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Everything goes according to plan until he reaches California.

Not that Derek's got a plan per say; that would imply that he knows what he wants, and he hasn't for as long as he can remember. But at least he knows what he doesn't want, and that's conflict. He doesn't want any weight on his shoulders. He doesn’t want to be held back or to be held down. He doesn't want to be trapped in a crowd, people talking behind his back or breathing down his neck. He's sick of people's voices.

All he does know is that he wants to keep driving, driving further and further away from everyone who knows his name. Away from responsibilities and expectations, from disappointed faces and prying eyes. Away from people telling him who he is, who he's supposed to become, and who he can never be.

He drives down a desert road for many miles before spotting the gas station up ahead, only meeting a handful of cars. He's not exactly in danger of getting stranded, but in the cities, there are plenty more opportunities along the road to stop for gas before the fuel meter hits bottom than out here. Breaking down in the middle of the desert is something he'd rather avoid.

It's a small gas station, Derek observes as he pulls up to one of the two spots next to the pumps. He worries for a second when he sees that there are no card-operated dispensers because the place looks completely deserted, but then he catches sight of a figure moving inside the small shop. He puts the Camaro into park and, taking off his sunglasses, he grabs the keys and puts both items in the right pocket of his leather jacket before getting out of the car.

The gust of wind ruffling his hair is warm, only sending a pleasant chill down his spine. He adjusts his jacket by the collar, having had it plastered to his back for hours since his last stop in Arizona. He considers taking it off and leaving it in the car but decides against it. As he pulls out his wallet and heads for the door, he thinks he'd better withdraw a bunch of cash and trash his card.

First rule of being on the run.

 

 

 

There's a guy standing by the pumps when he comes back outside. He'd seen him through the window, seen him edging closer to the car while kicking sand in his worn-out sneakers. Derek tucks his wallet into the back pocket of his jeans and meets the guy's eyes—brown, beautiful—as he approaches.

"Nice ride," the guy says with a faint smile, pulling one hand out of his pockets to let it wander across the pump, long and distracting fingers drumming on the surface.

Derek arches an eyebrow as he stops barely three feet in front of the guy, amusement tugging at the corners of his mouth. There hadn't been enough people appreciating his choice of wheels, most not understanding why he'd pick a black '68 Camaro rather than one of the newer models. But then most people didn't know where he got it from.

"You like American muscle?" He asks.

What had been a smile turns into a smirk as the guy gives him an unabashed once-over.

"I do."

Derek scoffs, hoping to cover up the flush he can feel rising to his face. It's not that he's not used to being hit on—he knows what he looks like, knows that he meets some ridiculous standards set by society to be considered good-looking—but it's rarely by strangers within the first couple seconds of the conversation. And even if it comes off as a joke, his voice rings of intent.

The kid's bold. Derek likes it.

He lets his own eyes wander in return, taking the guy in. He's wearing a brown jacket over a plain black tee and blue jeans. His clothes are dusty, his face as well by a thin layer of dirt smudged out along his jaw that's outlined by two days’ stubble. Derek wonders how old he is. There's a young vibe to him as well as a mature depth in his eyes that makes it difficult to place his age.

"Where's yours?" Derek wonders as he walks past the guy to open the hatch to the fuel receptacle, removing the dust cover.

"No car," the guy says, hands tucked back into the pockets of his jacket.

He turns so he's still facing Derek, leaning against the pillar behind him as he watches him grab the nozzle. Derek looks up again, eyebrows raised.

"How did you end up in the middle of nowhere without a vehicle? I haven't seen any signs of civilization for the past twenty minutes."

"Hitchhiking," the guy shrugs.

"That's a bit risky," Derek points out with a frown, directing his attention back to fueling up his car. The for someone like you is left unsaid, but somehow the guy seems to have picked up on it anyway.

"What, you're gonna lecture me?" He huffs, tilting his head to the side. "Tell me I'm too reckless or too pretty to be riding with strangers in the Californian desert?"

"Something like that," Derek says, lifting his gaze to meet the guy's eyes steadily.

For once there is no snarky or playful comeback; the boy just looks at him with his lips slightly parted and his pupils a little too dilated, visible even in the shadow of the roof. Derek doesn't avert his eyes, drinks in the sight with his heart thumping excitedly in his chest. He now notices the moles dotting the guy's pale skin, and absently wonders if they're also dotted onto other parts of his body aside from his face and neck.

He waits for the guy to ask him outright—ask for a ride—but he doesn't. He just watches in silence as Derek gasses up the car and hooks the nozzle back onto the pump, closing the fuel door again. It's heady—a familiar tension in the open summer air that Derek hasn't felt for a long time. Part of him wants to make the offer himself, but he's not sure exactly what he'd be offering if he did.

Clearing his throat, Derek slides his palms together to get rid of the dust as he 'rounds the Camaro to get to the driver's side. The guy is watching him in the corner of his eye, and it takes everything in him not to look back. Thoughts are racing in his mind as he puts his sunglasses back on, starting the engine and circling the island around to where the guy is still standing by the two pumps, but that's as far as he gets before his mind tells him stop.

Derek sighs heavily, gripping the steering wheel in a firm grip before he ducks his head down to look through the passenger seat's window.

"Where you headed?" He asks.

Another gust of wind ruffles the guy's hair, the sun catching in his eyes and making him squint. Derek's heart jolts because he's gorgeous. He keeps his hands in his pockets, keeping still, but Derek can still see the hope lighting up his face.

"Anywhere," he replies truthfully, and Derek has to swallow around the lump in his throat, because if someone was to ask him the same question: that would be his exact answer.

Derek only lets his heart skip one rapid beat before reaching across the seat to open the door.

"Get in."

At first, the guy's eyes just widen in disbelief, and then there's a smile stretching across his lips as he steps forward to climb into the car. Derek can feel the heat of his body so close to him, even through the layer of clothing, and it's overwhelming to have someone sitting right next to him after being alone in the car for so long. His hand is itching to reach over and touch but instead he grips the wheel determinately with both hands.

"Just so you know," the guy says once he's settled, "I don't have any money."

Derek nods, looking ahead.

"I do," he says simply before hitting the gas and distancing the gas station in the rearview mirror.

 

 

 

"What kind of name is Stiles?"

"One you can pronounce," the guy—Stiles—replies defensively, but he hasn't stopped smiling ever since he got into the car. He's slouching in his seat, legs spread with one knee supported by the door and the other dangerously close to the gearshift. Derek expects to feel the rough fabric of Stiles' jeans slide against his knuckles every time he reaches for it, but it never happens. "Seriously, dude: I did the whole world a favor when making up my own nickname. You should've heard my poor teachers back in school."

"College?" Derek guesses.

Stiles shakes his head, smile faltering for the first time in the past ten minutes.

"High school," he corrects. "Never finished."

"Why not?" Derek can't help but ask, sincerely hoping the guy next to him isn't underage.

"Dropped out," he says, probably trying to sound nonchalant but he doesn't quite succeed. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to understand it's bringing back bad memories. "If I ever had a chance of going to college, it's long gone by now."

Derek hums, not sure how else to respond. He'd gone to college, and it had been one of the worst periods of his life. He spent four years in law school, stressing himself out to death and wearing himself out with too many classes and too little sleep. And for what? To 'uphold family tradition' as a certain someone would call it. Derek feels like gritting his teeth because he can even hear the familiar voice echo in his head.

"You're not missing anything," he mumbles, adjusting his grip on the steering wheel.

Stiles snorts like he doesn't agree, but none of them push the subject further.

It's surprisingly…easy. Derek doesn't know what he'd expected when offering Stiles a ride—he's never picked up a hitchhiker before—but it sure as hell wasn't this: the two of them falling into conversation unlike most of his classmates with whom he'd barely talked with even after four years. Usually he tries to get away with as few words as possible, not a big fan of small talks, though he's been told that he can keep an entire conversation alive just using his eyebrows.

Thing is: he doesn't mind talking right now, and he can't tell if it's because of this kid—how everything he says somehow pulls at something within Derek that makes it impossible not to respond—or because he's barely spoken a word to another human being for the past few weeks.

"I thought you'd be a faster driver," Stiles says after a moment in silence. Derek's already picking up on him not being very fond of those.

He cocks one eyebrow and looks over to where the smile has returned to Stiles' face.

"What gave off that impression?"

"Uh, your everything?" Stiles suggests. "I mean, you got this whole… bad boy thing going on." He gestures a lot with his hands while talking, and it's a good thing Derek is a good driver because it's incredibly distracting. "Also your car, dude. Old ladies don't drive muscle cars."

"Are you saying I drive like an old lady?" Derek asks, the corner of his mouth curling up in a sly smile.

"Those words literally never left my mouth," Stiles defends. "I'm just saying: you don't look like the type who likes to follow rules."

Derek purses his lips, nodding slowly.

"I don't," he confirms.

He can see Stiles watching him in the corner of his eye, their gazes locking when the road ahead is empty and he looks over at him once more.

"Me neither," Stiles offers, as if wanting to make Derek feel better, and it works.

Derek's eyes drift over Stiles' face for a moment before he looks forward again, aware that the tension between them is suddenly even thicker than before. What started out as nothing but attraction has also turned into a growing curiosity. Every passing minute raises new questions Derek wants answers to—like where someone like Stiles comes from, what made him drop out of school, and how did he end up hitchhiking in the middle of the desert?

But he doesn't ask any of these questions, because he wouldn't want Stiles to ask him the same ones. They are still nothing but strangers to each other, neither of them wanting to go in the opposite direction from where the car is taking them. Derek doesn't know Stiles' motives, and Stiles doesn't know his, and it doesn't matter.

The sound of Stiles' stomach growling interrupts the silence, and Derek shoots him an amused glance as Stiles groans in embarrassment. He's one second away from chuckling before his brain catches up with him.

"If you don't have any money," he says seriously, "when did you last eat?"

Stiles shifts in his seat. "I don't know," he shrugs. "I got a chocolate bar by the cashier at the gas station before he told me to fuck off."

"Christ," Derek sighs, dragging one hand down his face. "Alright, next place we see, we stop."

"You don't have to do that," Stiles hurries to say. "I'm fine. I won't even be able to pay you back for the gas anyway—"

"I never said you'll have to pay me back," Derek retorts. "Besides, it's lunch time anyway."

