At least I won’t die a virgin.
Stiles almost laughs at the thought, but then he’s choking on leaves and dirt as they shove him down. The alphas are the ones laughing now, and one of them is on top of Stiles, and this alpha is hard and Jesus this is happening. The panic is an electric current in his veins as hands tear at his clothes, ripping his hoodie away, clawing his skin, his lungs burning as he gasps for air.
The ground is freezing, his cheek pressing into the hard earth, and the heat of their breath — their huffs of amusement — scald his flesh as his jeans are yanked down. Then his boxers, exposing him in the bitter air, and he kicks and flails uselessly. It just makes them laugh harder, a female voice at his ear saying she can’t wait for her turn.
Stiles sucks in enough air to shout, or maybe scream, but then there’s thunder reverberating all around them. He knows that roar, and as the alphas skip a beat, suddenly still and silent, a little ray of hope blooms around the lead ball of terror lodged in his chest.
Derek can’t fight them all, but somehow Stiles knows he’ll try.
But it seems a fight isn’t what the alpha pack are looking for, because the hands and breath and terrible weight on his back melt away. The pack’s truly joyous laughter echoes in the trees and then there’s just the forest.
Stiles struggles to tug his jeans up, fingers curled into fists and not cooperating. Then Derek is at his side, still half wolf, growling. Stiles jerks away, but Derek is somehow gentle as he practically lifts Stiles to his feet and straightens his clothing with choppy movements. Stiles’s favourite MCR t-shirt that he’s had since eighth grade is completely shredded, but at least his pants are mostly intact.
Then he’s surrounded in warm leather, and he blinks, not sure when Derek took his jacket off. But he’s not complaining, because even though he’s still shivering, he can breathe. He can even walk as Derek guides him through the trees, a powerful arm wrapped around Stiles’s shoulders.
It should totally be weird, because it’s not like he and Derek are friends or anything. Sure, they’ve been hanging out over Christmas break, which is extra long this year because of some other religious holiday and yay, diversity. But Scott is visiting his dad and Stiles is bored and Derek needs research help. His pack are MIA except for Peter, who's off doing God knows what but says it’s important, and Jackson, who went to Aspen with his family — and Lydia. Which Stiles should be jealous about, but…isn’t.
And it’s not like Stiles and Allison are going to kick back and play video games or whatever now that she and Scott are trying to stay apart. Even though the free world knows their forbidden love thing isn’t going anywhere and they’ll be sucking face long before they can give each other longing glances at the Valentine’s Day dance.
He blinks, and they’re still moving swiftly through the forest. “Why?” Stiles can barely scrape the word out of his throat, and he stumbles on a tree root.
Derek tightens his hold and keeps Stiles upright. He doesn’t say anything for long enough that Stiles thinks maybe he should repeat the question. Then he answers.
“It’s a game.”
Stiles swallows enough spit so he can speak. “You know, I really prefer a rousing round of Jenga. Or Pictionary. No, no, Scattergories. I bet you’d be awesome at it.”
Derek has no comment on his Scattergories ability and just keeps going, eyes darting left and right every once in a while, arm still solid around Stiles. So yeah, they’ve been spending time together, because Stiles doesn’t have anything better to do, and besides, he likes research. It really is a shame he can’t get any extra credit for it.
Derek’s abandoned warehouse abode now has a table and chairs, and he and Stiles have been sitting there the past couple of weeks, looking through all these old books Allison snuck out of her basement. Sometimes they actually talk, although usually it’s Stiles talking and Derek grunting. But once in a while, Derek will utter a few sentences. In a row, even.
They’re at the Camaro now, and Stiles doesn’t resist as Derek settles him in the passenger seat. Derek even does up Stiles’s seatbelt, which Stiles thinks he should comment on, because it’s not like he got hit with kanima juice or something. He’s fine. But then Derek’s already sliding behind the wheel, and Stiles keeps losing little pockets of time.
“We’ll get it tomorrow.”
Derek is back to human now, and staring at him with this expression Stiles can’t read. Then he leans over and Stiles’s stomach churns as he understands what Derek is sniffing for. His chest tightens like it’s in a vise and he can feel their hands on him again. Skin crawling, he turns his face to the window. “They didn’t…you got there in time.”
It sounds like Derek exhales, and Stiles thinks he even feels a flutter of breath. He sinks deeper into the seat, pulling Derek’s jacket around him tighter. As Derek turns the key, Stiles asks again, his breath fogging the glass. “Why?”
For long moments, there is only the purr of the engine, and Stiles isn’t sure he asked the question out loud. But then Derek answers.
“They think you’re mine.”
Stiles tumbles those nonsensical words over in his head, and when he blinks back to attention, they’re pulling onto his street. “Call Mulder.”
“I’m losing time.”
Derek parks across from Stiles’s house and peers at him closely. Then he’s touching Stiles’s head, prodding and poking.
Stiles bats his hand away. “I don’t have a concussion. Didn’t you ever watch The X-Files after school? Remember, in the pilot he and Scully are in the car and they lose time and—” He breaks off. “It doesn’t matter. I’m fine. Thanks for the ride. And for…” Stiles can’t seem to summon the right words, and he takes a shaky breath. “Just…thanks.”
Derek is still looking at him, and he reaches out again. This time his knuckle grazes Stiles’s cheek. Then he pulls his hand back and grips the steering wheel. “Dirt.”
“Right.” Stiles swipes at his face. “Thanks. Bye.”
Stiles is crossing the street when he realizes Derek is following, and he should probably put up a fight and tell Derek that he’s a big boy, but the house is so dark and his dad is working nights to cover his deputy’s holiday. So Stiles doesn’t say anything as Derek comes inside.
He goes up to his room and already feels better being home. He can hear faint noises that sound like maybe Derek is checking the doors and windows. Stiles calls down. “I’m good. You can go.” After a few moments, a door closes.
Derek’s jacket is heavy and smells good, and Stiles realizes too late that he’s still wearing it. He hangs it carefully on the back of his bedroom door. He’ll give it to Derek tomorrow, assuming Derek still wants his help, which he probably doesn’t because research assistants who run around the woods getting gang raped by alpha packs are probably more trouble than they’re worth.
Stiles laughs for a moment, a hysterical sound that is harsh to his own ears. Then he gulps down a glass of water in the bathroom and throws what’s left of his clothes in the trash, wondering if he could put them into the garbage disposal in the kitchen sink without jamming it.
He turns the shower on as hot as he can stand it and stays under the spray for a long time, scrubbing his skin and wishing he had one of those loofah things. The mirror is completely steamed when he gets out, and he doesn’t wipe it off. His terrycloth bathrobe is warm and fluffy, one of the gifts from “Santa” that had been under the little Christmas tree in the living room. It makes Stiles think of his dad, and he has to take a shuddering breath.
He’s stiff and sore and feels old as he shuffles across the hall. His heart skips a beat as he walks into his room and sees Derek sitting on the floor in the corner. They watch each other, and finally Stiles says, “I’m fine.”
But Derek doesn’t move, and Stiles decides that’s okay. He turns the light off and gets into bed, and his mind goes weirdly blank. Concentrating on the whisper of Derek's breathing, he sleeps.
Derek is gone in the morning, but his jacket isn’t. Stiles stares at it for a long time from under the covers.
