Stiles is used to hiding what he is, has been doing since he was eight years old and his mother dragged him in the house with a mortified expression after he’d shifted for the first time, shaking and scared, sitting him down on the couch to quietly ingrain that no one could ever know or bad things would happen. They’d gone running after that, his form stretching along next to his mother’s as they played in the forest behind his house. He learned how to control it and how to hide it, how to pretend he doesn’t hear everything and smell everything. It was theirs, this little bubble of secret and happy that he had with his mother.
But then she got sick, and he had no one to run with any more.
So he hasn’t told anyone, not even Scott. He’s honestly not sure even his dad knows, because he feels like there would have been an awkward conversation or two, at least.
When Scott became a werewolf, Stiles thought his secret was going to come out, that he wouldn’t have to hide anymore and that he’d have someone to run with again, even if it wasn’t his mom. Yet, Scott didn’t even notice, neither did Derek or Peter Hale, and so he’s stayed alone, pretending to be the human while the wolves ran in the middle of the night as he sat inside researching.
Even now, Stiles continues to mask the fact his senses are just as preternatural as Scott’s new ones, even if his body, for some reason, isn’t as built to play lacrosse. Which is frankly unfair, Stiles has been a shifter his entire life and it’s never affected how well he could catch a ball.
Mostly though, he just learns to act startled when Derek appears in his room. The first time it happened, yeah, he was legitimately surprised, but after that he’s taken special interest to sniffing his room as he steps inside, and today is no different.
Stiles winces as Derek shoves him up against a wall for the umpteenth time. He raises an eyebrow when he looks up to see not the usual look of anger or irritation, just Derek giving him a considering look like he's trying to figure something out.
"You don't have a dog," Derek says, non sequitur.
"Nope," Stiles agrees slowly.
Derek takes a deep breath, scenting the air around Stiles, who tries not to squirm. "You constantly smell of dog, even now when you've been at school all day and I know you haven't gone near that vet's office."
"Okay, I'm going to pretend that's not creepy, and slowly push you away now," Stiles mutters, putting his hands flat on Derek's chest to make good on his promise.
Derek narrows his eyes, but moves away, and Stiles taps down on the urge to bare his teeth back.
"Explain, now," Derek demands, crossing his arms.
"Uh, well," Stiles starts, looking up towards the ceiling. He purses his lips and shrugs, facing forward again, because it's not like Derek will have any ground to stand on in rebuttal. "Well, you always smell like a wolf."
This answer doesn't seem to satisfy the other man, at least not judging by the squaring jaw. "We've known each other for months."
"I know," Stiles nods mockingly. "I can't believe it took you so long to say something."
"Humans are around dogs, often smell of dogs," Derek glowers. "Your father isn't – doesn’t smell like a dog, except those shepherds.”
Stiles frowns, looking down at carpet for a moment, "I didn't even know until I was eight.” He grimaces at the memory; anything about his mom usually brings his mood down to about the level of Derek's. "I haven't shifted unless I had to, not since she died. I mean, I kind of wanted to say something, but I didn’t want to risk it just in case there was some kind of crazy war going on I didn’t know about. Like vampires versus werewolves, except …not."
He doesn’t mention the envy he feels when Scott talks about running with the pack, doesn’t say that he sometimes feels like strangling him for complaining about the pack.
Derek breathes in deeply, "Why haven't you- Is your-" He falters uncharacteristically and furrows his brow, grinding his teeth and obviously uncomfortable, unsure of how to continue. He drops his hands and shoves them into his jacket, “You’re not like me.”
"I don’t look like a half-man wolf-thing and I’ve never been affected by the moon, if that’s what you mean," Stiles sighs and tilts his head. "So no, I’m not like you, and it doesn’t even make me better at sports, like it did for Scott.”
“What do you look like?” Derek asks, expression growing curious, eyebrows furrowing.
“Some type of husky,” Stiles shrugs. “It’s not-I’m not really a show dog, or whatever.”
