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The very first thing that Derek does on their first full day being married is re-enroll Stiles in school. It’s bizarre standing in the office with him, watching him being handed forms to sign on Stiles’ behalf, watching him sign everything as Stiles’ alpha and guardian, handing over the marriage certificate as proof this is all legal.

The secretary is irritated because she literally just un-enrolled Stiles the day before. She’s chewing gum that she pops at them again and again, rolling her eyes and sighing as she clicks around on the computer to get Stiles set up all over again. She asks if Derek wants Stiles to be put in all the same classes as him, and Stiles is surprised when Derek looks to him for the answer instead of answering for him.

He says yes, of course he does. Their placements are not that far off in any of their classes – Derek is actually in a more advanced math class than Stiles because Stiles’ strengths lean more toward English and verbal and History and farther from the science and the math of it all, but other than that, it’s fine. Nearly identical to where Stiles was before.

Derek takes him for dinner the next day and makes a whole big deal out of it. He refers to it as their first actual and official date, which makes Stiles laugh out loud because, uh, they are fully married, but he’s sort of right. They have never been on a date before.

Every single second they’ve spent together before getting married has been in closets, or in the dark, or in one of their cars. It’s odd to be driven to a restaurant in Derek’s car and then to hold his hand in public as they walk up to the front door, where everyone can see them, instead of having to hide.

When they sit at the table together, Derek immediately picks up the wine and beer list. He sets it in the middle of the table facing horizontal so they can both crane their necks to read it at the same time, having to press their faces close together to do so.

Derek reads it like he understands what any of these words mean or what the numbers and percentages next to the unpronounceable titles mean, furrowing his brow and scanning down the list. But Stiles is absolutely lost and confused. It’s like reading something in a foreign language.

He feels the need to clarify, “I’m allowed wine?”

Derek looks at him and he frowns. “Don’t ask me stuff like that. You’re allowed whatever you want.”

Stiles blinks. Oh, right.

“I don’t really know what any of…” he trails off, rubbing the back of his neck. He’s kind of embarrassed. Derek clearly knows what all this stuff is and Stiles doesn’t and it makes him feel stupid.

Derek smiles at him. “It’s all probably going to taste like horse urine at first for you, so it does not necessarily matter which one you get. You’ll like white wine more, I think.”

“Will you pick for me?”

“Sure,” Derek shrugs. Then he leans back in his seat, and he appraises Stiles in his entirety. His lips quirk at the corners. “You are an ethereal heavenly angel and I am simply a man.”

Stiles bursts out laughing. Derek has said similar things before and Stiles almost always reads them as jokes, but the thing is, Derek does mean to be funny, but he also means it means it. He’s serious. He genuinely thinks Stiles is from another plane of existence from him.

“You know, you don’t have to be so nice to me anymore. Now I can’t run away.”

“You had better get used to it, because I intend to be nice to you for the rest of eternity.”

“Okay,” Stiles agrees, running his index finger over his lips to smooth his smile out.

Derek orders their drinks for them and he knows how to pronounce everything, how to say it, and he says thank you to the waitress after she nods and starts heading off. He looks insanely sexy doing it, and Stiles feels like a pervert again, practically salivating just from watching Derek order drinks.

Then, he shrugs at himself. That’s his husband. He’s allowed to be horny about him whenever he feels like it.

Stiles can truly count on one hand the number of fancy restaurants he’s been to in recent memory – one of them was of course with Jordan Parrish, which is something he’s been burying and repressing in an attempt to forget about it. It’s very romantic in here. The tables are small and candle lit and the music is soft. There’s a flower in a mason jar next to the salt and pepper. It makes Stiles feel like a million dollars even though it’s probably not all that special of a place.

“I think I want spaghetti,” Stiles says after gazing at the menu for a minute or two, and almost asks Derek if that’s okay, but stops himself at the last second. It’s going to take a while to get used to that.

The drinks come and they order. The waitress sort of gazes for a moment too long at Stiles as he tells her what he wants, but Stiles doesn’t mind, because it’s not malicious. She’s just surprised to see an omega is all – it a rare sight, to be fair.

As soon as she’s gone, Stiles picks up his wine glass and takes a sip. He nearly chokes on it. Derek was not lying. It tastes like sweet horse urine and peaches. Absolute nightmare taste. Still, he keeps drinking it even as he makes the world’s most sour face.

Derek sips his beer right out of the bottle and grins. “You look like you love that.”

“I do,” he frowns and makes a face at the glass. “I love the prospect of getting drunk. You know, my dad always said alcohol would, like, make me go into a coma or something. It was easy for him to tell me shit like that and make me believe it because literature on omegas is hard to come by. I believed it for, like, years.”

Derek thumbs at the lip of his bottle and he seems thoughtful. “What other kinds of things would he tell you?”

“All kinds. How much time do you have?” He snorts. “Sugar would ruin my body, going out at night would surely lead to my demise, alphas all want me dead…that sort of stuff. Now look at me.”

“What about your mom?”

Stiles swallows a big sip of wine and frowns as he does so. “What about her?”

Derek leans forward a bit, adjusting himself in his seat. “I mean, while all this shit was going on your whole life, where was she?”

That is a difficult question to answer. It’s nuanced, Stiles knows it is, and there is perhaps no true answer that Stiles could give to Derek that would satisfy him. The reality is, Stiles’ mother never did anything bad, not really, not like his father. She never agreed with any of the shitty rules or the stuff he would flat out make up or pull from sexist books written by alphas. She never forced him to do anything and she never stopped him from doing anything he really wanted to.

No, she never did anything wrong. She just never did anything. Yes she would stand up for Stiles and yes she tried to help him. But maybe Stiles can admit she never tried all that hard. And all of this has simply been compounded by the pain he feels now, at wondering if she even cares at all that Stiles is not around anymore.

Stiles stares into his half empty wine glass. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Jesus, I’m sorry. I’m upsetting you.”

“No, it’s cool - it’s fine - I’m just.” He takes in a deep breath. “There are still some fresh wounds.”

Derek observes him for just a moment, as though he’s trying to gauge just how out of sorts Stiles is now that he’s been asked about his family life. Stiles doesn’t have very much to say, and even if he did, he wouldn’t want to say it, so what’s the point?

“Let’s talk about something else,” Stiles proposes. “How about first date stuff.”

Derek smiles at him. “And what is first date stuff, exactly?”

“You know,” he gestures vaguely. “Like what people talk about in movies when they’re on dates. Like…” he trails off. Because honestly, he has no idea what people are supposed to talk about on first dates.

He has even less of an idea what people who are married are supposed to talk about on ‘first dates.’

“What do you think about…Um…”

Derek raises his eyebrows. He’s got this shit eating grin on his face, watching Stiles fumble to think of something to talk about. “You’re thinking about this way too hard. It’s not like you need index cards with conversation points on them –“

Stiles snaps his fingers. “Flash cards. That’s exactly what I should’ve done.”

“We’ve got the rest of our lives to sit around talking,” he puts his chin in his palm and smiles. “I’d like to stare at you for a minute.”

Stiles’ cheeks go hot. “Stop being gross.”

“It’s not gross. Not anymore. Now you have to let me stare.”