In the bathroom he takes a deep breath and looks in the mirror. His face is okay, but there are bruises and scrapes on his body, which is to be expected when set upon by a pack of werewolves. He’s had better mornings, but at least he slept and he’s fine.
Then he sees it.
The scratch is about four inches long, slashing down from his ribs across his side. His heart thumps painfully, nausea roiling in his gut. He ghosts his fingertips across it to confirm that the skin is broken. It’s not too deep — but it’s deep enough.
Snippets of lore somersault through his mind, and Stiles struggles to make his lungs expand. It’s rare to be turned from a scratch, but there are stories, and once in a blue moon — wow, what an appropriate cliché — someone goes full wolf when the blood is infected, and Jackson was definitely not the same after he got scratched and—
Stiles races out of the bathroom, gets dressed and goes downstairs for breakfast, because this? This is not happening.
There’s a note from his dad asking about the Jeep, and Stiles scrawls back that it’s in the shop and he’s picking it up. He’s not hungry for the first time in ever, but forces himself to get down a piece of toast and peanut butter. He debates whether to call Derek or just go on his own, which would mean walking out to the woods. He grips the counter, pulse racing at the idea.
There’s a tap at the kitchen window, which should be creepy, but isn’t. Stiles tells him he’ll meet him out front, speaking through the glass since Derek can hear for miles.
Derek’s wearing a grey sweater and looks weirdly…vulnerable without his leather jacket. When Stiles gives it back to him by the car, Derek just slips it on, and they get on the road. Stiles gives Derek a peanut butter sandwich he slapped together, and Derek eats it as they wind their way out of town.
“What were you doing out here?” Derek finally asks.
“Looking for a plant. I read something in one of the books. It’s like wolfsbane, but grows all year round. Even in the snow. Not that we have any snow, but there’s frost, so. I just thought I’d look.”
“It’s dangerous to go alone.”
Stiles tries to laugh. “Yeah, I got that memo. I’m putting the new coversheet on my TPS report.”
Derek’s brow furrows.
“Seriously, you haven’t seen Office Space? It’s a classic. You had a TV, right?”
“If I hadn’t been there…”
Stiles closes his eyes and tries to block the images from his mind with limited success. “I know.” He fiddles with the sleeve of his jacket and resists the urge to reach under his shirt and prod the scratch. He remembers being on the ground, twigs and leaves rough beneath him, and it must have been how he got scratched. Has to be. A thought occurs, and Stiles opens his eyes. “Why were you there?”
Derek seems strangely flustered for a moment before his mask drops back over his features. “I heard something.”
“Oh. Right, that supersonic hearing. But—”
“So you should probably lay low. Stay away from me until this is settled.”
Stiles’s stomach clenches. “How are you going to settle it on your own?”
“Scott and Jackson will be back next week. Isaac will help when I get Scott on board.”
“Erica and Boyd?” Stiles has been hoping they just skipped town, and he and Derek have avoided the subject.
Derek’s jaw clenches. “They’re dead or they’ve taken a new alpha.”
“How…how do you know?”
“I just know.” Derek pulls up to where Stiles’s Jeep waits at the end of the dirt road.
Stiles never liked them much, but he really hopes they’re not dead. “Okay.” He digs his keys out of his pocket and twirls the key ring on his finger. “Well, thanks for the ride. I guess I’ll see you whenever.”
“Stay away. Or else you’re a target.”
“Because they think I’m…they think I matter to you.”
Derek keeps his gaze on the windshield. “Right.”
“But I don’t. Obviously.”
Derek doesn’t blink. “Right.”
On the drive back, Derek stays in Stiles’s rear view mirror until Stiles is about to turn onto his street. Then the Camaro is gone, and Stiles goes home and plays Halo. When his dad appears in the doorway, Stiles realizes hours have somehow gone by and it’s already getting dark outside. His dad asks what’s wrong.
Stiles smiles, and it feels brittle on his face, like it did for months after the funeral. “Nothing.”
The alphas are getting closer.
Stiles can’t get up, his legs folding beneath him as he tries again and again to find his feet and run. Their shrill laughter is deafening, teeth and claws ripping into him, and he can’t stop them. They’re tearing into him, tearing him open, inside out and—
Gulping in air, Stiles jerks and opens his eyes, his heart pounding. The relief washes over him and he unclenches, still curled on his side as he takes in the familiar shapes of his room in the faint streetlight. There’s a warm, unfamiliar hand on his shoulder, but Stiles knows without looking that he’s safe, and that it’s Derek. Which is bizarre, because how does he know that just from the smell of leather and pine and Derek’s particular…Derekness?
Okay, maybe they’ve spent more time together lately than Stiles really acknowledged, because when he rolls onto his back of course it’s Derek. Derek, who has one knee on the mattress as he leans over Stiles, and there’s something…intimate about the whole thing here in the dark before dawn that makes Stiles’s stomach flip-flop.
Stiles clears his throat. “I thought I wasn’t supposed to hang out with you? Because it’s been less than twenty-four hours and you’re kind of sucking at it.”
Derek straightens up and motions to the window. “You need better locks.”
“It broke in sixth grade when Scott and I tried to see how much force it could take. Not much, as it turns out. But it’s never really been an issue until, well, nowish.”
“I’ll check the rest of the house.”
Stiles sits up and opens his mouth to say that he already secured the perimeter, but Derek’s gone. Flopping back down, Stiles sighs. It took him forever to fall asleep with every creak and noise jolting him awake, and he feels like he didn’t rest at all. He closes his eyes, but snippets of the nightmare flicker in his mind, and he sits up again, rubbing his face.
Whenever he can’t sleep or needs to clear his head, his go-to remedy is to jerk off. But he can’t exactly do that with Derek downstairs. The thought makes his throat go dry, and he gulps from the glass of water on his nightstand.
Masturbation has always been an art form with Stiles. He used to take his time, devising whole storylines where he’d woo and win Lydia and she’d thank him in a…special way. But lately he’s been getting himself off as quickly as possible, furtive and rushed and always a little guilty afterwards, which is stupid.
A little voice pipes up that it’s because lately Stiles has been thinking of something darker and rougher, leather and red eyes, images he doesn’t let himself dwell on as he comes in record time. And God, he shouldn’t even be thinking about jerking off with Derek downstairs! He shouldn’t be thinking about it at all.
Which is ridiculous, because what does he have to be ashamed of? He’s a healthy teenaged boy, and he can think about whatever he wants while he gets off. He’s totally normal, and nothing’s going to change that. Nothing.
The memories return, hands and breath and the chill of the night air on his bare skin, and Stiles shudders. Now he wants to jerk off just to prove that he can, because he’ll be damned if he lets the alphas change anything. He’s fine.
Stiles realizes he’s worrying the scratch on his side and making it worse, rubbing it with his fingers as if he can erase it like an errant pencil mark. It would have healed if it had done anything, and he feels totally normal, and okay, he doesn’t, he feels like his skin is too tight, like his bones are going to burst through and he’s all angles and it’s all wrong and—
He whips his hand into his lap as Derek appears in the doorway, brows drawn together. “What?” Stiles snaps. He curls his fingers into fists.
