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A Californian Werewolf in New York

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Podfic Length: 1:45:15

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Derek does spectacularly poorly with the alpha pack. No one listens to him – not even Isaac. When Peter is the voice of your pack and your puppies are listening to humans’ and hunters' plans more than yours, it's hard to feel like everything is worth it. Derek shouldered the responsibility of being alpha, took on the burden of staying in a place filled all the bad memories he has ever experienced, and ruined Scott's chance at a cure – just to have a shot at keeping the alpha pack out of Beacon Hills. Now, after they're gone, and he's been proven redundant – Derek takes a hard look at his situation.

What he sees is that there is literally nothing keeping him in California. He has a pack that wants his homicidal uncle to be their alpha more than they want him. He has a few tentative allies in the form of smart ass teenagers, and a bunch of hunter enemies waiting for an excuse to cut him into pieces and bury him without the wolfsbane or rituals that are as sacramental to their kind as last rights to a Catholic. He also has no running water, no heat, and no friends outside the shaky emotional ties of the pack.

The reevaluation is brutal but honest and the solution seems obvious. Derek is going to leave. He tells himself he won't miss anything and that's mostly true, although maybe he'll miss the puppies; Isaac and Erica more than Boyd, who never needed him like they did, and never let him connect in his awkward and spectacularly unsuccessful way. Hell, maybe he'll even miss Stiles. The kid has proven himself to be beyond just smart and resilient over the course of the alpha pack mess but also that he has a smart mouth and a sense of humor which Derek can appreciate - from a very safe distance.

When he's made his arrangements, Derek lets Isaac know he's going in person because he knows that of everyone in Beacon Hills, Isaac is the only one who will truly care that he's leaving. Isaac doesn't reach out for affection – it's been beaten out of him over the course of a lifetime – but Derek squeezes his shoulder and says, "Don't listen to Scott or Jackson or any of the others. You're the number two dog in the yard now. Take care of them, okay?"

Isaac nods and takes that as the okay to go in for a hug and Derek hugs him back because he knows. He knows what its like to be alone, to be lost but Isaac pulls back smiling because he isn't alone like Derek. He has Scott and a real pack that is only going to solidify over time, especially once Derek is out of the picture and not confusing the hierarchy.

"Email me okay? Just so I know you're okay."

"Of course," Derek promises and he means it then adds. "Not for awhile though."

Isaac nods again. "Good luck, Derek. You deserve better than this mess."

At the time, Derek isn't sure if that's true or not but it feels good to hear. On the way to the airport, he stops the cab so that he can drop an envelope with Erica's name scrawled across it in the Reyes mailbox. The keys to the Camero are inside along with transfer of ownership and title papers because he won't need it anymore and no one loves that car more than she does, not even him.

All those strings tied up, he gets the few things he actually owns and hauls ass back to Brooklyn because technically he still has the apartment he shared with Laura. They had a lease through 2013 and neither of them were supposed to be gone more than a few weeks so. There's that.

Things are a little different of course. His job isn't waiting for him and he has to tell the Garcetti pack that he's back, that he's elevated in power but wants to maintain his status as guest-pack but that's all pretty much SOP. Other than that, New York is still pretty much New York.

It's not until he's dumping out his duffle bag on his bed in his room, which has A/C and electricity and like, a cable TV, that he actually feels like he's home. Which is totally crazy because home was supposed to Beacon Hills. Home was supposed to be gone but nope, its here. It's a roof without holes and traffic noises outside and what the hell. Derek hadn't even liked being here when Laura decided they move, now there's nowhere he'd rather be.

Going back to normal, like an actual mostly-human normal, is scary easy. The economy is shit so getting a job isn't easy but he doesn't really need one. He has the life insurance pay out for his entire family, and now Laura, and the home owners insurance, and it’s a lot. So he goes to the movies. He goes to the park. He rides the subway and helps his neighbors carry their groceries up the stairs of their walkup. He pulls out his old laptop and charges his iPod.

He even takes up running again. Not wolf running either. Like, down sidewalks in the mornings for exercise instead of for physical punishment or preparation. After a month he even realizes that he's saying good morning to Mr. Aaronson, the older guy from 4C who's always leaving for a jog as he's coming back, like they used to before he left.

It's on a run that he gives himself permission to sublet the apartment and move. Laura would want him to. She's always wanted what was best for him and that definitely wouldn't include him lingering around their old place, looking for her ghost.

So he looks through her papers and calls the guy Laura was working with at some bank to take a look at the money from the fire they've been squirreling away for the last almost-decade. Turns out there is a lot more than Derek thought there was, enough that he actually doesn’t have to worry about anything ever again. No, really, he could not work, keep a car in Manhattan and afford all the tickets parking it on the street every day would cost him.

"And that's after what you lost during the crash," the accountant tells him with a sad little sigh. "We took a hit but we've bounced back fairly well and the market's steadily improved. Give it another couple years and we'll have your portfolio back to where it was in '07," he promises with dollar signs in his eyes like Scrooge McDuck.

It's blood money and Derek can't forget, thoughhis mom's voice is in his ear going "You should do something nice for yourself, baby. It's okay." So he finds this great condo in the NYU area and buys it because fuck it. Seriously. He isn't leaving New York again so he might as well right?

He likes that the neighborhood is diverse as hell with all the students and artists and business types mixed together. No one will notice him and he likes the space itself. It's got an obscene amount of square footage for the city – three bedrooms (one of which is going to be perfect for weathering a rough shift) and a kitchen that makes him want to start cooking all the things his father and aunt taught him to. It's not crazy upper east side Gossip Girl fancy – and yeah, he totally has been watching reruns now that he watches TV, because his sister used to love it and it reminds him of her – but pricey. Like seven figures pricey.

The number makes him wince because growing up, they were fine but they did not have that kind of money. Also he has to convince the co-op board that he is isn't a serial killer – which is a trope in his life this year – but eventually he signs on the dotted line and pays in cash. Then he pays off ten years of insurance of every kind he can think of so that it’s utterly his. In order to lose this, the entire building would have to come down.

When he's finished all the paperwork, he sits on the bare floor of his new living room, tucks his knees up to his chests, presses his eyes into the curves, and lets out a long breath. This place is his den. It's safe and no one can take this from him. If he cries a little, the tears are absorbed by his jeans and no one's looking anyway.

He's putting his new bed frame together. The boxspring and Tempurpedic mattress were delivered yesterday and today he got the king-sized four-poster cherrywood number they're going to rest on. His wolf strength's making it a one man job; it’s just time consuming. So he's only halfway done, sitting on the floor in his new bedroom, when his phone buzzes. He doesn’t really have anyone who would be calling him but he's technically Garcetti pack now so he has to leave it on just in case. Only it’s not a pack thing. It's a text with a California area code. yo wolfboy, u dead? :P Derek glances at the name, and what the fuck. Why is Stiles texting him?

He texts back y r u texting me?

b cuz u told Isaac u were leavin gave erica the camero and havent been back in 3 mo. we thought u might b dead.

im not dead


Derek smiles. He's been smiling a lot more now that he's back in New York. No reason not to. He's not surrounded by all that death anymore, doesn’t have to put on the show of being a powerful, scaring the kids and humans and wolves of Beacon Hills alike into submission. He doesn’t have to be grim. He can just be Derek. He texts back asshole.

at least u know where im at. whered u go?


His phone rings about fifteen seconds later and Stiles goes, "What? If you're not in Beacon Hills then where the hell is home?"

Derek puts down his Phillips head screw driver and rolls his eyes at his ceiling. His ten-foot ceiling with a fan that is spinning slowly. He really likes his new place. "Hi Stiles. Nice to talk to you too."

"Seriously, where are you? I know it's not out in the woods at your old house because you'd never let Peter install a rumpus room."

"I'm in New York and he isn't installing a rumpus room. We had one before. Second floor?"

"No. First. He got a pinball machine but won't let Boyd bring over his Wii and he's painting all the accents and shutters orange. Savage."

"I don’t care about accents," he growls. It's the first time he's growled since he came back to New York, which just figures, doesn’t it. Because yeah, the house is why Peter's a savage. People can't seem to remember the fact his uncle killed his sister. Murdered her. Before she was cut into two pieces and he had to bury her with his bare hands. People forget that. Derek's got a better memory.

"Whatever, Snarly. You never were one for home décor. Your thing was always Spartan chic."

Derek looks around his room because yeah actually that may be true. Burned out houses and creepy rail depots aside, he isn't great at filling his space, which is how he ends up telling Stiles about his condo. What was supposed to be a five minute call turns into an all night conversation where he ends up trolling through the housewears section of Amazon with Stiles on the other line. He even remembers to shoot Isaac that email he promised before he closes his laptop for the night.

All of which explains the pinkish-orange jellyfish lamp that ends up in his living room, the green leopard print dishes in his kitchen cabinets and the blue beanbag chair in his bedroom. These are mistakes but he sends phone pics to Stiles once everything's in place anyway. Stiles calls as soon as the files go through and laughs in his ear for over twenty solid minutes.

"Do you actually like anything?" Stiles asks when he collects himself.

"What do you mean?"

"Well like, horror movies or skeet shooting or, I don’t know, toucans. Are you into anything?"

"I kind of like art. I was really into it in college and I'm more of an action movie guy than horror."

"Well, you are missing out man," Stiles chides. "Get online. You can't have bare walls, especially not if you like art."

"Because you're a regular critic."

