he’s starting to feel ready to settle down with someone.  Perhaps the problem is as simple and benign as this: for the last few tranquil years Stiles has been traveling along on cruise control, and now Scott is zooming forward at full speed, leaving him idling in the dust.  That would unnerve anyone. Wouldn’t it? So, no harm, no foul. He’ll bury this strange feeling of disquiet, and never think of it again. He’s good at that.

 

After they hang up, Stiles eyes his carefully neutral reflection in the kitchen window, and doesn’t recognize the young man with shaggy hair and startled eyes staring back at him.  The disconcerting feeling is twisting its way up his throat again, and he tramples it down, glowering at his likeness in the glass with accusing scrutiny. “This is fantastic news. You are happy for Scott and Malia.”  He fishes the spatula out of the congealing batter and aggressively points it at his transparent, scowling self. A spray of gritty droplets scatter over his visage. “Everything is great,” he pronounces. “You are totally fine.”          

 

****

****

 

Stiles may not, in fact, be totally fine.

 

First there is the disastrous breakfast with his father, where he breaks the news of Scott’s engagement.  

 

“Son, why are you smiling like that?”  John Stilinski asks, pushing multigrain waffle pieces aimlessly around his plate as if Stiles won’t realize he’s not actually eating them.  

 

Stiles makes a high-pitched, affronted noise.  “Eat them, or feel my wrath. And what? What’s wrong with my smile?  My smile is totally normal.” He’s practiced this smile in the mirror for days.  It only looks slightly manic.    

 

His father’s eyebrow raise could easily rival Derek Hale’s. “They taste like cardboard.”  He points his fork accusingly at Stiles’ face. “And that?  That’s not normal, even for you.”

 

“Wow, rude.  Cardboard is full of fiber.  My waffles and my face are offended.”

 

John Stilinski takes a bite, grimaces, and swallows. “You know you can tell me anything, son.  Whatever it is, I’m here to listen.”

 

“Thanks, Dad, but everything is awesome.”  Thank god his father isn’t a werewolf; he can practically hear his own heart stutter.  “I guess it was a bit of a shock, realizing we’re growing up. A little weird to think I won’t be Scott’s deuteragonist anymore.”  He attempts another grin.

 

Stiles distinctly dislikes the way his father eyes him, so he drops the smile and picks up his drinking glass. “What was Derek’s reaction to the news?” John asks, keeping a close eye on his son’s response.  

 

Stiles spit takes his sip of organic low-carb orange juice.  His dad beats him unhelpfully on the back. “D-Derek? No idea.”  Stiles’ voice sounds thick and phlegmy, and he coughs into his paper napkin to clear his throat.  “Haven’t seen him since the last happy hour. I’m sure he’s thrilled. Malia is his cousin, and Derek loves Scott like family now-a-days.”

 

Seeing Stiles is not in imminent danger of choking, his father takes another bite of waffle, chews thoughtfully.  Stiles can’t stand the silence.

 

“What?”  he asks, belligerently.

 

John lays his fork across the plate, plopping it into the sugar-free syrup pooling in the center.  “It’s okay, you know? To be happy for your friend, but sad for you.”

 

“I’m not sad,” Stiles denies too quickly.  “What would I have to be sad about? The pack is safe and prospering.  Everything is perfect.”

 

John huffs a laugh and shakes his head fondly. “Oh, Stiles.”  He walks his nearly full plate over to the garbage can.

 

“What?  What is it?”  He’s totally baffled, watching his father clean off his plate, gently place it into the sink, and rummage around in a kitchen cabinet.

 

The Sheriff emerges with a box of powdered jelly donuts and a victorious sound, much to his son’s dismay.  He smirks at Stiles as he fishes one out and takes a big bite. “There’s nothing like a wedding to make everyone completely lose their minds.”

 

And then there’s this.

 

“Wait a fucking minute!” Stiles declares loudly a few weeks later.  The volume isn’t necessary and he knows it—the supernatural creatures could hear him over the noise of the band warming up on stage even if he was whispering—but being forceful feels really fucking good right now.

 

It’s now been a month since the lovebirds dropped the news, and the Beacon Hills pack members, minus their parents, are out at the bar, celebrating Scott and Malia’s engagement.  Stiles glances around the table at his self-made family, who are all rolling their eyes and laughing at him in exasperated fondness, as if they are not currently upending his worldview.  “You’re telling me all of you have been with a person of the same sex?  Every. Single. One? I call bullshit.”

       

Stiles cannot believe this topic is only coming up now, since some of the pack members share a decade or more of friendship and bloodshed.  Granted, it’s a party and they are all celebrating a tad harder than usual, so the subject matter is not completely surprising, but their stunning revelation certainly is.

       

The eight friends sitting at the table look at each other, smirking.  It is Lydia who, tucking a strand of strawberry-blond hair behind her ear and shrugging her thin shoulders, answers for the table.  “Yeah, Stiles. Haven’t you?” Stiles is most definitely drunk, likely drunker than the werewolves at the table who need to spike their drinks with wolfsbane, but he’s nowhere near drunk enough for this conversation.  It’s not one Stiles ever thought he’d be having, at least not with these particular people, but truth be told he’s prattled through far more embarrassing topics in his lifetime.  Defending his junior year thesis essay on male circumcision to Coach Finstock comes to mind. He shudders.

       

It is three months until Scott and Malia get married, and the following month Stiles will turn twenty-five.  Lately, he has been feeling strangely old, as only a young man can.  His father’s observation at breakfast a few weeks ago about him being sad isn’t helping matters.  He has given it a lot of thought since that morning, and determined this feeling of being downright ancient, seemingly brought on by the engagement announcement, has been plaguing him for some time, most likely due to his having allowed his life to become unacceptably routine in the absence of constant supernatural threats.  

 

Instead of kidnapping, stealing police vans and overcoming ancient Japanese demon possessions, his days and weeks now go a little something like this: he slogs away in front of a computer screen at his security engineering job—that never fails to make Scott giggle like a hyena and call Stiles a penetration tester—working for Danny Mahealani’s white hat cyber security firm, does laundry, and goes grocery shopping.  It’s been months since he’s done something as exciting as go on a date, and he hasn’t been serious about anyone since he and Lydia amicably parted ways five years ago.  His only time to let loose lately is when he meets up with Scott and the pack for bi-weekly happy hours that serve as pack meetings. He doesn’t miss the darachs and berserkers and that old fuck Gerard Argent, but life now is so sensibly adult he could scream.

 

Suddenly his quarter-life crisis is flipped on its head.  Compared to his closest friends, he always feels slightly lacking physically, and probably always will.  It can’t be helped, being the one of the only truly human members of a werewolf/werecoyote/banshee/chimera pack.  He’ll never be as strong as the supernaturals—though what he lacks in brawn he more than makes up for in brains—but he’s hasn’t felt so exceptionally inadequate in experience since his lacrosse days listening to players boast about sexual conquests in the locker room.  He used to be daring and adventurous, impetuous and headstrong.  Prior to the group's stunning revelation, he had mistakenly thought everyone besides Mason and Corey—and of course Jackson and Ethan when they visited from England—to be straight as an arrow and rather chaste, since they were either in committed relationships or perpetually single.  How could he be so blind about the people who are his closest friends?

 

“So… all of you?  For real?” He asks, swaying in his seat.

       

Malia’s wicked smile could make the devil blush.  “I’ve made out with three people at this table.” Scott and Lydia raise their hands like dutiful schoolchildren, and Stiles knows he makes up the last member of the triad.  

 

Scott looks a little sheepish at Malia’s reveal.  Stiles gives Scott and Lydia the stink eye. “It happened after you and I were together, Stiles,” Lydia says, pursing her lips.  “And Allison and I happened before you and I ever did.” Stiles can see Scott’s eyes turn sad at the mention of Allison’s name, so he quickly moves on to interrogate the next pack member.    

 

“You, too?” Stiles, now bubbling with curiosity, asks Liam.

 

Liam rubs his chiseled chest and leans so far back in his chair Stiles is half afraid and half hopeful it will topple over, hind legs creaking ominously.  “I’m bisexual, have been out since senior year of high school. Occasionally, Hayden and I brought other people to bed,” he reveals. “Sometimes those people were women, sometimes men.”  He points to Theo, who salutes Stiles with his drink from where he’s standing at the bar getting the next round.  “It keeps life interesting.”         

 

“Well, it’s no secret I prefer the company of men,” Mason needlessly reminds them before taking a generous sip of his beer.  He and Corey bring their clasped hands out from under the table. They are sickeningly in love, and have been since high school.  Stiles can’t believe Scott and Malia will beat them down the aisle.

 

“I’ve been with women, and so has Mason, back before we knew each other,” Corey gently tells Stiles.  “But being with women never made us feel whole and content, not like we do with each other.”

 

Isaac is sitting between Scott and Liam, touching shoulders with both men.  Since his return from France to help decimate the dregs of Monroe’s Army, he’s become one of the most tactile members of the pack, which never fails to surprise Stiles, based on Isaac's history of physical abuse. When Stiles’ eyes slide to him, Isaac throws back the rest of his beer in one gulp, like this whole conversation is wolfsbane, and the antidote lies at the bottom of his pint glass.  “I’ve been with both,” Isaac spits defiantly, but doesn’t supply any additional information. Scott reaches over and squeezes Isaac's knee under the table. Allison’s dark curls and delicate face flashes across Stiles’ mind for the second time, so he holds his hands up in surrender, and doesn’t probe Isaac further.

 

Derek has been noticeably quiet during the whole exchange, and Stiles has been doing his absolute best to avoid looking at him directly.  Moments like this one, where Stiles is a hair over the line of too intoxicated, he deliberately avoids eye contact with Derek.  The feeling he’s been trampling down since Scott called him rears its ugly head once more when they lock eyes.  

 

Derek’s staring at him from across the table and Stiles can see it ; he can see Derek, clear as day, in the preserve when Stiles was sixteen.  Can practically feel the stubble at the sharp angle of his jaw. It’s all the same, superimposed over a thousand other mental images he carries of Derek; his face now a well worn map of their shared history.  Even the curve of his fingers around his beer bottle conjure up his curled fists at the sight of Stiles and Scott trespassing on his land. And his mouth, the corners currently upturned in mirth had looked so unbearably soft and pink the day when he’d uttered, “This is private property.”  Derek is drumming his fingers idly on the varnished tabletop, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, and Stiles thinks to himself, fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

 

No.  Nope.  No fucking way.  He’s buried this shit for eight years and Stiles is definitely not doing this right now.    

 

“I have been with both men and women,” Derek admits in a well worn tone of someone who has had to defend their life choices to Stiles repeatedly.  But in Stiles’ defense Derek used to make some dumbass decisions back in the day. “It happened back when I was in New York with Laura.” The table explodes in wolfish howls, and the laugh Derek aims at the group in return is sharp and feral.  Something deep inside Stiles’ chest snaps painfully into place at the sound.

 

“Have you ever considered it, Stiles?  Being with a man?” Corey inquires when the ruckus dies down.

 

The liquor in his system might as well be truth serum.  Besides, it’s pointless trying to flub his way through an outright lie. “Well, I’m only human, so of course the idea has crossed my mind.”  He hesitates, and the whole table leans forward, waiting for his next words. Derek’s eyes are boring into his soul. “I may have thought about it more in recent years,” Stiles admits, and it feels strangely freeing to say the words out loud. “Under the right circumstances…” He trails off, not allowing himself the luxury of imagining what the ideal situation might entail.  “Who knows? I’m certainly not opposed to the idea.”

       

Mason raises his bottle, clinking it merrily against Stiles’ glass, and the rest of the table follows suit.  “Well then, let’s toast to the right circumstance. May you recognize him when he appears!”  The table bursts into laughter, and the conversation, thankfully, veers away from Stiles' sexual experiences, or lack thereof.

 

Stiles sneaks another look at Derek, and finds the man examining him with appraising eyes.  Stiles fumbles his drink and glances away.

 

Fine?  Yeah, right.  Stiles is about as far away from fine as he can get.


Chapter Text

We should take this back to my place
That's what he said right to my face
'Cause I want you bad
Yeah, I want you, baby
-Niall Horan

 

Stiles is sixteen, impetuous, and that's why he’s currently scuffing his sneakers through a sea of forest foliage, searching for his best friend’s missing inhaler.  Scott unhelpfully reminds him it cost eighty dollars, the reason it’s missing at all is because Stiles insisted on discovering half a dead body in the woods, and would Stiles please take this seriously.  

 

Looking back, he can definitively say he felt something before he heard or saw anything; an instinctual shiver, a foregone conclusion.

 

He glances behind him and oh.  Was the air always this sparse in the great outdoors?  Something in his head screams wordlessly, a shrill shriek of denial.

 

His brown eyes meet the bottle-green gaze of a young man who blinks at them from across the leaves.  He’s staring at Scott with a laser focus, making the hairs on the back of Stiles’ neck stand up.  Stiles smacks Scott’s shoulder, then rubs at the back of his own neck, surprisingly hot despite the cool autumn breeze trailing through the trees.

 

He’s tall, of comparable height to Stiles, but this guy takes up so much space it’s ridiculous. He radiates.  How did Scott not feel his presence behind them like Stiles did?  It’s practically magnetic.

 

The young man’s face when he glances at Stiles is open and strangely vulnerable, almost betrayed, like someone has thrown a bucket of ice water over his head, waking him from a dream.  Why should this guy have any reason to look at Stiles like that? It’s Stiles who should look betrayed, because even though they have never officially met before, this man is tilting Stiles’ world on its axis.  He can’t imagine the journey his own facial expressions are taking right now.

 

“What are you doing here?  Huh?” The words, spoken in a voice strangely soft for a dude stomping so hard across the ground toward them, sound muffled against the roaring of blood in his head.  “This is private property.”

 

Sound crackles in and out like bad reception between his ears, and he can’t decide if his chest is too empty or too full, but it’s familiar, a sentiment he’s felt several times since puberty. Had, in fact, felt this morning when the goddess of his dreams Lydia Martin accidentally brushed up against him while he was rummaging through his locker for his Civics textbook.  He’d surreptitiously sniffed his shirt sleeve all throughout homeroom, until the scent of her perfume had faded to nothing. But no, he thinks as his body freezes, then flushes hot, no no no.  This emotion could never compare.  It is both nothing and everything he has ever felt before, and for the first time in his life, it is being caused by a man.

 

The world is collapsing in on them, trembling—how does Scott not feel the aftershocks?— and he's pretty sure he's isn’t brave enough to handle this shit.  It’s Derek Hale; Stiles recognizes him right away. The boy who lost his family in a tragic house fire. He doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry because his life has turned into one of those religious paintings, where the clouds part and the fucking sun shines down on exactly what Stiles is into, which happens to be the line of Derek Hale’s neck as he tips up his chin, and the curve of his collar bones slipping under a black shirt and sexy leather jacket.  

 

“Uh, sorry man.  We didn’t know,” Stiles stutters, rubbing a shaking hand over his buzz cut, hoping the familiar prickle under his palm will ground him. He’s woozy, his balance totally fucked; all he knows is the wildfire in Derek’s eyes, burning like a Molotov cocktail, leaving him hot, yearning and about to combust.

 

This is serious, life-changing serious, like slipping into something he’ll never be free of.  The kind of serious he should maybe share with someone before it drives him crazy.  Maybe his father would … what would his mom have…? No.  He tries to suppress the thought; he doesn't need to think about her right now.  If he doesn’t focus on the here and now the sensations running through his body will flatten him, knock him over like a pine tree in a strong wind.  He thinks perhaps someone should call the vanguard, because his sexuality has staged a revolution, overthrown his body and he never saw it coming.

