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I Feel the Need (Planted in Me)

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HeatMate4U is the dumbest thing Stiles has ever seen in his life. It’s also the only way he’s going to be able to pay off his undergrad loans, pay tuition for grad school, and buy an apartment before he gets his degree.

Stiles is really good at helping werewolves through heats. He’s a beta, so unlike Omegas and Alphas, he’s the non-capitalized, informal werewolf who reproduces like a human, without the aid of monthly (or tri-monthly, for Alphas) heat cycles. Since college, he’s been—well, he had an Omega girlfriend for seven months, and he got pretty good at dealing with her heat. Then, a few months after that, he had an Alpha girlfriend, and then an Alpha boyfriend, and so on and so forth. Everyone he’s ever dated has had heats, and Stiles has been getting pretty good at dealing with them.

The site launched when Stiles was twenty, and they have a minimum age requirement of twenty-one, which meant Stiles didn’t even look at it until he had graduated. Basically, it pairs up willing betas, humans, and not-currently-in-heat-Alphas with Omegas. They pay a fee for the service, of which Stiles collects 20%, and Stiles has the right to charge for his appearance and duties too. But it—seems kind of cheap if he’s being honest. He likes having sex. He likes helping Omegas through their heat. And since there’s a new part of the site launching for Alphas, he’s pretty excited about that too.

He makes the profile and sets up his five-minute introductory video. It’s the dumb stuff from dating shows they played on TV in the 90s. Then there’s the quick-view sheet below that.

 

Height, Weight: 6’0”, 155 pounds

Age: 23

Heat Experience: both Omegas and Alphas

Location: Northern California

Occupation: Grad student/Waiter

Species: Beta Werewolf – Bitten – McCall Pack

Preferred pronouns: he/him

Sexual availability: bisexual

Price: Free Trial.

 

His page goes live on a Tuesday night while he doing some reading for class the next morning. By Wednesday afternoon when he checks his email, he has three offers for interviews for upcoming heats, two requests for personal video chats, and five messages about sending pictures.

“I don’t think it’s a terrible idea,” Scott says over dinner that night. “I mean, probably don’t send any kind of pics you wouldn’t want your dad to see, but—but otherwise it’s probably okay. Doesn’t the site have a zero-tolerance harassment policy?”

Stiles nods, poking at his pile of fries. “Yeah, I mean. But just because they boot you from the site doesn’t mean they can stop you from actually doing anything.”

“Well, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with,” Scott says with a shrug. “But you can make some cash, and it’s legal now because of the Werewolf Comfort and Stability Act. So, basically, go forth and get laid.”

Scott’s not wrong. There’s not a whole lot of reason to not go forward with the site.

He starts sifting through the messages while he’s in bed. Before he responds to anyone, he checks their page. There’s someone called Heather who catches his eye, blonde and petite, an Omega whose Alpha just ran off, or so she says in her message. She’s beautiful, though, and charming, and she seems incredibly non-threatening.

They talk for a few days straight, even though Stiles still looks back and forth between new messages and her profile every couple of minutes. She’s funny and sweet and her heat is coming up in two days, so Stiles has to make a decision.

 

HeatherW: Let’s meet for coffee

StilesS: Are you sure you should have caffeine so close to your heat?

HeatherW: See, you know what you’re talking about – I’ll drink decaf, I promise

 

It’s not exactly a hardship, meeting up with a beautiful girl and having sex with her. And Stiles doesn’t really feel weird about it at all—he thinks maybe he should, because he met her online, because she’s basically hiring him pro-bono to work her through her heat. But he doesn’t feel weird. It feels like they’ve already gone out on a few dates, already know each other a bit, which is why it isn’t strange when she kisses him hello in the coffee shop and they make out in his car afterwards.

“So we’re compatible,” Heather pants against his neck.

“Yeah,” Stiles huffs, flexing his hands so he doesn’t reach for her.

“It starts tomorrow.”

Stiles nods, swallows.