"No, I have a grasp of basic psychology and you suffer from chronic moody bitchiness. It's clinically proven that moody bitchitis is aggravated by creepily blank walls. The study is just awaiting FDA approval for release but that shouldn’t stop you from managing your illness. "

Derek rolls his eyes. "Oh, fuck you." He boots up his MacBook. Stiles pops up on his iChat a moment later. They talk with the phone wedged between his ear and shoulder while he follows the string of links. Stiles actually made first string on the lacrosse team this year so mostly he talks about practice and the Beacon Hills pack. Derek tells Stiles about the guy he saw on the subway who was doing interpretive dance in one of those neon green body suits because, well, it's New York. By the time they hang up its one in the morning in California and Derek falls asleep with his cell phone on.

Five days later, a Dr. No poster, a 18x22 diagram of the inside of a Ford V-8 engine, a print of his favorite Phillip-Lorca DiCorcia photograph, and two Garry Winogrand street shots are delivered. Once he has them hung up in his living room, he sends a mass text to everyone in his contact list with a message along the lines of my sister died sorry I disappeared but I'm back if you want to hang. The only person who gets back to him right away is Oz, a guy he knows from the ten minutes he tried to be in a band in college.

Oz is tangentially Garcetti, mostly to keep from being an omega, but Derek knows him through his music. He plays in a bunch of local bands and works full time as a studio musician. He texts back for Derek's address and shows up with pizza and beer the next day looking almost exactly like he did the last time Derek saw him – just over five feet with short spiky hair. Only this time his hair is blue tipped instead of pink.

"Meatlovers." Oz says holding up the box in lieu of a hello.

"You're my fucking hero."

They sit on the shiny new couch and watch Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs in relative silence because Oz's subdued to the point of making Derek seem chatty. They inhale the pizza and finish off the beer and when all of that is gone Oz says, "Sorry about your sister."

"Me too."


He sinks down on his couch. It’s new and overstuffed and leather. "I know."

"Wolf shit?" Oz asks. "Or…something else?"

Oz knows things. Derek doesn’t know what things exactly, but maybe even more than Deaton. Big scary things – the word demon got dropped once by accident which, just, no. Derek doesn’t want to know anything else about where Oz was before he got to New York and joined the Garcetti pack. Really. His life is enough of a clusterfuck.

Derek says "Wolf," because saying "my family members murdered each other" isn't something he can say out loud. Only Oz probably can smell his distress or whatever so Oz shrugs but doesn’t say anything because he's Oz and that’s what makes him awesome.

Oz doesn't ask questions. He doesn’t make judgments. He just stays. He fills the empty space, which is more than enough especially right now.

A few other people drift back into his life. David, who Derek played IM baseball with, Laronda from his job in the student union, Zhang and Kyla from the GSA. Before Derek knows it, he's been back in New York City for a year and realizes that his world really was wrapped up in Laura and the small wolf circle they'd built in that time labeled before and hasn't changed much since.

"What?" Derek demands when he brings up how he knows David. "There's something wrong with baseball?"

"No, I mean if you want to stand around all day."

"It's a game of skill."

"Barely a sport," Stiles coughs.

Derek wants to smack him and laugh at the same time. "And running around with a stick with a net on the end is dignified?"

"At least its cardio."

"Uhuh." Because he needs cardio so desperately.

"I sense judgment in your tone."

"That's because it's there."

"You've been hanging out with your elitist East Coast friends way too long. They're harshing your mellow."

"Mellow." Derek has never heard himself described as mellow. Ever. It's a little like being told the sky is orange.

"Okay, not mellow, but you know what I mean."


Stiles does and as he listens, Derek realizes that he talks more now than he ever did – even as a kid. He was shy as a child and maybe he still is. He's okay with that now. He has people his skin fits with. He has Stiles who makes him want to get up and do things, just so that Derek has something say when he calls at the end of the day.

He wasn't exactly a people person before. He isn't now either but in his day-to-day life there's Zhang and David and Kyla and Oz and his half-hearted job hunt. Oz especially is around all the time. He asks why and Oz waves whatever he's drinking around the living room.

"Also you have premium cable."

"So I'm buying your friendship in Pay-Per-View."

"I'm your whore," Oz agrees. Then he kicks his Doc Martens up onto a stainless steel coffee table that Stiles helped him pick out online on one of those weird underground websites that the guy manages to find with what he calls Google-fu. What the hell is Google-fu anyway?

"Kung-fu only with Google," Oz tells him at which point Derek realizes he's been talking out loud and Oz actually answered. Without mocking him.

"Oh. That makes sense." Derek says and that gets him an Oz look that says Of course it makes sense. I am Oz, everything I say is steeped in profound wisdom. and makes Derek wonder what people read out of his long and probing stares. Then he decides he doesn’t have to care anymore.

David gets a job in Chicago and when he's gone Oz and maybe Kyla and Zhang are the only ones whose opinions matter to Derek anymore. They don’t look at him and wonder what he means for the good of their life or safety. They just ask, or don’t ask, if they're Oz, and Oz doesn’t ask because Oz either doesn’t care or knows that Derek will tell him when he's ready. It's part of Oz's zen thing.

"Where in California is Oz from?" Stiles asks one night. He sounds hesitant, which Derek knows is not Stiles. He's usually content to let Stiles do most of the talking.

"Sunnydale? They had that bad sinkhole in 2003 that sank the whole town. It's just a hole in the ground now. I think you might be too young to remember when it happened but it was all over the news."

"Right." Then nothing else. It's not normal.

"Stiles?" Derek asks because he is starting to genuinely worry. "Are you okay?"

There's a long silence on the other end of the line before Stiles says "I lost my virginity today. This guy, Connor. Well, that’s his street name. Usually he's in drag and then she goes by Cocoa Dior but- yeah. That happened. Like, two hours ago. "

Derek feels like he's been hit in the face with a metal pipe. No, really. It's happened to him before (Laura had thought it was hilarious at the time) and it felt just like this. "All right," he says slowly. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I just- I don’t know. I wanted to tell you." Stiles sounds confused by this. "I haven't even told Scott yet. Isn't that the weirdest fucking thing you ever heard? Like on a scale of one to were-lizard, this is like a unicorn."

"You've stopped making sense again."

"I know," Stiles sighs. "I do that. What happened tonight, it wasn't real, is all, before I told you. Now it is. Jesus. I had sex. Why the hell am I telling you this? I should be telling Scott."

"So call him."

"I don't want to. I want to talk to you. This big life thing happened and as soon as it was over, all I could think about was telling you."

He sounds actually upset and Derek doesn't know how to fix this. He's not exactly skilled at social interaction. "I'm listening," he offers which gets him an annoyed grunt.

"I don't think that's how our friendship is supposed to work."

"According to who?"

"According to, I don’t know, the powers that be or something? Fuck, Derek. Isn't this bizarre to you?"

"A little," Derek admits. "More the sex part than the talking part. We talk every day."

"Yeah," Stiles agrees after a beat of silence. "We do."

"So this Connor." He hates that he hasn't heard about this guy before. Stiles spends hours babbling about nothing to him every day but he couldn't mention the guy he might be dating? He has to work to keep the edge out of his voice. "Are you two serious?"

Stiles snorts. "Me and Cocoa? No. She's funny and she's a apparently an awesome lay but no, it’s not like that. She's more a friend who I happen to be really attracted to when she goes back to being a he." He pauses to swallow loudly into the microphone then says, "I think we're going to hook up again though."

"Oh." Derek tries not to sound disappointed, or worse hurt. "That sounds good, I guess?" He sighs then kicks himself. He is failing this, spectacularly. He tries again. "Sorry, I never really did this. My friends in high school were my sisters and my cousins. We never got to the sex gossip part of things but if you like him, then you should."

"Yeah, I mean, we're friends," Stiles says and Derek can actually hear him settling down into a more comfortable position through the line. "And we turn each other on and so far, I'm pretty sure the only thing supernatural about the situation is how awesome the head is. Might as well learn what I can while I can, right? "

Derek has no idea. He's terrible at things like this but with Stiles, he doesn’t even really want to think about it. He wants to go back to talking about how Jackson is petitioning turning his friend Danny to Peter and how there's a Miro exhibit in town he wants to see before it goes back to Spain. He doesn’t want to discuss whether or not another man should put his hands on Stiles. "I think whatever you think is right probably is right."

"Thanks for that, Deepak Chopra."

"I told you I didn't really know how to do this," Derek reminds him.

"Yeah. I just, I know I haven’t seen you in like a year and everything, but the more time I spend with Scott and Isaac and Jackson, the more I'm starting to get the whole pack thing and I think that you might be part of that for me. So I wanted to talk to you about it."



"I'm- me too. About you I mean. The pack thing."

"Cool." Stiles and Derek can actually hear the smile through the word.

After that little chat maybe it's not so surprising that the next time they hang out, Derek blurts out, "Hey, you wanna be pack?" like he's asking Oz out on a date. It's kind of weird but Derek can own that.

That gets him one of those extra special Oz eyebrow lifts. They're of the guy's more expressive well, expressions. "We aren't?"

"No. Yeah, we're technically Garcetti but that's not what I mean."

"It's different." Oz says because why say more when you can say less? He's right though. Pack's always been family for Derek and the Garcettis are not family. He's got no family left but Oz could be pack, family and he doesn’t realize he's holding his breath until Oz goes, "Yeah, sure" and Derek lets it out all in a rush. It's stupid and it doesn’t change anything at all but Derek feels a whole lot better all of a sudden.


Oz nods and they return their attention to Top Gear – the BBC version because the American version is sacrilege. They don't discuss it further but Oz doesn’t pull away when Derek presses his shoulder against his. It feels good. It feels like pack.