“Your heart rate. You were scared.” Derek glances at the window. “I thought maybe…”
“I’m not scared! Jesus, it was a stupid dream. I’m fine. What the hell do you care anyway?”
Derek’s expression hardens. “I don’t.”
“I mean, since when are we friends?” The little voice whispers that they’ve been friends for a while now, and Stiles tells it to shut the hell up.
“We’re not.” Derek strides to the window, because it would apparently be too normal to leave via the front door like non-supernatural beings. He slams the window up and hops out. His voice floats back. “Fix the goddamn lock.”
Sleep won’t return, and Stiles watches the sun inch over the horizon. When his dad comes home and edges open the bedroom door, Stiles parts his lips and pretends, the blankets pulled up around his neck to hide any bruises.
He waits until his dad is asleep before going to shower. Glancing at himself in the mirror as he steps into the tub, he sees that the bruises are mottling into a lovely yellow and purple while the scratch remains an angry red. If anything, it’s worse, the skin around it inflamed.
Which means he must be fine, although Jackson’s scratch wouldn’t heal and he got worse, and then he became a giant fucking killer lizard and maybe the scratch had something to do with it after all, and maybe, maybe, maybe—
Stiles chokes down a scream, and he’s back in the woods, and he can’t get away and he twists the hot water tap higher and scours his skin, eyes closed until he can breathe again.
It’s still early when he texts Derek.
Do you have a gun?
The reply comes in thirteen seconds.
Stiles taps the screen.
I want to learn.
The Camaro pulls up before Stiles can even put on his shoes.
“You’re supposed to talk.”
Blinking, Stiles turns away from the window. “Huh?”
Derek blows out a long breath, eyes locked on the winding road. “You haven’t said anything since you got in the car.”
“You hate it when I talk.”
“That’s not the point.”
“So what is the point?” Stiles glances out at the forest. “Where are we going, anyway?”
“See? We’ve been driving for an hour and you’re just asking now where we’re going.”
“I…sorry?” Stiles rubs a hand over his face. “So…where are we going?”
“A cabin in the woods? That always ends well. Whose cabin?”
Derek doesn’t answer right away. “It’s been in my family for generations. But I haven’t been there since…not for a long time.”
Awkward. “Oh.” Stiles fiddles with the heating vent.
“Are you cold?” Frowning, Derek turns up the heat.
Actually, Stiles is kind of hot in his tee, flannel shirt and jacket, but he just nods. “Thanks. So…why the cabin?”
“It’s far enough away that they won’t catch the scent.”
“Right. Good. I do prefer my forests without the gangs of marauding alphas.”
Derek’s face does this thing that’s kind of a wince or maybe like he ate some bad shellfish, but then it’s gone, and they drive on. After a while, Stiles asks, “Are we almost there, Papa Smurf?”
Derek’s lips twitch.
“Wait, did you get that one? Oh my God, you did. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.” Stiles raises his arms and does a mock cheer.
“Yes, my little smurf.”
Stiles laughs, really laughs, and it feels so good that for a moment he can only smile. Derek might even be chuckling as he turns onto a dirt road that’s really a glorified path. Branches reach out to scrape the side of the car, and Stiles’s smile fades.
The wooden cabin has seen better days, but considering it hasn’t been used for years at least it’s still standing. The planks on the little porch creak under his feet, and the windows are so dirty Stiles can barely see in. He expects Derek to go inside and show him the place, but instead Derek opens the Camaro’s trunk and starts unloading empty bottles for target practice. Why he even has empty bottles for target practice is anyone’s guess, and Stiles refrains from asking.
There’s a little clearing behind the cabin, and Derek sets up the bottles on a big rock. The gun is sticking out of a duffel bag on the ground, and Stiles picks it up, testing its surprising weight in his hand.
“Careful.” Derek’s voice is sharp.
“I’m not going to pull the trigger or anything.”
“You still need to be careful. It’s not a toy.”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “Thanks, dad. Yeah, I know. Believe me, I’ve heard the whole speech before. The safety’s on.”
Derek is close now. “You sure?”
He’s pretty sure, but Stiles checks anyway. “Yes. See? Besides, it’s not loaded, is it?”
“Always assume a gun is loaded.”
Stiles can’t think of a comeback, because yeah, Derek’s right. He hands it over the way he would a pair of scissors, dangerous end in his palm, and Derek loads the bullets, showing him how they slide into the clip and then into the gun. It seems easy enough.
Derek stands behind him, and Stiles aims for the bottles. “Should I just…shoot?”
“Do you have a target?”
“Yep.” Stiles closes one eye. “I squeeze, right? Gently?”
Then Derek’s hand is covering his, and he’s standing right behind Stiles. He adjusts Stiles’s grip on the gun. “Like that. Does that feel better?”
Stiles nods, and Derek’s other hand is on his shoulder, and then his waist, adjusting his stance. Derek steps back, which is for the best because the nervous fluttering in Stiles’s stomach has progressed to a dry throat and sweaty palms, and he’s clearly losing his mind because what is that?
He decides it’s shock or something, because he’s been around Derek plenty of times without this reaction. And okay. Maybe he’s been feeling some…new things about Derek for a while now, but now is really not the time to think those thoughts out loud, or whatever.
He swallows hard. “Uh huh?”
“You don’t have to do this now.” Derek comes around and lowers Stiles’s arm with a gentle push. “Allison’s still working on getting the wolfsbane bullets, so there’s no rush. We can just—”
“Allison?” Stiles jerks back, the gun still in his hand. “You told Allison? Did you tell her about…” His heart pounds, chest tightening. “Did you tell her?”
Derek shakes his head. “I asked her to find out how they make the special bullets. She’s going to get some out of their stock, but we want to be able to make our own when those run out.”
“That’s all you said? She didn’t wonder why?”
“She knows why.”
“Because you told her!” His skin crawls and Stiles breathes shallowly, trying to stave off the panic.
“No. Stiles, the reason why is that there’s an alpha pack threatening Beacon Hills. I didn’t say anything about you.”
“So you and Allison are just having nice little chats these days? Sure, she lent me the books, but now she’s helping you when you ask? Out of the goodness of her heart?”
“I’m the devil she knows. She doesn’t want the alpha pack here either.” Derek’s eyes flick down to the gun. “Why don’t we do this later?”
“No! I want to do it now. I just…you can’t tell anyone. You won’t tell anyone, right?”
Derek takes a step closer, his voice low. “Stiles, what they were going to do…what they did…you have nothing to be ashamed of.”
“I know that!” Stiles sputters, waving his hand — and by extension the gun. It’s heavy and he wants to throw it, but instead he takes aim at the bottles and pulls the trigger. Bang, bang, bang, bang until the clip is empty. The bottles still stand there, completely unscathed, mocking him. He tosses the gun on the ground and clenches his fists. “I’m fine!”
Silent, Derek watches him with an expression that could be called tender, and Stiles needs to get back in control because tears are prickling his eyes and he cannot cry. No, not happening. He forces a smile. “It was nothing. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of experience being manhandled by werewolves.”
Something that looks like hurt flickers across Derek’s face, and he blinks.
The guilt flares, and it’s actually a welcome relief from the rage. Stiles takes a few steps toward Derek. “I didn’t mean you would ever…you’re not like them.”