“You should sleep over tonight. So you’re there when it hits.”

“Great. Sounds—great.”

They end up fucking against the wall at midnight, both of them still half dressed, Stiles’ hands big and warm on her thighs, keeping her legs wrapped around his waist while he fucks her stupid. She’s barely buttoned into her top and Stiles mouths at her breasts, trying to get close to her, keep her on the edge, so close to coming she can barely speak. Afterwards, he’ll eat her out while she’s standing on wobbly legs, and then they’ll sleep for a few hours before she’s falls so perilously into heat.


 

Heather writes him a review.

He gets back to his apartment three days after meeting her coffee, sits down in front of his computer, and notices that she’s just posted something on his page.

 

Heat Ready ●●●●● 5/5

Thorough, thoughtful, and devastatingly hot. Couldn’t have asked for anyone better.

 

After that, Stiles has a dozen messages a day. They know that he can only commit to one person for the length of their heat, and if there’s any overlap at all and he doesn’t choose them, they have to move on. It’s a tense process, too many decisions to make, and it’s only another two days before he’s having drinks with an Omega named Danny whose heat is set to come the next morning.

“I have a bunch of backup plans,” Danny tells him. “Don’t feel pressured if you’re not interested.”

“I’m interested,” Stiles says, and he’s not even close to lying. Danny is gorgeous, witty, and he dances like it’s foreplay. When he kisses Stiles outside the club, pushing him into the bricks, Stiles already knows they’re going home together.

Then there’s eight others, over the next four months. Stiles has never felt so thoroughly loved, so wanted. He sees Heather every month, his only repeat customer, and she starts paying him, because apparently he’s worth it.


 

Six months after setting up his profile, his reviews and member status bump him away from “Free Trial” and into “$150/night”. But his numbers don’t dwindle. If anything, they grow.

That’s when Derek messages him. Stiles is usually of the habit of checking the sender and looking at their profile before he even reads their message. But when he notices the first line, he clicks.

 

DerekH: I haven’t gone through a full heat since I was 18.

DerekH: I’ve been on suppressants for ten years and my doctor wants me to go through full heat for a couple months to flush the meds out of my system. I thought I should let you know before we even started talking, in case you weren’t interested.

 

Stiles glances at the sidebar, notices that Derek is online.

 

StilesS: You’ve never gone through heat with anyone?

DerekH: No.

 

Stiles exhales heavily and clicks into Derek’s profile. The pictures at the top all have him stunned because, honestly, Derek is so fucking gorgeous that Stiles is one-hundred percent certain that Derek clicked the wrong person to message.

 

StilesS: Do you mind if I asked why?

DerekH: Are you interested in being my heat mate?

 

And that’s fair, Stiles knows. There’s no reason for Derek to share a bunch of personal information unless Stiles is going to be there for him when it matters.

He scrolls down the profile, reads the quick view chart.

 

Height, Weight: 6’0”, 180 pounds

Age: 28

Heat Experience: N/A

Location: San Francisco

Occupation: Junior Curator

Species: Omega Werewolf – Born – Hale Pack

Preferred pronouns: he/him

Sexual availability: bisexual

 

Stiles stares for a long moment, clicks back into the chat box.

 

StilesS: Are you Talia Hale’s son?

DerekH: Yes.

StilesS: Okay.

DerekH: Are you interested?

StilesS: Are you sure you’re interested in me? You’re kind of out of my league, dude. We’re not even playing the same sport.

DerekH: You’ve been highly recommended.

StilesS: You can’t always trust what you read on the internet.

DerekH: Danny Mahealani is being courted by a friend of mine; he said you were the person to contact.

StilesS: I’m flattered.

DerekH: So are you interested or not?

StilesS: Yes. Absolutely. Should we meet and discuss a few things? When’s your heat supposed to come on?

DerekH: Next Wednesday.

StilesS: Good.