“I don’t, actually,” he puts his nose in the air. “I don’t have to do anything.” At Derek’s surprised smile, Stiles clarifies. “I’m just testing out saying things like that. Like, no one can really make me do anything. Well, you can, actually, but –“

“I won’t,” he finishes for him. He means it. “Except for when I make you say my name in –“

“All right,” Stiles cuts him off.

Derek laughs and finishes off his beer, pushing the empty bottle to the edge of the table so it’s easier for the waitress to simply walk by and scoop it up for him. “How do you really feel about all this?”

“You mean marrying you? I’d rank it 9.5 out of 10 so far.”

“Where is that half point deduction coming from?”

“Your snoring.” It really is mythic. Stiles thinks Derek should be studied in a lab, because snoring that loud just cannot be healthy.

“I guess that’s fair,” he tips his head, “I meant more all the other things. Like how it feels to not be under someone’s thumb all the time, now.”

Stiles shrugs his shoulders. Honestly, it’s only been two days, and it hasn’t entirely sunk in yet. He keeps catching himself asking Derek for permission for insane things, like if he can have seconds of Talia’s absurdly good pancakes or if he’s allowed to watch an R rated movie on Netflix or if he can borrow Derek’s toothpaste because he didn’t pack any of his own. Beyond that, he feels like part of him is missing.

Or, there’s a space. A void. Where something used to be, now there is nothing. Stiles doesn’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, just yet.

“I’m happy,” he decides out loud. “I just….can’t wait for real life. You know? Right now feels like some weird interim. Living in your bedroom in your mom’s house and still going to high school but being married and all. It’s just – everything feels surreal.”

Derek nods his head like he gets it, because he probably does. Who knows how he feels suddenly having an omega hanging off his neck pretty much 24/7? Stiles would imagine he feels pretty good about it, but it still must be odd. Waking up and having someone else in his bed, looking next to him and always finding someone else there.

Stiles has never, ever always had someone there for him. Scott, yes, but not like this.

Not so close. Not so intimate. Not so much so it’s like they’re stitched together by their hearts.

The waitress comes and picks up Derek’s empty bottle and Stiles’ empty wine glass. “Another round, boys?”

Stiles and Derek share a look. Stiles almost asks if he’s allowed, but then catches himself and says, “yes, please.”

When dinner is over and they’re walking out to Derek’s car in the night, Stiles is giddy. The wine has made him feel like he’s operating from another place in his brain, a much lighter and more fun place, where he laughs too loud and suddenly decides he’s going to call the waitress by her first name like they know each other.

In the car, Stiles buckles up and drums his hand on his knee. “I love dinner,” he says, and Derek nods. “I love going out. I love wine. I love spaghetti. I love your car. I love –“

“Me?”

Stiles laughs too loud again, reaching out to gently caress Derek’s stupid, smug, arrogant, idiotic face. “Yes, you. Against my better judgment.”

“Ouch,” he snorts. “It’s fine. I don’t know how I wound up in love with such an absolute spazzoid, but that’s fine too.”

Stiles stares out the window at the trees and the lights passing him by as Derek drives. He fiddles with the ring on his finger and he loves that, too, watching it obsessively as it shines and then goes dark, depending on what the car is going by at that exact second.

He feels light. It is not just the wine.

Derek’s house – his house, now – is dark when they pull up to it. Talia’s car is missing and so is Cora’s, no one home, and Stiles blinks. “Where is everyone?”

Derek puts it in park. “I told them to find somewhere else to be tonight.”

“Oh.” A pause. “Why?”

“Why do you think?”

Stiles honestly has no fucking idea. He frowns and looks at the dark house, then at Derek’s face, still illuminated by the dashboard lights. “Because we’re watching a movie…?”

“Because we’re having sex.”

“Oh,” he repeats, and his face goes hot. Because, oh, duh, of course Derek wants to have sex. They haven’t been able to have sex since that last time in Derek’s bedroom, and Derek has not been exactly quiet about his desires to do all that over again – not to mention, they just got married.

Traditionally, there’s sex on the wedding night. Derek and Stiles hadn’t because there’d been so much going on and there were lots of emotions and the whole day went by so fast, but now, they’ve got time. Lots of time.

And the house to themselves, per Derek’s puppeteering.

Derek is still looking at him. The air in the car has shifted, changed, gone heavier. Stiles wants Derek it’s true, but he can honestly say that he believes that it does not hold a candle to the way that Derek wants him back. Derek’s want of him is so deeply entangled in his very essence of being, it seems like. Like, wanting Stiles is just who he is, now. It’s all he thinks about. It’s all he does. Just…want.

He turns the car off. Silence.

“I really do think you are an ethereal being,” Derek says, and Stiles has to press the back of his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing. “I don’t think there is a prettier person on earth.”

“Probably not,” Stiles agrees.

“You ready to go upstairs?”

Oh, Stiles is ready. Absolutely ready. He’s nervous and not at the same time, like his body is ready to go but his mind is still too busy thinking, so he’s sort of buzzing with the conflicting emotions as he walks to the front door inside the house with Derek.

It’s dark in here and Derek does not turn on the light. He puts his keys on the hook and they jingle in the quiet. Stiles takes his jacket off and hangs that up, as well, so then they’re both standing there. In the dark.

Derek goes first, up the steps, and Stiles follows him. It’s hard to see and he has to use Derek’s body for reference, putting his hand on Derek’s back to guide him forward so he knows where to step and when.

In his bedroom, Derek turns on the light. It’s still pretty clean, but there’s little messes in a couple places. The hamper is overflowing with both Stiles and Derek’s clothes, Stiles’ bags are still in the corner spilling their contents all over the floor, and the bed is not made. Neither of them pay any attention to those things. It does not matter, in this moment.

They kiss. Once the door is shut behind them and the lights are on, they attack one another. Limbs flailing, bodies pressing against each other, tongues in each other’s mouths, teeth biting, all of it. It’s frantic and fast, so fast Stiles almost doesn’t notice it when they’re on the bed, when Stiles has half his clothes off already, when Derek is sticking his hand into Stiles’ pants and eliciting a shocked moan of pleasure from Stiles’ throat.

They’re all tangled up together and Derek breathes into his neck. It tickles, so he laughs, and Derek does it again just for the reaction.

When he pulls off, he smirks. “Want to try your toy?”

Stiles is confused for a fraction of a second, but when he realizes, he feels his face go hot. He definitely, definitely wants to try that thing, but he’s nervous. It’s just a sex toy, a fairly benign one at that, but he’s never done anything like that before. All the same, he nods, swallowing his nerves.

Derek leans over the edge of his side of the bed, digging around underneath it. “I already charged it for you,” he says into the depths, and Stiles rolls his eyes. Of course he did. He’s probably been obsessively watching porn and fantasizing about doing this exact thing to Stiles since the day he picked it up.

When he comes back up, he has it in his hands. It’s black. Stiles licks his lips and stares at it and then meets Derek’s eyes. “Ready?”

Stiles hastily shimmies out of his underwear, tossing them off to the side and then nodding. He opens his legs a bit and Derek leans over him, grinning from ear to ear. “I’ll do the low setting first,” he says. “Just so you can see how it feels.”

