The heat started somewhere north of Fort St. James, British Columbia. Of course, they didn’t know that was what it was for the first few days, because Stiles was just slightly twitchier than normal, and Derek was only a little grumpier. And really, the twitch and the grump might just have been the six solid days of rain they’d been driving through on the hunt for a coven of witches that had murdered a small pack just north of Hale territory. All that had been left was two cubs and a teenaged human girl who had carried the babies over pack lines just far enough to set off the wards and alert Derek.
But by the seventh day, with the trail going cold and the weather going with it, Derek finally lost his cool as Stiles changed the radio station for the twelfth time in as many minutes.
“What is wrong with you?”
Stiles drummed his fingers on the dash. “Nothing. Just don’t like that song.”
“There is one radio station out here, Stiles. One.” Derek pointed his index finger in the air. “Nothing is going to change that until we get out of the woods.”
Stiles folded his fingers in his lap and stared out at the trees. “I’m bored.”
Derek groaned beside him. “You think I’m not?”
“Any word from Lydia?”
Derek threw the phone in his lap. “What do you think?”
“Hey!” Stiles fumbled the phone, and it dropped between his feet and under the seat. He cursed and bent forward, feeling something pop in his spine while cool air blew over the crescent of exposed skin between his flannel and jeans as he folded himself in half.
“Did you drop it?” Derek sounded impatient.
“You threw it at me.” He scrounged around for the smooth surface of the phone but found nothing. Without sitting up, he gripped the lever to release the seat, and yelped as it slid back on its track with a bang.
“Jesus!” Derek’s hand was in his hair, yanking him back up.
“Ow!” Stiles swatted at him. “What the fuck!”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m trying to get the phone.”
“What if someone calls?” His scalp hurt where Derek had grabbed him.
“We haven’t had reception in two days. Who’s going to call?”
Stiles crossed his arms and went back to staring out the window. “What’s with you today?”
“What’s with you ?” Derek glared at him, green eyes hard. He’d stopped shaving not long after they had crossed into Canada, and his dark beard was slowly swallowing his face, creeping over his jaw and cheeks.
Stiles growled, but didn’t say anything else. He was used to Derek’s moods. The two of them had been stuck in this Camaro for almost a month, weaving their way through the Pacific Northwest, circling around Vancouver Island before the trail went north again. They got close a few times, the scent of magic still heavy in the air like ozone, as they pulled into roadside towns full of residents with suspicious eyes, but each time, the witches stayed ahead of them.
“Can we stay in a motel tonight?” Stiles said, after another fifteen minutes of uncomfortable silence. He hated asking, but they’d been sleeping in the cars for days. The weather meant it was too wet to camp, but after more than a week of Stiles crammed into the Camaro’s tiny back seat at night while Derek slept in the front, the air inside the car was humid and thick with the musk of two wolves living in close quarters. Stiles needed to breathe, but he didn’t want to beg for it.
Derek exhaled, grip tight on the wheel, but he said, “Sure.” Rain spattered down on the windshield. “Sorry. About grabbing you. I’m just—”
“Yeah.” Stiles yawned so wide his jaw crackled. “Yeah, I know.”
They pulled into a motel outside Mackenzie a couple hours after the sun went down. Derek surprised Stiles by asking for two rooms. Normally, they shared, in part to save cash, and in part because, despite his permanently grouchy exterior, Derek was still a wolf and wolves got lonely when they were too far from pack. So asking for two rooms was notable.
“You okay?” Stiles asked as they unloaded stuff from the car—and made sure the weapons were well hidden. He’d spotted a laundromat down the highway, and he’d be headed there as soon as they checked in with Lydia.
A year after being bitten and he still wasn’t used to his sensitive werewolf nose. He kept a bottle of unscented laundry detergent in his go-bag, after the first time he and Scott had needed to make a quick exit, chasing after a wyvern that had kidnapped Scott’s mom. It had taken three days to find her, and they’d all been coated in dragon blood by the time it was over. They were far enough from home, and Stiles’s heightened senses were still new enough, that there had been no way they could drive back with the smell of wyvern guts covering everything. Except Stiles hadn’t known that the box of generic laundry detergent available from the laundromat vending machine would be just as bad—and Scott had been too caught up making sure his mom was okay to warn him—and so Stiles had practically been one giant hive by the time they finally got back to the pack house.
Derek sighed tiredly and ran a hand over the back of his neck. “I’m fine. Just a lot of hours on the road and no payoff.”
“Well if you’d let me drive—”
Derek snorted. “Yeah that’s not happening.”