 

They set up a time to meet at a little café near Derek’s work. It’s actually not far, only about forty-five minutes by car, and Stiles gets there ten minutes early, orders a sandwich and an iced chai, sits in a little booth and scrolls through a few emails.

Stiles can practically feel it when Derek walks in the door, the way everyone notices that the hottest person on the planet just entered. Or maybe it’s the fact that he’s an Omega a handful of days away from heat. He smells fucking amazing, like books and coffee and the heavy fall air, and Stiles knows he’s staring at Derek approaches, but he’s not even sorry.

“Hi,” Derek says as he slides in opposite Stiles, offering his hand to shake.

Stiles takes it immediately. “Hey. Nice to meet you.”

The waitress appears to take Derek’s order and Stiles takes that opportunity to examine the slope of his throat, the line of his jaw, the way his hands are nervously folded together atop the table. His shoulders are broad, arm muscles outlined in a tight sweater, and he looks fucking edible. Stiles can’t remember ever wanting anybody this much.

“So,” Derek says, and Stiles closes his computer, sets it next to himself. “I’m not sure how this works.”

Stiles licks his lips. “Well, we talk a little bit about what we want to accomplish. Get to know each other.”

“And I…” He squirms slightly. “I pay you upfront or—”

“Hold on,” Stiles laughs, holding up his hands. “Let’s get through lunch before we talk about that. Tell me about yourself.”

Derek doesn’t talk a lot willingly, but if there’s anything Stiles is good at, it’s carrying a conversation. Eventually, they get towards the topic of heat, of Stiles’ experiences with certain in-heat Omegas, and Stiles crosses his ankles under the table.

“Was it—does it bother you that you’re not an Alpha?” Stiles asks. “Or a beta?”

“No,” Derek says, shrugs. “Being an Omega doesn’t matter to me. I just—” He darts his tongue over his lower lip. “It was supposed to come on when I was sixteen. And I was—seeing someone at the time. It never came on, and she—called me broken, dysfunctional, every other thing no Omega wants to be told.” He takes a deep breath, looks up at Stiles. “No one wanted to be with the Omega who couldn’t fulfill the biological imperative of our species. When it came on when I was eighteen, I took the suppressants. I haven’t been off them since.”

“But you’ve had sex outside of heat.”

Derek nods. “Yes.”

“With both men and women.”

“Yes.”

“Okay.” Stiles jots some of that down on his notepad. “Mind if I ask—if you were seeing people outside of heat, why not—”

“Heat is different,” Derek interrupts. “There was never anyone worth spending my heat with. No one I would go off the medicine for.”

Stiles nods slowly. “And now, your doctor wants the meds flushed out so you can start a new regimen?”

“He’s worried that, with how long I’ve been taking them, they might have an adverse affect on my…ability to reproduce.” His eyes go to his empty plate, littered with crumbs, and Stiles doesn’t say anything, only sets his pen down, waiting for Derek to continue. “Once I’ve been off them for a few months, he’s going to test for fertility and decide where to go from there.”

“That sounds reasonable.”

Derek exhales, nods. “I think my mom would kill me if I didn’t give her a litter of grandchildren.”

Stiles remembers meeting Talia Hale a handful of years ago. She’s the most powerful Alpha in the entire state, which is another reason Stiles isn’t certain Derek should be here right now, sitting across from him. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. But—

“You’re Scott McCall’s second,” Derek says.

“Kind of,” Stiles says with a shrug. “His mate is a kitsune, and I’m after her.”

“How long have you known him?”

“Uh, sincec we were five. Playground. Lots of trauma from that day, but Scott and I walked away brothers.” He folds his hands together. Now they can break down into real conversation, into relaxation, no talk of doctors and pills.

“He bit you?”

Stiles smirks. “I was attacked by a rogue Alpha when I was fifteen. Scott was attacked by the same one six months later. It was killed by a hunter shortly afterwards.”

Derek nods. “Yes. Of course. I’ve heard the story.”

“Have you met Scott?”

“I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure.”