“Aren’t I?” Derek runs a hand through his hair roughly. “I’ve done plenty of terrible things.”
“Not like that. Look, even when you’re trying to be an alpha badass, deep down you care about people. You protect them. So don’t get all introspectively existential or anything. You’re one of the good ones.”
Derek looks away, eyes on the ground.
Even several feet apart, Stiles can see the vulnerability etched on Derek’s face. “Did I say thank you? I don’t remember. But in case I didn’t…thank you.”
Derek meets his gaze. “When I find them, they’ll pay for what they did.”
“As long as I get to help.” He tries again to smile. “I know I’m pretty, but I’m no damsel in distress.”
Derek nods and looks like he has something else to say, but only exhales.
There are a few moments of silence. “Scott’s going to know.”
Stiles’s heart skips a beat. “How? Because of some wolf thing?” He rubs his side, the wound aching.
“Because he’s your best friend and he’ll know something’s wrong. I won’t tell him. But you should.”
Stiles shakes his head. “Scott has enough going on. I’m—”
“Fine.” Derek finishes the sentence for him.
Crossing his arms, Stiles sighs. “Okay. I’m not fine. But I will be.” The scratch throbs, as if to argue with him. “Can I…can I ask you something?”
“If the alphas…” He rubs a hand over his head. “If they bit me or whatever, would they…could I still pick you?”
Derek stands up straighter and Stiles can practically see the hackles rising on him, eyes widening. His gaze zeroes in on Stiles’s side, and Derek closes the distance between them in the blink of an eye.
“It’s nothing. It’s a scratch.”
Dropping to his knees, Derek grips the hems of Stiles’s shirts under his open jacket, hauling them up. “Show me.”
“Okay, okay.” He slaps at Derek’s hands, and Derek stops, the tension radiating off him so strongly that Stiles definitely doesn’t need to be a werewolf to pick up on it.
Pulse racing, Stiles shrugs out of his jacket. He takes a deep breath and lifts up his shirts to expose the scratch, eyes closing. One of Derek’s hands rests on Stiles’s hip, and with the other he traces the gash, fingertips barely touching. Stiles concentrates on breathing and staying upright, shivering as Derek leans in, breathing deeply, the tip of his nose and lips grazing Stiles’s stomach.
When Derek’s grip on his hips relaxes, Stiles opens his eyes, heart in his throat. “Well?”
Derek’s face is still pinched, his jaw barely unclenching as he speaks. “It’s just a scratch. But it’s getting infected.”
Stiles exhales, wavering slightly as Derek marches off to the car before returning with a first aid kit that has a red cross on the front of it and everything. He tugs on Stiles’s sleeve and gets him to sit down at a rickety picnic table near the cabin. Derek kneels on the ground and rummages through the kit.
“You’re sure?” Stiles says a silent prayer of thanks to God or Mother Nature or Xenu or whoever’s in charge these days. “You’re not just telling me what I want to hear, right?”
“What good would that do?”
I don’t know! You’re just really intense right now and I wanted to make sure.”
Derek motions for Stiles to lift his shirts again. He dabs the gash with something that stings like a — “Son of a bitch!” Stiles compresses his lips. “Seriously, ow.”
“Don’t be a baby.” Derek unfolds a square bandage.
“Listen, not all of us have super duper healing powers.”
Derek arches an eyebrow. “It wouldn’t be so bad if you’d stop poking it.” Then he exhales sharply. “You should have told me. If you ever think…if something ever happens…” He stops what he’s doing and stares so intently that goose bumps spread up Stiles’s arms. “You need to tell me.”
Stiles nods, but Derek is still staring, so he adds, “I’ll tell you.”
Derek just watches him, and one of his hands rests on Stiles’s thigh, his thumb rubbing back and forth. Breath caught in his throat, Stiles licks his lips. Then Derek blinks, and he bites off pieces of medical tape and slaps the bandage on Stiles’s stomach before standing up and striding away.
“Do you want to learn how to shoot or not?”
Back in place in the middle of the clearing, Stiles aims for the bottles. He asks Derek to show him one more time, and Derek’s hands are warm and strong. Stiles leans back against him, and breathes again.
“Why not? Come on, Derek.”
Stiles crosses his arms, watching the road in the side view mirror. His foot jiggles. He adjusts his seatbelt. He reaches for the radio and flicks the dial even though it’s not on. Then he turns back to Derek, words spilling out. “What’s the point of me learning how to shoot if you won’t let me keep the gun?”
“Guns are dangerous.”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “Uh, yeah. So is the alpha pack.”
“Which you will be avoiding. There might come a time when we need you on a mission, and if we do, you’ll know how to use the gun. But I’m not letting you carry it around. What’s your plan? Tuck it in your waistband? Stash it in your backpack? Last time I checked, carrying a concealed weapon is a felony.”
“Actually I think it might be a misdemeanour unless there are other circumstances like I’m using it in the commission of a crime.” At Derek’s expression, Stiles sighs. “All right, I guess carrying a loaded gun around isn’t a good idea. But what if I need to go rescue you guys? It’s happened before.”
“Then you come and get the gun from my cache. This town isn’t that big.”
Stiles begrudgingly accepts that this plan has merit. “Okay, fine. Wait, so are you giving me a key to your place? Does your creepy warehouse lair have a lock?”
Derek sighs in a way that can only be described as longsuffering. “I’ll show you how to get in and where I keep the weapons.”
“Don’t you miss living in a house? Like, an actual house with four walls and a roof?”
Derek doesn’t say anything as he drives on, but Stiles is starting to differentiate between his broody glares and stares. This one is undeniably sad, and Stiles realizes it was a pretty stupid question, since there are a lot of things Derek probably misses. A lot of people. Okay, time for a subject change.
“So, tomorrow moving targets, right? Because I don’t think the alphas will be good little werewolves and sit still for me. Besides, I’m awesome at this whole shooting thing now.”
Derek doesn’t take his eyes off the road. “You’re all right.”
Stiles raises his eyebrows. “Wow. Coming from Derek Hale, that is a ringing endorsement. I’m clearly a master marksman. Master marksman. Bet you can’t say that that five times fast. Or backwards. Marksman master, marksman master —”
“After a week? Not quite.” Derek’s trying to be his grouchy self, but a little smile plays on his lips as he pulls up across from Stiles’s house.
“You wanna come back after my dad goes to work? I can kick your ass at Halo.”
Derek shoots him a dubious look. “You could try.”
“Do you even know what Halo is?”
“Describe it to me. No detail too small.”
Derek huffs, and then shakes his head. “I have stuff to do anyway.”
“Like loiter in my neighbourhood, acting like you’re not standing guard? You might as well just sleep over.”
And suddenly the atmosphere in the car shifts, the easy lightness evaporating. Stiles wishes he could go back in time (seriously, only a few seconds — it doesn’t seem like too much to ask) and stop himself from saying it out loud. Even though he knows — and Derek obviously knows — that Derek’s been lurking around, they’ve been pretending otherwise.
“I have stuff to do,” Derek repeats, eyes on the windshield.
“Yeah, totally.” Stiles reaches for the door handle, then stops. “But you know, it helps. If you’re around. I sleep better. Still not great, but better. Just…for the record, or whatever.”