 

Scott is mumbling his way through an explanation when Derek casually reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out Scott’s inhaler, tossing it the distance between them with practiced ease, a quick, clean line-drive from his hand to Scott’s palm.  That taken care of, he turns back to Stiles—whose hands are fluttering about his body like small birds—with an appraising stare, his vulnerable, betrayed expression now shuttered closed. Derek’s eyes slide up and down Stiles' body, stopping at chest level and taking in his casual t-shirt and jacket, sizing him up like an opponent and finding him lacking.  Stiles’ mind is distracted and detached, his quick, uneven breaths making his head feel like a balloon on a string, like a panic attack is hovering on the horizon. He tries not to squirm under Derek’s scrutiny, but Derek doesn’t appear to notice or care about his internal panic. Without another word he turns around and walks away, like a man burning bridges behind him.

 

“All right, come on, man, I gotta get to work.”

 

Stiles turns to Scott, blinks, and the world comes back into too sharp focus. “Dude,” he says and hey, somehow his voice sounds steady.  Scott blankly stares at him, waiting for him to continue. There is only one thing Stiles can think, so it’s what he says. “That was Derek Hale.”  

 

****

****

 

As usual, Stiles and Derek are the last to leave the bar, but even they won’t dally once drinks have returned to full price.  Since they’ve both returned to Beacon Hills, they’ve settled in apartments so close they are practically neighbors, so they split an Uber, as they do most nights when the pack gets together and Derek doesn’t feel like running home.

 

Stiles is enjoying his buzz and the amiable silence between them, punctuated sporadically by the rhythmic rapping of the Uber driver’s thumbs on the steering wheel.  He lazily watches Derek play Words with Friends on his phone, eyes flashing a pretty blue when the glow of the screen catches them the right way.  His presence beside Stiles is a solid, steady weight, and Stiles sneakily leans closer, trying to decipher if Derek’s heady smell is cologne or deodorant.  It is a mystery he has wanted to solve, never sure if it’s the intoxicating smell making him feel dizzy around Derek in recent years, or the booze.

 

It isn’t that Stiles doesn’t know.  Of course he knows, has known since that fateful day in the woods when he was sixteen.  He’s not an idiot, no matter how much Derek jokingly tells him he is. It just took him awhile to sort out what his strong attraction to Derek meant in the tangled-up mess of fear and danger and holy shit werewolves exist that was his youth.  Back then he didn’t have the luxury of time and maturity he has now.

 

Stiles isn’t in denial; he’s just exceptionally good at compartmentalizing and keeping a level head in a crisis.  Almost immediately after he realized how deep his attraction for Derek ran, and what it meant for his own sexuality, he’d boxed it up as neatly as he could and packed it away, because his best friend in the whole world was suffering, and Scott came first.  Bros before… bros? Well, maybe Stiles doesn’t have every little piece figured out but close enough.

 

Helping Scott navigate the day to day life and death of the supernatural world was more important than what gender Stiles found attractive.  After Scott became a true alpha, and Derek moved back to Beacon Hills for good, Stiles didn’t want to disrupt the pack with his sexual identity crisis. Lydia and Stiles had finally gotten together, and Stiles is nothing if not loyal, so he locked his attraction to Derek inside his head and heart.  After he and Lydia called it quits, his antagonistic relationship with Derek had somehow slid sideways into a fledgling friendship, and he wasn't willing to risk it on uncertain feelings he’d never allowed himself to explore in depth.

 

Besides, putting a name to it might make it real, and if it’s real and acknowledged, Stiles is in for spectacular disappointment.  He refuses to do that to himself. And now, after nearly a decade, he’s grown used to living in denial.

    

“So,” Derek begins, voice deceptively casual, and Stiles tries not to rear back in guilty surprise, “were you serious back at the bar?  You think you’d be interested in experimenting with a man sometime? If it was the right circumstance, as you said.”

    

Stiles' wide brown eyes dart to the Uber driver, but Derek’s never stray from his phone screen.

    

“Yeah,” he answers, feeling self-conscious talking about this in front of the driver, instead of their close friends.  “I mean, I’ve always been okay with same sex couples. Jesus, I think Danny was out in middle school? It was always a fact of life, nothing weird.  I guess I wasn’t secure enough when I was younger to try it myself. But, I would have to be comfortable with the person, know them well. Trust them.”  Nothing he is saying is a lie, but discomfort curls in his stomach at what he is omitting- the fact that the person he wants to experiment with is currently sitting next to him.

    

“And you think, if it was someone you trusted, you’d be ready to try it now?”  Derek looks over at him.  In the dark, his green eyes are supernovas, and Stiles finds himself leaning forward again, caught in their gravitational pull.

    

Stiles shrugs.  “I can admit maybe I’ve wondered what it would be like to experience certain things.  I’ve been… curious. If it was someone I trusted, then yes, I’d be ready now.”

    

“No sex in the car,” the driver chimes in, shooting them the stink eye via the rearview mirror.

    

Derek ignores the driver and studies Stiles diligently, phone now abandoned on top of his painted-on jeans.  “Ever consider any pack members? Maybe Malia and Scott would welcome you into their bed. You have history with her, and I’d wager there is no one on earth you trust more than Scott.”

    

Stiles throws his head back with an unattractive snort.  “Gross, dude! Scott is like my brother, and handling Malia alone was hard enough.  Honestly, the thought of being sandwiched between those two is downright terrifying.  I think they would eat me alive, and not in a good way.” Derek sniggers at the pun, and Stiles feels a tingle of pride for making him laugh. “As for the rest, well… Lydia and I have history too, but it’s the kind of history I don’t think I’d feel comfortable inviting another person into.  Too much baggage. Liam is an okay dude but I can barely stand Theo, so that’s a hard pass. Isaac was borderline hostile about the whole topic, and Corey and Mason only want each other, so I don’t think I’d find any willing participants to educate me from our wayward group.”

    

“What about me?  We’re friends, and you trust me, right?”  Derek’s voice is neutral, as if the answer is of no consequence to him, but Stiles feels himself sweat at the significance of the question, at the thought of what he has been secretly coveting for the last eight years possibly being offered to him on a silver platter.  He is uncharastically quiet, unable to process the war of pros and cons raging inside his skull.

    

“No sex in the car,” the driver reiterates unhelpfully in the awkward silence.

    

“Yeah, thanks.  I heard you the first time,” Stiles snarls.  Derek barks out a laugh.

    

“It’s okay to say no,” Derek states.  The corners of his mouth are still turned up in mirth, but his eyes are gentle.  “I promise I won’t be offended.”

    

“No, I…” Stiles is flustered, and wishing he had ingested fewer margaritas.  This is ridiculous. He feels like he’s thirteen again, trying to summon up the courage to ask Lydia to come to his birthday party. But this is different. Because he’s grown now—not a teenager.  And this is Derek. “I’m surprised is all.” He wants to stop there but the tequila has proven too much and instead, he says, with a querulous jerk of his chin, “I know you barely tolerate me.” Derek looks genuinely surprised at this sulky statement, like he doesn’t know what to make of Stiles, but Stiles barrels on before he can respond.  “You were always-” he gestures wildly toward Derek’s resting bitch face- “ staring at me like you wanted to kill me.  Back when I was sixteen you threatened to rip my throat out with your teeth.  And sure, our relationship is a bit better now than it was when were younger, but our personalities are still pretty incompatible.”

 

“I think you misunderstand.  I definitely don’t want to kill you.  I never did.  And maybe we’d enjoy each other’s personalities more while we were naked,” Derek jokes.

 

“Yes, you’re very funny,” Stiles deadpans.  “I’m sure there’s a quip lurking in there about not having to listen to me babble because my mouth will be full.”  

 

Derek holds up his hands in surrender, but his grin is mischievous. “You said it, not me.”

 

Stiles punches him in the arm.  It’s like punching a brick wall.

    

“I do like you, Stiles.  I won’t lie, you annoyed the shit out of me when we first met, but we’ve both grown up, and you’ve grown on me.”  He bumps his shoulder into Stiles’. “Like a fungus.”

    

“Well, is this a hypothetical question, or are you offering?  Because hypothetically, yes, I would consider you. I trust you.” He lets his heartbeat, strong and steady, do the talking for him as his eyes roam boldly over Derek in a way he hasn’t had the balls to do blatantly before tonight.

    

“And what if I’m offering?”

    

The moment is so charged, Stiles knows if he handles it wrong, something could break irrevocably between them.  He can only see Derek’s face clearly in the periodic flashes of streetlight through the cab windows, but he is positive he can read the resolve written in Derek’s soft smile.  “I wouldn’t want you to offer out of some skewed sense of responsibility, seeing as none of our other friends are exactly available or interested.” Stiles can feel himself blush, and sends up a silent prayer the darkness of the cab hides the flush.  “I'm not some hard up charity case.”

    

“I’m available, and I’m interested,” Derek declares.   There it is.  Stiles recognizes the dark look of resolute intent in Derek’s eyes with every fiber of his being, because he has been feeling the same for years.  It is a blaze of heat inside the cool interior of the car, screaming up his spine and down his legs. Desire and fear claw up his throat like wolves, fighting for superiority.  The answer isn't easy, but it's the one he desperately wants to give.

    

“Yes,” Stiles says, then, “when?”

    

“No sex—” the driver begins, but Derek cuts him off.

    

“Are you free tomorrow evening?”

    

“Yeah, I don’t have any plans.”

    

“Well, now you do.”  Derek reaches over and clasps Stiles’ wrist, squeezing once, fingers a gentle pressure around the fragile bones.  The gesture and tone are strangely nonchalant for such an intimate conversation, and Stiles can’t help but feel a little disappointed this doesn't seem as life altering to Derek as it does to him.  “I’ll text you in the morning and we can figure out a good time.”

    

Derek removes his hand and goes back to playing on his phone, but Stiles can make out his smile in the faint glow of the screen.   Be cool, he warns himself.   It’s just a bit of fun.  It means nothing.  But hope rears its head, teeth sharper than any wolf’s and bites down, hard, attaching sharp, curved fangs into the most secret part of his heart, where he’s sure to bleed.

 

****

****

          

It only occurs to Stiles as he is knocking on Derek’s apartment door at seven o’clock the following evening that Derek likely pushed their encounter off until the following day to let Stiles back out graciously.  It’s not that Stiles isn’t nervous, of course he is, maybe even scared, but the fear is eclipsed by burning curiosity about who he will be when this encounter is all over.  Thoughts have been jumbled in his head all day, but he isn’t given any more time to ponder them, because the door is swinging open to reveal Derek, clad in a tight white t-shirt and dark grey sweatpants.

 

For an instant, all of his fear, anxiety and suppressed want is a maelstrom, and he thinks he might fall to pieces, run away, burst into tears or all of the above right here on the threshold of Derek’s home.

 

“Hello,” Derek greets him, calmly stepping aside and motioning Stiles into the apartment’s living room.  He isn’t wearing any socks, and Stiles has to fight back a smile at seeing Derek’s bare toes. It’s silly, but the sight eases the tension from his shoulders, calms the storm swirling inside his chest.  “Welcome to my hedonistic hotbed of homosexual experimentation,” he jokes.

 

Stiles barks out a laugh.  “Fuck, did you have to practice that mouthful in the mirror?  I dare you to say it five times fast. I should get some sort of door prize for putting up with your shitty alliteration.”

 

“I have a prize for you.  It’s your very own copy of The Bisexual Option.  I’ll throw it at your pretty head.  Now, are you hungry? I made dinner.”

    

“You think I’m pretty?” he asks, batting dark lashes in Derek’s direction.  Derek just rolls his eyes at the dramatics.

    

Stiles follows Derek into the kitchen and seats himself at the small square table primed with two sets of silverware. He takes the chair closest to the wall, and watches Derek fill two ceramic plates with generous helpings of Chicken Florentine.  “Thanks,” he says when Derek places one plate and a glass of white wine in front of him.

    

“No problem,” Derek replies, settling in the chair across from him with a snigger. “Eat up.  You’ll need your energy.”

 

“Shut the fuck up,” Stiles laughs.  They eat in companionable silence.

    

The teasing and relaxed camaraderie eases Stiles' nerves.  Stiles has been in Derek’s apartment a handful of times before for pack meetings and social gatherings, and for the duration of dinner, it feels like it could be any of the other times Stiles has visited.  But when the food is polished off and dishes have been washed, and they move onto the microfiber couch in the living room, the novelty of the situation hits Stiles, and his heart races. He drowns the last dregs of his pinot grigio.

    

“So, listen.”  Derek is sitting on the cushion next to him, and he turns his body so he and Stiles are facing each other, close but not touching.  “I know you had a bit to drink last night, and if you’ve changed your mind since then, I will completely understand. Or if you change your mind at any point during this whole adventure, say so immediately.  We will stop, slow down, whatever you need.”

    

“I haven’t changed my mind,” Stiles affirms.  “I guess I just feel bad for you, is all.”

 

Derek’s face darkens, a line forming between his furry eyebrows.  “What? Feel bad for me?”

 

“At the bar, I wasn’t being facetious.  I’ve never been with a guy before, and I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.  Any exploits we get up to will probably be awful for you, at least at first.”

    

“I’ll take my chances.”  A slow smile spreads across Derek’s face, making handsome laugh lines decorate his mouth as his body loses its sudden stiff posture.  Stiles grins back. “It won’t be awful, trust me.”

 

“Are you sure?” Stiles demands.  “I’m no virgin, but you will have to teach me pretty much everything.  I’ve never given a blowjob, hell I’ve never even given a hand job except to myself!  What if I can’t get you off? What if —”

 

“Stiles,” Derek’s voice breaks into his growing rant, “it won’t be awful.  I am guessing it will be the complete opposite, in fact. And if you want to learn how to get me off, I can show you, but only if and when you are comfortable.  We will only go as far as you want, and don’t ever feel like you need to do anything in order to please me. But if anything I do makes you uncomfortable, you need to tell me.”

 

“I will, I promise.”  Stiles hesitates, unsure of how to voice his immediate concern.

 

Derek must read the tentativeness in his face, because his brow furrows.  “What is it?”

    

Stiles shrugs, uneasy.  “I don’t know if—” He stops, throat working. "I don't know how this works, you and me.  I’ve only ever known you to be with women, and those women were…”

 

“Awful?  Psychotic?  Murderous bitches?” Derek helpfully supplies.  There are days Stiles still cannot believe how zen he has become after achieving the full shift.  The Derek of a decade ago would never put such lightness into his tone. “They don't define me, same as the men I was with in New York don’t define me.”

 

“What Kate Argent did, not just to your family but to you… it’s heavy, Derek.  You say we can stop, slow down or whatever I need, but what about what you need?  What you deserve?  I don't want to fuck this up, fuck us up.”

 

His pulse races, and Derek’s eyes drop down to his chest, then flicker back up to meet Stiles' gaze.  Derek slowly leans forward, making his intention obvious. He reaches out, fingertips sure but gentle as they slide over his heart.  Stiles closes his eyes and tries to keep his breathing level as Derek’s hand slides lower, down to his side and up under his shirt, thumb rubbing circles into the thin, sensitive skin above his hip bone.  Derek presses his thumb into his side, once, twice, and Stiles reopens his eyes. He isn't sure what's written across his own face, but whatever it is makes Derek smile warmly.

 

“This is exactly what I need,” he promises, eyes never leaving Stiles’.  “You won’t fuck anything up, Stiles. You couldn’t.” Derek's touch is feather-light, but his words are heavy.  If Derek knew how he really feels, what he really wants, he wouldn’t be saying that, but Stiles can’t find it in him to worry about it just now.