Time passes and Stiles is calling him because now that everyone's taken their SATs and submitted their applications, prospective colleges are giving campus tours. Stiles has two in New York that want him enough to offer him interviews at his convenience so he calls Derek and says, "You have a couch. I need to sleep."

"You could say please," Derek says because manners. Really.

"Fine, fine. Please can I stay with you while I stalk schools," he asks and of course Derek says yes because he's got no reason to say no, and after ages of talking to Stiles on the phone it'd be nice to see him again. He picks him up at Newark airport and they ride the train together back into the city. Derek tries not to laugh at how excited Stiles is to take a classic yellow Manhattan taxi from Penn Station to his apartment and fails miserably.

"Are you kidding me?" Stiles demands when he steps inside. "Are. You. Kidding me? This your place? You are rich, dude. What the hell were you doing living in squalor when you are clearly loaded?"

Derek shrugs. "I had some self-esteem issues that manifested in my living arrangements."

"No, really?" Stiles rolls his eyes and wow, Derek's really missed that. It's been almost two years but it doesn’t matter. Same expression, same face, same Stiles. "So I interview at NYU on Monday and then Columbia on Friday but other than that I'm free. You going to take to all the shitty tourist traps? Dinner and a show?"

Derek shrugs because what the hell. He's an unofficial New Yorker and as someone who lives in the city he does not do "New York" things. It’s Stiles, though, so he can't say no. They go to MoMA and the Met and afterwards they have lunch in Central Park. They go to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs and gigantic whale hanging from the ceiling because everyone likes dinosaurs and whales. They go to Grand Central Station because, "ude," Stiles says "The Avengers kicked ass here," and, because Stiles pulls out the puppy eyes, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Because Stiles is secretly cultured they go see angsty but award winning plays on Broadway and because Derek is secretly a marshmallow they go see Wicked and Stiles totally doesn’t comment on the fact that Derek maybe cries a little. Or a lot. Stiles tells him that everyone cries at Wicked because everyone relates to Elphaba. It's a fact. Lydia told him so when he texted her during the intermission, therefore it must be true.

Derek ignores the way something twists in his gut over Stiles texting Lydia (because texting while you're out being social is rude and not because he's jealous of the way Stiles says Lydia's name) and takes him for Thai fusion instead. Stiles talks with his hands about NYU verse Columbia versus Northwestern versus Stanford versus Cornell. Derek nods along like he didn’t go to Brooklyn College because it was a state school and within walking distance of the apartment Laura picked out.

He's mostly watching Stiles mouth so he can't be blamed for saying, "Well you know, I'm here, so you wouldn't have to completely start over if you went to NYU or Columbia," and Stiles grins at him across the table and goes, "Yeah. I've thought about it and that's definitely plus." Derek forgets what words are for the rest of the meal because what the actual hell. He's a plus.

They walk back to his apartment even though it takes forever and Stiles hums Defying Gravity the whole way, which should be annoying but is charming instead. Stiles waits until Derek locks the door before giving him a heart attack by asking, "So are you going to kiss me already or what? Because you've been looking at me like the wolf in a Tex Avery cartoon since I got to baggage claim. You know, the one whose tongue falls out like an uncurled fruit roll-up? And the blue balls are killing me."

Staring seems to be the best reaction to that, which is okay because Stiles takes that as permission to throw Derek back up against his own door. Derek's impressed and a little bit surprised because he forgot about this, the wall slamming. He used to pull this shit on Stiles all the time and now Stiles is turning it around on him. He's grown a few inches since Derek left Beacon Hills and is taller than Derek now, though not as broad, probably never will be.

He has to dip his head to kiss Derek, which is new. Derek's never been the one to tip his head up before. It's actually kind of nice, resting his head back against the door, but kissing Stiles is nicer. It's all wet, hot, and fast but soft. Stiles is a gentle kisser which is surprising, though Derek couldn’t say why; because of the slamming probably. Concussive force and slow tongues don’t go together in Derek's head but in reality they work so fucking well with Stiles, especially when he gets to work on the buttons of Derek's shirt.

"You look like you fell off a fucking Men's Fitness magazine cover, seriously," Stiles groans when he gets the shirt all the way open, pushing at the shoulders. "No, it's not fair. That isn't natural, and not wolf unnatural either. It's like sexy unnatural. How am I supposed to share space with you when you look like-" he waves a hand at Derek, starting at his waist, doing a quick circle at his chest area and then another at his face. "It's cheating."

Derek feels like he should be insulted, although he can't figure out why. He can't figure Stiles out about thirty percent of the time. So even though he's not sure what exactly Stiles means, Derek still feels oddly compelled to defend his honor. "I am not a cheater."

"You so are," Stiles protests, dropping his mouth to Derek's collar bone for a few long licks which, yes, he can keep doing that as long and as much as he wants. "Such a cheater. I bet you can even do that thing where you flex each pec independently of the other."

"Do you want me to?"

"No," Stiles protests, his lips vibrating against Derek's skin as they migrate towards his breastbone. "No, just hold still. I've been jerking off to this since you were vomiting black crap on my shoes so just stand there and like, pet my hair if you want."

Stiles actually has hair now, spiky and dark but long enough to pet or, better yet, tug. Derek wonders what Stiles would do if he pulls his hair, so Derek does, grabs a handful at the back and yanks hard. Stiles whimpers and sags against him, both hands grappling for a hold on his shoulders. "Oh my god. See? Fucking cheating."

"There aren’t any rules," Derek feels compelled to point out and that makes Stiles laugh. He pushes his face into Derek's neck and it's so wolf, so pack that Derek wants him to do that forever. He tilts his head to the side just to give him more room and Stiles pushes a little closer when Derek gives his hair another tug.

"You can't keep doing that."

Derek has Stiles practically whining. He sees nothing bad in this so there's no reason to stop. "Yes, I can."

"Not out here. I am not that kind of girl."

"Good. I wasn't looking for a girl. I'm kind of over girls."

Stiles actually stares at him. "Okay. Big gay werewolf. Good to know, would've been better to know earlier – we could've been having really great phone sex. Or Skype sex. Do you Skype? We're getting you Skype before I leave. Still, we are not having sex on that floor. I have been thrown against too many hard floors to think it will be fun even if the clean up would be easy."

"Who threw you into a hardwood floor?" Derek is not pleased to hear this. He is even less happy that he wasn’t informed earlier. "How long ago?

"I don’t know two or three months?" Stiles says waving it away but beaming at him. "Are you worried about me?"


Stiles blinks. "Because…you care about me."

Sometimes, Derek wonders if Stiles is stupid or something. Then he remembers that the guy is a National Merit Scholar who just got a 2300 on the SAT and is second in his class right after Lydia Martin and thinks that maybe he's just a different kind of dumb. "No. I spend two hours a day on the phone with everyone in Beacon Hills. I invite Jackson Whitmore to stay with me for a week, let Erica drag me to Edward Albee plays, and make out with Scott in my foyer. That’s how I roll."

Stiles' smile looks like it will break his face in half but it would be okay if it did, because Derek would catch the pieces and put it back together. "That's how you roll?"

"Yes. That is how I roll."

"You sound like a crazy person. You're lucky you're hot."

"I feel lucky. Blessed even. You said something about sex."

"Yeah, but not on the floor."

Derek has a solution to this. "Put your arms my neck and wrap your legs around my waist."

"Are you kidding me?"


Stiles pulls back, meets his eyes, then shrugs and does as he's told. He's even higher up now. It makes kissing trickier but fuck that, he's wrapped all around Derek like this. Derek can move Stiles how he wants him, and Derek wants him out of the entry way and in his bedroom. Derek dumps him on the bed and follows moments later. He'd considered the options as he walked down the hall. He doesn’t want to have to deal with getting off their shoes and socks or Stiles’ jeans so. Handjobs. He keeps Stiles pinned beneath him as he makes quick work of zippers and takes them both in hand.

Stiles doesn’t unlock his arms from around Derek's neck, which he likes, and runs his fingers through the hair at Derek's nape, and Derek likes that too. He likes all of this, which is good to know because before he went back to Beacon Hills, pretty much all the action he had was one-off blowjobs, the kind that didn’t involve much kissing or petting or even conversations beyond, "Thanks man. Hey, you don’t have any gum do you? My mouth tastes like come."

Derek has forgotten a lot because he literally cannot remember the last time he had sex. He knows it was with a blond boy, slightly older and slightly shorter than him, and that he was drunk (which means that he'd started drinking on a Thursday and by the time of the hookup it was drop-sparkle-dust-from-the-ceiling-of-the-gay-bar-O' clock Sunday morning because drunk for a wolf equals death by alcohol poisoning for a human). From what he can recall, there was fucking and that was good. The guy was covered in hickies when he kicked Derek out and was pissed about that so he never called back and pretty much everything else was a blur. He remembered Kate but most of that was blocked. He didn’t need nightmares mixing with his sex dreams, thanks.

Now he's discovering that he likes Stiles’ blunt human fingernails on the back of his neck and dragging down his spine over his shirt. He likes hearing his name said over and over through a mouth that hangs open because Derek has the lower lip caught between his teeth. He likes the way his dick feels against Stiles' in his fist and the way Stiles’ whole body moves, not just his hips. Derek likes Stiles. Derek likes being with Stiles. It doesn’t take much more than Stiles' skin and Stiles' smell and Stiles' voice whimpering "Oh, God, Derek, please, fuck, please," to get him there. Turns out, Derek is actually very easy that way and Stiles comes when Derek's fist tightens involuntarily with orgasm, so he's easy too.

