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Puppy howl

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Stiles heard a pitiful little howl, and he squinted towards it. He didn’t see anything but trees.

“Derek?”

It couldn’t be Derek, that sounded like a puppy at best, and while Derek (not so) secretly was an adorable sweetheart he wasn’t a puppy. Not literally at least. Anyway, Stiles wasn’t surprised when no answer came, but he did head in the direction of the howl.

“Derek? Where’d you go?”

They’d been out looking for a witch, then Derek had smelled something and taken off, leaving Stiles gaping after him before swearing and slowly, on human feet, following through the thick woods.

The little howl sounded again, small and scared sounding, making Stiles’ heart clench, and he kept going towards it. He had no idea where Derek was, he might as well look for a little lost puppy, there really weren’t supposed to be any out there in the middle of the woods.

“Puppy?” Stiles asked softly, and a low whine came in response.

When he finally saw the puppy he had to stop. It was the cutest thing he had ever seen in his life, and it was standing in a pile of clothes, a little inside the shirt even. Stiles paused. That was Derek’s clothes.

“Derek?”

He crouched down, still a couple of yards away, because the puppy looked worried and he didn’t want to scare it off. Him off. If it actually was Derek. Stiles held his hand out towards it, and the puppy sniffed the air, then it tipped its little head back and howled again, a sad and mournful little howl that broke Stiles' heart.

“Oh, no,” he whispered. “Come here, buddy, please?”

The puppy - Derek, he was fairly sure it actually was Derek - sniffed the air again, and Stiles carefully moved a little closer, his hand still held out and close to the ground. Derek watched him, looking wary, and when Stiles stopped he sniffed the air again, then he slowly made his way out of the shirt, only stumbling a little (Stiles had to clench his jaw to not squeal, that was so fucking cute), and took a few cautious steps towards Stiles.

He sniffed the air, then his clothes, then the air again, before taking a few steps more to sniff Stiles’ hand, and Stiles noticed he was shaking a little.

“It’s me, it’s Stiles, you know me,” he said softly, and Derek pressed his little head against Stiles’ hand. “Yeah, come here, buddy, I’ll keep you safe until I can fix this.”

He carefully picked Derek up, and Derek whined and pressed his head against him. Stiles held him one-handedly as he picked up Derek’s clothes too. He fumbled to get the shirt wrapped a little around Derek, hoping the scent would help, then he held the rest pressed between his arm and body so he could keep Derek steady with his other hand too.

Derek whined again, but he had stopped shaking, so Stiles mumbled, what he hoped was, comfortingly to him as he started to head back to the car. To the Camaro, because they had taken Derek’s car.

It was a long hike through the woods to get back, Stiles had to fumble his phone out of his pocket so he could use the maps on it to find the way, and when they got there Derek was asleep in his arms. It was tricky getting the car key from the pocket of Derek’s jeans, but he managed without dropping anything, then he opened the door and put the clothes on the passenger seat. Derek woke up as he gently placed him on the pile of clothes, and he whined before sniffing around himself.

”It’s the Camaro, we’re going to see the good doctor, to see if he can help,” Stiles explained, and Derek looked at him with his head tilted.

Stiles wasn’t sure he understood what he was saying, or that if he understood that he actually knew what he was talking about. The last time Derek had been de-aged he hadn’t remembered anything after the age he had been turned to, and this Derek couldn’t be more than a few years old.

Stiles got in behind the wheel, then he held his hand out for Derek again, and Derek sniffed it before looking out the windshield, so Stiles started the car and slowly drove out of the woods. He stopped before he got to the big road and called Deaton, asking if they could visit, and when Deaton agreed he drove them to the clinic.

When he stopped the car and started to get out Derek immediately started to follow him, and Stiles hesitated a moment before carefully helping him get down, but he let him go on his own and hoped he wouldn’t run off.

