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last night's dress (tiptoe out of this mess)

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Stiles is thinking about work when his father clears his throat portentously. He's going to be late if he eats that last waffle, but it's a summer job: can he really be expected to pass up a waffle because the librarian will frown at him if he's five minutes late again?

"Stiles," his dad says, and Stiles grabs the waffle, because he may as well be eating it while he's considering whether he can spare the time.

"Yeah?" he asks, grabbing the maple syrup.

"I try not to interfere in your life overmuch, but I hope you know I do care about what's going on with you."

"Of course," Stiles says, pouring the syrup in a pattern.

There's no point eating a waffle if you're not going to do it right, and working at the library is a pretty sweet gig, because he gets to research when it's quiet and he also gets to read aloud to the children sometimes, and they love it when he does the voices and so does he--but there's only three weeks left of the summer, and Stiles has priorities.

"Your happiness concerns me," his dad says earnestly.

"That's nice," Stiles says vaguely, biting into his waffle.

He closes his eyes in satisfaction. Totally worth it, even if hot Librarian Lucy glares worse than Derek sometimes.

"You can tell me whatever may be going on with you, you know. Whatever it is."

"Sure," Stiles says, "if there was anything I would." It's indecipherable through the waffle.

"You know I've never cared who your friends are as long as they're decent people."

Stiles swallows. "Are you saying you think Scott is decent people, or..."

"Scott?" his dad asks.

"My best friend?"

"Not Scott," his dad says firmly. "Someone else."

"Who?" Stiles asks blankly.

"That's my question!" his dad says impatiently. He swallows a mouthful of orange juice and bangs the glass onto the table in frustration. "You know I notice what you're doing, right?"

"You do?" Stiles asks, eyes widening in vague panic. There's a lot his dad could have noticed, like Stiles running the pack through training in the back yard, or the pack's weird territorial behaviour around Stiles and Stiles' dad and Stiles' house and Stiles' jeep, or maybe his dad is worried Derek's a cult leader again, or maybe he's picked up on something about this latest thing with the witch--

"I notice what's going on in your life! You can't hide these things from me!"

"Uh--" Stiles says, because he doesn't know exactly what it is his dad's talking about, but whatever it is, he already knows this is going to be a disaster.

"And I'm kind of upset that you would want to!"

"Well--" Stiles starts, mind racing, trying to compose an explanation that will convey his deep love and trust and also his total inability to drag his dad into the world of werewolves and all the bullshit that goes with it, like this witch, what the hell is he supposed to tell his dad about that? He hasn't even had any new information to give Derek in a week, and Derek keeps coming over, but Stiles can't teach Derek witchcraft off the internet, no matter how many times Derek forces him to try.

"--it's a complicated situation," Stiles settles on.

"Let me uncomplicate it for you," his dad says.

"There's no need to take such a tone," Stiles tries, knowing it's weak.

"This guy that came through your window at three in the morning and left before I got up for work? Would he like to stay for Sunday brunch tomorrow?"

Stiles chokes on air and starts coughing, thumping himself on the chest and desperately hoping that lightning will crash through the kitchen window and strike him dead on the spot before he has to speak.

It doesn't, because Stiles never has that kind of luck.

"I'll--ask?" Stiles squeaks.

"That was not a request," his dad says, draining his glass and getting up to leave. "There will be trouble if I do not see him at this table tomorrow."

"Gotcha!" Stiles calls after his father's retreating back before he slams his head against the table.

Unfortunately, there's still waffle on the plate in front of him, so then Stiles has to clean maple syrup off his forehead, which is gross, but more fun than texting Derek: My dad just asked me if my booty call guy would like to stay for brunch tomorrow. You in?

Stiles is half an hour late for work, but they're lucky he shows up at all.


Two hours into Stiles' shift, Derek shows up while Stiles is shelving The Spiderwick Chronicles in his newly created Awesome Reads Are Awesome! section. Librarian Lucy wants him to rename it Fun Books for Summer, but Stiles is resistant, plus has already made the sign. His sign has glitter! Librarian Lucy should understand these things.

Stiles pushes the last book into place and turns to grab his sparkly sign, but Derek is suddenly right behind him and Stiles ends up grabbing Derek's hip instead of his paper.

"Derek!" Stiles whispers. "I am at work! You know what's not okay at work? Getting me fired."

"If you don't want me to make a scene," Derek says, and looks pointedly at Stiles' hand.

"Then don't loom at me unexpectedly!" Stiles yanks his hand back. "I thought I'd broken you of that habit. What do you want?"

"You can't send me a message like that and then ask me what the hell I want!" Derek leans down over Stiles, and his furious whisper has more force when it's coming from such a close distance, when Stiles can feel Derek's breath on his face. "Your booty call?"

Derek's voice rises incredulously on the children's-section-inappropriate-phrase, and Stiles sees Librarian Lucy's antennae rise curiously and her gaze zero in on them from her place behind the desk, so he pulls Derek behind the shelves, back into gardening and horticulture, where nobody ever comes.

"Shut up!" Stiles hisses. "This is where I work!"

Derek looks around, appearing to register their location for the first time. He looks interested, and Stiles has the sudden, sick suspicion that Derek is going to be as territorial about Stiles' workplace as he is about Stiles' home, but, "I know," Derek says. "Take a break."

"Wait outside," Stiles tells him. "I'll be out when I finish my section."

Derek leaves, and Stiles pins his amazing sign up sloppily, because he already knows it's going to be sacrificed to the cause.

"Hey Lucy," he says casually, leaning on the counter by her computer. He isn't due a break for another hour, and he'd said he wouldn't take one to make up for being late. "Okay if I wait to change the name of the section until after I come back from my break?"

Librarian Lucy doesn't even glance at the sign.

"Who was your friend?" she asks, voice tightly controlled.

"Oh," Stiles says. "Really?" He'd kind of thought she might be bibliosexual, attracted only to books and dewey decimals and maybe her jealously guarded computerised card catalogue. Her eyes flash with anger whenever she catches Stiles looking at it, like she thinks he's going to accidentally hit a key and somehow bring about the end of the lending library in its current state. Or maybe she's just afraid he'll screw her system up and she'll have to stay late to fix it.

Either way, Stiles likes it when her eyes flash, so he does it a lot.

"He's recently divorced," Stiles tells her. "I'm helping him through this difficult time, and I really think we're close to achieving something really significant--"

"Go," she says. "Now."

Stiles flees.


"What the hell?" Derek yells. He's loitering by the bicycle rack outside the front door, so Stiles drags him around the building to the drop-off box for returns. Nobody ever uses it when the library is open, so it's a favourite place for employees to have a smoke or a screaming argument, and if anybody sees you having the latter they'll always find somewhere else to have the former.

"He heard you coming in my window last night!" Stiles says, his own voice rising. "That isn't my fault!"

"He thinks we're screwing? You let him think we're what, dating?"

"No," Stiles says. "But depending on how often he's heard you creeping through my window this week I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to tell him."

Derek tilts his head back to look up at the blue sky. "He's going to kill me."

"I'm nineteen. He's not going to kill you, just threaten to. And clean his gun at the breakfast table."

"Why didn't you tell him we aren't sleeping together?"

"I thought about it," Stiles says, though he'd been too shocked to think much of anything at the time. "But then I thought about what I'd say to explain your presence in my bedroom in the middle of the night and your early morning escape through the window, and I had no thoughts on that at all. Do you?"

Derek just glares, which Stiles takes as the admission of defeat it is.

"This is all your fault anyway," Stiles says sulkily. "This never would have happened if you came round in the evening like a normal person. Try knocking on the front door some time, does wonders for a dad's opinion."

"I don't care about your dad's opinion of me," Derek grits out.

"You will," Stiles says vindictively. "When you're being interrogated by a potential father-in-law."

"Father--" Derek says faintly.

"I'm a respectable boy," Stiles tells him, which is sadly true. "And my dad just wants me to be happy. He doesn't care who I'm seeing as long as he's a nice boy who treats me right."

Stiles looks Derek up and down, battered leather jacket and spiky hair and scruff on his chin.

"Your father knows that I am not a nice boy," Derek says, voice hard.

"Better try and convince him otherwise," Stiles says, slipping to the corner, putting his hand on the brick of the wall before turning his head to take a last look at Derek, rooted in place, frustration obvious on his face. "I've never brought a boyfriend home and he isn't expecting you. I'm not actually sure he won't arrange an accident with his gun or our blender or the garbage disposal once he sees you."

"But I'm not your boyfriend," Derek says helplessly.

"Do not tell him that," Stiles says seriously. "If he thinks you're trying to ditch me he won't even bother to make it look like an accident."

"I'm going to die," Derek says flatly, and Stiles grins, amusement sudden and startling.

"Eleven tomorrow," he says, "don't be late," and heads back inside, because he has a chicken wrap in the fridge and he'll be damned if he's wasting his entire break dealing with Derek's attack of nerves.


Stiles has to redo his sign, and he certainly isn't going to deprive the library patrons of his genius with a gluestick and all that is sparkly and good, so he doesn't have time to get the research he'd planned done, but he isn't going to see Derek until the morning and they'll have other things to worry about then, so Stiles figures he can take it easy for the evening.

So Stiles goes home after work and makes himself a casserole so he can leave leftovers in the fridge for his dad, who was supposed to be home at six thirty, but stays late more often than Stiles would like.

Then he does some laundry and watches some television, and his dad comes in halfway through Stiles' third episode of Futurama and eats his casserole, but then he goes out again, down to the bar for one quick drink with the guys, he swears, so Stiles goes up to his bedroom and spends a couple of hours watching some Louis C.K., and then his dad comes home and Stiles makes sure he gets to bed all right; and he thinks about cracking a book, or even just trying to sift through the endless blogs for a kernel of something real, but when he tries to type something relevant into google, somehow he ends up on funny or die instead, so when Derek climbs through his window at a quarter to two, Stiles curses him for more than one reason.

"What are you doing here?" he demands. "Why are you doing this to me!"

Derek slouches over to Stiles' bed and makes himself at home among the rumpled sheets.

"I needed to check in. What have you got?"

"Uh--" Stiles says, ignoring Derek's face as it sours. On his screen, Hailee Steinfeld is being clever and overly earnest, and her bit is only sporadically amusing, but Stiles had been laughing quietly before he heard the window open. "A father who is probably preparing to storm the beaches?"