Derek kicks off his shoes and socks and all his clothes after because fuck that, he is not having afterglow snuggles on his clean bed in his street clothes, thank you. He left being gross for no reason with the rest of his bullshit in California. When Stiles shows no sign of moving, Derek takes off his clothes too. It's like unwrapping a gift. Well, the shoes and socks aren’t that present-like but they do reveal long strong feet with high arches and twitching toes so, he's going to count it.

On a whim, he presses a kiss to the inside of one ankle. Stiles groans "Ugh, feet," and Derek tells him to shut the fuck up before tugging on the legs of his jeans with a bit more strength than is strictly human, exposing pale muscular legs covered in coarse dark hair, and after that getting the boxers off is easy. Stiles has a nice cock. It’s average length and it’s soft at the moment but it fits perfectly in Derek's hand, felt so good against his skin. Not now, but before Stiles goes back to California, it's going to feel good in Derek's mouth and ass and anywhere else they can think to put it because yes. Damnit, yes. Sex with Stiles gets all the yes that Derek can muster.

He throws the offending items on the floor with his own clothes and climbs up over Stiles to work on his shirt, buttons, over an undershirt which Derek thinks is Stiles playing dirty. When he says so Stiles gives him a drowsy smile and Derek slides a hand up his leg to his hip and then back down to his knee.

"You have to sit up for me to get this off you," Derek says with a frown. He didn’t want to make Stiles get up. That was the whole point of this little exercise, and he could probably just rip it off over his head, but the force required would kill the mood but Stiles takes that as instructions anyway. He sits up and tugs Derek down to kiss him before letting go to shimmy out of his remaining clothes. This is an effective plan because they only have to stop kissing for a moment - which also acts as a bonus breathing break - to get Stiles as naked as Derek and then they lie down again, skin against skin, sprawled together on Derek's bed.

Half an hour later, Stiles pulls back and grins at him with kissed bruised lips and declares, "This is the best school visit ever. We're going to Central Park tomorrow though, right?" Derek groans and pushes his face into Stiles shoulder. Stiles just laughs and ruffles his hair. "Kidding. Tomorrow is sex day. All sex all the time. I heard they'll deliver anything in Manhattan. Are you rich enough to get them to deliver condoms and lube? Because I didn’t want to be presumptuous so I only brought condoms. Plus, with my luck, lube would've exploded all over and then I'd have had to explain why I had lube in my carry-on to airport security and that wouldn't have ended well for me or the poor TSA agent assigned to my case."

"Sex tomorrow," Derek agrees, "But only if you promise not to talk about the TSA and lube anymore."

"I can do that."

There's a beat of quiet that Derek knows can’t last. He counts out the seconds. Derek begins a mental count and Stiles lasts to sixteen-Mississippi before he speaks again. Derek feels totally vindicated and also fond.

"So are you a cuddler?"

"Aren't we cuddling now?"

They're wound around each other like tangled string. Stiles’ head is on Derek’s shoulder, his leg between Stiles’ while his toes hunt for warmth under a far ankle. His arm is draped over Stiles chest and his hand is tucked around the curve of Stiles’ shoulder and Stiles' own arm is slung around Derek’s waist. Derek was under the impression that this was some fairly high level cuddling.

"I don’t know. Are you indulging me?"


"So then-"

"Also, I like this. I can do both."


"Yeah. Oh. So shut up, go to sleep. It's late."

"And tomorrow is Stiles and Derek Sex Day."

Derek laughs in the darkness of his bedroom. "Yeah. Sure."

"I'm putting it on your wall calendar."

"You sent me the wall calendar. It's all lizards." No matter how many times he tells Stiles, he refuses to listen because lizards? Still not funny. The lizard stuffed animal Stiles sent him on Jackson's last birthday wasn’t funny, the lizard toothbrush holder in Derek's bathroom wasn't funny, and the lizard calendar wasn't funny. And yet he hasn’t thrown any of them away. The stuffed lizard even hangs out on his couch, like it belongs there. "Do whatever you want to it."

"Those are some unwise words my friend."

Derek is not surprised that when he wakes up DEREK AND STILES SEX DAY OMG YAY is written in huge capital letters of an alternating color in permanent marker on the lizard calendar on the wall opposite his bed. He doesn't wonder where Stiles found his Sharpies. It's Stiles. He will find what he wants in whatever place he is in if he has the time and desire. Derek is a little surprised that Stiles isn’t still in bed with him since it is "Derek and Stiles Sex Day Omg Yay". That sort of thing should start and end in bed, shouldn't? He's not an expert but he can make inferences.

Derek finds Stiles in his kitchen, in his blue cotton pajamas, making eggs on Derek’s frying pan on his stove. The pants are a little short on Stiles and stop above his ankles, but the picture is the best non-sex thing Derek has ever seen in his life. It's so good, in fact, that Derek pads quietly out of the room and comes back with his digital camera in time to snap a candid of Stiles singing as he scrapes the spatula across the pan.

The flash draws Stiles’ attention and he turns, holding the spatula like a microphone, and he croons, "I just had sex and it felt so good. Dude let me put my penis beside his. I just had sex and I'll never go back to the not having sex ways of the past."

"You are a total freak," Derek observes, snapping another shot, right in Stiles face. "Also those are not the lyrics."

"I adapted them for homosexual sex acts," Stiles counters, blinking away the flash. He pulls the pan off the heat and gives Derek a wide smile. "Good morning. It is super hot to me that you know Lonely Island lyrics well enough to correct me. Also your face and your everything, but right now, your Andy Samberg knowledge is doing it for me."

Derek does not preen. None of those things are worth preening over. He is not that level of ridiculous. Really. "I keep forgetting that you're actually an actual child, not just an overgrown one."

"Says the guy who is totally thinking of fucking my jailbait ass on his kitchen table. What's with the camera?"

Derek shrugs, looking down at his camera. He likes pictures. He lost most of his photos of his family that weren’t on Facebook in the fire and he took some classes in college because really, a Humanities degree is just code for "you have no idea what you want to do with your life so just take what the fuck ever". There are other prints that have joined the Arbus and DiCorcia in his living room. Some of the pictures are prints by photographers whose names art geeks would've heard of and some he bought off vendors in various street markets, but a lot are from the gallery openings Zhang runs.

Zhang always calls Derek at the last minute because he knows the Derek almost never has plans and opens with a dramatic sigh. "Derek, baby, please" into the phone. "My opening's going to be a failure if you're not there. You have to come. Please." Derek really does like the talent Zhang usually acquires. and he also really likes Zhang, always has, and so he puts on a nicer black shirt and shows up.

Nine times out of ten, there is at least one photograph he can't leave the building without and Zhang knows it. He calls Derek as much for what his weakness will do for his clients as genuine affection. So now Derek's collection is an odd mix, because mostly he likes the ideas of catching moments forever, especially moments like this one. "I wanted to take your picture."

"Is this going to be a 'draw me like one of your French girls, Jack' moment? Because I was going to make omelets but I don’t actually know how to make omelets so I just made half a dozen scrambled eggs because today is Derek and Stiles Sex Day and that is a day that needs protein. So the photo-essay needs to wait until after food."

Derek feels suddenly shy. It's completely ridiculous. It's a stupid one hundred dollar digital camera. He shrugs. "There's no photo-essay."

Stiles studies him with the pan full of eggs in his hand and then says, "You could do one if you want to. I'm cool with that. We'd have to set rules about internet distribution because, you know, I won't be eighteen for another two months, but it's hot and also, you'd like it, wouldn't you?" Derek doesn't say anything but Stiles keeps smiling as he portions out the eggs. "I'd like it too though so, yeah."

That isn't something Derek is going to think about. He is going to think about Stiles making him breakfast so that they can spend the rest of the day having sex, sex that Stiles is so excited about he has to sing. So Derek eats and watches Stiles eat until he really can't watch anymore because Stiles has a mouth. He finds himself hauling Stiles away from the table by the back of his shirt like he did back in Beacon Hills, calling on strength he only uses now when he vacuums under the couch, to physically drag Stiles out of his chair.

"What the-"

"I really, really need to be fucking your face now," Derek informs him, hauling him out of the kitchen. He contemplates stopping in the living room but no, his bedroom is just not that far and he doesn’t want to have to move later. Stiles may not have brought lube but Derek has some in his en suite and they are not leaving again except maybe to order pizza. This way is better.

"Oh, well when you put it like," Stiles splutters as he trips down the hallway after Derek. He laughs a little as they trip over the transition from wood to carpet in Derek's bedroom doorway. "How can I resist?"

Derek doesn’t think that is a real question so he doesn't give it a real answer. He focuses on what matters instead. "I don't want to have to wait to suck you so we can sixty-nine, but with me on top. Then you can pick the next position."

Stiles stares at him, his pupils blown and dark in his huge eyes. "You have thought about this. Like, logistically."

"You haven’t?" Derek asks. He doubts this considering Stiles used six different colors to mark this day in his calendar. That takes forethought. If he put half as much effort into thinking of the hows of the actual sex? They were going to be amazing because Stiles has a plan. Stiles always has plans but this particular plan would have been sex specific.

"No I totally have. It's just- it should not be sexy all cut and dried like that, but yeah, sixty-nining sounds good. I am down with that. Let Derek and Stiles Sex Day officially commence." And with that he jumps Derek and climbs him like a marmoset on one of those make-shift tire-trees at the zoo.

