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Temporary Fix has received your submission, and your application will be reviewed for approval. Once your membership is approved, we will send you a questionnaire to complete to begin the process of pairing you with the best match for your “temporary fix” based off of your specified needs.

Thank you for choosing Temporary Fix. We strive to maintain your privacy while providing the best possible service available. We know you have many options to choose from and appreciate your trust in us.  

The confirmation email reflects back at him from the bright display. Groaning, he blinks. It’s still there. He rubs his eyes. Nope, still there. He closes the email application and reopens it. Nothing changes. It doesn’t magically disappear. Instead, it continues mocking him from the screen. Shaking his head, he begins to accept the nightmarish reality that he had actually done it. After completing the application three months ago, he submitted it last night.

Oh, fuck. What had he been thinking? He knew he shouldn’t have had that last drink. Everything is fuzzy after that. He vaguely remembers getting back to his room and turning on his laptop to watch Netflix, but that’s it. The rest is a blank.

Just as his panic begins to decline, his laptop sounds, ratcheting it up even higher than before. For the love of God, now what?

*YOU HAVE NEW MAIL*

He hovers the mouse over the new email as his stomach takes up residence in his throat. May as well get this over with. Running his fingers through his hair and pulling with a tight grip, he picks ups a previously discarded baseball cap that he finds on his desk and tugs it on backwards, taking a deep breath before opening the email. Here goes nothing.

Congratulations!  

Your application has been approved, and you are on your way to connecting to your “temporary fix”. Whether it’s a company event, a date for the day, a hookup, a vacation companion, or even just someone to spend time with for a few hours, whether it’s formal, extremely casual, or somewhere in between, no matter what the requirements, you provide when and what your needs are and leave the rest to us.  

Please click here and complete the form. If you have an immediate need, we will begin the pairing process upon receipt.  

We are excited to begin your journey with you and look forward to connecting you with your “temporary fix”!  

Thank you again for choosing Temporary Fix.  

And of course, he’s always been too curious for his own good, so he clicks the link and quickly reads the top of the page.

Cheers on taking the first step! Let’s get started. Please complete the questionnaire below. Make sure to answer every question completely and honestly so that we can be as successful as possible in finding your perfect match.  

He bites his bottom lips and hesitates, unsure about continuing. On one hand, he really doesn’t want to go alone. On the other hand, this could end in disaster, and most likely will, if he’s completely honest. The internal battle comes to an abrupt halt when Boyd barges into his room. Quickly slamming the laptop shut, he stumbles out a stilted greeting. “Boyd. Um. Hi. What’s up?”

“Hey, Derek! I’m headed downstairs to the common room. They’re playing The Breakfast Club tonight. Wanna go with me?” he asks, eyebrows waggling up and down. “Molly Ringwald. I’m just saying.”

Derek shakes his head and chuckles at Boyd's antics. “Yeah, sure. Let’s go.” Unfolding himself from his chair and standing with a back popping stretch, he grabs his pillow and blanket before following his friend out the door. The email beckoning him from his laptop will still be there later. It can wait just a little longer.

 

~*~ Friday – Derek ~*~

 

The next morning, Derek opens his laptop to find the open form blinking back at him, tab still active in the browser. Breath whooshing out of his lungs, he moves the cursor to the first empty blank. He isn’t absolutely sure that he is ready to do this, but he knows he is running out of time to come up with a different solution. Boyd already has plans for that weekend, and he doesn’t want to show up alone again. Turning on some music for background noise, he begins to answer the questions as the opening chords of Trapt’s “Headstrong” fill the silence in the room.

  • Name (first name only): Derek

Well, that one was easy, he pats himself on the back. At least he got one answer right. Chuckling at himself, he tucks his feet under him, settling in and getting comfortable.

  • What name would you like to be called by your match? Well, my name is Derek, so let’s go with that.
  • Current Age: 18
  • Gender: male
  • DOB: February 14
  • Height: 6’
  • Hair Color: black
  • Eye Color: green/hazel

He releases the breath he hadn’t known he was holding. So far so good. Confidence boosting, he continues.

  • Sexual Identity: bi? I guess. I don’t know. I have never really put a label to it.
  • Sexually Active: no
  • Number of Tattoos: 0
  • Number of Piercings: 0
  • Do you have siblings? If yes, how many? yes, 1 older sister
  • Do you have any pets? no
  • Do you have any allergies to pets? no 
  • Personality Traits: compassionate, honest, generous, fair, loyal, peacekeeper, quiet, self-sacrificing, calm, sensitive, protective, a little insecure in new situations, shy

Derek pauses. Is that enough? Should he come up with more? Maybe embellish some? He decides to leave it as is and continues on.

  • Is there anything that a potential temporary fix match might need to know about you? Please list all other details about yourself that you would like to share. I don’t like to shave completely, so I always have some kind of scruff thing going on.. I can be excruciatingly shy and awkward until I know someone. I am protective of my family and friends and will do anything to keep them safe and away from harm. I don’t know.
  • Do you drink? How often? sometimes, socially
  • Do you smoke? How often? never
  • Medical Conditions: none
  • Current Medications: none
  • Do you currently have any STIs/STDs? no
  • Have you recently completed an STI/STD exam? If yes, when? yes, last month
  • Are you pregnant? no????

Derek snickers and rolls his eyes. That question was almost easier than his name. Still chuckling, he scrolls down the page to the next question.

  • Rank the words below in order of importance (1 important/10 not important, choose each number only once): This question was difficult. There needs to be a way to tie. My second and third answers are equally important. Honesty, trust, loyalty, and commitment all go hand in hand, don’t they? 
    • Touch: 1
    • Communication: 7
    • Loyalty/Commitment: 3
    • Honesty/Trust: 2
    • Sex: 8
    • Money: 10
    • Personality: 4
    • Appearance/Looks: 6
    • Gifts (receiving): 9
    • Words/Endearments (receiving): 5
  • Do you have an upcoming event that you need a “temporary fix” match to attend? yes

If yes, please continue below:  

  • Date: Thursday, September 28
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Place: my parents’ home in Manchester
  • Is this an overnight event? maybe, potentially through Monday, October 2
  • Type of Event: family hosted party/weekend
  • Attire: nice casual for Thursday dinner, normal everyday clothes for other times, swimwear
  • What is your preferred partner’s gender for this event? male is preferred, but female would be acceptable if a good match is found
  • Any important information your partner would need to know before deciding to accept this “temporary fix”? This weekend can be strictly platonic. I have no expectations for more. I think I should also mention that things may become very uncomfortable and difficult at times. A person comfortable with who they are would be best. I will provide transportation and all travel costs, including lodging and meals. The event is all weekend, but Thursday evening only is fine. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to stay, and I don’t want to interfere with their work/personal time any more than necessary. I will arrange travel home at any time for any reason, no questions asked.
  • Are you immediately available to be a “temporary fix” for someone else? As long as it doesn’t interfere with the dates above.
  • Are you available for overnight events? maybe, depends on the event and what is required, no hookups

Please attach a current photo here. When finished, please click the submit button below.

Already knowing exactly which picture he wants to use for his profile, Derek opens a file folder on his desktop and scans through the photos quickly. Finding the right one almost immediately, he attaches the photo that Boyd took of him last week at the preserve. Boyd had caught him in that moment just after laughing when his smile was the most natural, his eyes shining bright. His hair is a bit messy and soft from the wind that day. The backdrop of the trees only serves to add to the overall effect giving him a bit of a rugged look.

Anxiety floods him as he skims over the page reviewing his answers, his cursor coming to a stop and ghosting over the submit button. He flicks the cursor away. He can’t do this. What is he thinking? He can’t subject anyone else to this drama, especially a stranger. How fair would that be? Hands shaking, he runs his fingers back and forth through his hair and then down over his face. With a strangled sigh, he gives up and shuts his laptop.

Derek untangles himself from the chair and heads toward the bathroom. As soon as he takes three steps though, he stops. Taking a deep breath, he turns and takes two steps back to his laptop before he spins back around, shaking his head and hastily moving back away. When he reaches the bathroom door, he steels himself and changes his direction once again. He can’t show up alone. He won’t. Not this time. Never again. His body shakes with his indecision, and he tightens his resolve. Making his way back to his desk, he sits down and reopens his laptop before he loses his nerve. He can do this. It’s a piece of cake. Easy peasy. Not bad at all. Insert sarcasm here.

Before he can change his mind again, he shifts the cursor to the submit button and clicks. He can’t blame it on the alcohol this time. A confirmation email pops up immediately.

Thank you for your submission. If you have included a current request, you will receive an email within 72 hours with a suggested match for your “temporary fix” need; otherwise, we will contact you when a match becomes available for you to fill. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or updated information.  

Derek collapses the browser and shuts his laptop, dread and fear settling in his stomach. His heart is pounding. Blood is rushing in his ears. The walls are closing in, and he feels like he can’t breathe. He needs to get out of this room. Picking up his phone, he sends a text to Boyd.

Lunch?  

Without waiting for a reply, Derek throws his phone onto his bed and pulls off his shirt, his joggers not far behind, before heading into the bathroom to take a shower.

 

~*~ Friday – Stiles ~*~

 

“What the fuck is this, Jax?” Stiles demands as he storms into Jackson’s bedroom of their shared apartment, waving his hand at the open laptop in his other hand.

Jackson removes his headphones and rolls his eyes, before stating the obvious. “A laptop? Your laptop to be exact?”

“Don’t be a smart ass,” Stiles reproaches disdainfully. “What did you do?”

“You’re going to have to be a bit more specific,” Jackson says with a grin, obviously already knowing what Stiles is going on about but thoroughly enjoying watching his best friend squirm.

Stiles reads the email on the screen. “Your application has been approved, and you are on your way to connecting to your “temporary fix”.” He looks back at Jackson in annoyance. “What. Did. You. Fucking. Do?” 

“Oh, that. Yeah. I sent in your application to Temporary Fix last night,” Jackson answers nonchalantly and smiles, replacing his headphones before returning back to his sketchpad, his strokes confident and sure on the page.

Anger flaring, Stiles stares at him incredulously. His hands shake as he shuts his laptop and puts it carefully on Jackson’s dresser. He tongues at his lip ring for a minute, trying to calm himself. When he doesn’t succeed, he gives up and walks over to Jackson, pulls the puffy, white headphone speaker away from one ear and lets it go, watching in satisfaction as it recoils and snaps hard against his best friend’s head.

“Hey! What did you do that for?” Jackson grumbles, pulling the headphones completely off again and rubbing his ear.

Stiles huffs, unamused. “Why did you send in an application to Temporary Fix in my name?” Jackson just raises his eyebrows, staring back at him, as if the answer is obvious. Stiles rolls his eyes. “I don’t need a fucking temporary fix!” Stiles yells, patience gone.

A beat passes, then Jackson, as if talking to a child having a tantrum, calmly replies, “Sti, you need to get out of this apartment for something besides work. You need to be around people.”

“What are you on about? I’m a bartender, for crying out loud. I’m around people all the time. I’m around you,” he retorts.

“You know what I mean,” Jackson counters.

“No. I really don’t, dude.” Except Stiles knows exactly what he means.

Jackson levels him with a stare, “Just fill it out.”

“No.”

“Sti.”

“No,” he repeats firmly, unwavering.

Sighing in exasperation, Jackson blinks and waits in silent determination.

“No,” Stiles reiterates, just a little petulantly as he begins to relent, his irritation fading like the tide.

“At least, just think about it,” Jackson says.

Stiles hesitates at the compromise. Jackson lifts his eyebrows in question, a smug smirk in place, knowing he’s won this round.

“Fine,” Stiles finally agrees, even while knowing he has no intention of doing so. Seriously, why bother thinking about something when he already knows he’s not going to do it to begin with? Alright, yeah, he probably will at least think about it; but he’s not admitting that to Jackson, or himself for that matter.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles sets up eight glasses and begins making several individual drinks for the customer in front of him. As he expertly fills the glasses, he looks to the next customer, “What can I get you, love?”

“Three Gimlets, two Snakebites, a Whiskey Sour, a Manhattan, six shots of Jack, three pints, and your phone number,” the pretty brunette girl responds with a smile.

“Fresh out of phone numbers, but I can get you the drinks,” he easily responds with a flash of a bright smile while finishing up the previous customer’s order without missing a beat.

He hands the customer his change, who throws it into the tip jar, and begins making the brunette’s drink order.

“I’ll make it worth your time,” the girl continues, batting her eyes at Stiles as he continues to work in rapid fire motion filling drinks. He lifts his eyebrows in response but doesn’t otherwise acknowledge the bold invitation.

He looks to the next customer, recognizing him from earlier in the evening, “Back already? 2 more pints?”

The man smiles shyly and nods his answer. Stiles winks and looks to the next customer, “What are you having tonight, dude?”

“Three pints, two gin and tonics, and a Tequila Sunrise,” the young ginger man calls out to him.

Stiles sets up the glasses and finishes the brunette’s order. When he turns back to her to cash her out, she presses on, “And your number?”

“Sorry, doll, I don’t give out my number.” He hands the girl her change. “Have a nice night,” he says by way of dismissal, while pouring the pints for the next customer and setting up glasses for the one after.

Stiles focuses on the third customer now in line, “Another round of tequila shots?”

“Please,” the man nods, “and can you add an extra bowl of limes?”

“You good on salt?” Stiles asks.

“Yes, thanks,” the man confirms.

Stiles hands the two pints to the man in front of him, makes his change, and begins filling glasses for the next order. As he puts the finishing touches on the Tequila Sunrise, he grabs the glasses for the tequila shots and the limes, making sure to grab an extra bowl.

He looks up as he is cashing out the red headed man and sees the brunette girl still standing there.

“I’m sorry. Did I miss something on your order?” Stiles asks already knowing he didn’t. He is nothing if not proficient at what he does.

“Your number,” the girl smirks and leans forward letting the plunging v-neck of her shirt gape open.

Stiles continues making the tequila shots and takes the next customer’s order. Looking back to the girl, he keeps his eyes trained on her face, hoping to make his point clear, as he says bluntly, “I’m really not interested.”

For a split-second, confusion flickers across her face as if she had never heard those words before. Stiles would laugh if he didn’t think it would encourage her. “But no one turns me down,” she pouts, red, painted lips pursed in what he thinks she probably assumes is cute. It’s really not.

“First time for everything, sweetheart. Now scoot. In case you missed it, it’s a bit chaotic in here tonight; and I’m working alone behind the bar,” he softens the hard edge to his words with a small smile. He knows the girl isn’t likely to give up easily, and he really doesn’t want to be rude; but he’s losing his patience with her.

“I’ll come back later,” she promises.

“Please, don’t,” he mumbles under his breath before shooting a smile to the customer in front of him and taking the next order.

To say the bar is a zoo tonight would be an understatement. It’s the normal craziness for a Friday night, but usually he has another bartender with him behind the bar. Unfortunately, the other bartender called in at the last minute; and by last minute, he means well after his shift was supposed to start. The barback was also missing in action, currently at the hospital awaiting the birth of his child. The man tried to come in to work, had actually shown up; but when he had walked in the door, Stiles had shooed him out of the building and told him to go be with his girlfriend.

Stiles hasn’t been able to reach anyone else to fill in, so other than a couple of waitresses and bouncers, he’s solo. Jackson normally would help, but tonight he has an art class that he couldn’t miss. Something about a naked model? He can’t remember. He doesn’t have time to remember.

Stiles brings himself back from his thoughts to the job in front of him and rolls his head around to each side, popping his neck and loosening up the tight muscles. He hasn’t stopped filling drinks, already several customers past the tequila shots. Hell, he hasn’t stopped filling drinks since the bar opened five hours ago. A very long five hours ago. To be completely honest, he could use a piss and some fresh air, but mainly a piss. Oh, God, does he need a piss.

Stiles startles as a hand shoots across the bar directly in front of him, “You look like you could use some help. Name’s Danny.” He looks up to see a man about his age smiling at him, hand extended in greeting.

“You know your way around a bar?” Stiles questions while setting up the next two customers’ orders and looking to the following person in line. “What can I get you tonight?”

Once the customer places his order, Danny responds, “Yes.”

“Have you been drinking?” Stiles questions. There is no way would he invite a drunk person behind the bar.

“Not in the last three hours and only a single pint before that.”

Stiles scrutinizes the man in front of him before nodding and tilting his chin toward the pass to the bar, “Let’s see it then.” He continues setting up glasses and making drinks as Danny heads to the far end of the bar and lifts the pass, lowering it behind him after stepping through.

“I’m Red. No barback tonight. Clean up what you can back here as you go. I will make a run to the back shortly to stock up; so, pay attention to what we need, and let me know if anything gets too low that needs more immediate attention,” Stiles instructs with rapid fire words when Danny sidles up beside him. “Aprons are under the till. Towels are behind you.” He shoots Danny a shit eating grin, “Welcome to Hell.”

Danny grabs the half apron and ties it around his waist, moving to Stiles’ right side without any hesitation in his body language. He looks to the next customer, “What are you having tonight?”

Stiles is surprised at how fast and efficient Danny works and even more surprised at how well they work together. Most people can’t keep up with Stiles and end up in his way more often than not, only serving to piss him off, which usually leads to him telling the other person to fuck off and leave. That’s usually followed by tears and yelling and a whole big scene that Stiles typically doesn’t have the time or patience for. While Danny isn’t quite as fast as Stiles, they move together as if they have been doing this for years rather than just shy of an hour.

“Man, I need to piss,” Stiles grumbles to Danny quietly under his breath, hidden by a smile he is giving the customer in front of him.

“Go. I’ll hold down the bar,” Danny offers.

“Dude, we’re swamped. I can’t just leave you here to face the madness alone.”

“It’s fine. You won’t be gone that long. Just go before you piss yourself right here behind the bar.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Stiles pauses and tosses a wink to Danny. “Or the second.”

A look of horror flashes across Danny's face before he laughs and points away from the bar, “Go! I am not cleaning that shit up.”

With a short, grateful nod, Stiles removes his apron and throws it into the wash bin as he exits through the pass, moving swiftly into the employees only area. As soon as the door shuts behind him, he begins pulling at the button and zipper of his jeans to relieve the pressure and prays he makes it in time. He honestly isn’t sure it’s not already too late. His time is running out rapidly by the second. By the time he ducks into the private bathroom, he is shuddering with his need to piss; and his body spasms with the intense feelings.

It’s with an audible gasp that he finally relieves himself, his bladder’s demands ebbing. He washes his hands at the tap and walks to the stock room, grabbing two buckets of ice to replenish the bar. Carrying them on his shoulders, he enters the main area and sits the buckets behind the bar before making another trip to get a keg to replace the one that is already empty.

By the time he gets back with the fresh keg less than a minute later, he sees the two ice buckets have already been dumped into the ice basins. He takes the buckets and empty keg to the back and returns with a crate of glasses and a box of a variety of different liquors to have on hand as backstock before they run out behind the bar.

Stiles glances over at Danny and wonders if the man needs a full-time job. He hasn’t stopped working since stepping behind the bar. Stiles pulls out a fresh apron and ties it around his waist then takes a towel and throws it over his shoulder for easy access.

“Better?” Danny asks when Stiles slides back into place next to him.

“Fuck, yes. I literally had seconds left. There was real concern that I was going to leave a trail. Thanks, dude.”

They fall back into a rhythm and work together to keep the line moving. Four hours later, they ring the bell for last call. As expected, a crowd rushes to the bar and for the next half hour, the two continue to work completely in sync. When the line subsides to only a handful of people, Stiles takes an empty bussing tub, walks out to the customer area, and begins clearing tables, leaving Danny to take care of the last few orders.

“So, about that number,” he hears seconds before he feels a body push against him from behind. He tenses at the unwelcome contact. Nothing about him screams approachable or amenable to touch. That is one hundred percent purposeful. Why this girl thought otherwise, he will never begin to comprehend, nor does he want to. He just wants her to be no longer touching him.

“Please, just give it up. I’m not interested,” he says steadily, yet irritated that the girl won’t just get the message. He really hates being the bad guy, but his patience is worn thin from the long night and is quickly diminishing to nonexistent.

“We could have so much fun later if you would just give me your number.” She presses closer against him, purring in his ear, “You don’t even have to wear a condom.”

Disgusted by the thought of barebacking this slag, Stiles’ body convulses violently. “For crying out loud, take the hint and leave,” Stiles snaps harshly through gritted teeth, finally beyond brassed off.

“Would you rather just go out back then? I would be alright with you fucking me against a wall as long as the end result is your cock filling me up,” she murmurs and runs her fingers down the back of his neck.

Dreading what he knows is about to happen, he sighs. His eyes land on the bouncer watching him from across the room, and he lifts his chin with a sharp jerk before turning around to face the girl. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

A look of incomprehension crosses her face, “What are you talking about?”

“He means to say that you are no longer welcome at Midnight Memories. Harassment of any kind, to anyone, is not tolerated. Please come with me,” the bouncer replies smoothly, taking over.

“You’re kicking me out? Who the hell do you think you are? Do you know who I am?” she yells at Stiles, her voice screeching in decibels only dogs should be able to hear.

“Don’t care.” With that, Stiles nods to the bouncer and continues cleaning tables. The bouncer dips his head in understanding and escorts the arguing, flailing girl from the building.

An hour and a half later when the last customers finally leave, Stiles silences the music and turns the lights up. He puts his hands on the bar, arms locked and takes a deep breath, looking around at the mess in the room in front of him. It really sucks being down a barback; but given a chance to change his decision, he would do the same thing all over again.

He takes a deep breath and braces himself for the daunting task ahead. Time to clean and set the bar to rights. Pushing off the surface of the bar, he begins emptying remnants of drinks into a bin and then racking the dirty glasses into a washing crate to be run through the dishwasher.

A movement to his left draws his attention. He glances up, startled to see Danny wiping tables. “You’re still here? Were you here by yourself tonight?”

“No, I came with friends. They left a couple of hours after I got behind the bar.”

“Why didn’t you say so? You didn’t have to stay. I would have managed,” Stiles says, feeling a little guilty for taking Danny away from his friends all night, even if it was Danny that offered to help to begin with.

“I was enjoying myself. Besides, you needed the help; and to be honest, I miss being behind a bar,” Danny ducks his head, showing a sudden shyness that surprised Stiles. Interesting. Danny is proving to be more complex than he previously assumed, which is a benefit when it comes to meeting each customer’s specific needs and dynamics as a bartender. Yes. He nods his head. This is definitely a good thing.

“For what it’s worth, I was happy to have you,” Stiles admits.

“Thanks. I’m glad I could help. Everyone was pretty nice tonight, even in midst of the chaos. The vibe here is very relaxed without taking away the fun. What was the deal with that one girl, though? She looked like someone pissed in her Cheerios when the bouncer took her out yelling and screaming.” Danny giggles, remembering her outrage.

“She wanted my number. I wasn’t interested,” Stiles shrugs.

“Any particular reason why not?” he asks out of curiosity, lifting an eyebrow.

Stiles mock gasps, “Is that your way of asking me if I’m gay?” He grabs at his chest dramatically and watches as Danny’s face drops in embarrassment.

“What? No!” Danny tries to backpedal. “I mean, it’s alright if you are, but you don’t have to tell me. I wasn’t asking though. I just thought maybe you prefer someone with a more specific look,” Danny's eyes widen at the words that just came out of his mouth. “Not looks like if they have a penis or not but like hair color or build or, oh God, not build like male or female, but like, you know, tall or short or skinny or soft or muscular,” his arms begin to flap around as if of their own accord. Pausing only briefly, he sucks in a breath of air and quickly deflates, “Fuck. Like personality or looks or something. Yeah, like that.”

Stiles stifles his smile while he watches Danny flounder, before letting him off the hook and succumbing to his laughter.

Baffled by Stiles’ response, he asks, “Wait. Are you gay?”

Smirking as his laughter begins to subside, Stiles raises one pierced eyebrow. “Does it matter?”

“No. Not really. You’re a great person. That’s all that really matters,” he says honestly.

“How do you know that?”

“Know what?” Danny asks, tilting his head curiously, reminding Stiles of an adorable puppy.

“That I’m a great person.” Stiles pauses his cleaning to look at Danny.

“Just instinct, I guess. You have a way with people. They love you, and you make each person feel special. I don’t think you forgot a single order tonight, even repeat orders. Plus, after watching your patience with that girl tonight, it cemented it for me.”

“Good instincts,” Stiles remarks with a grin before returning to the task in front of him. He tosses more trash into the bin and then hefts out the full bag effortlessly.

“So, why weren’t you interested?” Danny picks up their conversation easily.

“It’s hard to explain.” Stiles shrugs. “For one thing, I try not to date customers, as it only ever brings drama; but even then, she wasn’t my type.”

“That’s fair. What is your type then?” Danny looks up and sees Stiles staring back with his pierced eyebrow raised again and a teasing smirk on his lips, tongue playing with the ring at the corner of his mouth. Before Stiles can respond, Danny clarifies, “Barring gender preferences, that is.”

Stiles wrinkles his nose. “She was too… I don’t know how to define it. She was just too in my face, too pushy, I guess. And arrogant, very arrogant and entitled.” He visibly winces as he thinks back to what had happened. “She never would have been able to handle my personality.”

“I just met you, and even I can see that. She was definitely something else. I can’t see anyone tolerating her for long,” Danny grins.

“Yeah. That’s putting in nicely,” Stiles chuckles.

“Plus, she doesn’t have a dick,” Danny ribs offhandedly, eyes cutting to Stiles.

Stiles barks out a loud laugh, “Oh, my God! Are you on that again?” He winds up his damp towel and pops it at Danny's ass, a thunderous crack filling the air. Danny's yell fills the quiet around them, as he darts away to safety behind the bar.

They continue to talk and laugh, conversation flowing free and effortless as they clean the bar, prepping everything for the next day. Stiles marvels again at how efficiently they work together.

“Is there anything else that needs to be done?” Danny asks, inspecting the finally clean and well put together bar.

“No. We are golden. Thanks for the assist tonight,” Stiles says walking over to the till and taking out $200.00 and handing it to Danny. “Half the tips and two hundred on top sound alright?” He grabs the tip jar and empties it onto the bar top.

Danny steps back and holds up his hands, palms out. “Not necessary. I am just glad I could help.”

“Really, dude. Take it. You earned it. I was…”

“You were fantastic. I was just excited to be able to work with someone like you. Everyone in the building was content from the customers to the other employees. You remembered huge stacked orders like no one I have ever met before. You even remembered who was drinking what when they came back to order again. Your memory blows my mind. You are truly amazing.”

“Thank you,” Stiles responds with a small smile at the compliment. “It helps that I love it here.”

“It definitely shows.” Danny watches as Stiles almost imperceptibly preens at his comment. If he hadn’t been looking directly at him, he would have missed it. Stiles has the “don’t fuck with me” vibe down to an art.

“You know, you worked well behind the bar with me. Most people can’t do that. Are you looking for a job?” Stiles asks. He knows Danny would be a perfect match to work with him regularly. It just feels right, and it’s been a while since anything has felt this right to him.

“Do you think they would hire me?” Danny asks, surprised at the suggestion.

“I’m pretty sure.” Stiles tilts his head to the side assessing the emotions flickering over Danny's face. Surprise. Insecurity. Curiosity. Humility. Grace. In that order. “Are you up for it?”

With a brief nod, Danny answers, “Where do I sign up?”

Stiles smiles, “You just did.” He offers his hand. “Hi. Let me reintroduce myself. I’m Stiles, and this is my bar. Are you free tomorrow night? Or, I guess I should say, later today. We open at 4:00 p.m.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Saturday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek wakes up early Saturday morning after a restless sleep and glances out the window, seeing the rising sun just beginning to peak over the horizon. It’s been less than 24 hours since he submitted his request for a Temporary Fix match, and the anxious feeling in this stomach hasn’t subsided.

He reaches over to his nightstand and grabs his laptop from where he left it last night after watching Netflix and opens it. Logging in to his email with barely contained excitement, disappointment floods him when he doesn’t find an email yet. What if they lost his request? What if it didn’t work? What if the site failed? Will he have to start over? His eyes widen. Oh, my God! What if they can’t find him a date? What if no one accepts? He feels panic overtaking him at that thought.

72 hours. It’s been less than 24 so far. 72 hours. At most, he has 56 hours left. Ugh! 72 hours. Who has that kind of time and patience? Are they trying to kill people?

Taking a deep breath, he pushes the thoughts back as far as he can. Stretching until his back realigns, he settles back and scratches his belly lightly. He is never going to survive the next couple of days if he doesn’t find something to do. Moving to his bookmarks, he clicks on a celebrity news site to kill some time.

“Up All Night” actress, Allison Argent, 21, was spotted being escorted from the popular bar, Midnight Memories, in the very early hours of the morning. Witnesses say, Ms. Argent was yelling obscenities and making threatening remarks. The video below shows Ms. Argent swinging at a bouncer and causing a disturbance. Police arrived at the location and removed Ms. Argent from the scene. There are no further details at this time. Please stay tuned for more updates as we receive them.

Derek shakes his head in disgust. Why do people act like that? When do people finally grow up and act like adults? He clicks the link and watches the video, a frown marring his countenance. His generation disappoints him.

The bar name tickles at his brain and seems familiar, so he opens a separate tab in his browser and types in Midnight Memories. When the page loads, he recognizes it instantly as a bar about ten miles away. Boyd and he have never been because the line to get in is always wrapped around the building.

Disregarding the early hour, he picks up his phone and shoots a text to Boyd.

Midnight Memories. Tonight. You up for it?  

Knowing it will be a while before he gets a response and also knowing that the response will be “yes” because it’s Boyd, he gets ups and starts digging through his closet for something to wear. As expected, Boyd responds a couple of hours later, when normal people who aren’t up with the chickens usually get up.

Why not? Let’s do it.

 

~*~ Saturday – Stiles ~*~

 

It is mid-afternoon when Stiles jolts awake to Jackson opening the door to his room with a loud bang.

“Time to get up, Lazybones,” Jackson’s cheerful voice assaults him.

“Go fuck yourself,” Stiles mumbles just loud enough to be heard.

“It’s already 2:30 p.m., Sti. You have to get ready for work.”

“Go. The. Fuck. On.” he says, raising his voice, before covering his head and digging deeper into the warm cocoon of the blankets around him.

“Alright. You leave me no choice,” Jackson warns giving Stiles approximately two seconds before pulling the bedding back and dumping a bowl of frozen marbles into the bed with him. Stiles immediately shifts to get away; and holy fuck, the marbles follow. He can’t get away from them no matter where he goes in the bed.

“What? Oh, my God! Fuck! What is that? What’s wrong with you? Why did you do that?” Stiles yells as he jumps out of the bed and away from the frozen balls of Boreas.

“Good. Now that you are up, take a shower and get ready for work,” Jackson orders, matter of fact, ignoring the questions being thrown at him.

“I hate you,” Stiles growls as he pulls his boxers off, having stripped off the rest of his clothes last night before falling into bed.

“I love you, too,” Jackson calls over his shoulder, leaving the room.

Stiles walks into the bathroom and turns on the shower to let the water heat up before stepping in. The hot water rains down over him relaxing his tight muscles, and he contemplates filling out the Temporary Fix questionnaire. He hasn’t really had much time to think about it until now.

Maybe Jackson is right. Maybe he does need to be around other people. Maybe he needs to make some more friends, perhaps even date again. His cock twitches. Or maybe he just needs to get laid. Fuck this. He drops his hand between his legs to his stiffening dick. He can take care of this himself. He doesn’t need a damn “temporary fix”.

Half an hour later, Stiles wraps a towel around his waist, grabs his laptop, and goes to the kitchen to grab something to eat for lunch before work. He makes a sandwich and pulls out the chips and a bottle of water, then sits at the table and opens his laptop.

After logging in, he sees the unanswered email from Temporary Fix in his inbox.  Screw that shit. He closes the email and clicks the link to order supplies for the bar. Making quick work of the sandwich while completing the order, he downs the water and glances at the clock. Time to go.

As he heads toward his room, he loosens the towel at his waist and throws it haphazardly into the bathroom as he walks by. Putting his laptop on the nightstand, he looks around for something clean to wear and realizes that he really needs to do laundry. He picks up a pair of black, ripped skinny jeans that look mostly clean and a black drop armhole tank from the drawer. Pulling them on, he checks himself over in the mirror. He runs his fingers through his still damp hair and styles it the best he can without drying it. Calling it good enough, he picks up his phone from the bed and slips it into his back pocket. Sliding into his Vans by the front door, he grabs his wallet and keys and heads out the door for work.

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“Come on, Boyd. Hurry up,” Derek nudges his friend to walk faster.

“I’m coming. I’m coming. Where’s the fire?” Boyd grumbles good-naturedly.

Derek sighs, “I just want to get there before the line gets any longer. I told you we should have gotten here before they opened.”

Boyd points to the bar encouragingly, “Look! It’s less than a block away.”

Derek groans when he sees the line. “We are never going to get in. That line will take hours.”

“No, it won’t. It will move fast; and we will get in and have a fantastic time. Positive thoughts make positive outcomes,” Boyd singsongs as Derek continues to grumble beside him.

“Fine, you win; but the first round is on you.”

“Deal.”

They hurry down the last block and get in line, noticing several more groups of people coming up behind them. The cool night air is a welcome change to the blistering summer they had, making the wait tolerable.

People watching to pass the time, Derek takes notice of how many different types of people are there. He finds it mildly interesting how they have all come together in one place, everyone being respectful and chatting amongst themselves. It’s obvious no one is trying to be anything but themselves which provides Derek some relief. He had agonized all day on what to wear, finally settling on tight black jeans, a nearly sheer black henley, and his favorite black boots. The only thing that would make them better was if they were leather; but he couldn’t afford the name brand ones on the allowance he receives for school, and there was no way his dad would buy them.

“This place must be amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it open without a line of people outside,” he mentions to Boyd.

“Yeah. I hear that they have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind. Like immediate removal from the bar. No second chances. Plus, the guys at school told me that the regular bartender is amazing.”

“He is, darling; and yes, this place is fantastic. These six-inch heels only come out for the best,” a soft, deep voice says from in front of them.

Derek looks up to see a group of what appears to be five or six drag queens just ahead of them. The owner of the voice smiles down at him before continuing, “I love your jeans, sweetheart. You simply must tell me where you got them.”

Before he can respond, another voice interrupts from behind them, “Girl, you are working those heels. I wish I had your confidence and, let’s be honest, balance. I’d fall all over myself. It so wouldn’t be pretty. There would be sprawling, ill-timed underwear flashes, and probably tears before I walked more than three steps.”

Everyone laughs; and just like that, the conversation flows easily among them. Before Derek realizes it, they are each handing their ID to the bouncer and being waved through into the bar.

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

“You’re working barback tonight,” Stiles says.

“What? Why? I’m supposed to be on bar with you tonight,” Aiden argues.

“And now you’re not. Bar is covered.” His tone brooks no argument.

“By who?” Aiden pushes, clearly nonplussed at who could replace him.

“Danny,” Stiles replies shortly, filling the glasses in front of him and setting up the next order.

“Who the fuck is Danny? I always work bar with you.” Aiden crosses his arms over his chest.

Stiles jerks his thumb over his shoulder at Danny who wasn’t just on time, but fifteen minutes early, unlike Aiden who just finally showed up an hour late. “Him. Now, introduce yourself and get to it. We need two kegs brought up and three crates of glasses. Restock the towels and fill the ice bins. When you are done, work the floor and keep the empties picked up.”

He looks to the next customer in line, a young, black man with a blinding smile. “What are you having tonight?”

“A pint and something pink or red. I don’t care what. Something with a cherry,” the man says, his smile growing in an extremely mischievous way.

Stiles laughs and plays along with the game. “How strong?”

“Is there such thing as a pink or red drink that’s actually strong?” the man asks, amusement lining his words.

“Oh, dude, you have no idea.”

“Go for it. Make it as strong as you want. It’s for my friend anyway,” he laughs. “He needs to loosen up tonight.”

“Will do, but I should warn you. You don’t know what you’re asking for,” Stiles teases with a wink as he grabs a jar from the glass rack.

“Why does the new guy get to work behind the bar?” Aiden interrupts, still standing there, not working.

Stiles barely spares him a glance while continuing to take orders and filling drinks, hoping to avoid a scene. He sees Danny hunch in on himself, trying to become invisible while still managing to handle the customers in front of him.

“It’s Saturday night. No way can he handle working bar with you his first night,” Aiden forges on with a smug look on his face as his confidence builds.

“Who says it’s his first night?” Stiles asks, sarcasm only just masked.

“I work every night the bar is open. I would have seen him before,” Aiden assertively replies.

And that’s it. Stiles has had enough. Remaining calm, he replies, voice quiet and unyielding, “Where were you last night? Oh, wait, that’s right. Not here. You called in. Thirty minutes after your shift started. But guess who was here. That’s right. Danny. And he was fantastic. Now, please, get to work or go home.”

Aiden grouses but goes to the back to grab the kegs, knowing that there was no arguing with Stiles when he had made up his mind.

Stiles hands the man his pint and a large red drink in a jar, several extra cherries included. When he pulls out his wallet to pay, Stiles holds up a hand, “On me. Let me know how it goes,” he says with a smirk and a wink, already moving to take care of the next customer.

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek’s eyes squint dubiously when Boyd gets back to their table carrying what looks like a really big mason jar full to the brim of some red concoction. “What is that?”

“I don’t know,” Boyd answers honestly. “I just told the bartender to make something pink or red with cherries.”

Derek looks horrified at that thought. “That sounds terrifying. Why the hell would you do that?”

“Hey! No complaints. He gave it to us on the house, so drink up.”

“Really? Why would he just give it to you?” he asks perplexed as to why the bartender would just give away drinks. Isn’t that a little counterproductive?

“Don’t know. Don’t care. It was free. I wasn’t going to argue,” Boyd retorts letting his body move to the beat. “Hurry up, and get to drinking. I want to dance.”

An hour later, Derek is still feeling the buzz of the drink seeping into him with every passing minute. “Hey, Boyd,” he drops his arms over his friend from behind, resting his chin on his shoulder. “I want another one of those drinks you got me.”

“Go get one then.”

“I want you to get it for me. The bartender doesn’t know me. He already knows you.” Derek kisses Boyd soundly on the cheek. “Besides you’re my bestest friend, and you loveeeee me.” He grinds up against Boyd in time to the rhythm of the music.

Boyd laughs at Derek’s behavior. “Fine. Fine,” he relents. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles looks down the line past the two customers in front of him to the third as he begins to stack orders and sees the man from earlier. “Back for more?”

“Definitely, yes.” The man bobs his head.

“Same thing or something different?” Stiles tilts his head, trying to get a read on the man.

“Same thing.”

Stiles nods his head to indicate his understanding and knocks out the current orders. When the smiling man reaches the bar, Stiles grins in greeting as he sets up the drinks.

“I don’t know what you put in that drink, but my friend is the most relaxed that I have seen him in months. You’re magic. That’s what it is. That’s the only way to explain it. Where’s your wand? Can I see your wand? I want to touch it.”

“A bit forward to be talking about touching my wand, isn’t it?” Stiles teases with a cocked brow. Boyd’s loud laugh tells him his play on words hit the mark. “It’s a secret recipe,” Stiles divulges after their laughter dies down. “Seriously though. It’s very strong and will sneak up on you before you know it. It releases slow into your system; but once you realize it’s hit you, it’s too late. You’re already gone. I won’t sell anyone more than one an hour with a three-drink max for the night. Most people can’t even keep two down for long.”

“I’ll make sure to keep an eye on him then. Thanks for the warning.”

“Hey, Red,” Danny calls out to get his attention. “We need to replenish several liquors that are running low. Do you want me to run to the back and get them?”

“Nah. Find Aiden, and tell him what you need. I think I saw him bussing tables a few minutes ago.”

“I don’t mind,” Danny offers before Stiles stops him.

“You may not mind, but I do. Aiden is working barback tonight.” Stiles focuses on the seating area and spots him by the restrooms, draped over a pretty red headed girl.

“Aiden!” Stiles calls out loud enough to be heard over the music. He watches as Aiden pulls a face and pushes away from the girl before making his way to the bar. “You’re here to work, not play. The bar needs to be filled. Get with Danny on what we need, and then stock up.”

Aiden walks over to Danny with shuffled steps and mutters under his breath, “Yeah, like he would know.”

“What was that?” Stiles asked, having heard the other man clearly but giving him a chance to change his attitude.

“Nothing,” he says, then asks Danny for a list of what currently needs to be stocked.

Stiles hands the drinks to the beaming man in front of him, shaking off the bad feeling of the confrontation he knows is coming tonight with Aiden. “Here you go. I started a tab for you. Come see me to cash out before you leave.”

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“Thank God you’re back, Boyd,” Derek yells over the music, a slur to his words. “I missed you.”

“I’m here now, dude.”

Derek grabs his drink from Boyd and takes a big gulp, moaning as the drink slides smoothly down his throat. Sticking two of his long fingers in the jar, he pulls out one of the cherries. Popping it into his mouth and sucking the drink off his fingers, he groans in pleasure. “Thanks. This drink is so good. What’s it called so I can order it again?”

“He didn’t say. He only said that it was a secret recipe and that there are limits on it.”

“Limits?” Derek looks at Boyd, head feeling a bit skewed.

“Yeah. Something like only one every hour with no more than three in a night or something like that. I don’t know for sure.”

“Hmmm. I wonder why,” Derek ponders aloud. “I don’t feel like it’s doing much at all.” Taking another big drink, he spins Boyd onto the dance floor.

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles rings the bell for last call and sees the man from earlier again as he steps up to the end of the line. Getting the man’s attention, he raises his eyebrows in question. The man nods with that sunny smile that never seems to leave his face.

Stiles adds the two glasses to his set up line and continues filling the drinks. He again makes eye contact with the man, who is still several people deep in line, and motions with his head for him to come up to the side. When the man moves out of line and up to the side of the bar, Stiles hands him the drinks.

“Settle up later,” Stiles says and continues filling drinks.

When the line begins to die down, Stiles taps Danny’s arm to get his attention. “I’m going to head to the back to grab stock for closing and to check inventory. If a young, black man in a blue shirt with a big smile comes to pay for his drinks, tell him it’s on the house tonight but to come back soon. I’d like to meet his friend that has had three “Stiles Specials”. Usually, we have yak clean up duty before the end of the second one.”

Danny nods in silent acknowledgement and continues serving the remaining people in line.

Stiles opens the pass on the bar and closes it behind him. While walking to the back, he sees Aiden hanging over a brunette girl in a short dress. Well, it’s not really a dress. It looks more like a shirt from what Stiles can tell.

“Aiden,” Stiles calls out. “Start bussing tables or go home.”

Aiden’s face turns crimson. “Fuck you, Red. I’m out of here. I’ll see you next week.”

“You can pick up your last check on Monday at 3:30 p.m.,” Stiles coolly responds.

“What? Last check?” Aiden splutters.

Here we go. “Yes, Aiden. Last check. Final paycheck. Whatever you want to call it. It all boils down to the same thing.”

“You’re firing me? Really? What the fuck?”

“Appears so,” Stiles confirms, praying to whatever god will listen that Aiden leaves without causing a scene tonight.

“What about my tip out for working barback?” Aiden presses.

“It will be included in your final check,” Stiles replies before continuing on his path to the back, effectively dismissing the former employee.

Two hours later, the last customer finally exits the bar when Danny takes a deep breath and blurts out, “I didn’t mean to get anyone fired.”

“You didn’t. No worries,” Stiles returns as he starts closing down the bar.

“But Aiden,” Danny begins before Stiles cuts him off.

“Aiden was on his way out the door already. He made his own choices. I just helped him along. I’m not concerned about it, and you shouldn’t be either,” he states. Wiping his hands on a towel, he picks up the work schedule from behind the bar. “What does your regular availability look like?”

“Whatever you need, man,” Danny responds with a smile. “I am free whenever.”

“Perfect. You’re good at what you do, the customers like you, and I think you will work out really well as my second. You already work with me behind the bar better than anyone I have ever worked with, including Aiden. I will give you a list of the hours we are open. If you need any time off or remember anything that might conflict, just let me know as soon as possible so I can get you covered.”

Danny flushes at the compliment, “Thanks. I like it here. I think this is going to be a good thing.”

“Good to hear. Now let’s knock out this cleaning so we can go home before the sun comes up. I’m beat.”

Danny pushes through the door to the back to start a load of glasses in the washer, while Stiles tackles the bar area and starts bussing tables. A few minutes later, the door to the bar opens; and Stiles looks up to see Jackson entering with a bounce in his step. That’s so unfair at this hour.

“Sti!” he exclaims.

“Hey, Jax. What brings you to my bar tonight?”

“Just thought I would come see my favorite friend in the world,” Jackson gushes, his overly exaggerated flattery apparent.

“What do you want?” Stiles cuts to the chase, tossing a towel at Jackson’s perfectly coiffed head and laughing lightly with no heat behind his words.

“I am hurt you would think I want something just because I came to see you,” Jackson counters dramatically, tossing the towel back.

Stiles sighs, “Jackson, don’t even pretend to be offended. We live in the same apartment. I will be home in a couple of hours, and yet here you are. So, let’s try this again. What do you want?”

“Fine,” he caves before rushing out his explanation. “I kind of, sort of, maybe need to borrow $2,500.00. It’s for this class that I really…”

Stiles lifts a hand up and stops him, “Done. Now, I need to finish getting this bar closed up. Grab a towel and help.”

Jackson scoffs, “That’s what you pay Aiden for.”

“Aiden no longer works here, and aren’t you the one that just asked to borrow money?” Stiles teases affably.

Jackson gapes at him. “Why didn’t you call me to come help tonight? I didn’t have class.”

“Had it covered.”

“Hey, Stiles,” Danny calls out. “Do you want me to stock the glasses out here and run hot water down the ice bins now, or do you want to wait until we are closer to being done?”

Stiles glances at Jackson. “Close your mouth. You’re drooling.”

“Who is that?” Jackson whispers.

“Danny, come meet my best friend,” Stiles calls out. He watches Danny approach them, noticing the blush that steals across his face.

“I’m, uh, I…” Danny stutters abnormally before clearing his throat and pulling himself together. “Yeah, so, I’m Danny. I just started here.”

“Hi. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Jackson,” he returns confidently, extending his hand.

 

~*~ Sunday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek wakes with a moan the next morning, opening his eyes slightly to take in his surroundings. Boyd’s room. Good. That means he made it home safely. Though looking down his body through the narrow slits of his eyes, he does wonder where his clothes are, but that’s a thought for another time. His stomach rolls. “Oh, God.”

“Name’s Boyd, but you can call me God if you want to,” his friend chuckles, entirely too perky this morning.

“Ha. Ha. Really funny,” Derek rushes out and takes a deep breath to calm to party currently taking place in his stomach. “I am going to die.”

“No.” Boyd smirks. “You’re going to hurl.”

“No, I’m not,” he groans while pushing down a wave of nausea.

“That shade of green you are presently sporting says that you really are.”

“Nooooo,” Derek drags out the word hoping to convince himself, as well as, Boyd. His stomach lurches and in that moment his no becomes a maybe. Gurling sounds emit from somewhere around the middle of his body. A definite maybe.

“Sure, Derek. Whatever you say,” Boyd says, rolling over. “Trash can is by the bed if you can’t make it.”

Derek harrumphs, put out that Boyd thinks so little of his ability to make it to the bathroom. “I’m not two; and I’m not going to throw up, anyway.”

“You do you, boo. Just saying though, you will feel better if you just get it over with; because trust me, you are so going to be leaving an offering to the porcelain god sooner or later.” Looking back over his shoulder at Derek with a quick glance, he snickers, “But I’m betting on sooner.”

“Fuck you,” Derek grunts as he contemplates moving. The roiling in his stomach is increasing, and his head is pounding. Just as he gives in and shifts to his back, his stomach gives one final warning before erupting.

Derek quickly grabs the trash can, the first splashes hitting the bottom before he even stands. He makes a dash for the bathroom, emptying his stomach into the can along the way. As soon as his knees hit the floor in front of the toilet, another wave washes over him.

“Not two, huh?” he hears Boyd chuckling from the bedroom through the open bathroom door. “I told you that you’d spew.”

“Shut up,” Derek barely manages to get out before his body heaves again.

 

~*~ Sunday – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles sits comfortably in his bed, fresh from his shower, in a pair of tight black boxers. It’s Sunday afternoon and his day off. He pulls his laptop onto his lap and turns it on to watch Netflix. That’s where Jackson finds him five hours later.

“Really, Sti?”

“What?” Stiles widens his eyes, presenting the picture of innocence, well, as innocent as a pierced and tatted man could look.

Jackson takes Stiles’ laptop and closes it. “Get up. We are going out for dinner. Be ready in ten minutes.”

As if on cue, Stiles’ stomach rumbles loudly in agreement. “Alright, yeah. I could eat.”

Exactly ten minutes later, Stiles walks into the living room in to find Jackson leaning against the door and tapping his food impatiently.

“I’m here. I’m here. Don’t get your panties in a twist.” Stiles retrieves his wallet and keys from the hook by the door and shoves his feet into his worn black Vans. Noticing a hole on one side, he makes a mental note that he should probably get some new ones soon.

Jackson just rolls his eyes and asks, “What are you up to eating tonight?”

“This was your idea. You pick.”

“Does pizza sound alright?” Jackson asks.

“From Toppers?” Stiles perks up in interest.

Jackson raises his eyebrows in question. “Is there any place else to get decent pizza?”

“Point taken. Let’s go.”

The night was nice, so Stiles and Jackson decide to walk the fifteen minutes to Toppers Flats and Flaps. The restaurant is well known for having the best pizza and wings in the city, so it wasn’t unexpected that there would be a wait to get in.

Jackson is telling Stiles about the art class he just finished when they hear the hostess call for them. They follow the girl to an outside table for two. Having been here more times than they can count, they leave the menus unopened and pick up their conversation.

“When do you need the money for the new class?” Stiles asks after they order. He knows Jackson is hesitant to bring it up again.

“Uh, tomorrow?” he says hopefully.

“That’s fine. I’ll go to the bank in the morning before work and get it to you by noon. Will that work?”

A huge smile radiates from Jackson’s face. “That’s perfect. I really appreciate it. I just couldn’t come up with it on such short notice, and there’s no way my parents would give it to me. I’ll pay you back as soon as I can.”

“It’s fine. Just take it and enjoy the class.”

“Sti,” he starts but stops before he can say more when Stiles cuts him off.

“I don’t want to hear another word about it,” he says swiping his hand sideways to indicate the conversation was over.

“Thanks,” Jackson smiles softly. “I really appreciate it.”

“So, tell me more about this class,” Stiles encourages. He knows Jackson is brimming with the need to tell him everything, and if it keeps the conversation off of him and Temporary Fix, that’s just an added bonus.

And he does. Tell him everything, that is. Jackson excitedly informs Stiles about the class and why it’s so important to him. Stiles listens intently and asks questions, truly interested. Their conversation flows without pause for most of their dinner as Jackson visibly thrums with his enthusiasm.

They are finishing the last of their pizza when Stiles sees a familiar man walking past them on the sidewalk, carrying two large pizza boxes.

Stiles waves his hand to get the man’s attention, Jackson watching curiously. “How’s your friend holding up after last night? Did he finish the third one?”

“Oh, God! Yes, he actually did finish it; and let me tell you, he is still feeling it.”

“That sounds about right. They sneak up on you at first and then come in hard at the end. Two can be difficult to manage. Three is downright brutal. I’ve done four before.” Stiles shudders, remembering that night, or remembering the parts that he can. “Let’s just say three is more than enough.”

“From what I can tell, that’s the absolute truth. You have proven your assertion that red drinks can be strong,” Boyd says with a laugh. “He’s been in bed all day, when he’s not hugging the toilet, the lightweight.”

“I’ve no doubt,” Stiles smirks. “He’ll still be feeling it tomorrow, but it shouldn’t be nearly as bad as today. If he’s still feeding the fish in the morning, tell him to drink a lemon-lime Gatorade. Don’t let him sip it though, make him chug it. It will help.”

“I will make sure to pick some up on the way back, just in case. Thanks.” Boyd lowers his voice so that only they can hear. “I am glad we bumped into each other. I didn’t get to thank you for comping our drinks last night. I hope you don’t get into any trouble with your boss.”

“I’m sure it will be alright. It was my pleasure. I’m Red, by the way,” he says holding out his hand.

“I’m Boyd. It’s nice to meet you,” he shifts the boxes to one hand and grasps Stiles’ outstretched one. “Well, I hate to be rude, but I need to stop by the store to pick up the Gatorade and take these to my friend,” he says indicating the pizza boxes he is holding. “Cross your fingers that he keeps it down,” he snickers.

“Fingers crossed, but I won’t hold my breath. That third one is going to mess with him for a bit,” Stiles predicts. “See you next time.”

“Goodnight,” Boyd returns with a small wave and walks down the sidewalk continuing on his way.

Stiles turns back to Jackson who had been raptly watching the conversation unfold around him. He lifts a pierced brow curiously. “What?”

“What was that about?” Jackson asks, flicking his hand toward the direction that Boyd had left.

“He was at the bar last night,” Stiles explains.

“And?” Jackson pushes, clearly wanting to know more.

“And what?”

“Stiles,” Jackson huffs with a frown. “Don’t play dumb.”

“What? He was at the bar. He asked for a drink for his friend. I made a drink. I’m a bartender. It’s what I do all night at work.”

Jackson sighs, exasperated. “Why did he say you comped their drinks?”

“Uh, because I did.” Stiles looks at him perplexed. “What are you really asking, Jax?”

“Is there some interest there?” Jackson prods.

Understanding dawns on Stiles, and he barks out a loud laugh. “No. Not at all. He was just nice, big smiles, always happy, and his friend was drinking my drink.”

“What drink? Are you talking about the “fuck you up” red one? Really?”

“Three of them actually,” Stiles snorts, shaking his head.

“And you didn’t have to clean up a mess at the bar?” Jackson asks, shock evident in his features.

Stiles shakes his head and smiles, “Nope.”

“Oh, he’s definitely feeling it today then.”

“Without a doubt,” Stiles agrees. “He’s definitely someone we need to go out with some night. I need to see it for myself. See if he can match me drink for drink.”

“I’m down for that.” Jackson agrees without hesitation. “I don’t think anyone can beat you though.”

Stiles shrugs and pulls at a loose thread at the knee of his jeans. “We will see if they come back to the bar.”

“Dude, they are absolutely going to be back. I would put money on it,” Jackson reassures. He signals to the waitress for another beer for both of them, before turning back to Stiles and changing the subject. “So, have you submitted the questionnaire for Temporary Fix yet?”

Having expected this topic to be on the table at some point today, Stiles levels a stare at him. “You aren’t slick.”

“Who’s trying to be slick?” Jackson snickers and takes a sip of his fresh beer. “Come on, Sti. Just fill it out. What have you got to lose?”

Stiles rubs his face with his hands and pulls at the piercing on his ear as he contemplates his answer. He doesn’t understand why Jackson won’t just drop it. “Why is this so important to you?” Stiles finally asks, licking at the ring on his bottom lip out of habit.

“Because you’re important to me, and I want you to do something besides work. I miss the parts of you that you have hidden away. You’ve been pretty closed off to other people for a while now.”

“I think I have a right to be. You know how awful things ended with Trev and, before that, how volatile things were the entire time with Lexi. Fuck. You saw how people I thought were my friends...” he trails off with a sigh. “I think I am just too much for people. You know?”

“I get it, Sti. You haven’t had much luck with people in general, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying. It’s been a year since you have connected with anyone other than me. You work and come home. Do this for me. Please. Meet people. Make a few friends. Hell, get laid. I don’t really care. I just want you happy.”

Stiles sighs, “I’m fine. Really. I’m happy.”

“Sti…” Jackson murmurs.

The softness of Jackson’s voice has the fight in Stiles leaving his body. He takes a deep breath before conceding, “Fine. I’ll fill it out. Just don’t expect anything to change.”

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“Pizza!” Boyd shouts when he opens the door to his room. Derek is still in bed, curled in a tight ball, eyes squeezed closed against the light.

“No. No food.” Derek moans at the thought.

Boyd pulls the blankets off the bed. “Dude, you have to eat.”

“I don’t wanna,” he whines, his stomach rumbling hotly. “It’s just going to come back up.”

“Maybe. Probably,” Boyd agrees. “But you won’t know until you try. Now sit up and get to eating.”

“Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Derek grumbles as he sits up, his stomach turning over with the movement. He groans, “This isn’t going to end well.”

Fifteen minutes later, he is bent over the toilet once again. “I told you,” Derek says into the bowl, too tired to lift his head.

“The bartender said you probably wouldn’t keep it down.” Boyd gestures with a flick of his hands. “Guess he was right.”

“When did he say this?” Derek asks shuffling to the doorway of the bathroom, too exhausted to lift his feet.

“Right before I came home with the pizza. He was at Toppers and asked how you were doing. Told us to come back soon.”

“Let me feel human again, and I am so down.” Derek nods gently so as not to jostle any part of himself.

Surprise floods Boyd’s face, and his smile glows from across the room. “Really? You sure you want to do that after the day you’ve had?”

Derek closes his eyes and remembers the first taste of the powerfully strong drink. The moan that slips from his mouth is sinful. “Positive. That drink was hands down the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.”

“You’re crazy, and I love it,” Boyd exclaims, already giddy with anticipation. “You ready for more pizza?”

“Yeah, but give me a toothbrush and thirty minutes,” Derek replies.

 

~*~ Monday – Stiles ~*~

 

After they had gotten home from dinner last night, it had still been fairly early so they had decided to stay up and watch a movie. They were snuggled together on the couch, when halfway through the movie, Jackson had brushed his hand over Stiles’ dick. It’s far from the first time that it’s happened with them, so Stiles knew it was with intent and not just accidental.

Stiles had turned to face him without hesitation and their mouths had met in a heated kiss. The kiss progressed, clothes were removed, and Stiles’ lube coated fingers were furiously buried in Jackson. They had started keeping lube and condoms in the drawer of the coffee table shortly after moving in for just in case moments. They have had several of those moments over the course of their time living together.

Last night was another one of them in the long list, because Jackson ended up straddling Stiles and riding his condom encased cock until they were both sated. Stiles had woken up this morning, still naked and sprawled across an equally naked Jackson on the couch. He had carried Jackson to his room and taken a quick shower, before heading to the bank.

It’s mid-morning when Stiles walks into the apartment and takes off his shoes, a soft groan escaping from his mouth as his feet land on the hardwood floor. If he never had to wear shoes again, it would be a dream come true. Barefoot is so much better than wearing any shoe, and don’t even get him started on how disgusting he finds socks to be. He pads down the hall with silent feet.

Seeing Jackson’s door still closed, he goes into his own room and eyes the mess in front of him. He’s been working nearly every waking minute for the last couple of months, yesterday being his first day with any free time since the concert he went to in the spring.

As much as he hates to admit it, Jackson is right. He needs to do something besides sleep and work. Even just going to dinner last night has given him renewed energy. The unexpected sex hadn’t been too bad, either, having taken the edge off. He hadn’t realized how much he needed it.

Pulling himself from his thoughts he refocuses on his room. Laundry day it is, he decides and strips the blankets and sheets from his bed, grimacing as he realizes he can’t remember the last time he changed his sheets. Bundling everything up, he stumbles to the laundry room, chucks it all in, and starts the washer. He heads back into his room and starts sorting the rest of his laundry. “Whites, darks, colors, whites, darks, denim, darks, reds, darks, denim, more darks…” he mumbles to himself as he makes separate piles.

Hearing Jackson’s door open, Stiles calls out, “About time you got up. I’m in my room.”

“Morning.” Jackson leans in the doorway rubbing the sleep from his eyes clad in a pair of black boxers that Stiles isn’t sure are actually clean or just the first ones Jackson had found when he had woken up.

“Who’s the Lazybones today?” Stiles teases with a wide smile.

Jackson rolls his eyes. “Fuck off.”

Stiles laughs and pulls a bank envelope full of cash out of his back pocket, thrusting it toward the other man. “Here, grouchy. I went to the bank early this morning.”

Jackson’s eyes light up, the last remnants of sleep clearing, “Already? Really? Are you sure it’s alright? You really don’t mind?”

“Just take it and quit your worrying.”

Jackson takes the envelope and reaches out, pulling Stiles against him in a tight hug. “Thank you. You don’t know what this means to me.”

Stiles taps him on the back, returning the hug. “I think I do, Jax; but no thanks needed, yeah?”

Jackson kisses the side of Stiles’ head before moving away. He takes the envelope to his room and calls out, “Can I mix my clothes in with yours? I am out of clean underwear.”

That’s what he thought. “Sure, why not? While you’re at it, take off those nasty boxers and toss them in, too. You can borrow some of mine.”

A naked Jackson returns, arms loaded with clothes. He drops them onto the floor before taking out a clean pair of boxers from Stiles’ dresser and pulling them on.  Together they separate Jackson’s clothes into the already sorted piles.

When they are done, Jackson says, “I’m going to make lunch. Want anything?”

“Sure. Whatever you want to make is fine,” Stiles answers as he moves the piles of dirty clothes along the hallway.

“I was thinking grilled ham and cheese sandwiches,” Jackson suggests, dropping another pile in the line.

“Yeah. Sounds good.”

Jackson heads to the kitchen, and Stiles sits down in his stripped bed. He grabs his laptop from the nightstand and opens it. Logging on, he takes a deep breath and opens the email he received from Temporary Fix. He rolls his eyes. This is ridiculous. The things he does for his best friend. Shaking his head, he clicks the link.

It doesn’t take him long to glance over the page, noting that it seems pretty straightforward. With one last wave to his sanity, he starts completing the questions.

  • Name (first name only): Not a chance in Hell am I putting that here. Call me Stiles.
  • What name would you like to be called by your match? Stiles

He hesitates and considers he should probably use Red but leaves it and continues on.

  • Current Age: 20
  • Gender: male
  • DOB: December 24
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Hair Color: brown
  • Eye Color: brown
  • Sexual Identity: bi
  • Sexually Active: yes and no, not regularly, but I plan to again someday
  • Number of Tattoos: I am not about to count them. Let’s go with a lot.
  • Number of Piercings: 17? I think. Again, I am not counting them.
  • Do you have siblings? If yes, how many? 5 sisters, 1 brother
  • Do you have any pets? no 
  • Do you have any allergies to pets? no
  • Personality Traits: strong willed, low bullshit tolerance, protective, challenging at times, extroverted in the right situations, introverted in others, honest sometimes brutally so, goal driven, organized, hardworking, dominating (not to be confused with being a dominant), trustworthy, loyal, tough, respectful, fair, confident, tenacious, driven, sarcastic, blunt, giving
  • Is there anything that a potential temporary fix match might need to know about you? Other details about yourself that you would like to share? I am not one to blow smoke up someone’s ass just to make them feel better. I don’t need a partner to be happy, but I can be happy with a partner, too. I have a lot of piercings and tattoos, so if that’s an issue then please don’t bother. No face tattoos, just as an FYI.
  • Do you drink? How often? sometimes, rarely, usually only socially or at dinner with friends
  • Do you smoke? How often? sometimes, rarely, mostly just when I feel like it, which isn’t often
  • Medical Conditions: none
  • Current Medications: none
  • Do you currently have any STIs/STDs? no
  • Have you recently completed an STI/STD exam? If yes, when? yes, 2 months ago
  • Are you pregnant? This question is stupid. No.
  • Rank the words below in order of importance (1 important/10 not important, choose each number only once): What’s the point of this? Shouldn’t some of these be equal? Ridiculous. Wouldn’t these be different for a relationship versus a hookup? Come on.
    • Touch: 1
    • Communication: 5
    • Loyalty/Commitment: 4
    • Honesty/Trust: 3
    • Sex: 2
    • Money: 10
    • Personality: 6
    • Appearance/Looks: 7
    • Gifts (receiving): 9
    • Words/Endearments (receiving): 8 
  • Do you have an upcoming event that you need a “temporary fix” match to attend? no, nothing yet

Stiles scrolls to the next relevant question, scratching at the scruff he hasn’t shaved off in the last few days.

  • Are you immediately available to be a “temporary fix” for someone else? yeah, sure, why not
  • Are you available for overnight events? with enough notice, I guess so

Please attach a current photo here. When complete, please click the submit button below.  

Stiles pulls up the most current photo he has of himself from a concert earlier this year that he had gone to with Jackson. He was drenched head to toe from the rain, his hair pushed carelessly out of his eyes; but his eyes were bright and shining, and his smile is bathed in obvious happiness. They had a fantastic time that weekend, even with the crazy weather.

Before he can change his mind, he quickly attaches the photo and clicks submit. Tossing the laptop aside, he joins Jackson in the kitchen for lunch.

Chapter Text

~*~ Monday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek wakes up on Monday morning in his own room, having left Boyd late in the evening after finally keeping down the pizza. They had played video games into the morning, only succumbing to their exhaustion shortly before sunrise.

He lazily picks up his phone and looks at the time. “Shit! I’m late. I’m late. I’m so fucking late,” he panics, jumping out of bed and dressing in the first thing he sees. His class started twenty minutes ago, and this professor has a strict attendance policy. He grabs his bag off his desk and slips on his shoes, running out the door while still pulling his shirt down and buttoning up his jeans. Sprinting across campus, he slides into the back of the classroom in record time.

“Nice of you to join us, Mr. Hale,” his professor says, not missing a beat mid-lecture.

Looking down at the floor, he rolls his eyes but keeps his mouth shut and pulls out his folder to take notes.

“Pop quiz, everyone. You can blame Mr. Hale who didn’t feel like it was necessary to arrive to my class on time.”

The class groans in unison. Several of his classmates shoot him withering looks. Shit.

The day isn’t getting any better as it goes on. He has an exam in his next class that he totally forgot to study for in his haze of chunder yesterday; and now, he is sitting in his third class of the day, brutally pulling at his hair, his very dirty hair that hasn’t been washed since Saturday before they had gone to Midnight Memories, after realizing he left his homework in his textbook. The same textbook that is at this moment in his room on his desk. He drags his hands over his face, then goes back to tugging at his hair. “Could this day get any worse?” he mumbles under his breath.

After class, Derek approaches the professor. Deciding to just get it over with, he blurts out, “I am sorry to ask this, but will you be here long enough for me to run to my dorm and back to get my homework? It’s complete. I just left it on my desk. I, well, I had a rough day yesterday. There was vomiting and then more vomiting. And I probably shouldn’t have had that last drink Saturday night; but they were good, and I couldn’t help it. If there hadn’t been a limit, I would have definitely had more. I mean, it’s the best thing I’ve ever had in my mouth.”

He stops, eyes wide in disbelief at the words tumbling from his mouth to his professor. Did he really just say that out loud? Oh, God, where did all this rambling nonsense come from? “Sorry. Just forget that last part. Yeah. So, um, anyway. Do you have time for me to run and get it? It will take me about half an hour to make the trip there and back if I run, and I will. I promise. I will run the entire...”

“Mr. Hale,” his professor interrupts, laughing lightly. “Just bring it to my office before noon tomorrow.”

“Really? Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it.”

“Yes, well, try to remember to bring your work with you next time. Have a good night, Mr. Hale,” he says, mouth twitching with amusement. “Oh, and you can pay me back by telling me about this extraordinary drink someday. If it is as good as you say, I may need to give it a whirl. It’s been a while,” he smiles. With that he turns around and exits the room leaving Derek standing there, mouth hanging open.

When a very wet Derek gets back to his room, he spots Boyd already stretched out across his bed wearing basketball shorts and a tank top. He looks comfortable; but more importantly, he looks dry.

“Hey, Derek,” Boyd greets him. “Get caught in the rain?”

Derek looks at him like he’s stupid. “No, I just decided to shower in my clothes.”

“You probably shouldn’t do that. You might chafe,” Boyd says with a serious voice, only the mischief in his eyes giving him away.

Derek rolls his eyes and pulls off his wet clothes, heading to the bathroom and turning on the shower as hot as it will go. “I’m taking a shower. I’m cold.”

“Hurry, yeah? I want to get downstairs early. It’s taco night, and I’m feeling lucky.” Taco night happens once a month in their building. Whoever eats the most tacos wins a case of beer and bragging rights for the next month. The beer is the cheapest beer on the market, but beer is beer when you’re broke.

“Sounds good. Let’s do it.”

A couple of hours and forty-two tacos between them later, Derek and Boyd fall back onto Derek’s bed, moaning miserably, a shiny, new case of beer sitting gloriously on the desk.

“I’m so full,” Derek whines, pushing the waistband of his joggers off his stomach, the pressure becoming too much.

Boyd lifts up onto his elbows to stare at Derek, letting his eyes drift to the soft exposed skin of Derek’s stomach. “So, you don’t want ice cream?” he surmises with a shit eating grin.

“Ugh. No food talk,” bemoans Derek as he strokes his stomach slowly.

“What? You don’t want a triple scoop sundae with hot fudge and nuts and whipped cream and…” he pauses, then continues when Derek looks over at him in silent question, “a big, fat cherry on top?”

Derek groans at the thought of cherries. “Shhh. I can’t hear you.”

“Or would you rather have three cherries? Hmmm?” Boyd teasingly continues.

“I hate you.”

“No, you don’t.” Boyd falls back down and pushes his own shorts down lower, mimicking Derek’s position.

“Believe what you want. I’m going to just stay right here and die,” Derek exclaims a bit melodramatically.

The conversation lulls as they remain there, softly skimming their hands over their bellies and letting their food digest.

“So,” Boyd breaks the silence a few minutes later without sitting up. “Rocky road or chocolate chip cookie dough?” He totally deserves the pillow that smacks him in the face.

 

~*~ Tuesday – Stiles ~*~

 

Just before noon, Stiles is woken by a noise in his room. “If you put frozen marbles in my bed again, I will shave your head while you sleep and then post the pictures on every social media platform that exists.”

Jackson laughs and replies innocently, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Stiles cracks his eyes just the barest of slits and sees Jackson standing beside his bed in a pair of maroon joggers with wide eyes and a blinding smile. “Why are you in my room?”

“Come on, Sti,” he whines as if it’s obvious. “It’s Tuesday. Otherwise known as your day off. Get up. Let’s go to lunch.”

“Why would I want to do that?” Stiles balks at the idea.

“Because you’re hungry?” Jackson suggests innocently, his devilish smile betraying him.

“Actually, I was sleeping. Hunger was not on my mind,” Stiles sasses, pulling the covers over his head.

Jackson smirks at his tomfoolery, “Just get up. You can choose where we eat lunch if you are ready in ten minutes.”

Stiles lifts his arm and sniffs, “Yeah, no deal. I need a shower.”

“Fair enough. Twenty minutes,” Jackson compromises.

“Fine.”

Jackson leaves the room, tossing over his shoulder, “Tick tock, the clock has already started.”

Nineteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds later, Stiles walks into the living room wearing ripped black skinny jeans and a white t shirt, hair towel dried and left to air dry. “We’re going to Beefcakes. I want a burger.”

“You’re driving.”

“Well, since your car doesn’t exist anymore, I was pretty certain that would be the case,” Stiles quips drily.

He pulls into a parking place fifteen minutes later and motions to the restaurant, “Go put our name on the list. I want to stop by the tattoo shop next door to see if Tweek has any openings.”

“Alright. It looks like there will be a bit of a wait, so I’ll meet you there,” he said motioning to people milling around outside.

The line moves fast, and they are seated less than half an hour later. The restaurant has men in tiny, red, spandex shorts that barely clear their ass and suspenders running around taking orders, bussing tables, and filling drinks. Stiles notices that on the men with bubble butts, a good portion of their cheeks are on display at the bottom of the shorts.

“I wonder if they make them wax their body hair,” Stiles snickers, taking in the glistening bodies around them.

“I would think so,” Jackson guesses. “How else would everyone look so, I don’t know, shiny? I guess shiny is the best word.”

“Definitely, shiny,” he agrees.

“The better question is how they keep their junk in those shorts,” Jackson says after watching a well-endowed waiter walk by. “I’m not sure yours would fit.”

Stiles’ laugh belts out of him before he can stop it. Meeting Jackson’s eyes, Stiles laughs harder. “I’m going to ask.”

“Don’t you dare.” Jackson’s eyes bug out.

Never one to back down from a dare, Stiles’ face lights up animatedly. “Oh, it’s on.”

“Stiles. No.”

“Shush. Our waiter is coming,” Stiles warns, eyes dancing with mirth.

A black-haired man with a crooked jaw approaches the table. “Hi! I’m Scott. I’ll be your waiter this afternoon. What can I get you to drink?”

“I’ll take a pint of whatever you have on tap,” Stiles responds.

“Same,” Jackson says. “Nothing dark, please.”

“Can I get you started with an appetizer?” Scott asks with an easy smile.

Stiles’ eyes light up and drift down to Scott’s crotch, and Jackson kicks him under the table before responding, “Potato skins, please.”

“I’m all over it. If you need anything, just hit this button,” he says indicating the small call box in the center of the table. “It will message me, and I will come straight away.”

As he walks away with a slight twist to his hips, Stiles quietly giggles. “Oh, I am sure he will come. He did say he was all over it.”

Jackson groans and hides his face with his hands, “I don’t know you.”

“Oh, come on! You know you were thinking it, too.”

“I admit nothing.”

They are finishing the last of their lunch, down to a handful of fries, when Stiles reaches out stealthily and presses the call button before Jackson can notice and stop him.

Jackson looks at him in alarm, “Stiles…”

“Jackson.”

“Why did you press the call button?” he nervously asks. He’s been friends with Stiles long enough to know that nothing good is going to come from him pressing that button.

“I want to see him come,” Stiles waggles his eyebrows. His tongue comes out to play with the ring at the corner of his bottom lip just as Scott returns.

“What can I do for you?” Scott asks with a smile.

“I have a question about employment here,” Stiles begins, licking his bottom lip slowly before biting it. Scott’s eyes glaze over. Stiles grins wickedly. Got him.

 “Sure. What’s the question?”

“Well, do you know if they are hiring?”

“They are always hiring. Not everyone is cut out to work here if you know what I mean,” Scott motions around the room with his hands.

“Enlighten me. Is there something specific that makes people leave?” Stiles asks, his inquisitiveness taking over.

“Well, the body waxing and maintenance of body hair growth is more than some men bargain for. Even pubic hair is required to be removed. Plus, maintaining a grueling workout regimen in your time off. I mean, no one wants to have body flaws and then have to walk around in next to nothing in close proximity to a bunch of other men in next to nothing.”

“That makes sense. Just one more question, and I’ll let you get back to your other customers.”

Jackson blushes bright red, motioning wildly for Stiles to cease and desist his questioning even knowing it is futile. Stiles continues as if Jackson hasn’t moved. “How do you keep your man bits from falling out of the bottom or peeking out of the top of those tiny, little shorts?”

“Kill me now,” Jackson mumbles, hiding his face in his hands.

Scott simply laughs as if this is something he gets asked a lot. “Well, it takes some work, especially if you are, um, blessed. We can’t wear underwear because it causes weird lines. Some of the guys use cups or dance belts; but if you ask me, they are the ones that aren’t as,” he motions with his hands, “you get the idea. Those of us that don’t use superficial shapers just situate everything so that it’s all tucked in and then hope to God that nothing turns us on. Luckily, we are usually busy the entire day, so we don’t have much time for that.”

“Have you ever slipped?” Stiles asks suddenly, fascinated with how forthcoming Scott was being.

“Oh, yeah,” Scott replies. “Several times. One time in particular, my dick decided it was coming up to bat and peaked out the top of my shorts in middle of a busy Friday night. Even thoughts of dead puppies did nothing to stop it.”

“So, what did you do?”

“Finished serving the table with my dick basically out and then ran out back and had a very aggressive jerk.” His eyes lose focus as he remembers. “The splatters on the wall outside stayed until the next hard rain. It was legendary.”

“I’m sure it was,” Stiles says. “Thanks for the information.”

“Any time. You guys have been great customers. Not everyone is as nice as you have been. Ask for me the next time you come in.”

“Will do, Scott,” Stiles replies. “As long as you’re up…” he pauses just a moment, drawing attention to his meaning, “for it.” He quirks his eyebrow.

“With you two, there is no doubt I will be.” He glances down at his shorts.

Stiles and Jackson both follow his line of vision to the hard ridge pushing at the red spandex. Jackson quietly whispers, “Oh.”

“Oh, indeed,” Stiles parrots back to him. Lifting his eyes back to Scott’s, he remarks with a wink, “Have a nice jerk tonight.”

“Stiles!” Jackson gasps.

“What?” he asks in mock confusion. “I’m not wrong.”

Jackson punches Stiles in the shoulder as they are leaving the restaurant. “I cannot believe you did that!”

“Yes, you can,” Stiles smirks. “It’s why you love me.”

“Miscreant,” Jackson says, shaking his head and shoving Stiles gently before getting into the car. “I don’t know why I chose you as my best friend.”

Stiles raises an eyebrow. “Because after we fucked like bunnies for a couple of months right after we met, we realized we were better as friends.”

“I fucking hate you,” Jackson grouses around his smile.

“I love you, too. Now, what next?” Stiles asks after starting the car and adjusting volume on the stereo.

“How do you feel about going to Jungle later?” Jackson suggests.

“Yeah. I think I could be talked into that. Jungle doesn’t open until 10:00 p.m. though. What do you want to do until then?”

“Let’s go to the park and see if anyone has a “pick-up” game going.”

“Sure, that sounds like fun.”

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles and Jackson arrive at Jungle just after 11:00 p.m. They had played soccer in the park most of the afternoon with a group of teens and grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading back to their apartment to shower and change clothes.

“I think I am going to pull tonight,” Jackson says as they walk into the club.

“Yeah? Alright,” Stiles acknowledges. “I’ll grab us some drinks. You find a table.”

“On it,” Jackson replies and heads into the fray, leaving Stiles to fight the madness of the bar.

It only takes Stiles a couple of minutes to make eye contact with the bartender, whose eyes light in recognition. He gestures to Stiles to move forward through the crowd. “Hey, Red! Long time no see. What can I get you tonight?”

Drinks procured, Stiles finds Jackson at a table in a prime location, close to the dance floor. “Nice. How did you score this table?”

“I have my ways,” Jackson responds.

“You totally paid someone for their table.” Stiles says knowingly.

“I have no idea what you mean.”

“Yeah, okay. Who am I to complain?” Stiles pushes Jackson’s drink toward him before picking up his own.

Jackson takes sip from the proffered glass. “See anyone of interest?”

“Nah, Jax. It’s all yours tonight. I’ll hold up the table while you make a lap,” Stiles nods his head toward the room.

“Alright, dude,” Jackson stands and leaves his drink on the table. “I’ll be back soon, or you know, not.”

“If you aren’t back in half an hour, text me so that I know you’re safe,” Stiles instructs as he takes in the chaos of the room.

“Yes, Mom.”

“Not your mother.”

Jackson just rolls his eyes and walks away. Ten minutes later, he sits down across from Stiles again.

“That was quick.”

“I’ll try again in a little bit,” Jackson says. “I’m not drunk enough for any of these people.”

Stiles looks around, “Yeah. I can see that, too. It’s a rough crowd tonight.”

Another round and an hour later, Jackson salutes Stiles before entering into the den of people again. Stiles doesn’t mind being left at the table. He likes to people watch anyway.

“Hi.”

Stiles turns to face the table and sees a young, blonde man sitting across from him. “Hello. Are you lost?” Stiles glances over the guy’s shoulder to see a group of people staring and cheering the boy on. Ah. Everything makes sense now.

“Um, no. I don’t think so,” the boy stutters out, his obvious embarrassment written all over his face.

Stiles keeps his features stoic. “Then why are you sitting in my friend’s seat?”

Apparently, that’s all that was needed for the boy to begin rambling. “Okay, so here’s the thing. I’m here with my friends, and we are playing Truth or Dare. I know, I know. Stupid, but I was outvoted. Anyway. They dared me to come talk to you, and I can’t turn down a dare. The consequences are not even something I want to voice, much less do. So, here I am. Oh, and did I mention, I have to kiss you, too?”

Stiles raises a pierced eyebrow and gives the boy a once over. His hair is curling out in all directions like he has no idea how to tame it, most of the visible skin on display is pale and unblemished other than the odd pimple here and there. The guy looks about 17 or 18, if that. It gets a bit sticky since entry is allowed at 16 for those accompanied by someone 18 or over. He has a band on his arm that indicates he is a least 18 and legal to buy instead of the X’s found on the hands of a minor, but you really never know.  Looks and personality can get you an armband, regardless of age and how wrong it is. Stiles has fired a bouncer or two for that mistake.

In the lengthening silence, the young man starts to backtrack, fumbling over his words, “I mean, I don’t have to kiss you; but it’s part of the dare though so I thought I should be transparent about that. It doesn’t have to be like big or anything. Just mouths mushing together. So, help a guy out?”

“How old are you?” Stiles asks.

“21,” he blurts, the pitch of his voice upping an octave.

Stiles’ lips twitch as he pushes down a grin. “Try again.”

“Fine. I turn 18 at midnight. We are out celebrating my birthday.”

“Tomorrow, huh? How come I don’t believe that?”

The boy holds up his hands. “It’s true. I swear.”

“Do you now?” Stiles stares at the boy, eyes unwavering as they meet the nervous, blue eyes staring back at him. “Is that the story you really want to swear to?”

After a few seconds, the boy slumps down in his chair and concedes, “Fine. Alright. I’m 16, and it’s not my birthday. I don’t turn 17 until next August, but it’s legal. I’ve looked up the laws and everything.”

“That sounds closer to the truth, and I am well aware of the laws and age of consent.”

“It’s the truth. I promise. I can show you my ID, my real one.” He pulls out his wallet and flings the card onto the table.

Stiles glances at it and confirms that the boy is telling the truth. “You’re good, dude. Now that you are being honest with me, why did your friends choose me?”

“Well, because, you see, they…” the boy splutters. “It’s like this…”

“Please, enlighten me. What is it like?” Stiles smirks.

“Ugh.”

“It’s like ugh?” Stiles teases not unkindly. The boy in front of him has his full attention, a feat that many others have attempted and failed to do.

“No, yes, I don’t know.”

“But you do, don’t you? Try that honesty thing again. It works for you.”

The boy sighs and starts blathering, “Okay, as I’m sure you know, you’re like hotter than the sun. So, I’ve kind of been staring at you since you walked in with your friend earlier; and my friends, well, they caught on. Next thing I know, we’re playing Truth or Dare, and they all know I have never kissed anyone so of course that’s what they dared me to do. Seeing as how I have been watching you all night, they naturally chose you.”

The boy ducks his head and fiddles with his fingers. “They know I am so not in the same league as you because just look at you and then look at me. There’s no question that I am going to bomb out, and that’s what they want. But yeah, anyway, that brings me to here, sitting in front of you asking you to be my first kiss.”

Stiles holds up his hand to stop the boy from continuing. “Come here.”

Having been braced for rejection, the boy instantly begins apologizing, “It’s alright. I understand. I expected to be shot down. I’m sorry I bothered you. Wait. What?”

“Come here,” Stiles repeats patiently.

The boy stands, and Stiles peers at the group of friends that are undoubtedly assuming their friend is about to strike out. “Come on now,” he encourages the boy.

When he is within touching distance, Stiles takes his wrist and pulls him into his lap, whispering teasingly into his ear, “Just don’t tug too hard on the piercings, or you might end up with more than a kiss.”

A full body shudder runs through the boy; and Stiles pulls back, looking up into his eyes. “Relax,” Stiles murmurs before brings his mouth to the boy’s. He hears a loud “whoop” and cheer from the group across the room and smiles into the kiss. He flicks his middle finger up at the group of friends catcalling across the room, then licks his tongue along the boy’s bottom lip, requesting entrance.  When he opens immediately under Stiles’ mouth, Stiles deepens the kiss and slides his tongue along the other boy’s tongue, gaining a low moan in response. The boy instantly pulls back in embarrassment, “Shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make that noise.”

“It’s alright. Nothing wrong with making a little noise,” he responds before bringing their mouths and tongues back together. Stiles is aware that the boy’s hands have moved to his own dick, where he’s pushing down hard to stifle his apparent arousal. He pulls back and moves the boy’s hand away. “This alright?” The boy exhales a soft, “Yes.”

Stiles’ mouth returns to his and he places his own hand on the boy’s denim covered erection, only stroking firmly twice before he feels the boy tense in his lap as his cock pulses under Stiles’ hand. Pulling back again, Stiles smiles, “I hope that makes your first kiss a good memory. Now, off with you. Go have fun with your friends, and happy birthday in August.”

The boy slides out of Stiles’ lap and onto wobbly legs. The wet spot at the front of his jeans is noticeable in the flashing lights of the club. “Thank you. I, just, thank you.”

“All good. Now go on. Enjoy being the center of attention with your friends.” Stiles flashes him a smile and pushes him gently toward his razzing and whistling group of friends.

About the time the boy makes it back to his table, Jackson sits down in the vacated seat in front of him. “What was that?”

“Just a game of Truth or Dare. Kid was dared to kiss me as his first kiss. I felt like his first kiss should be remembered as good. Not like mine.”

“You know, for all your tough guy looks and attitude, you’re a marshmallow, Stiles Stilinski, a squishy, soft, adorable marshmallow.”

“Shut up,” Stiles says, and if he preens at his friend’s words, well no one needs to know. “Are you not pulling tonight?”

“Already did,” Jackson grins.

“You whore,” Stiles teases. “Was it good?”

“It was passable. Nothing great. Kind of not worth it. You ready to go, or do you want to stay a little longer?”

“Let’s stay for a bit. I want another drink.”

 

~*~ Tuesday – Derek ~*~

 

It’s late afternoon on Tuesday by the time Derek gets back to his room from his last class of the day. The second the door closes behind him, he strips out of his clothes, letting them fall on the floor in his wake. He goes into the bathroom and turns on the shower, desperate to wash away the day from his body.

Stepping in and putting his back to the spray, he puts his hands on the grey tile of the shower wall in front of him. Tipping his head forward, the hot water runs over his neck and down his body.

He doesn’t know how long he just stands there, letting everything he is feeling go down the drain with the water running over him, but the water is frigid as he finally washes his hair and body. Grabbing his towel from the bar, he pats it over his hair to remove most of the water and then wraps it around his waist before walking into his room and falling across his bed.

Derek must have fallen asleep because the next thing he knows, Boyd is sitting on top of him and relentlessly tickling him. “Derek,” Boyd laughs, his fingers pausing in their onslaught. “Wake up already. I want dinner. You up for it?”

“Yeah,” he mumbles, his voice still sleep-ravaged. “Let me get dressed.”

Pushing Boyd off of him, he stands and drops his towel before pulling out a pair of boxers from his drawer and walking into the bathroom. Leaving the door open so that he can still talk to Boyd, he picks up his toothbrush and squeezes toothpaste onto it. “Are we eating here or going somewhere?”

“Either. I’m just hungry.”

“You’re always hungry,” he says around the toothpaste in his mouth.

“I’m a growing boy,” Boyd rubs his flat stomach.

“Sure, let’s go with that,” Derek chuckles after spitting into the sink. “I’m good to go out. I need to clear my head anyway.”

“What’s wrong?” Boyd asks, alarm filling his voice.

“Just a low day. Too much on my mind,” Derek responds, stepping over to the toilet to piss. “It’s fine.”

“Doesn’t sound fine to me, dude,” Boyd says from closer than before. “You know you can tell me anything.”

He looks at Boyd, leaning against the doorframe, concern all over his face. “I know, and I will. I just need to get it figured out first.”

“If you’re sure,” Boyd allows before dropping it and changing the subject back to food. “Where do you want to eat?”

Derek washes his hands, then steps into his boxers. “Let’s go to Beefcakes.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Less than an hour later, they are sitting at a table near the back of the restaurant, looking over the menu. “I can’t decide what to get. Everything looks great,” Boyd laments in indecision.

“Me either. You want to each pick something and then split and share?”

“Sure. I’m down. I was thinking about getting the Cow Patty Deluxe.”

Derek snorts at the name. “That’s an interesting choice. I think I’m going to get the Roadkill.”

Boyd guffaws, “And you thought the Cow Patty was interesting.”

Halfway through their meal, two employees walk by their table, chatting about their day. They sit at the empty table in the corner that looks to be reserved for employees on their break. Derek and Boyd repress their smirks at each other as they listen in to the conversation.

“Did you see the two guys I had at my table during lunch?” one of the guys asks.

“You mean the two tatted guys? One with really awesome piercings?”

“Yeah, that’s them. Man, what I wouldn’t do to get with the pierced one, or both of them really. I can’t even express the things I’d let them do to me. The pierced one was very forward. He asked a lot of questions about what it’s like to work here. My dick has been nudging out of my shorts all day since then. Every time I think I have it under control, I think about his tongue licking at his lip piercing; and I am running to the back trying to will my dick back into submission.”

“Want me to take care of it for you later?”

Derek looks up and catches the man, Scott according to his nametag, swiping his fingers over the tip of this dick that is just visible at the top of his shorts. “God, yes. Do you close tonight, too?”

“Yep. Just a couple more hours, thankfully.”

“I can’t wait,” Scott says his fingers steadily moving over the head of his cock that was lengthening further out of his shorts.

The other man eyes Scott’s movements. “We could go out back and take care of it now,” he suggests.

“No, it will be better if we wait.”

The conversation continues leaving Derek and Boyd in stitches. Both try to keep their amusement under wraps, until Derek can’t take it anymore and barks a loud laugh. Boyd loses it and lets his laughter flood out of him.

After splitting the check, they leave the restaurant hurriedly, both in a rush to get outside.

“That was an interesting twist,” Boyd finally gets out, still cracking up, when they get back to their rooms. They enter Derek’s room and crawl into the bed, sitting side by side against the headboard.

“You could say that,” Derek giggles. “You couldn’t see what I could see, though. One of the guys, the one that was talking about how hard he has been all day, Scott, I think that was his name, was playing with his dick at the table.”

“You’re yanking my chain.” Boyd’s disbelief is evident.

“Shit, if only I was. He was running his fingers over the top of his dick that was sticking out of his shorts. Before we left, his cock was on full display by several inches.”

“Awww, man, and you didn’t even tell me so I could look,” he moves to stand. “I’m going back. I want to see, too.”

Derek grabs Boyd’s arm to stop him, pulling him back onto the bed, as a laugh bubbles out of him again, “Says the straight man.”

“I could swing that way, if the mood struck. I can appreciate a nice dick. Like yours. If I knew for sure it wouldn’t hurt our friendship, I’d hit that,” he nods to Derek’s lap.

Derek blushes but answers evenly, “I’m not sure how to respond to that, if I’m honest.”

“It was meant as a compliment, you idiot.” Boyd smiles.

“Thanks?” he questions in return.

Nearly two hours later, Derek and Boyd are huddled together watching Netflix when Derek feels his anxiety flare about the upcoming trip home.

He puts his head on Boyd’s shoulder, “Hey, Boyd?”

“Yeah?”

Derek only hesitates a second before pushing the words out. “Will you think less of me if I ask you to sleep here tonight? I don’t want to be alone.”

“Maybe just a little bit,” Boyd says.

“Oh, yeah, right. I’m sorry. I’ll just…” he falters, squeezing his eyes shut to stem the tears threatening to fall.

“Derek, dude! I’m just messing with you. Your bed or my bed, I’m always available to cuddle.” Boyd waggles his eyebrows.

“Thanks. I’m glad I met you. You’re a great friend.”

Boyd grins playfully, “I’m just saying though, I’d still hit it.” His eyes drop to Derek’s crotch, and Derek promptly pushes him off the bed. Seconds later, Boyd is back on the bed, tickling Derek mercilessly.

Chapter Text

~*~ Wednesday – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles feels like a right bum. He hasn’t gotten out of bed yet, choosing instead to enjoy lounging about in his underwear while futzing around on his phone. Even with the three days a week he has off, he puts in close to 50-60 hours each week at the bar, sometimes more.

Jackson is in class, leaving Stiles alone in the apartment. He listens to the silence, letting it surround him and embracing the calmness it provides. He thinks back the guy at Jungle last night. It’s been a while since he has kissed someone else that isn’t Jackson. It’s a good feeling to know he hasn’t lost his touch. He smirks at that.

He had meant what he said to Jackson. He wanted to give the guy a first kiss to remember with good memories associated to it. Personally, his own first kiss had been stolen from him, and that memory will forever live with him. Brushing off the thoughts, Stiles sits up when he hears Jackson return.

“Hey, Sti. I picked up lunch.”

He enters the kitchen to see Jackson pulling out various boxes of food. “Where did you score all this?”

“There’s a new taco truck that sits outside my class. I haven’t tried it yet, but everyone says it’s really good. The prices are really cheap, which is a bonus, so I got a little of everything.”

“You are my king,” Stiles kisses Jackson’s cheek with a loud, resounding smack. “I am starving. I’ll grab the plates and drinks while you get everything opened.”

They make quick work of the food and box up the leftovers for later in the week, both agreeing that the food was as good as everyone had claimed.

“I’m going to shower and go to my room to work on my assignment,” Jackson tells Stiles once they finish cleaning up the kitchen.

“Good deal,” Stiles responds. “I’ll be in my room if you need me.”

Back in his room, Stiles settles back in his bed and picks up his laptop, opening his email. He skims through deleting the junk mail before his eyes land on the words Temporary Fix. He clicks the link to open the email and begins to read.

We have great news! We have found a match with a current need that we feel you would be a perfect fit for.

Please confirm that you are available for the date(s) shown below. Once we receive your confirmation, we will send you a link to an anonymous chat room for you and your temporary fix match to talk. Video is available in the chat room, but not required of either party. We find that many of our customers enjoy the “faceless” first contact, but this is at your discretion. After you and your match make contact, you can accept the match or decline and request a new one.

No matter what you choose, we are excited for your adventure and look forward to assisting you in this endeavor.

Your match has provided the following information:

Date: Thursday, September 28 – Monday, October 2 (Please Note: Only Thursday evening is mandatory for this request.)

Location: Manchester

Type of Event: Family Hosted Party/Weekend

Attire: Nice Casual for Thursday Dinner - If accommodating the weekend, everyday clothes for other times including swimwear.

Important Information: This weekend can be strictly platonic with no expectations for more. The requestor would like to share that at time things may be very uncomfortable and/or difficult. They are looking for someone that is comfortable with who they are. Transportation and travel costs, including lodging and meals, will be provided. The requestor will arrange travel home at any time for any reason, no questions asked.

Huh. That was fast. He continues reading.

If you are able to attend, please click the “YES” link below. You will be asked to confirm your acceptance of this “Temporary Fix” match a final time after you have had a chance to chat with the other party. If we do not receive a response within 72 hours, we will discard you as a match and begin looking for a new fix for you.

Additionally, if you have a need to fill, please click the “Submit Request” button at the top of the page.

As always, thank you for choosing Temporary Fix.

He stares at the email still on the screen. Can he afford any time off from the bar to attend the entire weekend? He’d hate to leave someone in a bind. Can he really do this? Can he let go of his past enough to be someone’s temporary fix? He thinks back to last night and the young man he kissed. It was nice kissing someone again, even if it didn’t mean anything. It was nice feeling wanted, feeling needed again.

Taking a deep breath, he scrolls to the bottom of the page and hovers his mouse over the options.

Are you interested in this “Temporary Fix”?

YES. Please confirm this match.

NO. Please reject this match.

Making his decision, he clicks the corresponding link and shuts the laptop.

 

~*~ Wednesday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek walks into his room after his classes on Wednesday and grabs his laptop from his nightstand to check his email. His stomach clenches with nerves. With the craziness of the last few days, he had forgotten about Temporary Fix. It’s been longer than 72 hours, and it had completely escaped his mind to go check his email.

Thoughts swarm him as his heart pounds. What if they couldn’t find anyone to match him with? What if the person was waiting all this time? What if they gave up or canceled their membership? What if… What if… What if… What ifs are getting him nowhere.

He shakes his head as if to clear it and clicks his email tab. When the page loads, he sees it immediately, eyes honing in like a beacon. There are four emails from Temporary Fix. He hesitates only a second before quickly clicking the first email.

We have great news! We have found a match for your request. As soon as we receive confirmation that the other party is available for the date(s) you require, we will send you a link to an anonymous chat room for you and your temporary fix match to talk. Video is available in the chat room, but not required of either party. We find that many of our customers enjoy the “faceless” first contact, but this is at your discretion. After you and your match make contact, you can accept the match for your need or request a new one.

Either way, we are excited for your adventure and look forward to assisting you.

If we do not receive a response from both parties within 72 hours, we will discard your match and locate a new one immediately, usually within 24 hours.

You will be asked to confirm your acceptance of this “Temporary Fix” match a final time after you have a chance to chat with the other party.

Derek excitedly clicks the next email, hoping to find a confirmation from the other person. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

We regret to inform you that our original match has rejected your event due to a scheduling conflict. Please rest assured, we have already begun the process to find you a new match. We will work diligently to pair you with a new match within 24 hours. Thank you again for putting your faith and trust in us to find your Temporary Fix.

Derek’s heart sinks, the pain of rejection crushing him. In his head, he knows that it wasn’t a personal rejection, but his heart won’t listen. Fighting the overwhelming feeling that has taken over him, he clicks the next email. Tears clouding his vision, he roughly wipes his eyes, clearing his eyes enough to ready the watery words on the screen.

We have great news! We have found a match for your request…

The email continues, a replica of the one he read previously. “Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, right, because the first match worked out so well,” he mutters bitterly to himself.

He moves down the list and opens the last email.

We are happy to inform you that your match has confirmed your event!

Please choose three times from the times listed below that you are available to enter the assigned chat room to meet your match.

Once your match confirms a time, we will send you a link for the chat room. If you would like a text confirmation, as well as real time notifications and updates, please include your phone number in the box below.

Derek’s heart begins hammering in his chest. Someone accepted. Someone FUCKING accepted. Like a broken record, the thought repeats over and over in his head.

His hand shakes as he clicks three of the available times and types in his phone number for the confirmation text before submitting the form. He puts his laptop aside and grabs his bag from the floor. Homework time.

 

~*~ Thursday – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles is up early on Thursday morning. He texts Jackson to let him know he is awake and decides to make some breakfast, opting for the always yummy Coco Puffs. He’s feeling lazy today and can’t find the energy for anything more difficult. As he sits down, his phone buzzes with an incoming text from Jackson telling him that he wouldn’t be home before Stiles has to leave for work but that he would stop by the bar later.

Finishing his cereal, he washes his bowl and spoon and then putters around the apartment cleaning up the living room and finishing up his laundry from earlier in the week. He starts another load and then picks up the basket of clothes to be folded, taking them to his room and dumping them carelessly onto his bed.

Once he finishes folding them and putting them away, he falls face first into his bed with a groan. Why did he get up so early? Rolling over, he stares at the ceiling, trying to decide if he has the energy for a quick jerk. He lets his hand brush lightly across the front of his joggers, his cock twitching in interest. Running his fingers slowly up his length, he succumbs.