"He's asleep," Derek says. "I checked before I came in."

"Great," Stiles says sarcastically. "What a useful talent, and such a shame you were totally unable to do that yesterday."

"You're going to wake him up," Derek says blithely, and Stiles shuts his mouth. "Anything new?"

"No," Stiles says, keeping his voice low this time, and neglecting to inform Derek that there might have been something new if he'd gotten around to looking. "So I'll see you tomorrow then."

Derek is on his feet with a slight shift of muscle, and then he's bending down to look at the computer, head all but on Stiles' shoulder.

"This is research?" Derek asks, and Stiles can't see his reflection in the screen and won't turn his head, can't turn his head with Derek's face so near, close enough for too many things, but he's known Derek for years now, more than long enough to hear the raised eyebrow in his voice.

"I am deep and thorough," Stiles says sanctimoniously.

"Less thoroughness and more results would be helpful," Derek says, easy enough that Stiles can't really take offence.

"I don't know how you think I'm going to be more helpful if I do less," Stiles protests, and feels Derek shrug.

"That's the way it works sometimes, right? I remember that."

"Well, I am ahead of the curve on that one," Stiles says, rubbing his palms over his tense thighs. "I wasn't actually researching tonight, I was just screwing around on the interne--"

His voice fades away as he turns his head and catches Derek's grinning right into his face from inches away. His eyes flicker down to Derek's wide mouth. Derek rarely smiles, and he's never smiled at Stiles from such a distance before. Stiles could lean forwards and brush their cheeks together. It's distracting.

His eyes fix on Derek's cheek, shining and smooth in the light from the screen.

"You shaved," he says stupidly.

Derek's mouth closes, and the smile doesn't disappear entirely, but it goes small and wry. If Stiles did press their skin together Derek's would be soft and smooth and--

"Let's get started," Derek says brusquely, putting a little space between them and nodding at the computer.

Stiles releases a shaky breath, but he doesn't think Derek notices. He never does.

They spend a couple of hours experimenting with the most genuine looking things Stiles can find, but he can feel Derek getting frustrated, has been able to feel it building all week. He keeps telling Derek he isn't really a witch, doesn't know how to counter the one they're struggling with or teach Derek how to use this stuff, but Derek keeps pushing, and Stiles can't even blame him, because it isn't as if he has any better options. Stiles is feeling exasperated and annoyed himself, though. Things had been so much easier when they'd had the vet around to help them out with these things.

Stiles usually gets a few hours of shuteye before Derek barges in on top of him, but he's had a late night and he's kind of anxious about the morning, so he doesn't spend as long as he should flexing Derek's ineffective muscles before he calls a halt.

"I have to get some sleep, man," he says, rubbing an eye tiredly. "I don't want my dad wondering why I'm looking so exhausted tomorrow, you know?"

"Yeah," Derek says, standing up.

"Really?" Stiles asks, surprised that Derek would give in so easily.

"Yeah," Derek says, "I don't want your dad thinking I'm bad for you either. That's a worrying prospect."

"Cool," Stiles says, pleased, and then Derek shucks his jacket and peels off his t-shirt.

"Do you have a spare toothbrush?" Derek asks.

"What?" Stiles asks blankly, tracking the movements of Derek's arms as he folds the cotton, of his chest as he folds his arms over it, framing the view like he's inviting Stiles to take a picture for later. "No."

"Can I use yours?"

"No, you can't stay!" Stiles hisses, eyes wide.

"Your dad told me to," Derek says, and then Stiles has to watch as he tugs off his jeans, because there is no possible way he would ever be able to look away from that.

"I don't have any pyjamas that will fit you!" Stiles protests.

"I don't wear pyjamas," Derek says factually, and Stiles rolls his eyes to the ceiling as he feels his temperature spike.

"Absolutely not," Stiles says firmly.

"I'll keep my boxers on," Derek allows.

"Not what I meant! You're not staying!"

"I've been over every night this week," Derek reminds him. "Your father will think it's strange if I come over for breakfast tomorrow but avoid you tonight. I'm not doing anything to make him think I'm backing off."

"Why did I tell you any of this," Stiles complains to the unresponsive ceiling. "Why did I do this to myself?"

"I don't know," Derek replies, "but it's happening. Can we get on with it?"

"Bathroom's across the hall." Stiles jerks his head backwards to direct Derek, then jumps out of his chair. "I'll go first."

He doesn't want to get ready for bed and come back to find Derek making himself at home, naked in Stiles' bed. Derek totally would. Stiles narrows his eyes accusingly and hurries to the bathroom.

When Stiles gets back and Derek goes to take his turn, Stiles instructs him, "Use your finger. I'll know if you go near my brush." Derek makes a face on his way through the door, and Stiles rushes into his pyjamas so he's ready before Derek gets back, because Jesus Christ he can barely handle seeing Derek like that: there's no way he could handle Derek seeing him like that.

He doesn't normally wear a top in the summer, but since Derek is going to be in his boxers, Stiles feels the need for a little extra armour, and slips on a tshirt.

He's in bed with the light off when Derek gets back, moving quietly through the darkness. Stiles can hardly see him.

"I don't suppose you'd consider the floor?" Stiles asks as the bed dips under Derek's weight. His voice is loud and fragile in the heavy silence, and he swallows angrily.

Derek pauses, but then Stiles feels the warm rush of air as the covers are pulled back, feels Derek's arm rub against his own as Derek slides close in the small bed.

"No," Derek rumbles into Stiles' ear.

"Great," Stiles says. The word is barely a puff of air.

"You tired?" Derek asks, after a minute of silence that Stiles is probably only imagining is awkward.

"Yeah," Stiles says, and hears Derek yawn, a small, mewling sound.

"Yeah," Derek says slowly. "Can you move over?"

Stiles would have already if he could, because Derek is a warm, discomfiting presence along the length of his body, and Stiles would alleviate that if it were possible, because he's kind of afraid that if he doesn't get a little further away from Derek he's going to press closer instead, and he's strung tense as a wire trying not to think about it, about leaning into the reassuring heat of Derek's body and reaching out to try and take more.

"No," Stiles says innocently.

"Okay," Derek says, and throws a leg over Stiles', throws an arm over Stiles' waist and changes the angle of his chest so his body is all but draped over Stiles. Derek's head is beside Stiles' on the pillow, and Stiles can feel Derek's lengthening breaths on his neck.

"Okay," Stiles squeaks, but Derek just gives a low, sleepy hum.

"Okay," Stiles says again a few minutes later, when Derek's breathing has evened out and his chest is rising and falling rhythmically against Stiles' shoulder. "Okay."

It takes a while, but his body relaxes under Derek's touch, under Derek's weight, and when his head drifts to the side and nudges Derek's Stiles is a little surprised that he doesn't startle, but he's losing track of his thoughts and can't figure out why his mind clings to that before it's gone and he's asleep.

When he wakes, his dad is standing over the bed looking down at them.

Stiles slams his eyes shut again.

"I know you're awake, Stiles," his dad says.

"Good morning," Stiles croaks.

"Hale? Really?"

"Apparently so," Stiles ventures, cracking his eyes carefully, letting them adjust to the glare of the sun.

Derek is pretending to be asleep beside him, hand curled around Stiles' hip, legs tangled together, ear pressed over Stiles' heart, though Derek could hear it beat without the nearness. He's undoubtedly listening to it skip frantically now. The bed feels even smaller now than it had last night, and Stiles doesn't know how to begin to explain this to his father, so he doesn't even try, but the anxiety and terror and excitement about everything make his heart race.

"We will be discussing this later," his father says ominously, and then, without raising his voice, "Hale."

"Sir," Derek says crisply, lifting his head from Stiles' chest.

"Downstairs for brunch in ten minutes," Stiles' dad says, lips thinning. "Don't make me come back up here."

He starts to leave the room.

"It's eight in the morning," Stiles protests.

"Brunch!" his dad yells back through the door. "Ten minutes! Or I will come back up here and shove it down both your throats!"

Stiles listens to him stamp down the stairs and whimpers. Derek jumps out of bed like he's been given an electric shock.

"I need to shave," he says urgently, though he has less stubble than he usually does. "And I'm borrowing your toothbrush."

Stiles still thinks that's gross, but Derek looks seriously harried, and is out the door to the bathroom so fast that Stiles doesn't bother to protest.

He can always throw it out later.

Stiles struggles groggily into his own clothes, but he isn't at his sharpest, and Derek is back in the room before he gets his shirt buttoned.

Derek is still mostly naked, which probably did not leave the best impression on Stiles' father. Stiles watches dust motes drift in the air, watches the morning light play over Derek's pale skin, and gives up the fight with the buttons, because at this point, why even bother?

Derek eases yesterday's black tshirt down onto his body, then pulls it back off and leans into Stiles' wardrobe. Stiles is too busy watching him do it to wonder why, and when Derek resurfaces with one of Stiles' shirts and forces his arms into the sleeves, saying, "This?" Stiles nods blankly, because he would agree with most anything that came out of Derek's mouth right now.

The flexing biceps can only hold Stiles' attention for so long, though, particularly when Derek is glaring at them in the mirror like they've personally offended him, which is possible, because Stiles would forgive Derek's arms a lot of things, but Derek probably doesn't feel as strongly for them as Stiles does.

"Uh?" Stiles questions belatedly.

"Is this better?" Derek asks, meeting Stiles' eyes in the mirror. "Than wearing the same clothes? I didn't plan this properly." He tugs at the cuffs of the shirt, but it doesn't help, just makes the material strain ominously.

"Don't do that," Stiles protests. He likes that shirt, and if Derek tugs or moves or breathes the seams are going to split. "And no, it is not." Stiles slaps his thighs and forces himself to his feet, because his dad will actually come back up here. "Put your own clothes back on and come down. You don't want my dad to think you're tardy, do you? Because I say tardy, but he says lazy."

Stiles hears cloth shift behind him as he walks out the door, and then Derek is falling into him, hands landing on Stiles' hips before Derek backs off so he can tug his tshirt back into place over his stomach. Stiles looks at Derek's jeans and battered boots, and he can smell Derek on the tshirt, which isn't a negative to Stiles but will be to his father if he notices, so Stiles is silently judging Derek when he glances down at his own ensemble and realises he's wearing a misbuttoned shirt and his pyjama pants, so he shuts his mouth on the remark he was about to make and leads the way to the kitchen, pausing briefly in the hall to fix his shirt so it will look less like Derek couldn't keep his hands off Stiles on the long trip down the stairs.