Stiles leans in to look at the clock on the dashboard, once again getting dangerously close but somehow avoids brushing Derek's arm.

"No, it's not," he protests. "It's not even noon yet."

"Brunch then," Derek suggests.                               

Stiles looks stunned, mouth agape until he remembers to close it. Derek gets ready to counter any further protests coming his way, but Stiles doesn't argue. He leans back in his seat, tilting his head back against the neck support. Derek notices the long line of his throat.

"You're a very strange man," he murmurs, and for some reason it makes Derek feel pleased.

 

 

 

Derek had two cups of coffee this morning, and yet he's tempted to have another one with his salad. In the end, he orders water, well aware he should cut down on his daily caffeine intake. Laura has always warned him about what it does to his body, and Derek knows she's right—she is a nurse after all. One that enjoys her job, even.

Stiles says he doesn't need anything to drink, but Derek calls bullshit and orders a coke for him. The kid looks torn between wanting to sweep the whole thing in one go and wanting to argue, and he ends up keeping his mouth shut, only answering that he wants curly fries when Derek forces it out of him.

He insists that a small is fine. Derek gets a large.

It's amusing as well as overwhelming to watch Stiles eat, because he eats like he's starving, and Derek realizes he might not be too far off. He takes an unholy amount of ketchup on his fries and takes as many into his mouth as he can at once, only coming up for air when taking a sip of his drink. Derek tries not to stare and focus on his own food, blocking out the small noises of pleasure coming from across the table.

"These are the best fries I've ever had," Stiles declares once he stops long enough between swallowing and diving for more to speak.

Derek huffs, unable to hold back a smile at the pure euphoria shining in Stiles' eyes.

"Try slowing down and you might actually taste them," he remarks.

Stiles snorts, already shoving more into his mouth, but he does slow down a bit.

They're sitting in one of the booths by the window, because Derek wants to keep an eye on the car. It's crowded and hot inside the diner, and they've both shed their jackets. Derek keeps getting distracted by the muscles in Stiles' arms flexing as he eats, or how the black t-shirt stretches tightly over his chest. He silently hopes that Stiles will follow his example and not put the jacket back on when they go back to hitting the road.

"Fuck."

Derek looks up to see Stiles with his fingers spread before him, all covered in red. He rolls his eyes and is just about to hand him a napkin when Stiles puts his thumb in his mouth, sucking it clean just like a child would. He does the same with the rest of his digits, one after the other, and Derek doesn't realize he's staring until Stiles meets his gaze.

Blood rushes straight to Derek's dick, and it's a wonder he doesn't curse out loud because really? He's a grown up man and yet this boy makes him feel like a horny teenager all over again. At least there's nothing giving it away thanks to the table separating them—unless Stiles can tell from his face exactly what he does to him. Derek thinks it's possible because Stiles' eyes darken as he licks his forefinger clean without breaking eye contact. It's undoubtedly one of the most erotic experiences of Derek's life.

When a waitress walks past their table, Derek manages to tear his eyes away.

"Can I get our check, please? And a coffee to go."

Screw Laura and her health education. He needs coffee to be able to deal with this.

"Absolutely," the girl nods. "You're paying with card?"

Derek pauses with his mouth hanging open, ready to say yes.

"No," he decides. "Cash. Is there an ATM around here?"

"Right outside around the corner," the waitress supplies.

"Alright, thanks," Derek mumbles as she disappears to fetch their check.

Stiles is watching him when Derek returns his attention to their table, but it's not with the same intent as before. Now there's wonder and curiosity sparkling in his eyes, and Derek's not sure why he likes it. He's pretty sure he shouldn't.

"What," he says flatly.

"Nothing," Stiles replies simply, holding up his hands in surrender before grabbing his coke and capturing the straw between his lips, emptying it with a loud slurp. It's probably meant to not get Derek's attention, but of course it backfires.

"You've got dirt on your face," Derek informs, tossing him the napkin he's been clenching in his hand. 

 

 

 

"Hey, I was listening to that!"

"That was crap," Derek reasons, eyes on the road as he puts his right hand back on the wheel after turning off the radio.

In the corner of his eye, he can see Stiles' jaw drop, clearly offended, and it's disturbingly adorable.

"For your information: that was Ariana Grande," he says seriously. "And Jesse J, and Nicki Minaj—" He stops himself with a sigh. "These names don't tell you anything, do they?"

"Nope."

"But they're practically royalty," Stiles argues, sounding upset for real. "They're the queens."

Derek huffs, shaking his head with a smile growing on his lips.

"I don't agree with modern music," he confesses.

"Oh no," Stiles groans. "Don't tell me you're one of those people who thinks rock music is dead?"

"It is dead," Derek retorts, looking over to give him a serious stare.

"No, it's not," Stiles snorts, grinning. "It's just different. There are plenty of good rock bands out there."

"Oh yeah?" Derek cocks an eyebrow at him, challenging. "Name one."

"Green Day!" Stiles exclaims in a heartbeat, hands flailing.

"Green Day?" Derek repeats with a disapproving frown, eyes back on the road.

"I love Green Day," Stiles continues. "And there's Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Fall Out Boy—"

"Those are all inspired by old bands," Derek says. "Like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles—"

"The Beatles?" Stiles repeats.

"You know what I mean," Derek says, rolling his eyes. "It's all too familiar. Nothing sounds really new anymore."

Stiles sighs dramatically, flopping his hands as if giving up the fight, and Derek is struck with how much he reminds him of Cora just then. The radio has been silent since Derek turned it off, and the only sound heard is that of the roaring car and the whizzing wind outside. It's the first moment of silence in several miles, but Derek doubts it'll last for very long. Stiles' fingers are already tapping impatiently on his knees.

It's hot even with the air-conditioning on, and neither of them put their jackets back on after leaving the diner—now lying in the backseat. Stiles had looked surprised when discovering Derek didn't have more than a single bag with him, but he hadn't asked. Derek wants to ask what Stiles is doing away from home without any belongings at all, so he supposes that's fair.

He wonders how long they're gonna keep this up before they start giving each other some answers.

"Alright," Stiles eventually sighs. "New deal: you'll pick the station if you let me drive."

"No way," Derek scoffs. "Are you even allowed to drive?"

"Dude, I'm nineteen," Stiles replies. "I'm more than old enough to drive."

"I don't care how old you are," Derek says, despite it being a total lie. "You're not driving without a license."

"We're in the middle of nowhere," Stiles tries to reason. "No one cares!"

Derek throws him a glance. "I care," he says, then quickly adds: "because it's my car." Stiles pulls a sad face and Derek rolls his eyes in defeat. "But fine," he grumbles. "Shotgun picks the music."

Stiles beams at him, and Derek can only hope that the heat he feels rising to his face doesn't show too much. Stiles reaches out to turn the radio back on, and once again Derek ponders over the fact that they still haven't touched each other; not even briefly. It's starting to drive him crazy, because it would be so damn easy—to just reach over and slide his hand over Stiles' knee, to squeeze his thigh.

He thinks Stiles wouldn't mind if he did, because whatever it is that's been going on since the gas station, he's pretty sure it's mutual. He knows Stiles has been watching him, and he recognizes the dark desire in his eyes when their gazes meet sometimes. It's thrilling unlike anything Derek remembers, but also kind of terrifying.

Because he didn't leave home for a hook up. He left to be alone, to get rid of voices, to get some peace and quiet, and somehow Stiles keeps boring big holes in his plan and Derek doesn't even mind.

 

 

 

Somehow, Stiles manages to find a station that seems to play the same songs on repeat, all of them sounding the same, and Derek would've just tuned it all out if it hadn't been for how Stiles opens his mouth and starts to sing along.

One hour later, Derek knows the first verse and chorus to Break Free.

 

 

 

They find a nice looking coffee shop in a small town where Derek decides to take a break.

"You're kind of a coffee junkie, you know that?" Stiles teases him once they've parked the car.

"I've heard it before," Derek nods, holding up the door for Stiles to go in first.

For a split second, his nose is filled with Stiles' scent as he brushes past him through the door, and it throws Derek off for much longer than he'd like to admit. He doesn't know how long it's been since Stiles had a proper shower, or even a clean bed to sleep in; he doesn't know if he's been away from home for a day or a week. But in either case, he never expected the kid to smell appealing. There's a faint hint of sugar, sun, and sweat, but mostly that masculine musk that must be purely him. Derek has to take a deep breath of fresh air before following Stiles inside.

Derek's wallet feels heavy with all the cash he took out from the ATM back at the diner, and he can feel Stiles' eyes on him when paying for his own coffee and Stiles' cappuccino—because apparently he likes more than just soft drinks, but they still need to be sweet. They head back outside to sit in the sun, and that's where Derek decides that it's enough.

"Go ahead," he says, gesturing to Stiles across the small table. "Spit it out."

Stiles squints his eyes in disbelief, mouth opening slightly but he still doesn't say anything right away. Derek waits him out.

"You don't like using your card," he says finally, sounding careful. Derek nods, ready to explain when Stiles continues: "Sometimes I get the feeling you're avoiding doing things a certain way, even if it's the way you're used to." He nods to the coffee in Derek's hand. "You hesitate before asking for sugar or cream to your coffee even though you make a face at how sweet it is later."

Derek looks down at the cup in his hand in surprise, not sure how to respond to that. When he looks back up, Stiles looks like he's not sure whether he should've kept his mouth shut or not.

"You're very observant," Derek says.

Stiles shrugs. "It's a curse."

Derek hums thoughtfully, watching Stiles for a moment of silence before making a decision.

"I'm running away from something," he says eventually, feeling his heart skip a beat at saying it out loud for the first time.

Stiles nods, as if he's already thought about the possibility.

"The law?"

Derek huffs, arching one eyebrow.

"I'm not a fugitive."

"You look like a fugitive," Stiles insists, practically beaming. "Maybe you should start wearing cardigans."

And Derek can't help but laugh at that, and it probably surprises Stiles as much as it does himself. He's wearing the leather jacket again, because it's much easier to carry around your keys and your wallet when you have several pockets available. But as practical as it is: he does see Stiles' point. And he's thought about shaving for at least a week but just hasn't got around to it yet.