He pushes his joggers and boxers down to his thighs and works his hand over himself until he’s fully hard, precome dripping from the tip. He drops his other hand behind him and just presses a finger against his hole. Coming almost immediately, the hand on his cock continues to work through his orgasm until he is satiated and spent.

Stiles stays there dick out, come cooling on his belly, until his body calms and his heartrate and breathing return to normal. Grabbing a tissue, he cleans himself up enough to stand and pull off his clothes completely before walking naked to the bathroom to take a shower.

After his shower, he sits down in his bed and opens his laptop, navigating quickly to his email.

We are happy to inform you that your match has accepted the temporary fix for their upcoming event!

Please choose one of the three times listed below that you are available to enter the assigned chat room to meet your match. If you are unavailable for any of the times listed, please let us know by clicking here and providing three times you are able to accommodate.

Once you have selected your time, we will send you a link for the chat. If you would like a text confirmation, as well as real time notifications and updates, please include your phone number in the box below. The link for the chat room will be sent via email.

Thursday, September 21 – 2:30 PM

Friday, September 22 – 11:00 AM

Friday, September 22 – 8:00 PM

Phone Number (optional):

Stiles checks the time on his phone and clicks on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. He includes his phone number in the space provided. That gives him a couple of hours to get himself prepared, just enough time before he goes to work, and not enough time to talk himself out of it.

By 2:15 p.m., Stiles is dressed and ready to enter the chat. He even takes time to style his hair into a messy bedhead look. He isn’t planning on turning on the video, knowing that his looks can be intimidating, but he wanted to at least be prepared just in case the other person was adamant.

His phone beeps with a reminder for the chat. His laptop is set up on his bed, all he has to do is sit down and join the chat room. Second guessing himself, oh who is he kidding, he seconded guessed himself hours ago, he looks at his desk debating on moving his laptop there; but ultimately, he decides to leave it on his bed. He will be more relaxed there, and he needs the comfort that it will provide.

He makes a quick trip to the bathroom and then goes to the kitchen and makes a sandwich before pulling out a bottle of water from the refrigerator and walking back to his room. He checks the time on his phone. Three minutes to go.

Settling on his bed, he takes a bite of his sandwich and clicks the link for the chat from his email at 2:29 p.m., his impatience showing its hand.

Chat room is now open. Please wait for other participant(s). This is an anonymous chat room, only accessible with a direct invite from Temporary Fix. Video is available in this chat room at your discretion, but not required of either participant. Total number of participants for this chat: 2

Stiles looks at the clock. 2:30 p.m. Where is this person? Is he being stood up for a chat? Seriously? It’s not even him that requested this fix. The clock continues to tick, time seeming to move slowly, seconds feeling like minutes, minutes feeling like hours.

He decides he will give the person until 2:40 p.m. before he will log off and wash his hands of the whole shebang. As time crawls by, he can’t even make himself eat. He’s too busy overthinking. What the hell is he thinking? What is he doing here anyway? This is a sign. It has to be a sign. Now, at least he can tell Jackson he tried. Stiles was right all along. He is better off alone.

Chapter Text

~*~ Thursday (continued) – Stiles~*~

 

2:39 p.m. Stiles moves his mouse to hover over the exit button. 15…14…13…12…sound crackles from his speakers, and a faceless circle flashes on the screen indicating that someone has entered the chat.

A decidedly male voice erupts from his laptop, “Hi! Are you still there? Please still be there. Hello? Hello? I am so sorry I’m late. Shit, I’ve already screwed this up. Ugh. Fuck. Hello?”

Stiles laughs, “I’m still here, dude. Stress less. You’re good.”

“Oh, hey!” the man’s relief comes through loud and clear. “I’m Derek. I didn’t mean to be late. I actually set everything up over three hours ago, and then all hell broke loose. There was so much water everywhere and…” he takes a breath, “and I should shut up now. Sorry.”

“Hi, Derek. I’m Stiles,” he introduces himself. “Are you still good for now? We can reschedule for another time.”

“No! Now is good,” Derek responds, panic reentering his tone.

“If you’re sure,” Stiles replies and finds himself smiling at the man on the other end of the call.

“I’m sure,” Derek confirms.

“Alright then,” Stiles acknowledges, jumping right in. “Tell me about what you’re needing. Family dinner, right?”

“Yes, well, no. It’s a family weekend thing, but if you can only attend the dinner, that’s fine. I left it open because I don’t want to take too much of your time. They didn’t tell me whether you had accepted just the dinner or the entire weekend,” Derek says, suddenly sounding shy. “I’ll make sure to have a car available to take you home right after dinner on Thursday if that’s what you want.”

“No worries. We’ll get that part sorted,” Stiles smiles encouragingly even though the man, Derek, can’t see him. “Would I be attending as your friend or…”

Derek cuts him off, “Whatever you want. My parents will be unhappy no matter if you are there as a friend, boyfriend, or escort.”

“I am definitely not escort material, dude.” Stiles snickers as he thinks of his tattoos and piercings. “But I am not sure I am “meet the parents” boyfriend material either. Can we play it by ear for now?”

“Yes. Absolutely, yes. Whatever you want. Whatever you are comfortable with.”

“Just so I am prepared though, would there be an issue if we go the dating route?” Derek’s silence speaks volumes. “So, that’s a yes,” Stiles concludes.

“No. Yes. Maybe,” Derek sighs. “Yes, they would have a problem with it, but I don’t really care. As long as it’s what you want, that is.”

“You get a say, too, yeah? If after you see me, you just want to spin the friend narrative, I can do that,” Stiles offers.

“After I see you?” Derek asks.

“I’m not the pretty boy next door,” Stiles answers, stretching out his legs and fiddling with his lip ring.

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Nothing really. I am just preparing you. Don’t get your hopes up. I’m just me, and most people don’t find me very appealing and even more find me unapproachable.”

“I doubt that,” Derek scoffs.

“I’m single, so that should tell you something.”

“So am I, and I wouldn’t consider myself to look like the Crypt Keeper or anything.” Derek snorts, and Stiles finds himself joining Derek as he chuckles at his words.

“That’s fair. You’ll just have to take my word on it for now.” Stiles tugs harder at the ring at the corner of his mouth. “What can you tell me about the plans for the weekend? Dinner on Thursday evening, yeah? Then what?”

“I…” Derek pauses. “I don’t really know,” he finally admits. “My parents never tell me. Last time, we took a helicopter ride around the city and then stayed in suites at some hotel. The year before that, they had a several tents set up in the backyard with various carnival games and a DJ and a bar. Like I said, you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. I don’t know if Temporary Fix mentioned in their email or not, but even if you stay and later decide you want to leave, I will arrange for that no matter where we are or what we are doing. No pressure.”

Stiles can’t help but be endeared by this generous, kind man. “I need to get covered at work. If I can do that, then staying the weekend should be fine.”

“Really? You would do that? You would really stay?” Derek fervently asks, his voice projecting his relief.

“Why not? Could be fun,” Stiles says, realization hitting him that it could actually be just that. Fun.

Derek groans, “Or not. Hell, if you are lucky, my dad will probably try to buy you off to disappear and never speak to me again; but the joke would be on them since you are just a “temporary fix”. My parents are not the easiest people to get along with.”

“I guarantee that I can handle anything they throw at me,” Stiles assures him, confident in his claim.

“God, I am so glad they paired me with a guy,” Derek murmurs randomly, just loud enough for the mic to pick him up.

Stiles cocks his head to the side, curious. “Why is that?”

“I guess I would just spend all my time worrying and feeling overprotective of a girl and her feelings,” Derek explains.

“Is that so? My feelings don’t matter then? You aren’t going to worry about me?” Stiles says with mock offense.

“No. No. I didn’t mean…I mean of course your feelings matter. I just meant…”

Stiles laughs lightly at how Derek’s insecurity filters through his words. “Derek, I’m fucking with you. I know what you meant.”

A whoosh sound can be heard through Stiles’ speakers as Derek exhales a deep breath. “Good. I’m glad.”

“Just so you know, I’m glad they paired me with a guy, too.”

They continue to talk for a while, conversation never lagging, telling each other small things about themselves without giving away too much in case this whole thing goes south. Stiles glances at the time. 3:50 p.m. Shit. He was supposed to leave for work five minutes ago.

“Dude, I hate to do this, but I have to go to work now,” Stiles tells Derek.

Derek, for his part, doesn’t complain. “Yeah, okay. That’s fine. Talk soon. Maybe. Hopefully.”

“Bye, Derek,” Stiles says softly.

“Bye, Stiles.”

As Stiles moves to close the chat box, an image flashes on the screen. A second later, it was gone; but the image is burned into his brain. Stiles had just glimpsed the most beautiful man he has ever laid eyes on. Soft, hazel eyes; messy, wet, black hair; blinding smile; and a stubbled jawline that could cut diamonds. A fucking wet dream on legs. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. If that was Derek that flashed across the screen, Stiles is so majorly fucked.

His phone buzzes with a text from Temporary Fix.

We hope everything went well in your chat. Please let us know if you would like to formally accept this Temporary Fix match. An email will be sent to you shortly or reply to this text: Y to accept/N to decline.

Knowing he wouldn’t have a chance to check his email until tomorrow, Stiles replies to the text, tugs on his shoes, picks up his keys and wallet, and locks the door behind him. He sends a short text to Danny to let him know he would be a few minutes late and then takes off running to the bar.

 

~*~ Thursday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek is in middle of class when the text comes through.

We are happy to inform you that your match has chosen the following time for your initial chat!

Thursday, September 21 – 2:30 PM

We have sent you the link for the chat room by email for your convenience.

Derek’s eyes widen. His match chose today. This is actually happening. His hearts slams in his chest for the rest of the class. It’s a good thing that his next class was canceled today. There’s no way he could have focused, plus now he will have time to go back to his room and get everything set up. He should even have time for a shower.

After class, he runs back to his room and immediately jumps into action. He straightens his room and makes his bed. Looking back and forth between the bed and the desk, he decides to set everything up on his desk. He makes sure it is angled correctly in case the other person wants to use video and plugs his laptop in to charge. Sifting through his clothes, he finally decides to keep it simple with dark jeans and a soft green v-neck t shirt. Checking the clock, he notes that he has just over three hours before the chat, leaving him plenty of time for lunch and a shower. You know what they say about best laid plans and all that.

He makes a quick trip to the deli down the street for lunch. When he gets back to his room, he puts the bag of food and fountain drink on his desk just as his phone buzzes with an incoming text.

Emergency – All Hands on Deck!!

Burst water pipe in the basement. Please report immediately to assist.

Two and a half hours later, soaking wet and dripping everywhere, a squishing sound emanating from his shoes with every step, Derek races into his room, grabs a towel, and glances in the mirror. He looks like a drowned rat. At least he doesn’t have to turn the video on. He checks the time. 2:29 p.m. He dries his face, neck, and arms. His clothes will just have to drip until he can get connected. Sitting down at his desk, his leg bouncing in anticipation, he watches the clock. He picks up his forgotten drink from lunch and takes a sip to wet his suddenly dry mouth. And of course, that’s when it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

His hand holding the drink loses its grip, and the cup slips from his fingers. Everything seems to move in slow motion, and he watches in horror as the cup upends and spills over his laptop. With a spark and a quiet splutter, his laptop shuts off.

“No! NO! NONONONO!” He presses the power button. The black screen remains unchanged. He tries to mop up the liquid with a shirt he plucks off the floor. He pokes the power button again. No response. Not even a flicker. He picks up the laptop and flips it over, shaking more of the drink out. He pushes the button again. Nothing. Fuck.

He races out of his room and bangs on Boyd’s door. “Boyd! Please open the door. It’s Derek. Please.”

Boyd opens the door, looking as waterlogged as Derek, “It’s always unlocked, dude. You don’t have to knock.”

“Thanks. Can I borrow your laptop? I’ll explain everything later, just please, can I borrow it?”

“Do you need it now? I forgot to charge it last night, so it’s dead. It will take several minutes to get enough charge to turn on.”

He looks at his phone for the time. 2:32 p.m. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. He groans, “Yes, that’s fine. Please hurry. I’m late.”

Boyd pulls his laptop and charger from his bag and hands them to Derek. “The mouse is a little quirky. Sometimes, it clicks on random things.”

“That’s alright as long as I can get the laptop turned on, I can deal with the rest.”

He rushes back to his room and plugs in the charger by his nightstand. He sits in his bed, wet clothes and all, and waits for the laptop to power up. What feels like a lifetime later, the screen flares to life, and he logs into his email account. Or he tries.

Incorrect Password. Please try again.

He tries again.

Incorrect Password. Please try again.

What the hell? He’s had the same email and password since he was 12. Why is it not working? He checks the time. 2:37 p.m. He glances at the keyboard. Caps lock is on. Of course, it is. How did he hit that stupid ass button? He turns it off and types in his password again. As soon as his email opens, he finds the most current one from Temporary Fix and immediately clicks the link they provided for the chat room.

Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again.

Derek looks at the clock and watches as it flips to 2:38 p.m. He tries to click again but the cursor glitches and shifts across the page. Instead of the chat room opening, the Temporary Fix website opens. Seriously, this cannot be happening. He goes back a page to his email.

Your session has timed out. Please login again.

Derek growls as he types in his password again. As soon as the email opens, he clicks the chat room link again.

Connecting to anonymous chat room. Please wait.

He runs his fingers through his soaking wet hair from when water was spraying down on him from the broken pipe and pulls nervously while he watches the connection bar creep slowly along. Why won’t it connect? He’s so fucking late. “Connect. Come on, connect already,” he chants repeatedly. Finally, the chat screen opens and words begin to tumble from his mouth in rapid fire succession.

“Hi! Are you still there? Please still be there. Hello? Hello? I am so sorry I’m late. Shit, I’ve already screwed this up. Ugh. Fuck. Hello?”

A man laughs softly, “I’m here, dude. Stress less. You’re good.”

“Oh, hey!” Derek breathes a sigh of relief and then starts to talk.

Before he knows it, the man, Stiles, has to leave for work. He looks at the clock shocked to see it’s almost 4:00 p.m. Where had the time gone? “Yeah, okay, that’s fine. Talk soon. Maybe. Hopefully.”

“Bye, Derek.”

“Bye, Stiles,” he responds, the man’s quiet voice sending shivers down his spine.

He tries to leave the chat, but the cursor jumps; and he accidentally ends up clicking the video icon by mistake. He shuts the laptop quickly, hoping that Stiles left before the video connected. He doesn’t want to know how much of a mess he looks like right now. Flopping back onto the bed, he picks up his buzzing phone.

We hope everything went well in your chat. Please let us know if you would like to formally accept this Temporary Fix match. An email will be sent to you shortly or reply to this text: Y to accept/N to decline.

Chapter Text

~*~ Friday – Stiles ~*~

 

When Stiles wakes up mid-morning, he picks up his phone to check the messages from last night. Having forgotten to charge it the night before last, his phone had died just after he got to the bar yesterday. When he finally rolled into the apartment after work, he had put it on the charger and fell promptly asleep, too exhausted to do anything else.

There are no missed calls, thankfully; but he does have three unread texts.

The first one is from Temporary Fix.

Congratulations! Both parties have formally accepted. You will receive your match’s contact information under separate cover. We hope you have a fantastic time and look forward to assisting you again for your next Temporary Fix. If you have agreed to accommodate other needs, you will still be in the active list. We have blacked out the date(s) for the accepted event. If at any time you would like to request another fix or pause/remove yourself from our list, please don’t hesitate to let us know. It is our pleasure to assist you.

Stiles smiles thinking about the glimpse of the guy he had seen in the split second before the chat closed. If that’s what he has to look forward to, then maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. He opens the second text. The email address and phone number for Derek blink back at him.

He saves the information in his contacts and opens the last text. Expecting it to be from Derek, he is surprised and a little disappointed to see it’s from Jackson telling him he wouldn’t make it to the bar and would be home before noon.

Stiles debates texting Derek; but this is Derek’s request, and he isn’t really sure of the rules for this. He sighs and rubs his hand over the back of his neck. What the hell has he gotten himself into? It’s all Jackson’s fault. Before he can change his mind, he opens a new message and sends a text to Derek, short, sweet, and to the point.

Hi.

He tosses his phone onto the bed and gets up to make lunch. He is just pulling on joggers when Jackson enters the apartment. “Sti?” his panicked voice rings into the apartment.

Stiles walks into the living room and takes in Jackson’s flustered state. “I’m here.”

“You didn’t respond last night. Is everything alright?” Concern remains etched into the creases at the corner of Jackson’s eyes.

“Yeah. My phone died, and I forgot to take my charger to the bar last night,” Stiles says apologetically.

“I’ve told you about that,” Jackson chastises as relief blossoms over his features, erasing the previous anxiety.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m sorry. I know I suck.” Stiles approaches him and pulls him into a hug. “Do you want anything for lunch? I was just about to make something.”

“Sounds good.”

After lunch, Stiles grabs his phone from his room and joins Jackson on the couch to watch a movie before he has to leave for work.

“What do you want to watch?” Jackson asks, flipping to the Netflix homepage.

Resting his head in Jackson’s lap, he gets comfortable. “You choose, just nothing artsy fartsy.”

“Artsy farsty? Really?” Jackson shakes his head. “How about we start binging Buffy again?”

“Sure. Why not?”

Stiles’ phone buzzes in his hand. He checks his phone, keeping it tilted to the side out of Jackson’s view, and sees he has twenty-eight missed messages. What the holy hell?

Hi!

Ummm…this is Derek.

You probably already know that.

Or maybe you didn’t…

Maybe this is a wrong number.

Shit, if it’s a wrong number, I have given out my name to some random person.

But no, it’s the number I put in my phone that Temporary Fix gave me for Stiles.

Is this Stiles?

I don’t have class today if you want to talk.

Or we can just text…

Do you want to meet somewhere?

Whatever you would prefer.

If you want to meet, we would have to figure out how to know who we were looking for.

Like I could wear something or something.

I wish I knew what you looked like.

Wait, no, not that it matters what you look like.

What if you hate how I look?

I would totally understand if you want to bail on the date…hang out…dinner…thing…temporary fix…I don’t know what to call it.

I forgot to thank you for accepting.

So…thank you!

Did you find out if you are only going to go to dinner or if you will be there the whole weekend?

I’m sorry.

Was that pushy?

That was pushy.

I’m sorry again.

I don’t know how to do this.

Ugh.

Hello?

 Stiles smiles at the nervous chatter on the screen in front of him. Derek is something else. Usually, he steers clear of people like Derek, opting instead for a much calmer, less erratic person. The fewer the words the other person actually speaks, the better. He barely has time for double texters. Nonstop texters are typically blocked fairly quickly. He doesn’t have time in his life to be tied to his phone. If someone can’t understand that, it won’t work out anyway.

“What are you smiling at?” Jackson interrupts his thoughts.

“Nothing,” he answers turning the phone further to the side, not yet wanting to let Jackson in on his plans. Stiles knows he will never hear the end of it as soon as Jackson finds out, and he just isn’t ready for the conversation.

“Uh huh, sure.” Jackson’s fingers card through Stiles’ hair. “Whatever you say.”

“Really. Start the show. I have a couple of hours before I have to go to work. We should be able to knock out two or three episodes.”

Jackson looks down at him quizzically before pressing play on the remote, the theme song filling the room. Stiles pulls a blanket over his lap and tries to discreetly send a text to Derek.

Hey! Sorry I was away from my phone. Yes, this is Stiles. You didn’t give your name out to some creeper…or did you?

Stiles sees Jackson glancing at him, so he puts his phone down and focuses on the TV, ignoring the telltale buzz of incoming texts.

“You gonna answer that?” Jackson asks, indicating the buzzing phone with a wave of his hand.

“It’s not important.” Stiles snuggles into the blanket and leans into Jackson’s fingers still running through his hair. “That feels good.”

They watch three episodes before Stiles has to shower and go to work. He checks his phone while he is walking to work, having waited to look at the missed messages until he was out of the apartment just in case Jackson was watching.

Oh, God, I am so embarrassed.

Just ignore my rambling earlier.

I am so sorry.

I panicked.

I’m not normally like that.

I’m already screwing this up.

Can we start over?

Stiles sends a response just as he arrives at the bar.

No, we can’t start over.

He unlocks the door, walks in, and turns on the lights as he makes his way through the building. Before he can send another text, Danny arrives; and they get to work setting up for the evening, his phone forgotten for the moment. They fill ice basins, connect the clean nozzles on the dispensers, move kegs, pull out the different liquors for the evening, stock towels and aprons, move crates of glasses, flip chairs off tables, and the list goes on. Stiles goes to the back to get the register till for the evening. Knowing that when the doors open his phone will be the last thing on his mind, he checks his messages.

Oh, okay. I won’t bother you again.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…yeah anyway. I’m sorry.

Stiles feels bad for worrying him, but he can’t help but be a little charmed by how sweet Derek is. He is so totally fucked. Nice guys always either want nothing to do with him or want to change him, yet he finds himself drawn to them. Every. Single. Time.  

I think the one apologizing should be me. I didn’t intend to leave you hanging there. You aren’t bothering me. I’m sorry. My schedule is always a bit overwhelming for most people. I have five minutes. Can I call you?

The phone rings in his hand seconds after the text shows as delivered. “Hi, Derek,” Stiles greets.

“Hi,” Derek responds quietly. “I’m sorry I have been such a mess today.”

“No worries, dude. I wanted to call because I don’t have a lot of time right now and texting would take too long.” Stiles counts the money in the tray efficiently as he speaks.

“It’s alright. I understand. I know I came on a bit strong. You can just say it. No hard feelings,” Derek says softly, dejection clear.

“What are you talking about?” Stiles asks, breaking open a roll of coins and emptying the sleeve into the tray.

“Aren’t you going to cancel?”

“No?” Stiles counters.

“You aren’t?” Derek asks, a hint of hope creeping into his voice.

“No. I was going to say that if you have some free time tonight and want to meet face to face, I’ll be at Midnight Memories. You can bring a friend if it makes you feel better,” Stiles suggests.

“Really? You want to meet? Already?” Uncertainty creeps into Derek’s voice.

Stiles wavers, unsure if he has overstepped. Are there rules or something that he doesn’t know about? “Unless you don’t want to meet before the day of the dinner?”

Excitement filters into his words, when Derek says, “No, no. I want to meet before then. I’d like that.”

“Then, I’ll see you tonight,” Stiles confirms and smiles.

Derek hesitates just long enough for Stiles to take notice. “You do know how hard it is to get in there, right?”

“Skip the line.”

“Right, like that’s how it works. It took us over an hour to get in last week,” Derek laments.

Stiles mulls that sentence over. He hadn’t seen the guy from the blip in the chat room at the bar last weekend, so it must have been a technical glitch. He would definitely have remembered that face. He won’t admit he’s disappointed though. Nope. Never. Appears he’s going in blind to this then. No big deal. That’s what it was supposed to be anyway. “Just walk up to the bouncer and tell him you’re with Red. I’ll let him know you’re coming.”

“You know the bouncer?” Derek asks, a little bit of doubt filtering through with his question.

“Something like that, yeah,” Stiles replies, not elaborating further.

“How will I find you?”

Stiles locks the safe and picks up the tray of money, carrying it to the door. “Go to the bar and ask for Red.”

“Wait, you know the bartenders at Midnight Memories, too? How? What? Really? Will this Red person know how to find you?” Derek blurts out.

“Something like that, yeah,” he repeats his earlier words with a laugh, the smile on his face growing.

“Alright,” Derek responds. “But only if you are sure.”

“I’m sure. I’ll see you tonight then, yeah?”

“I’ll be there,” Derek confirms. “See you soon, Stiles.”

They disconnect the call, and Stiles walks into the main part of the bar. He hands the till to Danny to put in the register and greets the other employees as he walks to the front. He lets the bouncers know that Derek and any friend he brings with him are on the VIP list and to admit them immediately when they arrive.

Unlocking the doors to open for the evening, he steps outside to take in the line already wrapped around the building. Pride fills him at the sight of what he has accomplished. He’s happy to know that people want to be here, that they trust it to be a safe place, enough that they would rather wait in line to get in here than go someplace else. Making a difference, no matter how small, is what matters.

Heading back inside, he steps behind the bar with Danny and grabs an apron and towel. “Look alive. Line is already down the block and around the corner. It’s about to get crazy in here.”

 

~*~ Friday – Derek ~*~

 

As soon as he hangs up the phone with Stiles, Derek jumps into action. He runs to Boyd’s room and opens the door, “Do you want to go to…” And this is why he usually knocks. He turns around quickly and squeezes his eyes closed as an extra measure.

“What’s up, Derek?” Boyd asks. From the sounds coming from the direction of the bed, he hasn’t stopped what he was doing.

“Nothing, never mind,” Derek stutters, shuffling out of the doorway. “Just come find me when, you know, when you finish?”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to leave. Just shut the door.” Boyd says, a low gruff tone to his panting voice. “What did you need?”

Derek backs into the room and pushes the door shut. “Are you really going to have a conversation with me right now? Like that?” Derek waves his hand in Boyd’s general direction, refusing to turn around to confirm his theory that Boyd has carried on as if Derek hadn’t interrupted.

“Yeah, why not?” Boyd acknowledges with a catch to his words.

Jaw dropping open, Derek squeaks out, “You’re jerking off.”

“Obviously, dude. What was your first clue?” Boyd asks, with the barest hint of a repressed moan.

Derek’s embarrassment skyrockets at the soft sound, “Like still actively tugging on your dick.”

“Mhm.” Slick sounds fill the room. “And? It’s fine. Now, tell me what you were going to ask. Do I want to what?”

“I was going to ask if you wanted to go to Midnight Memories again?”

“This weekend? Sure, why not?” Boyd agrees affably. “We could go early tomorrow. I only have morning class. My afternoon was canceled.”

“No, I meant tonight,” Derek clarifies, nearly turning around before catching himself.

“Tonight?”

Derek swallows hard as the sound of skin meeting skin increases in both volume and speed. “Yeah.”

Boyd hums softly before responding. “It’s a little late. The line will be longer than last week, if we can get in at all.”

Feeling awkward and unsure of how to explain, Derek sticks to simple. “Yeah, about that. It won’t be a problem.”

“How’s that?”

“It just won’t. Do you want to go?” Derek spots a gnarly looking knot in the wood trim piece by the door. He runs his fingers over it, trying to shut off his brain to the obvious climax approaching, if the accompanying sounds are anything to go by.

“Yeah. Let me finish up here. I should be ready in twenty.” Boyd’s breath hitches. “Maybe sooner.” Derek groans at the visual still burned into his brain of a very naked Boyd playing with himself on his bed. A high keening noise pervades the room as if in response to his groan. “Definitely sooner.” Boyd’s loud gasps confirm Derek’s suspicions that the denouement was currently happening whether he was in the room or not. Harsh breaths ring in his ears as he slips out of the room.

Twelve minutes later, they are in the car and driving to the bar. “Sorry about earlier.” Derek’s face flames, but he keeps his eyes on the road, too embarrassed to face Boyd.

“What are you sorry for?” Boyd asks, turning in his seat to look at Derek.

Derek can feel his ears heating up with his embarrassment. Times like this, he wishes he had long hair to hide behind. He turns his face just slightly away. “For just barging in.”

Boyd laughs good naturedly. “It’s all good. It was just some hand relief. I told you that you don’t have to knock.”

“But…”

Boyd waves his hand in the air, cutting him off. “Stop worrying about it. I’m not bothered. I don’t know why you are. Now, spill. How are we getting in tonight?”

Derek tosses Boyd a look before returning his eyes to the road. “You’ll see.”

For the first time since agreeing to go tonight, Derek thinks about it and really hopes Stiles wasn’t just messing with him. He had sounded sincere, but it wouldn’t be the first time Derek had been gullible enough to believe someone at face value. And technically, Stiles is still a stranger he knows almost nothing about.

Parking is terrible, as expected; and it is doing nothing to settle Derek’s nerves. Apparently, he’s not hiding it as well as he had hoped, because Boyd takes notice. “Dude, you look like you are about to toss chunks. You alright?”

“Yeah,” Derek nods, not sure if he is agreeing that he is alright or that he’s about to toss chunks. He’s leaning toward tossing chunks.

Boyd motions to the line as they approach the bar. “I told you the line was going to be worse.” When Derek walks past the end of the line, Boyd grabs his arm. “The line’s back here.”

“I know. Come on,” Derek replies, taking Boyd’s hand and pulling him toward the door.

Boyd pulls back trying to stop Derek. “Where are we going? If we don’t get in line, we’ll never get in.”

“Just come with me.” Derek continues walking to the entrance and stops in front of the bouncer. “We’re with Red.”

“Name?”

“Um, Derek?” he stammers, sounding unsure of his own name.

“Welcome to Midnight Memories, Derek. You two go on in, and have a good night.”

Derek and Boyd walk into the bar and weave their way through the cluster of people milling just inside the door. When they get to a small opening, Boyd stops Derek, spinning him around. “What kind of wizardry was that?” he asks shaking his finger toward the door they had just entered, disbelief written across his face.

Derek grins and shrugs. “What do you mean? I did nothing.” He turns back around to face the bar, anxious to meet Stiles. Taking a deep breath, Derek starts maneuvering through the thickening crowd. The closer he gets to the bar, the more bodies there are in his path.

“Uh huh. I’ll let it go for now, but you will be explaining yourself later, mister,” Boyd says hurrying to catch up. “What are you drinking tonight?”

“I don’t know yet,” Derek says thoughtfully, unsure if he wants to get plastered again so soon. The red drink was so good though. And the cherries. Jesus Christ, the cherries. But Stiles. He nods coming to a decision. Stiles first, then drinking. “I’m going to grab a water for now. Do you want anything?”

“Yeah. Get me a pint, will you? I’ll buy next round,” Boyd says, his focus already losing itself to the crowd on the dance floor. “I’ll meet you out there. The music is calling me.”

Derek laughs, watching Boyd dance away in his tight jeans and grey crew neck shirt, his familiar presence providing a much needed sense of calm for Derek. He walks toward the line at the bar, passing it completely, and stopping when he reaches the front.

Someone in line taps him on the shoulder. “Hey, dude. The line starts back there.” He hitches his thumb over his shoulder.

“I know,” he responds and turns to the bartender, effectively ignoring the man. “Excuse me.” He waves lightly to get the bartender’s attention. “I’m looking for Stiles…uh…Red?”

The bartender smiles, “Red’s in back. He’ll be back out soon.”

“What do you mean he’s in back?” Derek asks.

“He’s in back grabbing stock.” The man looks at Derek like he’s a bit stupid, one brow quirked up in a “duh” expression.

Derek returns the look with a perplexed one of his own. “He works here?” 

“Yeah. He shouldn’t be long,” the bartender explains. “I’m sorry, but I need to get back to the line. Can I get something for you while you wait?”

“Water, please; and a pint for my friend, if that’s alright,” Derek answers around his confusion. Why would Stiles have him ask for someone that works here? That doesn’t make sense. Is Stiles playing some kind of game? Who is this Red person anyway? Is he going to screen Derek for Stiles? Make sure he’s good enough or something? Why would someone do that? Do people actually do that?

The bartender interrupts his internal monologue and hands the drinks to Derek before moving to the next customer. “I’ll send him your way when he gets back. Should I start a tab for you?”

“Yes, please. Thanks.” Derek takes Boyd his drink and tells him he will be right back, that he has something he needs to do. Boyd is grinding on a petite blonde girl and takes his drink, nodding his understanding.

Derek hasn’t been back at the bar long when a man enters. When his eyes focus on the man, Derek’s breath catches. He never knew he could be attracted to anyone on sight, but the man in front of him has definitely garnered all of his attention. The messy, brunette hair sticking up perfectly, the tight black jeans that look painted on, the ripped white tank top with holes in the most mouthwatering places, the strong build on the thin frame, and the perfect round ass attached to thick thighs, all rolled into one person, should be illegal.

The man’s arms and hands are clearly strong and littered with tattoos. Holy Christ, the man’s hands are perfection. If Derek isn’t mistaken, he sees even more ink gracing the lightly tan skin peeking out from the gaps of the shirt that barely skims his collarbones. Along with the intricate ink, the man has multiple piercings; and by multiple piercings, Derek means a lot. He sees two in one eyebrow, one in the other eyebrow, two on his lips, one in his nose, two in one ear, and six in the other, three up higher on the shell of the ear than the other three.

Derek also takes notice of a silver and black leather choker style necklace around the man’s neck with what appears to be a padlock of some kind and several bracelets, black rubber ones and a couple of black leather ones, one with a silver charm, being the most prominent. And good Lord, the eyeliner. Derek didn’t know eyeliner on a man could be such a turn on for him, but fuck if he wasn’t getting hard in his already tight jeans.

He’s not one to typically judge someone on their looks, and Derek’s ashamed to admit that the tattoos and piercings would normally turn him off. Scare him off, is more accurate. It would be an understatement to say that Derek is usually too intimidated to talk to a man like this one, but something about this man commands his attention. He finds himself wondering what it would be like to kiss someone with lip piercings. Not that he has a lot of experience to compare it to; but it does beg the questions, would it hurt? Would it be perceptible at all? Would it catch on something?

The room has narrowed to one point with this man at the center focus. It’s almost as if the air and pandemonium of sound has been sucked out of the room leaving only white noise behind. He definitely works here; and from what Derek can see of his very toned body, the man pulls his own weight, in spite of his long, slim frame.

Derek would give anything for this to be Stiles; but based on the conversation he had earlier with the bartender, he guesses this is Red. The bartender confirms his hunch when he calls out to get his attention.

The man speaks quietly to the bartender and glances over at Derek, before approaching with a smile. “Hi.”

Derek is not prepared for the stunning, whiskey brown eyes that stare back at him, and his hands shake as his nerves take over, causing him to spill his drink. “Shit!” he says, looking for a way to stop the flow of water from dripping off the bar and into the floor. “I am so sorry.” Heat washes over his face, and he knows he’s blushing. Derek gapes as the man pulls the towel off his shoulder and mops up the water.

“No worries, dude. Danny said you asked for me,” the man says, a light clicking noise accompanying his words.

Oh, God! The man has a tongue ring. It’s several long seconds before Derek remembers he should be articulating speech instead of making fish impressions. He stumbles out a string of words that he hopes sounds like a sentence but is pretty sure comes off more like a garbled mess, face flushing further with his inept attempt at speaking.

He is met with awkward silence. The man’s face gives away nothing, the only discernable change being the darkening of his eyes. Jesus fuck! Derek inhales a fractured breath. He had thought the man’s eyes were striking before. Nothing could have prepared him for way his body reacts to how they transform before him, from the consuming, molten honey to the just as devastating, smokey topaz. “I’m Derek,” he lamely blurts in the silence.

The man’s eyes change again, hardening seconds before he swiftly turns his head. His eyes case the room, appearing to take in every detail in every corner. Without another word to Derek, he walks over and takes a girl’s order.

Okay? What just happened? Stiles had said to go to the bar and ask for Red, but the guy just brushed him off. Anger floods Derek as he watches this Red guy push back the limes on the shelf so that they are out of sight and then flit to the back only to arrive with more limes. What the hell? Obviously, the girl is taken if the guy draped all over her is any indication, so why is Red trying to keep the girl’s attention. Sure, he’s attractive; but that doesn’t mean he can just take whatever he wants. How arrogant can he be? What a dick!

Chapter Text

~*~ Friday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles tosses an empty bottle in the trash. “I’m going to the back to get grenadine. Anything else?”

“We could use some limes soon. I had a run on tequila shots earlier.”

“Got it,” Stiles acknowledges. “I’ll grab an extra keg while I am at it. The barback should be here in an hour. He’s running a bit late.”

Stiles isn’t gone long, not more than ten minutes. When he returns, he puts the keg near the end so they can pull it when they need it. Situating the grenadine and limes into their correct places, he washes his hands at the sink and takes his place to the left of Danny to take the next order.

“Hey, Red. The guy at the end of the bar is asking for you.” Danny tilts his head faintly to his right.

Stiles shifts his eyes to where Danny indicated, and his breath catches. It’s the guy. The one from the chat room. The glitch. It can’t be though. He wasn’t here last week. Stiles would remember that face anywhere. It must be something else. He is not disappointed. Not at all. Shit, why couldn’t this be Derek?

He moves closer to Danny. “Did he say what he wants?” he murmurs almost imperceptibly.

“No, but he knows your real name.” Danny, following suit, keeps his voice in a low, nearly silent rumble.

Stiles walks around Danny to the guy leaning against the bar and greets him. Wide, brilliant, hazel green eyes meet his. Eyes that he could get lost in if he allows himself the chance. He finds himself wishing again that this was Derek. If the “fix” that he’s supposed to meet tonight keeps him from getting to know this man in front of him, he’s going to lose his mind; because this man, well, this man in front of him, Stiles could fall ass over tits for.

Stiles pulls the towel off his shoulder and makes quick work of cleaning up the minor spill from the man’s drink. If this is the worst thing he cleans up today, he will count his blessings.

“Are you, uh, Red? I’m sorry. I don’t know how to do this. I’m, uh, I’m looking for, um, Red, I think. No, yes. Yes, Red,” the man stumbles through his words, face pinking in the prettiest blush Stiles has ever seen. Stiles’ heart thumps hard in his chest as his stomach jumps into his throat. This is Derek. His Derek. There are no lingering doubts in his mind. He just knows.

“I’m Derek,” the man continues like Stiles isn’t having a full blow existential crisis inside. Not that Derek would be able to tell as Stiles is an expert at keeping his features schooled, having long ago learned his lesson about being too open.

Behind him he hears a girl order an Angel shot. He instantly whips his head around canvassing the entire room and everything around him. Seconds later, he is at Danny’s side, taking over. “On it.”

Danny steps to the side and takes the next customer’s order. “What can I get for you tonight?”

Eyes focusing on every detail of the girl, missing nothing, Stiles asks, “Do you want lime with that?”

“Maybe. I don’t know,” she whispers, her frightened eyes stare back at him, begging him.

Stiles takes a glass and fills it with water from a repurposed liquor bottle and places it in front of the girl, a smile plastered across his face, for all intents and purposes appearing to be serving her a drink. The girl’s eyes get wide as a man comes up behind her, arms wrapping around her waist, one hand pushing under her shirt, the other dropping to down her leg and up her skirt. Terror flashes over her face before she quickly represses it.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Will you give me a second to run to the back? It looks like we ran out of limes out here,” he says innocently, using his knee to push the limes under the counter further back out of view and hoping the girl recognizes the unspoken question.

“Yes, thank you. A lime would be perfect,” she nods as the big man continues to paw at her.

“I’ll just be a second.” Stiles darts quickly to the back. The second the door closes behind him, he pulls out his phone and makes the call. Keeping the call short so as not to raise any suspicion for his delay, he grabs a bowl of pre-cut limes and rushes back to the bar.

“My apologies for the wait,” Stiles says, using a knife to cut a slit in the lime wedge, then attaching the lime on the rim of the glass. “Here you go.”

Stiles watches as the girl and the man groping her leave so that he can pinpoint their location. Stiles knows that having his bouncer approach them would only exacerbate the situation and potentially put the girl at a higher risk, but he wants to make sure they keep the girl in their sight. They join a table at the edge of the dancefloor with three other guys.

“I’ll be back,” he whispers to Danny, before glancing back at Derek. With no time to explain, he prays Derek will understand. “Give the guy at the end of the bar whatever he wants. It’s on the house.”

Danny nods his head curtly, all too aware of the dangerous situation unfolding. Stiles exits through the pass of the bar and makes his way to the front door, keeping his eyes trained on the girl and praying nothing escalates.

 

~*~ Friday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek watches as the man, Red, leaves the bar to go up front and stand around bullshitting with the bouncers while watching the girl he had just served. God, how rude can he be? Fucking prick. The bartender that is still behind the bar working, Danny he thinks is what Red had called him, is really busy, the line only lengthening as time passes. Derek is so engrossed in watching Red lollygag around, he doesn’t notice that Danny has come over to him.

“Can I get you something to drink?” he offers, wiping his hands on a towel and tossing it over his shoulder.

“You don’t have to serve me. You have a long line of people. It’s all good. I can wait until there is a lull.”

Danny chuckles. “Dude, there won’t be a lull all night until we close and lock the doors. Red told me to get you whatever you want.”

“Nice of him to boss you around while he’s over there fucking off instead of helping,” Derek mutters, letting his earlier thought fall from his mouth without thinking.

Danny’s face darkens and shuts off instantly. The censure in the man’s stare feels like a physical punch, and it leaves Derek slightly cringing under its weight. “I’ll let him know of your displeasure with his actions and service. Is there anything I can get you to drink?”

Feeling properly chastised and unsettled, Derek fumbles over his words. “Can I get a Strawberry Daiquiri, or is that too much? If it is, just a pint is fine. I don’t want to be a bother.”

The bartender returns a couple minutes later with the biggest Strawberry Daiquiri Derek has ever seen. Seriously, it’s the size of his face. “How much?” he asks, already worried about the cost after seeing the drink. It’s close to the end of the month, and his meagre allowance is down to a few dollars. As it is, he doesn’t think he even has enough to stretch it out through next week.

“On the house,” the bartender callously grunts before turning on his heel and going back to his line of customers, leaving Derek unable to respond.

Derek tenses when arms come around his waist, pulling him flush against the body behind him. “Hey, lover,” Boyd whispers in his ear. Recognition warms Derek, calming him.

He relaxes into Boyd and laughs. “You had me bricking it, fucker,” Derek final gets out.

“All in a day’s work,” Boyd responds. He snorts when his eyes land on Derek’s drink. “What did you order? The world’s largest frozen drink?”

“I kind of want to get wasted again tonight, but I didn’t know the name of the drink you got me last week. I ordered a Strawberry Daiquiri to get by until I could ask you,” Derek admits helplessly as he remembers how he had been played by Stiles. “This is what he sat in front of me.”

“Don’t they have normal people sizes?” Boyd asks, grabbing a straw from the counter behind the bar and taking a long pull of the frozen concoction.

“I was afraid to ask.” Derek glances up at Danny and finds him already flicking his eyes over them, his reprehension apparent. “I think I pissed him off.”

“Now, how did my sweet, perfect Derek make someone so mad that they gave him a behemoth sized drink? How much did he charge you?” Boyd tuts, sucking another drink out of the straw.

“Nothing. He said it was on the house. I don’t know why. He left before I could ask.”

“Uh huh,” Boyd agreed disbelievingly. “Right. Sure.”

“Seriously.”

“I totally believe you. Just like how you have no idea how we just skipped the line and came waltzing right in with the drop of your name.” Boyd tugs on Derek’s belt loops. “Come dance with me. You can explain everything to me tomorrow. Tonight, I want to grind.”

“Yeah, alright.”

Derek catches the eye of the angry bartender and lets him know with hand motions that he was going to the dance floor. He’s positive he looks like a flailing idiot. The bartender’s only response is to gesture for him to put their drinks on the counter behind the bar. Derek takes his and Boyd’s drinks and places them carefully out of reach of other people before allowing Boyd to pull him onto the dance floor.

Derek and Boyd dance, only stopping to finish off their drinks and order more. The longer Derek dances, the more he finds himself overthinking things. Why doesn’t anyone want him? Why does everyone run away at the thought of him? Red must be an emissary. That’s the only way he can explain it. What was so wrong about him that Red brushed him off, not even giving him a chance to meet Stiles? How is he going to find someone to go with him next week? Why is he such a failure? What’s even the point anymore? The questions continue scrolling through his head at an alarming rate.

“What’s wrong, Derek?” Boyd asks several hours later, true to his word and grinding on Derek from behind, hands resting lightly at his waist. “You’re still tense, and we’ve been dancing for hours. You’re supposed to let go of everything when you dance.”

Derek thrusts his body back against Boyd, closing the gap between them, needing someone to want him. Boyd inhales sharply at the contact. “Derek?”

“Don’t, just don’t say anything. Please. Please, I need…” he trails off as he begs, pushing harder against Boyd. Satisfaction fills him when he feels Boyd him harden against him.

Boyd gasps softly and leans into Derek. “I meant what I said, Derek. I’d totally do you, but I think right now you need a friend more than a fuck. Am I wrong? Just tell me what to do here. Whatever it is, I’ll do it.”

With Boyd’s kind words, Derek breaks. Tears fill his eyes, and his throat clogs. “I need a minute,” he finally gets out just before he moves quickly to the bathroom, stopping short at the people standing around waiting to get in. Of all the times for there to be line for the men’s restroom, today is the worst possible one. He turns and rushes to the front of the building. He is in the home stretch and almost out the door, when someone touches his arm to stop him.

“Boyd, not right now,” Derek grits through the sobs wracking his body. Keeping head tipped low to avoid facing him, he repeats, voice broken, “Just, please, not right now.”

“I’m not Boyd,” a soft voice utters. When Derek snaps his head up, he drowns in brown.

“Leave me alone,” Derek pleads and runs out the door as fast as his long legs will carry him.

 

~*~ Friday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles has been tied up for over two hours getting the girl from earlier sorted, then he helped Danny knock out the line at the bar, eyes constantly seeking out Derek. The barback had finally showed up an hour ago. He got everything stocked and cleaned up on the floor and behind the bar enough that he was able to finally relieve Stiles ten minutes ago.

Stiles immediately seeks out Derek in the crowd, pushing through the bodies, when he sees someone that looks a lot like the guy from last week, Boyd if he remembers correctly, grinding up against Derek. When Derek pushes back against the man, Stiles’ stomach drops. He’s too late. Fuck Jackson and his brilliantly stupid ideas. This is why he doesn’t talk to people outside of work. It’s all so fucking pointless. His mask slips back into place over his face.

Stiles turns back to the bar when he glimpses Derek speed past him to the bathroom. Spinning on his heel, he locates Boyd standing motionless on the dance floor. Stiles scrutinizes him critically, trying to determine what had occurred. Did he try something nonconsensual with Derek? Stiles doesn’t think that’s the case. Derek was into it. He was actively participating, and Stiles doesn’t get that vibe from Boyd. He’s usually a pretty good judge of character. So, then what had happened?

His feet move of their own accord, taking him directly in front of Boyd. “Boyd? Is that you?”

“Red! Hey,” Boyd calls out, his face breaking into an easy grin.

Knowing the clock is ticking, Stiles wastes no time in asking, “What’s going on with Derek?”

“You know Derek?” Boyd asks in surprise.

“No. Yes. No. Maybe. I’ll explain later. What’s wrong with him?” Stiles finds himself uncharacteristically babbling.

“I don’t know. He was acting off, upset, the entire time we were dancing,” Boyd answers as he looks away, lost in thought. “It was his idea to come out tonight; but for some reason, he must not have been feeling it or something. I asked him what was wrong, but he just pressed back into me. He wanted me to…”

“He wanted you to fuck him,” Stiles cuts him off, not wanting to hear the details of what had already been burned into his retinas. He didn’t need a blazing banner in his brain or an audio version playing on a loop to accompany the visual.

“Well, yeah. I guess,” Boyd hedges. “I told him that I would do whatever he wanted, but that I thought he might need a friend more than a fuck. That’s when he just broke down and said he needed a minute before taking off. I really don’t think he should be alone though; so, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find him.”

“I’ll go. You dance,” is all Stiles gets out before he’s tracking Derek’s earlier path to the bathroom.

Seeing the line, he turns around to scan the room, spotting the boy moving briskly to the front door. Stiles doesn’t think. He runs, slipping between the gaps of people smoothly. He finally gets close enough and touches Derek to stop him mere feet from the exit.

“Boyd, not right now.” Stiles watches Derek’s body jerk with defeating sobs and worry floods him at the rough voice reiterating, “Just, please, not right now.”

“I’m not Boyd,” the words tumble softly from his mouth. When Derek looks up, Stiles sees the distress in his face.

“Leave me alone.” And then he’s gone. Stiles watches him slip away and abruptly out the door.

Fuck. Fuck fuck FUCK! He stares at the door Derek had just exited, only hesitating a moment before following.

“Derek! Wait! Stop!” Stiles calls out, rushing after Derek.

Derek doesn’t stop, but he does slow down enough for Stiles to catch up. He sprints until he is in front of Derek and puts his hands lightly against the man’s chest. Derek’s heart pounds a thundering beat under Stiles’ fingertips. Once he’s sure Derek isn’t going to take off, Stiles drops his hands to his sides. Taking a second to catch his breath, he examines Derek’s tear-soaked face for any clue as to what is going on inside his beautiful head.

“Are you alright?” Stiles finally asks.

“Why do you care?” Derek barks. He swipes his hands roughly over the tears running down his face. “Red, is it? That’s your name, right? Well, Red, just tell Stiles to forget it. It was a ridiculous idea anyway. I don’t know why I even bothered. Besides, no one should have to be subjected to my family,” his voice cracks, giving depth to how shattered he really is. “It’s fine. It’s whatever.” Derek tries to shuffle past him, only stopping when Stiles’ firm, unyielding body steps back into his way, stopping his progression.

“Let me go,” Derek demands. Stiles sees the anger flow over the man in waves, but he remains unmoving. “You couldn’t be bothered with me earlier, and I want nothing to do with you now. You think you are all big and bad with all your tattoos and piercings and all that,” he waves a hand around encompassing all that is Stiles before continuing, “But guess what? I’m not scared of you, so fuck off and get out of my way.”

Well, then. Kitten’s got claws. That knowledge has Stiles’ dick giving an interested twitch. And what the fuck is that about? They just met and are already arguing over a silly misunderstanding; and all Stiles can think about is how much he wants to completely and thoroughly decimate this boy in front of him. Take him apart piece by piece and absolutely, unreservedly, fucking wreck him. Holy mother of God, Stiles is so fucked.

Face hidden behind an inscrutable mask, Stiles sasses, “Are you done?”

Derek doesn’t respond. He crosses his arms over his chest, remaining stubborn and unmoving, almost petulant if Stiles had to put a word to it. Stiles waits. Derek puffs up his chest and stretches taller. Stiles stands quietly, crossing his arms over his own chest, mimicking Derek’s position. Derek juts out his chin in challenge. Stiles doesn’t flinch as he persists in his silence. Derek stares back at Stiles, green clashing with brown in a fierce storm. Stiles raises a pierced eyebrow.

Like a balloon losing air, Derek deflates in front of him. “Fine, yes.”

“Good. Let’s go back to my original question. Are you alright?” Stiles repeats.

Derek rolls his eyes and huffs. “What do you think?”

“Obviously you’re peachy, what with the running and the tears and the angry outburst and all the dramatics; but I’d rather hear it from you. Are you alright?”

“No,” Derek all but growls.

“What happened to make you not alright?” Stiles asks.

Shock flickers over Derek’s face. “What happened? Really? That’s rich coming from you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Stiles’ voice drops, anger beginning to take root inside him.

“Oh, come off it. Do you think I’m stupid? You took one look at me and brushed me off as not good enough to even meet Stiles. I know I’m awkward, and I know I let my nerves get the best of me earlier; but you could have at least had the decency to tell me I wasn’t up to Stiles’ standards. You didn’t have to walk away to go flirt with some girl that was clearly with someone else. You didn’t have to leave me standing there like an idiot. Do you know how dumb that made me feel? That I wasn’t even worth the breath it would take to say…”

“That girl was fucking raped tonight!” Stiles interrupts him, his fury surging white hot and fast. “Those four guys she was with gang banged her in the back of a van before coming into the bar. All four of them. So, tell me again about how you’re offended and hurt that I didn’t stop to pander to your delicate feelings.”

Derek’s face loses all color, his bright eyes standing out against his ashen skin. “What?”

“Whatever, dude. Grow the fuck up already.” Stiles steps back from Derek putting space between them so that he doesn’t do something stupid like slam his fist into the man’s perfect face. “Fuck. Why am I even bothering with you? Apparently, my first mistake was hoping you’d understand. No, wait. Filling out that goddamned form and accepting your fucking Temporary Fix request was my first mistake. Looks like it’s your lucky day. You’re off the hook. You won’t have to be seen with the scary, tatted, and pierced asshole that accepted the request for some unknown fucking reason. You’ve made it crystal clear what you think of me. Make no bones about it. I won’t make the same mistake again. You can go fuck yourself.”

Derek mouths a nearly soundless whisper, “Aren’t you Red?” Uncertainty mars his face as he puts the pieces together. As it begins to click in his head, his face crumbles. “Are you Stiles?”

“Good job. Now, if you don’t mind, I have fucking work to do,” Stiles snaps and stalks back into the bar, without a backwards glance, missing how Derek falls to his knees on the ground letting the sobs overtake him again.

Stiles enters the bar; and because he’s not the total douche nozzle that apparently Derek thinks he is, he finds Boyd. “Derek could use a friend. I last saw him out front, just down by the edge of the building.”

He doesn’t hang around to see if Boyd leaves. He just walks to the bar and replaces the barback that had covered for him. “Thanks, dude. I’ll pad your tip out for the extra assist tonight.”

“Everything alright?” Danny queries.

Stiles nods with a tight smile. “All good. You need anything?”

Danny steadfastly meets his gaze. “I’m not letting this go. You need to know that.”

“I never had any doubts.”

They work in unison until last call. Stiles whips off his apron and tosses it, along with his towel, into the hamper. “I’m going to the back. I need to piss and to clear my head a bit.”

“You’re golden. I’ve got this,” Danny returns.

After a short trip to the toilet, Stiles slams open the back door to the alley so hard it bounces back off the wall. He leans against the brick building, letting it support his sagging body as he embraces the anger that has fueled him the last few hours. Rage has been simmering inside him ever since the girl ordered the Angel shot. The girl’s words as she described what had happened are running on a constant loop through his brain, haunting him. Add in the horrified look on Derek’s face when he finally put together that Red and Stiles are the same person, and it’s all too much.

Stiles pushes away from the wall and spins around. Pulling back his arm, he punches the brick wall and lets out everything boiling inside him. Pain radiates up his hand into his arm as he hits the wall twice more. He takes a deep breath and opens the door, stepping inside. Stopping at the sink and cleaning up the blood dripping down his fingers, he patches up his hand the best he can with a few ripped towels and some tape before heading back out into the bar and helping Danny finish up for the night.

It’s just an hour or so until dawn when he locks up and begins the walk to his apartment, so the last thing he expects to find is Derek sitting on the sidewalk with his back against the building waiting for him.

Chapter Text

~*~ Friday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek bites his bottom lip and watches with uncertainty as Stiles walks over, stopping directly in front of him. Stiles stares at him, remaining silent. With a frustrated sigh and a shake of his head, he continues walking down the sidewalk, putting more and more distance between them.

“How did you know?” Derek calls out, voice abnormally loud in the silence of the early morning.

Stiles stops walking but doesn’t turn around. “You’re going to have to be a bit more specific, dude.”

“How did you know that girl had been…” Derek chokes, a single tear falling from his eye. “That she had been raped?”

Stiles groans softly and pivots to face Derek. “She ordered an Angel shot.”

Derek shakes his head back and forth, his incomprehension unmistakable. “I don’t understand.”

“I heard her order the drink when I was down the bar by you. I didn’t know at that point that she had been raped. I just knew she needed assistance. This bar is a safe place for people, and under no circumstances will I ever hesitate when it comes to a situation like tonight, no matter who I am talking to or what I am doing,” Stiles explains. “I know I shouldn’t have left without saying anything, and for that, I am truly sorry.”

Derek drops his gaze to his hands in his lap where his fingers worry the edge of his shirt. “I’m sorry I lashed out at you. I should have just grown a pair and asked.”

“You’re right. You should have,” Stiles agrees, his voice harsh and uncompromising. Running a hand over his face, he loudly exhales and tugs at one of the rings at the top of his ear. “Look, I’m exhausted. It’s been a shit night, and I need to sleep. If you want to continue this conversation further, you’re going to have do it while walking with me to my apartment. I’m dead on my feet right now, and I don’t have much longer before I pass out.”

Derek perks up and blurts, “I can give you a ride.”

“Are you sure you want to invite a bad man like me into your car?” Stiles’ lips twitch in fatigued amusement.

Derek nods without hesitation, “Yes. If the bad man is you, then definitely, yes. I’d like nothing more.”

Derek scrambles to his feet, unwinding his body and stretching to loosen up the tight muscles from sitting on the sidewalk so long. He has been outside the bar since Stiles had left him earlier. Sometime after last call, he had put Boyd in a taxi with a promise to text if he needed anything.

When Stiles falls into step beside him, Derek notices how they are similar in height but that’s where the similarities end. Derek is broader in the shoulders and chest, where Stiles is long and lithe and quite a bit thinner overall. He hadn’t paid much attention to it earlier, partially due to how mesmerized he had been by the flexing of Stiles’ muscles and partially due to his nerves. “I feel like a bear next to you.”

Stiles cuts his eyes over at him, “Is that a remark about my size?”

Derek is alarmed that he may have slighted Stiles, and he begins to recant his words. “No. Not at all. I was just saying you were skinny when compared to me, well, I mean, not skinny, but more like narrow or small, tiny.” He chances a look at Stiles and sees the flutter of a smile crossing his mouth. A light huff of laughter escapes Derek’s lips. “You, fucker. I thought I had offended you. Again.” He lets his eyes drift down Stiles’ body from head to toe and back in a slow perusal before stopping his gaze to meet his. “You know, you are kind of little. Not that there is anything wrong with being little, but little nonetheless.”

“Fuck off. I’m buff.” Stiles pushes lightly against Derek’s arm, knocking him slightly off balance.

Regaining his footing, a laugh sputters from Derek. “Yeah, okay, and I’m a wolf.”

“A big, fluffy puppy is more accurate,” Stiles argues with a chuckle.

Derek breathes a sigh of relief, encouraged that they are joking around. “I really am sorry about tonight.”

“It’s fine, Derek. Though, I was surprised to see you waiting.” Stiles turns to look at him Derek questioningly. “You were waiting, yeah?”

“Nope. I thought the sidewalk sounded like a good place to sleep tonight. Great for my back. Much better than my comfy bed.” Derek rolls his eyes. “Yes. I was waiting for you to leave. The bouncers kept trying to make me leave. They told me I was loitering and that it wasn’t allowed.” A blush steals over Derek’s face as he admits, “I, uh, I kind of sort of maybe dropped your name and told them I was with you.”

Stiles cocks an eyebrow. “You did, did you? How did you even know I was going to exit out the front tonight? Usually, I leave through the back.”

“I didn’t, but I didn’t want to sit in the back alley alone, so I took a chance,” Derek confesses, casting his eyes away, not waiting to see the ridicule on Stiles’ face.

“What? Afraid of the dark?” Stiles asks, no hint of judgment in his voice, just an easy teasing tone.

“A little, yeah.” Derek unlocks his car as they approach it, the sounds of the beeps blaring loudly in the early morning silence. “That’s my car.”

“I never would have guessed, what with all the other cars in the lot.” Stiles waves his hand at the empty parking lot. “I will say though, I didn’t expect a Camaro.”

Derek lowers his eyes, embarrassed, “Um, well…”

“Derek, I’m just fucking with you. You don’t have to explain. I am just your temporary fix. You don’t owe me any explanations.” Stiles opens the passenger door and gets in, immediately buckling his seatbelt and tipping his head back against the headrest.

Derek slides into the driver’s seat and twists to face Stiles. “How does this work? The whole temporary fix thing. After it’s over do you just disappear? Or is there some other protocol? I’m not sure of the specifics of what’s supposed to happen.”

“Me, either,” Stiles answers with a slight shrug of his shoulders. “This is my first time, too.”

“Good. I’m glad. Makes is a bit easier knowing this is new territory for both of us.” Derek closes his eyes to hide his discomfort at the next words that fall from his mouth. “My dad bought the Camaro for me for getting into university. I also have a beater of a truck that I used to move in to university, but I don’t drive it much.”

“Seriously, dude. There’s nothing to be ashamed about,” Stiles reassures. “Now, open your eyes. I’ve heard that driving with your eyes closed is dangerous and whatnot.”

Derek snort and opens his eyes, finding Stiles staring intently at him. Quickly averting his eyes, he faces forward and starts the engine. “Where to?”

“I’m not far, just a couple of miles that way,” Stiles says, pointing to his left down the street.

“What’s your address? I can put it in the GPS so you don’t have to concentrate,” Derek offers, fingers already flying over the system to set their starting point.

Stiles gives Derek his address and slouches down in the seat, shutting his eyes and getting comfortable, the luxury of the seat obviously drawing him closer to sleep. Derek spares another sneaky glance at the man relaxing next to him then pulls out of the parking lot.

“Aren’t you scared walking home at night?” Derek asks, breaking the silence and startling Stiles from his drowsy state.

Stiles’ eyes remain closed as he answers, “No. Not really. Not many people have the balls to approach me. Think about it. If you saw me walking by you on the street, what would you do?”

Humiliation floods Derek as he concedes truthfully, “I’d probably cross the street to walk on the other side.”

“See what I mean? Besides, I can handle my own. I’ve been doing it a long time.” A small frown whisks over Stiles’ face, but it almost immediately disappears.

“You’re still young, though,” Derek points out, stopping at a light.

Stiles nods once, the firm set of his jaw the only indication that he was holding back. “Yes, I am, but I have been taking care of myself since I was 15.”

“Really? Why?” Derek glances at Stiles in surprise.

The frown returns to Stiles’ face, and his tone brooks no argument when he states, “That’s not something I want to talk about it.”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. I shouldn’t have asked,” Derek mumbles, accelerating as the light changes. “It’s hard to remember that this doesn’t mean anything. That we aren’t friends.” Derek grimaces, “That this is just an arrangement.”

The frown fades from Stiles’ face, and he open his eyes, blinking at Derek slowly as he fights his exhaustion. “Yeah, about that. Are you sure you want me to go with you now that you’ve seen me?”

Derek furrows his brows, trying to determine if Stiles wants out of the request or if he’s honestly giving Derek an out. Only one way to find out. “Yes. Why wouldn’t I?”

Stiles sighs and closes his eyes again. “You just said that if you saw me on the street, you would avoid being anywhere near me. I think that answers your question.”

Voice low and soft, Derek murmurs, “Yes. I still want you to go with me.”

The conversation lags, and a few minutes later, Derek approaches Stiles’ building, pulling into the lot in front of the building to park. When he shoots a glance to the passenger seat, he finds Stiles’ eyes closed, his breathing even. He regards how soft Stiles looks in slumber and can’t help but wonder what’s underneath this man’s tough exterior. Derek can’t help but think there’s more to Stiles than he shares with the world.

“Stiles,” Derek whispers, not wanting disturb or startle him but hoping instead to wake him gently. “Stiles,” he repeats, reaching out to place his hand on Stiles’ and noticing the makeshift bandages for the first time. Derek purses his lips and chew on the side of his mouth as he wonders when and how Stiles had hurt his hand. The bandages hadn’t been there when they first met or when he had followed Derek outside earlier this evening. So, what the hell happened?

Derek lifts his hand higher to Stiles’ tattooed forearm, lightly touching him and caressing his thumb over the ink there. “Hey, Stiles. We’re here.”

Derek snaps his hand back, when Stiles’ eyes blink sluggishly open. “Sorry about that. I am beyond exhausted. Thanks for the ride.”

“Anytime,” Derek says immediately. “Are you going to be alright getting into your place?”

“Yeah. I’ll be fine,” Stiles replies quietly, reaching for the door handle before stopping. “If you want to try this again, meet me at the bar tomorrow night, yeah?”

Derek nods, “I’d like that.”

“Goodnight, Derek.”

“Goodnight, Stiles.”

When Stiles is safe in the building, Derek sends a text to Boyd.

On my way back now.

Boyd’s response comes immediately.

Come to my room. You can crash with me tonight.

Derek lets out a sigh of relief that his friend understands. Fifteen minutes later, he walks into Boyd’s room and stands awkwardly in the doorway.

“Hey,” Derek whispers into the dim room lit only with a small lamp beside the bed.

Boyd’s eyes search Derek’s before he lifts the blankets, “Come on, then.” That’s all it takes for Derek to strip to his boxers and crawl into Boyd’s bed, pressing in close and letting himself be held tight as sleep overtakes them both.

Chapter Text

~*~ Saturday – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles never takes time off work. If the bar is open, he’s there. Always. Without fail. Stiles knows this. Every employee knows this. And Stiles knows Jackson knows this. He’s not ready for this conversation. He has spent the last hour trying to figure out how to approach Jackson, only to decide that blurting it out and getting it over with was the best option. “Can you work the bar next weekend?”

“What?” Jackson jerks his head up to look at Stiles.

“I have something to do Thursday through Monday. Can you take care of the bar for me? Danny will be working, so if you can help, it shouldn’t be too bad. I can schedule two barbacks to facilitate any overflow.” Stiles snaps his mouth shut. What’s up with the rambling all of a sudden? He hasn’t done that in years.

“What?” Jackson repeats, sitting up and shaking his head as if to clear it. “I mean…what?”

Stiles rolls his eyes with a chuckle. “It’s a yes or no question, Jax.”

“Yeah. Yes. Yes, I can work the bar. I don’t have anything going on next weekend.” Jackson squints at Stiles before pursing his lips and lifting one brow. “Where will you be?”

“Away. Out of town, actually,” Stiles says evasively with a wave of his hand.

“What?” Jackson parrots again. “I’m confused. Where are you going?”

Stiles sighs and pulls at one of the bracelets on his wrist. It’s starting to wear, and he needs to replace it soon. “Can you let it go for now? I’ll fill you in later. I promise. I just need to get the bar covered first.”

“Yeah, I’ll take care of it for you. I’ll do anything for you. You know that,” Jackson says, pointing to Stiles and shaking his finger. “But you will be telling me everything.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know,” he agrees, already realizing that Jackson will not let this go. Right now, though, he needs to get to the bar. “Thanks. I’m on my way to work. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Actually, wait. I’ll come with you,” Jackson suggests, jumping up to get ready.

Jackson knows the bar almost as well as Stiles. It’s the main reason Stiles is mostly comfortable leaving for a few days. He narrows his eyes. “What are you up to?”

Stripping down to his boxers, Jackson tosses a grin to Stiles. “Nothing. I just thought a refresher would do me some good.”

“Uh huh. Right. Well, get your clothes on. We have to leave, but just so you know, you aren’t fooling me with your refresher excuse.”

“Fuck off.”

Jackson pulls on jeans and a red t shirt, fusses with his hair for a minute, and deems himself ready. Stiles concedes he’s a little jealous at how put together and perfect Jackson is with only a couple of minutes preparation time. Slipping on their shoes, they leave the apartment and walk to the bar. Stiles is relieved that Jackson doesn’t push the topic of why Stiles needs him to cover the bar, instead opting to tell him about the art class he took yesterday.

 

~~*~~

 

It’s just after 6:00 p.m. when Stiles sees Derek enter. Two hours, eight minutes, and nine seconds after they opened. Not that he was watching or waiting or anything. Nope. Never.

“I’ll be back,” he tells Danny and Jackson. His confident stride eats up the space between him and Derek swiftly. Reaching out and placing his hand on Derek’s lower back, he greets the boy. “Hi, Derek.”

Derek spins around, a smile splitting his face, his green eyes flaring with warmth. “Oh, hi!”

“Did you have any trouble getting in? I forgot to tell the bouncers you might be here.”

“No, he remembered me from last night.” Derek’s eyes widen in doubt. “I hope that’s alright that I asked for you again.”

“It’s fine. I’m glad they remembered,” Stiles says reassuringly. “Did you come alone again?”

“Oh, I wasn’t alone last night. My friend was with me. He’ll be here tonight, too, just later. He had other plans that ran over, and I was tired of waiting so I told him that I would meet him here.”

“Impatient, are you?” Stiles teases with a lifted brow. Derek’s face flames, and Stiles smirks. “That just means, no one will mind if I steal you away for a bit then, yeah?”

Derek looks down at the floor and stutters out, “Not at all.”

Lifting Derek’s chin with his finger, Stiles asks, “Would you like anything to drink?”

Derek scrunches his nose. “Water for now? Please?”

“I’ll go get it for you. Give the bouncers your friend’s name, and let them know that he’s with me so they will let him in when he gets here.”

Stiles finds Derek easily when he returns with the water. It’s pretty easy since Derek’s size demands attention, not to mention the stubbled jaw that looks effortless. The boy truly doesn’t lack for attention. He’s stunning in every aspect. His ever-present black jeans, paired with an extremely tight, green henley, that shows off his build more than hides it and combat boots, shouldn’t work. Stiles can just imagine how he himself would look in the outfit. He could probably pull off the jeans and boots, but there’s no way a shirt that tight would work for him. For whatever reason though, Derek pulls it off as if the entire outfit was designed with him in mind. Every eye in the room follows his every movement. Weirdly enough, Derek doesn’t seem to notice.

“Thanks,” Derek says, taking the water from Stiles. “So, um, do you want to dance or something? Talk? I don’t know, uh, both? Do you have time?”

Stiles nods and motions with his head to an area of the dance floor that he knows is out of sight from the bar. “Let’s go over there. It’s quieter.” He leads the way, stopping when they are at the edge of the dance floor. Taking Derek’s water, he sits it on the nearest table and signals for the nearby bouncer to keep an eye on it. “I’ll have you know, I’m a shit dancer.”

“So am I.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Dude, I’ve seen you dance. Don’t even try to pass off that shit about not being good.”

Derek flushes and looks away. “You don’t have to say that.”

Stiles watches as Derek untucks his shirt, the hem lifting just high enough to show a strip of skin just above the low waistband of Derek’s jeans. When Stiles catches himself tracking the soft line of hair to where it disappears into the dark denim, he drags his eyes away and pulls Derek to the dancefloor.

“I have a question,” Derek divulges as they begin dancing.

Stiles tilts his head to the side curiously. “And what would that question be?”

Derek motions to Stiles’ injured hand. “What happened?”

“Don’t worry about it. It’s not important.” He waves off the query, not wanting to try to explain. “I have a question for you now.”

“But,” Derek begins, but must think better of it because he pauses, tensing in anticipation of Stiles’ question. “Okay?”

“Have you decided who I need to be when you introduce me to your family next week?” Stiles asks.

“Oh,” he breathes out, relief evident in his countenance. “Whoever you want. Like I said before, it’s whatever you are most comfortable with. I can work with anything.”

“Can you really? How about if I am a paid escort or someone you picked up on the street corner for a good time? Or how about I pretend to be the hobo that lives under the bridge just down the road? Would that work?” Stiles sasses.

“Um, no, but if that’s what you want, I’ll figure it out.” Derek sucks his bottom lip into his mouth and bites it until it’s red and raw. Stiles barely stops himself from reaching out to thumb at the tender skin.

“Derek, this is your thing. What do you need from me?” Stiles implores, exasperation beginning to seep into his words.

“I guess you can go as my good friend, or you know, just a date. Or you could…” he trails off, shyness taking over.

“I could what?” Stiles encourages Derek to continue.

“You could pretend to be my boyfriend,” Derek blurts. Eyes widening, he backtracks. “Never mind. You don’t have to. That could be weird.”

“Won’t they know I am not your good friend or boyfriend? Isn’t that a little farfetched?” Stiles tugs at the ring on his lip as he begins putting the puzzle that is Derek together. “Wouldn’t you have mentioned someone close to you to your parents before?”

Derek’s eyes slide away from Stiles’. “They don’t know.”

“Don’t know what?” Stiles cocks his head. “What are you saying?” He is pretty certain he knows the answer to his question, the look on Derek’s face providing confirmation, but he needs Derek to say it. He turns Derek’s face with gentle fingers on his cheek to meet his. “Derek?”

Stiles watches him take a deep breath as if preparing for battle, “They don’t know that I’m interested in people other than girls. That I’m bi? I guess. I don’t know. I’ve never really labeled it. Although, if I am honest, I haven’t been interested in any girl for a while. But, I could, someday. Maybe. I don’t know. Gender just really isn’t all that important. I mean, I told them I was talking to someone, but I never gave a name, so it wouldn’t be too out of the blue, even though I’m not. Talking to someone, that is. I just thought it would get them to quit bringing it up. But yeah, I don’t know how they would take it if I told them that I was dating a boy. Well, I do know. The shit will quite literally hit the fan. If that’s too much for you to deal with, it’s fine. I totally get it. I know it’s an unpleasant situation. I tried to explain it on my request, but I felt stupid and couldn’t get the words to sound right.”

Stiles studies Derek intently, trying to find the right answer. Stiles is far from timid, so he knows he would have no problem pretending to be this boy’s boyfriend. But he is unsure if he is the best person to help Derek come out to his family. If things got ugly, and from what he can tell by Derek’s expression that is the likely scenario, Stiles, without a doubt, would not back down; and that wouldn’t be fair to Derek. God knows, he has no problem saying exactly what’s on his mind. Zero fucks given.

“I think it would be best in your best interest if we go in as friends, if that works for you. If we need to change that plan, including the aspects of the friendship, or if something unexpected happens to change the dynamics with us, good or bad, then we can cross that bridge when we get to it,” Stiles proposes as an option.

“Alright,” Derek agrees. Stiles can tell he is disappointed, but he knows that Derek needs to come to terms completely with his sexuality before he drops that on his parents out of some misguided feeling of necessity.

They dance for a while, Stiles listening as Derek talks animatedly about himself and, in return, providing minimal details about himself without appearing to be holding back. He’s good at that. Not many people know everything about him. Jackson knows a lot, including that he owns the bar, but not everything. Growing up, he learned fairly quickly that some things are better kept to yourself.

Stiles notices the line stretching longer and longer at the bar. He motions with his head toward the line. “I need to get back to work. Is your friend coming?”

Derek pulls out his phone to check his messages. “No. He’s still tied up. Do you mind if I stay for a while? Dance?”

“Why not? You’re here. If you need anything, come find me at the bar.” Stiles brushes his hand over Derek’s, stopping to squeeze it gently before heading to the bar to knock out the line. He pats himself on the back when he covers the distance without looking back over his shoulder. But God, does he want to.

Dodging Jackson’s questioning look, he ties on an apron, slings a towel over his shoulder, and does what he does best. He works.

 

~*~ Saturday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek dances alone for a while close to the bar where he can see Stiles, letting the music encompass him. Shortly before he is about to go to the bar for a drink, his water long since finished, a man steps behind him and roughly pulls him back against his hulking body. “Dance with me.” It doesn’t sound like a request.

Unsettled by the feeling of the man’s body pressed into his, he spouts off. “I’d rather not. I was just about to go get a drink.”

The man growls as Derek tries to move away from him. “I think you misunderstood. I wasn’t asking.” The man sloppily licks along Derek’s neck. “I saw you all over that filthy bartender earlier. Anybody that would do him couldn’t possibly be picky. So right now, you are going to dance with me. Then, after you get me hard from rubbing your tight ass all over my dick, we are going out back; and you are going to get on your knees for me while I choke you with my dick and come down your throat.”

“No. That’s never going to happen. Now, let me go.” Derek tries to turn around, but the hands on his hips are holding him like a vice grip.

“Aww, it’s cute that you think you have any say in this,” the man sneers, squeezing Derek’s hips harder.

“Pretty sure he actually does have a say in it, dude. Consent isn’t optional.” Derek’s mind whirls as he places the voice coming from behind him. His heart begins to hammer with the realization. Stiles.

The man releases Derek and turns to face Stiles. “Oh, look. It’s the skanky ass bartender. What’s wrong? Don’t want to share?”

Stiles shrugs his shoulders, the picture of nonchalance. “Of all the things I will do with a man, or woman if I am so inclined, sharing isn’t on the list. But really, that’s neither here nor there. It’s time for you to leave.”

Derek notices the two bouncers flanking Stiles at the same time the man does. “Can’t fight your own battles? Have to bring in your guard dogs, little boy?”

“I can handle my own, but I don’t need to prove it to you. Trust me or don’t, I don’t really fucking care. They are here to do their job and escort you out.” With those words, the bouncers move forward and maneuver the man out of the bar.

“You alright?” Stiles asks him.

“I’m fine. Thank you,” Derek assures him, swiping at the spit on his neck from the man’s tongue. He looks toward the line of people at the bar. “How did you know? It’s so busy tonight. How did you get here so fast?”

“It’s my job,” Stiles teases. “I’m going to get back to it. Jackson has already left so it’s just Danny and me for the rest of the night. You staying for a while?”

Derek checks his phone for the time and nods, “Yeah. I think I will, if that’s alright.”

When Stiles leaves him, Derek makes a quick trip to the bathroom. After peeing, he scrubs his neck to remove any remaining traces of the man from earlier. Once the gross feeling subsides, he exits the restroom and walks to the end of the line to get a drink. He is just stepping into the line when Stiles catches his attention and raises an eyebrow at him, the piercings glinting as the lights flash around the room. Derek tries to mimic the look but is sure he only succeeds in looking comical instead.

Stiles barks out a loud laugh and motions him to the side of the bar, never missing a beat while filling drinks. When Derek walks up, Stiles grins. “What are you doing?”

Derek smiles, “I was waiting in line. I’m thirsty, but I don’t want to take advantage of your generosity.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “What can I get you?”

“I don’t care. A pint? Something frozen? Water?”

Stiles finishes filling the drinks for the customer in front of him then slides a bright orange drink over to Derek. The drink, complete with ice and orange wedges, is unfamiliar to Derek.

“What is this?” Derek eyes the drink curiously.

Stiles winks. “Try it, and maybe I’ll tell you.”

Sipping the drink Stiles has given him, Derek leans against the bar and watches him work, awed by his speed, memory, and overall knowledge of drinks. Stiles exudes confidence and efficiency in every motion. He watches the muscles flex in Stiles’ arms as he dumps ice into the bin and hooks up a new keg. Derek has no doubt in his mind, that should Stiles choose to, he could lift Derek without a struggle; and with that thought, he flushes as he can’t help but wonder what it would feel like to have this man between his legs, to be under this powerful man’s touch.

 

~~*~~

 

Later in the evening, Derek is sitting at a table near the bar when Stiles rings the bell for last call. He had moved to the table a couple of hours ago, his feet killing him from standing in his cheap, secondhand, black, combat boots for so long. Waitresses have been bringing him various drinks but to his disappointment, nothing like the one Boyd had gotten for him that first night. Who even knows what bartender made it? He’ll have to ask Boyd.

The waitress brings him another drink just as the line finally clears for the night. Less than a handful of people remain, and it’s odd how eerie the nearly empty room feels. Derek finishes the drink and then stands on shaky legs, pulling out his phone from his tight jeans to call Boyd. Hopefully, someone in the dorm is still awake and will drop Boyd off so that he can drive Derek home. He takes a step forward, bobbling slightly, to go wait outside.

“Keys,” a voice comes from beside him. Derek spins unsteadily around to the voice and sees Stiles. When did Stiles get here?

Derek’s mouth gapes open as he stares at the breathtaking man standing in front of him holding his hand out. “What?”

“Give me your keys. You aren’t driving tonight,” Stiles says, shaking his outstretched hand when Derek doesn’t immediately drop his keys into it.

Derek has no intention of driving, but how that is Stiles’ concern is beyond him in his inebriated state. He purses his lips and tilts his head to one side. “How will I get home?”

“I’ll drive you when we’re done closing up.” Stiles shakes his hand again and repeats, “Keys.”

Seeing the look on Stiles’ face, Derek knows he won’t win this one. He digs into the pocket and hands his keys to Stiles. Grumpily, he mutters, “I’m not drunk.”

Stiles chuckles, “Yes, you are.”

Derek tries to take a step to prove his point; but his legs wobble again, and he reaches out to Stiles for balance to keep from falling. “I’ve just been sitting too long.”

“Sure, alright. We’ll go with that.” Stiles quirks his eyebrow and gently pushes Derek back into the chair.

“I’m not drunk,” he repeats, sulking.

“Whatever you say. You’re still not driving,” Stiles asserts, shoving Derek’s keys in his own pocket. “Stay here.”

Derek remains in the chair and watches as everyone cleans up, tidying everything and getting ready for the next open. After half an hour goes by, he carefully clambers to his feet. “Can I do anything to help?” he asks, approaching Stiles who is currently behind the bar running hot water down the ice basins.

Stiles eyes him warily, giving him a quick once over. “Are you sure you’re up for it?”

“Yes,” Derek huffs. “I can’t just sit around watch everyone work. I can clean tables or wash glasses or sweep. Something. Anything. Let me help.”

“Grab a towel and wipe down tables. Spray is behind the bar on the far end, tub for empties is under the counter, and towels are behind me.”

Derek nods and walks through the propped open pass of the bar, scratching his chin as he tries to remember everything Stiles had said. He’s not exactly steady on his feet, but he doesn’t trip over air so he counts that as a win. Finding everything exactly where Stiles had indicated, he makes his way into the seating area and puts the tub on a table in the center. He chases down all the dirty glasses, placing them carefully inside. Next, he gets to work methodically cleaning each table and every chair.

He jolts when Stiles’ voice comes from behind him. “I’ll take these to the back to be washed. I’m not sure you should carry them. You can barely stand up straight.”

Derek rolls his eyes and protests, “I’m not drunk.” He spins in a tight, fast circle a few times to show his perfect coordination and balance. Well, he tries. Halfway into the third spin, the room starts to spin with him. “I think I need to sit down for a minute.”

“You do that,” Stiles smirks with a chuckle, hefting the tub onto his shoulder and heading to the bar.

Derek gingerly takes the seat closest to him and closes his eyes to block out the spinning room. Unfortunately, the room continues to rotate behind his shut eyes. How is that even a thing? He grabs the chair under him, half afraid he will fall out of it as the room continues turning. Nearly certain he will soon be making a mad dash to the bathroom, he drops his chin to his chest and squeezes his eyes tighter, trying to will away the increasing nausea. He has just resigned himself to his fate when he feels a cool, wet towel being draped over the back of his neck. Derek moans. Shit, that feels good.

“I have to say, you are wearing a lovely shade of green tonight.” Stiles brushes a loose strand of hair from Derek’s face. “If you need to blow chunks, try to make it to the toilet, yeah?”

Not long later, Stiles touches Derek gently on the shoulder. “Come on, then. Let’s get you home.”

Stiles follows the directions Derek gives him and parks the Camaro in the car park. They get out; and Stiles locks the doors, handing Derek the keys. “Have you got it from here?”

“Yes,” Derek confirms. “How are you getting home?”

“I’ll either call Jackson or a cab.”

Derek pulls out his wallet and takes out several bills. “Let me pay for a cab. Please. It’s the least I can do. I’d hate for you to spend your tip money or whatever on a cab because you drove me home.”

Stiles pushes Derek’s hand away gently in refusal. “It’s alright. I’ll manage. You go on. Get some sleep.”

“Are you sure? You could take my car home, and I will pick it up tomorrow,” Derek offers, pushing his keys back into Stiles’ hand.

Stiles closes Derek’s fingers over the keys and steps back. “No worries. I’ll be fine. Now go, so I can make sure you make it inside.”

Without thinking, Derek reaches out and hugs Stiles. He can just blame it on the alcohol later. Stiles stays stiff in his arms, unresponsive and tense. Undeterred, Derek says quietly against Stiles’ ear, “Thank you.” For a fraction of a second, he feels Stiles relax into the hug before pulling hastily away.

“All good, man. Goodnight.”

Derek enters the building and opens the door to his room to find Boyd passed out in his bed. He strips off his clothes and lifts the blankets. “Move over.” Boyd rouses long enough to shift over slightly for Derek to slide into the bed. Seconds later, Derek is fast asleep.

 

~*~ Sunday – Stiles ~*~

 

By the time Stiles had finally fallen into bed, dawn was breaking over the horizon, so it’s no surprise that it is midafternoon when he jerks awake. What the hell had woken him? He dozes until he hears it again. His phone. He slams his hand onto his nightstand where his phone usually charges overnight. Shit. Where is his phone? It shrills through the silence again. Damn it all to hell. Who turned on the sound to ear splitting volumes? He drags his body out of bed in search of his jeans from last night, finally finding them thrown halfway across the room. Pulling out his phone, he touches the screen to check his notifications.

4 missed texts

16 missed calls

1 voicemail

Scrolling through the texts first, he opens the one from Derek.

Thanks for taking me home. Did you make it home alright?

Stiles shoots off a rapid reply letting Derek know he had made it home before continuing through the messages. The next three are from his sister, all in various levels of what appears to be escalating panic.

Call me as soon as possible.

It’s important. Call me.

Urgent! Call me back already!!

Fear settles into the pit of Stiles’ stomach as he opens the voicemail, also from his sister.

Stiles, we need you to come home. There’s… static fills the line and the call drops.

He dials his sister’s number and paces his room while it rings. When it connects, his sister’s rambling, agitated voice immediately fills his ear. “Stiles! Thank God you finally called. Mom’s been in an accident. They are asking all these questions, and I don’t know the answers. The kids are upset, and the littles won’t stop crying. I don’t know what to do. You have to come home.”

“Calm down. Take a deep breath. Is mom alright?” Stiles asks, masking his alarm for his sister’s sake.

“Yes. They say she will be alright. She has a badly, broken arm and a lot of cuts and bruises. Everyone keeps asking me for insurance information and responsible party and copays, and how am I even supposed to know that? They want to keep her overnight for a couple of nights because she hit her head pretty hard, and she’s still not making much sense when she talks; but they won’t give her a room until they have her information. They have her parked on a bed in a hallway, Stiles. It’s so wrong.”

“Give your phone to the person asking the questions.” Stiles breathes easier knowing his mom is going to be alright. “I’m on my way there now.”

His sister hands the phone to the hospital representative, and he provides the information for insurance and names himself as the responsible party. “Please keep my sisters and brother safe until I get there.”

He ends the call quickly. Throwing on jeans and a t shirt, he packs a bag with clothes for a couple of days and rushes out of his room to the bathroom.

“What’s going on?” Jackson asks from behind him.

“Mom’s been in an accident. I have to go.” Stiles says as he shoves his toothbrush in his mouth.

“Not without me, you aren’t. Give me two minutes to pack a bag.” Jackson walks toward his room, tugging off his shirt along the way.

Stiles spits out the toothpaste and rinses his mouth before calling out, “I don’t know if I will be back tomorrow; and you have class in the morning.”

“Like I give a fuck. Two minutes, Sti. I’m going with you,” Jackson’s muffled yell comes from his room.

Five minutes later, they are in Stiles’ car and on the road taking them to his mom. While Stiles drives, he fills Jackson in on the little he knows. “I’m scared, Jax. I know they said she will be alright, but what if they’re wrong? I can’t lose her.”

“I know you’re scared. I am, too. Your mom is such an amazing woman. She treats me like one of her own.” Jackson blinks back tears as he admits, “I don’t think I have ever told her how much that means to me.”

Just over three hours later, Stiles pulls into the hospital parking lot. He and Jackson rush inside and are immediately swarmed by his siblings. He picks up his crying youngest sister, and Jackson picks up her twin brother. They are too little to understand what’s going on, but it’s obvious they are picking up on the frantic worry around them.

“Hey, darling. It’s alright. I’ve got you now,” he coos. He looks at his other sisters, all with similar tear tracks on their faces. “Let’s get you lot cleaned up. Have you eaten?”

Jackson catches his eye. “I’ll get them sorted. You go see your mom.” He takes Stiles’ sister from him, and carrying the two youngest, one on each hip, Jackson herds them to the nearby restroom to wash their hands and faces.

Stiles rushes down the hall and stops at the reception desk. The woman looks him up and down, taking in every piercing and visible tattoo, along with his ripped clothes, disgust evident on her face when he asks for his mom’s room.

“I’m sorry, sir,” the woman says smugly. “Your mother’s insurance was denied. We are only able to take the emergency measures required to get her stable, which we have done. We are unable to accommodate a non-emergency room for a patient without upfront payment or insurance. She’s on the list to be transferred to a hospital that can facilitate her care.”

Stiles slaps his credit card down. “Get my mother into a room.” The woman blinks at him. Fucking blinks. “Now,” he growls, tamping down the urge to rip the woman’s arms off and beat her with them.

Sir,” she grits the form of address as if it leaves a bad taste in her mouth. “The cost for her care is already very high. We don’t recommend paying by credit card for amounts this large. Most credit card limits won’t cover it.”

“Did I ask you to educate me about credit card limits? Put the entire bill on my card, and get my mother into a room,” Stiles grits out through clenched teeth.

The woman takes his card and mutters, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you when it declines.” She swipes the card. Without looking at the screen she hands it back, “I’m sorry, sir. Like I said, most credit cards do not have the capability to allow a charge of this amount.”

Stiles glares at her as he picks up his card and puts it back into his wallet. “You might want to check your information before telling me about how my card is declined.”

She looks at the screen, jaw dropping. “Approved. It’s approved. How? Why? What? This has never happened.”

Stiles cuts the woman off with a smack of his hand on the desk. “This is the last time I am telling you. Get my mother into a room. A private room. You have ten minutes.”

Nine minutes later, a doctor approaches him. “Are you Stiles?”

“Yes. How is my mother?” Stiles stands, extending his hand toward the doctor in greeting.

“We think she will be fine. She needs surgery on her arm to set it correctly; but the surgery is common, and we don’t expect any complications. We would normally release same day; but with the head injury, we would like to keep her for observation for a couple of days.”

Stiles breathes a sigh of relief. “Thank you. Can I see her before the surgery?”

“Absolutely, though I must warn you, she is still very disoriented,” the doctor warns kindly.

Stiles shakes his head. “I don’t care. I need to see her.”

Nodding, the doctor motions to the corridor on their left. “Follow me, and I will take you to her room. She’s in a private room in the new “Alpha Crew” wing where she will be cared for by the best in the field.”

Stiles’ hands shake from the surge of adrenaline, the only sign of his fear, as he follows the doctor down several halls. When they arrive at her room, several nurses are exiting.

“We will be back in about an hour to take her vitals and get her prepped for surgery. Her blood pressure is elevated so we want to give her time to relax from the move into the room to allow it a chance to stabilize,” the doctor explains.

“Thank you,” Stiles acknowledges the words. He pushes open the door, and his eyes immediately fall onto the tiny figure in the bed. “Mom,” he breathes out, barely a whisper of sound escaping his lips.

As if he had been yelling, his mom turns her head to him, her tired eyes meeting his instantly. “Mieczyslaw.”

It is late that evening when his mom is taken into surgery. Stiles is exhausted and four of his siblings are sprawled across him in various positions, all craving his comfort. Jackson taps his knee and gets his attention. “Do you want me to take everyone home? Make them dinner and get them tucked into bed? Your sister can drive her car, and I can take yours and come back when they are settled.”

Stiles huffs a silent relieved breath. “Will you? Please? I…I can’t leave. I need to be here.”

“Of course. Whatever you need, Sti,” he soothes softly, standing and kissing Stiles on top of the head. Taking Stiles’ proffered car keys, Jackson shepherds everyone out the door.

 

~~*~~

 

The last couple of days have gone by in a blur. Between being at the hospital with his mom and taking care of his siblings, he barely knows which way is up and his sleep has suffered for it, as well. Jackson has been an absolute rock for him. If he hadn’t come with him, Stiles is sure he would have lost his sanity by now. Honestly, he shouldn’t be surprised. Jackson continues to step up, time and time again for him.

Stiles’ mom was finally released to go home just after lunch on Tuesday. As soon as he gets her home and settled, she tells him to leave. “As much as I love having you here, you need to go home tonight. You’ve already done too much.”

“Are you sure? I can stay another night and help take care of the kids,” Stiles offers as he makes snacks for the littles.

“I love you, but you have your own responsibilities. I’ll be fine. Go.” She motions her hands in a shooing motion. “We will plan to do something in a couple of weeks when I am able to get around easier.”

“Promise,” Stiles’ voice cracks. “Promise me. I need you to be here. I need you…”

“Oh, baby,” she pulls him into a hug with her uninjured arm. “I need you, too, Mischief. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

It was late evening by the time Stiles and Jackson left, the three hour drive stretching before them. About an hour in, with no specific plan, Stiles begins to talk. He tells Jackson everything, opens up completely and lays himself bare. When he’s done, silence stretches between them. Keeping his eyes trained on the road, he waits.

“Alright,” Jackson finally responds what feels like years later but in reality was only minutes.

Stiles’ fingers grip the steering wheel until his knuckles turn white. “Alright? That’s it? Just alright?”

“Yep. Alright,” Jackson confirms, turning to face Stiles. “What do you want me to say? Is there a script?”

“I haven’t told anyone everything before. Ever. People don’t stay around long enough.” Stiles hesitates and pushes forward, “Does it change things with us?”

“No? Why would it? You’re still my best friend, and nothing will change that,” Jackson promises. “You could have told me sooner, you know. It wouldn’t have changed anything. I’d still be here.”

Stiles releases a shuddering breath and starts answering all of Jackson’s questions, filling the last couple of hours of the drive explaining everything as much as he can. He feels closer to Jackson than ever, a huge weight lifted from his shoulders.

It’s after midnight when they get back to their apartment. As soon as they get out of the car, Jackson pulls Stiles into a tight hug. They stay that way for several minutes, tears filling Stiles’ eyes and falling down his cheeks as he allows Jackson’s warmth and strength to infiltrate him.

Jackson kisses Stiles’ temple and pulls away, wiping the tears from Stiles’ face. “Thanks,” Stiles whispers, afraid to break the calm of the quiet that surrounds them. Eventually they shuffle into their apartment, nearly dead on their feet. Stiles goes straight to the shower to wash away the stress of the last few days then falls into bed, asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow.

 

~*~ Tuesday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek hasn’t been able to reach Stiles for days. He hasn’t heard from him since Sunday’s single text, and the messages Derek has sent haven’t been delivering since Sunday night. He needs to accept the fact that Stiles has ghosted him. Now what? How is he supposed to get through this upcoming weekend alone? He can try to contact Temporary Fix, but there’s not really enough notice at this point.

It’s a good thing he hasn’t told his parents who he was bringing with him. He hadn’t wanted to jinx it, but that clearly didn’t work. His classes were a minor distraction, and he found himself drifting to other more self-deprecating thoughts more than once. Everything had felt good with Stiles. What had he done wrong?

Chapter Text

~*~ Wednesday – Stiles ~*~

 

Sitting up in bed, Stiles rubs his eyes and runs his hands down his face thinking about the things he needs to do today. Checking in with Danny on how Monday went at the bar is second on his list after calling his mom. Then, he needs to call Derek to find out when they are leaving for the weekend; but first, he is going to make some breakfast. He checks the time. Make that lunch.

He searches for his phone, finding it tucked into his bag. It’s been dead since Sunday. Or was it Monday morning? He has no real recollection. He had forgotten his charger and hadn’t had time to get a new one. Plugging it in, he goes to the kitchen and busies himself making a sandwich for Jackson and himself while he waits for it to turn on. Opening Jackson’s door, he finds him peering out from his blankets. Stiles chuckles and sits the sandwich on the nightstand.

Back in his room, he picks up his phone that is finally charged enough to power on. His screen floods with notifications, taking the better part of a minute to filter through. Once the buzzing stops, he calls his mom. She tells him she’s feeling better and not to worry. Then, he calls Danny to check in on how Monday went, apologizing for his phone being dead. He confirms to Stiles that everything had gone well which alleviates some of his worry regarding the upcoming weekend.

Next, he calls Derek to see when they are leaving for his parents. The call goes to voicemail.

“Hey, Derek. I just wanted to find out what time we are leaving. Give me a call back.”

He sends a text, as well, saying the same thing. He isn’t sure if Derek is one of those people that ignores voicemails, and he needs to know what to pack so the sooner he gets a response the better.

He takes his plate to the kitchen and washes it, then turns on a movie in the living room. His eyes glaze over as he watches until his head lolls back onto the couch. He wakes with a hand on his shoulder and Jackson handing Stiles his phone. “Someone named Derek has been texting. He sounds upset.”

“Thanks,” he says, ignoring the obvious question in Jackson’s gaze. He takes the phone and scrolls through the texts, confusion marring his features. “I’ll be right back, and then we can pick up where we left off on Buffy if you want.”

“Sounds good. I’ll make popcorn.”

He calls Derek’s number. Voicemail. Again. He texts.

Will you pick up my call already? I think there’s been a misunderstanding.  

His phone rings, and he answers immediately. From the sound of Derek’s voice, Stiles can tell that he has been crying. “What do you want, Stiles? When I can borrow Boyd’s laptop, I will cancel the request with Temporary Fix. No harm, no foul. You could have just told me you didn’t want to go. You didn’t have to ghost me or block me or whatever.” He takes a ragged breath. “Just leave me alone.”

The call disconnects. Stiles stares at his phone in disbelief. What the hell? He calls again. No answer. He calls three more times before Derek finally answers. “What?”

“I’ve not been ignoring you. I haven’t been home, and my phone died.”

Derek’s bitter voice cuts him off. “Right. Sure. Are we done here?”

Anger sparks inside Stiles. “You can either listen and let me fucking explain, which I honestly have no obligation to do; or we can end this call, and you can fuck off.”

“Fine. Please do explain why you ghosted me. I’m dying to know,” comes Derek’s dry, sarcastic reply.

“My mom was in an accident and was in the hospital,” Stiles snaps, losing his patience. “I left Sunday afternoon and got back just after midnight last night.”

“You could have called,” Derek mutters, his anger obviously depleted.

“I’m sorry about that. I left my charger at home and didn’t have time to go get one.”

Derek sighs. “No, I am the one that is sorry. I know you don’t owe me anything. I know we aren’t dating and that this is just temporary fix, literally. It’s just that I actually thought we were becoming something like friends, and I get really attached to people. And I know that’s not a you problem but a me problem. So, I’m sorry. I panicked. The whole thing opened up old wounds for me, and that’s not your fault.”

“You’re right. I don’t owe you anything. I know that it’s difficult to trust me since I’m not willing to share my story; but you should know there’s a reason I signed up for Temporary Fix, reasons which really aren’t any of your business. This is new for me, too, Derek. If this is going to work this weekend, you’re going to have to understand that I am not going to always do what you expect or want. I’m not going to take shit from anyone, and I am not going to explain myself or my actions to anyone unless I feel like it. Call me a dick, but that’s how it is. I am not changing that for anyone.”

“You’ll still go?” Derek asks quietly, like he’s unsure if he wants to know the answer.

Stiles pulls at the ring on his lip. “I said I would. I have no intention of reneging on my word.”

“Thanks.”

“Don’t thank me yet. I can be a handful. By the end of the weekend, you may want to toss me out onto the side of the road.” Stiles chuckles softly, letting his anger fade completely. “On that note, when do we leave, and what do I need to pack?”

“We can leave anytime between now and tomorrow afternoon. You can decide whatever works best for you. I’m already packed, so I am good with whenever. I was actually about to leave when you called.” Derek clears his throat and sniffs softly. “I couldn’t take sitting in my room anymore worrying about what I had done wrong. Plus, I wasn’t sure what would happen when I got there, so I was going to just get it over with.”