Stiles' father is standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring into space with a plate in his hand.

"Hey dad," Stiles says, swooping in to rescue the plate.

"Huh?" his dad says, blinking at his empty hand, still hovering in midair. "What took you so long?"

"Nine minutes and twelve seconds," Stiles lies, and his father knows, but restrains himself to a sceptical snort.

"Sit down."

Derek immediately takes a seat at the table; Stiles is kind of impressed he didn't sit on his ass where he'd been standing.

"Want me to do anything?" Stiles asks, joining his father at the cooker and peering around at the assembled ingredients. "You haven't gotten very far."

"I laid stuff out and then went to wake you," his dad grinds out. "And since then I have been processing the situation, by which I mean attempting to resign myself to the nightmare my life has become."

"Yeah," Stiles agrees, counting out eggs. "It was a bummer to wake up to you standing over the bed like you think you're some kind of cop here, because that wouldn't even have worked when anything I might have been doing last night would have been illegal, so trying to pull it now is just--"

"I wasn't trying to pull anything," his dad interrupts, shooting a dirty look at Derek, who's sitting quietly at the table trying not to squirm. "I was frozen solid by my discovery of the fresh horror that is that person--"

His finger rises and jabs at Derek like a knife.

"Two?" Stiles asks a little desperately, waving an egg at Derek.

"--in your bed. Seriously, Stiles?"

Stiles is trying to figure out how to counter that believably when Derek breaks the charged silence with a polite, "Three, please," so Stiles cracks the egg in his hand with a sharp tap on the edge of the bowl and tells his father, "Rude," which is true, though he does take all that as a valid point.

"Rude, and also unfortunately accurate," his dad says, surly, and throws a despairing look at the food Stiles is fiddling with, the egg he's spilling into the pan, then dismisses it and takes the seat next to Derek, pulling it even closer, all the better to glare at him. Derek visibly forces himself not to recoil, and smiles twitchily at Stiles' father. A smile does not sit easily on Derek's face at the best of times, and right now his nerves are making him appear like a crazed serial killer about to go off.

And Derek is not a crazy murderer--well, Derek is not clinically insane, Stiles is pretty sure, and he isn't a serial killer--but the expression on his face is making Stiles feel pretty twitchy himself when his dad says mournfully, "Are you psychopathic? You look like a psychopath, and you've given me reason to be suspicious before," and Derek somehow manages to force his smile into something approaching natural and pleasant.

"Stiles, if this is down to something I have done I cannot apologise enough," his dad tells him sincerely.

Derek's face twitches again, but in a normal-person way this time, not like it had been a minute ago, when Stiles had been a little bit afraid Derek was about to stab himself in the eye with the butter knife to extract himself from the situation. Now he just looks like he might puke if called upon to open his mouth.

"Done?" Stiles asks blankly.

"If I've made you feel like you don't deserve a decent relationship, that this is the best you can do--"

"Dad!" Stiles protests, colouring. "Rude!"

"But true." His father sounds distressed by the thought.

"No!" Stiles scowls, not meeting his father's eyes, not meeting Derek's. "You just think that because Derek's been in trouble before, but you know he didn't do anything wrong back then, and what you're thinking about him now--I understand it, I do, but it isn't true. Derek is a good boyfriend."

Derek and his father are both staring at him, and Stiles can feel his cheeks burning, so he tosses some ham into his half-done omelette and concentrates on that.

"You're only getting this because you need something to settle you down after the shock," he says severely as he's dishing up.

His father grunts. "Doubt anything could do more damage to my poor ticker this morning," he agrees, which does not exactly reassure Stiles.

"Thanks," Derek says, as Stiles puts the plate down in front of him, and then when Stiles takes the seat on his other side, "thanks," he says again, quietly, attention on his food except for where his foot is nudging up against Stiles'.

Stiles clears his throat. "No problem," he says awkwardly, ignoring the speculative look his dad is giving them.

"Enjoying that?" his dad asks Derek politely.

Derek appears to have been distracted by the fresh, hot food offered to him; when he looks up he's startled, and half his omelette is in his cheek, like he's a squirrel preparing for winter. It takes him a minute to get it down.

"Yes," he says, equally politely, and then hesitates, looking between the remainder of his food and Stiles' father.

"Stiles is a good cook," his dad says, and Stiles winces.

"But I don't have childbearing hips, so can we move on?"

"He's a good boy," his dad says, ignoring him.

Derek looks uncomfortable. "I know. Stiles has always been a good person."

Stiles opens his mouth to say something that will defuse the weird tension caused by the unaccustomed praise, but before he can speak his father lets out an explosive, "Hah!"

"Hey!" Stiles objects, affronted.

"Person!" his dad says, and now Derek is the one whose cheeks are flushed.

"What's going on here?" Stiles asks. "I'm involved, you have to tell me."

"Nothing," Derek says abruptly, shovelling another forkful of food into his mouth as an excuse not to speak to Stiles or his father, or to look at Stiles or his father, or to acknowledge that any of this is happening or that he is in fact here.

"Speaking of which," his dad starts.

"Speaking of what?" Stiles demands, forking up his own bite.

"--Stiles is still very young."

"Yes," Derek says.

"No," Stiles says.

"He's an inexperienced boy," his dad says, and Stiles chokes on his food. His father and Derek both bang him on the back, and he has to fight off their well-meant assistance before he can swallow some orange juice and finally, finally bury his face in his hands.

It's the only proper response.

"He doesn't know what's in his own best interest or how to handle the situations he may find himself in," his father says, rising from the table, and, pointedly, "because he's never found himself in them before."

Stiles is pretty sure he whimpers, but he still clearly hears Derek say, "Yes, I know. I understand."

He definitely whimpers at that.

"I don't think you do," his dad says, voice getting further away. "Because I've heard you in his bedroom at night a number of times, and I wasn't born yesterday, I do know what's going on in there."

Stiles lifts his head so he can stare in disbelief at his father, across the room, pulling open the junk drawer.

"And that's fine," his dad says, and if it isn't quite true, it's mostly there, Stiles thinks. "It's fine. But you know what else I've noticed?"

"Sir?" Derek asks, giving every evidence of being attentive and interested in Stiles' father's opinion.

"The lack of condoms in the trash," his dad says bluntly, and now Stiles is choking on air.

Derek puts a hand on Stiles' back and rubs gently, absentmindedly, until Stiles stops gasping and settles down, while his father reaches into the open drawer and pulls out a massive box of condoms.

"This is a foolish oversight on my son's part, and frankly I expected more sense from him." His dad comes back to the table and drops the box beside Stiles' glass of OJ. Extra-strength, no loss of sensation, apparently. Stiles shakes in horror, and Derek's hand starts moving in soothing circles again. "But you're old enough to know better, and I'm disappointed you didn't exercise more care. I'm disappointed in both of you."

"I'm sorry, sir," Derek says calmly. "But we were trying very hard not to draw any attention to our relationship."

"Hmm." It's a thoughtful sound, because Derek's excuse can be read in a number of ways, but Stiles' dad sits back down and resumes eating, so presumably he's chosen the one he's comfortable with.

"Oh my God," Stiles says faintly, and Derek pats him on the shoulder, awkward and sympathetic.

"Do you not expect your father to be concerned with these things, Stiles?" his dad asks sharply.

"I didn't expect you to think about them!" Stiles exclaims. "There was no reason--I didn't expect you to!"

"I'm concerned about you!" his dad says. "I notice these things!"

"That's a blatant lie," Stiles scoffs.

His father's eyes narrow. "Are you implying I'm not paying enough attention to you?"

"No," Stiles says, belatedly cautious.

"Because that is about to change, young man."


"Yes," his father says firmly. "Starting now."

"I think I got the message," Stiles says, tapping his fingers angrily on the box of condoms on the table.

"I expect to see those used, son."

"To see them used," Stiles says crazily.

"I expect those to be used, you know what I mean, shut up."

"Oh my God," Stiles says hopelessly, staring out the window longingly, thinking just a little bit about jumping right through the glass to escape. He's kind of surprised Derek hasn't tried that yet. Stiles would clean it up later, so his dad couldn't mind too much, but he doesn't make the attempt, and the sky does not open and God does not appear to deliver him from this evil, and really, it's a big disappointment all round.

"And I expect this to be a regular thing."

"The sex I'm having?"

His father glares. "Breakfast. This is your first relationship--"

"Dad, shut up--"

His father's voice rises. "--this is your first relationship, and I am keeping an eye on you two, and I do not expect any complaints."

"No, sir," Derek says, knocking back his entire glass of juice while Stiles' father nods at him approvingly.

"How is this happening?" Stiles asks, baffled and frustrated.

"People care about you, Stiles," his father says, and Derek nods in agreement.

Derek nods. In agreement.

"No," Stiles says, looking directly into Derek's eyes and shaking his head. "No."

Derek just keeps nodding.

"No wriggling out of it," his dad says staunchly. "Tabs. I am keeping them. Brunch every Sunday and whenever you crawl through my son's window. You are no longer allowed to crawl back out like you're ashamed to be there in the morning. Understood?"

Derek is still nodding.

"You don't have a job, do you?"

" we have to have that discussion right now?" Derek asks after a moment.

"We will be discussing it eventually, son."

"No!" Stiles yelps. "No calling him son! What!"

Derek looks a little injured, but Stiles can't care about that.

"Hmm," his dad says. "I suppose we can work up to that."

Stiles isn't conscious of slapping his hand onto his forehead, but there's a sharp sting when it connects, and then Derek is making another attempt at a comforting pat on the shoulder and his dad is watching it all like a hawk, so really, Stiles is immeasurably relieved when his dad gets called into work and he gets to throw Derek out. He is not able for any of this right now.

And then he goes back into the kitchen to clean up and sees the box of condoms still sitting innocently by his place, and then he curses while he jogs upstairs to hide them under his bed so he doesn't have to think about them either.


Stiles actually gets some work done during the day, and then he heads over to Scott's for dinner to see what Scott thinks.

"--so if that's true then I might actually be able to get Derek up and running, don't you think? The way the vet got me started?"

Scott makes a dubious noise through his pasta.