Derek is a huge fan of this, he has to say. Stiles is all arms and legs and they're best wound around him. Derek just stands there, feeling surrounded by Stiles. Stiles doesn't even bother to hang on once he gets himself where he wants, face up against Derek's. Stiles doesn’t need to hang on, Derek realizes, he knows that Derek's arms will hold him up. That trust is one of the most amazing things Derek's ever experienced. It makes him feel strong in a way the power of his wolf doesn’t even touch.

"Now?" Derek asks when Stiles moves to gnaw on the shell of his ear. It gives him access to Stiles’ jaw and neck but that’s not what he wants. "Stiles, now."

"I like it up here," Stiles moans directly into his ear. "The view is fucking amazing. Later we should do something with me up here, but yeah. Yeah, now's good."

Derek falls back on the bed with Stiles on top of him then rolls Stiles underneath. The clothes come off a minute later because Stiles isn't wearing anything under the pajamas which, fuck, is so hot – the idea of Stiles’ skin against his clothes. He's going to send Stiles to his campus tour of Columbia tomorrow in one of his shirts or underwear because this. This is amazing, though not as glorious as pale freckled skin spread out beneath him.

"You look good on my bed ," Derek says because please choose a New York school and stay with me and I actually feel real joy when you're with me are not really appropriate right before a first blowjob.

Stiles just grins, and scoots back until he's sprawled directly in the center of the mattress and Derek has to wonder how Connor took Stiles went from a gangly virgin to this creature that seems so comfortable saying now and more and there right there. He's going to ask, later, but now he's content to crawl over Stiles and lick his way down Stiles’ body to his cock. He's hard when Derek reaches him and Derek licks from base to tip, following the slight curve to the right before he stops and repositions himself.

He wasn’t kidding about the sixty-nine thing. He also doesn’t feel the need to give Stiles direction. Stiles will do what he wants when he wants because that's who Stiles is, so Derek focuses his attention on Stiles’ cock instead.

Stiles’ skin tastes like nothing so much as just Stiles, and that's delicious. It's better than anything else because it's him, it's his essence. Through the taste is the smell and it's all want, wanting this, wanting Derek. It's one of the hottest things Derek's ever experienced. It makes him desperate, hungry, and he drops his head because he needs to feel Stiles, the weight of him on his tongue and the shape of him in his mouth, and he needs it now.

Derek hasn’t given head of any kind in years but he remembers how. He remembers what he liked, hard suction at the head, and what his hook-ups were always pleasantly surprised by – a firm but gentle press to the skin just behind the balls – and he tries to use all that and more but fuck. Fuck.

Stiles has his mouth on Derek at the same time and Stiles isn't quiet. Not ever. Not even when he's sucking Derek's cock. Stiles moans and whimpers and grabs Derek's ass like it's going to keep him from falling off the edge of a cliff. He bucks up with his hips and lifts his face at the same time so that god, yes, he feels like he's fucking and fucked at the same time.

It's sloppy and wet from spit and sweat but that just makes everything easier, smoother. Derek holds himself up on one arm so that he can suck his middle finger in alongside Stiles' cock and then press the wet digit against Stiles' hole. Stiles pulls off and chokes out "Derek, Derek, fuck!" as Derek pushes in.

It's all the warning Derek gets before Stiles is coming down his throat. He's bitter and salty and Stiles, so Derek swallows and fucks Stiles with his finger through Stiles’s orgasm until he's shaking, trembling and pushing at Derek’s side, moaning, "I can't, Derek, fuck. Wait, wait. Give me a second, Jesus."

Derek ignores him, dipping his head down to lick around his finger, adding more slick spit to the mess so that he can push just a little deeper, a little harder. Stiles makes a low noise but his mouth is back, hot and tight and so fucking wet. Derek closes his eyes, drowning in the smell of Stiles' arousal and their mingled sweat and the feel of that noisy perfect mouth on his cock and the clenching muscle around his finger, and he comes with a growl. He feels his teeth lengthen but just that, just enough that he draws blood on his lower lip before they slip back and he falls to his side, carefully pulling his finger out of Stiles before he rolls onto his back.

Stiles scoots closer and puts his head on Derek's thigh. "We're going to die," he declares. "We're going to fuck ourselves to death if that's just head. Seriously. It will be awesome."

"Glad you think so," Derek says, petting Stiles stomach idly. He likes this, lying naked and talking. He doesn't think he's ever done it before and its good. He thinks he should try and do it more often. Stiles probably wouldn't object.

"Nap first though, then you can fuck me. With lube though, you fucking sadist. Spit? Only okay on Brokeback Mountain."

"Or you could fuck me," he offers. "Either is good."

Stiles is quiet then. "Seriously?"

"Do I sound like I'm kidding?" he asks. He can't always tell. He blames Oz. That degree of deadpan is contagious.

"No. I just wouldn't have expected it."


Stiles sits up so he can give Derek a proper, exasperated sigh. "Because you're the alpha! And you're Derek Hale and I'm me. It just doesn’t quite compute."

Derek pushes up on one elbow so he can better meet Stiles’ gaze. "Why not?"

"I don’t know, maybe because you vibe as the toppiest top in all of topdom?"

Derek shrugs. "Doesn't mean I am. I happen to be versatile. Complex even." He gives Stiles a smile and decides to open the door for him. "I've got unplumbed depths."

"Oh, I'll plumb your depths," Stiles declares, walking through it. "Consider your depths completely plumbed. Plumbed? Plumbable? Plumb to be?"

"I thought you wanted to nap."

"I do, but I want to conjugate plumb in this context first."

"You do that," Derek says. "I'm going to get under the covers. You're welcome to join me."

"Okay." Stiles says, following him into the bedclothes and tangling their legs together. "I think it’s plumbed once I plumb the depths which are currently unplumbed but plumbable."

"Wow. No wonder all the top schools want you."

"Shut up," Stiles declares and flicks his nipple. The sensation hits and makes Derek shiver. Stiles notices and grins, thumbing over the tight bud. "Well, that's interesting. I totally plan to use that against you after we nap."

Derek smiles. He can't stop smiling around Stiles today which is a little terrifying. "Good to know." Stiles doesn’t answer, which is how he knows that Stiles has dropped into a post-orgasmic coma.

Derek watches him sleep for thirty minutes before he untangles himself and pulls down the blankets. There was talk of fucking and he likes that plan. He pads into the bathroom. He usually keeps his lube in the shower but he threw it into one of his cabinets under the sink right before he left to get Stiles from the airport.

Now he can't find it. So here he is, naked and kneeling so he can ferret through the disordered chaos beneath his sink. Of course that's when Stiles wakes up and asks, "What the fuck?" just suddenly enough to surprise Derek into banging his head on the underside of the counter.

He curses and flounders but his hand hits a familiar plastic shape as he tries to brace himself. When he comes out gripping the half-empty bottle of Liquid Silk he has to repress the urge to punch the air like Rocky. If he weren't about to have sex, he'd wonder at his life and his choices right now.

Climbing to his feet, he tosses the bottle across the room. Stiles blinks at it then smiles. "Oh. Well. Yeah."

"Yeah," Derek agrees as he hits the bed, sliding back between the sheets. He rolls onto his side and pulls Stiles against him, and when he hooks a leg over Stiles' hip Derek can feel him getting hard.

"I respect your preparedness," Stiles says dragging one of his hands down Derek's spine. "I was a Boy Scout."

"Why am I not surprised?" He can just imagine Stiles and Scott in one of those ridiculous kerchiefs. It's kind of pervy but the Eagle Scout thing could be hot.

"You weren't though."

"I wasn't a joiner."

Stiles hand slides up Derek's back to cup the nape of his neck. He rolls his hips and Derek meets him because fuck. Fuck. It's so good, the way they fit together.

"No. You're not that kind of animal, right?"

He dips his head so that his nose is pressed against Stiles’ cheek. "Pretty much," Derek agrees and his lips brush barely stubble there with every word.

Stiles lets out a sigh that Derek feels more than hears. "God. I bet they just let you run wild."

"Is that what you want? You want me wild?"

"Want to make you wild."

"You do."

"Want to feel it," Stiles groans. "Want to feel you lose it, Derek. Fuck."

Stiles is so fucking hard, they both are, but Derek can smell Stiles’ want, a separate sensation that is its own pleasure. It's rich and earthy and a little sweet. Stiles is going to be so fucking sweet when Derek fucks him. He can tell.

"I will. Stiles, I will."

"Are. We should be fucking now. You should be inside me. Please."

"Yeah. Okay." It means he has to roll away, has to sit up to grab the lube and one of the condoms Stiles must have dug out of his bag and thrown onto Derek's bedside table this morning. He puts the condom on before he goes back to Stiles because he's not going to want to stop when he touches Stiles again. Hell, he won't be able to stop and it's fucking worth it because Stiles slides on top of him the moment Derek lies back down, straddling his hips.

"Is this okay?" he asks, looking nervous for the first time. "I really like it like this."

"This is perfect." He can see all of Stiles like this, his body on display in the daylight and his hard cock in easy reach. Derek squeezes lube into his hands and fists Stiles cock with his left hand, stroking a few times. "Kiss me," he says, but it comes out like a command.

And Stiles does. He fucking obeys, leaning down and taking Derek's mouth between one breath and the next. It presses their chests together and lifts Stiles’ ass so that Derek can reach between his cheeks with the slick fingers of his right hand. The first pressure against Stiles' hole makes him gasp into the kiss and god. God, that little sound. Derek could listen to that sound forever.

Stiles actually breaks the kiss to gasp when Derek pushes his finger inside. "Oh fuck," Stiles moans as Derek goes slow but steady all the way to the knuckle. "Fuck!. Derek."