They hash out the details, planning to leave first thing in the morning, giving Stiles time to rest and pack. Stiles rejoins Jackson in the living room, and they watch several episodes, laughing at the hijinks that ensue. Jackson doesn’t push the subject of who Derek is and what is going on, and for that, Stiles is grateful. He has every intention of explaining everything when he gets back, but he needs to make it through the weekend first.

It doesn’t take him long to pack. Even after he double and triple checks everything, he still has a couple of hours before he needs to call it a night. Finding Jackson still on the couch watching movies, he lays down, head in Jackson’s lap, and looks up at him with big eyes. “Food.”

Jackson rolls his eyes. “Fine. What do you want?”

 

~*~ Wednesday – Derek ~*~

 

After talking to Stiles and planning to leave in the morning, Derek finds himself with extra time on his hands. Cracking open Boyd’s door slightly to make sure he isn’t interrupting anything again, he peers in with one shuttered eye behind splayed fingers.  He isn’t taking any chances. Boyd is laying in his bed watching what looks like some TV show.

“What’re you doing, Derek?” Boyd laughs and waves him into the room. “That’s creepy. Get your ass in here, and shut the door.”

Derek pushes the door open and steps inside. “Mind if I join you?”

“You know you can join me no matter what I’m doing,” Boyd suggestively responds.

Derek’s face flames, but he climbs into the bed next to him. “I will never live that down, will I?”

“Nope! Never! Although, you could have given me a hand. I wouldn’t have said no.” Boyd makes a jerking motion in the air with his hand near his crotch.

Derek didn’t think he could blush any harder than he was right now, but apparently, he was wrong. “Oh, God.”

“That’s what I would have been saying,” Boyd says, waggling his eyebrows with a grin.

Derek covers his face with his hands. “Kill me now.”

Boyd’s burst of laughter is contagious and has Derek joining in until the awkward feeling subsides. “I’m watching Buffy. Is that alright?”

“I’ve never seen it. You’ll need to fill me in on what I’ve missed.”

“No worries, man. I’m only on the first episode. I’ll start it over for you,” he pauses to smirk at Derek. “Just remember, you owe me.” He sticks out his tongue at Derek before his laughter overtakes him again.

They watch for several hours, both thoroughly engrossed and discussing the parts they like versus the parts they don’t yet understand. The next thing he knows, Derek wakes next to Boyd, the room in darkness, only the screensaver on the TV bouncing back and forth providing any light. Picking up his phone he checks the time. 3:00 am. He sets an alarm and turns to snuggle against Boyd, letting slumber overtake him again.

The next time he stirs, his alarm is blaring like a foghorn. He shuts off the noise and sits up. Boyd covers his head with his pillow. “Why do you have an alarm set so fucking early? What is it? Like five in the morning?”

“Actually, yes. It’s 5:00 a.m., and I have to leave in thirty minutes.”

“Morning people suck. Show yourself out,” Boyd grouses. “Text me when you get there to let me know you made it safe.”

 

~*~ Thursday – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles is waiting outside his building when Derek pulls up. He tosses his bag into the back and settles into the passenger seat with a gruff, “Morning.”

“Good morning. You can control the radio if you want,” Derek offers, obviously wide awake and bushy tailed.

Stiles groans and hooks his phone up to the Bluetooth, starting his playlist. Closing his eyes, he sighs, “Fair warning, I’m not a morning person.”

“Sleep, then. It will take us about four hours to get there, maybe a little longer if we stop along the way, but we should pull in before lunch time,” Derek estimates with a big smile.

“Mmmkay,” Stiles slurs before drifting off.

He wakes a couple of hours later when he feels Derek softly tapping his arm. “Stiles. Wake up a minute. I need to get gas, and this station is shady.”

“Then, why’d you stop?” Stiles wipes the sleep from his eyes and critically surveys their surroundings at the rundown station. Two guys selling drugs, three hookers, a homeless guy pissing on the sidewalk, and a couple panhandling. Then there’s the state of the station itself. Trash overflowing, grimy windows, and broken lighting on their sign. Definitely shady.

Derek bites his bottom lip. “I have less than ten miles to empty, and I didn’t want to wake you up any sooner than I had to.”

Stiles unfastens his seatbelt and opens his door. “I’ll pump the gas. You stay in the car.”

Derek snaps his gaze to meet Stiles’. “You’d do that? Why? You don’t have to.”                                                                                                       

“It’s fine.” Stiles gives a non-answer, getting out and quickly opening the gas cover. Pulling out his wallet, he takes out his credit card and swipes it through the reader.

He’s already filling the tank when Derek’s door opens. “Here’s my card.” He stops when he sees that Stiles is already pumping the gas. “Did you pay?”

“Yeah?” Stiles looks at him confused. “The pump doesn’t work unless you pay.”

A frown appears on Derek’s face. “I was going to pay. I didn’t expect you to.”

“I know, but it’s no bother,” Stiles assures Derek as the pump cuts off. He quickly replaces the nozzle and closes the gas cap. “I need to pee. Come on.”

“I’ll be alright. I’m not a baby,” Derek grumbles.

Stiles rolls his eyes and gestures for Derek to hurry up. “Get your ass out of the car. I’m not leaving you out here alone.”

Derek harrumphs but caves, getting out of the car and locking it. When they get inside, Stiles asks for the key to the bathroom. They follow the directions the attendant gives them and walk around to the back of the building to a door with a handwritten sign that says simply “Toilet” in a messy scrawl. Unlocking the door, Stiles motions Derek inside. Derek stares back confused.

Stiles shakes his head. “Dude, I’m not leaving you outside at this janky ass station. Now, get inside before I piss right here.”

Derek’s eyes bug out in shock, but he does as he’s told and steps inside the nasty bathroom. The room smells of piss and vomit, and Stiles seriously reconsiders just pissing against the wall outside instead. Moving to stand in front of the sticky, stained toilet, he unbuckles his belt. He smirks at Derek when he catches him staring as he pops the button and unzips his jeans.

“Gonna stand there and watch?” Stiles asks as the first splash of urine hits the bowl. He laughs when Derek whips around to face the door.

When he’s done, Stiles lifts his foot to flush the handle. No way in hell is he touching that. Grabbing a paper towel, he turns the knob for the water to wash his hands. “You can go if you need to. I won’t look.” Stiles winks and sends a cocky smile through the disgusting mirror to Derek. Is that shit on the mirror? Stiles shudders in disgust.

“I don’t care if you do,” Derek blurts before backtracking. “I mean, I’m not like shy about my body. I didn’t mean it like I wanted you to watch me pee. I just meant if you did, watch me that is, I wouldn’t care. Oh, God, shutting up now.”

Stiles shakes his head and chuckles, nodding his head toward the toilet before casting his eyes to the floor to provide some semblance of privacy. “Get on with it, then. This place reeks.”

 

~*~ Derek ~*~

 

They are back on the road, Stiles’ music playing through the speakers, when Stiles dozes off again. He sleeps until Derek softly calls his name as they pull into the driveway to Derek’s parents’ home. Derek kills the engine and looks at Stiles, insecurity broadcasted over his face. “We’re here.”

“I can see that.” Stiles rubs his eyes. “Are we going to sit in the car all weekend or go inside and do this?”

Derek’s eagerly jerks his head to face Stiles. “Can we? Sit in the car all weekend? I like that option. Or we can just go back home. That works, too.”

“Might be difficult seeing as how we have already been spotted.” Stiles lifts his chin toward the house where a couple stands watching them from the porch.

“Shit. Okay.” Derek bounces his head in a brief nod. “I’m sorry for this whole weekend in advance.”

Stiles rests a hand on Derek’s forearm to calm him. “Derek, stop. I can handle this. It’s fine.”

“Trust me. It really isn’t.” Derek forces a smile as his eyes begin to fill with tears. Before Stiles can say or do anything, Derek is opening the door and sliding out of the car. Stiles follows suit and meets him at the trunk so they can grab their bags.

The woman on the porch calls out with a soft lilt, “Derek? Baby? Is that you?”

A loud voice booms through the air, cutting off any response Derek might have made. “Who is with you? You didn’t say anything about bringing someone.”

Stiles looks sharply to Derek, eyes questioning. Derek shakes his head, denying his dad’s claim. “That’s my dad. He’s just trying to start shit already. I did tell them I was bring someone. I even RSVP’d with a plus one. I promise.”

Stiles stares back at Derek, searching them intently. “So, that’s how it is. Good to know.”

Derek looks stricken, “Stiles…” Before he can finish, Stiles turns around and faces Derek’s parents, no emotion on his face. To say they were horrified is putting it mildly. He watches as his parents take in every piercing and tattoo on display, then further down to the choker around his neck, his loose black t shirt, tight ripped blue jeans, and well-worn, nearly destroyed, black Vans. Derek’s mom recovers first, schooling her features quickly. Derek’s dad’s expression becomes murderous.

“Where’d you find this trash? In an alley behind a seedy bar?” Derek’s dad spits the words as if they leave a bad taste in his mouth.

“Close,” Stiles responds evenly. “I am a bartender.”

“Mom, Dad. This is my friend…”

Stiles promptly cuts Derek off. “I’m Red.”

The sour look on the man’s face remains as he sneers, “What kind of name is Red?”

“Mine.” Stiles stares back in challenge, chin lifted a fraction higher than normal.

“Red is my plus one this weekend,” Derek tells them, breaking the silence.

“You should have told us you were bringing home someone,” his dad sneers.

Derek sighs. Leave it to his dad to start drama before they even make it into the house. “I did. Remember? I told you on the phone last week, and I checked the plus one box on the RSVP return card.”

“Your mother and I invited Allison Argent as your plus one, and you will attend to her in that manner,” his dad demands.

Derek immediately tenses. “No, Dad. I won’t. I have a plus one. He’s standing right here, and you’re being rude.”

“The way he looks, I’m sure he’s used to it. You will do as I say. Allison is your date for the weekend. You will act accordingly.” Derek’s dad looks pointedly at Stiles. “You are dismissed.”

“You can’t dismiss him. He’s a person, here by my request. Now if you’ll excuse us, we are going to my room.” Derek’s body is vibrating with anger.

Derek’s dad waves Stiles off as if he is inconsequential. “He is not staying.”

“Like hell he’s not!” Derek’s temper explodes. “Great job, Dad. I didn’t think you could lower my expectations of you, but you just keep on surprising me.” Turning to Stiles, he holds out his hand and says, “Come on. Let’s go to my room.”

Stiles takes Derek’s hand, gives him a brief nod, and starts to follow Derek, when he is stopped by a hand on his chest and Derek’s dad standing in front of his path. “I said you are dismissed. Leave now.”

“Remove your hand from me before I fucking break it,” Stiles growls through clenched teeth. Derek’s dad snatches his hand away, and Stiles continues. “Don’t take this the wrong way, or do. I don’t really fucking care. I’m staying until Derek tells me to leave. Do with that what you will, but until then you can fuck off.”

Derek’s dad takes a half step back. “I have never been so insulted in my life.”

“Get used to it,” Stiles snaps.

Stiles tightens his grip on Derek’s hand and brushes by the man, following Derek inside and upstairs to his room. When Stiles shuts the door behind them, the dam breaks in Derek and tears flood down his face. “I am so sorry. I knew he would be horrible, but he’s never been that blatantly rude.”

Stiles hands Derek a tissue from the nearby nightstand. “Derek. Dude, stop. I told you. I know I’m not acceptable to most people, but I can handle it. It’s nothing new. I face this type of thing daily.”

Derek sits on the bed and draws his legs up to his chest. “I understand if you want to leave. I will arrange a car or flight or whatever you want.”

“I’m not leaving until you ask me to. Do you want me to leave?” Stiles asks, sitting carefully on the bed next to Derek.

He knows he should tell Stiles to leave. It would be for the best. His dad is only going to get worse, and that isn’t really fair to Stiles. If he was stronger, he would do that; but he’s not. He really wants Stiles to stay, no matter how selfish it is. “No. I really don’t. I want you to stay.”

“That’s settled then. Do you want to unpack now? I’d prefer not living out of a bag all weekend,” Stiles says motioning toward their bags.

Derek stands and puts their luggage on the bed. “Unpacking is good. Let’s do that.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Thursday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

A faint knock comes from the door as they are putting away the last of their clothes in the closet and drawers. Derek opens the door to reveal his mom on the other side. She sweeps into the room, shutting the door behind her, allowing for privacy. “Red can’t stay in here with you. We will find him a room in the other wing. Your dad won’t allow it.”

Derek barks an incredulous laugh. “Won’t allow it? Right. In case you missed it, I’m an adult, and it’s not his decision to make. Red stays with me. End of discussion.”

“Derek, don’t make this hard,” Derek’s mom sighs.

“No, Mom. I’m not the one making it hard. He started this. I’m ending it. My friend stays with me, or we can just go back home,” Derek declares.

“This is your home, Derek, not that seedy room you stay in at university.”

If the weariness on his face is anything to go by, Derek has obviously had this conversation many times before. “This is no longer my home.”

Stiles sees the heartbreak flash over Derek’s mom’s face, gone in an instant. “Alright. I will tell your father that Red will be staying in your room. He’s not going to take it well. He had planned for Allison to stay in here with you.”

Derek sighs. “Honestly, Mom, I don’t care what he had planned. Why would he expect me to share a room with someone I don’t even know anyway?”

“Well, he hoped you would hit it off with her; and well, you know. You’re at the age where sex is normal early on in a relationship.” Stiles cannot believe what he is hearing. Were Derek’s parents setting him up in an arranged relationship, or were they whoring him out for another reason?

“Oh, God. Stop. I’m not having this conversation.” The humiliation from the conversation is tangible on Derek’s face.

“Alright. I will let him know of your wishes. I can’t guarantee he will listen, but I will let him know anyway,” she responds softly.

When Derek’s mom leaves, Derek flops onto the bed, watching as Stiles surveys the room around him. It doesn’t look like it has been touched since Derek was in his early teens. Trophies, photos, and books adorn every available surface. Posters of bands, actors, and actresses cover the walls. It’s nothing like the Derek he has come to know over the last week. The one that has expressed interest in music and singing and photography. He tucks away everything he sees into his memory. Derek is a puzzle he intends to figure out.

“Sorry, about that,” Derek whispers.

“Are you sure you want me to stay in here with you? If it’s easier for you, I can take another room,” Stiles offers.

“I want you to stay. That way he, never mind. It’s not important.” Derek rubs his hands over his face. “I can sleep on the floor. I just need you in here with me. Please.”

Stiles hears the desperate pleading in Derek’s words and nods. “I can do that.”

Derek’s stomach rumbles loudly during the silence that follows causing Stiles to chuckle as he continues to peruse the books lined up on Derek’s bookshelf. “Hungry much?”

“Yeah. I haven’t eaten in a couple of days,” Derek admits flippantly.

Stiles looks back at him sharply. “What? Why the hell not?”

“A lot going on.” Derek waves his hand around. “I mean, you already know that. Then this weekend is going to be hard, and I need to look and be perfect, body thin with no extra weight, hipbones and collar bones slightly protruded, no blemishes on my skin, no flaws. Any failure to meet that expectation only further fuels my dad’s temper. Also, I’m stressed; and when I am stressed, eating is not a priority. I’ll just throw it up anyway.”

Stiles stares at him, astounded at the idea that Derek’s body could be considered anything less than perfection. “I’m sorry if any part of the added stress was because of me.”

Derek sits up quickly. “No, Stiles. It’s not your fault.”

“Maybe not all of it, but I’m still sorry for my part. As for the rest of your reasons, I don’t know where you got the idea that your body is anything less than flawless; but I am here to tell you, there is nothing about your body that isn’t exquisite, Derek.” Stiles takes Derek’s hand and tugs. “Now, get up. We are getting you something to eat; and if you throw it back up, I’ll rub your back.”

They raid the kitchen and return to Derek’s room, arms laden with several sandwiches, chips, and cookies. Thirty minutes later, Derek is leaning over the toilet, Stiles rubbing his back as promised. “Get it all out, because you will be eating again until you keep it down.”

Derek groans his response. An hour and a half later and three more trips to the bathroom, Derek is finally able to keep part of a sandwich and cookie down.

Stiles grabs the remote from Derek’s nightstand and turns on the TV. “What do you want to watch? It will take your mind off of your stomach.”

“I don’t care. You choose,” Derek groans softly.

“TV roulette it is.” Stiles presses the down arrow button randomly until it stops. Bring It On. That will work.

Ten minutes later, he sees Derek shifting uncomfortably and slowly rubbing his stomach. “You alright there, Derek?”

Derek grimaces as his stomach sends out a low gurgling noise. “Yes. No. I hope so?”

The door to the room swings open and a girl that looks a little older than Derek rushes in to the room and into his arms. Derek’s face lights up, beaming bright enough to light a forest at night.

“Derek!”

“Laura!”

They hug a little longer before Stiles clears his throat. When they separate, Laura appraises Stiles. Her face an unreadable mask. “You must be Derek’s sister. I’m Red. Nice to meet you, unless you’re anything like your father, and then you can fuck right the fuck off.”

She stares at him several long seconds before her face breaks into a wide grin. “Derek, where did you find him? He’s perfect.”

The door opens again, and Derek’s dad barges into the room, eyes narrowing and honing in on the half-eaten sandwiches and remnants of chips and cookies sitting on the nightstand. “Why is there food in your room? You know the rules.” Derek tenses beside Stiles as his dad continues. “Besides, you’ve put on more than the “freshman fifteen”. It looks like you have gained double that. You should be spending less time at the cafeteria and more time studying. Perhaps you should refrain from eating dinner tonight.” Stiles is left reeling at those words. He can’t imagine Derek thirty pounds less. He’s already very thin, bordering on too thin for his broad build. If he weighed any less, he’d be skeletal.

“Dad…” Derek begins only to be shut down with his dad’s raised hand.

“Right now, we have a bigger issue. Red needs to take his bags to the other wing. We have a room prepared for him for this evening.”

“He’s staying in my room with me. If he goes to another room, I am going with him,” Derek states firmly.

“You should make plans for him to leave tomorrow morning. His kind isn’t welcome here.” Derek’s dad sniffs as if smelling something foul.

“My kind? What kind is that?” Stiles snaps as he stands up from the bed, fists clenched.

“You know exactly what I mean,” Derek’s dad sneers.

Stiles huffs a small sound. “Yeah, I guess I do; but you should also know your opinion means nothing to me.”

Derek stands beside Stiles. “Dad, this is not your decision. If you want me here this weekend to present your happy little family to everyone, then you’re going to have to deal with the fact that Red is staying. I won’t budge on this, no matter what the consequences.”

“This isn’t over.” Derek’s dad slams the door when he exits the room.

Stiles takes in the peaky green tint to Derek’s skin and the sweat beading at his temples. “Shit.” He grabs the trash can by the door and shoves it in front of Derek just as what little food he had been keeping down erupts violently from him. Stiles holds the can in front of Derek with one hand and uses the other to brush back Derek’s hair from where it had fallen over his forehead.

“Sorry,” Derek manages to say just before another wave hits.

Stiles shakes his head. “None of that. Just a minor setback. We’ll try again. Gotta get some food in you before dinner tonight, though I have to admit I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing your dad’s face if you did the technicolor yawn at the table.”

Laura giggles. “I like him, Derek. You did really good with this one.”

Stomach empty again, Derek sits back down, pale and shaky. Stiles goes to the attached bathroom and wets a rag with cool water. He wipes down Derek’s face and mouth then tosses the rag back into the bathroom and dumps the contents of the can into the toilet before rinsing it out and placing it next to the bed. Sitting back down on the bed next to Derek, Stiles hands him half of another sandwich with a teasing smirk. “Keep it down this time, yeah?”

They all laugh and settle in together to continue the movie, Laura quoting nearly every line much to Derek and Stiles’ amusement.

 

~*~ Thursday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Feeling much better after keeping down some food earlier, Derek dresses for dinner. He pulls on slim black pants and a loose fitting deep blue button down, leaving the top two buttons open at his neck. Any other time, he would have left another button undone; but he doesn’t want to deal with the subsequent argument with his dad that is sure to happen should he present himself in what his dad would describe as an unsavory and inappropriate manner.

Derek looks up when Stiles exits the bathroom clad only in his boxer briefs and dark smoky grey button down shirt. “If that’s what you are wearing tonight, you will definitely make an impression.”

“Oh, funny boy,” Stiles snarks good naturedly.

“I do what I can,” he says, blowing on his fingernails and buffing them lightly on his shoulder.

Stiles pulls on his black pants and rolls up the sleeves of his shirt to his elbows, leaving the collar open. “Is this more to your liking, your majesty?”

Derek pretends to consider and taps a finger against his lips. “I think I much prefer the previous look. Take off your pants so I can see again.”

Stiles shoves him lightly and takes his belt off the bed, feeding it through the loops. “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.”

“I’ll think about it,” Derek retorts, happy they are no longer treading carefully around each other. “Seriously, though. You didn’t have to go buy anything to wear for tonight. Tell me how much you spent, and I’ll reimburse you.” Stiles lifts one eyebrow in response. “Don’t take that wrong. I just mean that I said I would take care of everything, and I will. If you had worn jeans and a t shirt that would have been acceptable, too; but since you obviously went out and bought clothes, well, I don’t mind paying.”

“What makes you think that I didn’t already have appropriate clothes for nice casual?” Stiles asks.

“I just thought...” Derek stops abruptly. “Wow. I sound like my father. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed. I should have asked. Did you have these clothes already? Did I screw up again?”

“Yes, Derek. I already owned these clothes,” Stiles replies. “Just because I choose to wear what I wear regularly doesn’t mean I can’t clean up my look if I have the need to.”

“I’m sorry. Can we start over?” Derek looks at Stiles expectantly, biting his lip. Stiles nods prompting Derek to do exactly that. “Stiles, you look fantastic. Those pants fit you like they were custom made for your body.”

“Thank you. You clean up well yourself.” Stiles studies him fastidiously. “Are you wearing Gucci?”

“How did you know?” Pleased surprise blooms over Derek’s face. Gucci is his favorite clothing brand. If only his school allowance had room for extras, he would fill his wardrobe with clothes from there. As it is, he only has a few Gucci pieces deemed appropriate by his father for business meetings and family dinners.

“One thing you should learn early on this weekend, Derek, don’t underestimate me. I pay attention to details, and I miss nothing,” Stiles informs him.

They enter the dining room, and Derek immediately knows things are going to go south very quickly. He finds his name card next to Allison’s. After a thorough search, he finally finds one showing Red on the opposite side of the room furthest away from his seat.

“There was no place else to put your friend, so he can sit with your cousins,” Derek’s dad explains, sarcasm and entitlement dripping from his arrogant tone.

“Red stays with me. If he sits with my cousins, so do I,” Derek challenges.

Derek’s dad blusters, voice thundering in the room, “You have obligations. You will sit with us and Allison. He doesn’t fit in. Surely you can see that.”

“What I see is that my father is being a closed-minded dickwad. Do you really think it’s acceptable to speak to and about people in this manner? Seriously?” Derek steps infinitesimally in front of Stiles, as if his body can protect Stiles from the nasty words his father is spewing.

Stiles gently touches Derek’s arm. “It’s alright, Derek. Don’t. I’m not offended. His words mean nothing to me. You can sit with your parents, or you can sit where I’ve been delegated to sit. Whatever you want.”

Derek’s dad shakes a finger in Stiles’ face. “You need to stay out of this. It doesn’t concern you.”

Immediately batting away his dad’s hand, Derek fumes in outrage. “That’s where you’re wrong, Dad. Red is my guest and will be treated as such.”

“Don’t be stupid, Derek,” his dad derides.

“Watch your mouth.” Stiles moves in front of Derek. “You can say what you want about me; but you won’t speak ill of Derek, or Laura for that matter. They don’t deserve your shit. How they are products of you, I can’t even begin to comprehend.”

Derek’s mouth hangs open as he digests Stiles’ words. His dad looks like he is about to pop a vein in his head. “Who do you think you are? This is my family, and I will address them as I see fit. It’s obvious you’re only friends with Derek for his money. Who bought your clothes? Hmm? I can just about bet Derek fronted the money for them. Just so you know, he doesn’t gain access to his full inheritance until he’s 25.”

Derek gasps. “Dad! I didn’t pay for his clothes. I would have, yes; but I didn’t. Now stop. You’re embarrassing me.”

“I’m embarrassing you? I wasn’t the one that brought home that.” He points at Stiles in disgust.

“Enough!” Laura shouts, having entered the room unnoticed. “Red can take my seat, and I will sit with our cousins. I haven’t seen Lydia in a while and would like to spend some time with her anyway.”

Derek watches Stiles hug Laura and speak softly in her ear, unable to catch what was said, the sound too low. Derek’s dad grabs his wrist. “This isn’t over. He’s leaving tomorrow. Get used to it.” His dad’s grip tightens in warning and squeezes until his bones shift and pop. Luckily, Stiles missed the interaction. Derek would rather Stiles not know. Stiles doesn’t seem like he would take it well.

After his dad walks away, he rubs his wrist carefully so as not to draw attention to it. “I’m sorry. It’s worse than usual.”

“I knew what I was getting into. Even if you didn’t say it outright, I put the pieces together pretty quickly. If I was worried about it, I wouldn’t have accepted the request. Stress less.” Stiles’ hand finds Derek’s lower back, the touch calming Derek on contact.

Taking their seats, Derek introduces everyone as they come in and join them. His mom and dad sit at the head of the table and act as if nothing is amiss. At least no one had arrived yet to witness the drama. Derek counts that as a small blessing. When Allison arrives, Derek blanches. How is he going to get through this weekend as her date? He feels, more than sees, Stiles tense beside him. She weasels herself between them and leans into Derek, effectively shutting Stiles out.

“Hi, you must be Derek! I recognize you from the photos.” Her fingers drifts over his arm and down to his thigh. “I’m Allison. I’m so happy your parents set us up this weekend. I’ve been looking forward to getting to know you.”

The saccharine pours off of the girl in front of him. What makes his parents thinks this is the type of woman he would be attracted to? She is the antithesis of anything Derek would be drawn to. “Hi. Yes, I’m Derek. I wish I could say the same, but I didn’t find out until today that I was going to be meeting you.”

“Oh, that’s partially my fault,” she says with what is an obviously practiced demure expression on her face. “I told your parents not to spoil the surprise. I knew how excited you would be when you found out.”

“I’m not sure excited is an accurate description. I know I could have gone my entire life without seeing you again,” Stiles’ voice rings out from behind her.

Allison turns around to face Stiles. “Oh, look! It’s the bartender that threw me out of Midnight Memories. Let me know when you are ready to take me up on my offer. I’d be happy to oblige. I’ll even take both you and Derek at the same time, if that floats your boat.” She leans over next to Stiles’ ear and whispers just loud enough for Derek to hear, “As long as I get filled with your dick, I’ll do anything you want.”

“Never gonna happen.” Stiles leans around Allison to look at Derek. “If you’ll excuse me. I need to find the bathroom.”

“I’ll show you the way.” Derek jumps up and leads Stiles from the room.

 

~~*~~

 

Dinner is an event. Stiles ignores Allison. Derek speaks to her only when spoken to. It doesn’t seem to deter her from trying though. Derek is relieved when his dad stands up after dessert because while dinner is always stressful, this particular dinner is the prelude to the weekend. Tonight, they find out what they will be doing for the weekend.

“Attention, please. Thank you, family and friends for joining us. I am happy to announce that this year we will be remaining here at the Hale house. We have brought all of the luxuries to you. Please relax and enjoy your time here. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. Take your pick of activities. The property is filled to the brim with options. Massages, spa treatments, dancing, music, swimming, food, games, movies, you name it, and we have it covered. There are maps available by the back doors, and we have drivers on standby with golf carts to take you to wherever you want go on the property. The sky’s the limit. We want you to be “want free” starting right now.”

The room erupts in a flurry of movement, everyone in a hurry to see what options they have for the weekend. Luckily for them, Allison leaves with the mass, leaving Derek and Stiles behind.

Laura plops down in the chair beside them. “What do you say? Pool tonight? It’s not likely anyone will be out there this evening except maybe our cousins and any other people here our age. The old fuddy duddies will all be clamoring for massages and spa times.”

“I’m in,” Stiles agrees. “Just let me change.”

Laura squeals with the knowledge that if Stiles is in, Derek will be, too. Derek rolls his eyes already knowing how this weekend will go. Stiles and Laura will be ganging up on him, and he can’t find it in himself to mind.

Laura takes off running to her room. “Last one ready gets dunked.”

Derek slides his eyes over to Stiles. “She’s serious.”

“Oh, I am aware,” Stiles says with a smirk. “I am also aware that if any of us is getting dunked, it’s you.”

“You can’t take me,” Derek stands up and ruffles Stiles’ hair before darting away. “You’re too little.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Thursday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles takes his time getting back to the room. When he opens the door, he is greeted by a naked Derek standing in middle of the room trying to decide which swim trunks to wear.

“Go with the yellow. Save the white for next time.”

Derek pulls on the yellow trunks and checks himself in the mirror. Stiles takes his time getting his trunks and rash guard shirt from the drawer and enters the bathroom to change. Derek’s jaw drops when Stiles walks back into the room. “Red trunks? I would have never guessed you for a red clothing kind of person. Black trunks, maybe grey, but definitely not red.”

Stiles purses his lips. “Is there something wrong with my swimwear, Derek?”

“No! No, not at all. They are tight and red and look good on you, and the black shirt accentuates and hugs your body perfectly. Too perfectly,” Derek grimaces. “My cousins are going to be all over you.”

“We’ll see.”

They find Laura already at the pool pushing three chairs together. Derek grabs towels from the towel closet for them and tosses them onto a nearby table. Once the chairs are set up the way she wants them, Laura edges over to the deep end of the pool and smoothly dives in.

Derek sticks his tongue out at her when she surfaces. “Show off.”

“I take it you aren’t as graceful,” Stiles surmises.

“Shut up,” Derek scowls, dipping his toe into the water to check the temperature. When his foot touches the water, Stiles pushes him in. Derek flails his arms, trying to save himself to no avail, and his body submerges into the pool with a splash. He rights himself and pops up from the water with a splutter, hacking coughs wracking his body.

“You’re not supposed to drink the pool water, Derek,” Stiles taunts, doubled over in laughter at the sight in front of him.

“That’s not fair. I wasn’t ready.” Stiles watches Derek lift himself from the water onto the side, abs flexing. When he stands, Stiles tracks the water dripping down his body. He’s in trouble. So very fucking in trouble.

Knowing that Derek fully intends on revenge, Stiles sidesteps him and dives flawlessly into the water, finally emerging on the other end of the pool.

“I should have known when I saw the rash guard shirt that you were some kind of dolphin, fish boy, merman, or whatever,” he hears Derek mouthing off before jumping back in.

They are alone in the pool for a while before, as predicted, Derek and Laura’s cousins join them. “Everyone, this is Red,” Derek says by way of introduction.

Only a couple of them meet Stiles’ eyes. The rest give Stiles a wide berth, obvious in their discomfort. One of the guys suggests a game of chicken fight. Derek sends a questioning look to Stiles, and he nods his agreement.

“Do you want to be on top or bottom?” Derek asks.

Stiles smirks. Laura snorts. Derek blushes.

“I think we can kind of share that really,” Stiles teases, watching Derek’s face redden further.

“You can be on top. Or bottom. Whichever. I don’t have a preference.”

“On your knees then.” Stiles smirks at Derek, watching his jaw drop.

“What?” Derek stammers.

“Get on your knees.” Stiles directs.

“Here?” Derek’s eyes widen comically.

Stiles can’t stop the snicker that erupts. “Well, yeah. How else am I supposed to get on your shoulders to play?”

“Play?”

Laura, already perched on one of her cousin’s shoulders, snaps her fingers in front of Derek’s face. “Snap out of it, Derek. We want to play tonight, not after you get your rocks off.”

Derek drops down in front of him; and Stiles climbs on, wrapping his legs over Derek’s shoulder and doing his best to ignore the visual that will be burned in his brain forever of Derek on his knees.

They played round after round, laughter and shouts filling the air. Derek opts out the last round, so Stiles carries Laura. Together they dominate and defeat the other teams, claiming the title of champion. Laura pushes off Stiles and slings her arms around his body, hugging him in celebration. “Red, you are amazing! Derek and I never win against these guys."

“Congratulations, you two!” Derek cheers, wading his way over to them, and hugging them both.

They have been in the pool for several hours, the darkness of the night taking a firm hold around them. The mood has calmed and is less rowdy, the waves of the water no longer violent from their earlier games. So, of course, that’s when everything goes askew.

“Oh, God,” Derek moans under his breath.

Laura looks alarmed and swings her gaze to Derek. “What’s wrong?”

Stiles follows Derek’s line of sight and sighs. “My guess is her.”

“Sorry I’m late. I just had to get in a massage tonight. I’ve been feeling so tense lately.” Allison walks down the steps, bouncing with each movement, her body on display, only covered in tiny scraps of nude colored fabric. Stiles groans. What is it about women and bouncing their tits for attention? Is that really necessary? With dramatic bobs, she floats over to where they have been leaning against the pool wall.

“What did I miss?” Allison coos.

“Obviously, you missed an invite. Don’t you think it’s time to give up this charade?” Laura snarks, moving closer to Derek.

Allison smiles, her teeth on full display. “Oh, sweetie. I have an invite. Your father is paying lots of money for my presence.”

Laura scoffs, “Of course, he is, and you’re too stupid to realize he’s using you.”

Allison pushes Laura aside and drifts over to Stiles. “That’s okay. I’d rather have Red, anyway.” She brushes her hands over Stiles’ chest, then tips her face up to Stiles’. “The offer still stands. We could do it right here.”

Allison touches his face and presses closer, wrapping her leg around his waist. Stiles shifts out of her grasp, having had enough. “Get off me, you fucking slag! What’s it going to take for you to get it? I wouldn’t fuck you if you were the last available hole on Earth.”

She only smiles and reaches out again, hand dropping into the water to cup his dick through the material of his suit. His very soft dick. Before he has a chance to react, her wrist is being gripped by a hand much larger than hers and pulled away from Stiles’ body.

“Touch him again, and there will be hell to pay,” Derek hisses.

Stiles gently pushes Derek back, forcing him to release Allison. “She’s not worth it, dude.”

She giggles, approaching Derek, forcing him back lightly with her hands on his chest, nails pressing in roughly. “Oh, little boy. You have no idea. You can’t do anything to me. I hold all the cards here. I’m getting paid to be here. Plus, you can’t touch me because I’m female, and how would it look if you roughed up a little defenseless girl? I intend to use that little detail to my advantage in every way possible, starting with riding his dick,” she says, motioning to Stiles.

“They may not be able to touch you, but I sure as fuck can. You might do well to remember that,” Laura singsongs, belying the venom of her words, as she steps between Allison and the boys. “Now, if you don’t mind. Fuck. Off.”

Everyone else in the pool, having been silent while watching the scene unfold, explodes in sound.

“You tell her, Laur.”

“My money’s on Laura.”

“Cat fight!”

“Go home. No one wants you here anyway.” Stiles isn’t sure if that is directed at him or Allison. While most of Derek and Laura’s cousins have relaxed around him, several still seem to be rattled.

The calls grow louder until Allison leaves with a huff. Once she is gone, cheers ring out until everyone quietens down, returning to their previous conversations.

Stiles pulls himself out of the water and wraps a towel around his waist. “I’m heading inside.”

“Wait for me, I’ll go with you.” Derek jumps out of the pool quickly.

“Me, too,” Laura says, already grabbing her own towel.

Halfway down the hall, Laura jumps on Derek’s back; and he carries her to her room, next door to his. She pulls him down and hugs him tightly to her when he puts her down. “Goodnight, Derek. You too, Red. See you in the morning.”

Once in Derek’s room, Derek strips off his wet, yellow trunks and enters the bathroom, leaving the door open. He rinses out the material and hangs them on the rack to dry. “I’m so cold. I need a hot shower.”

Stiles hears the shower turn on and strips, changing into grey joggers and a black t shirt. Derek is already in the shower when Stiles walks into the bathroom to rinse out his suit.

 

~*~ Thursday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek pulls on boxers and falls into bed while Stiles is taking his shower. Stiles has been a pleasant surprise today. He has been a huge support for Derek, even though he isn’t sure Stiles knows it. Allison touching him tonight had pissed Derek off. He never would have hurt her, but there was no way he was going to sit idly by while she touched Stiles.

“Is it alright if I sleep in my boxers, or would it make you feel better if I wore my joggers?” Stiles’ soft voice breaks the quiet of the room.

Derek looks up to find Stiles fresh from the shower clad in black boxers and a black t shirt, his hair towel dried and messy. He lifts the blankets and cocks an eyebrow. “Since I am currently only in my boxers, it would be a bit hypocritical of me to start shit about you doing the same.”

“Fair enough.” Stiles takes a pillow from the bed and tosses it on the floor next to the bed. “I’ll take the floor. Is there an extra blanket around somewhere?”

“You don’t have to sleep on the floor. You can share the bed with me.”

Stiles shakes his head. “I don’t mind, Derek. I’ve slept on a floor before. I will survive doing it again.”

Derek feels disappointment wash over him but quickly schools his features. “Blankets are in the closet, up top on the right.”

He watches Stiles retrieve the blankets and make a pallet on the floor before stretching himself on top and covering himself.  Derek switches off the light, submerging the room in darkness. “Goodnight, Stiles, and thank you for being here.”

“All good, Derek. Goodnight.”

Derek hears Stiles shift around to get comfortable before soft, steady breaths fill the room. He tries to sleep. He really does. He tosses and turns and can’t find a comfortable position. For some reason though, sleep evades him. He can’t stop the thoughts flitting around in his head. Already knowing the answer, Derek whispers, “Hey, Stiles? Are you awake?”

As expected, he receives no response other than the quiet sounds of Stiles’ even breaths in continued slumber. Before he can change his mind, Derek takes his blanket and pillow and throws them onto the floor between Stiles and the bed. Moving as close as he dares, he finally finds the calm he has been seeking, and his body relaxes. As if sensing someone next to him, Stiles turns toward Derek and inches closer. Derek holds his breath until Stiles settles again.

As Derek unwinds, he contemplates everything that has happened in the past week, especially the last twenty-four hours; and he finds himself reevaluating his perspective on people. He doesn’t know what he has done right in his life to have been paired with the man next to him for this weekend, but he easily admits that Stiles is a perfect match, in more ways than one. Feeling safe for the first time in a long while, Derek finally falls asleep with a smile on his face. 

Chapter Text

~*~ Friday – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles flips onto his back and stretches, his back popping in the still silence of what appears to be dawn if the muted lighting of the room is any indication. He rolls back over to catch a little more sleep and comes face to face with a soft, sleepy Derek staring back at him.

“Why are you on the floor?” Stiles whispers.

Derek snuggles into his blanket. “I hate sleeping alone, especially when I have a lot going on during the daytime hours.”

“You could have just said that last night,” Stiles informs him softly.

“I didn’t want you to think I was a baby, or annoying, or needy, or whatever. Then, you fell asleep; and I couldn’t, so I came down here.”

Stiles rolls his eyes with a soft smile on his face. This boy is something else. “Next time, just say something, yeah? Don’t worry about what I think, or might think. Use your words.” He pushes back the blanket and stands, reaching his hand out to Derek. “Up you go. No use sleeping in the floor when there’s a perfectly good, unoccupied bed.”

He pushes Derek into the bed and picks up the blankets and pillows, throwing them onto the bed before crawling in himself. He shakes out the bedding and lets it fall over them. Turning toward Derek, he focuses on his face. There is just enough light coming into the room for him to make out Derek’s delicate features, sharp jaw line, sleep mussed hair, and soft pink lips that are just begging to be devoured. He closes his eyes to block the visual. God help him, Stiles is going to combust before the weekend is over.

 

~~*~~

 

A couple of hours later, they are at breakfast when Laura bounds down the stairs, a huge smile on her face. “What are we doing today boys?”

“I think there’s a petting zoo and horseback riding,” Derek suggests. “I’d also like to soak in the hot tub tonight. My back is killing me.”

Laura looks at him, instantly alert, worry evident. “Why does your back hurt? Did you fall out of the bed again or something? Did…”

“Or something,” Derek mumbles.

Stiles, sensing Derek’s reticence to share, changes the subject. “Is it just us three then or will any of your cousins be joining us?”

“I think Jordan and Lydia will probably want to stay with us,” Laura surmises. “They usually do, and they don’t buy into the family drama either.”

“Derek,” Derek’s dad beckons him from across the room. “A word, please.”

Stiles studies Derek’s face as a split second of fear flashes over his beautiful features before it is hastily checked. Resolutely, Derek stands and cross the room to his dad as requested. Stiles can’t help but listen at the loud conversation between them.

Derek’s dad wastes no time. “Red leaves today. Allison will accompany you for the rest of the weekend.”

Stiles sees Derek stiffen before responding. “I’m not asking him to leave.”

“You don’t have to. I’ve already arranged a car for him. Have him ready to go by noon.”

Derek lifts his chin defiantly. “No.”

“What did you say? I know you aren’t disrespecting me.” His dad leans in and whispers something in Derek’s ear.

“No, sir,” Derek responds, stricken and pale. Stiles cocks his head to the side and studies him. Fuck! Derek looks afraid, and that pisses Stiles off.

“Noon. No arguments,” Derek’s dad flings bitingly.

Derek’s head drops, his chin grazing his chest. “Yes, sir.”

“What the hell? No!” Laura jumps out of her seat and moves between Derek and his dad. “What is your problem with Red? Derek brought him as his guest, so Derek decides when he leaves.”

His dad looks coolly past her at a shaking Derek. “Noon.”

Before Laura can say any more, Stiles’ anger explodes. He can’t stand by and let Derek be treated this way due to his presence. He stands, facing Derek’s dad, his voice cruel as it rings loud and clear throughout the room. “No need to fight on my account. I’ll make this easy. I wish I could say it was a pleasure, but it really wasn’t. I feel sorry for you. Your dick is so far up your ass, you can’t see what’s right in front of you. You have great kids. Kind, caring, sensitive, generous. All of the things you aren’t. I hope one day they find happiness and let you watch from the sidelines. God knows, you don’t deserve them.”

The room erupts with sound. The yelling and shouting is deafening, and Stiles doesn’t care enough to see how it ends. He turns on his heel and flips off the man with both hands as he walks out the door and upstairs to pack his things.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles takes his bag from the closet and props it open on the bed. He’s pulling out the first drawer when the door to the room slams open and Laura rushes in. “Shut that drawer and put your bag away. You aren’t leaving.”

“Pretty sure, I am.” He grabs his clothes from the drawer, when Laura stops him with a gentle hand on his arm.

“I’ll pay the price. Please don’t leave,” she whispers.

Stiles squints his eyes suspiciously. “What’s the price?”

Laura shakes her head. “Don’t worry about it. It will be taken care of. Just don’t go.”

“I don’t make a habit of staying where I’m not wanted.”

“Please. I know you have no reason to, but just trust me on this. Derek needs you here. Please stay,” she pleads.

When Stiles’ eyes meet Laura’s, he sees her walls shatter, expression laid bare. “Fine. I’ll consider it on two conditions.”

“Anything,” Laura agrees without reservation.

“First, Allison leaves. That’s non-negotiable,” Stiles says. If he has to be in the same place as that girl for another second, he will lose his mind.

Laura nods. “Done. What’s the second?”

Stiles hesitates, reconsidering what he’s about to say, before pushing down his concerns and surging on. “You ask Derek to come clean about who I am to him.”

Laura looks confused but readily accepts the condition. “Okay.”

“If you still want me to stay after you know the truth, I will.” Voice hard, Stiles continues, “Know this though, I won’t allow your dad to talk to me like he does you and Derek. I didn’t get where I am in life by letting people like him run over me.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

Stiles replaces his clothing in the drawer. “You have an hour.”

“But my dad said noon,” Laura reminds him.

“I won’t be waiting,” Stiles snorts. “I’m a big boy. I can find my own way home.”

“Alright.”

Laura moves to leave when Stiles stops her. “I meant what I said to your dad. You and Derek deserve to find happiness.”

“Thanks, Red.”

 

~*~ Friday – Derek ~*~

 

Laura finds Derek in the library sitting with his knees pulled into his chest as tears run down his face and drip from his chin. She pulls him into a hug. “Hey, baby bro. You alright?

“No.” Derek’s lip quivers. “Is Stiles done packing? I couldn’t bear to see him clearing out his things.”

Laura runs her fingers through Derek’s hair, soothing him. “Not yet. I asked him to stay.”

“He’s made up his mind. It’s fine. He doesn’t have to stay in this hellhole. I’d leave if I could, too.” Derek swipes at the fresh wave of tears falling down his face with the sleeve of his shirt. “I should have known better than to bring anyone.”

Laura reaches over and grabs the tissue box from the end table, handing it to Derek. “Are you two dating?”

Derek pushes the box away irritably and turns his face to the window, unable to meet Laura’s pitying eyes. “No.”

“Do you want to be dating him?” Laura asks kindly.

“It doesn’t matter what I want. It’s not like that with us.”

 Laura sighs. “Stiles told me he’d stay on two conditions.”

“What conditions?” Derek jerks his head around to face Laura. He will do anything to get Stiles to stay.

“The first is that Allison leaves.”

Derek barks out a loud sound akin to laughter, but not quite hitting the mark. “Well, everyone wants that. I’m not sure we can make that happen though. Dad’s pretty set on me dating her.” He shivers in disgust. The thought of touching Allison makes him want to hurl.

“We will.” She looks at him meaningfully. “Whatever it takes.”

Derek vehemently shakes his head. “No, Laur. You don’t get to do that. This is my problem.”

“Whatever it takes, Derek,” she repeats firmly. When he opens his mouth to retort, she holds up a hand stopping him. “I don’t want to hear anything else about it. Now, his second condition was that I ask you how you know him, who he is to you.”

Derek takes a deep breath. “He’s my temporary fix.”

 

~~*~~

 

Forty-five minutes later, Laura and Derek return to his room finding Stiles sitting in the bed, texting. Laura plops down across his outstretched legs. “Hi. I’m Laura.”

Stiles peers at her over his phone. “Yes, I know. We’ve met. Have you gone mad?”

“Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?” she asks, smiling at him while bouncing lightly on his legs.

Lifting one eyebrow, Stiles simply replies, “No.”

“Laura, this is Stiles. Stiles this is my sister,” Derek pipes up from the doorway where he stands.

Stiles’ gaze slams into Derek’s. “You told her?”

Horror that he may have screwed up fills Derek. “Yes. She knows you’re just a temporary fix and that after this weekend, you will be gone. She knows she needs to call you Red in front of everyone. When and if you want anyone else to know your real name, it will be up to you to decide. I figured since you told her to ask me about everything that telling her would be alright. It is alright, isn’t it?”

Stiles stares at him hard, just long enough for panic to settle into the pit of Derek’s stomach. Stiles’ eyes search Derek’s for another long moment before finally softening. “Yes. I like Laura.” He checks the time on his phone and looks over at her. “Ten minutes. What are you going to do about the other condition?”

Laura hops up off of Stiles’ legs and holds out her hand. “We are going to take care of that now.”

“We?” Stiles questions, glancing down at Laura’s outstretched hand.

“Yep. We. Now come on.” Laura leans down and takes Stiles’ hand, pulling him out of the bed and leading the way down the hall and across the house to her father’s study. Derek slips on the other side of Stiles, taking his other hand right as Laura pushes the door open without knocking.

“You know better than to come in here without knocking,” their dad says immediately.

Derek responds before Laura gets a chance. “I do, but I can’t say that I care.”

“Watch yourself, boy.”

Derek takes a deep breath before pulling his shoulders back. “I won’t babysit Allison this weekend. I won’t date Allison ever. I won’t fuck Allison in any lifetime.”

“You’ll do as your told,” comes the sharp reply from Derek’s dad.

“No.” Derek squeezes Stiles’ hand, drawing strength from him and Laura.

His dad raises his eyebrows before dropping them, a glower marring his angry expression. “Did you forget what I said earlier.”

Derek flinches. “No, but I get to choose who I spend my time with. I choose to spend my time with Red this weekend. Either Allison leaves or Red leaves.”

“Good. We are on the same page.” His dad picks up a file on his desk and stacks it with several other similar ones. “I trust that he’s packed and ready to go? I can have the car come early.”

“Let me finish.” Derek takes a beat to breathe. “Either Allison leaves or Red leaves. If Red leaves, I leave.”

“And so do I,” Laura interjects. “Your choice.”

“You’ll pay for this,” their dad exclaims, shaking his finger and each of them. “Both of you.”

Derek knows the price will be high, as does Laura; but as long as Stiles doesn’t ever find out, then it is worth it. The three exit the room and dash upstairs to their rooms to get ready for the rest of the day.

 

~~*~~

 

On their way to the petting zoo, Jordan and Lydia catch up to them. Derek is happy that they seem to have accepted Stiles without reservation. The five of them spend a couple of hours petting and feeding the animals before winding their way down the hill to where the horse stables are.

They are just mounting the saddled horses when they hear an ear-splitting scream. Laura giggles. “Sounds like someone just found out she’s going home. Good riddance!”

Derek follows behind Stiles on the path. He reasons to himself that it’s so he can make sure no one gets left behind. Laura and Derek know the property like the backs of their hands, having explored the trails thoroughly growing up. Really though, he wants to shamelessly stare at Stiles without worrying about who can see.

The longer he watches, the more his thoughts get away from him, and he shifts uncomfortably in the saddle. This is not the best time to get hard. Naked grandma. Dead puppies. Allison’s breasts. Gag! That works. Well, it does until he looks back at Stiles’ ass in the saddle. He shifts again. This is going to be a long ride. Shit, no. Not ride. Pony trek? Fuck, that’s worse. Mount? Jesus, take the wheel.

Derek pulls his shirt down as far as he can to hide his erection and trots up beside Stiles so that they are riding two wide through the almost too narrow path.

“Nice of you to join me. Get a good look at my ass?” Stiles wickedly grin at him.

Derek nearly swallows his tongue. “Uh, well, er, I mean. Ugh.” He catches Stiles smirking. “Oh, fuck off.”

“I’d rather not. I’m kind of enjoying watching you squirm.” He tips his head to Derek’s obvious problem. “Though that does look a little uncomfortable. You should do something about that.”

Calling on every ounce of courage he possesses, Derek lifts his chin and challenges, “Or maybe you should.”

Cheeks flaming, Derek digs his heels in, pressing his horse ahead past Laura. When the path dumps them into an open field, he pushes harder into a canter, leaving the others behind.

Chapter Text

~*~ Friday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles sees the immediate flush that covers Derek’s face and watches him ride off, subsequently not giving Stiles a chance to respond. If only they had met a different way, he’d already be buried balls deep in the boy’s ass. If Stiles could allow someone to get close to him, it would definitely be Derek. Stiles is not sure he can give Derek what he deserves. He finds his resolve slipping. Derek is different. Can Derek see past the façade and find him? See him? Accept him? Want him? It’s too much to consider. Besides, Derek made it abundantly clear this morning with Laura. Stiles is just his temporary fix and will be gone as quickly as he had arrived. Now if he could only get his dick to fall in line, because watching Derek blushing at stepping out of his box and being confident, if only for a second, turns Stiles on more than it should.

A couple of hours later, they return to the stables where Derek and Laura efficiently unsaddle and brush down the horses. When they are done, the group heads back to the house on golf carts, grabbing sandwiches from the kitchen on the way to their rooms to clean up. The girls reconvene with Derek and Stiles downstairs, clean and dressed in clothes that don’t smell like horse and sweat. Jordan had texted Laura and said he was going to take a nap.

Laura pulls Derek down a long corridor to an exit at the side of the house. “Let’s go to the spa. I want a massage.”

Stiles stops walking. “I’m out. You three have fun. I’ll be on the deck when you guys are done.”

“Are you sure? You might like the spa,” Laura suggests.

“I’m sure. You have fun. I can keep myself entertained for an hour or two.” Stiles is positive he wouldn’t be able to control his reaction to a naked Derek moaning as he gets a massage. Add in being naked himself, with hands rubbing over his body, and he has no doubt he’d end up fucking Derek on the massage table if he didn’t come all over the table first. Best to not chance it.

Derek walks back a few steps to where Stiles had stopped. “If you need anything, come find me, alright?”

Stiles chuckles at Derek’s overprotectiveness. “Derek, I’m a big boy. Go. Do your spa things.”

“Just,” Derek chokes on his words and clears his throat. “Just don’t leave. Please. If he tries to make you leave come find me. Promise.”

“I won’t leave. I promise. Don’t worry about me,” Stiles assures him with an affectionate squeeze to Derek’s arm.

Derek rejoins Laura and Lydia, and they take off running to the spa area that is set up in the guest house.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles is relaxing on the deck, dozing on and off, when a shadow blocks the light. He opens one eye and spots Derek standing above him. “Spa time done already?”

“Yeah. It’s been three hours. Sorry, I wasn’t back sooner. My dad needed me for something.” If Stiles hadn’t been paying attention, he would have missed the tremor that ran over Derek’s body followed by a wince of discomfort.

Tucking that away for later, he changes the subject. “It’s alright. I think I napped for most of it. Is it dinner time?”

“Pretty soon, actually. Do you want to eat in one of the tents? Every tent has a different type of food. Mexican. Italian. Seafood. Home cooking. Fast food and concession stand food. Finger foods. Desserts. You name it, and I’m sure we have it.” Derek waves his hand, indicating the massive tents set up in a line close to the house.

Stiles stands up from the lounger and stretches. “You decide. I am up for any of it. Is Laura going with us?”

“I think so. I am supposed to go get her from her room before we go. She headed up about an hour ago,” Derek grimaces as though he said more than he intended.

Stiles’ eyes drift over Derek, stopping briefly at his tense shoulders. “Right, then. Let’s get on with it before my stomach eats itself.”

Derek’s body remains stiff, but he chuckles. “You know, that’s actually quite disturbing if you think about it.”

“Then, how about we don’t think about it and get moving instead.” Stiles nudges Derek into the house, careful to not touch him. If his suspicions are correct, Derek’s been injured. Stiles doesn’t want to dwell on the “how’s” just yet, almost certain he won’t like what he finds.

When Laura comes out of her room, her eyes are red-rimmed and puffy, and tear tracks are visible on her face. Stiles can see that she has tried to wipe them away, but the telltale traces are still evident. She immediately falls into Derek’s open arms. “I’m so sorry, Derek.”

Derek shushes her softly, “It’s fine, Laur. We knew there was a price. I paid it. Don’t think any more about it.”

“You should have let me go,” she sniffles as several more tears fall down her face.

“No. This is mine.” Derek releases her abruptly and plasters a smile on his face. “What do you want to eat for dinner? I’m thinking Mexican.”

“I could be persuaded. Is that good for you Red?” Laura asks, turning to Stiles.

Stiles is confused at the abrupt change of demeanor until he sees their dad walking up to them. “Sounds good. Should we go?”

Derek’s dad places a heavy hand on Derek’s shoulder. “You aren’t finished. Don’t forget.” His grip tightens painfully, as evidenced by Derek’s expression, and takes his leave. Derek’s green eyes fill with unshed tears. Those eyes are going to be Stiles’ undoing. Derek rubs his shoulder, in obvious pain.

 Stiles flinches as if he is the one in agony, but remains silent, seething inside. “What am I missing?”

“Nothing,” Derek and Laura say in unison, fear in both faces on full display.

Not giving up, but not pressing the matter since he already knows the answer, he stores his questions away until later. He forces a smile onto his face. “Food it is, then.”

Stiles, Derek, Laura, and a group of their cousins play volleyball after dinner. Probably not a wise decision after loading up on Mexican food, but Stiles wasn’t about to turn Derek down. They play several matches, everyone having a good time. Well, everyone except one guy, who seems to not be very fond of Stiles’ presence, judging by how he has tried several times to hammer the ball at him with enough force to do some serious damage. Luckily, no one else has noticed; and Stiles is quick on his feet and avoids or returns the ball for the most part which only seems to infuriate the other man.

“I’m tired of volleyball.” Derek discreetly rotates his shoulder. “Let’s play soccer.”

“Derek, you suck at soccer,” Laura reminds him.

“I know, but I want to play anyway.” He looks at her beseechingly, and she must understand the unspoken words, because she agrees without further argument. “The soccer field is on the other side of the property. Let’s get the drivers to take us. I don’t feel like walking.”

 

~*~ Friday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek’s shoulder is killing him. Paying the price had, as usual, left bruises on his shoulders and back. His father was completely aware of this when he was gripping Derek’s shoulder in the hall earlier. One day, Derek will walk away from the man that is his father and never look back. He doesn’t know when that will be, but he is determined to make it happen. He just needs everything to fall into place.

Everyone splits into teams to play. Stiles ends up on the opposite team much to Derek’s chagrin. He tries to switch with someone, but no one was having it.

“It’s alright, Derek. I’ll take it easy on you,” Stiles teases lightheartedly.

The game begins, and it’s obvious to Derek that Stiles is holding back. “Come on, Red. Give it to me.”

His cousins snicker and hide their smiles behind their hands, one of them calling out, “I’m sure you would love that, but it wouldn’t be fair.”

They snipe at each other cheerfully the first game. By the second game, almost everyone is relaxed and bantering back and forth with each other. Stiles makes a goal for his team when amidst the celebrating, one of Derek’s cousins slams into him. Stiles stays on his feet, but Derek’s cousin pushes him again. Stiles swings, fist connecting with the man’s face with a sickening sound. Derek and several others run over to separate them.

Derek’s cousin wipes the blood from his face and snarls, “You don’t belong here.”

“Is that right?” Stiles throws back at him.

When Derek reaches them, he stops in front of Stiles and faces his cousin. “What do you think you are doing, Theo? Red was invited.”

His cousin sneers, “Why you were stupid enough to bring him is beyond me.”

“Fuck off, you loser,” Stiles spits and moves forward to stand beside Derek.

“Yeah, I’m the loser. Have you seen yourself?” Theo scoffs.

Derek’s temper boils over. “Stop! What’s wrong with you? Red didn’t start this. You did.”

His cousin closes the distance between them and presses his hand hard on Derek’s back. Derek automatically hisses in pain. “If he wasn’t here, Derek, you wouldn’t be hurt. I’m doing this for your own good.”

Derek pulls his arm back and swings as hard as he can, landing a blow to his cousin’s nose. Blood spurts everywhere on contact. “You know nothing if you believe that to be true. You are no better than my father. I can make my own decisions. If you don’t like them, keep it to yourself or leave. I’m not going to kowtow to your small-minded opinions.”

Stiles tugs Derek away, Laura following. He takes Derek’s hand and sees the bruises forming on his knuckles. “Let’s get something for your hand.”

They find a bag of frozen peas in the freezer for Derek’s hand. Sitting on the counter, Derek grimaces at the cold. “I’m sorry. Theo’s wrong, you know. You aren’t a loser. You may look different than what he’s used to being around, but that doesn’t give him the right to judge you.”

“I think his heart was in the right place. He was trying to protect you.” Laura giggles. “But I am so glad you decked him. If you hadn’t, I would have.”

Stiles shakes his head. “You two are something else.”

“I’ve wanted to punch him for years,” Derek admits truthfully. His arrogant prick of a cousin has entitlement issues.

“God, me, too! He’s a right jackass. I can’t believe you beat me to it, little brother.” Laura shoves him lightly.

“How’s the hand feeling?” Stiles asks.

Derek takes the bag off his hand and flexes his fingers. “Sore, but it was so worth it.” Derek looks down at Stiles’ hand. “How come yours isn’t as bad as mine?”

Stiles merely shrugs. “I’m used to it. He isn’t the first person I’ve ever hit. My hand is a bit bruised, but it will be fine.”

Derek’s eyes search Stiles’. There is so much hidden in their depths, and it saddens him knowing that he will never be able to glimpse the parts that make Stiles the incredible man that he is under the piercings, tattoos, and attitude. When Derek blinks, Stiles’ walls are back in place.

Derek squishes the bag in his hand. “I should put the peas away. I think they are getting mushy. Can you imagine Dad’s face when he gets frozen mushed up peas out of the freezer next time?” Derek asks, placing the bag back in the freezer. “I’d pay for the video.”

“Same,” Laura agrees. “For now, though, I want a shower. Are we still on for the hot tub tonight?”

“God, yes,” Derek says on a moan. “I need that in my life.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Friday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles is barely able to contain his gasp when Derek gingerly strips his shirt off immediately after entering their room. The bruises forming are a stark contrast against Derek’s pale skin. There are no visible cuts, but it’s obvious he was struck with something repeatedly. From the looks of the marks, Stiles is fairly certain it was a belt that caused most of the damage. Derek hisses a sharp breath and draws Stiles from his scrutinizing perusal. Clearly, Derek is in a lot of pain, and Stiles has a driving need to help.

Even though he already knows the answer, Stiles finds himself saying, “Please tell me that this doesn’t happen often.”

Derek stiffens and remains silent so long that Stiles is sure he isn’t going to answer, until finally a soft exhale is released. “Yeah, it does. It happens a lot, actually. I try to take as much as I can so that Laura is spared.”

Stiles closes his eyes and rolls his neck, trying to control the anger surging through his veins. “He will not lay another hand on you when I’m here. Is that understood?”

Derek shrugs diffidently. “I can’t do anything about it. If I fight or argue, it’s worse. Just don’t worry about it. I can take it.”

“Not another hand. If he does, I’m not sure I can control what happens.”

“I’ll try,” Derek whispers, his uncertainty clear.

“You had better try fucking hard as hell,” Stiles warns him.

Derek takes in the deadly calm of Stiles’ voice and the level expression that reflects the same. “I promise I’ll try.”

Stiles jerks his head in a quick nod and motions to Derek’s back. “Is there anything I can do to help with that? Do you have any aloe vera?”

“Actually, yes. I keep it on hand. Can you wash my back for me and then put some on it?” Derek asks, shyness infusing his words. “Usually, Laura has to help me with the places I can’t reach.”

“Anything. I will do anything. You just have to ask.” And if Stiles means that in a very literal way, well, no one has to know. He needs to finish this temporary fix thing and go home. He needs to separate himself from Derek and his family before he gets in too deep. Oh, who the hell is he kidding? Derek is getting under his skin, and Stiles will do whatever it takes to protect him. That thought terrifies him. Definitely way too deep.

Stiles gently washes Derek’s back, using an easy pressure and slow motions so as not to cause Derek any more additional pain than necessary. It would be much easier if he was in the bathtub with Derek, but Derek didn’t offer, and Stiles didn’t ask. It’s probably for the best, because Stiles is certain he wouldn’t be able to resist taking Derek apart.

When Derek stands up and gets out, Stiles opens a soft, fluffy, white towel and dries his back. At least his parents have decent linens. He knows firsthand how a rough, abrasive fabric feels against heated, injured skin. “Do you want me to put the aloe on while you are standing, or do you want to stretch out on the bed?” Stiles asks softly. His brain hopes for standing. His dick not so much.

“Is it okay if I stretch out? That won’t be weird or anything? Right?” Derek asks hopefully, biting his bottom lip, his eyes begging for Stiles to agree.

“That’s fine.” When Derek makes no move and just stands there staring back at him, Stiles propels him forward into the bedroom. “Hop to it then.”

“Oh, yes, yeah, of course.” Derek exits the bathroom and crawls into the bed, falling naked onto his stomach, the bed bouncing lightly under him.

“Don’t put on boxers on my account,” Stiles teases sarcastically, adjusting the himself as his body reacts to the vision of Derek naked in the bed on full display.

“Should I? I didn’t think about it.” Derek moans softly as he wiggles into another position giving Stiles a glimpse of the hidden place he aches to sink into.

“You do whatever you are most comfortable with,” Stiles manages to say evenly, adjusting himself again.

Stiles assesses Derek from where he stands next to the bed. The man’s body has his attention in more ways than one, and yet Derek seems oblivious to Stiles’ visceral response. Pausing, Stiles tries to decide if he can get away with just standing by the bed while still reaching all of the injured area of Derek’s back. He knows it’s not possible, but he’s sure as hell going to try. Taking the aloe, he squirts a good amount into his hand and places the bottle on the bed beside Derek. He starts to rub the gel into the skin of Derek’s back, careful not to put too much weight on him. Derek tenses momentarily at the first touch, but he soon relaxes under Stiles’ hands, releasing soft sounds that has Stiles hungering for more.

Stiles finally gives in and gets on the bed next to Derek so that he can get to the areas at the top of Derek’s back and shoulders that he hasn’t been able to reach. When he has finally covered the canvas of Derek’s damaged skin, he sits back on his heels but allows his hands to skim over the darkening bruises. The sight of the injuries enrages Stiles. He doesn’t understand how anyone can physically hurt this sweet, kind boy; but he makes it his mission to do his best to keep it from happening again while he’s here, knowing that if it happens again, he will take matters into his own hands. He continues sweeping his hand lightly over the bare skin, unable to stop himself. The desire to touch and protect Derek increases with every pass of his hand, filling him full of feelings he was sure he’d never be able to feel.

Derek changes his position, lifting one leg slightly. With an almost imperceptible thrust he groans, “Don’t stop.”

“I don’t want to hurt you,” Stiles murmurs, continuing his ministrations over Derek’s tender skin.

“Mmm, doesn’t hurt. Feels good. Please keeping doing that,” Derek whimpers, the sound shooting heat through Stiles like lava. “Please.”

Stiles needs to get off the bed. Now. Before he can’t. He lets his hands drift gently over Derek and notices as Derek begins to noticeably grind against the bed. As much as he wants to take Derek right here, right now, Stiles knows he can’t do that to him. He deserves better than Stiles. Letting his hands drop to Derek’s almost too thin waist, Stiles squeezes deliberately. “I’m going to go shower. You stay here and rest.”

Stiles should be given brownie points for not jerking off in the shower, because, oh, how he wanted to. The image of Derek naked on the bed and grinding has given him fodder for his spank bank for the next year, he’s sure. He wraps a towel around his waist and towel dries his hair with another. Satisfied his hair was dry enough to not drip, he drapes the towel around his neck, the ends laying over his chest.

He finds Derek still naked where he left him in the bed, snoring softly with his leg hiked higher than before, providing Stiles more than just the flash he had seen earlier. Derek’s currently position gives Stiles a fantastic view of his ass. The door to the room slams open, and Derek jerks awake, lowering his leg to cross at the ankles. Stiles feels the loss of the view immediately.

Laura enters the room, completely disregarding Derek’s nakedness and the nearly naked Stiles and takes in the sight of Derek’s back. “I’m so sorry, Derek. Do you want me to put something on it to help?”

Derek shakes his head softly. “No, Stiles already did. I just want to get in the hot tub and soak.” Stiles doesn’t miss the mirth in her eyes when Derek mentions that Stiles has helped him already.

“Oh, did he?” she teases Derek. Slapping Derek on the back of his leg, Laura says, “Well, up you get then. Time’s wasting. I’m going to get changed. Don’t dally.” She winks at Stiles. She fucking winks. Dear God, these siblings are something else.

Once she leaves, Derek pulls himself out of the bed and picks up his white swim trunks. He slides them up his legs to rest precariously low on his hips. Stiles frowns at the bruises on Derek’s back standing out sharply against the white of his trunks. Needing to think about something else before his anger burns any hotter, Stiles finds his black trunks and a black tank in the top drawer. Going back into the bathroom, he takes the towels from his waist and neck and hangs them on the rail in the bathroom. Pulling on the tank and trunks, he stops to mess with his hair a bit before rejoining Derek in the room.

 

~~*~~

 

Laura and Lydia are waiting for Derek and Stiles in the foyer, arms laden with snacks. “I asked the staff to have champagne, beer, and water available tonight for us. They have already taken it down for us. Is that good for everyone?”

Everyone nods their agreement, and they wind their way through the corridors to the exit closest to the hot tub. Lydia grabs towels for everyone, dumping them on a nearby chair for later while Laura organizes the food and drink on a tray near the hot tub so they can all reach.

“The water should already be warm. I came down earlier to turn everything on,” Laura tells them and pulls her cover up over her head, leaving her in a vibrant, royal blue bikini. With her dark hair, the color is definitely a good choice. Stiles appreciates how perfectly the suit fits her body, showing just enough to make it interesting yet covered enough to be flattering and not trashy. She sits on the side, waiting for everyone else. Lydia follows next, in her pretty, pastel pink one piece, kicking her feet softly in the water.

Stiles tugs his shirt over his head and catches Derek staring at him, frozen. Laura and Lydia are talking about what they want to do tomorrow, but Derek’s eyes are trained on Stiles, on Stiles’ chest to be precise, very specifically his pierced nipples.

“You, your, um, you have…” Derek falters and flushes red. He motions with his hand, unable to get the words out of his mouth. Stiles melts a little more for this boy.

Laura, however, doesn’t suffer from the same affliction as her brother. “Oh, my God! Red! You have pierced nipples.”

Stiles feigns shock. “I do?” He looks down at his chest and faux gasps. “You’re right. It appears as if I do. I wonder how those got there?”

Laura takes the teasing cheerfully and rolls her eyes. “Did it hurt?”

“Yes…and no,” Stiles hedges.

“What does that mean?” Lydia asks without taking her eyes off the piercings.

Stiles raises a pierced eyebrow, “It means exactly what it sounds like. Yes, it hurt. No, it wasn’t all pain.” Stiles catches Derek’s eyes as they snap to his.

“Can I touch one?” Laura asks without reservation.

Stiles sits down on the side of the tub between Laura and Lydia. “Sure. Go for it.”

She reaches out hesitantly, not yet touching. “Will I hurt you?”

“Not unless you are planning on trying to rip it out.” He laughs when she pulls her hand back as if she had been burned. “Go on with it then. Touch it already.”

Laura reaches out again, this time making contact. Stiles sits patiently as she touches the little, silver ring, flipping it up and down and examining it from every angle. “I could never be brave enough to do this.”

“Never say never,” Stiles says, remembering when he once would have thought the same thing. Laura continues to play with the ring through his nipple, her fascination obvious. Lydia shoots shy darting glances but remains quiet, seeming embarrassed to ask if she can touch, too. Stiles helps her out by offering, “You can touch, too, Lydia. I don’t mind.”

“Are you sure?” she asks warily, uncertainty lacing her words.

“Of course.”

That’s all the reassurance she seems to need, and she quickly reaches out to touch the ring not currently being played with by Laura.

The two girls study the piercings in awe, feeling, tugging, flipping, sliding, and shifting them. Once they are done and satisfied, Stiles lifts himself up with his arms and pushes into the tub, turning to face them once submerged. “Get in already. Who goes to a hot tub to sit on the edge?”

When they make no move to join him, he grasps Laura’s foot and tugs. “In you go.” Laura flops into the tub with a splash. Stiles reaches out for Lydia. “You’re next. Get in or get pulled in.” She looks thoroughly traumatized at the idea. Before Stiles can follow through on the teasing threat, she drops gracefully into the water.

Derek is still standing, unmoving and staring. “Derek? You coming?” And, if that isn’t the question of the night, Stiles doesn’t know what is. Stiles splashes water onto Derek’s feet and legs, which appears to break Derek from his trance.

“Yeah.” Derek croaks, his voice raspy. Clearing his throat, he continues, “Yes. I’m coming.” The image those words invoke goes straight to Stiles’ cock, which twitches in interest. Thank God, he’s already in the water or everyone would see just how affected Stiles is by Derek.

Derek tugs off his shirt before gliding quickly into the warm water. “Turn on the jets, Laura. My back is killing me.”

The four of them settle into the hot tub, the water bubbling powerfully around them. Laura and Lydia are fangirling over some actor, but Stiles isn’t paying much attention to their conversation. He’s watching Derek. When Derek flinches for about the hundredth time, Stiles can no longer take it. “You alright? We can turn the jets down some, yeah?”

Derek nods resolutely, staring down at his hands under the water. Stiles stands up and reaches out of the tub for the controls, turning the power down to a more moderate level.

“That better?” he asks as he sits back down beside Derek, closer than before, letting their thighs touch in teasing brushes of skin.

Derek looks up and gives him a small smile, finally relaxing. “Yeah, thanks.”

Before long, the girls turn their attention to the two boys. “Let’s play a game. Never Have I Ever? Truth or Dare?”

Stiles shrugs. “Why not? Let’s go with Never Have I Ever. We can save Truth or Dare for another night when Derek feels up to it,” Stiles suggests, knowing enough about Derek to recognize that he wouldn’t complain no matter how much pain he is in. “Grab the champagne.”

“I’ll start.” Laura resituates herself against the side of the tub, making herself comfortable. “Here’s an easy one. Never have I ever had chicken pox.”

“That’s not fair. It wasn’t like I chose to,” Stiles grumbles as he and Lydia take turns drinking from the bottle. “My turn. Never have I ever broken a bone.”

Laura and Derek both take turns drinking. “Arm,” Laura confirms. “Collarbone,” Derek frowns. Stiles bites his tongue and remains silent. He has a feeling it would be better if he didn’t know any details.

Lydia pipes up breaking the awkward moment. “Never have I ever gone commando.”

Stiles drinks before Derek grabs the bottle and takes his own swig. Laura stares wide eyed at Derek. “What? My pants were too tight,” Derek mutters. “I didn’t want underwear lines.” Derek flashes a smirk at Laura. “Never have I ever walked in on my parents having sex.”

“You were supposed to forget that ever happened. I am scarred for life.” Laura wrinkles her nose in revulsion before drinking, followed by both Lydia and Stiles.

Derek grins, clearly proud of himself. “Tough luck, sis. By the way, it’s your turn.”

Laura purses her lips. “Never have I ever peed my pants in public as an adult.”

“That was one time! Now who’s playing dirty?” Derek whines before taking a drink. Jaws drop as Stiles takes the bottle from Derek and drinks, as well.

“Wait, what? Spill,” Derek demands.

“Nope. This isn’t Truth or Dare. I’ll keep that information to myself just a little while longer, thank you, but feel free to share yours if you want to,” Stiles encourages.

Derek groans but unlike Stiles, he doesn’t withhold the story. “Laura and I went to a festival last month, and we were both drunk. While we were sitting in the grass waiting for the final act to start, I felt the need to pee. It was getting crowded, and I didn’t want to lose my spot so I waited. I thought I would be alright until the end, but about half way through the set, I couldn’t hold it anymore. In my drunk addled brain, I didn’t think about it. I just sat there and let go. By the time I realized what I was doing, I couldn’t stop.”

“To be fair, he wasn’t the only one,” Laura giggles. “Several other people looked like they had done the same thing.”

“Note to self, when Derek is drunk, he may piss at random,” Stiles ribs with a snicker before continuing the game over the sound of Derek’s laughing whines. “Never have I ever eaten Brussel sprouts.”

“But they are so good, Red. Why haven’t you tried them?” Derek gasps, eyes wide with shock.

“I’m very particular about the things I put into my mouth.” Stiles’ lips quirk at the double meaning that falls from his lips. Derek honks a loud noise before slamming his hand over his mouth to stifle the sound.

“I’m sure you are,” Laura agrees, laughing. “Very particular.”

“Never have I ever peed in the shower,” Lydia tosses out shyly as the laughter dies down.

“You’re killing me, Lydia,” Laura groans as everyone except Lydia passes around the bottle and drinks.

Derek taps his lips thoughtfully. “Never have I ever sang in public.” Stiles, Laura, and Lydia all take another turn drinking.

Laura hums as she thinks of her next one. Her face brightens when she blurts, “Never have I ever had sex with a girl.” Only Stiles drinks.

Swallowing the champagne, Stiles continues, “Never have I ever cheated on a test.” Derek and Laura look at each other and shrug before taking drinks.

Without pausing, Lydia grins. “Never have I ever had sex with a guy.” Again, only Stiles drinks.

“Why are you all staring at me?” Stiles smiles, completely unashamed.

Derek hesitates as he thinks before finally muttering, “Never have I ever gotten a hickey.” Stiles and Laura drink. “Really, Laur?” Derek exclaims.

“What can I say? It feels good,” Laura explains, sticking out her tongue at Derek as he and Lydia drink. “My turn again. Never have I ever sent nudes.” Derek and Stiles pass the bottle between each other, both taking drinks. “Derek Hale! You’ve sent nudes?”

“Just once,” Derek admits, a light flush stealing over his cheeks.

Trying to take the focus off of Derek, Stiles interrupts and says, “Never have I ever sent a dirty text to the wrong person.” Laura and Derek drink quickly, neither pushing the other for details.

“Never have I ever, um, masturbated,” Lydia stutters. Laura, Derek, and Stiles groan and drink from the shared bottle.

Derek pauses to think before shouting, “I got it. Never have I ever kissed a stranger.” Stiles once again drinks alone.

“Why am I not surprised?” Laura giggles. Stiles splashes her in response until she continues, “I’m getting a little sloshed. Last round. Never have I ever been so drunk that I thought I was going to die.”

 

~*~ Friday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“Fuck.” Derek drinks. So does Stiles.

“What did you guys drink?” Laura asks, curiously.

“Mine was more of a bender after a really bad time. I drank anything I could get my hands on anytime I was awake. By then end, I was death warmed over,” Stiles explains with an inconsequential shrug.

“I had this drink at a bar. Actually, I had three of them. Just three. I swear. The next day, I was beyond sick all day long. Hell, if the air moved, I threw up, but I would do it all over again. Those were the best drinks I have ever had.” Derek groans but smiles at the memory.

“What were they?” Laura questions. “Sounds like they packed a punch.”

“I don’t know,” Derek concedes with a frown.

Horrified, Laura shifts into big sister mode. “Derek! How can you not know what you were drinking? What if they were drugged?”

Derek sighs and wipes his wet hands over his face. “They weren’t drugged, Laura. Boyd got them for me.”

Stiles snaps his eyes to Derek’s. “Were you at Midnight Memories?”

“What’s Midnight Memories?” Laura asks before Derek can reply to Stiles’ question.

“You know the one. It’s the bar that Allison got kicked out of a few weeks ago. It was all over the news.” Derek rolls his eyes. “And to think Dad wants me to date that twat.”

Laura nods, as understanding dawns. “I do remember reading that. I didn’t know the name of the bar though.”

“Boyd and I went for the first time the night after Allison got kicked out. We hadn’t been before because the place is so popular that it’s exceedingly difficult to get in. The line is always an hour or more long and winds around the building and then some. If you don’t get there early, you won’t ever get in. I’ve been there two more times since then, once with Boyd and once on my own,” Derek tells her, smiling to himself as he thinks of just exactly how he made it inside those other two times.

“Wow! It must be worth the wait if you keep going back,” Laura presumes.

“It’s definitely worth it.” Derek concurs, a wide smile overtaking his face, but he doesn’t risk looking at Stiles, not wanting to give away any personal information. If Stiles wants to share something, it will be up to him. Derek won’t break the Stiles’ trust. Quickly moving on, Derek nudges Stiles’ thigh with his. “Stiles, it’s your turn.”

“Never have I ever told anyone other than my family and best friend that I love them.” Derek, Laura, and Lydia all drink. Derek shudders when he remembers saying those words, hoping to progress a relationship he really had no interest in but felt like he should. It had ended with him still a virgin and single again. He glances to Stiles, and the look on Stiles’ face speaks volumes. Everyone must sense it, because no one presses for more.

“Never have I ever used someone else’s toothbrush,” Lydia says. Laura makes an appalled face, her disgust evident when Derek and Stiles take turns, each taking large gulps.

“Never have I ever woken up next to a stranger,” Derek says. Stiles downs the last of the champagne from the bottle.

“Alright, loves. I’m too drunk to continue,” Laura grumbles, stretching her legs out in front of her while resting her head on the edge of the hot tub. “Red, you drank every round that wasn’t yours, didn’t you? How are you not wasted?”

“Jesus! It’s champagne, Laura, not vodka,” Stiles laughs loudly. “I’m barely buzzing.”

Derek hides his face behind his hand and snickers. He is feeling warm and just beginning to feel on the edge of tipsy, but he’s a long way from drunk. His sister is a lightweight. He leans back, letting his legs float in front of him, knocking against Laura’s. The hot water is doing wonders for his back, the soreness becoming less apparent. Laura and Lydia return to their previous conversation. Derek listens for a few minutes and discerns that it’s about the smart guy in Teen Wolf, which, yeah. He can see their point. The guy is hot as fuck.

“How’s the back?” Stiles asks, scooting closer to Derek so that their thighs are pressed tightly together.

“Better. I’m sure it will be sore and tight again in the morning, but it’s better for now.” Derek languidly turns his head to face Stiles. “I’m sorry. I know this isn’t fun. If you are bored just lazing around in a hot tub, we can go do something else. We can go dance or sing karaoke or whatever you like. I think I saw something about a scavenger hunt on Sunday night if you want to do that.”

“Anything you want, dude. I am good doing whatever,” Stiles responds easily without complaint.

“So, it’s alright if we just stay here for a while?” Derek asks, relieved.

“Of course.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Friday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Laura and Lydia head back to their rooms, leaving Derek and Stiles alone in the hot tub. As soon as the girls are out of sight, Derek turns to Stiles and blurts, “Do you like my sister?”

Stiles closes his eyes as he relaxes in the water and nods. “Yeah. She’s nice.”

Derek groans. “No, I mean like do you want to do things with her?”

Stiles shrugs. “Sure. Why not? I don’t have a problem with her being around us.”

“No. I know that. I just mean…” Derek trails off.

“Derek?” Stiles prompts, opening his eyes.

“Do you want to sleep with her?” Derek finally asks bluntly.

Stiles honestly isn’t prepared for Derek’s question. It takes him by surprise and leaves him rather speechless. He feels like he is in an alternate bizzarro dimension and is barely able to stutter out a broken, “What?”

Gaining courage, Derek sits up, sloshing the water with his movement, and frowns. “Do you want to fuck Laura?”

“Is that a serious question?” Stiles asks quietly, his calm voice belying the hard edge to his current thoughts.

Derek tilts his chin higher in challenge. “Yes.”

“No,” Stiles answers curtly. He stands up and steps out of the hot tub, grabbing the nearest towel and wrapping it around his waist. “I’m going back to the room.”

Derek pushes himself up into an upright sitting position and curls in on himself, arms wrapped around his legs. “Please, don’t go,” he whispers. Stiles observes Derek from where he stands, cataloguing Derek’s body language and every movement. Derek appears lost, confused, small. His hair is damp and messy, the strands curling around the edges of his face. Stiles stares for a long time, unspeaking, until Derek continues quietly, “It’s okay if you do. Like my sister, that is. You can admit it. I won’t be mad.”

“What’s there to admit? What are you even going on about?” Stiles scoffs. Where did Derek even get this idea in his head? Laura has never crossed Stiles’ mind in that way.

Derek lowers his eyes to stare at the swirling water. “I saw how you looked at her when she took off her coverup earlier. You couldn’t take your eyes off of her.”

Stiles tenses. What the actual fuck? “I am not having this conversation with you.” Stiles turns to leave, only to pause at the next words spewing from Derek’s mouth between them.

“You let her play with your nipple piercings for a really long time, and you didn’t seem to mind her touching you like that,” Derek says by way of further explanation.

“In case you missed it, Lydia touched them, too. It wasn’t an intimate thing. They were just curious,” Stiles says firmly. Stiles shakes his head trying to clear it. Derek can’t honestly believe that Stiles would be so crass as to blatantly shove Derek aside for a piece of his sister’s ass.

“But…”

Stiles spins to face him, temper flaring, and cuts him off. “Derek, I don’t want to fuck your sister; and before you ask, I don’t want to fuck Lydia either!”

“You’ve had sex with girls before,” Derek flings vindictively, accusation clear in his tone.

Stiles stills, every muscle in his body taut. “I have.”

“It’s not a far stretch to think you would want to do that with Laura,” Derek spits at him carelessly, clearly determined. “She’s pretty. Even I know that. She’s nice. She’s intelligent. She’s fun. She’s…”

“She’s the female version of you,” Stiles snaps, having heard enough of Derek’s vitriol.

“Exactly,” Derek retorts, voice sounding thick as he squeezes his eyes closed.

Stiles sighs and removes the towel from his waist before rejoining Derek in the hot tub, sitting close but not quite touching. “I don’t want to fuck your sister.” Derek stiffens beside him, and Stiles cautiously moves his hand to Derek’s thigh. Running his fingers lightly back and forth against the resistance of the water, he whispers, “Trust me. She’s not the one I want to fuck.” The second the words leave Stiles’ mouth, Derek’s eyes snap open and find his, searching.

Stiles moves his hand up, brushing across the material at the front of Derek’s trunks, then back to down to his thigh, stopping higher this time while making slow measured movements against his skin. Derek hisses out a jagged breath. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I don’t want to fuck your sister.” Stiles’ gaze hold Derek’s, unwavering in intensity. He can see understanding beginning to take root in Derek’s eyes, and it pulls him in. Stiles knows he shouldn’t, but he can’t take it anymore. He needs to touch Derek and feel him pressed against his body. He grasps Derek’s hand and pulls him closer, turning him so that he is straddling Stiles’ lap. Their faces only a hair’s breadth apart, Stiles’ gasps and grabs Derek’s hips as Derek seats himself fully, flush along his hardening cock. Stiles closes his eyes at the overwhelming sensations threatening to overpower him. “Is this alright?” Stiles gasps softly.

“Yes.” Derek pushes down harder. “Is this?”

“Fuck, yes.” With his hands on Derek’s hips, gripping hard, Stiles hooks his thumbs into the waistband of Derek’s trunks, tugging them down scarcely an inch. He drops his head to Derek’s shoulder, watching his movements through the moving water. He can’t take his eyes off of where their bodies touch, blurred from the bubbles. Just another inch, and he’ll stop. He inches down the waistband further.

Derek arches back on a gasp, driving himself tighter against Stiles. As if having a mind of their own, Stiles’ thumbs drag to the front of Derek’s trunks. The motion pulls the material away from Derek’s body, and Stiles pushes them down an inch further until the head of Derek’s erection is in view. He brushes a finger over the tip causing Derek to gasp.

“Please. Do that again,” Derek begs.

Stiles obliges him, letting his fingers skim along with a little more pressure circling the crown. He watches through the bubbling water as Derek’s cock jerks at the touch.

“Derek,” he whispers raggedly and swallows hard before continuing. “We need to stop.”

Derek pouts, his bottom lip protruding slightly. “I don’t want to stop.”

Stiles takes a deep breath and digs deep for restraint. “Neither do I, but we need to.”

“You’re right. I know, you’re right,” Derek agrees with a sigh.

Stiles removes his fingers from of the waistband of Derek’s trunks, stopping to return his firm grip on Derek’s hips. Fighting for control of his own reaction, Stiles reclines back against the side of the tub and takes several deep calming breaths. When Derek tries to move off of his lap, Stiles clenches his hands tighter. “Don’t move. Please, just…just don’t move yet. Give me a minute.”

Derek chews on his lip and almost imperceptibly opens his legs wider, pushing down harder into Stiles. “Okay.”

Stiles gasps softly at the additional pressure. He isn’t even sure Derek realizes what he did which only makes it harder for Stiles to leash his powerful need for him. His dick throbs against Derek, and he isn’t sure he is going to be able to keep from coming if Derek moves any closer. Several long minutes later, Stiles nods to Derek. “Alright.” He easily lifts Derek up by his waist and moves him onto the seat beside him.

“I’m sorry,” Derek murmurs immediately, hands twisting in his lap.

Stiles tilts his head in confusion. “What are you sorry for, Derek?”

“That I didn’t want to stop and wouldn’t have if you hadn’t stopped it,” Derek meekly explains with a soft splash of his hands in the water.

Stiles gently nudges Derek’s shoulder with his. “There’s nothing to be sorry for. I didn’t want to stop either. We just needed to before I fucked you right here in the hot tub.”

“You want to fuck me?” Shock bleeds into Derek’s words.

“Yes.” Stiles admits without hesitation.

“But you won’t,” Derek knowingly says.

“No. I won’t,” Stiles confirms.

“Why?” Derek all but whines on a soft exhale.

“Because it wouldn’t mean anything; and while fuck buddies and hookups get the job done, you’re worth more than that.”

 

~*~ Friday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

When they finally get out of the hot tub, Derek’s stomach growls in discontent. “I think I need to eat. Champagne does weird things to me.”

“You want to get something and take it to the room?” Stiles suggests.

“Yeah. I can go get something from the kitchen. You go ahead to the room, and take your shower. I won’t be long.”

Stiles nods his agreement and heads upstairs to their room. Derek watches him until he’s out of sight, then sets off to the kitchen. He makes quick work of putting together a couple of sandwiches and heats up some leftover soup he finds tucked away in the fridge. Grabbing a tray, he loads it up adding a couple of bottles of water and some apple slices and cookies before leaving the kitchen and heading up to his room. He opens the door to find Stiles towel drying his hair, dressed only in a pair of tight black boxers.

Stiles greets him with an easy smile. “Hey. That was fast. Are you going to eat first or shower?”

“Let’s eat first. I brought enough for both of us,” Derek says indicating the tray in his hands.

“Thanks, dude.” Stiles hangs his towel in the bathroom, then returns, and clears the bed of random clothes strewn about, making a place for Derek to put the tray. “Looks good.”

“The soup is leftover, but the cook is really good, so I expect it will be better than canned,” Derek nervously explains. He doesn’t tell Stiles that this is his favorite soup or that the chef probably made it just for him, knowing he would be there this weekend. Derek’s stomach rumbles again quietly.

Stiles shrugs and carefully takes a bowl from the tray. “Even if it was canned, I wouldn’t mind. I’m not finicky.”

It doesn’t take them long to devour every bite of food, leaving only a few crumbs on the plates. Stiles falls back onto the bed and rubs his belly, “That was so good. My compliments to your chef.”

Derek sticks out his tongue. “I told you it was better than canned.”

“You were right. I could fall asleep right here.” Stiles peers at Derek through half closed lids. The image of a relaxed and satisfied Stiles has Derek thrumming with the beginning of desire.

Shaking off the feeling, Derek answers with a soft smile, “You can. I just need to clean up.” Derek picks up their bowls and places them on the tray, but Stiles stops him with from continuing with a gentle hand.

“You go ahead, and get in the shower. I’ll take the tray downstairs,” Stiles offers.

Derek doesn’t let Stiles deter him and reaches for their glasses. “It’s alright. I don’t mind.”

“Too bad. Get in the shower before I strip you down and put you in there myself.” Stiles shakes his head and takes the glasses from Derek, placing them on the tray.

Derek’s eyes get wide for a split second, before he grins mischievously. “You won’t.”

In less time that it takes him to blink, Stiles bounds off the bed and pulls Derek to stand. “Shower. Now. Don’t bet against me.”

“You. Won’t.” Derek raises his eyebrows and challenges Stiles with a smirk.

Stiles drops his body into Derek’s abdomen and hefts him over his shoulder. Derek squawks in surprise. He gets a great view of Stiles’ ass and says a silent prayer that Stiles can’t feel him getting hard. In the bathroom, Stiles drops Derek onto his feet and unceremoniously yanks Derek’s t shirt and swim trunks off, before steering him to the shower with a firm push. “Get in.”

“The water’s not warm yet,” Derek fusses.

“Sucks to suck.” With a gentle shove, Stiles guides Derek into the shower and turns the knob.

Derek yelps, trying to get out of the spray. “Oh, my God! That’s freezing!”

“I told you not to bet against me. Now, shower, and have a nice jerk,” Stiles deadpans, eyes dropping to Derek’s dick knowingly. “I know I did.” When Derek blushes, Stiles laughs and winks. “I’ll be back in a few minutes. I’m going to clean up our mess and take the tray and our trash downstairs.”

His body shivering from the icy water pelting him, Derek grumbles and turns the water to hot. Stiles had purposely left it on cold, the fucker. Derek chuckles and can’t even find it in himself to be mad. By the time he finishes his shower, and yes, jerking off, Stiles still hasn’t returned. Derek grabs his phone from the desk and sends a text to see where he is, but the answering buzz from across the room tells him Stiles had left his phone in the room. He picks up the first shirt and joggers he comes across and quickly pulls them on before leaving the room in search of Stiles. Having no luck in the house, he knocks softly on Laura’s door.

“Laur, you awake?” Derek calls through the door, not wanting to wake her if she is asleep already. He knows firsthand how hard it is to sleep in this house.

“Yeah, come in,” she calls out clearly, obviously still awake to Derek’s relief.

Pushing open the door, Derek finds her on her bed watching TV. “Have you seen Stiles?”

“No. Should I have?” she asks.

“No,” Derek grimaces. “I don’t know. I can’t find him.”

Laura smiles easily, seemingly unconcerned. “I’m sure he’s fine. How long has he been gone? Have you tried texting him?”

Derek frowns and looks at his phone for the time. “Maybe thirty minutes. I think. I’m not sure. I took a shower, and he was going to take our food tray back to the kitchen. I haven’t seen him since. He left his phone in the room, so I can’t text.” Derek shuffles his feet in the doorway. “What if Dad made him leave?”

Laura pats the bed and smiles soothingly. “Come cuddle up next to me, and leave the door open. There is still a lot going on. Maybe he got distracted by one of the event tents. If he doesn’t show up in another half hour, we’ll go look together.”

Derek crawls into her bed, letting her cover him in blankets. She wraps her arms around him, and he relaxes, snuggling immediately into her warmth. That’s the thing about Laura. She is patient and understanding and always makes him calm. Twenty-eight minutes later, yes, Derek counted, Stiles knocks on the open door. “Can I join?”

Derek jumps up instantly to the sound of Stiles’ voice and begins firing questions. “Are you alright? Where were you? Did you get lost? I looked everywhere inside.”

He watches as Stiles’ jaw clenches, obvious anger projecting from him in waves. The fiery amber eyes staring back at him confirms his hunch, and Derek changes tactics. “Come in. There’s room.” He lifts the edge of the blanket in invitation.

Stiles settles in front of Derek and pulls the blanket around them, body tense and unyielding as Derek’s hands rest between them against his back in a comforting gesture. “What are we watching?”

 

~~*~~

 

It’s just after 3:00 a.m. when Derek finds himself being pulled from sleep by Stiles slipping out of the bed. “Stiles?”

“Shhh. I didn’t mean to wake you. Go back to sleep. I’m just going to take a piss,” Stiles whispers to keep from waking Laura before walking to the bathroom.

What feels like mere seconds later, Stiles is back in bed, pulling Derek’s arms around him so their bodies are pressed close together, the warmth lulling them both back into slumber.

“What the hell is going on in here?” a resounding voice booms into the room just a few hours later, startling the three awake.

“Oh, my God, Dad. Stop yelling.” Laura grumbles. “We were sleeping, and we’re all adults anyway. What is your problem?”

His dad turns venomous eyes to Stiles. “Why are you all sleeping together? This is not acceptable. Why are you in bed with both of my children?”

“What about just one of them?” Stiles asks, further incensing the man. Derek’s dad turns purple as his anger turns to rage. Stiles isn’t deterred, and he continues, “I mean, what did you expect? Derek and I are sharing a room with only one bed.”

“I expect you to have slept on the floor like a man,” Derek’s dad declares.

Stiles shrugs and answers, voice eerily calm, “Yeah, about that. Tried it. Didn’t work. Turns out your son would rather crawl up next to me on the floor than to be alone in his bed.”

Derek’s dad slams his fist against the door. “You’re lying, you piece of shit! What have you done to my son? And now my daughter?”

Laura harrumphs before losing her temper. “Dad! Quit. What are you even going on about? We. Were. Sleeping. Red hasn’t done anything to us.”

“Nothing that wasn’t consensual, at least.” Stiles throws a look to Derek’s dad, smirking as he watches the man gape like a fish out of water. Derek squeezes Stiles’ hip and tugs him closer, hiding his face in Stiles’ neck and shaking in silent laughter.

Before any more could be said, Laura gets her dad’s attention again. “Get out of my room.”

Finally finding his voice, her dad yells, “Get out of that bed right now!”

Derek rolls his eyes in understanding and throws the blanket off. “Happy? Everyone has clothes on. All decent and shit. Now, go the fuck away.”

“This isn’t over,” his dad threatens, shaking a finger at him.

Derek’s dad’s livid gaze meets Stiles’ before he turns to leave the room. Just before the door shuts behind the man, Stiles speaks again, just loud enough for the man to hear him clearly. “Can we go back to sleep for another hour? I was dreaming of doing unspeakable things, all of which include an extremely naked Derek, and I’d like to get back to it.”

Laura pulls the blanket back over them. “I’m good with that.”

Derek presses up tight behind Stiles. “Me, too.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Saturday – Stiles ~*~

 

Breakfast calls to them with delicious scents filling the air, and soon enough the three find themselves downstairs, plates heaping with food.

“Want to go up to the craft tent after breakfast?” Laura proposes.

Derek beams with the suggestion. “Awww, Laur. You know the way to my heart.”

“Kill me now,” Stiles jokingly grouses as he snags a strip of bacon from Derek’s plate.

Stiles stands in the doorway of the craft tent and surveys the room. There are little kids everywhere, filling nearly every station, when they enter. Derek goes immediately to the paints. Stiles watches him take a big brush, dip it in a deep red color, and swipe it across a large canvas with a long sweeping stroke.

While trying to decide where to start, a tiny hand tugs on his. “Will you do drip art with me? I’m not allowed to do it without an adult. You are an adult, aren’t you?” He looks down to see a little girl, maybe five or six, with dark brown, almost black hair that bears a striking resemblance to Derek’s, staring up at him hopefully. Stiles can’t help the smile that escapes.

“Sure, love. I think I qualify as an adult. Lead the way.”

 

 

Stiles sits beside the little girl at the designated drip art table and helps her heat the unwrapped crayons over the candle to drip the melted wax onto the paper into the shape of a rainbow. His own page is covered in blobs that on first glance appear whimsical and accidental, with no rhyme or reason.

“What’s your name?” the little girl asks as she picks up a new crayon.

“Red. What’s yours?”

She looks at him and cocks her head to the side. “I’m Cora. Red is a weird name.”

“I know, right?” Stiles wrinkles his nose and makes a funny face. “Can you keep a secret?” Cora nods enthusiastically, and he leans in close, stage whispering, “It’s a nickname.”

She nods her acceptance of the simple explanation and holds out her pinky for Stiles to hook his through. “I won’t tell anyone. Pinky promise.”

“Thanks, Cora. It will be our secret.” Stiles smiles and winks at the little girl, releasing her finger. “That’s a beautiful rainbow you’re making.”

“Thank you.” The little girl’s tongue sneaks out as she concentrates on putting the drops of wax on the page. “Red?”

“Yes, love?”

Cora reaches up and touches one of the piercings in his eyebrow, moving to the one in his nose and the ones at the corner of his mouth. “I like these. They’re pretty. Do they hurt?”

“Not at all,” Stiles assures her as she explores the piercings.

“Good.” Cora nods, pulling her hands away and resuming her work on her picture.

Stiles stifles a smile at the little girl. “Wanna see a hidden one?

Cora stops working on her rainbow and grins excitedly. “You have a hidden one?”

“Yep, look,” he says and sticks out his tongue.