“Okay.” He watches as though it’s happening in slow motion, as Derek brings the thing closer to his body. He touches it to Stiles’ alert erection and smirks, meeting Stiles’ eyes before he even turns it on. Like he wants to watch Stiles’ face as this happens to him.

It switches on and Stiles jerks. “Whoa,” he says, breathless and high. It’s sort of relentless, which is the point of it, but the pleasure starts and then doesn’t stop, aggressive and fast and quick, and Stiles sits up. He opens his legs wider and screws his eyes shut and just – comes.

Derek laughs. “What was that, fifteen seconds? Christ, it’s like you operate on a hair trigger.”

Stiles is staring at the ceiling. He pants and puts his hands over his face. That was a lot. A lot all at once. He’s sweaty, already, and he’s got come on his t-shirt.

Without any warning, Derek climbs on top of him. He straddles Stiles’ legs and rucks Stiles’ shirt up to get it out of the way, and he leans over Stiles’ body with this crazy grin on his face, cocking his head to the side. “Want another one?”

Stiles nods. “Please?”

“I wonder how many times I can make you come before it starts to hurt,” he says, slowly bringing the toy back to Stiles’ rapidly hardening cock. Stiles remembers that when he was in heat, Derek had a similar quandary and actually did spend a decent amount of time fiddling around with Stiles, just to make him come, just to see how many times he could.

The exact specifics of that event are blurry. But Derek claims he made Stiles come five times in succession with just his tongue, and Stiles believes him.

He switches it on, and it starts all over again. Stiles grabs Derek’s arm and squeezes his muscles, runs his fingers along the veins. He whines and pushes his body into the vibrations, mindlessly chasing the pleasure – it’s slower, this time, but he does get another orgasm. He comes on his stomach and goes limp, hands reaching out to touch Derek on his chest. Just to feel him.

“Fuck…” he whispers, looking up to meet Derek’s eyes.

“You like it?” He already knows the answer. He just really likes to make Stiles say things like this out loud.

“Yes.”

“You want more?”

Stiles bites his lip and nods. “More, yes. Please. It feels so good,” he sinks deeper into the pillows and grabs Derek by the shirt he still has on, pulling him in low for some wet kissing that lasts a while, waiting to get hard again.

Derek smiles, their faces still close. “You know, when you were in heat, you’d beg a lot more.”

Stiles doesn’t break the eye contact. “When I’m not, you should be begging me.”

Derek likes that. His gaze goes darker and he kisses again, open mouthed and sloppy. Stiles can feel Derek’s erection through his pants, against his own body, and it makes him feel…oddly powerful. Like if he felt like it he could make everything stop and then Derek wouldn’t get to come or get off at all. He put it there, and he can just as easily take it all away.

Derek wants him so badly. It makes Stiles power hungry. One moment he is blushing and nervous and the next, this weird sex-driven part of him is awakening, a natural thing he can’t seem to control and has never been afforded the opportunity to explore.

“Do it again,” he says, pushing Derek away. Derek obliges, putting his free hand on Stiles’ face and pressing his fingers into his face, just north of rough.

As it starts up, Derek edges his fingers closer to Stiles’ mouth. Stiles knows what he wants Stiles to do, and in the moment, with the pleasure pooling in his gut and Derek looking at him like that, he almost has no choice.

He opens his mouth and lets Derek put his index finger in. Stiles licks it, and Derek gets this insane look on his face. His eyes go deeper, darker, more narrow, his mouth open, tongue between his teeth.

Stiles wraps his lips around it. Derek pants. He wants it badly. He wants it so fucking badly. It feels good to be wanted, to have someone make him feel sexy and not in a sleazy, predatory way. In a good way. In a hot way. Stiles feels pretty and hot and like Derek would seriously get on his knees and beg to fuck him, if it came to that.

Maybe it should come to that. Stiles likes the thought of it.

He comes again and bites on Derek’s finger more accidentally and automatically than anything else as the orgasm wracks his body, but Derek does not complain. He bites his own lip and tosses the vibrator aside, blanketing Stiles’ body with his own, pressing them together chest to chest, lips touching, but not quite kissing.

“I want you so fucking bad,” he says against Stiles’ mouth. “Are you ready? You want to?” His hand is fumbling down at Stiles’ entrance. Fingers pushing. “You’re fucking soaked –“

“Make me come again,” Stiles says, and it comes out as half a question, half a command. Stiles is not used to telling an alpha what to do, let alone in bed, so it fumbles awkwardly out of his lips. Derek pulls back and looks at him. A steady, heated gaze.

He is smart. Also, Stiles is not subtle. Derek says, “oh, you wanna mess with me, huh?”

Stiles blushes.

“Okay,” Derek agrees around a laugh. “You can toy with me. It’s hot.” He reaches over to where he tossed the toy earlier, picking it back up and shaking his head as he does so. “You’re just gonna make me do this until I crack, is that it?”

“Maybe.”

“Fine,” he grins, caressing the hairs on Stiles’ leg gently. “I love you, you know?”

“I love you, back. Please do it,” he pushes up on his elbows so he can watch this time, mouth open as he pants. “More.”

Derek obliges. He runs it slowly up and down Stiles’ length, and Stiles shivers. It’s a pleasure unlike any other. It feels amazing when Derek uses his hand, yes, and even better when Derek uses his tongue, you bet, and really good when Derek fucks an orgasm out of him via his prostate, absolutely.

But this is a unique, alien type of pleasure. Mechanical, relentless, merciless. It wrings orgasms out of him with no fucks given. It’s almost painful. Maybe that’s the point. The more orgasms he has, the more sensitive he gets, the more powerful his pleasure, the louder he is. He comes and half-screams, gripping onto Derek’s shoulder and screwing his eyes shut.

His stomach is a mess. He’s wet. His t shirt is ruined. Surely he is going to dry out soon.

“Please,” Derek says, taking Stiles by his neck and pulling him in close. A kiss, a lick of his tongue on Stiles’ cheek. “Can I fuck you, now? I’ll do anything.”

Stiles smiles lazily. “Beg me,” he challenges, and Derek meets his eyes.

“I want it so bad,” he promises. It’s not good enough. He goes on, “I’ll eat you out. I’ll go down on you, whatever, just –“

Stiles hugs him. He wraps his arms around Derek’s middle and hugs him close, all the way up against his body – so now Derek’s shirt is stained, too. Derek is physically shaking, his body quivering, because he wants it that badly. Stiles has never felt so sexy in his entire life. He’s obsessed with Derek’s want.

With one hand he opens Derek’s pants. Undoes the belt, the button, the zipper. He sticks his hand down into Derek’s briefs and he feels it. It is so big, hot, hard, precome leaking out of the slit. Derek shakes in his arms at Stiles’ touch, but Stiles will not be mean, will not tease him. He smiles and just feels it, the weight of it on his palm. It’s crazy to think that it’s only his. No one else will ever get to touch it. Just him.

“You’re so pretty,” Derek tells him, voice hot and low. “Please, can I fuck you?”

Stiles nods. He won’t torment Derek any longer. For all he knows, Derek would come untouched just from pure arousal alone and then sex would be totally ruined for both of them. They have tons of time to explore the limits of both of their bodies, but now is not that time.