"Unless you think his being a werewolf would somehow interfere with his ability to do spellwork like that? Like you can only claim one supernatural advantage? But that totally isn't how it went down on the Vampire Diaries last year, and also, kanima. Do you think? What do you think, Mrs. McCall?"

"I think you should stop eating my food," Scott's mom says. "It isn't for you." Stiles gives her the eyes and takes another bite. "And please stop taking your cues from teen supernatural shows, because this is your real life, and I do not actually want you to die."

"I knew you cared," Stiles says triumphantly. "Do you care enough to let me have seconds? I know you do."

It eventually transpires that she does, grudgingly, and Stiles hangs around for a couple hours afterwards, poking Scott to see if anything of value will fall out, and causing a slow burn of irritation in Mrs. McCall that worsens until she kicks him out shortly after eleven, sending him home no wiser than when he'd arrived.

He's barely inside his bedroom before his window squeaks open and Derek is rolling inside, taking a seat on Stiles' bed and staring at him expectantly.

"God," Stiles says, pulling his tshirt back down over his stomach. "Warn a guy!"

"The last time I knocked on your window you nearly had a heart attack."

"Were you waiting outside like a total freak?"

"I would have waited inside," Derek offers. "But your father's home, and I felt sure he would have insisted on having some kind of conversation with me in your absence."

"Good job," Stiles says feelingly. "Lurk as much as possible."

"I'm trying to postpone that as long as I can."

"No--" Stiles starts, because Derek is not actually his boyfriend, and he is not having a conversation with Stiles' father about his intentions or his prospects or whatever it is Stiles' father is concerned about this second, but Derek is asking, "Find anything new today?"

"Nothing about how to stop the witch," Stiles tells him, "but I think I might be able to teach you some basic defences."

"That's something," Derek says, and then he pulls his tshirt off and folds it neatly, leaving it on Stiles' chair.

"Does it bother you that your hair didn't even stir when you did that?" Stiles asks, because he has to say something. That isn't what he would've wanted to say, though.

Derek climbs out of his jeans and folds them too, and then he climbs into Stiles' bed.


"I'm just getting comfortable," Derek explains, fluffing up Stiles' duvet. "I'm not going to sleep yet."

"Not actually my question," Stiles says, and, "Wait, yet?"

"Can you not explain this to me in bed?"

"What do you mean, 'yet'?"

Derek blinks. "Your father heard me arrive. I can't leave now."

Stiles opens his mouth, but he has no rebuttal to that, so he collapses onto the end of his bed instead, staring disbelievingly at Derek, who looks back impatiently. Stiles can feel Derek's feet under the covers, pressing against his knee.

"We do actually have all night," Derek says. "But I'd like to get some sleep."

"Yeah," Stiles says awkwardly, trying not to look at the line of Derek's shoulder, the colour of his skin against Stiles' bedroom wall.

He takes Derek through an expression of agency, something small, the same way the vet had started Stiles out; Derek takes longer to catch on than Stiles had, but after a couple of hours work, Stiles' pen falls off his desk.

"Okay," Stiles says, satisfied. "That's enough for now."

"That's nothing."

"You're never going to be powerful," Stiles says, in case Derek has any illusions about what they're doing here. "I'm not powerful, and you're probably never going to be able to match me."

"That's fine," Derek says. "But I need more than this."

"We'll work on it," Stiles allows, because there's minor and then there's something a particularly intelligent caterpillar could probably manage.

Derek throws back the covers. "I'm brushing my teeth," he announces, and leaves the room.

Stiles tilts his head back and stares at the ceiling accusingly, but it isn't taking responsibility for the mess he's in.

"This is great," he tells it anyway. "This is just amazing."

Derek returns, throwing Stiles a sardonic look, and Stiles bites his tongue when he remembers the werewolf super-hearing. He doesn't know why he always forgets that.

Stiles flees to the bathroom: it seems the better part of valour.

When he gets back to his bedroom he hesitates just inside the door, thinking about leaving the light on, like that would make this all buddy-buddy somehow. Derek is lying in Stiles' bed, taking up too much space, colourful bedclothes cutting a sharp slash across his chest. He looks comfortable and warm, and Stiles has to get into bed with him. He flips the light off without another second's consideration, because he can't be in bed with that and see it.

He's fine not thinking until he gets across the room to his bed; when he pulls back the covers to get in Derek's skin is under his hands and against his knee.

"You're letting the air in," Derek complains, though it's warm.

Stiles clambers in. He ends up all over Derek, but there's very little he can do about that.

"Sorry," he says, but Derek just hums and changes the position of his head so they settle more comfortably together.

"This is weird," Stiles continues, because sometimes he has an overwhelming need to state the obvious, just to get it out there.

"Yeah," Derek agrees lazily.

"Why are you doing this?" Stiles asks, Derek's shoulder smooth under his cheek, stubble rough against his temple. "This is so weird."

"It's fine," Derek says lazily.

"Whatever," Stiles says sulkily. "It's still weird."

Derek hums again. It sounds amused this time.

Stiles finds himself relaxing into Derek, into the rise and fall of his chest, the sound of breathing in his ear lulling him, the arm that comes up and curls around his waist reassuring him, removing the last of the tension from his body. His mouth is open, lips brushing against Derek's chest, and he's sure there will be consequences if he drools on Derek in his sleep, but he can't worry about it, because his head is filling with cotton wool, and then he's squinting in the sunlight as his dad barks, "Up and at 'em!" before his alarm even goes off.

"Dad," Stiles says blearily.

Derek's hands' tighten on Stiles as he starts to move, on his waist, on his knee where it's thrown over Derek's body, but he lets go when Stiles shoots up and backs off.

"Good morning," Derek says, sitting up like he's doing a stomach crunch, like the robot he is, and Stiles throws a wary look at his father, who he suspects is very carefully not looking at Derek's boxers where they're revealed by the mussed sheets. The rest of the bedding ended up on the floor sometime during the night, but Derek is really warm, so Stiles hadn't noticed until now.

When his father's eyes move from Derek's lack of clothing to the pile of material on the floor, Stiles says, "Why are you even making him stay over if you're just going to come in here every morning and glare at us?"

"I'm not glaring," his dad says stiffly. "Why shouldn't I come in?"

"Because it's making me uncomfortable!"

"It's not making me uncomfortable," his dad says, which is an obvious lie, but not really one Stiles can argue with.

Stiles jumps when Derek's hand glances against his hip, fingertips pressing into his flesh briefly before Derek curls his hand around the bone and directs Stiles firmly towards the door.

"Go get dressed," Derek says.

"My clothes are in here!"

"Have a shower," Derek corrects, and then Stiles' bedroom door is shutting, and he's on the other side.

He sulks his way into the bathroom and through a shower that uses up all the hot water, but by the time he's been mechanically brushing his teeth for ten minutes he's mostly just wondering what he's gotten himself into.

The door opens behind him, and Stiles tenses until he sees it's his father. He looks easier with things; Stiles wishes he could say the same about himself.

"Just--" his dad says, going for the medicine cabinet. "--forgot to give you this."

He hands Stiles a box of KY and leaves the room as Stiles chokes on his toothpaste.

"Naked in here!" Stiles yells after him, feeling every inch of it.

He snatches his towel back up and storms back into his bedroom, and then he almost brains himself on the door spinning in a useless attempt to escape Derek, sitting on the bed with his hands on his knees, staring at Stiles like he doesn't realise what a freak he is.

"Okay," Stiles says, taking a deep breath. Derek's gaze doesn't waver. "I need to get dressed."

Derek nods, but he doesn't move.

"I'm going to be taking my clothes off now," he explains.

Derek's eyes drop to the towel around his waist; Stiles is proud of himself for not clutching at it anxiously.

"This is my bedroom and I get to be naked in it," he says defiantly, and if he gulps when Derek lifts his eyes, he stands his ground.

"You don't say," Derek says, distantly amused.

"Never mind. Just go downstairs and tell my dad I'll be down in two and make sure he has decaf."

Derek actually gets off the bed and slouches towards the door.

"And don't embarrass me," Stiles says in passing, and Derek stops, turns back, eyebrows rising incredulously.

"Me? You think I'm the one who's going to embarrass you?"

"My dad doesn't like you enough to pull out the baby pictures."

Derek's face shows a flash of humour, and his lips curve into a smile he tries to suppress. He's gone before Stiles can close his mouth.

"One minute!" he yells after Derek, and starts speeding through his routine, and he really is as fast as humanly possible, but when he gets downstairs his dad and Derek are sitting at the kitchen table, relaxed and laughing, and his dad is saying, "No, not the Yankees!"

"Oh my God," Stiles says, recoiling in horror.

"Hey, Stiles," his dad says.

"Traitor," Stiles rages, which is maybe an over-reaction.

"You can watch too," his dad says.


"You can watch the game with us tonight."

"I can--" Stiles says. The only reason Derek isn't laughing in his face is because Stiles' father wouldn't like it. "Uh, no. No, I think I'll pass."

His dad shrugs. "Suit yourself."

Stiles sidles over to the table, but he needn't have bothered, because his father and Derek are far too busy talking about football to pay him much attention. Unwelcome attention, Stiles thinks sulkily, and tells himself he's glad things are less awkward this morning. Derek smiles at him sharply, and it's far too knowing for Stiles' peace of mind.

He eats breakfast quickly, and leaves the house first.


When Stiles gets home from work he starts making dinner for his dad before he remembers Derek is coming over. He forges ahead with his low-fat, low-sodium preparations anyway: Derek can take it or leave it.

The vegetables are steaming when his dad gets home, and Derek arrives shortly afterwards, so they all sit down to eat together, which is somehow weirder than the breakfasts they've shared.

Stiles' dad eats the food with his usual resignation; Derek eats around the vegetables. Stiles cleans his plate and says, "Delightful as this is sure to be, I'm going to go to Scott's."

"You sure?" his dad asks. "I've got a good game queued up."

"No such thing," Stiles says, snagging his keys and ignoring the uncertainty on Derek's face.

He spends most of the night complaining vociferously and volubly to Scott about Derek, and Scott spends most of the night pretending to pay attention while texting Allison, but eventually he makes a face at Stiles and says, "I have my own relationship problems to deal with here, and yours are not that difficult."

"Allison being upset because the birds that flutter around her head are not her favourite colour is not a problem," Stiles says, and leaves in a snit, although he does have three cookies hidden in his pocket. Even when Scott is being his worst self it's always worth swinging by.