The room is silent for a few moments, and Stiles wonders if he should just shift and get it over with.
Derek gestures with his hands still in his pockets. "Have you tried track?"
Stiles narrows his eyes in confusion. "What?"
"Huskies are runners, and lacrosse is full contact. I'm not surprised you suck." Derek mutters.
"You really didn’t know about shifters?” Stiles questions, diverting the sensitive subject and raising an eyebrow as he slumps down in the desk chair.
"You didn’t know about werewolves," Derek retorts.
"Werewolves weren't supposed to be real," Stiles insists, relaxing now that he knows Derek isn't going to try to kill him or run him out of town.
Derek just raises an eyebrow, mouth twisting in the corner as it usually does when Stiles says something ridiculous. “Does Scott know?”
“No one knows,” Stiles mutters, avoiding eye contact. “My mom told me to keep it secret, so I did.”
Derek sighs, “You should have said something when Scott became a werewolf, imaginary conflict or not, we’re pack.”
“I know,” Stiles trails off awkwardly with an exaggerated grimace, ignoring the warm feeling in the center of his chest at the word ‘pack’. It’s weird talking about this out-loud; usually, he just keeps it to imaginary conversations in his head.
Derek rolls his eyes and turns uncomfortably, and if it were anyone else Stiles would think he was fidgeting.
“So is that what you came for?” Stiles asks, tapping his fingers against his thigh.
“No,” Derek says, almost as if it’s a surprise to himself. “I was going to ask about the beanbags I found in my living room yesterday.” His restless expression is quickly replaced by an irritated one.
Stiles blinks, “I- actually don’t know anything about that. If it had been me, I would have gotten like a wingback chair and an ottoman, ‘cause I’m classy like that.” He clicks his tongue and shrugs, “ It might have been Jackson? ”
Derek grunts in agreement and shifts uneasily on his feet.
“Alright, just say it,” Stiles groans, leaning back in his chair to stare at the ceiling.
“You’re coming to the training session tomorrow,” Derek says, like it’s an order, but when Stiles leans up to look him in the face, his expression has a hint of indecision.
“Training sessions are only for werewolves,” Stiles says slowly.
“You’re part of the pack. You apparently can shift. You should be included with the rest of us.” Derek says, tone as flat as if he was trying to explain string theory to a four year old.
“I don’t ever shift,” Stiles doesn’t mention that it’s constantly in the back of his mind, that this offer has his heart jumping in the back of his throat. “Like, ever. And I’m not a werewolf. And I read that huskies aren’t even technically that close to-”
“Stiles,” Derek interrupts, “You’re coming to the session.”
“But-but I can’t tell anyone, no one can know or I could get in trouble,” Stiles says, repeating the words from years ago, still tattooed into his conscious.
“Tomorrow, after lacrosse,” Derek says with finality, opening the window. “Don’t be late or you’re the first to get tagged.”
“Tagged? Wait no- hey,” Stiles follows him to the edge and watches him jump down. “Hey, you can’t just run from a conversation.”
“Then chase me,” Derek dares from the ground. “If you think you can catch me.” Stiles makes an aggravated noise as the man tilts his head at him, eyebrows raising for a moment before he gets in the Camaro.
Stiles is already slamming the window shut when it occurs to him that the line from anyone but Derek might have flirting, and stares out the pane for a moment, hysterical giggle bubbling out of his throat.
Stiles groans and slides down next to his bed, clutching his head. This is terrible, if he doesn’t show up tomorrow Derek will probably just bring the others here out of some misguided attempt at pack disclosure. He doesn’t even want to think about how Scott going to react to the fact he’s been keeping this secret, even after the bite.
“I hate my life,” Stiles groans into his arms.
The next day a school is horrifying to the point that he can’t think, because every time he looks at any of his friends he’s just imagining them hating him. It’s messing with his control so much that he’s distracted by eavesdropping on conversations going on across the school that he misses out on half the lesson plans, something he hasn’t done since he started Adderall.
“Are you okay?” Scott asks while they’re changing for practice, giving him a concerned look.