Derek sniffed the ground before following Stiles closely towards the entrance to the clinic, but then he trotted off to a tree and crouched down to pee next to it. Stiles looked away as he did, but not before noticing Derek looked straight at him while peeing, as if making sure he wasn’t leaving him, so Stiles stayed very still and watched for movement so he wouldn’t lose him if he decided to sneak off. Soon enough Derek came up to him again, and Stiles smiled down at him as they walked to the door.

Derek hesitated there though, sniffed the air, then looked up at Stiles and back to the car, so Stiles crouched down next to him.

“It’s okay, I know it smells weird, but it’s okay, I promise,” he said, and Derek watched him a moment longer before taking a cautious step inside.

“Stiles,” Deaton said suddenly, just when the door had closed behind them, and Derek scrambled to hide behind Stiles’ legs. “And Derek? What happened?”

“Oh thank god, it is Derek, right? I didn’t just snatch up a random wolf pup and take Derek’s clothes and car and leave him naked in the woods?” Stiles asked and Deaton watched Derek with furrowed brows.

“No, it’s Derek alright,” he said, then he looked at Stiles and repeated himself, “What happened?”

Stiles told him what he knew, which wasn’t much, and Deaton hummed and nodded, while Derek watched from behind Stiles’ legs, looking far more skeptical than a tiny wolf puppy had any right to do. Stiles didn’t really think about it, he just crouched down, and Derek squeezed in between his leg and arm, still watching Deaton, but looking a lot more relaxed.

“So, my best guess is that he met the witch,” Stiles ended with a shrug and Deaton nodded.

“Yes, it looks that way,” he said, then he gestured towards his office. “Join me in there and I’ll see what I can do. I doubt I’ll be able to remove it today, but I want to look and see if it is what I suspect.”

Derek looked nervous and very very cautious, but he still followed Stiles to the office, and when Stiles sat down in a chair Derek put his front paws on his legs and whined.

“Okay, just don’t kill me for this when you’re back to normal again,” Stiles said softly as he picked him up again, and Derek reached up to lick his chin. “Oh, man.”

Deaton let Derek stay in Stiles’ lap, but he did have to touch him a few times, and Derek pressed himself against Stiles when he did, looking between them with huge eyes while Stiles quietly reassured him that it was all okay. Eventually, after having consulted a book, some crystals and stones, a twig for whatever reason, and some kind of herb, Deaton sat down and looked at them.

”It’s a curse,” he said softly, and Derek whined and tried to hide his head in Stiles’ hoodie. ”It’s not a bad one though, it’s a fairly benevolent one actually, if you can call a curse that.” Derek stopped whining, but he didn’t move his head from where he had managed to get most of it inside Stiles’ hoodie. Stiles distractedly stroked his soft fur as he gestured with his other hand for Deaton to go on. ”It’s to make him harmless, revert him to a state where he wasn’t a danger for the witch, and it will break on its own within 24 to 48 hours, depending a little on the strength of the witch, but also on him, how safe he feels.”

”Could you guess how old he is?”

“He doesn’t look more than a couple of months old wolf cub, which for a werewolf my guess, and it is only a guess, would be perhaps 4 years old?”

“Okay,” Stiles said and looked down at Derek. Most of his head was still hidden in the hoodie, just his back-turned ears sticking out, but he moved a little and Stiles saw one big eye looking up at him. “It’s okay, Derek. You’re safe, it’s okay.”

He stroked a careful finger over his head, and Derek pushed up into the touch a moment, then he stuck his head back in the hoodie and pressed himself against Stiles.

Stiles looked at Deaton again. “Thank you,” he said, then he wrapped his arms around Derek and stood up.

“You’re welcome,” Deaton said. “Call me if anything strange happens, or if he hasn’t turned back in 48 hours. I doubt there will be any problems though.”

“I will, thanks,” Stiles said again, then he headed out, Derek held close.

Derek didn’t want to move when they got to the car, so Stiles sat there with him in his lap and called his dad.

“Hey, kiddo,” John answered.

