Here's the thing, Derek isn’t like a lot of other alphas. He looks the part, sure, but he isn’t good at a lot of the things he is supposed to be good at. Where other alphas are natural leaders, Derek would rather leave decisions up to someone else, where they are strong, Derek is often vulnerable, fragile even. Alphas are meant to be unbreakable, extroverted, confident, sometimes even cocky, they are supposed to grow up to be world leaders, lawyers, doctors, government officials, politicians. Derek is a writer, he doesn’t leave the house much. On his best days he still struggles to order pizza over the phone. He talks nearly exclusively to his small group of friends and he can’t remember the last time he went out with someone. He’s pretty content on his own though. Well, sometimes he gets a little down, when he catches Boyd brushing Erica’s hair away from her face, or he sees Allison steal fries off of Scott’s plate. He doesn’t really let it get to him too much though, he’s happy for them, and he figures he’s probably better off on his own anyway.
Stiles though, Stiles makes him rethink everything. He’s the mouthiest omega Derek’s ever met; He defies every omega stereotype. It’s not the only reason Derek likes him so much, but the fact that Stiles is one of the only people that doesn’t treat Derek with pity, that isn’t afraid to tell him off when he’s being difficult, is a big part of it. Derek doesn’t know when he fell so in love with him.
He guesses maybe it was around when Stiles took up baking.
Really, the baking thing came from college. Stiles is going for criminal justice, following in his father’s footsteps and putting his natural curiosity and all those tired hours of detective work to good use. But in between all the criminology, and psychology, and investigations courses, Stiles made room for a single baking class. He said it gave his hands something useful to do while his mind ran. Stiles had brought it home with him, it was his guilty pleasure and one of his favorite hobbies. School wasn’t far enough away for him not to come home every day. So he had become a dictator, ruling over Derek’s spacious kitchen. The kitchen in the loft is all stainless steel and heavy industrial style counter tops, he doesn’t know what it was used for before he moved in, but it fills Stiles’ needs more than enough. He’d stormed in one day, arms full of plastic grocery bags, and lamented that he couldn’t bake at home because of his dad.
“Plus,” He’d smirked over the counter top at Derek, “Your kitchen is fucking heavenly and you neglect it.” Derek had rolled his eyes and tried not to look smug under Stiles’ approval of the space. It was the alpha in him, he was glad to provide.
The truth is: Derek is a monster in the kitchen. He can’t cook, he can’t bake; He’d once burned water. It’s not really his fault, it’s not like he’d ever had anyone to teach him, or time to learn up until now. But he still doesn’t like to tell people. It’s sort of embarrassing, most alphas can at least do basic cooking.
Stiles had found out on accident. When he’d barged into the loft to yell at Derek about some dumb TV show he watched, only to find Derek trying (see: failing) to scrub overcooked pasta noodles out of a scorched pot. Stiles had taken pity though, Derek is pretty sure he hasn’t told anyone else. Erica and Isaac would never let Derek hear the end of it if they knew.
Somehow Stiles starts showing up at least weekly, sometimes more often than that. He hassles Derek into the kitchen and shows him how to properly cut peppers and how to cook pasta, and Stiles is pretty sure his grandmother turned over in her grave when he let slip a family sauce recipe that was supposed to be a secret. They cook together in silence mostly, Derek holding the knife carefully and Stiles stirring the noodles, or kneading the pierogi, or folding the batter for something new. Sometimes they play music - new albums Stiles excitedly chews Derek’s ear off about for weeks before they come out, weird niche bands, soundtracks to musicals or Disney movies, songs that remind Stiles of his mom, slow 40s jazz beats that make Derek want to kiss him under the soft glow of the kitchen lights. It’s not often that Derek chooses the tunes, not because Stiles hasn’t offered to let him choose. On the rare occasion Derek does pick the music, Stiles smiles all through their cooking, goes out of his way to bob his head like he can’t help it. He commits all the songs and their artists to memory.