Derek grabs him by his hips and flips him over. Now that permission has been granted, he has no need to be gentle any longer. He forcibly removes his own pants, just enough that his cock and balls are out, and gets Stiles onto his hands and knees.

Then, he seems to think better of it. He pulls Stiles up again, so that Stiles’ back is pressed against his front, and he mouths mindlessly at Stiles’ neck. It’s wet. Kind of gross. Stiles is turned on enough he does not care, bares his neck even more so Derek has more access.

It’s distracting. Stiles doesn’t notice it at first, but Derek is lining himself up. He feels the hot head of it graze across his cheeks and he bites his lip. It’s so big. It’s really a miracle of god’s creation. Derek is only eighteen but he’s such a man, in all possible ways – Stiles only ever knew he was attracted to alphas in general, but now that he’s with Derek, he knows it’s men in specific. Dicks.

“You’re so fucking pretty,” he says, again. It’s like it’s all he can think about – how pretty, how sexy, how attractive Stiles is. How bad he wants it. He uses his hands to guide his cock forward, towards Stiles’ entrance, and he pushes.

Stiles cries out, and Derek pauses. More open mouthed kissing on Stiles’ neck. To relax him, most likely. Then, he pushes in more, and more, Stiles whining and reaching over his shoulder to grab at Derek’s, for something to squeeze.

Stiles has to arch his back a bit to make it easier – leaning forward as much as he can, and Derek likes that. He pushes all the way in and wraps one arm around Stiles’ chest. His fingers press into Stiles’ underarm, big and beefy and rough, and his other hand grips Stiles’ hip to give him leverage to fuck.

It’s rough. Stiles had pushed Derek to his absolute breaking point, and now he guesses his reward or punishment is this aggressive, desperate fucking that shakes his entire body. Stiles pants and his hand reaches for Derek’s on his hip, curling their fingers together, and Derek lets him. It’s so hard. It’s really, really hard. Stiles likes it. He’s surprised he does, because it’s gonna bruise, it’s gonna hurt later, but he doesn’t even mind.

When Stiles comes, squirting a bit onto the sheets, the arm around Stiles’ chest tightens. He squeezes Stiles hard, tight, the sound of their bodies meeting each other the only sound in the room aside from Derek’s deep grunts and Stiles’ little whines. “I’m gonna come,” Derek says into his neck and Stiles nods. “It’s so good, it’s so good, you’re so good…” he trails off, into a broken kind of moan that makes Stiles’ body shiver. It’s so sexy. Stiles likes that sound a lot, wants to hear it again, and again, and again.

Derek comes and he goes still in Stiles’ body. Both hands trail down Stiles’ front, his chest and stomach still covered by his wet t-shirt, down onto his thighs, then back up again. “Baby,” he kisses the back of Stiles’ neck. His breaths are shallow and quick. “God, I love you. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Stiles says, quiet.

“That was the best sex I’ve ever had.”

“Better than heat sex?”

“By light years.” His hands are still rubbing all over Stiles’ body, his softening cock buried deep. “Can I have you forever?”

“You sort of already do.”

“I know,” he rests his chin on Stiles’ shoulder and sighs. “I just like to hear you say it. I would stab myself in the stomach for you. I’d feed myself to the lions for you. I’d –“

“I know,” he says. “Let’s lie down, please?”

Derek slowly, carefully, pulls out. His cock bounces free and Stiles leans forward, down onto his hands, before he flips on his back, looking at the ceiling. Derek grabs the covers and pulls them over the both of them as he lies down next to him – he immediately maneuvers Stiles so Stiles’ head is on his chest, cradling Stiles’ body against his like he’s afraid to let go.

He kisses Stiles’ forehead. “What a way to consummate a marriage.”

“Consummation,” Stiles repeats, thoughtful. “Isn’t it weird how marriages were like null and void if you didn’t fuck? Especially omega/alpha marriages, back in the day. It’s like, who cares? What about asexuals?”

“I think back in the day, they didn’t know about asexuals,” Derek muses. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” he raises his eyes to look at Derek’s face. “You keep repeating yourself.”

“I can’t help it. I just…” he gazes at Stiles, and Stiles can see it in his eyes. Love. It’s all over his face. It makes Stiles’ stomach do a backflip, because god, Christ, they’re in love. Deeply in love. It’s everything.

“I’m so happy,” Stiles informs him, very serious for the subject matter. “I know everything is…and some things aren’t right. But I am. Happy. I can’t wait to…college. And living together. And getting our own place. It’s like a fairytale, to me.”

Derek settles deeper into the pillows. “To me, too. You know how you always imagined you’d end up with a beta and making dinner and all that?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I always imagined I’d end up with another alpha.”

Stiles did not know that. He sits up and blinks. “Seriously? You? With an alpha?”

“It sounds weird now, but I’ve only ever dated other alphas,” he smirks.

“What about all the male omega porn you watch?”

“Meeting, let alone fucking, a male omega seemed like an impossibility. Seriously. They don’t grow on trees like alphas and betas do. But then I wonder. If that attraction to them only comes from some weird part of me that always knew I’d find you.”

Stiles has mused over the same thing before. Many times, now. It’s so romantic it sort of makes him want to scream – but instead, he just settles deeper against Derek and shuts his eyes. He’s exhausted.

Derek claps his hands and the lights turn off. Stiles had not known about that feature of Derek’s house, but now he knows, and he’s going to exploit the living shit out of it in the days to come.

They’re quiet for a moment. Derek is just beginning to snore when Stiles sits up, making Derek stir. “Do you mind that I don’t shave my legs?”

“Huh?”

“I know those omegas in porn are like…hairless weirdos. Do you mind that I’m not…?”

“No, of course not,” he shakes his head sleepily. “I like your hair. Go to sleep.”

Stiles settles. Derek is snoring deeply not fifteen seconds later, completely dead to the world, and Stiles watches him sleep. He smiles to himself and bites his index finger, and he cannot believe that this is his life. Not at all.

**

Their first day of school back together is on record as the most Twilight Zone day Stiles has yet experienced since this whole thing began. They decided to treat Derek’s suspension like a mini honeymoon where they just went out to eat and fucked and kissed and held hands and did not do a whole lot else, for days, and days. It was nice. And relaxing. After the weeks that Stiles had leading up to it, something relaxing was definitely what the doctor ordered.

Now, real life has come knocking. Stiles feels weird getting up and dressing in his uniform, tying his tie right next to Derek in his bedroom. Their bedroom. But it still feels strange to call it that. He’s used to his mom leaving out his pressed shirt and pants for him every night, and today, they are wrinkled from the wash. Derek makes a comment on it to tease him and Stiles laughs, but it makes something in him sort of clench. It’s not about whether his clothes are pressed or not.

He just expects to see his mom. She is not here.

Downstairs, Cora has already commandeered the breakfast table – she has a giant mound of scrambled eggs and bacon on her plate, that she’s crunching on as she watches Stiles and Derek come in. Every weekday morning, Talia is up before the sun, and sometimes she wakes Stiles with her puttering around. She does all sorts of shit – being a single mom has made her sort of task oriented and productive. She answers work emails, does laundry, and makes breakfast, all before the kids are even out of bed.