"Gorgeous." Derek says. He fucks Stiles with his finger until Stiles is getting his knees under him to push back into it. "You so fucking gorgeous like this. Can you take more?"

"Yeah. God, yeah. I don't need- I'm- Derek, Derek, just get me wet and fuck me. I can take it."

Derek slides a second finger inside, scissoring them so that his knuckles hit Stiles’ prostate with every thrust. Stiles is writhing on top of him, cursing and moaning. Watching his face flush, the muscles in his neck tighten is makes Derek even harder.

When Stiles says, "I'm ready, so ready, please," Derek pulls his fingers out and rests his hands on Stiles’ hips instead. Then he gets to watch as Stiles sits back and sinks onto his cock with his hands braced on Derek's stomach for balance. It's hot and tight and Stiles. It's fucking Stiles and Derek can't breathe it's so good.

His hips give an involuntary buck because it's all too much and Stiles groans, a sound coming from the center of his chest and dragged out, but he pushes back and just like that they're moving together. Stiles is riding him and Derek is pulling him down hard by the hips with every downslide. Stiles' eyes glaze over and his mouth falls open when Derek tries a slightly different type of thrust, and he moans, "God, yes, there. Right there. Like that, Derek. Yeah."

Derek does the best he can to keep it up but it’s hard. Stiles feel so fucking amazing, clenching and sliding around his cock. Even the way his mouth drops open as he pants through each rise and fall is so fucking beautiful Derek's having a hard time holding it together.

"You close?" he asks, both hands digging viciously into Stiles’ thighs now. Derek hopes he leaves bruises in the shape of his fingerprints. He wants them to stay for weeks so Stiles can't forget this when he leaves. "Stiles, please."

"Why?" Stiles asks with a sloppy smile. "Are you?" He laughs but it’s breathless. "You're fucking good, Derek, you make me feel so fucking full. Fucking full of you. I could do this all day. Want to."

"Don’t" Derek groans. "Don't talk like that if you don't want me to come." He punctuates this point with a brutal snap of his hips.

"Isn't that- Ah! Fuck. Isn't that the point?"

"Not before you. Not this time."

"Okay. Okay then just…hold still." Derek does and is rewarded when Stiles shifts forward to plant his open palms on Derek's chest, then he starts to fuck himself on Derek's cock. It kills Derek to stay still but Stiles has his eyes screwed shut and worries his lower lip between his teeth. He rolls his hips and jerks, moans long and deep when he finds the right spot rhythm and speed. "God. Oh fucking Jesus Christ, there. Derek, fucking touch me. I- I can't-" He breaks off with a sharp cry as he grinds down hard, forcing Derek to thrust up and in.

Derek hisses Stiles’ name through gritted teeth as he fumbles between them for Stiles cock. He isn't going to survive this. He's going to die with Stiles riding his cock and panting out "Derek" and "please" and "stay, yeah, stay just like that for me, holy shit, yeah". That mouth is going to end him so he pushes up until he can claim it with his own, kissing Stiles in time to the pace Stiles has set.

Stiles whimpers into his mouth but doesn’t stop, fucking forward into Derek’s fist then back onto his cock. The little noises sound punched out until Stiles rips his mouth away. His entire body snaps tight as he comes, muscles clenching tight around Derek. It's too much, Derek’s too close, and he slams into Stiles, two, three times before he's coming too, head tipped all the way back as color flashes behind his closed eyelids.

Stiles falls on him with a smack of sweaty skin landing on skin. He presses his mouth to the skin of Derek's neck with no thought or direction, just wet warmth on his skin, ignoring the mess of come between them.

Derek carefully pulls out but beyond that doesn't even twitch. He doesn’t even try to take off the condom. It's disgusting, he knows. It's just hard to care when Stiles is making these little sighing breaths that Derek can hear and feel at the same time and he smells like sex and happiness. Stiles can stay there forever if he likes. That's fine with him.

"I was right about us fucking ourselves to death," Stiles mumbles. "I am dead. Your dick has killed me. Congratulations."

"Thanks. I think."

"Mm." Stiles agrees. He gives Derek's skin a gentle nip the sighs again. "You're welcome."

"Don't mention it."

"So, you've got all that werewolf stamina. Ready to go again?"

"I do have a refractory period you know," Derek chuckles but he could be. He is just afraid that his dick will actually fall off if he doesn't give it a little bit of time off. "Shower instead?"

"Hm. Let me think about it. Getting wet, naked and soapy with you? Nah, sounds awful," Stiles declares with a smirk.

Of course Stiles disregards all safety precautions and pounces once the water's running. They nearly fall over on the slippery tile and Derek backs into one of the taps by accident when Stiles sets his mouth on Derek's nipple, making good of his earlier threat to use that weakness against him. How they survive both their orgasms is a mystery to Derek, but they manage.

Afterwards, they up curl up in nothing but their towels on Derek's sofa, waiting for the Indian place near the apartment to deliver their lunch. They eat with their fingers and watch John Carpenter's The Thing on Derek's flat screen because, as Stiles points out, it is a horror movie, an action movie, and a cult classic. They make it through the entire film and halfway through Kill Bill Volume 1 before they fall back into kissing each other, licking away curry and turmeric until the only tastes left are each other.

Later, Stiles fucks Derek bent over the kitchen table because "Seriously, that poor piece of furniture has been waiting for some play since this morning and God, Derek, look at you. I can't believe you're letting me do this." Derek's claws come out and dig rivets into the hardwood when Stiles finds the right angle and hits his prostate over and over. He's literally howling when he comes all over the floor. It makes Stiles laugh and groan at the same time, because he did say he wanted Derek wild. Fully wolfed out, clawing holes in his table as Stiles fucks him through the aftershocks is about as close as Derek's been in ages.

Stiles grabs the camera from where it lay forgotten from that morning on their way back to the bedroom. He tosses it to Derek. Derek rolls his eyes and shakes his head. "Come on."

"No, man, go nuts. I want to see what you can do with one of those."

So fuck it. He does. They crawl back into bed, blankets around their waists and Derek snaps shots after shot as Stiles talks with his hands. They're all candids and after about thirty shots, Stiles wrestles it out of his hand. From there it becomes a mess of MySpace style pictures with Stiles holding the camera above them both while he makes faces, a few of them involuntary on Derek's part. At least he does until Derek wrestles the camera away from Stiles, tossing it on the floor so that he can focus 100% of his attention on kissing Stiles quiet.

When finally call it a night, Derek thinks this may have been the single best day of his entire life. He tucks himself around Stiles and noses at his throat, letting the smell of sex, and sweat, and satisfaction flow over him.

"I had fun," he murmurs, because it’s true. He doesn't remember the last time he had actual fun but that’s what today was.

Stiles laughs. "Good. That was the point." He can feel Stiles breathing evening out, hear the slow contented beat of his heart. "More fun tomorrow when I get back from campus. If this is anything to go by, the rest of the weekend will be epic."

Hearing Stiles roll out of bed in the morning wakes Derek up, even though living in the city again has taught him how to be a heavier sleeper. He watches with half-closed eyes as Stiles pads into the bathroom and then over to his suitcase. He's tugged on a pair of black slacks and is fishing through his clothes for a shirt when Derek says "Just take one of mine."

"One of your whats?"

He jerks his chin at the shirts hanging in his open closet but doesn’t sit up. "I do have a few that are in color. Just take one."

Stiles grins at him. "Is this a scent marking thing?"

"Who told you about scent marking?"

"Dude. I spend literally all my time in a wolf pack. That includes school hours and pretty much any time I'm not unconscious. I know stuff. So is it?"

That comment would usually have set him off at least a little most days. Instead Derek finds himself more distracted by the collage of bruises, hickies, and fingernail marks covering Stiles’ chest and stomach. He left each of them so he can't really care too much about what Stiles is doing when he's not here so long as the next thing to touch his skin is something that is also Derek's.

"Which answer will make you put one on?"

"The true one."

"A little. Mostly I just like the idea of you in my clothes."

Stiles shrugs and hops to his feet. "I can live with that."

He pulls out a dark blue dress shirt Zhang got Derek for Christmas after declaring that his wardrobe was too "mortuary chic" and tugs it on. Derek wears it to pack meetings and when Kyla and her girlfriend invite him to dinner. Derek thinks it looks better on Stiles than it ever did on him with the way it makes his eyes look even warmer somehow.

"So?" Stiles asks, holding out both arms. "I do look like Columbia material, right?"

The shirt is big on him but not much more than anything else Stiles would buy for himself, and with the severe lines of the black pants he looks grown. For the first time, Derek can really see the man Stiles is becoming, instead of just knowing or hearing that he was underneath the mouthy kid who Derek met in the woods behind his old house.

"I'd matriculate with you," he says.

That earns him a huge smile. "Oh see, when you say it, it sounds dirty."

"Well if you want a demonstration."

"Yes. I mean, no. No. I will not be seduced. I have to go interview and be productive so that I can tell my dad the truth when I call him later." He does come to the edge of the bed and lean down to press a slow wet kiss to Derek's mouth. Derek opens under the contact, letting Stiles set the speed and the force with one long hand curved along Derek's jaw. "You should stay there though," Stiles murmurs when he stands up. "Seriously. You in bed, naked, just like this, is how I want to find you when I get back."

"Jesus, were you always this bossy?"

"Yes, you just weren't listening before."

"I'm barely listening now."

"Shut up. This is called leadership skills." He watches Stiles eyes as they flit to the digital clock on Derek's nightstand. "Damnit. I really do have to go. But I'll be back." He gives Derek another kiss, quick and closed mouthed. "Bye."

