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the air above us

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The rain in Beacon Hills continues for days on end, ceaselessly. Streets start getting flooded, people's basements are soaked, and the department of public works is doing so much damn overtime that they'll all probably be able to afford two month long vacations. Despite that, the rain just keeps coming down and down, without regard to all the money flying out of the public's pocket, and Stiles is starting to get stir crazy.

Within the last few days, he's only gone two places, and those are his school and his house. There's been no lacrosse practice, no studying with friends, no hanging out with Scott, no going to the library, nothing, and it's getting horrible. He's run out of movies to watch, run out of things to read, he's even gotten to the point where he's watching those midday exercise programs to try and alleviate his boredom, but to no avail.

Then there's the whole issue with Derek. Stiles isn't a needy guy, and he definitely doesn't mind all that much when Derek disappears for a few days or a week or two (shut up, he totally doesn't) but the fact that he and Derek probably could be hanging out if it weren't for the weather really irritates him. Of course the guy isn't about to go loping through the rain just to get to Stiles' house -- who does that?

Stiles has long since given up the debate with himself on whether or not he enjoys Derek's company, and he doesn't bother being surprised anymore, because, really, he can only fool himself for so long when he makes a habit of sticking his tongue down the guy's throat.

Still, it's been a while since he's last seen Derek, and that, coupled with the deep-seated anxiety bubbling up in his gut, is making him irritated as all hell and just itching to get out of the house, for any reason whatsoever. At this rate, he'll probably end up sprinting to the library to take out more movies or maybe just run around town. Who cares if he gets wet?

But it's probably late one Friday night when he realizes, after checking the glove compartment for his wallet, that his Jeep is low on gas. He would praise the Heavens and sing, if it was appropriate to do so that late in the evening, because it's something to do other than just sit in the house. Granted, it's nothing terribly exciting, but it's either fill his tank or stare at the wall.

When he pulls out of the driveway (his dad told him that he's crazy for wanting to drive when it's dark and rainy, but really, Stiles just wants to be anywhere that's not his house) the water's coming down in sheets, spraying his windshield and completely obscuring his view. He flicks on his headlights and turns the wipers on high, and inches slowly down the soaked streets toward the gas station.


The outdoor pumps at the gas station don't have any sort of structure overhead to shield him from the rain when he starts pumping the gas, but he's not all that bothered. He somewhat wishes that he brought a sweatshirt, though, but all he has is his jacket and nothing to cover his head.

The rain's cold when it trails down his neck and under his collar, and it makes him shiver, hunched over with his arms crossed tightly over his chest as he watches the numbers climb. It's just his luck that he picked the slowest pump, of course, or something like that. It feels like the slowest pump, at least.

Stiles is pretty sure that this is where the Derek Hale brand-name show-up-out-of-nowhere trick would probably come into play, if it wasn't raining so hard, and Stiles tries not to wonder why he's thinking about Derek at all. He himself is getting kind of sick of all the foul weather, so he's sure that Derek's most likely no different. He's probably with the betas somewhere, dry and out of sight from outsiders.

He wonders, vaguely, what it must be like to live like that.

"I wonder if I'd be able to do that..." he wonders aloud, to nobody in particular.

"Probably not."

Stiles laugh is abrupt, like he'd been holding his breath, waiting. "I knew you'd show up." he tells Derek, who's leaning against the driver's side door of his Jeep with his hands in his pockets. "You always show the hell up out of nowhere."

Derek frowns. "You sound upset." His brow is furrowed, and Stiles is taken aback, just the slightest bit.

It's times like these when Stiles wonders just how much of him that Derek can hear. Sure, there's the whole heartbeat thing, but how far does it go, really? Can he hear the blood flowing through him, or when his breath hitches? When his muscles clench, or when his stomach churns, or when electricity fires through his synapses?

Why has he never bothered to ask?

He swallows, and shakes his head. "I'm sick of all this bad weather, I guess. It's aggravating me." he replies, and it's honest, because what else would he be upset about? He's been stuck inside, or at school, and he hasn't been able to see any of his friends or go anywhere in town or... nothing. Not even Derek.

That's the part that bothers him, maybe. Maybe.

"You shouldn't be out." Derek tells him, pushing himself off the surface of the car, and he runs a hand through his hair, the water he shakes off getting lost in the rain. "You're gonna get sick, you know."

Stiles shrugs. "The Jeep needed some juice, is all. I've gotta get to school, don't I?" He purses his lips. "Why are you here, though? Shouldn't you be with the pack or something?"

Derek rolls his eyes. He's clearly irritated himself, exhausted of the horrible weather conditions and the bad circumstances and just how wet it is outside. "I've spent enough time with the pack for a lifetime, I think. God, the ways they entertain themselves are incessant."

He can't help but laugh, because he can really imagine it -- Erica and Isaac and Boyd aggravating the hell out of Derek, day in and day out. "What do they do?"

"Well, for starters," Derek sighs, staring at the ground, as if he's trying to recount the horrors of the past week, "Isaac likes to quote Michael Bay movies and Erica sings songs from musicals. I can't tell you how many times I've heard La Vie Boheme." He shrugs slightly. "And then Boyd just breaks things."

Stiles tries his best not to laugh, but he can't help it, and he finds himself chuckling because that's honestly a hilarious mental image. He really can see Erica and Isaac and Boyd doing all of that and Derek enduring it with a passive face, secretly wanting to kill the next person who so much as speaks to him, but soon Derek's laughing too, and they're just standing at a gas pump in the middle of the rain, laughing.

Yeah, he was probably more bothered by Derek's absence than he thought. He quietly accepts that, though, because it really makes no difference.

Derek's laughter dies down after a moment or two and he runs his hand through his hair again, taking a step forward. "I've been dying to get out, too." he admits, and he shoves one hand into his pocket, using the other to gently grasp Stiles' elbow.

He should have been waiting for it, anticipating it, but he really can't anticipate anything with Derek Hale, no matter how hard he tries, no matter how many times he berates himself. Still, every time Derek kisses him, it's like he didn't see it coming, like it came the hell out of nowhere, kind of like Derek does all the time, and he's not sure if he should be annoyed or pleased. But, most of the time, he's too distracted to care, and he normally just ends up kissing back on impulse, because this is what his life is now. Getting stuck at a gas station in the middle of the rain, kissing Derek Hale like he doesn't have anywhere to be.

Well, he doesn't, not with the rain, but that doesn't really matter.

Derek pulls off, but doesn't pull away, and he hovers for a minute, like he's trying to decide whether or not to step away. Stiles clears his throat and asks, "Hey, if I do get sick, will you steal more of that tea from the diner, at least?" It takes him a bit of effort to get the words out, considering they're still very close together, but Derek laughs.

"I'll see what I can do." Derek breathes against his lips, and he kisses Stiles again, rainwater on his lips and the clouds rumbling above him.


The next day, Stiles wakes up with a sore throat and a headache, and he figures he deserves it.

Still, Derek's at his window with a packet of the diner tea and a questioning hitch of the eyebrow that night, so it's not all bad.