 

Stiles is suspended in time.  He lets out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding, and exhales the dark anxiety coiling itself around his heart when it comes to his sexuality, his desire for Derek, and melts back into the plush cushion of the couch.

 

Derek’s hand continues its path down his side, dipping into the elastic waistband of the black track pants Stiles is wearing, where it hesitates.

    

“May I?” he asks, voice gone impossibly deep, thick and sharp as gravel.

    

Stiles is beyond words again, but nods his consent.   This is it, he thinks.  The moment, now here, feels like it should be larger, but it’s already too big for him to wrap his head around.   

    

Derek stands up and moves between Stiles' legs, nudging him to recline onto the back of the couch.  The cushions swallow him as Derek stands and bends down between Stiles’ spread legs, hooking his thumb into the waistband of his track pants, tugging them down.  Stiles shifts his hips toward the ceiling to help Derek ease the sweats down his legs, and they fall the rest of the way, pooling around his ankles.

    

Stiles' cock has already moved on from the gravity of their conversation a minute before, and is showing an obvious interest inside his boxer briefs. Derek brings a hand up to cup his crotch, stroking smoothly over the contours of his cock.  This should feel unnatural; the sheer size of Derek’s hands, the stubble on his cheeks, his obvious masculinity. But Stiles feels no aversion, only lust. He watches Derek’s hand and licks his lips, mesmerized by Derek’s firm movements on his hardening length, the soft black hair peppering the back of his hands, the way the calluses on his palms catch the cloth of his underwear.  Stiles moans softly, shifting his hips up into Derek’s touch, seeking more friction, and Derek’s eyes snap up to his flushed face.

    

“Hold that thought,” he says with a small smile, and straightens.  Stiles watches his ass—admittedly the best ass in all of creation— walk down the hallway and disappear into one of the rooms on the right.  Stiles uses his time alone to pull his shirt over his head, then reaches down and rubs himself through his underwear until he sees Derek returning, a small container in his grasp.  He resettles between Stiles' knees, leaning back on his heels and dropping the lube onto the cushion. It rolls next to Stiles' thigh.

    

“If there is anything you want from me, you can ask for it.”

    

But Stiles is not sure how to ask, not sure if he can because his throat is locked up with anticipation and nerves and lust.  Derek urges Stiles' hand away from his own dick, and palms him again through the fabric, then leans down to nuzzle him, his hot breath spiking lust through Stiles' veins.  “Mmm,” is all he can manage as he watches through slitted eyes as Derek runs the tip of his nose against Stiles' boxers. It’s absolutely obscene, Stiles thinks, when Derek opens his mouth and presses it over the cotton, huffing a humid breath through the fabric. He moves his mouth over Stiles' clothed prick, licking at the fabric with his tongue, nipping at it gently with teeth a hair too sharp. He sucks on the head before slipping two fingers beneath the waistband, pulling down and baring just the crown of Stiles’ cock.

    

“Ever been fingered?”  The words are hot and wet against his cock.

    

“N-No,” Stiles chokes out.  “Not by someone else.”

 

“Never used a vibrator on yourself either?”

 

A vivid image of Lydia’s pink dildo flashes across his eyes, with its rotating beads, vibrating appendages and textured tip, and he shivers. “Uh, too complicated, I guess?”

    

Derek raises his head to look at him, grins at him and, yes, there is the droll Derek Stiles knows so well.  “And no lucky lady ever slipped one in?”

    

“Fuck off,” Stiles retorts with a wheezing laugh.

    

“I hope to,” he replies, brazenly, and fully pulls down Stiles’ underwear.  

    

If this was happening eight years ago, Stiles would be flailing around right now, trying to hide as much of his body as possible.  As an adult, Stiles is comfortable with his body, proud even. From the thighs up he is lithe muscle and creamy skin dotted with moles.  But it isn’t easy to be sprawled out, nude, with his dick bobbing in front of Derek’s face. The position is awkward, whether it be with a man or a woman.

    

But Derek doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest, can’t seem to stop staring at him.  “Very nice,” he praises, taking Stiles in his hand and brushing his thumb over the tip of Stiles' half-hard cock where it juts out from the foreskin.  He brings him to full hardness with a few confident strokes, looking reverently at him through lowered lashes, then leans forward to place wet, open-mouthed kisses up the entire underside of his dick.  Stiles whimpers, and Derek moans at the sound.

 

At the crown, Derek’s eyes lock on Stiles' expression, and he opens wide, sucking in the blunt, throbbing head of Stiles’ cock and swirling his tongue. His thighs automatically snap closed around Derek’s ribs, and Stiles can’t stop the loud pant spilling from his lips.  Derek hums in response to the involuntary noise, sending pleasurable vibrations through the tip of Stiles' dick into his balls.

 

Derek wraps his left hand around what doesn’t fit in his mouth, stroking his thumb along the underside as his tongue crests over the peak again and again.  He monitors Stiles' features, peeking up through sinfully long, black eyelashes, and groans when Stiles throws his head back against the couch and fists his hands into his own brown locks, pulling to relieve the tension already building up from his toes. He nearly pulls out his own hair trying not to moan like a porn star and fuck down Derek’s throat.

 

Derek gives the blowjob his best effort: wet, sloppy and loud.  As Derek’s mouth tightens around him, Stiles removes his hands from his hair and grips the edge of the couch.  Derek pulls off, a line of spit trailing from the head of Stiles' cock to his blood-red, swollen lips. “You can move my head,” he grants, “show me what works for you.  Just don’t choke me.” He shrugs and smiles. “You know, don’t be a dick when someone is sucking your dick?”

    

They have known each other nearly a decade, and Derek can, on occasion, be uproariously funny, but it still catches Stiles off guard, his humor in the midst of sex. It is a pleasant surprise, and Stiles can feel a funny twitch in his chest as he reaches out one hand to tangle in the silky strands on top Derek’s head, the other cupping Derek’s stubbled cheek, thumb stroking along his used lips.

 

“Soft,” he whispers, mouth running away from him as usual.  

 

Derek give his dick a squeeze.  “Feels pretty hard to me.” Stiles can feel the words, wet against his fingertip.

 

Stiles laughs. “No, your hair.  I’ve never touched it before. It’s so soft.”

 

Derek smiles, waits.  When Stiles doesn’t push his lingering finger inside, Derek takes the initiative and wraps his lips around the digit.  He flicks his tongue against the pad of Stiles' thumb, then pulls off with a pornographic sound and turns his head to suck on Stiles' inner thigh.

    

He takes Stiles in again, one long, slow suck, stroking what doesn't fit. Derek steals his right hand between Stiles' legs to cup his balls, eyes glancing up to his face once more, awaiting his reaction. When all Stiles does is shift his hips restlessly, Derek’s hand continues, moving lower, thumb pressing behind his balls as he lets his index finger brush lightly against Stiles’ hole.

    

Stiles gasps and jerks, and with both his hands busy, Derek can’t stop Stiles from almost choking him.  Stiles can hear the soft wet sound of Derek’s airway being cut off. He pulls off, licking at the saliva gathered in the corner of his mouth and clearing this throat. “Are you sure this is okay?” His voice rasps.

    

“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” Stiles breathes, feeling abashed.  “I didn’t mean to break the cardinal rule of blowjobs right out of the gate.  It won’t happen again,” he jokes.

    

Derek huffs like he doesn’t believe him, and grabs the lube, flicking open the blue cap and squirting a generous amount onto his fingers.  His hand slips back under Stiles' balls. “Relax.”

    

The command is easier given than followed, as Derek presses one lubed finger to Stiles' hole and pushes the tip inside, taking him back into his mouth at the same time. But as Derek continues to suck him off, he can feel himself relax, fingers curling tight into Derek’s hair as pricks of hot pleasure dance down his spine. He moans as Derek thrusts his finger in harder, bending the tip, rubbing gentle, maddening circles over his prostate. His hips rock down uncontrollably against Derek’s finger, thrusting his cock deeper into Derek’s mouth. Derek gives one last hard push inside him, rubbing relentlessly, and Stiles is beyond words, only able to shout and tug harshly on Derek’s hair before coming hot and thick all over Derek’s surprised mouth and face, pulsing and shaking so hard he's pretty sure Derek’s body is the only thing preventing him from sliding off the couch.

    

Stiles' voice won’t work. Neither will his brain. He opens and closes his mouth a few times, nothing coming out but the beating of his heart. “Oh shit,” he whispers, when his brain comes back online, “I think I just broke rule number two.”

    

Derek doesn’t grace with him an answer, doesn’t even wipe off his face before he pulls his finger out of Stiles and quickly shoves that hand down his sweats, stroking himself hard and fast, pressing his sweaty forehead to the hickey on Stiles’ thigh.  Stiles can barely get himself up for a better view before Derek bites down on his own abused lip as he comes with a muffled groan inside his pants.

    

Derek’ breath is coming in damp but decreasing gasps against the inside of Stiles’ leg.  He tilts forward in the wake of his orgasm, leaning heavily against Stiles, and Stiles moves the hand still resting on top of Derek’s head, pets his hair, fingers sliding through the sweaty black strands around his face, curving them back behind his ears. Derek looks up at Stiles and smiles, exhausted. “Learn anything new?”

    

He takes stock of his blissed out mind and body, a wreck of sweat and saliva and lube.  Stiles was expecting to feel different, to feel filthy, maybe even wrong but he doesn’t. And part of him had wondered if, once he’d had Derek in some capacity, he would be satisfied, cured of this consuming desire. He’s not.  The only filthy part is how he wants more.

 

Stiles laughs roughly, dropping his hand to curl around Derek’s nape. “Yeah.  You’re a halfway decent teacher,” he lies. Derek is fucking amazing.

    

Derek rolls his eyes and pulls his sticky hand out of his pants, grimacing before wiping the soiled palm against his own t-shirt. Derek looks downright debauched, cum all over his shirt and drying in his beard.  He picks up the lube, pushes away from the couch, and Stiles' hand falls away, limply. Stiles is seconds away from feeling awkward when Derek stands, his knees cracking audibly against the sudden change in position. “Care to continue next week?” he inquires, and just like that, something soft and warm blooms in Stiles' chest.

 

****

****

 

Derek blows him again the following week, but not before Stiles scandalizes an elderly woman who happens to step into the hallway as Derek and Stiles stumble out of the stairwell.  “Unlock the damn door,” Derek commands, throwing him the key, and Stiles fumbles to open the door as Derek fumbles to open Stiles' belt buckle. The door swings open and closed on the gray-haired woman’s shocked face.  Stiles hopes she didn’t stick around, because Derek proceeds to drop to his knees right there in the apartment entryway, and blow him standing up.

 

This week they make it to the bedroom, but there is no chaste fooling around with the lights off.   Oh no.  When Derek suggests a hand job, Stiles never in his wildest dreams imagines this.  Derek’s back is propped up against his simple oak headboard, chin hooked over Stiles' shoulder and one strong arm pinned vertical against his chest, resting his hand with gentle pressure at the base of Stiles throat.  He watches with shifted eyes as Stiles, sprawled wanton and naked, writhes in his lap.

 

It feels wicked, dirty, better than a simple hand job should.  Derek hasn't removed any of own his clothes yet, grabbing lube as he watches Stiles strip, and every twitch of his hips rubs his ass against Derek’s still clothed cock.  Stiles is barely able to gasp out more than Derek’s name as he slowly strokes him, wrist twisting sinuously when he focuses on the slow slick slide of Stiles' foreskin. It’s too much but not enough, the razor’s edge of pleasure.

 

“Come on, Derek, more than that, give me more,” Stiles whines at the teasing too-soft strokes.  

 

Stiles leans his full weight back against Derek’s chest, exposing the long line of his neck as he reaches up, anchoring a hand at the nape of Derek’s neck.  Derek fucking growls.

 

In all his past sexual experiences, Stiles has been the powerful one, the one who holds and dominates, and he cannot believe how intoxicating it is to be trembling uncontrollably in Derek’s strong arms, how simply he gives himself over.  The loss of control sends adrenaline spiking through his veins. He wants to give his surrender more thought, reason out why it feels so fucking good, but at that moment Derek stops moving, and wraps his hand firmly around Stiles’ dick.

“Take it.  Take what you want,” he tells Stiles.

“Wha?” He can barely form words, just inarticulate sounds of pleasure.

He strokes a tight, wet fist up the shaft, and Stiles mewls.  “Fucking take it.  Make yourself come using my hand.”  

So he brazenly rocks up and down in Derek’s arms, heels digging into the mattress as his hips rise and lower, fucking into Derek’s warm grip.  His thrusts grow tighter and more focused, seeking his own pleasure. He quickly loses all modesty— did he have any to begin with?— shamelessly humping up into Derek’s hand, breathing in ragged gasps.  Stiles’ face is dotted with sweat, his balls tightening, and he knows his orgasm is imminent.

“Yes, yes, just like that.  Fuck, Derek, that feels so good.”  Stiles sighs, unsure where he is finding the breath or brainpower to utter complete sentences as he flies apart in Derek’s arms, unrepentantly grinding and gasping.  Stiles is losing it, listening to the depraved sound of his wet dick squelching through Derek’s hand.

Derek noses under Stiles’ ear, mouths the tendon standing at attention in Stiles’ neck, teeth tugging gently on the thin skin as his fingers drags firmly up and down Stiles’ length, the opposing sensations driving Stiles mad with desire. “You’re going to come all over yourself, aren’t you?” Derek whispers.  “And then I’m going to lick it off.”

His voice, ragged with hunger, pushes Stiles over the precipice.  He whines, clutching at Derek’s leg, grabbing at jeans stretched tight over his thick thighs and pumping up, grunting.  His balls seize up and he cries out, dick pulsing in time with his racing heart, warmth and wetness spilling all over his own stomach and chest.

When Stiles' cock stops twitching from the aftermath, Derek slides down the bed, bringing Stiles with him, pushing and pulling at his pliant body until they are both on their sides, facing the bedroom wall.  Stiles slides onto his back and turns his head, watching Derek drag a finger through the cum matting Stiles chest hair and bring it to his parted lips, sucking it clean with a quiet slurping sound.

“Let me return the favor tonight,” he requests, breathless at the seductive sight.  Derek had jerked off again the week prior, hand down his pants. Stiles has seen Derek naked countless times because of Derek’s ability to fully shift, but he still hasn’t seen his dick hard.  It’s a fucking travesty.  “I don’t want to be tutored in the finer points of being with a man, you know,” he jokes before becoming serious.  “I want to be a full participant. Let me touch you?”

Derek reaches down and unbuttons his jeans, looking ridiculously endearing as he shimmies out of them.  “Yeah, you can touch me,” he says, words muffled in the shirt he pulls over his head with one hand. “But I’d like to try something else tonight, if it’s okay with you.  Will you stay on your side?”

“Sure.” Stiles rolls back over, smooth as smoke, his body giving under Derek’s hands like the sweetest of sins— and where is this grace when he’s outside the bedroom?—but not before taking a good, long look at Derek’s cock as it is freed from his boxers.  It’s unfairly fucking gorgeous —long and thick with generous foreskin — a work of art like the rest of Derek’s stupidly amazing body. Stiles kind of wants to punch him, but his muscles still feel like jelly from the orgasm.

Derek reaches over to the nightstand, where the bottle of lube is tipped on its side, leaking a few shiny drops onto the dark wood. Stiles looks over his shoulder, watches Derek wrap his dick up in a slick grip, spreading the lube up and down his shaft. Then his hand is on Stiles' hip, holding him still as he angles his cock down to slip into the hot, damp space between Stiles' closed thighs.  He urges Stiles back and forth in insistent jerks, his fingers digging in with each forward press. “Squeeze your legs together,” Derek directs in a gruff voice, and when Stiles complies, he thrusts, eyes drifting shut as he slips against Stiles' balls.  Stiles is molten, made liquid by the heat of his desire as he imagines the fantasies that must be playing out against the backdrop of Derek’s eyelids.

