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See Me In Hindsight

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The first time Stiles actively jerked off with intent, it was to thoughts of Derek Hale, Beacon Hills High School’s star lacrosse player. They had just gone to a game, him and Scott and some other kids on Beacon Memorial Middle’s junior lacrosse team, and that night, tucked away in his sheets, Stiles came with vague images of Derek’s powerful body, controlling the field.

Derek went away to college a few months later, Stiles forgot about his quiet, forbidden crush, and then spent several embarrassing, ashamed months jerking off to thoughts of Lydia Martin, who sat on the opposite side of the room in his seventh grade math class. There were others, of course, and Stiles was shy (but never quiet) and he and Scott would talk about it sometimes, who they liked, who they found attractive.

It was never a big deal, that Stiles would talk about boys and girls at their school, and Scott would talk about Kira Yukimura’s hair pins and skirts. He mostly only ever talked about Kira. (There were others girls, sometimes, that he thought were cute, but he could go on for hours talking about Kira.) They didn’t really talk about sexuality at all, really, until suddenly they were sixteen and Scott came rushing into Stiles’ room through his window, proclaiming that he had fallen madly in love with Allison Argent and they were going to do it.

Scott and Allison have been…going out. They see movies and go to parties together and they’ve been making out a lot, admittedly, but only for the two and a half months that they’ve been school. He thinks, probably, he should be jealous that his best friend is gonna have sex before he does, but all he can do is frown for a different reason.

He doesn’t say What about Kira? but he wants to. People change their minds, have new crushes, but Scott’s been gone on Kira for years. He thought that maybe, since she was starting to attract attention from other boys now, Scott would finally do something about it. But no. It’s all about Allison.

“But her family has friends in town, visiting,” Scott continues, leaning forward, “and she has to, like, entertain. So I thought, we could all go out, me and her and you and the friends’ daughter, and after the movie we could go back to my house and you could, like, hang out with the other girl until—you know.”

Stiles blinks. “Scotty.”

“Dude. The Pact.”

They had made The Pact when they were fourteen, which explicitly said that when the time came that either of them had the chance to finally lose their virginities, the other party had to do whatever they could to assist. This included breaking laws, overtly lying, and possibly suffering bodily harm.

Stiles plasters a smile on his face. It’s not very difficult. “Okay,” he says. “Let’s do this.”


 

Allison’s friend is their age. Her hair is chestnut-colored and long, and she’s awkward and quiet as Scott and Stiles introduce themselves. Her name is Malia and she’s beautiful, but she’s looking at Stiles like she hasn’t quite approved yet.

“There’s a party in Beacon Heights,” Allison says, winding her arm with Scott’s. “It’s not a movie, but it’ll be fun, and Malia wants to go.”

“Fine with me,” Scott says cheerily, and he and Allison pour into the back of Stiles’ Jeep while he points his car towards Beacon Heights.

The two in the back are quiet, chatting a little bit, kissing a little bit more, and Stiles clears his throat awkwardly because he’s okay hanging out with girls. He and Lydia Martin are the smartest people on the Math Team, and they eat lunch together sometimes, when she’s not busy making out with her stupid lacrosse-player boyfriend. But he’s less okay at hanging out with girls when he doesn’t know them the slightest bit.

“So,” he says awkwardly, “where are you from?”

“San Francisco,” Malia says, crossing her legs. “My mom and Allison’s are really close. We’re visiting for the weekend, for her birthday.”

Stiles nods. “That’s nice. Sounds like fun.”

“I guess.” Malia gives him a look that Stiles catches out of the corner of his eye. “You don’t really seem like the party type. You didn’t have to agree.”

“Hey, your wish is my command.” He shrugs. “Besides, it’s not so much the party that’s putting me off as Beacon Heights. I’ve made enemies.”

“You don’t say,” Malia says and she seems amused.

Stiles is going to respond—honestly—but his words die in his throat when Malia reaches over to put a hand on his thigh and says, “I’ll protect you.”


 

He and Malia end up in a bedroom at the end of the night, her in his lap, hands in each other’s hair, and Stiles can hardly breathe because he’d never ever been kissed before she slid her mouth against his while they were dancing a few minutes ago and now she’s grinding against his lap and he doesn’t know what exactly he’s supposed to do.

He decides to keep his hands at her sides, cautiously, and doesn’t do anything to protest when she shoves his outer flannel off his shoulders. She seems to notice eventually, however, that Stiles isn’t exactly trying to get much out of her, and she scoots back on his thighs, mouth puffy and pink, eyes glazed.

“We don’t have to do anything,” she says, patient, charming. “Are you a virgin?”

Stiles wants desperately to lie. He licks his lips. “Yeah,” he says anyway, because if there’s one place where lying won’t do him any good, it’s in bed. “I—sorry.”

“Don’t apologize.” She pushes her fingers through his hair. “Allison told me you were kind of dorky. I thought I was going to be stuck with a World of Warcraft geek all night. I thought it was some joke when you showed up.” Her fingers scoot down his neck, his shoulders, to his biceps. “You and Scott work out together, don’t you? For lacrosse?”

Stiles swallows. “I’m not exactly winning any bench pressing competitions.”

She smiles. “And you’re funny. Quick witted. And I like your hands.”

“Thanks. They’re pretty useful. Evolutionarily speaking.”

“Stiles.”

“Yeah.” His voice cracks a little.

“Do you wanna have sex with me?”

Yes, Stiles’ dick says. “I don’t know you,” Stiles’ mouth says, and his dick curses him into oblivion, pressing insistently against his zipper.

“That’s sweet,” Malia says, and it doesn’t sound sarcastic or biting at all. “Is that a deal breaker?”

No, Stiles dicks says. Not at all. And Stiles keeps his mouth shut.

“How about,” she starts, scooting forward again, hooking her wrists together behind his neck, “we keep kissing for a little while, and if you want more then, we can see how that goes?”

Stiles licks his lips. They’re chapped. “Yeah,” he says. “That’s good.”

“Good. Let’s do that.”

They do, and eventually she puts her hand down his pants but they don’t have a condom and Stiles isn’t sure if he’s angry or pleased about that and she takes off her underwear and shows him how to finger her, slow and sure, under her skirt, and Stiles busts a nut, two fingers crooked inside of her, watching her squirm and moan.

She kisses him, pleased, happy, and Stiles lets his fingers be used as she shows him, moves him, and then when she comes Stiles feels his dick pulse again, wanting to be included.

“There,” she says, when they’re vertical and pressed together, in the middle of some stranger’s bed. “That was good, right?”

Stiles nods. “Yeah. That was—yeah. Wow.”

Scott comes stampeding through the hall, banging on different doors, calling his name, and they make themselves presentable quickly but thoroughly. She tucks her underwear into his pocket, smiling conspiratorially, and Stiles grins all the way back to Beacon Hills.

When he drops Malia off back at Allison’s house, he walks her all the way up to the door. She kisses him, on the doorstep, like so many fantasies Stiles had growing up about the proper way to end his first date. When he goes in for a hug afterwards, she laughs.

She smiles into his shoulder. He likes it a lot.

When they pull away, she tugs absently on his shirt. “Not that it’s a big deal, but Victoria’s birthday isn’t the only reason we’re in Beacon Hills, you know.”

“Oh?” he asks, unsure what she means.

“My parents are getting a divorce,” she tells him. “Apparently my dad isn’t actually my dad—he lives in Beacon Hills and he and my mom are getting back together and we’re moving here. For second semester.”

Stiles’ heart flies into his throat. “Yeah?”

Malia rolls her eyes, but it’s already a fond gesture. “Yeah. So—don’t go far, okay?”

“Trust me, I won’t.”


 

Malia is a good girlfriend. The best girlfriend. For the entirety of second semester and through summer, up until the final few days before school begins again. It’s going to be their junior year, Stiles turned seventeen a handful of days ago, Malia is really fitting in at BHHS—and she breaks up with him, sitting in his car, looking at her hands sitting in her lap.

It’s not working out anymore. I don’t feel the same way about you anymore. You’re one of my best friends. But I—can’t keep doing this when I’m not 100% in it.

Stiles mourns for the appropriate amount of time, he thinks. He suffers and longs and avoids her in the hallway when they start classes, but eventually he starts to think back and remember how she behaved. How she was startled by his all or nothing attitude, how she flinched away from his first, brave I love you, and couldn’t say it in return. She’s never wanted him to really meet his family, barely tells him anything about her life, and it sucks, honestly; it really, really sucks, but he knows they wouldn’t have worked out in the long run anyway.

He’s eighteen when he finds out the reason.

He and Scott are out in the woods. It’s the night before senior prom and Scott asked Kira Yukimura weeks ago, right in front of a bunch of their classmates and her father, and she said yes—and, hilariously, asked him what took so long. They’ve been inseparable since then, so Stiles is happen just to have some time with Scott to himself.

They’re in the woods when they get separated. They’re in the woods when the howls start. They’re out in the woods the night before prom and Scott gets attacked by a wolf. Except it’s not a wolf, not really, because it’s a werewolf, which means Scott is one too now.

In a few short minutes, Stiles’ world gets turned on its head. And then, to top it all off, Derek Hale comes back from getting his Master’s degree and kills Malia’s father—his uncle—a rogue Alpha werewolf—and turns glowing red eyes on Stiles’ shaking form. He’s never had such a confused fear boner in his life.

Malia is a werecoyote. Her mom is one, and her dad was a werewolf, and there’s something about dominant genes that Stiles doesn’t listen to. Peter Hale—Malia’s father—was Talia Hale’s brother, and Talia Hale is the Alpha of the Hale pack, the werewolf pack of Beacon Hills. Because they have their own werewolf pack. Which, apparently Scott is a member of now by bite, and Stiles has to sit on a couch, holding a cup of tea with Scott at his side while all of this is explained to him by a calm looking Talia and a disgruntled Derek, who looks so different than the way Stiles remembers him.

Still kind of pimply, a little rounder around the edges, hair falling into his eyes in a very suave way, and shoulders not nearly as broad. God, Stiles wants to climb him like a tree, and he glares into his mug because he should really care about his best friend’s wellbeing a little bit more.

“Can I tell my mom?” Scott asks.

It’s summer, now, and the only reason they’ve having this conversation is because Stiles wanted answers, and, well, the full moon is quickly approaching. Yeah, apparently that’s a thing too.

Talia sets down her mug. “We’ll invite you and your mother over for dinner one evening and explain it all to her. We would have done it now, but—we never know. Teenage boys and their secrets.”

“I’m going to Davis in two months,” Scott says. “I can’t freak out and murder my roommate.”

“You won’t,” Derek says. “We’re going to train you.”

Stiles blinks. “So, uh, why am I here?”

“Because you were the one who assumed what he was,” Talia tells him, “and now you know we exist.”

“I’m not going to tell anyone. Scott’s my best friend, I wouldn’t—”

“We don’t doubt your loyalty, Stiles,” she interrupts calmly. “But you deserve to know the same as Scott does. It could have just as easily been you, unfortunately. And. Well.” She clears her throat. “Your father already knows. This saves him the trouble of having to tell you himself, or worse, hiding it from you indefinitely.”

“I’m sorry—what? My dad already knows?”

“He’s the Sheriff,” Derek says gruffly. “We attract a lot of unfriendly attention, and it helps to have a friend in law enforcement. He knows everything. We’ve even informed him that Scott has been changed, and that you were there when it happened.”

Stiles is suddenly, overwhelmingly angry, horrified that they would go into his life like that, but he fights it down, buries it, stifles it. He sits there, quiet, as Talia and Scott stand, go into another room. Stiles knows he should wait. He’s Scott’s ride—still.

“I’m surprised Malia didn’t tell you,” Derek says.

He looks up. “What?”

“I’m surprised she didn’t tell you,” he repeats.

“I heard what you said, I just—how do you know that I know Malia?”

He arches a disbelieving eyebrow. “I have sisters. They talk to her. They gossip. And if that weren’t enough, you still smell like her.”

“It’s been over a year,” Stiles protests. “There’s no way, even to your wolfy nose—”

“Scents need to be overpowered by something else,” Derek tells him. “You haven’t dated anyone else; you smell like her. Her affection. Her—attention. The same way you still vaguely smell like your mother.”

Stiles hesitates. “I do?”

Derek nods. “Jasmine and vanilla. And her love.”