“You’d be less of a sour wolf if you spent less time behind the wheel.”
“I think I’m going to skip dinner,” Derek said, like the issue about sharing driving duties was already closed.
“Oh.” Stiles frowned. Derek rarely missed a meal. “Want me to bring you something?” The motel advertised a ‘dining lounge’, which was usually code for either overdone prime rib or strippers. Sometimes it meant both.
“No. I just need some sleep.”
They called Lydia from the motel phone, since their cell phone—finally retrieved from under the passenger seat—still had no bars. She had no new information for them. Scott and Allison were somewhere in North Dakota, trying to find the coven’s home circle, and having no more luck than Stiles and Derek.
“Give me your shirt,” Stiles said, once they’d hung up.
Derek glared at him. “What?”
“I’m doing laundry and I want everything to be as clean as possible. So give me your shirt.” He waved his hand. “And your pants.”
“You want my pants?”
Stiles rolled his eyes. “Yeah, baby, give it to me. Seriously man, you stink. Come on. We haven’t had clean clothes in two weeks. Boxers too. There’s one more clean pair in the bag.”
Derek huffed, but he peeled out of his clothes. Stiles had stopped freaking out about naked werewolves ages ago, even before he was bitten, and especially since. You couldn’t be self conscious about seeing so many flaccid dicks when everyone got naked at least once a month for the moon.
Once his clothes were off though, Derek shivered, which was unusual. Derek never shivered, because werewolves didn’t get cold.
“You sure you’re okay?” Stiles said.
“I’m fine.” He was already rummaging in the duffle, like nothing was wrong, but goosebumps raised along his spine. Stiles hesitated for a second longer, but when Derek glared over his shoulder, the annoyance in his eyes was perfectly normal at least. “What?”
“Nothing. Nothing. I’ll see you later.”
Two loads of laundry and a prime rib dinner later—the lounge apparently did have strippers too, but not on Sunday nights unfortunately—Stiles knocked on Derek’s door, but got no answer. No light through the room’s thin curtain either, so maybe he had gone to sleep early.
Stiles let himself into his room and spread out on the bed. His clean clothes were in a pile next to him, and he pulled himself to his knees, pulling out socks and folding them together. Everything smelled better. Fresher. Tomorrow would be better too, without the edge of werewolf sweat to set things off.
The dream was an old one. Stiles had it every few months or so, but at least the initial weirdness the morning after had passed.
He and Derek were in the car, parked on a shoulder on an unlit road.
“I need to tell you something,” Derek said.
“What is it?” Poor naive dream Stiles, walking into the same trap every time.
Because then time jumped and they were naked. Kissing. Stiles had the dream often enough that he now had time be objective about it—about the things the dream missed. There was kissing, but Derek never touched him. And then they were spread out against each other, even though there couldn’t possibly be enough room inside the car. Stiles’s cock ached, even though he couldn’t really feel Derek’s body touching his.
“I need you,” Dream Derek said.
“Whatever you need.” Dream Stiles was nothing if not accommodating.
Usually, this was the point where Stiles got fucked. He wasn’t even sure if it was Derek doing the fucking. He only knew the feeling of being invaded, expanded, as arousal surged through his body. And then he’d wake up, horny and unsatisfied, and he’d be weird around Derek for twenty-four hours before he remembered that werewolves might be able to hear a fly buzzing against a window two rooms over, they still weren’t mindreaders and would never know the weird things Stiles subconscious came up with in the middle of the night.
He wasn’t even attracted to Derek. Not really. Not anymore. He’d maybe had a tiny crush on him back when Stiles was still in high school, but that was years ago. He and Derek were brothers in arms. Nothing more.
So Stiles was surprised when, in the dream this time, he didn’t lose track of Derek. Instead of vanishing and becoming the invisible lover behind him, Derek was standing, his back to Stiles. His legs were spread, arms raised over his head. Dream Stiles had the sudden knowledge that if he ran a finger over Derek’s crack, it would come back wet and glistening.
“But you’re a beta,” he said breathlessly.
Derek didn’t turn, but suddenly he was closer, like Stiles had moved. “Please,” he gasped, voice broken. “I need you.”
You never smelled anything in dreams, but if Stiles could smell Derek right now, he knew he would be perfect. Sweet and ripe. Vulnerable and wanting. Everything Derek wasn’t in real life.
Stiles’s dick didn’t care that this wasn’t real. It knew what to do. What this version of Derek needed.