Derek nods, barely more than a jerk of his head.
“So anyway, I’ll see you in the morning?” Stiles tells himself to breathe and be normal, but tomorrow’s the last day before Scott and everyone comes back and Stiles really wants to go to the cabin again and hopes he hasn’t messed this up. Whatever this is.
Derek looks at him now. “I’ll be here.”
Then he whips his head around, and Stiles leans forward to catch a glimpse of whatever Derek’s looking at. His stomach clenches. “Um, I’d better go.”
“Yeah.” Derek looks about ready to gun the engine before Stiles can even get out.
But as Stiles crosses the street, Derek drives away normally, no peeling tires or pedal to the metal. Which is a good thing, because Stiles’s dad watches the Camaro leave with an expression of confusion, concern, anger and determination. He’s not in his uniform yet, and he shouldn’t look intimidating in his sweat pants and t-shirt and moccasin slippers, but he so does.
Stiles waves and brushes by him into the house. “Hey Dad. You’re up early. Want Hamburger Helper for dinner?” Stiles tosses his coat onto a hook and backpack on the floor and heads right for the kitchen, glad his dad can’t hear his heart pounding. “Or we could try those baked curly fries. Probably not as good as the real ones, but—”
“That was Derek Hale.”
“Hmm?” Stiles opens the freezer. “These fish sticks are low in saturated fat.”
He puts the fish sticks back and leans against the fridge. “Yes. It was Derek Hale. Might I remind you he was totally exonerated of all charges?”
His dad just watches him. “What were you doing with Derek Hale?”
“Nothing. He just gave me a ride.”
“The mall.” Stiles motions with his arm in the general direction of downtown.
“Why didn’t you take the Jeep?”
Well, that was a great question. “Oh, it’s acting up again. Gotta take it to the shop. So anyway—”
“Are you doing drugs?”
“What? No!” Stiles is legitimately outraged. “Dad, be real.”
His dad breathes in sharply. “You’re telling me to be real? You have circles under your eyes and you’ve been avoiding me. The groceries have barely been touched, and you’re spending your days with someone who is not Scott. And it looks like it’s Derek Hale. Hale might not be a murderer, but last time I checked he was quite a few years out of high school.”
“You’re making a big deal out of nothing.”
His dad slams his fist down on the counter. “This is not nothing!”
Pulse racing, Stiles nods. “Okay. I’m sorry.”
“You’ve been keeping secrets for months, and I’ve tried to give you space. I know it isn’t easy growing up. Especially without…” He breaks off.
“Dad…” Stiles swallows hard. “Dad, I’m fine.”
“I’ve put up with a lot from you. That nonsense with Jackson, you and Scott always somehow showing up wherever there’s trouble. I lost my job, Stiles. But I’m not going to stand by and be clueless old dad while you get involved in something dangerous.”
The guilt over the firing roils his stomach, all too familiar. “Dad, it’s…” Well, it is pretty dangerous, but he can’t admit that. “It’s not what you think. I’m not doing drugs. I promise.”
“Then what are you doing?” He rubs his hand through his hair. “Derek Hale? What could he possibly want with you?”
It shouldn’t, but it stings, and Stiles huffs. “Nothing. Because why would anyone want to spend time with me?”
“There are plenty of reasons, and you know it. Don’t give me that. The question is why Derek Hale in particular wants to spend time with you. Say I believe that you’re not doing drugs. I know you’re not dating him so—”
“Not in this outfit,” Stiles mutters.
His dad’s brow creases. “What?”
“Remember, you decided I’m not gay because apparently my sense of style doesn’t measure up.” It’s so ridiculous that Stiles even remembers that, and that it hurts, and maybe if he’s honest it hurt at the time but he pushed it aside because he had a few rather pressing issues to deal with.
His dad blinks, as if he’s seeing Stiles for the first time. He opens his mouth and closes it. “That wasn’t…you weren’t really at that club because… Stiles, what are you saying?”
Whoa, whoa, what is he saying? Time out. This conversation just entered a whole different territory, and Stiles backpedals rapidly. “Nothing. I’m not saying anything. I was just kidding around. Look, Dad—”
His dad stands up straighter like a light bulb has just gone off in his head. “Are you… involved with Derek Hale?” His voice takes on a steely tone. “Have you…has he done something? With you?”
“Jesus, I’m not a child. He’s not molesting me or anything.”
His dad’s eyes narrow. “You didn’t answer the question. And you may not think you’re a child, but what teenager does?” He jabs his finger in the air. “But in the eyes of the law you’re a child. And you are my child, and I want to know what’s going on.” He takes a deep breath, and this vein in the side of his head throbs. “Has he been physical with you?”
“No!” It’s the truth, although the supremely unhelpful little voice whispers, not yet, and Stiles shoves it down ruthlessly. “Dad, I’m not lying. He helped me with some jerks giving me a hard time, and it turns out he’s an okay guy. So we’ve been hanging out. That’s it.”
His father’s face creases, and after a long moment, he shakes his head slowly. “I don’t believe you.”
“Dad…” Stiles has to swallow hard over the lump in his throat at the sadness in his father’s voice, and okay, maybe Stiles isn’t telling him everything, but he can’t.
Turning on his heel, his dad stalks out of the kitchen to the front hall. Without another word he unzips Stiles’s backpack, dumping the contents onto the floor, and thank God Derek wouldn’t let Stiles take the gun home.
“Dad, what are you looking for? Drugs? Condoms?”
His father paws through the pile on the floor, candy bar wrappers and lacrosse gloves and the usual crap Stiles carries around. “Sure! For starters.” A thought must occur to him, because suddenly he’s on his feet, finger in Stiles’s face. “If you’re having sex, you’d better be using condoms!”
“Oh my God, I’m not having sex! And I’m not doing drugs! What, you want to check for track marks?” Stiles yanks up the sleeve of his shirt, remembering too late.
His dad grabs his arm. “How did you get these bruises?”
They’ve faded a lot, but even in the low light of the foyer, the marks are clear on Stiles’s pale skin. “It was nothing.” Stiles twists out of his father’s grip and tugs his sleeve down.
An expression that might be called murderous comes over his father’s face. “Did he hurt you?”
“No! It wasn’t Derek!”
“Then who? Tell me!”
“I told you, it was some stupid jerks!”
His dad grips his shoulders. “Who? Those kids from the other lacrosse team? Or was that a lie, too?”
Chest rising and falling rapidly, Stiles squirms away. “No. I don’t know who they were.” As his father opens his mouth, Stiles raises his hand. “Just let me finish.” He takes a deep breath, and his dad waits, frozen. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I got mouthy with the wrong assholes. Derek stopped them. That’s all.” It’s partly true.
“What place? What time? You’re going to tell me immediately who did this to you, and we’re filing a report and I’m going to find them and—”
“Dad! Stop. Please just…stop.”
For a moment, his dad can’t seem to speak. “Why didn’t you tell me? Don’t you know you can trust me?”
Stiles swallows thickly. “I didn’t want to worry you. I’ve caused enough trouble for you. And it was stupid.” His voice breaks, and tears slip down his cheeks. “It was my fault—”
Then his dad is hugging him so tightly, and Stiles doesn’t know why he’s crying, because he’s fine, but this pressure that’s been building boils over and he can’t stop it. And he doesn’t want to, because it feels good, breathing in the familiar aftershave, the reassuring strength of his dad’s arms around him.