Stiles refuses to cry, fights against the ridiculous desire to spill hot, sad tears down his cheek, and turns his face away, towards the front door.

“I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It’s fine. It’s been a long time.” He sets his cup down. “So. Is there a connection between all those wins for Beacon Hills High when you were on the team and your werewolfliness? Because it would’ve been super convenient if this had happened while he still had a chance of making the team. Is this gonna cure his asthma? Hold on, is this gonna fix his slightly crooked jaw?”

Derek cracks a smile. It’s disgustingly charming. People shouldn’t be allowed to have faces like that. “It will cure his asthma. His jaw will stay the way it is. And werewolves are naturally faster and more athletically skilled. No one was ever supposed to find out, though, so you’ll forgive my indiscretion.”

“I guess.”

“Where are you headed in the fall?”

“Cal,” Stiles says, scratching the back of his neck.

“Berkeley. Great school.”

Stiles smirks. “You might be slightly biased.”

Derek sits up a little straighter. “Did something about my posture give me away? Are all Berkley alums the same?”

“I just—remember. It’s not weird, okay? You were a lacrosse star to a kid who really wanted to play lacrosse. It’s not weird.”

“It’s not,” Derek agrees, but he’s smiling wider now, and Stiles’ heart does flips in his chest, which is really the only reason he bothers asking—

“Um. Are you—would you want—do you wanna get dinner? With me? Some time?”

His thirteen-year-old self is applauding him right now for getting the words out at all, if slightly mangled. But he’s ready to bolt and leave Scott behind when Derek inevitably says no, in spite of his pride.

Derek looks—surprised. Not amused or confused or disgusted but—surprised. Genuinely surprised.

“Okay,” Stiles says slowly, “forget I asked. I mean, I don’t even know if you’re into dudes. Which, you know, is fine if you’re not. But that’s important because you probably wouldn’t wanna go out with me if you weren’t into dudes. Or even if you were.”

“I am,” Derek says.

“Okay. Well.” He squirms, unsure where to look.

“Eighteen-year-olds don’t usually ask me out,” Derek says. “I’m just a little—”

“Surprised,” Stiles finishes for him. “I could tell. It’s not a big deal. Just, you know, thought I’d ask because you’re—well, honestly I didn’t think I’d ever be saying words to you so.”

There’s a pause. Then, “Coffee,” Derek says. “Tomorrow, at 10. The, uh, place on Magnolia, with the beads.”

Stiles’ neck feels hot. “Yeah. Okay. As long as you recognize that you’re asking a newly graduated teenager to wake up at 9.”

Derek tilts his head. “I think you’ll survive.”

“Well, with werewolves around, who knows?”


 

Stiles is pretty sure that if the date goes well, he could get to second base with Derek Hale before he goes to college. Which, honestly, would be the most exciting thing in his life right now. On the drive home from the Hales’, all he can talk about is that he asked Derek out and Derek said yes, while Scott just sits there, half smiling, half frowning, like he’s pleased for Stiles but overall suffering from a sense of doom.

“You have to come with me,” Scott says when they’re on his block. “Derek and Talia—they’re going to train me. You have to come.”

Stiles blinks. “Okay, if you want me to.”

“You and I would’ve been doing this by ourselves if things were different,” Scott says, and he sounds defeated. “I want you there.”

“Okay, then, bud. I will be.”

He will, honestly, even if the date doesn’t go well, because Scott is his best friend. There’s nowhere he’d rather be.

The date doesn’t suck. They have coffee and talk about school and family. Derek is charming and calm, a lot like his mother, and Stiles knows he’s younger than Derek, practically a kid to him, but he can’t help but think that that’s really unimportant, because Derek is gorgeous and it would be awful if Stiles didn’t get to make out with him a little bit.

He doesn’t, that morning, but they trade numbers and Derek agrees to see him again, and Stiles knows that if Derek didn’t want to, he wouldn’t. It’s as simple as that.


 

“Are you trying to jump on my cousin?”

Stiles spends afternoons at the Hale house now, with his computer or a book, on a lawn chair, sitting out while Derek and Talia work with Scott. Right not they’re doing breathing exercises, but they always work outside, which means Stiles is wearing a million layers of sunscreen and sunglasses.

Malia is also suddenly standing next to him, looking amused.

“I heard you guys went out.”

“For coffee,” Stiles says, glancing over at Derek to make sure he’s busy with other things. “It was fine. I mean. He thinks I’m a kid.”

“Well, you are the same age as his little sister,” Malia points out. “He’s got six years on you. That’s a hard mentality to shake.”

Stiles shrugs. “I’m leaving in a few months anyway. So if he completely rejects me and embarrasses me, at least I can go away for a while and not have to face him until I’m ready.” He looks up at Malia. “What are you doing here anyway?”

“My mom is going to Spain,” she says wistfully. “I’m staying with them for the summer. I get to watch Scott become a wolf. How exciting.” She plops down next to him, sitting on her butt with her knees up and her hands at her sides. “I’m kind of interested in these proceedings, though. You and Derek.”

“Me too,” Stiles says honestly. “I’m pretty sure he’s just humoring me. Probably we’ll go out tomorrow, he’ll give me a forehead kiss and tell me I’m a great kid. But, you know, I’ll be in the small percentage of people who will get to say they went out with Derek Hale.”

Malia hums. “Somehow I see it lasting a little bit longer than that.”

“Do you know something I don’t?”

The scary thing is that she doesn’t respond. Stiles could live with a “yes” or a “no” or a laugh, but instead she fixes him with a look, arches an eyebrow, and walks back inside the house. And Stiles is left feeling more vulnerable than he’s ever felt in his life.


 

They see a movie. Stiles picks him up, they chatter throughout the drive, and they sit in a dark room with thirty other people to watch some Sci Fi thing that’s been out for a week. At the end of it, Stiles tosses away the popcorn, grabs his keys, and says, “Let’s get ice cream.”

“Not all of us are eighteen. Not all of us have your metabolism.”

“Says the werewolf,” Stiles coos, close to him so as not to let anyone overhear. “C’mon—there’s this great place I know. You’ll want ice cream every day for the rest of your life.”

When Stiles kisses him, it’s a whim. He has a caramel swirl stuck to the upper right part of his lip, and they’re sitting on a bench outside and so it’s easy to duck in and kiss him, and lick that caramel right off.

It’s short and sweet, but when Stiles pulls back, Derek looks stunned. Every fantasy Stiles has ever had about him suddenly comes rushing back—first kisses under the BHHS bleachers after a game, steamy make out sessions in the back of Derek’s ridiculously sexy car—with a few new ones to boot, decidedly less PG than the others.

“You had—” Stiles points to his own mouth. “Caramel.”

Derek blinks.

“Is this not a date? Not that that, like, entitles me to a kiss or anything, but you just seem—you seem like you aren’t really sure if you want to be here.” Stiles feels his ice cream dripping over his cone and onto his fingers. He ignores it.

“Are you sure you want to be here?” Derek asks, and Stiles’ eyebrows fly up.

“I was the one who asked you out. I want to be here, trust me. But I’m also not looking for you to pity kiss me or anything.”

“It wouldn’t be pity,” Derek says. Then, after a breath, “It’s not pity,” and he meets Stiles halfway this time.

Stiles gets one hand in Derek’s hair, sighs happily into his mouth as they kiss, and it’s perfect. It’s everything that Stiles had ever imagined and more, practiced and intense, and Stiles feels like he’s just along for the ride, because Derek is guiding the kiss, leading it. Stiles has no complaints. Except when he breaks it.

Stiles follows his mouth, dizzy with want, and Derek laughs softly, easing him back. “Relax,” Derek tells him. “We’ll have plenty of time for that later.”

“Promise?” Stiles breathes.

Derek doesn’t respond, but Stiles doesn’t worry. He’s going to take it as a yes.


Derek insists on picking him up the next time they go out. He wants to say hello to Stiles’ dad, he says, and Stiles feels like a fifteen-year-old girl who’s going with a senior to the prom. He shouldn’t be so giddy, he thinks, but he doesn’t care enough to stop him.

He must miss the doorbell he thinks, because he trots downstairs to see Derek and his dad sitting at the table together, water in front of Derek, beer in front of the Sheriff. They both look up when he walks over, arms settling in front of his chest.

“Dad. Are you embarrassing me?”

“I wouldn’t dare,” he says, gruff and smirking. “We were just chatting about work. And things.”

“Uh huh.” Stiles nods his head towards the door. “You ready?”

Derek looks calm, complacent. “Yeah.” He stands, reaches over to shake Stiles’ dad’s hand. “Sheriff, nice to see you again. I promise to deliver him back to you in one piece.”

“The only thing a father hopes for, Derek. Have a good night.”

Stiles practically shoves him out the door, scurrying to his car. “So,” he says dramatically, “where exactly are you taking me? Because I like you, but if you want to sit at an In-N-Out all night, I will steal your car and leave you stranded.”

“We’re going to mine,” Derek tells him, rolling over the engine. When Stiles doesn’t respond—because his mind is overloaded with images of Derek Hale fucking him against a sturdy kitchen counter and blowing him on silk sheets—Derek adds, “I cooked. And it’s a million degrees outside, so I don’t want to sit inside an overly air conditioned restaurant and have people stare at us.”

Stiles brain is still whirling. “You cooked?”

“I know how to cook, Stiles.”

“I didn’t say you didn’t.” He frowns, staring at the dash. “Why would people stare?”

“Not at us,” Derek amends, “but—people have been staring at me since I came back to town. Small population, lots of gossip.”

“People thought you were gonna grow up to be a big sports star.”

“People thought I was going to get out and never come back, you mean.”

Stiles smiles to himself, but it’s not happy. “Yeah,” he says. “Something like that.”

Derek’s apartment is big and open and they eat and watch Return of the Jedi, and Stiles has seen the movie a dozen times, which means he doesn’t miss anything when he starts to watch Derek instead of the screen. Because Derek is more interesting.

He’s quiet and considerate, and he’s hesitant sometimes because Stiles is young. And Stiles knows he’s young, understands that he has weeks left before he leaves for college and this is what he wants, a few weeks with a really hot guy whose smile drives Stiles crazy.

When the movie is over Derek turns off the screen and Stiles slides into his lap without waiting a single beat.

“I have to drive you home,” Derek tells him, hands settling lightly on Stiles’ hips. He looks—unsure. Not uncomfortable, but unsure, nervous.

Stiles kisses him, slow and careful, trying to reassure him without needing to use words. It should be easy, he thinks, based on their last kiss, but it’s not. It’s actually really difficult because Derek is a statue, and Stiles pulls away after only a few seconds.

“We don’t have to do anything,” Stiles tells him patiently, resting his weight on Derek’s thighs. “Seriously. Just kissing is good.”

“That’s not the problem,” Derek says, and it’s heavy. Stiles can hear the importance of his words in the tone of Derek’s voice, and so he moves back to the opposite side of the couch, pulls one leg under his butt and waits, pretending like he doesn’t know Derek can hear how fast his heart is pumping.

“Okay,” Stiles says. “What is it then?”

“I have to—” Derek licks his lips. “You’re going to be around a lot,” he says quietly, “because of—this. And because of Scott. Around the pack.”

Stiles nods. “Yeah. I know.”

“Which means you’re going to have to understand a lot of things. And, well.” He sucks in a breath. “You know about werewolves.”

“And werecoyotes,” Stiles adds.

“But that’s not all there is.” Derek sighs, looking away. “Look, I really didn’t want to drag you into this. Trust me. But you’re in now and you have to know that this isn’t safe. It’s not. And I need you to be prepared for that.”

Stiles knows there are a million jokes he could make right now. Prepared, safety, “in this now”—all great set ups for some really clever sex jokes—but he can see the pain in Derek’s eyes, and all he does is nod.

“It’s not going to be easy.”

“I know,” Stiles says. “But I figured I left easy street when my best friend grew fangs. Hey.” He scoots closer, reaching for Derek’s hand. When their fingers are folded together, he feels warmth fill him. “You’re sweet for worrying. Now can we make out or what?”