“Yeah, just a little distracted,” Stiles reassures him as he pulls on his jersey.
Scott laughs, “You’re always a little distracted.”
Stiles just laughs with him, and later lets out a bit of his nervous energy during practice, nearly getting one over Jackson before the other boy cheats and uses his stupid werewolf powers.
The drive over to Derek’s is when his heart really starts pumping, any relief he’d found hitting people with sticks completely fades away as he pulls his Jeep between the Porsche and the Camaro.
“Stilinski?” Jackson says incredulously, stepping in front of the Jeep. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Derek invited me,” Stiles answers, swallowing thickly. He feels like his heart is going to beat out of his chest, and he’s pretty sure Jackson notices by the way he backs off without further comment. Lydia however, is not so cowed.
“Derek invited you,” she repeats in disbelief, eyes narrowing as she crosses her arms.
“I might have been holding some cards closer to my chest than I should’ve,” Stiles explains vaguely, unwilling to just come out and say it. What was he supposed to say anyway, ‘Hey friends, I can turn into a dog, it’s totally awesome but I haven’t told anyone because I thought I’d get dismembered in a lab.’ Yes, that would work perfectly.
“Stiles is a shapeshifter,” Derek announces from the porch, stepping down towards them.
There’s a moment of baffled silence as Lydia and Jackson regard him, both of them with nearly twin expressions of disbelief.
“Like from the movies?” Jackson asks, regarding Stiles critically. “Why do you still look like that then?”
Stiles’ brow furrows in confusion, and sees Derek doing the same out of the corner of his eye. “What?”
“Well I mean,” Jackson makes a gesture with his hand, circling his own face. “You could look like Tyler Durden but you keep that?”
Stiles takes a moment to translate that into actual English, and scoffs in offense, “I am perfectly attractive, you’re just jealous.”
“He’s a cynanthrope, you idiot,” Derek says, rolling his eyes towards the forest. “A skin-walker.”
“Oh, someone’s been on Wikipedia,” Stiles mutters, crossing his arms defensively.
Derek gives him a narrow look, taking him by the shoulder and forcing him towards the woods. Jackson and Lydia trail behind him, and he takes a moment to wonder where they’re going, it’s not like anyone is going to see them here any more than in the forest.
“What’s Stiles doing here?” Scott asks from behind them, stepping off his bike.
“He’s a cycanthrope,” Jackson explains, and Stiles rolls his eyes.
“Cynanthrope,” Stiles corrects, tsking.
Lydia hums curiously. “Cynan as in canine?”
“But Stiles is normal, what are you talking about?” Scott disagrees, and right on time, just as the anxiety had started to bleed out of Stiles, his best friend manages to ramp it up a few more degrees.
“Normal is relative,” Stiles says tentatively, sighing deeply. He makes eye contact with Derek for a moment, then lets the tightness in his limbs grow and contract, embracing the familiar feeling of shrinking and slight twinge of pain as he finds himself on all fours staring up at his circle of friends. Derek scowls down at him with a slight look of surprise, but mostly it seems to be annoyance, probably to do with Stiles dodging any line of questioning that might come his way.
Jackson makes a loud startled noise, his eyes going huge, Lydia’s brow furrows just so to look slightly confused, and Scott leaps back like a bee just stung him on the nose.
“What-where?!” Scott screeches in horror, as if Stiles had turned into a dragon rather than just a house-pet. “When did-how is- what’s going on?”
“Stiles can shapeshift, you’d know this if you’d gotten here on time,” Derek intones flatly.
Stiles huffs at the lecturing tone, as if Scott’s tardiness is to blame for a friend turning into a dog. He stretches and lays down, sticking his nose between his paws and looking up at them. Scott stares with wide eyes for a few moments before his heart rate slows down and there’s no longer a risk of the teen wolfing out hysterically.
“Well, at least I don’t have to hang out with you guys alone now,” Scott mutters, but he doesn’t look completely accepting of the circumstances, only put out that no one will answer him.