“Stiles.” Derek rocked toward him and maybe Stiles was inside him now and maybe he wasn’t, but the tight hold around his cock was impossible to ignore. The friction and the slide just the way Stiles liked them.
“Please.” Derek’s voice was behind him. In front of him. Stiles was inside Derek, or someone was inside Stiles. The burn. The ache. The perfect scent of the two of them together.
Stiles hadn’t come so hard in a long time. He woke as his dream self shouted, while very real jizz smeared the inside of his shorts like he was sixteen again. At least he was alone, and wasn’t that a happy accident? He’d have to congratulate Derek on his excellent sense of timing about requesting two rooms. Not that they hadn’t seen each other with a hard on from time to time. You don’t spend so many nights in motels in the middle of nowhere and in cars on the side of the road, and not occasionally reveal more about your personal life and proclivities than you would in a normal situation. And werewolf noses being what they are, Stiles could usually smell the lust before he’d even opened his eyes, and no doubt Derek could too. But werewolves were very good about the illusion of privacy, and usually he and Derek pretended to look the other way while the aroused party quietly excused themselves to go jerk off in the shower or the forest, whichever happened to be closer by.
Waking up still panting but alone was a weird luxury Stiles wasn’t used to. He shucked his boxers, regretting that this had all happened after his trip to the laundry, cleaned himself up, and slid naked back under the sheets. The cotton was rough against his skin, but then, what did he expect, sleeping in a place that probably only had a handful of guests every month? Not exactly enough to justify high thread count Egyptian cotton.
He shifted, trying to get comfortable, and heard the echo of skin on sheets from somewhere else close by. He lay still, and it came again, a soft hiss like someone rolling over.
Was Derek awake too? Wouldn’t that be a weird coincidence?
Shit, had Stiles actually shouted when he’d come? He thought that had been part of the dream, but maybe more than the orgasm had woken him and he’d managed to trip Derek’s wolfy hearing too. That could only be uncomfortable in the morning. It was one thing to look the other way when a friend got an awkward boner. Coming so hard his dick was still tingling five minutes later after having dreamed about the guy he shared almost all his personal space with was a whole other level of oops.
Still, when Stiles woke as the motel curtains began to glow with early sun, he was hard again, although he couldn’t quite remember the dream this time. But you can be damn sure he took advantage of having his own shower to tease every inch of himself, from his nipples to the tip of his dick, and down to his balls and the rim of his ass. He was careful to hold his shout in as he spunked all over the tile wall, but he wasn’t a monk. Who knew when he’d have the opportunity to masturbate in relative solitude and with a full tank of hot water again?
He knocked on Derek’s door before eight o’clock. The rain had finally stopped overnight. Usually Derek was the one to drag him back to the car and out on the road. But Stiles was feeling especially energized this morning, so he bounced on his toes as he banged on the door again.
“Come on Der—daylight’s burning and witches are waiting.”
Silence followed. Overhead, a bird chirped, and a pickup truck with an exhaust pipe no doubt inversely proportional in length to the size of its owner’s cock rumbled by. The door stayed closed.
“Derek? You awake?” Stiles thought he’d heard the shower turn on in Derek’s room earlier, after he’d finished his own, but in a motel like this, where the walls were basically made of cardboard, it could be hard to tell which room exactly sounds came from.
A prickle of nervousness curled through him and he glanced over his shoulder. Derek hadn’t threatened to leave him on the side of the road in at least a week, but Stiles had to double check anyway, to make sure the Camaro was still parked in the lot. It was.
So where the hell was Derek?
Stiles banged on the door again. “Come on Der-bear. My belly’s growling. We need breakfast. I hear there’s a bakery in town that makes legendary sticky buns. You know how I feel about sticky buns.”
More birds. More silence. No Derek.
Stiles put his ear to the door. Derek was in there. His heartbeat was up, faster than normal. Could be that he was rushing because he’d slept in. Or else something was wrong.
Stiled tapped one more time. “Derek? Everything okay in there?”
The door flew open so suddenly that only his super awesome werewolf reflexes saved Stiles from face planting onto the carpet inside. He still needed to grip Derek’s biceps to keep himself upright, and when he did, he hissed. Derek’s skin under his hands was icy cold.
“You okay?” he said again.
Derek gave him a tight smile—which was to say, his usual smile. “I’m fine. Let’s get going.” He stepped around Stiles, duffle bag slung over one shoulder, and walked to the Camaro without a backward glance.
Situation Normal, then. Stiles followed quietly. He was awake and ready for a new day, and Derek was already in a mood. Just as it should be.
It was the last moment anything was normal between them for a long time.