Cora gasps, putting her hand to her mouth and giggling. “I like that one, too.”

“Can I make a picture?” A small voice asks hesitantly beside Stiles. A little boy about Cora’s age stands there, a hopeful look in his eyes.

Stiles nods. “Of course, dude. Have a seat.”

The boy climbs onto the chair on the other side of Stiles. “I’m Liam,” he says.

“This is Red,” Cora introduces Stiles, a conspiratorial smile on her face.

Stiles winks at her and hands the boy a piece of paper and several crayons. “Nice to meet you, Liam. What do you want to make today?”

“I want to make a truck,” he says, face set with conviction.

“That sounds pretty cool,” Stiles encourages. “What kind of truck?”

Before long, five other kids, varying in age under ten if Stiles had to guess, have joined them. They work on their pictures chatting easily amongst themselves. Stiles finds himself being regaled with chatter about monster trucks, school, friends, pets, princesses, super heroes, unicorns, and the list goes on.

“Is there room for me?” A girl that looks to be about 14 or 15 asks as she approaches the table.

Stiles greets her with a smile. “There’s room for everyone. Pull up a chair. What’s your name?”

“Erica, and you’re Red, right?” the girl says, blushing shyly.

“The one and only.” Stiles grins and hands her a blank paper from the stack.

Erica takes the paper and frowns, “Everyone is talking about you.”

Stiles shrugs. “I’ve no doubt, sweetheart.”

“It’s not really nice,” Erica informs him quietly while looking down at the empty page in front of her.

“Why?” Cora looks up confused. “Red is awesome. I like him.”

“I like you, too, Cora.” He smiles before turning back to Erica. “It’s alright. I’m not looking for anyone’s approval.” Stiles quickly changes the subject, casting a glance to the kids around him. The little ears at the table don’t need to hear what he already knows is being said about him. “What do you want to make today?”

Erica shakes her head and picks at her fingers. “I’m not good at art.”

“Nonsense. Who says? Art is about expressing yourself. Do what makes you feel good. I’m sure it will be perfect for you. That’s all that matters,” Stiles encourages.

Erica stares back at him, hesitant, her gaze unfiltered as tears start to shine in her eyes. “Thank you,” she whispers.

Stiles reaches out to steady Erica’s still fidgeting hands. “No thanks needed. Just have fun. I am excited to see what you make.”

As the morning progresses, the table continues to fill with kids and teens until every chair is taken. Some of the teens have taken to holding a younger kid in their lap to make more room for everyone. All of the kids are enjoying themselves, happy laughter echoing around the room.

By the time Stiles finishes his paper, Cora has made five rainbows. Liam has completed two monster trucks and is currently working on a dog. Erica has chosen to drip colors over an entire page with no two alike colors touching. The table is littered with papers. Smiley faces, trees, landscapes, flowers, hearts, dinosaurs, and Stiles thinks, at least one vampire. He isn’t sure, but that’s what he thinks it is. Every page is perfect and unique.

“Can we see yours, Red?” Cora asks, making grabby hands. Stiles turns his page around to show her. Being drip art, it is far from a perfect portrait, but he’s pleased with how it turned out. She gasps, “That’s Derek.”

“You’re right, love. It is. Good eye!” Stiles praises the little girl.

“Wow, Red. That’s fantastic,” Erica gushes. “Will you show me how to do that?”

Stiles smiles. This Erica was relaxed and happy, completely different from the tense, scared girl that had asked to join them earlier. “Absolutely.”

He shows Erica how to start and where to flesh out colors and how to mix and blend colors for shadows. It doesn’t take long for most of the teens to shift down the table closer to Stiles, engaging with him and soaking up the attention he gives to each of them, no one feeling left out. Cora is perched on his lap after refusing to move away for the older kids. Surrounded by the group of teenagers, Stiles starts a new page. He continues showing them techniques and tricks, while talking to them and getting to know each one individually.

Mason is currently telling Stiles about this girl he likes at school when a little girl a few feet away catches Stiles’ attention. She waves at him shyly. He raises a hand and waves back. A smile brightens her face, but she remains silent. “Do you want to join us?” Stiles asks.

When he receives no response, he tilts his head to the side scrutinizing her as she twists her hands together like she’s still unsure and a lot worried. Stiles watches her hands separate as she begins to make slow little motions, and he gets it.

“I’m Red. What’s your name?” he signs, continuing to speak out loud, as well.

Relief floods her face. She signs her response, quickly this time, “I’m Kira. Can I make a picture, too?”

Stiles waves her over. Everyone adjusts and makes room. “What do want to make?” he signs matching her previous pace, hoping to make her comfortable with communicating at the faster speed.

“A flower,” she responds, smiling.

Stiles’ face brightens as the girl answers. “That’s a great idea! What’s your favorite color?”

Kira points to a crayon near Stiles and signs, “Blue. I want to make a blue flower.”

“Get to it then,” he encourages, signing easily, and handing the blue crayon to her.

It takes him longer than it probably should to realize the table is eerily silent. He looks up from her to find everyone staring at him. “What? Why are you all staring at me?”

“You sign.” Erica says, speaking for everyone else.

Stiles’ brow furrows in confusion. “Yes?” The word ends more as a question than a confirmation.

“And you let Kira join us,” Mason whispers, awe lacing his voice.

Stiles shoots them a questioning look. “What am I missing here?”

Erica looks embarrassed but fills in the blanks. “Most people get frustrated and brush her aside, choosing instead to ignore her. They can’t communicate with her and don’t see the point in trying so she gets left out most of the time. Most of us,” she indicates the kids and teens at the table, “can sign enough to understand, but the adults don’t really try.”

Stiles rolls his eyes, thoroughly disgusted by the thought. “That’s utter shit.”

He feels a hand touch his forearm and follows the hand to Kira. When she has his focus, she removes her hand and signs, “Will you help me? I want mine to be pretty like the others.”

“Of course.” Stiles holds the blue crayon that Kira hands him over the candle flame. He shows her how to do it, then hands it back to her and signs the directions, as well. Her eyes unwavering, she watches every direction Stiles gives and asks lots of questions. How could anyone reject spending time with this little girl? Her lack of hearing doesn’t change the fact that she’s just a kid like the all the others sitting at the table.

A voice from across the table breaks into his thoughts, followed by several others scattered around the table.

“You’re so patient with her, with all of us really.”

“Yeah. I like hanging with you. You don’t treat us like babies.”

“Same. No one ever takes the time to teach us anything or to just talk to us.”

“At least not without making us feel stupid.”

“Or like we are wasting our time.”

“Or untalented.” Erica adds quietly.

Stiles looks around at the group of kids in front of him. “I like being with you, too. All of you. This is a lot of fun.”

“Would you want to spend more time with us? I mean, this afternoon, maybe?” Erica asks, again taking the lead for everyone else.

“I would love to. I need to see what Derek wants to do, but I’m sure we can make it work.” He waves and gets Kira’s attention. “Do you want to do something with all of us this afternoon?”

Her smile radiates with happiness, and she nods. “Yes. Thank you for including me.”

Stiles’ heart breaks knowing that this little girl already knows the struggle of being different in a world where kindness to those that don’t blend into society’s expected normal is nonexistent. He looks at the determination on her face as she carefully works on her flower, taking her time and focusing on everything Stiles has shown her. He knows without a doubt as he watches her that she will rise above it all and will take the world head on and emerge the victor.

When Stiles glances back up, his gaze lands on Erica, eyes staring back at him, open and assessing. “I hope you come around more,” she says softly.

Stiles hesitates, knowing it’s not a promise he can make. He smiles at her and replies carefully, “We’ll see. For now, though, let’s make the best of the time we have this weekend. What trouble can we get up to for the next couple of days?”

The table erupts in cheers and chatter as everyone tries to decide what they should do, talking over each other enthusiastically.

 

~*~ Saturday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek stands just off to the side out of Stiles’ line of vision and watches him. Yes, this may give him creeper status, but he is mesmerized by the other man and doesn’t need to project that for everyone else to see. The majority of the kids in the tent have slowly made their way to Stiles’ table. A quick glance around confirms Derek’s suspicions. The kids have pulled up chairs from other tables and are sharing seats in their desire to be close to Stiles. Derek understands that feeling, that need, more than he probably should.

Seeing Kira, Derek makes a move to go to her to mitigate a potential problem, but what he sees next stops him in his tracks. Stiles’ head tilts like he is observing and trying to figure something out. When he begins signing to her, Derek’s jaw drops. He had no idea Stiles knew sign language. It reminds him of how little he actually knows about him, how this is all a ruse, how Stiles is, for all intents and purposes, mostly a stranger. That knowledge only serves to make him resolute in his determination to find out more about the man. Temporary fix, be damned. Stiles intrigues him, and it’s about time Derek does something about it. He doesn’t want to walk away from Stiles at the end of the weekend. That much he already knows. Whether he gains a friend or something more, he is unwavering in his decision that he intends to find out.

“He’s something special, isn’t he?” Laura says, startling him from behind.

“Yeah. He is.”

 

~~*~~

 

By just before lunch time, Stiles has a following, a very large following. Derek watches the group of kids tug Stiles in every direction. After the craft tent, Stiles had been taken place to place doing various activities, the most current activity being water balloons. Derek and Laura are smack dab in the thick of it, too. A red balloon flies by hitting one of the teens. Laura throws a green balloon that hits Erica causing her shrill peel of laughter to echo through the air. Derek picks up a blue balloon, takes aim, and launches it. When he hits his target, he takes off running to get away; but Stiles is faster and catches him easily, coming to a stop directly in front of Derek.

“Can I help you?” Derek teases, trying to dart away again. Before he gets far, Stiles grabs the beltloop of Derek’s shorts, stopping him with a strong tug, a mischievous smile on his face. He leans in close to Derek, mouth skating his ear as he breathes out, “You’re gonna pay for that.”

Derek’s body shudders, a quiet moan escaping until the moment is broken with the splat of a balloon on his back. One of the teens fist bumps Stiles and takes off the other direction to find more balloons.

Laura, Derek, and Stiles find themselves in the concessions tent for lunch with the entire group of kids still staying as close as they can. Everyone wants Stiles’ attention, and he is taking it in stride, never once complaining.

“What do you want to do after lunch?” Derek asks Stiles when they finally sit down to eat.

“Whatever you want. If you want to continue messing around a bit with the kids, we can, or if you have another idea, that’s fine, too,” Stiles answers as he shifts closer to Derek to make room for another chair being squeezed in beside him.

“The kids seem to really like you. Maybe we can spend another couple of hours with them before breaking off to do our own thing,” Derek suggests.

“Sounds good, but first, we eat all of this crap concession stand food,” Stiles says good naturedly.

“I bet I can eat more than you,” Derek challenges.

Stiles lifts an eyebrow, and Derek knows he’s already lost. “You’re on,” Stiles agrees.

Derek doesn’t know how Stiles does it. He eats more that both him and Laura combined and looks no worse for the wear. Derek, on the other hand, feels like throwing up. He pushes back from the table, groaning. “How are you still eating?”

Stiles stuffs another soggy nacho in his mouth and grins. “You’re looking a little green around the gills there, dude. I thought this was supposed to be a contest.”

After lunch, everyone changes into swimwear and meets at the waterslides. Due to the bruises on his back, Derek sits off to the side and watches as Stiles tandem slides with the younger kids. Even Kira took several turns with Stiles’ help.

Stiles stands in front of Derek and shakes the water from his hair. Derek grumbles at the spray of cold water and reaches out to keep him away. Stiles remains undeterred and holds out his dripping hand. “Come on. Get up. You’re going down the slide.”

“I can’t. I’m fine watching,” Derek says solemnly, not wanting to make it an issue in front of everyone.

Stiles rolls his eyes and pushes his hand a little closer. “Would you just get up?”

Derek takes Stiles’ outstretched hand and stands, unsure. “But I…”

“Stop talking. Let’s go.” Stiles pulls him to the waterslide and pushes him in front of him. Derek climbs the steps on the slide, still wary of Stiles’ plans. There’s no way he can go down the slide today. His back can’t handle the friction. “Sit down,” Stiles instructs once they reach the top.

“I can’t, Red. My back,” Derek quietly reminds him. Everyone can obviously see the bruises, but Derek doesn’t want to draw any further attention to them by complaining.

Stiles jerks his chin toward the slide. “Sit.” Derek stands there, unmoving. “Today, Derek.” Stiles gently nudges him forward and repeats, “Sit.”

Hesitantly, Derek steps onto the slide and eases his way down to perch precariously at the top. He doesn’t have a chance to look back, before he feels Stiles slide in behind him, one leg on each side of his. “What are you doing?” Derek questions softly.

“What’s it look like? I’m taking you down tandem. Lean against me. Your back will never touch the slide.” Stiles wraps his arms around Derek, pulling him back against his chest. “Ready?”

Derek barely has time to nod, when he feels Stiles push them off and down the slide. They hit the pool at the end with a splash, soaking all of the kids watching from the edge. Cheers fill the air as they emerge from the water.

“Can we go again?” Derek asks excitedly, jumping up and down and acting like one of the kids. What even is his life right now?

Stiles smirks in amusement. “Sure, let’s go.”

 

~~*~~

 

Laura, Stiles, and Derek finally separate from the group just before dinner and head to their rooms. “Shower, nap, dinner, dancing. In that order,” Derek says tiredly as they reach the top of the stairs.

Entering Derek’s room, Stiles motions to the bathroom. “You go first.”

Remembering last night, Derek hesitates, “Don’t go anywhere, alright?” He pauses, considering his words. “I don’t know what happened last night, but just don’t leave.”

Stiles nods. “I won’t. I’ll even sit in the bathroom if it makes you feel better, but if you don’t get in the shower right now…” he trails off moving slightly toward Derek in mock attack.

Derek holds up his hands in surrender. “I’m going. I’m going.”

Stiles follows Derek into the bathroom and hops onto the sink as Derek steps under the warm spray of water.

Chapter Text

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles gets carefully into bed after his shower, attempting to keep from waking Derek. Not that it worked. As soon as he is under the blanket, Derek rolls over and wraps his arms around him, nose buried against his neck. Stiles barely manages to stifle his moan.

“Smell good,” Derek mumbles, drifting back to sleep. The quiet words in Stiles’ ear send a shiver through him as his body reacts to the warm body pressed behind him. It’s a futile exercise to deny the inevitable. If he was smart, he would leave now before his tight control shatters as he fears it will before the weekend is over. He knows it’s too soon to consider letting Derek in, but he finds himself wanting nothing more. Stiles longs to share his past with him, and in return, wants to know Derek’s past. And that, well, that terrifies him.

Trust doesn’t come easy for him. Being vulnerable is inconceivable to him now, having spent too many years distancing himself from people. He won’t give in to someone, anyone, not even Derek. He needs to clear his head. Stiles just needs to get through the weekend without fucking Derek. He rolls his eyes, knowing the likelihood of succeeding in that is dwindling the longer he stays. Case in point, his body is urging him to grind back against Derek at this very moment. And oh, how he wants to.

Stiles’ mind continues racing through all of the wants and fears and possibilities, cataloguing every potential response and outcome, until he feels Derek stir behind him. Derek shifts and pins his body fully against his, the hard ridge of Derek’s erection presses into Stiles.

“Welcome back to the land of the living, dude,” Stiles says quietly while attempting to refrain from pushing back into Derek’s body in response.

“I had a good dream,” Derek hums, unconsciously rolling his hips. “It was hot.”

Stiles, ever the glutton for punishment, holds still in his current position and asks, “Was it now? What were you dreaming about?”

Derek lets out what can only be described as a mix between a whimper and a moan. “It’s a secret.”

Against his better judgment, Stiles drives his hips back recklessly into Derek. “You should tell your dick that.”

Derek wakes up fully, tensing instantly and scrambling away. “Oh, God! I am so sorry. I was asleep, and I felt so good when I woke up. I wasn’t thinking. Not that that’s an acceptable reason. Shit. I’m sorry. I am so stupid.” Derek pulls his hair with tight fists, a deep frown marring his features. “I understand if you want to leave.”

Stiles turns to face Derek and places a soothing hand on Derek’s hip. “Why would I leave? I’m not mad.”

Derek’s mouth drops open in surprise. “You’re not?”

“I would have thought that was obvious,” he says glancing down to his own hard dick tenting his boxers.

Derek’s eyes follow Stiles’. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” Stiles pats Derek’s thigh and slides out of the bed. “Now get dressed so we can go to dinner. I’m starving over here.”

 

~~*~~

 

Music thrums around them, loud and enticing. Laura, Derek, and Stiles join the dancers on the dance floor, fighting their way through the sweaty bodies to the center. The song changes, and a cheer resounds around him. Stiles watches Derek and Laura begin to dance to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. It’s obvious that they choreographed the routine when they were much younger, but the smiles and laughter that accompany them are very much in the present.

When the song changes to another upbeat 80’s song, he feels a hand on his arm. “Will you dance with me?” Erica asks nervously.

Stiles’ smile and response is immediate. “Of course.”

She exhales her relief. “Thanks. I’m waiting on the other teens to get here and felt stupid just standing around by myself.”

“No worries. Anytime,” Stiles assures her. “No reason is needed.”

A few songs later, Stiles finds himself with his arms full of Cora and surrounded by the kids from earlier, boys, girls, young kids, tweens, and teens. Even Kira is standing close to him, her hand on his arm, following along.

“You good, love? Do we need to move closer to the speaker for you to feel the bass?” he signs to Kira.

She nods her head and graces him with a bright smile, “Yes, please. Thank you.”

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“He really is perfect, Laur,” Derek nods toward Stiles on the dance floor where a swarm of kids vie for his attention.

“Why don’t you go for it then?” Laura suggests, patting Derek’s arm encouragingly.

“I told you. It’s not like that.” Derek’s mouth turns down, and he drags his fingers across his lips. “He’s just helping me out.”

“Are you sure about that?” Laura asks when Stiles looks over to them with a wink, all smiles and laughter. “He looks at you like you look at him, and you look at him like he’s the only one in the room.”

Derek snorts. “Oh, he readily admits that he wants to fuck me, but he has also made it abundantly clear that he won’t.”

Laura starts at that and cocks her head curiously. “Did he say why?”

“Something about how I am better than a hookup or whatever.” Derek’s eyes continue tracking Stiles’ every movement. He glances at his sister briefly before his eyes are drawn back to the dance floor. “But, Laur, I would take whatever he offered.”

“I think most people would. He has this energy that makes you want to know him.” Laura smiles and tilts her head toward the girl dancing next to Stiles. “Erica has a crush on him, you know?”

“I know. Most of the kids do. Hell, I do, too. I want him like I have never wanted anything or anyone before. He’s got this tough, intimidating exterior, and I freely admit that if I had come across him outside of Temporary Fix, I would have been too scared to talk to him,” Derek says, almost mesmerized as “big, bad, tough, intimidating” Stiles gently whirls Cora in a circle.

Derek turns to face Laura, a soft frown on his face. “How terrible of a person does that make me that I would have been so judgmental? Having seen how kind and caring he is, how much he gives of himself, I feel like a jackass. I mean, just look at him.” Derek waves his hand in Stiles’ direction. “He came into this weekend, knowing it would be bad, but there his is, dancing with the kids and making everyone, including me, if I’m honest, feel like they matter, like their thoughts and opinions are important to him. And he’s done it all weekend.”

Derek twists back around to face Stiles and the kids, his thoughts becoming heavy. “I don’t know what happened last night, but it was bad, Laura. I could see it written all over him when he came to your room. He was so tense when he curled up next to me. It took him over an hour to relax. But today, he’s brushed it off and been amazing with the kids, and not one complaint has come from him the entire time.”

“You have it bad,” Laura teases, shoving him lightly. “Seriously, though. I couldn’t have picked someone more perfect for you Derek.”

Laura’s confirmation only serves to add to the anxiety that the weekend is half over, and soon Stiles will be gone. Derek has saved himself from being fully connected to anyone, wanting to find the “one”, but now that he thinks he may have found him, he’s afraid he won’t be about to stop Stiles from slipping through his fingers. God, does he ever want to stop that from happening. He’s not ready to say goodbye. He wants more with this man. He wants to know him. He wants the chance to have everything with him.

“I don’t think I have a choice here. He’s mentioned that he isn’t looking for more, that this weekend is just a temporary thing.” Derek sighs. “Who would have thought that stupid fucking site would be the reason I found someone like him and also the reason I can’t have him?”

Stiles lowers Cora and puts Kira on his shoulders, only to pick Cora back up. The colorful, flashing lights flicker across their happy faces as he spins them in a circle. It’s no shock when the other kids clamor closer around for him to spin them, too. He doesn’t hesitate in his acquiesce. Before long, every kid has taken a turn, and smiles light the room.

“Don’t give up,” Laura whispers and reaches up to kiss Derek’s cheek. “I think he may surprise you.”

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

“I’m gonna be sick,” Stiles moans, flopping down into a chair and closing his eyes to shut out the spinning room. “And I’m warning you, it’s not going to be pretty.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?” Derek offers, instantly on alert.

Stiles opens one eye and cocks his eyebrow, his piercings glinting in the strobe lights. “It’s vomit, Derek. Unless you know of a way to honk smurfs for me, I don’t think you can help.”

Derek snickers at the image before quickly sobering. “Will Sprite help? Or ginger ale? I can probably find ginger ale.”

“Maybe. Just give me a minute.” Stiles’ stomach churns as hot bile rises up his throat. He swallows hard to force it back down. “Nope, never mind. Don’t give me a minute. Ginger ale would be great.”

Stiles keeps his eyes closed against the dizziness overwhelming him, only opening them again when Derek returns, ginger ale in hand. Make that three ginger ales. In one hand. Jesus, he has big hands. Stiles can’t help imagining how they would feel wrapped around his cock. Luckily, the groan that escapes from his mouth can be attributed to his nausea.

“I got three, just in case,” Derek says handing one to Stiles and putting the other two on the table before sitting in the chair next to Stiles. “Are you feeling any better at all?”

Stiles sips the fizzy ginger ale and prays it calms the roiling of his stomach quickly or there will be no avoiding what is already in motion to happen. Stiles tips his head, indicating a place several feet away. “I’ll feel better if I go to that trash can over there and empty my stomach into it, but since there are little eyes on me, I’m trying to avoid that. Trust me, I’d much rather just get it out and over with.”

“You’re good with kids.”

Stiles manages a small smile. “I have a lot of siblings.”

“It’s more than that, and don’t try to deny it. They all love you, and that has nothing to do with you having siblings. You give them your sole attention and make them feel like whatever they are doing or saying is the most important thing in the world. You see them even when they are feeling invisible.” A wistful look passes over Derek’s face. “I would have given my left nut to have someone like you here when I was their age.”

“And now? Do you like having me here now?” Stiles whispers, knowing he shouldn’t ask but unable to stop the words.

“More than I could ever say. Even with the family drama, you have been nothing but perfect. I can’t thank you enough,” Derek sits forward and says earnestly.

“Trust me when I say, I’m not perfect. Besides, it’s been fun being here.” Stiles chuckles lightly with an easy shrug. “Jackson will be a pain in the ass when he finds out. I’ll never hear the end of it.”

Derek tips his head to the side as he tries to remember where he’s heard the name. “Jackson? Your coworker from the bar?”

Stiles hums a quiet assent, then clarifies. “Jackson’s not really a coworker. He’s my best friend.”

“Oh. That’s nice.” Derek looks like he wants to say more, but he snaps his mouth shut.

Stiles closes his eyes against another wave of nausea. “Say what you’re thinking.”

“How are you feeling? Is the ginger ale helping? Do you want some crackers?” Derek rambles.

“Don’t try to change the subject,” Stiles says, cracking open one eye to take in Derek’s flustered face.

“I’m not. I really do want to know how you are feeling.”

“I still feel like my insides are trying to crawl their way out through my mouth.” Stiles grimaces as his stomach rolls. “Now, what were you thinking?”

Derek runs his fingers through his hair, pulling it forward to the front of his face, before pushing it back again. “Ugh, no. It’s stupid.”

Stiles shuts his eyes tight and grimaces as his mouth floods with hot saliva. “I didn’t ask if it was stupid. I asked what you were thinking.”

“It’s not my place,” Derek replies almost guiltily, hesitating until Stiles gives in and opens both eyes, eyebrow cocked in challenge. “Fine. I was just thinking maybe you might be dating him or something. I don’t know. It doesn’t even make sense. I don’t see you as someone that would cheat, but that would mean you would have to have an open relationship since you’re here. I can’t really see you doing that either, but I’ve been wrong before. So yeah.”

“Are you done?” Stiles asks quietly.

“Just ignore me. I told you it was stupid.” Derek stands to leave, face flushed and refusing to meet Stiles’ eyes.

Stiles grabs Derek’s wrist, stopping him. “I asked if you were done. Answer the question, Derek.”

Derek flops back into the chair but keeps his eyes lowered to the table. “Yes. I’m done.”

Stiles runs his thumb lightly over the fragile bones of Derek’s hand, calming him. “You’re right. You really can’t know either of those things. Even if I tell you, there’s always a risk you have to take that I could be lying. I don’t think many cheaters are going to admit they do it just because someone asks. For what it’s worth though, Jackson is only my best friend. I don’t cheat. Ever. I wouldn’t consider being in or being part of someone else’s open relationship. Ever. While we are on the subject, yes, I have had one-night stands. Yes, I have had hookups. Yes, I have had meaningless sex. If there is anything you want to know, you need to ask. I may not always respond the way you expect, and some things I won’t answer at all, but you have to ask. Pull up your big boy boxers. Be blunt. Be aggressive. Don’t guess or assume. Closed mouths don’t get fed.”

Derek’s eyes snap to Stiles’, searching for something, before he nods his head once. “Okay.”

“Good. Now, give me ten minutes to let this ginger ale do its job. If it doesn’t, I’ll give in and hurl in that trash can. One way or another, I’ll feel better, and we’ll dance all night long if you want,” Stiles promises.

It actually takes twenty, but on the bright side, he keeps his dinner down so he counts it as a win. Most of the younger kids are herded off to bed by their parents, leaving the teens behind competing for Stiles’ attention. As the night closes in, one by one, most of the teens also begin trickling off to do other things. The corner of Stiles’ mouth threatens to curl up when Derek wraps his arms around him from behind and whispers into his ear, “I thought they’d never leave.”

“Oh, but they’re still around. The walls have eyes and ears.” Stiles wiggles his fingers.

Derek shudders. “And now that I am afraid to sleep tonight, it will be your responsibility to keep all the monsters away.”

Turning to face Derek, Stiles looks up at him, murmuring softly, “I can do that.” Unable to resist, Stiles rests his head on Derek’s chest as the music eases into a slow song. He feels Derek’s heart hammer against his ribcage with the publicly tactile embrace.

When Stiles’ hands drift down to Derek’s hips, Derek stutters, “You do know that Erica is still here, right? She’s watching from that table over there.”

Stiles pulls Derek in tight against him. “I know. I saw her sit down just after you came over. Would you rather I go dance with her?”

“No! No, not at all. I just mentioned it so you were aware.” Derek turns his head close to Stiles’ ear and whispers, “I think she has a crush on you.”

“I know that, too,” Stiles admits, squeezing just a little closer into Derek.

Derek presses his mouth on the top of Stiles’ head. “Stiles?”

“Yes, Derek.”

“I have a confession to make,” Derek whispers.

“And what’s that?” Stiles rubs his cheek against the soft material of the shirt over Derek’s chest, relishing the rumble of pleasure it produces from Derek.

Stiles feels Derek take a deep breath before he finally speaks. “That first day at the bar, I was intimidated by you. You were so different than anyone or anything I had ever known. I would have been too terrified to talk to you in any other circumstance, and it saddens me to think that had you not been my temporary fix, I would have let that fear consume me. I would have missed out on knowing you.”

Stiles chuckles, “I do tend to scare people.”

“You don’t scare the kids here. I want to be like them. They looked past your exterior and just accepted you. No questions asked.” Derek swallows hard before continuing, “They are entirely under your spell.”

Stiles leans back to look up at Derek and softly asks, “What about you? Are you under my spell?”

“Yes,” Derek breathes. “I could stay like this all night.”

“We can if you want to,” Stiles offers.

Derek tilts his head curiously. “You’d really do that?”

“It’s your weekend. Of course, I would,” Stiles says returning his head to Derek’s chest and inhaling deep, trying to memorize his smell for when this is all over.

Derek and Stiles continue dancing for hours, only stopping when one of the teens would drop back in to dance for a couple of songs. They jump around and dance and have a good time as the music pumps fast and loud.

Another slow song begins, and Stiles moves behind Derek, pressing against him, his hands resting at Derek’s waist. His fingers slip just under Derek’s shirt, finding and stroking the bare skin there with his thumbs. Derek’s breath hitches, and he pushes back further into Stiles, reducing the gap between them and moving his hips to the rhythm of the music.

Stiles winds one hand further around to Derek’s stomach, fingers splayed open. Derek gasps when Stiles’ pinky slides just under the waistband of his tight, black jeans. Stiles closes his eyes and takes a shuddered breath. He feels his control slipping, and he struggles to restrain himself. He needs to stop this before he can’t. And fuck. He doesn’t want to stop. His breathing falters, becoming ragged.

Pulling his hand back up higher onto Derek’s stomach, Stiles whispers quietly, “We shouldn’t be doing this.” Derek puts his hand over Stiles’ and laces their fingers together.

“I don’t care,” he replies on a whimper.

Burying his face into Derek’s back, he lowers their entangled hands and slips his pinky back under the waistband of Derek’s jeans further this time, brushing lightly against his cloth covered cock and eliciting a sharp, desperate gasp from Derek.  “When you make sounds like that, you make it harder for me to stop.”

“Then don’t stop,” Derek all but begs. “I don’t want you to stop.”

Stiles’ body trembles at the thought of just letting it happen. He drags his mouth slowly over Derek’s back, brushing his lips over the soft t shirt, wishing it was bare skin. With a light kiss pressed between Derek’s shoulder blades, Stiles steps back and puts space between them just as the music changes into another upbeat dance song.

Stiles pulls at the crotch of his jeans and adjusts his dick. Palming over the front of his jeans once and hissing under his breath at the barely discernable pressure, he glances down to see how noticeable his erection is, only to see it’s just as he expected. There’s no hiding that. God help him, he doesn’t even care. He gives one more tug and shift to the front of his jeans and jumps back into the fray of people dancing.

It’s after 4:00 a.m. when they return to Derek’s room, deliriously exhausted. “My feet are going to fall off,” Derek says on a laugh as he falls onto the bed. “I haven’t danced that much in, well, ever.”

Stiles crawls up and starfishes beside him. “Me either. I am completely wiped. You ready for bed?”

Derek closes his eyes and sighs, “Just let me shower first.”

When Derek makes no move to get up after a few minutes, Stiles nudges him. “If you want a shower, you have to move.”

“Meh.”

Stiles smiles softly at the boy next to him. “I’ll take the first shower then. Don’t fall asleep.”

 

~*~ Saturday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek gives a valiant effort to stay awake, but the draw of sleep calls to him until he falls under its spell. What feels like seconds later, a voice pulls him back to consciousness.

“Derek, wake up. You need to take a shower.” Gentle fingers push his hair away from his face. “Come on, now. Open your eyes.”

Derek purses his lips and scrunches his face. “Don’t wanna,” he replies petulantly.

Stiles taps Derek’s lips with his finger. “You’ll feel better. Now, hop to it. I left the water running for you, so it’s already warm.”

Derek holds up his arms half-heartedly. “Pull me up. I’m too tired to do it.”

Stiles takes Derek’s hands and tugs him to a sitting position. “Don’t stop there. Keep going.”

Derek allows Stiles to pull him onto his feet, then trudges his way to the bathroom, stripping his clothes off as he goes and tossing them aside, leaving a trail in his wake. Turning when he reaches the door, he asks, “You coming?”

Stiles points to the white towel wrapped around his waist. “I already took a shower. Remember?”

“No, I mean,” Derek stammers, then shakes his head. “Never mind. I’ll be out in a few minutes.”

“Derek,” Stiles says, warning in his tone.

Derek turns his head to face the bathroom, a bit distressed and unable to face Stiles. It takes him a few seconds to get his courage under him. Keeping his head averted, he finally whispers, “I’d feel better if you sat in here with me again.”

Stiles grabs a pair of boxers from the drawer and pulls them on. “Alright.”

Derek’s exhaustion increases under the warm water. It takes every ounce of energy in him to wash his hair. When he steps out of the shower, he finds himself enveloped in a soft, fluffy towel and pushed to sit on the closed toilet lid.

“Sit. I’ll dry you off.” Stiles takes a second towel and wraps it around Derek’s hair, squeezing the excess water out of the strands.

Derek lifts his eyes to Stiles’ face. “How are you still functioning?”

“I am the oldest of seven. After my dad died when I was 12, I had to be the man of the house. I was always one of the last to bed, making sure my siblings were taken care of so my mom could sleep. She worked long hours every day, more often than not pulling doubles to make ends meet. It was the least I could do to help.”

Derek stares back at him. “You are a good son, a good brother.”

Stiles waves off the compliment. “I love my family. Their happiness means more to me than anything else in this world. I’ll do whatever I have to for them or kill myself trying.”

Derek reaches up and thumbs over the soft skin of Stiles’ cheek before moving up to lightly touch the bars piercing Stiles’ eyebrow. “I want to know more about you.” Derek’s fingers flutter down to the rings at the corner of Stiles’ lip, and Stiles’ eyes drift closed on a gasp. “I want to know everything.”

Stiles slowly opens his eyes and takes Derek’s hand, hauling him to his feet. “Let’s see if we can get through the weekend first, dude. I need you to stand for a couple of minutes so I can dry you the rest of the way off.” Derek relaxes with the feeling of Stiles running the soft towel over his body, only opening his eyes when Stiles hands him a pair of boxers. “Pee if you need to, and then put these on.”

Following Stiles’ instructions, he lifts the lid on the toilet and pisses before pulling on the boxers and then washing his hands. He shuffles into the bedroom with a light push from Stiles behind him. When he falls into bed, Stiles turns off the light and joins him.

“Thank you,” Derek exhales on a quiet breath.

“Not necessary. Goodnight, Derek.”

“Goodnight, Stiles.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday – Stiles ~*~

 

At some point while they sleep, Derek once again ends up spooned behind Stiles. They miss breakfast, both sleeping straight through after the long night, but by lunch, Laura is jumping onto the bed with them, vibrating with energy. “Wake up, already. I’m bored.”

Stiles groans as a pointy knee lands on his calf. “You have the knobbiest knees of anyone I think I have ever met, woman,” he grumbles.

“Ha. Ha. So funny,” Laura deadpans. “If you don’t get up, I’ll show you knobby knees.”

“What time is it?” Stiles asks, too warm and comfortable to sneak out a hand to pick up his phone from the nightstand.

“Almost noon,” Laura chirps, bouncing in her excitement.

Stiles makes a pained face, but says obligingly, “Fine. I’ll get up, but get your scrawny ass off of me so that I can.”

Laura sits back on her heels at the end of the bed, grabbing Derek’s foot and shaking it. “Come on, Derek. You, too.”

“I’m up,” he mumbles. Stiles stifles a laugh because he can tell just how up Derek is, if the hard dick bumping against his ass is any indication. Derek tightens his arms around Stiles’ waist, lessening the space between their bodies. Yes. Derek is definitely up. For that matter, so is Stiles. His hips move involuntarily back into Derek.

“You might want to leave,” Stiles says gruffly, when Derek’s body starts pressing harder against his in response.

“I’ve seen my brother in his underwear and naked before. It’s nothing new.” Laura rolls her eyes and pulls at the blankets. “Get up.”

“Laur…” Derek starts with a soft whine before Stiles cuts him off.

“He is up, and unless you want to see your brother’s morning wood, which I would have to assume would be a new experience, then you may want to close your eyes or leave for a minute.”

Laura’s face flames, and she lets go of the blanket as if she has been burned, “Oh. Um. Okay. I’ll just wait in my room.” She scurries out of the room like she was being chased, shutting the door with a faint click behind her.

Derek chuckles softly into Stiles’ neck. “Was that necessary?”

“Maybe. Maybe not. The look on her face was worth it though,” Stiles snickers.

Ten minutes later, they knock on Laura’s door, dressed and ready for lunch. Her face heats when she opens the door and walks out into the hall, joining them. “We never speak of it,” she says, holding up a dismissive hand. “I don’t want to know.”

Derek rolls his eyes at his sister. “Nothing happened. There’s nothing to know.”

 

~~*~~

 

During lunch, to no one’s surprise, the kids and teens find Stiles. It doesn’t take long for most of them to surround Stiles at the table, everyone talking a mile a minute and vying for Stiles’ sole attention. Cora perches herself in his lap, her grabby fingers taking food off his plate.

“Cora, that’s not polite. Don’t take food off of Red’s plate,” Laura chastises gently, moving Cora’s hand away from Stiles’ lunch.

“No worries. There’s plenty,” Stiles says, encouraging Cora by pulling the plate closer. “Go on, love. It’s alright.”

Chatter fills the room as everyone makes plans for the day. Most of the teens are talking about video games and movies. The younger kids are all jabbering about the hike they are being taken on in a couple of hours.

Lunch is winding down, when Derek asks, “What do you want to do today, Red?”

Stiles shrugs and shifts Cora in his lap. “Whatever you want. Is there something specific you’d like to do?”

“We could go bowling. We have a lane in the house, or we can play dirty games.” From the way Derek cuts his eyes at the end of his suggestion, Stiles knows exactly which of the options is Derek’s preference. He also knows he’s missing something.

Stiles cocks a brow. “Dirty games?”

Derek chuckles, obviously enjoying Stiles’ confusion. “It’s not what you think. It’s actual games with dirty and gross things like mud and food. It’s literally all about getting dirty.”

“I’m not sure I understand, but why not? I’ll try almost anything once,” Stiles says, shrugging and turning his plate so that Cora can grab the muffin that was just out of her reach.

“The older kids will probably join in if they find out you are there,” Derek warns.

“That’s fine. It’s no bother. I enjoy spending time with them.”

“Okay, then. It’s settled,” Laura says, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “Let’s go change clothes.”

 

~~*~~

 

As predicted, the older kids all showed up to play dirty games once word got out that Stiles would be playing. At Derek’s suggestion, Stiles is wearing loose basketball shorts and an old tank top he had packed to sleep in. Derek is similarly dressed, his shorts hanging dangerously low on his thin hips.

When they arrive at the designated area, Stiles surveys his surroundings, taking in everything he can. Trash can full of something white. Mud slide, as well as, a baby pool filled with what looks like very runny mud. Open cans of sardines. Plastic bottles. Something that appears to be chocolate pudding, at least that’s what he hopes it is. Several cartons of eggs. Cooked spaghetti smothered in a red sauce. Multiple flavors of baby food. An area with closed pots of unknown things. Donuts on strings hanging from a tree. Whipped cream piled high on plates. And that’s not even everything. It’s a lot to take in.

“Are you ready?” Derek nudges Stiles, shaking him from his perusal.

Eyes still focused on everything laid out in front of him, he answers, “Sure. What do we do first?”

Derek’s points to the oversized trash cans. “Let’s start there. That’s the easiest.”

They make their way over and stop in front of the trash cans. Stiles looks up at Derek, confused. “Alright. What is it?”

“This is the marble hunt,” Derek says candidly, as if that explains everything.

Stiles leans over to look into the cans and swipes a finger at the white, fluffy stuff inside. “Marble hunt?”

“Yep,” Derek responds happily. “You dig around in trash cans filled with mashed potatoes to find marbles.”

Stiles purses his lips, considering. “What’s the point?”

“To find the marbles,” Derek says straight-faced.

Stiles thinks he must be missing something, but he can’t put together any rhyme or reason. Mashed potatoes and marbles. What the fuck? “To find the marbles?”

Derek looks at him like he thinks Stiles has gone daft. “Well, yeah, and to get dirty of course. They are called dirty games.”

Stiles motions to the trash can. “You first.”

Derek put his hand into the potatoes and wiggles it around, digging deeper until he finally produces a marble. “Your turn.” His shit eating grin should have warned Stiles. It really should have. Stiles begins to dig in the warm mush. Oh God, the potatoes are still warm, and that’s really kind of a disturbing feeling. It doesn’t take long before his entire arm is buried, and he still hasn’t found a fucking marble. This would be so much easier if he knew when the marbles were put in.

“Having trouble, Red?” Derek belly laughs, bending over at the waist.

Several of the teens have come up to the bin and have pulled out marbles of their own. “How are you all doing that?” Not to be outdone, Stiles pushes his other arm into the potatoes. Finally, with both arms completely submerged, he finds a marble. “Got one!”

“Took you long enough,” Laura teases as she pushes her arm in and pulls out her own almost immediately.

Before they can react, Stiles takes a handful of potatoes in each hand and plops them on top of the siblings’ heads. “Found a good use for the potatoes.”

The roar of laughter from the kids that had stopped to watch was deafening. “Keeping laughing, and you’ll be next,” he tells the group, mouth twitching to hide his smile.

“Did you really just put potatoes on my head?” Laura approaches him with a handful of her own.

“Looks like I did. I mean, they are called dirty games,” he parrots Derek’s words from earlier. “Now, you’re dirty.”

“Oh, it’s on!” Laura exclaims.

Stiles takes off running. Laura is fast, but Stiles is able to dodge her fairly easily. Derek joins in, but luckily, Derek is a bit slower than Stiles when he runs and is unable to match the agility of Stiles’ smaller build. Eyes trained on the brother and sister duo, he misses Erica behind him until he feels the warm glop of mashed potatoes on his neck. And that, well, that’s gross as hell.

After the laughter dies down, Derek indicates the table off to the side. “That’s next.”

Stiles isn’t convinced. “What is it?”

“Mystery taste testing,” Derek replies casually, stifling a snicker. “Do you have a weak stomach?”

“Not normally, no. How many do I have to taste?” Stiles asks, noting the ten covered pots on the table.

“Usually, you have to try them all to see how many you can guess, but we can start with just two. Just a warning though, some are just random things mixed together so you have to sort out the flavors.”

“That sounds foul.”

Derek claps Stiles on the shoulder and grins. “You might get lucky. You might get something good.”

“Or I might get something that tastes like horse shit,” Stiles responds, making a face as he considers what might actually be in the pots.

“You’ll never know until you try,” Derek challenges.

Stiles picks up a blindfold from the table and hands it to Derek, then takes one for himself. “Do you want to try the same things or different ones?”

Derek thinks about it. “If I have to try it, so do you. Let’s do the same things.” Derek motions to the ominous white dishes in front of him. “What number do you want? One through five are kid appropriate, five through ten are for adults only. I pick number two.”

“Eight.”

Blindfolds on, the person manning the table hands them each a dixie cup with food from pot number two. He counts down for them. “3, 2, 1, Go!”

The second the slimy substance hits his tongue, Stiles knows he isn’t going to swallow. Swallowing equals vomiting. No way. Not a chance. No how. Uh uh. Not happening. Nope. Not today, Satan. He spits it back into the cup.

Oh, my God,” he hears Derek exclaim. “It tastes like feet.”

“What fucking nasty ass feet have you been sucking on lately, Derek?” Stiles shudders as the taste remains coated in his mouth. “I honestly think feet might taste better.” Stiles represses his urge to gag. “I’m going to say that’s called never again.”

“I’m going to agree with you.” Stiles hears Derek swallow hard followed by a dry heaving sound.

Stiles’ head snaps up sharply. “Did you swallow that rank ass shit?”

“Didn’t you?” Derek asks puzzled.

Stiles snorts. “No way in Hell.”

“You suck.” Stiles can hear Derek pouting.

“I do,” Stiles says with a smirk. “And I also swallow, but there was no way I was swallowing anything that tastes like pickle farts from a monkey’s ass mixed with ball sweat.” Derek’s broken gasp tells Stiles that he has hit his mark.

“One to go,” Derek stammers. “Number eight.”

They are once again handed dixie cups full of whatever random nonsense that the pot contains. “3,2,1, Go!”

Stiles is pleasantly surprised when he tastes sweet mint. “That’s a grasshopper,” he says confidently before tipping the cup back and finishing its contents.

He hears Derek spit out the drink in a spray. “A grasshopper? What the hell? And how do you know what a ground up grasshopper tastes like anyway?”

Stiles doubles over in laughter. “Derek,” Stiles is barely able to get out, losing ability to speak or breathe from laughing so hard. He removes his blindfold before continuing. “It’s a drink.”

“Who drinks grasshoppers?” Derek asks, ripping the blindfold off. “Why are you laughing at me?”

“It’s an alcoholic drink.” Stiles calms enough to explain. “It’s called a Grasshopper. I can make you one at the bar sometime.”

Derek hesitantly brings the cup back to his mouth, tasting the drink cautiously. “It’s not bad.”

“Mine’s better,” Stiles winks saucily.

“I’ve no doubt that you will prove it.”

“Damn straight.”

 

~*~ Sunday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek snickers as Stiles chases the donut hanging from a tree. The goal is to eat it with no hands. No teeth or lips on the string is allowed. The donut swings back and forth out of Stiles’ reach.

“Fuck this shit,” Stiles exclaims, latching onto the string with his tongue by catching it around the back of his piercing and dragging it down to the donut. It is easily one of the most erotic things Derek has ever witnessed.

“I’m not sure I have ever seen anyone do it like that before, but I don’t think anyone here has had a tongue piercing either,” Laura says, eyes still big and round in awe. “You’re turn, Derek.”

“This game is unfair. I don’t have anything in my mouth to hook the string around,” Derek complains as he steps forward to take his turn.

Stiles lowers his voice for only Derek to hear, “That’s not the only thing my tongue piercing is good for.”

Derek groans, and if his cock twitches at the thoughts Stiles’ words produce, well, no one else needs to know. Except maybe Stiles, who is cocking an eye and looking at him like he knows exactly what happened, like it was his intention all along.

It takes a while for Derek to finally catch the donut and eat it. Stiles and Laura tease him relentlessly as the donut stays just out his reach when he tries to get his mouth around it.

“It’s a donut,” Laura goads. “Just bite it.”

“Come on, just stick your tongue in it like you are rimming it,” Stiles calls out to him.

Everyone laughs. Well, everyone laughs until he sticks out his tongue and captures the donut. Then while everyone else continues laughing, Stiles’ expression changes, eyes becoming unfocused, tongue darting out against the lip ring before he bites his bottom lip. Derek can only describe the look as hungry, wanting. He smirks in victory as he walks back to the group.

“Thanks for the tip, Red. Worked perfectly.” Derek leans down and whispers, “Practice makes perfect and all that.”

Stiles is clearly not unaffected by Derek’s words, but the moment is broken when Laura suggests the bottle stuff table.

“What’s bottle stuff?” Stiles asks cautiously, clearly catching on to the siblings’ attempts to best him.

“You’ll see,” Derek says and drags Stiles by the hand to the table across the field.

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

The object of the game is to stuff a two-liter bottle with the various objects on the table. One of everything has to not only go into the bottle without a funnel but also fit without flowing over. The exact amounts are pre-portioned and can go into the bottle in any order as long as they all fit.

Stiles regards the table in front of him, quickly analyzing, categorizing, and compartmentalizing all of the items, his eyes missing nothing. Sardines, a plate of whipped cream, cooked spaghetti noodles with sauce, a bowl of chocolate pudding, prepared mac-n-cheese, a donut, a cup of mud, an egg already cracked but not scrambled, a wide bowl of cooking oil, avocado pieces, a banana, marshmallows, flour, marbles, butter, pumpkin innards including seeds, canned green beans, some heinous looking sausage that looks more like cat shit, peeled grapes, a jar of some chunky looking baby food, and mashed potatoes. Stiles rolls his eyes. More fucking mashed potatoes. He knows he’s got this one in the bag, though.

Everyone is given a bottle to fill, and they line up at the table. When the game begins, it’s a mad dash of hands, arms, and elbows. Stiles simply shakes his head at the sheer state of panic everyone is in trying to get things to fit. He starts with the marbles and works his way through the items, stuffing them efficiently into the bottle. Most people are just barely over half done with their ingredients, struggling with the odd shaped items and too grossed out to touch others, when Stiles caps his bottle. “Done.”

“What?” Derek jerks his head up from where he had been focused on trying to touch the sardines.

“No way! You didn’t use everything.” Laura whines.

The worker that had been checking off the list as items were put into the bottle speaks up, “Everything is in there. Congratulations.”

“How did you do that?” Derek questions, his wide eyes staring intently at the closed bottle.

Stiles shrugs. “This game is messy, but it’s also mental. There are disgusting things that make people pause because they don’t want to touch it. The more they think about it, the more in their heads they are, which means they get even more repulsed and that adds time while they work through the courage to just do it. I don’t have that squick factor. I’ve touched some really nasty things, especially at work. Trust me, warm, chunky vomit is worse than anything on this table. The rest is easy. Everything has an order. You just have to figure it out. In this case, you start with the more solid, weighted items and then let any of the liquids fill in around it.”

“You never told me you were a genius,” Derek pouts, his bottom lip pushed out.

Stiles tenses before turning the conversation around to Derek. “You never told me that sardines make you squeamish.”

“They have eyes, Red. It’s weird.” Derek convulses as he says the words. Still examining the bottle, he asks, “How did you get the whipped cream in?”

“It is all about pressure, suction, and just the right amount of touch.” Stiles winks. “It’s like jerking off or giving a hand job or blow job, only with those the end result is reversed.”

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Much to their dismay, the kid’s vote Derek and Laura to be the two people that sit in the mud pool while everyone else gets to cover them with buckets of liquid, runny mud.

Stiles starts it off and picks up a bucket, pouring it down Derek’s neck and into his shirt. Within minutes, everyone has joined in, and the siblings are covered head to toe in slimy mud. Derek stands up and steps out of the pool, immediately grabbing Stiles and wrapping his arms around him.

“Ahhh. What did you do that for?” Stiles whines with a laugh and squirms, trying to get away.

“You voted against me,” Derek growls.

“Of course, I did. I didn’t want a mud bath.”

“Too bad, because you are going down the mud slide with me anyway.” He pulls Stiles behind him to the top of the slide.

They kneel down side by side and push off onto their stomachs, sliding through the mud to the bottom.

“That’s right revolting,” Stiles points out, covering his face and wiping the splatter of mud off of with a towel. “I need a shower. Are we done here?”

“Almost,” Derek singsongs.

“What’s left?”

Derek picks up one of the buckets with the discarded and unused items from bottle stuff and takes a handful of the mixed glop. When Stiles removes the towel, Derek throws the mess at Stiles and takes off running away.

“Oh, is that how we are playing this? Bring it!” Stiles yells already in pursuit, both hands full.

By the time Derek falls to the ground to catch his breath, everyone has jumped in and a full blown slop slinging fight is taking place. He watches Stiles as he continues running around chasing anyone that crosses his path, usually one of the kids, smiles and laughter on full display. Everyone, including the kids and workers, are unabashedly relaxed and happy. It cements what he already knows. He could fall for this man. He is falling for this man. Oh, for fuck’s sake. Why lie? He has already fallen.

They wrap towels around themselves and try to keep the drips to a minimum as they head back to their room. It’s not really working, but they are trying. Laura stops at her room. “You two want to dress up and do the formal dinner? Or maybe we can just go to one of the full service tents? I was thinking that afterwards we could do the scavenger hunt and then change into comfy clothes and watch a movie in the theatre room.”

Derek looks to Stiles, raising his eyebrows in question.

As par for the course, Stiles defers to Derek. “Whatever you want.”

Derek turns back to Laura and shrugs. “Let’s do the full service tents. I’m too lazy to dress up. We’ll meet you downstairs at 6:00 p.m.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Derek and Stiles continue into their room, shutting the door behind them with a click.

“You can have the first shower. I’ll just, uh,” Derek looks around for a place to sit that would survive the messy goop seeping through the towel but finds nothing. “I’ll just wait here.”

Stiles rolls his eyes.  “Just get your ass in the shower. It’s big enough for both of us.”

“But…oof!” Derek exhales as Stiles picks him up without warning, tossing him over his shoulder.

“Have you learned nothing?” Stiles asks, carrying Derek to the bathroom. Stiles drops him to his feet inside the shower and steps in behind him, both still fully dressed in their dirty, food and mud filled, foul smelling clothes. Turning on the water, Stiles lets it warm up before turning the spray head on. “Rinse out your clothes,” he says, urging Derek into the warm, streaming water.

When most of the muck is washed out of Derek’s clothes and down the drain, Stiles switches places with him and proceeds to do the same. Stepping out of the spray, he pulls his shirt over his head, wringing it out and tossing it onto the floor just outside the shower. Derek freezes, staring when Stiles moves forward and takes the hem of his shirt.

“Lift your arms,” Stiles instructs as he begins lifting the shirt.

Derek doesn’t move. He just looks at Stiles in confusion. “What?”

“Arms up so I can get this shirt off of you. It’s not much of a shower if you remain dressed in filthy clothes,” Stiles teases.

Derek complies, raising his arms as Stiles lifts the shirt over his head. He rinses out the shirt and tosses in in the same direction as his own before he pushes Derek back under the spray and hands him the shampoo. They take turns washing their hair then quickly discard their shorts and boxers to wash the rest of the grime from their bodies. There are things in places that Stiles would have never thought possible. Fucking mashed potatoes.

“Turn around. I’ll get your back.” Derek turns around, and Stiles takes a washcloth and the soap and begins to remove the remaining mess from his back. When Derek’s back is thoroughly clean, several times over, he hands Derek the soap and cloth. “Do mine, yeah?”

Stiles relaxes under the slow gentle circles Derek is using to clean his back. His chin drops to his chest as he capitulates to the feeling of Derek’s hands on him. He could get used to this. Derek fingers gently at the stainless steel chain and leather band held together with a tiny padlock around Stiles’ neck. “Is this a collar?”

“Yes,” Stiles whispers, the heady sensations of Derek touching the collar encompassing him and nearly taking him to his knees.

The moment feels delicate and fragile as Derek’s voice lowers to match Stiles’, “Do you ever take it off?”

Stiles shakes his head softly. “No. I won’t take it off unless it breaks, and I have to replace it, or until I find someone deserving and willing to wear it.”

“What does it mean if someone wears it?” Derek questions curiously.

“It means they are mine.”

It takes every ounce of Stiles’ control to refrain from getting completely hard. He wants Derek so fucking bad. His hands twitch with the need to touch his own dick. How would Derek react if Stiles reaches down to jerk himself off right now? He’s just about to succumb to the impulse when Derek shakes him from his thoughts, letting Stiles know he’s done with his back. Stiles turns and rinses his back under the spray, almost missing the barely audible words.

“Can I touch your nipple rings?”

Stiles takes a shuddering breath, the tenuous hold of his restraint wavering, “What?”

“Can I touch your nipple rings?” Derek repeats, face flaming before he drops his head. Breaking the silence threatening to overwhelm them, Derek starts to ramble, “I want to know what they feel like. I don’t know. I just want to touch them. It’s just that you let Laura and Lydia touch them, and well, you said it wasn’t a big deal, so I thought maybe I could, too.”

“That was different. They were different. It’s not the same thing,” Stiles tries to explain, one hundred percent positive that if Derek touches the piercings, things will escalate very quickly between them.

Derek frowns. “Why not?”

Stiles sighs, “It just isn’t, not with you.”

“So then, it’s me,” Derek concludes, his self-doubt evident in his slumped form. “You don’t want me to touch them.”

“I didn’t say that.” Stiles feels himself yielding to Derek, the fight draining from him.

“Then, can I?” Derek hopefully asks again.

Stiles needs to make Derek understand. He lifts Derek’s face to meet his, his brown eyes clash with Derek’s green. “Not if you want any chance of getting through this weekend with your virginity intact.”

Derek doesn’t so much as blink. He lifts his chin a hair higher. “I don’t.”

Stiles groans in response, “Jesus, Derek. You can’t just say shit like that.”

Derek’s eyes never waver. “Please?” His voice breaks on the whispered word and, Stiles’ control shatters completely.

“Yeah,” Stiles breathes, surrender his only option. “Yeah, okay.”

Derek lifts his hand hesitantly and carefully flips the silver ring. Stiles hisses causing Derek to jerk his hand away. “Does that hurt?”

Stiles clenches his hands at his sides. “No.”

“Oh. Oh!” Derek’s eyes widen in shock, and he reaches back out and flips the ring again, allowing it to rest between his thumb and finger. Stiles looks down and watches Derek’s long fingers play with the piercing, painstakingly soft and slow.

Stiles’ patience disappears, and he lifts his hand to Derek’s and tightens their combined fingers around the ring, tugging gently. He throws his head back and gasps as his body sparks from the touch. Derek tugs again, this time without Stiles’ encouragement, eliciting a low moan from Stiles.

Derek stares at Stiles with wide eyes. “That feels good?”

“Fuck, yes. Fair warning, though. If you keep doing that, I’ll come, and I probably shouldn’t.” Derek tugs again, his eyes never leaving the piercing in their joined hands. Stiles lifts his head, immediately dropping it forward to rest his forehead on Derek’s shoulder, the jet of the rapidly cooling water still beating down on his back. Stiles sees Derek’s body responding between them, watches as his dick hardens. He reaches his free hand down and wraps it around his own cock, jerking it once, then twice, before he stops and squeezes the base to stave off his release. “Can I touch you?” The words fall from Stiles’ lips without his permission.

“Please,” Derek consents softly.

Stiles removes his hand from his own aching cock and encircles it around Derek’s, exhaling harshly when Derek gasps at the touch. He drags his hand up and thumbs lightly at the slit, watching the blurt of pre-come seep from the tip, his own dick throbbing in response.

Derek’s free hand bats away Stiles’ between their bodies before his long fingers wrap around them both, sliding over their lengths slowly. Fuck, it’s exactly how Stiles imagined with those massive fucking hands. “Derek…” Stiles cries out as Derek tugs on his piercing again and a wave of pleasure courses through him. He lifts his head on a sharp intake of breath and meets Derek’s gaze.

Stiles reaches his hand up to the back of Derek’s neck. “What are we doing here?” he asks, eyes searching Derek’s for answers.

Derek doesn’t hesitate. “Whatever you want.”

Stiles slides his thumb to the front of Derek’s neck to rest against his pulse point. “Don’t tempt me. You don’t know what you’re asking for.”

Derek tightens his grip around them and twists his hand as it comes up, forcing another harsh intake of breath from Stiles. “Whatever you want, Stiles,” Derek says again, repeating the action with his hand twice more before Stiles grabs his hand to stop its motion as his composure sifts through his fingers like sand.

Trying again to maintain his control, he warns, “You don’t know me well enough to understand what that means.”

“Then show me.” And it’s Derek’s innocence reflected in those words that snaps Stiles’ carefully constructed constraint.

Stiles slams his mouth hard onto Derek’s, his tongue instantly claiming entry. Teeth and tongue clash, hungry and demanding. His hands drop to Derek’s thighs, lifting them around his waist and pushing him back against the tile wall as the kiss threatens to consume them. Stiles feels Derek’s legs tighten around him as he moves his hand to knock Derek’s away and wraps it around Derek’s cock again, stripping it quickly, relentlessly. Dragging his mouth away from Derek’s to stop at the juncture of his neck and shoulder, Stiles kisses softly once, then bites down and sucks hard, marking him, dark and bruising.

“Stiles. God, I’m gonna…” Derek stutters brokenly between gasps of air.

“Do it,” Stiles commands gruffly.

Derek explodes over Stiles’ hand, screaming his abandon to Stiles’ touch. Stiles grinds harder into the crease of Derek’s body where it’s open to him with Derek’s legs still firmly wrapped around his waist. Chasing his own release with persistent, punishing thrusts, he feels Derek reach down under his legs, running his fingers along Stiles’ cock. The contact has him coming, pulsing long and hard against the tight space of Derek’s body.

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“The water’s getting cold.”

Stiles snickers against Derek’s neck. “Dude, it’s been cold for a while. My ass is frozen.”

Derek lowers his legs to stand and reaches behind Stiles to turn off the water. “Let’s dry off and get under the blankets to warm up. We should still have an hour or so until we need to get dressed for dinner.”

“Sounds good,” Stiles agrees, grabbing a towel from the bar just outside the shower and wrapping it around Derek before grabbing another for himself. After drying off and pulling on boxers, they jump into the bed with a light bounce seeking warmth.

Derek purposely keeps his distance from Stiles, his insecurity about what just happened threatening to overwhelm him. He isn’t sure what it means or if it means anything at all. Was it nothing? A hookup of sorts? Does Stiles want to be with him? Is he just looking for a fuck buddy? Derek sighs. He doesn’t know how to do this or even what’s expected of him. It’s too new. His previous relationships had never progressed far, no more than a few stolen chaste kisses, hand holding, and one drunken nude text. Why is he even thinking these things? This is a temporary fix. Anxiety creeps up his throat, choking him.

Stiles turns to face him, moving closer and minimizing the gap between them. “Hey,” he says, mouth inches from Derek’s, their breaths combining.

“Hi.”

Stiles brushes Derek’s wet hair back from his face with gentle fingers. “What’s going on in that gorgeous head of yours?”

“Nothing,” Derek replies on a silent breath. “I don’t know.”

“Get your thoughts together. I have time.” Stiles leans closer, lips grazing Derek’s lightly as he speaks, “Until then, though, I’m going to kiss you, and if you don’t want me to do that, if you want to go back to how things were before the shower, then you need to move away. No judgment. No hard feelings. You have three seconds to decide. Three…two…”

Derek closes the gap, pressing his inexperienced mouth to Stiles’. Stiles’ hand winds around Derek’s neck pulling him closer, deepening the kiss. Derek trembles when Stiles’ tongue ring slides along his tongue. Pulling back to catch his breath, Derek licks at the ring on Stiles’ lip causing Stiles to moan.

“What is this?” Derek asks quietly.

“A lip ring?” Stiles tosses back immediately. “A ring in my lip? A thin, stainless steel circle inserted into a hole at the corner of my mouth along what most people call a bottom lip?”

Derek rolls his eyes and represses a smile. “You know what I mean. What does all this mean?”

“I don’t know,” Stiles softly responds.

Derek wrinkles his nose and groans in frustration. “What does that mean?”

“It means I don’t know.”

“Is this a hookup? A temporary fix that ends tomorrow? What?” Derek pushes, patience becoming threadbare.

“I don’t know.” Stiles repeats again with a grimace. “I don’t date. I don’t do relationships. They just don’t work for me.”

“Why not? Everyone loves you. Over half the people here would jump at the chance to be called yours.” Derek whimpers at the idea of someone else with Stiles. “I bet anyone would want to be with you.”

Stiles laughs lightly, “Not everyone would, and that isn’t what matters anyway.”

Derek’s face scrunches in confusion. “Then what does matter? Why be alone if you don’t have to be?”

“It’s not that simple,” Stiles huffs.

“Then explain it to me,” Derek presses.

“Fine,” Stiles sighs, eyes trained on Derek’s. “I’m a possessive, jealous, demanding mother fucker, and my past is a mess. I can be quite violent when protecting what’s mine, and it’s best for everyone if I don’t put anyone through that.”

The idea of being Stiles’ sole focus has Derek blurting without thought, “What if I want that?”

Stiles scoffs, “Why would you want that? You’re a bright light in a dark world. A beautiful soul. You walk into a room, and everyone takes notice. People clamor for your attention, and you don’t even see it. You’re…”

“I’m a trust fund kid that gets beat, among other things, when he steps out of line,” Derek grits out.

Stiles puts his finger over Derek’s lips, stopping any further words. “That may be your current circumstance, but that isn’t what defines you. You are the kindest person I know.”

“Psh. Look in a mirror, Stiles, then you will see the kindest person you know. And don’t argue. Just because you don’t take shit from anyone and stand up for yourself and those you love or have designated as yours to protect doesn’t make you unkind.” Derek pauses, considering his next words carefully. “I do, you know. I do want to see where things go with you, and I don’t want it to end after this weekend. I don’t know how I am supposed to go back to not knowing you once this is over, and I don’t want to.”

Stiles lifts his leg and places it on top of Derek’s, moving their bodies closer. “You don’t know what you are asking. There’s so much you don’t know about me. Let’s just see what happens this weekend. No expectations, yeah?”

Derek’s stomach plummets as Stiles’ words reach him. Derek knows what they mean. He knows Stiles is shutting down a future. Well, fuck that. Derek can wait as long as it takes. “I know what I’m asking. I do. And I want to know everything about you, but I can wait for when you are ready to tell me, in your time. No pressure.” And if Derek can’t have a guaranteed future, he’s going to take what he can until then. He leans down and presses a soft kiss to Stiles’ lips. “Is this okay? Can we do this?”

“Yeah. We can definitely do this.” Stiles bites at Derek’s bottom lip before dragging his tongue across it, soliciting entrance. Derek opens his mouth without hesitation, his tongue meeting Stiles’ hot, demanding one.

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles pulls away breathing hard, “We have to get ready for dinner.”

“I’d rather stay here.” Derek tugs Stiles’ leg over him further until Stiles sits up and straddles him, Derek’s cock already hard again under his ass.

Stiles shifts Derek up to a sitting position and traces his finger along Derek’s neck, stopping at the mark he made earlier. He’s never wanted to mark anyone like he does Derek. “I should apologize for this, but I’m not going to because I’d do it again, if given a chance. Fuck, I would keep my mark on you at all times.”

“I’d let you. Every time,” Derek whispers.

Stiles leans forward and drags his mouth along Derek’s neck. “So, you wouldn’t be mad if I gave you another right now?”

“No.” Derek’s tilts his head giving Stiles better access. “I want you to.”

Stiles’ mouth opens over an area of unmarked skin on Derek’s neck just under his ear, biting faintly before pulling away to ask, “Do you really?”

“Yes. God, yes,” Derek confirms, his tone pleading.

“People will see,” Stiles cautions, even as the idea of such a public claim has him hardening.

Derek strains his body closer to Stiles. “I don’t care. Just do it.”

Stiles continues to mouth at his neck, moving his lips mindfully against the tender skin. “Are you absolutely sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Derek asserts eagerly. When Stiles doesn’t readily comply, Derek implores brokenly, “Please.”

“There he is.” Stiles praises as Derek splinters with his need. Increasing the pressure of his mouth, sucking and biting hard, Stiles marks Derek again. He wraps his hand at the front of Derek’s neck on the opposite side of his mouth and brings his thumb up to rub lightly across Derek’s red, bitten lips. Derek’s hands land on Stiles’ hips, pulling him down tighter against him. Stiles doesn’t hesitate and grinds down hard into Derek. Removing his mouth, he looks down proudly at his masterpiece before he moves back to Derek’s neck, stopping near the front, and whispers, “What about here? Can I?”

“Whatever you want. Wherever you want. Whenever you want. As many as you want. I don’t care. I don’t want you to stop. Please just don’t stop,” Derek begs.

Stiles’ self-discipline cracks, and he sucks and bites along Derek’s neck, teeth and tongue claiming the skin. Derek’s thrusts up into Stiles grow insistent with each passing second, but Stiles can’t be bothered to slow him down. This boy, this beautiful, responsive, kind, innocent boy in front of him, is breaking down Stiles’ walls. Walls that are falling down for Derek as if they were made of spun sugar. Stiles is definitely in trouble. He is losing himself in Derek, and that thought terrifies him but doesn’t stop him from taking what is being offered.

Three additional marks later, Stiles stops and surveys his work. “Fuck, you look good with my marks on you.”

“I need…” Derek begins just as Stiles’ mouth closes over his, hips pressing down into him.

Stiles pulls away from the kiss and takes in the sight of Derek fracturing underneath him. Sensing Derek slipping too far, Stiles pushes Derek’s shoulders until he lands on his back in the bed. “Open your eyes.”

“I can’t,” Derek mouths on a quiet breath, hips thrusting erratically.

Stiles stops moving and pushes down hard with his ass into Derek’s cock producing a loud moan from Derek’s lips. “You can. Open your eyes,” Stiles repeats firmly. Derek’s eyes start opening slowly but begin to drift shut again almost immediately. “Keep them open.” Derek’s eyes flicker again, finally opening completely to meet Stiles’ hot gaze. “Stay with me. I can’t have you falling under right now.”

“Please, Stiles. I can’t take much more. I need to come.”

“No one is stopping you.” Stiles grinds down again, keeping his eyes trained on Derek. That’s all it takes to have Derek’s cock pulsing into his boxers under Stiles. When he feels Derek become pliant with his release, Stiles moves back enough to eliminate his weight against Derek’s oversensitive dick.

Derek moves his hand from Stiles’ hip to pull down the front of Stiles’ boxers, allowing his erection to spring free. Already close, Stiles arches his back and comes as soon as Derek’s fingers brush over him.

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek places his hand on Stiles’ lower back when they walk into the foyer to meet Laura. Lydia is already there waiting with her. In an effort to deflect any comments or conversations that he knows Laura is about to start, he asks, “Do you know what’s on the menu tonight at the full service tent?”

“I think I read that it’s Italian night,” Laura answers. “Is that good for everyone?”

“Works for me,” Stiles says with a shrug.

“I’m not a fan,” Lydia grimaces. “I’m going to go to find something else, and I will meet you guys there. Save me a seat.”

“Will do. See you in a bit,” Laura replies and turns to Derek and Stiles. Eyes darting to Derek’s neck, she smirks but doesn’t press for answers. “After the scavenger hunt, let’s do an all-nighter. I want to have time to watch at least three movies tonight.”

“Three?” Derek squawks, his voice reaching a pitch that only dogs should rightfully be able to hear.

“Yep, or more,” Laura confirms with a grin.

“More?” Stiles quirks an eyebrow at her.

“All-nighter, duh,” Laura explains. “It’s kind of a tradition.”

Derek laughs, shaking his head, and nudges. his sister with his shoulder. “Laura, we have done it once. One single solitary time. Last year. It’s not a tradition.”

“Well, we are making it a tradition, so get used to it little brother.” Laura pats him on the back and glances meaningfully down to his neck. “Besides, it’s that, or we can talk. We have loads to talk about, apparently. Have any new stories to tell?”

Derek rolls his eyes, but gives in easily. “Whatever you say, Laur. Last year, you fell asleep in middle of the second movie. I was the only one that stayed up all night.”

“Shhh. That’s not what we are going to dwell on. All-nighter. Tonight. Be ready,” Laura says leading the way into the full service tent for dinner.

 

~~*~~

 

About an hour later, they congregate in the library for instructions on the scavenger hunt. There are two age groups. Older teens and adults, ages 16 and up, are assembled in the large library, while the younger kids, ages 15 and under, are in the sitting room and have their own age-appropriate list.

Everyone then breaks into smaller groups of five to compete for bragging rights and the $5,000 prize. Stiles, Derek, Laura, Lydia, and Jordan group together, and Derek takes the brown, sealed envelope boasting “16+ Teens & Adults” that is handed to him.

The bell rings, beginning the game, and Derek rips open the envelope, pulling out a small digital camera, $1, and the list. He holds out the paper so that everyone can read it.

 

Scavenger Hunt – 16+ Teens & Adults 7:00 p.m. – Midnight

This scavenger hunt will be broken into two rounds. A combined score of both rounds will determine the winner of the grand prize.

Round One: Search, find, and perform tasks via photo/video. All items and team members must return to the library by 9:00 p.m. sharp. Teams arriving after this time will receive zero points for this round.

Drivers are available for every team. No speeding or breaking of any road laws is allowed.  

Only the money provided in the envelope can be spent. No additional monies are allowed except for those wishing to complete the bonus points section.  

Round Two: Perform tasks in person, provide items on hand. Live in the library starting at 9:30 p.m.  

 

  • Round One: Items to Find (1 point each)  
    • arcade token 
    • trophy
    • bowling shoes
    • five unopened condoms
    • one miniature marshmallow
    • round grey rock with a smiley face drawn on it
    • photocopy of one team member’s ass
    • cassette tape
    • dildo
    • all male team members of team returning with painted fingernails
    • stuffed cat
    • g string (not of the musical variety)
    • three pieces of dog food
    • lube
    • a stranger’s underwear (photo with the stranger required)
  •   Round One: Video/Photo Items (5 point each)  
    • create your own awkward family photo
    • find a bald stranger and kiss their head
    • make a sculpture using only tampons, pads, and condoms (glue/tape are the only acceptable adhesives, video build, return final product)
    • write something on the bathroom wall of a local business (video required)
    • make out with a stranger (This includes tongue, people!)
    • three team members jumping into a pool fully clothed/completely naked (you choose)
    • four team members singing “I’m a Little Teapot” by the cashiers at a grocery store
    • put $0.10 worth of gas into a stranger’s car
    • two team members streaking (must be completed in front of strangers)
    • one team member guzzling a 12 oz. canned drink in five seconds or less
    • all team members wearing a bra and panties and nothing else
    • play leap frog on the sidewalk of a busy store (all team members must participate)
    • talk a stranger into buying one team member a drink
    • one team member pushing a trolley with the four other team members sitting in the basket
    • four team members and a stranger urinating in public (only worth 2 points if completed without a stranger)
  •   Round One: Bonus Points (10 points)
    •  two team members getting correlating tattoos (at your own expense)

 

“Wow,” Lydia whispers. “These are just wow.”

“Let’s get to it.” Stiles looks to Derek and Laura. “This is your family home. Do you have any of the items at the top?”

“Yeah, I think we can come up with a lot of them,” Laura agrees. “Let’s go.”

The five of them run to the siblings’ rooms. Derek hands the list to Stiles. “Start calling out the items. Laura and I will find what we have.”

“An arcade token,” Stiles reads.

“Got it,” Derek exclaims opening the drawer to his desk and pulling out the coin. “Keep going.”

“Trophy, bowling shoes, five unopened condoms,” Stiles continues, rattling off the items quickly.

Derek tosses the items onto the bed along with the arcade token. “What’s next?”

“Marshmallow, smiling grey rock, ass photocopy,” Stiles mumbles, casting them off as things to get somewhere else. “Cassette tape, dildo, stuffed cat, g string underwear, and finger nail polish. We can paint our nails while we are on the road.” He skims further down the list. “Tampons, pads, tape or glue, bra and panties for everyone?”

Laura darts to her room. Derek pulls out a cassette tape of some boy band from his closet, picks up the glue and tape from his desk, and opens his nightstand drawer, taking out a dildo, a strip of extra condoms for the sculpture, and a half-used bottle of lube. “Lube is on the list, right?” Stiles nods, grabbing a pen from Derek’s desk and checking everything off as it is added to the pile.

Laura comes back with a stuffed cat, dildo, several nail polishes, tampons, pads, three bras and panties, and g string, adding them to the pile. “Looks like we have two dildos,” she giggles.

“Do you have a dog?” Stiles asks.

Laura shakes her head. “No. Is there anything else we can get from our rooms?”

“I think that’s it. Do you have a copier?” Stiles asks.

“There’s one in my dad’s office,” Derek confirms, bagging the items in an old string backpack. “Lydia and Jordan, you two go get a marshmallow from the pantry. Top shelf on the right near the back, hidden behind the Grape-Nuts. Laura, Stiles, and I will get the photocopy.”

“On it,” Jordan responds before he and Lydia take off sprinting down the hallway.

As Laura, Stiles, and Derek run quickly to the office, Derek asks, “Who wants to do the honors?”

“Me,” Stiles laughs. “My ass on your dad’s copier. Is there anything better than that to leave him with?”

Laura opens the door slowly, making sure their dad isn’t inside. Once she ascertains an all clear, she ushers them into the room, locking the door behind them. Stiles unbuckles his belt and drops his pants and underwear before plopping his ass onto the glass of the copier and pushing the start button. Before he gets off of the copier, he presses the start button again. When the machine stops, he stands up and pulls up his pants, refastening his belt.

Stiles puts one of the photocopies on Derek’s dad’s desk. “Something for your dad to remember me by.”

Picking up a sharpie from the pencil cup, Stiles hands the second photocopy and marker to Derek to add to their bag of items. Derek shoves them both in the bag but not before looking at the perfect shape of Stiles’ ass and just the hint of his balls from where Stiles had spread his legs.

“If you want to see my ass, Derek, you only have to ask,” Stiles whispers into his ear as they leave the room. Derek groans and reaches down to shift his dick in his pants.

Lydia and Jordan meet them in the hall, marshmallow in hand. “Right where you said they would be.”

Jordan throws the marshmallow in the bag, and Stiles checks the list. “Awkward family photo. Living room?”

“What makes it awkward though?” Lydia asks, wrinkling her nose.

“Just do something that would be awkward to see in a family photo. You know, like something your parents would cringe at seeing on the family Christmas card.”

Stiles takes the camera and sets it up on the table with a timer while everyone jumps on the couch and poses. Jordan puts his hand over his crotch, biting his bottom lip. Laura grabs her boobs and schools her faced in a shocked expression. Stiles straddles Derek’s lap, arching his back and glancing over his shoulder at the camera with a naughty expression on his face. Derek’s eyes close when the motion presses Stiles into his very interested cock, and he throws his head back, mouth in a perfect “o”. Lydia sits demurely, eyes wide, her innocence a stark contrast to the others around her.

The first photo they take is perfect. “Is it wrong that I want a printed copy of that?” Derek asks.

“We are totally using it as our Christmas card this year,” Laura squeals excitedly.

Jordan laughs, “I can’t wait to see my mom’s face when she opens it.”

Laura picks up the list and scans through it. “We can do the bra and panty photo now.” She opens the bag and removes the three bra and panty sets she had gotten from her room earlier. Stiles strips pulling on the black panties. Derek opts for the white, and Jordan takes the yellow. Laura and Lydia help the boys fasten the bras.

“Didn’t you have something besides lace?” Derek grumbles.

“Of course, I did. These were just sexier,” Laura responds with a wink.

Stiles sticks his tongue out at her. “Of course, they are. Now strip already so we can take this photo.”

Laura and Lydia remove their clothes and stand with Derek and Jordan. Stiles starts the timer and joins them, licking his tongue up Derek’s neck as the camera flashes.

The boys change back into their normal clothes, shoving the borrowed underwear back into the bag, and they all rush downstairs to find a driver.

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

They pile into one of the cars waiting in front of the house, giving the driver directions to take them to the nearby grocery store. On the way there, Laura pulls out the tampons, pads, condoms, and adhesives, and they make a sculpture that resembles a person. Well, if you close one eye and squint the other, it resembles a person, but it’s good enough.

As soon as the car stops in front of the store, Stiles hands the camera to Lydia. “You start videoing. As soon as I jump over, I will come take the camera so you can get in line.”

They complete the leap frog, teapot singing, and thanks to Jordan, the drink guzzling. Stiles, Lydia, Laura, and Derek are now trying to become contortionists while trying to arrange themselves in a trolley. Jordan takes the camera and videos as he pushes them into the store and down an aisle.

“Whose foot is trying to breach my asshole?” Stiles sasses loudly drawing looks from other customers.

Lydia shifts positions. “I don’t know, but I’m ready to have your elbow out of my ribs.”

“Any ideas on how to get out of this?” Laura asks when they come to a stop at the front of the store again.

“No idea.” Derek cranes his neck to see. “Who’s on top?”

“Me,” Stiles acknowledges.

“I’m on bottom,” Derek replies.

Laura snickers. “Now that we know who tops and who bottoms, can we get out of this basket?”

They all begin shifting and trying to unwind themselves from each other when a loud noise silences them. Everyone freezes. The smell hits their noses almost immediately, and Stiles stage whispers, “Somebody farted.”

Laughter overtakes them until tears are streaming down their faces as they all scramble to untangle themselves. Stiles holds himself up with his arms, swings his legs over the basket, and jumps out. He helps the other three unravel arms and legs and lifts first Lydia, then Laura, from the trolley.

“What? Aren’t you going to lift me out, too?” Derek pouts with his bottom lip poked out and arms lifted up.

Stiles presses hips lips together and cocks an eyebrow. Derek wants to play then. Stiles reaches out and lifts Derek from the basket. When his feet hit the floor, Stiles raises on his tiptoes so that his mouth brushes Derek’s ear. “I can think of better ways to top you.” To Stiles’ pleasure, Derek blushes and drops his head to hide his face in Stiles’ neck.

“I heard that,” Laura teases from behind Stiles.

“I don’t doubt that you did.” Stiles cards his fingers through Derek’s hair and watches as Derek’s eyes close under the touch. “Come on. We have a scavenger hunt to win.”

“Does anyone want to do the bonus?” Laura asks, reading over the list.

“I’ll do it with one of you.” When everyone stares at him, Stiles points to his arm. “It’s just gonna be a another stupid one, isn’t it?”

Lydia backs away slightly holding her hands up. “Count me out.”

“Me, too,” Jordan agrees. “Needles are a no go.”

“I will,” Derek offers quietly.

“I can do it, Derek,” Laura suggests. “I know you don’t have any.”

Derek sucks his bottom lip between his teeth and shakes his head. “I want to.”

“Alright. Then, you two go and get that taken care of across the street at the little tattoo shop there. It’s where I got mine last year. Ask for Ethan. He will get you in and out fairly quick. Jordan, Lydia, and I will knock out what we can of the rest. When you’re done, text me.”

Stiles and Derek run across the street and enter the tattoo shop. True to Laura’s word, Ethan was able to take care of them, and thirty minutes later, Derek and Stiles walk out of the shop just as the car stops in front of the building.

“What’s left?” Stiles ask sliding into the seat just far enough for Derek to squeeze in next to him before shutting the door.

“We took care of putting $0.10 of gas into someone’s car, kissing a bald head, writing on a bathroom wall, and getting a drink bought for Lydia. I also found a rock and stole some dog food off this lady’s porch. All we have left on the video list is the pool jumping which we can do as soon as we get home, painting the boys’ nails, streaking, snogging, getting a stranger’s underwear, and pissing.”

Lydia’s face squishes in disgust. “I don’t want to do that.”

“Only four of us need to do it, so you can video. You don’t even have to watch, just aim and close your eyes,” Laura proposes.

“Okay,” she responds, still looking a bit grossed out.

“I’ll streak,” Stiles offers easily.

“So will I,” Derek says, surprising Laura again.

Jordan looks around at their surroundings. “Where do we do it?”

“I think the best place to get everything else complete would be at the bar not far from the house. It’s on the way back,” Laura proposes.

When the car stops, Laura takes the camera and flips it on. Stiles and Derek jump out, stripping off their clothes and taking off running in front of the building as if they were being chased by dogs. They circle behind the building and meet back at the car, quickly pulling their previously discarded clothing back on.

“Snogging with tongue is next,” Laura reads off the page.

“I have this one,” Stiles says confidently.

“No,” Derek responds immediately, body tensing.

“Yes. I work at a bar. I know people. It will take too long for the rest of you,” Stiles explains.

“But…” Derek starts to argue before Stiles promptly cuts him off. They don’t have time to hash this out right now.

“It will be fine, love. I promise. It’s part of the game.” Stiles turns and addresses everyone. “Who is videoing?”

Derek grabs the camera from Laura. “Me. If you are doing this, I am going to be there. You aren’t doing this without me.”

Stiles closes his eyes as a wave of lust at Derek’s possessiveness washes over him. Fuck, this boy does things to him. He takes a deep breath and opens his eyes. “Let’s go then.”

They walk over to the line of people waiting to get in, when Stiles recognizes a tall, lanky boy. Recognition floods the boy’s face, and he graces Stiles with a bright smile. Before he can say anything, Stiles leans in and whispers into the boy’s ear making sure no one could hear him. “Time to return the favor. Pretend you’ve never met me for the camera, yeah?”

The boy nods his assent, and Stiles turns to Derek. “You ready?” Derek lifts the camera and starts recording. “Fancy snogging a stranger for the camera and then giving me your underwear?”

The boy’s eyes widen, but his answer is immediate. “Sure.”

Stiles crowds into him and tilts his head, meeting the boy’s mouth with his. Their mouths open on contact, tongues clashing and visible to the camera. Stiles pulls away after a minute and glances to Derek. “Get it?”

“Yeah,” Derek mumbles petulantly, jealousy written all over him.

Stiles looks at the people in line with the boy. “Hold his place. We’ll be right back.”

He drags the boy around the building and waits while the boy removes his jeans and underwear, handing the boxers to Stiles, before pulling his jeans back up. “Commando, tonight. Huh. This will be interesting.”

Derek snaps the photo and interrupts with a snap, “Can we go now?”

Stiles turns back around to the boy. “How do you feel about pissing in public with four other people on camera?”

“Um, okay, I guess,” the guy shrugs. “Why not? I mean, you already have my underwear and shoved your tongue down my throat.”

When they get back to the others, Laura announces, “The rock now has a smiley face. Good on you for thinking ahead with the sharpie, Stiles. We used it for writing on the wall earlier, too. Now, all that’s left before we go home is urinating in public, preferably with a stranger.”

“Thank, God. I have needed to piss since we started this adventure,” Stiles laughs, breaking the tension. “We have our stranger to join us, too.”

“Where though?” Laura asks, looking around for options.

Stiles motions to an empty space that is still visible to the people in line. “That looks good to me.”

Lydia takes the camera and waits for the others to line up. Laura lifts her dress to the top of her thighs and pulls her underwear to the side before squatting, using her dress as cover. The boys all unzip their jeans and face the wall. “Okay, Lydia. Start recording,” Laura says.

“Hang on, it turned off,” Lydia says, fumbling with the power button.

The guy joining them, laughs, “I can’t believe I am about to do this.”

“Please, hurry. I can’t wait much longer,” Jordan whines.

Derek groans, “Same. I am seriously dribbling here.”

“You guys better hold it. This is our only shot,” Laura chastises.

Stiles feels himself losing the battle, several drops hitting the ground, “Fuck, I’m starting to go.”

“Got it. Go!” Lydia exclaims, starting the video and averting her eyes.

The sound of liquid splashing on concrete is immediate. Stiles feels Derek’s eyes on him and looks up to catch his gaze. “We have to stop meeting like this,” Stiles teases.

“What does that mean?” Laura asks, looking up from her place near the ground.

“Nothing,” Derek chokes out, putting an end to the conversation before it can begin.

When they are done. Lydia hands them a little bottle of hand sanitizer from her purse. “Thank God,” Jordan says as they cleanse their hands.

Once his hands are clean, or as clean as they were going to get with just hand sanitizer, Stiles holds out his hand, palm up toward the boy that had helped them. “Give me your phone.”

He hands his phone to Stiles without hesitation, and Stiles enters his phone number, quickly sending himself a text. “Do you live here or back in London?”

“London. We are visiting friends for the next week,” the boy replies, noting the new contact name of x_x before shoving the phone back into his pocket.

Stiles nods. “Good. Text me. When you get back to London, we can meet up at Midnight Memories.”

The boy’s smile grows. “Sweet! Um, I don’t even know your name.”

“I guess you’ll need to text to find out,” Stiles encourages, backing away to join Derek where he is waiting for him a few feet away.

Laura’s brow furrows when she takes in Derek’s thunderous expression as they get back to the car. “What happened?”

“Give us a minute, yeah?” Stiles says, checking the time on his phone. They don’t have much time, but he needs to straighten things out with Derek. He pulls Derek further away from the others and tips his head to indicate everyone should get in the car before turning to face Derek. “Stop stressing out. I know the kid, alright. I did him a favor once, and he returned it.”

Derek stares at Stiles critically. “You’ve kissed him before.”

“I have,” Stiles honestly confirms.

Derek must see something in Stiles’ expression, because he whispers, “You’ve done more than just kiss him.” It’s not a question.

Stiles lifts his chin a fraction, steadfastly meeting Derek’s eyes. “I have.”

Derek breaks the stare and mutters, “You didn’t have to give him your number.”

Stiles watches Derek’s shoulders slump in rejection. He raises his hand and runs his thumb over Derek’s pout. “It’s not like that. I can’t explain right now. We don’t have time. Just trust me. Please.”

Derek frowns but caves. “Don’t make me regret it.”

“Never,” Stiles promises, letting his fingers drag over Derek’s bottom lip. He debates kissing Derek. Truly considers it, but he isn’t sure how Derek feels about that type of thing in front of other people. Stiles personally has no boundaries, but he knows not everyone feels the same way, and he doesn’t want to make Derek uncomfortable, especially around his own family.

Derek lifts his head, determination written on his face, and shoves Stiles into the wall nearby, dragging his nose and mouth along Stiles’ neck. “I can be possessive, too, apparently. I didn’t like you kissing him. I don’t know what we are or will be, but I can’t stand the idea of you with someone else.”

Derek bites at Stiles’ bottom lip before slamming his mouth onto his. Derek’s tongue sweeps immediately into Stiles’ mouth, exacting entrance. Well, that answer that then. Stiles can definitely work with this. He kisses Derek back, taking control of the kiss and eventually pulling away, a string of spit still connecting their mouths. Stiles reaches up and gently wipes Derek’s mouth. Placing another soft kiss against his lips, Stiles moves reluctantly away. “As much as I want to continue this, we have to go. Time is running out.”

A soon as they get back in the car, the girls paint the boys’ nails. Stiles chooses black. Derek chooses navy blue. Jordan didn’t pick, so the girls are using purple for his. With nails still tacky as they arrive back to the house, the boys carefully strip off all of their clothes and jump naked into the pool with Laura recording.

“Hurry! We have three minutes to get to the library,” Laura exclaims after checking the time.

The boys jump out of the water, pick up their clothes, and run to the library behind the girls, slipping and sliding along the halls. Nothing said they had to have clothes on when they return. Skidding into the room with twenty seconds to spare, they breathe a sigh of relief. Lydia hands the boys each a towel she had the foresight to grab from the towel hut at the pool, and they dry off, redressing hastily while Laura turns in all of the items and uploads all the videos and photos to the computer to be shown on the projector. After the items of all teams are reviewed and shown to the other players, their team is in the lead with the full 100 available points.

“That’s not fair! I don’t believe Derek would get a real tattoo, much less one that ties him to him,” Derek’s cousin Theo sneers pointing at Stiles.

“You’re right. I didn’t get a tattoo that correlates to him,” Derek says. “I got two.”

Laura looks up in surprise. “What? You got two?”

Derek nods, grinning. “We couldn’t decide in one, so we got two.”

“You’re lying! There’s no way,” Theo challenges.

Stiles sighs, over the drama already. Derek’s cousin needs to grow up already and better still get the fuck out of his face before Stiles does something he should but won’t regret. “Dude, why would he lie?”

“Shut up, Red.” He says the name bitterly, like it leaves a bad taste in his mouth. “No one asked you.”

Stiles rolls his eyes and lifts the sleeve of his shirt where the second skin plastic is covering the new tattoo on his arm.

“Shit? How does shit have a match?” Derek lifts his sleeve as well, showing the ink on his arm. “Hi? That doesn’t make any sense. They aren’t matching. I vote for removing the points.”

Shit and Hi were the first words we ever said to each other in person,” Derek explains slowly like he’s talking to an idiot. And, well, if the shoe fits.

“We have no way of knowing that,” Theo argues vehemently.

Stiles lifts his jeans at the ankle, showing the plastic covered ink of a skeleton key. Derek shows the matching padlock on his arm near his wrist. “Happy now? Does this meet your standards?” Stiles antagonizes with a smirk.

Theo grumbles but doesn’t continue fighting. “Fine.”

The worker confirms the points earned for the bonus are valid and begins the slideshow of all the photos and videos that were returned for round one. When the video of them pissing comes through, Theo shoots them a disgusted look from across the room. Stiles lifts his middle finger in salute.

Chapter Text

~*~ Stiles (continued) ~*~

 

“Everyone, please take a seat and stay grouped with your team,” the game leader directs, beginning round two of the scavenger hunt. Derek, Stiles, and Laura make their way to the back of the room where Lydia and Jordan have already pulled up chairs for them. Everyone settles down after finding seats, and the worker continues, “This round is for 16 and older only and will get very filthy by the end. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can opt out at this time. No harm. No foul. If you want to continue competing for the $5,000 prize and chose to stay, please be aware that you do not have to participate in every task. Do what feels right for you. There is no judgment either way. No photos or videos during this part of the game are allowed. Please put your phones under your seats and do not remove them unless you are instructed to do so. Anyone caught breaking this rule will be disqualified from the game and removed from the area immediately.”

Once everyone pulls out their phones and places them under their chairs as directed, the leader resumes, “One point will be added to each team for every completed task during this first round. Is everyone ready?” The room erupts in cheers. “Fantastic! Let’s begin. I need one person from each team to bring me a pink bra.”

Four heads turn to Lydia. “Take it off,” Laura demands, holding her hand out. Lydia slips her arms into her shirt and pulls off her bra, handing it to her. Laura tosses it to Derek who runs to the front, waving the pink lacy garment in the air above his head.

“One point to Derek’s team. Who else can bring me a pink bra? Come on, ladies. Don’t be shy. Take off those bras, and let your girls fly.” Two more teams rush to the stage, shaking pink bras in the air.

Derek returns to their group as the announcer calls out, “I need one person from each team to bring me a pair of red men’s boxer briefs.”

Stiles stands and strips immediately, pulling off his boxers and throwing them to Derek. “Go.” He pulls his jeans back on as Derek runs to the front again, securing another point for their team.

“Next, I need to see a lady wearing men’s shoes.”

Derek toes off his shoes and hands them to Laura who waddles to the front after donning them and earns them another point.

“Who here has a surgery scar? Come show me. Only one from each team needed,” the leader calls excitedly.

Jordan jumps up, runs to the front, and lifts his shirt showing the faint white line from his appendectomy two years ago.

“Okay, ladies. Pull out your lipstick. I want to see a man on your team wearing lipstick.”

Laura opens her purse and pulls out her bright, red lipstick tube. She grabs Stiles’ chin and swipes it across his mouth. “You’re good. Go.”

Stiles runs to the front with five other guys wearing various shades on their mouths. Lydia hands him a tissue to wipe it off when he returns. Stiles takes the proffered tissue, but before he wipes it off, he places a loud smack to Derek’s cheek and watches Derek blush. Yes, dear God, yes. Derek blushing is a huge turn on. He wipes the lipstick off his lips as the announcer calls out, “I need to see a hidden piercing. Does anyone have a tongue piercing? Nipple piercing? Any other piercing hidden from view?”

The room goes completely silent and all heads turn to Stiles. He stands and sticks out his tongue, then lifts his shirt acquiring his team another point and a choked sound from the announcer. Gathering his bearings, he continues, “Who has a black hair tie? I need to see a black hair tie.”

Stiles stands, pulling one from under the bracelets on his wrist, and runs to the front. When he returns, Derek asks, “Why do you have a hair tie on your wrist?”

“Because you have longish hair,” Stiles answers with a mischievous smile, tongue licking his bottom lip suggestively. “You never know when you might need it.” Derek covers his face with his hands and groans.

“Alright, how about a breath mint.”

Laura’s purse of wonders comes through for the win. She pulls out a tin of breath mints, and Jordan runs them to the front, cementing another point for their team.

“Two more for this round everyone. Let me see a birthmark.”

Lydia stands. “I have this one.” She runs to the stage and lifts the back of her shirt, showing the announcer a large birthmark that sits on her lower back. When she returns, she laughs, “Finally, it’s good for something other than turning people off.”

The comment saddens Stiles and angers him at the same time. The girl is entirely too sweet to be treated like that. “If that turns them off, doll, then you didn’t need them to begin with.”

“Last one for this round, and it is a hard one. This must already be on the person before they began the game. Who here has a hickey?”

Laura, Jordan, and Lydia all look at Derek. Stiles sits back and smirks. Derek slowly stands up and walks to the front as all eyes in the room follow him. He arches his neck, showing the marks Stiles had left earlier and adding another point for their team.

“Skank whore!”

Stiles zeroes in on the group from where the voice came and stands up. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me. Skank. Whore.” Theo repeats loudly. His buddy next to him eggs him on.

When Derek returns to his seat and falls into Laura’s open arms, Stiles steps in front of him, shielding him from the room. “Who is a skank whore? Before you answer, I would suggest you choose your words wisely.”

“You are,” Theo snickers, standing to face him.

“How’s that?” Stiles clenches and unclenches his fists repeatedly, trying to calm down. At least it was targeted at him and not Derek. He’s used to this. He can handle this. This is who he is. This is his life. Had it been directed at Derek, Stiles would have decked the man without a second thought.

“You obviously have no class,” he points to Derek. “Case in point. Who leaves hickeys, especially visible ones, on people? I thought you two were just friends anyway. That’s what Derek’s mom said when we asked why you were here. I don’t go around sucking on my friends’ necks. Since no one else has the balls to say it, I will. You shouldn’t be here. When are you going to get it? You’re just lowlife bartender slime. Everyone here knows you are only here because Derek is loaded.”

“Is that so?” Stiles grates out through gritted teeth. “You’re sure about that? Let’s put it to a vote then. I don’t have a problem leaving if that’s what the majority wants.” He turns to the room to include everyone. “Who here wants me to leave?” Five hands raise, all from the same group. “Who here wants me to stay?”

Everyone else raises their hands. A voice from the side of the room calls out, “Red has been nothing but nice.”

Another voice from the front, “Have you seen how happy all of the kids are this weekend? It’s never been like that.”

Several more voices continue, “He included Kira and treated her like a person with thoughts and feelings. No one ever does that.”

“My Cora adores him.”

“Erica can’t stop talking about all the great things he does.”

“If you don’t like Red, then maybe you should leave.”

“No one likes you anyway, brother. You’re only here because our dad got wasted and fucked your mom in the alley of some seedy bar, and she got pregnant like the skank whore she is.”

As the voices continue in support of Stiles around the room, eventually Derek’s cousin leaves, skulking out of the room, his cronies following close behind. When the door closes behind them, the room erupts in approval and elation. Several people get up and hug Stiles, saying the kindest things he’s ever had directed at him. Never has anyone chosen him like this. Sure, he had been pretty confident he wouldn’t have to leave, but never had he anticipated what people saw in him this weekend. As soon as the crowd’s excitement dies down and everyone returns to their seats, Derek stands and wraps his arms around Stiles. “I told you they would love you. You’re perfect,” he whispers. Releasing each other, they return to their seats, and the game recommences.

“Who’s ready for round two? These are worth five points each,” the announcer says, continuing the game. “You have three minutes to braid a guy’s hair. When you are done, come show me the finished product to get your points.”

Stiles softly smacks Laura’s hand away when she reaches for Lydia’s hair. “I’ve got it.” Stiles stands behind Lydia and efficiently pulls her hair into a perfect French braid before pushing her to the front.

Laura’s jaw drops. “How did you do that? It was flawless.”

Stiles shrugs and grins, “Sisters.”

Lydia is back and pulling out the braid when the worker calls out, “Next, I need to see two members from the same team. One must lick the other’s belly button.”

“I’m not licking any of you all’s belly buttons,” Laura cries on a giggle.

Stiles grabs Derek’s arm and drags him to the front. On stage, Stiles falls to his knees and lifts Derek’s shirt, diving in tongue first into his belly button. Derek bows his back at the contact and gasps, trusting Stiles to support him with strong, sure hands. Stiles leaves kisses down Derek’s stomach following the trail of hair and stopping at waistband of his jeans. Standing, he guides Derek back to their seats.