The first time Derek saves his life, it’s from a kanima. It’s a monster that turns from man to Godzilla when the sun goes down, and it’s controlled by someone with a vendetta—the Hales don’t know who. But it’s summer and a lot of people are gone, so it makes itself known by attacking someone in the public park one night, and then in the parking lot of a library the next. The cops say it’s a violent mountain lion on the loose, and the Sheriff brings a vat of paralyzing goo to Dr. Deaton—oh, yeah, Scott’s boss at the vet clinic who is not only a vet, but apparently also some kind of witch/wizard thing called an emissary—so that they can conclusively decide what it is.

When everything is done, Stiles is bloodied and sore and Derek is too, and still slightly paralyzed, and Stiles jumps him, leaping into his arms and kissing him fiercely, because he almost just died.

“Stiles—”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, dropping back to his feet. “Sure, yeah, sorry—we should make sure everyone else is okay—but then I kind of need to suck your brains out through your dick.” He swallows tightly, blood pumping.

“Dude,” he hears, from Scott, who’s getting to his feet just a few feet away. “I’m right here.”

Stiles ignores him, staring straight ahead at Derek. “Make sure your family’s okay. Meet me at the car.”

He almost expects Derek to say no. He doesn’t.

Stiles is a ball of energy in the car, hands trembling, knees bouncing, dick unsure if it should be hard or not. He stares straight ahead, though, because he’s worried what he’ll do if he looks at Derek right now.

Inside his apartment, Derek is very careful. Even when Stiles kisses him the second they get in the door, demanding and desperate, Derek is methodical, slow. He slows down Stiles’ eagerness and helps him remove all of their clothes, until they’re standing in the middle of his loft, naked, dirty, and bloody.

The shower is too hot at first, and Stiles clings to Derek, trying to get out of the spray. Then it’s too cold, and finally just right, and Stiles stands there while Derek lathers up his hair and his loofa—Derek Hale owns a loofa—and scrubs him down. It’s like getting a really fancy spa massage, except it’s gonna come with a happy ending.

Derek’s dick is kind of beautiful. He’s surprised they’re even here right now, wet and naked and pressed close together, because they only made out, like, twice. And Derek didn’t exactly seem like he wanted to do anything else. But this—definitely counts as second base, Stiles thinks, because Derek’s fingers are on his dick, and Stiles is suddenly hard as a diamond.

“Oh,” he says, looking down at Derek’s soapy fingers, grasping his dick.

“Is that okay?” Derek asks.

He nods. “Yeah, I—I still want to suck your dick, though. Like. I haven’t changed my mind about that.”

“You can,” Derek says quietly. “After.”

Derek keeps him pressed against the inside wall of his shower rather than the glass door. He presses him against the tile and kisses him the whole time as he jerks him off, slow and sweet and still too deliberately torturous for Stiles to last long at all.

He comes into the spray, weakly crying out into Derek’s mouth. Derek doesn’t seem to mind at all, lets the water wash everything away and then turns off the faucet and starts to towel him down.

Stiles feels fuzzy. Slow. Warm. “I’m glad you stopped bleeding,” he says while Derek dries off his legs.

“Me too.”

“I—don’t usually come that fast. Just so you know. I think trauma played some part in that.”

“It’s fine.” Derek stands, wrapping the towel around Stiles’ shoulders. “You need sleep.”

“Shut up,” Stiles says, leaning in to kiss him, fierce and fast. “I already told you what I need. I mean, I’d rather do it in your bed or on your couch, but if don’t want me to stay, we could do it here.”

“Stiles.”

“I’m gonna swallow your dick, dude. It’s gonna happen. I’ve been thinking about it for days. Let me.”

He gets Derek on his bed, lying flat, head propped up just slightly on the pillows at the headboard. Stiles kneels by Derek’s calves, hunches over with his elbows by Derek’s hips, and it’s not a hardship at all to take Derek in hand, give him a few careful hello strokes.

“You’ve been tested right?” Stiles says.

“Yeah,” Derek tells him, jaw clenched. “Look, Stiles, you don’t have to—”

“I want to,” he says for the millionth time. “And so do you. At least Little Derek does, huh, buddy?”

Derek huffs. “Stiles.”

“Relax. Just—relax. And don’t judge me.”

His skin is clean and smells of soap. He’s warm, and hard, and it’s pretty much exactly like what Stiles thought it would be like. But it’s not bad, or awkward—it’s just something new, and any potential fear he has thrumming away in his chest is easily squashed by the pained noises coming out of Derek’s mouth, and the way his hands settle in Stiles’ hair. All he can do is what he’s seen in porn, what he knows he likes, and, well, Derek doesn’t seem to have any complaints. Stiles is certainly eager, body still humming on leftover adrenaline, and all he wants is to make Derek fall apart like this.

It’s hard to qualify the way Derek reacts when Stiles rolls the pad of his thumb against his perineum. He can feel the swollen gland of his prostate, and Derek certainly has strong feelings on the subject, but the noise that Stiles’ teasing elicits is hard to decipher. At least until Derek says, “Don’t stop—fuck, what is that—don’t stop—”

Derek tries to tell him, warn him, when he’s about to come. Stiles hears him, makes a note of it, and decides he’s not going to give up now. He’s already going down on him, might as well just follow through.

That seems to break Derek’s brain, and he’s a mess of garbled noises and restrained movements as he comes. That’s the most broken Stiles has ever seen him, and it makes his heart swell in his chest.

“You’re gorgeous,” Stiles tells him, crawling back up his body. His eyes are watering slightly and Derek reaches out, brushing away the beaded tears, and then lower, to where a dribble of come has come to rest of the curve of Stiles’ jaw. “Sorry,” he says, wiping his mouth, and Derek responds by putting him on his back and kissing him fiercely.


Deucalion and his Alpha pack arrive on a Wednesday afternoon, early in July. They draw the sign on Derek’s car in long-lasting red paint—Scott spends part of their training session that day scrubbing it off.

“What does it mean?” Stiles asks, sitting on the steps of the porch.

Derek pauses. He’s carrying a bucket and another sponge, on his way to the car as well, but he stops long enough to say, “It means someone bad is coming. And we don’t know what they want.”

“Your mom knows who it is, doesn’t she?” Stiles had seen her in the kitchen, cleaning nooks and crannies worriedly, pacing around with a dishrag.

“So do I,” Derek tells him. “That’s kind of the problem.” Derek gives a quick glance over his shoulder to Scott and leans down to kiss the top of Stiles’ head. “Don’t disappear when Scott’s done. I have to give you something.”

Stiles narrowly avoids saying Your dick, because he thinks better of it and respects all parties currently present. “Okay,” he says instead, and hooks his hand around Derek’s neck to drag him into a proper kiss. “It’d be cool if you accidentally got your shirt a little wet, by the way. Since, you know, it’s hot out.”

“Bye,” Derek says, and Stiles watches him head over to the car, forgetting for a moment how fucked up their lives are because at least he gets to look at Derek’s butt whenever he wants.

Later, when the paint is off and Scott is drinking iced tea inside, Derek takes Stiles around to the garage. It’s dark and mostly used for storage, but Derek drags him inside and hands him a leather bag, no bigger than his fist.

“What’s this?” Stiles asks. It’s heavy, like it’s full of sand, and he opens the drawstring to peek inside. “Black sand.”

“It’s called mountain ash,” Derek tells him. “It keeps the supernatural away. If you leave some in a line on your windowsill and your door, no one will be able to get to you. I gave some to your dad too.”

Stiles licks his lips. “Why would they want me?”

“You never know. It’s just—to be safe. You’re here a lot. You’re around Scott a lot.”

“And you,” Stiles points out.

“Just keep this close, okay?”

Stiles nods. “I promise. Thanks for worrying about me.”

“You have no idea.”

Derek stops him, a second later, when he tries to leave the garage. Hand on Stiles’ elbow, he pulls him back, slow and sure. Stiles blinks at the bag in his hand. “Was there something else?”

“Yeah,” Derek says, winding an arm around his waist.

A smile grows on Stiles’ face until he thinks it’s probably touching his ears. “You wanna make out in your parents garage? Who’s the teenager again?”

“You,” Derek says, before initiating the greatest ten-minute make out session of Stiles’ existence.


Kali is the scary one, honestly. Deucalion is older, carries a practiced calm that leaves him unpredictable and holding all the cards, but he’s not outwardly violent. Kali, with her bare claws on her feet and her fangs dripping uncaringly from her mouth, is the one Stiles knows he has to watch out for.

Ennis is large and violent, but his goals are simple. He’s readable, and his muscles are threatening, but he’s not carrying a lot in his skull. None of them have to worry about any sudden plans he’s going to concoct. The twins are the same in a way—they’re not going to act against their pack, but not because they aren’t smart enough. It’s because they’re smart that they know not to come up with their own agendas. They’re going to serve Deucalion because he’s the one who makes sure they have food and shelter and clothes. They’re going to serve Deucalion because he’s the only parental figure they’ve ever known.

“It’s sad,” Stiles says when he’s lying in Derek’s bed later. He’s fully clothed and his laptop is resting on the mattress, some action TV show playing quietly while he and Derek chat. “They’re so young.”

“They’re your age,” Derek says.

“They were younger than me when Deucalion picked them up,” Stiles argues. “Besides, eighteen is young to be emotionally manipulated by a sadistic Alpha werewolf.”

Derek is quiet.

“You’re not sadistic,” Stiles tells him, when the silence goes on too long. “And also you’re not emotionally manipulating anyone, so. That’s good.”

“Stiles.”

“What do they want?”

The Hales had kept that bit from Stiles. They had been happy to inform him—once Deucalion and his pack arrived—who they were. Stiles had even met them, although that wasn’t the Hales’ doing at all. It was an accident. A terrifying, horrible accident. But nobody was hurt, and Talia had even been smiling through most of it. Apparently she and Deucalion were friends once.

“Because I know Duke is, like, a former homie, but I have a feeling there’s something off about him.”

“My mom saved his life once,” Derek tells him. “He teamed up with Ennis a long time ago. Then—someone called Gerard took out one of Ennis’ wolves, and they came here to seek justice. They were patient, and they only wanted the one guy, but.” Derek pauses. The silence is heavy, and Stiles knows Gerard wasn’t a good guy. “Gerard tried to kill Deucalion instead, and my mom interfered. But Deucalion was left blinded.”

“He couldn’t heal,” Stiles guesses.

“No. There was wolfsbane involved. It made Deucalion violent, and just because he’s grateful my mother helped that one time doesn’t mean he won’t use force to get what he wants.”

“You still haven’t told me what that is,” Stiles reminds him.

Derek sighs, closes Stiles’ computer. “Me,” he says.

“You?” Stiles demands, sitting up. “For what?”

“He’s always collecting strong Alphas, and the Hale pack is known. Famous, even. We breed strong, and there has never been more than one Alpha in a Hale pack. My mom would never go with him but when I killed Peter, I gained his power, and now I am…” He pauses. “I’m arguably more physically powerful than my mother in this state. But Deucalion isn’t asking. He’s demanding. And the longer we put off talking to him, the more violent he’s going to become.”

“Well, then,” Stiles says. “Let’s talk.”


Deucalion sends Ethan and Aiden. They never do anything without each other apparently, and since Kali is a little too threatening for Stiles’ taste, he’s glad they’re left with them. Stiles sits at the top of stairs, staring down at Derek, Talia, and Samuel, all seated on the couch across from Aiden and Ethan. They speak quietly and calmly but the twins are smiling the whole time, which isn’t a great sign as far as Stiles is concerned.

It’s over an hour. Eventually Stiles gives up on straining to hear their conversation and plays a game on his phone. He’s flying a jetpack when everyone starts to stand and say their goodbyes and he flies into a zapper and dies in his haste to watch Ethan and Aiden leave.

“Tell your human Deucalion sends his regards to him as well,” one of them says, loud enough for Stiles to hear.

“He’s heard a lot of interesting things about him,” the other one adds. “He looks forward to a proper introduction next time he comes by.”

“We’ll see,” Talia says, not unkindly, and she walks them to the door.

Derek won’t leave his sight for the rest of the evening. Stiles is meant to sleep over at Scott’s, was supposed to be on his way as soon as Deucalion’s representatives left, but Derek clings to him for a little bit longer. He doesn’t say much at all to Stiles, but won’t leave his side. It’s endearing, if the slightest bit annoying, and at the end of the night, Stiles gives Derek a long goodbye kiss, trying to reassure him.

“I’m fine,” he says, leaning out his Jeep’s window. “Seriously. I’m gonna be with Scott all night, and I’ll see you in the morning. They just said that because I’m around a lot.”