The tears keep coming, and he lets them out, heaving sobs until he’s just sniffling. They stay like that for a long time, his dad rubbing his back until Stiles can straighten up and step back, wiping at his eyes.
His dad’s voice is gravelly. “So about this wrong place…”
“Out in the woods. There was a party and it got out of hand. I promise I learned my lesson.”
“And Derek Hale was at this party?”
“No, he was just in the area. I think he was visiting his old house. He goes there sometimes. It’s really hard for him — you know, everything that happened when he was my age.” Maybe it’s a little shitty to play on his dad’s sympathy, but it’s not like it’s untrue.
“Yes, I imagine it is hard for him. So he was there, and he helped you.”
“Yeah.” Stiles wipes his nose on his sleeve. “Look, Derek’s not…he puts on this whole cool and dangerous act. But if you get to know him, he’s not really like that.”
“Okay. And you’ve…gotten to know him.”
“Yeah. He’s been a good friend.”
“Okay.” His dad blows out a long breath. “Okay,” he repeats. “But you’ve got to start talking to me. Even if I am the sheriff, I’m always your dad, and I can help you. I want to help you.”
Stiles nods. “I know. I’m sorry. I’m trying, Dad. I really am.”
“Maybe we can both try a little harder, huh?” He gazes down at the floor and then back up. “And what you said before…” He waves his hand. “About your clothes…you know that wouldn’t matter to me.”
Stiles nods reflexively. “Uh huh. Okay. But I’m not, so it’s fine.”
“Not really. Maybe. A little.” Stiles rubs his damp face. “Maybe more than a little.” This had to be another nightmare. He was not really saying these words out loud. “Can we not do this right now? You need to get dressed for work. I’ll start dinner.”
But his dad doesn’t move an inch. “You know I love you, no matter what. Gay or straight or bisexual. Whatever and whoever you are. There is nothing you can’t talk to me about.”
Oh, how Stiles wishes that were true. For a moment he’s sorely tempted to lay it all out: werewolves, alphas, hunters, everything. It puts his own issues with how he might feel about another guy into perspective. “I know.”
“And Derek Hale is only a friend.” It wasn’t a question. “Because you realize you’re not even seventeen yet.” He’s using his hardnosed cop voice again.
Stiles has to resist the urge to laugh, because a year ago he probably would have agreed about the whole underage dating thing, but after all the crap he’s dealt with — the life and death shitstorm his world has become — seeing a guy a few years older doesn’t even rate. Not that he’s seeing Derek. “We’re just friends.”
Nodding, his dad turns to go. “All right, fire up those curly fries and some pork chops.”
“And some vegetables. Or a salad,” Stiles adds.
His dad grumbles his way upstairs, and Stiles goes to preheat the oven, feeling lighter than he has in a long time. It may not have been the whole truth, but it’s a start.
Halfway to the cabin, Stiles decides Kelly Clarkson is underrated.
Since there was no way in hell his dad wasn’t going to be peeking out the window even though he was supposed to be sleeping, Stiles texted Derek from the Jeep and told him to meet at the cabin this time, even though Derek was probably already following him. It’s still not creepy and is actually comforting, so Stiles is just going with the lurking for now.
He still hasn’t spotted the Camaro behind him, and he sings along to the radio at the top of his lungs because Kelly’s right and what doesn’t kill him makes him stronger. And there have been plenty of things lately that have tried to kill him, or at least do him serious bodily harm. So he’s standing a little taller, and he’s a fighter, and who cares if this song is really about a breakup? It applies.
The signal starts to waver, so after the song’s over Stiles switches the radio off, wishing he hadn’t forgotten his iPod adapter. But it’s okay, because the quiet is peaceful, and it’s a grey, damp day, so he’s got the road to himself for the most part. So he drives along, the asphalt cutting a swath through the soaring trees, and waits for Derek to vroom up behind him.
The deer appears as he turns a corner and crests a small hill. He hits the brakes, the Jeep skidding on the wet leaves before coming to a crooked stop. Heart thumping, Stiles leaps out and approaches the fallen animal. There’s blood matted in the doe’s fur, two of her legs crumpled beneath her at terrible angles. Her eyes are wide, flank lifting and lowering with laboured, wheezing breaths.
Kneeling beside her, Stiles reaches out, his hand hovering, not sure if he’ll make it worse and scare her more. A squeal of tires sends a shiver up his spine, and then Derek flies around the Jeep and crouches beside him.
“Are you hurt?” Derek surveys him intently, hands on Stiles’s arms, shoulders, face.
Shaking his head, Stiles points to the doe, and Derek seems to see her for the first time. “They just left her here.”
“I don’t know. There was a truck ahead of me a while back. I guess it was them. Who does that? How could they hit her and not stop?”
“Stiles!” Derek’s fingers dig into his arms. “It could have been a trap. Did you even stop to think before you got out?”
Stiles can only look at the deer dying on the cracked asphalt. “She’s hurt, Derek.”
Derek’s jaw unclenches and he sighs. “You need to put yourself first sometimes.”
“Do you think if we took her to Scott’s boss, he could do something?” Stiles already knows the answer, but has to ask.
Turning his attention to the doe, Derek smoothes his palm over the animal’s neck, murmuring to her. He shakes his head. “There’s too much damage.”
Stiles caresses the doe. “Wrong place, wrong time.”
“Best thing we can do is put her out of her misery.” Derek pats her a last time, and extends his claws.
“Wait. I want to do it.”
After a moment of intense staring that makes Stiles squirm, Derek nods and goes to the Camaro. When he returns with the gun, Stiles stands and takes it from him. He goes through the checklist and makes sure it’s loaded properly and the safety’s off. It’s a solid weight in his hand, and his arm trembles as he aims.
“You don’t have to do this.” Derek’s right behind him, his hand on Stiles’s back, not pressing, just there, warm and steady.
“She’s in pain. I’m helping her.” His throat is dry, and Stiles swallows hard. He squares his shoulders, and his arm stops shaking. The doe whimpers, blood pooling beneath her now, and Stiles wraps his finger around the trigger. He takes a deep breath.
The crack of the gunshot echoes in the trees, crows squawking as they take flight. The doe is still, flank no longer rising and falling, a trickle of blood dripping down her cheek where the bullet pierced her skull. Derek’s arms wrap around Stiles from behind, his body pressing close, and he gently takes the gun away. Stiles expects him to step back now, but he doesn’t, and they stand there together as fat drops of icy rain begin to fall.
“I don’t want to just leave her out here.”
Derek’s breath is warm on the back of Stiles’s neck. “Okay.”
Derek does step away then, going to the Camaro to retrieve a shovel, and Stiles really should look in that trunk one day to see what else is in there. Derek digs quickly and efficiently between the trees, and for the first time Stiles thinks about what it was like for Derek to dig his own sister’s grave, and how Stiles and Scott had thought the very worst of him.
Shame burns in his gut as he remembers dragging Scott into the woods to find a girl’s body — half of her, because she’d died horribly and painfully and he’d treated it like it such a joke. Like something exciting and fun to do on a Friday night when she was dead.