“Well, that was way hotter than expected. Is anyone else as turned on as I am?” the announcer asks. The room titters in agreement. “Who’s next? Let me see my belly button lickers.”

A couple of other teams send up spouses to get points for their team, but none produced quite as much heat as their predecessors.

“Next, make a human pyramid. All members of your team must participate.”

“Who’s on bottom?” Jordan asks with a wink.

“Not this again,” Laura groans with a wide smile. “Jordan, bend down, and let me on your shoulders. Red, get on Derek’s shoulders. Lydia, get on a chair so Stiles and I can lift you.”

Stiles can see that the dynamics won’t work. There’s no way Laura will be able to lift Lydia from that angle. “Wait. Stop. Derek can’t manage much weight right now. Jordan, let me get on your shoulders.” Jordan bends down, and Stiles wraps his legs over him.

“Alright, Jordan. Sit on the chair.” Once Jordan is seated, Stiles leans down and reaches both hands to Lydia. “Turn away from us and raise your arms. Laura, get in front of her for support. Once she’s up, Jordan needs to stand up. You and Derek need to brace him until he’s steady.” Stiles grabs Lydia under her arms and pulls her to sit on his shoulder. Jordan stands, handling their combined weight well. “Okay, Laura, get on Derek’s shoulders, but please be careful.” Once Laura is in place, Stiles helps Lydia shift her weight between Laura’s shoulder and his.

“Derek’s team. You’re good. You can come down.”

Stiles takes Lydia’s weight back onto his shoulder, letting Laura and Derek free. Laura hops off Derek’s back, and they reach up to lift Lydia off of Stiles. Then, Stiles swings his leg over Jordan and jumps off easily.

“How did you know to do it that way?” Laura asks impressed.

“I don’t know,” Stiles shrugs and changes the subject, turning to run his hands lightly over Derek’s back. “How’s your back?”

Derek tenses when Stiles touches a spot on his lower back that Stiles knows took the brunt of the hits. “Still sore, but I’ll be fine.” Stiles kisses Derek’s shoulder blade. God, Stiles wishes he could take away Derek’s pain.

“Next, I need three people to imitate a threesome position on stage.”

“I guess it’s us then,” Laura says, pushing Stiles and Derek to the stage when Lydia steps back with Jordan following quickly.

“How do we do this? I really don’t want to do anything that looks sexual with my sister.” Derek wrinkles his nose at the thought.

“One of you straddle my waist, the other can straddle my face. Unless you want to top me from behind, Derek?” Stiles suggests, biting his bottom lip and raising his eyebrows.

“I’ll straddle your waist,” Derek says immediately, the sound barely escaping his lips.

Stiles gets on the ground; and Derek settles over him, sitting carefully onto Stiles’ lap. Stiles grabs Derek’s hips and pulls him down tight against him, thrusting up once, reveling in Derek’s light moan. Laura puts her knees on either side of Stiles’ face. The announcer yells, “Derek’s team complete.” Several other teams complete the task, as well. Who knew Derek’s family had some kinky people amidst the bunch?

“Next, everyone can pull out their phones for this one round only. Show me your dirty photos, everyone. Who has a dirty photo saved on their phone? I need three photos from each team, all on different phones. They must be time date stamped from before today. We’re talking cunts and dick pics, everyone.”

Stiles, Derek, and Laura walk to the front phones in hand. “Wow! That was fast. Points to Derek’s team.” As they are walking off the stage, the announcer calls out, “Come back, Red. I need to see that again.” He takes the phone and turns it to the crowd. Several people move forward to look at the photo of Stiles’ fully erect cock, come dribbling from the tip. Not that anyone knows it’s his dick. Catcalls and wolf whistles fill the air. “Now, this is dirty,” he teases. “Who does that perfect dick belong to?”

“I’ll never tell,” Stiles singsongs, playing along, and takes his phone back from the guy.

“It’s time for the bonus round. This is worth fifteen points. Count them. Fifteen! And let me tell you, this one is filthy. Where are my filthy people?” The room explodes in sound. “Alright. Here we go. I need two team members on my stage. I can’t tell you what you will be doing until you have chosen your players.”

“Red, you and Derek go. He said it’s filthy, and I am not about to do something dirty with my brother or cousins,” Laura says, pushing them forward.

Stiles and Derek head to the stage and wait for the other teams to send their players. “One of you is about to get naked. If you want to pass, please leave the stage.” Three of the teams make their way off the stage. “Okay, here’s how it goes. One of you needs to undress the other,” he pauses, “using only your teeth. Discuss it between yourselves. The person that is getting naked can remove their shoes only and place them at the edge of the stage.”

Derek’s eyes slam into Stiles’, “Are you getting naked, or am I?”

“Up to you, dude. I am good either way,” Stiles tells him. It’s not like the entire room hasn’t seen them both naked already.

Derek leans over to murmur, “I know you are going commando right now which would be faster and easier, but as much as I want you naked, I think you would be better at removing my clothes with your mouth. The donuts earlier kind of proved that.” Derek toes off his shoes and picks them up, placing them on the edge of the stage as directed.

“It looks like we have our decisions. You have five minutes, and…go!”

Stiles places his hands behind his back and bends over, taking the hem of Derek’s shirt in his teeth and tugging up. Derek raises his arms and falls to his knees to give Stiles the leverage to pull the shirt up and over Derek’s head. “Stand back up, love,” Stiles encourages Derek, before falling onto his knees.

He makes quick work of the button with a sharp tug of his teeth at the edge of the fabric, then catches the zipper with his teeth. Once the zipper is lowered, he latches onto the denim of Derek’s waistband and drags the jeans down over one hip, repeating the action on the other side. Back and forth he continues the rhythm until the jeans are bunched at Derek’s ankles. “Lift your foot.”

Derek lifts his foot off the ground, and Stiles fastens his teeth at the material, removing the pants from one leg. Before he can change feet, Stiles removes the sock from Derek’s foot, as well. “Switch.” Derek complies, and Stiles pulls the pants free from Derek’s body, following again with the sock from the raised foot.

Stiles lifts his eyes to Derek, “You sure you want to do this?”

“Yes,” Derek breathes out silently.

Stiles grabs the waistband of Derek’s boxers at the center with his teeth and pulls them out and down, freeing Derek’s rapidly filling cock to the room. Stiles rebelliously drags his chin across the tip and repeats the same pattern as he had for the jeans until the underwear reaches Derek’s knees and falls unheeded to the floor. A lift of each foot by Derek has him standing naked on the stage, dick proudly standing to attention. Stiles remains on his knees in front of Derek, blocking the view from the room. The only person that can potentially see them unhindered is the guy leading game. Stiles tries to stop himself. He really does. And yet, he hears himself choke out the words on a ragged breath, “Can I? Right now. Here. Can I?”

“Yes. Please, yes.”

Stiles drags his nose to nuzzle against the base of Derek’s cock before licking up along the length, pressing the barbell of his tongue ring into the sensitive flesh. Wrapping his lips over the head, he sucks hard once, sliding the ball of the barbell just along the underside of the head in the process. Derek stills, his body tensing as he comes, pulsing into Stiles’ welcoming mouth. When he relaxes, Stiles removes his mouth and leaves several light kisses onto Derek’s stomach while continuing to block the room from view.

The announcer coughs lightly, “Derek’s team has completed the task. You can return to your seats.”

Stiles redresses Derek, first helping Derek step into his boxers and sliding them up his legs to his hips. Then, he gets Derek into his jeans and shirt. Stiles notices that Derek looks a bit blissed out, eyes dilated and sleepy.

“Stay here.” Stiles picks up Derek’s socks and shoves them into his pockets before moving to the front of the stage to get Derek’s shoes. Walking back to Derek, he takes his hand and tugs gently. “Come on, Derek. Let’s go back to our seats.”

As soon as Stiles sits down, Derek crawls into his lap, straddling him and scooting as close as possible. He immediately tucks his face into Stiles’ neck, huffing quiet breaths against the sensitive skin there. Stiles can feel Derek’s embarrassment filled with guilt and shame radiating from him in waves. He runs his hands carefully over Derek’s back, soothing the boy as he relaxes in his arms, coming down from the high. “Rest, love. I’ve got you.”

“We have our winner,” the worker announces, breaking into Stiles’ complete focus on Derek. “In first place, with a perfect score of 150, is Derek, Laura, Lydia, Jordan, and Red. Congratulations! You are the winner of the $5,000 prize money.” Laura and Lydia jump up, squealing in excitement at the win.

“We never win. I can’t believe it,” Laura gushes.

“I know, right?” Lydia agrees, grabbing Laura in a happy hug.

Jordan rolls his eyes and gives in, bouncing around and sharing the girls’ enthusiasm. Stiles smiles up at them from where he remains seated with Derek in his lap, reaching out one arm to hug Laura, then Lydia and Jordan. “We were a great team. I am happy I could be part of it.”

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Laura says. “We couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Lies,” Stiles says good naturedly.

The worker approaches them and hands the check to Laura. “Congratulations, again. I have never seen a team end with a perfect score.”

With the game over, people begin leaving the room, stopping by to congratulate them.  Once the room is finally mostly empty, Stiles taps Derek on the thigh. “Derek? We need to get up now.” Derek responds by tightening his grip on Stiles. “Don’t you want to watch movies?” He feels Derek’s light nod before continuing, “We should get up, then. We need to change clothes.”

Laura approaches and touches Derek’s back, and he tenses immediately. She snatches her hand back. “Derek, come on. Get up so we can go watch movies.” When Derek doesn’t move, she touches him again on the arm, tugging to get him moving. Derek whines into Stiles’ neck.

Feeling the anxiety elevating in Derek, Stiles looks over Derek’s shoulder at Laura, saying kindly, “Let him go. I’ve got him. You go change, and get ready.”

Laura nods and leaves the room, Lydia and Jordan following. Finally alone, Stiles stands up, and Derek’s legs tighten around his waist. He hitches Derek up a bit higher, sliding his hands under Derek’s bum, and carries him out of the room. In their room, Stiles tries to put Derek on the bed, but the boy doesn’t let go, his whines getting more distressed. Stiles can feel Derek’s heart pounding against his chest, so he holds him tighter.

“It’s okay, love,” Stiles soothes. “You don’t have to let go. You can stay here as long as you need. I’ll hold you as long as you want me to.”

Derek’s whimpers lessen at the words. Stiles shifts to sit back against the headboard, but Derek panics and whispers, “Don’t leave.”

“I won’t,” Stiles promises. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Fifteen minutes later, Derek’s body relaxes in a whoosh against Stiles. “Better?” Stiles asks softly. Derek nods once. “Do you think you can sit up and talk to me now?”

Derek takes a deep breath and pushes himself up, eyes cast down. Stiles lifts his chin. “What do you need?”

“You.” Derek closes his eyes and repeats, “You.”

Stiles rubs his thumbs at the corner of Derek’s eyes. “Keep them open.” Derek’s eyes snap open again but remain lowered. “What are you thinking?”

Derek turns his face away. “I’m embarrassed.”

“Why?”

“Everyone saw. They saw me…” Derek trails off, unable to say the words.

Stiles cards his fingers through Derek’s curls. “No one but the worker could see what happened. Others might guess, but no one saw. I promise.”

“I liked it though. I liked the idea that people were watching.” Derek’ eyes clash into Stiles’. “Is that wrong?”

“Jesus, no! You are perfect, Derek. Never doubt that,” Stiles reassures him, placing a light kiss to Derek’s lips, then tracing over them, pulling his bottom lip down gently with his thumb before releasing it. “No judgment, alright?”

“Alright.”

Stiles brushes his lips chastely against Derek’s once more before asking, “Are you ready to change and go watch movies now?”

“Yes,” Derek says, remaining unmoving until Stiles tickles his ribs. “I’m ready.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

After Stiles helps bring his thoughts back into a manageable place, Derek feels much better and is ready to continue the evening. He changes into light grey joggers that hang low on his hips and a loose white t shirt, while Stiles pulls on black cotton shorts and an oversized black tank that appears to have once been a t shirt but now has the arms and most of the sides cut out.

“Grab the blanket. It gets cold in there,” Derek says. “I’ll take the pillows.”

He picks up four pillows as Stiles takes the blanket off the end of the bed. Ushering Stiles out the door in front of him, Derek lets his eyes fall over Stiles’ body. Everything about Stiles’ form is perfect. His arms, shoulders, and back are muscled and toned without being oppressively large. His thighs are thick and strong. And his ass… Derek could write sonnets about Stiles’ ass, short stories even, perhaps even art in the form of photographs. Derek stares at the round, flawless bum, bouncing with every step, in front of him.

“Stop staring at my ass, Derek.”

Derek’s face reddens. When Stiles turns his head to look at him over his shoulder and winks, Derek’s blush deepens, and he speeds up to walk beside Stiles. He risks a quick glance to the side and sees Stiles smirking. Looking quickly away and down, Derek feels completely and utterly embarrassed to have been caught. It takes him several steps to notice that Stiles stopped walking. He doesn’t look up but stops and waits for Stiles to catch up to him again.

Stiles covers the distance between them and reaches out to lift Derek’s chin. “You’re cute when you’re embarrassed.” His hand moves behind Derek’s head and fists into his hair, pulling him down to meet him in a short brush of lips. “I like it. Don’t ever change that.” Several brief kisses later, they separate and continue to the theater room, Derek stealing quick peeks at Stiles every time their hands brush against each other.

The room is filled with couches and tables, of various styles and colors. It is a hodgepodge of organized chaos and one of Derek’s favorite rooms in the house. Derek is hesitant when they enter, afraid of what his sister and Lydia will say about what happened earlier, but to his relief, no one says anything or acts any different. Maybe Stiles was right and no one saw. The lack of response provides a normalcy that has Derek breathing steady again.

Laura is bouncing on her feet in excitement when they arrive. “Finally! We’re watching The Last Song, first.”

“Really, Laur? Do we have to?” Derek whines. He always cries during that movie, and he’d really rather not do that in front of Stiles. It’s not as if he hasn’t been embarrassed enough this weekend.

Laura gives a knowing nod. “Yes, we do. You can pick next.”

“Fine,” Derek concedes and moves to his favorite fluffy couch. He tosses the pillows down just as his dad comes barreling into the room.

“Derek, my office. Now,” his dad commands, tone brooking no argument.

Derek tenses but immediately turns to follow his dad from the room without argument. Stiles grabs his hand and stops him. “Are you going to be alright?” he murmurs quietly so only Derek can hear.

“I don’t know,” Derek answers under his breath.

“Do you want me to come with you?”

Derek frowns, “Yes, but no. Stay. It will only make it worse if you’re there.”

Stiles squeezes Derek’s hand gently. “Okay. I’ll be here when you get back.”

Derek nods and leaves the room quickly, not wanting to keep his father waiting since the only thing that will accomplish is making whatever is about to happen so much worse. He already knows it’s going to be bad. Pushing open the door to his dad’s office, he is met with a hard slap to the face. He lifts his chin and waits, refusing to cower as his dad begins pulling on his belt.

“Please tell me that I did not see you kissing that Red person in the hallway. Please tell me that I am mistaken.” The sound of his dad’s belt clearing the loops is the only sound in the otherwise quiet room.

Derek remains silent, knowing that no matter what he says, it won’t be the right answer when his dad is in a rage like this. His dad finally rakes his gaze over him, stopping at the marks on his neck. “What the fuck is that on your neck?” He yanks Derek’s head to the side, baring the bruises to his unobstructed view. “Did you have sex with that piece of shit trash?”

The tenuous hold Derek has on his tongue snaps. “He’s not trash,” Derek says, voice strong and firm as he steels himself for what’s coming.

His dad shakes in rage, voice thunderous when he yells, “I set you up with Allison Argent! You should be having sex with her! You will call her this week and apologize. Hopefully, she will forget everything that happened this weekend and give you another chance. Turn around, and take off your shirt.”

Derek knows he shouldn’t poke the bear, but he can’t stop the words from falling from his lips, “No, I won’t. Allison is the one that is trash. Not Red. Open your fucking eyes.”

“Shirt off. Turn the fuck around!” his dad bellows.

Turning around, Derek removes his shirt and tosses it to the floor, baring his back to his father. The first strike of the belt lands on Derek’s already bruised back with a loud smack. He barely flinches, instead holding his head high and choosing to purposely antagonize the man, without any regard for the consequences that will be dealt by his heavy hand. “He is a better person than anyone you can find for me. Hell, he’s a better person than anyone here. You’re an ignorant, closed-minded dick, and you can’t look past his exterior to see the person he is.” Derek’s body jolts as the belt hits hard on his back again, harder than before.

“Can you not see how everyone loves him?” Three more solid hits to his back, and his knees begin to buckle, but he keeps pushing, provoking his dad to the point of crazed fury. “Red is a better man than you,” he spits out. The answering brutal strike against his back breaks the skin. Derek hisses as he feels the sting of the blood, the only sound he’s made that shows any weakness. Six strikes later, and yes, Derek is counting them, he finally falls to his knees, unable to stand any longer.

The next blow whacks his skin with a loud, snapping pop when he hears his sister. “Enough!” Laura yells, pushing into the room. “Leave him alone.”

“Get out, Laura. This doesn’t concern you,” Derek’s dad orders, anger laced in every word.

Derek slowly gets to his feet. “It’s fine, Laura. We both knew it was coming. Go on. Better me than you. He can’t break me,” he challenges as he meets his father’s eyes.

“No, Derek. Let’s go. Red is waiting.” Laura picks up Derek’s shirt and pulls it over his head. When she grabs him by the wrist, he doesn’t move. “Now.” She tugs him into motion. She was not prepared for the slap across her face but recovers quickly, stopping Derek as he lunges toward his dad. “Don’t, Derek. He’s not worth it.”

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles jumps up when Derek and Laura return. His eyes land on Derek, and he instantly knows Derek is hurt. “What the fuck did he do, Der?” The nickname slips from his mouth without his permission. He looks at Laura, taking in her busted lip, and frowns.

“Lydia, please stay with them. I’m going to find some ice and a wet cloth. I’ll get the first aid kit, too,” Stiles says taking control of the situation. “If their dad comes anywhere near them, come find me.”

Lydia nods her understanding and hands Laura a tissue for her split lip, pulling her to a nearby couch. Derek doesn’t speak as he moves into the room and sits next to Laura.

Stiles rushes out of the room to find everything he needs to take care of Derek. As he passes Derek’s dad’s office, he slams the door open, voice lethal as he speaks to the man inside. “Consider this your only warning. If you ever lay a hand on either of them again, I will ruin you.”

“Who’s going to stop me? Some little gay faggot like you?” Derek’s dad taunts coming to stand in front of him. “I got your little message. The photocopy of your ass was as foul as you. You should have taken the money I offered the other night and left. You could have made a life for yourself. Instead, you’ll continue being the worthless bartender thug that you are. A mundane degenerate. A low-class loser. Nothing. No one. I’m sure your mother is so very proud.”

Stiles’ fist smashes into the man’s nose, blood spurting profusely on contact. “I’d rather be any of those things than anything like you. Your money means shit to me. You’d do well to heed my warning. There won’t be another one. Don’t touch them again.”

Calmly grabbing his handkerchief, Derek’s dad holds it to his nose to stem the flow of blood. “I’ll double it if you leave right now.”

“Fuck off.” Stiles leaves the room without a backwards glance and makes quick work finding the first aid kit under the bathroom sink. Stopping in the kitchen, he makes two makeshift ice packs with Ziploc bags wrapped in dry towels and wets three other towels he finds in a drawer. He returns to the theater room and finds Derek, Laura, and Lydia sitting in silence. When he sees the blood seeping into Derek’s white shirt on his back, it takes every ounce of his willpower to keep his mouth shut.

“Here,” Stiles says, handing Laura one of the wet towels and an ice pack. “Clean it up right, okay? Don’t want it to get worse.”

The need to take care of Derek is suffocating him. He takes Derek’s hand and leads him to the couch where Derek had tossed the pillows. Nudging Derek to sit, Stiles kneels in front of him, sitting the ice pack, wet rags, and first aid kit on the floor beside him. Taking one of the wet rags, he washes Derek’s face, careful not to irritate the swollen skin there. Once his face is clean, Stiles tosses the dirty rag onto the table behind him and hands Derek the ice pack. “Put this against your cheek,” he instructs and reaches for the hem of Derek’s shirt.

Derek resists, turning his face away. “You don’t have to. It’s alright. I’ll take care of it later.”

Stiles lifts Derek’s face with a gentle hand under his chin, “Let me take care of you.”

Derek inhales at the softly spoken command, eyes darkening and dilating in response. “Okay.”

Stiles lifts Derek’s shirt over his head, wincing slightly at the hiss that erupts from Derek when the shirt pulls away from his back. “Turn around. Let me see what we are working with.”

Derek complies and faces the back of the couch, tucking his fee under his ass and holding the ice pack to his face. Stiles grits his teeth at the sight that greets him. Derek’s back is covered in welts on top of the older bruises. One long slash across the center is bleeding and appears to be the worst of the marks. Derek inhales sharply when Stiles drags the cool, wet rag over his back, cleaning away the streaks of blood. Picking up the first aid kit, Stiles takes the ointment and carefully applies it to the open areas, cringing when Derek’s flinches in pain. “I’m sorry, love. Almost done,” he soothes softly.

Stiles covers the broken skin with gauze, taping it down lightly, and says, “This should hold until it stops bleeding. Stay here, I’ll be right back.”

He picks up the dirty rags from the table and takes the one Laura hands him and goes into the bathroom to rinse them out. Stiles takes a deep breath, trying to calm his anger. He knew that signing up for that stupid site was a bad idea. He never should have agreed to accept the request. He gets too wrapped up into people too fast. He’s getting in too deep with this family, with Derek, and it’s too late to stop. Running his hands over his face, he stares at his reflection in the mirror, unsurprised by the conflict he sees there. He needs to get out of his head before he does something he shouldn’t.

Stiles walks back out of the bathroom and into the theatre room. Taking a deep breath and releasing it slowing, he meets Derek’s questioning gaze. “I need to make a phone call. I’ll be right back.”

He picks up his phone from the nightstand and pushes the connect button as soon as he walks into Derek’s room. “Hey, Sti! What’s up?” Jackson greets him.

“Jax,” Stiles exhales, relief washing over him at the sound of his best friend’s voice coming over the line. “Do you have a minute?”

Jackson’s concern filters through the phone instantly. “Yeah. Always. Talk to me. What’s wrong?”

Stiles opens his mouth and before he knows it, he tells Jackson about the temporary fix request, filling him in on all the details and events leading up to his call, leaving out intimate details but alluding to them enough that he knows Jackson understands. Jackson listens without interruption, letting Stiles release everything in a flow of verbal diarrhea. Stiles finally ends with, “Everything is moving too fast, and I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t want to stop it, but I can’t do this. I can’t trust this. I can’t give in. I just can’t.”

“Do you need me to come pick you up? I can be there in a few hours,” Jackson offers.

Stiles thinks about the suggestion before coming to a quick decision. He can’t leave Derek alone this weekend. He needs to know he’s safe. “No.”                                                                                  

“What can I do to help?”

“Tell me what to do here.” Stiles closes his eyes, shutting off the view of Derek’s room.

“Do you like this guy?” Jackson queries gently.

Stiles’ breath whooshes out of him. There it is. Exactly what he’s been trying to avoid thinking about. Everything he is terrified of facing. Thoughts of Derek flutter through Stiles’ mind, spinning in a reel behind his eyes until he blurts out, “I really do. I could see myself falling for him if I gave myself the chance, but this is just a temporary thing. It ends tomorrow. Plus, it’s too soon. I don’t know if I can let go completely.”

“Then, just let go for tonight and tomorrow. See what happens without fighting it. Whatever transpires, let it happen. When you get home, we will figure it out,” Jackson encourages.

Stiles pauses to consider Jackson’s words. Can he do that? Can he embrace the rest of the weekend without walls? Can he let Derek in just enough to do that without risking everything? And if he does, can he walk away when it’s done? “What if…”

Jackson cuts him off, “You can’t live your life wondering what if. This isn’t a puzzle, Sti. You don’t have to know the outcome before it happens. You have to take chances every now and then.”

“This isn’t something I know how to do,” Stiles admits. And it’s true. Stiles knows a lot of things and knows all about risk and chance, but how to let someone in, isn’t one he does well.

“I know.”

“I’m scared,” Stiles grits out, pressing the heel of his palms into his closed eyes as tears well underneath.

“I know,” Jackson repeats.

“He’s waiting on me in the theater room. If I go back down there, I don’t think I can keep holding back. I’ll…” Stiles trails off.

“It’ll be alright. I promise.”

“Jackson?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks,” Stiles says softly. “I love you, dude.”

“Anytime. I love you, too, Sti,” Jackson returns.

Emotions in better check now that he has talked to Jackson, Stiles washes his face, finds a shirt for Derek, and goes back to the theater room where Derek, Laura, and Lydia are waiting. “Sorry about that. Are we ready to watch movies? I believe an all-nighter was promised.”

Stiles sits next to Derek on the couch. “Let me check your back.” Derek turns, and Stiles pulls the gauze away, careful not to break the skin and cause more bleeding. “It looks better. It’s not bleeding anymore, so I’m going to put on a fresh bandage.” He covers the broken skin with clean gauze and pulls one of his own clean shirts that he brought from their room over Derek’s head, helping him to get it settled on his body without disrupting the new covering.

“Thanks,” Derek whispers. “I am so sorry you had to see this. He’s not usually quite this bad. Then again, I don’t usually stand up to him, either. I knew running my mouth at him would piss him off, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.”

“It’s fine. No need to apologize. You’ve done nothing wrong.” Stiles refrains from commenting further, choosing instead to focus on the movie that is starting.

Derek stretches out along the couch and puts his head in Stiles’ lap. Stiles runs his fingers through Derek’s hair as Derek relaxes under his ministrations until his body is no longer tense, instead becoming pliant and clinging.

With tears streaming down his face at the end of the movie, Derek buries his face in Stiles’ stomach and gives up his turn to pick. Lydia surprisingly chooses a horror flick for her turn. Before they start the second movie, they all take a bathroom break and settle quickly back into their places. Derek is already resting on the couch when Stiles returns, so he slides in behind him, arranging his arms around Derek and gingerly pulling his back against his chest and tucking Derek’s head under his chin. “Does this hurt?”

Derek shakes his head and murmurs, “No. Feels good.”

Stiles rests his hand over Derek’s stomach, and they focus on the movie as the opening credits flash on the screen. When Derek flinches at a jump scare about halfway through, Stiles kisses the top of his head and rubs his fingers in soothing circles where they rest against Derek. “Alright?”

Derek nods and whispers, “Don’t let me go.”

“Wasn’t planning on it, love,” Stiles assures him. He continues gently moving his hand over Derek’s stomach, providing him comfort and calm with the soft touch.

When the second movie ends, Stiles passes his turn to choose, so Laura picks again. Before starting it, she asks, “Does anyone want snacks?”

Derek’s stomach growls in response. Stiles chuckles and pinches Derek’s stomach lightly. Ducking his head and blushing, Derek mumbles, “I do.” Stiles hugs him from behind, a quick squeeze, letting him know it’s fine before releasing him. “I’ll come with you.” Derek stands up and stretches, a thin strip of skin showing at his waist just beneath the edge of his shirt, tempting Stiles.

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

After throwing popcorn packages into the three microwaves that are set up along the counter in the kitchen, Laura turns around, arms crossed over her chest, and asks, “What’s going on, Derek?”

He knows what she wants to know but he feigns ignorance, not really wanting to put thought to it yet, much less verbalize it. He pulls out several bags of chips, candy, and cookies from the pantry. “I don’t know what you mean.”

Laura glares at him, eyes dropping deliberately to his neck and back. “You know exactly what I mean. Did you have sex with him?”

“Define sex,” Derek counters, stalling for time.

“Don’t play dumb, little brother,” Laura retorts, tapping her bare foot on the tile floor. “Have you had sex with Stiles?”

Derek makes a face. “Not exactly.”

“How exactly then?”

Derek sighs knowing she isn’t going to back down and that his time is essentially up. “We haven’t done anything except kissing and a couple of hand jobs.” Laura cocks her eyebrow at him. “And a little grinding.”

“And those?” she motions to the marks standing out in stark contrast on the pale skin of his neck.

Derek’s hand snaps to his neck where he’s covered in Stiles’ marks. “What about them?”

“Was it really necessary? It’s like he is branding you, Derek,” Laura pushes, not backing down.

“I know.” Derek pauses, his voice becoming almost silent. “I told him to, more like begged him. I like knowing he put them there. It makes me feel like I’m his.”

“I thought you said it wasn’t like that with you two,” Laura says, her voice softening.

“It isn’t…wasn’t…I don’t know. I like him, okay? I really like him, Laur, and I’m terrified he’s going to leave tomorrow when this whole thing is over and never look back. So, until then, I am going to take everything he offers and give him everything he wants in return.” Derek takes a deep breath. “I’d give him anything, even my virginity, if he asked me to.”

Laura moves to Derek and hugs him, murmuring quietly, “This isn’t like you at all. Normally, you are so cautious about everything when it comes to stuff like this. Don’t change who you are out of fear of losing him.”

Derek squeezes his sister tighter and pulls back. “I’m not. It’s not really a fear of losing him, because I am pretty sure I will. It’s more a desire to be as close to him as I can get, to have no regrets. I’ve never felt like this before. It just feels right to me. He feels right.”

“Obviously,” Laura teases, rolling her eyes and shoving away from him when the microwaves begin to beep. “You look like you got into a fight with a sucker fish.”

“Fuck off,” he laughs, taking the popcorn out and pouring it into bowls.

They return to Stiles and Lydia, arms laden with food. “Drinks are in the fridge over there,” Laura indicates the fridge behind the couches as she places the bowls of popcorn on the table where Derek has unloaded the rest of the snacks. “Will someone grab me a water while I set up all this?”

Lydia opens the fridge and pulls out two waters, “What does everyone want?”

Stiles shrugs. “Whatever. I’m not picky.”

“Water for me, please,” Derek answers, stuffing a handful of popcorn into his mouth.

Lydia brings everyone a bottle of water, and they attack the snacks, opening every package and dumping the contents onto the table. Derek notices Stiles has a penchant for salty foods, specifically chips and popcorn, so it’s no surprise to anyone that the popcorn fight that ensues later can really be traced back to Stiles, or on his tongue piercing, really. Yep. It’s totally Stiles’ fault.

“Watch this.” Stiles tosses a piece of popcorn in the air and catches it effortlessly in his mouth, an easy smile on his face.

Lydia’s mouth drops open. “How can you do that? Doesn’t the tongue ring get in the way?”

“No? Why would it?” Stiles smiles and tosses another piece of popcorn in the air before catching it smoothly.

“I just thought it would feel like you have a mouthful all the time,” Lydia says, eyeing him curiously.

Stiles winks and teases, “Trust me, not a mouthful. There’s plenty of room for much more.”

Her face flames when she processes his meaning. Derek honks out a laugh before slapping a hand over his mouth, and Laura giggles at him before her curiosity has her asking, “What does it feel like? What are the benefits?”

“It’s hard to explain. I’ve had it so long, I don’t really remember what it’s like to not have it. It just feels normal to me now. As for the benefits, well,” Stiles smirks, “it definitely upped my oral sex game by a lot.”

“Oh, my God,” Derek groans, covering his face with his hands. “Did you really just say that to my sister and cousin?”

“What? It’s the truth.” Stiles grins lasciviously and leans back into the sofa cushions, his body pressed alongside Derek.

Lydia’s eyes are wide and unblinking. She finds courage that Derek didn’t know she possessed, because the next thing he knows, she asks, “Blow jobs or rimming?”

Stiles answers with a wicked smile. “Both, actually, but it changes things for snogging, too.”

This time, it’s Derek that blushes to his hairline. He wants to disappear when the girls look at him for confirmation. Ducking his head down to hide his face in Stiles’ neck, he finally gets out, “It really does.”

“Oooh! Tell me. What’s it like?” Laura asks, excitement lacing her words.

Derek sighs. How the fuck did they even get on this conversation? He feels Stiles’ hand slide onto his thigh with a soft, reassuring squeeze. Keeping his face hidden, Derek says, “It’s just different, alright?”

“How is it different though? Is it a pressure thing? A pain thing? What?” Laura pushes, clearly interested.

Not quite believing his sister just blurted that out in front of Stiles, Derek stutters, “I guess both. I don’t know. It doesn’t hurt, but there’s definitely an additional kind of awareness.” He closes his eyes remembering the feeling of Stiles’ pierced tongue against his own tongue and neck, the pleasure pain of him sucking marks into his neck. He shifts slightly adjusting his position to face more toward Stiles while trying to hide the twitch of his dick.

Laura casts knowing eyes from Derek’s neck to Stiles. “Maybe I need to try it out for myself. Knowledge is power and all that.”

Derek tenses, jealous at even the thought of Stiles demonstrating the benefits of his tongue ring to Laura. He tosses a piece of popcorn her. “No, you can’t use Red for research.”

“Sharing is caring, little brother.” She throws the popcorn kernel back, and it bounces off Derek’s shoulder.

“I love you, but no.” Derek throws three pieces of popcorn in succession at Laura, each bouncing off her forehead.

Laura giggles, pulling popcorn from her hair. “You’re a party pooper. It doesn’t matter anyway. I’m not sure Red would play along.”

“You’re right. I wouldn’t,” Stiles confirms, easing the tension in Derek’s body. Derek laughs as Laura flings a handful of popcorn at them. Stiles returns the assault and chucks a handful back, kernels landing on both Laura and Lydia. Laughter follows and before Derek knows it, a full-blown popcorn fight has erupted, covering the room in white kernels.

“What’s going on in here?” Derek’s dad shouts as he enters the room.

“What does it look like?” Derek sasses, taking in his dad’s swollen nose and what looks like the telltale beginning of bruising. “What happened to your face? Did you run into a wall?”

“Shut your smartass mouth and worry less about me. Clean up this mess. Now!” he yells, slapping his hand hard against the wall in anger.

Stiles doesn’t say anything. He merely lifts a pierced eyebrow in what can only be described as a challenge. To Derek’s surprise, his dad snaps his mouth shut and spins on his heel, exiting the room. Peals of laughter break out when the door shuts behind him.

Once they calm down, Lydia asks Laura, “What movie did you put in?”

“Magic Mike, duh.”

“I can’t believe I gave up my turn, and you chose Magic Mike,” Stiles grumbles good naturedly, falling back on the couch and getting comfortable. He pulls Derek down in front of him and replaces his arm over Derek, resuming their previous position. Derek winces as he leans back against Stiles, the healing skin pulling painfully.

“You alright?” Stiles whispers. Derek relaxes into him and nods. He’s never felt safer.

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles’ hand returns to making slow easy circles over Derek’s stomach as they watch the movie. The longer he does it, the more he realizes it’s not enough. He wants to be closer to Derek. To touch his skin. To feel Derek’s heat under his fingers. Grabbing the material of this shirt under his fingers, he slowly drags his hand up to Derek’s hip, easing his shirt up to his waist. He slips his hand underneath the edge of the shirt, finding Derek’s soft, warm skin, and moves his hand back to sit low on Derek’s stomach. Stiles hears Derek’s breath hitch when his fingers find the line of hair leading into the extremely low waistband of his joggers. He continues tracking the path from Derek’s belly button down to his pants, back and forth, in slow and easy rhythmic movements.

Stiles shifts down and lines up their bodies, his nose dragging over the back of Derek’s neck. He can no longer see the movie, but he honestly couldn’t give a rat’s ass. His entire focus is on Derek. Stiles stops moving his hand and pushes into Derek’s stomach, squeezing the boy closer to him. Derek, responsive, beautiful, perfect Derek, grinds back into him and arches his neck, presenting a long line of unmarked skin to Stiles. He chances a look to Laura and Lydia, seeing them engrossed in watching Channing Tatum thrust his dick around on the screen. Not that it would have stopped him had they been watching him instead, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Stiles’ mouth opens over Derek’s neck. “Can I?”

“Yes. You never have to ask. The answer is always yes.”

Stiles uses his tongue ring to press relentlessly into the flesh, sucking hard. He feels the shudder of pleasure and need run through Derek’s body as the feelings flood him. “Easy, Der. I’ve got you,” he breathes into Derek’s ear before moving to a new place near Derek’s collarbone and resuming his task, abusing the skin under his mouth. Stiles has never felt this irrational need to brand someone to this extent, to lay claim for all to see, but with this boy, it overpowers him and overrides all logical thought. He’s been proprietorial before, but this is different. This is more. This is like a hunger that he can’t satisfy, a thirst he can’t quench, and like he told Jackson, it scares him. Terrifies him, really, but Jackson is right. He needs to take chances. He needs to let go, which only leaves one question dancing in his mind. Is Derek worth that risk?

Stiles doesn’t take what he is doing any further, having left several more marks but never touching Derek beyond the light movements of his hand over his stomach and his mouth on his neck. When the movie ends, Laura asks Derek to pick a movie. Derek decides to pass again, which thrills Lydia. “Horror movie it is, then.”

“Bathroom break. I’ll be right back,” Derek says, sitting up, his erection tenting his joggers. Stiles quickly sits up behind him and murmurs quietly so that only Derek can hear, “Don’t jerk off, okay?” Derek’s head bobs almost imperceptibly in acknowledgment as he stands and heads to the bathroom.

Stiles stretches, his neck and shoulder popping loudly in the room, before standing to takes his turn in the bathroom after Derek. When he opens the door to return to the main room, he hears Laura’s shocked, “Oh, my God! Those weren’t there earlier.” Ahhh. She’s seen the new bruises along Derek’s neck then. Stiles can’t help the smug look that washes over his face in that moment, but he efficiently schools his features as he walks back into the room.

“You did that,” Laura accuses Stiles, pointing to Derek. “While we were watching a movie, you did that.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Stiles denies, the smile on his face belying his feigned innocence.

“Yeah, okay, Hoover. Whatever you say,” Laura plays along, shaking her head. “Come on. Let’s start the next movie. We have time for a few more.”

Stiles doesn’t hesitate this time, sliding his hand onto the bare skin of Derek’s stomach as soon as Derek curls in front of him. The movie is a lot gorier than the previous one Lydia had chosen, and if the way Derek ducks his head and covers his eyes is any indication, he isn’t enjoying it.

“Face me,” Stiles suggests quietly. “You don’t have to watch.”

Derek doesn’t need to be asked twice apparently, because he promptly does as asked. Stiles keeps his arm wrapped around Derek, his hand coming to rest on Derek’s lower back. He continues to close the distance between them so that their faces are nearly touching and speaks, his hot breath teasing Derek’s mouth. “Not a fan then?”

Derek shudders with a grimace. “I don’t like gore. Scary movies are not my favorite, but I can usually manage. Gore makes me feel ill. I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Stiles asks, lifting his hand to faintly skim Derek’s cheekbone.

“You’re missing the movie.”

Stiles runs his nose along Derek’s before answering. “If I cared, I wouldn’t have told you to turn around.” Derek reaches out and touches one of the piercings on Stiles’ lip before leaning his head further forward and licking at the ring. The contact leaves Stiles reeling, and he pulls back with a hiss, “You’re playing with fire, Derek.”

Derek drops his hand to Stiles’ chest and thumbs at the nipple ring hidden under his shirt. Stiles inhales sharply before grabbing Derek’s wrist and moving it down to his stomach and away from the sensitive bud. “I’m serious, love. Don’t start something that you can’t finish. Your sister and cousin are in the room.”

“I don’t care.” Derek pulls his had free from Stiles and lifts the hem of his shirt. “I want to play with it, touch it, lick it someday.” Stiles’ eyes search Derek’s for any uncertainty. Finding none, Stiles tips his head in acquiesce. Derek wastes no time and slides his hand under Stiles’ shirt, moving with determined focus. When Derek’s fingers find the ring and tug on it gently, an involuntary gasp from Stiles fills the space between them. Stiles bites his bottom lip to stifle further, more indecent sounds that are threatening to fall unrestrained from lips. “Why did you tell me not to jerk off earlier?” Derek asks.

Stiles feels the hot words spoken against his mouth and trembles with the effort it takes for him to remain unmoving. Words fall unbidden from his lips. “Because I want to watch you tip over the edge. I want to watch you every time. I never want you to come without me.” Derek’s eyes close, and he inhales roughly. Stiles’ heart skips a beat. “Too much?”

“No. Never. I want that, too.” Derek’s fingers pinch at the nipple ring. Stiles grabs his wrist and pulls roughly, letting the sensations bleed through him. Derek hitches his thigh over Stiles’ hip, and Stiles tightly presses himself into the opening, shoving his hips into Derek and seeking friction on his aching cock.

Derek tentatively meets Stiles’ lust filled gaze. “Here? Now?”

Stiles barely nods, whispering, “Now,” as he thrusts forward into Derek again.

“Okay,” Derek agrees on an exhale and pulls on the ring in his fingers again.

“Harder. Pull it harder.” Derek’s fingers immediately tighten over the metal. He pulls hard on the ring, and Stiles opens his mouth, sealing it over Derek’s and moaning into it. Pushing back abruptly, he murmurs, “Shit. Stop. Stop…you have to stop.”

Derek’s hand stills immediately. “Did I do something wrong?” he asks worriedly, biting his bottom lip.

Stiles takes several breaths, unsuccessfully trying to gain control, before rasping, “No. You are perfect.”

Derek frowns softly, confusion marring his expression. “Then why did you want me to stop.”

Stiles’ eyes slam into Derek’s. “Because if you do that one more time, I will come. I’m close, too close.”

To Derek’s credit, he doesn’t back down. He tightens his leg around Stiles’ waist, closing the distance between them again. “I want to test that theory.”

“Der…” Stiles pants, his willpower slipping out of his grasp. “I’m serious. I’m that close.”

“Prove it.” Derek squeezes the ring, grip unyielding, and tugs firmly.

“Fuck,” Stiles hisses, throwing his head back and hips forward as he pulses his release into his boxers.

 

~*~ Sunday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek watches in fascination as Stiles’ orgasm rips through him. He hadn’t believed Stiles could really be that close, could come from a few pulls on the ring pierced through his nipple. He can feel the hard ridge of Stiles’ dick pulsating against him, and he shudders. “Jesus, I’m going to come just from feeling you throbbing against me.”

“Please,” Stiles begs. “Show me.” Stiles squeezes tighter against Derek and with the next pulse of his cock, Derek arches into him, come flooding out of him in hot spurts.

Derek drops his head to Stiles’ chest, panting, eyes trained on Stiles’ tattoos peeking out from his shirt. “That was…” he can’t find the words.

“Yeah,” Stiles confirms, seeming to understand.

They can hear the movie ending, and Derek chuckles knowing they are about to be caught but not able to find it in himself to care. He’s considering just closing his eyes and letting his exhaustion lull him to sleep when Stiles murmurs, “Movie is over.” Derek grumbles in response. Stiles snickers and sits up behind Derek, allowing his hands to trail over Derek’s arm and down to his hip as he crawls over the boy. “Come with me.”

“Where are we going?” Derek mumbles, still fighting the pull of slumber.

Stiles’ eyes drop to the wet front of Derek’s light grey joggers. “To the bathroom.”

Derek rubs his eyes sleepily but doesn’t question him as he gets up and follows Stiles. When the door latches behind them, Stiles pulls Derek’s shirt over his head, and his open mouth finds Derek’s, tongue immediately requesting entrance. Derek moans, backing Stiles into the counter of the sink and eagerly opening his mouth to Stiles’ demand. Stiles flips them around and lifts Derek onto the countertop without breaking the kiss. The kiss is hard, insistent, sloppy, needy, and everything Derek has ever wanted a kiss to be but never experienced with anyone else. When Stiles pulls his mouth away a few minutes later, Derek drops his head to Stiles’ shoulder, panting as he catches his breath.

“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Stiles finally speaks. He wets a towel, wringing out the excess water and wiping it gently over Derek’s face, down his chest, over his stomach, to the waistband of Derek’s pants. Stiles taps Derek’s thigh with his fingers. “Hop off.”

Derek jumps off the counter, and Stiles steps forward with a light kiss before slipping his hands into Derek’s pants and boxers, pulling them down to Derek’s knees. He quickly wipes up the mess, then nods to the toilet as he drops his own shorts and boxers and sets to work cleaning himself.

Derek quickly pees, pulls up his pants, and trades places with Stiles so that he can wash his hands and tug his shirt back on. He doesn’t look away as Stiles positions himself in front of the toilet.

“Back to watching again, love?” Stiles teases with a wink as he relieves himself.

Neither Laura, nor Lydia, mention the wet spot on Derek’s joggers. Stiles’ dark shorts are sporting the same, but he doesn’t seem to care who sees it. That knowledge gives Derek the confidence to keep his head high instead of trying to hide the evidence as they return to their couch.

“I’m tired. Can we watch something a little mellow? Less action and horror?” Derek suggests sitting on the couch and opening the blanket to slide underneath.

Laura nods and sets up the next movie. Stiles slips under the blanket and wraps his arms around Derek from behind. Before the opening scene flashes across the screen, Derek closes his eyes and relaxes into the comforting touch, allowing himself to drop off.

Chapter Text

~*~ Monday – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles wakes up to the repeating load screen of the last movie they had watched. With a frustrated groan, he stands and picks up the remote from the table in front of Laura, turning the TV off and plunging the room into darkness and blessed silence. He slips back onto the couch behind Derek, and seconds later, Derek turns over to face him, snuggling close while still peacefully sleeping.

It’s late morning when Stiles rouses from sleep again, his eyes drawn to the man burrowed against him. He wasn’t joking when he had told Derek he was possessive and jealous when it comes to people he cares about. The feelings are already washing over him when it comes to Derek, and he doesn’t know if he can stop them. He wants to protect the man sleeping so trustingly in his arms from anything that causes or will cause him pain.

Kissing Derek on the forehead, he whispers, “Wake up, love.”

Derek’s eyes flicker open slowly, and a soft, brilliant smile lights his face. “Hi,” he breathes out.

“Are you ready to go home today?”

Derek’s smile drops, a frown pulling at the corners of his mouth. “Not really, no.”

Stiles traces his thumb over Derek’s downturned lips. “Why not? I thought you would be glad to get away from everything here.”

“Oh, well, yeah, of course. I am definitely ready to leave my father’s presence. It’s that I am not looking forward to letting you go,” he ends almost hesitantly, as if he hadn’t meant to admit that information. When Stiles remains silent, Derek finally continues, “I know what this is, and I know you have to get back to your life, one that doesn’t include me, but I just wish it was more sometimes. After tonight, you will be free of any obligation.”

“I was never obligated to be here,” Stiles reminds him, replacing his thumb with a chaste brush of his lips over Derek’s.

Derek licks his lips like he’s chasing the taste when Stiles pulls back. “You know what I mean. The temporary fix will be done, and I’m not ready for that.”

Stiles’ heart clenches when he thinks about the end of things with Derek, but as hard as it is for both of them, he needs to separate himself from the boy to evaluate everything from a different perspective. He’s too immersed in everything right now. Derek has him believing again, which fills him with dread and uncertainty, and most of all, fear. God, he really needs to see Jackson.

“I know how you are feeling. I’m not ready either, but I have a lot of things to consider and work through. And before you ask, not one of those things has anything to do with how I may or may not feel about you. You aren’t any part of those things. I told you before that there’s a reason I sent in the application for Temporary Fix. Right now, I can’t give you any answers, so I need to ask you to just enjoy the day and be patient. Can you do that? For me?”

“Anything. I will do anything for you,” Derek answers immediately.

Stiles smirks, “That could get you into trouble, Derek.”

“It’s a risk I am willing take, over and over again.”

Stiles searches Derek’s eyes for any uncertainty or untruth, but all he finds is Derek’s honest, earnest green eyes meeting his without any traces of hesitance. “You’re that sure?”

“I have no doubt in my mind.” To Stiles’ shock, it’s Derek who presses his lips to Stiles’, cementing his words. Stiles deepens the kiss, selfishly taking what Derek is offering. He should step back and slow things down, put distance between them and start patching the walls around him that Derek has cracked. He needs to begin the process of completely closing himself off again. Even knowing that, Stiles keeps kissing Derek, unable to find the motivation to stop.

Heading back to Derek’s room, Stiles’ eyes rake over the boy in front of him. If ever a man was made for him, it’s Derek. From his looks with his dark hair, beautiful expressive eyes, stubbled, sharp jaw, and broader build, if almost too thin body, to his kind, caring, shy, giving personality to his insatiable drive for touch, in both platonic and sexual contact, he is everything Stiles can see himself wanting until his last breath and then some. He stops halfway down the hall, grabbing the back of Derek’s joggers to halt his forward progress. “Der?”

“Everything okay?” Derek asks, tilting his head curiously.

Stiles nods and crowds Derek gently into the wall while remaining cognizant and cautious of the bruises and cuts on his back. “Need to kiss you.”

“Okay,” Derek acquiesces with a nearly silent whisper.

Stiles’ mouth meets Derek’s, his tongue sliding in on contact, his hunger greedy. Their tongues and teeth clash, and Stiles palms the back of Derek’s thighs until Derek lifts his legs to wrap around Stiles’ waist. “Finally,” Stiles says between their mouths, unwilling to separate from Derek long enough to speak. Stiles bites at Derek’s bottom lip and pulls. “I can’t get enough of you,” he mutters and deepens the kiss again.

A light cough breaks through their haze. Their breathing erratic, they look to see Derek’s mom standing a few feet away. “Derek, your dad is on his way up here.” She looks over her shoulder in agitation. “Go. Go to your room. Lock the door. Hurry. Please, hurry. I’ll distract him.”

When Stiles and Derek just stare back at her, she waves her hands at them in a shooing motion. “Go. Please, just go. He’s in a rage. Please, Derek. Go now.”

Derek doesn’t move. Distress covers his face. The woman looks to Stiles anxiously. “Please make him go. If his dad finds him right now, I…I don’t think he will stop this time. Please, I’m begging you. Get him out of here.” Stiles nods his understanding and pulls Derek by the arm, making haste down the hallway with Derek’s mom’s voice following in their wake, “Take care of my baby. Please, Red. Protect him.”

Stiles pushes Derek into the room, locking the door quickly. Derek’s face is ashen when Stiles turns toward him. “Derek?”

“Stiles,” Derek swallows hard. “I want to go home.”

Stiles places a gentle kiss to Derek’s collarbone. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Derek whimpers, and the broken sound has Stiles snapping his eyes to Derek’s. Fuck. Derek’s shutting down.

“Yes, Der. Okay. We can go home,” Stiles reassures him. He sees Derek fighting internally to stay with him, to not give in and separate himself from everything. It rips Stiles apart seeing Derek struggle, so he gives Derek the affirmation he needs to stop fighting. “It’s alright, love. I’m here. You can let go.” Moments later, he watches Derek’s face shutter entirely closed, a blank stare reflecting back at him.

Stiles maneuvers Derek to sit on the bed, then goes to the closet and takes out their bags. Ten minutes later, Stiles is gathering their toiletries, when he hears a light knock.

“Derek? Red? It’s me. Let me in.” Laura. Stiles releases a relieved breath. Motioning to Derek to stay on the bed, he opens the door and lets Laura slip inside before shutting and locking the door behind her. “Mom said it’s bad. How much longer before you’re ready to leave?”

“All I have left to pack are the things in the bathroom, then we will be ready,” Stiles answers, his gaze flicking to Derek.

“Alright. I’m packed, and everything is already in my car. We can leave together.” She turns back to Derek. “Do you want to go to lunch somewhere? We can spend the day doing whatever you want.” Derek remains still and doesn’t respond. Laura follows Stiles to the bathroom. “When did he stop talking?”

“He hasn’t spoken since he said he wanted to go home when we got to the room.” Looking at Laura, he says, “I know Derek’s not mine. We aren’t together, and I know he’s not my responsibility, but if your dad touches him again, I will destroy him.”

“I’ll help,” Laura grits out. “No matter what. If it comes to that, just tell me what you need, and it will be done.”

Stiles packs their belongings into their toiletry bags, and if he slips Derek’s shampoo into his bag, well, it was just an oversight. That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

“Stiles?” Laura breaks the silence.

Stiles looks up at her in the reflection of the mirror. “Yeah?”

She pauses, studying him and considering. “You’re good for him. I really hope whatever is keeping you two from being together works itself out.”

The faith in him hits him like a truck, and in that instant, he knows he will never be good enough for Derek, knows that he needs to let him go. Stiles stops packing and places his hands on the counter, ducking his head down and blinking back the tears threatening to spill. “There’s so much neither of you know. I’m not as perfect as you two assume.”

Laura shrugs and touches Stiles’ arm. “Maybe not, but you are perfect for him.”

Stiles snorts. “Don’t be so sure. One day, you may regret those words.”

“I don’t think so. I think I have this one right,” Laura says confidently.

“I hope you still believe that after tonight,” Stiles whispers.

And Laura gets it. She understands what he is saying without him having to explain. Of course, she does. “Will you come back to him?”

“I don’t know,” he answers honestly, looking up, his red-rimmed, amber eyes meeting Laura’s concerned, green ones in the mirror.

Laura gasps, “Are you in love with him?”

Stiles shrugs. “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s too early, isn’t it?” He finishes loading the bags and zips them closed, shouldering them easily as he exits the bathroom.

Stiles puts the bags down and kneels on the floor in front of Derek. “Do you want to change clothes? I left some jeans and a shirt out for you.” As expected, Derek doesn’t respond, his eyes vacant and unfocused. Stiles stands up and pulls Derek to his feet. “Arms up, love.”

Stiles nudges Derek’s arms until he lifts them above his head. He pulls the shirt off of Derek’s body and replaces it with the clean one he had taken from the drawer. Tucking his fingers into the waistband of Derek’s joggers and boxers, he says over his shoulder, “Laura, if you don’t want to see your brother’s junk, I would suggest you turn around.”

Without waiting to see if she heeds his advice, he tugs the fabric down Derek’s legs, tapping each calf to let Derek know when to lift his leg. Stiles redresses him quickly, adjusting the boxers and jeans before zipping and buttoning them. “Sit. Let me get your shoes on.”

Derek startles and jumps at a knock on the door. “Derek? Red? Are you two alright?” Derek’s mom calls through the door.

Stiles stands from tying Derek’s shoes and opens the door, ushering Derek’s mom inside. “He’s not talking right now.” Taking in the woman standing in front of him, his eyes miss nothing as he looks at her and waits to see just how this is going to play out. He hasn’t been around their mom enough to know if she’s really on Derek’s side or not.

She wrings her hands and justifies, “He does that when things are really bad or out of his control. We took him to a doctor about it once. He said it was Derek’s way of coping.”

“I know what it is. You don’t have to explain,” Stiles says as he takes in the broken, sad eyes of the flawlessly presented woman in front of him.

“It takes time for him to feel safe enough to open up again,” she continues. “He won’t let just anyone in. I don’t know if he will let me, but I can try. He usually gets combative and aggressive if anyone touches him.”

“He knows, Mom. Derek’s in good hands with Red,” Laura interrupts.

Derek reaches up and takes Stiles’ hand, lacing their fingers. Stiles immediately drops in front of him. “What do you need, love? What can I do?”

No sound comes out as Derek mouths, “Home.”

Stiles nods. “Can you stay here with Laura and your mom while I load the bags into the car?” Derek’s frightened eyes meet his, and he vehemently shakes his head in panic. Derek’s hand grips his tighter. “It’s alright. You don’t have to. You can stay with me if that’s what you need,” Stiles promises him. Derek calms at the soft assurance. “Laura, can you help me get everything downstairs in one trip. I need to get him out of here.”

“Yes. Let’s go,” Laura quickly agrees.

Stiles stands and pulls Derek off the bed. The moment his feet hit the floor, he presses into Stiles hiding his face as his body trembles uncontrollably. Stiles knows there is no way he’s getting Derek to walk in this state, and everything in him is screaming and tearing at him to get his boy out of this house. His boy.  His. Boy. His…. Stiles doesn’t have time to analyze that thought, so he pushes it away for later. “Okay. Up you go,” Stiles says, lifting Derek to wrap around him. “Hold on tight, Der. I need to grab a couple of the bags.”

Laura hands him the two toiletry bags and helps him get them situated, before grabbing the other two shoulder bags and the two rolling suitcases for herself. “Let’s get him out of here.”

Stiles strengthens his grip on Derek, and Derek squeezes his legs and arms tighter around him. Laura opens the door for them and moves to let Stiles through first. Derek’s mom stops him with a gentle hand on his arm. “I don’t know how you crossed paths with my son. Trust me, I had my own reservations about you when he showed up with you this weekend, but I’ve been watching you. You are so selfless and kind. I am so happy you were here with us, here with Derek, this weekend. You’ve made quite the impression on everyone. Thank you for taking care of him.”

Stiles doesn’t say anything. He only nods in acknowledgment and walks through the door, Laura following close behind. Unlocking the car with Derek’s keys, Stiles opens the passenger side door and places Derek inside, buckling his seatbelt for him. “Stay here. I am going to load up.” Derek’s wide eyes follow him, and his hands are shaking, but he remains in the car, so Stiles counts that as a small win.

“You lead. Wherever you want to go eat is fine. Pick something Derek likes,” Stiles tells Laura as he opens the door and gets into the driver’s seat. She nods and gets into her own car. Stiles locks the doors and adjusts the seat before starting the car. That’s when he hears it. The sound of a fist hitting the car. Shit. Derek’s dad has found them.

“Where the fuck do you think you’re going? Get out of that car this instant! Derek has obligations to fulfill this weekend.” Derek’s dad bangs repeatedly on the side of the car. Derek flinches when his dad reaches the passenger door and pulls on the handle, trying to open the locked door. When the door doesn’t open, he slams his fist repeatedly on the passenger window.

A low whine from Derek reaches Stiles’ ears. He places his hand on Derek’s thigh, and Derek latches onto it like a lifeline. “You’re okay, love. We’re leaving.” Stiles shoves the car into drive and slams on the gas, kicking up gravel and dirt in his wake. Once he reaches the main road, he pulls over to wait for Laura. Derek immediately unbuckles his seatbelt and crawls across the console into Stiles’ lap, his body still vibrating and jerking uncontrollably. Laura pulls around in front of them and gets out, approaching Stiles’ door.

“Is he okay?” she asks, when Stiles lowers the window.

Stiles drops a protective kiss onto Derek’s head. “Just a little shaken up. We need to go though. This is too close for comfort for me.”

“I agree. Follow me. I know a place about thirty minutes from here. It’s on our way home.”

“Sounds good.” Laura glances down at Derek quickly and back. Stiles understands her unspoken question. “Give me a couple of minutes to get him back in his seat, yeah?”

After Laura returns to her car, Stiles kisses Derek on top of the head again. “Derek, you have to get back in your seat so I can get you out of here. We’ll stop soon. I promise.”

It takes a couple of minutes of encouraging, but Derek eventually moves reluctantly back into his seat. Stiles rebuckles Derek’s seatbelt and beeps the horn at Laura so that she knows they are ready. Reaching over and taking Derek’s hand, he entwines their fingers, knowing Derek needs touch more than anything right now.

 

~~*~~

 

They pull into the restaurant parking lot about half an hour later. As soon as the car stops, Derek squeezes into Stiles’ lap. Pushing the seat back to make more room, Stiles then shifts and bends Derek’s legs to straddle his waist. Laura taps on the glass, and Stiles unlocks the door so that she can open it.

“Is he still not talking?”

Stiles shakes his head. “Not yet. Give me a few minutes. You can go inside and get a seat. We won’t be long.”

Laura hesitates before touching Derek’s arm. He tenses and moves away but otherwise doesn’t respond. “I love you, little brother.”

When Stiles and Derek are alone again, Stiles pulls Derek in closer against him. “I’ve got you. It’s alright. You’re safe now.” Sobs wrack Derek’s body when he finally let’s go inside. “Let it all out, love. We’ve got time.”

It takes nearly half an hour for Derek to loosen his death grip on Stiles. “Can you look at me?” Derek nods but doesn’t move away. “Der, can you sit back and look at me? I need to see your pretty eyes.” Derek takes a deep breath and slowly sits up, opening his eyes to meet Stiles’. “Hi.’” Stiles smiles. “Better?”

“A little,” Derek whispers, voice gravelly from his tears.

“Do you want to talk?” Stiles offers, carding his fingers through Derek’s hair and pushing it out of his face.

“Not yet.”

“Alright. No pressure,” Stiles comforts soothingly. “Do you want to go inside and have lunch now?” Derek nods, but doesn’t say anything. “Okay then, let’s go inside.”

Derek grabs Stiles’ hand as soon as they exit the car. “Don’t let go,” he gets out, voice becoming panicked.

Stiles tightens his grip. “I won’t. I’m right here if you need me.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Monday – Derek ~*~

 

Derek and Stiles find Laura in a secluded booth at the back of the restaurant, away from the other tables. Derek is grateful his sister understands his need to be separated from people right now. Stiles nudges Derek to slide in first, quickly following in close behind him and sitting closer than necessary.

“Sorry,” Derek whispers, head bowed.

“For what?” Laura asks.

Derek shrugs and reticently replies, “Being me. Getting in my head like that. Closing off.”

Laura waves away his words. “Stop. I understand. Don’t apologize for who you are or for mentally protecting yourself.”

Stiles skims his hand over Derek’s thigh, squeezing gently. Derek drops his head to Stiles’ shoulder and sighs in relief. “What is everyone having?”

Laura scoffs, “Like you don’t already know.”

“Well, I don’t know what Stiles is having,” Derek sasses.

“What’s good?” Stiles asks, picking up the plastic menu.

“Everything,” the siblings answer together.

“Wow, in stereo, even,” Stiles laughs. Kissing the top of Derek’s head, he says, “You pick. I’ll try anything once.”

Derek snickers, “Famous last words.”

“Oh, God, what did I just get myself into?”

 

~~*~~

 

Leaning back, Derek rubs his full stomach cautiously, afraid to move for fear of being sick. “I have a food baby.” He groans as he watches Stiles still eating. “Where do you put it all? You’re so lean, and you eat more than anyone I have ever met, except for maybe Boyd.”

Stiles just grins at him with his mouth full and continues to chew. Derek closes his eyes. He can’t watch anymore, or he’s definitely going to be sick.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you something,” Stiles says getting Derek’s attention between bites. Derek opens one eye in response. “You’ve mentioned before that you are friends with Boyd.”

“Yeah, he’s my best friend. What about it?” Derek closes his open eye and relaxes into the booth again.

Stiles swallows another bite before asking, “When you said you had three drinks that knocked you on your ass, did you get them from Boyd at Midnight Memories the week before I met you?”

“Mmm, yeah, why?” Derek moans, remembering those drinks and how perfect they were.

“Because I made them.” Stiles shrugs nonchalantly, as he eats a curly fry from the remaining food on Derek’s plate.

Derek jerks upright in his seat and gawks at Stiles. “You made them? Red drink, lots of cherries? Limit of three?”

Stiles nods with a self-satisfied expression and confirms, “That’s the one.”

Derek cannot believe what he just heard. “That’s the best drink I’ve ever had. What is it called? I have wanted another one so bad, but I didn’t know what to ask for.”

“It’s my drink. I came up with it, so it doesn’t really have a name,” Stiles answers. “I call it a Stiles Special in my head because I haven’t come up with anything better. It’s not on the drink menu anyway, so it doesn’t really need a name.”

“It should be,” Derek laments. “I was so violently sick that night and most of the next day, but I would do it all over again. God, it was like a tongue orgasm.”

“Can I try it?” Laura asks, interest piqued.

“Do you live in London, too?” Stiles asks, wiping his mouth with a napkin.

“Yeah. Normally, Derek and I would drive to our parents’ house together, but I came directly from a work trip this time,” she explains. “I’m only about fifteen minutes from the university Derek attends.”

Stiles cheekily smiles at her. “If you ever get the chance, stop by the bar. I’ll put your name on the permanent VIP list with Derek’s, and I’ll make you one on the house.”

When Stiles finally eats the last bite of food on the table, Derek can’t take his eyes off of the empty dishes. “I should challenge you and Boyd to an eating contest. I swear to God, I honestly don’t know who would win. I feel like it would be a draw.”

“Probably,” Stiles chuckles.

The waitress returns and places her hand on Stiles’ shoulder. “Can I get you anything else? Dessert?”

Derek stiffens and grits out, “No.”

Laura nudges Derek’s knee under the table. “I could go for a Kitchen Sink.”

Derek’s stomach rolls at the thought. “Laur, I’m too full.”

“Just a little,” she begs with a pout. “Please?”

 

~*~ Monday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles senses Derek’s discontent in regards to the waitress the moment her hand touches him. He squeezes his hand resting on Derek’s thigh comfortingly, letting it slip slightly down further between his legs so that his fingers can trace along the inseam of Derek’s jeans. “Get them whatever they want,” he tells the waitress.

Laura bounces in excitement when the dessert is placed on the table along with three spoons. “I haven’t had one of these in such a long time.”

Stiles feels the waitress touching his shoulder again. “Let me know if you need anything else,” she purrs, batting her eyes. Stiles wants to ask her if she has something in her eye. Seriously, what is up with the eye blinking? Is it supposed to be attractive? It’s just weird, man.

Stiles inches his hand higher on Derek’s thigh and answers, “We’re good. Thank you.” She slides her hand along his arm when she leaves, and Stiles wants to jerk away from her touch, his patience wearing thin. But in the end, he refrains. As long as she leaves, that’s all that matters. “So, tell me about this monstrosity of a dessert,” Stiles demands, handing everyone a spoon from the stack. “Where do we start?”

Derek snorts, relaxing again when the waitress leaves. “You just dig in.”

Stiles eyes the mountainous dessert warily. “It looks like crap.”

“Exactly. It’s just everything. Get it? Everything but the kitchen sink,” Laura explains.

“You’ll be wishing you had a kitchen sink to barf in by the time you’re done,” Derek comments slyly.

Stiles shoves his spoon into the center. “May as well go all in then.”

 

 

Before long, the dessert is half gone, with only Stiles still eating. He brandishes his spoon at them. “What? You two giving up already?” Laura and Derek moan their response, both having given up several minutes ago. Derek scoots closer to Stiles, hugging his arms around him and resting his head on his shoulder. Stiles eats a few more bites before sticking his spoon into the messy concoction and throwing in the towel. “I’m a bit disgusted now. It’s all melted together and mushy.”

“Yeah, it does get a bit gross after a while,” Laura agrees, picking up her discarded spoon and poking at it.

Derek’s body convulses lightly against Stiles. “You alright there, Der?”

“I don’t know. Maybe,” he says as another small heave rolls through him.

Stiles reaches his hand over and rubs slow, easy circles over Derek’s stomach. When the waitress returns with the bill, Stiles picks it up before Laura or Derek have the opportunity. “Do I pay you, or is there a cashier?”

“You pay me. Let me know when you are ready,” she coos.

Laura grabs for the bill, but Stiles holds it out of her reach. She looks at him confused. “I’m paying. You don’t need to do that.”

Stiles ignores her and pulls out his credit card, handing it to the waitress. “Put it on my card.”

“I’ll be right back with your receipt,” she chirps happily.

“I told you I would pay for everything this weekend,” Derek says quietly, unmoving from where he is wrapped around Stiles.

Stiles flicks his hand. “No worries. I can cover it.”

“But…”

“Derek,” Stiles responds, his tone warning the boy not to argue.

Derek sighs softly against Stiles’ neck. “Fine.”

“It’s been my pleasure to serve you,” the waitress says, placing the credit card slip and a pen in front of Stiles and walking away. When Stiles picks up the receipt, he sees she has written her number on his copy. He signs the store copy and rips the girl’s number off of the other.

Derek lifts his head and says quietly so that only Stiles can hear, “I need to pee.” Stiles slides out of the booth to let Derek out. When he stands, he grabs Stiles’ hand. “Come with me. I don’t want to go alone.” Laura looks at them curiously but doesn’t comment.

“Okay, love. Let’s go.” Stiles pulls Derek behind him toward the bathroom. He knows Derek is craving touch right now, and if he read it right earlier when the waitress touched him, Derek is feeling exceedingly vulnerable, which is making him overprotective and maybe a bit possessive of Stiles. Or maybe Derek is always this way. Stiles doesn’t really know. Either way, what Stiles does know is that Derek needs him. He pushes open the door to the restroom and ushers Derek inside. Derek squeezes Stiles’ hand, refusing to let go and looking at the floor. And with that shy, embarrassed action, Stiles understands. “I’ll come with. It’s fine, Derek. I told you before, if you need anything, just ask.”

“Thank you.”

Derek finally releases Stiles’ hand and steps to the toilet. The sound of Derek relieving himself breaks the silence in the room. When Derek moves to wash his hands, Stiles moves to take his place. “No peaking now, love,” he teases Derek with a wink. “I know you like to watch.”

Derek’s face reddens, but he laughs and rolls his eyes. “I do not.”

“Sure, okay. Whatever you say,” Stiles banters keeping Derek in an easy, light-hearted place.

After he washes his hands, they return to the table, and Laura slips out of the booth to stand next to them. Stiles picks up the phone number that he ripped off the receipt earlier. Taking Derek’s hand, the three move toward the exit. When they pass by the waitress, Stiles hands the paper remnant to her. “I think you lost this.”

Laura waits until they get outside before cackling loudly. “I can’t believe you did that!”

Stiles holds up a hand in front of him, palm out, and smiles in mock innocence, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“I wish I had a video. Her face was priceless,” Laura manages to gasp out between her giggles.

“Serves her right. I gave her no indication that I was interested, and I need her number like I need a hole in my head.” He laughs and amends, “Well, another hole in my head.”

Stiles unlocks Derek’s car and nudges him to the passenger side. “I’ll drive.”

Derek pauses at the door. “Are you sure? I’m better now.”

“Derek,” Stiles lifts his eyebrow. “Get in the car.”

Derek complies, and Stiles shuts the door behind him. Laura meets him on the other side. “Can I give you a hug before you go?”

“Sure,” Stiles says and wraps his arms around her.

“I’m glad you came with him. I really hope this isn’t the last time I see you. You’re made for him, and I think he’s good for you, too,” she whispers against his chest.

Stiles pulls away and responds softly, “Check in on him this week, yeah? He’s going to need someone.”

Laura frowns, sadness filling her eyes. “I guess that means you are still planning walking away from him tonight.”

Stiles nods. “I have to.”

“I wish you would change your mind,” Laura says quietly.

“I know, but I really can’t. I need to get some things worked out for myself first. Derek deserves someone who can give him everything, and I can’t do that right now,” Stiles says by way of explanation.

“Will you come back to him?” she asks, cocking her head to the side and studying him as she voices the question.

“I don’t know. Even if I did, he may not want me when he knows everything. The best I can give you is maybe, but I really don’t know. I’m not sure I can ever be enough for him. He’s too good for me.” Stiles stops and considers his words. “Tell him…just tell him that he’s always welcome at Midnight Memories. His name will always be on the list.”

“I will,” she answers with a small nod.

Laura turns to open her car, when Stiles calls out, stopping her. “And, Laura?”

“Yeah?”

“If he needs me, and I mean really needs me, pick up the phone and call me,” Stiles tells her.

“Okay,” she promises, opening her car door.

Stiles lifts a hand in farewell. “Have a safe drive back, and please, take care of him for me.” He blinks back the tears threatening to fall. There’s time for that later. With a final wave, he gets into the car and starts the engine, pulling out of the parking lot and heading toward home.

 

~*~ Monday (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek watches Stiles as he drives. Like everything else he does, he effortlessly executes it flawlessly. Placing his hand on Stiles’ leg, he taps out an irregular rhythm. “Thank you for everything this weekend. When I signed up for Temporary Fix, I never expected to be paired with someone like you.”

“Someone like me? How’s that?” Stiles asks curiously.

Derek twists in his seat to face Stiles, his hand slipping higher up Stiles’ thigh. “I just mean, you stayed. Anyone else would have wiped their hands of the whole thing, and if I’m honest, I half expected it. You didn’t have to stay. You could have left when we first got there, and you probably should have. It would have saved you a lot of trouble, but you didn’t. So, thank you.”

Stiles shakes his head, “Thanks isn’t needed.”

“If you say so,” Derek says, a soft smile gracing his face.

“I do,” Stiles glances at him quickly before returning his eyes to the road. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure. I think you have earned that much.”

“Why do you keep letting it happen? You’re an adult. Why not walk away?” he asks softly, carefully.

Derek sighs. He’s asked himself this question so many times before. The answers are always the same, so the words flow from him easily. “For one, there’s Laura. She hasn’t been ready to let them go yet. She keeps holding out hope things will get better.”

Stiles snorts. “I have a feeling after this weekend, that’s changed.”

“Me, too,” Derek agrees, hoping Stiles will let the topic drop. Of course, he should know better. If he has learned anything about Stiles this weekend, it’s that his thirst for details and knowledge is never ending.

“Is that the only reason?” Stiles presses, obviously sensing more.

“No,” Derek hesitates. “I know this is going to sound stupid, but he pays for my school. You heard him mention the obligations that I have. Part of that is so that he will continue paying my tuition.”

“What obligations does it require, Derek? What does he have on you that keeps you doing his bidding?” Stiles’ knuckles turn white as he clenches the steering wheel. Derek feels the muscles of Stiles’ thigh contract under his fingers.

Derek grimaces, “I’d rather not tell you if that’s alright.”

Stiles doesn’t relax, but he doesn’t push for more. “No pressure. You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.”

“Thanks.”

“You could get a scholarship. Take care of tuition yourself,” he suggests.

Derek sucks his lips in, embarrassed. “I don’t really qualify. My dad makes too much money, and they require your parents’ income on the application. I’m…I’m, uh, not smart enough for an academic scholarship.”

“I don’t believe that,” Stiles scoffs. “You’re smarter than you think.”

“Maybe, maybe not, but my previous grades weren’t high enough. I had too many obligations to focus on my final year before university, and my grades suffered. I barely passed my exams.”

“What are you studying now?” Stiles asks.

“Business and Law.” Derek frowns, grinding the words out through clenched teeth.

Stiles huffs a quiet sound and raises an eyebrow, still watching the road. “Not your thing, then?”

Derek barks a laugh. “No. Not even close. I’d rather be studying music as my major with a minor in art. Maybe a few creative writing classes thrown in.”

Stiles looks confused. “Why aren’t you doing that then?”

“I can’t. My dad pays for everything, so he chooses my classes. He even chooses my schedule. The only choice I was allowed to make, and that’s only because I fought tooth and nail for it, is where I live. I’m still on campus, but it’s not a regular dorm. It’s set up more like a frat house without the fraternity stuff.”

Stiles grinds his teeth together and grates, “What price did you pay for that?”

“A big one. I missed the first two weeks of school,” Derek murmurs, almost hoping Stiles doesn’t hear him, but of course, he does. Loud and clear.

“Mother fucker,” Stiles growls.

Time to change the subject. Derek continues, “Anyway, then there’s my mom. I can’t leave her until I know she’s safe. I don’t know for sure that he’s done anything to her, but until I do, I can’t leave her.”

A sour look crosses Stiles’ face. “If I tell you that he’s definitely hurting her, will you take my word for it? Please? I can’t tell you how I know.”

“Okay,” Derek takes a deep breath, trusting Stiles implicitly. “Well, then, I can’t leave until she’s safe.” Stiles nods in understanding. “I’m sorry you had to see me like that earlier. You know, like when I shut down and didn’t talk. I understand if it’s too much for you.”

“No need to apologize, dude. We all have our moments.” Stiles places his hand over the one Derek has on his thigh and pats is lightly.

Derek flops back to face forward in his seat, slumping lower. “Mine are just worse than others, especially around my parents.”

“Your mom wasn’t so bad,” Stiles offers kindly.

“She’s only bad when my dad is around. She follows along like a lost puppy when he’s in the room.” Derek squishes his face in disgust, thinking of all the clues he’s missed in the past. “I’m scared to think of what will happen when he finds out her part in us leaving today.” Stiles remains silent, giving him time to organize his thoughts. “You have obligations, Derek,” he mimics his dad. “You’ve gained weight. You’re eating too much. Your face is breaking out. You need to dress more appropriately. Do this. Do that. Don’t step out of line. Don’t disappoint me. Date Allison. Fuck Allison.” Tears fall unbidden down Derek’s face. “I hate him, Stiles. I fucking hate him so much.”

Derek doesn’t know when Stiles stops the car. All he knows is that his seatbelt is unfastened, and he’s being pulled into Stiles’ lap with warm, comforting arms supporting him. When his sobs subside, he looks up from where his head has been tucked against Stiles’ chest, his green eyes searching the beautiful blue ones staring back at him. He drops his eyes to Stiles’ mouth. “Can I? Please?”

 

~*~ Monday (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles surges forward taking Derek’s mouth with his own. The kiss isn’t gentle. It’s hard and demanding, all tongue and teeth, sloppy and biting. Derek shifts in Stiles’ lap, needy and uncontrolled. Stiles tugs the button of Derek’s jeans free with deft fingers before lowering the zipper and thrusting his hand quickly inside his boxers. Grasping Derek’s hard length in a firm grip, he brushes his thumb over him, producing a gasp from Derek into his mouth. He strips Derek’s cock hard and fast, unrelenting as Derek bucks against him chasing his release. Stiles jerks his mouth from Derek’s, latching on to his neck and sucking hard. Derek arches instantly and spills over Stiles’ hand.

Body becoming pliant, he collapses on top of Stiles. Several minutes pass until Derek’s breathing returns to normal. Stiles wipes his hand on a tissue he finds in the center console, stealing another kiss before tucking Derek’s spent dick back into his jeans. One or two or ten, because really who’s counting, soft, slow kisses later, Stiles taps Derek’s thigh. “Hop on over to your seat. We will be home soon.”

Once back on the road, Derek takes one of Stiles’ hands in his and entwines their fingers. The rest of the drive feels long, but also not nearly long enough. Stiles finds himself hating every second closer they get to home. Sooner than he would have liked, he pulls into the lot in front of Derek’s building and parks the car. “We made it.”

Derek won’t meet his eyes but responds, “We did. How are you getting home?”

“Jackson’s here.” He points to the car parked several spots down. “I texted him when we stopped for gas earlier.”

“Oh.”

“Do you need help with your bags?” Stiles offers. Just a few more minutes. He needs a few more minutes with Derek before he leaves him.

Derek motions to the building. “If you can help me get them to the door, one of the guys will help me from there to my room.”

“Oi! None of that. Let’s go.” Stiles takes his bags out of Derek’s car and loads them into the boot of his own car. Tapping the window, he waits for Jackson to lower it. “Hey, Jax. I’ll be right back. I’m going to help Derek take his bags to his room.” Jackson tilts his head in question. “I’ll explain later.”

Returning to where Derek is waiting at his car, Stiles picks up the remaining bags. “Lead the way.”

Halfway up the stairs, they run into Boyd. “Red!”

“Boyd. Good to see you, dude. You coming to the bar again soon?” Stiles greets him with a smile.

“Hopefully. It all depends on my main man here,” Boyd responds boisterously, slinging an arm haphazardly over Derek’s shoulders. Stiles doesn’t miss Derek’s wince.

“Do me a favor.” Stiles glances to where Boyd is touching Derek. “Take your arm off of him, yeah?”

Sensing the anger in Stiles’ demanding tone, Boyd immediately drops his arm and takes one of Derek’s bags from Stiles. He drops it in a nearby room and heads one door down, vanishing inside. Once the remaining bags are dropped into Derek’s room, Stiles turns to leave.

“I’ll walk you out.”

“Alright. Give me a minute,” Stiles says and walks to the door he saw Boyd disappear into. He raps on the door sharply. When Boyd opens the door, Stiles wastes no time. “Can I come in?”

Boyd moves to the side, and Stiles steps inside, closing the door behind him. “You’re Derek’s best friend, right?”

Boyd grunts, “His only friend is more like it.”

Stiles cringes but forges on. “Keep an eye on him. He’s going to need someone.”

Boyd meets Stiles’ eyes with a question, but Stiles is grateful he doesn’t voice it, instead confirming, “Always.”

“Give me your phone.” Stiles holds out his hand expectantly.

When Boyd hands over his phone, Stiles enters his number and texts himself. “If it comes to it, you’ll know when to use it.” Exiting the room, he returns to Derek who grabs his hand like a lifeline, and they head back downstairs to Stiles’ car.

Stiles leans against his car and hooks his fingers into Derek’s beltloops, gathering him close between his spread legs. “Kiss me?” Derek doesn’t need to be asked twice. He presses his mouth to Stiles’, lips separated and open for the taking, tongue pressing inside before their mouths have even completely sealed together. Stiles kisses Derek desperately, pouring every emotion the boy has pulled from him into it before he moans and tugs on Derek’s jeans, grinding hard against him once before pulling his mouth away. “I have to go.”

Derek whimpers, a soft whine falling from his lips. “Will I see you again?”

Stiles’ heart splinters when he sees Derek’s eyes begin to fill with tears, but he can’t lie to him, even knowing he’s about to break him. “I don’t know.”

Emotions flash over Derek’s features, stopping on pain with Stiles’ words. “Stiles…”

Derek’s broken voice, heavy with unshed tears, shatters Stiles. He can’t watch Derek fall apart. He has to let him go. As the first tear falls down Derek’s face, Stiles places one final kiss on Derek’s lips and ducks into the car. “Drive, Jax. Get me out of here before I do something really stupid.”

Stiles opens his phone and sends a text to Boyd.

He’s in the parking lot.

Turning off his phone, he stares straight ahead, counting the seconds until they get home. He just needs to get home. Home. But why does he feel like he just left his home behind?

Jackson drives them home in silence. The quiet heaviness in the air continues as they drag his luggage into the apartment. Stiles takes only two steps inside before he collapses to his knees, wracking sobs heaving through his body. He loops his arms over his head in anguish as Jackson sits on the floor next to him, pulling him into his calming embrace.

Stiles doesn’t know how long they stay like that before Jackson picks him up and carries him to the living room, never once letting him go. He curls in Jackson’s lap, face buried in his chest, breathing in the familiar smell of his best friend, until his tears finally begin to subside.

“You okay?” Jackson asks, concern evident.

“No.”’

Stiles is grateful that Jackson doesn’t push for more yet. He isn’t ready to talk. He will, though. He knows Jackson won’t let it go. Maybe tomorrow he will be ready. Jackson doesn’t wait for tomorrow though. He leaves Stiles to make hot chocolate, and when he returns, Stiles knows by the look on his face that his time is up.

Jackson hands Stiles a cup and sits next to him. “Talk to me, Sti. What’s going on? You’re going to have to help me out here because I don’t understand. You said you like him. Why is that so bad? Why did you just leave him like that?”

“I can’t do it, Jax. I can’t bring Derek into this.” He flutters his hand to encompass himself and the apartment. “He deserves so much more than someone like me, my drama, my life. No one deserves it really, but especially not him. He has so much of his own shit to deal with.”

“You are worth someone fighting for. You are worth someone loving. If Derek can’t see that, then he’s stupid.”

“He’s not stupid,” Stiles whispers.

Jackson cocks his head and stares at Stiles. “What happened between last night and today?”

Stiles sighs and rubs his free hand over his face. “It’s a long story.”

“I’ve got all night,” Jackson answers, sipping his drink. So, Stiles talks. He talks and cries and yells until there’s nothing left to say, no emotion left to expel, and Jackson, well, Jackson listens and holds Stiles tight when it gets hard, giving him the strength to let everything out. When Stiles begins to nod off, Jackson urges, “Why don’t you go to bed and sleep for now? Maybe tomorrow will bring a new perspective.”

“I doubt it, but yeah. I’m going to bed. Will you come with? I don’t want to be alone tonight.” Stiles hears how needy he sounds, but can’t do anything to stop it.

Luckily, Jackson is already standing and pulling Stiles to his feet. “I wasn’t going to let you be alone anyway.” He embraces Stiles in a tight hug. “Not tonight. Not ever.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Monday (continued)/Tuesday – Derek ~*~

 

Boyd finds Derek sitting in the parking lot zoned out and expressionless. “Derek? You good?”

The bereft feeling doesn’t lessen with Boyd’s arrival. “He left.”

Treading carefully into the unknown, Boyd says, “Yeah. People tend to do that when they go home.”

Derek shakes his head. “No, Boyd. Red left. He’s gone, and I don’t think he’s coming back. Ever.”

“Let’s go inside. We can talk. I think I’m missing something here, but the parking lot isn’t the best place for us to sit, what with cars pulling in to park and all that.” He waves his hand toward a car idling nearby.

Derek lets Boyd help him up and ease him into the building. When Derek turns to go into his room, Boyd makes a noise and tips his head toward his own room. “Nope. You’re coming to mine tonight.”

Derek sits on the edge of Boyd’s bed, feeling unsettled, as if he needs to escape. But he can’t. He can’t shut down. Not here. Not where everyone will find out. Boyd pulls him further into the bed to rest against the headboard beside him. Derek winces at the contact of his back with the smooth wood board behind him, but Boyd doesn’t seem to notice.

“Talk to me, dude. What just happened?” Derek stills, unfocused and unmoving, and closes his eyes unsure how to begin. “Derek? What was Red doing here? Why were you with him? I thought you were at your family’s house this weekend.”

“I was.”

Boyd nudges Derek’s shoulder with his own. “You’re going to have to help me out here. I haven’t quite mastered the art of reading minds or, in your case, eyebrows.”

Derek studies his fingers, trying to figure out how to say the words, until he finally blurts out, “I signed up for Temporary Fix, and Red was my match.”

Boyd’s head snaps to face Derek. “Wait, what? You signed up for Temporary Fix? Why?”

“I wanted someone with me this weekend. I couldn’t go alone again. I just couldn’t, and you were busy,” Derek explains quietly.

“Okay,” Boyd drags out. “And Red was your match for the weekend.”

“Yes,” Derek whispers.

Boyd cocks his head to the side as he studies Derek’s face. “Did you fuck him or something?”

“Or something,” Derek confirms on a silent breath, and he finally breaks, allowing the tears choking him to flood down his face.

Boyd pulls him into his arms and patiently waits for him to calm, then listens with silent support as the words flow like water from Derek. When the words run out, Boyd doesn’t offer suggestions or platitudes. He simply stands Derek up, undresses him to his boxers, and tucks him into bed, before shedding his own clothes and crawling in behind him. “Sleep. We’ll talk more in the morning and figure it all out then.”

Derek wakes before dawn, disoriented, heart racing. He sits up straight in the bed, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark room. Boyd’s room. He whines softly as the weekend rushes back into his thoughts, settling heavy in his stomach like lead.

“Derek?” Boyd reaches up to touch him.

“I’m alright. Go back to sleep.” Derek slips back under the blankets and squeezes his eyes closed against the darkness of the room. Boyd wraps his arms around him, and Derek allows himself to be lulled back into sleep by Boyd’s even breaths.

When he wakes again, it’s to Boyd’s horrified gasp. “You didn’t tell me it was that bad!”

“It’s that bad,” Derek deadpans.

Reaching out his hand but not quite making contact, Boyd asks, “Is there anything I can do to make it heal better?”

“No. Red dealt with the immediate aftercare. I’ll be fine.” Derek snuggles back into the warm blankets, hoping to sleep the day away so he can evade thinking about everything for a little longer.

“Alright. Do you have class today?”

“I’m not going,” Derek harrumphs, thinking it should be obvious by the fact that he’s still in bed.

“Yes, you are. Get up,” Boyd gently shoves him from behind, making sure to avoid the bruises.

“Don’t wanna,” Derek whines.

“Too bad. You’re going,” Boyd declares, pushing Derek out of the bed completely.

That’s how Derek finds himself sitting in a lecture hall several hours later counting down the minutes until his last class ends. Thirty minutes. Seventeen minutes. Four minutes. Just two more minutes. He begins packing his bag. Class is finally released, and he darts into the hallway, sprinting to his room. He has just thrown his bag onto his desk when his phone beeps with an incoming text.

Thank you for choosing Temporary Fix. We hope your need was filled to your satisfaction. Please check your email for a quick survey about your experience. We are always looking for ways to better our services, and you feedback is greatly appreciated.

Derek pulls out his phone and opens his email. He seriously needs a new laptop. Scrolling through several junk emails, he sees two unread emails. He opens the one from Temporary Fix and completes the survey. Moving to the next email, he is surprised when he sees it’s from his university.

Dear Mr. Hale,

Please come see me at your earliest convenience in the university office regarding your upcoming semester schedule. I would like to help facilitate the changes as soon as possible to ensure we place you correctly before classes begin filling up for the next semester.

Thank  you, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Melissa McCall

Checking the time, he notes he has an hour before the university office closes. It doesn’t take him long to make the short walk, and he pushes open the door slowly, anxiety beginning to settle in. He would just about bet this is what it feels like being called to the principal’s office as a kid.

“Hi. Can I help you?”

“I’m here to talk to Ms. McCall. I received an email from her today asking me to stop by. I’m Derek. Hale. Derek Hale,” he stutters out awkwardly.

The woman points down the hall. “Three doors down on your left. She’s expecting you.”

Derek walks down the hall to the indicated door. Inhaling a deep breath to calm his nerves, he knocks softly.

“Come in,” a woman calls out from inside.

Pushing open the door, he peaks around the edge. “Are you Ms. McCall?”

“Yes. You must be Derek. Come in, come in. Welcome to my…” she trails off and glances around the chaotic state of her office, giggling, “Well, welcome to my mess. Please call me Melissa.”

“Melissa,” Derek repeats the young woman’s name. “I received an email from you today. Is there something wrong with my schedule for next semester?”

“Yes, I asked you here to discuss the schedule changes needed. I want to make sure we get the classes you want with your new change in major. It’s not likely that your current law and business classes will fit into the new required courses.”

Derek looks at the woman quizzically, pretty sure she has him confused with someone else. “I’m sorry. What are you talking about? My major is Law with a minor in Business.”

Melissa takes a paper from the top of a tall stack on her desk and places it in front of her. “We were informed this morning that you would prefer to study Music and Art. Is that not correct?”

“Well, yes, I would, but you see that’s not an option. My dad chooses my courses. I don’t get to decide. He won’t pay my tuition otherwise.” Derek says, embarrassed at having to admit that.

“That shouldn’t be a problem. Your tuition is already paid,” Melissa comments.

“Right. By my dad,” he confirms slowly, wondering if this woman is a bit unhinged. “His stipulation is that he decides what classes I have each semester. He pays when he sends in his schedule selections.”

“No, you misunderstand. Your tuition is paid in full until you graduate. The funds came through and cleared this morning. The only note accompanying it was a requirement for you to choose the classes that you want for your new major in Music with a minor in Art.”

“What? What are you talking about? My dad prepaid my tuition? That’s not right.” Derek feels like he’s missing something. What is this woman going on about? Unhinged. Definitely unhinged.

“As far as I know, the funds Mr. Hale paid for next semester have been refunded to his account. This was an anonymous payment. Your father will be notified tomorrow once the refund clears his bank,” Melissa smiles.

“What about books? Rooming? Food? He pays for those. I can’t just change my schedule. I can’t afford it. I can’t touch my trust fund until I graduate,” Derek says agitatedly as panic fills him.

“My apologies for not clarifying. Your books, all supplies, including any required instruments or tools you need to succeed, rooming, and food from the university cafeteria are all included. There is also an additional stipend of $1,500.00 a month that will be automatically deposited into your personal bank account,” Melissa explains with a smile.

Derek shakes his head. “I don’t have a personal bank account.”

“Oh! Yes. Yes, you do,” Melissa rummages around on her desk again. “Here’s the information. Your login is written at the top. There is $10,000 already deposited as a starting balance. Your debit card should arrive sometime tomorrow.”

“I don’t know anyone with this kind of money. Are you sure you have the right person?” Derek stammers, his mind whirling with all of the new information being thrown at him.

“Without a doubt. Now, let’s talk about your courses for next year. What do you think about Vocal Control?”

Derek is in a daze when he leaves the university office. His classes for the rest of the current term have been dropped, and he will start again in January with a full-time schedule dedicated mostly to music and art. The only other courses are his basics, no more law, no more business, and a creative writing class. He stumbles into his room to his desk chair and opens his phone. Following the instructions to login to the website with his bank information, he gawks at the screen. There it is. His name flashes back at him with a balance of $10,000 deposited this morning. What even is his life right now?

Boyd opens the door to Derek’s room just as he logs out of his new bank account. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost. What’s up?”

Derek explains everything that has happened in the last hour, finishing with, “I’ve never made it a secret to anyone that will listen that I hate Law and Business and would prefer Music and Art, but who would do something like this?”

“Do you think Red has anything to do with it? You mentioned last night that you had told him about school.”

Derek shakes his head. There hasn’t been enough time, what with the huge funding to the university, the bank account set up and deposits, the communication with the university to set the changes in action, the already drawn up paperwork Derek had been required to sign to drop and change his major, the removing of his dad’s authority from his files, and the previously prepared legal documents that entailed, just everything. Not to mention, it’s impossible that Stiles could come up with funds to cover everything. “He’s a bartender, Boyd. There’s no way he could afford to front this kind of money. I mean, honestly, I don’t know anyone with that kind of money other than my dad. Do you think my dad did this? Maybe something finally got through to him? Or maybe he’s playing some kind of mind game? Like he did it anonymously to see what I would do? I just don’t know what to think.”

“Maybe he feels guilty? I mean, have you seen your back?” Boyd asks with barely concealed anger.

“He’s never felt guilty before. Why would he start now?” Derek lowers his eyes. “You didn’t see him, Boyd. He was so angry.”

“I say don’t worry about it. Count it as a blessing. I wish I had an angel drop all that in my lap.” Boyd grins, “And if she was a hot little blonde number that I could sink my dick into, well, even better.”

Derek shoves him lightly. “You’re so bad.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it before,” Boyd laughs fondly. “So, are you ready to try to figure out your Red situation?”

“What can I do, Boyd? He left. He doesn’t want me.”

Boyd makes a face and turns his head to the side like he’s remembering something. “The way he looks at you says otherwise.”

Derek stands up abruptly, putting an end to the conversation. “Whatever. I’m hungry. Do you want to go downstairs and make something?”

“Nah. We are going out. Someone needs to get drunk tonight, and that someone is you. Get dressed. We can go to the sports bar down the road. I want some nachos.” Boyd opens the door to leave, calling out over his shoulder. “You’re buying.”

“Deal.”

 

~*~ Tuesday – Stiles ~*~

 

It’s mid-afternoon when Jackson enters Stiles’ room with a tray full of food. Stiles woke before dawn and couldn’t fall back asleep, so he did what he does best. He worked. He took care of inventory based off the list that Liam emailed him yesterday, worked on the finance books for the bar, and made the schedule for the upcoming month. When the sun came up, he ran errands, gassing up his car, checking on the bar, and filling the pantry and refrigerator with fresh food for the week all before Jackson crawled out of bed.

“Hey,” Jackson says, placing the tray on the bed. “I would have gone shopping with you if you had woken me up.”

Stiles waves him off. “No worries. I was up before the birds. Couldn’t sleep, so I spent the morning taking care of work.”

“You can’t hide behind work,” Jackson replies snagging a sandwich from the tray.

Stiles closes his eyes and chases away thoughts of Derek that try to infiltrate his plan. “Watch me.”

“Sti,” Jackson chastises.

Stiles scrubs at his face with his hands before opening his eyes again. “Jackson. It’s fine. I’ve got a plan. I will request a new Temporary Fix and forget Derek ever happened.”

Jackson observes Stiles cautiously. “Do you think you can really do that?”

“You know I have to. I can’t get close to anyone. I couldn’t handle seeing the disgust and pity on their face once they know everything. It took me years to tell you. Doesn’t that tell you something?” Stiles asks.

“How are you ever going to be with someone if you let them go before they have a chance to have an opinion? At some point, you’re going to have to make yourself vulnerable and put yourself out there.” Jackson chews his bottom lip, considering his words. From the look on his face, Stiles knows he isn’t going to like what he says. “I think you need to give Derek a chance to make his own decisions. I think he should have the opportunity to decide for himself if he can carry your struggle with you. You like him. I know you do, and he apparently likes you. Let go, and see what happens. If he doesn’t step up at least it’s not because you didn’t give him a chance.”

Stiles clenches his teeth. “No. He’s better off without me. I can’t destroy something so pure. If he was even a little bad, I might contemplate it, but he’s not. He shines like the sun, and I can’t be the one to dim that.” Jackson begins to interrupt, but Stiles cuts him off sharply, snapping, “Let it go, Jax. He doesn’t need someone as messed up as me in his life. He has enough shit of his own to deal with.”

Jackson doesn’t push, and for that, Stiles is thankful. He pulls his laptop into his lap and takes one of the strawberries off of the tray, shoving it between his teeth. “Help me fill this stupid form out. Forget about Derek. I can’t think about him and keep my sanity.”

Jackson stares at him for a minute but eventually nods his head, giving in for now.

Chapter Text

~*~ October – Derek ~*~

 

As expected, Derek’s dad calls him the next morning. He debates on taking the call and getting it over with, but in the end, Derek sends the call to voicemail and snuggles under his blanket, blocking out reality. His phone rings over and over again all day. Finally, when Boyd gets back from class, Derek relents and answers, flipping on the speakerphone.

“Hi, Dad,” Derek greets with a sigh.

“Where have you been?” he demands. “Don’t lie to me and say you have been in class. I received an email this morning informing me that you have dropped all of your courses this term and that your tuition for next year has been refunded.”

“Yes. That’s right,” Derek confirms, pushing as much confidence as he can muster into his voice. Well, it’s fake confidence, but his dad doesn’t need to know that.

Boyd squeezes Derek’s knee supportively from where he sits next to him on the bed. A soft smile flashes over his face before his dad speaks again, wiping it quickly away. To say that Derek’s dad is angry would putting it lightly. Very lightly. “Who told you that you could do that? I will be calling the school tomorrow, and you will be going back to your classes.”

Derek closes his eyes as his confidence wanes. “I will be starting classes again next term,” he says firmly.

“How exactly do you plan to do that with no job and no money?” his dad sneers through the phone.

“I’ll figure it out.”

“Like hell you will. Be prepared. You will do as I say,” his dad threatens.

Pulling on the small vestige of courage he has, Derek replies, “No, Dad. I won’t. I’m changing my major to music and art.”

“You will continue with law and business as planned. I am not paying for that artsy fartsy gay shit.”

Aggravation fills Derek at the slight against his new course. “I’m not asking you to.”

His dad scoffs, quickly reminding Derek, “You can’t touch your trust fund until you graduate.”

“I know. I’m not asking to,” Derek retorts, unable to contain the insolence beginning to seep into his words. “Did I say anything about wanting to access it?”

Derek’s dad barks a harsh laugh. “You think it’s going to be so easy, don’t you? Just wait because when you fail, I won’t bail you out.”