“They know,” Derek tells him. “That you’re—a weak point for me.”

Stiles blinks. “What?”

“They know that we’re seeing each other. And bringing a human into a house of werewolves is a big step. They think that we’re—very emotionally involved. Deucalion is trying to tell me that he knows I have a weakness.”

“Well, I thought he wanted your help, in his pack,” Stiles says slowly. “Not to threaten you.”

“With him, they’re one in the same.” Derek kisses him again, quicker. “Go to Scott’s. I’ll see you in the morning.”


 

He’s still half asleep when he drives back to his house to get changed the next morning. Scott had to go to work even though they had stayed up until four in the morning, and so it’s eight and Stiles is humming to himself to keep himself awake as he winds through the streets.

His dad’s cruiser is still parked on the street in front of his house, which is the first thing that tells him that something is wrong. He pulls up slowly, peeking at the front of the house, and is stopped cold by the sight of three other cops by his door, all there because there’s half a dozen dead birds, tied together and mutilated, lying on his front stoop.

He trips out of the Jeep after he parks, already calling for his dad.

“He’s inside,” Deputy Parrish says. “We’re calling the animal center to come remove them, just in case they’re diseased.”

“What happened?” Stiles demands. “Why are they—what’s going on?”

“Your dad woke up this morning and found them here, arranged in a spiral pattern.” Parrish shrugs. “Honestly, it’s probably some kids. Sheriff took down a dozen of them for drinking last weekend; they’re just getting their revenge. We’ll tell their parents what they’re up to and—”

“It wasn’t for my dad,” Stiles interrupts. “It was for me.”

He’s only sitting on his couch for ten minutes before Derek storms in. The cops are gone, so are the birds, but there are smears of blood and he’s sure the scent is still lingering. His dad is in the kitchen, making some phone calls. Stiles is pretty sure Deaton is on the other end of the line.

“You could’ve been killed,” are the first words Derek says to him.

“But I wasn’t.” Stiles holds out a hand, beckons Derek over to the couch with him. “And my dad’s okay too.”

Derek drops his weight onto the couch, thigh pressed right up against Stiles’, hands already reaching for his. It’s surprising, that instant affection, and Stiles feels his heart surge in his chest, filling with warmth. “You should’ve called me,” Derek tells him. “I would’ve—it isn’t safe for you and your dad here anymore. You can stay at the house, with my parents.”

Stiles blinks. “Or.”

“Stiles, I’m not going to let you stay here.”

“No, I just meant—or.” He smiles softly, half leaning into Derek. “Or I could stay with you. At your apartment. And my dad could stay with your family. Or Scott. Or—somebody else.”

“Stiles.”

“My idea is much better than yours,” Stiles informs him, and he holds onto the front of Derek’s shirt to pull him in for a kiss. “I mean, you rushed all the way over here”—he kisses along Derek’s jaw, hesitating briefly on Derek’s pulse point—“to make sure I was safe”—Derek makes a soft, breathy noise as Stiles scrapes his teeth along Derek’s neck, one hand on Derek’s bicep, the other on his upper thigh—“so obviously you like me a little bit.”

Derek doesn’t respond.

“Besides, I made you come really hard the last time you let me anywhere near your dick, which means we have a 100% success rate. That’s pretty good, huh?”

“You don’t have to convince me,” Derek says, quiet and stoic, but when Stiles pulls back he can see the tops of Derek’s ears are burning red and his fingers are twitching, like he wants to touch. “I’ll make sure your dad has somewhere safe to go.”


 

Stiles isn’t even scared, which is probably the best part. Stiles has an overnight bag and a tube of lube and he’s so ready to be in Derek’s bed, it’s a little overwhelming. He’s trembling, but it’s excitement, not fear, and he’s so jumpy that he has to kiss Derek as soon as he opens the door.

“Dinner,” Derek says when he breaks the kiss. “I’ll order Thai.”

Everything before they go to bed that night is forgettable. They eat and watch TV and Derek sits in an armchair and reads while Stiles takes a shower. He dresses in a soft, worn shirt and a pair of old lacrosse sweats, and when he comes back out, Derek is loading up the dishwasher. It’s all very domestic and sweet, but nothing compared to what Stiles wants. Everything else is background to Stiles’ plans.

They make out for a long time, first on the couch, then while walking towards the bed, and while lying there too, tangled up and pushed together, hands searching. Derek settles on top of him, between his legs, and Stiles grins to himself. Horizontal now, he can use Derek’s comforting weight to move against, and it’s easy to get his hands on Derek’s ass and grind together, Derek’s cock right up against his through layers of clothes.

Stiles’ mouth falls open, breath taken away by how good it feels, just this. He’s already seen Derek naked, but this is something else entirely. He doesn’t know why everybody doesn’t do this.

When Derek pushes up to unbutton his jeans, Stiles heart begins to race, and he reaches towards the nightstand drawer, where he secretly stowed the condoms and lube while Derek was paying for dinner. (He’d found lube in there already, and condoms in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, but still. Preparedness never hurt anyone.)

Derek is staring while Stiles plucks out a condom, puts it and the lube right next to the lap and Derek’s book. Stiles kisses him before he can say anything, running his hands up Derek’s back and hitching his knees higher around Derek’s waist.

“You’ve never done this, with another guy.”

“No,” Stiles says. “But it’s—fine. It doesn’t matter.”

Derek shoves his face into Stiles’ neck. “I can’t take that from you.”

“God, yes, you can. Please, you have no idea how bad I want that—it’s not taking. I’m giving, seriously. I am one-hundred percent on board with the fuck Stiles train.” He can’t let go of Derek’s shirt, doesn’t know if he can make his fingers unclench. “Or—we don’t have to do it tonight, not if you don’t want to.” He resists the urge to squirm, to arch up against Derek’s body.

“I want to. That’s the whole problem.”

Stiles licks his lips. He could use words right now, would probably be able to tell Derek why he wants this, why he needs it, but none of that is really going to be persuasive. So instead, Stiles squirms out from under Derek’s body, rolling them until he’s straddling Derek. First his shirt goes, off over his head, and then he tugs Derek up into a sitting position, so that his shirt can be removed too. And then they’re kissing again, and Stiles can tell, right then, how the night is going to end.

It’s all very film-like. Like the way movies and TV taught Stiles to lose his virginity, in a dimly lit room, in a bed with nice sheets, fully naked with a guy he cares about. It’s slow, and patient, until Derek grabs for the lube and Stiles’ dick pokes him in the stomach.

“Do you want to be on your stomach?”

“Only if you want me there.”

Derek nods. “Yeah. I want to—see.”

Stiles doesn’t moan, but it’s a near thing. “Yeah. Fuck.”

He doesn’t really know for sure what’s happening. He knows that Derek eases a finger inside and there’s a lot of kisses on his back, and Stiles kind of starts to lose time, because the exact details aren’t nearly as important as how it all feels.

Somewhere between two fingers and three, Derek’s tongue joins the party, and it’s approximately a minute or so before Stiles comes, untouched, all over Derek’s sheets.

“Sorry,” he gasps, shuddering, trembling. “I’m—sorry, fuck, I didn’t mean to—”

But Derek only peppers kisses along Stiles’ back, up to his shoulders, his neck, and is perfectly cautious when he puts Stiles on his back again, making sure he doesn’t lie in the wet spot.

Derek is stunning, like this, open and honest and desperate, hard, and sweet, and his hands on Stiles’ thighs are just as insistent as they are careful. There’s a condom then, but Stiles only has eyes for Derek’s face, the way his neck moves, and the way his eyes flash when Stiles arches his back.

“I’m ready,” he breathes. “C’mon, I want you.”

He’s felt Derek’s cock. He’s sucked Derek’s cock. He knows it quite intimately, but this is—this is so much better. This is so much more intense than anything they’ve done, Derek a solid weight pushing inside of him, breath shallow, eyes glazed. Stiles feels lost to it, so many sensations at once, and his dick isn’t sure what to do, honestly, so it kind of wavers between weakly half hard and full, moving in a wet wave across his lower stomach.

Once Derek’s hipbones are flush with Stiles ass, Stiles allows his head and shoulders to fall back, relax, trying to lose some of the tension. Derek kisses him, which helps, and his hand finds its way to Stiles’ cock, which helps even more.

“Good?” Derek asks, mouth hot on Stiles’ jaw, trailing down his neck.

“You have no idea,” Stiles half laughs, pushing his fingers into Derek’s hair. “Fuck. Don’t—don’t just stop. I’m dying here, c’mon—”

Derek’s groan is a combination of pain, pleasure, and the slightest bit of a growl, which means Stiles is now all the way hard, and desperate for Derek to do something.

He moves like a train, pistons rolling and thumping, all timed, precise. For the first few minutes of it, Stiles thinks it can’t get better. He feels completely consumed by Derek and the heat of the room, the way Derek is touching him, fucking him. But once it stops being surprising and starts to feel repetitive, Stiles starts to come out of his reverie. And it’s great, don’t get him wrong, but Derek looks like he’s doing pushups, like it’s the same practiced technique he always uses, and Stiles doesn’t want boring, practiced technique. He wants barely restrained, mindless passion.

“Stop,” Stiles tells him, fingers digging into his hips. “Don’t fuck me like I’m a chore.”

Derek is breathing heavily, sweat beading on his forehead. “What?”

“I don’t want you to just—I want you to enjoy this too. Because I am.” He winds an arm around Derek’s shoulder. “Fuck me like you mean it, Der. Not like you’re trying to win something.”

He can see Derek start to argue, face scrunched up adorably, mouth caught in a frown. But instead of saying anything, all Derek does is grab Stiles tightly and flip, and Stiles hits his elbow against something in the whirlwind of movement, but then he’s on top of Derek, still wrapped around him, except sitting up.

“You’re not a chore,” Derek tells him, and Stiles can feel the strain of his muscles as he bodily lifts Stiles off his cock—and back down again. Stiles makes a strangled noise, half protest, half delight, but complete confusion. “This is never a chore. If I wanted to fuck for the sake of fucking, I’d go out to clubs and bars.”

He’s still talking, as he moves Stiles like a toy on his cock, up and down, up and down. Stiles is moving with him now, rising up on his knees weakly, and he’s never done this, but fuck, does he want to keep doing it for the rest of his life.

“All I’m trying to win,” Derek continues, as if they aren’t in the torrid throes of mind blowing sex, “are the pretty sounds that come out of your mouth.”

Stiles nearly sobs, nails biting into Derek’s neck. “You—you got it. You win.”

They don’t talk anymore after that. It’s fast and careless and messy, nothing like the calculated fucking before, and it’s a thousand times better. Derek is panting and sweating and slipping, faltering, and he doesn’t so much kiss Stiles as breathe heavily into his open mouth, but it’s all Stiles wants. It’s everything that Stiles wants.

When he comes again, it’s just as sudden as before, overwhelming to the point of dancing spots in front of his eyes, and he would feel bad about it if Derek didn’t come seconds after, holding Stiles tight against his body and shooting inside of him, into the condom.


 

The next time Deucalion visits, it’s not just to say hello. It’s to make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that Derek is going to go with them, or there will be consequences. Stiles doesn’t know any of this, of course, until after it happens. He leaves Derek’s loft late the next morning, spends the afternoon with Scott, and goes over to the Hale house that evening for dinner, to hear about it all.

“He’s upstairs, resting,” Talia tells them. “He’s been injured. He needs time to heal.”

“How much time?” Stiles demands. “What did they do to him?”

No one says anything. Then Cora stands. She has dried blood on the side of her cheek. “They stabbed a pipe through him,” she informs them. “He could’ve died.”

Stiles falters. “Why do you sound like you’re accusing me of doing the stabbing?!”

“Not you,” she spits. “Him.” She nods to Scott, eyes dark and narrow.

“Her anger is displaced,” Talia says calmly, and she waves away her daughter insistently. “If Peter had not gone rogue, Derek would never have been an Alpha. Deucalion would want nothing to do with him.”

Stiles frowns. “Why does he want Derek and not you? You’re the most powerful Alpha in the state!”

“Deucalion has requested my presence in his pack before. I’ve always declined. He knows better than to ask again.”

“But he still assumes he can bully your son into it.” Stiles crosses his arms over his chest. “So, he broke the treaty, didn’t he? Didn’t you say you guys had a peace treaty? He hurt Derek.”