Let's not pretend I know where this is going. Except sex. There will definitely be sex. But not yet.
If they ever got home, Derek was never getting in the Camaro again. The car had seemed cool during his ‘moody lone wolf’ phase. Now though, with a pack, and especially with one packmate in particular, everything about it was uncomfortable. One of his legs was falling asleep in the bucket seat, his hair kept brushing against the roof, and every time he switched gears, his hand bumped against Stiles’s arm.
Stiles, who took up too much space. Who never stopped moving or talking or fidegting or clearing his throat or sniffing or—
Holy fuck he smelled good.
And that knowledge, the distracting scent of him when he stretched his arms overhead, or when he yawned, or flung half his body through the center console to grab a snack from the backseat, was even more irritating that the barrage of questions and hypotheses and witch puns that never seemed to stop coming out of his mouth.
“You’ve got quite the resting witch face today.” Stiles’s grin was so smug Derek nearly pulled over to punch it.
As they motored through Farrell Creek, Stiles said, “Why do witches love Lamborghinis?”
Derek sighed. “Why?”
“Because they’re really good at driving stick. Get it?” Stiles nudged him with his elbow. The contact made Derek startle, small sparks shooting up to his shoulder.
“How have we been driving for a month and you’re still coming up with these?” He pitched his voice low enough that hopefully Stiles couldn’t hear the way it shook as Derek struggled to calm his racing heart.
What was wrong with him? He could have sworn he’d woken up with a headache, but not like any headache he’d ever had. Obviously werewolves didn’t get sick, not physically anyway. He’d never had a sinus infection or a migraine or any of the other things that typically caused a headache in humans. But he’d basically had chronic anxiety his whole life, and that particular condition had left him with all kinds of symptoms that varied from nausea to headaches to that one day, after they’d nearly been taken prisoner by a squad of angry wood pixies, when they’d had to pull over every hour so Derek could piss while Stiles had asked him if he was marking his territory so they could find their way home later.
But the thing he was feeling today wasn’t an anxiety headache. Those grabbed the back of his skull like a set of claws piercing into his skin and didn’t let go. Today’s headache was like a wave, rippling from the point between his eyes, over his scalp, and then down the back of his neck, leaving trails of fire and ice under his skin.
He needed to get out of this car.
They stopped for gas late in the afternoon. The hot and cold feeling had settled like a cap on his head and was slowly radiating down his ears and across his throat.
Stiles squirmed. “Are you—”
“What?” Derek snapped. The air in the car was full of Stiles’s mix of bubble gum and moss scent, and Derek struggled to breath. Every inhale coated his throat with it until he didn’t think he’d ever get it out.
“Did you want me to pump the gas?”
Derek sneered. “Don’t be stupid.”
They stared at each other. The mole below Stiles’s jaw bobbed as he swallowed. “Are you—”
His lower lip was dusted orange from a bag of Cheesies he’d demolished twenty minutes ago, and he sucked on it for way too long before he said, “You have to get out of the car to pump gas.”
Derek’s fangs popped out and the growl came from deep inside his chest. That sort of growl was usually reserved for invading alphas, or when another wolf got too close to a mate.
Stiles’s eyes widened and went orange, just like the cheese dust on his fingers. “What the fuck?”
What the fuck? Derek had to agree. What the fuck was wrong with him? He closed his own eyes, taking long breaths that only pushed the icy-hot feeling down, spreading it over his shoulders and the top of his chest.
He lurched out of the car and slammed the door so hard the whole thing rattled. Stiles yelped inside. But at least the pressure released inside Derek’s brain. He took in big gasps of fresh air, waiting for the warmth on his skin to fade. The rain had started again sometime after noon, and the humidity clung to him, making his clothes feel too tight on his body.
Too many hours in the car. That must be the problem.
He focused on pumping gas.
The second he got back into the car, everything returned. The pressure spread from his collarbones to his nipples, and every rustle of Stiles’s clothes on the car seat, and the warm scent as he scratched at his hair and pulled his hoodie off over his head was like a warning.
“What are you doing?” Derek said.
“I’m getting comfy.” Stiles smiled at him as he mounded the hoodie behind his head. “If you’re going to be a super grouch, I’m taking a nap.” He pushed out his lower lip, full and pink and now thankfully cheese powder free, and Derek shivered.
He blinked, gluing his eyes to the road as they pulled out of the station. No cell reception up here, but the map said they could drive a couple more hours and still find a place to stop for the night. No way were they sleeping in the car. Whatever was going on, Derek would not be able to spend a whole night wrapped up in Stiles.
