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Might Not Make It Back

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Witches. Fucking witches. Stiles was never going to get along with them. Never. Whatever spooky powers Deaton kept alleging he had, kept training him to recognise, witches and Stiles were never going to work in combination. They were oil and water, Scott and an AP class, Lydia and a thrift store. Witches and Stiles were just. No Stiles is mouthy and witches don’t like that, apparently. And, yes, okay, the fact that Stiles is now inhabiting Derek’s body because of a witch possibly has something to do with Stiles’ feelings.

It’s not even a consolation to look over and see Derek in his body because, really, looking at himself from the outside is seriously fucking bizarre. It doesn’t help that Derek is so obviously uncomfortable. He keeps looking at his hands and flexing them as if he’s confused. Which, Stiles realises, he probably is since it’s the first time Derek has ever been in a human body. Huh. He wonders what his body feels like to Derek and, woah, that is possibly a line of thought he doesn’t want to go down. Derek in Stiles’ body, Derek with Stiles’ hands, oh, no, bad thoughts, bad bad thoughts. Stiles looks away from Derek - himself - Derek. This is going to get weird, fast. Stiles hears a noise and turns his head to see - nothing. Okay that’s odd, he feels Derek’s eyes on him and turns to look at him.

“What?” And, wow, he has Derek’s voice.

“You heard something.” It’s a statement, not a question.

Stiles nods. “Yeah, but there’s nothing, there’s something, but I can’t tell how far away -”

“Concentrate. You’ll hear it.”

“Right, so I’ll just.” Stiles closes his eyes and listens. It’s really strange, he can hear everything around him but, yeah, there are the footsteps again. He recognises the pattern, and Derek’s right, they get clearer as they get closer. Stiles reaches out a hand to grasp at Derek without thinking and looks up when he hears an involuntary whine because he knows his own voice well enough to realise it’s a sound of pain. Shit, he’s got a grip on Derek’s forearm and is squeezing harder than he realised. Stiles lets go and apologises because, hey, that’s his body and he doesn’t really want to break it and, well, he knows what werewolf strength does to a person. Derek frowns, big surprise, and looks over Stiles’ shoulder as he rubs at his arm. Stiles turns to see Scott approaching, which at least explains why the footsteps seemed familiar. Scott hurries over and looks at them, worried.

“Stiles? What happened?”

“Witches, witches happened and you’re not going to believe what they did, I mean, I can’t even believe -” Stiles shuts up when he realises Scott is looking at him as if he’s insane and, oh crap, Scott thinks he’s Derek. Scott’s face is screwed up in confusion as he looks back and forth between Derek and Stiles. “You - Derek?”

Stiles shakes his head and points at where Derek is slumped against a tree. “Derek’s in me. Uh, wow, unfortunate phrasing. The witches, they,” Stiles sighs because, really why does he get stuck explaining this? “Well, they body swapped us.”

“Body swapped you?” Scott says slowly. “So you’re in Derek and Derek’s in you? Dude, what are you going to do about school?”

“Really, Scott? That’s what you think the most pressing matter is here? No, how the hell are we going to get back in our own bodies, but what am I going to do about school?”

Scott looks confused, which, okay, nothing new. Stiles loves the guy, he does, but sometimes he doesn’t understand how Scott wasn’t kidnapped by a man asking him to pet puppies in a dark van. Derek makes a choking noise behind him and Stiles realises that Derek has probably just worked out that, yes, he will have to go back to school. Stiles sighs, he has no desire to think about this, he would like to go to sleep, wake up and find out this was all a dream, but no, this is his life now. After two years of supernatural crap, Stiles has learnt to try and be zen about it all. He’s not convinced it works. So, in the spirit of attempting to roll with the punches, he turns to Derek and shrugs, “Your place?”

Derek nods and narrows his eyes. “When is your dad expecting you home?”

“10, I think, but they’re still short staffed so he might not be there. The rapidly rising death rate in Beacon Hills hasn’t exactly had recruits banging down the door to come work here. If he’s home you can go in and I’ll, I guess I’ll use the window.” And, man, he won’t get to see his dad for days, possibly weeks. He’s going to have to get Derek to make sure his dad doesn’t eat crap and, jeez, Stiles is really going to miss his dad. Something must show on his face because there’s a hand on his shoulder and he turns his head to see Derek looking at him. Stiles forces a smile and starts walking in the direction of the Hale house where the rest of the pack are holed up.

It was stupid, really, Stiles had gone with Derek because there was some sort of issue between witches and werewolves and, okay, maybe Stiles hadn’t really been listening because he was sort of concentrating on the idea of being alone with Derek in the woods, but whatever. It had ended up with him in this situation, so he’s not exactly proud of himself.