Stiles is watching him with big eyes once Derek calms down and focuses on him again, and the expression on his face is so close to awe that it makes Derek swallow. He sighs, tilting his head to the side.

"Why would you get in the car with a fugitive?"

"Maybe because it wouldn't be the first one I've had to deal with," Stiles replies simply.

Derek's gaze drifts over Stiles' face, feeling an overwhelming concern for the boy sitting across from him. He already figured Stiles' story was a sad one, but hearing him state so himself makes it more real. An uneasiness creeps up Derek's spine, and as much as he wants to spill all the questions that have been piling up since this morning, he doesn't think Stiles would appreciate it. The guy doesn't seem more eager to talk about his past than Derek does.

"I'm running away from my family," he therefore says instead. "Or what's left of it." Stiles' eyes widen further, and Derek opens his mouth, closes it, but eventually goes on. "I grew up in a big mansion. We're quite… wealthy," he mumbles, not liking the word but figures it's better than most others. "There was a fire. My parents died. My sisters and I were in school."

He's talked about this many times before—of course he has—but Derek doubts he'll ever be able to talk about his mom and dad without the familiar thickness lodging in his throat. It still hurts every time he has to acknowledge the reality, has to admit how his life went wrong. For a long time he even blamed himself, for no other reason than that he wished he'd had the power to stop it.

And Stiles isn't the first stranger he's had to tell the story to, but it still feels different. Because Stiles isn't a psychologist who's getting paid to listen, or a deputy playing the good cop, or even one of his classmates who'd never looked his way before the fire but suddenly couldn't stop glancing over. Stiles is just a guy he found at a gas station this morning and who's currently watching him in silence; like he understands, and that's enough for Derek to keep talking.

"Our uncle took us in. He wanted us to stay true to our family’s tradition. He wanted us to go towards a decorous path. Go big or go home." He purses his lips, thinking of Peter and he can feel the rage rise from his gut where he's been trying to bury it. It's a wonder he managed to leave without taking a swing at his uncle, but it's probably for the best. "It went well for my two sisters—they knew what they wanted. I— I didn't."

I still don't, he adds inside his head. About anything.

"My uncle told me to go to law school, to be a lawyer, because apparently that's a respectable job." He snorts lightly at his own air quotes, glancing up at Stiles who's still watching him, eyes squinting in the sun. "He paid for my entire college education. He pushed me into doing everything he wanted, and he used my dead parents to get inside my head."

Derek shakes his head, looking down into his coffee that has probably gone cold by now. "He kept saying it was to make them proud. He said it's what they would've wanted." He sighs, looking up again. "And maybe it is," he admits around the lump in his throat, "but it's not what I wanted."

Stiles swallows visibly, Adam's apple bobbing, and nods slowly. Like he understands.

"He's got no reason to come after me, and it's not like he's a cop or anything," Derek goes on. "But it wouldn't surprise me if he decided to call in a favor and try find me. And the card thing—" He sighs. "It's not just that I don't wanna be tracked down. I don't like using it. It doesn't—It doesn't feel like me."

Derek closes his mouth and waits for some kind of reaction, not sure what to expect. He feels lighter, as well as exposed, wondering if Stiles will see him in a different light now, and he can't decide whether it'd be good or bad if he did. After a while of just watching each other in tense silence, Stiles shifts in his chair and leans forward on his elbows. Derek waits, wondering if Stiles will do what he's done before and give away something about himself in exchange for Derek's story.

"If I had a family to run from," he says quietly, "I wouldn't."

His words hurt, but Derek's not sure why—if it's because Stiles is an orphan just like him, or because it sounds like he thinks Derek running away from home is wrong. Not that it felt like a home.

"I'm sorry," he blurts out.

But Stiles shakes his head dismissively.

"Don't. I'm not trying to compare—that's never fair."

Derek nods solemnly, his chest still feeling heavy. If Stiles really has no one, he can't imagine what that's like. He knows he was lucky to have Laura and Cora, because no matter how alone you feel when your parents are suddenly gone, your siblings are in the exact same boat. If he hadn't had them—if it had just been him and Peter—he knows he wouldn't have made it. It would've destroyed him.

And suddenly, he's amazed by how Stiles still manages to laugh—how he manages to make Derek laugh—despite what he's been through.

They remain by their table for another ten minutes, watching people arrive and depart until the tension between them slowly fades away. Stiles doesn't talk about his family, but the hardness in his face disappears and he starts to slouch down in his chair just like he does when he's in the car.  Derek is relieved, and he reaches the decision that it doesn't matter if he never learns Stiles' life story. The kid doesn't owe him anything, and certainly not that.

It's a small town, but a lot of people seem to be passing through before getting back on the highway. He could drop Stiles off here; he'd probably find someone else to ride with quite easily. They never agreed on how long Derek would take him for, on when they would part ways. Stiles must be thinking the same thing because he suddenly seems edgy again, eyes shifting between Derek and the Camaro behind them as if fearing this will be the last time he sees either of them. It makes something stir uncomfortably in Derek's stomach, and it only grows in size once he realizes why.

Because he doesn't want to drop Stiles off. Because he wants to keep him. Because Stiles is the most alive person he's ever met in his fancy, colorless life, and it's absolutely terrifying that he doesn't want to let him go.

Derek empties his cup in one last swig and tosses it into the bin behind them.

"Let's go."

Stiles jumps to his feet, trashing his own cup and falls into step with Derek. Neither of them say anything further, but right before getting back into the car, their eyes lock over the roof and Stiles gives him a bright smile; the kind that's starting to make Derek feel butterflies come to life in his belly. He smiles in return, and that's all that needs to be said.

 

 

 

By the time they stop at a restaurant to have dinner a few hours later, Derek has memorized the second verse of Break Free.

It's a neat place, but not all too fancy. Derek appreciates that; too fancy places bring back memories he'd rather not think about when having Stiles sitting across from him. They do, however, have really nice dishes, and yet Stiles orders chicken nuggets.

"Do you live on fast food only?" Derek scoffs.

"Everyone can live on fast food," Stiles replies with a grin.

"I doubt everyone has your metabolism," Derek points out, cocking an eyebrow.

Stiles chuckles. "Yeah, well, there's that."

Derek rolls his eyes, taking a big sip of water. The waiter had suggested wine and Derek's brain had automatically gone to beer, because Stiles is right; he wants to do the opposite from what he's used to. Wine makes him think about Peter's dinners with the Argents, and he doesn't even like the taste. Of course he hadn't gone with beer either because he's still driving—no matter how hard Stiles tried to convince him he could take over the wheel.

"I'll have to introduce you to real food sometime," he sighs.

Stiles' eyes are wide when looking up at him from across the table, and Derek realizes it sounds like a promise; an implication to them having more time together. But he doesn't want to take it back. He lets his eyes drift away from Stiles' face, trying to act nonchalant about it. Stiles doesn't answer, but Derek likes to think the glimpse of a smile in the corner of his eye isn't all in his imagination.

There's a different vibe between them during the meal, and the only way Derek can think of to describe it as is softer. It's like they've wordlessly agreed to put the sarcasm and friendly banter on hold. Derek wonders if it has to do with how he opened up back at the coffee shop, if it changed something between them. It's not uncomfortable, and while part of Derek misses Stiles' snarky remarks: it's nice to be able to have this, too.

 

 

 

It's starting to get dark when they leave the restaurant, the sun hanging low in the tangerine sky. The night air is chilly enough for them both to keep their jackets on as they get back in the car. Stiles asks where the hell the day went and Derek huffs softly in agreement, but other than that, they don't say much as they drive out of the parking lot and continue on down the road.

They hadn't been driving with the help of either a map or a GPS, but Derek still knew they were getting close to the ocean. It must've escaped Stiles' attention completely, if the gasp slipping out of him when they reach the top of a hill and the open water stretches out before them is anything to go by. Derek throws him an amused glance, but doesn't make a bigger deal out of it.

The car stays quiet for nearly a minute before Stiles turns to him.

"Hey, Derek," he says, and Derek's heart does something ridiculous when he realizes it's the first time Stiles has said his name. "Can we stop?"

Derek looks over to him, just maintaining eye contact for a moment. The low light is casting shadows around his features, and there's a new expression in his eyes Derek hasn't seen before.

"Sure," he manages to say even though his throat is suddenly thick with nerves.

"I wanna watch the sunset," Stiles says absently, eyes returning to where the sun is reflecting on the water before them.

Derek nods, despite not knowing if Stiles can see it. His heart is pounding as he keeps to the right before making a turn and putting the Camaro in park by the side of the road. Stiles is out of the car before he's even shut down the engine, and Derek fumbles with the keys before following him.

The ocean lies like one giant mirror below the lowering sun, wearing the same magical colors as the sky above. Waves are disturbing the surface, causing the light to flow out of formation. It's beautiful, and even Derek has to take a moment to appreciate the view before directing his attention to Stiles.

He's got his back to the car and Derek, a tall silhouette standing by the edge of the hill. His shoulders are tense, hands closed into fists at his sides, and whatever thought Derek may have had about walking up to him dies quickly. Instead, he leans back against the side of the car, hands in his pockets, and watches the sunset and Stiles alike.

It takes quite a while before Stiles moves from where he's standing, and once he does, he turns around to look straight at Derek. Slowly, he takes one step closer, gaze flickering from Derek's face to his feet. His shoulders don't look as tense anymore, but the determination is still evident on his face.

"You've wanted to ask me things all day," he says, surprising Derek. "I know you still do."

Derek hesitates, eyes raking over Stiles' silhouette in front of him. He can only just make out Stiles' face.

"You don't owe me anything," he says.

Stiles scoffs lightly. "I do, though," he insists. "Gas money, for one. Not to mention all the food, or the coffee." He digs his fists into his pockets, taking another step closer. "The least I can give you is some answers."

"That's none of my business," Derek tries.

"You told me," Stiles says, looking straight at him now. "About your family."

Derek pauses with his lips parted, pulse quickening without his approval. Stiles is close now; close enough for his figure to cast a shadow over the car and half of Derek's face. He wishes he could see him more clearly, be able to read the expression in his eyes.

"I wanted to," he admits.