Stiles grins. “He’s the coolest. Honestly, I think you’d like him. It’s hard not to like him. You should—well, if you want, you should hang out with us sometime. We’re gonna have dinner tomorrow, the two of us. We always do on Friday nights, but you probably have other plans.”

“I don’t.”

Stiles’ heart thuds dramatically. “You cool making the drive?”

“Yeah; it’s not so bad.”

“Scott’s always admired your family—I bet it would be cool for him to meet you too.”

Derek nods. “Okay. I’ll be there.”

There’s another forty minutes of random conversation, about school and work and life in general. They talk about Derek’s sisters, about his parents, about Stiles’ dad and friends, about his major. Eventually the crowd thins out and it’s just the two of them in the whole restaurant, sitting there, talking.

Derek walks Stiles out to his car when they say goodbye. “Should I send you a calendar?” he wants to know, and Stiles feels nervous for the first time since he’s started this.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees. “That sounds like a good idea.”

“I can drive down or—”

“I’ll come to you. Your comfort’s the most important.” Stiles darts in, hand on Derek’s elbow, and kisses the corner of his mouth. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Derek blinks. “Should I bring anything?”

“Just yourself. And a hankering for Chinese food.”

“Done,” Derek says, and he kisses Stiles this time, a chaste, lingering kiss that leave him with red ears. It’s so ridiculously endearing that Stiles’ stomach is doing somersaults. “See you then.”

Stiles beams. “See you then.”


 

Dinner goes remarkably well. Scott and Derek find a lot of stuff to talk about, Scott’s endlessly charming and Derek behaves like he’s trying to make the proper first impression, like a boyfriend meeting the father for the first time. Stiles eats his weight in Chinese food and Derek doesn’t look the slightest bit grossed out.

When Scott leaves, Stiles expects Derek’s going to go too. He doesn’t expect Derek to start picking up things to throw away or wash, doesn’t expect Derek to stop him in the kitchen and kiss him, tongue tasting like soy sauce and broccoli. They make out against the counter for endless minutes, until Derek pulls away, breathing heavily into Stiles’ throat.

Stiles pets at Derek’s neck. “You know, it’s not limited to heat. Sometimes—sometimes, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re sexually compatible.”

Derek’s fingers are digging into his sides. “We shouldn’t.”

“Okay.”

“It’s not a good idea.”

“Whatever floats your boat, dude.”

Derek swallows tightly, lifts his head. “I like the way you smell.”

Stiles licks his lips. “Me too. You. I like the way you smell, too.”

“That’s good.”

“It is,” Stiles agrees. He squeezes Derek’s neck. “Derek, honestly, the last thing I ever want to do is make you feel pressured. You don’t have to agree to anything. But if this is—if you want to do this on Wednesday, go through your heat with me, we have to talk about what you’re expecting. I need to know what is and isn’t okay in advance, so that when the moment comes, you don’t feel violated or taken advantage of.”

Derek nods. “I can—write some stuff down. Send it to you.”

“Good. Take your time.”

“Can I kiss you again?”

“Yeah. Yeah, man. You don’t have to ask.”

They kiss against Derek’s car a few minutes later, Stiles’ body thrumming with the heady knowledge of Derek’s approaching heat, the first one he’s had in years that he’s truly felt. He can’t wait to take care of Derek, to make him feel good, to help him through the few days a month that every Omega seems to hate. He wants to be there. He wants to make a difference.


 

He’s not nervous when he shows up at Derek’s apartment late on Tuesday night. He’s showered and fresh and wearing loose sweats and a T-shirt. His blood is already thrumming with excitement through his veins, and all he wants is to crawl into Derek’s bed and soak in his scent. He’s never been this attached to a client before, but then again, Derek’s not like other clients. They had experience. They remembered what their heats were like. Derek—it seems like Derek is in the dark.