It’s still surprising to Stiles to come down and see a table full of food first thing in the morning. Stiles says, “thank you,” to her, and she gives him a very warm smile. She likes him. She thinks he’s polite and cute, or that’s what Derek tells him.

As they sit, Cora glowers at them. “I wish more than anything else on this earth that you two,” she points between them with a crispy slab of bacon, “would learn how to quietly have sex.”

Stiles is humiliated. He sort of figured Cora might have heard some of their insane love making because he is acutely aware of the fact that it gets, uh, loud, but to actually have her brazenly bring it up at the god damn breakfast nook in front of Talia has Stiles desperate for an escape route.

Derek, however, seems unfazed. “It’s a good thing you can drown us out with the sound of you and your boyfriend having sex. Oh wait…” He grins before grabbing a plate, spooning eggs onto it. Yes, Cora is notoriously single. Stiles has heard tales about how in love she is with, of all people on earth, Derek’s friend Isaac, which makes Derek angry whenever he brings it up.

Cora glowers at him. “I don’t know how you tricked Stiles into marrying you,” she accuses, giving a quick cursory glance in Stiles’ direction. “He’s a twenty out of ten and you are a two at best.”

Derek sets the plate, now piled high with food, in front of Stiles, and reaches to start building his own. “I know that. Luckily Stiles is not vain.”

Stiles has not yet figured out how to traverse conversations between Cora and Derek. They are volatile at best with one another, and usually at the dinner table Stiles has favored saying absolutely nothing because who knows how they’d weaponize his words against each other? Talia never even butts in – right now, she’s reading a magazine, sipping coffee, silent, like the kids aren’t even here.

He pokes at his eggs and says, “I think Derek is a twenty out of ten, too.”

Cora eyeballs him. Stiles does not know if she hates him personally or simply hates everyone. “Don’t you have poor eyesight?”

Stiles does have poor eyesight. He looks to Derek for backup, but he’s pre-occupied, shoveling food into his mouth as though his life depends on it.

Cora stands from the table and collects her backpack from the ground, holding it by the strap so it dangles limply from her hand. “Either soundproof your room or gag him,” she says to Derek with finality, and then she’s gone, traipsing out of the house to drive off to school.

Stiles is embarrassed again, but Derek just snorts and eat his bacon, like he could care less what his sister thinks. “How come you guys don’t get along?” Stiles asks him, and Derek makes a face.

“Who says we don’t get along?”

“Uh – you guys never say a nice word to one another.”

“That’s just being siblings,” he waves his hand and crunches into another huge chunk of his breakfast, “you are an only child. You wouldn’t get it.”

That must be true. Stiles has often been jealous of other kids who have big families or even just one other sibling, because it gets sort of lonely being the only one in the house, or in his case, totally suffocating, being the only one around for his parents to control and manipulate. Now, watching Derek and Cora interact, he thinks he was ultimately better off. What if he had had an alpha for an older brother or something? It would’ve been an absolute nightmare on top of what he already went through.

Outside in the morning light, Derek asks, “you want to take your car or mine?”

This is a question that surprises Stiles. He would’ve figured Derek would always insist on driving his own car, whether Stiles is there with him or not. First of all, it’s a much nicer car, and second of all, he’s the alpha. Stiles hasn’t driven his Jeep since he’s been at Derek’s house, a full week now, and he imagined it would sit and collect dust in the driveway for all eternity. Or Derek would ask him to sell it.

Stiles says, “mine?”

Derek agrees.

They both climb in, throwing their bags into the backseat, and then Stiles sits and observes Derek sitting there in his Jeep for a second. He’s been in here once before, when they were sneaking around, and they kissed and everything and even nearly had sex in here. But he still looks weird in here. Like Stiles’ Jeep is a cartoon and Derek is live action. Like the Garfield movie or something like that.

Stiles starts the ignition and it roars, making Derek raise his eyebrows. “This is what killed the dinosaurs,” he says, and Stiles grins at him.

As he drives, weaving through the streets of suburbia to get them off onto the main road, Derek watches him. Stiles isn’t doing anything that interesting – switching gears and cutting the wheel – but for the way Derek watches him, you’d think he were performing open heart surgery.

“I know this thing is sort of a piece of junk,” he says with a self deprecating smile, “but hey. It runs.”

“You like this car, don’t you?”

“I love this car,” he corrects. Truly, he does. It’s sort of the one good thing that has come out of his childhood, so he clings to it like a stuffed animal – after all, it was something his father couldn’t physically tear apart with his bare hands.

“Then, I like it, too.”

Stiles slows to a red light, turning so they can meet each other’s eyes. Derek smiles and Stiles smiles right back at him because he can’t help it. He makes sure the light is still red before he leans over and kisses him, and Derek kisses him right back.

After Stiles parks and they’re both outside in the parking lot making their way to the school, Derek holds his hand. And it’s insane, because it’s really the smallest possible gesture in the world, but it’s also momentous, in this exact moment. Their fingers intertwined, in front of everyone, the entire school, and they don’t have to hide it.

People stare at them as they walk and they whisper and Stiles is certain that the gossip mill has been churning and churning ever since Derek got suspended and Stiles stopped showing up for a while, but he doesn’t know if everyone knows that they fully got married. Stiles can feel Derek’s wedding ring that Stiles picked out himself pressing against the skin of his own hand, but he doesn’t know if anyone else notices it or not.

Either way, they look. There may not be anything else even half as interesting as Derek and Stiles going on at this school, today.

Derek walks with Stiles to Stiles’ locker first, where he gathers up the books he’ll need for the first few classes of the day, and Allison is at her own locker across the way. She slams hers closed and comes over to them, a shy smile on her face. Probably because she doesn’t really know Derek all that well.

“I thought you two getting married was a dream I had,” she says as she takes in the sight of the two of them standing there. “Even when Scott kept saying it definitely happened I couldn’t wrap my head around it.”

Last she heard, Derek wasn’t even asking Stiles to the idiotic winter dance that’s only three days away, now. Now, here they are, married and holding hands for the world to see. She was definitely half asleep when they signed the paperwork at the courthouse, so it’s not surprising she’s still wrapping her head around all this.

“It still feels like a dream to me, too,” Stiles tells her, and she smiles with all her teeth like she thinks Stiles is just being cutesy. It is sort of cutesy, but he almost means that literally.

Life with Derek so far has been alternate reality style bizarre, for him. A dreamy, hazy existence of sex and food and endless attention showered onto him like he’s the most important person in the world.

No one has ever made Stiles feel like that, before.

Derek is quiet next to them, eyes trailing around the hallway sort of listlessly. Stiles has noticed that about him the more time they spend together - he’s actually not all that talkative with other people. Stiles is certain he likes Allison just fine, because she’s completely harmless and nice, but he’s said maybe four words to her, and they were all after prompting.

“Everyone has been talking about you guys since Derek ripped Hunter’s arm half off,” she says as they all walk in the direction of their shared homeroom. “Everyone thinks that you and Derek, like, had sex in the bathroom or something. It’s a hot story.”

Stiles and Derek definitely have had lots of sex. It just was not in the god damn bathroom – what about that is so sexy an idea to people?