He remembers her lifeless eyes staring up from the grave Derek made, and hopes it was a quick death, which seems highly unlikely. He wonders what Laura was like and if she ate peanut butter and would have secretly laughed at Stiles’s jokes the way Derek does when he thinks Stiles isn’t looking. He wonders if Derek misses her the way Stiles misses his mom every single day.
Derek’s shoveling the wet earth into a pile, and Stiles closes his eyes, imagining Derek finding his sister in the leaves and dirt, and carrying what was left of her home, to the house where the rest of their family burned alive. He buried her and tried to keep her safe and Stiles and Scott just dug her up like none of it meant anything and—
Derek’s hands curl around his shoulders, and Stiles opens his eyes. “I’m sorry. God, I’m so sorry.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“We shouldn’t have done what we did. When your sister died, we shouldn’t have done that.”
The rain drips down Derek’s face, and he stares, frozen, lips parted, hands still on Stiles’s shoulders. In that moment he looks so young. Stiles wants to reach up and brush the rain from Derek’s eyes, but doesn’t move. “I’m sorry.” It’s not enough, but it’s all he can say.
Instead of shoving Stiles away like he has every right to, Derek leans in closer, resting their foreheads together. Their breath mingles, and Stiles would only have to move a couple of inches and they’d be kissing. The longing is an ache in his bones and—
Then Derek’s gone, walking back to the road.
Stiles insists on helping drag the doe over to the hole, and they cover her up with mounds of dirt. They’re both soaking and muddy and there’s nothing left to do but go. The rain’s already washing away the doe’s blood and soon there will just be the road again.
By the Jeep, Derek says, “We don’t have to go to the cabin today.”
But Stiles shakes his head. “Yes we do. We’re going.” He climbs behind the wheel and waits for Derek to get into the Camaro before starting the engine and shifting into drive. They carry on, and Stiles goes slowly on the slick road, windshield wipers beating back and forth, back and forth.
He breathes in and out, filling his lungs and reminding himself that he’s stronger with every shitty thing life throws at him, and he’s not going to end up as roadkill. Nope. Fuck that.
His phone buzzes, and he glances at the screen.
You’re not the deer.
Keeping an eye on the slick road, Stiles quickly texts back, a smile playing on his lips.
No, but I am the walrus.
He’ll explain later.
It’s still pissing down, and Stiles doesn’t complain when Derek wordlessly heads to the cabin instead of setting up target practice. Derek uses a rusty key he pulls out from under a nearby rock, which is the most obvious hiding place in the history of mankind, but Stiles manages to refrain from commenting.
It’s only a single room, with no electricity or running water, and the dust covering the rickety pine furniture is truly legendary. There isn’t much: a table and chairs and a big empty spot in front of the fireplace where most people would put a couch. On this murky day, not much light is coming though the small windows by the door.
Derek snorts as he hangs up his jacket on a hook. “No it’s not.”
Stiles is about to say that it’s nicer than Derek’s house because at least it’s not burned out, but thankfully realizes as he opens his mouth that it would be one of the dumbest things he could possibly utter. Instead he hangs up his own jacket and watches as Derek lights a fire. There’s still wood and matches by the fireplace, as if the Hales had expected to come back a lot sooner than this.
And of course they did.
“Take your shirt off.”
Stiles’s heart skips a beat, and he struggles to keep his cool as he watches Derek peel his own shirt over his head, revealing abs and pecs that look positively airbrushed. When Derek glances up, Stiles jerks his gaze away and shrugs out of his flannel button down, since they’re both soaked to the skin and it’s stupid not to try to dry their shirts, at least.
Derek drapes his shirt over a chair and pulls it over near the crackling fire. Stiles hangs his up too, still wearing his wet t-shirt, and Derek goes to the corner and opens a cedar chest. He comes back with an armful of blankets, which he deposits on the floor by the hearth and makes a little nest like he’s done it before.
With the fire blazing, it’s surprisingly cozy — definitely nicer than the too empty, too dank, too everything warehouse. If the cabin wasn’t so far out of town, Stiles would suggest Derek move in.
Derek examines Stiles critically. “Hang your other shirt up too.”
“Nah, I’m fine.”
Derek raises an eyebrow. “You’re soaked. Give it.” He holds his hand out impatiently.
Muttering about how not everyone is a sculpted male model, Stiles pulls the t-shirt over his head, wincing just a little because the skin around the scratch feels tight as it heals.
“For your information, I only modeled once and—” Derek frowns. “Does it still hurt?”
But Derek is already tugging on his wrist and bringing Stiles closer to the fire. “Let me see.” He drops to his knees, hands on Stiles’s hips to position him in the firelight.
“See? It’s fine.”
Derek nods, but still traces his fingertips over the faint mark, and something seems to change in the air. Stiles finds himself holding his breath, waiting, but he’s not sure for what. Can barely let himself hope, because he shouldn’t. It’s never going to happen.
When Derek speaks, it’s barely more than a whisper. “If they’d bitten you…would you…”
Stiles waits, but Derek’s just staring at the mark, finger running back and forth with the barest pressure. Stiles shivers. “What?”
Then Derek looks up in the glow of the flickering fire, and his face is completely open and raw in a way Stiles has never seen. “Would you really pick me?”
Before he can think and talk himself out of it, Stiles runs his hand through Derek’s damp hair, and Derek doesn’t flinch or freeze or push him away. No, he leans into Stiles’s touch, and Stiles swallows hard, eyes locked with Derek’s. “Yes.”
Stiles knows the desire and need has got to be coming off him in waves, that he must reek of it, but the moment stretches out and Derek doesn’t move a muscle. Then he’s sitting back on his heels because he probably thinks he can’t cross that line, so Stiles grabs his wrist, pressing Derek’s hand against Stiles’s dick through his boxers and wet denim. “Yes,” he repeats.
Then it’s actually happening, and Derek tugs him down to his knees, one hand on Stiles’s cock, squeezing and rubbing, the other hauling Stiles against him. Their lips smash together, and Stiles hasn’t kissed anyone since Jessica Parker during spin the bottle during freshman year, and Jesus Jessica didn’t kiss like this. He opens his mouth to suck in a breath, and Derek’s tongue dives inside.
It’s wet and hungry, Derek’s stubble rasping against him, and Stiles feels alive and complete, like something missing is finally found. He’s not afraid, not at all, and that feels like triumph and he groans into Derek’s mouth. “Yes, yes, yes.”
They manage to peel their jeans off, and shoes have never been so annoying in his life, but then they’re naked, and Derek presses Stiles back into the blankets, and oh God, they’re naked. A shudder runs through Stiles, and it’s a miracle he doesn’t come right then and there.
Pushing himself up on his hands, Derek stops. “Sure?” He’s breathing hard, even though he could probably run twenty miles without breaking a sweat.
Stiles doesn’t have to even think about it, is already yanking Derek down, kissing him and rubbing against him, and he’s never been more sure of anything. Derek’s all muscle and power and heat. He’s kissing Stiles, stroking him, and when Stiles moans Derek’s name, Derek makes this low sound that sends tingles up Stiles’s spine. Stiles is sure he’s about to wake up alone with sticky sheets, but it’s all real somehow.