Derek is still there when he gets home. The living room door is open, and Stiles can see them from the hallway. The game is paused, and they're sitting on the couch, speaking too quietly for Stiles to make the words out. He hesitates, thinks about trying to creep close enough to hear, but decides he might not want to know what it is his father is saying.

They stop speaking when he steps into the room.

"You're back early," his dad says.

"It's ten to eleven."

His dad checks his watch while Derek gets to his feet.

"I should go," Derek says awkwardly. "Thanks, Ted."

Derek tries to weave around Stiles without touching him, but Stiles' dad is watching, so Stiles stops him with a light hand on his chest and stretches up to kiss him goodbye.

He means it to be a quick peck, but Derek tilts his head down in a small, instinctive movement, and their lips catch and hold. Derek's lips are warm, and softer than Stiles would have expected if he'd ever let himself think about it, and after a minute Stiles slides his hand over the place he thinks Derek's heart is, just to check. It's only fair.

He can't feel anything under his palm, but then he was never very good at the practical aspects of biology, and he can't move his hand again, because he doesn't want his dad to think he's groping his boyfriend--

Stiles pulls back slowly, and Derek straightens. He feels a lot further away.

Derek clears his throat. "Goodnight," he says stiffly, nods at Stiles' dad, and leaves.

"I appreciate your restraint," his dad says from the couch. "I don't want to see you taking anything to any bad places. That was nice."

Stiles doesn't know what to do with that. He goes to bed.


Some time later, Derek tumbles through his bedroom window.

"Holy crap!"

Stiles bolts upright. He hadn't been asleep, but he'd been having some dark-of-night-type thoughts about Derek, so Derek's sudden incursion is startling, like he's been summoned by Stiles' desire, or, as is unfortunately more likely, somehow divined by use of unfair werewolf senses that Stiles had been thinking about him in bed and lunged out of thin air to scare Stiles into never doing that again.

"Illegal move," Stiles wheezes. "The judges disallow."

"What?" Derek snaps.

"Nothing," Stiles says. "What are you doing?"

"Bleeding," Derek says grumpily, and strips off his jacket and his shirt.

"Okay," Stiles says, gets out of bed, struggles with the sheets twisted around his feet, trips to his knees and fights himself free so he can flip on the light.

Derek is bleeding, but the wounds are shallow. "What happened?"

"I was on my way home," Derek starts, fingers running over the scrapes on his chest. "And I decided to walk through the woods to check things out."

"Obviously." Stiles has the feeling he knows where this is going.

"And I must have triggered some kind of spell, because nobody was around but suddenly something was coming at me out of literally nowhere, driving me away."

"Attacking you," Stiles says. His hand reaches out, hovering over the wounds on Derek's arms, but drops without touching them.

"Yes," Derek says shiftily. "When I was a certain distance away from the point where it appeared it vanished. I think it was protecting something. We need to go back out."

"Did you attempt to engage in some kind of altercation with the spell you activated?" Stiles asks judgily. "Because holograms are so easy to beat in a fair fight."

"...Maybe," Derek admits. "I wanted to see what it was set to guard."

"Maybe it was single-use," Stiles speculates. "We can check it out tomorrow. But I'm not fighting anything with imaginary claws that can do this kind of damage. How long ago did it happen?"

"It didn't do much damage," Derek says. "It just isn't healing."

"What?" Stiles asks, startled.

"The cuts aren't deep. They should be gone by now."

"Well--they will," Stiles says blankly, staring. "They'll go. Right?"

Derek shrugs. "Can you fix them?"

"I--" Stiles is watching his own hand, resting on Derek's chest. He doesn't know how it got there. His palm is covering the worst of the messy slashes, but there are more spiderwebbing out from under his fingers. "I don't know."

He thinks about trying, about trying to push something out of himself, the same way the thing that harmed Derek had come from somebody. He thinks about trying to change Derek, his warm, broken skin, his living flesh, and he doesn't know if he can do it.

He drops his hand.

"Let's just keep an eye on it," he says, trying to be reassuring. "It'll probably heal by itself."

"You think?" Derek sounds sceptical, but Stiles does think it might.

"It's what I would want to do for a defensive spell," he tells Derek. "Something annoying and distracting that wouldn't leave any permanent damage."

"Well let's hope the witch is still feeling defensive," Derek mutters. "And hasn't moved on to aggressive and bloodthirsty."

"We need to figure out who it is," Stiles says, which is not a new realisation.

"Can you fix it?" Derek asks again.

"I don't know--" Stiles bites down on the words, because he knows he shouldn't be thinking them.

"Fix it."

Stiles breathes out sharply, irritated by the demand for something he might not be able to give. He can't even allow failure as a possibility if he wants to succeed.

He puts his hands back on Derek's body and looks into Derek's steady eyes as he draws a shaking breath, and then another, and then he puts his forehead on the rise of Derek's collarbone and exhales as his hands tremble and press down against Derek's skin, press the sparking energy back into him, though it tries to escape, keep the rising heat contained and spreading just where Stiles wants it, where Derek needs it.

When Stiles opens his eyes, Derek's skin is smooth and whole where his face is resting against it, and under Stiles' grasp on his arms. Stiles doesn't remember moving his hands.

He lets go and pulls away so he can see his work properly. He isn't quite sure what he did, whether Derek's skin had knit because he willed it, or whether he'd just lifted whatever remnants of the spell had been lingering, so Derek's body could function without interference and heal itself, but either way, he's feeling disconcerted and even somewhat alarmed.

Stiles knows this is not a small thing to have done, and it required so little effort.

It had been so much easier than he'd thought it would be, but when he opens his mouth to tell Derek, he says, "Thwaah," and sways forwards. It's all he can do to remain upright, and when Derek's hands settle on his back he stops trying.

The room spins as Derek lifts him and deposits him on his bed, and he thinks Derek's hands are on his face, thinks Derek says something to him as everything fades away, but he can't be sure and then that's gone too.


Everything is blurry and vague when Stiles surfaces, the light of the morning way too much for him to handle as he tries to squint himself awake, so he puts his head back down on Derek's shoulder and lets his eyelids stay glued together.

Derek is still asleep, body relaxed where Stiles is touching it, the rise and fall of his chest and stomach with his breaths the only movement. Stiles lets his hand spread on the warm skin of Derek's stomach, fingertips pressing into the muscle instinctively. If Derek isn't up, Stiles doesn't have to be either, he's pretty sure. Stiles is not a morning person, but Derek is, full of vim and vigour and all that other crap Stiles doesn't want anything to do with, so if Derek is still out, Stiles can stay where he is for a while.

He can stretch out over Derek, press his cheek into the curve of Derek's neck, because it's too early for him to be conscious of anything he's doing. It's too early for him to exercise good judgement, at any rate.

He doesn't feel capable of any kind of judgement at the moment, letting his hand slide across to Derek's waist and curl around the gentle slope, letting his foot rub against Derek's bare thigh. His leg shifts sligtly where it's thrown across Derek's body, and Stiles tries to move it so he can keep his toes on Derek, and then he freezes, because Derek's dick is hard under his thigh.

Derek's dick is getting harder under Stiles' thigh, moving against the inside, pressing into his skin. Stiles' mouth opens and his fingers spasm on Derek's side. His heart pounds. Derek makes a distressed sound, and Stiles' eyes widen in alarm when Derek's steady respiration halts for a second, then resumes as if there had been no interruption.

"Good morning," Derek says cautiously, eyes slitting open.

Stiles means to respond, he does, but he's looking into Derek's eyes, close enough that they're exchanging breaths, and Derek is still getting harder. The only possible response is to roll off his bed onto the floor to buy himself a couple of seconds to figure out what the fuck is going on.

"Ow," he says, resentful.

Derek leans over the edge of Stiles' bed, chin pressing against the sheets so he can stare down at Stiles in comfort. He holds out a hand, offering to pull Stiles back up, but he can't take it, can't move at all, because he doesn't know what to think about any of this, and that's making him panic, because normally Stiles knows exactly what to think of himself and his chances: nothing.

Derek's hand is still there, reaching out.

That's when Stiles' father comes in, which isn't ideal, but is still better than it would've been sixty seconds ago, and it also gives Stiles the perfect excuse to get the hell out of dodge.

"Thanks, Dad!" he says, and bolts for the bathroom.


Stiles picks up a bagel on the way to work, because he doesn't think he can stand sharing another weirdly comfortable breakfast with his father and Derek, and he's disturbingly sure they'll be fine without him.

He's ten minutes early, so Librarian Lucy looks marginally less disdainful than usual. She sets him to work in the small room they use to hold damaged stock. He's pulling out his phone to check the time when he catches sight of Derek out of the corner of his eye and bites off a startled curse. He flails wildly, and his phone goes flying, but Derek catches it. He catches Stiles when he stumbles too, setting him back on his feet easily.

"Dude!" Stiles remonstrates. "We've discussed this!"

"Yes," Derek says. "But I needed to apologise for making you uncomfortable, and I thought it would be better to do that here than by showing up in your bedroom tonight, given your reaction this morning--"

"There was no reaction," Stiles defends, "and I wasn't uncomfortable!"

"You seemed uncomfortable," Derek says.

"Well," Stiles says, sticking an aggressive finger into Derek's face, "maybe you're not used to people rolling away from you when confronted with--" A hard cock and a sleepy man who seemed softer, first thing in the morning, pliable, even. "--you, but that is not an indication of discomfort, just good sense!"

"Okay," Derek agrees, making a fist around Stiles' pointing finger.

"And you better get used to it, mister!"


"Because I don't care how sexually frustrated you are, the fact that my father is forcing us to share my bed--"

"Am I--" Librarian Lucy begins.

"--doesn't mean I'm going to trip into yours!"

"--interrupting something?" she finishes, sounding utterly bewildered.

"As a matter of fact--" Derek starts apologetically, but Stiles grabs his hand, squeaks, "I'm on break!" and drags Derek past Lucy and out to the smoking area, where Stiles lets his heart attack have full sway.

"Are you all right?" Derek asks, propping Stiles up against the wall, hands on his shoulders making sure he stays upright.

"Spectacular!" Stiles says crazily. "Absolutely! How could I not be?"

"You sound like you have things under control," Derek says drily. "Maybe I should get out of here before I freak your boss out any more."

Stiles' hands clamp down on Derek's wrists.