“So tight,” Derek says against his ear, needy, plaintive sounds coming from his throat.  He’s never seen Derek look as young as he does right now, face softened in blissful ecstasy. Derek’s cock is a hard line of heat between his legs, pressing firmly on the sensitive stretch of skin behind his balls, sending sparks shooting up his spine.  Stiles reaches back, grabs at Derek’s perfectly round ass, brazenly encouraging every jolt and stroke as he squeezes his trembling thighs together.

Derek takes the encouragement, shifting them so Stiles is pinned beneath him.  He braces his hands on the sides of Stiles' head, and rolls his hips with obscene liquid grace, crashing into him, dropping his head to Stiles' back and panting against his skin.  “Stiles,” he gasps, voice cracked. “Fuck, Stiles, you feel so goddamn good. I knew you’d be perfect. So hot.” Under Derek’s titillating tirade is a refrain of frenzied breaths, slapping skin, and the bed frame banging against the wall. It sounds like they’re fucking, and Stiles is overwhelmed with how much he wishes they were, how much he wants to.

“Holy shit,” Stiles says as Derek’s cock slides like silk against the cleft of his ass.  “I can’t wait to hear what you say when we actually fuck.”

And with that, Derek is coming, drenching Stiles' thighs and the back of his balls with thick, slippery splashes.

They lay there, Derek a dead weight on top of him until he rolls out of bed, returning quickly with a warm, wet washcloth he hands over to Stiles. He gives him a loopy, fucked-out grin, and Stiles' heart heaves with a lethal lurch. “I’ve made a fucking mess of you,” Derek huffs warmly.   In more ways than one, Stiles' duplicitous brain supplies as he wipes a copious amount of cum off his skin.

Derek pulls his boxers back on and shoves his disheveled hair off his forehead.  He doesn’t climb back into bed, so Stiles slips out of the sheets and pulls on his pants, throwing the sullied washcloth into the wicker hamper beside Derek’s closet.

“Drink?” Derek enquiries, as he tugs a fresh t-shirt down his torso.

“Sure,” Stiles answers, hopping on one foot as he slides a sock on.  The awkward struggle back into clothing after screwing around seems to be a universal hardship, no matter what gender someone's partner is.

They sit themselves at Derek’s kitchen table with frosty bottles of beer, and Derek clears his throat, looking slightly uncomfortable.

“I did something wrong, didn’t I?” Stiles asks, embarrassed but cutting to the chase.   Dammit, was I too overeager?  

“No,” Derek replies quickly in a conciliatory tone.  “You did nothing wrong. I was just caught off guard by something you said.  I’d never hold anyone to anything they say in the heat of the moment, mind you.” He pauses, takes a swig of his beer.  Stiles watches his lips wrap innocently around the head of the bottle, and he’s half hard in his pants again. “We never discussed how far you wanted to take this.”

“How far do you want to take it?” Stiles asks, deflecting.

Derek shrugs one shoulder and picks at the label on the bottle.  “You said something about fucking. I have no idea if that means you want to fuck me, or want me to fuck you, or if you were just saying it because I was spouting off.”

Stiles shifts in his seat, warmth pooling in his belly as he remembers the words hot and tight and perfect tickling the shell of his ear.  “You certainly say a lot more in bed then you do in normal conversation.”  

“Look, Stiles, I’m enjoying what we have been doing, and if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say you are enjoying yourself too, but there’s quite a jump from hand jobs and blowjobs to having a dick up your ass.  I am not sure if that is where you wanted to take this, or if you were interested, if you wanted to go that far with me.  I’m not exactly someone who has had a lot of success at conventional relationships, as you well know, so I’d understand if you’d feel more comfortable experimenting with someone else.”

“I’m not sure what I want, exactly,” Stiles tells him in a brazen fit of honesty.  “There is an element of this... experience I'm only now beginning to fully appreciate.”

“What’s that?”

“How good it feels.”  He can feel a flush creeping up his neck, but Derek just nods serenely.  “I think I do, want to have sex with you, that is.” There is no possible way for him to explain the way being with Derek makes his body and mind feel awake for the first time.  How much he wants more.  The depth and breadth of it would scare Derek off.  

“How do you… I mean what is it you usually…” Fuck, Stiles feels like a ridiculous teenager, struggling for the right words.

He doesn’t need them, apparently.  Derek is a linguist, fluent in several languages including Stiles' blushes and rambles.  “If I’m being completely honest, I prefer to top, but I’m not opposed to bottoming. I would completely understand if you don’t want to bottom, or at least, not for awhile.  Contrary to what you see in porn, no one should start off being pounded in the ass.”

Stiles, mid-sip, almost spits out his beer.  In the weeks since he and Derek started fooling around, he has clicked into the gay section of his favorite porn sites, and some of what he has seen has been truly horrifying.  “Thank you for that lovely visual.  The fear of an ass pounding was really keeping me up at night.”  The joke is half truth. Derek probably knows it. “I sincerely appreciate your concern for my virginity.”

“No problem,” Derek replies with a smile.  “I wouldn’t want to break the merchandise. Then how would I have any fun?”

Stiles laughs and waggles his eyebrows.  “You sure know what to say to make a guy feel special.  So, you want my dick up your butt, huh?”

Derek makes a pained face.  “Well, not anymore.”

“Liar,” Stiles smiles.  “Admit it, you want me to ride you hard and put you away wet.”

It’s small, but Stiles sees the ghost of a grin haunting the corners of Derek’s lips.  “Jesus Christ, I’m going to need more beer.”

Chapter Text

I never worry, life is a journey
I just wanna enjoy the ride
What is the hurry? It's pretty early
It's okay, we'll take our time
The night is still young
And so are we
-Nicki Minaj

 

 

In honor of Jackson and Ethan’s return home from London, the pack abandons their usual Friday night table at the bar, and gather at Scott and Malia’s apartment for dinner and drinks.  Stiles finds himself restlessly pacing from living room to dining room to kitchen, listlessly sipping from his tumbler. When he seats himself on the ottoman, Malia stalks over to refill his glass.

 

“What is the matter with you, Stiles?” she demands.

 

He immediately stops bouncing his leg.  “Nothing.” He sounds petulant to his own ears, and Malia gives him a long-suffering stare.  “What? I’m just sitting here, minding my own business.”

 

“You’re wearing a hole in my carpet.”

 

“Just burning off energy.  Some people knit, I pace. You know how it is.”  He gestures vaguely at her.

 

Malia looks as though she does not, and never will, know how it is.  “Knitting is for losers. Get your fucking shit together, Stilinski,” she orders, before strutting off to the kitchen to restock the appetizers.      

“Knitting is awesome and my shit is together,” he retorts.  His shit is far from together, but he doesn’t want her, or anyone else, to know.  He can’t describe what’s currently wrong. Beacon Hills is having an early spring, and the air-conditioning inside the apartment is too cold. The collar of his shirt is chafing the back of his neck.  He feels like he is about to crawl out of his skin.

 

Isaac reclines on the leather loveseat next to him, sipping a glass of merlot that has stained his lips blood red; he looks like the cover model for a teen vampire romance novel.  “What about your shit?” he inquires.

 

“Nothing, Jesus!  Why is everyone up my ass tonight?”

 

“I would think you’d be having a reprieve from people being up your ass, since Derek is running late from his client meeting.  Everyone must be picking up his slack while he is not here.”

 

Stiles can feel the phantom burn of Derek’s fingers inside him at Isaac’s oblivious joke, and he shifts uncomfortably on the black ottoman.  He is trying to come up with a witty and cutting retort, when the front door opens and Derek walks in.

 

Stiles cannot believe how fucking cliché he is.  Looking at Derek, dressed in dark grey business slacks, white collared shirt, tie and suit jacket, is making Stiles' mouth literally water.  It’s some sort of fucked up Pavlovian response, and Stiles lifts his glass to his wet, traitorous mouth, downs the liquor with a little cough, eyes never leaving Derek.   

 

Scott hugs Derek in greeting, and Derek is leaning down, placing a chaste kiss on Malia’s cheek when the realization hits Stiles with the force of a tidal wave.  

 

In the month they have been doing whatever this thing is they are doing together, Stiles and Derek have not kissed.

 

How in hell had he not noticed before?  

 

Derek looks over in Stiles and Isaac’s direction, and nods in greeting.

 

“There,” Isaac proclaims, motioning magnanimously in Derek’ direction.  “Someone to snark with you. Now all can be right with your world.”

 

Derek meets Stiles’ gaze, and something strange passes between them, something as secret as the sex they’ve been having, as unseasonably warm as the February breeze outside Scott and Malia’s apartment window.  Derek— who is as much an asshole as Stiles—winks at him. Jackson, making his way over to greet Derek, flashes Stiles an indecipherable look.

 

If only, Stiles thinks. If only.

 

****

****

 

Jackson strolls into the coffee shop ten minutes late—but still somehow managing to beat the rest of the groomsmen responsible for planning Scott’s bachelor party—and plops down wearily at the back table Stiles has managed to commandeer on a bustling Saturday morning.  He promptly steals Stiles’ iced chai latte and takes a sip, then plunks it back down on the table with a grimace. “This coffee place sucks ass. Nice choice, Stilinski.”

 

“Fuck off and get your own, douchebag.” It’s amazing, no matter how many years pass, as soon as Jackson and Stiles are within ten feet of each other they revert back to surly teenagers.  Stiles shrugs out of his hoodie and throws it over the chair back. The cafe is chilly but the short walk from his apartment has him sweating through his t-shirt.  He takes a bite of his bacon, egg and cheese bagel, and gives Jackson the hairy eyeball when he notices him ogling it covetously.  “Try it and lose a hand, wolf boy,” he says.

 

Jackson flashes razor sharp teeth in his direction.  “I don’t feel like waiting in line. Give me half and I’ll give you twenty bucks.”

 

“Deal,” Stiles says, handing over the half he already bit.  

 

“You’re an asshole.” Jackson shakes his head as he takes a bite, moaning around the food in the his mouth.  Several people seated around them stop and stare.

 

“Dude, are you auditioning for porn?  Ethan is going to be jealous of that sandwich when he shows up,” Stiles jokes.  Jackson flips him off with one hand, and continues to devour Stiles’ breakfast.  

 

“So, are you feeling better?” Jackson asks once he’s demolished his half of the food.  

 

“Better?” Stiles thinks he mishears the question over the buzz of the cafe.  He furrows his brow.  “I haven’t been sick.”

 

Jackson pilfers Stiles’ latte again.  “You’ve always been weird as hell, but even I could notice you weren't acting normal last weekend.  You were about to leap out of your skin.  I’m sure I’ll regret asking, but what’s wrong with you?”

 

He keeps his eyes locked on the ocean side paintings adorning the walls.  “Nothing. I’m totally fine. Just work stress.”

 

“Okay.  Sounds like total bullshit, but okay.  Danny Mahealani is your freaking boss. How stressful can it be?”  He sips from the straw, blue eyes burrowing under Stiles’ skin. He hits the dregs of the milky concoction, and continues to suck noisily against the ice at the bottom of the plastic cup, grating against Stiles’ resolve.

 

“Fine,” he relents.  “Just stop with the fucking doe eyes and annoying slurping.”  

 

Jackson sits back with a smug smile, arms crossed over his muscular chest.  “You broke in less than thirty seconds, Stilinski. Must be a new record for me.”  His grin disappears. “Now, what the fuck is going on? Another Alpha pack? Monroe’s army?  Don’t tell me Gerard rose from the dead, again.”

 

“Seriously, nothing is wrong.  No supernatural shit, I promise.  I’ve just been thinking.”

 

“Never a good thing.  Thinking about what?” He prompts.

 

“How did you know you were gay, and not bisexual?”

 

Jackson obviously did not anticipate the question, and blinks rapidly before he schools his face into its customary, unflappable expression.  

 

Stiles pinches the bridge of his nose and slides his eyes away.  “Ugh, sorry. It’s none of my business. Forget I asked.”

 

Jackson darts a hand out and grabs Stiles' arm right above the elbow, and his eyes fly back to the other man’s face.  “No, it’s fine. I don’t mind talking about it. You just caught me by surprise.” He releases Stiles’ arm and sits back in his chair.  “Well,” he starts, eyes going slightly unfocused as he picks through his memory, “I guess I knew for sure when I was in college in London.  I had experiences in high school, but it never went much further than groping.

 

“It’s not that I didn't love Lydia when I was younger, she knows I did, but I carried around a lot of anger, a lot of sadness back then.  Being with Lydia, with any woman, never made me feel whole and content, not like I do with Ethan.”

 

The sentiment echoes what Mason and Corey told Stiles at the bar.

 

Jackson’s aristocratic nose wrinkles.  “If you tell Lydia what I’m about to say I will end you.”  Stiles mimes zipping his lips. “I was growing bored by women, truth be told.  I remember being with this one girl not long after I moved to England, and the whole time I was planning out the following day’s outfit.”  Stiles laughs despite himself, easily imagining Jackson’s indifferent, disdainful expression. “In Europe, people were a lot more open about their sexuality, and I had opportunities to explore.  The term gay became something to be considered and celebrated, instead of something to be sneered at, or the butt of a joke.  Then Ethan showed up and...” He pauses, looking him over. “Why do you ask, Stiles?”

  

“Just something I’ve been thinking about, since the night of Scott and Malia’s engagement party.”  He quickly fills Jackson in on the pack’s conversation. “Everyone was so sure of their sexuality, so comfortable with it and their experiences, it left me feeling a bit off-balance.  Like, in the midst of the supernatural shitshow, I’m the only one who somehow missed an important part of growing up; like I don’t know myself as well as I should for someone my age.  I’ve been sitting quietly, watching the world pass me by.”

 

Jackson shakes his head.  “I can’t speak for anyone at the table that night, but not everyone knows themselves so well at a young age; I certainly didn’t.  There is no expiration date on exploring your sexuality, Stilinski. It isn’t a stamp on your passport to adulthood.  I know there are many people, middle-aged and older, who realize they are not straight.  Unfortunately, our society can put anyone who does not meet the sexual norm into a cultural straightjacket, no pun intended. Is this about Derek?”

 

Stiles chokes on a bite of bacon.  “What?” His voice is an octave too high, and he takes a deep, steadying breath.  “What do you mean? Why would this be about Derek?”

 

Jackson tilts his head and narrows his eyes.  “He isn’t giving you grief about this, is he? I know you two razz each other to hell and back.”

 

“No, not at all.  He’s… Derek is…Derek is not the issue.”   Liar, his head howls as he tries to keep his traitorous heartbeat steady as a metronome.  “I know I’m attracted to women, I always have been, and that hasn’t changed. It’s the being attracted to men which is… new.  Or maybe not so new, if I’m being totally honest. I guess I’ve always been able to appreciate beauty in either sex, but I’ve only just acknowledged to myself that there may be one man, in particular, I am exceptionally drawn to.”  

 

Jackson, by some twist of fate, does not ask him who the man is.  “Does this guy know about your problem?”

 

“What problem?”

 

Jackson raises an eyebrow.  “Your falling in love with people problem.”

 

Stiles squawks, indignant.  “Uh, I’m pretty sure almost everyone has that problem. Like, everyone all over the world.”

 

“Not everyone concocts a ten year plan for wooing the girl of his dreams in middle school.  And said girl happened to be my girlfriend at the time, may I remind you. You tend to dive headfirst into the deep end when it comes to people.”  Stiles shrugs. Derek has known him for years. He doesn’t seem to be worried.