“Why would you start now?” Derek taunts, pushing his father further.

He knows he has hit his mark when his dad’s voice drops. “You best watch yourself, little boy. I own you.”

“I’m an adult. No one owns me.”

“Have you forgotten? Do I need to spell it out for you?” his dad challenges.

Derek tenses, and Boyd grabs his hand, providing much needed support. “No.”

Derek can hear the smug tone in his dad’s words, knowing he’s won at least this for now. “What’s that, boy? No, what?”

“No, sir,” Derek whispers through clenched teeth.

“That’s what I thought. Your little school may think you can make your own decisions and pay your own way, but it won’t take long for them to see otherwise. When you can’t pay your tuition, books, or living arrangements, they will kick you out, and then you’ll have nothing. No place to live, no money, no trust fund, nothing. You’ll be just like that garbage you brought here for the family weekend,” his dad spits, his tone taunting and arrogant.

Derek’s eyes snap open, and he stiffens in anger, squeezing Boyd’s hand in an unyielding and brutal grip. Stiles may have left him, and Derek may not understand his reasons, but his feelings for Stiles are still too close, too present to pretend otherwise. “Whatever. Are we done here?”

“Mark my words. You will be nothing.”

Derek’s patience evaporates. “Yeah, yeah. Okay. Good talk. Bye now.”

“Don’t sass me, boy,” his dad says gaining momentum again. God, would his dad ever just shut the hell up? “You will…”

Derek cuts him off. “Is there something else? If not, I need to go.”

“When you come home for Christmas, you have obligations to see to. Do not bring anyone with you. You were stupid to bring someone last time. Plan to attend to Allison Argent, as well as, a new client,” his dad informs him. Derek hopes Boyd doesn’t understand the meaning behind his dad’s demand.

“I’m not coming home for Christmas,” Derek calmly informs his dad.

“You are.”

“I’m really not.” Derek replies, disconnecting the call.

He takes a deep breath and looks up to find Boyd staring at him, mouth agog. “Sorry. My dad is, well, he’s…” Derek trails off at a loss for how to explain without sounding like a horrible person.

“A fucking dick,” Boyd supplies.

Derek chuckles as the tension leaves his body. “Yeah, something like that.”

Boyd flops back onto the bed. “I guess that means your dad didn’t change your schedule, then.”

Derek falls back beside him. “I don’t know. He can be pretty malicious. I wouldn’t put it past him to have done this to watch me fall on my ass by ripping it out from under me when I least expect it.”

Rolling to his side and propping himself onto one elbow, Boyd asks, “How did you turn out how you did with that man for a father?”

“I don’t know, but I will never be like him,” Derek guarantees as his phone buzzes with an incoming notification.

Hi, Derek! We have a Temporary Fix request that we feel you would be a perfect match for. Please check your email for details. If you would like to opt out of text notifications, send STOP.

“You want to help me respond to this?” Derek asks, shoving his phone into Boyd’s face.

“Are you sure you’re ready for that? The last one was just a couple of days ago, and you haven’t really coped with everything.”

Derek sits up and clicks the link on his phone. “What’s there to cope with? He left. I can’t do anything about that. If I had mattered at all to him, he would still be here.”

“What about the fact that you are half in love with him after just a few days with him?” Boyd mentions gently.

Derek’s stomach flips, and his heart stutters as he absorbs the complete accuracy of Boyd’s words. “I’m not.”

Boyd frowns at Derek. “Lying to yourself only prolongs the inevitable crash later.”

Pushing away all thoughts of Stiles, Derek’s demeanor hardens. “I will deal with it if it happens, but it won’t, so stop worrying. Do you want to help me or not?”

“Yeah, okay. Sure.” The look on Boyd’s face says that he has more to say, but Derek is glad he keeps it to himself. Derek isn’t ready to face the truth to Boyd’s claim.

 

~~*~~

 

By the end of the next week, Derek finds himself sitting across from a girl that goes to a different university across the city. The fix request had said dinner and a movie. He is pretty sure he can handle that, even if his mind still revolves constantly around thoughts of Stiles.

Over dinner they chat about school and the types of courses they are interested in. Conversation is easy, and Derek has high hopes that maybe, just maybe, he can move on eventually. This girl seems nice enough, if not really his type, but maybe there are more out there like her that wouldn’t mind dating him.

They find seats in the back row of the theatre and talk quietly until the movie begins. When lights dim, the girl seems to suddenly be nervous, so he looks over and smiles at her softly hoping to alleviate her worry. In the blink of an eye, she hikes up her skirt and climbs on top of him. Derek freezes, hands up and as far away as he can get them from the girl. She doesn’t seem to notice that he’s not responsive when she grinds against him, until he finally pushes her gently back into her seat and stands to leave. He almost makes it to the stairs when he feels her take his hand, following him out of the building.

“Please do this for me,” she starts begging the second they step foot outside. “I don’t want to be a virgin anymore, and if I lose it to a college guy then everyone will like me.”

“What do you mean by lose it to a college guy?” Derek is suspicious.

“Nothing,” she responds meekly.

Derek just stares at her until she finally capitulates and comes clean. “Fine. It’s like this. I’m 15 and still in secondary.”

Yeah, that wasn’t going to work for Derek, because no.

She continues, filling in the silence when Derek doesn’t respond. “I want everyone to like me, but they all think I’m a baby because I haven’t had sex.”

“That doesn’t make you a baby. Most of the people teasing you probably haven’t had sex either.” Derek hails a cab, pushing her inside and giving the driver enough cash to get her where she’s going. “Go home, and don’t do this again. It’s dangerous.”

Derek goes home and falls into his own bed. He could go to Boyd’s room, but he doesn’t want to have to deal with the embarrassment of the night just yet. He checks his email and sees another request has come through. Immediately accepting the fix for next week, he tosses his phone onto his nightstand and rolls over, closing his eyes.

 

~~*~~

 

Tonight’s fix is a study date. The guy had said he didn’t like to study alone in the library, and while Derek doesn’t need to study, he figures he can take a book and read to pass the time while the guy works. It starts off fine, if a bit awkward. The guy is wearing baggy light grey joggers, and it looks a lot like he’s commando under them. To each his own, Derek supposes. They shake hands and find a table near the back. Less than five minutes after sitting down, Derek knows he has been hoodwinked again when he feels a socked foot settle against his dick. How about no?

“Seriously?” Derek asks, looking up from his book.

The guy grins, “Why not? It’s fun, and you’re hot as fuck.”

“No, thanks. I’ll pass.” Derek doesn’t say anything else and walks out shaking his head at the audacity of some people. What the fuck is wrong with people?

 

~~*~~

 

Later in the week, he accepts another fix for a costume party on Halloween. He spends an inordinate amount of time trying to decide what to wear, unsure if he should go with something simple that would blend in or if he should go as what he planned on originally before the request had come through.

His fix this time is a guy that has lived in the city his entire life, so they don’t have university in common to talk about unfortunately. His uninspired costume is literally his uniform from Beefcakes, and Derek is pretty sure it is the same guy that he saw playing with himself at the back table when he had gone to eat there with Boyd last month. The costume party ends up being brutally boring, so, when the group decides to go out for drinks, inviting Derek along, he jumps at the opportunity.

He doesn’t realize they are going to Midnight Memories until they pull up into a nearby parking lot. He can’t come up with a way to gracefully bow out, so he slaps on the best smile he can and pretends he’s fine. The bouncer at the door greets him when it’s their turn to enter. “Hey, Derek! You know you don’t have to wait in line. Go on in. No cover.”

The group he is with stares at him, but Derek brushes off their questioning looks. It’s really none of their business, and he isn’t in the mood to explain anyway. He hides in the back corner where he can’t be seen from the bar, but he definitely finds a way to train his eyes on Stiles repeatedly. Stiles who looks perfect in leather. Apparently, the guy from Beefcakes has met Stiles before and is spending a lot of time going back and forth to the bar just to have a chance to talk to him. Derek even overhears him talking to some of the others about how he would spread himself over the bar in front of everyone just to have Stiles’ dick in his ass. Derek bites his tongue and excuses himself to the bathroom. Tears choke him as he slips out the door and heads home.

Boyd knocks on his door before pushing it open and sticking his head in a few minutes after Derek gets to his room. “Back already?”

“Yeah. It wasn’t fun. The party was boring as fuck, so everyone went out drinking.” Derek rips off his costume and pulls on a pair of boxers.

Boyd cocks his head to the side, which is actually quite funny to Derek seeing as how Boyd has on a puppy onesie, complete with floppy ears. “You didn’t want to go?”

Derek tosses his costume into his hamper and walks into the bathroom to wash the glitter from his face and body. “Oh, I went, but I didn’t realize they were going to Midnight Memories until it was too late to back out.”

“Oh, my God! What happened?” Boyd asks, appearing in the doorway to the bathroom.

Derek shrugs, rinsing off the soap from his face. “Nothing. I got tired of hearing the guy I was with talk about how he wanted to spread his legs for Red, so I left. I was unwanted and unneeded there anyway. No one will miss me.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“Nope.” Derek grabs a clean towel and dries his face. Looking in the mirror, he still sees sparkles. Whatever. He couldn’t care less right now.

“Did you see Red?” Boyd asks timidly.

“Yep.” Thoughts of Stiles flood his mind, but after tonight and watching how happy and unbothered Stiles was, he now knows for certain that Stiles is gone for good. He feels hot, heavy tears threatening to fall, his throat clogging and threatening to choke him.

“Did you talk to him?”

“No. I made sure he didn’t see me. He’s doing fine. Happy and whatnot. It’s beyond obvious to me now that Red didn’t want me, didn’t care, and he’s the most forgiving and caring person I have ever met other than you. If someone like him doesn’t want me, why would anyone else?” Derek crawls into his bed and pulls the blanket over his shoulders. “I’m going to bed. Shut the door on your way out.”

“You want some company?” Boyd offers.

“No. Not tonight,” Derek struggles to get out as he tries to keep the fresh tears at bay. As soon as Boyd shuts the door behind him, sobs wrack his body.

Chapter Text

 

~*~ October – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles’ request for a hookup on Temporary Fix is quickly accepted and before the week is out, he’s getting ready to meet the girl at the “no tell motel” just down the street from the bar. Before he submitted the request, he changed his preferred name to Red on the site, needing something nameless and detached, something to separate himself from what he’s doing. He walks there, hoping the fresh air will settle him into the right headspace. Arriving ten minutes early, he checks in and sends a message to the girl to meet him in room #29.

He specifically requested a girl for the fix, in hopes that it may help him get his mind off Derek, but now that he’s waiting in the motel room, he isn’t sure it’s going to help. Matter-of-fact, he’s almost positive it won’t seeing as how he can’t go more than a few minutes without thinking about Derek. Walking away from Derek has taken its toll on Stiles, but he knows it was the right thing to do. When a knock breaks into his thoughts, Stiles opens the door greeting the girl with a quiet, “Hey.”

“Hi. I’m Malia.” She flounces into the room and removes her short, black overcoat to reveal that she is wearing absolutely nothing underneath. Naked before him in only red stiletto heels, she lets her coat fall to the floor and demands with a purr, “You’re overdressed. Get naked.”

Stiles takes a deep breath, resigning himself to just getting it over with. It’s a warm hole to sink his dick into. He spends more time than necessary in removing his shirt and pants, but for some reason he can’t really entirely explain, he leaves his boxers in place against his slim hips.

“Ooh! Nipple rings.” She steps into his personal space, reaching out manicured fingers to touch stainless steel rings, and he immediately steps back out of her reach.

“They are off limits. Don’t touch them,” he states, leaving no room for misunderstanding.

“Aww, why not?” Malia whines softly, moving forward and pressing her naked body fully against Stiles’.

“Because I said so.” He steps back putting space between them again as he stifles a shudder because boobs. Not really doing it for him this time, especially since his thoughts continually drift to a long, broad, decidedly male body topped with black hair, green eyes, and stubble. A body that most definitely doesn’t have tits.

Disappoint flares behind her eyes, but she quickly masks it. “Whatever. Did you bring condoms?”

Stiles flicks his hand idly toward the bed. “On the nightstand.”

“Let’s get to it then.” Malia slinks forward again, winding her hand around the back of his head and kissing along his neck down to his collarbone, the slick slide of her lipstick adding a touch of disgust to the already unappetizing feeling. Stiles moves backward toward the bed, sitting when the backs of his legs make contact with the soft mattress. Well, softer than the floor anyway. What do you expect from an hourly-rate motel? The girl wastes no time in pushing him further onto the bed before crawling over him and pushing him down as she perches on his lap. “I want to ride you.”

Stiles doesn’t accept or deny her request. He just wants to get through this and get Derek out of his fucking head. The girl grinds down onto him, and he finds himself struggling to get hard, even with the warm, willing body pressed over his. When the girl notices, she scoots down lower on the bed and licks along his still flaccid penis. Getting no response, not even a twitch, she asks, “What does it for you? I’ll do anything you like.” Malia grins mischievously before snagging his nipple ring between her fingers.

Stiles’ reaction is instantaneous. While careful to watch his strength and not physically harm the girl, he grabs her wrist in a tight grip until she releases the piercing. “Leave.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said leave. We’re done here.” Stiles slides out from under her and tugs on his shirt and pants. Opening the door, he says, “You have two seconds to leave this room, or I will throw you out.”

Malia picks up her previously discarded coat from the floor, and before she has the opportunity to slip her arms into the sleeves to cover her naked body, Stiles steers her outside, shutting the door with a hard slam behind her. He ends up staying in the room for the full hour. He figures he paid for it, so why not? Watching really bad quality TV in a really bad quality motel room beats going home and overthinking.

 

~~*~~

 

The next day, Stiles accepts a new request for a hike in the park in the upcoming week. The girl said she was afraid to go onto the trails alone and wanted the security of another person. Seems simple enough. The day arrives and brings with it rain. Of course, it brings rain. Why wouldn’t it? He confirms with the girl that they are still on for the hike and walks to the park about thirty minutes away from his apartment. He figures that he’s going to get wet either way, so he may as well walk and save his car’s interior.

He arrives early and waits for her near a bench by the entrance, killing time by people watching. A few minutes later, a girl hesitantly approaches him.

“Are you Red?”

Stiles shoves his hands in his pockets and nods. “Yep. Guilty as charged. You must be Hayden. You ready?”

They slog through the puddles, not really saying much of anything to each other. If Stiles is honest, it’s all a bit awkward. At first, he attempts to make small talk, but she answers anything he asks with one word answers and doesn’t bother asking him any questions of her own. Giving up, Stiles snaps his mouth shut, and they continue to walk along the path in silence, Unfortunately, even the quiet of the trails doesn’t help to diminish the odd sensation he can’t quite put his finger on.

Feeling out of sorts, his gut tells him something isn’t right. He turns to tell her he thinks they should head back only to find her sitting in middle of the path looking like some crazy ass weirdo. When she starts calling on the hounds of hell, he laughs loudly. “You’re batshit bonkers.”

The sky opens up, and the steady rain becomes a torrential downpour. The girl hasn’t stopped her summoning shit, and Stiles is beyond over it. Without another word, he leaves the park and never looks back. What the fuck is wrong with people?

Stiles immediately jumps in the shower when he gets back to his apartment. Letting the hot water pour down over him, warming his frozen body, he reaches down and tugs on his dick. All it takes is pinching his nipples, imagining it’s Derek’s fingers pulling at his piercings, and he is aching and hard in his hand. He allows his memories of Derek to invade his mind as he pleasures himself, only feeling a little bit guilty when he calls out Derek’s name as he comes over his fingers.

 

~~*~~

 

Regrettably, Stiles doesn’t have time to accept any more requests right away. He has several meetings in the city center taking more of his time than they should, but they are a necessary evil for his business to thrive. He meets with several construction crews for a renovation idea that has been bouncing around in his head for a while. He also has several onsite meetings at the bar with new potential vendors. He’s been thinking about adding a more elite line of liquors to the standard setup and hopes to have it in place by New Year’s Eve.

Filling his time to capacity definitely helps him to keep from obsessing about Derek during the day, but at night when he’s in bed, everything rushes back in. Not a night goes by that he feels like he gets any rest, crying in his sleep more often than not and waking with tear tracks on his face.

Halloween is upon him before Stiles realizes it. He hasn’t had a chance to get a costume so he pulls on his low-rise, tight, black leather pants and a tank top. When he arrives at the bar, he tugs off the tank top and adds suspenders to his pants, leaving his tattoos and piercings on full display. They are busier than normal all night, but the costumes are at least keeping him somewhat entertained.

It’s close to midnight when Stiles feels like the air has been sucked out of the room around him. Eyes snapping immediately to the door, he inhales sharply. He’d know him anywhere, in any disguise. Derek. Stiles observes the group he is with but doesn’t see Boyd among them. Odd. Boyd had said Derek didn’t have a lot of friends, but this group is big, maybe twenty or so people. Stiles scans the group and compartmentalizes everything he takes in. If he’s right, Derek is with a guy that looks a lot like Scott from Beefcakes.

His suspicions are confirmed when the man, dressed in his Beefcakes uniform, is standing in front of him waiting to order. How fucking unoriginal could someone be to wear their work uniform as a costume? Stiles shakes his head and fills the order, making idle small talk, before handing him the drinks and moving to the next customer.

Scott comes back through his line several times over the next couple of hours, leaving Derek hiding in the corner. Each time Scott lingers a little longer than necessary at the bar while trying to draw him into a conversation, Stiles’ anger flares hotter, and when he sees Derek bustling fast out of the bar, eyes shining and cheeks pink, he sees red and tells Danny he will be right back.

Stiles tips his head to the bouncer nearby with a quick nod before slipping into the employees only area seconds later. As soon as the door shuts tight behind him, Stiles falls to his knees and yells, screaming his fury at the top of his lungs, knowing the music will drown him out. Once he finally gains some semblance of control, he returns to the bar, hands still trembling with his barely restrained rage.

“All good?” Danny checks in kindly with worried eyes.

“Fine,” Stiles growls, slapping on another fake smile and taking the next order, essentially burying himself in his work but, all the while, still tracking Scott’s every movement.

When Scott finally shows back up in line, he flashes a smile at Stiles. “Hey. Have you seen a tall, dark-haired guy dressed like Miley Cyrus or some shit? Gold hotpants. Pasties. A shit ton of glitter all over his face and body.”

Mouth pressed in a hard, thin line, Stiles nods, “Yeah. He left about an hour ago.”

“Mother fucker!” Scott exclaims, slapping the bar, before exhaling a loud sigh with a shrug. “Whatever. He looked like he’d be a lousy lay anyway, but you know even a lousy fuck is a fuck.”

“Hey, Red!” One of the bouncers calls him from the end of the bar. “Bones tailed Derek home. He made it inside safely, but Bones said he was crying pretty bad. He didn’t even notice he was being followed.”

Stiles tips his head in acknowledgment. “Thank you.”

Scott is still standing in front of him when he turns back to the line. “You know Derek?”

Stiles keeps his face and eyes blank as he nods again. “You could say that.”

“So, was I right, then? Lousy in bed, yeah?” Scott smirks with the answering silence, obviously taking the lack of response as confirmation of his claim. “That’s too bad. His dick looked like it was nice from what I could tell. What a waste!”

Stiles rolls his shoulders, trying to maintain his forced calm. “Would you like to order something?”

Scott raises his eyebrows and licks his bottom lip. “Fuck later? You. Me. I’ll let you stick it in me six ways to Sunday. You up for it?”

Stiles blinks slowly, pausing before finally responding. “Nothing you could do would ever make me up for it, dude. Now, I have work to do. Order a drink, or get out of the way.” Stiles waits for Scott to turn to leave before he stops him, voice deadly with intent. “If you see Derek again, walk away.”

Scott snorts. “Like I said. A fuck is a fuck, so why would I do that?”

“He’s mine.”

If only Stiles could make that a reality.

Chapter Text

~*~ November – Derek ~*~

 

Two weeks pass by, and without classes to keep him busy, Derek is beyond bored. He replaces his laptop, with albeit a much cheaper one, but it’s enough to get by for now. He has the money in his account to get something better, but he doesn’t want to take any chances that the money stops coming in leaving him with only what’s left in the account. He’d rather starve than ask his dad for help.

Derek has tried binging Netflix, but even that feels mundane and tiresome. Scott, from his temporary fix on Halloween, has called more than ten times over the last couple of weeks. Derek probably owes him an explanation for just up and leaving, but he avoids the calls anyway. What’s the point? The guy obviously prefers Stiles. But, then again, who wouldn’t? At least he has another Temporary Fix request that he accepted last week for tonight. The girl seems better than the others if their chat last night was any indication, but obviously, he's been wrong before, so he isn’t holding his breath.

Derek shows up five minutes early to the bar they had agreed on to meet for drinks. When the girl finally arrives twenty-four minutes late, she’s already drunk. Derek sighs in aggravation. So much for some nice conversation. Rather than lifting the stool to pull it out from where it is tucked under the bar, the girl drags it across the floor so that it lets out a loud screech and suddenly all eyes in the bar are on them. Lovely. Where’s the hole in the floor when you desperately need it to disappear through?

“Hi,” she slurs. “Ready for those drinks?”

Derek recoils from the stench of alcohol on her breath when she leans toward him. “I think you have already had plenty.”

She rolls her eyes and waves over the bartender, ordering a cocktail. “You’re not my father. Besides, I was pregaming.”

“Why?”

“To get over my nerves, duh,” she says by way of explanation.

Derek isn’t drunk enough for this shit. “Nerves? Over drinks and conversation? What’s there to be nervous about?”

Taking a large gulp of her drink, she hums and holds up her finger. “I was hoping to take you home after. I need to get off, so I figured this would be an easy way to do it. The last guy I tried to hook up with got angry and pushed me out of the motel room naked.”

The idea of fucking this girl isn’t appealing in the slightest, and Derek declines the offer. “I didn’t sign up for that. I can offer you conversation if you would like, but I think drinks are out of the question tonight.”

“No sex then?” the girl pouts.

“No sex,” Derek confirms.

“I’m going to just go then,” she says hopping off the barstool and wobbling for a second before she finally regains her balance on her red stiletto heels.

“Next time, try being honest in your request. You might find what you are looking for a lot easier.” Derek stands and throws some cash onto the bar to cover their drinks, signals the bartender so that he knows the money is there, and walks out, leaving the girl weaving next to the stool as she tries to remain upright.

 

~~*~~

 

Three days later, Derek is sitting at an outdoor café for brunch waiting for yet another fix. As usual, he’s early, so he orders a coffee while he looks over the menu. The girl slides into the seat across from him two minutes early, pleasantly surprising Derek. What do you know? There are actually people that have respect for someone’s time. Derek greets her with an easy smile. “Hi.”

“Hey. You must be Derek. I’m Jennifer. Sorry, I would have been here sooner, but my roommate was having a crisis,” the girl rushes out.

“No worries. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Same,” she smiles, glancing at his drink. “Have you already ordered?”

“No, I was waiting for you. I couldn’t resist the coffee though.” He lifts his cup and takes a sip.

The girl smiles. “That’s sweet. I come here a lot, so I’m ready when you are.”

Derek gets the waiter’s attention, and they place their orders. Everything goes really well, and Derek is hopeful he’s finally on the right track. He should have known better. Oh, God, he really should have known better.

“You can meet my parents next week,” Jennifer tosses out casually.

Derek chokes on his coffee. “Excuse me? What? Why?”

She opens her eyes wide, the picture of innocence. “Well, they have to meet you since we’re getting married.”

Derek’s coughing continues, but he gasps out, “We are?”

“Well, yeah. They will want us to get married right away when we tell them of our impending arrival.” She continues eating, taking a bite of her eggs, as if she wasn’t a few bananas short of a bunch.

Derek pushes his plate away, suddenly no longer hungry, his appetite gone. “I’m sorry, what impending arrival?”

“Our baby, duh,” she says, reaching out to put her hand over his on the table.

Derek jerks his hand away before she can touch him. “Our baby?

“Of course, babe. I am already three months pregnant, so we have no time to waste.”

“Oh, no! No. No. No. Not only no, but hell no!” Derek pushes away from the table and leaves the girl sitting there, her caterwauling reaching ear splitting levels.

“You can’t just walk out on me, on us!” the girl screams, causing everyone around them to gawk. “You will marry me and make an honest woman out of me.”

Derek cringes in revulsion. “Tell that to the poor guy that was fucking stupid enough to stick his dick in you unprotected.”

He nearly sprints through the restaurant, passing one of the wait staff, when they reach out and stop him. “You’re the third guy she’s done that to this week,” he laughs. “But I have to say, your response is my favorite.”

By the time Derek gets back to his room, he feels himself wanting to give up, wanting to just let everything go and shut down. It’s all too much, and he isn’t sure how much more he can take. He debates whether to accept another fix, but inevitably opts to wait for a week. He needs to regroup his thoughts. After a quick shower, he pulls up Netflix on his laptop and zones out.

Later that evening, Boyd barges into his room. “Wanna hang tonight?”

“Not really.”

“Come on, Derek,” Boyd cajoles from where he stands just inside the door. “We haven’t done anything for weeks. I miss you.”

“I’m not in the mood,” Derek says, avoiding eye contact. “Just leave me alone.”

“Alright,” Boyd says, his sad expression not lost on Derek. “If you change your mind, I’ll be in my room.”

After Boyd leaves, Derek flips to his email and accepts the new request waiting there. Why the hell not? It’s not supposed to be until the last week of November anyway. That will give him a week or so to get out of his funk.

Boyd continues trying to do things with Derek, and Derek always refuses. His dad has left three messages this week, but he’s ignoring those, too. He just wants to be left alone. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He’s afraid if he does, he will spiral out of control, and he can’t afford to slip away into his head right now. Laura’s busy with work, and there’s no one else to keep him safe and pull him out.

The days drag by, and Derek considers putting in another request for himself. He talks himself out of it each time he thinks about it, keeping himself busy by focusing on sleeping. He sleeps a lot. It makes the time pass faster until the day of the fix he had the week prior accepted arrives.

Arriving early, Derek leans against the railing outside a nearby restaurant where he is supposed to meet a guy for a late lunch. He’s deep in thought when a man abruptly addresses him. “Hi. Are you Derek?”

“I am. You must be Matt.” Derek responds with a smile.

The man returns his smile with a forced one of his own. “Yes. Fantastic. Are you ready to go inside?” Derek nods and opens the door. Once they are seated, the guy immediately begins complaining. “Wow. I didn’t realize everything was so expensive here. You can cover yourself, right?”

Derek just barely keeps himself from rolling his eyes. “Yeah. All good.”

The waiter arrives to take their drink order, and Derek gets his second red flag. As the waiter goes through his spiel of the specials for the night, Matt rudely cuts him off, “Can you just stop talking? I’ll have water, and so will my date.”

Derek raises his hand to get the waiter’s attention, “Actually, I will have tea, please.” He can tell Matt is unhappy with him, but Derek brushes it off and tries to make small talk. The tension lessens, and Derek chalks the man’s rudeness up to nerves. When the waiter returns, he realizes how mistaken he was.

Matt places a long, complicated order with so many substitutions and changes that Derek is lost trying to keep up. The food arrives, and Derek knows. Almost like he can see the future. The order is wrong. Trying to calm the situation before it happens when he sees the man’s face mottled red, Derek stops the waiter. “Excuse me. I’m not sure that my friend’s order is correct. Can we get that fixed, please?”

“Absolutely, sir. My apologies. Let me review the order so that I can make sure it’s accurate next time.”

“Next time? What the fuck is wrong with you, dumbass? You should have gotten it right the first time,” Matt growls and picks up the plate, tossing its contents onto the waiter.

Derek is mortified. “I’m so sorry.” Jumping up from his seat, he picks up his napkin and brushes off as much of the food as he can into the now empty plate.

“Sit down, and quit apologizing. He deserves it. Maybe next time he will get it right,” Matt insolently snarls.

Derek rounds on him and throws his napkin onto the table “Would you fuck off? Seriously! The only one that deserves something like this is you, you fucking, arrogant cunt.”

Once his temporary fix leaves, Derek finishes his meal and asks for the bill. The waiter looks at him appalled. “No, sir. Your meal is on me personally. No one has ever been as kind as you.”

“That isn’t necessary. I don’t mind paying. The food was fantastic, and your service was impeccable,” Derek replies, pulling out his wallet.

“I insist. It has been my pleasure to serve you today, and I look forward to serving you again soon.” The waiter leaves without allowing Derek to argue further. Placing $100.00 on the table in tip, Derek heads outside.

He half expects Boyd to check on him again, but as evening rolls around, he’s still alone. It looks like he’s pushed Boyd past his limit, too. Good. At least now he doesn’t have to come up with any more excuses.

Chapter Text

~*~ November – Stiles ~*~

 

It’s the first day of November, and Danny has Stiles cornered in his office before the bar opens. They had been open for Halloween on a day they are normally closed, so by all rights, he should close the bar today. Everyone could use the rest after the craziness of the Halloween Madness event. Instead, Stiles opts to open for their regular times to satisfy his insatiable need to stay busy. Danny sitting in front of him, an unyielding expression on his face, was not part of the plan.

“I’m not leaving until you tell me what happened when you were gone at the end of September. You haven’t been the same, and last night, you were beyond worked up and agitated.” Danny taps his foot on the floor expectantly.

Stiles motions his hand in the air, brushing off Danny’s concern. “It’s nothing. I’m sorry I’ve been off. I’ll be fine soon.”

Danny crosses his arms and sits back in the chair, making himself comfortable and showing no signs of budging. “Nope. Not good enough. Talk to me. We’re kind of friends, right? Not just boss and employee. The only way I know how to describe you right now is sad, and I want to help however I can.”

Stiles sighs knowing he’s running out of excuses for his behavior lately. “There’s nothing you can do, man. I need to get through some personal things going on.”

“I can listen,” Danny suggests. “I know you have Jackson, but I’d like to think I can help, too. I want to.”

Stiles stares at him for a long time. Danny’s eyes hold his, steadfast and unwavering. “Fine. I’ll tell you about what happened while I was gone. I’m not ready to tell you about my past, so it may not make much sense, but I’ll fill in what I can.”

Danny relaxes and accepts the offering. “Whatever you want to share, I’m listening.”

Stiles begins talking and unloads everything from that weekend in September with Derek. He had thought retelling it would be easier after all this time, but it still wrenches him apart inside as he relives every minute, every detail fresh in his mind. He still craves Derek in every way, and it’s not lessening in the slightest no matter what he does to forget.

“Derek? The guy that night that knew your real name?” Danny questions as he begins putting the jagged pieces of information together.

Stiles nods. “That’s the one.”

“And you fell in love with him.” Danny states as fact, no question to his words.

“Shit! Why does everyone keep saying that?”

Danny shrugs. “Probably because it’s true. I saw him here last night. I saw how you looked at him, and I definitely heard you tell that one slutty guy that Derek is yours.”

“I’m not in love with him,” Stiles mutters petulantly.

Danny quirks his brow in disbelief. “Is that so? Are you absolutely sure about that?”

Stiles scrubs over his face with his hands, stopping to finger at one of the lip rings in the corner of his mouth. “I’m not in love with him,” he says quietly. Taking a deep breath, he continues, “But I could get there. It wouldn’t take much.”

“What are you going to do about it?” Danny asks softly, thankfully not calling Stiles out on his words.

“Nothing,” Stiles declares with a flick of his hand. “It goes back to the stuff I don’t want to talk about. Someday, maybe if you stay around long enough, you will understand, but for now, you have to trust me. It’s better for Derek this way.”

“What about what’s best for you?” Danny urges gently. “Don’t your needs matter?”

Stiles sighs, because no. They really don’t. Not when it comes to Derek. “I am undefined in this equation. I have no value here.”

“Horseshit,” Danny blurts loudly.

Stiles holds up a hand, abruptly ending Danny’s outburst. “I’m not going to argue about this. I have people watching out for him. His sister and Boyd will call if I’m needed for anything. I have the bouncers here keeping an eye on him if he shows up. Hell, I had one of them follow Derek home last night. It’s fine. I have it under control.”

Danny looks at him unconvinced. “If you say so, Stiles, but when you’re ready to risk it for Derek, ready to admit you are already in love with him, let me know. I’ll do anything you need.”

“Thanks. There’s not much of a chance for me and Derek. I’ve been going on other Temporary Fix setups, but so far, I haven’t found anything remotely close to what I found in Derek. Of course, that’s probably a good thing. I need distance from people. When anyone gets too close to me, they just end up getting burned.”

The bar is busy that night, and for that, Stiles is grateful. The busier he is, the less he has time to think about Derek. He knows he has done right by him, but the knowledge does little to diminish the anguish and pain it brings to himself.

 

~*~

 

Stiles works, goes to meetings, runs errands, goes on fixes, and does anything he can think of to exhaust himself. Sometimes it works to keep the nightmares at bay, but more often than not, he wakes up drenched in sweat and screaming until his voice breaks. Jackson always comes to him, never asking questions, just offering his quiet support by wrapping Stiles close in his arms and helping him come back down from the torment eating at him.

Stiles is currently leaning against the wall to the coffee shop, waiting on the most current fix he accepted to show up. Honestly, there are much better places to go than Starbucks, but the girl had been adamant that she just had to have Starbucks before they go to dinner. Stiles is definitely confused, but doesn’t question it. Everyone has quirks.

The girl is only a few minutes late which could be worse, so he doesn’t make an issue of it. She greets him and immediately rushes inside to get her coffee. Drink in hand, she returns, and they walk the block to the restaurant.

“OMG!” she gushes. “This is so good.”

Stiles doesn’t know how to respond to that, so he doesn’t. When they get to the door of the restaurant, they both reach to open it at the same time.

“LOL, my bad,” she titters.

Stiles cringes. “Did you really just say LOL?”

“Of course, I did,” she says, loudly slurping her drink.

“Yeah, don’t do that,” Stiles tells her.

“It’s cute,” the girl giggles with a burp.

Stiles very nearly gags. “It’s really not.”

Swishing her drink in her mouth, she finally swallows and grins, rather naïvely, “Well, I say it is.”

“And you’d be wrong,” he returns succinctly, having had about all he can take with this girl already.

“You’re a dick,” she imparts with a pout before sucking another mouthful from her cup.

Stiles shrugs. “Never claimed otherwise.”

“Forget this. TBH, I just wanted free dinner. GTG,” she singsongs.

Stiles grabs the drink from her hand and tosses in a nearby trashcan, then walks away leaving her standing in front of the entrance. God, he hopes someone exits and hits her with the door. Maybe it will knock some sense into her featherbrained ass.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles finally accepts another request for the end of November. He had taken a break for a couple of weeks, unsure if he should bother with the site anymore. He didn’t seem to be having much luck.

Stiles sees the guy he is meeting pacing in front of the building housing an escape room. Apparently, they needed ten people to play and only had nine, so that’s where Stiles comes in. They greet each other, and Stiles is introduced to the group of friends. Some ask him about his tattoos, others about his piercings. He feels a little bit in the spotlight, but he half expected that as the outsider. It’s not an entirely new experience anyway.

“Is everyone ready?” the game host asks. Everyone nods in agreement. “Please put your phones in the locker and follow me.” They are ushered into a room, and the game rules are provided. “If at any time someone wants out of the room, they only have to push the red button, and the game will be ended for the entire team. Your first clue resides within this side of the room.”

When the timer starts, everyone jumps into a flurry of activity. Stiles leans against the door and takes in the room around him, analyzing every nuance.

“Red, you are supposed to be helping,” his temporary fix reminds him.

“I’m aware,” Stiles replies but doesn’t move from his relaxed position.

Within a few minutes, tempers are igniting, fingers are being pointed, and the room is chaos. They had found the first clue, a piece of paper reading “1,28”, but no one seems to agree on what it means. As anger flares amongst the group, Stiles makes a cursory walk around the room, taking in other angles and listening to the chatter around him. Time is moving quickly, and the team still hasn’t utilized the first clue.

“Ugh. I want out. This is stupid. I’m going to push the button,” one guy whines.

“No!” eight voices yell immediately in response.

Stiles patiently waits and watches. He learns a lot by watching people. For example, the guy that wanted to quit is having a mini panic attack. Nothing major yet, but he’s definitely uncomfortable and losing the very last of his sanity and calm. Two of the couples are no longer speaking to each other. The guy that had sent the fix request, also known as, the self-proclaimed leader of the group, is about as useless as a used tampon. That leaves the “three” as Stiles has taken to calling them in his head. They are the loud mouths. They bicker and complain and are the instigators of the arguing and consequently the escalation of everyone’s irritability.

“You should have brought someone with a brain instead of that idiot. He’s apparently too stupid to do anything but stare,” one of the loud mouths pops off.

And Stiles has had enough. He walks to the map and moves the destination magnet to column 1, row 28. A false bottom to the map frame descends. Stiles grabs the five small items inside and places them around the room in the areas with missing tiles. When placed in order, they read: BLUE AND YELLOW MAKE GREEN. After he slides the last tile into place, a drawer pops open under the desk on the other side of the room. Several pieces of different colored transparent sheets are inside. Removing only the blue and yellow sheets, Stiles stacks them on top of each other before placing them over the child’s scribbles on the wall near the floor. With the colored filter placed over the doodles of colorful markings, the words underneath become clear: PENNY FOR YOUR 7H0U6HT5.

Stiles picks up the journal sitting on the table beside the armchair opposite the desk and enters the combination 7065 on the number lock. The latch releases, and inside the hollowed-out book is a token. He takes the token and drops it in the slot of the payphone on the wall and dials the number listed on the locksmith advertisement posted on the wall by the door. With a clank, a key is dispensed in the change return. Picking up the key, Stiles maneuvers his way around everyone to the door and unlocks it. Without looking back, he flips them off with both hands and exits the room.

When he gets back to the apartment, Jackson is in the living room watching movies. Stiles drops onto the couch next to him, letting his head rest in Jackson’s lap. Jackson combs his fingers through Stiles’ hair, no words spoken. He can feel Jackson’s dick getting hard, and Stiles even goes so far as to trace a finger over it causing his own dick giving a feeble twitch. When Jackson reaches down to palm Stiles’ dick, Stiles stops him. “I can’t. I’m not ready to do anything with anyone right now, Jax. Not even just to get off.” Stiles peers up at him, his eyes begging for Jackson to understand. And because he’s Jackson, he does.

Jackson moves his hand back to Stiles’ hair and whispers, “I’ll be here when you’re ready. Whenever. Wherever. Just say the word.”

Stiles lifts up and kisses Jackson on the cheek in appreciation, before settling back in his lap and returning his attention to the movie.

Chapter Text

~*~ December – Derek ~*~

 

Derek gives up on accepting requests and submits another for himself, this time asking for someone to meet him to just hang out and watch TV. The only caveat of his request is that they need to host. No way is he bringing a fix to his room. The request is accepted fairly quickly, and they agree to meet at the girl’s apartment. As usual, Derek is punctual, showing up on time and laden with popcorn, candy, and soft drinks.

“I brought snacks,” he says, lifting the bag in his hand.

The blonde girl smiles and moves back, inviting Derek to walk inside. “Great. You must be Derek. I’m Kate. Come on in.”

They chat about random topics while the popcorn is popping, neither delving too deep into any one topic. After dumping the popcorn into a bowl, Derek picks it up and follows Kate into the living room.

“Living room or bedroom? I have TVs in both.”

Derek doesn’t want to there to be any confusion or misleading ideas, and crawling into bed, even just to watch TV, with someone may give the wrong impression, so he easily responds, “Living room is perfect, thanks.”

About twenty minutes into the movie, Derek feels a hand settle on his thigh with a firm grip. It makes him a little uncomfortable, and he tenses slightly, but he doesn’t say anything. The hand moves higher and just brushes against his crotch. Derek shifts not so subtly away, “I’m really not interested in a hookup tonight. I just wanted some downtime away from everything.”

Kate chuckles, “You’re cute, thinking I care what you want.” Before Derek can respond, she crawls on top of him and has her hands wrapped around his throat. Squeezing hard, she continues, “Get on your back, and shut up.”

Derek struggles, grasping at the hands around his neck in an attempt to break the girl’s death grip on him. “That’s it. Fight me. It gets me wet.” Kate removes one hand and slaps Derek across the face. Three more slaps, and Derek stills. “Don’t be such a pussy. Fight me!”

Derek doesn’t move. “Let me go,” he rasps through his compressed airway.

“I don’t think I will until I am done with you.” She shoves her free hand into Derek’s pants and yanks hard on Derek’s dick. Unable to stop himself, Derek screams in pain. “Perfect. Just like that.”

Derek feels his phone buzzing with an incoming call, and a moment of hope floods him. If he can only answer it, maybe whoever it is can help him. He reaches down one hand to pull it from his pocket, but Kate gets there first, lifting to her knees over Derek in the process. She frees the phone from the front pocket of Derek’s jeans, sparing a glance at the screen.

Derek uses her split-second distraction and brings his knee up hard into her crotch causing the hand to loosen from around Derek’s neck. He quickly slips out from under her before she can begin to recover. Derek’s shirt rips loudly in the room as Kate grabs it to stop him. Running to the door, he sees his phone sail past his head and shatter when it hits the wall closest to him. He picks up the remnants and hurries out the door before Kate can get her feet under her.

Boyd catches him in the hallway when he gets back to his room. “Derek! What the hell happened?”

“Leave me alone,” Derek says, brushing past him.

Boyd stops him with a gentle hand. “Please talk to me. What’s going on?”

Derek yanks himself free. “I’m fine.” He pushes his door open, but Boyd follows hot on his heels.

“Were you…” Boyd trails off. “Did someone force you to…you know?”

“Just go away.” Derek crawls into his bed fully clothed. He doesn’t know how long Boyd stands there, but when he wakes up the next morning, he’s gone, and that’s all that matters.

Unfortunately, Boyd doesn’t give up. He stops by Derek’s room shortly after lunch. “I know things have been bad, but I am here when you need me. If someone raped you last night, please tell me, so that I can help in any way I can.”

“I don’t want any help.” Derek swallows painfully, his bruised throat feeling like it is on fire. “I want to be left alone.”

“Alright, but I’m not giving up on you. Whenever you’re ready, say the word. I will drop everything for you. No matter what.”

 

~~*~~

 

A couple of weeks later, the bruising is nearly gone, only a small, faded discoloration from Kate’s thumbs remains. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and it’s the first day he hasn’t gotten an email from his dad in weeks. With his phone being broken, his dad must have assumed Derek was just ignoring the calls, so email became his newest go to. His dad keeps asking when Derek will arrive for Christmas, rambling on and on about Allison and obligations and responsibilities, and Derek is beyond over it. He doesn’t know how many ways he can tell his dad that he isn’t coming, but the man isn’t hearing it. Hell, everyone in the building knows Derek isn’t going. He’s yelled it at his computer enough times.

The knock on the door just after midnight doesn’t surprise him. Boyd checks in on him daily, even though Derek never allows him past the door. He offers to sleep next to him, and while Derek appreciates the thoughtfulness, he knows that if he lets Boyd sleep in the same room with him, he will concede defeat and succumb to the heartbreak of losing Stiles. So, no, the knock doesn’t surprise him. The person standing on the other side, however, does.

“Get your shit packed. You are coming home if I have to tie you up and drag you there. I am tired of your shit. This is not now, nor has it ever been, an option. Your presence is required,” his dad commands as he pushes past Derek into the room.

Derek sighs, “Maybe you didn’t hear me the last fifty or so times I’ve told you. I’m not going. You came all this way for nothing.”

He’s seen his dad angry, even enraged before, but nothing prepares him for the unrestrained malice reflected back at him from his dad’s face. Knowing better, but no longer caring, Derek antagonizes his dad further, pushing his buttons until he snaps. “Are you afraid I might be with Red? I mean, he’s proven to be a much better man than you. Is that what it is? Or is it that you have this notion that you can force me to be completely straight with a whore like Allison? That she can fuck the gay out of me? Newsflash, dad. I’m not straight.” The first blow to his face splits his lip. The second gives him what is sure to be a decent shiner. “Are you positive you are man enough to do this here? Do you think no one will come in when they hear you?”

“Oh, I’m sure they will try.” Derek’s dad pushes the solid wood dresser in front of the door and pulls his belt front his pants. “Looks like it’s just you and me, boy. Strip.”

Derek lifts his shirt, the first strike of the belt cutting into his back before he can pull it completely off. He pulls off his jeans and boxers as several more hits of the belt land on him. Derek can hear someone banging on the door, but he knows they won’t be able to get past the dresser. Boyd starts yelling in the hallway, but Derek can’t make out the words, his head filling with white noise. Blow after blow, his dad whips him. Back, chest, arms, legs, ass. Derek stands tall, head held high until his knees finally buckle underneath him sending him to his knees. His dad continues raining sharp, brutal strikes until Derek finally breaks and screams.

His dad grunts as he surveys his handiwork. “Looks like you got your way, kid. Hope it was worth it. I will see you at the end of February. Don’t forget. You are committed to attending a business meeting with me. Don’t make me come to you, or you will regret it.”

Shoving the dresser back to the side, his dad exits the room. When his dad disappears from view, Derek collapses completely onto the floor, unable to force his body to move.

“Derek!” Boyd yells coming into the room.

Boyd approaches him, and Derek flinches. The closer he gets, the harder Derek scrambles to get away, legs kicking out wildly. He pulls at his hair, tugging as hard as he can as he fights to not let go. He can’t. He has to hold on.

“Derek. It’s me. Let me help you,” Boyd persuades.

Closing his eyes, Derek struggles to get further away, stopping only when his back hits the wall. Wrapping his arms around his legs, he lets out a low whine. Boyd holds up his hands in surrender and takes a step back toward the bed. “Okay. I won’t come any closer.”

 

~*~ December – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles can’t do it. He can’t fight it anymore. He needs to talk to Derek. He needs to hear his voice. He needs to tell his story and put the ball in Derek’s court. Before he can change his mind, he finds Derek’s number in his contacts and sends the call. No answer. Fuck. The next morning, he tries again, and the call goes straight to voicemail. Maybe Derek forgot to put his phone on the charger overnight, and it died. He decides he will try again later. Later ends up being that afternoon. When it, too, goes straight to voicemail, Stiles accepts the reality that he’s been blocked. At least now he knows. He’s too late.

Stiles spends the rest of the day fighting tears until Jackson gets home. When his bed shifts and he feels Jackson’s arms wrap around him, his tenuous control on his emotions snaps, and his heartache expels from him, insistent and uncontrolled, in harsh, wracking sobs.

By the time the end of December is upon him, he has buried himself in work. Inventory overloads his brain as Stiles tries to forget the ninth bad Temporary Fix he just had. He’s tried every option he can think of, but so far, he has not found a connection with any of them. Every date fails. Every attempt to hookup crashes and burns. Every hang out is awkward and cut short.

Running his hands over his face, he pushes thoughts of what he stupidly gave up from his head and refocuses on getting the inventory order completed so he can go home. He had closed the bar at midnight, letting everyone go home to be with their families.

“Happy Birthday, Red!”

Stiles looks up from the page in front of him to see Danny and Jackson as they begin belting out a cheery rendition of Happy Birthday to You. A cake is shoved in front of him with a lit candle flickering brightly. Stiles shakes his head in astonishment. “How did you two keep this a secret?”

“I have my ways. I almost spilled the beans a couple of times tonight, but we wanted to wait until we closed so it was technically your birthday, even if it is,” Danny checks his watch, “fuck o’clock in the morning. Hurry up, and make a wish before the candle melts away.”

Exhausted from the busy Saturday night, Stiles still smiles a small smile, makes a wish, and blows out the candle. “Thanks, guys.”

“Oh, I have plates and forks. Hang on.” Danny runs out of the room, returning quickly and tossing them, in all their Superman themed glory, onto the desk.

“You didn’t have to do this.”

“We know. We wanted to. You haven’t been yourself since…” Danny stops abruptly.

“We just thought you could use some good vibes,” Jackson says, filling in the ensuing silence.

Even though Stiles isn’t in the mood to celebrate, his friends are trying, and he can’t fault them for that. He motions toward the cake. “What are you two waiting for then? Let’s get to it, yeah?”

The three men dig straight into the cake, forgoing the plates, because who really needs them anyway. With only crumbs left, Stiles pushes back in his chair and rubs his stomach. “Oh, my God. Now I’m on a sugar high, but fuck, the crash is going to be worth it though. That cake was fantastic.”

Danny blushes and ducks his head, suddenly shy, “Thanks.”

Realization hits Stiles, and his jaw drops. “You made it?”

“Yeah. It’s something I like to do in my off time,” Danny answers quietly, obviously embarrassed.

“Talk to me about it tomorrow. I have an idea,” he groans, rubbing his stomach again. “I’m too cake drunk to discuss it tonight.”

Stiles’ phone buzzes with an incoming text. It’s an odd time for a text is his only thought when he picks up his phone from the desk and thumbs over the screen.

It’s bad.

Chapter Text

~*~ Stiles (continued) ~*~

 

Dread laced with panic settles into the pit of Stiles’ stomach at the simple words on the screen. His heart pounds an unsteady rhythm in his chest. Derek has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with Stiles, but his gut tells him that he needs to go.

Seeing the color drain from Stiles’ face, Jackson asks, “Sti? Who is it?”

“Boyd,” Stiles responds as if on autopilot. “He said it’s bad.”

Jackson takes Stiles’ keys off the hook by the office door and holds them out, dangling them in front of him. “Why are you still sitting there? Go! Danny and I will finish up here.”

Decision made, Stiles’ fingers fly over his phone screen.

Where is he?

Almost as if he’s waiting by the phone, Boyd’s response comes through immediately.

His room.

Stiles grabs his car keys from Jackson’s hand and hurries out of his office without looking back. Slamming the back door of the bar open, he sprints to his jeep. Thank God, Jackson had driven to see him tonight instead of walking. Sending one last text, Stiles jumps in the jeep and tears out of the parking lot.

On my way! Stay with him.

Stiles pushes his foot down, reaching the speed limit and blowing past it. He needs to get to Derek, and he needs to do it now. His heart hammers as he skids to a stop in front of Derek’s building, jumping out of his jeep and running inside. The main living area is alive with movement, even at this late, or is it early, hour. People are milling about with anxious looks on their faces, and it unnerves him down to his core. His instincts scream at him that whatever happened with Derek, everyone in the building knows.

“Derek!” Stiles shouts, fear skating up his spine as he runs up the stairs. “Derek!” he yells louder, people moving out of his way as he increases his speed down the hall and comes to a stop at Derek’s open door.

“Stiles.”

Stiles jerks his head in the direction of the sound of Derek’s reedy, cracked voice and spots him in the corner of the room, naked and bleeding from cuts all over his too thin, pale, defeated body.

“Derek,” Stiles rushes in and falls to his knees in front of the broken boy. When he brushes the matted hair away from Derek’s face, Derek jerks away sharply. “Shhh, it’s me, love. I’ve got you.”

Derek looks up at him, pain and wariness etched into his face and eyes with every breath. Stiles kisses him on the forehead and whispers, “It’s okay. You can let go now.”

“Stiles,” he murmurs so quietly Stiles would have missed it if he hadn’t seen his mouth move. Seconds later, Derek visibly shuts down, his body becoming lax.

Boyd stands from where he had been sitting on the bed waiting for Stiles. “He won’t let me touch him. This is as close as he would let me get. If I tried moving any closer, he would start panicking and flip his shit.”

Stiles nods in understanding and tosses his keys to Boyd. “My jeep is next to the curb out front. Will you go park it for me? I need some time alone with him.”

“Yeah. I can do that,” Boyd readily agrees with an obvious need to help in some way.

Turning back to Derek, Stiles brushes his fingers over Derek’s cheek. “I’m here, love. Let’s get you cleaned up, yeah?” Stiles stands and lifts Derek into his arms, holding him close and carrying him to the bathroom.

In the harsh, bright light of the bathroom, Stiles masks his reaction as he takes in the destruction of the beautiful boy’s emaciated body, cataloging every injury. From what Stiles discerns, there are some fading bruises on the front of Derek’s neck, and other bruises are forming rapidly over Derek’s back and chest. Make that arms and legs, too. His lip is split, and one eye is rapidly swelling shut.

“Fuck, Der. What did he do?” Stiles murmurs softly. There is no doubt in his mind that Derek’s dad is behind this.

He moves to the tub and turns on the water. As soon as the water runs warm, he stops up the drain and returns to Derek. “I’m going to put you in the bath. I need to clean you up so that I can take care of the cuts, alright?” Derek doesn’t respond, but he doesn’t fight Stiles when he picks him up and puts him into the bathtub. Derek hisses as the warm water touches his injuries. “I know it stings. I’m so sorry, baby.”

Stiles washes Derek’s hair first, taking his time, massaging his scalp slowly and allowing Derek to relax under his hands. The water tinges pink and dingy as Stiles carefully begins to scrub Derek’s body. No cuts are bad enough to warrant stitches, most being broken skin from the belt that had struck him. Once Stiles has him clean, he lifts Derek to his feet.

“Stand here for a second. I need to rinse you off.” Stiles removes the shower head and finishes washing away the remaining soap. When he’s satisfied that Derek is clean and no place on his body has been missed, Stiles shuts off the water and pulls the stopper on the drain. Helping Derek out of the tub, he gets to work squeezing the water from Derek’s hair before wrapping him in a fresh towel. “I’ll be right back. I’m going to get you some clothes.”

Stiles takes a deep, shaky breath when he enters the bedroom, rage coursing through him like wildfire. His fists clench so tight his nails cut into his palms as he tries to focus on what he needs to do. His phone vibrates in his pocket, and he quickly silences it without checking the screen, flipping it on Do Not Disturb. Moving to the partially displaced dresser, it doesn’t take him long to find joggers, boxers, and a soft t shirt.

Back in the bathroom, Stiles takes the first aid kit from under the sink and tends to the worst of the wounds, covering the three or four deeper ones with gauze. After he dresses Derek in clean comfortable clothes, Stiles takes his hand to lead him back to the bedroom, but Derek doesn’t move. “Derek?”

Derek’s begging eyes meet his. “Come on, then,” Stiles says, reaching out to lift Derek up. Derek wraps his legs around his waist, and Stiles walks into the bedroom, shifting Derek carefully into the desk chair. Derek whines softly when Stiles lets him go. “Give me a second, love. I’m going to put fresh sheets on your bed. Don’t want to risk infection in any of the smaller uncovered wounds.”

Just as Stiles places the blanket on the bed, he feels Derek moving behind him. Before he can turn around, Derek pushes him into the bed and follows immediately behind, crawling into his lap and straddling him. His arms loose around Derek’s back, Stiles lets him find a comfortable position. Derek eventually settles, his face tucked tight in to the juncture of Stiles’ neck and shoulder.

Tightening his arms gently, Stiles holds Derek close, unable to let him go. Eventually, he hears light snores coming from Derek and feels the soft puffs of his breath against his neck. Stiles moves a stack of papers on the bed revealing an open journal. Shuffling the papers to the nightstand and picking up the journal to do the same, the writing on the page draws his attention. He pulls out his phone and snaps a photo, then flipping to a blank page, he begins to write. When he’s done, he closes it and places it on top of the papers. With the extra room on the bed, he shifts to a more comfortable position, keeping Derek wrapped in his arms.

A few minutes later, Stiles tenses when he hears a light knock on the door. “It’s Boyd. Can I come in?”

“Yeah, man. Come on in.”

Boyd barely has time to shut the door behind him, before Stiles pounces. “What happened?”

Boyd frowns. “I…I don’t know. His dad came. It was really bad, Red. You have to believe me. I swear I tried to get into this room to stop him. I could hear the sounds filtering into my room through the walls.”

Stiles grits his teeth as he stretches his neck from side to side. “Start from the beginning. There are older bruises on him. Is this the first time he’s seen his dad? I want to know everything.”

Sitting in the desk chair and keeping his voice low so as not to wake Derek, Boyd tells him everything. “Since you left, Derek’s had a really difficult time. The only good thing that’s happened is that he’s had time off from school since he’s changing his major. Long story short, Derek was given a chance to have control over his own school stuff. We thought his dad did it to trying to fuck with him or something by making Derek feel like he was being given more control of his life, but if that’s the case, he is a fantastic actor because he was livid when he found out. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Things have spiraled. Derek rarely eats lately. I bring him food every day, but he never touches it. He’s tried going on more dates, or fixes, or whatever the fuck they’re called, through that site where he met you. Let’s just say, it hasn’t worked out. One night, he came home crying and not making any sense. He said he was unwanted and that no one would ever love him, that not even you did so why would anyone else. He’s gone out a few more times since then, but he always comes back looking more upset than before. The worst was a couple of weeks ago. When he came home, he looked like…”

Boyd pauses and swallows hard, pushing his palms into his eyes to stop the tears from building. “He looked like he had been abused. He came home with bruises around his neck. Finger shaped bruises, and not in the sexy kind of way. He looked so shattered that night, Red, and he won’t tell me if he was, well, you get the idea. Trust me, because I have asked. It was just really, really bad. So bad, I almost texted you then. He hasn’t spoken much to anyone since that night. I’m the only one he seems to talk to at all, and it really isn’t even all that much. He still continues to push me away and keeps me at arm’s length. He won’t even let me sleep with him.”

Snapping his eyes to Boyd, Stiles clenches his fists, and Boyd rushes out, “No. Not like that. Derek doesn’t like to sleep alone, so more often than not we bunk in together. But he hasn’t done it in weeks.”

“Why did his dad show up tonight?” Stiles questions.

Boyd sighs. “Derek has been telling his family for weeks that he isn’t going home for Christmas. From what I can tell, his dad wasn’t taking no for an answer. Derek keeps mentioning someone named Allison. I’m assuming it’s the same person from back in September. I don’t know much about it. I only know what I have heard him yelling through the walls. Anyway, Derek’s dad showed up late this evening, unannounced. They argued. His dad told Derek that he was going home if he had to tie him up and take him there himself. Derek fought back, wouldn’t back down. That’s when I heard the first hit. It sounded sharp, hard, snapping like the sound of a whip. Not like a hand. I tried to open the door, but I guess his dad had shoved the dresser in front of the door to block it. I couldn’t get in. He was being whipped, beaten, and I couldn’t get in.”

Stiles knows he’s being an ass when he sees the tears forming in Boyd’s eyes, but he has to know the rest. “What happened then?”

“Someone had just handed me a sledgehammer to try to break through the door when I heard the scream. I’ll never get the sound out of my head. I had just lifted my arm to swing when his dad said something about February and some commitment. The next thing I know, the dresser was being moved, and the door opened. His dad walked down the hall like he owned the place, strutting like a fucking rooster, but Derek needed me, so I let his dad go,” Boyd says, obviously unhappy at not being able to do more.

“Red, he has no fight left in him. He was just a shell of himself when I walked into his room. He wouldn’t answer me, not a word, and I knew I had to do something. That’s when I texted you.” Boyd glances at Derek clinging tightly to Stiles in his sleep. “How is he?”

Stiles looks down at the boy in his lap. “Not good. It will be a while still.”

“Can I stay? I feel like I need to be here for him.”

Stiles considers it and nods once. “Yeah. You can stay, but if he wants you to leave when he wakes up, I would suggest you do so. Don’t make me force you to leave, because I will, and I won’t be nice about it. More importantly, I won’t care how you feel.”

“Fair enough,” Boyd agrees, grabbing a nearby blanket and tucking it around his legs.

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

It’s almost an hour later when Derek shifts in Stiles’ lap, whimpering with small aborted sounds. “You’re okay, love. You’re safe.” Stiles cards his fingers through the still damp strands of Derek’s hair, working loose the matted areas.

“Is he awake?” Boyd sits up and asks cautiously.

Derek tenses and clambers closer to Stiles like he is trying to crawl inside him. Panic rising, his grip on Stiles tightens. “Easy.” Stiles kisses the crown of his head before he realizes what he’s doing. Not that he wouldn’t have done it anyway, but the natural, unchecked response stuns him. “It’s just Boyd. Is it alright if he’s here?” Derek’s body relaxing against Stiles is his only response.

Boyd lets out the breath he is holding and leans forward, reaching his hand toward Derek. “Can I touch him?”

Derek stiffens again, and Stiles shakes his head. “No.” Boyd jerks his hand back and nods his understanding but doesn’t quite succeed in hiding the look of hurt that crosses his face. “Don’t take it personally. Give him time.”

“Okay,” Boyd says. They sit in silence until Derek’s breaths even out again, exhaustion prevailing. “Can I ask you a question?” Boyd inquires, breaking the ensuing quiet in the room.

Derek subconsciously burrows closer into Stiles in his sleep. Once he’s settled again, Stiles replies, “You can ask. Doesn’t mean I’ll answer.”

Boyd’s gaze doesn’t waver when he asks, “Why did you leave him before?”

“He deserves better than me,” Stiles whispers without preamble.

“Seems to me, you’re what he wants, though.” Boyd motions his hand at Derek. “And obviously what he needs.”

Stiles doesn’t respond, allowing Boyd’s words to infiltrate him at every point. Could he really be what Derek needs? Can he let go of his demons and give his everything, his past, his present, and his future, to Derek? Can he allow himself the opportunity to have something he wants? Can he finally permit himself to be happy? Can he finally be free?

When Stiles doesn’t answer, Boyd continues, “Surely, you can see it. I mean, look at him. Hell, Derek and I are close, but he’s never been like that with me. He’s never been that tunnel visioned and determined in his need to be as close as humanly possible to me. Before everything, before he pushed me away, we slept together nearly every night, and of course, most of the time, we would end up cuddled together. But with you, it’s glaringly different. With you, it looks like he would crawl into your skin if he could. The room is electric, and he’s just sleeping.”

Stiles remains silent, still not trusting himself to speak. Is his connection to Derek as loud as Boyd is indicating? Is it really strong enough that others can not only see it, but feel it, too?

“What’s holding you back? You two clearly have some kind of bond. Shit, Red, you dropped everything and came running when I texted that it was bad, no questions asked. You say he deserves better than you, but if your response is anything to go by, you’re exactly what he needs and deserves.” Boyd cut his eyes to the side as if considering whether to continue. Taking a deep breath, he steels his expression and looks back at Stiles. “And whether you admit it or not, I think you need him as much as he needs you.”

Leaning his head back against the headboard, Stiles sighs. “I’m not worthy of someone like him. He’s perfect, and I am on the complete other side of the spectrum, nowhere close,” Stiles tries to explain.

“I don’t think it matters, man,” Boyd says quietly. “Stop fighting it for a minute, and open your eyes. You have the most amazing person I have ever met in my entire existence, clinging to you like you’re his lifeline. Don’t toss that aside as if it is inconsequential. It means something. It means everything.” Boyd lifts his chin almost defiantly and stares hard at Stiles. “I’m straight, but if Derek ever looked at me the way he looks at you, I would give in to the part of me that is a bit bi for Derek and never give him up. And better still, I wouldn’t think twice about doing it.” Stiles unconsciously clenches his arms firmer around Derek, jealousy licking at his heart. He emits a low growl, unable to rein in the possessiveness he feels for the boy in his arms. “See what I mean?” Boyd indicates with a flick of his wrist. “What makes you think you can ever truly walk away from him when you respond like that at the thought of him with someone else or of someone else wanting him?”

They fall into silence again, Derek’s soft snores the only sound in the room. Stiles is just beginning to drift off when Derek jerks awake and starts tugging desperately at his joggers, trying to push them down, sharp, distressed sounds filling the quiet.

“Is he alright?” Boyd’s drowsy voice reaches Stiles.

Stiles stills Derek’s hands, not missing the hiss of pain. “What’s wrong, love?” Unsurprisingly, Derek doesn’t respond other than to pull his hands away from Stiles and push at his joggers again, becoming agitated when he isn’t able to remove them due to the position he is in. “You want them off?” Derek’s only response it to continue clawing at the offending clothing. “Okay, take it easy. Let me help you,” Stiles soothes. Stiles scoots forward and stands, lifting Derek off the bed. “Put your legs down, baby, and I’ll take them off.”

Derek drops his legs, and Stiles removes the joggers quickly. The second he pulls them from Derek’s feet, Derek pushes Stiles back to the bed, straddling him again in an effort to eliminate the space between them. Stiles is aware of Boyd’s eyes on them. He tries to pull the blanket over them, but Derek pushes it away, whining sounds of discontent. When Stiles finally surrenders his attempt at covering them, Derek nuzzles his face back into the curve of Stiles’ neck, relaxing and letting sleep overtake him again.

Stiles must have dozed off because when he wakes an hour later, he senses the air changing around him. Taking in everything at once, Stiles realizes he’s hard, and Derek’s tongue is hot, wet, and demanding against his throat. Stiles pulls away slightly, whispering, “Der, Boyd is here.”

“Don’t care.” Derek shifts and drags his mouth over Stiles’ skin continuing to place open mouth kisses in his wake.

Stiles swallows a gasp as Derek’s tongue traces the corded muscles in his neck. When Derek rocks his hips forward seeking friction, Stiles swallows and tries again, “You’re playing with fire, love. We aren’t alone.”

“Need you,” Derek whimpers, pulling back and meeting Stiles’ steadfast gaze. “Please.”

Stiles chances a final look at Boyd’s sleeping form. Fuck it. He can’t deny Derek this. If he’s honest, he can’t deny Derek anything. Not anymore. He slams his mouth onto Derek’s, mouth opening wide and tongue soliciting entrance. Derek opens like a blossoming flower under him, his tongue meeting Stiles’ in a hot and messy dance. Stiles sets a bruising pace to the kiss, unable to slow the desire to touch, to taste, to reacquaint himself with everything Derek. It’s been too long for anything else. The sounds of their kiss are obscene, and his dick responds accordingly, throbbing hard where it sits nestled against Derek. Fuck. He’s glad Boyd is asleep because he’s not sure he will be able to keep from coming if Derek keeps this up for much longer. It really has been entirely too long since he’s had Derek in his arms.

Derek pushes down and pitches his hips insistently into Stiles, causing Stiles to thrust upwards to increase the sensations. Stiles turns his head, separating his mouth from Derek’s with a wet pop and latching just under Derek’s jaw by his ear. “Can I?”

“Fuck, yes. Never have to ask. Always, yes,” Derek rambles on a quiet breath. “Want your mark on me. Always want it. Hated when they faded before. Please, do it. Please.”

Stiles wastes no time in biting down and sucking hard onto skin of Derek’s neck, the insatiable need to have his visible mark on Derek again overwhelming him with its intensity. Like before, he can’t help leaving mark after mark along Derek’s skin. He pulls back to view the beautifully marked skin, groaning at the sight before him.

Derek fumbling between them draws Stiles’ attention. Looking down, he watches Derek pull the waistband of his boxers down so just the tip of his cock peeks out. Stiles brushes Derek’s hand away and traces his finger in a circular motion over the head. Precome dribbles onto his finger almost immediately. Without thinking, he sticks the wet finger in his mouth, and Derek’s taste floods over his tongue. He looks up to find Derek staring at him, blown, hazel green eyes glazed over and mouth set in a perfect “o”.

Stiles gently pushes Derek back and slips his hands between them. He unzips his jeans and pushes them, along with his boxers, down under his balls, freeing his cock. Eyes meeting Derek’s, he pulls the crotch of Derek’s short, stretchy boxers to the side and slips his dick inside the fabric before pulling Derek back down against him and allowing his cock to slide up along the tight crease of Derek’s ass.

Stiles tries again to bring the blanket over them, but like before, Derek bats it away. Stiles flicks his eyes over to Boyd in silent communication with Derek. They aren’t alone, and with no cover, it’s no question as to what they are doing.

Derek groans and bears down hard into Stiles. “Do you care if he sees? Because I don’t.”

Jesus, fuck, this boy was made for him. He involuntarily thrusts up hard in response. “Not really, no,” he admits.

“Good.” Derek slips his hand into his boxers, bypassing his own erection, to run his fingers along Stiles’ rigid length. Stiles grips Derek’s hips and adjusts him forward, his dick dragging along the groove of Derek’s crotch. “Keeping doing that,” Derek begs frantically, chasing the feeling. “Please, don’t stop.”

Stiles lets his hand drift into the leg of Derek’s boxers beside his own aching cock, his middle finger finding and pressing firmly against Derek’s hole. He rubs with increasing pressure, eliciting loud gasps from Derek. “Feels so good. I want…” Derek trails off and presses down against Stiles’ exploring finger. Stiles pulls his finger away just before it enters, staving off Derek’s unspoken demand.

“Not yet, love,” Stiles says on a quiet breath, circling the entrance with a whisper of a touch. He continues teasing the pucker of skin until Derek is writhing over him. When Derek grinds down again, Stiles lets the tip of his dry, middle finger slightly penetrate the tight hole, prompting a loud cry from Derek.

Stiles casts a glance in Boyd’s direction and sees the young man shift his position before opening his eyes and taking in the scene in front of him. Shock, and then curiosity, shines clearly on his face, but Stiles watches him close his eyes, effectively giving the illusion of privacy.

Derek continues to circle his hips at the pressure, blissfully unaware that Boyd is awake. Stiles removes his finger and pushes it back in, still keeping it shallow with just the tip, barely to the first knuckle, to keep from hurting Derek without proper lubrication to ease the entry. Over and over, he barely pushes the end of his finger in and pulls out completely. Derek’s movements increase in speed until he loses his rhythm and becomes progressively unpredictable and needy, body begging for release.

Stiles removes his hand, letting Derek sit back down on his hard leaking cock. Derek rocks against him on contact, his need for relief pushing him further up until Stiles’ cock catches and pokes at Derek’s clenching hole. Careful not to breach Derek, Stiles thrusts lightly. Derek throws his head back and arches, presenting the visible tip of his erection to Stiles. He reaches out and fingers at the wet head of Derek’s cock, dragging his nail softly along the slit. Stiles can’t tear his eyes away from Derek’s dick, as he spills over Stiles’ fingers with a loud moan. The filthy visual is all it takes for Stiles to thrust up once, triggering his own pulsing release over Derek’s fluttering hole.

When Derek slumps over him, Stiles chances a quick glance over to Boyd, finding him staring wide eyed at them, one hand disappearing and moving rhythmically behind a pillow that just happens to have found its way in front of his lap. Oh, well. Stiles doesn’t really give a fuck. He smirks at Boyd over Derek’s head and flips him off.

Tracing his hands up Derek’s back to his neck, Stiles scratches lightly with massaging fingers before tangling them in his hair and tugging. Derek groans, his dick giving another feeble twitch of release. Finally lifting his head in response, Derek meets Stiles’ gaze. Stiles drops his eyes to Derek’s mouth before pulling him down into a languid, yet dirty, kiss, tongues sliding along each other in a desperate attempt to remain connected.

Stiles nudges Derek back just far enough that their mouths are still brushing each other’s, breaths still combined. “Boyd’s awake, love. He’s been awake for a while.”

“Okay.” Derek leans back down and continues kissing Stiles, clearly uncaring that his best friend just saw him get off with another person. And Stiles…well, Stiles is more than okay with that.

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 – Derek ~*~

 

Derek kisses Stiles until it comes to a natural end. Falling forward, he chuckles. “We made a bit of a mess.”

“We did,” Stiles teases with a soft laugh. “Your fault though.”

“How’s that?” Derek asks, mock disbelief lacing his tone.

“You were the one that woke me up by kissing my neck,” Stiles explains easily.

Derek leans down and places a kiss to Stiles’ pulse point. “You were the one that was already hard underneath me when I woke up.”

Stiles squeezes Derek’s ass gently so as not to cause any pain from the bruises he knows are there. “Not my fault that your perfect, inviting ass was spread open over me.”

Derek blushes. “You’re wrong. You are the one with the perfect ass.”

“It is pretty fantastic, isn’t it?” he retorts, jokingly smug.

“Yeah, can you not talk about your sexy asses right now?” Boyd grumbles good naturedly from across the room.

Derek grins at Stiles. “If you’d rather, we can talk about Red’s delicious cock and how his come is...”

“Oh, God. Stop,” Boyd laments, cutting Derek off with a groan. “Shoot me now.”

The three fall into easy laughter with each other, the harsh reality of why Stiles is here, forgotten for the moment. When their laughter subsides, Derek sits up and unwinds his legs from around Stiles’ waist. Stiles unabashedly pulls his boxers and jeans back up over his dick, leaving them unfastened, and takes Derek’s proffered hand.

“We’ll be right back,” Derek tells Boyd, grabbing his joggers from the bed before pulling Stiles into the bathroom and shutting the door behind them.

“A little late to be worried about privacy,” Stiles mentions nodding toward the closed door.

Derek ducks his head. “I wasn’t sure if, well, you know. I just didn’t know if you, like, wanted to clean up, and uh, like…”

“Spit it out, Derek,” Stiles snickers, amused.

“Ugh. You suck,” Derek whines moving into Stiles’ space.

Stiles cocks an eyebrow. “I do. Quite well, if I say so myself.”

Derek’s face reddens further, remembering the quick encounter with Stiles’ mouth and tongue ring during the scavenger hunt. “Yeah,” he breathes out.

Stiles stretches up and kisses Derek lightly. “Jesus, you’re so fucking perfect,” he says as he thumbs over the pretty pink that is currently residing on Derek’s cheeks.

Derek hides his face in Stiles’ neck. “I’m not perfect.”

“You really are,” Stiles informs him.

Derek takes a deep breath and says, “I shut the door because I wasn’t sure if you wanted to take care of using the bathroom without Boyd seeing.”

“He just saw me come. I don’t think him seeing me piss really matters at this point,” Stiles says with a chuckle. “Now, you first. I’ll get a washcloth.”

Derek removes his messy boxers, tossing them into the hamper, before standing in front of the toilet. Stiles wets the cloth with warm water and wrings the excess water from the material. When Derek is finished, Stiles gently cleans the remains of their come from Derek’s body. Derek inhales brokenly as the cloth brushes over his hole, his dick taking interest again. “Stiles,” he wheezes out, the feeling threatening to overwhelm him. “If you don’t stop, I’m going to get hard again.”

“That’s alright, love,” Stiles tells him as he thumbs lightly over the tip of Derek’s twitching cock with his free hand.

Derek hisses as Stiles runs the cloth over his sensitive opening again, his cock filling rapidly. Derek isn’t expecting it when, with the next pass of the cloth, Stiles’ finger presses softly along the path, as well.

“Lift your leg, and put your foot on the toilet.” Derek follows the command without hesitation. Stiles puts two of his fingers into Derek’s mouth. “Get them good and wet for me.” Derek sucks on Stiles’ fingers pushing saliva between them and coating them.

Stiles removes his fingers from Derek’s warm mouth, and taking the cloth, he drags it over Derek again, allowing tip of his wet middle finger to stop and press into Derek’s waiting heat. Derek exhales a groan as he feels Stiles remove his finger and then push in further than before. “Stiles, Stiles, Sti…” Derek chants quietly. He can tell Stiles’ finger is almost fully inside, his tight muscle clenching at the intrusion.

“Relax, love.” Stiles slides his finger out again, and Derek’s hips snap forward seeking friction. Stiles pulls his shirt over his head. Lifting the hem of Derek’s shirt and pulling it off as well, he moves closer into Derek. When Derek’s cock brushes over the bare skin of Stiles’ stomach, he whimpers. He will be embarrassed later. Right now, though, he can’t seem to stop the sounds falling from his mouth. Stiles opens his mouth over Derek’s collarbone and simultaneously buries his finger into Derek. “Holy shit, Stiles!” Derek yells as he feels Stiles crooking his finger inside and finding the hidden bundle of nerves there. The pressure on his prostate, combined with Stiles’ mouth sucking roughly against his neck, has him coming in hot spurts between them where his cock is pressed securely against Stiles’ abs.

Stiles licks over the tender skin from where his mouth had been as Derek comes down. Derek feels drugged and boneless, wobbling slightly when he drops his foot to the floor. As if from the outside looking in, he feels Stiles lift him to sit on the counter. Stiles wipes his belly clean, cleans up the mess on his own stomach, rinses out the cloth, and tosses it over the tub to dry. Derek is too far gone to look away when he sees Stiles step to the toilet.

“This is going to be a regular thing, then? You watching me piss?” Stiles teases.

“Yeah, maybe, looks like it,” Derek rambles on an exhale, unable to focus on his words.

“Good thing I don’t have a shy bladder,” Stiles says with a wink as the sound of his pee splashing in the toilet fills the small bathroom.

They both wash their hands, and Stiles pulls on his shirt. Derek pulls on his joggers and shirt quickly and takes Stiles’ outstretched hand, following him back into the bedroom. At Boyd’s knowing grin, Stiles flips him off again, and Derek blushes. What? Just because he doesn’t care if anyone sees him, and if he’s honest likes it more than he cares to admit, doesn’t mean he can’t be bashful about it, too.

Stiles and Derek settle back onto the bed, Derek resting in the vee of Stiles’ spread legs with his back to Stiles’ chest. Stiles wraps his arms around him, his chin propped on Derek’s shoulder, when Stiles finally asks, “Wanna talk about it?”

Derek knows Stiles is talking about what happened before he showed up. The memories of his father’s visit rush through him, and he shudders with the onslaught. He opens his mouth, and before he’s even sure of what he is going to say, the words tumble out.

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles listens as Derek fills in the gaps around Boyd’s earlier retelling of what had happened. He sweeps his thumb slowly over the skin of Derek’s stomach just above his waistband, offering comfort as Derek struggles to relive the events from earlier. With the weight of Derek’s words between them, Stiles kisses Derek’s temple. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here, love. I’m so, so sorry.”

Derek turns his head and meets Stiles’ mouth in a soft kiss. “You have nothing to be sorry for, Stiles.”

“I should have been here.” Guilt eats at Stiles. Although he knows it’s unlikely that he could’ve stopped it since he was at work when it happened, even if he hadn’t walked away from Derek, the knowledge doesn’t keep him from beating himself up over it. He noses at the side of Derek’s face, letting himself drown in the peace of holding him again.

Boyd raises a hand to get their attention. “Should I be calling you Stiles or Red?”

His question breaks the tension in the room, and Stiles laughs. “Whichever you prefer. I will answer to both. My real name is unpronounceable by most people that aren’t my mom, so people close to me usually end up calling me Stiles or Sti. Red is the name I use at the bar.” Shit. The bar. He hasn’t let Jackson and Danny know what’s going on. He’s been too preoccupied with focusing on Derek’s needs. “Speaking of the bar, I left in a bit of a hurry. I need to call Jackson and Danny.” Stiles feels Derek stiffen when he mentions Jackson, and he cocks his head to look at Derek. “Der?”

“It’s fine,” Derek mumbles.

Stiles wraps his arms more firmly around Derek in a hug, tucking his face next to Derek’s shoulder. “You have nothing to be jealous of. I told you this already. Jackson is my best friend.”

“You live with him,” Derek declares as if that means something.

Stiles lifts his head but keeps his arms around Derek. “I do.”

Derek remains tense in Stiles’ arms when he asks, “Have you slept with him?”

“Yes,” Stiles replies honestly, unwilling to lie to Derek.

“Slept or fucked?” Derek clarifies softly.

“Both.”

Derek immediately struggles to get out of Stiles’ embrace. “Let me go.”

Stiles drops his arms instantly at the request, but his voice rings clear in the room. “Jackson and I aren’t together, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we have had sex. Yes, I have fucked him. I have fucked him a lot. More times than I can count.”

Derek moves away from Stiles to the other side of the bed, eyes cast down. “How can you say you aren’t with him, if you’ve had sex with him? Was it an arrangement or something? Are you exes or what? You’re going to have to explain it to me, because I don’t understand.”

Stiles sighs. He’d much rather have this conversation later, but rather than making it a bigger issue than it is, he says, “When we met, both of us were in bad places. So, yeah, we fucked all the time back then. More than once a day. Sometimes, two, three, four, or more times a day. There were days we didn’t get out of bed. We’d fuck, recover, then fuck again. Then one day, we both realized we were better as friends. He opened up to me about himself and never once pushed me to open up to him, but he loved me through it all. I recently shared everything about my past, everything about me, with him. Laid bare all my demons. He’s the first person to know me completely, other than my family, and he didn’t leave. He stayed. No one has ever stayed before. He is, and always will be, important to me. Deal with it, or don’t, but I won’t pretend it didn’t happen. Yes, I have fucked him. Yes, I have recently slept with him in the context of sleeping and comfort.” Stiles takes a breath, hesitating, before deciding to put everything on the line. “And before you ask, yes, I have fucked him in the context of friends when one of us needs to get off.”

Silence invades the room as Derek digests Stiles’ words. Just when Stiles is certain he has lost his chance with Derek and is about to get up to leave, Derek whispers, “Have you fucked him recently?”

“Not since before I met you,” Stiles answers.

Derek’s eyes snap to Stiles’. “Have you fucked anyone recently?”

“No, but I have tried. I wanted to, but it just never felt right. Even Jackson offered, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it,” Stiles readily admits knowing Derek needs to know how much he has affected Stiles. No use holding back now.

Derek stares at him for a few minutes, and Stiles doesn’t know what to say that might make it an easier pill to swallow, when Derek lunges back into him, wrapping his arms tight around Stiles’ waist. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be jealous. I can’t help it.”

Stiles pulls Derek closer and breathes in relief. “Trust me, love, I can deal with a little jealousy. I’ve told you that I’m possessive and jealous myself.” He kisses the top of Derek’s head. “I just hope you can handle it when you are faced with it.”

“I can,” Derek says confidently. “If I’m yours, I definitely can.”

“You do know that you two are perfect for each other, yeah?” Boyd asks, reminding Stiles of his presence. Derek snuggles back down between Stiles’ legs, a small smile playing on his lips. Stiles reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone before entwining his arms back around Derek, encompassing him.

“I should probably head out for the night and let you two get some sleep. Jackson and Danny will be waiting for me,” Stiles forces himself to choke out. He really isn’t ready to let Derek out of his sight.

Derek shakes his head, panic written on his face. “No. I want to be with you tonight. I…I need to.” He looks up at Stiles, “Please? You can invite them here, I guess. It’s not much, but we can make room.”

“Do you want to stay here?” Stiles asks, indicating Derek’s room. “I can take you to my apartment instead.”

Derek glances over to Boyd. “What about Boyd? I can’t leave him here.”

Stiles shrugs, “He can come, too. We have the space.”

Boyd jumps out of his chair and whoops, “Sleepover at the bartender’s place. This is my lucky night.”

Stiles and Derek roll their eyes, both amused at his behavior. “Sleep is the key word there, man. My occupation won’t play into it.”

“Who cares? There’s always the morning,” Boyd responds with a big, toothy smile.

Stiles shakes his head. “Tomorrow, eh, today, is Christmas Eve. Aren’t you going home to be with your family?”

Disappointment flickers over Boyd’s face before he quickly pushes it aside. “Nope. My family couldn’t afford it, so I planned to stay here with Derek. Even though he wasn’t really talking to me, I wanted to be close in case he needed me.” Stiles isn’t sure how he feels about that. He’s grateful, if also a little jealous.

“Looks like you’ll be at my place instead,” Stiles surmises, shaking his head at the glee in Boyd’s answering expression.

Not caring that Derek can see his screen, Stiles opens his phone and sees thirty-seven missed calls from Jackson. Fuck. He forgot to take his phone off Do Not Disturb earlier. Fuck fuck fuck. He should have thought to call sooner. Sliding his thumb over the screen, he dials Jackson’s number and turns on the speakerphone, unsurprised when he answers on the first ring despite the late, well, early hour.

“Sti! Is everything alright? Are you okay?” Jackson’s voices blasts from the speaker.

“Yeah. I’m fine. I’m with Derek and Boyd. Did you and Danny get the bar closed up? Any problems?” he asks, opening his legs wider and pulling Derek in closer.

“No problems. Everything is closed up and prepped. Danny came back to the apartment with me. The longer we waited to hear from you, the more worried both of us became. I tried calling, but it kept going to voicemail.” Stiles hears the gentle chastisement in Jackson’s tone.

“I’m sorry I worried you. Things were a bit intense for a while. I’m heading home soon, and I am bringing Derek and Boyd with me.” He can sense the wheels turning in Jackson’s brain, the unasked questions hanging in the air. “I’ll explain when I get there.”

Derek and Boyd each grab a few things and shove them in bags, and Stiles finds a long sleeved overshirt in the closet for Derek. He knows Derek won’t be up for answering the inevitable questions about the bruises tonight. Helping Derek slip the shirt on, he picks up Derek’s bag, and they traipse down the stairs and out the door to Stiles’ Jeep. When they pull up in front of Stiles’ building, Boyd whistles. “Nice. Isn’t this area expensive?”

“I have a roommate, remember?” Stiles says by way of explanation. “Split bills are a lot more manageable, plus the bonus is that I have someone to come home to. I don’t much like being completely alone.”

He sees Derek stiffen but doesn’t draw attention to it. Stiles had meant it when he said he could handle Derek’s jealousy. Besides, once Derek officially meets and gets to know Jackson, Stiles has no doubt he will calm down, especially if Jackson and Danny finally get their heads out of their asses and admit they want to play with each other’s joystick or get up close and person with each other’s tonsil tickler or Jackson to ride Danny’s disco stick or the other way around. He knows Jackson is versatile, though he usually prefers to bottom. He wonders if Danny is versatile, too. Oh, well. Thoughts for another day.

Stiles sees Derek wince and shake his hand as he tries to situate his backpack. He stores the information away to ask him about later. For now, though, he snaps up the bag from Derek, slinging it over his shoulder, and takes Derek’s hand in his, lacing their fingers. As expected, this seems to ease Derek’s current distress. Stiles leans over and places a soft kiss to Derek’s lips. “Let’s go inside.”

Jackson opens the door before Stiles has a chance to unlock it. Dropping Derek’s bag just inside the door, Stiles releases Derek’s hand and steps immediately into Jackson’s open arms, letting the warmth and protection of his best friend engulf him.

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek’s stomach sinks when Stiles falls into Jackson’s embrace, no space separating their bodies. The closeness between the two is glaringly obvious. Feeling awkward and out of place, Derek shuffles his feet and leans into Boyd who had come up behind him, effectively blocking him from running. He would have, too. If Boyd hadn’t been crowded behind him, he would have run, turned around and just left. Jealousy licks at Derek, hot and persistent, as he watches Jackson continue to hold Stiles close, hands running up and down Stiles’ back. “It’s okay, dude. Give him a chance,” Boyd murmurs quietly in his ear, one hand resting on Derek’s hip.

“You alright?” Derek hears Jackson asking Stiles in hushed tones, making him feel like he is intruding on an intimate moment.

“Yeah. We’ll talk later.” Stiles mumbles, tone just as subdued as Jackson’s.

Derek notices that Jackson is the perfect complement to Stiles. He is a couple of inches shorter, and his model good looks harmonize with Stiles beautifully in perfect contrast making them striking together. Derek swallows down the bile that rises, knowing he can never compete with that. Why even try?

Stiles pulls back and introduces Derek and Boyd, then picks up the discarded bag and walks into the living room. The other bartender from Midnight Memories, Danny, is sitting on the leather couch, and he greets them with a wave. Once introductions are made all around, Jackson asks if anyone wants anything to eat or drink.

“Water?” Derek asks timidly, still uncomfortable.

“Food? Hell, yes!” Boyd exclaims boldly, a contagious smile on his face, the complete opposite of how Derek is feeling.

Stiles nods. “Thanks, Jax. Whatever you want is fine. I’m going to hop in the shower. I’m still bar dirty.”

“I can order pizza from the twenty-four hour place up the road.” Jackson turns to Derek and Boyd and asks, “Any topping preferences?”

“Um, cheese? Veggies? I don’t really care. I’m not an all meat person, but I can pick off what I don’t want,” Derek answers.

“Meat! I want the meat.” Boyd excitedly replies. Everyone snickers at him. “What? What’d I say?” The snickers escalate into loud guffaws, filling the air. It takes a minute, but Boyd eventually catches up and rolls his eyes, joining in the laughter.

Stiles pulls out his wallet and hands his credit card to Jackson. “Get drinks, too. I haven’t had a chance to go to the store this week. I’ll go out in a few hours to get stuff for the next few days.”

Jackson nods and grabs the take-out menu from the table.

Catching Derek’s eyes, Stiles picks up Derek’s bag and jerks his head toward the hall, holding out his hand. “Come with?”

Derek flushes and looks around the room at the other boys. Stiles hadn’t exactly been quiet about the invitation, but only Jackson seems to have noticed. He stares at Derek, eyes studying them and missing nothing, as if waiting to see how he will respond. Without taking his eyes from Jackson’s, Derek nods and slips his hand into Stiles’. “Lead the way.”

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles leaves Derek’s bag on his bed and walks to his dresser, pulling out a tank top and joggers. Grinning, he stalks toward Derek, backing him down the hall into the bathroom and trapping him against the counter with his arms and body.

“I have to say, I love the green-eyed monster coming out of you tonight,” Stiles says on a quiet breath, cognizant of just how not sound proof his apartment is. “It’s a huge turn on.” He bumps his thickening cock into Derek’s thigh and watches Derek’s eyes glaze over and roll back as a wave of arousal hits him. Stiles taps Derek’s thigh. “Hop up onto the counter while I shower. I won’t be long.”

Derek sits on the counter, as instructed, and Stiles has just peeled off his clothes and turned on the water to heat up, when he hears a petulant, “I’m not jealous.”

Stiles stands between Derek’s spread legs. “Oh, but you are, love, and while there is absolutely no need for it, I really don’t mind. In case you missed it, I pretty much like it.” Stiles drops his eyes to his naked body and back up to Derek’s. “A lot.”

“Do you really?” Derek whispers, the back of his fingers just graze along Stiles’ length. Stiles moans softly. God, where did Derek’s burst of courage come from? It takes every ounce of self-control he has to keep from pushing forward into Derek’s hand.

“I really, really do,” he confirms with a gentle kiss to Derek’s lips, forcing himself to step back and get into the shower.

Lips twitching, Derek calls out, “Hey, Stiles?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t jerk off,” Derek says saucily with a wink.

Stiles draws in a ragged breath at the memory of him once telling Derek that same thing before tipping his head and agreeing. “Alright.”

True to his word, Stiles showers quickly, washing off the grime from the day and most definitely not jacking himself off. If he tugs on his aching cock once or twice, well, no one really needs to know. He doesn’t allow himself time to overthink what he’s doing with Derek. The passing thought terrifies him so he pushes it away until he has time to talk to Jackson later. Opening the shower door, he grabs his towel from the rack and dries off under Derek’s watchful eyes.

“Like what you see?” Stiles teases him.

“Yes,” Derek hisses out and pushes himself to his feet. “I do.” Derek takes the towel away from Stiles, hangs it on the rack, and then crowds him against the shower door. “And I really, really like these,” his says, reaching out to pull on the small ring in Stiles’ nipple. Stiles gasps, and a shudder courses through his body.

Stiles snakes his hand behind Derek’s neck, fisting the strands of his messy hair, and pulls him down to meet his hungry mouth. He drinks in the taste of Derek as his tongue licks over Derek’s bottom lip, demanding entry. Several minutes later, careful to keep the kiss from escalating too far, Stiles pulls back but continues placing small pecks repeatedly over Derek’s mouth. Lips still brushing Derek’s, he murmurs, “I need to get dressed, and we should get back to the others.”

Derek tips his head forward for one last quick kiss and moves out of Stiles’ space. “You’re right. I’m sure Jackson is wondering where we are,” he agrees with a grimace.

Stiles smirks, laughing softly. “I highly doubt that. The walls are paper thin here. If he’s paying any attention at all, he knows exactly what’s going on.” As he pulls on his joggers and tank, he catches Derek staring again.

Stiles cocks his eyebrow. “Yes?”

“You didn’t put on underwear,” Derek says reminding Stiles.

Stiles pulls at the waistband of his pants and peers inside. “Would you look at that? You’re right. I didn’t.”

“Aren’t you going to, you know, fix that?” Derek blushes and looks away.

Stiles smiles up at him and pats him on the cheek. “No. I don’t think I will.”

“But, um, you’re not exactly soft right now,” Derek whispers as if it’s a secret.

“And?” Stiles chuckles. This innocent side of Derek is only serving to make him harder, but Stiles doesn’t mention it, not wanting to risk that Derek loses that part of his personality.

Derek’s eyes widen when Stiles’ dick twitches. “Everyone will notice.”

Stiles brushes a kiss to Derek’s mouth. “I can’t say that I care.”

“Won’t it be awkward?” Derek hurriedly asks when Stiles opens the door to leave the bathroom.

Stiles shrugs and takes Derek’s hand. “Why would it be? We’re all men, Der. We all have the same parts. Everyone in this apartment has had a boner before. Now, come on. I’m starving.”

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

It’s almost dawn when they settle in around the coffee table, everyone crowding around and filling their plates with pizza. Derek is surprised to see an all veggie pizza in the mix. He looks over to Jackson and shyly says, “Thanks for this.” He motions to the pizza. “You didn’t have to get one specifically for me, but I appreciate the kindness.”

Jackson waves his hand in the air. “No worries, man.”

The smell of the open pizza boxes infiltrates Derek’s senses, and nausea rolls over him. He scoots closer to Stiles and leans his head on his shoulder. “I don’t feel so hot.”

Stiles looks over at him in alarm. “When was the last time you ate?”

Derek hides his face in Stiles’ neck, not wanting to see Stiles’ expression when he says, “I had a banana three days ago, I think. Like Thursday? Maybe, Wednesday? I can’t remember. Um, before that, I had an apple and some granola earlier in the week.”

“How long has it been seen you ate regularly?” Stiles asks, brows furrowed. When Derek doesn’t answer immediately, Stiles prompts, “Baby? How long?”

Derek tugs on the hem of Stiles’ ripped shirt, his hand gripping the material in his tightly, clenched fists. “On and off since October, but a lot less for most of December.”

“What the fuck, Derek?” Boyd yells, before his eyes land on Stiles’ troubled ones. “I swear I didn’t know it had been that long.”

“We can talk about it later. For now, I need you to eat something,” Stiles encourages, handing Derek the plate that Jackson hands him with a slice of pizza.

“What if it doesn’t stay down?” Derek mouths almost soundlessly into Stiles’ shoulder.

“We will deal with it…just like we did last time,” Stiles promises gently. “Eat, love.”

Derek sighs and lifts his head from Stiles, leaning forward to take a small bite of the pizza on his plate. He chews slowly, terrified to swallow. He really doesn’t want to throw up in front of Stiles’ friends. It’s humiliating enough that they know something is wrong. Getting sick would just be the icing on the cake.

Stiles edges Derek forward and moves behind him, legs stretched on either side, pulling Derek gently back to rest against him. “You’re okay. Swallow and take another bite. No one here is judging you.” It amazes Derek how well Stiles knows exactly what he’s thinking. He cautiously swallows the bite and takes another.

Stiles’ hand rubs soft circles over Derek’s belly, calming him. Derek continues gradually eating and make an effort to join in the idle conversation with the others. It helps that no one has pressured him to talk or has asked any invasive questions. They simply talk about school, the bar, home, anything but the massive elephant in the room.

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles feels Derek’s stomach churning under his hands. A few minutes later, Derek abruptly places his plate on the coffee table, face becoming ashen as he swallows hard. Knowing Derek is trying to delay the inevitable but that the end result will be the same, Stiles moves out from behind him and stands. Pulling Derek up from the couch, he quietly demands, “Come on.”

Stiles leads him quickly to the bathroom, inherently knowing that there isn’t much time left. As soon as they are inside, Derek rushes to the toilet and falls to his knees. Stiles has just enough time to kneel beside him as his body expels the pizza he had just eaten. Rubbing his hand over Derek’s back, Stiles soothes him as his body continues to convulse.

After a few final dry heaves, Derek sits back, tears filling his eyes and falling down his face. “I’m so embarrassed.”

Wiping away the tears from Derek’s cheek, Stiles shakes his head. “None of that. You’re all good.” Stiles stands and wets a cloth before cleaning Derek’s face. “You’re so goddamned perfect,” he whispers as he reaches up to press a soft kiss to Derek’s cheekbone.

Tossing the dirty cloth on the counter, Stiles reaches under the sink and pulls out a green toothbrush. Derek moves to the sink and brushes his teeth, while Stiles cleans up the toilet. They return to the living room and resume their previous position, Stiles slipping behind Derek and pulling him back against him.

Jackson clears his throat to get Stiles’ attention and hands him a plate with plain, dry toast. “I thought this might go over better,” he says by way of explanation.

Taking the plate from him with silent thanks in his eyes, Stiles presents it to Derek. “Round two. Let’s try again.”

Derek reluctantly takes the plate and picks up the toast, taking a small bite. Stiles nods his approval and starts rubbing soft slow circles low on Derek’s stomach. He catches Jackson watching them, and knows he is missing nothing in his sharp gaze. With a sharp, nearly imperceptible shake of his head, Stiles lets Jackson know not to call attention to anything right now. Jackson stares at them for a minute longer, but thankfully, drops it for now.

The conversation in the room continues to buzz, never falling into awkward silence. No one comments when Stiles and Derek make three more trips to the bathroom, before the food finally begins to stay put. Derek’s stomach still rumbles and flips under Stiles’ hand, but it’s much less violent than it has been.

Not long later, they begin to wind down as dawn peaks over the horizon and sunlight begins to fill the room. “I need to sleep,” Jackson yawns, standing up to clean up the mess of pizza boxes, plates, and drinks. “Sti, do you want to share with me? Derek and Boyd can take your room, or vice versa. It’s all the same to me.”

Derek goes rigid in front of Stiles. “Der? Do you and Boyd want to use my room? I can stay with Jackson, and Danny can take the couch.” Derek doesn’t answer, so Stiles tips Derek’s face to his with a gentle finger under his chin. “Derek? What do you want to do?”

“Whatever. That’s fine,” Derek answers, standing and moving beside Boyd with his eyes focused on the floor.

Stiles knows Derek is trying to tamp down the jealousy he feels. He also knows Derek isn’t succeeding, but Stiles doesn’t challenge him. The last thing Derek needs right now is to get worked up. “Okay. You and Boyd go ahead. Jackson and I will clean up.” Turning his head to Danny, he says, “Blankets and pillows are in the hall closet. Help yourself to whatever you need.”

Stiles and Jackson make quick work of the cleanup, working in unison, and fall into Jackson’s bed less than ten minutes later. A shattered sigh falls from Stiles’ lips as exhaustion washes over him.

“Is Derek okay?” Jackson asks quietly from beside Stiles.

“Yeah,” Stiles answers on an exhale, his voice barely making a sound in the room.

Jackson rolls on his side to face Stiles, reducing the distance between them. “Are you?”

“Yeah,” Stiles repeats.

Lowering his voice to barely a whisper, Jackson asks, “Do you realize you’re in love with him?”

Stiles turns to face Jackson and, taking a deep breath, repeats with barely a whisper, “Yeah.” The softly spoken word lifts a huge weight off his shoulders.

Jackson searches Stiles’ eyes in the dark room, nodding at what he sees there. “He feels the same way about you.”