"No!" He's feeling a little wild, and the impulse to keep Derek here is strong, though he doesn't know what good it would do. "I'd say I should take you back inside to distract Lucy because she has a crush on you, but I just told her I'm playing hard to get, so I don't think using you as a carrot is going to work."

Derek's eyebrows are doing their quizzical thing when Stiles can focus on anything but his own horror.

"I'll come back in," Derek says briskly.

"No!" Stiles wails.

"Okay? What do you want me to do?"

"I don't know!" Stiles' fingers are starting to hurt, and he can feel the bones of Derek's wrists move slightly under the pressure he's exerting. He forces his grip to loosen and lets his head drop down onto Derek's chest instead. "I am not equipped to deal with this kind of disaster," he protests. "I am not this kind of boy! My life was not designed for this."

One of Derek's freed hands settles on Stiles' back; the other brushes lightly over his hair, coming to rest on the nape of his neck.

"Designed for what?"

"Scandal," Stiles moans, trying to ignore the prickling of his skin under Derek's fingers. "I am not a naturally scandalous person."

"Is this scandalous?" Derek asks, drawing back so he can frown down at Stiles. His hands don't move. "Just because--"

"It's definitely the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me, even though it isn't true."

Derek doesn't stop frowning. "I'm sorry if things are awkward," he says, a little distantly.

"Nah, man, it isn't your fault," Stiles says sheepishly. "This was my idea, and you've actually been--" He swallows. He can't tell Derek that he's been a good boyfriend, even if it's true. "You've been all right. Apart from showing up at my place of employment all the time like a stalker."

"I should go," Derek says, but he doesn't move.

"Yeah," Stiles says faintly. "I'm still on my break."

"I wasn't going to come here again," Derek tells him, "but your dad thought I should apologise, and I thought maybe I needed to."

"Yeah," Stiles says uncertainly. "No. Wait, what did my dad think you needed to apologise for?"

"He didn't ask," Derek reassures him. "Just told me to do it."

"Okay," Stiles allows, mollified. "So long as you're not telling my dad stuff about me."

"I don't really have anything to tell," Derek says, amused. The frown is gone: he's smiling down at Stiles now, bright and untroubled. His hand is curling around the side of Stiles' neck.

Stiles thinks about leaning forwards, just a little bit, and kissing Derek. It would be so easy to do. So many enormous things seem so easy to do lately; it terrifies him. He can't stop thinking about it, though, and he's pretty sure Derek can feel his pulse hammering under his skin, so he closes his eyes and hides his face in the curve of Derek's neck.

Derek's head moves next to Stiles', and his hand slides onto the back of Stiles' neck instead, which should feel like an improvement, but it's just another touch, another touch that's too intimate for Stiles to know what to do with, another touch that feels really good. Stiles knows Derek must be picking up on his body's cues, on all of them, but he can't help himself. He can't move away. His breath shudders out against Derek's skin, and Derek's head tilts so it brushes up against Stiles.

"Derek," Stiles says softly, into the space between them, the space that barely exists at all.

"Stiles!" Lucy says.

Stiles jerks back, and Derek's hands fall away.

"Nothing!" Stiles says frantically.

"You are late," Lucy says, glaring.

"Sorry," Derek says, smiling at her. "We didn't realise the time."

Librarian Lucy seems to be less affected by Derek when she's just seen him draped all over her summer staff, but she unbends enough to say, "Unfortunately, our personal lives do not supersede the demands of the job."

"Gotcha," Stiles says. "Sorry."

"Especially today," Lucy says. "I have things to do, so I'm taking a half day. I need you on the desk."

"Oh," Stiles says. "Can I grab a yoghurt first? I'm still a growing boy!"

"Chop, chop!" Lucy says merrily, bouncing away.

"Man," Stiles says, staring after her.

"I'll see you tonight," Derek says. He doesn't sound sure about it.

"Yeah," Stiles says, mouth dry. "Okay."

Derek puts a hand on his arm to tug him back to the main doors.

"See you later," Stiles says briefly, feeling a buzzing excitement at the thought.

When he looks back over his shoulder before heading into the library proper, Derek is still watching him through the glass.


Stiles' dad is at home when Stiles gets back from work. The pleasure Stiles feels fades when his father says, "Derek's coming over for dinner. I asked him."

"That why you're here?"


"You don't eat that many dinners with me," Stiles says, hating how vulnerable his voice sounds. "You come home to talk more about the game with Derek?"

"Stiles," his father says, voice severe. "I have to go back into work for the rest of the night, and I thought you'd like the company."


"I can call him back and tell him not to bother, if you'd prefer to finish your dinner on your own."

"No," Stiles says. "That's fine."

"Damn right," his dad mutters, going back to sorting through the paperwork strewn over the kitchen table.

"You can't even stay for dinner?"

"We'll see," his dad says, and then, quietly, "I'm glad you're not as alone anymore."

Stiles wants to protest, wants to deny that he ever feels that way, but he can't speak through the lump in his throat, and that's when Derek shows up with the steaks, anyway.

Stiles has never been more glad to see him.


Derek is out back barbequing while Stiles darts between his father in the kitchen and Derek on the deck like a hummingbird.

"Stiles," his dad says. "I'm working."

Stiles still feels guilty when he drops into the chair by the grill.

"You do this much?" he asks. Derek looks at him like he's crazy. "You seem to know what you're doing."

"I used to do it with my dad," Derek says, flipping the meat.

"Oh." Stiles doesn't really know how to respond to that, but he can't keep quiet either. "My dad never really cooked," he says thoughtfully. "And my mom never really barbequed. I don't even know why we have one."

"It looks like it's been used recently," Derek says, and Stiles starts to tell him all about the time in June when everybody who worked at the Sheriff's office had come over with their families one Sunday afternoon, and how neither Stiles nor his father had been allowed control of the grill once people had seen how they handled it, and then Derek is handing him a board piled with meat.

"Oh, we're done?"

"We are," Derek says wryly.

"Hey, dad, look how much meat we made," Stiles says. "We'll have to have some for lunch tomorrow."

His dad actually stops working to eat. Somehow Stiles finds himself talking about the people he works with, about Lucy and Margaret and Ben.

"--and she came in from Central the other day, and he saw her coming, so he dived under his desk and pulled my chair so it was where he should've been, and I had to sit there for twenty minutes while she talked to Lucy and he tried not to cry on my knee," Stiles is saying when his father gets to his feet. "But his empty chair was just sitting in the middle of the carpet, and his feet were sticking out from under the desk, so it wasn't like she didn't know."

"She didn't say anything, though," Derek says. "You didn't tell him, did you?"


"I'll be late," Stiles' dad says, grabbing his keys. "Don't wait up."

The conversation dies once he leaves. They're almost finished eating, and once they are, Derek asks, "Do you want me to leave? I could come back later."


"Or not. I don't have to be here every night."

"No," Stiles says definitely. "I don't want you to leave."

"Okay," Derek says, and then they sit there awkwardly until Stiles says, "I don't care if you cooked, you're still helping clean."

But all they have to do is clear the table and load the dishwasher, and then they're standing in the middle of the kitchen trying not to look at each other. It isn't even eight yet.

"Let's watch television," Derek decides, steering Stiles into the living room. "Your dad wants you to delete your crap so he can record more games from five years ago."

Stiles makes a noise of outrage, but it's at his father, not Derek, and he's happy enough to be sitting beside Derek on the sofa once he realises Derek isn't going to fight him for the remote. Stiles has his priorities.

They get through a couple hours of Arrested Development before Stiles realises he's nodding off slumped against Derek, with his head on Derek's shoulder and Derek's arm around his.

"Uh," he says, jerking wide awake and upright in surprise. Derek's arm slides off his shoulder slowly. Stiles thinks about stopping it, but he wouldn't know how to do that even if his brain was operating at full speed. It's grown dark without him noticing.

"We should--" Derek says, wetting his lips.

"Yeah," Stiles breathes, watching Derek in the flickering light of the screen. He wants Derek to do something--he wants Derek to do anything so Stiles will know, so Stiles can get some kind of grip on his life again and escape the confusion and uncertainty. He's pretty sure he'd go along with anything Derek suggested right now, just to know, just so he can move.

"--go back out to where I was attacked," Derek finishes. "See if you spot anything."

"Great," Stiles says testily. "Yeah."

Derek steadies him when he wavers groggily as he stands, and helps him on with his jacket when he forgets it, but Stiles can't bring himself to be very gracious about it.


Stiles usually spends a lot of time stumbling about in the woods, but Derek nudges him here and there as they make their way to the place Derek had triggered the spell, getting him over tree stumps with a hand on his hip and helping him avoid low-hanging branches with a slight pressure on his shoulder.

"It's right ahead," Derek says. "See anything?"

"Finally," Stiles mutters grumpily, shakes off Derek's hand and stumbles forward to see what there is to see.

There's nothing, for a second, and then something that looks like a wispy, shimmering dragon is rising from the ground and roaring towards Stiles, snapping it's jaws. There's a cold wash of air that precedes the spell and blisters Stiles' skin.

Stiles shrieks like he thinks the teeth are real and dives backwards into Derek, who sweeps him aside and surges forwards to meet the advance.

"Get out of here!" he yells at Stiles.

Stiles can't speak for a moment, and then he's bellowing, "Are you crazy?"

Derek is on the outskirts of the mist, but Stiles can see his skin change colour, turn a deep, raw red as Derek stands there, and then Derek moves further in, and raised lines start to appear on his exposed skin.

Stiles yelps. "What the hell are you doing, moron! You already know you can't beat it! It's a spell!"

"Go!" Derek yells.

Stiles scrambles to his feet, curses his own stupidity, and lunges forwards, grabbing the back of Derek's jacket.

"Come on!"

It hurts to be there, hurts to breathe in whatever it is they're surrounded in, and Stiles can see his skin split where he's hanging on to Derek. He doesn't let go until Derek staggers out of range, bringing Stiles with him.

"What were you thinking?" Stiles yells.

"What were you thinking! Why did you touch that?"

"What did you think you were going to do?" Stiles asks, somewhat deflated.

He looks at the spell, hovering in front of them, swaying from side to side, but not coming any closer.

"Win," Derek growls, and Stiles scoffs. "Turn it off!"