Fuck. Who was wrapped in what? What the hell was going on?
The windshield wipers swished rain away, and Derek felt every pass like a throb under his skin. Stiles started snoring within five minutes, leaving Derek to his thoughts. Except his thoughts were all muddled today. They were headed north, hunting for witches who had murdered families. He knew that. But his wolf was awake today. Louder than it normally was. It paced circles inside of him, like it did a day or two before the full moon, but the moon was weeks away. The wolf wanted things, more than the usual run, hunt, forest, pack, run that usually filled its thoughts. Those thoughts were there, but along with were others. Other instincts.
Stiles. Mine. Ours. Stiles. Touch. Want. Stiles. Bite.
Derek wasn’t attracted to Stiles. Never had been. Okay, that last part was a lie. Maybe he had been, for like, a moment, back when Stiles had been a fast talking teenager with puppy dog eyes and lust that poured off him in waves whenever he got within fifty feet of Derek. The lust had been flattering, but Stiles had been a kid, and Derek enjoyed fucking with him too much to actually fuck him and ruin it when Stiles realized what a screwed up mess of daddy issues and fear of abandonment Derek actually was.
But that was a few years ago. They were friends now. Pack. And since they’d had to bite Stiles a little over a year ago to save him after hunters had attacked him while he, Scott and Derek were hunting a feral omega in San Diego, the longing looks and the lust had gone away. Even if teenage human Stiles had never had much sense of self-preservation, his new wolf did, and it knew Derek was a bad bet for a mate, even if its adult human ever reconsidered.
What. The. Fuck?
His wolf had clearly also spent too much time in the car and was on the verge of going stir crazy.
An hour later, they blew out a tire on a road that might have been paved at some point in the past but was now made almost entirely of crumbled asphalt and gravel.
“Motherfucker.” Derek snarled as he wrestled the Camaro over the shoulder.
“What happened?” Stiles came awake with a sleepy rub of his eyes.
“Think we lost a tire.” Derek’s heart was pounding in his chest, and not from adrenaline as the car shuddered to a halt.
“You okay?” Stiles ran his knuckles over Derek’s hair, just above his ear. Stiles was still adjusting to the tactile needs of wolves. After more than twenty years as a human, he still had a lot of old inhibitions to work through, and rarely touched Derek as much as a born wolf would have. Derek told himself it didn’t bother him.
Except the second Stiles touched him, Derek simultaneously wanted to break Stiles’s wrist and also grab hold his hand and suck on every single one of his perfect long fingers.
Derek jerked back so fast he banged his knee on the steering wheel and his head on the window. “Ah! Fuck!”
“What is going on with you?” Stiles leaned forward, unbuckling his seatbelt, and his nearness made Derek’s head swim.
Yes. Stiles. Mine. Ours. Stiles. Mine. Take. Mine.
“I, uh . . . I have to check the maps. Why don’t you get started on the tire?”
Stiles eyed him, but sighed and slipped out of the car without another word. They’d blown more than one tire on their road trips over the past few years. They generally took turns putting on the spare, because when they tried to work together, the task inevitably devolved into bickering, and then yelling, and then Stiles would throw a lug nut into the ditch and tell Derek to go fetch, and Derek would haul Stiles up by the collar of his T-shirt, press him against the car and—
The pressure, the cool-warm buzz had stopped its migration just over his sternum sometime in the last half hour, and had been content to pulse there like some alien life form. It had still made Derek agitated, but he’d thought, with a little more time, he’d learn to get used to, at least until they found the witches or Lydia called off the search and they could turn around and go home.
But as the memory—or was it a fantasy?—of Derek manhandling Stiles until his warm firm body was trapped between the car and Derek, of the way his back would arch as he tried to create space, bending against the Camaro’s shiny black frame, unfolded in Derek’s brain, it was like the thing in his chest suddenly detonated. It pulsed—3, 2, 1—and then bloomed in a mushroom cloud that wrapped around his torso before taking complete control of his body. His limbs shook, his ears rang. Derek’s fangs punched through his gums and his face began to shift. Claws skated over the leather wrapping on the steering wheel.
And his dick—holy shit his dick.
One second, Derek was an average werewolf, minding his own business, and the next, he was hunched forward as his dick surged to life with the force of tsunami, going from soft and bored to throbbing and at full mast in the space from one heartbeat to the next.
“Oh god.” He rested his forehead against the steering wheel as fire seared through his veins and his teeth chattered, while his dick pressed so hard against the front of his jeans it brought tears to his eyes.
