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“Shit, that’s Derek.” Stiles said, rolling over on the floor to grab his phone when it beeped from where it was under the couch where he’d tossed it earlier.

“Always go when he calls.” Scott muttered.

“Shut up.” Stiles told him. “He’s not what you think.”

“Really?” Scott asked. “He’s not an older man with a lot of money that buys you everything you want, including this apartment that’s literally right next to campus so you can walk to classes like he knows you like to because you don’t like buses?”

“He’s not my sugar daddy.” Stiles snapped, answering the text on his phone. “That’s not how we work.”

“How do you work then?” Lydia asked from the armchair. “Stiles he’s using you.”

“Just stop saying that.” Stiles snapped at them, glaring at her. “I’m leaving. Let yourselves out.”

“See?! You go immediately when he calls!” Scott exclaimed.

Stiles didn’t say anything, just glared at Scott and then stormed out of his apartment, leaving his friends to let themselves out when they were done watching the movie they had on.

Ten minutes later Stiles was letting himself into Derek’s house with tears on face.

“Der?” He called, his voice shaking a little.

“Stiles what’s wrong?” Derek asked, coming out of the living room in a hurry. He saw the tears on Stiles’s face and hurried towards him, pulling him close and looking him over for injuries. “Baby what’s happened? Are you hurt?”

“No nothing happened.” Stiles shook his head in Derek’s hands. “Just my friends being stupid again.”

“God I’m so sorry.” Derek whispered, pulling Stiles into a tight hug. “I don’t know why you stay with me when they’re like this. I’d be okay if you just wanted to end this.”

“No.” Stiles said firmly. “I’m not breaking up with you just because my friends are stupid.” He shook his head and stood back, putting on a smile. “Why did you ask me to come over?”

“I want to show you something.” Derek smiled. “Come on.” Derek took Stiles’s hand and pulled him down the hallway to the big artist studio that takes up the back of the house. He guided Stiles over to a big covered easel and stood them in front of it.

“Wait is this-?”

Derek smiled and reached forward to pull the sheet down, revealing the large canvas underneath and the painting on it. There was a tall figure in a red hoodie that was pulled down over his face, casting it into shadows. He was holding two swords out to his sides, the steel blades slick with blood along the last part of them. Behind him stood a black wolf that stared at the viewer with soft eyes that looked and yet protective of the figure in front of him. The background was a dark forest with creepy shadows that filled the painting with an air of danger and an gave the subjects an air of power.

“It looks amazing.” Stiles gaped. “I can’t believe you finished it.”

“Stayed up all last night working on it.” Derek blushed. “I just couldn’t put the brush down.”

“Derek!” Stiles exclaimed. “You promised me you’d go to sleep at a decent hour if I went back home for the night!”

“Sorry.” Derek shrugged, still blushing. “I got into it and couldn’t find it in me to stop.”

Stiles sighed. “I can never leave you alone for a night when you’ve got a personal project again, can I?”

Derek smiled. “If that means you never leave, I’m okay with that.”

“We’ve been through this before Derek.” Stiles sighed, leaning into Derek’s chest. “We’ve been officially dating for five months. My friends still think you’re my sugar daddy and that you’re just using your enormous amount of money to get in my pants. If I move in with you it will only encourage them.”

“I know.” Derek sighed, hugging Stiles tightly. “I just wish they’d get their heads out of their asses and see that it’s because I love you that I spend money on you, not because I like your ass. Although I do like your ass as well.” He smirked, reaching down to squeeze Stiles’s butt.

Stiles squawked and jumped away. “Not in the afternoon Derek! You know the rules!”

Derek laughed. “Well then come watch tv with me. I need to take a break from thinking about work.”

“Have you gotten more offers for commissions?” Stiles asked, tangling his fingers with Derek’s as they walked back out to the living room.

“Yea I got five more emails this morning.” Derek sighed. “That show I got to be a part of a last year really pushed me into the spotlight despite me not being a good artist.”