"Bye. Good luck," Derek says and is struck with the realization that he wants mornings like this, Stiles running out the door with a kiss, for the rest of his life. He's breathless, chest tight as he hears the door shut.

The last time he fell for someone this hard it was Kate. Panic shoots through him at the very thought of being in love because, Jesus, that’s what this is. He's imagining a life ten, twenty, fifty years from now with Stiles in it and if that isn't love he doesn’t know what is.

He calls Oz because Oz has replaced Laura as his go-to contact in a crisis. His calm is contagious and Derek could use some zen. Oz shows up a couple hours later, with pizza like always, and this time he brings his guitar and his bass, shoving the latter at Derek.

"What the hell is this?"

"It is a bass."

"No, I can see that."

"We're going to play. Now man the fuck up and give me a bassline. You remember how. No one forgets."

Derek looks down at the instrument in his hands. He was not good at bass, or any instrument really. This is what he'd tried to play when he met Oz and he could pick out the bare bones of a tune. Still, he's not sure why Oz is doing this. "Is there a point to this?"

"Music soothes the savage beast," Oz says.

"And talking to plants makes them grow but I'm not going to chat up a ficus."

Oz rolls his eyes. "Just shut up and play."

He does and he sucks and fucks up and he struggles through Green Day and old school Fall Out Boy because Oz teched with a lot of the scene bands when he was in his early twenties and knows them all. "Plus," Oz says, "Wentz is a nice guy but a shit bassist. You can handle pretty much anything he wrote. Hell, my baby cousin can handle it and he doesn’t actually know how to hold a bass. His mom got him a flute. It's so wrong."

They're sitting in the living room, laughing over the mess that is Monday Warrior – Derek likes Rush, sue him – when Stiles gets home. He does a double take in the doorway before he steps inside. "I'm sorry," Stiles says. "I've got to be hallucinating but you look like you're playing guitar."

"It's a bass," Oz corrects. "And if that’s your idea of a hallucination you need better drugs or a more interesting life. Hey," he puts his guitar down and crosses the room to shake Stiles' hand. "I'm Oz."

"Oh. You're the werewolf guy from the hole in the ground. Cool. Nice to meet you."

"And you must be Stiles, the boyfriend."

"He's not my boyfriend," Derek blurts. They're not. They haven’t talked about what they are beyond friends who have had some truly spectacular sex.

Stiles face falls like a rock before he pulls his happy smile back into place. Derek kicks himself for opening his mouth but before he can apologize or explain, Stiles is charging ahead. He asks about Oz's music career and being a werewolf in New York and his thoughts on the closing of CBGBs and where he thought punk music originated – the US or the UK. It's a full on nervous babble the likes of which Derek hasn't heard since he stopped spending time in mortal peril with Stiles.

Oz just nods and hmms and occasionally throws in a pitch perfect reply. When Stiles runs out of steam Oz tips head to the side and says, "You remind me of a friend of mine from high school except he only has one eye." He waves a finger at his face. "Like Nick Fury."

Stiles stares at him. "You have a friend who lost an eye? What happened?"

"According to my ex, a psychotic priest dug it out with his thumb."

"Holy shit, are you serious?"


"Wow," Stiles breathes. "Kind of makes the whole werelizard thing seem sort of tame by comparison."


Silence falls over the room like a fog until Stiles says, "Wow. That's a conversation stopper."

"Stiles, come sit down," Derek says. He sets the bass carefully on the ground and holds out a hand. Stiles takes the offered hand as the peace offering that it was. All the same, Derek doesn’t feel better about the whole not my boyfriend thing until Stiles allows him to drape an arm around his shoulders.

"So, college, huh? I tried that. Wasn't my thing."

Stiles shrugs. "Apparently I'm too smart to spend my life flipping burgers if my dad is to be believed, and my main talent is withstanding abject terror."

"I've been there," Oz says with a nod.

"Oh man, you don't even know."

Oz tips his head. "Try me."

This devolves into the two trading stories of monster fighting, one upping each other although Oz is clearly in the lead because vampires. Derek didn't even know vampires existed. More unnerving is the number of incidents of Stiles almost dying since Derek left that Stiles never told him about.

When Oz finally leaves, hours later, Derek turns to face Stiles and says, "I thought things calmed down in Beacon Hills."

"Well, my friends aren’t turning into monsters. That is calmed down."

"But you're still in danger."

"I hang out with wolves. I just had sex with you, a wolf. I'm always in danger. Its called calculated risk."

Derek pulls his arm back so that he can squeeze the back of Stiles’ neck. "It's called stupidity. You can't do that, Stiles. You shouldn't still be in whatever mess my uncle is causing."

"Newsflash: you're not the boss of me and don’t get to tell me what to do."

"No, but I get to worry about you."

Stiles fidgets under his touch. "You don't really."

"I want you safe and I'm not apologizing for that."

"I've never known you to apologize for anything."

Derek stiffens. He isn't sure how they got here. They were making love twelve hours ago. Now Stiles is radiating anger.

"I don’t know what you want me to say," Derek admits.

"Nothing would be good right now, because every time you open your mouth you turn into-You're the same douchebag who left Beacon Hills and not the Derek that I'm- that I'm friends with, the one who gets that – in every way that matters – I'm an adult and treats me like one."

"I'm not telling you what to do. I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that you've been risking your life and not telling me. How could you not let me know?"

"I don’t know. Maybe because you're three thousand miles away and unable to help and unwilling, with bailing out of town as soon as the alpha pack was gone. We talked about the things that mattered."

Derek feels breathless. "So you thought that didn't matter?"

"Of course it matters. It just didn’t matter for you and me and whatever we have."

"Unless you died. Would anyone have even known to call me?"

"Scott and Isaac know we talk. Isaac would've called you and Scott would go and delete all my porn off my computer and tell the guys I play WoW with what happened," Stiles says with a shrug, as if this is no big deal, as if having a blasé contingency plan and phone tree in place in the event of his death is no big deal.

"You're serious."

"We had a banshee in town last month. She bought down the cafeteria with the sheer force of her voice. Of course I'm serious."

Derek is horrified. All this time and he had no idea, no fucking clue. "You never said."

"No. Because you're my normal, weirdly enough. I talk to you everyday and it reminds me that I'm just a guy, you know? I can worry about sports and grades and what I watch on TV. I need you to stay that, Derek. It helps me stay sane."

That silences Derek, but only momentarily. The memories of powerlessness against an enemy, of the very real presence of imminent death, of fear are all still there for him. They were just waiting for him to trip over them once again and the tear the truth from him. "What about what I need?"

Stiles looks around the room. "I don’t know. Great city, great home, great friends, if Oz is anything to go by. I'd say you've got everything you need."

"I don't," he chokes out. "Jesus."

"What does that even mean?"

"It means that they're gone," Derek shouts before he even realizes what he's saying. "They're all gone, Stiles."

"Your family," Stiles whispers but Derek can hear it like he's screaming. They don't talk about Derek's family, ever, just like they apparently don’t talk about Stiles still fighting supernatural evil back in Beacon Hills.

All the fight drains from him. "Yeah."

"Okay. I'm sorry. You know I'm sorry, Derek, I just don't see what that's got to do with me."

"I was alone. After Laura I was all alone and I was dealing with it. I was dealing with it, only now there's you. Stiles, how am I supposed to cope if you die just like everyone else I've ever loved and I could've done something to stop it?"

Stiles is up, off the couch and staring at him with his huge brown eyes. "What?"

"I can't just listen to you talk about getting hurt and not try and do something. So, I don’t know, I'll come back to Beacon Hills with you."

"Wait. Wait, whoa, go back." Stiles waves his hands. "I think we missed a few steps here. You want to go back to the part where you included me in the 'everyone you love' umbrella?"

"Why?" Derek frowns and tilts his head. "Didn't you know?"

"How the hell would I know anything? You're not chatty about your feelings and last I checked I wasn't your boyfriend."

"You're not." Derek says.

Of course that earns him another flinch. "Yes, I'm aware," Stiles snaps and takes steps back because great, Derek has managed to make things even worse.

They only have about 48 hours left before Stiles has to fly back to California. This isn't how Derek wanted to do spend it. Before things changed with that kiss, they'd been planning to spend this time together as at least friends, not fighting each other.

He's never been great at communicating so he closes his eyes. In the dark it feels just like it does when they're on the phone. Funny enough, that makes it easier.

"You're not, Stiles. We haven’t talked about that and according to everything you've ever said over the past eighteen months whenever Scott and Allison or Jackson and Lydia do their make-up and break-up routine, that sort of status is something that has to be discussed, and calmly."

"But it's open for discussion?"

Derek wants to tear out his own hair. He'd probably manage it if he puts his hands anywhere near his head. Instead he clenches and unclenches his fists and lets out a sigh. "What don't we talk about? Besides the fact that you've been endangering yourself on a regular basis."

"That’s because I'm not endangering myself. Danger finds me. And Scott. And pretty much the entire town in general, which you can't come back to, Derek, seriously. You hate it there."

"No, I hate the idea of you dying. I dislike Beacon Hills. There's a difference."

"Not that big of a difference. Derek, let it go."

Derek goes to his feet, grabs Stiles by the shirt and slams him into the entertainment center. This got through to him before, maybe it will work again now. "No," he snarls, wolf rumbling in his chest and throat. "I am not losing you, Stiles." He gives Stiles a little shake. "Not like that. You can decide that you don’t ever want to speak to me again, go to Stanford, go to fucking Oxford, go to University of Bangkok. I don't care so long as you're safe. Do you understand?"