“Maybe,” Stiles says, a tear tracking over his cheek as he finally allows himself to loosen the grip he has on his emotions. “But he won’t.”

Jackson thumbs away the tear. “You don’t know that.”

Stiles exhales a shuddering breath. "I’m scared to find out.”

“I know.” Jackson reaches out and pulls Stiles close, his arms a comforting embrace for Stiles as they fall asleep.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles wakes to the low sound of a sniffle. He untangles himself from Jackson’s octopus arms, the dude clings in his sleep like nobody’s business, and turns over to see Derek stretched out on the floor beside the bed. “Der? Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” Derek responds without turning to face him.

Stiles rubs his face and tries to get his bearings. “What time is it?”

“I don’t know. About an hour after we went to bed, I think,” Derek answers with another sniffle. “Just turn back over, and go back to sleep.”

“Not gonna happen, love. Get up here. The floor isn’t going to do your back any favors,” Stiles says as he reaches out his hand to rest on Derek’s shoulder.

“But Jackson…”

“Jackson is asleep, and nothing short of an earthquake is going to wake him up right now,” Stiles informs him letting his hand drift to Derek’s neck.

“I don’t want to interrupt. You two were all…” Derek waves his hand at the bed. “You know.”

“We didn’t fuck, Derek. Jackson was just making sure I was alright. Nothing more. I promise I wouldn’t do that to you.” The words hang heavy in the air until Derek finally rolls over to face him. In the filtered light of the room, Stiles can discern Derek’s red rimmed eyes, still filled with tears, and he thumbs them away much like Jackson had done to him earlier. “If you don’t get your gorgeous ass up here in the next five seconds, I am coming down there, and I’d rather not sleep on the floor again. So, come on.” Stiles lifts the blankets in invitation.

Stiles breathes in relief when Derek finally stands up and slips under the blankets with him. He shakes his head with a chuckle as Derek keeps distance between them by trying to stay as close to the edge of the bed as possible. There’s no way Derek’s ass isn’t hanging off the bed.

“I don’t bite, love,” Stiles murmurs, placing his hand on Derek’s hip.

Stiles can hear the smirk in Derek’s voice when tosses back, “Yes, you do.”

“Hmm. You’re right. I do.” Stiles tugs Derek toward him. “But you don’t seem to mind.”

Derek doesn’t resist and allows Stiles to pull him nearly flush against him. He wiggles closer to Stiles, all the same. “I really don’t.”

Stiles slips one leg in between Derek’s thighs and tips his head up to leave a light kiss on Derek’s mouth. “Better,” he says serenely, his lips still brushing Derek’s as he speaks. Content to stay exactly where he is, he continues, “Sleep now. I need to get up soon to go to the store, and you need to heal.”

 

~~*~~

 

An hour later, Stiles presses a soft kiss to Derek’s lips and slips out of bed. “I’ll be back in a bit. I won’t be long.”

Derek doesn’t fully wake. He just snuggles down under the blankets with a few smacking noises. Stiles smiles at the cuteness overload bombarding him. Fighting the urge to crawl back in the bed beside Derek, he quickly exits the room.

Danny sits up when Stiles enters the living room. “Is it time to get up already?”

Keeping his voice low, Stiles replies, “No. I’m just going to the store before it gets too bad out there. Last minute shoppers and all that. Are you staying here for Christmas?”

“Can I?” Danny asks cocking his head to the side in question.

“So, that’s a yes, then,” Stiles confirms with a smile and pulls on his shoes. “I’ll be right back.”

Danny stands and stretches, his back giving a loud pop. “Give me a minute to use the bathroom, and I’ll go with you.”

Ten minutes later, they pull up to the already bustling store. Stiles chuckles and stares at the frenzied madness in front of them. “You ready for this?”

Danny shoots him a grin. “Let’s do it.”

They split up and gather everything they need for the next couple of days, having decided to make chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner. They get enough to include Stiles’ family, who always seems to show up on Christmas day as a “surprise”. It’s not really a surprise anymore, but his siblings enjoy it, so he plays along. Stiles also shops for the week so that he won’t have to do it again until sometime next week.

He tosses fresh vegetables into the cart, wanting to make sure Derek has something light and healthy to eat, just in case heavier food was still hard for him. Then, he goes to the first aid aisle and picks up some ointment and aloe, as well as, more gauze and a bandage to wrap Derek’s wrist. He might be wrong, but Derek seems to be babying his left hand.

“We should get Boyd and Derek something for Christmas so they have gifts to open,” Danny suggests when the meet back up.

“Good idea,” Stiles agrees. “Any ideas?”

Stiles presses his lips together to hide his smile. “None whatsoever.”

“Well, then, that makes it easy,” Danny says sarcastically. “We can go across the street to the department store and see what we find there.”

Stiles nods at the suggestion. “Sounds good.”

They make their way to the checkout station at the front of the store, and once their groceries are loaded into the back of his jeep, they walk across the street and enter another equally chaotic store. They pick out a few things for Boyd and Derek before paying and heading back to the apartment.

On the drive back, Danny finally inquires, “What’s going on with Derek?”

Stiles is a bit surprised Danny hadn’t asked earlier. With a shrug, he says, “It’s not my story to tell, but I can tell you that things are bad. Really bad. His dad is not a good man.”

Danny’s friendly demeanor turns sour as he digests what Stiles said. “Is he going to be okay?”

“If I have anything to say about it, yes,” Stiles promises. “I’ll talk to him today about telling you and Jackson everything. He could use the friends and support. God knows, he doesn’t have enough.”

Danny scratches his jaw and clears his throat, clearly unsure how to put his thoughts into words. “Um, I think Derek is a little jealous of Jackson.”

Stiles barks a loud laugh. “He’s a lot jealous, but I understand why. Boyd said some things to me that have my own jealousy flaring, too. I’m just trying to not dwell on it, especially with how fragile Derek is right now.” Danny nods, and Stiles cuts his eyes toward him in a quick glance before retraining his eyes to the busy roadway. “If you would finally suck it up and ask Jackson out already, Derek might calm down a little bit. Well, you know, probably not, but it couldn’t hurt.”

Stiles doesn’t have to look at him to know that Danny is beet red and flustered. “I could never. Jackson would most certainly not agree, and I would be mortified when he rejected me.”

“I don’t think he’d reject you,” Stiles tells him with a smirk as he pulls into the parking lot at his apartment. “But anyway, it was just an idea, man. Something to think about.”

It takes them three trips to get all of their purchases into the apartment. Danny helps Stiles put everything away and tells him that he needs to go home and get some things but that he will be back shortly. Stiles gives him his key to get back in and returns to Jackson’s room.

Derek is still curled up where he left him, and Jackson is spread out like a starfish on the other three quarters of the bed. Stiles slips into bed between the two sleeping boys. Like a beacon in the night, Derek is drawn to him, immediately pushing closer and falling into Stiles’ arms.

It’s just a few minutes after noon, when Stiles opens his eyes again, taking in several things at once. First, he’s in Jackson’s bed. Second, Jackson is asleep next to him. Third, Derek is also asleep next to him. Fourth, Derek has turned over, and Stiles is spooned behind him. Fifth, his mouth is open against Derek’s neck, his tongue licking over the warm skin there. And last but not least, he’s so hard he could hammer nails.

He tentatively starts sucking on the place his mouth has claimed, and Derek moans quietly, grinding his ass into Stiles’ throbbing cock. “Der?”

“Mmm, Sti,” Derek sighs, pushing back again.

Stiles pulls Derek back by the hips to slot perfectly into him. “Are you awake?”

Derek gasps, “If I say no, are you going to stop?”

“Only if you want me to,” Stiles replies and replaces his mouth, sucking hard.

Derek moans as Stiles pushes his tongue ring along the chords of Derek’s neck. “I don’t. I never want you to stop. I want…” he trails off as sleep continues to pull at him.

Stiles pulls his mouth away and tucks his head behind Derek’s back. “What do you want?”

“I want you to put your mouth back on me. Mark me up so everyone can see I’m yours.”

“I can do that.” Stiles slowly drags his mouth up and places a soft kiss to the base of Derek’s neck on the top knob of Derek’s spine. Lifting his head, he leaves a trail of kisses in his wake, searching for the perfect location.

Derek whimpers when Stiles finally latches his mouth to a vulnerable spot, this time near the front, unable to be hidden by clothing. “I’m already so close.”

“Can you hold off?” Stiles whispers.

“I think I can,” Derek brokenly chokes out. Stiles returns his mouth to the same worked over skin again. “No. I don’t know. Fuck. If you do that again, I’m going to come.”

“Don’t come yet,” Stiles mumbles against Derek’s neck, before sucking again on the already overly sensitive skin, unyielding in his intensely driven focus.

“Stiles, I can’t stop. I can’t hold it any longer. Please,” Derek begs, and it’s nearly Stiles’ undoing.

Stiles’ tongue traces over the mark. He knows if he doesn’t stop, he will push Derek over the edge right here in Jackson’s bed. Derek thrashes lightly, his body seeking release. Unable to resist watching Derek fall apart in pleasure, Stiles slips his hand just under the waistband of Derek’s boxers, careful not to touch Derek’s dripping cock, and mouths at the worried skin on Derek’s neck again, sucking hard and pressing the barbell in his tongue into the tender bruise.

Derek’s response is instant. Hips snug against Stiles, he arches his back and relinquishes his threadbare control. Stiles drops his hand lower to the head of Derek’s cock as it thumps his release, letting the warm come flow over his fingers. Pushing his hand further down, Stiles firmly squeezes Derek’s still spurting cock, eliciting a low moan in the back of Derek’s throat as another pulse is pulled from his body.

“Fuck,” Stiles hisses on a sharp breath, fighting for his own control. “Could you be any more fucking flawless?” Derek circles his hips back hard into Stiles, dragging his ass down firmly over Stiles’ rigid cock, and Stiles’ orgasm is ripped from him unexpectedly, unstoppable and inescapable. Several minutes later, his breathing still shallow, he answers his own question with a whisper, “Yes. Yes, you obviously can.”

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek and Stiles take showers and are in the kitchen making lunch when Danny and Boyd trudge in. “Are you two good with sandwiches for now?” Stiles asks with a welcoming smile.

At their nod, Stiles slides two plates down to them and dusts off his hands. “Give me a second. I need to go wake up Jackson.”

Derek finishes making the three remaining sandwiches, refusing to turn around. He knows he’s being stupid when it comes to Jackson, but he can’t help it. The last guy he tried dating had sworn nothing was going on with his best friend, too. When Derek had walked in on them naked in bed, his boyfriend’s dick buried in his best friend’s ass, his fears had been confirmed. Of course, he had blamed Derek for not putting out, so seeing Stiles snuggled up to Jackson in middle of the night had brought back painful memories, unwarranted as they may be. They had looked so comfortable together, so at home in each other’s arms. Derek isn’t sure how he can compete with that.

Pushing the worrisome thoughts aside, Derek plates the sandwiches just as Stiles returns with Jackson in tow. He turns around with a bright smile and hands them each a plate before sitting at the table and joining them.

Stiles and Derek clean up while the others take turns hitting the shower. While his stomach is still unsettled, lunch is staying inside so he counts that as a win. Stiles comes up behind him and hugs him gently from behind. “I want to check your injuries. Do you care if the others see? If you prefer, we can go to my room.”

It means a lot to Derek that Stiles is giving him a choice, but he has noticed the curious looks the others send when they think he isn’t looking. He shakes his head. “I don’t care if they see. I know they have questions. This will get it over with faster.”

Stiles takes the first aid supplies from the bag where he had left them sitting on the table earlier and leads them to the living room where Jackson and Danny are sitting on the couch talking while waiting for Boyd to finish his shower.

Stiles touches the material of Derek’s shirt to get his attention. “If you take off your shirts, we can do your back first.”

Derek slips off the overshirt and tugs his t shirt over his head. Jackson and Danny mask their expressions fairly well, but as expected, they are curious.  Derek tells them everything that happened, answering their questions honestly.

“Holy fuck, Derek! What the hell?” Boyd yells with a gasp when he enters the room. Derek flinches but otherwise remains unmoving. Boyd’s eyes dart away from Derek as if the cuts and bruises cause him personal pain. “I knew it was bad, but you never let me get close enough last night to see just how bad.” Boyd swallows hard and clenches his fists. “I’ll kill him,” he grates out.

“Get in line, dude,” Stiles says, his anger evident in the harsh rasp of his voice. “He’s lucky he was already gone before I got there.”

Stiles’ touch remains careful and delicate as he tends to the last couple of marks on Derek’s back. “Let me get your arms and legs now.”

Derek begins talking again, barely recoiling when Stiles tends to the worst of the cuts. He’s only interrupted when Stiles murmurs, “Face me so I can do your chest.”

By the time Derek runs out of words, Stiles is finishing with the last gauze covering. He sees him pull out an ACE bandage. “What’s that for?” Derek asks.

Stiles cocks a pierced brow at him. “Your wrist.”

Derek releases a breath. How did Stiles know about his wrist? He thought he had done a good job keeping the injury from Stiles, not wanting to bother him any more than he already had. It’s not like its broken or anything.

Plastering on a smile, he feigns ignorance. “My wrist? My wrist is fine.”

Stiles firmly grips Derek’s left hand and tugs, strong enough that Derek cringes with the pain that shoots up his arm but gentle enough to not cause any more damage. “Your wrist is not fine,” Stiles admonishes and begins expertly wrapping the bandage over and around Derek’s wrist. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want to be any more of an inconvenience,” Derek whispers, a single tear falling and dripping onto Stiles’ arm as his emotions overwhelm him.

Stiles frowns. “You could never. Now, is anything else hurting?”

“No,” Derek confirms. When Stiles stares back at him, eyes searching his in a challenge, he says, “I promise.”

“Not even the hickeys all over your neck? Especially that big one near the front?” Boyd teases, lightening the mood in the room.

Derek ducks his head shyly and wipes at his eyes but takes it in stride. “No. It doesn’t hurt.” A mischievous smile crosses his face when he looks over at Boyd and remarks, “It feels good.” Boyd’s mouth gapes open, and Derek snorts. “What? You asked.”

Stiles puts away the first aid supplies in the bathroom, and Danny follows to take his turn in the shower.

“Movie? Netflix?” Jackson suggests when Stiles walks back into the room. “It’s your birthday, Sti. You get to decide.”

“What?” Derek spins around to face Stiles, feeling sucker punched. “Wait. What? Today is your birthday?”

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

“Yeah?” Stiles hedges as he sees shame and horror creep over Derek’s face.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Derek runs his hands over his face and into his hair. “Fuck. I’m so sorry that I ruined your birthday. You should have just ignored Boyd’s text. You didn’t have to come take care of me. At least that way, you would have had a good day.” Fisting his hands, he pulls hard on his hair.

Stiles crosses the room and falls to his knees in front of Derek. Carefully unwinding Derek’s fingers from his hair, Stiles lifts Derek’s chin to face him. “Yes, I absolutely did have to come take care of you, and I would do it all over again every time, in every possible circumstance. Nothing about my birthday has been ruined. I’m exactly where I want to be, surrounded by friends…” He leans forward pressing a soft kiss to Derek’s mouth. “And you.”

“But…”

Stiles places his finger over Derek’s lips, stopping the words. “No buts. You’re sadly mistaken if you think I can walk away from you again.” Lifting his thumb, he drags it over Derek’s bottom lip. “A few weeks ago, I couldn’t take it anymore and called you. When you didn’t answer, I had to accept that I was too late, that you had moved on and didn’t need or want me in your life.”

Derek looks at him curiously, confusion marring his face. “You called a few weeks ago?”

“Yeah,” Stiles replies. “It rang and then went to voicemail.”

“I never got the call,” Derek tells him softly. “I swear I would have answered.”

Stiles squints up at Derek from where he still kneels at his feet. He knows with every fiber of his being that it was Derek’s number. He had heard Derek’s voice come through on the recording. “It was you speaking on the greeting. I tried twice more, but when both calls went straight to voicemail without ringing, I figured you blocked me.”

Confusion flickers through Derek’s eyes before his face falls. “When exactly did you call? The first time. What day was it?”

“It was the first week of December. I was at the bar and took a break because I felt like I would go insane if I didn’t call you right then,” Stiles says thinking back as he picks up his phone from the coffee table and scrolls through his call log. “Monday, December 4th at 8:27 p.m.,” he confirms, showing Derek the screen.

Derek blanches, the color draining out of his face, and his hands begin shaking uncontrollably. “I didn’t ignore the call. I…she…she wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t get away. Then my phone rang. You…when you called…your call…it…” he trails off as a tear slips down his face.

“Der?” Stiles asks, alarmed.

So softly, it was nearly inaudible, Derek whispers, “Your phone call that night saved me from being raped.”

Sure that he misheard, Stiles tenses and takes Derek’s trembling hands in his. “What?”

Derek closes his eyes as he relives that night. “She…Kate…she had me held down. She was choking me, hitting me. She wanted me to fight. She was getting off on it. My phone rang, and she pulled it out of my pocket before I could. When she was distracted with looking at the screen, I kneed her in the crotch as hard as I could, and her hold loosened. I slipped out from under her, and as I was running toward the door, she threw my phone at me. It shattered against the wall, so I picked up the pieces and left before she could get to her feet.” Derek shudders and opens his eyes. “I haven’t even replaced my phone. I keep hoping it was all a nightmare.”

Stiles’ fingers drift over the barely visible bruises he had seen last night on Derek’s neck. “That’s when you got these.”

Derek nods, “Yes.”

The puzzle pieces begin slotting together in Stiles’ brain in rapid succession. “And that’s when you stopped eating.”

“Yes.”

“Because every time you tried, the pain would remind you of that night, and you’d end up throwing everything up,” Stiles continues as the fragments of information begin solidifying in his head.

“Yes.”

“That’s the night you came home with bruises on your neck. The night you told me to leave you alone,” Boyd whispers, hands pressed tightly together over his nose and mouth as guilt weighs heavy on him. “I fucking knew I should have texted Stiles that night.”

“Don’t blame yourself,” Derek says quietly. “You didn’t know. I didn’t want you to know.”

“Did you report it?” Jackson’s firm voice rings out into the room, and Stiles can hear the barely concealed anger in his words.

Derek turns his face away from everyone. “No. I couldn’t. I didn’t even report it to Temporary Fix. I didn’t want to face it. I still don’t.”

Stiles stands up from the floor and sits on the couch, pulling Derek sideways into his lap. Boyd and Jackson move to either side of them, each offering their own comfort and support. Boyd drapes himself over Derek’s back in a warm hug, and Jackson burrows his head against Stiles’ shoulder, his hand gripping Stiles’ thigh under Derek’s legs to ground him.

“Whoa. What’d I miss?” Danny asks, walking into the silent room a few minutes later.

Jackson gets up, heading off Danny at the doorway. “Derek just dropped some really heavy stuff. Give them a minute.”

Jackson leaves the room to take a shower, and Danny takes Jackson’s previous seat on the couch next to Stiles. “Can I do anything?”

Stiles smiles, feeling fortunate in that moment that Danny had stepped up to help him all those months ago at the bar. His friendship has been a pleasant surprise. “You’re here. That’s enough for now.”

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Boyd fills in Danny with the details, saving Derek the pain of going through it all again, and by the time Jackson gets out of the shower, they are setting up the TV to watch Buffy. Derek and Boyd are ecstatic to find out that Stiles and Jackson are also watching, and everyone is more than happy to start over for Danny. They have the time. There’s no hurry.

Jackson takes the loveseat, and Danny is lounging in the recliner. Derek and Stiles take one end of the couch, with Derek settling between Stiles’ thighs, his back propped on Stiles’ chest. Boyd sits at the other end by their feet. He’s been pretty clingy to Derek since he found out what happened, and Derek doesn’t really mind. He’s glad that he can finally be himself again. He’s missed Boyd, even if he was the one that pushed him away.

Stiles is scrolling through his phone when he taps Derek’s leg. “Sit up for a minute. I need to go do something.” Derek leans forward, and Stiles stands up and heads to his room, calling over his shoulder, “Go ahead and start the show. I’ll be right back.”

True to his word, Stiles returns a few minutes later and resituates himself behind Derek, immediately wrapping his arms around him.

Snuggling back comfortably into Stiles’ chest, Derek asks, “Everything okay?”

Stiles hugs him with a gentle squeeze. “Perfect.”

As the episodes play, the group is boisterous and lively, yelling at the characters on the screen as if they can hear them. They are five episodes in when Derek’s stomach rumbles. Loudly. Everyone snickers, and Derek blushes.

“Someone’s hungry,” Boyd laughs. “Rawr!”

Derek shyly ducks his head into Stiles’ chest. “That’s a good thing, love,” Stiles comments, rubbing his hand over Derek’s stomach. “What do you want to eat?”

Making a decision, Derek stands up and declares, “I’m making dinner.” He freezes when he remembers he’s in someone else’s home. “Is that okay?” he asks Stiles and Jackson, embarrassment coloring his face.

“Go for it,” Jackson answers, waving his hand toward the direction of the kitchen. “No complaints here.”

Stiles quickly holds up both hands in a surrender motion. “You won’t get any argument from me.”

“You want some help?” Danny offers, already pushing onto his feet.

“Sure. That would be great.”

Derek and Danny decide to make a chicken and rice dish with steamed vegetables. The two lads work together like a unit in the kitchen, always anticipating each other’s needs, and Derek enjoys the time.

“Jackson and I already gave Stiles a cake at the bar this morning. We had just finished eating it when Boyd texted,” Danny says. Derek frowns, feeling guilty again for pulling Stiles away from everything. Danny notices the mood change and quickly reassures him. “I don’t mean that in a bad way. I was just going to ask if you wanted to help me make another one for dessert tonight so he can celebrate with everyone.”

“I’d like that.” Derek smiles sheepishly. “I’m actually a pretty decent baker.”

“So am I,” Danny says checking the timer. “We could mix up a batch of cookies, too. We still have plenty of time before dinner is ready.”

“Yeah. I’d like to do that. Do we have the ingredients?” Derek asks, opening the pantry to check.

Danny hums in acknowledgement. “I picked up everything when I went to the store with Stiles this morning.”

Derek purses his lips thoughtfully. “Sneaky.”

An hour later, they pull the last batch of cookies from the lower oven. Danny is icing the cake, so Derek pulls out plates and silverware and sets the table. “Dinner will be ready in a few minutes,” he calls to the lads in the living room.

Derek returns to the kitchen, and Danny looks up with a big smile. “What do you think we should decorate it with?”

“I don’t know,” Derek says, wrinkling his nose, considering. “Maybe that howling wolf outline that’s on the walls at Midnight Memories and then some multicolor streaks from the corners that fade in like lights. What do you think?”

Danny brightens at the suggestion. “That sounds good to me, but you may need to do the color part or at least show me how. We can do it together.”

Derek ducks his head shyly, overwhelmed at the acceptance. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Danny questions, cocking his head to the side curiously.

Derek looks down at his feet, unable to meet Danny’s eyes. “Treating me like a human. Including me. Not judging me. Just everything.”

Danny places a gentle hand on Derek’s shoulder. “Don’t thank me for that. That’s how people are supposed to treat each other.”

Derek glances up, meeting Danny’s eyes. “You didn’t like me at first. That first night at the bar, I mean.”

“I’ll admit. I had my reservations,” Danny tells him. 

“I’m sorry for my part in that. I was just nervous,” Derek tries to explain.

“All good, dude.” Danny chuckles, wiping his hands on a towel before turning back to the cake. “Now, show me how to do these lights you envision.”

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

After dinner, everyone begins cleaning up the dishes and putting away the leftovers. Danny takes Stiles’ plate and pushes him into the living room. “It’s your birthday. Go sit down. We’ve got this.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “I’m 21 not 2, Danny. I can help clean up.”

Derek leans down, blushing a pretty pink as he presses a quick kiss to Stiles’ mouth before motioning him away with a light tap to his ass. “No. You can’t. Now go.”

Stiles doesn’t argue. It’s his birthday, damn it. He can let someone else do the work, even if he does feel a bit lazy in doing so. Besides, Derek finding the courage to initiate a kiss has him reeling a bit in a good way. A very good way, his dick informs him with a noticeable twitch. Flopping onto the couch, Stiles shoves his hands into his pants and adjusts himself before pulling a blanket over him and closing his eyes. He hasn’t had nearly enough sleep. He feels like he’s only been asleep for seconds when he’s startled awake as the other guys enter the living room.

“Are you ready for dessert before Boyd and I leave?” Derek asks him.

Stiles stomach drops, and he quickly sits up. “Leave?”

Derek’s brows furrow in confusion. “Well, yeah. I just thought you’d want us to go home with tomorrow being Christmas. You’re obviously exhausted from everything, and I figure you have plans anyway.”

Stiles gets up and walks over to Derek, lacing their fingers. “You can stay as long as you want, Derek. There’s no rush. You and Boyd can spend Christmas here.”

“Thanks, man,” Boyd accepts without hesitation. “This is much better than being cooped up in our rooms eating TV dinners.”

“Are you sure?” Derek leans down to ask Stiles quietly, his lips brushing the shell of his ear.

Stiles stifles the sound of pleasure that threatens to fall from his lips and nods, “Never been more sure of anything.”

“Did someone say dessert?” Boyd asks breaking into their bubble.

“Yep. Derek and I will be right back.” Danny hooks his arm with Derek’s and pulls him away from Stiles, leading him into the kitchen. A flicker of jealousy ignites and licks at him, but Stiles pushes it down and watches with curious eyes. They are up to something. He can feel it. When Derek and Danny come back into the room, Stiles is surprised to see a cake and cookies in their hands.

“What’s all this?” Stiles asks, a big smile taking over his face.

“It’s your birthday, so you get cake and cookies for dessert. Ice cream, too.” Derek lifts the carton in his other hand, and for the second time today, Stiles is serenaded.

Danny cuts the cake and serves it on the unused Superman plates that he had enough forethought to bring back from the bar. They crowd around the coffee table and dig in, smiles and laughter filling the room.

“This cake is fantastic,” Boyd moans around a huge bite. “Seriously, so good.”

“It was Danny’s idea,” Derek excitedly divulges. “I think I can replicate it later at the dorm. He gave me some great recipe tips.”

Danny pipes up quickly, “The cake may have been my idea, but the decorations, technique, and cookies were all Derek.”

Boyd pops a cookie into his mouth and sighs. “Mmm, Derek. I have missed your cookies so much. It’s been way too long.” He pushes the tray closer to the others. “You guys need to try one. No one makes cookies like Derek does. They are like an orgasm in your mouth.”

“So, a blow job then?” Stiles comments on a laugh, shoving one into his mouth whole.

Boyd splutters, cookie crumbs flying out of his mouth in all directions. “Um, well, sure. I wouldn’t know, but I guess so. They aren’t salty or bitter though.” The room erupts loudly in laughter.

“You know what it tastes like?” Stiles gets out when the laughter finally dies down.

Boyd flushes and stutters, “I know what mine tastes like.”

Jackson snickers, taking a bite of his own cookie. “Sounds to me like you need more fruit in your diet.”

“Does that really work?” Boyd asks genuinely curious.

“We almost always have fresh fruit around the apartment,” Jackson answers with a shrug. “I’ve never had any complaints.”

“Neither have I,” Stiles seconds, stuffing another cookie into his mouth.

“Me, neither,” Danny chimes in.

Derek blushes, a pretty pink stealing over his cheeks as his gaze collides with Stiles’. “I haven’t gotten any negative feedback from the one person that has tasted mine.”

“That’s because it was perfect,” Stiles murmurs before brushing a kiss over Derek’s icing sweet lips.

“Oh, fuck. I did not need to know that,” Boyd grumbles, not unkindly, a knowing smile threatening to split his face open.

Stiles raises one pierced eyebrow and smirks at him. “You sure about that?”

Boyd doesn’t respond, and Stiles doesn’t elaborate. Once they have made a decent dent in the cake and cookies, Derek and Danny clean up the mess, putting everything away, before returning to the living room in time to hear Jackson ask, “Okay, Stiles. What do you want to do next?”

Stiles pulls Derek onto the couch between his legs. “Derek, do you want to call Laura and ask if she wants to come over tonight and maybe spend Christmas with us tomorrow if she doesn’t already have other plans? We could play that game of Truth or Dare I promised her.”

Stiles knows the answer the second Derek’s face lights up. “Yeah. Can I borrow your phone? Last I heard, she wasn’t going to our parents’ house for Christmas, and I don’t think she has anything else going on. We were going to try to have lunch tomorrow anyway.”

“Sure, love.” Stiles lifts his chin toward the table. “It’s right there.”

Derek picks up the phone and holds it out to Stiles. “Will you unlock it?”

“Passcode is 0928. She’s in my contacts,” Stiles rattles off easily spotting Jackson staring at him, mouth agape. Regaining his senses, Jackson tips his head to the hallway, his intent clear. Stiles nods his head in understanding.

“We’ll be right back,” Stiles tells the room as he and Jackson stand up and walk into Stiles’ room.

As soon as they step into the room, Jackson gets straight to the point. “Are you sure you want to give Derek access to your phone? That’s a big risk, Sti.”

Stiles doesn’t flinch at Jackson’s challenge. “I’m going to tell him everything eventually.”

“Do you really want him finding out before you’re ready?” Jackson asks, the look on his face clearly indicating he thought Stiles had lost his mind.

“He won’t snoop. That’s not who he is,” Stiles says confidently.

Jackson throws his hands in the air. “How can you be so sure?”

Stiles closes his eyes remembering all the times Derek has been too afraid to speak his mind. Snapping his eyes open, he meets Jackson’s stare steadily. “I’m sure because he can’t even ask me for things he wants or things he wants to know. I have to push him just to get him to open up about stuff that is obviously on his mind or bothering him. He worries that it’s stupid or not his place. Hell, he couldn’t even bring himself to admit he had a problem with the sleeping arrangements last night. Remember? He waited until everyone was in bed before he came into your room and crawled onto the floor without even a blanket or a pillow. Trust me. He’s not going to do anything malicious.”

Jackson’s eyes search Stiles’. “Alright. I trust you, but you have to understand. You have never opened up to anyone like this. Not even Danny, and it took years for you to tell me everything. The tidbits you have shared with people before only ended up getting you hurt when they failed you.”

“You’re right. Other people have failed, but they aren’t Derek. It’s like you said when you signed me up for Temporary Fix. I have to take some risk. I have to give him a chance to make his own decision about everything. I can’t lose him before I give him a chance. I can’t walk away from him again, Jax. If anyone leaves this,” Stiles waves his hand around, “whatever this is, it will be him. I can’t do it again.”

Jackson pulls Stiles into a tight hug and kisses his temple. “I just don’t want to see you broken again. You have come so far from the boy I met. I can’t bear the idea of you like that again.”

“I know, but I also know that if it happens, I have you to pick up the pieces and put me back together. Lucky for me, you already know how.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek unlocks Stiles’ phone, finds Laura’s name in the contacts, and presses the connect button. She answers on the second ring, her frantic voice coming over the line. “Stiles?”

“Hey, Laur. It’s me.” Derek greets her, finding comfort in hearing his sister’s voice for the first time in a month.

Laura’s panic increases, and she begins firing off questions. “Derek? Why are you calling me from Stiles’ phone? What’s going on? Are you alright? Where are you?”

“Calm down. Everything is fine,” Derek says softly.

“Start talking,” she demands sternly.

Derek really doesn’t want to go into the details over the phone, so he diverts the conversation and jumps in without preamble. “Are you going home for Christmas?”

“No. I thought we were having lunch tomorrow?” Laura says, her questioning tone affirming her confusion.

Derek shakes his head, and then realizes she can’t see him. “Change of plans. Do you want to come over to Stiles’ tonight and spend Christmas here?”

“You’re actually at Stiles’ place?” Laura pauses, uncertainty filling the silence. “I feel like I am missing something. How did this happen? When you emailed me earlier this week, you said you hadn’t talked to him.”

“It’s a long story,” Derek reluctantly provides with a sigh.

“One I expect to get all the details of as soon as I get there,” Laura informs him.

He smiles as he imagines her shaking her finger at him. God, he misses his sister. “So, you’ll come?”

Derek can hear shuffling in the background before she answers. “Send me the address. I have a couple of things to do before I can leave, and I need to pack a bag. I should be able to be there in a couple of hours. Maybe 9:00 p.m. or so. Is that too late?”

“No. Sounds good. I’ll text you the address,” Derek readily responds, already excited to see his sister.

“See you soon, little brother.”

Derek hangs up and opens a text message before he realizes he isn’t sure of the address. He drops a pin for his current location and gets up to go look for Stiles to get the address.

“Hey, Stiles,” he calls out when he rounds the corner of the hallway. He reaches the doorway to Stiles’ room, freezing when he sees Stiles and Jackson wrapped around each other, Jackson’s mouth pressed to the side of Stiles’ head. “Oh, um, sorry. I, uh, I’ll just go wait for you in the other room.” Derek spins on his heel only to be stopped by a hand grabbing his uninjured wrist.

“Wait, Der. Don’t go,” Stiles says pulling Derek into his room as Jackson slips past them.

Derek backs away from Stiles, trying to exit the room. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“You didn’t interrupt anything. He was only checking in on me,” Stiles says by way of explanation for what Derek had walked in on.

Derek sighs and tries to ignore the bad feeling bubbling in his chest, “Okay.”

To Stiles’ credit, he doesn’t appear upset at being caught in a compromising position with Jackson, but doubt still eats at Derek. “What did you need?” Stiles asks him with a smile as he laces their fingers together.

Oh, yeah. That reminds him of why he interrupted them in the first place. “Your address. I need to send it to Laura. I dropped the location in text, but I want to give her the exact address so she has the right apartment.”

“She’s coming? Great. It will be good to see her again.” Stiles legitimately seems excited, so Derek pushes down his worry and returns Stiles’ smile.

Derek hands Stiles’ phone to him so that he can type in the information. Suddenly unsure of his place and before he can second guess himself, Derek starts to ask, “Can I, um…”

Stiles finishes sending the text to Laura, then pockets his phone. “Can you what?”

“Can I kiss you?” Derek feels the color rising up his neck the second he gets the words out.

“You never have to ask. The answer is always yes.” Stiles licks his bottom lip, his tongue snaking out to worry at the ring in the corner.

The unconscious habit does things to Derek that has him stepping forward and spinning them. Putting Stiles’ back to the open door, Derek crowds against him. “You sure about that?”

Stiles’ eyes darken in response. “Always.”

Derek leans forward and presses his mouth to Stiles’. Taking advantage of being in control, he deepens the kiss and slides his tongue inside seeking the heat and taste of Stiles. Derek flicks Stiles’ nipple with his finger, reveling in the harsh gasp he receives in response.

“Fuck,” Stiles hisses. “You aren’t playing fair.”

“I can stop,” Derek offers impishly, dragging his hand slowly to Stiles’ waist.

“Don’t you fucking dare,” Stiles whispers on a ragged breath. “The only reason I haven’t wrapped my legs around you or shoved you against the wall to get closer to you is because you’re covered in bruises. Consider this your warning. When you are healed, nothing will stop me,” Stiles promises.

Derek hums and drops another kiss onto Stiles’ waiting mouth. “I can’t wait.”

“You should know, though,” Stiles says, separating his mouth from Dereks’ and shooting him a wicked grin. “I don’t play fair either.” He drops his mouth to Derek’s neck, adding more marks to the areas of unblemished skin there. Derek arches with the contact and tilts his head back, effectively baring his neck and giving Stiles unfettered access.

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

“About time you two decided to join us,” Boyd loudly teases when they walk into the living room. “Is your sister coming, Derek?”

Derek smiles and nods, “Yeah. She won’t be here for a couple of hours though.”

“Turn the TV back on,” Stiles says, pulling Derek onto the couch. “We can wait until she gets here to play games.”

Everyone settles in, and Jackson picks up the remote turning Buffy back on when the doorbell rings.

“I’ll get it,” Stiles says, standing and making his way to the door. He quickly signs for the package from the delivery service and hands the tablet back to the courier. “Thanks, man.” Shutting the door, all eyes are on him when he enters the room again. He puts the heavy box to the side and rejoins Derek and Boyd on the couch, unbothered by their stares.

“Who was that?” Jackson asks the question on everyone’s mind.

Stiles lifts an eyebrow and smirks, “Package delivery.”

“On Christmas Eve? Was it Santa?” Boyd jokes.

Stiles laughs and shakes his head. “Well, he wasn’t an old, fat man with a beard wearing a red suit and creeping into the houses of little kids, so I am going to go with no.”

The conversation drops, and the room goes silent as they become engrossed in the episode playing. When the next one begins, Stiles lifts his legs and stretches out against the back of the couch. Derek shifts in front of him so that they are spooned together, their feet propped on Boyd’s lap. Boyd rests his arms over their feet after they settle in.

“Huh,” Boyd huffs. “You have a little skeleton key on your ankle.”

“I do,” Stiles confirms.

Boyd traces his finger over it. “What is it for?”

Stiles pulls Derek closer back against him. When Derek melts into him immediately with a soft sigh, Stiles answers perfunctorily, “A lock.”

Boyd taps the key and looks at Stiles’ other ankle. Finding nothing that looks like a lock, he looks over to Stiles. “I don’t understand. Where’s the lock?”

Stiles doesn’t immediately respond, unsure how Derek wants him to answer. He’s about to give a noncommittal reply when Derek lifts his arm and unwraps the ACE bandage on his wrist. “It’s here.”

Jackson looks up sharply. “What?”

“The lock is on Derek’s wrist,” Stiles says, reaching out to run his fingers over the ink. “It healed nicely, love,” he murmurs to Derek. He turns Derek’s hand to let the light wash over it. “The initial inside turned out exactly how you asked for it, barely discernable unless you know to look for it.”

“You have matching tattoos?” Jackson asks incredulously.

Stiles turns his head to face Jackson, unwavering when he answers, “Yes.”

Jackson shakes his finger in Stiles’ direction. “I knew you weren’t telling me everything. You came home with two random tattoos, neither of which made any sense, and you said they were just for a scavenger hunt. Is the other one a matching one, too?”

“Wait, two?” Boyd interrupts before Stiles can respond.

“Yes, and yes,” Stiles answers. Derek lifts the short sleeve of his shirt revealing the Hi on his arm.

“That’s Stiles’ handwriting,” Jackson accuses.

“It is,” Stiles readily admits.

“And the Oops tattoo?” Jackson asks pointing to Stiles’ arm.

“Is Derek’s handwriting, yes,” Stiles confirms with a nod.

“For what it’s worth, Stiles didn’t lie. They were for a scavenger hunt,” Derek says softly.

“What kind of scavenger hunt has someone get matching tattoos?” Jackson asks, clearly agitated.

“The kind that requires a dildo, streaking, kissing a stranger with tongue, obtaining a stranger’s underwear, and pissing in public among other things,” Stiles explains as if it was an insignificant, common, everyday thing.

“Are you shitting me right now?” Boyd asks, looking back and forth between Derek and Stiles.

“Nope. Guilty as charged. We did all that and more,” Stiles replies. Leaving a soft kiss behind Derek’s ear, he whispers for only Derek to hear, “Including making you come in front of a room full of people.” Stiles relishes in the shudder that courses through Derek.

“I’d do it all over again,” Derek responds and turns his head chasing Stiles’ lips for a light kiss. “As long as it’s with you.”

“Do what again? What did Stiles say? Don’t hold out now. Inquiring minds want to know.” Boyd exclaims.

“Uh uh. No. After seeing you two together, nope. This inquiring mind does not want to know. For the love of God, don’t tell us. Just keep that to yourself. We don’t need to know,” Danny interjects.

Derek sits up and leans over to whisper in Boyd’s ear. Stiles giggles at Boyd’s floored expression. “You…he…you didn’t!” Boyd points his finger back and forth at them.

Stiles smirks and chuckles at Boyd’s imitation of a fish out of water, “Oh, we definitely did.”

“Oh. My. God.” Boyd finally stutters out.

Derek resumes his position beside Stiles while Boyd continues to flounder. Stiles takes the discarded ACE bandage and rewraps Derek’s wrist. When he’s done, Stiles settles back behind Derek, saying, “Start the episode, Jax. We have time for one more before Laura should be here.”

Stiles slips his hand under the hem of Derek’s shirt, tucking his fingers just into his waistband, and thumbs softly over the warm skin there as the episode starts. When Derek snuggles back against him, Stiles kisses the back of his neck and then props his chin on Derek’s shoulder, humming quietly in contentment. For the first time in longer than he can remember, he feels like he’s home.

 

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Derek becomes pliant under Stiles’ soothing touch and has just started to nod off when Laura arrives.

“Will you let Laura in, Jax?” Stiles asks, tightening his arm around Derek and keeping him from getting up.

Derek can hear his sister’s voice carry into the room when the door opens. “Is Derek here?”

“Yeah, come on in. He’s in the living room with Stiles,” comes Jackson’s soft response followed by the soft click of the door.

“Laura!” Boyd calls out a greeting from the couch where he’s still trapped by Stiles and Derek’s feet.

“Boyd!” Laura exclaims when she sees him. “I didn’t know you were here, too. You aren’t going home for Christmas?”

Boyd shakes his head. “Couldn’t afford it. I was just going to hang around the university, try to stay close to Derek, but after last night, well, here we are.”

“What happened last night?” Laura turns to face Derek.

“Hey, Laur.” She lifts a questioning brow to Derek’s current position wrapped in Stiles’ arms but doesn’t give voice to it. Her eyes continue scanning over him, taking in the bruises showing on his arms and the few peeking out at his waist under the lifted hem of his shirt.

“Never mind. The bruises answer my question.” She drops her bag and walks over to the couch where Derek and Stiles are still spooned together. “How bad is it?” she asks as she sits on the floor in front of them and fingers the bandage on Derek’s wrist.

“I’m fine. Don’t worry.” Derek reassures her.

“It’s bad, Laura,” Stiles contradicts. “Really bad.”

Derek can just make out the edge of a bruise at the sleeve of her shirt. Reaching out, he lifts the material from her arm. “Fuck, Laur. Did he come see you, too?”

“Yeah,” she whispers, turning away from Derek’s searching gaze.

“Are there any abrasions, or are there only bruises?” Jackson interjects.

Laura shrugs, and Derek can tell she’s embarrassed. “Both, I think.”

“Has anyone cleaned up the cuts?” Stiles asks gently.

“No. I couldn’t reach all of them,” she confesses. “I didn’t have anyone I could ask. I was going to have Derek check them tomorrow after lunch.”

Jackson stands up and retrieves the first aid kit and a blanket. “Take off your shirt and use the blanket to cover your chest,” he instructs as he opens the kit.

Laura just stares at him before breaking and giggling, “Moving a little fast there, aren’t you?”

Derek rolls his eyes and laughs with her. “Just do it. I want to see how bad it is.”

“I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours,” Laura barters.

“Deal,” Derek agrees. Stiles places a soft kiss to Derek’s shoulder and releases his grip. Derek sits up and strips off his shirt. “It looks worse than it is.”

Laura holds up her hand to stop Derek’s excuses. “Don’t lie to me. Don’t make it seem like it’s okay that he did this.”

“I’ll be fine.” Derek pulls his shirt back on and moves back down next to Stiles, easing into his waiting arms. “Your turn.”

Laura takes the blanket and covers her front, before slipping her shirt off her shoulders.

Jackson gingerly wipes the damaged skin with a soft wet cloth. “When did this happen?” 

“Last night, or I guess the wee hours of the morning. He was mad I wasn’t going home. Apparently, he blames me for Derek not going, too. Allison is supposed to be there. Did he tell you?” she asks, looking over at Derek.

Derek nods once. “Yeah. I don’t know why he won’t let it go.”

“Allison?” Jackson asks while focusing on cleaning up the cuts on Laura’s back.

“Allison Argent,” Laura fills in.

Jackson hums in thought. “The reality star? What about her?”

Laura hisses as Jackson cleans a particularly wide cut. When the pain subsides, she huffs, “Our dad seems to think Derek needs to be seen with her for his image. I don’t know.”

“He wants me to date her, to fuck her. I’m pretty sure he wants me to get her pregnant. He’s been pretty vocal lately about me shoving my dick in her.” Stiles’ arms stiffen around him, and Derek immediately laces his fingers with Stiles’. “I’ve been putting him off, but I don’t think he will be giving up anytime soon. I have an obligation that I have to attend in February with him. He hasn’t said if she will be there or not, but I would just about bet on it.”

Stiles growls a low sound behind him and squeezes Derek’s fingers with his.

Jackson tapes down a long piece of gauze over the worst place on Laura’s back to keep it clean. “All done. You can put your shirt back on.”

Laura gingerly pulls the shirt back over her shoulders and turns to Jackson, “Thank you. Who are you?”

“I’m Jackson,” he laughs. “I probably should have led with that.”

“He’s my best friend and roommate.” Stiles points to Danny. “That’s Danny. He a good friend that works at Midnight Memories with me.”

She waves a greeting and changes the subject. “So, what’s the plan for tonight?”

Derek can feel that Stiles is still tense and radiating anger from where he is pressed behind him. Rubbing his thumb over Stiles’ in an attempt to calm him, he says, “It’s Stiles’ birthday today, and these guys want to play games. Truth or Dare, maybe, since Stiles promised you last time.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Sunday, December 24 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

“Truth or dare, Laura?” Stiles starts the game, sitting next to Derek on the couch and rubbing his hands together.

“Truth,” she replies readily.

“How old were you when you got your first dildo?” Stiles asks with a smirk. If they are playing this game, he’s going to make sure it is interesting.

Laura grins at him and giggles. “Jumping right in there, aren’t you? I was 16. I still have it, too. It’s the one from the scavenger hunt.” She turns to Boyd with an evil smile. “Boyd, truth or dare.”

“Dare,” Boyd says boldly, clearly confident that Laura couldn’t possibly come up with anything too bad.

“Do something right now that you have fantasized about doing but never had the balls to do,” Laura dares.

Boyd’s face falls the instant the words settle in the air. “Can I change my answer to truth?”

“No,” Laura declines, unwilling to give in.

Boyd takes a deep breath and looks between Derek and Stiles, obviously apprehensive. With a nod, he steels himself and leans over to Derek where he’s sitting between him and Stiles. “Sorry, Stiles,” he murmurs just before his mouth lands on Derek’s, his tongue swiping over Derek’s bottom lip before licking into his mouth.

Stiles clenches his fists, but otherwise shows no outward response. Inside, he’s a seething mess, but he reminds himself that Derek belongs to him. They may not have made it official, but he has nothing to worry about. Now, he just needs to believe that.

Boyd finally pulls away, and Stiles noticeably relaxes. “Danny, truth or dare?” Boyd asks, wiping off his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Truth,” Danny answers with wide eyes.

“When was the last time you had sex?” Boyd boldly asks.

“June. We broke up a week later,” he says without hesitation. “Jackson, truth or dare?”

Jackson hums softly. “Truth”.

“Have you ever hooked up with Stiles?” The words settle heavy in the silent room.

“Yes,” he admits unrepentantly. Stiles feels Derek flinch beside him so he slips his hand onto Derek’s thigh in comfort. “Derek, truth or dare?” Jackson asks quickly continuing the game.

“Truth,” Derek replies hesitantly.

Jackson lifts an eyebrow in challenge. “Are you a virgin?”

“Define virgin,” he counters. The muscles of Derek’s thigh clench tight under Stiles’ hand as he strokes him soothingly.

“Penetration of a penis,” Jackson states without backing down.

“Yes,” Derek says. Stiles stiffens beside him, unsure what game Jackson is playing at. Derek closes his eyes and turns to Boyd. “Truth or dare.”

Boyd grins at his friend in barely repressed excitement. “I’m totally going to regret this, but dare.”

“Send the most recent photo on your phone to Stiles,” Derek demands, his face the picture of innocence.

Boyd pulls his phone from his pocket and opens his photos. “Shit.”

Stiles’ phone buzzes on the table, and he nudges Derek to pick it up. “You can do it, love.”

Derek unlocks the phone and opens the text. Stiles leans over to see what he assumes to be Boyd’s erect penis in a room that looks suspiciously like his own. Derek turns the phone so everyone can see.

“You suck, Derek,” Boyd whines with a good-natured smile over everyone’s loud whooping. “Laura, truth or dare.”

Laura pretends to think, tapping her chin lightly, before blurting, “Dare.”

Boyd licks his bottom lip slowly. “Show us your boobs.”

Derek groans and shoves Boyd’s shoulder. “Come on, Boyd. I don’t want to see that. She’s my sister.”

“Close your eyes then,” he retorts, rolling his eyes.

Derek turns his head toward Stiles and buries his face in his neck. Laura removes her shirt and bra and gives her boobs a shake. The guys, minus Derek, cheer her on. Once she has her shirt back on, Stiles nudges Derek. “All good, love.”

“Stiles, truth or dare,” Laura asks, straightening the hem of her shirt.

“Dare,” Stiles declares.

“For the next five rounds, alternate sitting in everyone’s lap,” she says, pursing her lips and looking to the side as if she has no idea what she’s doing.

Stiles leans over and kisses Derek’s cheek. “Back soon, Der.” Standing and moving to Laura, Stiles plops down into her lap. “Hi, Laur!” Facing Jackson, Stiles squints his eyes. “Jackson, truth or dare?

“Dare.”

Stiles expected as much, counted on it, even. For all of Jackson’s posturing when it comes to Stiles and Temporary Fix, he doesn’t always take his own advice, and it’s time for Stiles to do something about it. “Using all of your best moves, ask someone in this room out on a date. Touching is acceptable.”

“I hate you.” Jackson grouses as he crawls over to Danny and straddles his waist. Dragging the finger of one hand down Danny’s jaw and pushing his other hand between them, he fiddles with the snap of Danny’s jeans. Leaning down next to Danny’s ear, he purrs, “Do you maybe want to go out with me sometime?”

Jackson returns to his original seat, and Stiles moves to Danny’s lap noting the semi that Danny is currently sporting. Stiles laughs at the blush that heats over Danny’s face. “You alright there, Danny?”

“Uh huh,” Danny mumbles.

Jackson clears his throat and returns to the game, revenge in his tone. “Stiles, truth or dare.”

Stiles searches Jackson’s face for any clues as to his thoughts. The glint in Jackson’s eyes, tells him enough to know that a dare right now would be cutthroat, and Stiles really doesn’t want to risk that with Derek. “Truth.”

“Have you ever had sex without a condom?”

“No.” There have been a couple of times he and Jackson had almost forgone the condom. He knows Jackson would let him, has even suggested it, but Stiles has always turned him down. Standing, Stiles moves to Jackson’s lap. “Danny, truth or dare.”

“Dare,” Danny says hesitantly.

Stiles bites his lips to hold back his smile. “I dare you to answer Jackson.”

Danny looks at his hands, clasped together in his lap. “Um, uh, yes? If you actually want to, you know, if you meant it, then, yes.”

Jackson groans and nods. “I do. Want to, that is.” When Stiles stands to go to Boyd’s lap, Jackson stops him and breathes into his ear. “Payback’s a bitch.” Stiles laughs and plops into Boyd’s lap.

“Laura, truth or dare.” Danny, red faced, resumes the game, a slight hitch in his voice.

The game continues for a couple of hours with the questions leaning more to raunchy over deep and meaningful, and Stiles is grateful for that. He’s dodged Jackson most of the game, but eventually, Jackson does finally exact his revenge.

“Dare,” Stiles challenges, having previously avoided Jackson by choosing truth even knowing Jackson’s tenacity and determination will prevail even if they have to play all night.

Without any hesitation, Jackson demands, “Take off your shirt and let Derek play with your nipple piercings for five minutes. No kissing, no touching your dick.”

Stiles doesn’t hesitate to tug his shirt over his head and lift his leg over Derek’s lap, straddling him and positioning himself against him.

“Are you sure?” Derek warily asks, eyes seeking Stiles’.

Stiles nods. “Do it.”

Even though he knew it was coming, the first touch of Derek’s fingers still has him throwing his head back and rocking down into Derek. Derek fingers the silver ring softly, obviously trying to hold back for Stiles’ sake. “It’s okay, Der.” As the words leave his mouth, he feels Derek tug harder, more confident in the motion.

“Fuck, do it again.” Using both hands, Derek pulls on both rings at the same time, and Stiles moans under the sensations whipping through him. “Don’t stop.” Stiles grinds down as Derek continues plucking on the rings, changing rhythm and pressure at whimsy. He feels Derek’s hard length throbbing under him. 

“Three minutes,” Jackson calls out. “Two to go.”

Stiles’ joggers are tented, pre-come wetting the material, leaving a dark spot on display. Derek’s fingers never stop moving, and finally, Stiles can’t take it anymore. “Laura, you might want to look away,” Stiles grates out, clenching his teeth as his control begins slipping through his fingers. He doesn’t wait to see if she does as he asked before he frees his cock from the fabric.

“No touching Stiles,” Jackson reminds him, his cocky smirk evident in his tone.

“I know.” Stiles growls and opens his eyes to look at Derek. “I’m not going to last. Is that alright?” Stiles gasps at a firm tug from Derek’s fingers and hisses. “I’m serious. I need to know right now if you are good with this.”

“Yes,” Derek murmurs, pulling on the rings again, eyes trained on Stiles.

“Again. Harder,” Stiles all but begs.

Derek complies, and Stiles tenses, arching his back and grinding down hard onto Derek’s dick as he comes untouched between them. Stiles is certain he feels Derek’s cock pulsing under him, and when he catches his breath, he breathes out, “Did you?”

Derek lowers his gaze and nods, embarrassed. Stiles tips Derek’s chin up with his finger. “That’s beautiful.” He brushes his mouth over Derek’s with a soft kiss and says, “Perfect.”

“That was hot as fuck,” Boyd announces loudly, breaking the sparking electricity in the air.

“And on that note,” Stiles chuckles and brushes an errant strand of hair from Derek’s forehead. “We will be right back.”

Stiles moves off of Derek’s lap and leads him to the bathroom, leaving his joggers pulled down under his balls. As soon as they step inside, Derek’s mouth is on his, and Stiles is more than happy to oblige. When they separate, Stiles smiles up at Derek brushes his thumb over Derek’s lower lip. “Let’s get cleaned up.”

Pulling out a washcloth from under the sink and wetting it, he cleans himself up and pulls his joggers back up over his cock. “Good thing I skipped the boxers again, huh?” He winks at Derek as he rinses out the cloth and hands it to Derek who, in turn, cleans up the mess in his own boxers.

Derek shuffles his feet, but makes no move to leave. It’s obvious he has something he wants to say, but doesn’t know how. And Jesus Christ, if Stiles doesn’t find it endearing. He laces their fingers as he waits patiently for Derek to get his thoughts together.

“I’m sorry it went that far,” Derek ultimately blurts.

Stiles immediately frowns, worry filling him. Is Derek having second thoughts? Is he regretting being with him? There are too many variables. He forces down the panic and asks, “What? What do you mean?”

Derek must have picked up on Stiles’ unease because he begins to backpedal. “No. Not like that. I will go as far as you want. Whatever you want. Whenever you want. Always. I just mean, well, you came in front of everyone.”

“So did you,” Stiles nods to Derek’s crotch where a pretty little wet spot resides.

“No. I’m not saying it right.” Derek turns away and looks at the floor. “I…I shouldn’t have kept going. I should have done something different. Used a lighter touch or something, not gotten so lost in the moment.”

Stiles feels relief infiltrate him and breathes a sigh of relief as he laughs softly, “Derek, Jackson knew what he was doing.”

Derek pulls a face, unconvinced. “But everyone…”

Stiles lifts Derek’s chin up to face him. “I don’t care if anyone sees me with you, in any capacity. I think I have more than proven that both at your parents’ house and tonight. I literally just got off in front of everyone with a few tugs of your fingers on my nipple rings. Jackson was in the same bed with us this morning. And last night, Boyd may have shut his eyes at first, but he definitely gave in and watched us and, no doubt, heard us. Hell, I am pretty sure he was jerking off, too, but I haven’t found the time to drop that in the conversation just yet.”

Derek’s eyes widen, and he stifles a chuckle behind his hand. “You wouldn’t.”

“Oh, but I would, and I will. I’m just waiting for the right moment,” Stiles grins wickedly before continuing. “What I am trying to say is, I don’t give two shits who sees us. The only thing that would change that is if you have a problem with it.”

“I don’t,” Derek whispers. “I don’t care either.”

“Then, it’s fine.” Stiles lifts on his tiptoes and kisses Derek. “Besides, I think it was a pretty fucking fantastic birthday gift.”

Cheers erupt from the living room when they return hand in hand. “Yeah, yeah. That’s enough from the peanut gallery,” Stiles responds affably. “Are we done with the game now?”

“Yeah, I’m out. No way can I top that,” Boyd teases.

“Same. How are we bunking in tonight with Laura here?” Danny asks, not unkindly.

“Whatever you guys want to do is fine.” Stiles tips his head to the box that had been delivered earlier. “I ordered a couple of air mattresses if anyone wants to use them.”

“I think we can make do tonight,” Jackson surmises. “Stiles and Derek can share with me. Derek is going to end up wherever Stiles is anyway. I think last night established that pretty definitively. The rest of you, figure it out. I’m going to bed.”

Stiles doesn’t wait for everyone else to figure out how they want to sleep. He takes Derek’s hand and follows Jackson. “My room’s free to whoever wants to use it,” he says and motions down the hall. “Just remember Boyd jerked himself off in my bed last night.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Monday, December 25 – Derek ~*~

 

“Stiles,” Derek whispers. Stiles doesn’t move. “Stiles,” he tries again, letting his thumb drag over Stiles’ jaw, and smiles brightly when Stiles stirs. “Stiles, wake up. It’s Christmas.”

“Der?” Stiles croaks, voice rough from sleep.

Derek nips along Stiles’ jaw, following the previous path of his thumb. “It’s Christmas, Stiles. Get up.”

“What time is it?” Stiles rasps out, lifting his hand to tangle in the hair at Derek’s neck as his eyes drift shut again.

Derek has the decency to looks sheepish. “Just after 5:00 a.m.”

Stiles groans and kisses him gently. “Go back to sleep. We still have a couple of hours.”

“But, Stiles,” Derek whines. “It’s Christmas.”

“You were that bratty little kid that woke up before dawn trying to open presents, weren’t you?” Stiles nuzzles his nose alongside Derek’s.

Derek’s face falls, and he shifts away. “No. I wasn’t allowed to. The one time I did, I was seven. That year sucked.”

Stiles pulls Derek back in close to him with his hand still twisted in Derek’s hair. “What did they do? Make you stay in your room an extra hour?” he teases, his lips ghosting over Derek’s.

“They returned all my gifts,” Derek admits quietly.

Stiles snaps his eyes fully open. “What the fuck, Derek? You were just a little kid.”

“They had…they had gotten me a kitten. A puppy was never an option, no matter how much I wanted one, because my dad is allergic, so a kitten was my best chance for a pet. She was beautiful, Stiles. So perfect and tiny. Solid white with green eyes. I had been asking all year, and just like that, she was gone.” A single, silent tear drips down Derek’s face to his lips.

Stiles brushes his fingers over Derek’s bottom lip and kisses him softly, licking away the salty tear. “Alright, love. Let’s get up. We can make breakfast for everyone.”

“Really?” Derek perks up and beams a wide smile.

Stiles climbs over Derek and pulls him to his feet. “Yeah, come on, before I change my mind.”

Fingers laced together, Stiles pulls Derek behind him toward the kitchen. Derek stops suddenly and pulls Stiles back and into him, hugging him in middle of the hallway. “Thank you.”

Stiles lifts his head and presses a soft kiss on Derek’s stubbled jaw. “I’d do anything for you, baby. You just have to ask.”

An hour later, Stiles wakes everyone while Derek sets the table, placing a full spread of breakfast in the center, buffet style. The rag tag group comes in slowly, in various states of dress, or undress as the case may be as can be seen with Jackson and Boyd bringing up the rear of the bunch in only their boxers.

Boyd yawns and scratches his belly. “Why so early?”

“Derek couldn’t sleep on account of it being Christmas.” Stiles softens the words with a wink. “If I have to be awake, so do you.”

“Just because your boy toy wants to get up at the ass crack of dawn, doesn’t mean you have to make the rest of us suffer,” Jackson grumbles, falling into a chair at the table.

“Jackson, that’s enough,” Stiles growls.

Derek pales. “I’m sorry.” He pushes his chair back, his throat beginning to clog. “I’ll just, um, be right back or go or something. Yeah, I’ll just go.”

Behind him, he hears chairs screeching across the floor immediately and Stiles, Laura, and Boyd calling his name as he dashes out of the room. Derek locks himself in the bathroom, falling to the floor, his back to the wall, and lets the tears rain down his face. Boy toy. Boy toy. Boy toy. The word flashes through his brain on a continuously loop. Derek startles at a soft knock on the door.

“Derek?” He releases a breath when he hears Boyd’s voice. “Open the door. It’s me.”

“I’m here, too,” Laura says softly. “Let us in.”

Derek reaches up from his place on the floor and flicks the lock open. They come in, shutting the door behind them and sitting on either side of him. Boyd puts his head on Derek’s shoulder, and Derek rests his on top. Laura holds his hand and leans against him. No one speaks for a while until Derek finally breaks, “He called me Stiles’ boy toy.”

“Maybe he wasn’t thinking before he said it. He’s probably just grumpy,” Boyd suggests quietly.

Derek glances down at Boyd, his disbelief evident. “Jackson knows Stiles better than anyone.”

“You know how some people are when they first wake up. I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it.” Laura soothes, squeezing Derek’s hand supportively.

Derek lifts his head and thumps it back against the wall. “No, Laur. He meant exactly what he said. Stiles and I aren’t together. We’ve just gotten off a few times.”

Laura sits up and faces him, a frown on her face. “Derek Hale! That man looks at you like you are the only one in the room.”

“Yeah, because he’s horny,” Derek says petulantly. “Everyone looks that way when they have a new toy.”

Boyd looks at him like he’s stupid. “He’s in love with you, idiot. Even I can see that. You’d have to be blind not to.”

“You’re wrong. He doesn’t love me. Jackson nailed it. I’m just a good time, a passing fancy, an easy lay, a boy toy.”

Laura touches Derek’s neck where the most prominent mark sits. “I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say he doesn’t leave these on just anyone. He wants everyone to know you’re his.”

Derek closes his eyes and sighs. “It’s no different than writing your name on the bottom of your dolls or cars as a kid. You don’t want anyone else to have it until you are ready to throw it away.”

Boyd scoffs, “I’m with Laura. I’d be willing to bet that he doesn’t usually do that, if ever. He seems like a pretty private person, but with you, he’s shouting it out loud for everyone to hear and see.”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.” Derek looks down at his hands. “You two should go eat while breakfast is still warm. I made chocolate chip pancakes just for you, Boyd, and the orange juice is fresh squeezed, Laura. I know you don’t like the store bought kind.”

A firm knock interrupts them before they can respond. “Der? Can I come in?”

 

~*~ Monday, December 25 – Stiles ~*~

 

The door just swings shut behind Laura and Boyd, when Stiles grates out, “Danny, can you leave us for a minute.” Danny nods, grabbing a piece of bacon, and leaves the room. Stiles explodes, “What the fuck was that, Jackson?”

“I’m sorry,” Jackson replies automatically.

“No! You don’t get to do that,” Stiles hisses. “What were you thinking?”

Jackson shrugs as if the entire conversation is boring him. “I wasn’t.”

Stiles slams his fist down onto the table, rattling the dishes and silverware. “Don’t fucking lie to me!”

Jackson stares back at him, unwavering. Stiles waits, arms crossed, pierced eyebrow lifted, anger rolling off of him in waves. “Fine. You want to know why I said it? I said it because I can see how gone you are for him, and I know how scared you are of him walking away from you the second you open up to him.”

Stiles pushes his chair back and stands, the chair clattering to the floor behind him. “That doesn’t give you any right to say something like that. What changed from last night when we talked to this morning?”

Stiles watches an undefined emotion flutter across Jackson’s face before he masks it and grimaces, “Forget it, Sti. You obviously don’t understand.”

“I suppose I don’t, and you’re obviously too much of a prick to spit it out.” Stiles turns to leave the room. “You owe Derek an apology. Whatever your malfunction is, figure it out. Embrace it. Deal with it. Spank your inner moppet. Whatever. Either way, build a bridge and get the fuck over it. Derek doesn’t deserve that shit. If he hurts me, then that’s on me. It’s my choice whether he’s worth the risk. Not yours. You are the one who told me I needed to let people in again. You can’t get mad when I do.”

Stiles leaves the room and walks down the hallway, trying to rein in the anger coursing through his veins. Angry or not, he finds himself being drawn to Derek. He needs to see him. Needs to touch him. Before he can get his anger fully in control, he raps hard on the bathroom door. “Der? Can I come in?”

Derek’s shattered voice filters through the door. “It’s unlocked.”

Stiles opens the door slowly, taking in Derek’s tear-streaked face, and his anger melts away. Boyd and Laura slip past him and close the door behind them. “Breakfast is getting cold. Come eat, love.”

Derek keeps his eyes turned to the other side of the room. “I’m not hungry. Go ahead and eat. I’ll get my things, and Laura can take me home. You should spend Christmas with your friends.”

Stiles slides down the wall beside Derek. “What are you talking about?”

Derek shifts away from Stiles so they are no longer touching. “I don’t belong here. Jackson made that abundantly clear.”

“Jackson doesn’t get to decide anything when it comes to us, yeah? Do you want to stay?” Stiles asks, almost afraid of the answer, afraid that Jackson has ruined everything with a few crass words.

Derek rests his forehead on his knees, and winds his hands in his hair. “I don’t want to intrude.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“You can just call me the next time you’re horny, or well, email me until I get a new phone. You don’t have to treat me as any more than I am.” Derek pulls at his hair roughly, gripping hard at the dark strands.

“And what is it that you think you are?”

Derek snorts and pulls harder at his hair with every word. “You heard him. Your boy toy, plaything, hookup. Whatever you want to call it,” he pauses and looks up meeting Stiles’ eyes. “Your temporary fucking fix.”

Stiles tilts his head as he watches Derek. “Is that what you want to be?”

Derek stares at him, confusion marring his features. “It doesn’t matter what I want.”

“How about what I want? Does that matter?” Stiles whispers, allowing himself to be vulnerable.

“Of course, it matters. That’s why I’m offering to leave,” Derek explains with a wave of his hand toward the door.

“Do you want to stay?” Stiles repeats his earlier question.

“Yes.” Derek breathes, honesty shining from his eyes.

Stiles crawls onto Derek, positioning himself on his knees at either side of Derek’s waist before sliding down into Derek’s lap. “Then stay.” Stiles leans down and kisses him softly. “Please, stay. I want you to stay.”

 

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Stiles pulls Derek to his feet and out of the bathroom. “Breakfast is probably cold,” Stiles surmises with a laugh. “Maybe we can toss it in the oven to warm up. It shouldn’t be too bad, better than the microwave at least.”

Derek firmly grips Stiles’ hand, not yet ready to let go. “Let’s see how bad it is first.”

They push their way into the dining room, finding everyone chowing down on the food. “Not too cold, then?” Stiles asks.

“The oven was still warm, so we heated it up a bit. We just pulled it out.” Laura motions to the table. “Get after it before it gets cold again.”

Jackson clears his throat. “Derek, can we talk?”

Derek’s stomach drops. Stiles bristles beside him, his grip on Derek’s hand clenching tighter. Derek looks at him, his question clear, even though no words were spoken. Several long seconds pass before Stiles nods. “It’s fine, love. I’ll be here.”

With dread filling him, Derek turns to face Jackson and agrees, “Yeah, sure.”

Derek follows Jackson to his room, the soft snick of the door and lock slipping into place the only sound in the deafening silence surrounding them.

Jackson sighs and rubs his hands over his face before sitting on the bed. “I owe you an apology. I was out of line.”

“Okay?” Derek isn’t sure how to respond. He’s still upset, if he’s honest, but he wants things to be right with Stiles and Jackson.

“I’m sorry for saying that this morning. I was grouchy from being woken up early, and I didn’t filter myself as good as I should have.”

Derek understands exactly what Jackson is trying to not say. “But you meant it.”

“Yeah, I did. I wanted to hurt you, to make you leave,” Jackson sighs. “When it comes to Stiles, I get tunnel visioned. Stiles is an amazing person. He’s tough, strong, opinionated, and doesn’t put up with anyone’s shit, but under the hard exterior he presents to everyone, he’s also kind, thoughtful, giving, and so very, very soft. He brings out the protective streak in me.”

Derek sits on the bed next to Jackson. “I’m not trying to hurt him.”

“Maybe not, but you could. The opportunity is there. He’s happy with you around, a complete change from even yesterday, and that’s all I really need to know. But that also terrifies me. There’s so much you don’t know yet, and I don’t want to see him broken again.”

“I understand that. You care about him.”

“No, I don’t think you do understand.” Jackson’s eyes clash with Derek’s. “I’d still be with him today if he hadn’t decided he would rather be just friends.”

Derek inhales a quiet gasp, his fears confirmed. “You’re in love with him.”

One side of Jackson’s face lifts in a disappointed, half smile, “Aren’t you?”

Derek doesn’t answer him, instead asking his own question. “So, where does that leave us?”

“Same as before, I’d guess. I’ve been his best friend for years and kept it from him. I don’t intend to tell him now, especially now that he found someone that makes him happy. I had hoped he would go on a few dates and then realize what he already had right in front of him.” Jackson looks away. “I wasn’t counting on him finding you.”

“Me?” Derek gasps.

“Yeah. You complete him in ways that I could only dream of,” Jackson admits.

Derek releases a half laugh, “I’m not so sure about that.”

Jackson returns his eyes to Derek’s. “I am. Just do me a favor?”

“What’s that?”

“When he tells you everything, if you can’t handle it, be easy on him. Let him down gently when you break his heart,” Jackson begs. “I nearly lost him the last time someone hurt him.”

“I have no intention of breaking his heart. There’s nothing he can say that will make me want to leave,” Derek assures him.

“Promise me,” Jackson beseeches, eyes filling with tears. “If that changes and you need to let him go, just promise me you’ll be kind.”

“I promise.”

Chapter Text

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles doesn’t know what he was expecting when Derek and Jackson return to the kitchen, but Jackson’s red-rimmed eyes and Derek’s troubled face were not at the top of the list. “Everything alright?”

“Golden,” Derek answers around a forced, fake smile. “Let’s eat.”

Laura snickers as she glances at the table. “We already ate. You’re the only one that still needs to eat, but there’s plenty left. I made sure we kept some of your favorites for you.”

“I can’t eat alone with everyone staring at me. That’s creepy and weird,” Derek whines.

Boyd laughs and holds up his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay. You don’t have to twist my arm. I’ll eat with you.”

“Me, too,” Stiles agrees, scooping a good portion of eggs onto his plate.

“I still say you two need to have an eating contest. Where do you put all that food in your bodies?” Derek asks as he fills his plate and digs in. “If I ate like that, I would have a perpetual food baby all the time.”

Stiles grins up at him and licks the lip ring at the corner of his mouth. “I’d be more than alright with that.”

Danny looks at him, horrified. “Nope. No more. Stop right there. I saw enough last night. The image of you coming is ingrained in my brain. Full video with surround sound and everything. Don’t get me wrong, it was hot as fuck, but I don’t need any more fodder for my spank bank.”

Laura makes a disgusted face. “You watched?”

“Oh, yeah. Couldn’t take my eyes off of them,” Boyd butts in with a smirk. “Danny is right. It was so fucking hot.”

Laura glances curiously at Jackson. “Did you watch, too?”

Jackson crosses his arms and leans on the table and stares back at her with a smirk. “Yep, and I would watch all over again if I had the chance.”

Boyd fist bumps him. “Right there with you.”

Stiles grins mischievously. Got him. “Sort of like when you jerked off the first time you saw Derek and me get off together in his room?”

“What?” Boyd stammers, eyes wide. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I saw you watching us, and I know exactly what you were doing behind that pillow,” Stiles smirks and moves his fist up and down in a jerking motion.

“Did you really?” Laura asks, looking scarred for life.

“Oh, my God. Yes. Yes, I admit it,” Boyd laughs and shrugs. “When Stiles saw me wake up, I tried to close my eyes. I truly did, but the sounds. Oh, fuck, the sounds.” Boyd’s hands drift down to adjust his pants. “I’d do that again, too. Just saying. Best jerk I’ve had in ages.”

“The sounds really are quite amazing,” Stiles murmurs and runs his hand over Derek’s thigh, stopping when his pinky finger brushes against Derek’s dick in his loose joggers. Stiles stretches up and whispers in Derek’s ear, “Freeballing today, Der?” Derek’s breathing hitches, and Stiles kisses his cheek. “See what I mean? Just amazing.”

Everyone pitches in for cleanup, and Stiles focuses on Derek and Jackson. They appear to have come to some sort of understanding, because they are, dare he think it, getting along much better. Jackson even teases Derek for the early morning wake up with no malice in his tone. Stiles relaxes, happy they are over the hurdle for now.

Laura is finishing up wiping the table when the doorbell rings.

“Here we go,” Stiles mumbles under his breath when Jackson opens the door.

“Mischief!”

“Stiuhs!”

“Sti!”

“WeeWee!”

Various names for Stiles are shouted as the room fills with his family. Stiles can’t help but smile and take his brother from his sister’s arms. “This is such a surprise!” He exclaims for the benefit of his younger siblings. “I’m so happy you are here.” His brother’s twin sister reaches out for him, and he holds out his other arm, taking her easily.

Stiles turns to face Derek, Laura, Danny, and Boyd who are currently standing at the edge of the room looking a bit lost. He tips his head, indicating for them to join him. “Hey, mom. This is Danny, Boyd, Laura, and Derek.” His voice softens at Derek’s name. He really hopes no one notices, but his mom’s laser sharp eyes tell him that she definitely noticed. “They are staying with us for Christmas.”

Once introductions are made all around and Stiles’ youngest sister attaches herself to Derek, much to everyone’s shock, Stiles goes down to his mom’s car to help her bring in their bags and gifts. “We brought a tree and some decorations, too. I thought it would be fun to set it up and decorate it before we open gifts later.”

Stiles unties and hefts the tree from the roof, lifting it onto his shoulder to take inside. “Sounds like fun.”

“So, tell me about Derek.” His mom cocks her head to the side with a grin. Leave it to his mom to jump in with both feet.

“What about him?” Stiles hedges, stalling, and grabs several bags in his other hand.

“Your sister likes him, and she never takes to anyone outside of the family, so there must be something.” He knows his mom is right. His sister usually screams her head off if anyone other than their mom, sisters, or Stiles tries to hold her, but she had willingly reached out for Derek as soon as she saw him.

Derek had flushed so beautifully when his sister had buried her hands in his hair and kissed him, anointing him with the name, “DikDik”. Stiles chuckles remembering the horrified look on Derek’s face. It’s only fair that if his brother calls Stiles “WeeWee” that Derek gets something equally, disgustingly cute and embarrassing. “Yeah, there is. There’s a lot, but I can’t explain it. He’s just Derek.”

“You like him,” she supplies knowingly, taking several bags of gifts from the car.

Stiles softens immediately. “I really do, Mom.”

“Does he know?” she asks gently. Stiles doesn’t have to ask what she means.

Stiles shakes his head with a grimace. “No, not yet.”

Winding several bags onto her arms, she looks at him with patient eyes. “Are you going to tell him?”

“I don’t know. I think so. I want to,” Stiles admits as they lock the car and head into the building.

“Good. It’s time for you to start trusting people again.” His mom knows how hard it is for him to let people in. She had been so happy that he had finally told Jackson everything.

Stiles stops walking. “What if he hates me?”

Without stopping, his mom calmly states, “Then he’s not worth it.”

“He is, though.” Stiles resumes walking again and catches up to his mom.

“You sound certain.”

Stiles adjusts his grip on the tree and punches in the code for the lift, forgoing the stairs since he notices how his mom is struggling to carry everything. “I am, but we aren’t even dating.”

“Why not?” she asks with apparent confusion.

Stiles shrugs and exhales softly. “It’s a long story.”

“I’ve got time. We’re staying until Thursday morning. How long are your friends staying?”

“I don’t know,” he says vaguely. “As long as they want.”

His mom cocks her eyebrow, much like he does, and the similarity isn’t lost on Stiles. “There’s definitely a story there. Let’s try to make time before lunch to talk.”

“It’s a date,” Stiles responds as they enter the apartment, his worry already lifting from his chest under his mother’s attention.

 

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“You didn’t tell me your family was going to be here. Are we going to be in the way?” Derek whispers from his seat on the couch with Stiles’ youngest sister sleeping on his chest.

Stiles picks up his sister and puts her onto a pallet in the floor before returning to Derek and offering him a hand. “Not at all, love. They “surprise” me every year. The little ones get excited to pull one over on me, so it’s become a bit of a tradition.”

Taking Stiles’ proffered hand, Derek lets Stiles pull him up off the couch. “Laura, Boyd, and I can leave after dinner so you have more room.”

Stiles touches Derek’s cheek with a soft touch. “No need. We’ll manage to fit.”

Understanding dawns on Derek. “Is this why you bought air mattresses?”

Stiles’ fingers drift down to Derek’s mouth. “Yep. Usually, we all crowd into the beds and couches, but I figured everyone would be more comfortable with the extra sleeping space.”

Derek’s eyes roll back in his head with Stiles’ touch. “Were you planning on buying them before yesterday? Before Laura, Boyd, and I invaded your apartment?”

“No, but I wouldn’t have asked you guys to stay if I didn’t want you here,” Stiles reassures him, pulling his hand away and dragging Derek behind him to his room.

“Alright. If you’re sure.” Derek gasps when Stiles shuts the door and pushes Derek gently against it.

“I’m positive,” Stiles promises as he nips along Derek’s jaw. “You should get a shower before the hot water is gone. Between the twelve of us, it won’t last long. We dress up for dinner, but you can wear whatever for now, though.”

Derek is struggling to focus with Stiles’ mouth on him. Unable to stop himself, he tilts his head to the side, giving Stiles more access. “I didn’t bring anything nice to wear.”

Stiles licks down Derek’s neck, sucking lightly when he reaches his collarbone. “We’ll figure it out.”

It’s about a quarter of an hour later when someone knocks on the door, breaking them apart. “Yeah?” Stiles calls out.

“Sorry to interrupt, but your family is getting antsy. Your little sisters keep trying to find you,” Jackson calls through the door. “They think you are playing Hide and Seek.”

“I would like to be playing a very adult version of Hide and Seek with you right now,” Stiles whispers as he drops his forehead onto Derek’s chest and giggles. “On my way, Jax,” he says much louder. After they hear him shuffle down the hall, the walls really are thin, Stiles lifts his face to Derek. Who is Derek to deny Stiles? He lowers his head to meet Stiles’ waiting mouth in a slow, tender kiss.

Stiles pulls reluctantly away. “I don’t ever want to stop kissing you.”

“Me either,” Derek whines. “I want to kiss you all the time.”

“I have to go before the girls get past my mom and Jackson. You shower, and I’ll corral the munchkins.” Lifting on his chin, Stiles presses another kiss to Derek’s lips and then quickly exits the room.

Derek takes black jeans and a white t shirt from his bag and enters the bathroom. It’s still fairly early in the morning, and he is excited about the rest of the day. Stiles’ family didn’t even blink at the additional people. They just accepted it. Is this what family is supposed to be like?

Minus the hiccup at breakfast, Derek has a feeling this Christmas will be like no other. Plus, he feels much better about things with Jackson. Knowing that Jackson is in love with Stiles, unquestionably worries him and fills him with jealousy, but when he looks at it from Jackson’s point of view, he can’t blame him. For now, though, they have a fragile truce, and Derek is going to accept the white flag for what it is.

 

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles hangs up his phone and walks into the living room. The apartment is full of laughter and smiles. His brother is sleeping in Jackson’s lap, while his twin sister is sitting in Derek’s, who is sitting cross legged, and playing with his toes. Derek wiggles his toes at her, prompting peals of laughter. She tugs on them again until he surrenders and wiggles them once again, getting the same resounding response. Stiles lets a feeling of contentment wash over him and catches his mom’s eyes, lifting his eyebrows. “Do you want to go to the store with me really quick?”

His mom smiles gently. “I don’t think anything is open today.”

Stiles grabs his keys from the bowl and spins them over his finger. “I know a place.”

“Sure. Lets’ go. It will give us time to talk.” His mom stands from the floor where she had been coloring with the older set of twins and kisses them on the head. “We’ll be right back, loves. Be good.”

Stiles gets Jackson’s attention. “Will you watch the kids for a bit? We shouldn’t be gone more than an hour.”

“Will do,” he replies easily.

“Is there anything I can do while you are gone?” Laura asks.

Stiles chuckles quietly. “Make sure the kids don’t burn down the building?”

“On it,” she winks. “Do the girls like makeup?”

Stiles groans, “You’re going to regret asking that. On that note, that’s my cue to leave. Have fun.”

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles fills his mom in on everything that has happened with Derek, even explaining how they met through Temporary Fix. She asks all the right questions and listens attentively without judgment, never pushing for more and letting him spill every thought and feeling and detail freely.

When he runs out of words, she imparts her wisdom in the way only his mom can. “It sounds like Derek has a lot going on of his own. Are you sure you want to carry his burden, too? The one you carry is already so much, Mischief. Wouldn’t it be easier to find someone with less baggage?”

“I don’t want someone with less baggage.” Stiles glances at his mom quickly before returning his eyes to the road. “I want him. Every part of him. Good, bad, and ugly.”

His mom is silent for a moment before she turns to face him. “Why now? Why this boy?”

“I don’t know, mom. I just know I breathe easier around him. I tried staying away, but it felt wrong. It felt like something was missing, like I was bouncing around with no purpose. Even through his pain and struggle, he grounds me.” He pauses and whispers on an exhale, “I’m in love with him.”

His mom reaches across the console and pats his knee. “I know, sweetie. It was written all over you when you introduced him.”

“We’re here.” Stiles parks his car in front of the Gucci store and unbuckles his seatbelt.

“Are you sure they are open? It looks deserted.”

“Yeah. I called in a favor,” Stiles explains with a wave of his hand.

His mom gives him a look. “On Christmas? That must have been one heck of a favor.”

Stiles laughs at his mom’s not discreet way of asking for details. “I took the store manager’s daughter to a gala last year. She was 17 and had just moved here to live with him after her mom died. He asked if I would take her since she didn’t know anyone. Long story short, she got wasted, ripped her dress off and tossed it into the fireplace, and danced on a table in her very skimpy, lace underwear. I had to carry her to his door after she puked in my car, twice. So, yeah. You could call it a pretty big favor.”

Stiles and his mom get out of the car and approach the quiet store. He rings the bell on the door and is immediately buzzed in.

“Stiles! Happy Christmas!” a man belts out when they walk inside.

Stiles shakes the man’s hand in greeting. “Hey, Jake! Happy Christmas to you, too. This is my mom.”

“Nice to meet you,” Jake says cordially with a wave. “What can I do for you today? On the phone, you mentioned a couple of different options.”

“Yes. As we discussed, I need something nice for Christmas dinner tonight for a friend of mine. I’d also like several other options, casual and less formal,” Stiles conveys, quickly getting down to business. He wants to keep this trip short and get back to Derek as soon as possible.

“Were you able to get his sizes?”

“Absolutely.” Stiles had surreptitiously scouted out Derek’s sizes while he was in the shower before they left. He hands his phone over the Jake where he had typed in all of the sizes he found.

Jake reviews the information and nods. “This is perfect. What is his go to style?”

Stiles smiles as he thinks about Derek’s rugged, yet soft, style. “He tends to wear henleys, but thin, almost feminine like material, but the sky’s the limit. I’d like to see what you come up with. He wears skin tight black jeans a lot, so at least one or two pairs of those, ripped, not ripped, whatever you find. He wears t shirts a lot of the time, but I have seen him in some really threadbare, almost shirts and form fitting button downs. I’ve never seen him in patterns or sparkles, and he will grunge out in sweats and ratty tanks.”

“Good. That makes is a big help. Give me a minute. Feel free to look around.” Jake disappears into the back of the store, leaving Stiles and his mom to their own devices. They browse through the store, and Stiles pulls out a few pairs of jeans and several t shirts for himself and places them by the register. He picks up a white leather belt, tossing it into his stack, when he spots his mom eyeing a red, silk dress.

Walking up behind her, he hugs her and puts his chin on her shoulder. “Get it.”

His mom pulls away and turns to face him. “Stiles, I can’t. It’s too expensive.”

“Get it,” he repeats. When she just stares at him, he reaches over, takes a size medium from the rack, and takes it to the register. “Go find shoes to match.”

His mom’s eyes tear up. “Mischief…”

“None of that. Shoes. Go.” He shoos her away and continues drifting through the store pulling various items off racks and draping everything over his arm.

A bright blue dress catches his attention at the corner of his eye. It’s the same color as the swim suit Laura had worn. He pulls out a small and deposits it, along with the other items he has found, in his growing stack by the register. He sends Jackson a quick text, receiving a response within minutes.

Stiles smiles at his phone as he calls out across the store, “Mum, while you are over there, can you find shoes to go with an electric blue dress? Size 5.5.”

“Sure.”

Stiles grabs several shirts for Jackson and Danny and folds them over his arm when a maroon button down grabs his attention. He picks it up along with a pair of black pants and adds it to the items he’s carrying. His mom brings over two shoe boxes.

“Will these work?” She pulls out a pair of silver strappy sandal stilettos. Stiles pulls the blue dress from the stack over his arm and studies the shoes next to the dress. “Looks good to me.”

He places everything on the counter and takes the two boxes from his mom. “Find my sisters and brother something nice.”

“You don’t need to do that.”

Stiles sighs softly. “Mom, just do it.”

Jake approaches with a rack full of options to choose from. There are easily twenty different outfits and three pairs of shoes, along with several belts, scarves, boxers, rings, and necklaces. “This is what I found that matches what you describe. One of the tops and two of the jeans are from our women’s line, but I think they may work with the right pairing.”

Stiles flips through the rack and nods. “Anything else?”

Jake hedges, seeming unsure, “I had one other idea, but I wasn’t confident about it, so I left it out.”

“Will you get that for me, please?” Jake walks to the back room and returns with a forest green button down with a hint of shine paired with shimmery, black fitted pants. Stiles knows without a doubt this belongs to Derek. “That looks great. Please add it to the rack. Do you have something that would complement it in my size?”

Jake pauses considering, before his eyes light up, and he bobs his head. “Absolutely. The shirt is solid black but has a fine glitter in the material. I’m certain it would look great on your body and would harmonize well with the shine of the green button down. Paired with charcoal gray pants, it would complement well.”

“Sounds good. Let me see it,” Stiles tells him while flipping through the rack of clothes Jake had brought out.

Jake runs to the back again, and Stiles’ mom returns with several dresses and shirts. “You choose. I couldn’t decide.”

Stiles takes the clothes from his mom and puts them on top of everything else. “Done.”

Jake hangs the newly retrieved shirt and pants on the rack with the other clothes. “Neither should need to be tailored. They meet your sizing perfectly and should hug your body flawlessly.”

“That shirt is stunning, and you’re right. It will look great next to the green. I’ll take it, and everything here.” Stiles motions to the items by the register.

“Have you made a choice from the rack for your friend?” Jake asks.

Stiles waves his hand at the entire rack. “All of it.”

Jake doesn’t move, not even a muscle. He remains motionless for several seconds until he finally stutters, “I’m sorry. All of it?”

“Yes.” Stiles hands Jake his credit card. “All of it. You have a fantastic eye for finding exactly what I want.”

Stiles and his mom put the purchases in his car and head back to the apartment. They haven’t even made it out of the parking lot when his mom turns to him. “You didn’t have to buy anything for me or the kids.”

Stiles smiles gently. “I know, but I like treating you.”

His mom looks down at her hands. “You already pay the mortgage on the house, and don’t think I didn’t notice that I haven’t received a bill from the hospital. You do so much more than you have to.”

“Mom, it’s okay. Let me do this for you,” Stiles answers softly.

“I don’t want to take advantage of you,” she whispers, wiping away an errant tear.

“You aren’t. I want to do it,” he promises before changing the subject. “Now, let’s figure out how to get all these bags in the apartment without anyone seeing. Do you think trash bags would work?”

Trash bags did, in fact, work. For whatever reason, no one asked why they were hauling trash in instead of out, but it worked, so who was Stiles to complain. They put everything in his room, hanging the everything in their garment bags in his closet, before joining the group in the living room.

Stiles stands in the doorway with his arms crossed as he basks in the chaos around him. Danny is bouncing his youngest sister on his lap in what looks like a rousing rendition of “Ride a Little Pony”, and Jackson is banging on pots and pans with wooden spoons with her twin brother. Boyd and Derek are painting the older twins’ nails, and Laura is working on his sisters’ hair and makeup.

His oldest sister is Laura’s current subject, and if her smile is any indication, she’s enjoying herself. It’s the most relaxed he has seen his sister in a while. He hates that she shoulders the load of helping with his siblings, but she will be going to university soon, and then it will be easier for her. For now, she, along with their younger siblings, is safe and loved, and that’s all he really cares about.

From the looks of it, Derek and Boyd already had a turn with the older twins practicing on them. They both have had their hair teased out like something from the 1980’s, hairspray and glitter in every strand, and the amount of lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow on their faces could cover an entire fashion show model lineup. They have pastel blue eye shadow from eyelashes to eyebrows, dark red blush, and bright pink lipstick, overlapping their lip line in more places than not. From where he stands, it looks like Derek’s nails are painted a soft blue and pink. The sight of the pandemonium tugs at Stiles’ heartstrings. He didn’t realize how much he needed people like this in his life, how much he’s missed it.

Chapter Text

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“Do I get to play, too?”

Derek jumps, startled at Stiles’ voice. He feels his face flame, and he looks away from Stiles’ examining perusal. Stiles slips down next to him on the floor. “You look beautiful, love. Sorry, I was gone so long.” He kisses Derek’s shoulder, half afraid his lips would stick to him if he kissed him anywhere else.

“Only about an hour,” Derek confirms. So what if he had been watching the time while waiting. That’s his business.

“Yeah. It looks like you put that time to good use though.” Stiles nods to the nail polish. “Do mine?”

Derek looks up at Stiles from his lowered lashes, suddenly shy. “If you want me to.”

“Of course, I do. Slap on some black. I need a new coat anyway,” Stiles suggests, wiggling his fingers with chipped black paint at Derek.

Lunchtime rolls around and everyone has taken a turn getting a makeover, even a grumbling Jackson and bashful Danny. Some results were better than others, but no one seemed to mind. Stiles’ sister even commandeers Laura into helping her with her hair and makeup for dinner.

Danny and Jackson take charge of lunch, and Stiles organizes a shower rotation. Derek is fascinated by the level of authority Stiles commands without even realizing it. His siblings all adore him and cling to him like baby koalas while still following through with whatever Stiles is asking them to do.

Stiles’ mom disentangles the two youngest of the kids and herds them into the bathroom. Stiles wastes no time in slipping his arms around Derek, mimicking his siblings’ koala vibes. “You and I are last for showers. Is that alright? I figured you would want another one, what with the hair and crazy makeup.”

“That’s fine with me. Can I do anything to help for now?”

“Playing with the kids and keeping them entertained is a huge help, but if you could wrap some gifts, that would make things go faster. I have a few I personally need to wrap but several more that you can assist with.”

Derek nods his head. “Definitely.” Derek freezes when he hears Laura’s phone ring. He knows that ringtone. Dad.

“Hello,” she singsongs, answering the call. Derek watches as her guards slip back into place as she listens. “Nope. I don’t know where he is. We had breakfast instead of lunch. He had other plans come up.” A frown mars her face as her dad speaks on the other end of the line. “No, I won’t go looking for him. I’m with friends, and he’s an adult. It’s time you started treating him like one.”

Derek holds out his hand, silently requesting the phone. Laura shakes her head. “Whatever. We will see you in February.” She disconnects the call.

“Everything okay?” Derek asks quietly, embarrassed that everyone had heard.

“Same shit, different day. He said if we didn’t show up for Christmas that he was going to return our gifts,” Laura explains with a hard roll of her eyes.

Derek shrugs. “Whatever.” At least this time, he’s pretty sure it isn’t a kitten.

Laura giggles, “That’s what I said.”

Derek feels Stiles’ arms tighten around him. “All good?”

Derek relaxes into Stiles’ arms, letting go of the tension. “Yeah, just our dad being our dad. No worries.”

Stiles pushes Derek’s shirt to the side and kisses the back of his neck. “Come on, then. Wrapping awaits us.”

After lunch, they put up the tree and decorate it, Christmas music blaring in the background. Derek dances and sings along to Santa Baby as he flings thin pieces of silver tinsel onto the tree. He feels a firm body press into his from behind, warm breath at his ear. “I’ll be your Santa Baby. You have a beautiful voice, love.”

Derek shivers as his body tingles from the softly spoken words. He turns around and lifts his eyes in question as he lowers his gaze to Stiles’ lips and back. Stiles’ nod is all he needs to drop his mouth onto Stiles’ waiting one. Neither deepen the kiss, both cognizant of little eyes in the room, but want and desire flutters through Derek anyway, licking at him like flames.

“You just kissed me in front of my mom and siblings,” Stiles murmurs against Derek’s mouth.

“I did.” Derek freezes, worried he had misunderstood Stiles’ acquiescence. “Is that okay?”

“You can kiss me anytime.” Stiles slips his hand to Derek’s waist and thumbs at the skin just under the hem of Derek’s shirt while keeping his back to the room and blocking the view.

Derek bites his bottom lip and grins playfully. “Anytime?”

“Mhm. No matter what I’m doing or who I’m with,” Stiles confirms, licking at the ring in the corner of his mouth suggestively.

Derek hisses quietly. “Don’t say that or I may never stop kissing you.”

“Please, don’t,” Stiles begs just as Derek drops another soft kiss onto the lips of his upturned face.

With the tree decorated and all the gifts wrapped and tucked underneath, the group spends the rest of the afternoon piled on top of each other, watching Christmas movies. As the shower rotation comes to an end, with only Derek and Stiles left, Derek notices Stiles head to his room. When he returns, he puts a bag on the floor and then hooks a couple of garment bags over the door and unzips them. “I know we aren’t opening presents until after dinner, but I have a few I want to give out now. Who wants to go first?”

Stiles’ sisters all jump up. He hands the oldest set of twins similar dresses in different colors, one in pale green and the other in a soft pink, and then pulls out a lacy, teal dress with gold threading for his oldest sister.

Her eyes beaming when she takes the dress from Stiles, she asks, “Can we wear them tonight?”

“I’d be sad if you didn’t,” Stiles replies with a smile, ruffling her hair as if she is younger than she really is. She groans, but smiles. “Who’s next? Mom?” He hands her a purple dress and a white, button down shirt, khaki pants and purple braces for his youngest twin siblings. Pulling out a sparkly red dress and a shoe box, he hands those to her, as well.

“That dress is gorgeous,” Laura gushes. “Red is definitely your color.”

Derek catches the mischievous look as Stiles turns around and peers into the bags. “Hmmm. It seems I have more in here. Jackson, your turn.”

“What?” Jackson’s head pops up to attention. “What are you talking about?”

Stiles holds out a slim back button down with thin silver pin stripes. “This is for you. I know you already have several pairs of pants that would look amazing with it.” Jackson looks like he wants to argue, but he apparently thinks better of it after a slight shake of Stiles’ head.

Instead, he says, “Thanks, Sti.”

Stiles rustles around some more in the bag. “Danny. You’re up.”

Danny looks at him with a cocked head. “Huh?”

Stiles pulls out a dark blue, sateen shimmer, button down, “Yeah, this is definitely yours.”

Getting the same message, Danny stutters, “Thank you. It’s beautiful.”

Derek doesn’t take his eyes off Stiles. The man is definitely up to something. He hands Laura a stunning electric blue dress and pulls out another shoe box from the bag. “I’m pretty sure this dress will look fantastic on you.”

Laura’s eyes widen. “But how?”

“It’s a secret. Now, take it. It’s yours. It’s not my size,” he teases. Turning back to the hanging garment bags, he pulls out a maroon button down and a pair of black slacks. Derek sees Boyd immediately perk up when he sees it.

“Boyd, something tells me, you can rock maroon. How about you give this a whirl?” Stiles holds it out to Boyd who is vibrating with excitement.

“Really?” Boyd jumps up from his seat.

“Absolutely,” Stiles nods. Boyd takes the clothes from Stiles and sit back down admiring the shine to the material. “That leaves Derek. Let’s see.” He unzips the last garment bag and pulls out forest green button down and a pair of black fitted pants that shimmer under the lights in the room.  Derek’s eyes widen.

“Is that for me?” Derek asks him on a hushed whisper.

“Yep. All yours.” He grabs the last shoe box. “These, too.”

Derek walks over to Stiles and delicately touches the shirt, “It’s perfect, Stiles.”

“Wait a minute!” Boyd loudly interrupts. “This is Gucci.”

Laura checks the tag inside the dress she is holding, “So is this.”

“Yeah. It is, and so is this.” Stiles hands the last outfit to Derek.

“This is too much. I know how much Gucci costs. I can’t accept this.” Derek steps back and holds his hands up in surrender.

“You can, and you will. I put it on my credit card,” Stiles responds easily. “All good.”

Derek reaches out, his fingers inches from the fantastic shirt and pants. “But…”

Stiles smiles and pushes them into Derek’s hands. “Take it, Der. It’s perfect for you.”

 

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

When Derek finally takes the clothing from him, Stiles says, “Derek and I are the only ones left to shower. We can all start dinner together as soon as we get out.”

Stiles grabs Derek’s hand in his and pulls him hastily from the room. They no sooner step over the threshold to his bedroom when he shuts the door and presses Derek against it, mouth meeting his in a frenzy. Stiles palms under Derek’s thighs, tapping lightly. Derek lifts his legs and wraps them tightly around Stiles’ waist.

“Fuck, baby. You’re going to be the death of me. I want you with me all the time,” Stiles gasps out between kisses.

Derek arches his back and thrusts his hips forward into Stiles’. “I’ll pay you back for the clothes.”

Stiles shifts his grip to Derek’s ass and squeezes. “No, you won’t.”

“But…,” Derek hisses when Stiles pushes his tongue back into Derek’s mouth and drags his tongue along Derek’s, using the barbell to press in.

“No,” he murmurs when their lips separate.

Derek finally nods his acceptance. “Okay. Okay. I won’t argue for now.”

Stiles noses along Derek’s collarbone and up his neck, stopping just under his ear. “We need to get in the shower. Do you want to go first or together?”

“I’ll go first. If we go together, I’m not sure we will make it out in time for dinner,” Derek sasses.

Stiles smiles at Derek cheekily. “Don’t use the makeup wipes Laura left in there. There’s a jar of cold cream under the sink. It’s much better for your skin than the harsh wipes.” Stiles thumbs across Derek’s bottom lip. “I’m glad you took off the lipstick earlier, otherwise we would be a mess right now, but I’m not sure that blue eye shadow works with the green shirt. It’s more of a black eyeliner thing.”