They learn to move around each other. In the cold steel of the kitchen, they gravitate towards each other. Derek likes it, he can smell Stiles in his kitchen under the layers of sweet dough and butter. And it’s fun, sometimes they bake and get flour on the floor and in each others hair, sometimes Stiles will get sauce on his cheek and Derek will have to wipe it away for him. Sometimes Derek can trick himself into believing that this domestic bliss is real, that Stiles came into the loft after work and classes and Derek kissed him before they started dinner together. Sometimes, late at night Derek thinks about Stiles, swaying his hips to slow love songs in his kitchen, about fitting his hands against Stiles’ waist and kissing his way along the back of his neck.
“Hey,” Derek starts one night, after they’ve ruined the kitchen making pizza, there’s cheese in Stiles’ hair and flour from the dough down his shirt. “Do you want to watch a movie tonight?” And then he holds his breath, waiting for Stiles’ careful rejection. But it never comes, instead Stiles just beams.
“They finally put Black Panther on Netflix.” He says, and Derek thinks, God, he doesn’t get it. So he doesn’t tell him, keeps it to himself that if Stiles gave him the chance he’d kiss him breathless.
But then it becomes a thing, to watch movies after they have dinner together, at least a few times a week. And Stiles, who’s nearly always tired anyways but whose sleepiness has doubled since he became a college student with a part time job, almost always falls asleep. The first few times Derek wakes him up. He shakes him gently on the shoulder and whispers until Stiles’ eyes flutter. He drives Stiles home in the jeep and walks back, so Stiles doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, even though he nags Derek about how he could do it himself.
Stiles falls asleep on Derek a few times too, and he can’t bring himself to shake Stiles awake those nights. Derek lets himself drift off, connected to Stiles through their skin and their scent and their fondness for each other. Sometimes he wakes up on the floor, the TV casting a soft glow over the room, it’s screen covered in static snow. Derek shuts it off, can feel the heat on the screen like a low burning fire. Stiles is all spread out over the couch. His hands thrown over his head, face pressed into his own arm. Derek just smiles down at Stiles, carries him up the stairs. He tucks him into Derek’s bed and brushes his fingers over his hair.
Eventually, that becomes a thing too, Stiles falling asleep. After so long, he tells Derek to just let him sleep, so long as Derek doesn’t mind that he stays. And Derek doesn’t mind, he lets Stiles borrow his sweat pants and one of his favorite shirts to sleep in, when Stiles can’t remember to bring his own. It kills Derek a little, to smell Stiles wrapped up in his scent like that. And he knows Stiles knows. Knows that he can smell it too. Derek doesn’t know what to think about how he keeps asking anyway.
Sometimes Stiles wakes up when Derek tucks him in. He pulls a groggy smile and catches Derek’s hand in his. He’s sleep warm, his scent pure and sweet with his content. He pulls Derek into bed with him, tells him it’s dumb for him to sleep on the couch. Derek's always careful not to touch, he lays rigid on the opposite edge of the bed until Stiles falls asleep. No matter how much Derek wills himself to keep his distance in his sleep, they always wake up tangled together. Sometimes, Derek wakes up on his side, Stiles plastered to his front, Derek’s hands molded to Stiles’ stomach, his nose buried in the nape of Stiles’ neck. Sometimes he’s on his back, Stiles’ cheek glued to Derek’s chest with drool. Sometimes, the most awkward times, Stiles wakes up first, pinned under Derek’s weight, sleep heavy, or caught in Derek’s arms, unable to move away because Derek won’t let go until he wakes up. And even then, he wishes he didn’t have to.
It makes Derek feel content, the way the whole loft smells like them together, in the kitchen, where they share meals and talk and bicker, in the living room, where Derek sits and reads while Stiles does his homework and where they sometimes fall asleep on each other, in the bathroom, where Stiles has a toothbrush next to Derek’s, and especially in the bedroom, where Derek has a drawer full of clothes that Stiles has left on accident over time. Neither of them really see the point of Stiles taking them home.