“It wasn’t him,” Laura interrupts. “It was Kali, his second, acting against orders. Deucalion already killed her for disobeying, per our agreement. There’s nothing we can do.”

“So he could get another one of his goons to kill Derek, claim he did it without permission, and we still couldn’t lay a finger on him,” Scott pipes up. “That’s not fair. We have to do something.”

“We have to let him rest,” Cora argues. “There’s nothing we can do until he’s healthy again.”

Upstairs, Derek is lying in the dark, on his childhood bed, with one arm over his eyes and one over his stomach, which is bare except for a white bandage, wrapped all the way around him. Stiles closes the door behind himself and slides onto the mattress. He knows Derek is awake, so he pries his arm away from his eyes and down so that Stiles can use his bicep as a pillow.

“I’m supposed to be sleeping,” Derek says, voice thick.

“I should’ve stayed.”

“That only would’ve made it worse. You can’t heal.” Derek turns slightly, leaning in to kiss him. “What are you doing here?”

“Dinner. You’ve been asleep for a while.” Stiles places his hand over the bandage. “Cora isn’t thrilled with me or Scott right now, and I don’t think you’re ready to sit at a table, so we’re probably just gonna take off. Or—he is.”

Derek closes his eyes again. “You should both stay. You’re pack.”

Stiles smirks. “Scott’s pack.”

Derek shakes his head. “Yes. But so are you.” He throws his arm over Stiles’ side, drags him in close. “I’m feeling better now,” he says quietly.

“Derek.”

“You’re pack,” he repeats, nosing his way along Stiles’ neck. “You’re pack because you’re here, with me, and that means staying for pack dinner. Even if Cora isn’t your biggest fan.”

Stiles is quiet as he thinks, letting Derek sink his teeth into the skin on his neck and shoulder as he pleases. “Am I your boyfriend?” he asks, staring at the ceiling.

“If you want to be,” Derek tells him.

“What do you want?”

Derek shrugs. “There’s no use pretending you aren’t important to me. I didn’t—I didn’t want to get this attached before you left for school but I almost died today and all I could think about was you. So I think I should probably stop acting like I like you less than I do.”

“I’m confused.”

“Logic says I shouldn’t get attached to an eighteen-year-old about to leave for his first year of college,” Derek says. “I’m old enough to want a real relationship and you’re young enough to avoid one. And I thought it wouldn’t matter because you would get bored of me after we fooled around and I could live with that and move on. But I don’t want to. Not anymore.”

Stiles blinks at the ceiling for a minute. Derek is quiet, holding him securely, and eventually Stiles closes his eyes, pushes his face into Derek’s chest. “I’m your boyfriend. And you’re mine. And your sister’s just gonna have to fucking live with it.”


Ennis dies next, taken down when he sinks his teeth into a jogger. That’s how Stiles learns about hunters and Chris Argent and why Allison is so good at using a crossbow. Scott is kind of blown away too, and there are a few tense conversations between them, given the fact that they used to bone and were totally in love. Now, however, Scott sees Kira every other day, and Allison—is doing her own thing.

But after Ennis and Kali, there’s only the twins. Neither of them are very pleasant, and Stiles has no plans to spend any time with them ever, but he can’t help it when they corner him at the grocery store.

“We were really sorry about what happened to Derek,” one of them says.

“Kali had never been good at controlling her temper.”

“Her temper wasn’t the problem,” Stiles says snidely, grabbing a box of cereal and tossing it into the cart. “The problem wasn’t Kali at all, actually.”

“You can’t mean Deucalion,” the first one says again—at least, Stiles thinks it’s the same one. They should really wear nametags.

“Deucalion only wants to succeed. He knows the best way to do that would be to make an ally out of the Hales. Derek is young, healthy, eager to make a lasting impression on the world.”

Stiles turns his face away from them, staring towards the chilled walls of dairy products. “Don’t tell me what Derek is. You don’t know what Derek is.”

That’s not the last time they come to him, though. He’s at the vet clinic, inside with Scott and Deaton, and they’re going to close up and get something to eat on the way home, when the lights start to flicker. A lock clicks into place, and Stiles is immediately shoving Deaton and Scott back into the exam room, locking the door.

Deaton draws the blinds on the window, turns off the light, but it won’t make a difference. Werewolves can hear their heartbeats. All three of them are backing slowly away from the door when Stiles realizes—“Mountain ash.” He looks to Deaton. “Do you have any?”

“Not a lot,” he confesses. “I was going to get more from Talia tonight. I don’t have enough to line the room.”

But Stiles isn’t listening. He’s digging through the cabinets in the storage cupboard, tossing things onto the floor, until he finds a little sack of it, only a fistful left. He doesn’t stop to think, only grabs it and starts to circle the room. He’s not counting, only figuring that he’ll get the doorway, the window—but before he knows it, the room is entirely surrounded by the black sand, and the bag still has a fistful inside.

Stiles doesn’t have time to think on it, because he can hear the scratches and whines at the door, the growl that’s more hunger than anything else, and Stiles wills his heart to calm, because passing out isn’t going to do anyone any good.

They leave. They can’t break past the mountain ash barrier, and so they leave, and Stiles drives to the Hale house thinking the shadows in his review mirror have fangs.

Scott is with him because they still haven’t eaten, and Talia lets them stuff themselves silly when they arrive at the house. After that, Scott falls asleep on the couch, and Stiles pulls himself upstairs.

Derek is waiting for him, in his old bedroom. Stiles had asked him to be. When he pushes open the door, every light in the room flickers on, including the desk lamp, the fan light, and the closet light. Derek starts to wake, sitting up in the too-small bed, still wearing jeans and lying on top of the covers.

“Sorry,” Stiles says, and he moves around the room, turning off all the lights. “When did you get motion sensors?” he asks, crawling into bed with Derek.

Still groggy from sleep, Derek looks confused for a moment. Then he says, “Oh. My parents put them in.”

“Cool.” Stiles squirms into his chest. “Ethan and Aiden are restless. They want to impress Deucalion, get him the results he wants. They’re going to do something big; I can feel it.”

Derek kisses the top of his head. “Don’t worry. We’re going to handle them. I promise.”

“I trust you,” Stiles mutters. He waist a beat, listens to Derek’s heart. “Hey, Derek.”

Derek, already falling back asleep, hums in response, and Stiles closes his eyes, being pulled under into unconsciousness too.

“You don’t have to say anything or—do anything. But I just wanted you to know that I—love you. I love you.”

He falls asleep in Derek’s old bed, wrapped in warmth and childhood comfort. When he wakes, the sky is still dark and his phone says it’s just after midnight. His shirt is sticking to his back, and he’s thirsty. He also really has to pee.

He drinks from the tap after he flushes the toilet, and starts to head downstairs. He stops, though, when he hears Derek demand—“Why would I break up with him?”

Frozen, Stiles sinks to a seat at the very bottom of the stairs, and listens.

“Honestly, it’s just not safe anymore,” Talia is saying. “He’s an asset in some ways, but we can’t afford to have him around when we have to focus energy on keeping him alive.”

“He’s shown that he’s capable of holding his own, Talia,” Samuel argues.

“Dad’s a human,” Cora says quietly. “So is Stiles. And you said we had to be friends with him anyway. Why do we have to tell him to leave now?”

Laura laughs, bright and a little bit sinister. “Cor, Scott is pack now. We don’t need Stiles anymore. Trust me. As soon as Derek tells him it’s not working out, he’ll be on his way out the door. But Scott’s loyalty is solidified.”

Stiles sinks down onto the floor without even realizing it. He feels—dirty. Shaky.

Used. More than anything else, any physical reaction he’s having to their hushed conversation, he feels used. Derek used him to make Scott stay—because Scott was wavering and uneasy and Stiles having the biggest crush in the world on Derek Hale made everything so much easier. If Stiles wanted to be around, then Scott would want to too.

He doesn’t know he’s having an attack until his chest starts to hurt. His head is light, his hands and arms breaking out in a sweat, and his vision is blurring because he isn’t—he can’t breathe. He isn’t breathing, because he waited so long and tried so hard and lost everything to Derek Hale. Who never wanted anything to do with him. Who seduced him for his pack’s sake. Who saved his life more than once because it was convenient, not because he cared—but because he needed Stiles alive to make his life easier.

“Stiles.”

He can tell it’s Derek’s hands on his knees, trying to get his attention, trying to call him back. And that makes Stiles roll, push forward and roll on his shoulder to get away from Derek, because it’s even harder to breathe when he’s there.

“Move,” he hears Scott say, and then Scott is pinching his nose and covering his mouth with a hand and counting in his ear and that’s right. That’s how he’s supposed to do it. He’d forgotten, because all he had been able to think about was Derek Hale. And heartbreak.

When he can see, when he can breathe, his hands are trembling and Scott is kneeling in front of him. His knees are tucked up against his chest and his eyes are a little watery. Scott wipes the condensation away quickly, looks at him.

“Hey,” he says calmly. “Are you okay?”

No, Stiles thinks. He can’t stop himself from searching around for Derek’s eyes, and finds them too quickly. He can see it, on Derek’s face. Derek knows that Stiles heard. He knows. And he looks pained, embarrassed, apologetic. Stiles looks back at Scott’s face, blinks. “I’m fine now,” he tells him. “I, uh, just had a nightmare, came downstairs, lost it on the bottom step.”

Scott can hear the lie. But all the same, he nods, claps Stiles’ shoulder. “C’mon, I’ll drive you home.”

“Wait.” Derek steps forward, hand outstretched, and Stiles stands on his own, leaning just the slightest bit into Scott’s body. He flinches away too quickly, too obviously, from Derek. “Stiles,” he tries, and Stiles looks away.

“Wait for me outside,” Stiles says to Scott. “Just two minutes.”

Scott doesn’t look like he wants to agree. He does anyway, heading towards the front door, and the rest of the group disperses, Laura and Cora back into the kitchen, Talia and her husband towards the library. Stiles can see Talia, still in the hallway, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care if she’s visible or not because she’s going to listen anyway.

“You’re smart,” Stiles says. “Scott and I have been inseparable since kindergarten; of course using me was going to help get Scott into your pack. Really smart. Manipulative, cruel, unforgivable. But smart.”

Stiles.

“Why?” he has to ask. He has to look into Derek’s eyes—Derek’s wide, green eyes—and understand because he doesn’t. Just doesn’t understand why he could be so hurtful. “Once I’d learned that this was the safest place for Scott to be, I would’ve encouraged him to join you. You didn’t have to—pretend. You didn’t have to use me, and lie to me—”

“It wasn’t my idea,” Derek says, harsh and quick. “It was—my mother asked me to. She told me you were interested in me, and if I humored you, it would make Scott want to stay.” He takes a step towards Stiles, eyes darting back and forth across Stiles’ face. He repeats, “She told me it would make Scott want to stay,” and Stiles breaks into a million pieces. It’s worse, like this, knowing it wasn’t even Derek’s idea. He did it for his mother.

Everything was fake,” Stiles says. “You’ve been lying to me this whole time—even after we had sex, after you got hurt—”

“Stiles, please—”

Stiles knows it’s harsh, and he feels no remorse in it as he says, “You fucked me to make your pack bigger, Derek. You told me you cared about me, lied to my face, because you wanted Scott to be your brother. You—you fucking asshole.

“Stiles, will you just let me—I can explain.” Derek’s hands are extended just barely, like he wants to reach out. He looks troubled but not particularly upset and Stiles doesn’t feel like he wants to hear Derek’s flimsy excuses, hear that pack was more important than the potential heartbreak of some kid. He doesn’t want to hear Derek go through the list of ways he tried to save Stiles from himself, by telling him they couldn’t have sex, by giving him the mountain ash.

“What you said to me, after you got hurt,” Stiles says, “was any of it real?”

Yes,” Derek says, low and serious. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. She told me—she wanted me to convince you to stay so that Scott would, but then—it changed.”

“I think I can guess when it started to change, huh, Derek?” Stiles spits. “Probably right around the time I let you put your dick in my ass.”

Stiles.

He can hear the quiet scuffing of feet, clearing of throats, people drifting away throughout the house and Stiles doesn’t care. He doesn’t care at all because they all knew anyway. “You lied to me. I don’t give a shit what you have to say now.”