“Eyeliner like yours?” Derek brushes his thumb at the corner of Stiles’ eye, his fingers resting on his eyebrow piercings. “Have I ever told you how fucking hot this eyeliner is on you?”

Stiles growls and places another hard kiss to Derek’s mouth. “Shower. Now. Go, before I fuck you against this door.”

Derek drops his legs from Stiles’ waist and leans down to whisper, “I’d let you.” Stiles groans as Derek saunters to the bathroom with a swing to his hips.

Two showers later, they join everyone else and dinner is started. Everyone takes on a task, and it goes rather smoothly. Danny makes the chicken fried steak. Derek sautés the vegetables. Stiles prepares the potatoes. Laura tosses a salad. Boyd is in charge of the rolls. Jackson pulls out the plates and silverware and sets the table. Stiles’ mom makes gravy, and his sisters wash and dry dishes as soon as they are put in the sink, as well as, assisting everyone else in any way they can.

“I’ll put everything on the table. You guys go get dressed,” Stiles’ mom says when the last of the steak is pulled from the grease.

The boys take Jackson’s room to change. Laura and Stiles’ sisters and brother use Stiles’ room.

“Shit,” Derek mutters quietly.

Stiles looks up immediately, concern filling him. “What’s wrong, love?”

Derek lifts his hands for Stiles’ inspection. “I forgot to take off the nail polish.”

“No worries. I still have mine on, too.” Stiles wiggles his fingers at Derek.

Derek waves his hand toward the Gucci clothing hanging over the door. “Yeah, but with the dressy clothes…”

“It’s fine, Der.” Stiles kisses Derek’s fingertips. “Painted nails make Derek beautiful.” Derek blushes a pretty pink and dips his head shyly.

The sound of the chaos in Jackson’s room as everyone tries to sort who belongs to what rivals that of the girls in Stiles’ room. Stiles is the first to be ready, brushing off some invisible lint and checking the fit in the mirror. Jake had been right. The look is incredible. Like it was custom sized with his exact measurements. Forgoing a tie, he leaves the top three buttons open on his glittery black shirt and smooths his hands over the gray pants, nodding in approval. Stiles spins at Derek’s sharp intake of breath.

“That looks like it was made for you, Stiles,” Derek huffs out softly.

Stiles smiles softly. “I do clean up alright, don’t I?”

“More than alright.” Derek leans down and steals a kiss before going back to getting ready.

“Stiles, this is bad ass. I love this color.” Boyd preens in front of the mirror.

Stiles pats Boyd on the back. “I’m glad you like it. I knew it would look great on you. You have the coloring and the personality to pull it off.”

Everyone reconvenes in the dining room, and Stiles’ mom emerges from the bathroom seconds later. “Wow! You are a good looking group,” his mom compliments them.

“I agree. Stiles, this dress fits like a glove, and the color just pops,” Laura says cheerfully.

“It’s the same color as your swimsuit, yeah?” Stiles grins.

“You remember that?” Laura asks, shocked.

Stiles simply nods and shrugs. “Of course. You were stunning in it.” Turning to face everyone, he exclaims, “Photo time!”

“I’ll get the tripod so everyone can be in it,” Jackson offers. “We can use your camera, Sti. It’s better than mine.”

They quickly take several shots including a silly one that Stiles knows he’s going to frame and then sit down at the table to eat. Dinner is filled with laughter and good times, and Stiles will take the memory of this night with him for the rest of his life. His family and friends blend together well, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate them into isolated groups anymore. He’s honestly not sure if he wants to.

Chapter Text

~*~ Stiles (continued) ~*~

 

Once everyone has eaten their fill, they all pitch in and make quick work putting away the leftover food and cleaning up. As Stiles puts the last container in the fridge, there is a loud banging on the door to the apartment.

He glances at Jackson with a cocked eyebrow and a tilt to his head. “Are you expecting anyone?”

Jackson shakes his head. “No. You?”

“Everyone I talk to is in this room, so no,” Stiles answers unable to shake the bad feeling taking up residence in his stomach.

The banging continues, getting louder with each hit against the wooden door. Stiles wipes his hands on a nearby rag and walks to the door, Jackson hot on his heels. Opening the door reveals Derek’s dad standing in front of them.

“Red? Of course. Why am I not surprised? Where’s Laura?” Stiles doesn’t move, doesn’t blink, as he stares at the man in front of him. “I know she’s here. I tracked her phone.”

Laura walks up behind them. “I’m right here, Dad. Do you need something?”

“You didn’t come home for Christmas just so you could slut it up with this trash? Your brother’s leftovers, no less?” her dad spits out.

“Mom, would you take the kids to my room?” Stiles asks his mother with barely restrained rage, his eyes never wavering from the man in front of him.

Derek’s dad continues as if Stiles hadn’t spoken. “Laura, get your things. You’re leaving. We need to find your brother.”

“I’m right here.” Derek walks up and stands behind his sister, meeting his dad’s eyes coolly. “Good job. You found me. Now, what?”

“Get your shit. There’s a helicopter waiting to take us back home. Rayne is waiting for you.” Derek’s dad eyes him from head to toe and grimaces in disgust. “And take off that God awful shirt. You know that green is not your color.”

“I’ve already taken the punishment for it,” Derek challenges. “Why would I leave?”

“Rayne’s threatening to sue for breach of contract if you don’t show up tonight,” Derek’s dad splutters angrily.

“Sucks to suck,” Jackson snickers from where he stands arms crossed in front of the man.

Derek’s dad turns to face Jackson and gives him a once over before turning his nose up, obviously finding Jackson irrelevant and unimportant. “I wasn’t speaking to you.”

Stiles’ eyes remain trained on Derek’s dad so he feels more than sees Jackson’s body become rigid. “You’re standing in front of Red’s and my apartment. I’m pretty sure the only people you should be speaking to would be one of us, actually. No one else here is under any obligation to speak to you.”

Derek’s dad snorts. “My children are no concern of yours. They’re mine. Now, get out of my way.”

“Last I checked, Derek and Laura are adults. They can make their own decisions, and it sounds to me like neither have any desire to leave, especially with you. Now, if you’ll excuse us, it’s Christmas, and we have better things to do than stand around arguing with a twat like you.” Jackson pushes the door to close it but is stopped when Derek’s dad sticks his arm between the door and the frame.

“I’m not leaving without my children,” the man commands, trying to force through Jackson and Stiles’ united front.

The man touches Jackson to push him aside, and Stiles’ head nearly explodes. “You’d do well to keep your hands off of anyone here.” He snaps, stepping protectively between Jackson and Derek’s dad, fists clenched hard at his sides. Lifting his chin defiantly, he growls, “Are you sure you really want to do this again?”

“I’m not leaving without them,” Derek’s dad flounders, clearly flustered by Stiles’ unspoken threat.

Derek steps forward just behind Stiles and Jackson. “Dad, just go home. Laura and I aren’t leaving.”

Not backing down, his dad merely replies through gritted teeth, “Rayne is waiting.”

“Why the fuck are you still on about her? Don’t you get it? I am not interested. I’m happy right here with Red.” Derek steps between Stiles and Jackson, slipping his hands around Stiles’ hips to rest on his stomach as a clear-cut indicator to his meaning.

“Come to your senses, Derek. He’s an inferior, low-class bartender, for fuck’s sake. He will use you for your money and status. As soon as your trust fund comes through, he will take what he can from you and then drop you like you are nothing.”

Before Derek can respond, Stiles interrupts, his words merciless, striking hard and swift, “If I was after his money, wouldn’t you think I would have taken the check you offered when you tried paying me off?”

“Excuse me, what?” Laura yells, her head snapping to face Stiles.

“What?” Derek’s hands tighten possessively at Stiles’ waist. “Red, what are you saying?”

Stiles leers at Derek’s father disparagingly and purses his lips. “You want to tell him, or should I?”

Derek’s dad begins scrabbling to save face and declares, “I’ll add a zero to the number if you walk away from him and Laura and never have any communication with either of them again.”

“Fuck off,” Stiles seethes. “We’re done here.” Stiles slams the door, locking it and attaching the chain, before Derek’s dad can stop him.

He instantly bangs on the door, yelling, “You can’t keep him from me! He’s my son! He has commitments and obligations to fulfill!”

Stiles rolls his eyes ignoring the loud, protesting man outside. Smiling brightly, he turns in Derek’s arms and calls out into the apartment, “Who’s ready to open gifts?”

Derek looks at Stiles quizzically, unmoving in the entryway as the others return to the living room. “He tried to pay you off?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you take it?” Derek exclaims, letting go of Stiles and sending his arms flailing.

Stiles tilts his head and stares at Derek. “Why would I?”

Derek looks at Stiles like he thinks Stiles has lost his damn mind. “I’m pretty sure it was a lot of money.”

“It was,” Stiles confirms with a shrug.

“How much?” Derek whispers.

Stiles waves the question off. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Stiles,” Derek says quietly. “Tell me.”

“It’s not important,” Stiles tries again. He hates the thought of putting the idea in Derek’s head that his worth is dependent on a number his manipulative father offered as a bribe.

Derek’s eyes bore into Stiles’. “It is. How much?”

Stiles sighs, knowing Derek won’t let this go. “Today, his offer would have been $5,000,000 if he was talking about his original offer.”

Derek gasps, “He’s made more than one?”

Stiles shrugs again and answers honestly, “He doubled the offer if I left you that night that we were watching movies with Laura and Lydia.”

Derek’s eyes bug out, and his hands shake uncontrollably. “You turned down $1,000,000 and just went back to watching movies with me like it was nothing? Like it never happened?”

Stiles snorts on a laugh, “Actually, I turned down the money and broke his nose. Then, I went back to watching movies.” Stiles brushes his lips over Derek’s. Pulling back, he says, “And if given a chance, I would do it again. I would choose you every time.” He softly kisses him again before reiterating, “Every. Time.”

“I don’t deserve you,” Derek whines softly.

“You deserve everything, love.” Stiles places his hand on Derek’s cheek, letting his thumb drift over Derek’s cheekbone. “Let’s go. It’s time for gifts. I can hear the kids getting restless, and they’ve been patient long enough, I think.”

Laura squints her eyes at Stiles when he and Derek enter the living room. She is definitely projecting “we will talk later” vibes. Stiles tips his head, acknowledging her, then turns his attention to the kids and yells excitedly, “Who’s ready for presents?”

The kids all jump up, squealing in anticipation. The adults watch as the kids tear into their wrapped boxes. Paper and tissue fly around the room, and happiness can be seen in the smiles and laughter of every face.

“I’ll get the other gifts.” Stiles stands and pulls out the rest of the presents from behind the tree. “I didn’t have time to do much, but there’s something for everyone.

Boyd tears into the paper with gusto, just like one of the kids, and pauses when he pulls out the three bottles of top shelf liquor. Patron, Hennessy, and Gentleman Jack. “Oh, my God, Derek. We are so getting plastered in our room next week.” Digging his hand into the box again, he pulls out a Magic 8 ball and a brilliant smile splits his face. “This is awesome, thanks!”

Laura opens her gift and stills, stunned at simple, elegant, thin, gold bracelet from Gucci. “It’s beautiful, Stiles. Thank you.”

Danny and Jackson are both digging into their gifts, when Derek picks up the tied together stack of beautifully wrapped gifts in front of him.

Stiles nudges him gently. “Go on, Der. Open them.”

Stiles sits next to Derek and regards him as he gingerly untacks the tape and carefully slides his finger under the flaps. Derek folds the paper and places it beside him, then opens the boxes filled with the Gucci clothes Stiles had bought earlier. When he opens his mouth to protest, Stiles silences him with a finger over Derek’s lips. “You will look lovely in these. Please take them. If there is anything you dislike or that doesn’t fit, let me know, and we will get it exchanged.”

Derek stares at Stiles for a long moment before nodding and kissing Stiles with a brush of his lips. “Thank you.”

“You still have one more to open,” Stiles informs him with a smile.

“What?” Stiles hands him a small wrapped gift, and Derek shakes his head. “You’ve already done too much.”

Stiles rests his hand on Derek’s thigh and squeezes. “I’ll make it up in tips. Don’t worry.”

“This is a lot of tips, Stiles.” Derek indicates the boxes of clothes and the ones he is currently wearing.

“You’re worth it,” Stiles grins. “Come on, then. Open the last one.”

Derek repeats the same method as before and stacks the paper with the others. When he opens the box, his mouth drops.

Stiles chuckles, “Catching flies there, love?”

Derek snaps his mouth shut and turns his face to Stiles. “You got me a new phone. How did you know though? There’s no way you could have known. We weren’t even speaking.”

“I bought it yesterday afternoon. It came at the same time the air mattresses arrived,” Stiles explains.

“How?”

“Magic,” Stiles laughs before clarifying. “I paid a courier to take care of it.”

Derek turns the phone over in his hands. “This is the newest iPhone.”

Stiles nods. “It is. It has a new number, but you can use your old number if you want. You just have to call the provider and let them know. The service has been paid up for the first year.”

“My dad pays for my phone service,” Derek says, embarrassment flooding his face.

Anger flickers through Stiles, but he pushes it back. He’s not going to stop until Derek and Laura are free of that abhorrent, overbearing, ass of a man. “Not anymore, and if Laura wants to switch to be on the same plan with you, we can do that, too.”

Derek looks up with something akin to fear in his eyes. “He’s not going to like this.”

“Can’t say that I care. If he was that concerned, he would have already replaced your broken one,” Stiles remarks.

Derek’s eyes flick ways as he mumbles, “He told me to figure it out on my own. He said that since I didn’t need him for school, that he wasn’t going to give me an allowance anymore either. Not that it was much anyway.”

“Well, then, it’s figured out.” Stiles rests his hands on the back of Derek’s neck and massages the tense muscles gently.

Derek’s hazel green eyes seek out Stiles’ amber ones. Locking on, he whispers, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Stiles takes the phone and powers it on for Derek. “My number, along with Jackson’s and Danny’s, is already programmed in.” Stiles opens the camera and takes a couple of selfies of them together. Opening the message app, he sends the photos to himself and hands the phone back to Derek. “You may find a photo you recognize on here, but I would prefer if you didn’t let any of the kids see it.”

Derek immediately scrolls through the photos and coming to the photo Stiles is talking about. The photo he had shown everyone during the scavenger hunt. The very explicit one. The one he knows without a doubt is of Stiles’ erect penis. Derek blushes hotly and closes the photo library quickly before anyone else can see.

“I have something for you, Stiles,” Laura interrupts with a smile.

Stiles cocks his head to the side, curious. “How is that even possible?”

Laura smirks. “When Derek called and asked me to come, I already knew what I wanted to give you. It’s what took me so long to get here.”

Stiles opens the gift, ripping the paper from the box much like his siblings had, and gasps when he pulls out the framed photo of them from the scavenger hunt. The awkward family photo. The one with Jordan grabbing his dick, Laura clutching her boobs, Derek and Stiles in a compromising position, and Lydia projecting her innocence flawlessly.

“Jesus, it’s perfect,” Stiles whispers, trailing is fingers over the image of him and Derek. Noticing Stiles’ response, Jackson, Boyd, and Danny gather around to see the photo.

“We need to do a scavenger hunt like this,” Boyd says. “It looks like it was a lot of fun.”

“Maybe at the bar? On one of the off nights, we can host something,” Danny suggests.

Stiles shrugs. “I would need to look into liability, but maybe.”

“You were not kidding when you said that weekend was something else,” Jackson comments, eyes still trained on the photo.

“It really was,” Derek says with a shy smile.

Stiles’ siblings rush around him and try to get a glimpse the photo, but he hastily places it flat to his chest and away from their inquisitive eyes. “You’re too young.” Taking it to his room to hide away until his siblings leave, Stiles looks again at Derek’s face in the picture. Derek looks fucking wrecked. And yeah, that does some very unspeakable things to Stiles.

 

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“Stiles?” Derek opens the door to Stiles’ room just as Stiles tucks the photo in the bottom of his underwear drawer.

Stiles turns to face him with a smile. “Yes, Der?”

“I have something for you, but I didn’t want to give it to you in front of everyone. It’s not much,” Derek stammers, embarrassed. His gift is nothing compared to what Stiles had given him, not nearly as nice, but it’s all he has right now. It had taken an entire month’s worth of his meager allowance, but he hadn’t been able to walk away when he saw it.

Stiles looks at him confused. “When did you get something for me?”

Derek blushes and looks to the down to the gift in his hands. “The week after you left. I saw it, and I knew it would be perfect for you. I didn’t know if I would ever have a chance to give it to you, but I bought it anyway. I’ve held on to it ever since.” Derek thrusts the hastily wrapped gift toward Stiles. “I had to wrap it while you were in the shower so you didn’t catch me.”

“No worries, love. Can I open it now?” Stiles asks, taking the wrapped package from Derek.

“Yeah.”

Derek watches Stiles as he takes his time unwrapping the gift, a complete change from how he had opened the gift from Laura.  Stiles takes the tiny, curved barbell from the box carefully. The iridescent finish of the stainless steel glints blue and green with a flash of purple and silver in the light.

“I know everything else you have is silver or black, but I saw this and thought it would look great on you. I don’t even know if it’s something you can actually use. I don’t know much about piercings. I just saw it and knew I had to buy it.”

“It’s perfect, and I know just the place for it.” Stiles smirks mischievously. “But you’re going to have to wait and find it on me.”

Derek flushes and exhales quietly. “I can’t wait.”

The loud cacophony of laughter and joy from the living room has them returning quickly. “What’s going on in here?” Stiles asks, jumping over the couch to land in the middle of his siblings. “Having fun without me? That should be illegal or something.”

Derek watches Stiles play with his siblings, showing interest in everything they are saying and doing, much like he had with the kids and teens during the weekend at the end of September. Stiles’ youngest sister begins to get irritable as the evening progresses, and Derek soon finds himself with a lapful of the little girl. She clings to him and snuggles close as she falls asleep playing with his hair.

Not long later, the other kids begin to wind down and follow suit, falling asleep in random places, wherever they happen to be when they close their eyes. Stiles pulls out the air mattresses and begins inflating them. When the first one is finished, Jackson puts sheets on it, and Stiles’ mom takes the little girl from Derek, transferring her to the mattress.

Once the little girl settles, Stiles’ mom stands up and walks over to Derek. “Come help me in the kitchen?”

Derek nods, “Sure. I’d love to.”

“Will you start some hot chocolate? I’ll find some cookies or something to snack on,” she suggests as soon as they enter the kitchen.

“There are cookies left over from last night that Danny and I made. They are in the tin on top of the fridge,” Derek says as he fills the kettle with water.

Stiles’ mom grabs the tin and lifts the lid. “These smell fantastic. Did you make them from scratch?”

“I did,” Derek says timidly.

He’s surprised by Stiles’ mom’s next words. “You’re good for him, you know.”

“What?” Derek puts the kettle on the stovetop and turns on the burner, keeping his face down, afraid to face the woman that Stiles calls mom.

She places her hand on Derek’s forearm gently. “You. You’re good for Stiles.”

Derek finally looks up. “I’m not so sure about that. My dad can be ruthless, and Stiles is in his line of fire now. No one turns down my father for long.”

“I think my son may surprise you.” Stiles’ mom says softly but doesn’t elaborate, squeezing Derek’s arm kindly before sitting in a nearby chair.

They talk candidly while waiting on the water to heat. Derek pulls out several the cocoa, adding it to mugs and placing them on the tray he was putting together. By the time they return to the others, the kids have all been moved to the air mattresses. It’s a tight fit, but they obviously don’t mind, if the way they curl around each other is any indication.

The TV is on, turned down low, and everyone has changed into more comfortable clothing. They have sprawled about in the room taking up every available seat. Laura slides over and makes a place for Stiles’ mom. Before he can overthink his actions, Derek places the tray on the table and climbs into Stiles’ lap. “Is this seat taken?”

 

~*~ Monday, December 25 (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles waits until Derek is comfortable, then drops his arms around his waist, nuzzling his nose tenderly behind Derek’s ear. “This seat is reserved for you, Der. Always.”

It’s been a long day for everyone, so it isn’t unexpected that everyone is drowsy and languid, the warm drink helping to calm them further. Turning to face Stiles’ chest and snuggling against him, Derek nods off in Stiles’ arms.

Stiles stands, lifting Derek in his arms. “I’m taking him to bed. You guys can stay up if you want.”

Stiles puts Derek on Jackson’s bed and whispers softly so as not to jar Derek from his dozy state. “Sit up for a minute, baby, so I can get you undressed.” A groggy Derek complies, but just barely. Stiles removes the shirt and pushes Derek back onto the bed, quickly taking off Derek’s shoes and socks. His fingers are expertly unbuckling Derek’s belt, when Jackson comes in the room, shutting the door behind him with a quiet snick. “Everyone is calling it a night.”

Stiles nods. “You don’t mind us sharing again?”

“All good, Sti,” Jackson assures him. “You know you don’t have to ask.”

Stiles flicks open the button under his fingers and slides down the zipper. Grabbing the waistband of Derek’s pants, he tugs them gently over Derek’s too slender hips. The sharp edge of his jutting hipbones pisses Stiles off, and he has to take several deep breaths to calm his anger. He hates Derek’s dad and what his venomous expectations do to Derek. Glancing up, Stiles tells Jackson, “Thanks for today. For supporting Derek with his dad.”

“Of course. Derek and Laura deserve better than that.” Jackson sighs and moves to help Stiles pull off Derek’s pants. “I’m sorry I’ve been so hard on Derek. He’s a good guy and didn’t deserve how I handled things with him. After talking to him, I understand what you see in him.

Stiles glances up at Derek’s sleeping face and smiles fondly. “He’s perfect, Jax.”

Jackson looks up at him. “Sti?”

“Yeah?”

“If he hurts you, I’ll destroy him,” he says with certainty, leaving no room for misinterpretation, as they finally pull Derek’s legs free from the pants.

Stiles maneuvers Derek into the bed and covers him with the blanket. “I know. And I love you for caring so much, but you can’t fault him if he chooses to walk away.”

Jackson pulls his own dress clothes off and slides into the bed in his boxers. “I can, and I will. You are the most important thing here. You will always have me. No questions asked. Remember that.”

Stiles nods to show his understanding and, after quickly undressing, takes his place in the center of the bed between Derek and Jackson. Pulling Derek against him, he combs the shaggy ends of Derek’s hair away and presses a light kiss on the back of Derek’s neck. Minutes later, his breaths syncing with Derek’s, Stiles lets himself fall into slumber, answering the call of sleep.

Chapter Text

~*~ End of December – Derek ~*~

 

Derek is unexpectedly sad to see Stiles’ family leave on Thursday. He enjoyed his time with them and is already looking forward to the next time. Stiles promises him that it will be around Easter when they show up again but that he will take Derek to see them before then if he wants. And Derek wants. Oh, does Derek ever want.

He wants a lot of things. He wants to insert himself into Stiles’ family for one. They are what he had always dreamed being with family should feel like. He also wants Stiles to talk to him and tell him everything he’s holding back, but he can tell that Stiles isn’t quite ready, so he isn’t pushing.

Stiles goes back to work on Thursday night, so Derek heads back to university. The further away he gets from Stiles as he returns to his dorm, the more distraught he feels. He’s going to miss being around Stiles all day. He’s going to miss the soft reassuring touches for no reason other than to make contact. And he’s definitely going to miss sleeping next to Stiles.

Derek jumps in the shower as soon as he gets to his room. He’s rinsing off when he hears a text message notification come through on his phone. Grabbing a towel and running it over his hair, he walks, body still wet and dripping, into his bedroom and picks up his phone, thumb sliding immediately over the screen to unlock it.

Are you coming to the bar tonight?

Derek smiles. They hadn’t talked about it, but if Stiles wants him there, nothing will keep him away.

Do you want me to?

Stiles’ answer is instant.

I always want you here.

Derek blushes, which is crazy since he’s alone. He rolls his eyes at his silliness, glad no one is here to tease him.

I’ll be there. I’ll see if Boyd wants to go with me.

He opens his messages with Boyd.

Midnight Memories? Tonight?

Boyd immediately slams open the door to Derek’s room. “Hell, yeah! I thought you’d never ask. I was going insane waiting.” He eyes Derek up and down. “You might want to put clothes on, though.”

An hour later, Derek texts Laura on their way to the bar. After she confirms that she would be there, Derek can’t help but smile. His life seems so much less bleak than last week.

Boyd is talking a mile a minute when they walk past the line. Out of the corner of his eye, Derek sees the guy from the scavenger hunt. The one that Stiles had snogged and then snagged the underwear from. He’s with a group of friends that seem to be teasing him good naturedly.

“Hey,” Derek says walking over to him.

The boy’s brow furrows as he tries to place Derek. “Do I know you?”

“I videoed you kissing a guy before you gave him your underwear in Manchester a few months ago. I’m Derek,” he introduces himself.

The boy’s friends all cheer him on. “Get it!” one yelled.

Rolling his eyes at their antics, he replies, “Oh, yeah. I remember you. I’m Isaac. Sorry, I kind of blocked out everything but Red kissing me from that night.”

Derek quirks an eyebrow. “Is that so?”

“Yeah, uh, I didn’t even know his name, but I’ve texted him a few times since then. Do you know him well?” the boy asks conversationally.

“You could say that,” Derek responds, trying not to show his irritation. He knows he has no need to be jealous. He has no need to be jealous. He has no need to be jealous. He has no need to be jealous. Maybe if he tells himself that enough, he will believe it. He has no need to be... Oh, who is he kidding. He’s jealous as fuck.

“Nice,” the boy stammers. “Well, he said if I told him when I was coming here that he’d meet me. So, here I am.”

“He knows you’re coming?”

Nodding, the boy confirms, “Yeah. I texted him about couple of hours ago. He said he’d be here. I haven’t seen him yet, and we’ve been in line for over an hour. I hope he gets here soon so he can go in with us. I don’t want him to have to wait.”

Derek snorts, “He’s already inside.”

“Sweet! Do you and your friend want to join us so you get in faster?” the boy offers thoughtfully.

“Thanks, but we’ve got it covered. Have a good night.” Derek walks back to Boyd with a wave to the boy.

Derek and Boyd amble past the rest of the line to the front. He knows Boyd is dying to ask what just happened, but thankfully he hasn’t said anything yet.

“Hey, Derek. Boyd. Go on in. Have fun tonight,” the bouncer greets them and waves them toward the door. “It’s rowdy in there. People are blowing off steam from the holiday.”

“Thanks, Chris,” Derek responds with a smile.

“When did you become friends with the bouncer enough to know his name?” Boyd asks as they walk through the door to the bar.

Derek grins, thinking back. “When I sat out here waiting for Stiles that first night. He kept trying to get me to leave, but finally he just brought me a water and introduced himself. He’s a nice guy for a bouncer, and it’s obvious that he cares a lot about Stiles.”

“And how did you know that guy outside in line?” Boyd presses.

“It’s nothing,” Derek mumbles. He really doesn’t want to think about the boy outside. His jealousy is already flaring hot, and it wouldn’t bode well to add to it, especially here.

Boyd makes a face, scrunching his nose. “Didn’t seem like nothing to me. Seemed to me like he was planning on hooking up with your boy.”

“He’s not my boy,” Derek says with a soft whine.

Boyd shakes his head. “You’re really dumb sometimes.”

Derek sighs. Boyd doesn’t get it. “He’s had plenty of opportunities over the last few days to make it official, but he keeps holding back. Shit, Boyd, we haven’t even had full on sex. I don’t think he’s looking for anything other than someone to get off with.”

“You’re wrong. The guy is stupidly in love with you,” Boyd declares confidently. “Give it some time. Maybe he has his own demons he needs to fight.”

“I wish he’d hurry up.” Derek lowers his voice, “I want him to be mine more than anything.”

Boyd slaps him on the back. “I know, and he is. Even if he hasn’t found a way to say it yet. Trust me.” He steers Derek to the bar. “Drinks, then dancing.”

“Hey, love. Are you drinking tonight?” Stiles greets him with a brilliant smile as soon as Derek and Boyd walk up to the side.

Derek shakes his head. “I’m not right now, but maybe later. Boyd is, though.”

Stiles smiles and sends a pint across the bar to Boyd. “I’m a bit busy right now, but I should be able to get away in a bit. You guys go dance, and I will come find you soon.” Stiles grins at Derek and leans across the bar, crooking his finger at him. Derek meets Stiles half way, their mouths meeting in a quick kiss. Stiles pulls away just far enough to whisper, “You look fantastic tonight, Der.”

“Thank you,” he answers quietly, flushing pink from the compliment.

“Okay, you two. Let’s not give the nice people here a show,” Boyd teases.

Stiles cocks his pierced eyebrow. “Why not? We all know how much you’d like that.”

Derek chuckles softly as Stiles returns to his customers leaving Boyd speechless and floundering. Derek reaches over and closes Boyd’s gaping mouth, then motions to the lower counter behind the bar. “Put your drink over there. Let’s go dance.”

Boyd takes a gulp and hides the glass down where Derek had indicated before pulling Derek behind him. They hit the dance floor, jumping into the middle of the writhing bodies. It’s hot, sweaty, and crowded, and Derek has a great view of Stiles from where they are. The song changes, and Boyd is dancing pressed against his back, when Derek tenses as he sees the kid from outside finally make it inside.

“What’s wrong?” Boyd asks, sensing the change in Derek immediately.

“Nothing,” Derek grits out between clenched teeth.

Boyd follows Derek’s line of sight. “Oh, I see.” He resumes grinding into Derek. “I’m telling you. You have nothing to worry about.”

 

~*~ End of December – Stiles ~*~

 

When Derek walks into the bar, if feels like the all of the air is sucked out of the room. Wearing tight black, low rise jeans that look like they were painted on and paired with a destroyed, threadbare a black t shirt and white belt, Derek commands Stiles’ attention without even realizing it. There’s no way Derek’s dick isn’t peeking out the top of the waistband, and Stiles’ fingers itch to find out.

Stiles had definitely made a good choice with those clothes, knowing without question that they are from the Gucci clothes that he had given Derek for Christmas. The contrast of the white belt at his waist is doing things to Stiles that he shouldn’t be thinking about at work. Jesus, when he had picked up the belt, Stiles had known it would look good on Derek, but he hadn’t realized it would be quite this obscene.

The bar is in chaos, people taking up any and all available space. He needs to be serving customers, not getting hard over his...Derek? They haven’t discussed it yet, so he doesn’t know if he can call Derek his boyfriend. Fuck does he want to though. He needs to talk to Derek soon and sort it all out. Adjusting the front of his pants as inconspicuously as possible, he finishes serving the customer in front of him and slides to the end of the bar.

“Hey, love. Are you drinking tonight?” he greets Derek with a smile.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles keeps his eyes trained on Derek as he dances with Boyd. He hadn’t been able to resist kissing him earlier, and he finds it excruciatingly hard now to keep from joining them on the dance floor. Derek and Boyd grind together, pressed close to each other in the cacophony of people around them.  Stiles feels the telltale tickle of jealousy licking at him.

“They look like they are having fun,” Danny says, unaware of the struggle Stiles is currently having with himself to not jump over the bar. “When is the relief bartender supposed to be in?”

Stiles checks the time on his phone. “Twenty minutes.” He looks at the line in front of him. “Not sure I will be able to get away though.”

“Yes, you will. We will handle it,” Danny assures him.

Stiles is setting up drinks for three orders and looks to the fourth person down the line. Recognition flickers instantly, and he motions the kid to come to the side.

“Hey, dude. Glad you could make it. What are you having tonight?” Stiles ask, smiling in greeting.

Isaac shakes his head and laughs, “I didn’t realize you were the bartender.”

“Yep. That’s me,” Stiles confirms with a laugh. “What can I get for you?”

“I have a pretty big order,” the boy warns.

“No worries. Let me have it.” Stiles continues making drinks for the previous customers as Isaac rattles off a pretty complicated order that he reads from his phone.

“Three Martinis, one Whiskey Sour, two Old Fashioneds, three Strawberry Daiquiris, one Manhattan, two Cosmopolitans, three Screwdrivers, one Mudslide, five Margaritas, one Buttery Nipple, two Full Monties, six pints, and one Climax.” He flushes bright red when he gets to the last one and presents Stiles his phone. “It’s all written down. You can use my phone to follow.”

Stiles waves away Isaac’s phone. “I’ve got it.”

Finishing up the previous orders, he starts working on the order, all while continuing to take the next orders from people in line.

“How much do I owe you? None of the drinks are mine since I’m…” Isaac trails off, embarrassed.

“No worries. It’s taken care of.” Stiles hands the tray of drinks to the kid. “Seeing as you are only 16, you couldn’t make the purchase anyway. I trust you are with someone over 18 and that these all belong to them.”

“Yeah. Most of my friends are older than me,” Isaac informs him. “I’m the baby in the group.”

“I gathered that at Jungle,” Stiles chuckles softly. “I won’t sell to you, and if I see you drinking, I will have you escorted from the building.”

“I’d never. I swear,” Isaac tells him honestly. “Will you get a break soon?”

“I don’t know. I’ll try, but it’s a little crazy in here tonight,” Stiles responds with a smile.

“I hope so,” the boy says bashfully.

Stiles just smiles and directs his focus on knocking out the next orders as quickly as he can. The relief bartender shows up, and Danny shoos Stiles away. “Go see Derek.”

Derek is still dancing, body curved against Boyd’s back. Stiles makes his way through the throng of people and slips behind Derek, hands sliding under the hem of Derek’s shirt to rub at the soft skin there.

Derek’s response is instant. “Stiles,” he sighs leaning back into Stiles.

“How’d you know it was me, love?” Stiles asks, pressing a kiss the top of Derek’s spine. His fingers brush the head of Derek’s cock peeking out at the waistband, proving Stiles’ earlier theory correct.

“I’d know your touch anywhere,” Derek whimpers softly.

Stiles drags his mouth along Derek’s neck and up to his ear. “Is that so?”

“Yes,” Derek hisses on a silent breath. He turns around and leans down, mouth brushing Stiles’ neck. “I need you.”

Stiles takes Derek’s hand and pulls him out of the crowd, shoving him gently through the nearest exit door. Uncaring of the people milling around, Stiles crowds Derek against the brick wall, mouth meeting Derek’s and demanding entrance. Sliding his tongue hard along Derek’s, he presses the barbell along its path.

Stiles moves back just enough to get his hand between them, unbuckling that sinful white belt. His need to have his hand on Derek as quickly as possible becoming his entire focus, he frees the button on Derek’s jeans and deftly pulls down the zipper. “Is this alright?”

“Yes. Please don’t stop.” Derek shudders as Stiles slips his hand inside Derek’s open jeans. Commando. His boy is bare to his touch. God, what did he do to deserve this boy? Stiles wraps his hand around Derek’s cock and sets a grueling pace, swiping the pre-come from the tip with his thumb on every pass.

Derek gasps and thrusts into Stiles’ hand. “I’m not going to last. I need you so much.”

Stiles tightens his grip slightly, pulling a low moan from Derek. “Let go then, baby. Come all over my fingers. I want to see you fall apart.”

Stiles drops his eyes between their close bodies, his hand tugging harder, just the way he knows is sure to tip Derek over. Derek doesn’t disappoint him, coming suddenly and without warning. Stiles doesn’t stop and continues pulling on Derek’s cock through his orgasm as ribbons of white surge over his hand.

“Red?” His name infiltrates the buzzing silence of the bubble around him. Stiles looks toward the voice, eyes narrowed at the interruption, spotting Isaac gawping at them.

“Oh, uh, sorry. I’ll just, yeah. I’ll just go back inside,” Isaac says, his arms flailing as he opens the door.

Stiles chuckles and turns back to face Derek, contentment flooding him. “Fuck, you’re beautiful, Der. I could watch you come all day. The way you look, the sounds you make. Jesus, I can’t get enough of you.” Stiles tips his chin up slightly and places a kiss to Derek’s slack mouth before pulling his hand from Derek’s pants and licking the come from his fingers. “Do you know how perfect you are?”

Derek flushes and hides his face in the groove of Stiles’ neck, and if that isn’t the most adorable thing Stiles has ever seen, he doesn’t know what is. Here he is having just gotten off in a very public place, pants still hanging open, dick partially exposed, remnants of come drying on his skin, and he blushes when Stiles tells him he’s perfect.

Stiles touches the unbuckled belt on Derek’s jeans. “This white belt has had me hard from the second you walked in tonight. I can’t explain it, but I find it sexy as fuck on you.”

“Do you want me to…” Derek trails off and motions with his hand to Stiles’ obvious erection.

“No, I can wait until later.” Stiles places a kiss on Derek’s collarbone, inhaling deeply and drowning himself in the scent of Derek that surrounds him. “Come back home with me tonight.”

“I can’t. Boyd came with me,” Derek laments.

Stiles lifts his head, shifting his mouth close to Derek’s ear and whispers, “Give him your car, or bring him with you to the apartment. He can take the couch or an air mattress, or he can crash with Jackson. I don’t really give a fuck. I just want you in my arms tonight.”

“Okay.” Derek nods against him.

Stiles uses the hem of his shirt to clean up Derek, then tucks Derek’s dick back into his pants, carefully pulling up the zipper and buttoning the tight jeans. “Do me a favor?”

“Anything,” Derek breathes out.

Here goes nothing. “Be mine.” Stiles takes a deep breath. “I know there’s still a lot I need to tell you, but I want to be able to call you mine, and I don’t want to share.”

Derek’s head snaps up, eyes searching Stiles’ a split second before he slams his mouth onto Stiles’, a quiet, hissed, “Yes” escaping his lips in response just as their mouths meet.

They kiss until Stiles finally pulls away. “I need to get back. Stay where I can see you, yeah? Please? I don’t want anyone else touching you.”

“Can I still dance with Boyd?”

Stiles traces his thumb under Derek’s jaw, “Yeah, of course. I’ll still be jealous, but it will be less with him than someone else.”

“You have no reason to be jealous of Boyd,” Derek informs him assuredly.

Stiles only nods, remembering how Boyd admitted wanting Derek, too. He selfishly keeps that to himself, not willing to risk losing Derek should he choose Boyd instead. Kissing him again, Stiles buckles Derek’s belt and grabs his hand, pulling Derek back inside the bar behind him.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles steps back behind the bar, telling the relief bartender to help the barback. The line has lengthened considerably, so Stiles focuses on getting as many drinks served as he can. He really needs to hire a third full-time bartender. He slides a drink and a fresh pint down to Derek when he sees him and Boyd hovering near the far end of the bar as Boyd tips back the last of his pint. “Don’t get drunk,” he mouths to Derek. Derek tips his head, acknowledging the request.

When he glances back up at the line, he sees Isaac standing in front of him. “Your friends ready for more?” Stiles asks.

“Yeah,” Isaac confirms awkwardly, his embarrassment at finding Stiles and Derek outside earlier, written on his face.

“Same order or something different?” Stiles asks, casually, hoping to reassure the boy that it’s alright.

Apparently, he succeeds, because Isaac’s body relaxes. “Same, except can you change one of the Martinis to a Dick Sucker and add a Screaming Orgasm and a Leg Spreader.” Stiles sets up the glasses and begins mixing the drinks efficiently. He looks up as he hears the boy clear his throat. “Can I, I mean, when you get a break again, would you like to go outside and chill, um, with me?”

Stiles easily catches on to the boy’s meaning. “Sorry, dude. No can do.”

“I’d really like to get to know you better. I like you, like a lot,” he stutters out. Stiles opens his mouth to respond, but Isaac keeps talking. “I just thought since I saw you earlier with your friend, you wouldn’t mind, you know, with me? I can do casual, if that’s what you prefer, or you know, if you want something serious, I would totally be on board that train, too.”

“Red, Laura’s here. We’re going back to the dance floor. Be back in a bit,” Derek interrupts, mouth set in a tense line, jealousy pouring off him in waves. Jesus, fuck. Stiles’ dick twitches at how hot Derek is when he is jealous.

Stiles leans over the bar and kisses him. “Have fun, love.” The tension eases in Derek’s shoulders at the public display, and Stiles kisses him once more. “Now go, before I change my mind about letting you go out there.” Derek laughs and shoves him away playfully, before spinning and dragging a loudly snickering Boyd to the dance floor with a dramatic swing to his thin hips.

He shakes his head, laughing at them, and turns back to Isaac. “That guy…” Stiles nods to Derek’s exiting form. “He’s my everything.”

“Oh, but you kissed me in front of him before, with tongue and everything, while he videoed it. I just figured it wasn’t serious or anything,” Isaac explains.

“That was then.” Stiles doesn’t elaborate just how serious he felt about Derek even back then when they had first met. He continues, “Now though, I’m his. Everything I do and will do in the future is for him.”

“I’m sorry for overstepping. I didn’t think he would be your type. You know, pretty, posh, rich boy, and all.” The kid steps back, hands up in surrender, eyes wide, as he realizes what he has just sad. “No. Um. Please, don’t take that wrong. It’s just, like, even if you didn’t have the piercings and tattoos, you don’t look like the type of person that would gravitate to someone like him.” Isaac looks back and spots Derek on the dance floor with Boyd. “Besides, he doesn’t look too serious about you with the way he’s all over that other guy he came with.”

Stiles grins and watches Derek over Isaac’s shoulder, finding him grinding with Boyd, in sight of the bar like Stiles had requested. The twinge of jealousy at how close their bodies are settles low in his belly and flames his need for Derek, causing his dick to begin making itself known again. “Looks can be deceiving.”

“If you say so.” Isaac turns back to face him. “If you change your mind, you have my number.”

Stiles pushes the tray of drinks to the boy with a soft smile. “I won’t need it, but thanks for the offer.”

 

~~*~~

 

It’s later than usual by the time they get the bar emptied of patrons, only Derek, Laura, and Boyd remaining behind with the staff. Derek is blessedly sober, but Boyd is bordering on just past tipsy.

“Can we help clean up?” Derek asks Stiles when the door is finally closed and locked.

“If you want to, that would be great. Do you remember where everything is?” Stiles is quick to accept the help. He wants to get home so he can get Derek in his arms. The sooner that happens, the better.

Derek nods and pulls Boyd and Laura with him behind the bar. He grabs the tub and hands a towel and the spray bottle of cleaner to Laura. They head to the dirty tables and get started.

“Whoa. I’ve never been on this side of the bar. It looks so different,” Boyd says, awestruck.

“It does change your perspective,” Danny agrees as he stares out at the room.

“You ever think of becoming a bartender?” Stiles asks Boyd, an idea forming in his head.

Boyd shrugs. “I hadn’t really thought about it, but I do need a job. Honestly, I’ve never done it before so I don’t know how good I’d be, but I’d be down to try. How do I get started?”

Stiles stacks the racks of glasses to be carried to the back. “What are you doing tomorrow morning?”

“Sleeping?” Boyd suggests, tone questioning as if unsure.

“Do you want to learn? I can start teaching you before we open tomorrow. It will only take a couple of hours to get the basics, the hardest part is memorizing the drink recipes. You could shadow us tomorrow night after we open, if you want,” Stiles offers as he hefts the racks of glasses onto his shoulder.

“You’d do that? Won’t you get into trouble or something with your boss?” Boyd checks.

“Doubtful,” Danny says. “You should definitely let Stiles teach you. He’s the best bartender I have ever seen. I still have to pull out the book for some drinks, but Stiles is like a walking drink library. He knows every ingredient to every drink I have ever heard of and even some I haven’t. Plus, his ability to remember orders blows my mind.”

Boyd’s face lights up. “I’m in. What time should I get here?”

“Since you are in no shape to drive Derek’s car home, and Derek is staying with me anyway, you can stay at mine and Jackson’s tonight and just come in with me in the morning.” Stiles walks toward the employee door with the racked glasses so they can be put in the dishwasher as soon as the current cycle finishes.

“Awesome. I can’t wait.” Boyd’s eyes land on Derek across the room. “I’m going to go help Derek and Laura finish those tables. The faster we get done, the faster I can sleep.”

 

~~*~~

 

They enter the flat quietly, Jackson’s door already shut for the night.

“You know where the blankets are. Help yourself,” Stiles says to Boyd before dragging Derek down the hall and into the bathroom.

“You joining me in the shower?” Stiles asks Derek, tugging his shirt over his head.

Derek hastily pulls off his own shirt. “God, yes.” He drops his hands to his belt, and Stiles stops him.

“Let me.” Stiles tugs at the belt, releasing it. “This belt is going to be my undoing. Fuck, the things it did to me tonight. Every time your hips moved a certain way, it would catch the light, and my eyes were drawn to it like a beacon. I’ve been hard as fuck all night.” Derek gasps and thrusts forward instinctively when Stiles pushes his pants down his legs. “Easy, love. Shower first.”

“But, Stiles, I need…” Derek reaches down to grab his cock, sliding his hand over it quickly, striving for release.

“Der,” Stiles closes his eyes to block out the exquisite sight in front of him. “As much as I want to watch you do that, and will watch you in the near future, right now, I need you to take your hand off your dick. No touching yourself.” Derek whimpers but complies.

They shower quickly, washing their own bodies and hair, both eager to get it over with. Stiles wraps a towel around his waist and hands one to Derek to do the same. They shuffle silently down the hall and into Stiles’ room. Shutting his bedroom door behind them, Stiles drops the towel to the floor and stands naked before Derek. “If you don’t lose the towel right now, I will rip it to shreds, love.”

Derek reaches down to his hip where the corner of the towel is tucked and pulls, the towel fluttering silently to the floor. “Will you fuck me tonight?”

“No, not yet. Not until we talk,” Stiles says intently watching Derek’s face for understanding.

“Okay.” Derek’s eyes drift shut. “I won’t push you to talk about whatever it is, but please hurry. I promise I won’t go anywhere.”

“I hope you mean that.” Stiles reaches out and takes Derek’s wrist, hauling him into the bed and spooning tight behind him, his dick nestled in the crease of Derek’s ass. “Maybe Sunday morning before work? Maybe then I can tell you?”

“That’s New Year’s Eve,” Derek says.

“I know.” Stiles gently kisses Derek’s shoulder. “I want to start the year off with nothing standing between us.”

“Alright.” Derek snuggles down into the blankets and pushes his body back into Stiles. “Hey, Stiles?”

“Yeah, Der?”

“I was jealous of Isaac tonight. I think he had planned to hook up with you,” Derek mumbles.

“He did. He offered,” Stiles admits, squeezing his arms around Derek’s waist in a comforting hug. “I turned him down.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier with someone like him?” Derek timidly asks.

“I don’t know, and I don’t care. I have what I want right here,” Stiles tells him truthfully.

“Boyfriends?” Derek questions.

“Boyfriends,” Stiles says, dropping his hand to grip Derek’s thigh.

Derek arches and rocks his hips back into Stiles. Stiles lifts Derek’s leg and slides his dick between Derek’s thighs, driving into the back of Derek’s balls. A slow drag back has the head catching on the tight pucker of Derek’s hole, his cock begging for entrance. He feels Derek’s trembling in his arms. “Sleep, love.”

“But…” Derek tries to argue.

“Sleep,” Stiles whispers.

Chapter Text

~*~ End of December (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Sunday arrives faster than Derek expects, and his stomach is tied in knots. He’s already thrown up four times since he had gotten home last night, and it’s currently only 4:57 a.m. Derek is supposed to be at Stiles’ apartment at 8:00 a.m. so that they can talk before Stiles goes to the bar for the New Year’s Bash that Midnight Memories is hosting.

Derek had reluctantly returned to his room early last night with Boyd. They’d only been back about fifteen minutes when he had felt his nerves about today settling into his stomach. Boyd had curled around him, sleeping next to him and getting up every time Derek had, rubbing his back and offering his strength and support. Each time, he would gently wipe Derek’s face clean and tuck him back into bed before sliding in behind and wrapping his arms around him.

Time is moving excruciatingly slow for Derek as he waits. Dread washes over him, tossing about in the pit of his stomach, as the seconds tick by, and he finds himself in front of the toilet again, emptying what’s left of the bagel he had tried to eat a few minutes earlier to settle his stomach.

“You alright, Derek?” Boyd sits beside him on the floor.

Derek groans, “Yeah. Just nervous.”

“Is there anything he can say that would make you leave him?” Boyd asks, broaching the question carefully.

Derek doesn’t hesitate. “No.”

Boyd pats Derek’s leg comfortingly. “Then, you really have nothing to worry about, yeah?”

Derek frowns as his stomach continues to churn with anxiety. “What if it’s something worse than I can imagine?”

Boyd’s eyes search Derek’s. “Do you love him?”

“Yes,” Derek breathes out, afraid of jinxing it.

Boyd shrugs. “Then you will figure it out.”

“What if he decides I’m not worth it? What if he’s changed his mind?” Derek whines, voicing his fears.

“It’s unlikely that would ever happen. I’ve been working with him at the bar for the last two days, and I’ve not seen him even look at another person. He seems to know where you are at all times, and if anyone gets closer to you than he feels is acceptable, he sends a bouncer to stand nearby to make sure no one touches you.” Boyd wipes Derek’s face with the wet towel that is on the sink. “Come back to bed. Sleep for a little longer. You won’t be any good to anyone in the shape you’re in right now.”

 

~~*~~

 

Derek swallows down the hot saliva that is trying to escape as he knocks on Stiles’ door. A barefooted, rumpled, sleep soft Stiles, dressed in comfortable black joggers and a matching worn-out t shirt, opens the door and smiles up at him. “Good morning, love. I’d kiss you hello, but morning breath and all.”

“I don’t care.” Derek leans down and claims Stiles’ mouth with his, tongue sliding unhesitatingly into his mouth.

“Mmm,” Stiles moans as he pulls away and tugs Derek inside. “Talk, first. If we keep doing that, I’ll get carried away and lose my nerve.”

Derek wants more than anything to just get carried away, but he knows Stiles needs to do this, knows it’s important to him, so he nods in accord. “Your room or living room?”

“Do you have a preference? If you are more comfortable in a common space, we can talk in the living room,” Stiles offers, resting his hand on Derek’s lower back. “Jackson will stay in his room.”

Derek doesn’t need to consider his answer. The only thing he needs is to be near Stiles. “I’m comfortable anywhere you are. Let’s go to your room.”

Stiles nudges Derek forward. “Alright. Go on in. I’m going to brush my teeth and wash my face.”

Derek enters Stiles’ room but doesn’t know where to sit. Does he sit on the bed? Is that too intimate? If he sits in the desk chair, is that too isolating? Maybe the floor? Before he can decide, Stiles enters the room, leaving the door open behind him.

He taps the bed. “Sit here with me?”

Glad to have an answer to at least that question, Derek sits gingerly beside Stiles, resting his mostly healed back against the headboard. Only a few remaining bruises mar the skin, and Derek is careful to keep the majority of his weight off of them. He waits for Stiles to begin talking before he finally allows himself to relax.

“Forgive me if I jump around. My thoughts are scattered right now,” Stiles apologizes quietly. “You can ask any questions you need to. Don’t worry about interrupting me. If you want to leave at any time, if something I say makes you uncomfortable, something you just can’t accept, just get up and go. You don’t have to explain. I’ll understand.”

Derek remains silent, tears already building behind his eyes in response to the pain he can hear in the soft lilt of Stiles’ voice. More than anything, he wants to take away that pain. He watches as Stiles gathers his thoughts before taking a deep breath.

“I guess the easiest thing to tell you is that my name is Stiles Stilinski, and I own Midnight Memories.”

Derek startles with the unexpected information that Stiles isn’t just a bartender. He turns over the simple statement in his head. He recognizes the name from somewhere, it sounds familiar, like something he should know, but he’s unable to place it, so he maintains his silence and waits for Stiles to continue. Stiles picks at the skin alongside his nails, and Derek sees several torn places beginning to bleed. Reaching out, Derek laces their fingers to stop the damage Stiles is inflicting on himself.

“It’s completely paid for, and I have plans to open another location soon, probably in the next nine months or so. The building is already in the process of being remodeled. There’s only about four months left of construction before I can begin setting everything up.”

“Where is it going to be?” Derek asks curiously. Not that it really matters to this conversation, but he asks anyway, letting Stiles know without a doubt that he’s listening and wants to know everything.

“On the other side of London, not far. If it succeeds and thrives as well as the current one, I have my eye on a few more places where I can open other locations. It’s important to me to provide a safe, social place for people to relax and have a good time. A place they can go and know that they can be themselves. They can be whoever they are without judgment.”

Derek tilts his head and tries to understand how this information ties into Stiles’ worries for them. “Okay, but why is this a bad thing?”

“It isn’t. It’s just the easiest place to start.” Stiles takes a deep breath and looks up to meet Derek’s eyes. “I came from nothing. My family barely made ends meet, and most months, we didn’t. My real father died before I was born, and my step dad didn’t work, always too busy out drinking all day and night with his friends. My mom worked doubles almost every day, and I took care of the younger kids after school. Most nights, we were lucky to have a loaf of bread or unflavored spaghetti noodles for dinner.”

A solitary tear escapes and spills down Derek’s face. He snuggles up beside Stiles and rests his head on his shoulder.

“I was top of my class, a huge nerd. People teased me constantly, and they were relentless. When I turned 14, I started wearing brightly colored pants and suspenders. Shopping at the secondhand store for school clothes had never been easy, so I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I found the pants, even more so when they fit me well. My classmates laughed at me when I showed up for the first day of school. Pointing and making loud comments, making sure that I could hear. We didn’t have the money for me to buy something different, so every single day, I was the subject of ridicule. I was filled with shame and wanted to disappear, to become invisible. I wanted to die.” Derek squeezes Stiles’ hand in reassurance, urging him silently to continue.

“Around that same time, I realized I might like guys, as much as, or maybe even more than, I liked girls. I started hanging out with this boy from another school that I had met at the park one night when I was letting my siblings run out their restless energy. I thought he was perfect. Straight, white teeth, blonde hair, blue eyes, athletic. And way out of my league. He was the first guy that I had ever been attracted to, but he liked me, and I didn’t question it.”

A shudder runs through Stiles before he continues. “One night, I was home with the kids, and he showed up at my house. He had been over several times before when I had been stuck at home babysitting, so I didn’t think anything about it. I let him in, and he followed me to my room. That night was the first time he kissed me. It was also the last time.”

Derek feels Stiles kiss him on the head softy before proceeding. “It was a game. It was my first kiss, and it was a fucking game,” he whispers with his face buried in Derek’s hair. “Some of the kids at my school had paid him to pay attention to me. When he tried to explain that he had returned the money because he actually ended up liking me, I punched him. He was stumbling out of the house when my step dad came home. When he realized that I had been having a boy over, he decided that if I wanted dick he would show me what a real man was. He forced himself on me for the first time that night.”

“Oh, my God,” Derek huffs out quietly in horror and tightens his grip on Stiles’ hand, offering his support in the only way he can.

Stiles, eyes hard as steel, lifts his chin, almost in challenge. “It doesn’t get better. You can leave if you want.”

“No. Keep going. Tell me everything.” Derek releases Stiles’ hand and wraps his arm around him, pulling him closer, before using his other hand to grasp Stiles’ again and restoring their connection.

“Anyway. That was the first time. It became a thing he did quite regularly. My mom would be at work, and once I had all the kids in bed, he’d come into my room and ram into me over and over. I can’t begin to describe the pain. It was excruciating. He would barely prep me, on occasion not even bothering to do more than stick his finger in me once, before he would shove his dick into me. More often than not, I would tear and bleed.”

Having met Stiles’ family, he can’t fathom Stiles’ mom knowing and doing nothing, which leaves only one other option. “Why didn’t you tell your mom?”

“She had enough on her plate. The older twins were still babies, and she was trying to provide for the household all by herself. I wasn’t old enough to work. I felt helpless and stupid and like I needed to just man up and take it, not just dump that on her. About six months or so went by, and I started getting into fights at school. I needed an outlet. I was being abused at home and teased and bullied at school, so I started fighting. Kids would make even the smallest remark, and I would lay into them with my fists.”

Stiles pauses, obviously lost in the memories. “I was still smart. Still at the top of my class. Still wearing my colored pants and braces. From the outside looking in, the only thing that had changed was that I was no longer being bullied for it. My step dad was still forcing himself on me, and I hated myself more than ever. I hated who I had become, so I started doing some research, looking into everything I could about abuse. I ended up developing an app where people like me could find support in other victims. It helped. For a while. Then, just after I turned 15, after months of both physical and mental torture, I completely broke. It was like I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went out and got my first piercing and my first tattoo at a seedy little shop on the wrong side of town. They didn’t ask for my age or ID, and I didn’t offer it.” His fingers ghost reverently over the large “It Is What It Is” tattoo scrawled across the width of his chest.

“When my mom saw it, she nearly lost her mind, but I didn’t care. That, along with the piercing in my ear and my propensity to talk with my fists, gave me a bad boy image with the corresponding reputation. I ripped my clothes, dyed them black, threw out the braces, and changed my look. People started giving me a wide berth. No one would come near me, and I liked it that way. I was finally being left alone.”

Tears are tracking down Derek’s face at the agony Stiles had endured. How this boy, this man, is still here and such a fantastic person, Derek can’t even begin to understand. Giving up would have been so easy, especially at that age.

“Give me a second.” Stiles gets off the bed and walks to the window, clenching his fists, but not fast enough for Derek to miss how his hands shake. Derek can tell Stiles is struggling to get through this, but he lets Stiles set the pace. A few minutes pass before a noticeable shiver rolls through Stiles’ body. “I’m going to make some coffee. Would you like any?”

Derek stares at Stiles’ hunched shoulders, knowing he’s reaching the top end of his control, and agrees, “Sure. Do you want me to come with you?”

Stiles shakes his head quickly. “No. I need to be alone for a minute.”

Chapter Text

~*~ End of December (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles returns with the coffee, head no longer spinning, thoughts less erratic. He hands one of the cups to Derek with a sad smile. “Sorry about that. Do you want me to go on?”

Derek sips from the warm mug and places it carefully on the nightstand. “Yes.”

Stiles sits back down on the bed next to Derek and curls himself into his side, careful not to spill his hot drink on him. Having found no other way to say it while he was in the kitchen, he jumps right in. “After I got the tattoo, my step dad only became rougher and more punishing. The little prep he had given me before, became nonexistent. He ripped me open so many times that I started prepping myself in the shower. One night, I wasn’t expecting him. I hadn’t prepped myself that night because my mom was due home early, and he had never risked doing anything before unless she was working a night shift.”

Stiles pauses, hands shaking as he remembers, and takes a drink of his coffee before placing it next to Derek’s. Taking a deep shuddering breath, he continues, “He came into my room, ripped my pants off, and shoved his dick in me dry. I felt like my ass was being split in two. I screamed, and he just laughed. Just as he was about to come, I head butted him. I didn’t even feel the pain when he jerked out of my body. Nothing registered. It was fight or flight, and I was done running away. I picked up my baseball bat from the end of my bed and swung as hard as I could manage. He went down hard, but he wasn’t knocked out. Before he could get up, I slammed the bat down onto his dick.”

Stiles trembles, and Derek cuddles him close. “It’s okay, baby.”

“No. It’s not okay, Der. I wanted to rip his dick off and feed it to him. I settled for another swing to his groin and one to his face, until he slumped over, unmoving on the floor. My mom got home an hour later, and he was still unconscious on the floor of my room. When she found out what he had been doing, she cried. I never want to hear that kind of sorrow and anguish coming from someone ever again. It haunts me still today. After she got herself together, she called the authorities. I had to go in for tests to back up my claim. Fuck,” Stiles harshly exhales but doesn’t stop. “It was so invasive, so painful, that I threw up everywhere. I cried the entire time. When they were finally done poking around on my ass, they told my mom that from the injuries to my rectum, they believed I had been abused repeatedly for a while, most likely several months or more.”

“What happened to your step dad?” Derek asks, anger licking at the edges of his tone.

Stiles laughs lightly, but there’s no humor to the sound. “They put him away. He’s actually due to get out soon, but he won’t be able to hurt anyone again. I severed several nerves in his penis, damaged the blood vessels, and broke his pelvis. The last report we received shows that he is unable to attain an erection and urinating is extremely painful. The brain damage he sustained from me hitting him in the head has given him the mental capacity of a two year old. When he gets out, he will require a caregiver with him twenty-four hours a day.”

Stiles chances a glance at Derek’s face, afraid of the revulsion he will see there. All he finds is a brow furrowed in concentration. “Keep going,” Derek encourages.

“About two months after everything happened with my step dad, I sold the app I had developed. I figured it was the least I could do for my mom and siblings. I didn’t tell her about the money I had made, I just added a little bit to her account here and there or padded the grocery money every couple of weeks. My mom was still working, and I was still watching the kids when I wasn’t at school. Then my mom got sick and was out of work for a while, and the money I had made selling the app was depleting fast. I started throwing all my spare time into developing new apps. I sold them as fast as I could finish them, and I made sure my mom had the best care available. I wasn’t sleeping. I was only just surviving. My mom finally got better, but I didn’t stop. Before I had even turned 16, I had made and sold over a hundred apps since that first one.”

Derek gasps in surprise. “Fuck, Stiles. How smart are you?”

Stiles shrugs, “My mom had the same question when she found out, so she took me to get assessed.”

“And? What did they say?”

Stiles shifts his leg to rest over Derek’s, reducing the space between them. “I tested out as far as they can test. I can remember anything that I have seen, read, or heard no matter how much time goes by. I can analyze problems and all potential outcomes, then execute whatever measures are required for the best possible solution. Riddles and puzzles fall into place easily. I can map my way out of any room or building, while taking into account any obstacles that could alter the path or direction. Numbers and math come easily. I can develop and finalize an app in my head in hours. It takes me longer to actually input the data, than it does for me to figure it out. So, yeah. That’s just some of it. I could spend hours explaining it, but to be honest, you’d get bored.”

“I’d never be bored with you,” Derek whispers.

“Hang on to that thought, because there’s more.” Stiles inhales deeply, closing his eyes and swallowing hard. “I kind of lost myself after I took the bat to my step dad. The tattoo shop became my solace. I found peace in the pain. It’s the only time my head was silent. Every night I would go out and roam the streets, beating the hell out of anyone that dared to cross my path. I also started fucking anyone and everyone I could, whenever and wherever they’d let me.”

“But you were only 15,” Derek interrupts, eyebrows furrowed in concentration.

“Yeah. I was, and it didn’t matter. I would stick my dick anywhere I had the opportunity, but I never allowed anyone to fuck me. I still haven’t to this day. Just thinking about letting myself be that vulnerable brings up too many painful memories. I left home just after my 16th birthday, continuing the same pattern,” Stiles says quietly, steeling himself for the question he knows is about to come.

Derek doesn’t disappoint. “How many people have you slept with?”

There it is. The burning question that Stiles has been fearing. He had known it was coming, but even knowing, he couldn’t keep himself from stiffening. Trepidation fills him and takes root deep in his stomach. Stiles knows the conclusion of every possibly scenario. What he doesn’t know is which path Derek will take. Humans can be tricky. They add an unknown variable in the mix, especially when powerful emotions are involved.

“I lost count. I stopped counting after ninety-one. A new person, sometimes two, every day for months.” Stiles doesn’t miss Derek’s flinch. “One of the guys I fucked came back around looking for me. I was 16, and he was 32 when I became his paid partner. It never stopped me from still fucking everyone I came across, but for all intents and purposes, he owned me. With no other place to go, I slept on his couch. The only rule he had was that if he called, I was expected to answer immediately, even if I was in middle of fucking someone else. He paid me well though, and I would add it to the money I was making on the apps, squirreling it away and keeping my mom’s bills nominal. He tried to collar me one night. It didn’t feel right, so I left. The next day, I went out and bought this.” Stiles fingers the collar on his neck.

“You wanted to belong to yourself?” Derek murmurs, surprising Stiles with his immediate discernment.

Stiles nods. “Something like that, yeah. I wanted the reminder than I belong to no one. With no place to go, because there was no way in hell I going back home, I ended up finding this apartment. The landlord was hesitant about renting to a kid, but with the money I put down, he looked the other way.”

Derek’s fingers play with the hair at the nape of Stiles’ neck. “What happened then?”

“I kept making apps and selling them. My name and reputation started preceding me, and the more popular smart phones became, the more I started selling them for. I made my first million before I turned 17. I invested most of it and started living off the interest I made. I was tunnel visioned and tenacious in producing more and more. It became an addiction.”

Derek cocks his head considering. “Would I know any of the apps?”

“Yeah. You would. You have several of them on your phone, but I’ll leave you to figure out which ones,” Stiles replies with a small smile before resuming his story. “I was deep in the rabbit hole of designing apps when one afternoon, I was approached by an older gentleman on the street outside my apartment. The only reason I even paid him any attention at all was because he called me by name. Apparently, he had been watching me for some time. He offered me a job with his company, and not some entry level job. He wanted me to be his Chief Operating Officer. I thought he had lost his damn mind. Me? At 16? A COO? Right. I didn’t even bother to answer him. I just walked away.”

Derek frowns, “That’s a little creepy.”

“Right? That’s what I thought, but the next day he was waiting for me outside again, and the next, and the next. A month later, I finally listened to what he had to say and indulged him on setting up a meeting for the next day at noon. When I arrived at the address he had given me, my jaw hit the ground. I was standing in front of the doors of Markum.”

“Wait, what?” Derek’s eyes widen as he begins to put things together. Stiles sees the moment it clicks. “You’re M. Stilinski. The M. Stilinski of Markum? The teenager that took the corporate world by storm, becoming one of the wealthiest people in the world before turning 18. What the fuck, Stiles? That’s the most well-known and richest funding company in the world. They back everything from small businesses just starting out to major corporations.”

“Yeah,” Stiles whispers. “They do…I do.”

“How is that even possible?”

“That day, I went inside and really listened to him. He wanted someone fresh, someone smart, someone to take his company further than anyone could imagine. And he had done his research, had even hired a private investigator. He knew everything, Der.”

“Clearly you took the job,” Derek states the obvious.

“Yes. I did, and I excelled at it. I drove their numbers to heights that no competitor could compete with. I became the man’s employee, his confidante, his friend. From what I could tell, he didn’t have many of those. He died before I turned 18. I was at work one day after he had passed away when I received a letter from an attorney about the reading of his will. I ignored it. I couldn’t fathom why I would need to go to that. I couldn’t care less about what his family and friends were going to receive. The more I ignored the letters, the more dogged the attorney became. He began calling me, leaving messages. Two and three times a day. I finally answered when I couldn’t take it anymore.”

Stiles shifts slightly, adjusting his leg further over Derek’s. “I showed up to the attorney’s office and sat in the back behind everyone else. I was tuning the man out until he said my name. Come to find out, he just so happened to be more than my boss. He was my grandfather, and I was his sole grandchild. He was my birth dad’s father. His son died before mentioning that my mom was pregnant. When he found out about me, he began keeping tabs on me through a private investigator. He didn’t know about what my step dad was doing while it was happening, but he did get the information after I was checked out at the hospital. According to the documents they gave me, he had almost stepped in before he did, but I started working on the apps, so he continued watching from afar. He wanted to see what I was capable of. How strong I would be in the face of adversity. How far I would go to exceed expectations. He paid part of my mom’s medical bills. I hadn’t even realized. I thought insurance had just upped their portion. Anyway, he left the company to me as the new Chief Executive Officer and owner, as well as, all monies in his bank accounts. His family was furious, but the changes had been made when I was still an infant. Even if I hadn’t worked with him, even if I had continued to blow him off, he was going to leave it to me.”

Derek’s jaw drops with the information being dumped on him. “Do you still work there?”

“Yes. I still own and run Markum, and the numbers show no signs of slowing down. I don’t have to go into the office much anymore, just a couple of times a month. You should know, though, I am ruthless and unyielding when I need to be, sometimes bordering on merciless when it comes to business. The employees that work hard and provide their best at all times, have job security. The ones that don’t, well, they don’t work there very long. I have no issue firing someone. I don’t like to do it, but the company comes first. If someone isn’t a good fit for the company, then I have no need for them. The employees that stay, are well compensated and developed to grow within the company for as long as they want to be there.”

“How did you end up with Midnight Memories then?” Derek asks. Stiles appreciates Derek’s curiosity. It gives him a break between all the madness of his past.

“My mom remarried and had just given birth to my youngest siblings. The day I turned 18, I had gone with them to my grandparent’s house to celebrate. I had taken my own car and met them there after work. After we left, I was following them home to go back to my mom’s house to play games for a while,” Stiles pauses and takes a shuddering breath. “There was an accident. The driver’s side of their vehicle was completely crushed. My new stepfather of less than a year died instantly. My sister was sitting behind him. She was just about to turn 15 and was so excited about having a sleepover with some of her friends. She had been planning it for months. A drunk driver ran a red light. He never even hit the brakes. I left my car running in middle of the road and pulled her out of the car. She died in my arms before the ambulance arrived. They had to pull me off of the guy that hit them. I would have killed him if they hadn’t stopped me. I was lost to rage.”

“You had another sister?” Derek whimpers, tears falling down his face.

“Yeah. She was a little more than three years younger than me and looked just like our mom. She was beautiful and such a kind spirit,” Stiles answers, remembering.

“Fuck,” Derek exhales.

“So, after that, I threw myself into work, but honestly, I was bored. I wanted a place to call my own, completely my own. I knew I wanted it to be a place people felt safe coming to, a place where consent is the only option. I had the money, so a month after I turned 18, I pulled out enough to pay off my mom’s house, to donate to the hospital for a new wing dedicated to my sister, and to open the bar. I currently also own quite a few hotels and restaurants. I’ve invested a lot and make more on my investments than I could ever use. I also bought shares in Gucci and became a board member. As their numbers began to increase, the owner sold his 51% in shares to me, making me owner. No one except Jackson knows. Not even my mom. Well, I guess the public knows if they really want to dig around and look for it, but we kept it mostly quiet so there wasn’t a lot of media buzz surrounding it. I pay for everything outright and don’t utilize my status for discounts so as not to bring attention to it.”

“Stiles?”

Stiles sits up and pulls Derek into his lap. “Yeah?”

Derek hesitates a fraction of a second before asking, “Did you pay off my tuition? Did the money come from you?”

Stiles considers not answering, but in the essence of honesty, he pushes the words from his mouth. “Yeah, love. I did.”

“Why?”

“Because you deserve to live the life you want, even if it’s art and music. I didn’t get to finish school, much less go to university. You have the world at your feet. You should do what you love, not be forced into a life you hate.” And Stiles intends to make that happen for Derek no matter what the aftermath of today happens to be, but he keeps that to himself.

Derek rests his head on Stiles’ shoulder. “Do you hate your life?”

Stiles pauses and contemplates that thought. On one hand, his past has made him who he is today, but on the other hand, he had hated everything about life when it was happening. He had hated himself. “Not anymore.”

“What did you want to do before?”

Stiles purses his lips in thought. “I don’t know. I never really thought about. Going to university was dependent on whatever scholarships I could get, so I guess I would have done whatever I could get grants for.”

“What did you like to do?” Derek lifts his head, studying him.

Stiles hasn’t thought about his own desires from that time in so long, it’s almost like in the grand scheme of things, they don’t exist, but he still remembers them like it was yesterday. “I liked theater, music, writing, anything where I could be someone or something besides a nerd in colored pants and braces.”

“When did you meet Jackson?” Derek blurts, the question obviously having been on his mind for a while.

“I met Jackson right after I turned 18. My sister had died two weeks before, and I was working at Markum, burying myself in work really, trying to do anything to forget,” Stiles explains. “Jackson didn’t know about any of that until a couple of months ago, though. When I bought Midnight Memories, I told him that it was a family business that was left to me. He never questioned it. I never told him anything about my past. To him, I was just Stiles, Red, owner of Midnight Memories by inheritance. Anyway, he moved in a week after we met. I had already slowed down on sleeping around with anything that walked, but I was far from celibate. When I met him, in my head, I had a willing hole at my beck and call. I didn’t need anyone else. We fucked constantly until he started getting clingy. I was afraid he was going to ask for more than I wanted to give, more than I could give, so I friendzoned him and went back to fucking around. I was terrified he would find out about my past and leave. I finally had a friend, and I couldn’t risk losing that, so I never said anything. Luckily, he stuck around, even without the fucking.”

Derek studies Stiles for a few seconds before asking, “Have you dated anyone since then?”

“Yeah. Twice. The first was a guy I met at Jungle. Things were progressing well, but about a month in, when he found out I wouldn’t bottom, he couldn’t handle it. I tried to explain why without telling him all of the dirty details, but he didn’t want to hear it. He told me that with my ass, he expected me to bottom. He made it very clear that he never would have pursued me had he known,” Stiles grimaces.

Derek’s eyes get big, and he pulls a face. “Really? He said that?”

Stiles purses his lips, answering, “That’s the nice way to put it, yes.”

“What exactly did he say?” Derek gently demands.

Stiles drops his face to Derek’s neck. “He told me that I had the body of a twink. He said that the only reason he had gone after me in the first place, was because my ass looked like it would be the perfect place to sink his dick into.”

“You do have a nice ass, but that’s not all that’s nice,” Derek teases. Stiles bites down on Derek’s neck, and Derek moans. “You said there was another person?”

“Yeah, a girl I met at the bar. She had sex with me in the alley the night I met her. We dated a couple of months, but she was always nitpicking everything I did. She didn’t understand some of the things I wanted sexually, so one night I tried opening up to her with a few bits and pieces. My body count had her leaving pretty fast. I believe her last words were something about me being a kinky ass whore. I don’t really remember. I stopped listening to her when I walked into Jackson’s room and crawled to his bed. He had heard her through the walls and was waiting for me. I fucked him that night. I needed someone, and he offered. I was broken for months after that. I used Jackson, fucked him over and over just to feel something. I haven’t dated anyone seriously since then. I stopped fucking whatever came along and began turning people down. Now, other than the rare one night stand, I either take things into my own hands, or I fuck Jackson.”

“You…” Derek begins but quickly closes his mouth.

“What is it, love?” Stiles encourages, wanting Derek to always speak freely with him.

Derek groans, “It’s nothing.”

“Derek,” Stiles warns. “Spit it out.”

“Fine,” Derek harrumphs. “You said before that you haven’t been with Jackson since before me. When was the last time?”

“The night before I signed up for Temporary Fix,” Stiles responds truthfully. Derek’s body contracts tightly in Stiles’ arms, and Stiles feels the emotional distance being forced between them. He knows everything is too much. He knows he’s about to lose Derek, and there’s nothing he can do to stop it.

Derek looks away from Stiles, refusing to meet his eyes. His hands fall to his sides, no longer touching Stiles. Their supporting touch completely removed. “Is there anything else? Is that everything?”

Stiles shakes his head as a tear slips down his face. “There’s nothing else. That’s everything, at least that’s all of the bad stuff. Any other stuff can wait.”

Derek doesn’t say anything. He just closes his eyes and doesn’t say anything. In that moment, Stiles’ heart stops, his stomach dropping, and he nods, sliding out from under Derek. Getting to his feet immediately, putting physical distance between them, he keeps his eyes trained on the floor, too terrified to look at Derek. Panic washes through him. Fear floods him. He can’t do this. This is when Derek leaves. This is how it ends. Derek couldn’t possibly want to be with him now. Sweet, kind, beautiful, perfect Derek would never be able to look at him with anything other than contempt and disgust and loathing. Stiles can’t stay here. He needs to get out. His survival instincts kick in, and he backs away from Derek. Rushing out of his room, he grabs his wallet and runs from the apartment, slamming the door behind him, his feet bare as they pound the hard pavement.

Chapter Text

~*~ End of December (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

“What the fuck did you do to him?” Jackson roars, banging into Stiles’ room, the door bouncing off the wall.

“Nothing. I didn’t do anything,” Derek tells him, feeling lost and confused as to why Stiles ran out.

“Somehow I doubt that since he just took off. Where did he go?” Jackson demands through clenched teeth, fists forming at his sides.

“I don’t know. He just left. He didn’t even take his phone,” Derek tells him, indicating the phone sitting on the nightstand.

Jackson steps into Derek’s face and spits out, “I fucking told you not to hurt him. I begged you.”

“But…”

“He is everything. If I lose him again, I’ll fucking obliterate you,” Jackson hisses, turning away and hurriedly following Stiles’ previous exit through the front door.

Derek falls to the floor in a crumpled heap, his legs no longer supporting him as uncontrollable sobs rip through his body. The pain of losing Stiles a second time has him reeling. He isn’t sure he can do this again, and the worst part is, he doesn’t know what went wrong.

An hour passes, and neither Stiles nor Jackson have returned to the apartment. By the end of the second hour, Derek is pacing Stiles’ room. It’s well into the third hour when he crawls up onto Stiles’ bed and wraps the blanket around him, knees pulled to his chest in the fetal position. Clinging to the pillow, Derek inhales the scent he knows as Stiles. Tears continue to stream over his cheeks as sleep pulls him under. When he hears the front door of the apartment slam open, he startles awake and pushes himself off the bed. Walking out of Stiles’ room, he’s met with a furious Jackson standing in the hallway.

“Why the fuck are you still here?” Jackson challenges, blocking Derek’s path.

“Did you find him?” Derek asks quietly, voice small and rough from tears and sleep.

“That’s not really your concern anymore,” Jackson snaps.

Derek’s temper surges and erupts from him, hot and fuming. “Like fuck it’s not! I don’t know why Stiles left, but it wasn’t because I walked away. Open your goddamned eyes. I’m still here. I’m standing right fucking here. I haven’t left. I can’t. I won’t. Why can’t you see it? I know you’re in love with him, but fuck, so am I. I’m ass over tits in love with him, and there is nothing he can say that will ever change that.”

Jackson visibly deflates in front of him, defeat reflected in his eyes. “I couldn’t find him. I looked everywhere I could think of. He wasn’t in any of the usual places.”

Derek’s anger begins dissipating with Jackson’s soft words. “He has usual places? Are you saying that he’s done this before?” Derek questions as he tries to work through everything.

Jackson nods, leaning against the nearest wall with a sigh. “When Stiles gets in his head about something, he runs. More often than not, he runs to me.”

“You mean he fucks you,” Derek clarifies as he slides down the wall to the floor.

Groaning, Jackson falls to the ground and sits next to Derek. “Yes, alright? Yes. He fucks me. He shoves his dick in me over and over until whatever is bothering him isn’t important anymore.”

“He uses you, and you let him,” Derek grimaces, thinking back on Stiles saying those words to him earlier.

“No. He doesn’t use me. I offer him the comfort he needs, and he does the same for me. No questions asked. It’s how we work,” Jackson explains.

“The only difference is that you’re in love with him,” Derek whispers. The always present jealousy of Jackson licks a little more at his heart.

Jackson sighs with a shrug. “Yeah. That.”

Trying to calm the flame inside him, Derek forges ahead. “Where does he usually go when he doesn’t go straight to you?”

“He has a few places he likes to go to, to clear his head. The bar, the park, the trails behind the apartment in the wooded area, the pond about a mile down the trails, Lookout Peak...” Jackson trails off. “I couldn’t find him. It’s been hours, so I was hoping he had come back already.”

“He hasn’t.” Derek dejectedly confirms, startling when his phone alerts him to a text from Boyd.

Where are you? Stiles just showed up. He looks terrible. What happened?????

Derek stands up and turns his phone to show Jackson. “He’s at my dorm. I’m going to him.”

“I’m coming with you,” Jackson informs him, standing up and following Derek to the door.

Derek nods in acknowledgment. “Fine. Just don’t get in my way.” He sends a text to Boyd before tucking his phone into his pocket.

 Don’t let him leave. I’ll explain everything later.

Derek slips on his shoes and rushes out the door to his car, Jackson hot on his heels.

 

~*~ End of December (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles runs. It’s all he can do with the state of havoc is mind is in. He runs for miles, his feet slapping hard on the pavement until his legs burn, until his lungs hurt, until the tears stop pouring down his face. When he finally slows, he comes face to face with the tattoo shop by Beefcakes. Pulling open the door, he steps inside, his cold, bare feet soaking up the warmth from the floor.

“Is Tweek in?” Stiles asks.

The girl at the front doesn’t bat an eye at his disheveled state. Leave it to a tattoo place to look past appearances. “He is. I think he may be booked out today though. Let me go ask him.” She returns a few minutes later. “I’m sorry. He has back-to-back clients all day. Can someone else help you, or would you like to make an appointment for another time?”

Stiles hesitates. He doesn’t like to use his connections or friendships, but today, right now, he needs this. He craves the release the pain will provide. “Will you tell him it’s Red?”

She looks at him dubiously, like she isn’t sure why it would matter, but nods and disappears into the curtained off, back room again. Her surprise is still evident on her face when she returns. “He said to have a seat. He’s going to move some things around.”

Stiles isn’t waiting for long when Tweek steps out from behind the curtain, motioning for him to come in. “Red. You look like hell, man. You alright?”

Stiles frowns, knowing he must look a right mess. “Bad day. Do you have some time for me?”

“Sure. I have time. I’ll always make time for you,” Tweek says, waving Stiles to his sectioned off chair. “What are we doing today? Do you have a picture, or am I free handing it?”

“I actually have two, so it may take a while. Free hand is fine for one of them, or if you want to draw a stencil first you can. I trust you. Do you have a computer where I can pull up something from the cloud? I don’t have my phone, but I have something very exact that I want.”

Tweek motions to the laptop in the corner of the room. “Go ahead. Just remember to sign out when you are done.”

Stiles logs into his account and finds the photo he is looking for. Moving aside, he shows Tweek. “I want this for the other one.”

Tweek studies the photo on the screen, clicking a few buttons to print it, and smiles. “I can do that. What am I drawing for the first one, and where am I putting it?”

A few hours later, Stiles wanders around the city, slowly heading back in the direction of his apartment. His feet are filthy, and he really wishes he had brought a jacket with him, but he doesn’t bother calling a taxi. It’s not like he has his phone, and he doesn’t really care enough anyway. He keeps walking, so lost in his thoughts that he doesn’t notice when he passes his apartment. By the time he notices, he still isn’t ready to face the inevitable loneliness that will greet him when he returns, so he keeps walking through the pain.

Cold rain starts pelting down on him, but it doesn’t faze him. Derek is gone, and nothing else matters. He’s lost yet another person due to his fucked up past. Stiles had been so sure Derek was different, almost positive that Derek was worth the risk. He had been almost completely certain that Derek would understand. The connection between them is beyond anything Stiles has ever felt before. He was confident that Derek was his “one”, his home.

How had it all spiraled out of control? How had he so epically misjudged everything? It just doesn’t add up. Derek leaving had always been a potential outcome, but it had felt like Derek understood, like Derek wanted him, just as much as he wanted Derek. The way Derek had stayed snuggled close and remained tactile the entire time Stiles had been unloading his past had made him think it was going to be alright, had given him the courage to keep going, to let his guard down, to trust him implicitly. But then Derek stopped holding him, stopping touching him. He’d moved away and become silent and unreadable.

When Derek’s arms had fallen away, the strength they had provided Stiles while dredging up his past ebbed away into nothing. It had left Stiles feeling hopeless and shattered. He had become immediately empty inside, and he knew he couldn’t face Derek walking away. He couldn’t face the contempt and the disgust he would find written all over Derek’s face. He couldn’t bear it. So, he ran.

Stiles is positive Derek would have been kind, but he doubtlessly would have left in the end. He’d say all the right words to make it easier, but ultimately, no amount of pretty words would change the heartbreaking conclusion. Stiles should have gone to Jackson and fucked him hard, unrelenting until he waddled when he walked and couldn’t sit down for a week. He should have made sure Derek knew exactly what he was doing. It wouldn’t have hurt Derek, but it sure as hell would have made Stiles feel something besides cold within, even if it only lasted a brief time.

It wasn’t until a sob tears from his throat that Stiles realizes that he is crying again, the tears washing away in the rain. Looking up to get his bearings to head home, he finds himself standing in front of Derek’s dorm. As if pulled by puppet strings, Stiles climbs the steps and walks inside.

“Red!” Boyd calls out from the living area, spotting him the second he steps inside. “What are you doing here? Are you alright?” Stiles meets his gaze, eyes searching for answers he doesn’t find. “Where’s Derek?”

“I…” Stiles’ words won’t come, and his voice fades away. Derek isn’t here, and it constricts his heart tighter.

“Come on. Let’s get you upstairs. You’re soaked through. Where are you shoes and jacket, dude? It’s December.” Boyd fills the silence with rambling, as if he’s afraid of spooking Stiles. “I thought Derek was with you. It’s been so long since he left, I assumed you two were getting your freak on.”

“He…” Stiles squeezes his eyes closed. “I told him about my past.”

“And? Why aren’t you with him?” Boyd asks carefully.

Stiles opens his eyes to meet Boyd’s confused gaze. “I’m too messed up. He doesn’t want me.” Stiles blurts out the thoughts that have been running through his head since he left his apartment.

“That’s a lie,” Boyd snorts, when they reach his and Derek’s rooms.

“No,” Stiles says succinctly as he follows behind Boyd.

“Look, Derek’s my best friend, yeah? He wouldn’t give you up. Trust me.” Boyd says disappearing into his room. Instead of following, Stiles sinks to the floor outside of Derek’s room. Returning with a towel, Boyd hands it to Stiles to dry off a bit.

“Just let me sit here for a few minutes, and I’ll go. I’ll leave like he wants. Just let me have him a little longer. Just a little longer,” Stiles mumbles, tossing the towel aside. He rubs his hands over his face, trying to stop the fresh tears from forming to no avail.

Boyd reaches out and touches Stiles’ shoulder, his fingers brushing the still damp skin of his neck. “Jesus, you’re freezing. We need to get you warmed up.” He tugs on Stiles’ arm, trying to get him to stand.

Stiles begins to panic and pulls his arm away from Boyd. He needs to stay. He needs just a little more time before he lets Derek go. “Don’t make me go. Please. Not yet. Please,” he begs, panic lacing his words.

Boyd releases Stiles and holds his hands up in surrender. “Alright. Okay. You don’t have to get up, but let me get you a blanket, at least.” Boyd darts into Derek’s room and returns with a blanket that Stiles recognizes from his bed. The scent of Derek floods him when Boyd tucks the blanket over him. Boyd leans on the wall in front of him, abnormally quiet. Pulling the blanket close, Stiles rests his chin on his lifted knees and lets the tears continue to fall, all while knowing this is the last time he will ever be wrapped in the smell of Derek. He wishes everything was different.

“Stiles?” Stiles hears Derek calling his name seconds before he sees him standing at the end of the hall. “Stiles,” Derek repeats quietly when his eyes land on him.

Stiles flings off the blanket and jumps to his feet, quickly hurrying down the hall to leave. Eyes trained on the floor, he whispers, “I’ll go. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come here.” Knowing it will be his last chance, he can’t stop himself from lifting up and pressing a chaste kiss to Derek’s mouth as he passes him. “Happy New Year, Derek.” Spotting Jackson behind Derek, Stiles rushes to him. “Get me out of here.”

“Sti…” Jackson begins.

“Wait, Stiles! You don’t understand.” Derek reaches toward him, rushing forward.

Stiles flinches away and turns into Jackson, burying himself in his chest. He sighs in relief when Jackson’s arms come up around him, protecting him. “Please,” he whimpers as sobs begin to wrack his body once again.

Chapter Text

~*~ End of December (continued) – Derek ~*~

 

Jackson meets Derek’s eyes over Stiles’ shoulder, and mouths silently, “I’ll talk to him.”

Derek tamps down the jealousy that’s rearing its ugly head and nods. When Stiles and Jackson are out of sight, Derek falls into Boyd’s arms. “He’s gone. He’s gone, and he isn’t coming back.”

Boyd pushes Derek into his bedroom and away from the crowd that is beginning to gather in the hallway. “Sit down. I’m going to get your blanket, and I’ll be right back.”

Boyd shoos everyone away and grabs the blanket from the floor, returning quickly to where Derek is curled into a ball on the bed. “He didn’t even give me a chance. He just left.”

Boyd slips into the bed and wraps his arms around Derek. “Dude, the man that just left here is a broken, terrified mess. He loves you more than anything.”

“He has a real nice way of showing it,” Derek scoffs, swiping at his tears angrily.

Boyd pulls back to look at Derek. “You giving up already?”

“Why not? He doesn’t want me,” Derek declares with a shrug.

“Funny. That’s exactly what he said about you.” Boyd squeezes Derek tighter. “Let’s go to the bar tonight. I’m not going to be shadowing them because it’s going to be too busy. Give him a chance, Derek. If I’m wrong, we can dance and get drunk and show him what he’s missing.”

“It’s New Year’s Eve. You shouldn’t be stuck babysitting me,” Derek whispers.

“There’s no place I’d rather be,” Boyd assures him.

 

~~*~~

 

Derek pulls on his black jeans and a white threadbare t shirt. His hand pauses over the white belt hanging on the hook. Should he risk it? Does he dare?

“Yes, Derek. Wear the white belt,” Boyd confirms from behind him.

“Are you sure?” Derek glances over his shoulder at him. “If he’s done with me, isn’t it a bit mean?”

Boyd reaches around him and snags the belt from the hook. “Wear the belt.”

“Alright.” Derek feeds the belt through the loops on his jeans and buckles it snugly around his waist. “I texted Laura and asked her to come tonight. She said she should be there before midnight.”

“Good deal. Do you want to eat dinner before we go?” Boyd suggests.

Derek frowns. He hasn’t eaten today since he threw up the bagel in the wee hours of the morning, but he isn’t sure now is the time to chance it. “No. I wouldn’t be able to keep it down anyway. Let’s just get this over with.”

Less than half an hour later when they walk in to Midnight Memories, Derek’s eyes immediately find Stiles slipping out the side door. Nudging Boyd, he says, “I’ll be right back.”

 

~*~ End of December (continued) – Stiles ~*~

 

Stiles pulls Jackson into his room and pushes him onto the bed. Immediately climbing on top of him, he straddles Jackson’s waist and grinds down. “I want to fuck.”

Jackson’s hands drift over Stiles’ thighs pausing his movements. “Are you sure you really want to do that?”

Stiles tugs at the fastening of Jackson’s jeans. “Yes. I need to forget.”

“Stiles.” Jackson grabs Stiles’ wrist, stopping him.

“Jax, please.” Stiles grinds down again. “I know you want to. I can feel it. You’re already hard.”

“You’re right. I do want to. I always want to with you, but I don’t think it’s what you really want.” Jackson’s voice falters. “I don’t think it’s what you really need.”

Stiles jerks back as if he had been burned. “Who are you to tell me what I need? I need to fuck. That’s what I need. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. I’ll find someone else. It’s not like I haven’t done it before.” Stiles lifts off of Jackson. “Get out.”

Jackson stands up beside the bed. “I think you’re wrong. I think you’re scared. Did Derek actually say he didn’t want to be with you?”

“Just leave. Everyone always does. It’s past time you did, too,” Stiles digs in, hurling the harsh, hateful words toward Jackson with intention to hurt.

Jackson narrows his eyes and lifts his chin. “That’s just it, Sti. Derek didn’t leave. He stayed. He was still here when I got back from looking for you.”

“Get. The. Fuck. Out.” Stiles grabs his phone from the nightstand and scrolls through his contacts, looking for someone to fuck. He shoots off a quick text and reads the immediate response. Looks like it’s going to be a stranger then. Fine. It is what it is.

“Derek loves you. You’d be stupid to throw away someone that loves you as completely and perfectly as he does a second time,” Jackson says quietly and turns to leave the room.

Stiles flings his phone as hard as he can into the door behind Jackson and watches it shatter in satisfaction.

“Leave me the fuck alone.”

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles is pissed, and everyone knows it. His employees are keeping their distance, and he’s glad for it. Even Danny is blessedly silent. He plasters on a fake smile and takes the next order. The night drags on, one fake smile after another until he sees a girl watching him from across the room. Bingo. He shoots her an easy smile and tilts his head to the door. He smirks when she immediately puts her drink down and exits through the side door he had indicated.

“I’m taking a break,” he informs Danny over his shoulder as he exits from behind the bar. “Call the barback for help. I won’t be gone long.”

Stiles slips out the door and finds the girl waiting just outside. She is already sliding her panties down her thighs and stepping out of them. He crowds her against the wall but turns his head when she tries to kiss him. “No kissing.” She pouts but doesn’t argue. Placing one hand on the wall beside her head, he shoves the other in his pants, pushing down his boxers and pulling on his cock. It takes longer to get erect than it should, especially since he’s been walking around perpetually hard since his birthday. Whatever. He removes his hand from his pants and slides it down her thighs, just under the edge of her short skirt.

Shoving his hand away, she says, “I’m good. Just get in me already.”

Stiles pulls a condom from his wallet and tears it open, eager to get this done but feeling apprehensive, as well. He can already tell that when he does this, this girl isn’t going to be the only one. He is already feeling himself slip back into old thoughts, old habits, things he thought he had left behind. He puts the condom over the tip of his cock and hesitates, closing his eyes. Can he really do this again? Can he really just throw everything he feels for Derek away without a fight? Without closure? Moving the hand holding the condom away from his dick, he takes a deep breath, “I can’t…” Before he can finish, his heart clenches.

“Stiles?” He looks over to the door where Derek stands, pain and betrayal written all over him. “What the fuck? How could you?”

“Derek?” Stiles shakes his head trying to clear it. What is Derek doing here? “What…why are you here?”

Derek pulls himself up to his full height and sneers, “Because I thought you were worth fighting for. Apparently, I was mistaken.”

“Um, hi, remember me,” the girl in front of Stiles says, waving her fingers. “Can you fuck me already and have your little conversation later?”

Stiles tenses and slowly turns his head to face the girl. “Go away. We’re done here.”

“But, I’m a sure thing. Don’t be a cunt tease. Just fuck me. He can watch,” she purrs and skates her hand down Stiles’ chest, her destination apparent.

“He told you to leave. I’d suggest you do that.” Derek growls, voice low. And if that doesn’t make Stiles’ dick respond on command.

“Are you serious?” she shrieks loud enough for several people to look their way.

“Deadly,” Stiles says backing away from the girl and putting much needed space between them. The girl huffs and stomps to the door, disappearing inside. “Der?” Stiles takes in Derek’s pale face as he swallows hard. His instincts scream at him to go to him and take care of him, to protect him.

“Did you know her?” Derek grits out between his clenched teeth, looking vaguely nauseated.

Stiles doesn’t look away. He keeps his eyes trained on Derek as he answers, “No. She was just an easy fuck.”

Stiles watches as Derek loses the battle and bends forward, throwing up what looks like only stomach acid. Dear God, when was the last time his boy…Derek, he corrects himself…had eaten? He moves to go to him, but Derek stops him with a raised hand. “Don’t fucking touch me.”

Stiles recoils from the venom in Derek’s tone. “Derek, let me…”

“No. You don’t get to do that.” Derek stands back up and spits the remnants of bile onto the pavement. “You know, I was pretty sure you went home and fucked Jackson. I had almost accepted it, but I never expected you to fuck someone here, someone you didn’t even know.”

Stiles’ reaction is instant. He cracks his neck as anger floods through him. Derek ended this. Not him. He doesn’t get to be mad or berate Stiles. “Looks like we have both been disappointed today. Now, if you don’t mind, I have work,” Stiles says dismissively and reaches down, tucking himself into his jeans and fastening them.

“Fuck you, Stiles,” Derek snaps.

Stiles’ eyes flash angrily, blazing in their depths as he replies, “Oh, that’s rich coming from you. In case you missed it, I was trying to do exactly that, but you interrupted.”

Derek flicks his eyes away and asks, “Did you fuck Jackson?”

“Who I fuck is no longer any of your business,” Stiles informs him, crossing his arms and widening his stance as steels his resolve.

Derek keeps his eyes on the ground when he repeats, “Did you fuck Jackson?”

Stiles stares stoically back at him, only lifting an eyebrow in response.

“Did you fuck Jackson?” Derek repeats again, louder this time.

Stiles allows his anger to take root, and he does what he does best. He shuts himself off and pushes away any hope for his own happiness. “Go on, Derek. Leave.”

Derek doesn’t move when he echoes his question again, “Did you fuck Jackson?”

“Fine, I’ll leave,” Stiles moves to shove by Derek toward the door. Derek grabs his arm as he passes, and Stiles flinches at the pain from Derek’s grip on his fresh tattoo.

Derek’s beautiful, sad hazel green eyes finally slam into Stiles’. “Did you fuck Jackson?

Stiles’ need to inflict the same pain he is feeling internally has him biting out, “Let me go before I make you.” Derek stares at him, confusion shining from his eyes. “I don’t want to hurt you, Derek, but I will, so if you know what’s best for you, you’ll disengage yourself from me.”

Derek releases Stiles’ arm immediately and opens the door to the bar. “Just answer me. Did you fuck Jackson?”

“Why do you fucking care?” Stiles lashes out with impatience, his walls crumbling. He needs Derek to leave before he begs him to stay.

“Because I’m in love with you,” Derek whispers and ducks quickly through the door.

Stiles pitches forward, bent at the waist and gasping for breath as the words crash into him and splinter what’s left of his tenuous hold on his rage. Oh, God. What has he done? What has he fucking done?

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles steps behind the bar, his bloody knuckles wrapped tight with pieces from a ripped up t shirt. He hasn’t been able to get the devastated look on Derek’s face out of his head, so he’s going to bury himself in work.

Danny steps in front of him, stopping Stiles’ progression. “You don’t need to be back here right now. I’ve got this. Go watch the front for a while and cool off.”

Stiles cocks an eyebrow and snipes, “Did you forget who you’re talking to?”

“Fire me, then.” Danny lifts his chin and stands his ground. “You should know Derek is trying to get drunk tonight. I’ve watered down his drinks, but he’s hitting them pretty hard. He’s nowhere near drunk yet, but if he keeps up this pace, he will be, even with the split drinks.” Danny tips his head to the nearby barback. “Cover for us.”

Danny drags Stiles into the employees only area. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t want to right now. Whatever is going on with you and Derek, fix it. Or don’t. Either way, something has to give. You’ve been surly and bordering on rude all night. While that may work under the guise of sassy and teasing, no one is buying it tonight. I’m going to go back to the bar. You, go deal with whatever it is that has crawled up into your ass.”

Stiles stares at Danny, absorbing everything his words. If Derek really is setting out to drink himself into a stupor, maybe Stiles might still have a chance. Slim as the possibility may be, Stiles feels a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, Stiles hasn’t lost Derek completely. Making a decision, he blurts, “Can I borrow your phone?”

Danny squints at the rapid change of subject. “Where’s yours?”

Stiles scowls, “Broken.”

“Don’t break it.” Danny hands Stiles his phone and heads back inside the bar area.

Stiles unlocks the screen and sends a text to Boyd.

Have I royally fucked this up?

Boyd’s response takes several minutes before it comes through. The longer it takes, the more nervous Stiles gets.

Danny?

Shit.

It’s Stiles. My phone is busted. Have I lost