“Where’d his clothes go?” Lydia asks after a few moments, pouting. “Mine always get ripped up.”
“Yeah,” Jackson agrees, in the same offended tone. “That’s not fair.”
Stiles tilts his head at the pair, and catches Derek staring at him with similar confusion. He would have ‘come out’, as it where, a lot sooner if he’d known that the only thing they were going to concentrate on was the fact his clothes magically disappear like Optimus Prime’s trailer.
“Clothes? Are you serious, he just turned into a dog,” Scott whines.
Stiles nods towards him, at least someone is on the right track here.
“We’re werewolves,” Lydia scoffs, bending down and smirking. “I guess the secret thing is a little off-putting, but other than that, not really too exciting.”
Stiles whines low in his throat and everyone looks down at him for a long moment.
“This is the longest he’s ever been quiet,” Jackson narrows his eyes, “Speak.”
“I’m not actually a dog, you jackass,” Stiles barks, showing his teeth.
“Aw, that’s cute,” Lydia says, smiling. Stiles would have done anything to get that expression on her face a few years ago, even just months ago, but now it’s just sort of patronizing.
“He’s a dog,” Scott repeats. “This is kind of huge and you’re all just -” He makes a gesture of disbelief.
“Still here,” Stiles whines, but no one seems to notice.
“I don’t like repeating myself, McCall,” Lydia says, raising her eyebrow pointedly.
“She really doesn’t,” Jackson agrees.
Derek growls deep in his throat, something a human wouldn’t be able to perceive (probably, Stiles is honestly still figuring that out even now) and it manages to shut all three of them up. Stiles has often wondered why the alpha things don’t intimidate him as much as they maybe should, there’s certainly the shiver of fear that runs through his blood, but never enough that he doesn’t feel like he couldn’t rebel.
Derek shifts violently into wolf form and Stiles darts up, barking a surprised ‘Hey’ as the other three shift too, teeth sharp as they growl around at each other in what he privately refers to as ‘Angel-face’.
Derek growls and Stiles is surprised to realize he knows what the man wants, telling him to come as they start to run towards the lake.
He bounds over the forest floor and finds himself ecstatic for the first time in a while, chasing at the wind and nipping daringly at Derek’s tail before taking off swiftly through a stand of trees as the werewolf bares his teeth back in an unmistakably playful manner. He climbs to the top of a stand of rocks and yaps down at the pack, watching as Lydia shoves Jackson in a lake before she darts away in amusement, mocking him from a few yards away. Jackson howls in anger, and it’s probably more to do with the designer work-out shorts that are now soaked in mucky lake-water more than getting shoved around.
Scott is making chuffing noises, probably the werewolf version of a laugh, and Stiles yips down at him and they make eye contact, both amused at Jackson’s misfortune until the latter jumps Scott and wrestles him to the ground. Stiles jumps down off the rocks, and takes off down the beach, curious about where Derek’s gone, but trailing down the bank reveals nothing, even as he sniffs the air. He whines lowly, and mourns the fact his form isn’t a bloodhound, when he’s shoved down to the ground, yelping in surprise. He wriggles around on his back, kicking with his hind feet at Derek’s chest, who’s staring down at him with triumph. He whines low in his throat and tries to get up, but Derek’s got him pinned.
Derek tips his head down, nipping the side of Stiles’ neck under an ear, before letting him up. The werewolf tilts his head, and Stiles remembers the dare from yesterday as he runs off into the underbrush in the direction of the house.
Stiles flips over as quick as he can on and chases him down, slightly frustrated with how much quicker Derek is as he jumps on the porch, crouching down on haunches. Stiles is somewhat unprepared for the stop and runs into him, tripping on his paws as he crashes into Derek. He shifts a moment later, wanting to use words to apologize, and is surprised when Derek does the same, brow furrowed faintly as he looks up at Stiles face.