Derek gives him things sometimes, they’re courting gifts really, even though they don’t count as courting gifts because Derek had been too chickenshit to officially ask.
The first one is a Wes Anderson movie Stiles had mentioned wanting to own a few weeks before. They watch it together after dinner - venison stew (Derek hadn’t told Stiles, but he’d killed the deer himself. He’s an alpha werewolf, Stiles is a human omega, if he were anyone else Stiles would probably be clueless, but as it is, he’d probably know exactly what that means. Derek sort of hopes Stiles never finds out that it didn’t come from a supermarket). Derek sits on the end of the couch, it’s where he always sits. Stiles isn’t so habitual, he moves around. This time, he settles himself on the opposite end, but he stretches his legs out to stuff them under the warmth of Derek’s thigh. Derek gives him a small smile and lays his hand over Stiles’ ankles. By the time the credits roll Stiles has probably already been asleep for half an hour. Derek doesn’t wake him, just picks him up gently and carries him to the bedroom. He lays him down in the middle, and chuckles at how much he looks like a fairy tale. Sleeping Beauty, laid across his bed in a batman t-shirt with a hole in the collar. He leaves him there and takes the couch.
The biggest thing he’s ever given to Stiles is key to the loft. Derek had debated it for a long time before he decided he should just give it to him, Stiles pretty much lives there anyways. He tries to make it seem like something casual, puts it on it’s own little ring, adds a keychain so it doesn’t look like such a big deal. It’s a spiderman keychain, “with great power, comes great responsibility,” it reads. He leaves it on the table, let’s Stiles in after classes that day and heads to the kitchen. He ducks his head into the refrigerator and pretends he can't hear hear the jingle it makes as Stiles picks it up.
“Is this for me?” Stiles holds it up gently. Derek lifts his head, raises his eyebrows and tries to play it off like he can’t hear his heartbeat in his ears.
“Oh, yeah.” Derek says, curses internally when he stutters on the “yeah.” Stiles grins.
“Have you finally fallen prey to my charms, Derek?” He teases, voice light and eyes twinkling. Derek lets out a huff of breath, feels his chest expand again, lets a small smile break out.
“Finally decided I couldn’t get rid of you.” He says, and Stiles mocks offense, puts his hands on his hips.
“Like you ever really tried,” He points out. Derek flushes up to his ears.
“Seemed like a fruitless endeavor,” He tries, but Stiles eyes are tracking his blush. Derek meets his eyes, there’s something so soft behind all the amusement. And Derek wants to kiss him so badly. He ducks his head back into the refrigerator instead, doesn’t come out until he hears Stiles soft laughter reach the couch.
Mostly Derek gives Stiles small things. Sometimes it’s candy when he makes a last minute run to the store for an ingredient he’d forgotten for dinner. Gloves, when it starts to get cold and Stiles complains about the chill in his fingers. A throw blanket for the back of the couch so Stiles has something to grip in his hands during the dramatic scenes in the movies they watch.
The first time they go out together is Stiles idea. They end up at a little diner Derek remembers coming to with his sisters when they were all younger. He’d mentioned it to Stiles maybe once a few weeks before. It was the first place Laura had gone after she’d gotten her license, Derek and Cora fought over the passenger seat for ten minutes before they left. Laura had come bouncing down the porch steps shouting “Derek’s bigger Cora!” Laughing at the way Cora sulked in the back seat the whole way to the diner. Derek had ruffled Cora’s hair and bought them both milkshakes
When Stiles slides into the booth across from him, he orders two milkshakes. The waitress winks at them and Stiles catches one of Derek’s feet under the table. They share a private smile.
When the Sheriff finds out where Stiles has been spending most of his free time, he’s not surprised, and he’s also not even the least bit concerned. He tells them it’s about damn time and invites Derek to the Stilinski house for dinner the following week. When Derek says he’ll be there, Stiles smiles at him over his textbook.