“You’re right,” Derek tries to say, and that’s probably the last thing Stiles wants to hear, actually. He wants Derek to argue, to tell him he doesn’t understand, but Stiles knows he does. “I fell for you. That night. I wasn’t lying when I said I was sick of pretending I didn’t have feelings for you.”

Stiles shakes his head. “You know, Derek, I want to believe you so bad. I really do. But I can never believe anything you say ever again. You’ve proved yourself to be a phenomenal liar. It’s remarkable. You should win an Emmy for this performance—I really bought it. I.” He sucks in a breath. “Scott is waiting for me. So I’m gonna go. Home. And you and your pack can get back to daily goings on without pesky Stiles wandering around, okay? In two weeks I’ll be gone anyway.”

Derek follows him to the door. Stiles gets halfway to the Jeep and says quietly, knowing Derek will listen, “I hope it was worth it.”

Chapter Text

He hears about it when Deucalion’s sight is restored, when he leaves Beacon Hills alone, without a pack. He hears about it because Scott calls him on Skype while Stiles is still unpacking all of his things into his dorm room. Scott is panting, dirtied and sweaty, and he shows him red eyes.

“What happened?” Stiles demands, because fear immediately grips him, fear that says that Derek is dead.

So Scott tells him. Scott tells him about how they stopped Deucalion and Ethan and Aiden, how Derek managed to give Deucalion sight again, and by doing so lost his Alpha power and status.

“He’s a beta again,” Scott says, smiling calmly. “And I—my eyes just changed. While we were fighting. I don’t know how to explain it.” (Talia explains it later, the fact that Scott is a True Alpha, and one that had manifested within months of changing. She’s shocked, shaken, and Stiles has never been more worried for his best friend before.)

They keep in touch while they’re away at school, make sure that they know everything that’s going on in each other’s lives. Scott is still seeing Kira—who’s at school with him—and he’s going to tell her soon, he thinks, about the whole werewolf thing. He really, really loves her.

Stiles is burying himself in schoolwork. He’s taking relatively easy classes, considering the course load of some of his classmates, but he’s enjoying himself, and before he knows it, months have passed, and he’s driving up to Davis to see Scott over Halloween.

They drink and party and Stiles dances with some girl in a Catwoman costume for a long time. They make out on the back porch of the fraternity house the party’s at, and Scott drags him away a few minutes later, when Kira decides to call it a night.

“You could’ve stayed,” she tells him, leaning into Scott.

“No,” Stiles says, shrugging. “I wasn’t really into it.”

Thanksgiving is the first time he actually goes back to Beacon Hills. He drives up on Wednesday afternoon, has dinner with his dad, and heads out to the grocery store to start preparing. Melissa and Scott are coming over and Melissa’s going to help with the cooking, but Stiles has done Thanksgiving every year since he was twelve. He knows how to cook a bird.

There’s something about coming home that makes him think of Derek. When he’s outside of Beacon Hills, it’s like he forgets. He forgets Derek even exists. But as soon as he crosses that border, everything comes rushing back. He expects to see Derek everywhere he goes, especially at the grocery store on the night before Thanksgiving. Each time he turns into an aisle he braces himself for a pain that never comes, because Derek isn’t there.

Later, at home, Stiles wonders why he thought Derek would be.

He goes that whole weekend without seeing Derek at all. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed.


There’s a guy with stubble and broad shoulders, green eyes. His hair is lighter than Derek’s, his mouth thinner, his hands smaller. He’s handsome, though, and charming, and he’s in one of Stiles’ classes, so they spend a huge amount of time studying together before finals. They end up kissing, one night, tucked away in the library. And it’s nice, because Stiles has felt lonely, and Nate is sweet and smart, comfortable.

They have coffee after the final. Nate kisses him again, before he loads up his car to head home for break, and Stiles feels a sense of promise. There’s someone at Berkeley he can see himself with, and that’s enough to make him smile the whole drive home.

It’s probably because he isn’t expecting it that makes it so much worse. He’s only there to pick Scott up from work so that they can grab dinner together. He’s whistling as he walks into the vet’s office, twirling his keys on his fingers, and he only arrived in Beacon Hills forty minutes ago. He’s not expecting to push past the counter and see shirtless Derek Hale sitting on the exam table, getting stitched up by Dr. Deaton while Scott holds onto Derek’s wrists, keeping him still.

“Stiles,” Scott says, and everyone in the room looks up.

“I’ll wait in the car,” Stiles tells him, feeling Derek’s gaze on him like a burn, and he leaves as quickly as his little human legs will allow.

When the passenger’s seat door opens fifteen minutes later, it’s not Scott who slides in.

“What are you doing?” Stiles demands. “Get out of my car.”

“I wanted to talk to you. I didn’t know if you would answer my call.”

“I wouldn’t.”

Derek is staring straight ahead, over the dashboard. “I shouldn’t have lied to you. I shouldn’t have done what I did, and I’m sorry. I—I’ve been sorry every day since I—since the kanima. Especially after I started to have feelings for you, I knew I should’ve been honest with you, told you so that you didn’t have to find out the way you did.”

“How am I supposed to believe anything you say to me, Derek?”

For a long moment he’s silent. Then, “You smell like somebody. A boy. He wears Axe. And he smokes cigarettes.”

“Derek.”

“Are you seeing somebody?”

“Does it matter?”

Derek looks at him then, and his eyes are blue. They’re beautiful, but they only make him look more pained. It hurts, to see Derek look like that, and Stiles has to look away, to his hands on the steering wheel, to his knees, to anything but Derek’s face.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Stiles says, because he can’t stand the silence. “I worry about you guys.”

“I got nicked by a spear tonight,” Derek says. Casual. Like it’s not a big deal that there’s somebody with a spear in Beacon Hills. “It’s probably a hunter with a sense of humor. Laura and I were out in the woods when we were attacked. She’s fine, but I got—a little torn up. Deaton patched me up.”

“I can see that.”

Derek clears his throat. “Your dad glares at me. At the gas station. Across streets. In parking lots.”

“I didn’t ask him to. I didn’t tell him anything at all. Just that we broke up.” Stiles looks towards Deaton’s office. “Scott and I are supposed to go out to dinner.”

“Do you love him?”

“Scott’s my best friend—”

“Not Scott,” Derek interrupts, quiet now. “The smoker who wears Axe.”

Stiles knows he doesn’t owe Derek anything, doesn’t have to tell him anything he doesn’t want to. He considers saying all of this, demanding that Derek get out of his car. But instead he swallows his pride and says, “No. Not yet, at least.”

Derek leaves the car, holding the door open for Scott, who clambers in and waves goodbye as Stiles drives off.


 

Stiles avoids werewolves, all of them but Scott. He avoids the Hales, even the Argents because they’re connected too, and he tries to keep his head down, because he can feel something growing, something bad, and he isn’t sure he wants to be in Beacon Hills when it hits.

Nate is a good boyfriend. They see each other nearly every day, study together, gossip together, eat together. They have sex over Spring Break, in San Diego, on the pull out couch of a fancy rental house that Nate’s friends are in control of for the week. It’s good, and Nate is beautiful when he’s tossing back tequila shots and dancing off beat to too loud music. Stiles likes him like this, likes them like this, which is why they’re still together when summer comes, and Stiles asks him if he wants to spend a few weeks in Beacon Hills.

Nate’s from San Jose, which is only an hour away from the school, two hours away from Beacon Hills. His parents are charming and supportive and kind, and Nate stays with them for a few weeks first because they’re his family and he hasn’t seen them in months. But then he drives up, hops out of his car with a tan and a smile and Stiles is—proud.

“Your door stays open,” the Sheriff says. “And he gets the guest room.”

“Dad.”

“Stiles.”

Stiles rolls his eyes, looks over his father’s shoulder at where Nate and Scott are playing Speed on the kitchen table. “I’m turning twenty in three months. My boyfriend should be allowed to sleep in my room.”

He pinches the bridge of his nose. “Fine,” he sighs, defeated. “But I mean it about the door open thing.”

“Deal.”

Scott likes Nate too. They get along. But there’s something behind Scott’s eyes, his body language, that says he’s being cautious, protective, and Stiles understands. He understands that outsiders aren’t good anymore, which is why Nate is never getting anywhere near the preserve.

Except, despite the strength in Stiles’ resolution, it doesn’t quite work out. Scott tells Kira he’s a werewolf, and Kira responds by short circuiting every light in Scott’s house. She’s something called a kitsune, and their lives are never going to be normal ever again. Talia goes to the lengths of showing up at his house, because his father needs to remain informed about the supernatural proceedings in Beacon Hills.

So Stiles sits in the dirt outside the kitchen window of the Hale House, listening.

“Why are we spying on your dad?” Nate asks, knocking his knee into Stiles’.

“It’s complicated.”

“You don’t say.”

Stiles’ heart stops dead in his chest at the sound of Derek’s voice. He turns away from the window, looking up at the figure standing over him and Nate, and feels—for the first time in months—heartache.

“We were just leaving,” Stiles says, standing.

“If you wanted to know what was going on, you could’ve just asked me,” Derek tells him. “I would’ve told you.”

“I’d rather get my information from a reliable source, thanks.”

Derek’s eyes slide to Nate. “Axe,” he says.

Nate sniffs his T-shirt. “I didn’t think I put that much on.”

“Derek,” Stiles huffs.

“How rude of me,” Derek mutters, taking half a step closer. He sticks a hand out. “Derek Hale.”

“Nate Reed. Nice to, uh, meet you. I guess.” Nate looks at Stiles, silently asking him who Derek is.

“Derek’s an old family friend,” Stiles says. “His family is influential in town and every time his mom talks to my dad, shit goes down, and I’m just trying to stay ahead of the curve. So I don’t end up getting fucked over, like last time.”

Derek growls. It’s quiet, but Stiles can hear it. His heart thuds, but it’s not fear, and the way Derek’s eyebrow arches means he heard it.

“Come inside,” Derek tries, and Stiles twists his fingers with Nate’s.

“We’re leaving. I guess I’ll interrogate my dad when he gets back later.” He starts to pull Nate away, is stopped by his boyfriend’s weight, holding him back. “Nate,” he tries, but Nate takes his hand out of Stiles and stands between them, arms over his chest.

He nods towards Derek, looking at Stiles. “Why do I get the feeling that there’s something you’re not telling me?”

“Can we please not do this right now?” Stiles asks, something he doesn’t want to put a name to welling up inside of him. “I want to go home.”

Nate turns to Derek. “I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me.”

Stiles can see, even from a few paces away, the way Derek’s jaw clenches.

“Right,” Nate says, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I know an ex when I see one.”

Stiles thinks that’s going to be the end of it, that Nate is going to walk away with him and they’ll fight about it on the drive home, but instead he does something that Stiles never could have expected in a million years.

“Also,” Nate continues, and he points up towards the sky, “the wards on your house are shit, dude, which explains why two humans were able to sneak onto your land and get as far as your window without your noticing. Don’t you guys have an emissary? Who’s in charge of this shit?”

Stiles almost faints. He feels like the wind’s been knocked out of him, and by the shock on Derek’s face, the feeling is apparently mutual.

“Your claws are out,” Nate says, pointing to Derek’s hands. “And even if I weren’t a witch, I’d be curious about your little growl act a minute ago. You kind of suck at being a werewolf.”

“You’re a witch?” Stiles demands, anger swelling. “You’re a fucking witch?! Fucking awesome; everyone I’ve ever dated has been a fucking supernatural entity—my life will never be normal again.”

Derek looks like he’s at a loss for words, just standing there, staring, while Nate continues.

“I’m surprised you never taught him any magic, honestly,” he tells Derek. “He’s got a spark. You must’ve noticed.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Stiles demands.

“He made mountain ash out of thin air once,” Derek says, completely ignoring him. “He can turn on lights without touching the switch. I was going to tell him. But he doesn’t trust me anymore.”

Stiles wants to yell, and he storms a few feet away, plunking down onto a tree stump. He puts his hands in his lap, palms up, and stares at them. “I can do magic? Like Deaton?”

Derek, still tense, nods. “He was the first one who noticed. When you put mountain ash around the clinic. And then when you came to see me that night, the light turned on when you walked in the room. Deaton told me later it was leftover magic, like adrenaline. A residual side effect.”