“Stiles,” he gasped. His lungs weren’t working properly and he could barely get the word out. Stiles. He needed Stiles. Something was wrong and they were miles from everything and Derek only had Stiles to—
Mine. Mine. Bite. Stiles. Stiles.
The fantasy—and it was definitely a fantasy—progressed. Derek’s mouth was on Stiles’s skin, licking, sucking, tasting any part that he could reach. Stiles was warm under him. Hot, like a wolf. Like he had always been meant to be. Like he was made to be. Made for Derek.
Derek pressed against him, knowing Stiles was trapped, had nowhere to go, had no option but to submit as Derek—
He humped against him, growling. His wolf whined, or maybe that was Derek too, in the car, holding onto the steering wheel like a lifeline while his hips rocked against the image in his mind.
The night Stiles had almost died, the night Scott had bitten him, Derek had nearly howled. Nearly pulled Scott off him and threatened Scott with every kind of bodily harm if he ever touched Stiles like that again.
He hadn’t understood it at the time. But he did now. The sight of Scott’s teeth sinking into Stiles’s fragile skin, the scent of Stiles’s blood on the air, had felt so wrong. It shouldn’t have been Scott. Scott was the alpha, but it wasn’t his job to save Stiles. Wasn’t his place. It was Derek’s.
He pressed against imaginary Stiles, so Derek could trap his dick against the willing body, while he pictured the taste of Stiles, so much richer and rawer, if Derek just pierced the flesh, right there, at the curve of Stiles’s neck. It wouldn’t hurt him. He’d heal too fast for it to do any damage. But the act of it, the mark it would leave—
The wolf howled.
Derek groaned as his orgasm erupted, smearing over the inside of his underwear. His vision wavered, and he realized his hands were still on the steering wheel. Shit. He’d come without so much as touching himself. Just the thoughts, the memories and the fantasies. The smell, the sensation. The heat.
The feeling that had plagued him all day was still there, quiet again just as suddenly as it had exploded over him, but it definitely wasn’t gone.
And if he was right, it would only get worse.
His wolf preened languidly as his fangs and claws receded. The sated fucker. It knew exactly what was going on.
The trunk closed with a heavy thunk. Derek’s eyes flew to the rearview mirror. Stiles’s heartbeat was up, but he was humming to himself as he wiped his hands on the front of his T-shirt and came around the passenger side.
He couldn’t be done already? How long had Derek—
His hands slide down to the wet spot in the front of his jeans.
He considered making a run for it. Just opening the door, bolting into the woods, and never coming back.
But then Stiles was pulling open the door and sliding into the seat. He wore a set of earbuds that he pulled off, tossing it and the ancient iPod into the glove compartment.
“I was listening to a podcast about mold. Did you know—” His knows wrinkled. “What is that smell?”
Derek’s throat was thick as he swallowed. He opened his mouth to speak, but the words all piled up on top of each other in the back of his esophagus so that it all came out in a weak gurgling noise.
“Derek?” Stiles’s eyes dropped to Derek’s lap, and then flew back up and out, staring out on the road as his ears turned bright pink. “Oh my god. What the hell man? You couldn’t wait for a little more privacy?”
“I—” Derek worked slowly, picking his words like he was selecting puzzle pieces from a box. “I—I think I’m going into heat.”
In which Stiles tries the rational approach to solve an irrational situation.
Also CW: self-harm (ish?) Not explicit, and certainly not motivated by a real interest in harm, but werewolf claws get in the way sometimes when situations get irrational.
Stiles talked a lot. Had since he’d discovered he could make words with his mouth. His mom had called him a magpie. When he asked his dad what it meant when someone called someone else a magpie, his father had said it meant that person couldn’t shut up. He hadn’t understood what was wrong when four-year-old Stiles had burst into tears.
So yeah, Stiles talked a lot. It was a defense mechanism. A way of standing out from the crowd. A means of making sure Scott didn’t do something collosally stupid which they would both regret in the morning.
The only times in his life he’d ever been truly speechless were the first few weeks after his mom had died, the first time Lydia had kissed him, and now, when Derek—the person Stiles probably respected more than anyone else in the world (except for his dad, obviously. Oh, and Lydia.)—told him he was about to become a mindless sex zombie.
“Heat?” The world was strangled in his throat, caught there by the cloying smell of semen and arousal. Derek. His spunk. His need.
“Yeah.” Fine perspiration had soaked the hair at Derek’s temples.
Stiles swallowed, sucking down more of the flavor of sex and desire that filled the car. “Wow.”