The dinner turns out to be confusing, and embarrassing, and enlightening.
The sheriff doesn't open with the heat conversation, but he doesn’t even wait for everyone’s plates to be loaded before he brings it up.
“So,” he says, “Stiles mentioned the other day that he was thinking about coming off of his suppressants.” Derek’s eyebrows shoot up, and he glances at Stiles where he’s sitting next to him, but Stiles is staring down at his plate, face flushed blotchy pink.
It’s kind of a big deal for an omega to stop using their suppressants, it usually means they’ve found someone they’re planning to spend their heats with, probably more than once. Derek’s heart sinks a little bit. Stiles hadn’t told him he’d met someone and was so serious about them. He knows they’re friends, really good friends. Even if he wishes they could be more, Stiles has never really expressed any obvious interest. So what if they hang out and cook together, Derek’s sure whoever this person Stiles has started talking to, probably someone closer to his own age, maybe someone he met at school, can probably boil water without burning it. He’s willing to bet whoever it is can hold a conversation better. He bets they can dance, that they’d dance with Stiles in their living room and wouldn’t mess up the footing.
“Uh,” Derek stutters, trying desperately to keep his voice even, “you didn’t tell me.” Derek says, and Stiles still isn’t looking at him. Instead, he’s leveling the Sheriff with a glare so fierce Derek’s surprised the man’s still breathing. Stiles must not have wanted Derek to know.
The Sheriff just looks smug, asks Derek politely if he’d pass the green beans, please and thank you. Derek hands them over and tries not to shrink when Stiles changes the subject.
When Derek goes to leave that night, belly full of food and head full of thoughts, Stiles walks him to the door.
“Hey,” He starts softly, “I’m sorry about my dad he’s - well, you know, he can be a lot sometimes.” Stiles says, watches the muscle shift under Derek’s shirt as he pulls his jacket over his shoulders.
“It’s okay,” Derek says, and he sounds sincere even if his eyes look a little sad, “I’m happy for you.” And Stiles blinks, confused for a moment before he realizes that Derek doesn’t know, realizes that Derek thinks Stiles is talking about someone else.
“Derek,” Stiles starts, but Derek’s already got the door open, already stepping out.
“I’ll see you, okay?” Derek says, and he’s gone before Stiles can say anything else.
The Sheriff lingers in the doorway to the kitchen, gives Stiles a sympathetic look when he turns away from the door.
“I’m sorry kid,” he says, pulling Stiles into a hug, “I thought you guys had all of this figured out already.” And Stiles laughs bitterly into his father’s shoulder.
“Yeah,” he says, “I sort of thought we were starting to.”
Scott calls Derek the next day.
“Hey man,” Scott says, and Derek can hear water running in the back, like maybe Scott is washing the dishes, or something. “Is Stiles there, I tried to call him but he didn’t pick up.”
“Um,” and this is the moment Derek realizes just how often Stiles is at the loft.
“It’s just that he promised me we could go see that new Spiderman movie today,” Scott says, and he sounds apologetic for some reason.
“He’s not here.” Derek says, the confusion is clear in his voice.
“Oh,” Scott says and the water shuts off in the background, “Sorry man, you guys are just always together, you know? Sometimes I think Stiles doesn’t even hang out with anyone but you, me, and his dad.” Scott jokes.
“Well, he has people from school,” And Derek’s mind goes back to dinner the night before.
“What?” Scott asks, there’s laughter in his voice. “No he doesn’t,” Scott informs him, real laughter breaking out now. “He doesn’t really have time dude, he’s at your house so often he told me you gave him a key. I mean, even aside from that, aren’t you guys getting kind of serious? And he’s sort of a chatterbox man, he’d tell you about his friends if he had any that weren’t also yours.” Derek stops short for a second. Confusion takes the best of him and before he can think he’s speaking.