“Hey, dad,” Stiles said. “Is it okay if Derek and I sleep at your place tonight?”

“Of course,” John said. “Is everything alright?”

“No, it’s okay, it’s nothing bad, I promise. I’ll tell you when I see you,” Stiles said.

“Okay, I’ll be home in a few hours, see you then?”

“Yeah, sure, thanks dad,” Stiles said.

They said goodbye and hung up while Derek watched him curiously, his head finally out of the hoodie. Stiles smiled down at him.

“Can you go sit in the passenger seat again, so I can drive?” he asked, and Derek looked at the pile of his clothes. “Please? Just while I’m driving?”

Derek looked up at him again, then he actually nodded his little wolf head and started to climb over to the passenger seat. Stiles awkwardly held his hands close to him, in case he stumbled or fell, but he made it over without too many problems, then Derek sat down on his clothes and looked out the windshield.

Like during the first drive he looked around curiously, and a few times he looked at Stiles a little confusedly, so Stiles guessed he saw something that was different from what it should be for 4-year-old Derek. He couldn’t do anything about it though, so he just gently stroked his back while keeping his eyes on the road.

When they got to John’s house Stiles grabbed Derek’s clothes and let Derek walk himself into the house. He was cautious, but nothing like he had been at the clinic. Stiles put Derek’s shoes in the rack by the door, and his clothes on the kitchen table. He’d move them somewhere better later, but first he needed to make Derek something to eat. Well. Okay, first he wanted to make Derek something to eat. He looked down at him.

“Hungry?”

Derek whined and nodded, his tail wagging carefully, and Stiles grinned at him before opening the fridge. He scrambled eggs and found a couple of hotdogs that he cut up. He grabbed them each a stick of string cheese sticks too and peeled a couple of carrots, then he sat down on the floor with the food on a chair.

“I refuse to put your food on the floor,” he said, then he held Derek’s plate for him as he carefully picked up pieces with his front teeth and chewed properly. “Would you prefer if I fed you? I can get a fork?”

Derek shook his head and kept eating, so Stiles ate too, one-handed with his plate still on the chair. He peeled apart Derek’s cheese for him and fed him the strings by hand, and when Derek was finished Stiles held a carrot out for him. Derek sniffed it, clearly skeptical, and Stiles huffed a laugh.

“It’s a carrot, it’s good for you and it’s tasty, try a little.” He broke off the tip that he held out. Derek cautiously took it, and, while he ate it, as well as the rest of his carrot, he clearly made sure to look displeased about it. “You’re such a good kid, eating your veggies even when you’re not a fan.”

Derek wagged his tail a little and Stiles grinned at him, then he ruffled his fur gently and got up to clean up.

-

A couple of hours later, after spending an hour playing in the backyard, Derek was curled up on Stiles’ stomach, sleeping soundly as Stiles was sprawled out on his back in the couch, playing with his phone. He heard a car pull into the driveway, and he quickly sent a text to his dad.

>> Derek’s sleeping, be quiet

A minute later his dad carefully opened the front door, and soon he peeked into the living room. Stiles raised a hand in greeting and John raised his too, but his eyes were firmly on Derek’s still sleeping little form.

“Is that..?” he whispered and Stiles nodded.

“Curse,” Stiles whispered back.

“Oh, boy,” John breathed, then he gestured towards his bedroom. “I’m taking a shower.”

Stiles nodded and went back to his phone, while Derek kept sleeping, his paws occasionally twitching adorably in his sleep. When John came back he sat in the armchair and Stiles put a hand on Derek as he carefully scooted himself back a little, so he was leaned against the armrest and could look at his dad without straining his neck. Derek moved a little but kept sleeping.

“What happened?” John asked quietly.

“A witch,” Stiles said. He told John that they had gone out looking for her and that Derek had run off, about hearing the howl and heading towards it, their trip to Deaton and what he had said, and then finally, smiling, about how Derek had eaten the carrot. He shook his head, a little disbelieving, and he knew he sounded a little awed when he continued with, “Just for the record, this is, hands down, the cutest shit I’ve ever seen.”