“…news of you two being married is slow to travel, because most people think it sounds too insane to be true. Scott and I haven’t said anything of course, but now I guess…” she gestures to the rock on Stiles’ finger. “Cat’s out of the bag?”

“The cat is out of the bag,” he agrees. Derek holds his hand, but says nothing. When they’re alone, he’s a chatterbox. This is going to take some getting used to. “What’s everyone saying? Do they think it’s weird?”

“Not weird,” she says. “More just…random.”

Random is a very good word for it. Stiles knows that people figured there was something either actually going on or something about to go on between the two of them, because Derek is the only alpha on planet earth Stiles did not viciously snap at for even so much as glancing at him. But they probably all have whiplash now, going from assuming they will ultimately bone to discovering they’re fully fucking married.

In second period Chemistry, Derek makes a big deal to their teacher out of letting Derek and Stiles be lab partners so they can sit together, and then once they’re seated, Derek turns his stool facing Stiles. They hold hands, both hands, pressing their knees together and staring at one another with stupid smiles on their faces.

“Can you two not look at each other like that right in front of me?” Jackson Whittemore bitches from the table behind them – when Stiles looks at him, he finds the other boy looking thoroughly disgusted. “It’s pornographic.”

“We’re just holding hands,” Stiles bitches right back, turning to face him without releasing Derek’s hands. “How’s that pornographic?”

Jackson makes a face at him. “I’m sure you’ve been told this before. Everything you do is pornographic, Stilinski.”

“Then don’t look at him,” Derek barks, and Jackson glowers, but sits and goes silent, pointedly turning away to stare at the opposite wall instead of Stiles and Derek right in front of him.

In French class, Derek makes another big deal out of having his seat moved so he can sit next to Stiles, and it starts all over again. They hold hands and talk to each other in low tones about nothing, nothing at all, and everyone gives them a wide berth or stares at them enviously or just does their level best to ignore them.

It’s nuts, and Stiles really should tell Derek to cool it or at least back off a little with the PDA – but truth be told, Stiles doesn’t want to. He likes it. The constant hand holding and constant kissing and touching and talking is nice. It makes his day feel special even when nothing special at all is happening around him.

At lunch time they set their trays down, sit next to one another at the first empty table they find, and start kissing. They don’t touch their food or even barely think about it before they’re half on top of one another, eating each other’s faces off. Stiles doesn’t care if people are watching, and he can imagine they are and are either turned on or pretending they’re not, but fuck it. It’s fun. He thinks he’s getting pretty good at it - after all, he’s already had tons of practice.

“Stop that,” Erica yells at them when she slaps her own tray onto the table. “Stop it right now.”

They pull apart much to their shared chagrin, but Derek keeps Stiles’ hand hostage, stroking it with his fingers even as he picks up a chicken tender and bites into it.

“All day long I’ve heard nothing else aside from how you two can’t physically restrain yourselves,” she sits and looks angry. She always looks angry. “What’s next? Sex in the locker room?”

“It’s just kissing,” Derek shrugs.

It is not just kissing. They melt into one another like they’re going to become one single unit at every possible chance they get. No wonder people are talking about them.

Boyd and Isaac appear with grunts instead of real greetings, as Stiles peers down at his school lunch. The first school lunch he’s had since middle school. He pokes at his chicken, but it doesn’t look very good, so he picks up a fry and eats that first. It’s all right.

“If you think that’s bad, wait until taco day,” Isaac tells him, smirking. “It’s like dog food.”

Stiles makes a face and picks apart his chicken with his fingers. Maybe his dad had a point about not letting him eat school lunches – this is like child abuse.

He sees Scott and Allison coming from across the room and he perks up, turning to Derek and asking, “can Scott and Allison come sit?”

“Don’t ask me shit like that,” Derek says for only the zillionth time. “Obviously, they can.”

“Uh, says who?” Erica narrows her eyes. “McCall can’t fucking read.”

“He can read,” Stiles says, baffled. “Is there a rumor Scott can’t read? He can definitely read.”

“What I mean is, he’s an idiot.”

Stiles can’t deny that, so he just changes trajectories. “He’s nice.”

In spite of Erica’s protests, Scott and Allison do come over and sit. It’s weird at first, because this is definitely the meeting of two entirely different worlds, and Stiles really isn’t sure if they’re all going to get along, but it’s not so bad. Everyone already knows each other at least in passing so there’s no need for introductions, but it’s quiet at first.

Derek is absolutely no help. He just sits there and eats, holding Stiles’ hand, no commentary, no ice breakers. Isaac and Erica both frown, and Boyd looks like he could care less whether they go the rest of the lunch period in dead silence. Derek has said many times over Boyd is his best friend out of his three friends, but Stiles has yet to see them exchange words.

Stiles imagines they hang out and just sit in silence together.

Naturally, Scott speaks first. “Dude, everyone is talking about you guys. I heard you two had sex in the janitor’s closet during fourth period.”

Stiles laughs out loud. “Unfortunately not.”

“I figured, but that’s crazy! Apparently they have nothing else to talk about!”

“Apparently,” Erica agrees a little pointedly, sarcasm dripping from her every orifice, but Scott is oblivious.

“And, get this, I saw your mom leaving your house last night. Like, bags packed and everything.”

That makes Stiles freeze. He finishes what he has in his mouth and stiffens, turning his body to face Scott all the way. “She left?”

Immediately, the easy going grin on Scott’s face fades away. He furrows his brow and says, “are you guys not speaking? Did you not know that?”

Stiles looks at his food. No, they are not speaking, and no, he did not know his mother was planning on leaving his father. It figures, and it makes sense, but it’s still a lot to take in. In spite of everything that has happened since Stiles presented, all the bullshit and the fighting and everything else, those are still his parents. The original evidence of real love that Stiles ever had, the first people he saw when he opened his eyes to the world as a baby.

It gives him no pleasure to know they are separated. In fact, it makes him sad.

“I’m sorry,” Scott says, reaching out to put his hand on Stiles’ back. “I didn’t – I wasn’t –“

“It’s okay,” Stiles assures him, because it is, and he has a big blabber mouth and doesn’t always think before he speaks, so Stiles is used to it. But he keeps his gaze pointed down, picking the skin off his chicken tenders bit by bit, and no one says anything for a second. Stiles knows they all feel bad for him. Derek squeezes his hand harder.

“Let’s talk about something else,” Derek suggests, and they all do.

Stiles doesn’t say anything else for the rest of lunch period.

**

Talia gave Stiles a brand new phone as a welcoming gift, on account of his old phone being trapped in the safe in his father’s house, so he doesn’t have much of anyone’s numbers. He has Derek’s and Talia’s and Scott’s and Allison’s, but no one else’s. Not even his father’s or his mother’s. It’s not as though he can call either one of them and ask what’s going on. He could go back to his house, but the reality is, he is afraid to go back there.

He’s just not ready to go back there. Maybe one day – but then, Stiles does not know any longer what the future holds. He has Derek, but Derek is his only sure thing. Everything else is different, now, changed, for the better. But still different. And that’s always hard.

He could call the station and get patched through to his dad. But he’s afraid his dad wouldn’t take the call. In spite of everything, that would hurt. His father does still have the power to hurt him, even now.