“We’re getting what? Scott, Stiles is going to stop taking his suppressants.”
“Yeah he told me, that’s really serious dude! I’m happy for you guys.” Scott says, and he sounds happy, but there’s uncertainty laced in his voice now.
“Scott, no, Stiles isn’t quitting them for me,” Frustration and a little bitterness fall out of Derek’s mouth with the words.
It’s in this moment that Derek realizes the front door is opened. He spins to look at Stiles, standing in his doorway with a dumbfounded expression on his face.
“I have to go.” And Derek hangs up before Scott can say anything back.
“So,” Stiles says, amused despite Derek’s horrified expression, “Was that Scott?”
“And you were talking about my heat suppressants?” Derek pinks at this, or really he goes tomato red.
“Uh, sorry,” he says. “That was really rude of me. It’s really none of my business.” Stiles fights off the amusement, tries to keep his smile small as he takes a few steps closer. Derek’s eyes go wide.
“I’ve been trying to make it your business for a while,” Stiles says. He puts his hand on Derek’s chest, it only earns him a confused look. Derek doesn’t say anything, just watches closely as Stiles slides his hand over to grip the soft fabric of Derek’s jacket in a gentle hold. Derek takes a step closer, without Stiles even having to tug. The smile breaks across Stiles face then, bold and sincere. He can feel his own heart beat, fast but somehow calm, excited but at ease; comfortable. He slides his other hand under Derek’s shirt, around to his back, and Derek takes another step in, eyes wide. Stiles is waiting for the clear recognition to flash in Derek’s eyes, he lets go of Derek’s jacket in favor of sliding his hand up to his jaw. He leans in close, witnesses the moment Derek’s breath catches, takes it as his chance to press their lips together. He can feel Derek’s hands on him then, feather light on his back and his waist. He must make a noise or something, because suddenly Derek’s pulling him even closer, opening his mouth and groaning when Stiles gasps and opens his too.
After that, things don’t really change much. Eventually, they call Scott back, Stiles doesn’t see the new Spiderman movie that night though, he’s sort of busy. Scott teases him but they agree on a rain check. Stiles comes over and they cook - pasta, pizza, pierogi. They have dinner with the Sheriff regularly. The two of them watch movies - well, this has changed a little. They now pretend to watch movies while Derek either has his face buried so deep in Stiles neck he’s sure he’ll never smell anything else ever again, or they make out like air is optional for survival. Stiles spends the night, and they just sleep at first. Stiles wrapped around Derek like an octopus, or spooned up behind him, or starfished over his front, or even a few times, squished under Derek like a pancake. Derek sleeps better, falls asleep faster knowing he's not going to scare Stiles away if he spoons him. In fact it’s sort of the opposite. Stiles leaves his clothes on purpose, moves in slowly, like he’s waiting for Derek to tell him to get out. Derek just tells him he has room leftover in his closet that he wouldn’t mind being filled. They listen to music together, dance in the kitchen, step on each others’ feet and laugh when they trip. They always catch each other.
Stiles stops taking his suppressants, they have a lot of sex.
Time passes gradually, Stiles officially moves in, he graduates, gets a good job.
Derek writes love stories sometimes in his books now, peppers them in like Stiles peppers kisses along his jaw at night. He makes the omegas in his stories strong, gives them someone to love that will love them back for it, will love them more for it. He writes his alphas complexly, gives them baggage, gives them love stories that feel like new beginnings.
They get married. It’s not a big thing, but the whole pack shows up. Scott and Allison’s kid tears all the table cloths and Stiles spends more time dancing than he does anything else. Him and Derek have gotten pretty good at dancing over the years, they don’t even trip once. They baked the cake themselves, it’s three tiers high and they had to throw the top tier out once because Derek got so distracted watching Stiles lick icing off of his fingers that he didn’t smell it burning until it was too late.
In the end though, everything turns out just fine.