"What if I wanted to?" Stiles asks, and the depth of his voice makes something inside Derek stir. "I do. Before we—" He gestures with one hand between them, and Derek has no idea what it means. "I want you to know."

And Derek wants to know—he really does—but he meant what he said about Stiles not owing him an explanation. People are allowed to have secrets, allowed to keep things from each other, and two strangers who've spent one day in a car together is certainly not an exception.

He doesn't say anything, but neither does he protest further, so Stiles must take it as an invitation to keep talking. Instead of taking another step forward and closing the final distance between them, he moves to the side and leans against the car next to Derek, mirroring his pose. Derek's tempted to look over, to see Stiles' face in the warm light from the setting sun, but he keeps his gaze on the horizon.

"My mom died when I was nine," Stiles begins, and Derek's heart sinks so fast that it physically hurts. "Fronto-temporal dementia. FTD for short. It's, uh—" Derek can see him waving his hand helplessly in the corner of his eye. "—similar to Alzheimer's, I guess."

Derek wonders if Stiles picked all this up at the age of nine, or if he read more into the disease that killed his mom once he became old enough to understand. The latter is both the most likely and most painful.

"I started getting these panic attacks," he continues, swallowing audibly. "It was pretty bad. I was— I was pretty bad," he corrects himself, ducking his head down.

Derek finally turns his head to look at him, and his heart flutters at the sight of Stiles' otherwise pale skin glowing like gold.

"I'm the only child, so it was just me and my dad for a while. A few years later this new boy moved into town," he continues, voice growing a little stronger. "Scott. He and I— We kinda clicked from the get go, you know?" Derek doesn't know, but he nods anyway. "We were best friends, got into all kinds of trouble—which is kind of ironic considering my dad was the sheriff."

The fact that he's talking about them in the past tense is making Derek feel uneasy, even if he should've been prepared for it. Stiles exhales deeply through his nose, eyes closing for a second before looking up again.

"One night, my dad got a call about a body being found in the woods, and I dragged Scott out there." He snorts. "Because nothing ever happened in our little town and apparently I thought a killer in the woods would be hilarious." His voice reeks of sarcasm. "We got separated, and my dad's search party got hold of me. I didn't call Scott out, didn't want him to get in trouble." Stiles chuckles, but it's hollow. "I was sent home and assumed Scott got back by himself. Which— Well. He didn't."

Derek swallows harshly. "How old were you?"

"Sixteen," Stiles replies lowly, looking up to meet his eyes for the first time. "My dad and the whole sheriff's department tried to track down the killer for two weeks straight after that. He was gone most nights." He looks away again. "My panic attacks came back."

It's difficult to picture, but Derek tries to anyway. Stiles, sitting young and alone in the corner of a dark bedroom, struggling to breathe. Before he grew into his limbs, before he grew his hair out. When his cheeks were rounder, his skin still smooth and clean. It's so different from the Stiles he knows—the one who cracks jokes and turns innocent questions into cheesy pickup lines.

"Then my dad got killed."

He knew it was coming, but it still catches Derek off guard. Stiles' voice is steady and cold, like he's trying not to slip too much emotion into his words. Derek knows what that's like—did it himself only a few hours ago when mentioning his own parents. It never stops being heavy; you just learn to handle the weight.

Stiles is quiet for a long moment, but Derek waits patiently. Not because Stiles hasn't said enough, but because his fingers are tapping against the side of the car and Derek can tell that his mind is still racing. When he looks up to meet Derek's eyes again, there's a faint smile in the corner of his mouth.

"I moved between different foster homes for the next two years until I turned eighteen. No place really worked out. If I was a troublemaker before, then—" He sighs. "Went from straight As to rock bottom." He shrugs, smile fading. "I guess no one really knew what to do with me."

Derek clenches his jaw, because once again he's reminded of their difference in terms of education. And it's not fair because Stiles wanted to go to college. And he should've, because even during the short time they've had together, Derek can already tell that he's smart. He should have been the one given the opportunity Derek threw away by grabbing his dead father's keys and driving off.

"There was talk about me staying with Melissa." Stiles' eyes are back on the sun that's almost touching the edge of the world. "Scott's mom," he clarifies, and his voice cracks for the first time. "But she was— None of us—" He shakes his head. "It didn't work out."

And Derek can see it as clear as day, because it's like looking into a mirror. The guilt. Stiles was the one who took Scott out in the woods; the woods where Scott got killed. Derek can't even imagine the weight Stiles must bear on his shoulders, can feel his own chest go heavy by the mere thought of it.

"Stiles," he says, and he doesn't mean for it to come out as a whisper, but it does anyway. Stiles hesitantly looks up. "It wasn't your fault."

He hopes there are others who've told him this already, others who've told him to get rid of the guilt. He hopes the psychologists Stiles met as a kid were just as persistent as the ones he met, that they all had seen Good Will Hunting just as many times. But while it eventually worked out for him, he knows it didn't for Stiles.

Yet he doesn't brush it off, and neither does he agree. Instead he just gives Derek the ghost of a smile.

"You never thought the fire was your fault?"

If this had been anyone else saying it, Derek's knuckles would've probably hurt already. But Stiles isn't mocking him, isn't trying to provoke him in anyway. He only says it to show Derek that he understands; that he can tell they've been in the same place. And instead of anger—which has been his default response to anything to do with his family for years—Derek feels a warmth coil within him.

They're still watching each other, only a short distance left between them where they're leaning against the car as the sun goes down across the ocean. Another car drives by on the road, headlights wandering over the Camaro before it drives past them. Derek shudders from the wind blowing straight through his clothes, but he refuses to take his eyes off Stiles.

Stiles, whose eyes are slightly darker than they should be in the provided light and are flickering down to Derek's lips. Stiles, who is so close Derek can feel his body heat radiate though the small space of air between them.

He can't tell who moves first, or when he took his hand out of his pocket, but suddenly their hands are brushing against one another, and Derek's heart stops. It's the first real touch exchanged between them, after hours of wanting, and there's not a single layer of fabric separating their bare hands. Stiles' skin is hot from the sun yet cool from the wind, rough and smooth altogether. The pad of his fingers slide over Derek's palm before interlacing their fingers together, holding his hand carefully.

Derek glances down at their joined hands in awe, body flushing hot and aware. His heart is pounding now, the butterflies in his stomach going crazy. It takes a moment before he squeezes Stiles' hand back, and the boy's grip tightens happily in response. Stiles' fingers are long and slender, fitting between his own just like he hoped they would.

When he lifts his gaze back up, Stiles is so close. Derek's breath catches a little in surprise, sucking in a deep breath that smells of Stiles. He can feel the small puffs of air as Stiles breathes against his face, warm in contrast to the chilly wind. Their eyes lock again, like so many times before, and Stiles' are big and beautiful and his pupils blown.

And Derek wants. For the first time in his life, he knows exactly what he wants, and he wants it so much it feels like a fire in his chest.

His old life was all formal parties and fancy dinners, being introduced to women whom his uncle thought deserved his attention. None of them ever got his attention, however, no matter which dress they wore or the way they took the liberty to kiss him without permission—assuming he wanted them to. He didn't. Kate, Erica, Jennifer—he didn't want any of them.

There had been a few boys in college, on the rare nights when he'd abandoned his schoolwork and gotten drunk to clear his mind. Only then he'd been brave enough to go against the rules, brave enough to go for what he wanted. And what he'd wanted was release, an escape. But the feeling never lasted, was always washed away along with the alcohol come morning. When he went back home he'd forgotten what it felt like, forgotten how to want something, and he hasn't felt it since.

Until now.

He wants Stiles. He wants Stiles in his car. He wants Stiles in his bed.

And he knows Stiles wants him too, because deep down, he knows they've been building up to this moment ever since they first laid eyes on each other. Part of him wants to scream finally while the rest of him knows that if this had happened any earlier than right now, it wouldn't have been the same. It wouldn't have felt the same.

Derek thinks about kissing him—leaning in and capturing those lips with his own—but he can't move. He hopes Stiles will do it; waits for it. He thinks that if he leans forward just half an inch their noses will bump, but he doesn't do that either. He's frozen on the spot—so overwhelmed with everything he wants that he doesn't know how to go about getting it.

"It's late," he murmurs after a long silence. "We should— We should try to find a place to stay the night."

Stiles' eyes are darting between Derek's, mouth closing as he swallows visibly. He nods, and then he's gone—hand slipping free from Derek's as he backs away. There's a faint smile resting on his lips, however, and it makes Derek's heart jolt in anticipation.

"Let's hurry, then."

Derek nearly drops the keys when getting back to the car.

 

 

 

As they're driving, Stiles' hand reaches over to squeeze Derek's leg. It's not enough to make him lose control of the car, but he can't stop the sigh escaping him. He looks over to the passenger seat, meeting Stiles' eyes in the tense silence where their ragged breaths are the only sound to be heard. He moves his knee as far to the right as possible, giving Stiles room to stroke the inside of his thigh through the denim.

Finally.

 

 

 

They kiss for the first time in a motel hallway, after they've parked the Camaro outside and checked in. Derek has been thinking about it since the sun went down, has tried to predict what it's going to be like, and yet it takes him by surprise when Stiles suddenly grabs him gently by the arm and spins him around in the small corridor. Derek is just about to frown and open his mouth to ask what is going on when Stiles tilts his head up and kisses him fully on the mouth.

It's slow and disorientating, because Derek's used to be met by force. They're barely touching, aside from Stiles' hand still wrapped around his forearm, surrounded by open space rather than a couch or a wall to push the other into. He hums against Stiles' lips, pressing back as his heartbeat quickens. When Stiles shortly leans back just enough to end the kiss, Derek doesn't chase after him. Their ragged breaths curl over each other's kiss-bruised lips in the small space between them, and it sounds so loud in the otherwise empty hallway. Derek looks at Stiles' parted lips from under half closed eyelids, blinking once and swallowing down, throat suddenly dry. Their foreheads are touching, and for a moment that probably feels much longer than it actually is, they just stand there, so close, sharing the same air.