Stiles glares at Nate. “You should’ve told me you’re a witch. We’ve been dating since February and you still—”

“Yeah, because it’s so easy, Stiles,” Nate argues. “I didn’t know you had any experience at all with supernatural stuff until I got here! You might as well have told me you used to date a werewolf.”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“An older man, no less.”

Stiles groans. “Fine. Okay. You win. Subject dropped.” He stands from the stump, stares at Derek. “Tell Scott to call me later, so I know what’s going on. We’re going now. Really.”

“Stiles.”

Stiles grits his teeth. “Nate, wait at the car. Please.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Nate nods, kisses him, and starts to walk down the driveway towards the street. Once he’s far enough away Derek moves closer.

“Kira is a kitsune—a Japanese fox spirit. Her mother is one too.”

“So she can turn into a fox?”

“Her mother can. She has nine tails.”

Stiles blinks. “I’m so confused.”

“Kitsunes can have up to nine tails. The more tails they have, they older and wiser they are.” Derek sucks in a breath. “Kira hasn’t manifested any tail but one yet, and only when she performs a partial shift.”

“So she’s not a threat.”

“Her family is well known and highly regarded. The Yukimuras pose no threat to Beacon Hills or the Hale pack.”

Stiles nods. “Good. I’m glad. What about…?” He gestures to his own side, remembering Derek’s injury from several months ago. “What about the hunter with the spear? Did that ever get sorted out?”

“We caught her. She’s gone.”

“Okay.”

Derek looks over Stiles’ shoulder. “He seems nice.”

“He is.”

“I still love you.”

Stiles practically falls over backwards. For a second, he’s honestly not sure he heard what Derek said. He thinks he might have blacked out or had a stroke or—

“You deserve to know,” Derek tells him. “I still have feelings for you. I still wish things would’ve been different. But I’m glad you’re happy. You deserve to be happy.”

I was happy with you, Stiles thinks, and he looks away so that he doesn’t scream, or worse, start crying. A year ago, Scott got bit by werewolf, and Stiles had the stones to ask Derek Hale out on a date. A year ago, he was punching the sky after he got Derek Hale to make out with him, and wandering around lovesick. How things have changed.

“You should get back to him,” Derek says, nodding.

“Yeah.”

“You can come back whenever you want. To the apartment, too. If you want to talk or ask me anything. Whatever. Whenever.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Stiles says, a sudden sense of longing surprising him.


The letter arrives without a stamp, several hours earlier than the mailman would usually stop by, and on a Sunday. So Stiles knows it’s been hand-delivered without having to put too much thought into it, which makes opening it so much worse.

Nate is in the kitchen, frying eggs and mixing pancake batter, and his dad is at work. Stiles is by the mailbox, barefoot, and he stands on the hot sidewalk while he opens the letter, because he doesn’t want to bring it inside. It’s in a plain, white envelope, addressed to him, but it’s sealed with wax, stamped down with an H embedded in it, and Stiles knows already whose house it’s from. What he can’t figure out is why Talia Hale is writing to him.

 

Stiles—

 

Your mother and I were friends when Sam and I first moved to Beacon Hills. Your father was a Deputy, your mother young and friendly, and our relationship grew as we both got older. I had already had Laura when we settled, but your parents weren’t even married yet. It would take years for your father to get up the nerve to propose to her. I was one of the first people she told, a fact I hold quite dear to my heart. I think of her often, just as I know you do.

When you were born, Claudia worried about the kind of mother she would be. She would come sit in our house with your in her arms. Cora was just born, and we were able to be mothers together for once. We spent long hours together and discussed motherhood—I spent a long time trying to calm the fear that she had, that she would fail at raising you, that she was not meant to raise a child when her memory of her parents was soured and ruined. As a mother of three, I was confident and collected and a big of a braggart, honestly, because I hadn’t worried about how good of a mother I was going to be for a decade.

The truth is, however, that even mothers who think they’re doing the best for their family can make mistakes. And mothers who have no idea what they’re doing can produce the most impressive offspring in a generation.

It was wrong of me to ask Derek to abuse the relationship you and Scott share. I should not have worried so greatly of Scott’s allegiance or questioned his motives for wanting to be a part of my pack. I am grateful for his presence and his skill, but I know I am not deserving of it, considering the mistake I’ve made, and the hurt I’ve caused the son of a dear friend and my own.

I am truly sorry, Stiles, and I only hope that you find happiness.

 

Sincerity and love,

Talia Hale

 

Stiles sits on the front stoop, tears blurring his vision and dropping onto the paper, and he doesn’t try to wipe them away. He cries, silently, until Nate calls that breakfast is ready. Then he stands, shoves the letter in his pocket, wipes his tears on his sleeve, and goes inside.


 

When Nate has to go back to San Jose, Stiles isn’t really worried about it. It’s not that long a drive. He’ll go down there next weekend and say hello, and until then there’s always Skype. But still, saying goodbye sucks, and they spend a long time upstairs in Stiles’ room, kissing and whispering and clinging to each other before they have to walk downstairs and put Nate in his car.

When they hit the bottom of the stairs, Stiles ignores the fact that Derek is sitting at his dining room table with his dad. He steadfastly holds Nate’s hand and walks him out to the driveway, kisses him against his car.

“I don’t have to worry about Derek, right?” Nate asks, pushing his fingers through Stiles’ belt loops.

“Derek? No. Not at all.”

Nate nods. “Good. Because I’d hate to think what we did last night wasn’t enough to keep you satisfied for a week.”

“I’m going to ignore the implication behind the statement because the sentiment was well-intentioned.” Stiles holds onto the nape of Nate’s neck and kisses him sweetly. “I’ll see you next weekend. Call me when you get home.”

He stands on the lawn and watches Nate drive away. It’s easier to do that than to go inside and face what he knows is waiting for him. He worries now, that every time he sees Derek, Derek is going to tell him something new, something that makes him ache and want. But he’s in a relationship. A healthy relationship. He shouldn’t want Derek anymore. He shouldn’t want Derek to ruin it.

All the same, when he walks back inside and Derek stands, he’s—glad.

“Where’s he off to?”

“Home,” Stiles says. “He was only visiting for a little while.”

Derek blinks. “Your dad and I have been talking. I think you should start seeing Deaton, for training with magic. Simple things—protection spells, movement. Basic things to keep you safe and harness some leftover energy.”

“You think, or your mother does?” Stiles asks.

“Stiles, please.”

“Fine.” He looks over at his dad, who is watching their interaction with interest. “I’ll give him a call.”

“You report to him tomorrow morning at 9 AM, and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the rest of the summer.” Derek turns to the Sheriff, nods politely. “Nice to see you, Sheriff. Goodbye, Stiles.”

Neither of the Stilinski men say anything until Derek’s car is rumbling away. Then Stiles’ dad clears his throat, leans back in his chair. “He really hates Nate.”

Stiles swallows tightly. “What makes you say that?”

“He was bothered the entire time he was here, up until Nate left. And his claws came out when you walked Nate out. The eyes too.” He stands, heading towards the kitchen. “I thought he was the one who broke up with you.”

“It’s complicated,” Stiles offers.

“Looks like it’s not, actually. Looks like Derek wants you back and you’re shoving Nate in his face.”

Stiles’ jaw drops. “Derek came into our house while Nate was here! That’s not my fault!”

“I’m just saying, kid, you could use an ounce of sensitivity. Derek is obviously hurting, and it’s never good to feel that way. You should know better.”

Yeah, Stiles thinks. He probably should.


Stiles saves Derek’s life on a warm night in July. He’s been working with Deaton for weeks now, hasn’t seen anyone else all month except his dad, Scott, and Deaton, and not to toot his own horn but he’s really good at being a witch. Like, exceptionally good. If it were a class, he would ace it, no problem. But being good at controlling energy and movement isn’t the same thing as being able to avoid getting shot or attacked or ripped into tiny pieces.

What Stiles is good at is creating distractions. So when the freaky ten-foot-tall monster with human blood dripping from its mouth and fingers comes for them, he can make a tree burst out from the ground behind it, so that it turns to look at the disturbance. That way they can run.

“Where did you come from?” Derek demands as they’re running.

“Is now really the time? While we’re fleeing from a wendigo?”

“I couldn’t smell you—I couldn’t hear you.”

“Yeah.” Stiles beams, proud of himself. “Little trick Deaton taught me. Pretty cool, huh? If we’re gonna chat and run at the same time, how about you tell me why the fuck you were out in the middle of the night looking for the monster that’s been eating campers? Were you bored or do you just have a death wish?”

Derek gets plucked into the air before he gets a chance to answer, and Stiles is launching himself off a tree to go after him, climbing the monster’s body like the grossest, slimiest rock wall ever. Because the wendigo’s hands are busy trying to hold Derek still and take a bite out of him, Stiles manages to sit on the thing’s shoulders. He knows Derek is staring, confused and nervous while Stiles takes a can of kerosene out of his jacket pocket and dumps on the wendigo’s head. Then, as if his fingers were matches, he’s setting the monster aflame, and he and Derek are sent tumbling to the ground.

When Stiles manages to sit up, Derek is already there, yanking him to his feet. “You just lit a giant creature on fire in the middle of a fucking forest.”

“Controlled burn,” Stiles says through a shrug. “Besides, I can control the flames. They won’t harm the trees. I’m like the freaking Avatar, man.”

He’s high on adrenaline, excited because he and Derek are both still alive and the monster isn’t, and that’s the only reason he lets Derek kiss him for as long as he does. It has nothing to do with the way it feels, and how fiercely Derek holds him, like he’s trying to prove to himself Stiles is really there and keep him from getting away. But when he pulls back, he really pulls, stumbling several paces backwards.

He stares for a long moment and then says, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t do that.”

Derek is breathing heavily. “Stiles—”

“I have a boyfriend.”

“I know. I know and I—I’m sorry—”

“You can’t just kiss people. It’s. Distracting.”

“You kissed me back,” Derek says, and Stiles only breathes, trying to calm his heartbeat. “You kissed me back. I felt it.”

“That doesn’t change the fact that I have a boyfriend,” Stiles says again.

“I love you.”

Stiles’ mouth falls open. “Fuck you, Derek. Are you gonna say that to me every time we see each other?”

“Maybe. I don’t know.” Derek looks behind himself at the still-burning wendigo. “Are you gonna put him out?”

Stiles sets his mouth in a hard line and wills away the fire. Derek looks half pleased and half shocked, and Stiles gets out his phone, dialing quickly. “Hey,” he says when Scott picks up, “I found Derek. We’re heading back to the Hale house now. Everything’s fine; monster’s vanquished.”

“You both okay?”

“We’re fine,” Stiles tells him. “Hey, if I break his jaw how fast will it heal?”

“Not fast enough for his mom to not notice it.”

“Roger. Okay, see you in a few.”


 

Stiles really likes Nate, honestly. They’re good together, happy together, but he can feel the lull when it hits. In September, when they’re back at school, they’re okay, getting along, but it’s not—fun. It’s just average. Standard. Boring.

Nate notices it too. That’s probably why, one night, Nate sits him down and says he hooked up with somebody over the summer, and he wants to break up. And Stiles isn’t even mad. He isn’t mad that Nate cheated on him or is ending things. He’s almost kind of grateful. He wants to say that he kissed Derek, wants to see if Nate’s reaction is anything like his own so that he can know for certain that they’re done, but he doesn’t. He holds it back and says, “I think that’s a good idea.”

Nate kisses his forehead when he leaves his room that night and Stiles doesn’t cry. He also doesn’t try to go out with anyone else. He hangs out with his friends and sees Nate around and every once in a while he thinks about Derek. And thinks. And wonders.

It would be bad, he knows, to go home expecting Derek to be waiting for him. It would be shitty to jump back into his arms after everything that’s happened. He won’t do that, because he can’t be sure that any desire he has left for Derek isn’t just a side effect of being dumped.

He goes home for Thanksgiving excited to see his dad and Scott, and shouldn’t be surprised when Derek is at the gas station Stiles stops at on his way into town.

“Are you stalking me?” Stiles asks, but he’s smiling, because it’s funny.

“What are you doing here?”

“It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow.”

“Oh.” Derek frowns, looks down at the nozzle in his hand. “Not spending it with Nate? Or is he coming up later?”

Stiles pushes his tongue into his cheek. “We broke up. Amicably. A few months ago, actually, when we went back to school.”

Derek’s eyebrows launch upwards. “Well. Sorry.”