They didn’t say anything else for over an hour. Derek put the car in gear and continued on the way they’d been going. Stiles sat with his hands in his lap, heart and brain racing.
He’d heard about it, obviously. He’d done an entire Ph.D’s worth of research in those first years after Scott had been bitten, and then filled in even more blanks in his understanding of werewolf biology after they’d turned him too.
But he’d always kind of glossed over heat. It wasn’t like anyone had ever written a What to Expect When Your Werewolf Hormones Melt Your Brain . So much of what Stiles knew was from old lore, old stories that Derek told sometimes, or things he’d pieced together from really questionable sources online.
Here was what he knew about heat:
- Heat was not about wolf babies. Werewolves had babies the same way humans did. In fact, a pregnant female werewolf couldn’t shift until her baby was born. Derek had told him once that, whenever he or his siblings had grumbled about spending family time with the rest of their pack, their mother had only needed to remind them that she hadn’t been able to shift for nine whole months while she’d carried them, and they’d fallen into line under the specter of maternal guilt.
- Heat was experienced by omegas. Omegas were typically outcasts. The weakest and smallest. They had no pack. Heat was a way of creating bonds quickly. An omega went into heat when in the presence of an alpha—but not any alpha. The omega’s alpha. The one that would give a lost werewolf a new home. Bring him back into the fold. Not every omega was a match with every pack. But if he found an alpha who brought on a heat, then a wolf knew he was home.
The problem with this last tidbit was of information was threefold:
- Derek wasn’t an omega.
- He already had a pack.
- Their pack didn’t have an alpha anymore, and even if they did, Stiles and Derek were a thousand miles from their pack's territory, so what the actual fuck?
They pulled into another three-dog (one-horse, whatever, Stiles had other problems than remembering his metaphors) town as the sun went down. Neither one of them had said anything in what felt like forever. Stiles stared out the window at the glowing neon Motel sign they had parked in front of.
“Did you know?” he said, a little surprised his voice still worked. “Yesterday? Is that why you us two rooms?”
Derek seemed to have to peel his hands off the steering wheel one finger at a time. “I don’t know. I knew I wasn’t feeling right. And you were being annoying so I thought—”
“Annoying? I was trying not freak out at your sex musk.”
“Sex musk?” Derek glared at him, and the expression was so normal, Stiles could almost cry.
“Well what am I supposed to call it? You stink. You make me want to bathe in rubbing alcohol.” And do other things that involved rubbing, but Stiles wasn’t going to mention that. If Derek clenched his jaw any harder, he looked like his teeth would crack. This was not the time for patented Stilinski sarcasm. Whatever the hell else was going on, Derek needed help.
Stiles checked the cellphone. Thank god. Two bars. First things first, they needed to call Lydia.
Derek growled softly, and Stiles glanced at him. His eyes had gone blue, and his claws were ground into his thighs, drawing blood through the denim.
Okay. First things actually first. They needed to get out of this car. Then they’d call Lydia.
“We’re getting one room.”
“Stiles.” Derek’s eyes rolled, not in annoyance, but in fear, like horse’s.
“No. We don’t know what’s going on. It can’t be heat. But whatever it is, you’re not leaving my sight until we figure it out.”
Derek growled and his hips shifted restlessly. His erection was visible in his jeans.
Stiles rolled his eyes— in annoyance . “Okay, fine. You’re not leaving my sight unless you’re going to the bathroom to jerk off. I don’t need to see that.”
He checked them in. The guy behind the desk gave him a look when Stiles requested a room with two beds, but probably because it would never occur to him to give them a room with one.
They let themselves in, and Derek made a beeline for the bathroom, slamming the door closed so hard the mirror over the dresser rattled. Stiles stood there for a second, unsure if he was supposed to ask if Derek was okay, but the sound of the shower coming on broke him out of his indecision. The shower would help, but it wasn’t enough to drown out Derek’s heartbeat, which pounded through the wall.
Stiles pulled the phone out of his pocket, ignoring the way his hands shook. He waited impatiently as the call connected.
He’d been in love with Lydia Martin to varying degrees for the last ten years. But he didn’t think he’d ever been so glad to hear her voice as he was in that moment.
“Scott and Allison found the witches.”
“What?” He’d been pacing, and nearly tripped over the corner of one of the beds. After Derek’s little announcement on the side of the road, Stiles had basically forgotten why they were even out here in the wilds of Canada to begin with. Witches? Who was worried about witches when Derek’s dick could explode at any given minute?