Stiles has practically memorized Derek’s list. Derek wants to be a little advantageous with their time. They have a few days. They’ll get to try a lot. Derek also wants communication, casual reassurances, little conversations. Typically Omegas go through seven waves of heat, three each on the first two days, the breaking point being the sixth, and the final wave is small, short. Typically heat is considered over by then, but Stiles makes a point to stay with his partners until the seventh wave is over, when he knows they’re going to be okay. In between the waves of heat, there’s going to be food, baths, and talking. Lots and lots of talking.

There’s a handful of other requests, and Stiles has them in the back of his mind. No shaming, no embarrassment, no slapping of any kind. Condoms are essential, if only because Derek has absolutely no desire to be pregnant. Aside from that, there are rules about separation. Stiles knows that Omegas in heat want closeness, that sense that they’re being touched and taken care of, so he has no plans to be apart except for bathroom breaks.

Derek is already down to what looks like swim trunks when he answers the door. He doesn’t look like he’s been swimming lately, but Stiles doesn’t ask, only steps in and kisses him cheek, heads into the apartment. He starts loading Derek’s fridge with some essentials, some of his favorite iced tea, some protein. Derek hasn’t said anything yet, even though Stiles has been talking about the drive up and the accident on the freeway that made him lost twenty-two minutes.

When he turns back around, Derek looks like he’s shaking.

“Early, I think,” Derek says, his jaw tight. “Or—I don’t know. I don’t remember what it—felt like.”

“Derek.”

“It’s like everything is too hot on my skin,” he continues. “And I’m too—sensitive. I’ve been hard for a couple hours.”

Stiles glances down for maybe a split second, then back up to Derek’s eyes. “Have you eaten dinner?”

“Yeah.”

“How do you feel?”

“Wired.”

“Are you—” He licks his lips. “Is it—”

“I’m slick,” Derek says, and his voice breaks. “That’s why the swimsuit.”

Stiles should’ve realized the second he walked in. He should’ve smelled, should’ve realized, but maybe he didn’t notice because he’s always been sexually attracted to Derek, maybe didn’t notice because Derek always smells delicious, but now that Derek’s said something, it feels like he can’t smell anything else.

“C’mon,” Stiles says, grabbing his hand and tugging him towards the bedroom.

Derek hovers near the doorway while Stiles pulls the comforter and top sheet down the bed, leaving them pooled at the edge. He kicks off his flip flops and tugs his shirt over his head and Derek takes a step towards him.

“You can touch me,” Stiles tells him, reaching out his hand for Derek to take. “I’m sorry I didn’t know. I should’ve come earlier—”

“Not your fault,” Derek argues, nuzzling at his neck. “I haven’t—it’s been a while. I didn’t remember. I could’ve called.”

“It’s okay. Nothing we can change now.” He tugs on Derek’s hair, pulls him up to kiss. “Let’s worry about now. Tell me what you want.”

What Derek wants is a shower, with Stiles, naked skin and soap and lots of kissing. He comes twice before the water shuts off, once with Stiles’ fingers crooked up inside of him, and when they make it back to the bed, all Derek wants to do is lie on top of Stiles and sleep, face mushed into his shoulder.


 

Stiles isn’t surprised when Derek wakes him when the sun’s still down. They should’ve done more last night, should’ve tried harder to take the edge off, but now Stiles is sleepily blinking awake as Derek climbs on top of him, taking Stiles’ cock in hand.

Stiles pushes onto his elbows. “Hey.”

Derek is trembling, his skin hot, cock nearly flat against his belly. When Stiles reaches around to check, he’s dripping wet, open, and Stiles has to fumble for a condom from the bedside table to make sure that Derek doesn’t do something stupid, like forget about how babies are made.

It probably should’ve been slower, he thinks. Probably, they should’ve done it last night when they were lazy, all wrapped up together and moving slow, steady, intimate. Now, Derek is growling and nipping and telling Stiles to mount him, to put him on his hands and knees and take him properly, all instinct and heat, not time for tender, careful lovemaking.