 

“Is it truly the label you are struggling with?  Gay, straight, bisexual?” Jackson asks, when Stiles’ silence rings between them.

 

“Can I claim to be bisexual if I’ve, so far, only been with one man?”  Stiles asks, genuinely confused. “And we haven’t—"

 

“Stop right there, please,” Jackson says, holding his hands up in surrender.  “I don’t need the visuals. And of course you can, if it’s how you feel. Bisexuality is not a halfway point between gay and straight; your attraction to men and women does not have to be equal, the attraction to both just needs to be there.”  He smiles. “Stiles, there are many terms to choose from, but in my experience, the label is not the absolute defining characteristic of a person. It doesn’t matter what label you are, it’s who and how we love that counts.”  

 

“It’s not love,” Stiles quickly tells him, ignoring the twisting in his gut.  “It’s desire. Sexual attraction, that’s all it is.” Liar, his head screams louder.  

 

“Does this man know?  Are you together?”

 

No, he and Derek are not together. How could he ever describe to someone, the way he’s simultaneously flying apart, and finally grounded, when he is in Derek’s arms?  The way Derek gets under his skin and splinters like glass, slivers embedded so deep Stiles will never get him out.

 

Stiles scoffs. “Friends with benefits, is probably a better definition than together.  But friends is probably too strong a word, too.  Hostile accomplice with benefits? Is that a thing?”  

 

Jackson, pinnacle of friendship and kindness, laughs in his face.  “Jesus, Stilinski, only you could find yourself in this situation.”  

 

“It’s not the label I am struggling with.  It’s just, my life, it wasn't supposed to be like this.  My sexuality was not supposed to be a sliding scale. I had a plan.”

 

“Yes, of course you did. Everyone does.  Plans get you through the day, the week, the year.  It was a good plan, Stiles: a wife, children, a good job, financial security.  But maybe it wasn’t meant to be. That doesn’t mean it’s the end. The night is still young, and so are we.  We all have so much more living to do.”

 

“None of this is what I expected,” Stiles whispers.  “I never thought I'd feel the way I feel when I'm with him.  It just doesn’t make any sense."

 

Jackson gazes at him, looking constipated from all the talk of feelings.  He seems like he is measuring his words carefully, weighing them against Stiles’ possible reactions.  He hates it, hates the idea that Jackson Whittemore, of all people, is censoring his thoughts, trying not to hurt him.  “Sometimes two people just fit. It doesn't always have to make sense, but you have to trust your heart.  Lord knows this world—this town—doesn’t always adhere to logic.  And sometimes, what we want, and what we need, are two very different things.”

 

The words wrap around him, like a vise on his heart, a punch to his gut, threatening to bring him to his knees.  He thinks of the first time he met Derek, how he wanted to shove his feelings into a box, but even then knew he wouldn’t be able to contain them.  The box's label had never been clear, the walls were never solid, and since this whole affair with Derek began, they were dissolving entirely. All the compartmentalizing he has done has merely been lies he’s told himself to survive, to find a way to move forward.  Unable to meet Jackson’s eyes, Stiles squints at the tabletop, traces the grains of wood like lines on a palm, a discomfiting future foretold on its surface.

 

“I am sorry,” Jackson says, clearly seeing Stiles’ distress.

 

He reaches over and grabs Jackson’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, and Jackson doesn’t pull away.  “Don’t ever be sorry. You’ve helped, more than you know. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you.”

 

“I’m fifteen minutes late and walk in to find Stilinski groping my boyfriend,” Ethan laments as he walks up to the table.

 

“You’re thirty minutes late,” Stiles says, dropping Jackson’s hand like a hot potato.  “That’s ample time to fall in love over breakfast sandwiches. The fault is your own.”

 

“The fault is yours for suggesting we meet at 9:00 A.M. on a Saturday morning,” Isaac says, walking up to their table.  Mason, Corey and Liam bring up the rear.

 

“Fine.  I’m sorry you pissbabies had to miss your Saturday morning cartoons.”  Stiles sighs. “Now can we please get onto the task at hand: planning Scott’s bachelor party?”

 

An hour later they all emerge from the cafe and say their goodbyes.  Ethan is lingering at the door, conversing with Liam, and Jackson and Stiles find themselves momentarily alone on the sidewalk.

 

Jackson shoves his hands into the pockets of his jeans.  “Stiles, do you want one more piece of advice before we go?"

 

He laughs.  "I don't know. Probably not."

 

Jackson ignores him, and he expects nothing less.  “Be fair to this hostile accomplice with benefits. If you decide being with a man is not for you, there is no shame in that, but you should be honest with him, so he doesn’t get hurt.  This feelings-free escapade you claim to be having… maybe it means more to this guy than he is letting on. Loving well, and loving deeply, should be the most important thing.”

 

“Don’t worry, Jackson.  He’s aware of just how little experience with men I have, and he is only in this for fun.  There are no feelings between us.”

 

Liar, his head whispers, or maybe, this time, it’s his heart.   

 

****

****

 

The bachelor party plans result in a boys’ weekend to Santa Barbara for food, wine and debauchery.  Though half the male members of the wedding party are gay, Stiles still ends up in a strip club with an exotic dancer on his lap.  If he closes his right eye and squints the left, she somewhat resembles Selena Gomez. Despite her good looks, ample assets and expert grinding technique, when his phone buzzes twice with incoming text messages, he’s completely distracted.

 

“Is that a phone in your pocket or are you happy to see me?” the stripper jokes.

 

Derek is the only groomsman not on the trip due to a project deadline at work, and once the phone vibrates all Stiles can think about is him.  

 

“Uhh,” he answers inarticulately.  He removes a hand from her hip and reaches for his jeans.

 

The stripper pouts and bats her eyes.  “I must not be doing a good job if you’d prefer to play on your phone than play with me.”  She wiggles seductively, and her breasts hit him in the nose.

 

“No, no you’re… just…one second.” He pulls out his cell and sneaks a look over the swell of her chest.  Derek’s name appears on the lock screen. He shoves it back into his pocket, then gives her a awkward, guilty salute.

 

“Sorry, sorry.  Where were we?”

 

She smiles and turns around, rubbing her perky ass up and down his length.  “We were about to get your twenty dollars worth, sweetheart.” She bounces expertly and sneaks a look at him over her tattooed shoulder.  “That wasn’t your girlfriend calling, was it?”

 

Stiles shakes his head.  “No, there’s no girlfriend.”

 

“Boyfriend?”

 

His eyes glance surreptitiously around at the other guys, but they are all busy getting dances or frequenting the bar.  “Ah, no. No boyfriend either.” He laughs nervously, and she gives him a small, knowing smile. To his relief, she faces away from him again, and he’s graced with the back of her head.

 

Her shiny black hair reminds him of Derek’s, and he wonders if it would feel as soft under his fingertips.

 

Stiles darts up from the chair without warning, and the Selena look-alike almost topples to the ground.  “Hey! What the fuck, man?”

 

Stiles digs out his wallet with shaky hands, but Jackson smoothly slides up and hands the girl forty dollars.  “Please excuse my friend, miss. He’s not feeling well. Here’s a little extra for the trouble.” The girl huffs and stalks to the stage area. “Go back to the hotel, Stiles,” Jackson says, turning to him.

 

“No, dude, I’m fine.  I can’t leave; it’s my best friend’s bachelor party.  I just —”

 

“Stilinski,” Jackson cuts him off and tilts his head toward Stiles’ hand.  Instead of his wallet, Stiles is holding his cell phone. He looks at it, dumbfounded.  “I’ll tell Scott you had too much to drink. He won’t notice you’re gone.”

 

They make eye contact, and Jackson motions to the exit.  Stiles nods in thanks, and heads out the frosted glass doors.  

He makes his way down the road toward the waterfront, dialing Derek as he walks.  Derek picks up on the third ring, and Stiles stutters out a hello, struck with a sudden case of nerves.

 

“You staying out of trouble without me?” Derek asks over the line.

 

“I’ll have you know I’m on my best behavior,” Stiles informs him.  “Good food, better wine, and a trip to the nudie bar, what trouble could I possibly get into?” Derek laughs.  “I just begged off sick. It wasn't doing it for me.” Derek’s puttering around the kitchen, Stiles can tell. There’s a domestic tinkle of silver and glassware, and the bang of wood cabinets. His beard is scratching over the receiver as he walks down the hallway toward his bedroom, and Stiles can feel its prickle in phantom tingles on his fingertips.  

 

“And they believed you?”

 

Stiles crosses the street to the deserted beach and kicks off his flip-flops, curling his toes in the still-warm sand.  He imagines Derek sitting next to him, moonlight painting gold over his skin and those gorgeous granite cheekbones slicing the shadows like a knife.  The desire to have him there physically aches, and he flops down on his back near the shore, staring sullenly up at the stars.

 

“Hopefully they’ll be too hungover tomorrow to remember, or care.”  

 

Derek hums his assent, lowers his voice, and though they are over one hundred miles away, it feels like they are lying next to each other in bed when he says, “I’m glad you called.  Didn’t think I’d hear from you all weekend. It’s good to hear your voice.”

 

Stiles has no idea what possesses him to reply, “You missed my voice?  Are you sure you weren't just thinking about my mouth?”

 

Derek chuckles.  “I may have been.  It’s a very nice mouth.”

 

"Oh, fuck," Stiles says, shooting up from his reclined position in the sand.  He knows exactly where this is going. His face is already flushed at the idea, and he's so hard it's making his hands shake.

 

The conversation proceeds to rapidly spiral downhill, with Stiles jerking off listening to Derek jerk off as he waxes poetic about all the things he’d like to have Stiles do with his mouth; lick the slit, get him nice and wet, suck him down until Derek is hitting the back of Stiles' throat.  

 

“You should call me.  Tomorrow night,” Stiles tells him before they hang up.  “This would work a lot better if I didn’t have to jerk off on a public beach two hundred yards away from our closest friends.”

 

Late the following evening, after Stiles has begged off from the wild activities —with a knowing look from Jackson —he wastes no time starting them off with the cliché, “So… what are you wearing?”

 

“Fuck what I’m wearing.”  Stiles can hear Derek unzipping his fly through the phone speaker.

 

“Okay, then.”  The words come out a throaty sigh, Stiles' dick already a thick line in his boxers.

 

“I don’t think you care about what I’m wearing, but you might be interested in what I’m thinking, what I’ve been thinking about for a while.” Derek’s voice is dark and thick, shaded with warm notes, making Stiles' toes curl.

 

“Oh?  What’s that?”

 

“Fucking you.”

 

Stiles sucks in a breath, and his skin prickles with heat, a low, familiar burn in the pit of his stomach and his balls.  

 

“Just with my fingers again,” Derek backtracks, before forging on, already breathless, “or, whatever you’re okay with.  It felt so good, the night I had your dick in my throat, and you took it so…never had anyone else in your ass before but you just opened for me. Then locked down so tight on my finger.  I want that again, fuck. I really want it.”

 

“Oh God,” Stiles moans, already completely out of his depth. Derek’s voice is liquid sex dripping into his ears.  Stiles' hand is easy and loose around his cock, head tipped back against the cheap white hotel pillowcase as he rubs a thumb under his foreskin.

 

“I think about getting my hands all over you, watching you jerk off, watching you suck my cock. You have such deliciously pale skin Stiles, and those moles.  Your skin would look so good, marked up with my cum, with my teeth.”

 

Stiles can't breathe. "Yeah?" he manages to say, mouth full of sawdust. "That a promise?"

"Most definitely."

 

“Then stop coming in your fucking pants every time we screw around, Derek.”

 

“Yeah, say it again,” Derek whispers into the phone, his voice a ragged wreck. “Say my name again.”

 

“Fuck, Derek.”

 

At the uttering his name, any restraint Derek had been showing floods away.  Like a trapdoor under the ocean, he unleashes a wave of explicit filth so strong it leaves Stiles shaking in its wake.

 

“I’d get you on your knees in front of me, like I told you last night, make you suck me down.  Jesus, you’re fucking mouth... And your hands, I want them on my ass... you pulling me in closer, shoving all of me down your throat.”  He breaks off, and Stiles can't stop the whimper passing his bitten lips. “Would you do that?” Derek asks. “Would you suck my cock?”

 

“Yes, yes I’d… but… but you said you wanted to fuck me, Derek.  I’ve been using a toy, getting myself ready to take you. I want to hear you say it.  Tell me how you’d fuck me.”

 

Derek groans like he is dying.  “So many ways, Stiles,” he replies without hesitation.  “I’d fuck your ass with my tongue first. Get you wet and loose, make you beg for it.  Then I’d make you stand up, press your face against the wall while I slide in behind you, pin your arms over your head, make you fucking take it, all of it.

 

“How the fuck did it come to this?”  Stiles chokes out, furiously beating himself.  Christ, Derek has been slamming Stiles against walls practically since day one, so of course it would end up featuring in their foreplay.  

 

“I don’t know,” Derek answers, seamlessly continuing his smutty oration.  “When I let up, I’ll throw you on the bed, let you… Oh … let you climb on top, screw yourself down on me, let you take what you wanted, thinking you’re controlling it until I... fuck, I’m so... until I throw my leg over you, knocking you over so you’re on your back.”

 

“Go on,” Stiles breathes out.  “Give me more, I need more.”

 

Derek’s voice is sparking like a live wire.  “I’d push your legs back, leave you nice and open, and I’d fuck you so hard. I know you’d like it.  Shit, tell me you’d like it.”

 

Stiles moans, throaty and low. "God, I’d love it.  It feels... I wish you were here. I wish it was you."
       

"I wish it was me, too.  If I were there I'd touch you everywhere, with my hands, my mouth... make you come all over yourself, make you come all over me."
      

Stiles closes his eyes as his sticky-wet hand tightens on his dick, and he makes a noise he’ll cringe to remember when he has blood to spare for his brain to function fully.  “Holy fuck,” he says, slack-jawed. “I’m gonna cum.”

 

“Yes, fuck, do it.  Do you know how long I’ve imagined coming in your tight ass?  Jesus, you’d take everything. I’d fill you so good. I’d drip out of you for days.”

 

Stiles moans out his release.  Then all that can be heard over the line is the rhythmic slap of skin on skin, as Derek hurtles toward his own completion with a hard little grunt that is now Stiles' favorite sound in the whole world.

 

In the afterglow, they lay in their separate beds catching their breath.  Derek, with his werewolf stamina, recovers the use of his voice first. “So,” he says, like he is picking up a conversation happening in his own head, “you should come over when you get back tomorrow.”  

 

“Tomorrow?” Stiles asks, scandalized.  “But, tomorrow is Sunday.”  They have yet to spend time together outside their Friday and Saturday night sequesters, almost always using the preceding pack meeting as an excuse to fool around.  Spending an extra night together feels taboo.

 

Derek laughs.  “Yes, tomorrow.  We don’t need to, I just wanted to see you.”

 

“But it’s a work night,” Stiles says, still stunned, but very pleased.  “I’d be exhausted for work the next day, getting home from your place so late.”  

 

“Are you going to turn into a pumpkin or something?  Jesus Christ. Just stay over at my place. You already have your clothes with you from the trip.  It’s fucking stupid you keep leaving every time we get together. You’re welcome to stay anytime. I’d like it if you did.”

 

“Okay,” Stiles says, trying to hide his excitement.  He knows how territorial and instinctual the were creatures can be about sharing their living space, and the fact that Derek is asking him to stay feels momentous.  “Yeah, I can.” Then, more timid, “you want to fuck me tomorrow? I’ve been using the vibrator, trying to get used to the stretch, but it might take you time to open me up…”

 

He can hear Derek shifting around, probably cleaning himself up, stripping the bed sheets.  “No, I don’t think you’re ready. If you’re up for it, I’d actually like for you to fuck me.”