On cue, a low groan sounded through the bathroom wall. Stiles slumped to the floor. Motel room floors were basically a breeding ground for the kind of fungus you would never be able to extricate from your toenails—no, not even as a werewolf—but Stiles need the fortification of the uncomfortable bedframe against his spine to keep from losing his mind.
“The witches. Scott and Allison found them in northern Wisconson. They’re being transported to the grand coven for judgment. Apparently they’ve been rogue for a few years. The Carter pack wasn’t the first pack they attacked.”
The Carter pack? Along with the witches, Stiles had forgotten about the two frightened cubs and the teenage girl, dirty and covered in blood, who had stumbled into their territory.
“That’s good. That’s—”
“The grand coven is convening in Chicago. Scott will testify. Do you—”
“Derek’s in heat.”
She didn’t laugh at him. Anyone else would have asked if he was joking. But he and Lydia had been the only (mostly) humans in a werewolf pack for a long time, and they had learned to read each other in a way that no one else could.
So she didn’t laugh, but she did make him repeat himself.
“Derek Hale is in heat.”
“But he’s not—”
“An omega? A stray? Trust me, we know.”
The groan sounded from the shower again. Stiles hadn’t even realized the water was still running. He closed his eyes as his gums and fingertips itched. His wolf was fighting to the surface, whether out of interest or self-preservation, Stiles wasn’t sure.
“What do we do?” Asking the question was a relief. Stiles liked being the one people came to with tough problems. He liked being the guy with the answer. But when he couldn’t be that person, he liked that he had Lydia to fall back on.
The pause on the phone didn’t help his nerves at all.
“How long has he been in heat?”
“Um.” They hadn’t come to an agreement on whether their separate rooms the night before had been because Derek already knew. “Maybe a day?”
He should have known he could trust Lydia to have the right answer. Home. The very idea of it made some of the tension leach out of his shoulders.
Still—”That’s a long drive.” Especially if they needed to stop every couple of hours so Deek could jerk off against a tree.
“You need to get here as fast as you can. If it really is heat, and he’s only a day in, you’ve got time to get back to Beacon Hills before—” The phone went silent.
“Before what? Lydia? Before what?”
“—Deacon. Scott’s not here, but I’ll call him. But start driving now.”
The water turned off in the shower. Stiles’s heart was going to rattle his bones to powder. The wolf whined in his human throat.
But the phone had gone dead again. Stiles stared at it, looking at the claws he hadn’t even known he’d sprouted as the tips gripped the case.
“Stiles?” Derek’s voice was hoarse behind him, and he scrambled to his feet, doing his best to keep his features calm as he turned toward his friend.
His ripped werewolf friend who was wrapped only in a towel and who had vicious red claw marks across his chest.
“Jesus, what the hell happened?” Stiles couldn’t help himself as he rushed across the room and spread his palms over the gouges in Derek’s skin. Of course, they were already fading, but they were deep enough it took some time.
“I—” Derek’s pecs rose and fell under Stiles’s palms. “I don’t know. One second I was jerking off and thinking about—And then it was like there was something under my skin, and I needed to get it out as fast as possible.”
“So you thought you’d dig it out?”
Derek shuddered, body hot under Stiles’s touch. Given everything, this closeness should have been too intimate, but Stiles was too freaked out to be worried about Derek getting the wrong idea.
“I don’t—I don’t remember doing it.” His eyes were unfocused and his voice high.
Right. Time for take-charge Stiles.
“Okay big guy. That’s fine. See? No harm done. They’re already mostly healed. Just put some clothes on and let’s get going.”
“Going?” Derek frowned. “Where?”
Since Derek didn’t seem interested in dressing himself, Stiles would have to do it for him. He rummaged around in their duffle until he found a clean pair of boxers and a T-shirt. He considered jeans, but if Derek was going to need—er—easy access while Stiles drove, then jeans were just going to slow him—and by extension, Stiles—down.
Start driving now.
“We’re going home.” He pushed the clothes at Derek until he seemed to snap out of wherever he was and took them, pulling the shirt over his head as the lines on his chest faded to a rosy pink.
“Like hell,” Stiles snorted. “You’re going to need your hands free.”
Derek wrinkled his nose. “Don’t be disgusting.”
“Says the wolf who can’t go more than an hour without spunking in his shorts. Come on sour wolf. Let’s go.”
Stiles had been waiting his whole wolfish life to drive the Camaro. A headlong run from northern British Columbia back to California wasn’t exactly how he’d pictured it, but this was his chance to shine.
He just hoped Lydia was right they had enough time to get home before anything got worse.