When Derek decided that he really couldn’t take one more awful thing happening to him and left Beacon Hills, he found himself drawn back to New York.
Other than the years with his pack in Beacon Hills, New York was the only other place that had felt like home. He’d only had Laura but they’d made it work.
Cities were hard on werewolves but could also be easy, depending on your situation. A city like New York was too big to be any single pack’s territory. Of course, packs tended to prefer nature so didn’t often settle in cities.
The supernatural community in New York was diverse, much like the human population. Beings and creatures of all kinds from different sorts of places. They mostly stayed out of each other’s business, so long as no one was bringing too much attention to the supernatural.
It was good.
He settled in and breathed easily for the first time since he’d left.
Derek had thought about therapy but knew he wouldn’t be able to trust anyone enough to open up. Not after his life.
So… he did some research and decided to try mindfulness. Learning Yoga and Tai Chi.
After years of punishing workouts, it was soothing to move slowly. To focus on his body moving and his breathing.
It helped more than he thought it would. Not a cure. He wasn’t ‘fixed’ but… he could smile again and that was a big deal for him.
Becoming an alpha again had not been in his plans. He hadn’t been a great one, it had been impossible to build a good pack in those circumstances and his less than stellar mental health at the time.
But some asshole hot head had gotten into his head that he wanted one of the few remaining Hales – who could do a full-shift – in his pack. Whether Derek wanted it or not.
The thing about evolving was that he was stronger than your average beta. And as much as he should be an omega, he wasn’t.
More importantly, the full-shift was rare. It meant that most werewolves had no experience fighting a large fully-shifted wolf. He’d torn that Alpha into pieces.
It was the sole moment of violence he’d had in New York. And people in the community had thanked him because the guy had been biting people without consent and causing trouble. It also meant that he’d inherited four betas.
He was an alpha and he had a pack again.
Most of them were unhappy about being turned but after years of dealing with Scott, they’d been easy. He’d taught them and they’d bonded. Become a proper pack.
And if he sometimes yearned for more, remembering a certain golden-eyed boy in Beacon Hills, well that was his business.
Derek had not been prepared to run into Stiles at his favourite bakery. Once he would’ve denied his sweet tooth but these days he probably indulged too often.
He was allowed to have nice things!
He refused to feel bad about his somewhat softened tummy. It was still flat! Maybe you couldn’t wash your laundry on it anymore but who cared? He wasn’t trying to impress anyone.
(Okay, so he was a little defensive and trying to adjust to a healthy body image was hard, okay?)
The point is Stiles.
Who is right there.
And, fuck, his bright, warm, sparkling amber scent was mixed with sugar and the other sweet smells of the bakery.
Look. Derek had a sweet tooth and wanted to indulge and here, in front of him (when had he moved in front of Stiles?) was the tastiest treat he could imagine.
He could feel himself smiling. He didn’t try to hide it or suppress his happiness at seeing Stiles again.
He was just too happy.
“D-Derek?” Stiles stammered out.
“Stiles!” he exclaimed and gave into temptation, pulling Stiles into a hug, “It’s so good to see you. I can’t believe you’re here.”
He tried to stop himself from nuzzling Stiles’ neck. He did.
(Okay, he hadn’t. But Derek challenges anyone to resist the long, biteable column of Stiles’ neck!)
“Is hugging a thing we do now? Are you possessed? Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy to see me. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy. Like, ever. Are you okay?” Stiles babbled and Derek couldn’t (wouldn’t) stop the laughter that escaped him.
Stiles was just so… Stiles, “I’m not possessed. I’m just really happy to see you. I’ve just been working at getting better. When do you get off work? Because I think your supervisor is glaring at me.”
Stiles looked at his supervisor and said, “I’m off in a few hours–”
“Great! I’ll pick you up. See you soon,” Derek interrupted and gave him a small, dry kiss.
He’d practically skipped three blocks before he really registered what had happened.
What he’d done.
Derek had seen Stiles. Then he’d hugged him.
Then he’d kissed him. On the mouth.
Derek kissed Stiles on the mouth.
He hadn’t meant to do that. It’d just felt natural and Stiles’ lips had looked soft and kissable and…
Derek was really trying hard not to freak out because he’d kissed Stiles and didn’t know if Stiles was seeing someone. Or if he’d even want Derek to kiss him. Or any man, for that matter.
What if Stiles didn’t want to see him after work? What if he was angry and hated Derek?
When had Derek turned into a teenager again?
God, he really was a failwolf.
Derek showed up ten minutes early because he was buzzing with nervous excitement and dread. He figured he could scent Stiles out and see if he was mad.
Stiles brought him a cupcake. That he’d made especially for Derek.
The cake was light and fluffy. The frosting rich and just the right amount. It was chocolate and vanilla and easily the best cupcake he’d ever eaten.
Derek cautiously interpreted this to mean that Stiles wasn’t mad about the accidental kiss. Or was it an unintentional kiss?
Either way, he wasn’t mad and Derek was blissed out on sugar (and Stiles’ scent).
He didn’t stop himself from hugging Stiles again when he was off shift. When he smelled the salt tang of tears he whispered into Stiles’ hair, “It’s okay, Stiles. I missed you too. I’m so happy to see you. Come to my place for dinner and we can talk.”
His intentions had been innocent. Okay, maybe not innocent, exactly, but he hadn’t meant ‘dinner and talking’ as a euphemism for fucking like bunnies.
He hadn’t and insisted Stiles stop accusing him of using his wolfy wiles to seduce him.
Derek didn’t even know what ‘wolfy wiles’ were. And even if he did, he hadn’t used them.
He maintains that Stiles is the one that seduced him.
The way it’d gone down was:
They’d entered his apartment. Taken off their shoes. Stiles had turned to say something, mouth open and inviting. Maybe tipped his head back to flash his biteable neck.
Then Derek pounced.
Derek was totally and completely innocent. Stiles had grown up, become hot, and learned how to use his humanly wiles to seduce poor, unsuspecting alpha werewolves.
That was Derek’s story and he was sticking to it.
(If his smile the next morning was smug, that was his business.)