“I’ll go with you,” Derek offers, watching from the edge of the bed as Stiles pulls his hoody on and zips it up. “Seriously. I don’t like the idea of you going there alone.”

“It would be even worse if I showed up with you,” and Derek knows that it’s true, because he shuts his mouth and looks away, jaw tense. Derek doesn’t very much the like the idea of Stiles going anywhere alone, and frankly, Stiles isn’t nuts about not being around Derek even for a single hour, but this is one of those things he absolutely has to do alone.

“Are you sure you even want to talk to him? After all the shit he pulled?”

“I just need to know what’s going on. It’s my family.”

“They’ve never treated you like you’re their son,” he insists.

“They did. Before.”

“But that’s not –“

“I’m going either way,” he says, and Derek shuts his mouth. It would the easiest thing in the world for him to stand up and forbid Stiles from doing this, banish him to this room, keep him locked up here, never letting Stiles leave. He has the power to do exactly that. In the eyes of the law, Derek could even hit Stiles, if he felt like he had to.

Derek just doesn’t think like that. It would never even occur to him to give Stiles an order, that way. So he’s not happy about this, but he makes absolutely no moves to truly stop Stiles from doing it.

“Believe me, I would rather ask my mother. But I don’t even know where she is,” he says, and Derek frowns.

He gestures with both hands, before holding his arms open wide. “Come here,” his voice is low. Stiles moves immediately to him, into his arms, where Derek wraps him up tight and holds him, pressing his face into Stiles’ neck and inhaling him completely. “I’m sorry.”

Stiles hugs him and sighs. He is sorry, too.

“Just…If Parrish is there –“

“If he’s there I’ll avoid him. He can’t do or say anything to me, anyway,” he pulls out of the hug and smiles, though it doesn’t reach his eyes. “I’m a married omega, remember? Touching me without my alpha’s permission is grounds for jail time.”

“Or grounds for my hands squeezing the life out of him.”

“I wouldn’t stop you,” Stiles laughs, running his hand through Derek’s hair. “Don’t worry. I’ll be in and out.”

**

Stiles parks outside the station and he shuts his ignition off, pushing his keys into his pocket and then setting his hands in his lap. He stares at the building, the surrounding trees, the familiarity of it bringing back a thousand memories. Stiles remembers he used to love coming here, and he even used to have real ambitions of being a cop just like his dad. He wanted to help people and be powerful and have a gun – which is as complex as his ten year old brain could ever manage to imagine what the job would actually be like.

He wanted to be like his dad. He doesn’t know what happened to that. Where it went. His dad was his role model and hero and then overnight, it all got taken away from him. It still feels like his fault. It still feels like he did something wrong, just by being born with the stupid omega gene.

Inside, the officer at the front double takes him, jaw dropping a bit, before she attempts to school her expression back to indifference. Everyone here probably knows exactly what happened, and everyone knows what Stiles did to his family, and they all probably hate him for it. He can’t exactly blame them. Stiles puts on a brave face and clears his throat, approaching her desk warily.

“Is my dad in?”

She blinks at him. “He is,” she says evenly. “You remember where his office is.”

Stiles nods. She glares at him a bit, eyes flicking to the ring on his finger, but she says absolutely nothing else to him. It’s better than Stiles would have expected.

In the actual station with all the officer’s desks lined up and all of them walking around or sitting around, it quiets down a bit when they notice him. He tries to keep his head down as he walks, but they stare, and they resent him, and they hate him. They’re implicitly on his dad’s side. They think Stiles was an insolent omega who ran off with some asshole and ruined his entire family’s life – especially now since Claudia left, he really is not looking good to these people.

But he does notice Jordan is not among them. The desk Stiles remembers as being his, the one where Jordan threatened him after the party at Lydia Martin’s, is empty and cleaned off. It’s no one’s desk now.

He hesitates at the door marked with his father’s name. His hand hovers over the knob and he grits his teeth. It’s harder than he would like it to be, just to go and talk to his own father. And it is not fair.

All the same, he opens the door and walks inside, and they meet eyes.

The Sheriff is surprised. He puts down his pen immediately at the sight of his son, sitting up straight, lips parting. He may have thought he would either never see Stiles again or at least not see him for a very good long time.

The last words they exchanged were not pleasant.

Stiles closes the door behind himself and he blinks. “You fired Jordan?”

“I did,” he says, but he says nothing else. No apology for not believing Stiles in the first place, no admission of guilt – not even an acknowledgment for the fact that he tried to force Stiles to marry a man who certainly would have made his life a living hell. Just those two words, and Stiles would expect nothing more and nothing less.

Stiles moves farther into the room and hovers for a moment, not sure where to start, or what to say. His dad sits there and is silent, just looking at his son. They stopped knowing how to speak to one another a very long time ago. It’s not just what Stiles has done. It’s everything. Year’s worth of backlogged transgressions that make conversations between the two of them feel like navigating a minefield.

“I really am in love with him,” Stiles says, choosing to start there before going anywhere else. “I didn’t…it wasn’t. Something I did just to be…I wasn’t being spiteful. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. It’s just that you were going to – and he would’ve beat me? And I was in love with an alpha and I knew you’d never approve and I just had to get out of there. I didn’t want to hurt anybody but…” he trails off.

The Sheriff is still and quiet, listening. Stiles doesn’t know what he’s thought about this entire thing; if he thought it was vindictive of Stiles to do it or if he thought Stiles was just acting out and rebelling, or what. At the time he convinced himself it didn’t matter what the Sheriff thought, but of course, it does matter. It matters to him.

Stiles ripped their family apart. Of course it matters what his father thinks. But he still isn’t talking. Maybe he has nothing to say. It’s fair and unfair at the same time, this silence.

“Really, I just came to ask where mom went,” he looks away and frowns, scratching at his cheek.

“Beats the hell out of me,” he mutters, frowning. “She took off when my back was turned, just like you.”

Stiles doesn’t know what to say to that. He looks away, and his eyes land on the picture frames his father has on his desk. They are mostly pictures of Stiles, the ones that Parrish might have seen that initially had him interested in the first place – Stiles moves and picks an older one up, holding it in his hands and observing it closely.

It’s of Stiles when he was maybe nine or ten, holding up a fish on a line, the first he ever caught. He’s grinning ear to ear, the happiest kid in the world, and it’s hard not to smile, looking at it. “I really loved going fishing with you,” he says, holding the picture out for his dad to see as though he doesn’t look at this picture every single day. “Then you stopped taking me and I didn’t understand why. You stopped doing anything with me. You know, that really hurt me.”

The Sheriff shakes his head. “You changed,” he shrugs, like it’s that simple.

“I didn’t, though. I didn’t. I still would’ve gone with you, but you treated me like I was…not your kid anymore.”

“I looked out for you,” he argues, like Stiles just doesn’t get it. “I couldn’t take my omega son out on the lake, or to baseball games, or any of it. It’s just not – you just don’t do that.”

Stiles spent the vast majority of his early omega years having his things taken away, being told that he wasn’t allowed to do what he liked anymore, being cooped up in the house while other kids got to play and go to camp and go swimming. Stiles had to sit and learn to be quiet, for his own good. Alphas will beat mouthy omegas, his dad would say. It was all in Stiles’ best interest to be small and quiet and to understand his place in the world.