"Won't it turn itself off when we get out of range?" Stiles asks slowly. "I could probably disable it if I could find the source, since it isn't very strong--" Derek makes a noise of disbelief, but Stiles overrides him. "Since it isn't very strong--but I'd bet the source of the spell is inside the radius of attack, and I'm not sure we have anything to gain by my getting more cut up."

"No," Derek says shortly. "Let's go."

"Wow," Stiles says on the trudge back to Derek's car. "That was a massive waste of time."

"Shut up," Derek mutters, speeding up.

"No, really," Stiles says. "Did we just walk into a trap for the fun of it? Because we had nothing better to do on a Friday night?"

"Shut up," Derek says again. He doesn't release his hold on Stiles' arm.

"Because I can think of more fun things to do," Stiles says, and starts laughing, though his throat still hurts.

When they're back home, in the bathroom upstairs, he says, "It wasn't really a trap, though."

"Felt like one to me," Derek says, removing Stiles' jacket.

"It didn't try and keep us there," Stiles says. "And we only had to step a few feet away for it to stop attacking. It wasn't very aggressive if damage was its goal."

He has more to say, but Derek pulls his tshirt over his head and turns a clinical eye on his chest, and Stiles is suddenly incapable of speech. Derek's finger traces a welt that slashes across the skin above his right nipple. Stiles blinks, feeling more dazed than he had by anything that had happened in the woods.

"These aren't very deep," Derek says.

Stiles clears his throat. "Point," he says, because he can't manage anything more.

"Can you heal them?" Derek asks.

"Probably," Stiles says, nodding at Derek's chest. "But I'd have to see them first. Your hands look worse than last time."

"No," Derek says. "Your own."

Stiles smiles mechanically. "I'm not just going to leave you to suffer," he says, kind of hurt by the assumption. "I'm not that mad at you."

"There's only so much you can do," Derek says. "And I'd rather you used your energy on yourself."

"It's more difficult to work magic on myself," Stiles tells him. "I'd rather use what I have helping you."

"Stiles." Derek sounds frustrated, but he's smiling, and there's nothing mechanical about it. "If you still have these marks in the morning your father's going to have some very specific questions about what we got up to in that bed tonight."

"Oh," Stiles says blankly.

"If you really want to help me out," Derek suggests, crinkling his eyes at Stiles.

Stiles really does.

He's never worked healing magic on himself before. It feels strange, and it takes more effort than it has in a while, but eventually the skin knits and smooths.

When he opens his eyes, Derek is closer than he'd been, hands clenched at his sides.

"I can do you now," Stiles says, though he's swaying on his feet.

Derek huffs out a laugh and holds up his hands, turning them from palms to back so Stiles can see that the wounds are gone.

"Oh," Stiles says. "Were you touching me?"

It comes out garbled, he's pretty sure, and then Derek is touching him again, lifting him. Stiles lets his head loll onto Derek's shoulder, and when Derek gets him into bed he won't let go until Derek gets in too.

He has a lot to say to Derek, about how differently a spell that was really malicious would have behaved; about how he would have expected Derek to recognise aggression, and to recognise its lack; and about how whatever that thing was looked more like something designed to drive off winos and junkies than anything more sinister.

He can't say any of it, though, already half unconscious with warm leather under his cheek and Derek's hand in his, and then Derek rumbles, "Are you? Playing hard to get?"

And Stiles wants to tell him how very easy he really is, but he's out before he finishes the thought.


When he wakes up, Derek is standing naked in front of the mirror on Stiles' wardrobe, dumping last night's clothes on the bedroom floor.

"Jesus," Stiles whimpers, squinting into the blinding light of morning, because damned if he's going to miss this. "Give a guy a little warning, would you?"

"I might need to go out the window," Derek says, turning around and gesturing at his torso, where the broken skin has mended to welts that do look fairly incriminating, and that's when Stiles' father bursts through the door.

"What the hell," he begins, and then sees Derek. "--have you two been up to! Stiles!"

"Dad!" Stiles squeaks.

"You better not look like that, Stiles! There better be none of that on your body!"

Stiles scrambles to his feet to display his unmarked body, and that's when he discovers that at some point last night Derek apparently stripped him to his boxers.

His dad slaps a hand over his eyes. Stiles wishes he could do the same. "I do not want to know," he says, backing out of the room. "I really do not want to know. Use disinfectant!"

"Dad!" Stiles yells. "This isn't what it looks like!"

But Derek is calling, "I'd never hurt Stiles in bed!" and Stiles hears his dad walk into something and start cursing.

"Derek!" he hisses.

"Oh," Derek says, "right, sorry." And then he calls, "Or out!"

The cursing gets louder, and then Stiles dad shouts, "Good to know! This never happened!"

"No, Dad, this never happened!" Stiles yells.

"Glad we understand each other!" his dad shouts back.

"That's not what I meant!" Stiles says, but he can hear his father's footsteps racing down the stairs. "Derek!"

"I did tell you this would--" Derek says, before breaking off in the face of Stiles' withering glare, gazing innocently at the ceiling.

"That's what you said," Stiles snaps. He knows it makes no sense; he just doesn't care.

"So I get breakfast now, right?" Derek asks. "Since I don't have to go through the window any more?"

Stiles growls. He's pretty good at it. It shuts Derek up, at any rate.

After a minute, Stiles accepts his new dystopian reality, and deals with the problem in front of him.

"Get dressed!" he shouts at Derek, still standing in front of him naked.

Derek does, without question or protest, so at least there's an upside to this whole ridiculous disaster.

And Stiles watches him do it, because he may be the unluckiest son of a bitch to ever think he could handle faking a romantic relationship to hide the existence of werewolves from his father, but call him what you want: he isn't stupid.


"You said questions," Stiles moans, head in his hands. "Not assumptions."

"Thin line," Derek says apologetically.

"I'm never going to be able to look my father in the eye again."

Stiles doesn't think Derek has anything to say to that, but after a minute he says, "For a week or so. Not never."

"Feels like never," Stiles says hopelessly, staring up at the roof of the car in despair.

Derek pats him on the shoulder consolingly. "If it helps, he may actually believe he's required by law to love you," Derek offers. "Plus, he wouldn't know how to stop."

"He made us bacon," Stiles groans, somehow feeling that this is the ultimate insult.

"He thought I might need my strength," Derek says, looking fairly green at the memory.

Stiles had never imagined that he would find himself wishing for a return of his father's ease with his fake boyfriend, but such is his life.

"Why," he whines.

"Did you even figure anything out?" Derek asks. "To make it worth our while?"

"Nothing," Stiles says. "Nothing could possibly make this worth our while! And all I figured out is that I don't care!"

"I understand that you're upset," Derek says carefully, hands flexing on the wheel.

"I don't have to care!" Stiles insists. "It's just some hedge-witch trying to stop people pulling up her herbs because Michael Davis started a rumour there's pot growing in the woods! It doesn't matter!"

"That looked like more than a hedge-witch could manage, right?"

"Whatever," Stiles says, disgusted with himself and the universe. "Forgive me for not being in the mood to fairly and objectively evaluate another practitioner's skills!"

"Okay," Derek agrees.

"Not that I need forgiving!"

"Absolutely not," Derek agrees.

"God," Stiles huffs. "I hate you."

"Okay," Derek agrees easily, pulling up outside the library.

"Why do I have to go to work?" Stiles demands of the uncaring universe. "You owe me!"

Derek seems to understand that this is not addressed to him, because he says, "That's all you got? It was intended for protection?"

"It was mostly liquid nitrogen, I think," Stiles says. "Burning the skin. You'd just have to renew every time it was activated. And an act of will to cut, which yeah, takes power. More than I have. But it would've been really easy for someone who could do that to give the instruction to pursue anyone who came within range, and that wasn't there. There wasn't any real intention to harm. And I get wanting to know who it is because they're setting this shit up in our territory, but it is really not the day I want to deal with it, okay?"

"Okay," Derek agrees, and pecks Stiles on the cheek as he reaches for the handle of the door.

Derek's eyes widen in alarm, and Stiles wants to reassure him, but he's kind of busy freaking out himself.

"See you later," Derek rushes out, pokes at Stiles until he tumbles out of the car, and slams the door in his face, peeling down the street.

"...Later," Stiles says numbly, and staggers into the library.

He hits Ben up for an emergency cigarette, tries to smoke it in the kitchen, chokes horribly on his first inhale, sets off the fire alarm, and goes to confess to Librarian Lucy.

She's sitting at the reference desk, carefully cracking open a bottle of wart remover.

"Holy shit!" Stiles yelps.

"Are you all right, Stiles?" she asks, seeming genuinely concerned. "But before you answer, shut that off! If the fire alarm goes off for more than thirty seconds it goes in somebody's file!"

Stiles grabs his stool and takes it into the kitchen, yanking the battery out of the alarm before returning to Lucy.

"It's you!" he says.

"It--is," she says dubiously. She looks perplexed.

"That was less than thirty seconds, right?"

She checks her watch doubtfully, carefully balancing her pharmacy-sourced vial of freezing, burning what the hell on her keyboard.

"Holy shit!" Stiles shrieks, as Derek says, "Stiles, I think we need to talk--"

"I don't know what's going on here," Librarian Lucy says severely. "But you people need to take it outside before I make you. What's wrong with you today, Stiles?"

"It's her!" Stiles tells Derek.

"Who?" Derek asks.

"Me?" Lucy asks. "Me what?"

"With the--nitrogen!" Stiles accuses, gesturing frantically.

"Oh," Derek says.

"Oh," Lucy says, enlightened. "It is me!"

"Whatever," Derek says dismissively. "Do we have to do this now? Because I wanted to talk to you about that kiss and maybe about figuring out what I need to do to get you to stop playing hard to get. Because I can't take it anymore."

"Way to go, Stilinski," Lucy says. "Didn't think you had it in you."

"No offence," Derek tells her, "but can this wait?"

So Stiles negotiates an arrangement where Lucy agrees to stop setting spells around the pack hunting ground if the pack agree to stop tearing up her plot of herbs during the full moon. Derek doesn't seem to care about any of this right now, so Stiles agrees on his behalf and tells Lucy it's his turn for a half day.

"It isn't even time for break!" she protests.

Stiles vaguely promises to make it up tomorrow, even though they both know tomorrow never comes, and she waves him off, more to get rid of Derek than anything, he thinks.

Derek doesn't say a word until they're back in his car, abandoned in front of the bicycle rack.

"There's no parking here," Stiles tries to say, but Derek is kissing him before he can get a word out.