The best part of this is always the pleasure his partner gets. Because heats are awful without partners, he knows, and when he can stave off some of that discomfort, make his partners feel good, cared for, then it’s all worth it.

This is the first wave, technically. Whatever happened last night, it was miniscule, a warm up. Right now, this is when it matters, the first few hours that will leave Derek feeling woozy and sore. This is when Stiles has to make sure he’s doing his job.

Derek seems to be floating in and out, honestly, and that’s not surprising. With stronger, more intense heats, Omegas can lose focus, sometimes even consciousness, only to be revived when the wave is over. For now, Derek is fully participatory, encouraging and giving commands and it’s good, perfect, just like this, fucking into Derek and doing as he’s told. In a few minutes, though, Stiles knows anything could change.

Derek comes three times like that, rocking on his hands and knees. Stiles can feel the tension in his body deplete then, practically disappear, and he knows the wave is over, knows that now Derek is going to fall asleep, eat in a few hours, and then go at it again. But Stiles is still rock hard.

“Don’t pull out,” Derek tells him, just as Stiles makes to do so. “Please—God, Stiles, just—stay.”

He’s shaking, insides clenching around Stiles. Stiles rests his forehead on Derek’s sweaty back. “I have plugs.”

“No plugs. You. Just stay, until I fall asleep.”

Stiles exhales through his nose, nods. “Okay. Whatever you need.”


 

The third wave is eighteen hours after the first one, nine o’clock at night, while Derek is lying on the couch, reading a book, and Stiles is sitting under Derek’s feet, outlining a lecture he’s meant to give the Tuesday he returns to Stanford.

One minute they’re working in silence, the next Derek is shoving his way into Stiles’ lap and trying to swallow his tongue. They fuck right there, Stiles rocking up and Derek rocking down, like they’re trying to drill into each other. Derek makes ridiculously beautiful noises, desperate and eager, all clinging to Stiles’ skin and basking in how good it feels just to have him inside. He says that, all poetic-like, goes on and on about how he feels full, feels right, and Stiles kisses him just so he doesn’t say that he loves him.


 

“Have you ever been knotted?”

Derek asks the question when they’re lying together in bed after the fifth wave. His skin is littered with marks and bruises that will fade within the hour, when his body is done healing the rest of his muscles. Stiles is a little come dumb, all curled around Derek’s warmth and half asleep.

“Stiles?”

“Hm?”

“Have you ever been knotted?”

“Oh.” He blinks. “Yeah, once or twice. I dated a couple Alphas in college.”

“Did you like it?”

“Yeah.”

Derek is quiet.

“Have you?” Stiles asks finally.

“Yeah. Once.”

“And?”

“I didn’t like it,” he says quietly. “I didn’t like feeling trapped. I didn’t like the feeling that I was being—used.”

Stiles kisses the back of his neck. “I’m sorry.”

“But I think it was probably just the guy. I think… I think if you were—I think it just depends on the person,” Derek says quickly, all one breath. “I think I just didn’t like being that close to him.”

“Why’d you let him knot you?”

“I didn’t. He didn’t ask,” Derek mutters into his pillow, “and I didn’t even know he was an Alpha until it—happened.”

Stiles doesn’t sit up, doesn’t start rambling, doesn’t start doing all of the things he thinks maybe he’s supposed to be doing. He doesn’t talk about how that’s considered rape under the law, about how all Alphas are supposed to ask permission before knotting, no matter what. He doesn’t say anything, because Derek already knows all of that. All he does is hold Derek a little bit tighter, breathes between his shoulder blades.


 

When his heat breaks, it’s the most beautiful thing Stiles has ever seen. He isn’t sure Derek is even lucid. He knows Heather loses time towards the end, knows that there have been a handful of others who drift off, gave Stiles full permission beforehand to help their body through what was left of their heat, whether they were in the moment or not.