Stiles is the one who decides to move first, grabbing the front of Derek's leather jacket with both hands and hauling him in for a second kiss—this one much rougher than the first. He opens his mouth almost immediately and Derek doesn't hesitate to let him in, parting his lips eagerly and letting their tongues meet. Stiles pushes against his chest and backs him up against the wall between the two closest doors before Derek even realizes what's going on. He grunts as his back hits the wall but makes sure not to break the kiss that's growing hot and filthy. His own hands go for Stiles' waist, grasping the jacket between his fingers to keep him exactly where he is.

He inhales through his nose and is once again overwhelmed by Stiles' scent. Derek's used to kisses smelling of women's perfume, but Stiles smells of fresh air and the inside of his car. He doesn't taste like alcohol, but of chicken nuggets and coffee, and yet Derek feels drunk just from a single kiss. His lips are slightly chapped but his tongue is warm and wet, and Derek feels like going mad by how much he's into it all.

He's also never kissed anyone with a beard—always followed his uncle's advice to stay clean-shaven when socializing—but Stiles doesn't seem to mind. Quite the opposite actually; he keeps angling his head to feel Derek's chin scrape against his cheek, and Derek absently wonders if one night together will be enough to give him beard burn.

"Okay," Stiles pants out, hands flat on Derek's chest to keep enough distance between them to speak. "Key. Room. Now."

Derek only hums dumbly in reply, needing another second before registering what Stiles has just said. He reluctantly releases his iron grip on Stiles' jacket and digs for the room key in his jeans. Stiles backs away to clear a path to their door, and Derek nearly trips on his three-steps journey over there because he's too busy missing Stiles' mouth on him. And maybe Stiles can read minds because the next second, Derek can feel him hovering behind him before those lips are at the back of his neck, and it takes Derek forever to get the door open.

The lights are on as they stumble inside, but neither of them seem to notice. The door barely clicks shut behind Stiles before Derek turns around to cup his face in his hands and kiss him again. Stiles groans against him, and it sends a vibration down Derek's throat that makes his whole body tingle. He licks into Stiles' mouth, exhaling sharply through his nose as Stiles' big hands slip inside his leather jacket to hold onto his hips through the shirt beneath. They move without either of them knowing where, tripping over each other's feet even with the room lit and nothing but each other blocking their paths.

Eventually, Stiles backs into a desk that Derek hadn't even realized was there, and that's where they come to a stop. Derek drops his hands to Stiles' front, his fingers locating the zipper to his jacket and tugs it all the way down before mirroring Stiles' move and slipping his hands inside. He can feel the heat of Stiles' body through the thin t-shirt, and he can't help but slip his thumbs underneath the hem. It's hard to say who gasps more the moment he touches Stiles' hot skin, and their noises are swallowed down by each other's mouths still slotted together. The muffled sound goes straight to Derek's dick, and his hands almost instinctively goes for Stiles' ass where the edge of the damn desk is preventing him from grabbing it.

And Derek thinks perfect before grabbing Stiles' thighs instead to hoist him up onto the desk.

Stiles lets out a breathless laugh in surprise, interrupting the kiss just long enough to open his legs and let Derek step in between them. They share a drunken smile before Derek leans in to claim those lips again, his hands purposely landing on Stiles' ass. He takes the followed hum as a sign of approval, pulling Stiles closer to the edge of the table to keep their bodies flushed together.

It's maddening—having Stiles' legs on each side of him and their groins pressed together with all the layers of clothing remaining. He can feel how hard Stiles is, can feel the heat of him down there. They need to be naked—right now—which is why he attempts the art of speaking even with all his blood rushing south.

"Clothes," he pants against Stiles' lips. "Off. We should take our clothes off."

Perhaps he'd be embarrassed by his twaddle if it hadn't been for how Stiles doesn't hesitate to nod in agreement, nearly knocking their heads together. Eager hands reach up to the collar of Derek's jacket, easing it off his shoulders. Derek retreats his hands from Stiles' backside to help take it off completely, amused by how Stiles makes sure to toss it onto the chair rather than let it fall to the floor. Their lips meet again, briefly, before Derek tends to Stiles' own jacket. It comes off quickly and would've accompanied Derek's on the chair if Stiles hadn't thrown it somewhere over Derek's shoulder the second he was free from it.

Stiles' long neck stands out against his black t-shirt, and Derek doesn't even try to stop himself from leaning in to just taste. He drops openmouthed kisses right beneath Stiles' jaw, probably using as much tongue as teeth. He's about to pull back when Stiles' hands sneak into his hair and hold him firmly in place, tilting his head to the side to give Derek better access. The vein there stands out beneath his pale skin the way he cranes his neck, and Derek traces it with his tongue; tasting his salty skin and feeling Stiles' racing pulse. Experimentally, he rubs his cheek all the way back up to the base of Stiles' jaw, smiling at the shiver going through Stiles' body. He wonders if it tickles.

"Come here," Stiles whispers, and Derek probably would've missed it if it hadn't been breathed right into his ear.

Hands are pulling at him until they're at eye level again, green eyes meeting brown, and there's a strange dip in Derek's stomach. And he doesn't see the attractive guy he found at a gas station in the California desert, but the boy who opened up to him in the light of the sunset. The one he wants like burning, and not in spite of what was said but perhaps even because of it.

And then Stiles is kissing him, one hand a grounding weight on the back of Derek's head. He sighs into it, eyelids falling shut. His hands still at Stiles' sides, just lingering with thumbs still stroking hot and soft skin. For a short moment nothing escalates from there, both of them breathing heavily through their noses, before Stiles' hips buck forward and Derek's dick jumps where it's still trapped inside his pants. He moans down Stiles' throat, and he receives a low groan in response.

Stiles' fumbles at the hem of his shirt, tugging it up to reveal more of Derek's skin. They break apart only far enough for Derek to gasp at the air curling over his stomach, foreheads still touching. Stiles' breath is unsteady against his wet lips, eager and excited, just like the hands trying to rid Derek of his shirt. He succeeds once Derek agrees to pull back enough to drag it over his head, tossing it in the direction of wherever Stiles' jacket went. And then he's standing shirtless in front of Stiles, whose eyes are raking over his chest.

Then Derek remembers that he hasn't waxed his chest since he left home, just like he hasn't bothered to shave, and for a split second, he panics. Because he vividly remembers all the times Peter taught him the importance of wearing v-necks and keeping your skin clean and smooth. You see, dear nephew: the women loves it. Turns out the guys at college did too, but ever since he left home, Derek hasn't even glanced at a razor and even less the pain of waxing supplies.

He's one second away from self-consciously reaching up to cover his hairy chest when Stiles slides one hand up to touch, carding his fingers through it with his eyes still deep and clouded with want. It takes Derek by such surprise that he just stands there, looking down at Stiles who's too busy watching his own fingers move over Derek's heaving chest to notice.

Hesitantly, Derek reaches out to run his own fingers through Stiles' messy hair—which is something he's wanted to do all day—and settles with his hand on the back of his head. Stiles looks up, meeting his gaze with half-lidded eyes, and smiles. Something hot flares up in Derek's chest, but he dismisses it as nothing but pure arousal as he smiles back, reaching down with a second hand to gently tug at Stiles' shirt to make things fair. Stiles hums amusingly, withdrawing his hand from Derek's chest with something that looks a little bit like disappointment before lifting both arms up to let Derek take his shirt off in return.

Derek had been right: the moles do cover other parts of Stiles' body. Most of them, in fact. His gaze is instantly drawn to two on each side of the collarbone, another one on the left side of Stiles' chest, and a few more wandering down his back, out of view. Derek's eyes drift all over Stiles' body: his shoulders; where the short sleeves of his shirt had hugged his muscles nicely, his pecs and perky nipples that had been visible through the thin fabric, and finally his flat stomach and the dark happy trail, which—wow. Derek had no idea he'd be so into that.

It's with an eager hand that he reaches out to touch, Stiles' breath hitching when he runs a thumb down the center of the boy's pale front, and he can feel Stiles' heavy gaze on him even if he's not looking. He's following his own hand move down Stiles' abs, watching the muscles contract under his touch, and it's mesmerizing. His own heart skips a beat when he reaches the area right below Stiles' belly button, above the waistband of his jeans, the unmistakable bulge, and stops. They're both breathing heavily, the small space of air between their bodies starting to feel hot and thick. So does the rest of the room—as if someone had switched on the heat, even in the middle of summer.

Lifting his eyes back up to meet Stiles', Derek feels the butterflies flutter inside his belly again. It's got little to do with the depth in those golden eyes and everything to do with the sly smile pulling at the corner of his lips; the one that is so Stiles that it makes something clench around Derek's heart because he's able to recognize it.

Stiles cups Derek's face in his hands, thumbs stroking his scruff like he can't help not to, and then they're kissing again. Derek presses himself against the edge of the desk between Stiles' open legs, fingers digging into the flesh of his slim hips. Stiles pushes himself forward as well, holding onto the back of Derek's neck for leverage. They make little noises that are swallowed up by their heated kisses, only coming up for air when changing the angle. Their noses bump every now and then, and Derek can feel the smile on Stiles' lips grow as well as the tent in his pants. Derek groans wildly, feeling just a little lightheaded with all his blood going south, as he thrusts his hips against Stiles' and a sharp wave of pleasure runs through him.

"Fuck, okay," Stiles mutters against his cheek. "We should move this to the bed before I shoot in my pants like a teenager."

"You are a teenager," Derek reminds him, breathless, nipping at his jaw because it's there.

Stiles laughs, out of air while his body still rocks against Derek's, and the vibration going through his body is amazing.

"But you're not," he points out. "And I'd prefer it if neither of us finished before we were even naked."

Derek hums deeply, meaning to sound agreeing, and lets his body move against Stiles' for a few rapid heartbeats more before sliding his hands around Stiles' thighs again to pick him up. Stiles gasps in surprise, instinctively wrapping his legs around Derek's waist and his arms around his neck to keep himself in place. It makes Derek feel smug, and he walks across the room without making a direct beeline for the bed, just to let it last a little longer. Once they get there, Stiles is holding on too tightly to let Derek drop him down on the bed without dragging him down with him, and he laughs as they both flop down onto the mattress—still wearing shoes.

"Oh my god," he breathes out, lying flat on his back with his hands steady on Derek's biceps. "You're like... ridiculously hot."