"Mmm," he says instead, and paws at Derek happily. "Hell no," he says when he can get a breath. Derek moves down to his neck, which is distracting, so Stiles shoves him off. "I am not doing this in your car in front of the place where I work!"

"We should drive around back," Derek says.

Margaret is standing in front of the car, back over from Central, probably for the express purpose of torturing Ben. She waves hesitantly in at them.

Stiles rolls down the window, but Derek starts the engine and Margaret hops up onto the sidewalk.

"Tell Ben I'm sorry!" Stiles calls as Derek speeds away. "We're supposed to be talking!" he protests, though he doesn't really want to.

"I'm driving my boyfriend home from work," Derek says conversationally. "In the hope of getting laid." He glances at Stiles. "Does that count?"

"No," Stiles says. "Plus, you're not even my boyfriend."

"I have had eleven meals with your father this week," Derek says. "And I didn't even get anything out of it, apart from some scarily well-planned death-threats."

"Huh," Stiles says.

"I drove you to work this morning and kissed you goodbye. I have listened to everything you have said to me, even when you were complaining about how much I talk about football."

"Huh," Stiles says.

"Which is really not a lot."

"Let's not go over that again."

"I came to see you in your bedroom every night even before you decided you ruin my life by making me sleep beside you in your bed without giving me anything."

"Huh," Stiles says.

"I listened to numerous lectures from various people on the subject of how I should be treating you before I even had the chance to try their advice. Are you sensing a theme?"

"Huh," Stiles says thoughtfully. "Wait, what people? Who?"

"Scott and his mother were less convinced of the innocence of our arrangement than you may have supposed."

"Huh," Stiles says as they pull up in front of his house.

"I'd love to prove them right."

"Okay," Stiles agrees.

"Because--" Derek turns to him sharply. "Really?"

"You thought I was going to say no?"

Derek shrugs. "No!"

"Okay," Stiles agrees fondly. "Should we, uh--go? I'm still not doing this in your car."

They scramble hurriedly out and jog up to the house. Derek keeps a hand on Stiles' neck while he digs for his key, and just when he finds it and spins around to show Derek, ready and willing to accept all tribute and glory, Derek pushes him back against the door and zeros in, kissing him again.

Stiles feels like he's got the kissing thing down, and he likes it a lot, the warmth and gentle pressure of Derek's mouth as it moves over his own, the coiling anticipation as Stiles pushes back and Derek's hands tighten on his hips.

So things are going pretty well until Stiles' dad opens the door and they end up sprawled in a heap on the carpet.

"You're still here," Stiles accuses.

"I am," his dad says, raising an eyebrow at them.

"By no means was I expecting an empty house," Stiles announces.

"Nothing is going on here!" Derek says, as Stiles squirms, uncomfortable under his weight. "We have talked about this, and I do understand how young Stiles is."

"Stiles is not underage," his dad says, breaking out his Sheriff's voice. "That was not the point of that conversation, and I do not want to know where your filthy mind has been."

"Wait, what?" Stiles asks blankly, as Derek colours.

"Nothing!" his dad says, glaring at anything and everything that gives him an excuse not to meet anyone's eyes.

"By no means was I counting on an empty house so I could do whatever I wanted to without consequence or explanation," Stiles denies, though nobody had accused. "Because I can do whatever I want to with Derek anyway, because he's my boyfriend and we do all kinds of stuff already!"

"How many times do I have to tell you that I do not want that much information?" his dad asks desperately.

"I can't do it," Stiles says wildly, feeling Derek tense above him and patting his back reassuringly. "I can't lie to you about such an important thing."

"What?" Derek asks warily.

"What?" his dad demands suspiciously.

"I'm not really dating Derek!" Stiles forces out, slamming his eyes shut. "He's a werewolf! Because werewolves exist! Everybody I know is a werewolf!"

There's silence for a second, then his dad says, "Yeah, Melissa McCall told me that stuff a while back."

"What?" Stiles says incredulously.

His dad closes the front door emphatically, kicking Derek's legs out of the way.

"We're dating now," Derek clarifies. "We're agreed on it. I'm not taking advantage or anything, we're totally dating."

"Said she'd tell me when I needed to know anything, and I figured I'd wait and see if you told me what I needed to know when I needed to know it." Stiles hasn't, so many times, but Mrs McCall doesn't know that, so neither does his dad. "Which I guess is now."

"Yeah," Stiles says faintly. "And like, not everybody I know is a werewolf. Just a good ninety percent of my friends."

"And I guess we need to have another talk about this werewolf thing now too," his dad tells Derek, who nods agreeably and pulls Stiles to his feet. Stiles starts yanking at Derek immediately, tugging him up the stairs.

"Absolutely, sir."

"I'll see you about it at breakfast," his dad says as they jog up the steps, even though it isn't even lunchtime yet. Derek picks Stiles up when he's too slow, so they're falling through Stiles' bedroom door when the roar reaches them: "Wait, what do you mean you aren't dating!"

Stiles locks the door.

"He's going to kill me," Derek mutters into Stiles' mouth.

"I'll explain," Stiles says, with no real idea of how he's going to do so, but whatever, he isn't going to let his dad kill Derek when he's just gotten this, he'll figure something out.

They keep kissing, and Stiles likes it, but maybe he wants to stick with it because he knows what he's doing, because he can shove Derek back against his door and press up against him and tilt his head to the side so he can slide his tongue into Derek's mouth just right and get noises and hitching breath and scrabbling hands, and that's all doing wonders for Stiles' confidence, but when Derek gets his hands on Stiles' skin and pulls his tshirt off Stiles still feels a faint frisson of fear.

He pants, shaking as Derek's fingers slide up his spine, every tiny movement sparking an ache, leaving him a shivering, nervous wreck. "Fine," he says grumpily, and drops his trousers to the floor, sending his boxers along with them so it'll all be over at once. He's never been naked with anybody like this before, not when the other person is looking at him, not when he needs the other person to want him.

Derek kisses the curve of his jaw, and Stiles goes easily towards the bed at Derek's touch.

Derek is still wearing all his clothes, so Stiles pulls Derek off his chest, which is both a shame and a relief, since it gives him a second to get himself under control. He tumbles Derek onto his back and goes to work on zippers and buttons and Jesus, elastic, he's tugging Derek's underwear off his hips, down past his hard dick and over his legs, and then Derek is naked and smiling up at him and Stiles' mouth is watering and he has no idea what to do.

Stiles doesn't really mind when Derek laughs softly, because Derek is manhandling him until Stiles is straddling his stomach and Derek can stretch up to put his mouth back on Stiles' chest, sliding down the dip in the centre and veering up to latch onto Stiles' nipple, sucking sharply and making Stiles cry out. Derek's teeth scrape over the hard flesh and Stiles bucks into it, digs his nails into Derek's shoulders so hard he's afraid he's drawn blood for a second, and pulls away.

Derek's eyes are dark and amused, a dare and a tease, and Stiles puts his mouth where his hands are, on Derek's chest, because he'd liked it, right?

He drags his tongue over the last of the welts, fading silvery lines that set off a trembling under Derek's skin when Stiles lets his fingers dance over them. His mouth fastens onto the smooth expanse in front of him and he sucks deeply, drawing blood to the surface and letting his mouth leave Derek raw and red as he inches downwards. Derek's fingers skate over Stiles' skull, scrape through his short hair, a prickling pleasure.

He doesn't have any kind of plan, really, but his body is gradually moving down Derek's and he knows what's coming before he feels Derek's cock nudge up against his ass.

"Fuck," he says breathlessly, and lifts himself so he's sitting further down on Derek, so their cocks are pressing together instead. "Fucking--"

"Yeah," Derek says thickly, putting a hand around their cocks and flexing it, pressing them together. Stiles cries out, feeling his whole body pulse with the grip of Derek's fist, and his hand spreads on Derek's chest, arm barely supporting him. "Yeah, that's--"

Derek's hand starts to slide, a pressure that makes Stiles' toes curl, and Stiles is rocking into it helplessly when Derek flips them over, using the weight of his body to press Stiles into the giving mattress.

"That's nice," Stiles says vaguely, as Derek rocks into him hard, sending half the covers off the bed. They're getting damp and slippery, but Derek tilts Stiles' hips, keeps them close, keeps the friction good, keeps Stiles desperate and gasping. "Like that, yeah."

Derek grabs Stiles' ankle and pulls it around his body, pulls Stiles' calf over his ass and up around his waist, and Stiles is exposed and aching in the air while Derek stares down at him, and he can't take the rush of heat that feels like it's going to burn right through his skin, so he tightens his leg around Derek and lifts his hips until his dick is pressed into Derek's stomach and rocks and rocks into the sweaty skin until he's making small, staccato sounds again and again and coming all over Derek.

"Oh," Stiles says, somehow surprised, but he doesn't have much time to think about it, because Derek drops him back to the bed and puts a hand on his own cock and jerks himself off until he's coming all over Stiles' softening cock.

He collapses beside Stiles. They both stare at the ceiling, and there doesn't seem to be much to say until Derek mutters, "I've never had to meet anyone's parent before," and then, more cheerfully, "I think it went pretty well."

"Eh," Stiles says. "You should be thanking your lucky stars you've hooked me, because you try that routine on a less forbearing father he'll let you know with a shotgun barrel in the face. Not that you should be trying that routine on anyone else, because my father is, he is a jealous father, and he would have strong feelings about you meeting anyone else's parents."

"Fine," Derek says agreeably.

"Because you can't just go around failing to charm everybody's dad like you're--wait, what?"

"I said fine, Stiles," Derek says, rolling his eyes and curling a hand around the back of Stiles' neck, pulling him in.

There's a hammering on the door. "I intend to have that conversation now," his dad calls in, sounding dangerous.

Derek sighs, and their kisses slow. Stiles is still breathing unsteadily, and he has no idea what they're supposed to do with the mess they've made of themselves.

Derek cleans most of it up with his mouth, which is useful, but also leaves Stiles shaking and twitching and ready for more.

"I can never leave this room again," Stiles says, despairing and happy, but when they finally do, his dad has their leftovers heated up and waiting for them on the kitchen table, and Stiles thinks they can all handle a couple of awkward lunches.

And when they've made it to the other side and his dad asks, "Breakfast tomorrow morning?" Stiles doesn't even try not to smile.

"Yeah," he says, and it's settled.