John huffed a quiet laugh. “Yeah, he’s one hell of a cute wolf cub, that’s for sure. Why here though?”

“I couldn’t take him to my apartment, he’s not really in a shape to use bathrooms right now, and I didn’t want to take him to his place, I don’t-. I can’t be sure it smells comfortable and safe there, not like here. It’s Derek living there, I don’t know what thoughts and smells he has when he’s home alone.”

John looked a little sad, but he nodded. “Yeah.”

“I don’t know how long I should let him sleep though? I mean, it’s still early, but I want him to be able to sleep tonight too.”

“Deaton guessed four?” John asked and Stiles nodded. “He is a werewolf, so I can’t be sure, but I’d say let him sleep, not wake him up unless he’s still sleeping after maybe three hours?”

They talked some more, quietly not to wake him by mistake, and after almost an hour John went to start on dinner. Stiles didn’t move, he didn’t have the heart to move Derek, so he stayed where he was. He just lay there, looking at Derek sleeping until he woke up too. He yawned hugely, which was adorable, then he looked around and sniffed the air before looking back at Stiles. He buffed his chin with his nose and whined lowly, so Stiles put his hand over his back and stroked gently.

“You’re okay, big guy,” he said softly. “Did you sleep well?” Derek nodded a little, then he looked down at the floor before carefully starting to move to jump, and Stiles quickly grabbed him. “Careful, careful.”

Derek looked at him and huffed, then he shrugged off Stiles grip and jumped. He landed clumsily, stumbled enough to hit his chest on the floor, but he just looked back up at Stiles, as if saying he clearly managed fine on his own, and Stiles grinned at him.

“Yeah, okay, sure, you’re doing fine, you’re a big boy, and a werewolf,” he said, and Derek huffed, only to look at the back door and whine before looking back at Stiles. “Need to go?”

Derek nodded and Stiles got up to let him out, then he sat down on the steps and waited for Derek to do his business.

Derek came back soon, watching him curiously, and Stiles held his hand out for him. He sniffed it once, then he went to the door and Stiles followed him inside again. He stopped and sniffed the air, then he scrambled back to hide behind Stiles, his ears twitching and his tail between his legs.

”What is it?” Stiles asked as he crouched down, and Derek looked towards the kitchen. ”Oh, that’s my dad. He’s making dinner. You know him, adult you know him, he’s the Sheriff, you help him sometimes.”

Derek looked up at Stiles, his eyes big, then he carefully took a step forward, so Stiles stood back up and slowly made his way to the kitchen. Derek stayed close behind him, and Stiles stopped in the doorway and crouched down again. John noticed them and smiled.

”Hey, Derek,” he said and crouched down too. ”Is it a little scary?”

Derek nodded, pressed against Stiles’ leg.

”I can imagine, you probably don’t remember me,” John said softly, ”but you’re safe here, I’ll help Stiles make sure you’re safe until the curse is gone, I promise.”

Derek nodded again, a tiny movement, and John smiled before carefully standing back up to finish up the food.

”Okay?” Stiles asked quietly and Derek looked up at him and nodded, so Stiles ran a hand over his back, then he stood up too. ”I’m just gonna help dad set the table.”

He kept an eye on Derek while he put everything on the table, and Derek stayed in a corner next to the doorway the whole time, watching them both. When Stiles was done he went to sit on the floor close to Derek and Derek immediately scrambled up to his lap and whined. He didn’t stop whining, and Stiles guessed that if he had been in human form he would be crying, so he tried to comfort him as he gently petted him.

”I know, everything is weird and wrong, but you’re okay, Derek, it’s all okay, we’ll look after you and keep you safe, I promise,” he mumbled. He didn’t mention Derek’s family, and he felt like shit for it, but he didn’t know how to explain anything without just making everything so much worse. ”Just hang in there, you’re such a brave kid, you’re handling everything amazingly, I’m so proud of you. It’s okay to be upset, to be scared or sad or angry, it’s okay.”