His eyes are wide with awe, and it's the only thing preventing Derek from brushing it off like every other time someone tells him the same thing. Because usually, he doesn't care for people commenting on his good looks, because, after spending years with Peter schooling him about the importance of beauty: it's started to feel like not even that part belongs to him anymore; like it's just one more thing he needs to run from.

But Stiles sounds like he means it, and if there's one thing Derek's learned from law school it's to detect lies or empty words. This is neither. Stiles' eyes are shining with honesty, and for the first time in what probably is years: he feels flattered.

Smiling faintly, Derek shifts his weight onto his elbows and knees, hovering above Stiles on the bed.

"So are you," he murmurs, looking straight into Stiles' eyes as he bumps their noses together.

And not just hot; Stiles is beautiful in ways the women Derek met never were. Pretty, even—though Derek suspects he wouldn't like to be called that. But that's okay: Derek is fine with only calling Stiles pretty inside his own head.

Disbelief is an easy expression to catch, and it's written all over Stiles' face. He's not self-conscious about the way he looks—he wouldn't be so nonchalant when shedding his clothes if he were—but it's obvious he doesn't think it's fair to compare himself with Derek. And Derek doesn't know how to convince someone they're the most beautiful person he's been with—has never wanted to before—so instead of using words, he simply leans in to capture Stiles' lips in a feverish kiss, pressing him down into the mattress.

Stiles sighs into it, only waiting a handful of seconds before tightening his hold around Derek's biceps, soon kissing back with the same enthusiasm and lack of finesse as back on the desk. It's sloppy and perfect, and Derek can't tell if Stiles intentionally misses his mouth to drag his lips against his beard or if he's just too worked up to care. Whichever it is: he's not complaining.

Derek's heart jolts in excitement when Stiles reaches under his body for his belt, blindly trying to unbuckle it with his mouth still chasing after Derek's. After a lot of helpless fumbling, he curses against Derek's lips before scooting down the bed a little, dropping his forehead on Derek's chest to be able to see what he's doing. Derek ducks his head down, his breath coming out in short puffs as he rests his chin on the back of Stiles' head. It's weirdly intimate, and he only barely registers the tightness in his chest before Stiles makes a pleased noise in triumph as the belt gives in. Derek scoffs in amusement, butterflies stirring in his belly.

"Oh my god," Stiles moans when he has to get through the button and fly as well.

"Don't hurt yourself," Derek teases, smiling into Stiles' hair.

And since when does he talk during sex—other than drunk slurring? Never. Even less with sarcasm.

"Just take your damn clothes off," Stiles sighs, head falling back on the bed in defeat.

Derek chuckles, ducking down to give Stiles a chaste kiss before backing off the edge of the bed to stand. He kicks his shoes off, not bothering with the socks and goes to unzip his jeans. Stiles' eyes stay on him as he lifts his hips off the bed to mirror him as he pushes his pants down his hips, and Derek watches him in return.

It's a little awkward, because Derek isn't used to being sober when undressing in front of someone else, but Stiles quickly lightens the mood by breaking into a fit of laughter when not able to get rid of his shoes as elegantly as Derek had. It's impossible not to laugh along, and it's like something loosens inside Derek when he offers to help pull Stiles' shoes off. Once they're done, Stiles' face is flushed, either from shame or laughter; Derek can't really tell but he likes it either way.

He sighs contently as he steps out of his tight jeans, left only in his boxers and socks. Stiles' eyes are dark and flickering all over him from where he's cringing out of his own pants on the bed. Derek watches his chest heave; waiting until Stiles goes for the waistband of his underwear before removing his own. His cock finally springs free, already hard from the make out sessions and intense dry humping. Stiles' own dick slaps against his stomach, thick and hard, and Derek literally feels his mouth water.

"God, what are you doing over there," Stiles complains. "Fuck, just— I wanna feel you."

Derek's breath catches as he hurries to climb back onto the bed, crawling forward on his knees and hands until he's looking down at Stiles, whose face is flushed and has one hand reaching down to stroke himself, to wrap those long fingers around his shaft. Derek shoves his hand away, making Stiles let out a protesting noise that gets stuck in his throat the next second because then Derek is on him—thrusting his hips down where they're perfectly aligned and covering Stiles' open mouth with his.

They moan in unison into the kiss, and the white flashes of pleasure shooting up Derek's spine are enough to make his whole body shudder. He can feel Stiles' cock jerk right next to his, trapped between their bellies where they're already smearing around pre-come. But it's not enough; they're rubbing their hard dicks together, and it's too hot, too dry

"Wait," Derek pants, turning his face slightly to the side to be able to get a word out, and Stiles' mouth lands on his cheek. "I don't— I don't have anything."

For a moment, their erratic breathing is all to be heard, bodies still grinding idly together as if they just can't help it.

"I have condoms," Stiles breathes out, letting his head fall back onto the pillow and nodding towards his jacket where it lay on the floor. Derek doesn't take his eyes off of Stiles, feeling an unexpected sting in his chest. He doesn't even realize what it is until Stiles turns his attention back to him and their gazes lock.

Jealousy; that's what it is. He's jealous. The thought of Stiles carrying around condoms in his pocket makes him jealous, and Derek's got no clue where the hell that came from. He's got no damn right to be jealous. It's not like he was under the illusion that he'd be Stiles' first—Derek can tell he's done this before—and yet it bothers him to think that this is something Stiles does with other people than him. Perhaps people like him, even, and the thought makes Derek's heart sink like a stone.

And maybe Stiles can't really read minds, but at least whatever look came upon Derek's face must have hit home because he reaches up to cup Derek's face with both hands and adds in a steady voice: "A whole package."

It's ridiculous, but it actually does help. Derek blushes faintly, ducking his head down for a second before looking back up into Stiles' darkened eyes. Their bodies are still touching all over, not a single layer of fabric between them now. Derek can feel their cocks throb against each other where he's still lazily rolling his hips against Stiles'.

He swallows. "I have lube in the car."

Stiles chuckles breathlessly, and Derek barely manages to bite back a groan upon feeling the vibration coursing through his whole body.

"Of course you do," he sighs, smiling softly. "You think there's anything in here we can use? Some lotion or—"

"Doubtful," Derek mutters. "It's a crappy motel by the side of the road, not a luxury hotel."

Stiles whines, and it would've made Derek smile if he hadn't felt like doing the exact same thing.

"Rock, paper, scissors for who goes to get it?" Stiles suggests.

"No way," Derek snorts. "If I give you the keys you might drive off."

"You seriously think I'd steal your car rather than hurry back to you waiting for me naked in bed?" Stiles asks.

He knows it's said as a joke, but Derek's heart still jolts at that, and this time he can't resist leaning down to kiss Stiles hard. The hand instantly landing on the back of his head prevents him from pulling back as soon as he'd planned, keeping him there for a long moment; long enough for their bodies to grow restless again. Stiles tips his knee to the side, spreading his legs further as Derek grinds down. The shaky gasp escaping both of them is enough to interrupt the kiss.

"God, we should've just done this in the car," Stiles groans.

Derek laughs, all giddy and mad with lust. He feels as if he's been set on fire, but for once, it's not something scary. His heart is pounding against his ribs, butterflies dancing in his belly, and his whole body is buzzing from where he's touching Stiles—all over. He feels invincible, like he can do anything, but the only thing he wants to do is fuck Stiles until neither of them can stand.

Which means he has to stand right now and get the damn bag from the car.

"Fuck," Derek growls more than anything as he rolls off Stiles, diving for his pants and jacket. "I'll get it."

Stiles tries to laugh, but he sounds just as frustrated by the total lack of contact as Derek feels. He somehow manages to put his pants on despite his painful erection, and slips into his leather jacket without bothering to zip it up. He can't find his shoes fast enough so he skips those too, deciding he'll shed the dirty socks once he gets back.

"Don't move," he orders, not trusting himself to look back at Stiles who hasn't moved from the bed as he leaves, not bothering to lock the door because he knows he'll only have hell opening it back up later.

It's chilly outside, the night air biting at his skin, but Derek barely notices; he's too busy managing to walk to where he parked the Camaro without looking like a total idiot. He's not sure he's successful. His hands are trembling when he unlocks the car, heart still racing and adrenaline still rushing through his veins. Derek can't remember ever feeling this worked up before sex, and it's probably got a lot to do with him being perfectly sober, but part of him thinks—wants—it to be something else, too.

The bag is waiting for him in the backseat, and Derek grumbles to himself when reaching inside to grab it. He would've brought it before if he hadn't been too busy just rushing inside with Stiles at his side. And back then he didn't even know; he didn't know how good Stiles would feel against him. How kissing him made his stomach flip and heart pound, how those big hands on his bare skin made him wanna grab the sheets of the bed and just hold on.

He's already halfway out of his jacket when ripping the door open, letting it fall to the floor along with the bag that he drops at his feet. Derek doesn't mean to stop for even one second, but the sight of Stiles on the bed—with those long fingers wrapped around himself—makes his breath hitch and he can't help but freeze. Stiles is meeting his eyes without a word, mouth hanging open as he strokes himself slowly, feet sliding on the mattress as if he's keeping himself from bucking his hips up.

And Derek has to remind himself that he's not holed up in his room in Peter's mansion, watching porn on his laptop with his chest tight from fear of his uncle walking in on him. He's here, with Stiles all laid out in front of him, waiting for Derek to take him, and suddenly he's got no clue where he wants to touch him first.

"I can do it myself," Stiles says, voice raspy but amused.

Derek shakes his head, finally remembering how to work his muscles again as he once again steps out of his jeans and pulls his socks off. He crouches down to unzip the bag and fumbles to find the lube he'd thrown in there with a bunch of clothes. Once his hand closes around the bottle, he reaches for Stiles' jacket where he finds the unopened package of condoms in the first pocket. Thank god.

He's back on the bed with such haste it makes Stiles bounce off the mattress under his added weight, and he drops chaste kisses in a trail all the way up Stiles' stomach to his ear. The noises he makes are enough for Derek's cock to get at full attention again, but he stays up on his knees even as he kisses Stiles’ mouth with a soft groan, needing to be inside Stiles the next time he thrusts down.

"On your stomach," Derek murmurs, already breathing heavily again.