“You were in the New York Museum of Modern Art, Derek.” Stiles reminded him. “That makes you good. And now you’re offered millions for works of art. You’re an amazing artist.”

“I’m not.”

“Yes you are.”

“I’m really not.”

“You really are.”

“I’m not.” Derek said, pulling Stiles down onto his lap on the couch.

“You are just as much of a bad artist as you are a bad boyfriend.” Stiles told him. “And you know damn well that you’re the best boyfriend ever.”

Derek blushed.

“That’s adorable.” Stiles smiled, kissing Derek’s forehead.

Derek smiled and kissed Stiles. “What do you want to watch?”

“Whatever.” Stiles sighed, snuggling up against Derek’s chest. “Just make it something good to help me forget my stupid friends.”

*

“I want to meet Derek.” Scott declared, coming into the kitchen.

Stiles looked up in shock and choked on his sandwich. He coughed it out and looked at Scott again. “You want to meet him?! I offered that for three months and you refused every single time!”

“Allison told me I need to at least try.” Scott told him. “I’ve only ever thought of Derek as your sugar daddy and she says that if I want to stay your best friend I need to at least try to meet him and accept him as your boyfriend.”

Stiles smiled a little. “Okay. Tomorrow night is Taco Thursday at his house. You and Lydia can come along and meet him.”

“Fine.” Scott agreed. “Just don’t start making out in front of us. I’m not ready for that.”

Stiles chuckled. “I make no promises.”

*

“You’re sure about this?” Derek asked nervously.

Stiles smiled and nodded. “Yes I’m sure. We need to do this. They need to see how much I love you and how amazing you are at loving me.”

Derek still looked uncomfortable.

Stiles leaned over the island and poked his nose. “Stop frowning. Just be yourself and this will end well.”

Derek sighed. “I trust you.”

Stiles smiled as there was a knock at that the door. “Good. Go get the door and smile at them. We’ll eat first.”

“I love you.” Derek said, kissing Stiles on his way out of the room.

“Smile bitch!” Stiles called after him.

Derek laughed and the smile was still on his face when he opened the door to Scott and Lydia’s nervous faces. “Come on in.” He said, fighting to keep the smile on his face. The few times he’s encountered Stiles’s friends they’ve openly glared at him and seeing them nervous was very unsettling. “Stiles is in the kitchen finishing up dinner.” Derek told them. “We’re having tacos.”

“We know.” Scott said, moving past him and into the house. He slipped his jacket and shoes off in silence before walking down the hall to the kitchen, following the smell of tacos.

“I’m Lydia.” Lydia introduced. “I don’t like you.” With that declaration she copied Scott’s actions and went to the kitchen.

“This is going to go horribly.” Derek sighed. “I just hope Stiles doesn’t get hurt.”

*

Derek was right. Dinner was tense and awkward and Scott glared at Derek every time he reached out to touch Stiles reassuredly during the meal, only requiring Derek to touch Stiles reassuredly even more to stop Stiles from freaking out about how his best friend was glaring at his boyfriend. Lydia was almost silent the entire meal, only speaking when Stiles spoke directly to her and when she did speak it was in a short, clipped tone that actively declared how annoyed she was. Stiles was really starting to regret agreeing to Scott’s request. He only wished Allison could’ve come along to mellow Scott out but she had a night class teaching archery and couldn’t make it. He was also regretting not moving the date so she could come but there was no going back now. He had to deal with his choices.

“Alright I give up.” Stiles declared, getting up. “Derek and I are going to go into the living room to watch a movie like we always do on Thursday nights and you two can either leave or join us. At this point, I quite literally couldn’t care less.” Stiles stormed from the room and Derek quickly followed.

Scott and Lydia looked at each other.

“Allison will kill me if I don’t go in there.” Scott told her.

“And she’ll kill me as well.”

“Then let’s go.”

The two of them nodded and got up, going into the living room with their minds set. Stiles was curled up on Derek’s lap in the fluffy armchair so Scott and Lydia sat on the couch, watching the nearby couple.