He kept talking quietly and Derek kept whining. He hid his face in Stiles’ hoodie again, and Stiles held him close and hoped he said the right things as he tried to reassure him. When Derek finally stopped whining Stiles kept going a little longer, then he stroked Derek’s head softly and moved the hoodie a little so he could look at him.

”Okay?” he asked and Derek nodded minutely. ”Hungry?” Derek nodded again, so Stiles did too. ”Wanna go eat? Dad’s made mac and cheese.”

Derek blinked at him a couple of times before looking over at John, then back at Stiles, and then he nodded a little.

”Okay, wanna sit with me?”

Derek nodded again, so Stiles got to his feet, holding Derek, then he sat down at the table, and Derek carefully looked at John, only to hide his head in Stiles’ hoodie again.

”There are hot dogs in it, Stiles loved that when he was your age,” John said. ”Now he’s weird and likes it with broccoli.”

Stiles huffed a little laugh and Derek looked at him, his head tilted a little, and Stiles shrugged.

”I like broccoli,” he said. ”Adult you like broccoli too. And carrots.” He wrinkled his nose in fake disgust. ”And brussels sprouts.” Derek snorted at that, and he looked appalled. ”Right? But right now there’s not a vegetable in sight, so how about we eat some mac and cheese, huh?”

Derek nodded again, and finally moved completely out of the hoodie. He didn’t sit pressed against Stiles either, so Stiles gently stroked his back and ruffled the fur on his neck a little before loading their plates.

Derek ate like he had done the first time, so Stiles just held his plate in place on the table, close to the edge so he could reach. When they were finished Derek had cheese sauce over half his face it looked like, so Stiles took him to the bathroom to clean him up. He wiped his face carefully with a damp washcloth, and Derek squeezed his eyes shut but stayed still.

”God, you’re such an awesome kid,” Stiles said and Derek opened his mouth and wagged his tail.

He was more relaxed with John after dinner, and when John joined them in the backyard he played with him too. After that, and Derek doing his business, they sat on the couch to watch a movie. John carefully asked if he had seen some that he thought Derek could watch, and Derek shook his head to a lot of them and nodded at a couple, but when John asked if he had seen Beauty and the Beast Derek perked up a lot and nodded frantically, his mouth open and his tail wagging.

”Uhm,” John said with a look to Stiles.

”You’ve seen that one?” Stiles asked and Derek nodded at him too. ”And you want to watch it again?”

Derek nodded enthusiastically again, and Stiles shrugged at his dad, who started the movie. They both watched Derek more than the movie, watched him whine when the wolves attacked, watched him happily bob his head with the music, watched him grin and wag his tail at funny parts, watched him whine again when Gaston and Beast fought, and then grin again when the curse was broken.

”I still think he’s cooler as the beast,” Stiles said, and Derek opened his mouth in that grin again as he wagged his tail, but then he suddenly grew serious.

He looked at Stiles, then John, then back at Stiles, then he attacked him with slobbery kisses all over his face.

”Hey, dude,” Stiles sputtered and held Derek away from him. ”Dude, I have spit all over my face.” He couldn’t help but grin at Derek, but Derek just watched him intently, then he looked down on himself, at his paws, and whined. ”Oh, no, Derek, no, this curse isn’t like that one at all. This one will go away in a day or two on its own, it has nothing to do with love, believe me, if it was just love you needed the curse would be broken as soon as it hit you.”

Derek whined softly and carefully licked Stiles hand, where he still held him.

”It was a good idea though, but it’s not that kind of curse, it’ll break anyway, I promise.”

They went outside again, then Derek waited with John while Stiles went to use the bathroom, and when he got back they started another movie that Derek conked out to less than halfway through. Stiles let him sleep, curled up on the couch, pressed against Stiles’ leg, and he talked quietly with his dad until they got tired too.