Stiles rolls over with easy, folding his arms underneath one of the pillows and scoots his knees up on the bed to present his ass. Derek shuffles back to sit between Stiles' spread legs, reaching down to stroke his dick, which stirs from the sight. He grabs one of Stiles' cheeks in his hand, enjoying the low noise that gets buried into the pillow. He bites his lip as he puts both hands on Stiles' ass, spreading him open to drag one thumb over the exposed hole, and the muffled moan of approval from Stiles is enough for Derek to get on with it.

He slicks up two of his fingers, watching with his own mouth hanging open as he circles Stiles' rim before he starts pushing one of them inside. Stiles groans, but lifts his hips off the bed as if to urge Derek on, and while part of Derek wouldn't mind spending the following hour fucking Stiles on his fingers, he also can't wait to get this over with. He pushes until his knuckles press against Stiles' skin, circling his finger a little before pulling back out and adding the second. Stiles is hot and tight, but loose enough for him to take two fingers in without problems. Derek wants to ask if he does this to himself a lot, but he tells himself later as he starts thrusting his joined fingers in and out, making Stiles moan into the pillow.

"Come on," Stiles urges him on, pressing his cheek to the pillow. "I can take it, god, come on."

Derek pulls out, trying to ignore the disappointed noise Stiles makes, and slicks up a third finger before continuing to work Stiles up even further. He moves forward on the bed, hovering over Stiles' back as he fucks him with three fingers. He realizes he's panting, so turned on by the sounds Stiles is making, the way he clenches around his fingers and the small jerking movements of his hips—like he's rubbing himself against the mattress underneath him. Derek's own cock is hanging heavy between his legs, and he desperately wants to slide one hand down and jack off hard and fast, but then it'd all be over in seconds.

"Okay," Stiles eventually gasps out. "Dude—Derek—you better get to the fucking right now because I won't last."

And Derek can only groan in response, all too happy to comply.

"Bossy," he breathes out over Stiles' shoulder blades as he withdraws his fingers.

Stiles scoffs, rising to his elbows. "I can be bossy if you want me to be."

Derek slides his hands over Stiles' thighs, dragging his parted mouth across Stiles' spine.

"I do," he admits, heart skipping a beat.

There's a pause, both of them breathing heavily into the quiet room, and for a moment Derek thinks he's ruined everything, before:

"Roll over."

He's too turned on and thrilled to even comment on the dog joke, he just obeys and flops down on his back next to Stiles on the bed in one frantic heartbeat. Stiles moves to straddle him, slinging one leg across his body before settling down. Their eyes meet for the first time in a while, and suddenly Derek feels vulnerable in a way he never has. He's never fucked someone face to face before; it's intimate in a way doing it from behind isn't. He's always been on top—never even been given the choice to do it otherwise.

Stiles reaches for the condoms without taking his eyes off Derek, ripping one open and reaching behind him for Derek's dick. A long, dull groan leaves Derek's lips before he can stop it, overwhelmed by those fingers finally touching him, even if it's just to roll on the condom. Probably just as well, or Derek would have come within seconds. He grabs at Stiles' thighs; one hand sliding back to his ass just as Stiles guides the tip of his cock to his entrance. He's pretty sure he's holding his breath as Stiles wiggles his ass against his dick for a second, because he's a damn tease, rubbing the head along his crack.

Derek is going to die.

But then Stiles is sinking down, achingly slow, and Derek has to bite his tongue not to scream because it feels so good. His mouth falls open, gaze darting between Stiles' face and down to where he can barely see where they're connected. He slides his hand on Stiles' ass further down, grabbing one ass cheek and reaches down to Stiles' rim where he can feel himself disappear inside. They both moan loudly into the thick air between them, Stiles staring down at Derek's face without slowing down.

"Fuck," Derek pants, slamming his head back onto the pillow. His whole body is screaming to thrust up into that tight heat surrounding his dick, but he forces himself not to move before getting a sign from Stiles that it's okay.

And while Stiles for once doesn't choose to use his words, he makes it clear enough by rolling his hips almost as soon as Derek bottoms out. It's hard to say who gasps the loudest. Derek tightens his grip on Stiles' thighs and ass, legs flailing on the bed for a moment before he finds leverage enough to push his hips up. He doesn't get far, still held down by Stiles' weight, but Stiles responds to his eagerness by lifting himself up a few inches before dropping back down, earning a deep moan out of them both. Then he does it again. And again.

It grows fast and desperate almost immediately, but they both fall into the rhythm. Eventually Derek can't hold himself back from planting his feet flat on the mattress and thrust up just as Stiles sinks down, but judging by the way his body shudders and the wicked smile on his parted lips: Stiles doesn't mind. He keeps circling his hips, changing the angle as if trying out which one works best for him. Derek doesn't care—he's on cloud nine each time he's buried inside Stiles' heat. One of Stiles' hands is lying flat on Derek's chest while he rides him, fingers sliding through his hair by the force of his thrusts, and Derek wonders if he can feel the rapid heart beating beneath his palm.

"Oh my god," Stiles slurs, eyes widening just as Derek can feel the body on top of him shiver. "There, fuck— Right there."

Derek groans, hands tightening on Stiles' ass as he tries to keep the angle, hitting that spot inside Stiles with every rapid thrust of their hips. He's pretty sure it's working, because while Stiles has been very vocal since the second they stepped through the door, there hadn't been much of what could be qualified as talking, but suddenly Stiles turns into a rambling mess above him.

"Fuck, yeah, god, that's—" He moans loudly, and Derek's hips snap out of pace for a second. "Oh god, fuck me, this is— Derek—"

He's aware of how sappy it sounds, even inside his own head, but Derek has never been this into sex. It's never felt this good, was always just a haze of desperation and a race for release. This is present; he can feel it in his toes all the way up to his contracting chest. He can feel the orgasm starting to build low in his gut, and it's too soon. He doesn't want it to end.

"Stiles," he croaks out, throat thick and voice thin. He's not even sure what he's asking for, he just—"

"I know," Stiles pants. "God, I know, fuck."

And Derek doubts that he knows, that he understands what Derek is feeling right in this moment, because not even he, himself, does but he's too far gone to care. He just groans in agreement, grinding his hips up under Stiles' weight.

It takes a moment before he realizes that Stiles' thighs are shaking, probably too tired to keep lifting himself up again. His mouth is hanging open, eyes only half-open in what looks like bliss, and Derek sneaks one hand between their bodies to wrap his fingers around Stiles' dick where it's rubbing against his abs. A shaky breath escapes Stiles, and he steadies the arm that's holding him up with one hand flat on the mattress. Derek watches in awe as he keeps thrusting up while jacking Stiles off, and the room is filled with the sound of skin slapping against skin.

"Derek," Stiles whines, sounding absolutely wrecked, and it's a miracle Derek doesn't come from the picture he makes alone. There's a flush spreading across his chest, his hair is a mess, his lips shiny with spit that may very well be Derek's. "Fuck, I can't—"

Stiles comes with a strangled scream, shaking violently as he shoots his load onto Derek's stomach. Derek doesn't stop moving—not sure he would've been able to even if he'd tried—and keeps rutting up into him as he pumps him through it. He's pretty sure he makes an embarrassing noise of approval, but he can't really tell. All his focus is on Stiles who drops to his elbow once he's done coming, mouth clumsily seeking out Derek's to kiss lazily while Derek keeps fucking up into him, chasing his own orgasm.

When he comes, he does it with a sob, and he's happy that Stiles is there to swallow it down. He stills his hips where he's buried deep inside of Stiles, and his whole body trembles as the orgasms washes over him with such force his vision nearly goes white. He's not responding to the kisses, just pants into Stiles' mouth with his heart hammering almost painfully against his ribs. Eventually, Stiles doesn't have the energy to keep it up either, just rubs his face on Derek's scruffy cheek before he lets himself fall to the side and land next to Derek on the bed.

"Oh my god," he mumbles, and he's still close enough for his voice to vibrate through both their bodies. "I can't move."

Derek means to huff, but it comes out as a hum, still trying to catch his breath. He tilts his head to the side and drops his forehead onto Stiles' shoulder, closing his eyes for a second or two. He might zone out for a bit because when he finally comes down from his high, the room has gone quiet with only their soft breaths to be heard.

"You should get the lights," Stiles murmurs from somewhere above Derek.

"Why don't you do it?" Derek asks sleepily, blinking his eyes back open.

"I can't walk," Stiles explains. "I'm still coming back down to planet Earth. That's how good it was."

Derek does manage to huff this time, feeling pride swell up within his chest. It didn't use to matter before—how the other guy felt—but suddenly it's all he cares about.

With a grunt he rolls out of bed, dragging himself to the bathroom he hadn't known was there until now and trashes the condom. He'd been right about there not being any fancy lotions but at least there's a set of clean towels, and he cleans himself up before bringing one out to toss onto the bed.

"You're the best," Stiles practically yawns, and Derek scoffs when hitting the light switch by the door.

The room is pitch black, but he somehow manages to make it back to the bed without falling and hurting himself. He can hear Stiles shuffling around, and they slip under the covers without exchanging another word. It smells fresh, and with the lingering smell of sex, it's a weird mix, but Derek is too tired—too amazingly fucked out—to care.

He wants to move closer, to wrap his arms around Stiles and hold him as they drift off to sleep, but he's not sure he's allowed to. He's never done that before, has never felt the urge to stay, but now he does to the point where his heart aches with longing. The room goes still, only their heavy breathing filling up the silence, and Derek is just about to force the lump in his throat down when Stiles speaks.

"I don't care if you're not a cuddler," he sighs, and the next second a warm body is pressing up against Derek's side, "because I am."

Derek smiles to himself, thankful to the darkness for covering it up, and he doesn't object when Stiles throws one arm around his waist and nuzzles into his chest. He drops his head to rest on top of Stiles', wrapping an arm around the firm body next to him, and lets out a content sigh when he finally lets his eyelids fall shut.

He had no clue he was a cuddler before tonight.

 

 

 

Waking up alone in bed is nothing new, and it takes a while before Derek remembers something is missing. He slowly blinks the sleep out of his eyes, finding himself lying on his side with the comforter low on his hip, and the other side of the bed empty. The sheets are wrinkled and warm when he reaches out to place his hand on the spot, but he can't tell if it's from Stiles' body heat or the sun shining through the window blinds. Either way, it makes Derek's heart sink, and he desperately tries to swallow the lump starting to emerge in his throat.