Stiles beams at him and lifts up to cover Derek’s fists with his own sweaty palms. "I'm starting to."

"Good. Now tell me if you're going to stop being stupid or if you need me to come back to California with you."

"I need you to kiss me."

"Stiles, I'm serious."

"Me too. I need you to kiss me because you're totally in love with me, aren’t you?"

Derek kisses him rough and fast, tearing at him with his human teeth and sucking in his tongue. Stiles scrambles to return it just as Derek breaks away. "Yes, all right?" he breathes, his nose smashed against Stile's so that all his senses are drowning in him. "Jesus Christ. Yes. How is it that you don't know?"

"Because you never said anything. You have to use your words."

"Okay." Derek nods because he can work with that. Words are so important to him, fundamental to Stiles’ nature. He knows this so he wants to give them to Stiles. "I'm in love with you. I want you safe because I can't lose you. Understand?"

"I'm pretty sure I'm hallucinating but on the off chance that I'm not? Yes. Fuck, so much yes, and me too. I think I realized I was in love with you that day we talked about Connor, you know? You're always my first call."

"You're the only call that matters," Derek replies then Stiles is kissing him again.

Hands pull at clothes, buttons and zippers opening with frantic fingers and Derek says, "Stiles, please." He tears Stiles’ shirt off, literally ripping the fabric to pieces under his claws. Stiles moans at it, gives Derek a thrill to know that it's because of the wolf's presence, at the sharpness in his hands and teeth. Stiles doesn't just accept his wolf, he likes it. Loves it because that’s what he said. He said it and Derek thinks he can almost taste the emotion in Stiles' mouth.

"Derek," Stiles gasps as he kicks out of his jeans. "I want to- Jesus. Up."

The rags of Stiles’ shirt are still hanging off him when Derek hoists him off the ground. Derek’s own jeans and boxers are already around his ankles. He almost trips over them on his way across the room but manages to save it without taking either of them to the ground.

"Keen wolf reflexes," Stiles whispers in his ear before biting the lobe. His teeth dig so deep that on anyone else it would draw blood. Derek registers the pain but its distant compared to the impact, the buzz of ownership that he associates with affectionate bites. He whines like a kicked dog and tightens his grip on Stiles’ hips.

There is no way they're going to make it all the way to the bedroom. It's impossible. But Stiles did say he wanted to do something like this, standing, so Derek crosses to the wall and pins Stiles to it.

"Hang on," He breathes and Stiles does.

Stiles whimpers when Derek shoves a hand between them and jerks him off hard and fast. Stiles’ feet are digging into Derek’s back, and his teeth into Derek's jaw and neck. Every time Derek twists his wrist right or grinds their hips together, Stiles curses or shouts and then "Love you, Derek, Jesus, yes."

Derek chokes on that because it's too much. He can't really have this. But he does and he's coming on Stiles’ thigh and hip from friction and the smell of sex and Stiles, Stiles loving him. It's never been this good. Not ever and for a moment, he forgets that he's supposed to be getting Stiles off too.

"It's okay," Stiles murmurs. "This is good. Just like this." Derek shakes his head. He wants to feel Stiles come, wants to lick it off his fingers. He says this and Stiles groans, his head falling back against the wall with thump. "Okay. Okay yeah."

He's learning Stiles' body, all the places that elicit responses, the ones that bring him to a stop or have him jerking away. One day, Derek wants to know Stiles’ body well enough that he can bring him to orgasm in seconds, but for now he works with what he knows, pumping his fist over Stiles' cock until he comes, hot and hard between them, adding to the mess.

"Ngh," Stiles grunts.

Derek can’t tell if that was supposed to be a word or not. Assuming it is, assuming Stiles is always trying to talk, Derek hums in agreement.

When they've cleaned up and fallen back into bed, Derek tangles his fingers in Stiles’ hair and says, "I want you to think about New York."

They're lying on their sides facing each other, so Stiles’ eyebrows shooting towards his hairline is more of a horizontal move than a vertical one. The shock still makes Derek's pulse race with nerves.

"Meaning what exactly?"

"Meaning if everything is the same about all the schools you get into, maybe you could think about going to one of the ones you looked at here."

Stiles smiles. "Derek Hale, are you asking me to-"

"I'm asking you to think about New York," he says because Choose me and Move in with me and Marry me are all thoughts that are so not appropriate to say out loud. Not for this early in whatever relationship they're building and definitely too early in Stiles’ life, what with him still a couple months shy of eighteen and currently in high school.

"I'll make you a deal," Stiles says with barely suppressed grin. "Assuming I get in and assuming I get the same scholarships as the California schools, I'll come to New York if you promise to stay here and not follow me back to Beacon Hills like a crazy bodyguard."

Derek does not like this deal. "Stiles-" he protests but Stiles shakes his head.

"That's the deal. That’s my life. I'm going to go back home and make a bunch of decisions in which you have no say and when I graduate and move here, we'll talk about that changing."

"When," he echoes.

Smiling so wide it nearly cracks his face, Stiles nods. "When."

Knowing that Stiles is coming back doesn't make taking him to the airport and watching him leave any easier. They end up as that couple - the one who can't seem to stop kissing even though all the passengers and airport staff keep shooting them sidelong glances, the one that try to say good-bye and can’t manage it without cutting each other off for one more hug, one more touch.

"I'll call you later," Stiles promises just like he has on hundreds of other days. It's so familiar, so normal but for the first time, Derek finds that it is genuinely not enough.

"When you land."

"When I land is later. Buy a dictionary." Stiles kisses his temple, then his cheekbone, then his mouth. "I really do need to go."

"I know."

"I don't want to though."

"I know."

"And I love you too."

"I know."

That makes Stiles laugh. "Awesome. I always wanted my own Han Solo moment. Halloween – puffy white shirt and vest – complete the image. I'll be Luke Skywalker."

Halloween is nearly a year away and they're making plans for it. It helps Derek loosen his grip. "Maybe I want you to be Leia."

"Yeah, and maybe I want you to be Leia. If anyone's going to be Leia, it's going to be you. You have way bigger breasts than I do. I bet you could rock the slave Leia bikini."

Derek "hmms" and Stiles eyes light up. "Oh my god. You're thinking about it. You are actually considering it. I'm going to go now because this? This is the high-note I want this trip to end on. Be aware that I will be thinking about you when I jerk off later."

"You did get me Skype."

"Yes," Stiles agrees. "Yes I did. That was very smart of me. Go Team Stiles. There will be Team Stiles shirts made and everything."


"Yeah," Stiles agrees before kissing him again. It's the last they have time for and Derek uses all of his self-control not to hold Stiles back. He could keep him, force him to stay and the animal inside thinks that’s a great idea. Derek lets go though and watches until Stiles gets through security and rounds a corner where not even his heightened sight can follow.

About five seconds after that, his cell rings. It's Stiles. "I told you I'd call didn't I?"

Derek smiles at no one, the phone pressed to his ear. "You did."

"And I have. You can relax now."

"I'm relaxed."

"You're not and you're a liar. But you can. I'm going to call again when I get back to California and I'll see you in a few months. Then you'll wish you weren’t seeing me because I'll be making you help me move."

"Right," Derek agrees. It comes out rough and a little hollow, like he still can't believe this is happening. "I can do that."

"Mhm. We'll – shit. We're boarding? Already? I gotta go. Love you, bye."

The phone clicks off before Derek can even think to speak. He stands in the terminal, just holding his silent cell for a few moments before he says "You too"" into the empty air and slips the phone into his pocket.

Everything is sliding back into a lower volume, Derek realizes as he walks towards the airport's train station. Stiles has barely been gone half an hour and already it’s like someone has hit the mute button on his world.

That's okay though. Stiles told Derek on the ride in that he'd gotten an email from the Dean of Admissions office at Columbia about how he was eligible for early acceptance benefits, so he is coming back. The next time Derek picks Stiles up at the airport it will be for keeps, so until then, Derek will enjoy the quiet.

Hell, maybe he'll take a few pictures while he's at it. Stiles already bookmarked three different camera websites on his computer. Derek figures why not. Fiddling with his phone camera, he snaps a shot of an elderly couple holding hands on their laps across the aisle from him, pressed together yet completely in their own world, with the man resting his eyes and the woman reading a magazine.

He types 1st image of that photoessay and sends it to Stiles. It's six hours until he gets a reply and it reads Awesome – when do i get the next one?.

Derek was just kidding but it's clear Stiles isn't, hasn’t been since he first walked into the kitchen with his dinky little Nikon. He thinks about it and then decides that no, it’s not a joke, he's going to do this because why not? He's got a whole lot more "why not" in his life since leaving Beacon Hills.

So he loads his computer and clicks one of the links Stiles loaded on his laptop for camera stores. He hits send on his phone and tucks it in his shoulder and asks, "What do you know about shutterspeed and detachable lenses?" when Stiles picks up.

"About as much as I know about playing the didgeridoo. Hi. I'm home by the way."

"I'm glad."

"Me too. Let me Google that though. Photography can't be that hard to figure out, can it? I mean, if Tyra Banks can do it, so can you."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," he shoots back. He goes for gruff but he can't stop smiling. He's going to do this, try and put together something of his own, from his hands and his eyes and his humanity. It's kind of a big deal.

"I'm just keeping it real for you, wolf boy," Stiles says, ruining the gravity of Derek's decision with warmth and good humor. It confirms for Derek that even though they're currently three thousand miles apart, he's going forward and Stiles is coming with him. So where that lands them exactly doesn't matter, not to Derek. He's already home.