 

Stiles is terrified and thrilled, and almost flails off the bed.  “Our flight lands at 8:45,” he answers.

 

“It's a date,” Derek says, before saying goodbye, leaving Stiles alone in his hotel room, with too many thoughts in his head.

 

****

****    

 

The following evening, Derek opens his apartment door and Stiles falls on his dick like he is diving off a cliff.  

 

First, their flight back to Beacon Hills is delayed three hours, during which he sits in the boarding area, breathing recycled air and dreaming up all manner of Derek-related fantasies, hiding a semi from the pack behind a glossy gossip magazine purchased at the airport terminal shop.  Then, his duffle bag is the last to exit the baggage carousel, and Corey and Mason won’t let Stiles refuse their offer of a ride back to his apartment, when all he wants is to sneak off in a taxi straight to Derek’s place. He texts Derek from the backseat of the car, ‘ ANSWER THE DOOR NAKED OR I’LL FUCKING MURDER YOU ’.  

 

It’s almost one A.M. by the time Derek swings the door open, and he is, in fact, naked.  Derek following orders does unspeakable things to Stiles' cock, and he wastes no time pushing the door closed behind him and sliding to the ground on his knees, causing Derek to take a step back to make room for him. He looks up at Derek, laughs at his expression, slack with surprise, and then wraps his warm hand and then his wet lips around Derek’ dick and sucks.  Derek is soft when he first pulls him into the heat of his mouth, but his cock is quick to register its interest, thickening on Stiles' palate.

 

His hands stray to Derek’s bare ass, running down the cleft and cupping perfectly round cheeks in his palms.  Stiles pops off his cock. “This fucking ass. God, it’s a masterpiece, what the fuck.”  He squeezes and shoves Derek forward by the butt, mouth coming back down over his dick.

 

Above him, Derek laughs, sinking fingers into his hair.  “Idiot,” he says fondly, and the low register of his voice makes Stiles moan.

 

What he lacks in experience, Stiles makes up with gusto, licking the shaft with the flat of his tongue, curling his lips over his teeth and taking Derek so far down his throat his eyes water.

 

Derek keens for it, tiny little staccato noises he could certainly try to tamp down, but lets loose, driving Stiles mad, making him work to pull those noises and more from Derek’s chest. It's addictive, how Derek sounds like he is the one choking, though it’s Stiles who is pushing a cock into his throat.  Stiles runs the back of his knuckles against Derek’s balls and watches them tighten through his slitted lids.

 

They somehow end up in the bedroom, though Stiles couldn’t provide a road map of the journey if his life depended on it.  After a lot of lube and patience, Derek is splayed on his back, cheeks pink and nipples peaked, taking three of Stiles’ digits and stretching his voice to the breaking point, telling Stiles he’s ready.  That night in the Uber when Derek asked him if he wanted to experiment together, to know what it was like to be with a man, Stiles had naively thought, maybe, he could fuck all of these stupid feelings out of himself for good. But now, as Stiles watches every nuance of pleasure cross Derek’s face he knows for certain.  It's impossible. Desire, knotted up in Stiles' chest from years of longing, unravels like a thread. “This may have... I may have... underestimated this,” Stiles babbles as he rolls on a condom, coats himself with a generous layer of lube and lines himself up.

 

He presses the tip of his dick in where his fingers just vacated, feels how wet and open Derek is, how hot and welcoming.  Derek doesn't say anything, just stares at Stiles, the same fierce scrutinization he has been using on him for years. His gaze is hard heat but his hole is so soft, clinging to Stiles like their bodies are tailored to each other.  He fits so tight around his cock, and Stiles fucks into him, harder than he intended, but he can’t help it. As Derek gasps and pants, breath juddering from Stiles pushing into him, he doesn’t look away, eyes steady and bright as stars.  Derek may currently have a dick up his ass, but Stiles is so fucked; has been, since practically the first moment.

 

He reaches behind Derek’s balls, forefinger petting his perineum before dipping down to touch where his cock stretches Derek’s rim.  “Oh shit oh god I am not going to last this is too good,” Stiles babbles.

 

“Feels fucking great.”  Derek sounds drunk. He tightens his legs around Stiles' body and writhes in tight undulations against him.  “Come on, Stiles. Fuck me.”

 

Stiles hears himself keen then, and thrusts into Derek until he's lost to himself, just moving, rocking Derek and the bed against the wall.  He shoves his entire face into Derek’s throat, hips jerking uncontrollably. Their sweat slick stomachs slide together, trapping Derek’s dick in the tight channel.  A string of disconnected words spill from Derek, like a chorus in Stiles' ears. He barely registers Derek grabbing his own cock, stripping it a half-dozen times before he comes, shooting ropes of white onto his own stomach and chest only moments before Stiles slams tight against him, emptying his balls into the condom with a pulsing throb, ass clenching to drive him that much deeper.

 

He’s left sprawled on the bed, red-faced and shuddering, hair damp and matted from exertion.  It’s the first time Stiles feels like he truly understands the phrase fucking your brains out; there is nothing left inside him.  He is still sweating and twitching and shaking all over when he says, "Why the fuck haven't we done that before?"

 

Derek yawns. "Should have done it years ago."

 

Stiles goes still. Then, "Yes."  He gently runs his hand through Derek’s tangled hair, strands soft as whispered lullabies under his fingertips.  “Too bad I annoyed you so much back then.”

 

“No,” Derek sighs, eyes slipping shut.

 

“No, what?”

 

“I was just mad.”

 

“Mad? At me?  What the fuck did I do?  I was always saving your wolfy ass.  I’m a fucking treasure.”

 

Derek’s words are drowsy mumbles.  “Not mad at you. Mad at myself. Thought you turned my world upside down.”

 

His hand stills as his heart rate speeds back up, pounding almost as hard as when he was pounding into Derek.  “And now?” he whispers.

 

"Now it makes sense," Derek says nonsensically, and promptly falls asleep.  He doesn’t know if it was meant to be an answer, but it leaves him with a million more questions.  For once in his life, Stiles doesn’t want to fall asleep after sex. Nothing waiting for him in his dreams could top this reality, the feeling of content blooming inside his chest, curling its roots around his heart.

But he does fall asleep, jerking awake once when the weak morning light claws at the night, red and pink streaks seeping into the moonless sky like blood.  Stiles takes stock of his body, finds himself flat on his back, Derek draped over him like a living fur coat, sweaty and warm. He’s slipped a leg over Stiles' thigh, and buried his face into the side of Stiles’ neck. Oh, he thinks, astonishment crashing over him like a breaking wave. I know exactly what is happening here.  He feels frozen, as though the world has clicked into place and stopped.

 

He should get up and go, walk away while he still can, before it gets as bloody as those first few years after Scott was turned.  But as quick as the thought floats across his mind he dismisses it. They’ve never spent the night together before, and he can’t bring himself to leave, so instead he curls himself around Derek and stretches across the cool expanse of the bed.  Even to Stiles' human nose they smell like sweat and dried come, and he falls back asleep envisioning stepping into the shower with Derek in the morning.

 

****

****

 

“Want to go see a movie?” Derek asks on his way back from cleaning up in the bathroom.  Stiles, still lounging in bed, fights the urge to look over his shoulder and check to see if there is someone else Derek is asking to venture out in public with him on a Saturday night.  The last few weeks have found them spending plenty of nights in each other’s beds, but this would be the first they’ve ventured outside the safety of bedroom walls.

“You want to see a movie?” Stiles asks, disbelieving. And then, suspicious, “It’s not some weird, mind-numbing shit with subtitles, right?”  Derek is a linguist, and works as a translator for a small publishing house, so that kind of shit is like porn to him. Really, really boring porn.

 

“It’s a superhero movie.  See if I buy you any popcorn, you uncultured swine.”

 

Derek does buy him popcorn, and red vines too, and they jerk each other off in the back row of the theatre.

 

The movie is finished and they are loitering next to a trash can just outside the cinema, arguing over the finer points of the film — which Stiles loved and Derek hated, as was to be expected, when it happens.  Stiles is finishing up the dregs of his buttered popcorn, playing a guessing game of ‘is it salt or is it cum’ he's licking off his fingers, as Derek looks on, enraptured. Derek’s ever-changing eyes are the color of an ocean storm, and Stiles is wondering if perhaps they can regain enough stamina to go for round three back at his place, when a deep voice behind him asks, “Stiles?  Derek? Is that you?”

 

The noise leaving Stiles' throat is not a shriek, but he startles so hard the last of his popcorn kernels fly out of the bag and get flattened under his feet. He only has a split second to mourn their loss when he twists around, and watches in train-wreck horror as his father walks up to them.

 

“Uh, hello?”  Stiles says.

 

Having a parent in law enforcement comes with the risk of running into him literally anywhere in their relatively small town, but it’s still a shock to see his dad, sans uniform, bearing down on them like hellfire.  

 

“Hello, boys,” John Stilinski replies, eyes tracking Stiles' hands as they hastily wipe butter and any other sticky fluid onto the bottom hem of the worn out sweatshirt he is wearing, which happens to belong to Derek.  The Sheriff looks back and forth between Stiles and Derek, and asks, “Are you guys here… together?

 

All rational thought flies out of Stiles' brain.  There are a couple of off-duty deputies Stiles vaguely recognizes, whom his father seems to be with—a pretty brunette woman and a skinny man with scraggly facial hair.  Ten seconds pass in a nightmarish mockery of slow motion, everyone looking at him, waiting as Stiles opens and closes his mouth, unsure of where his thoughts stop and his voice begins.  Both his father and Derek are looking at him with furrowed eyebrows. Derek’s gaze is unnervingly earnest as he waits for Stiles to speak.

 

When it is clear Stiles is at a complete loss for intelligent conversation, Derek turns smoothly toward the Sheriff.  “Stiles was just finishing up some last minute wedding errands the bride and groom sent him on. He’s been taking his best man duties very seriously, and he seemed stressed out so I suggested we go see this movie he’s been blathering on about.  Figured he could use a break from Scott and all the marriage shenanigans.” Derek continues to spin a bunch of bullshit to his father until all suspicion is successfully squashed, and his dad motions the other cops over to make introductions. But Stiles barely registers their names.

 

He should be breathing a sigh of relief.  They had agreed, in the beginning, not to tell their well- meaning but meddlesome friends and family about their arrangement, so there is no reason Derek’s casual rebuttal of their being there together should stab Stiles in the heart, especially when he himself couldn’t produce the words, but it does.  Stiles feels like he’s sliced open. This thing in his chest is evolving and growing too complex for him to possibly keep inside.  Guilt, shame and self-loathing burn sourly in his gut; they are living things gnawing at everything soft beneath his ribs.  He is such a fucking coward.

 

It has been almost three months now, three months of clandestine fucking, three months of surreptitious gropes in dark corners and the bathroom of their favorite bar as their pack members mingle outside, three months of the occasional evening spent at one another's apartment, and phone sex when they can’t be together.  But it’s been three months of flirty text messages, private jokes, whispered desires, potent looks and secret smiles, too. This pain radiating from Stiles' heart is not an approved reaction for the kind of mad, idiotic, completely feeling-free fling they agreed on when it began.

 

As his dad and Derek shoot the breeze, Stiles wonders what the fuck are we doing? and how much longer can we keep this up? The voice in his head sounds strangely like his mother’s, but he can’t think of her now, or he’ll break down and cry.

 

He looks at Derek standing beside him in the dark, solemn face backlit by the neon glow of the theater sign. Stiles could grab hold of his hand, touch his face, reach up and finally kiss him, damn the consequences or labels or what anyone thinks.  But he won’t.  I love you, he thinks, wildly, the words coming unbidden.   God fucking damn it, I’m in love with Derek Hale.


A burst of longing detonates behind his ribs, so sharp Stiles feels physical pain.  It doesn't matter that Derek is less than a foot away from him.  He is so far out of Stiles' reach, it might as well be miles.

 

Chapter Text

I think there's something you should know
I think it's time I told you so
There's something deep inside of me
There's someone else I've got to be
I won't let you down
I will not give you up
It's the one good thing that I've got
-George Michael

 

By lunchtime Thursday Stiles is crawling out of his skin.  The wedding is Saturday, and last night Scott texted him forty-six times in a row, second guessing the song he and Malia picked for their first dance.  After talking him off the ledge until after midnight, he was then woken up at six by a text from Scott making sure he still had the rings. He’s so tired the words on his computer screen are blurring into ancient hieroglyphics, so he gets down on his knees and begs Danny to let him go early, despite already having Friday off for the rehearsal.  Danny gives him a bunch of shit but eventually caves, and Stiles skips out the door, knowing exactly where he needs to go.

 

He hasn’t thought this out thoroughly, but like all his other plans, he does best when winging it.  It’s been five days since his father saw him and Derek together at the movies, and it’s been five long days with no text messages and no phone calls from Derek.  He tells himself this could easily wait until the wedding is over, that waylaying Derek at work is wrong on so many levels, but Stiles has the afternoon off and a driving need to see Derek.  Besides, with all their family and friends celebrating, chances of them being able to actually have a conversation, have The Conversation, are slim.  Half of Stiles is terrified they’ll get drunk at the reception and fall into bed again, leaving nothing sorted out, and the other half is scared shitless Derek will look at Stiles today as though he means nothing to him at all.

 

Derek’s office is on the outskirts of Beacon County.  Although he usually works from home as a freelance translator, he is in the office a few days a week meeting with clients, and Stiles has already faked a horrendous Polish accent to verify with the secretary that Derek is present today.   In for a penny, in for a pound, as his mom used to say.

 

There is an office map in the vestibule of the building, directing him to the small press publishing office on the second floor.  Stiles knows, from listening to Derek talk, he often goes for a run during his lunch hour at one-thirty, and thinking he has timed this ambush just right, he flies up the stairs to intercept him.  Instead, he is greeted with Derek’s closed office door, and a pithy sign stating: Currently with a client.  Please wait. So Stiles seats himself in an old chair with lumpy padding in the waiting room, and tries to follow directions with a minimal amount of anxious squirming.

 

At one-forty five, the door opens and a young woman walks out, slinging a messenger bag over her shoulder, apple-cheeked and looking slightly dazed.   Is that what I look like when I’ve been with him?  She pulls the door halfway closed behind her.  Stiles can see Derek bent over his laptop through the crack in the door.  He waits for her to exit into the stairwell before standing up, taking a fortifying breath, and knocking on the ajar door.  

 

“Sorry, I’m about to leave.  Please come back at three o’clock,” Derek says, never looking up from where he is typing away at his computer.

 

“But I came all this way.  The least you could do is tell me to fuck off in another language.”  Derek looks up, startled, and finds Stiles leaning casually against the doorjamb.

 

“Oh,” Derek says, smiling softly before furrowing his eyebrows, disoriented.  “Stiles.”

 

And there it is, the same open, vulnerable look on his face Stiles first saw eight years ago, the first time Derek looked at him.  He looks like he is waking up from a dream. What does it mean?

 

“Is it a bad time?  I can go if you are busy.  I just figured you usually take a break around this time.  I wanted to see you before the wedding this weekend.”

 

“It’s not a bad time, Stiles.  What did you need?”

 

What does he need?  A million things cross his mind, but he only says one.  “You.”

 

There is a war of emotions raging on Derek’s face as he tries to decipher Stiles' meaning.  “You need me?” he asks, and Stiles nods. Derek blinks at him owlishly before his face hardens, eyes hot.  “Lock the door, please.” Stiles does.