He tells himself he's got no right to be upset, to be let down after having exactly what he wanted for nearly 24 hours. It's the longest he's ever got to keep something this good in his whole life, but it's not his to mourn.

"Morning, sunshine."

Derek's heart skips a beat and his head snaps up towards the familiar voice cutting through the silence. Stiles is standing by the window, hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans, the only thing he's wearing. The rising sun is making his skin glow like it did last night by the ocean, and something flutters deep down in Derek's gut by the sight. He can feel relief starting to wash over him, because Stiles is still there, but then he catches the look on his face that doesn't add up to his cheerful words. He's just about to ask what he's doing out of bed when noticing Stiles' hair is damp and torso still shiny from the shower.

And it feels like a punch to the gut because he's washed Derek off him, and Derek probably shouldn't be as upset about it as he is.

Swallowing, he rolls over onto his back and pops himself up on his elbows, trying not to show how his whole being is practically aching with disappointment. It's horrible, because whatever comfort they had built up between them yesterday is suddenly nowhere to be found.

"Hi," he rasps, not sure if he should attempt a smile or not.

Turns out not was a good choice because Stiles' face remains empty as he takes one hesitant step towards the bed.

"I never really thanked you yesterday, did I? Like, at all."

Derek clenches his jaw. He doesn't want Stiles to thank him. As far as he's concerned, he should be the one thanking Stiles. For ruining his plans, for filling the silence he thought he wanted but wasn't what he needed. For putting his name on the passenger seat in Derek's car, for awakening something inside him that he thought was lost forever.

"You don't need to," he says, moving his gaze away from Stiles because it's less painful when he's not looking at him.

Stiles snorts, and it's clear that he tries to sound as casual as he'd been yesterday, but it still falls flat.

"Of course I do," he insists. "I owe you a lot, and I'll never be able to pay it back."

It dawns to Derek then that this is goodbye, and while he should have expected it, it still hits him like a brick. Because isn't this what they'd been leading up to ever since the gas station? Wasn't that why Stiles had gotten into the car in the first place, or why Derek had offered him a ride? Deep down he should've known this was exactly where they were gonna end up.

He forces himself to look back up when Stiles falls silent, and for a moment, they just look at each other, taking each other in just like the first time. Then Stiles sighs, ducking his head down before moving to sit on the edge of the bed, suddenly so close that it makes Derek's heart jolt even though he tries not to react. Neither of them says anything for a while, and Derek starts to doubt Stiles is gonna say anything at all when he opens his mouth to speak.

"I don't know what you think of me," he says quietly, gaze fixed on his hands resting in his lap. "What you think I did before I met you, or who I rode with, but—" He shakes his head and inhales deeply. "I've never rode with someone like you. Most people get fed up with my running mouth and drop me off at the next town, or just abandon me—which is how I ended up at that gas station," he confesses, and he sounds embarrassed about the whole thing, as if it was his fault. "And if it's not me, it's them," he goes on, trying to chuckle but it's hollow and falls flat. "I almost jumped out of a moving car at 50 m/h once because the guy was getting too handsy."

Derek swallows, watching Stiles shrug as if trying to shake whatever feeling was coming over him off. He starts bouncing his leg against the floor, and Derek wants to reach out and put a hand on his knee, wants to help him calm down, but he's not sure touching him would be the best thing to do, considering. His heartbeat is thumping faster as he waits for Stiles to either get up and leave or keep talking, feeling at a loss as to what to expect.

Eventually, Stiles does continue, and he hesitantly seeks out Derek's gaze as he does.

"No one's put up with me this long before. No one's bought me an entire meal. You— You're way more than I hoped you would be," he says, voice low and uncertain. "The best person I've met in weeks." He sighs, eyes darting away again. "But I understand if this is my last stop. I don't— I'm not exactly contributing with much."

"You are," Derek says in a heartbeat, then he's got Stiles' full attention on him. He takes a deep breath, shifting his position before settling down under the weight of Stiles' heavy gaze. "I was sick of people before yesterday," he admits. "I've been alone ever since I left home, and I thought I wanted to keep it that way." He looks between Stiles' wide eyes. "You proved me wrong."

Stiles is breathing heavily enough for Derek to notice his breath catching, and it makes warmth pool low in his gut. Putting his insecurities aside, he shuffles closer to where Stiles is sitting, the hot skin of their hips brushing, and Derek gathers enough courage to say what's been on his mind from the moment he woke up.

"I want to get to know you," he breathes, heart in his throat. "I didn't know it could be like this." Sex. Life. "I didn't know I could be like this."

One day. One night. That's all it took for him to fall harder for Stiles than he ever did with the women he'd met for months.

The air feels thick, and Derek's pretty sure the space between them is even smaller than it was. Stiles is turned towards him now, hands still in his lap but his eyes are skimming all over Derek whose chest is heaving. He shifts his weight to one arm and carefully slides one hand over the sheets to gently poke Stiles' clothed thigh.

"Come with me," he whispers.

For a terrifying moment, there's nothing but loaded silence, but then there's a smile tugging at the corner of Stiles' mouth.

"Where you headed?" He asks, voice just as low as Derek's.

Derek feels himself smiling back, the butterflies dancing in his belly.

"Anywhere."

The laugh that slips out of Stiles before he dives down to capture Derek's lips is the most beautiful thing Derek has ever heard. He sighs into the kiss, hands moving down Stiles' sides as he climbs on top of him. They kiss lazily, too busy smiling to turn it into anything but sloppy mouthing. Derek's heart is racing, chest nearly bursting with happiness, and he can't imagine how Stiles can't feel it when he moves one hand down to caress the soft hair on Derek's chest again. It's a simple gesture—perhaps unconscious, even—but it still makes Derek grin against Stiles' lips.

Because Stiles doesn't know his old self, what he used to be like, but that doesn't stop him from wanting him. And Derek's never had that before.

 

 

 

"Still not gonna let me drive?"

Derek snorts a laugh, playfully elbowing Stiles in the ribs where they're walking side-by-side back to the car.

"I still want my car unscratched, so no," he returns, smirking.

"Pff," Stiles huffs. "I do know how to drive, you know. My dad got me a Jeep for my sixteenth birthday. All that's left is the license."

The fact that Stiles' voice doesn't change even when telling him something new about his father makes Derek's chest tighten with affection. The fact that he doesn't mind slipping small pieces of information like this—that he trusts Derek to hold them… It feels good.

He slows to a stop, giving the back of Stiles' head a look of disbelief until the other spins around.

"You sure?"

Stiles' eyes widen in shock, mouth opening before he actually starts forming words.

"Wait, you're serious? I mean— Yes," he hurries to say, hands flailing a little. "I can drive. I won't scratch your precious car."

Derek chews on his lip for a second, pretending to think real hard about it while taking Stiles in. He's wearing a pair of black shorts and a red tee—both from Derek's bag—and his hair is, since long, dry from the shower. He looks good, comfortable, and so damn happy. Derek's pretty sure he doesn't look much different himself.

"Okay," he says finally, digging into the pocket of his jacket that's slung over his arm for the car keys before tossing them over.

Stiles catches them with surprising ease, shock changing into absolute glee once he's got hold of them in a firm grip.

"I won't go over the speed limit," he promises, beaming as he heads for the driver's side. "By much."

Derek rolls his eyes with a soft sigh, throwing the bag into the backseat once the door is unlocked.

"It was my dad's car," he says, for no other reason than that he can and wants to.

"I'll stay below the speed limit," Stiles says immediately.

Chuckling, Derek 'rounds the car and gets into the passenger seat. It feels odd, and he can't even remember the last time he hadn't sat behind the wheel other than when taking public transports. He throws his jacket into the back, and then he's got no clue what to do with his hands. Stiles is grinning when he looks over to meet his waiting gaze, and Derek rolls his eyes once again.

"At least you get to pick the music," Stiles reminds him as he turns the key with a flick of his wrist and the engine comes to life.

"Thank the lord," Derek pretends to sigh in utter relief.

Stiles smacks him on the thigh before shifting gear and driving back up on the road.

It turns out Stiles does know how to drive, and Derek is both tempted and anxious to ask what prevented him from getting his license once he turned sixteen. He even knows how to drive stick, which is a lost skill for most teenagers these days, but Derek figures that Jeep of his might've had one. He's curious to ask what happened to it, why Stiles didn't drive away once he was free of his foster parents instead of ending up hitchhiking by the side of the road.

But he figures that just like yesterday: they'll learn more about each other in due time. They're gonna keep picking up the pieces along the road, hopefully solving each other's puzzle in the end. And for the first time in a long time, that's something Derek looks forward to.

Neither of them notice that the radio is even on—because last night they'd turned the volume down, too busy eye-fucking each other in silence—until the first notes of Break Free suddenly start playing. Their eyes are drawn to the radio in perfect sync, and Derek sees Stiles glance over to him from the corner of his eye.

"Aren't you gonna change the station?" He wonders.

Derek hesitates, hand twitching where it's resting on his own knee, but in the end, he purses his lips and just turns the volume up.

This is the part when I break free.

"Nope," he replies, eyes back on the road. "I kinda like this one."

He can't see much else than the smile tugging at Stiles' mouth. But then, one of Stiles' hands leaves its place on the steering wheel and reaches over to rest on Derek's thigh. It's not nearly as loaded with tension as last night, and it's more like a caress than actual groping. Derek smiles before even turning his head to meet Stiles' gaze, and he is surprised by the sheer joy sparkling in those golden eyes instead of just darkened lust.

"Eyes on the road," he rumbles.

Stiles sighs, stroking his thumb over the fabric of Derek's shorts as he turns his attention back towards the long stretch of road before them.

"It's not as pretty as you, though," he complains with an innocent shrug.

The ridiculous butterflies stir again inside Derek, and he knows there's no stopping the flush rising to his face. He wants to roll his eyes, but instead, he just puts his own hand on top of Stiles' and squeezes, fitting his fingers between Stiles' knuckles. His heart is beating peacefully within his chest as he leans back in his seat, exhaling calmly through his nose.

It's not love—not yet—but Derek thinks that if they keep on driving: one day it might be.

  

 

 

 

 T H E   E N D