John made Stiles’ bed with fresh sheets, then Stiles carefully moved away from Derek, and when he kept sleeping he went to the bathroom to pee and brush his teeth while John waited with Derek in case he woke up. Stiles carried a still sleeping Derek to his bed, then he stripped down to underwear and his t-shirt before lying down too. He laid there a long time and just watched Derek sleep.

-

Stiles woke up to Derek whining, pressed against his chest. He carefully wrapped his arms around Derek and tried to quietly reassure him in his morning rough voice. Derek’s whines stuttered a little, but then they kept going as he pressed himself more against Stiles.

”I know, it’s okay, you’re okay, you’re so brave and strong Derek, so amazing, it’s okay,” he said quietly.

He felt bad for it, but he was silently glad he was still in wolf form so he couldn’t ask for his parents. He had no idea how he would handle that if it happened. Eventually, Derek calmed down, and a while later they went out to the backyard. When Derek was done Stiles went to the bathroom too, and Derek waited sitting right outside the door, which made Stiles feel super bad when he got out, he was just a little kid, he didn’t have to shut him out of the bathroom.

He crouched down and petted him a little in apology, then they went to the kitchen, where John was making pancakes.

”Ooh,” Stiles said when he saw. He looked down at Derek. ”You like pancakes?” Derek nodded a little and Stiles smiled at him. ”Yeah, who doesn’t, huh?”

He set the table while Derek sat in the corner again, and when John crouched down to greet him he opened his mouth and wagged his tail. Stiles cut Derek’s pancakes, then they ate as they had before, with Derek in Stiles’ lap as Stiles held his plate in place. They played in the backyard for a long while, all three of them, then they watched another movie. Soon after lunch Derek fell asleep again, and Stiles watched him as he talked quietly to John.

As he was sleeping there, on the couch pressed against Stiles’ leg, Derek suddenly grew big. It was weird to see. One moment he was a tiny wolf cub, and then he just grew and grew and grew until he almost fell off the couch because he was so big. He startled awake, then he looked at Stiles, to John, then back at Stiles, then he scrambled off the couch and ran off to Stiles’ room.

Stiles looked over at John, who was looking towards the bedroom with furrowed brows, and Stiles got up from the couch.

”I’ll go check on him,” he said and John nodded.

”Take care of him,” he said quietly.

Derek had squeezed himself in under the bed, so Stiles sat down on the floor by the door. He could vaguely see Derek from there, mostly as a big dark shape, but he could make out his miserably low ears and his tail.

”I don’t know if you remember everything, but the witch cursed you, de-aged you. I took you to Deaton, he said it would wear off on its own within 24 to 48 hours, then I took you here, because it felt like the best place to be, to make you feel safe. You’ve been amazing, such a cool kid, super brave and strong, and I hope I didn’t fuck anything up too badly. I’m sorry it happened to you.” He paused a little. ”If you want to be alone I can go sit with dad again?”

Derek carefully crawled a little closer, but Stiles didn’t know what that meant, so he just stayed sitting and waited for something else. It took a minute, but then Derek crawled out completely. He kept close to the floor as he went over to Stiles and pressed his head against his chest.

”You’re okay, big guy, it’s okay,” Stiles said as he wrapped his arms around Derek as well as he could. ”You’re safe, I promise, it’s okay. I’m sorry this happened to you.”

Derek whined lowly, but then he backed away a little and looked up at his clothes on the dresser.

”You want me to leave so you can change back?”

Derek nodded, so Stiles nodded too and got up. He closed the door behind him and went to sit with his dad again, who raised his eyebrows at him.

”He’s changing back,” Stiles said.

A few minutes later Derek came out to them, in human form and fully dressed. He quietly sat down on the couch and looked at his hands.

”Thank you,” he said. He looked up at them. ”Both of you.”