“It was fine. I’m fine. I’m just gonna—fill my car up now.”

He does, quietly, feeling Derek’s eyes on him the whole time. But when Derek is done, he lifts a hand in goodbye and drives away. He doesn’t push or argue or say anything at all actually, and Stiles longs, deeply.


They see each other around town sometimes. Derek always nods or says hello, and they usually participate in a minute or two of small talk before one of them moves on. That goes on all weekend, and throughout the first two weeks of winter break, until Stiles is sitting in his room eating leftover pasta out of a takeout container and realizes something.

It hasn’t gone away. He misses Derek, has missed Derek, and it’s been over a year, and he still wants Derek. A year ago, Derek got into his car and told him he smelled like a boy who wore Axe and smoked cigarettes, and Stiles was angry and hurt. And now Stiles understands those feelings, remembers them plainly, but also knows that it’s over. It happened. And it sucked. But he still wants Derek.

He brings a bottle of half-empty Absolut that he stole from Melissa;s cupboard, a poinsettia he grabbed from the police station display, and a pile of DVDs to Derek’s apartment on December 23rd. He has no reason to believe that Derek is home, knows that in all likelihood he could be walking away from the apartment with nothing to show for it a few minutes, but there’s hope, still buried deep inside of him, and so he knocks, and he waits.

He doesn’t know what to say when Derek answers the door. When Derek is standing there, in front of him, in loose sweats and a T-shirt, with the TV on in the background, waiting for him to say something, Stiles realizes he probably should’ve prepared something. Instead he just shoves the plant into Derek’s chest and says, “Merry Christmas.”

Derek blinks. “Thanks.”

“I figured your place wouldn’t have that much holiday cheer,” Stiles says, “and I have…movies. And vodka.”

“Okay.” Derek looks at him. “Do you wanna come in?”

“Yeah,” Stiles breathes. “I’d like that.”

Derek tiptoes around him like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop and Stiles understands that, he does. But he’s quiet and considerate and he pours a shot’s worth of the Absolut into a glass and mixes in some lemonade and some Sprite and hands it over to Derek without a word. He does the same for himself and puts in Miracle on 34th Street, settling on the couch next to him.

Derek is silent through the beginning of the movie, and right when Stiles is about to start quoting the lines, he asks, “Why are you here?”

Stiles keeps his eyes on the screen, half shrugs. “Because I wanted to be. And I figured if you didn’t want me here you could turn me away at the door.”

“We never talked. About the things that I said. And it’s been a long time.”

Stiles looks at his drink and lifts it, downing the entire thing in a few gulps.

“Stiles.”

“It hasn’t been that long.”

“Yes. It has.”

Stiles tucks one leg under his butt and sets down his glass on the coffee table. “We can talk about it if you want.”

Derek is quiet for a long time, and Stiles watches the screen. Finally, he says, “I got in a big fight with my mom. Just as much as it was wrong of me to do what she asked, it was wrong of her to ask it. Doing what she needed me to do cost me something—very important to me. And she understands that.”

There are a lot of things in that statement that Stiles could comment on. It’s obvious Derek doesn’t know about Talia’s letter, which is probably a good thing. It’s also obvious that Derek is trying to be patient, mature, not push. He’s only offering information. And Stiles can do whatever he wants with it.

Stiles lifts his head, looking to Derek, and only hesitates for a second before scooting closer on the couch and kissing him, hand gentle on the back of Derek’s neck. Derek kisses him back almost instantly, and Stiles sighs into it, content and warm. They sit there, kissing patiently, for a long time. So long, in fact, that the movie is almost over when Derek pulls away.

“What are we doing?” he whispers.

“Kissing,” Stiles says, trying to lean in again. Derek’s hand on his shoulder keeps him back. “Do you want to stop?”

Derek’s eyes move back and forth between Stiles’, trying to find something there. But Stiles isn’t covering up his heartbeat or his scent; he’s making it painfully obvious that all he wants is Derek, because this is probably going to be his only chance to say so.

There’s a split second of hesitation before Derek kisses him again. This time it’s not slow and sweet—it’s intense, hungry, and Stiles is on his back on the couch, Derek settling on top of him, and everything is hotter, faster, more. Stiles feels his pulse race, his breath come quicker, and all he can do is arch his back and kiss Derek desperately, losing himself to this distant familiarity.

They only had sex that one time in the three months they were seeing each other, and so Stiles knows this should still be new, exciting—and in a way, it is. But it also feels inevitable and homey, and right.

Derek goes down on him for what feels like forever, keeping him right on the edge. He sucks Stiles down and leaves little kisses and bite marks along his inner thighs, and when Stiles is so close to coming that he can’t do anything but tremble and moan, he pulls Stiles’ jeans all the way off and flips him onto his stomach. His shirt is still pushed up over his torso, tucked into his underarms, and Stiles shakes and sighs and grips the couch cushions desperately as Derek licks him open, hands griping his thighs tightly.

Stiles loses time, he thinks. He’s achingly hard, sweating, and Derek is eating him out like he’s a three-course meal, and Stiles is going to come any second if he doesn’t stop—but it’s like Derek can hear his orgasm coming. He knows just when Stiles is about to nut and stops, like it’s a fucking game. It keeps him right at the point of insanity, so close to getting what he needs, a constant tease.

At some point, Derek turns him over again and swallows him down, lets him come down his throat. Stiles is broken then, weak and whimpering, hands reaching out for Derek blindly. Derek takes them, only to yank Stiles up off the couch and carry him to the bed.

“You’re trying to destroy me,” Stiles accuses, heart racing. His entire body is flushed, his muscles jumping, and he lets Derek straddle him and manipulate his arms so he can tug Stiles’ T-shirt off over his head. Derek, still fully clothed, does nothing but sit on Stiles’ thighs and run his hands down Stiles’ body, looking, watching, taking his fill.

Stiles lets him, too exhausted to do anything but lie there. He stays still when Derek gets up to stand at the edge of the bed, watches as Derek pulls his shirt off his back, kicks down his jeans, and Stiles remembers—he remembers being in this bed, having Derek inside of him, and his cock starts to harden all over again.

“Are you going to fuck me?” he asks, hands on Derek’s shoulders as Derek crawls back up his body.

“Yes,” Derek says. “But not yet. First, you have to do something for me.”

Stiles shudders. “Anything.”

Derek nuzzles his neck, hands sliding up Stiles’ thighs. “Sit up. And prep me.”

Still a little come dumb, Stiles has to take a breather and ask him to repeat what he just said, sure that he heard the wrong thing.

“Finger me open,” Derek tells him. “So that I can ride you.”

The noise that comes out of Stiles’ mouth is pathetic, he knows, but he’s not sorry about it, because Derek is helping him sit up against the pillows and pushing a thing of lube into his hand. And Stiles’ heart surges, because Derek is giving and kind and beautiful, eyes open and mouth soft, and Stiles kisses him while he pushes two fingers inside.

Derek is—receptive. That’s the best way to describe it. He’s obviously enjoying it, the way Stiles fingers him, because his cock is standing at attention, his eyelids are only half open, and he makes sweet, desperate sounds while he rolls his hips, trying to get moremoremore—

Stiles has learned a lot of things since the last time and Derek were intimate. Which means he knows how to take Derek apart with his fingers, knows how to milk his prostate and drive him insane. It’s absolutely beautiful to watch, the way Derek’s eyes flutter back into his skull, how he shakes his head to clear the wave of pleasure overtaking him, and how he grips Stiles shoulders and kisses him, pleading.

“Condom,” he says, dragging his mouth down the side of Stiles’ neck. “Fuck me, c’mon—I need you.”

Stiles ends up on top of him, their heads by the foot of the bed, and Stiles doesn’t care because Derek is open and warm and moaning underneath him, and he gets to be inside Derek Hale. He used to think about this when they were together—what it would be like to watch Derek come apart on his cock, mouth open, head back. He’s fucking gorgeous, and Stiles loves him in that moment, fucking him silly.

Derek captures his mouth at some point, hand firm on the back of his neck, and says, “Slower,” into his mouth, spreading his legs wider. “Fuck me slower. Make it last.”

Stiles whines, pushing his face into Derek’s throat. “I can’t—fuck, Derek, I—”

“You can,” Derek tells him. His hands go to Stiles’ hips, holding them still. “Slow. Like you mean it. Like the way we should have done it last year.”

“There was nothing wrong with the way we did it—”

“Stiles.”

So Stiles fucks him, slow and measured, arms shaking and hips twitching, desperate to push in faster, take more, but he keeps himself still. He keeps himself patient. And he’s rewarded with Derek’s kisses and moans, and the way his breath hitches when Stiles takes him in hand.

Against all odds, Derek comes first, startling them both. He comes, eyes wide open, and sighs Stiles’ name, pulling him down to kiss, and Stiles immediately follows, weakly moaning in response.

It should be awkward in the shower, tense, with the two of them so close together, when they’ve barely spoken at all since Stiles arrived. But it’s nice, comforting, and Stiles gets to bask in Derek’s hands, his body, the way Derek laughs when he kisses him under the spray. Stiles’ heart thuds happily, and Derek blows bubbles into his face.


 

Stiles is asleep when the knock at the door comes. He’s asleep, and so is Derek, who’s lying pressed up against his stomach, one hand holding Stiles’ tightly.

“There’s someone at the door,” Stiles says sleepily, pressing his face into the back of Derek’s neck. They’d fallen asleep pretty much right after their shower the night before, and so they’re naked and spooning and Stiles doesn’t want to move.

The knock comes again, though, and Derek rolls out of bed, snatching his jeans from the night before and tugging them on before pulling open the door.

Stiles is incredibly tempted by the allure of sleep, the warmth of the pillow still under his face, but he’s equally attracted to the slope of Derek’s bare shoulders, the tensing of the muscles under his tattoo, and Stiles wants to lick him. So he decides to stay awake and watch Derek turn the stranger away.

And then that stranger turns out to be Derek’s mother, who pushes past him into the apartment and can see Stiles in Derek’s bed, very, very naked. Granted, he’s covered by a blanket, but still. It’s the principle of the thing.

“Well,” Talia says, and she’s half smiling, looking over at Derek. “I’m glad to see that that’s worked out at least. But I’m really here to get the cookie tins I left.”

She wanders into the kitchen nook and Stiles hurriedly dresses, something ugly and sad creeping in on him, ruining his moment. Derek watches, looking like he wants to say something. Stiles lingers by the bed.

“Stiles,” Talia says when she reappears, two red and white cookie tins tucked under her arm, “it’s good to see you. You’re welcome to join us for dinner tonight, at the house. Your father as well.”

“Mom,” Derek says, and Talia smirks.

“It’s useless, I always say, letting things in the past affect the present. Don’t you agree?” She closes the door behind herself on the way out.

They watch her go, her departure leaving a heavy silence in the loft, and Stiles clears his throat, sitting down on the edge of the bed. He thinks of the letter, and her apology, and he’s calculating everything in his head to try to find a lie, a hint of dishonesty, when Derek drops to his knees in front of him and asks, “If I tell you I love you are you going to get angry at me again?”

“You do have a habit of saying it at very inopportune times.”

“You said it first,” Derek reminds him.

“Yeah,” Stiles says, curling a hand around the nape of Derek’s neck. “I know.” He kisses Derek sweetly, distracted now by the closeness of him. “So, should I not go to dinner?”

“You should,” Derek mutters, mouthing down Stiles’ jaw. “If you want to.”

“Okay.”

“My dad makes a mean turkey.” His hands drift up under Stiles’ shirt. “And Cora makes the mashed potatoes. My mom makes the gravy.”

“Derek.”

“I toss the salad.”

Stiles laughs, the hilarity of the statement rocking through him. “Yeah, you do.”

“Besides.” Derek finally pulls back, meets his eyes. “I’ve never had someone I cared about enough to bring them to Christmas Eve dinner. It would be nice. I’d like it, if you were there.”

Stiles licks his lips. “That means you still—you still want this, even after—everything?”

“I told you,” Derek says. “I fell for you, harder than I’ve ever fallen for anybody. That hasn’t changed.”

“Are you sure?” Stiles has to ask.

Derek nods. “Positive.”


 

The next time Derek says I love you, it’s standing under mistletoe, being watched by his entire family (and Stiles’ dad). And it’s only after Stiles has said it first.