“Well, you ruined our relationship in the process,” he says. “And your marriage.”

“Is that what you came here for? To rub salt in the wound?”

“I came here because my parents are getting divorced,” he snaps. “And you want to say it’s all my fault, you’ve probably told everyone here it’s my fault, but you know it isn’t. You tried to cage me up and then you tried to pawn me off on someone else. It wasn’t right. You ruined my life.”

“I was trying to-“

“No,” he interrupts, shaking his head. “There’s nothing else to say. You ruined my life. Full stop. Now I have to relearn how to exist, because of what you did to me.”

Stiles doesn’t want to stand here trading barbs with his dad any longer. There is a lot that his father still has yet to realize or understand, and it’s not Stiles’ responsibility to help him get there. He needs to do it on his own. Stiles is unsure if he will ever be able to have a relationship with his father, any kind of relationship, even one that only boils down to emails.

Too much has happened. It has left a void in his life and his heart to have no real family left, but it is what it is. You can’t just undo or forget about years of emotional abuse, no matter the fact that the abuser genuinely believed what they were doing was the right thing.

He turns to leave, and then pauses with his hand on the doorknob. He says, “thank you for firing Jordan.”

He doesn’t wait for a response. He closes the door behind him and he ignores everyone’s stares as he walks out, shoulders bunched up.

It felt both good and bad to say all those things to his dad; good, because it was the truth, and it always feels better when the truth comes out. And bad, because it hurts to admit it. Hurts even worse to know it.

He knows it is not his fault he’s an omega. And he even more knows that the way society has decided to treat their omegas isn’t fair. It’s wrong. His dad was wrong and the world is wrong but all Stiles had ever done was try to find a place where he was allowed to exist in the world.

Now he’s found it. Of course they all hate him for that.

Stiles wonders if his mom is just gone and gone for good. He wonders if she thinks that now that Stiles has a new life and a new family, he doesn’t need her anymore, or if she feels guilty and can’t face Stiles in the wake of everything that has happened. She always promised she’d try to make his life better.

She failed, more than once. But Stiles doesn’t blame her. He wishes he could talk to her and tell her that he’s not angry with her and that he wants her and needs her in his life, but she’s gone, and now he has to live with that.

He sits in his Jeep for a while afterwards. He thought this would’ve given him closure. Saying that stuff to his dad and knowing his parents are getting divorced and that Jordan is gone – that should’ve given him a sense of the book closing. But it didn’t. Maybe nothing ever will. It may be an open wound for the rest of his life.

At least he has someone who listens to him and supports everything he does. Stiles drives back to Derek’s house and goes immediately up to his bedroom, where Derek is playing video games, and he sits next to him on the love seat and tells him what happened and that he may never see his mom again and Derek kisses him and tells him it’ll all be okay. He doesn’t tell Stiles what to do, or how to be, or what to think. He just holds him and loves him. That’s all he really has to do.

**

Stiles and Derek come home from school one afternoon and do their usual after school routine; they dump their backpacks by the door, take their shoes off, and then immediately go to the kitchen to get something to eat. Mostly Derek is the only one who craves snacks after school – because he’s a giant and an athlete that needs constant food or else he withers up and dies – so Stiles usually just gets a lemonade or something, and they stand in there talking and goofing around until it’s time to do homework or play video games or fuck, depending on the day.

Today, Talia is there. She’s typically at work this time of day so it’s surprising to see her. She has a letter in her hands, and when the boys walk in, she smiles at them. “Look what came,” she says, placing the letter face up on the kitchen island and sliding it over to Derek.

Derek looks at it, reads the return address, and sucks in a deep breath. Stiles looks at it as well – and when he sees what it is, he gets excited. It’s from Derek’s top choice school, Beacon University.

They have spent lots, and lots, and lots of time talking about that school. They go on Google and look at pictures of the dorms and pick which one they’d want to stay in, read the reviews for the on campus coffee places to see which one is better, fantasize about the dining hall and endless ice cream, on and on and on. It’s their obsession. Derek has already gotten into one of his safety schools, so both of them know that they’re definitely going to college, but this one is different.

Derek has apparently wanted to go to Beacon since he was in elementary school. It has the best architecture program, which is important to him, because he wants to do that for a living. It’s baffling to Stiles whenever Derek talks about it, because he really doesn’t get it, but he likes to watch Derek talk about it because he gets so serious and into it; Stiles could listen to him talk about it forever, honestly. Case and point, this is a big, big deal. A huge deal.

He picks the envelope up and cradles it for a second. Then, he sits on one of the stools and puffs out a tormented sigh. “I can’t open it.”

“I can,” Stiles rips it out of his hand, and pauses. “Want me to?”

Derek presses his hand over his mouth, eyes going far away. He is probably flipping the fuck out in his head. He says nothing.

“Open it,” Talia says to Stiles, and Stiles complies quickly. He tears at it, and Derek winces at the sound, sighing again. There is probably nothing worse than the idea of not going to this particular school to him. He sits there and stares blankly across the kitchen, as Stiles pulls the letter out and unfolds it.

Stiles reads. He smiles. He holds the paper out for Derek to take it and says, “you got in.”

“You are fucking with me,” he snaps, ripping the paper out of Stiles’ hand to read it himself. He reads exactly what Stiles had, Dear Mr. Hale, we are pleased to inform you…and he deflates, all tension leaving his body immediately. “Oh, thank fuck…”

Talia comes around the island and hugs him, rocking him back and forth, before pulling away and kissing him on the cheek. “I’m so proud of you,” she tells him, holding his face in both her hands. “I can’t believe you’re going to college. Both of you,” she looks to Stiles, and smiles at him.

Derek reads the paper again and again, reaching his arm out to pull Stiles against his body, like he cannot have this moment in his life without Stiles being a part of it. “I can’t believe it,” he says, laying the paper out flat on the island just to stare at it some more. “We’re going to Beacon.”

“We’ll go out to celebrate tonight,” Talia tells them. “How about Tarantino’s? Stiles, isn’t that your favorite?”

Stiles nods, only half listening to her. Derek and Talia start talking over his head about dinner and what to eat and how exciting it all is, but Stiles tunes them out. He stares at that paper and he feels light – he is going to college. And neither of them even pause to stop and think about it, neither of them say maybe Stiles shouldn’t tag along. It’s just a given, of course Stiles is allowed to go, of course Stiles is going to live with Derek in the dorms, of course Stiles will go to Derek’s classes and maybe even get to take a couple on his own if Derek agrees to it and does the appropriate paperwork, which he will.

This has been an impossibility for so much of his life. And now he’s going, no questions asked. Stiles’ eyes get wet and he wipes at them, sniffling and shaking his head. He can’t believe it.

They won’t give him a real degree and some of the professors may not even grade his work, and he knows some kids will think he shouldn’t even be there even just to be with his husband, but he doesn’t care, right now. He’s going, and everyone who told him he couldn’t can go fuck themselves.

Derek hugs him and kisses his forehead. “Are you happy?” He asks, and Stiles nods. Yes, he’s happy. He is so god damn happy.