”You’re welcome, son,” John said, ”but you never need to thank us for that.”

”I-.” Derek frowned at his hands a moment, then he looked back at John. ”I know. And. Thank you for that.”

John smiled at him. ”You’re welcome.”

Derek looked at Stiles again. ”You too, thank you.”

”No problem,” Stiles said. ”Are you okay?”

”Yeah, I-, yeah, it was… an adjustment, with memories when it broke, but I’m okay. It was hard, being away from my pack like that, and not feeling the pack bonds like I used to, but you smelled safe, I could smell… me on you, that we knew each other, and you felt safe.”

”I’m glad,” Stiles said, then he held his arms out, asking for a hug. Derek scooted closer and leaned into the hug, and as they had their arms around each other Stiles spoke again. ”Do I need to delete all the pictures I took?”

Derek huffed a breath against Stiles’ shoulder and Stiles grinned. ”No, you don’t,” Derek said.

”Me neither?” John asked and Stiles laughed softly as Derek pulled back with a groan.

”Can I see them?” he asked and both Stiles and John got their phones out.

There was mostly pictures of Derek sleeping, but Stiles had gotten a little video of him dreaming, paws twitching, and John had a few pictures of Derek and Stiles playing in the backyard too.

Derek let them keep them all. He looked a little sad, but he was smiling softly as they talked a while longer, but then he put his hands on his thighs, getting ready to get up.

”I should get going,” he said and Stiles nodded and got up too.

”Could you give me a lift home?” he asked.

”Sure,” Derek said. He turned to John. ”Thank you again.”

”Don’t worry about it, son,” John said and squeezed Derek’s shoulder. ”You were a very sweet kid, but it’s good to have you back.”

Derek was quiet as he drove to Stiles’ place, and Stiles let him be. When he stopped the car he turned it off though, so Stiles waited for him to speak.

”I’m sorry about the kissing. After Beauty and the Beast.”

”Dude, don’t worry about it,” Stiles said. ”You were just a kid, it wasn’t-. Don’t worry about it.”

“It made sense, after watching the movie, that if you would just love me I’d be okay,” Derek said quietly and Stiles nodded.

“Yeah, I get that.”

“Did you mean that though? What you said about it?” Derek asked carefully and Stiles furrowed his brows at him as he thought about what he had said.

“That if it was just love you needed it would be broken immediately?” he asked after a moment and Derek nodded. “Yeah. I do love you, but it’s not just me you know? Dad loves you too, in a more platonic way, but still, and Cora and Kira, and I’m pretty sure Lydia does too. A curse like that would have failed the second it hit you.”

“But you love me… in a not platonic way?” Derek asked softly, looking at Stiles, who felt his cheeks heat up, but he nodded.

“I do, yeah.”

Derek nodded again, and he kept looking at Stiles for a long time, just looking. “Thank you,” he finally said. “For-. For reassuring me, for telling me I am loved by people. I know logically that you’re right, but it’s hard to believe it sometimes, here.” He put a hand over his heart, then he smiled a little at Stiles. “I believe you though, and-. And I love you too. In a not platonic way.”

Stiles smiled, it was an automatic thing and he couldn’t have done anything to stop it even if he wanted to. “Is that so?”

“It is so,” Derek said, his smile broader, a beautiful warm smile. He looked back at the steering wheel all too soon though. “I want to go home, to… regroup, get my brain back on track. Shower, sleep in my own bed, eat brussels sprouts.” Stiles snorted out a laugh at that, and Derek smiled and looked back at him. “But I’d like to see you soon. Talk more. Maybe dinner? Tomorrow?”

“I’d love that,” Stiles said softly. He reached out and put his hand on Derek’s. ”Let me know if you need anything, even if it’s more time. I’m here for you.”

”I know, thank you,” Derek said and Stiles squeezed his hand before letting go.

”See you soon,” he said and got out of the car.

”See you soon,” Derek repeated softly, and Stiles smiled at him as he closed the car door.