Derek is flat on his back, knees pushed against his chest, Stiles deep inside of him, and Stiles can feel it when Derek blacks out, when the heat becomes too much, when everything they’ve been doing for the past—God, has it already been three hours?—takes its toll. When Derek is gone, Stiles already knows what he has to do, what he’s going to do, because Derek has been so good, hanging on so perfectly, that he can’t give up now.

“I’m not gonna be mad at you,” Stiles says to Derek, whose head is lolling to the side, “because this happens to a lot of Omegas apparently. It—fuck—is completely natural. But you should know—ohsweetJesus—that next time I’m gonna need written consent so you don’t try to get me arrested. Not that I think you would do that. Because you like me. A lot. For some reason. Fuck.”

He babbles a lot, because he can, because he has nothing to lose. He fists Derek’s cock easily, fucks him just as hard as he has been.

“You’re driving me crazy, you know that?” Stiles pants. “You—you make me want to have dinner dates on the wharf. You make me want to—to meet your family and go golfing with your dad and make out in your childhood bedroom. I met you less than a fucking week ago and I already—Derek—fuck—”

It’s a matter of pride that Derek comes before he does. He seems to come out of it, eyes fluttering, mouth wide open, and he drags Stiles in to kiss while he shoots across his stomach, his chest, a bit of come splashing against his chin. Stiles follows, knows that it’s unprofessional, that he should’ve waited until he knew Derek didn’t want to go around round, but the guy’s come a handful of times in three hours. Stiles thinks it’s safe to say he’s down for the count.

He goes through the tedious post-sex tasks he’s gotten all-too used to. The clean up. The sheets. The shower. Derek is silent through all of it, no doubt still drifting hazily between consciousness and sleep. When he lets Derek collapse onto the clean sheets, he’s out like a light, and Stiles is thrumming with nervous energy and the fact that it’s only five o’clock.

He works on his lecture notes for two hours, eats cold pizza from lunch out of the box, and checks in on Derek in the bedroom every half hour, just to make sure he’s still breathing. By the time he’s tired enough to concede sleep, his bones feel like jelly, and he doesn’t even get under the blankets before he’s out, drooling onto the pillow.


 

When Stiles leaves on Sunday, he kisses Derek goodbye for a long time. He’s never felt so clingy before, never wanted so badly to be close, but he can’t fathom driving back home and never seeing Derek ever again.

“Next month,” Stiles says, trying to be casual about it, brushing away a wrinkle on Derek’s shirt. “Next month, you could send me a calendar. If you wanted to.”

“I will,” Derek promises.

“Same week probably?”

“Probably.”

Stiles nods. “I’ll clear my schedule.”

“Drive safe,” Derek says, and he kisses Stiles like they’re in a movie, deep and sweet with just enough of a promise for more to come that Stiles can feel his blood in his toes.

He sees other people. His ratings increase. His price goes up.

A check comes in the mail a few days after he left Derek, and he had completely forgotten that it was—that they weren’t just doing it for fun. And for a long time, he considers not cashing it. What kind of message would it send if he didn’t? What kind if he did?

He debates and debates and debates and then he gets a text, two weeks later.

 

From Derek (3:24 PM)

Did you get the check?

 

To Derek (3:30 PM)

Yep, got it – thanks.

 

From Derek (3:32 PM)

Don’t stress about cashing it. It’s not like I can’t afford it. I emailed you a calendar. Hope to see you up here again soon.

 

There are two others between those texts and Derek’s oncoming heat. There’s a guy from LA who’s in town and needs a quick fix on short notice, and a woman from a law firm near his school. He does his job, gets paid, and buys groceries for the week. And yet every single thing about those weeks feels off. Feels wrong. Derek’s check is burning a hole in his wallet, and he feels anxious every time he looks at it. There’s something off about taking Derek’s money. There’s something that just doesn’t sit right with him.

 

DerekH: Just noticed you’re online.

DerekH: Don’t forget to cash the check.

DerekH: Can’t wait to see you next week.

StilesS: Same here. I’ve missed you.

DerekH: Me too, Stiles.