 

Derek rolls his desk chair back and stands, beckoning Stiles over to him.  For a moment Stiles thinks this is it, Derek is ending it. He will bury their time together, sow it with salt and walk away, leaving Stiles’ heart barren.  Fear shoots up his throat, tightening painfully.

 

Derek stares at his face, and then reaches out and grips the back of Stiles' neck, right at the base of his skull.  Stiles can’t hide his full body shiver. “You need me?” he repeats. “Needed me so much, you came to my work to get fucked?”

 

And no, no, no, this is not what Stiles came here for, but he can’t think straight with Derek gripping his neck like this, holding him like an unruly puppy.  He can already feel himself growing hard as his body softens, magnetized toward Derek.

 

“Would you let me fuck you, here?  Over my desk?”

 

Stiles goes from confusedly aroused to rock hard in the space of the long breath that Derek lets out on the end of his question.  His answer is a low harsh moan deep in his throat.

 

“I want to, so badly,” Derek tells him, “want to fuck you right here where anyone could hear, but I don’t think I’d have enough time to stretch you, Stiles.”

 

“I’ve been using a vibrator,” Stiles reminds him.  He shouldn’t be encouraging this, when what they need is to talk.  But they’ve always communicated better like this, and he's fucked himself three times since Saturday, fantasizing that the smooth silicone was Derek’s skin.  “I wanted to prep myself for the time when we would… I used it this morning. I’m probably still stretched.”

 

Derek makes quick work of Stiles' button and zipper, while Stiles struggles to produce the right words, and fails.  Derek pulls off Stiles' shirt and shoves his pants and boxers to the floor, spinning him around to bend him over the desk.  Stiles toes off his socks and shoes, shaking his legs out of the pile of clothes gathering at his ankles.

 

Derek grabs hold of Stiles' ass, pulling apart his cheeks, and the sound Derek makes before he buries his whole face in Stiles' ass is predatory.  The first swipe of his tongue against his sensitive skin is hot and rough. Derek licks long, deliberate stripes over the hole with the flat of his tongue, then darts the firm tip at the ring of muscles without mercy, warm and wet and filthy.  A strangled sound escapes him.

 

“You are such a motherfucker,” Stiles swears, helplessly bucking back into the sensation.

 

Derek abruptly pulls his face away, snaking a finger in to press repeatedly at where Stiles is wet and slick from his mouth.  His other hand strokes lightly behind Stiles’ balls. “Need me to stop?”

 

No,” Stiles insists.  “I can take whatever you give me.”

 

There’s already a sticky mess against his stomach, smeared on the desktop next to a Spanish manuscript marked up with red pen, a dampness that’s growing tacky and stiff, but Stiles can’t bring himself to care.  Derek drags his finger down the indentation of Stiles' spine, then pulls him apart again, resting a forearm over the curve of his ass to hold him open as he noses gently along the crease. He flattens his tongue, licking up over the hole as Stiles shivers, full body.  

 

The press and slide of Derek’s tongue, wet and fucking him open, rip the most sinful noises from Stiles’ throat.  Derek traces the flesh of Stiles’ rim with his lips, letting out a satisfied huff of air when it responds, contracting against the pressure.  

 

Then the clever mouth is gone, and Stiles lays against the desk, panting, as he listens to Derek fling his clothes off.  He reaches into his desk and pulls out lube. Stiles sputters, and Derek whispers with a laugh, “It always pays to be prepared.”  

 

“What are you, some kind of fucked up werewolf Boy Scout?” Stiles grumbles.

 

“No,” Derek laughs.  “Just been extra horny lately.  Maybe a run isn’t all I do on my lunch break.”  And holy shit, that means Derek has been so turned on by what they’ve been doing, he touches himself at work to the thought of Stiles.  It gives him a heady sense of satisfaction.

 

He feels blunt, slick fingers trace over his entrance, and his initial instinct, through the lust and want and stretch of the morning, is to seize up.  But once Derek’s finger circles the rim and the lube warms, Stiles releases the grip of his muscles, and in the next instant, Derek’s finger slides inside him.

 

He arches his back, and when Derek’s finger pushes into him again, a second easily joins the first. "Oh my God, yes."  Stiles takes shallow breaths, his head tilted back and his eyes closed as Derek fucks him like that, his fingers thick and talented, slowly moving in and out and apart, stretching him.

 

"You love this, don’t you?" Derek’s voice is hoarse from desire, his breath ragged, straining to keep quiet. He widens his fingers as he withdraws, then pushes back inside, curling them against the sweet spot inside him.

 

"Yes," Stiles whimpers.  “I do love it. I love it all.  I love...” The word love come spilling from his lips with abandon, and Stiles wants to slap a hand over his mouth before he says something incredibly stupid.

 

"Fuck, you're still so tight, even after fucking yourself this morning."

 

Stiles widens his knees, offering up a silent invitation for Derek to loosen him up more. He takes an illicit peek to see Derek’s lazy, sensuous smile, his green eyes darkened to near-black.  Stiles watches as Derek rotates his forearm, muscles flexing, and thrusts his fingers back inside Stiles' ass, palm up. He fucks them in faster, watching them disappear into Stiles' body, then leans forward to lick at the flesh surrounding his digits.  Stiles groans and buries his face back in his hands.

 

He is panting, so slick and wet inside that the way is easy for Derek’s two fingers now. It’s all he can do to hold still.  Pre-cum dribbles liberally from his cock onto the garish varnish of the desk, and there's a wonderful, hot ache in his ass, which intensifies when Derek slowly slips three digits inside, making Stiles come apart at the seams.

 

When Derek once again changes the angle of his hand, Stiles cries out.  His skin is starting to break out in a fine sheen of sweat, his back muscles rippling and fingers scrabbling for the desktop.  

 

"That's it," Derek urges. "Christ…" He pulls out, screws back in, and Stiles trembles. "You like taking three fingers, Stiles?"

 

"Unnh!"  It’s a low, liquid noise that never solidifies into coherence.  He counters the push of the digits into his ass, rocking back, moving his body in time with the fingers pressing into him and scissoring apart.  He’s half-afraid he will come from this, and never get Derek’s dick inside him at all.

 

"God, that's hot," Derek tells him. "Do you want more?  I'm dying to put my cock in you."

 

Stiles turns to glance at him again. He pants out the words, "Do it.  I want more. I'm ready. So fucking ready…"

 

“Okay, let me get a-”

 

“No,” Stiles demands.  “I want it right now.”

 

Derek pulls his fingers out and aims his cock.  He leans over, kisses Stiles' spine, the gentleness a momentary reprieve, like the eye of a storm.  Stiles moans and breathes out, trying his best to open himself to Derek. The head touches his stretched rim.  Derek grasps Stiles' cheek in his other hand, and then, with a quick shove, the crown breeches the tight ring of muscle.  The uncomfortable stretch blossoms into a low burn, and Stiles groans in surprise, arches back onto it.

 

Derek stills at Stiles' moan, settling just inside his body.  “What do you need from me?” he asks.

 

“Just… Just hold still,” Stiles requests, hips twitching and asshole tightening and releasing as he adjusts to the stretch, the movements slowly drawing Derek’s cock deeper into his body.  He corkscrews his hips as his ass slowly gives into the pressure, greedy for more stimulation, the movements impaling himself on Derek's cock more and more and more. He's big, and it hurts a little, but Stiles is so wet and so turned on.  

 

“That’s it,” Derek encourages.  “Look at you take it. God, you’re amazing.”  Their breathing synchronizes – long, ragged breaths while Derek bottoms out in him from behind.  Derek groans when his balls settle against Stiles' ass, cock lodged firmly inside, and they both freeze, panting for breath.

 

His cock and balls are heavy and aching, begging to be touched. Even his nipples hurt, and he tries to flatten his chest on the desk, but Derek fists one hand in his hair and tugs,  bringing Stiles up onto his toes, back bowed and fingers barely scratching the desktop, imprisoning his body like a ship in a bottle. The ache in his scalp offsets the ache in his ass, the feeling of fullness lighting all his nerve-endings on fire, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.  It feels like an itch between his shoulder blades has been scratched, like a tightness in his skin has been loosened. Stiles groans, unable to keep quiet in the onslaught of sensation. Derek wraps the other hand, slick with lube and sweat, around Stiles’ hip as he pulls out an inch, and then drives back inside. They both groan.  Derek does it again. And again. And again. Every rock of Derek’s hips licking pleasure up Stiles' spine.

 

Derek fucks him faster, bouncing Stiles' ass off his cock each time and giving little rhythmic grunts of exertion.

 

"Oh fuck," Stiles cries. He arches his throat, eyes rolling shut.  It’s too good, beyond anything he could have imagined. He is overwhelmed with sensation.  “Derek. I can’t…”. He pants, wildly. “I can’t take it.”

 

“Yes, you can,” Derek whispers, a devil in his ear, never letting up.  Stiles' asscheeks jiggle when Derek bottoms out in him over and over. They are both moaning with each thrust, Derek mouthing at the back of Stiles’ neck, licking down his spine. “So good,” he keeps panting between swipes of his tongue, “You taste so good Stiles.”

 

“Come inside me. God, please…I can’t...I need..."  

 

And all the while, Derek fucks him, holding him up as each stroke of his cock rockets over Stiles' protests, making him jerk and twitch and moan.  The sound of their bodies coming together sings out like a choir in the quiet of Derek’s office.

 

He's floating in a place no one has ever taken him to before. "Can you take it, Stiles?" Derek gasps.

 

But Stiles is beyond words now, and can only furiously nod his assent, the movement impeded by how Derek’s holding his head in place.  He’s riding the edge of his orgasm with abandon, so close he can see stars. A string of rough, wordless sounds are forced from his throat.  He presses his moaning mouth against his own arm.

 

"God, I'm going to come so hard," Derek breathes. "I'm… going to…" He pulls Stiles up so his back is pressed to Derek’s chest, hips taking short, erratic thrusts in the narrowed space, hand releasing his hair to wrap around Stiles' throat.

 

"Come inside me," Stiles begs. “Fill me up, Derek.  I want to feel you.” Derek cries out and with one final hard thrust, he let loose a string of profanity and comes hot and wet, pulsing as he spills himself into Stiles' ass.  He breathes hot huffs of air and little whining sounds into Stiles' skin that make him shiver.

 

After a few decelerated thrusts, Derek seductively whispers, “I’m going to get you off now.” All the air leaves Stiles’ lungs in one crushing breath.  Derek turns his head and licks along the tendon on the side of Stiles’ throat, then bites down hard and sucks.  Stiles makes a small, desperate sound and shoots his load all over the desk, coming in a series of sharp bursts without Derek ever touching his dick, come slipping from his hole as his ass clenches Derek’s cock.

 

“Holy hell,” Derek exclaims, and that’s the last thing Stiles can make sense of for a good, long time.  

 

****

****

 

The following days are a whirlwind of activity; Stiles blinks and somehow finds himself standing in the preserve beside Scott while he and Malia exchange vows in front of pack and family, Deaton braiding colored ribbons around their clasped hands.  The colors of the ribbons are blue, green and pink—representing strength, fertility and love— and when they pull their hands apart, the ribbons tie a beautiful and intricate infinity knot.

 

When the ceremony is complete, and the rings have been exchanged, the werewolves let loose a mighty howl, and pile onto the newlyweds.  Stiles is swept along for the ride.

 

“Let’s run!” Malia cries, already shedding her wedding dress.  

 

“That’s our cue to head over to the venue and make sure everything is ready for the reception,” Scott’s mom says, tactfully averting her eyes from the wolves shamelessly disrobing.  “Stiles, Lydia? Do you want to ride over with us?”

 

Lydia accepts, but Stiles declines.  He may not be able to run with the wolves, but his best friend just got married, and he wants to stay, commit this day to memory.

 

Scott, Malia and the pack strip to their underwear and dash off into the trees, yipping joyfully.  Amidst the commotion, Derek ventures up to Stiles, still the only werewolf in the McCall pack who can achieve a full shift, and bumps a wet black nose into Stiles palm.  The wedding is the first Stiles has seen or heard from Derek since they were together Thursday afternoon.

 

“Hey, big guy,” Stiles whispers, and runs a tentative hand over the soft fur of Derek’s nape.  “Go have fun. I’ll catch up with you later.” Derek jets toward the woods, but hesitates at the treeline, throwing one last look at Stiles over his shoulder.  Nothing feels right between them, and Stiles hates it.

 

He waves goodbye, and Derek dashes away, leaving Stiles alone in the woods, feeling like he’s sixteen again, and the world is crumbling down around him.


****

****

 

He’s cutting a rug on the dance floor with Melissa McCall Argent— and yeah, it’s still hard to wrap his head around that relationship, no matter how much time goes by— when the lights come back up the band announces it’s time for the bride and groom to cut the cake.  Stiles makes a beeline for the bathroom, figuring Scott will never notice he’s missing.

 

He’s walking back from the restroom when his feet veer toward a patio door, seemingly without his consent.  It takes his brain a second to catch up and realize he is instinctively moving toward the sound of Derek’s voice.  He is about to step out of the side door when he hears Jackson’s bracing tone and freezes just out of sight, stepping into an alcove meant for waitstaff and leaning as far as he can toward the doorway to hear them over the general hum of the celebration.  It’s not abnormal that these two are conversing, but it is abnormal that they seem to be talking about him.

 

“Are you still involved with Stiles in this ridiculous affair you are calling casual?”   What the fuck?!  Of course Jackson figured it out who Stiles was talking about—for all Stiles rags on him, the guy is not stupid.  He shouldn’t be surprised that Jackson seems to have broken his confidence, but he is, and it hurts.

 

“It’s none of your fucking business,” Derek retorts.  He’s angry, but there is something else in his tone that Stiles can’t decipher without seeing his face.  He grumbles a few more words that Stiles can’t make out from his secret vantage point. He’d give just about anything for werewolf hearing right now.

 

Jackson laughs meanly at the gruff tone.  “Jesus Christ, Derek. You two are the biggest idiots I’ve ever met.  It’s been, what? Almost three months? It was going on before Ethan and I got here.  Why don’t you just tell everyone? There is no point in keeping it a secret. Those that don’t know yet will eventually figure it out.  You can’t hide this kind of shit.”

 

“You think I don’t know that?  I grew up in a family of wolves.  But there is every reason to keep it secret.  Obviously Stiles doesn’t want anyone to know. I highly doubt he told you, and he hasn’t told Scott; Scott’s the closest person to him in our whole pack.”

 

“McCall is an idiot who can’t see what’s right in front of him.  And, well,” Jackson cackles, “I wouldn’t say he’s the closest to him anymore.”  

 

“No.  You don’t get it, Jackson.  There’s nothing funny about this situation.  We ran into Sheriff Stilinski last week, and Stiles…”  Derek’s voice falls off, and Stiles’ throat closes. The air feels impossibly thick as it crawls down his throat towards his lungs.  Has his windpipe always been this sticky, this tight? Has breathing always been so difficult? “He would rather have been seen with anyone other than me.”

 

Someone behind him loudly clears their throat, and Stiles nearly falls over in fright.  He spins around to see a statuesque brunette wearing a white button-down uniform shirt and black skirt, holding a serving tray.  She looks like someone who does not suffer fools, which is not good for Stiles, because he is slowly realizing he is the biggest fool in Beacon Hills.  For someone who has always feared blindness the most, he’s somehow managed to be in the dark about exactly what he and Derek have been doing. She says, “Move.  I need to get in here. This area isn’t for guests. You weren't taking a piss, were you?”

 

He grabs her, pulling her down into his hiding spot. She yelps in outrage. “Shh.  This is important. They’re talking about me.”  