Derek moves down, kissing and sucking and nipping with his teeth, and Stiles can only grip his shoulders and try to breathe. When Derek nuzzles Stiles’s balls and licks a long stripe up his cock, he thinks he might explode. But then he watches his dick disappear between Derek’s lips, and it’s so hot and wet and holy hell.
As Derek’s tongue swirls, Stiles grabs his hair and tries to warn him, his balls tightening to the point of no return. But Derek just sucks harder, and Stiles tries to hold on, but it’s a losing battle and he lets go, crying out as he hurtles over the edge. The pleasure washes over him to the tips of his toes, and it’s better than anything has ever been.
Derek swallows and licks him clean, and Stiles can only watch, panting softly, his limbs trembling with aftershocks and yep, pretty sure he’s reached the pinnacle of orgasms at sixteen. It’s all downhill from here. Or not, because Derek is hard against his leg and Stiles pulls him up, Derek fitting between his thighs like he was meant to.
They kiss, and Stiles can taste himself, but it’s weirdly hot. He reaches between them and wraps his hand around Derek’s cock, which is thick and long and generally huge and radiating heat. Even though the angle’s awkward, if there’s one thing Stiles knows how to do that’s jerk off, and he strokes roughly as Derek steals kisses, his breath coming in warm bursts.
Stiles runs his fingers up and down Derek’s shaft, exploring, and he wonders what it would be like to have this inside him, and he realizes he’s talking out loud when Derek growls and buries his head in Stiles’s shoulder, rutting against him now with desperate thrusts of his hips. Sparks skitter up Stiles’s spine from his over-sensitive cock, but he just hangs on, wrapping his legs around Derek and urging him to go harder.
Derek comes with a shout, long spurts that leave Stiles sticky. Shuddering, Derek breathes deeply, sucking on a spot at the juncture of Stiles’s neck and shoulder. When Derek shifts onto his hip, Stiles lets his legs flop down. Pressing little kisses to his neck and collar bones, Derek spreads his spunk, rubbing it over Stiles’s stomach and chest.
Smiling stupidly, Stiles runs his fingers through Derek’s hair. “At least I won’t die a virgin.”
Derek raises his head, his hand gripping Stiles’s waist. “I won’t let you die.”
He’s so serious, like he can not only keep Stiles safe from alpha assholes, but that he can stop the hands of time and course of nature. Stiles cups Derek’s cheek and kisses him. In that moment, he lets himself believe that maybe Derek can.
Derek glances over from the cedar chest, where he’s folding the blankets and carefully putting them away. He waits.
“So,” Stiles repeats. He fiddles with the buttons of his mostly dry shirt, doing them up and then undoing them. His jeans are still damp, and he shifts uncomfortably, his stomach starting to churn. “Is this like…” He waves his hand.
Derek’s brow furrows. “Like what?”
Of course he’s going to make Stiles spell it out. “Is this a one-time thing? I mean, not exactly one time, since we did it three times already.”
Even saying that out loud gives Stiles a little thrill, and he can hardly believe that he spent the afternoon having sex. That not only did another human being actually touch him all over, but he’s had a cock in his mouth and yeah, he’s more than a little bit gay. And it was amazing. He could happily spend hours — days, months, years — sucking Derek, making him moan and whimper.
His dick twitches, and God, focus. Derek still hasn’t said anything, and just stands there watching him. Stiles clears his throat. “If this is just a today thing, that’s cool.” Lies, lies, lies.
“Is that the way you want it?”
“No, but if you did, I would understand. I mean, it’s been a bad time for you and your pack is all scattered and I was here, and it’s not like anyone ever wants me. There was this one time in seventh grade when Scott and I went to this party and he spent all night playing seven minutes in heaven and I didn’t even get thirty seconds and—”
Derek moves so fast Stiles can’t even breathe before Derek is kissing him, fucking his mouth with his tongue, shoving him back against the door. Stiles holds on and kisses him back, head spinning. When Derek tears his mouth away, Stiles follows, panting and flushed.
Fingers digging into Stiles’s scalp, Derek’s eyes flash red. “If it wouldn’t hurt you, I’d bend you over and take you right now.”
Okay, so Derek definitely wants him. Good to know. Great to know. Stiles tries to speak but can only get out, “Nngh.”
“Stop doubting yourself.”
“Okay. It’s just...it’s not like I’m experienced and I’m sure you’ve...” Stiles waves his hand around. “With plenty of people.”
Derek makes this face that’s kind of a smirk, kind of a frown. “You’d be wrong.”
“Seriously?” Stiles frowns. “Okay, so maybe there haven’t been dozens, but...”
“One. Before you.”
“But, but—” Stiles sputters. “You’re...come on, you know what you look like!” Not sure he wants to know, he asks anyway. “Who? When?”
Derek looks away and takes a long breath. “I was sixteen. I didn’t know what I wanted, and she came along and was older and exciting and crazy about me. Turns out she was just crazy.”
Stiles pulls him into a hug, because he can do that now. He rubs Derek’s back, and Derek slowly unclenches in his arms. “I’m sorry. What happened?”
“You know what happened.” Derek’s voice is muffled against Stiles’s neck.
Stiles runs through what he knows about Derek at sixteen and— “Kate?” He pulls back and tips Derek’s chin up, but Derek still won’t look at him. “It was her? She...she...” He can’t say the words because as the pieces fall into place it’s too horrific to comprehend.
“Used me to get to my family. None of it was real — she laughed about it later. It was all my fault and—”
Gritting his teeth against the rage, Stiles breathes deeply. “Look at me. Hey, come on.” He waits for Derek to meet his gaze. “It wasn’t your fault. It was her fault. And I’m glad she’s dead.” He takes Derek’s face in his hands and presses kisses to his cheeks and forehead, the tip of his chin, his lips. He murmurs, “It’s over now.”
Derek’s voice is barely a whisper. “I’ve never told anyone that before.”
Stiles doesn’t know how to feel, because he aches for Derek and hates Kate, and yet it feels so good to be trusted. “I won’t tell. I promise.”
“Now here I am. You’re sixteen and I’m—”
“And you’re nothing like her. Don’t get me wrong, if this is all part of your master plan to murder my father, then I’m gonna be pissed, but in the meantime the sex is pretty spectacular, so.”
A smile tugs on Derek’s lips. He exhales, and it’s like Stiles can see the weight lifting from his shoulders. Then he’s serious again.
“We have to deal with a lot of stuff, and it’s not going to be pretty. So if you want out—”
“I’m in. I’m so incredibly in. We’ll deal with it together. Also, we probably have to add my father to that list of stuff sooner rather than later.”
Derek nods and kisses him softly. He runs his thumb along Stiles’s lower lip, which feels slightly swollen from all the kissing and cock sucking. Stiles hums and nips Derek’s thumb with his teeth before soothing with his tongue.
Derek grins then, one of those rare smiles that light up his whole face and make Stiles feel fluttery in all the best ways. “We’re never going back to Beacon Hills at this rate.”
Of course they do eventually, driving down the winding road as the sun sinks beyond the tree tops. When the radio picks up a station, Stiles taps the steering wheel and sings, even though it’s country and he doesn’t know the words. Derek’s headlights shine behind him, never out of sight for more than a moment.
Read the sequel: Something More