Stiles leans up on an elbow a moment later, trying to beat back the flush that bleeds up his face when he realizes he’s half fallen atop of Derek’s naked form, and isn’t really sure where to put his hands as he tries to pick himself up. He’s halfway upright when the other man grabs the collar of his t-shirt and pulls him back down, so that Stiles is now nearly completely on prone on top of him and definitely blushing so hard he’s hoping his brain will take pity on him and black out.
“Where are you going?” Derek asks, eyes half-lidded as he looks down.
Stiles shrugs as much as he can, stiff in Derek’s grasp, “Uh- nowhere, I’m good here…apparently.”
Derek hums low in his throat, closing his eyes, face relaxing.
Stiles makes an affronted noise in response, forgetting his discomfort and scoffing, “You’re just going to sleep? Everyone’s still – this is not training, this is hanging out. You guys lie and hang out without me?” He can’t help the whine that develops in the midst of that sentence; the thought is just depressing, even if he did get invited today.
Derek sighs deeply, opening his eyes. “I usually make them spar and track, don’t overreact.”
“But this isn’t that,” Stiles tries not to move too much, and ignores the heat traveling south even as he talks, but feels the need to budge further onto his side, letting his arm relax over Derek’s chest. “This is not even close to training.”
“No,” Derek agrees dryly.
Stiles hums, looking over across the porch and then back to Derek, up across his chest, and closes his own eyes, but it has nothing to do with relaxation. He takes a breath and slides a little further around, his other arm settling comfortably between Derek’s chest and bicep. Derek makes a noise in the back of his throat, and Stiles feels his face heat up again, worse if that’s even possible.
“Okay, I have to ask,” Stiles starts, because he’s still a little adrenaline high from running and really cannot resist, “Why are you being all, well, this now that you find out I’m not exactly human. I mean there were moments, I won’t deny that, but they were way, way more subtle than lying naked on a porch. In fact this is not subtle at all; even Scott would catch on. This is like if pink elephants actually existed obvious.”
Derek doesn’t move a muscle for a moment, “Do you ever just let things happen?”
“Nah, last time I did, got inducted into a werewolf pack,” Stiles defends, clicking his tongue. “I try to stay on top of things now.”
“Of course,” Derek mutters.
“So,” Stiles wheedles.
“I don’t know,” Derek says, tone flat. Stiles raises an eyebrow, and Derek grinds his teeth, “It means you’re less – Why would it matter? I know you’re interested.”
“Oh, do you now,” Stiles mocks, but he’s aware enough to know it’s complete denial, he hasn’t even tried to get up aside from the first time, and no matter how much he taps down on it, his dick isn’t exactly ignoring Derek’s exposed form.
Stiles starts a little when a hand comes up to cradle the back of his neck, looking up to see Derek staring down at him with rather soft eyes and an odd set to his mouth. His breath catches in response and he leans up readily when the hand pulls at the base of his hair; his own hand trailing up the middle of Derek’s chest.
He curls a palm around Derek’s shoulder as they move towards each other, and the first kiss is chaste, Stiles leaning back a moment to stare before they move forward again, less carefully, noses bumping as Derek opens his mouth and Stiles eagerly meeting him.
Derek’s hand is in the midst of taking off his shirt when Stiles hears the giggle, and he pulls back swiftly to look toward the forest, catching a swish of red hair behind a tree a few yards away. He groans and pushes up, copping a feel as his hand catches along Derek’s chest, standing. The other man scowls, rolling his shoulders and following suit. Stiles carefully looks away to calm himself down, and to overlook Derek doing the same before they end up horizontal on the porch again.
“Probably shouldn’t do naked make outs when you have friends over,” Stiles groans, the very definition of dissatisfied.
“We’re continuing this later,” Derek responds pointedly, mouth set in not a little annoyance as his form shifts into that of the alpha, running in the direction of Lydia’s last location.
“No arguments here,” Stiles yells after him. He sighs, waving dismissively in the direction that Derek had disappeared in and straightens out his shirt, starting lazily in the direction of where he’d last seen Scott and Jackson. “Stupid betas.”