 

“Oh well in that case, don’t let me get in your way,” she huffs in annoyance, but leans forward to eavesdrop with him all the same.  

 

He is not sure what he has missed in the fifteen seconds he was distracted, but what he tunes back into is not pleasant.  

 

Derek grunts at whatever Jackson’s reply had been, and then proceeds to rip the beating heart straight from Stiles' chest. “To be honest, I’m glad Stiles hasn’t told anyone.”  Stiles understands why people always tell you not to eavesdrop on conversations. Every nerve in his body feels like it is covered in a fine layer of frost. The waitress, whose name tag reads, Stacey, raises her eyebrows rhetorically at Stiles.

 

“Oh?  And why is that?”  To Stiles’ utter disbelief, Jackson sounds mad.  He kind of wants to kiss him in gratitude for his righteous indignation on Stiles’ behalf, but he’d never admit it, even under the threat of death.

 

“Because... I’m ashamed.”  Before, Stiles was freezing, but now something hot and putrid bursts open in his chest. Stacey pulls an hors d'oeuvre off the plate she was carrying and pops it between her cherry red lips, chewing with relish.

 

“Wow.  What the fuck, Derek?”  Jackson’s whisper of outrage reverberates louder than a scream.  “I never took you for someone who would play with a guy’s emotions, after all you’ve been through.  And no, Stiles never did say it was you he was with, but no matter who it was, even I could tell he was fucking gone on the guy.”  

 

“No, Jackson.  I’m not ashamed of Stiles.  I’m ashamed of me.”

 

“What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“I can’t help feeling like I tricked Stiles into this whole situation.  That I used my experience to sway him into jumping into my bed. Looking back, it just feels so wrong.  He’d been withdrawn and distracted after Scott and Malia announced their engagement, not his usual self, and I used that to get what I wanted.  I took advantage of him.” Stiles can't see Derek’s face, but can imagine the disgust twisting his mouth into an ugly scowl. “I’m no better than a pervert; I’m Kate and Jennifer.  I’m the monster I always vowed I would never be.”

 

Jackson’s voice sounds as twisted up as Stiles feels.  “First of all, you are not a pervert.  Stiles isn’t a child.  He’s about to be a twenty-five-year-old man.  You are both consenting adults.  And you know Stiles— he would never do anything he wasn’t comfortable with.  And if he could hear you compare yourself to those bitches, he’d steal back his baseball bat from Mason and slam it into your thick skull.  You are nothing like them.”

 

“This shit is better than a soap opera,” Stacey whispers.

 

“See, that’s the thing,” Derek beseeches, tone bleak and defeated.  “He wasn’t ever interested in men before. So, why me? Why now?”

 

Oh Derek, Stiles thinks.   It was always you.

 

Jackson is unusually quiet, and the waitress turns toward Stiles with a contemplative stare.  Jackson speaks, prompted by something only he can see on Derek’s face.

 

“Derek, I won’t break anyone’s trust where their sexuality is concerned, but I will ask you this: What on earth would possess you to begin an affair if you thought Stiles would wake up one day and say, ‘Gee Derek, sucking dick just isn't for me.  We had some fun, big guy, but I think I’ll go back to pussy now.’ Jackson's impression of Stiles is eerily spot on.

 

“I just… I thought I could do it, but I can’t.  I thought he was searching for something, for someone, and I convinced myself that I wanted to help him, but the hard truth is I wanted to help myself.  I thought he’d never… And when he did…”  Derek pauses. “I got what I deserve, because maybe he’s not searching at all.  I worry he’s just been wandering, and if I continue to do this with him, I’ll be just as lost in the dark as he is.”

 

Stacey shakes her head.  “It’s like a romantic comedy,” she says, “only not funny.”

 

“Pretty sure they call that a tragedy,” Stiles imparts.

 

“Derek.” Jackson whispers his name, and then they fall silent.  Stiles doesn’t know what it means. He hears nothing more, and assumes they both went back into the reception.  

 

“So what are you?” Stacey asks as she stands up, tugging her short skirt back into place.  “Gay? Straight? Bi?” Stiles thinks she has missed the entire point of the conversation, but seeing as he seems to have missed out on a few things himself these past few months, he is in no position to judge.

 

He doesn’t know what he is yet—bisexual? pansexual?—but frankly Stiles has never cared about labels other people put on him, and he refuses to start now.  He will figure it out eventually, and until then he will accept any label people want to throw at him, like a child accepting a gift, as long as he can continue to feel the way he does when he is with Derek.  His feelings for Derek have always been confusing, and sometimes downright terrifying, but they’ve never been wrong.  And he needs to fix things, right now.

 

So that’s what he tells her as he exits the waitstaff area and heads back toward Derek and his pack.

 

“I’m happy,” he answers.  It’s the truth.

 

****

****

 

He spills out onto the dance floor, searching for Derek among the glitzy disco lights, but he is nowhere to be seen.  Waitstaff are delivering pieces of wedding cake to the tables as people file back to their seats. A flash of auburn catches his eye, and Lydia is there at this side.  He snakes an arm around her slim waist, pulling her close, and they instinctively fall into a waltz that’s as easy as breathing.

 

“Lovely ceremony,” Stiles remarks, eyes flitting around the room, wondering where Derek has snuck off too, praying he hasn't left.  

 

“Yes,” she agrees.  “It was. Scott and Malia are happy, and so, so lucky.”

 

They spin around the dance floor, Lydia’s periwinkle dress skirt floating around his legs like clouds.  It’s useless, Derek is gone. Stiles sighs. “Think any of us have a chance at happiness like that?”

 

She regards him, cocking her head to the side and shaking strawberry tresses over her shoulder.  “Yeah, I think we all do. Maybe some of us sooner than others.”

 

“Oh really?  Going to knock some bitches to the ground over the bouquet?” He winks.

 

Her laugh is the tinkling of bells, and never fails to make him smile.  “Stiles, I’ve started seeing someone.”

 

The smile doesn’t fall from his lips, and he’s relieved to note it’s not forced at all.  He’s well and truly happy for her. “That’s great, Lydia. I can’t wait to meet him.” He pauses.  “Er, or her? Sorry, I was making an assumption. You know what they say about people who assume.”

 

“Him,” Lydia confides.

 

“Him,” Stiles repeats.  “Well, maybe someday soon, if he treats you like the queen you deserve to be treated as, we’ll be celebrating your marriage.”

 

“Thanks, but when I said ‘some of us,’ that wasn’t who I meant.”  She takes a deep breath. They are barely dancing now, just holding each other, swaying in time to the soft, melodic beat of the band singing about love, sweet love.  “Back a few months ago, when you found out I’d kissed Malia, and I’d mentioned a similar history with Allison—”

 

“Lydia,” he stops her.  “You don’t owe me any sort of explanation.”

 

“I know,” she says in her haughtiest voice.  Stiles laughs. “But you’re getting one anyway.  Before we were together I’d met someone.” She pauses, blinking compulsively against the wetness in her eyes.  “I felt an instant connection to her, but I was scared. It felt so strong, felt like it could have power over me that I wasn’t comfortable relinquishing.  I never acted on my feelings for that person, and I wondered, for a long time, if I’d let something special pass me by.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispers, running a soothing hand up and down her back, the satin of her dress smooth and cool under his palm.  “Can you contact her? Try again?”

 

She shakes her head.  “It’s water under the bridge now, but that was how I knew, when we got together.  I’d missed my chance then, and I knew not to miss the chance with you.  Sometimes when things don’t work out it’s for a reason. Something better could come along, more fulfilling.  Meant to be. Maybe I wasn’t destined to be the love of your life, Stiles, but at least we took the chance.” She runs her fingers over his cheek.  “It really is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, isn’t it?”

 

He touches his forehead to hers, noses brushing gently, a chaste kiss from their youth.  “What are you saying?” He asks.

 

“I’m saying don’t waste time or opportunities.  If you love someone, tell them, even if it’s hard.  Even if it’s terrifying.”

 

He looks into Lydia’s fierce green eyes, and is aware of how very much he loves her.  Not as a lover, but she is the bedrock of his life, an integral part of the foundation that keeps him steady.  Impulsively he hugs her, and she rests her flushed cheek against his shoulder, and they breathe together as the song fades out.

 

“Care for another dance?” Stiles asks.

 

She picks up her head and looks at him, her grin a glossy pink smirk dancing across her face.  “I think someone wants to cut in.”

 

Stiles turns around, and there is Derek, holding a white plate bearing a decadent slice of chocolate cake piled high with buttercream frosting.  

 

“Hey,” Stiles says, as Lydia slips away like a ghost.

 

Derek holds up the plate.  “I saved you some dessert. Mason was eating all the slices sitting around, and I knew you’d be pissed if you missed out.”

 

Stiles throws his head back and laughs.  “Hell yeah I’d be pissed. I told Scott he should have taken me to the cake tasting, because I am an expert cake tester.  Of course he didn’t because he’s the world’s worst best friend.” Stiles makes grabby hands for the cake.

 

“Yes, he’s awful,” Derek agrees, deadpan, handing him the plate, “bringing his future wife to choose her own wedding cake.  What an asshole.”

 

“I should send Mason over to eat my dad’s slice,” Stiles scowls squinty-eyed, imagining his father scarfing a corner piece with extra icing.  He can feel his father’s arteries clogging with butter and sugar from here.

 

“Actually,” Derek shoves his hands into his pants pockets, “I got a waiter to bring your father a fruit cup instead.”

 

Stiles blinks.  It’s like Derek reached into his brain and is three steps ahead of him. “Wait, what?  Why did you do that?”

 

Derek shrugs and glances away for a moment, before returning his gaze to Stiles. His hands come out of his pockets and his arms snake their way across his chest, barricading his body from Stiles and their conversation, before quickly dropping back down to his sides.  His shoulders hunch up to his ears. Every out-of-character fidget screams Derek’s discomfort. “I knew you’d want him to have something healthy.”

 

Dear god.  He wants to takes this mental image of Derek, like the hundred others he has, and preserve it like a dried flower in the scrapbook of his heart.  He opens his mouth to say thank you, or you’re amazing, or something—anything— to convey how much it means to him that Derek looks out for his father and to ease the needlessly mounting tension in his shoulders, but what comes out instead is, “I love you, Derek.”

 

Realization widens Derek’s eyes into saucers, face softening in surprise.  He opens his mouth and gets as far as, “Wha—” before Stiles bodily crashes into him between one breath and the next, pressing forward with so much determination the cake squishes between their chests.  The plate crashes to the dance floor as Stiles wraps his hands around the sides of Derek’s thick neck, and Derek lets out a small grunt of surprise as Stiles presses their lips together. The reception fades away, or perhaps goes silent; Stiles is not sure which because all his brain can process is the feeling of Derek’s lips finally against his own.  The kiss is not lingering or desperate, but it is devastating in its tenderness and long past due.

 

Derek’s hands cup his elbows, tugging his face away as their chests press together, frosting smearing all over their ties and lapels, Derek’s heart beating wildly against his through the layers of fabric.  He runs his thumb up the quivering tendons in Stiles' neck and everyone at the reception bursts into movement all at once, pack members reaching for them, exclaiming, but Derek never takes his eyes off Stiles, gaze as fixed and intense as it’s always been since they first met.  Derek leans forward and down, closing the few centimeters between them, and presses his mouth back to Stiles’.

 

There’s a transcendent moment where Stiles doesn’t know where to put his hands, during which he remembers that he’s kissing a man, that he’s finally kissing Derek, that he loves it, wants it, that he can do so with freedom.  Derek slides a hand to his lower back, slipping around to rest low on Stiles’ hip, pulling their bodies impossibly close. His other hand cups Stiles’ jaw and strokes down with his thumb, opening Stiles' mouth enough for him to slide his tongue inside, and fuck yes.  Why didn’t Stiles do this months ago, years ago?  It’s been less than thirty seconds, but Stiles is already addicted to the slick, wet push and glide, the lazy fuck of Derek’ tongue.  

 

They break away, breathless.

 

“One day, a long time ago, long before we ever started this, I woke up wanting to kiss you.  So please, Stiles, let’s never stop,” Derek all but begs.  He curls his fingers around Stiles' temples, bumping their foreheads gently together.  

 

“Never,” Stiles agrees.  It’s silly, and soft, and probably more than he deserves, but now that he has it, Stiles is never letting go.

 

“I knew you boys were on a date last week,” Sheriff Stilinski exclaims, and oh hey the whole pack is circling around them on the dance floor. “Admit it, son.  I’m right.”

 

Stiles rubs his nose against Derek’s.  “Yes, Dad. It was a date,” he sighs, lips brushing feather-light against Derek’s stubbled cheek.

 

Stacey the waitress comes up to them and starts dabbing at Stiles’ ruined suit jacket with a wet napkin.  “You are a bisexual disaster,” she scoffs.

 

Stiles laughs.  “I am, aren’t I?”

 

“When the hell did Stiles and Derek get together?  Stiles likes dudes?” Scott asks, scratching the top of his head.  As always, he looks like a confused puppy, and Malia rolls her eyes at him.

 

“This guy usually so quick on the uptake?”  Stacey asks.

 

“Yeah, he’s a dumbass,” Stiles mock whispers to her, and Scott sputters in outrage.

 

“Oh, hey!  Stiles isn’t the only one anymore!” Corey laughs, hearkening back to their conversation at the engagement party.  Mason punches him in the shoulder, but Stiles appreciates Corey bringing it full circle.

 

“Not the only one?” his dad asks, narrowed eyes landing on Corey like a hawk.  “The only one to what?”

 

“I’m sure we don’t want to know,” Melissa tells him, cupping her hands over her ears like earmuffs.  Corey turns beet red and Mason smacks him again.

 

“You’re right.  Some cake would probably go a long way to helping me erase the mental image of Derek Hale and my son swapping spit on the dance floor.”

 

“Gross, Dad.  And no cake for you!  Even my boyfriend knows you shouldn’t have the fat and sugar!”  Stiles turns to Derek. “Boyfriend? Is that okay?”

 

“It’s more than okay,” Derek admits.  His smile at Stiles is a glimmer of sun in a sea storm.

 

“Alright assholes, give us the dirt,” Jackson demands.  He’s trying to keep a bored expression but Stiles can see him struggling to keep the corners of his lips in a firm line.  “How long has this been going on, and better yet, how the hell did it start?”

 

Stiles laughs, and Derek reaches down, twines their fingers together and squeezes softly.  Did it start three months ago when Scott called to say he was getting married? Or eight years ago when Derek tossed Scott a muddy inhaler and looked at Stiles like he was the only boy in the world?  The truth is, Derek and Stiles have always been as helplessly tangled together as their fingers currently are.

 

There’s more than enough time for the whole story to unfold, for all the good things, and the not-so-good, but Jackson and the rest of their pack will just have to wait.  Because Stiles is busy right now, wrapping himself in Derek’s arms.

 

There’s plenty of time to overshare every little detail with Scott, sweet payback for a lifetime of listening to him wax poetic about the women he loves.  And more than enough time to officially come out to the pack—if this wasn’t official enough.  Time to sit down and talk to his dad about how he fell in love with a man, and ask what Claudia Stilinski would think of all this.  He’s pretty positive he already knows the answer.

 

And plenty of time to pull Jackson aside and thank him.  One of the reasons Stiles is fortunate enough to be standing here, in this moment, is because of Jackson’s advice, championship and patient guidance; words Stiles never thought he’d associate with Jackson Whittemore, but crazier things have happened.  Things like hellhounds on the police force, resurrections, and teen wolves. Things like Stiles Stilinski and Derek Hale.

 

They’ll get to all that in good time, but for now, Stiles and Derek have a lot of kisses to make up for.