“Watch the fucking movie.” Stiles ordered, not looking at his friends. He wasn’t pleased with how mean they’ve been all night.

Scott and Lydia looked at the screen.

The room was silent for a long moment before Stiles spoke again.

“I don’t understand why you hate this.” Stiles spoke quietly. “Allison met Derek within a month and she loves him. She comes over on Saturdays and helps me study for Ancient History while Derek paints and then we eat dinner together before she either goes home or spends the night in the guest bedroom depending on whether or not we need to study the next day as well. She and Derek get along famously and she helped him with one of his paintings that involved a hunter holding a bow and arrow. She doesn’t mind our relationship. And yet my two best friends, the boy I’ve known my whole life and the one girl I’ve met smart enough to discuss any topic with me at any time of day can’t get their fucking heads out of their asses and see that I love Derek and he loves me and it doesn’t matter what they think. I think they’re quite stupid and quite frankly I’m done trying to convince them to see what they refuse to even glance at.” Stiles fell silent, going back to just watching the movie in pissed off silence.

Scott and Lydia didn’t know what to say. They’d spent so much time thinking about how bad Derek is for Stiles they never even thought about how much their hatred of Derek was hurting Stiles. Niether one of them knew how to put into words the regret they were feeling and so neither of them spoke at all. In fact, nobody said anything as the movie played on, filling the awkward silent with the sounds of the action movie Stiles had chosen to distract himself from his friends.

*

By the end of the movie, Stiles was fast asleep.

“Let me put him to bed and I’ll see you out.” Derek whispered to Scott and Lydia, standing up and carrying Stiles easily from the room.

“We’re idiots.” Lydia whispered.

“I need to pee.” Scott snapped at her, running from the conversation. He moved towards the back of the house, looking for a bathroom, when he pushed open a door and found himself in a huge, spacious art studio. In the middle of the room was a half-covered painting that Scott felt himself drawn towards. He walked over to the painting and gently pulled the sheet from it, letting it pool on the floor as he stared at the painting. There was a man in a red hoodie that was so obviously Stiles despite the shadow hiding his face. Behind him was a wolf and it looked as if the man was protecting the wolf with the bloody swords held at his sides. Scott could easily tell that it was Stiles and Derek and that Stiles was protecting Derek despite Derek being the more dangerous creature.

“It’s called Trust.”

Scott jumped and spun around to see Derek leaning against the doorframe. “You painted this?”

“I know Stiles told you I’m an artist.” Derek told him. “I painted that for him.”

“It’s really good.”

“It was Stiles’s idea. I just brought it into existence.”

“I was wrong about you.”

“I know. And so did you. Stiles has told you a thousand times that I would never take advantage of him. I love him.”

“He loves you too.”

“I know.” Derek repeated. “Unlike you, I listen to him when he talks.”

“I’m sorry.” Scott forced out. “I never wanted him hurt. He’s my brother.”

“You stopped being his brother after three months of refusing to even try and meet me.” Derek told him. “So you better start making it up to him. You and Lydia both have a lot of work to do.”

Scott nodded. “I’m going to make it up to him. I promise. I won’t ever hurt him again.”

“I’m not the one you have to tell.”

*

Stiles woke up on Friday morning to Derek pressed against his back and the beeping of his phone. He grabbed it off the nightstand and flicked it open, punching in the Derek’s birthday as his password, and read the text on his screen.

I’m sorry Stiles. I’m so fucking sorry. I should never have doubted you when you said Derek wasn’t using you. He loves you. And I know you hate me right now but I want you to know that I’m going to make it up to you. All of it. And Lydia will too. We know we were wrong to hate him. We’re sorry.

Stiles smiled.

“What’s that?” Derek mumbled over his shoulder, bleary-eyed with sleep.

“An apology from Scott.”

“Good. Now put the phone down and go back to sleep. It’s too early to get up.”

Stiles smiled but did as told, snuggling back against the warmth behind him. “I love you.”

He felt Derek’s smile against his shoulder as Derek kissed it. “I love you too.”