They walk into the house and Stiles is immediately greeted by snarls and, oh excellent, confused puppies, just what he wants to deal with. He holds his hands up, “Okay, enough with the growling. It’s me, Stiles.”

Isaac cocks his head to the side and, man, he really does look like a puppy sometimes. “Stiles? But,” Isaac sniffs and looks behind Stiles at Derek. “Oh. Witches?”

Stiles nods. “Witches. I guess they thought it’d be hilarious if we ended up like this. Witch humour, gotta love it. Or hate it, whatever.”

“So you’re -”

“Yes, I’m in Derek’s body, Derek’s in my body. Can we,” Stiles waves his hands around. “Move on? Try and find out what the hell we’re going to do about this?”

“What can we do?” Boyd asks.

“Guys, come on, do I have to think of everything? Research. Sniff out a witch to fix it. Do something wolfy.” Stiles walks over to the couch and flops down. Erica turns to him and pokes his cheek which, really, pales in comparison to anything that has happened to him so far today that he just goes with it.

“It’s weird,” Erica says. “You smell like Stiles, but feel like Derek.”

“Yes, I now have an over-abundance of stubble and stupidly large muscles, can we please move on? And, hey, how come no one is poking Derek? He can’t hurt you if you do, you realise that right?”

Erica’s eyes light up and she leaps off the couch, before Derek can even process it, she’s rubbing her hand on his head. Stiles refrains from laughing as Derek scowls at her and tries to bat her away. Erica smiles and steps back a little, ducking her head. Stiles guesses that even in a human body, some part of the betas recognise Derek as Alpha which is slightly disappointing, Stiles isn’t going to lie. Derek shifts uncomfortably when Erica backs off and stalks off towards his bedroom. The room falls into silence and they all exchange looks before Stiles rolls his eyes and gets up and follows him.

“Derek?” Stiles raps his fingers against the door frame, looking in at Derek. He’s on the bed, pretending to read a book.

“What, Stiles?”

“Can I? Fuck it,” Stiles walks in and sits on the edge of the bed. “You can’t hide away from this. For one, you’re kind of me and I need you to go to school and go to my home and talk to my dad because he’s still the Sheriff and will notice if his son goes missing. Plus, I apparently have your werewolf powers now and I saw what Scott went through learning to control them and, dude, I really would like to avoid most of that.”

“I have to talk to your dad.”

“Did you miss the part about me not wanting to wolf out in the middle of the day?”

“I can teach you that. That - it’s not a problem. Your dad, won’t he know I’m not you? I don’t exactly -”

“Act like me? I know. And it’s really not something I can teach, the Stilinski charm is something you’re born with, but you don’t have to worry much. He, uh, doesn’t think he knows who I am anymore.”

“What?”

“Ever since Scott got bitten, with all the lies and the weird shit that he finds me in the middle of,” Stiles shrugs. “I can tell he’s disappointed.”

Derek doesn’t respond, and that’s not exactly unusual, but Stiles really hadn’t planned on telling anyone about what was going on between him and his dad and if Derek wasn’t having to be him for however long, he wouldn’t have said a word. It hurts to think about, kills him to talk about, he never wanted to be that kid who lies all the time and the only way he gets through talking about it without tears threatening to fall is by being flippant. It’s the fucking worst. So now Stiles is just sitting there feeling really fucking awkward and, okay, that’s not unusual either, but he would really like this to be different.

“Your dad isn’t disappointed in you Stiles, he’s concerned.”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever, look, all that matters is he probably won’t notice if you act a little weird, he’ll probably just chalk it up to me being, y’know, whatever he thinks I am now.”

Derek has this look on his face like he wants to push it, but one thing Stiles likes about Derek is that he won’t do it. He just nods once and lets it go, which, yeah, Stiles can work with that. He twists himself round to lay on the bed next to Derek and, wow, moving this body is really strange. Stiles knows he’s not skinny, he has muscles, okay, they just don’t bulge out of his arms like Derek’s do and, okay, bulges. No. Not going there. He manages to maneuver his body round and flops his head on the pillow.

“So. Gonna teach me how to control these wolfy senses? Because I’m starting to smell things and it’s really weird. Like, why can I smell cinnamon and fall leaves? Is that someone? Or have you got a stack of air fresheners in the house so you don’t have to smell the world because I can totally see how that would appeal. Also, I can totally hear Erica and Boyd right now and I’d really like to tune that out as soon as possible because, pack or not, there are some things I really don’t want to hear and -”

“Stiles.”

“Yeah?”

“Just. Concentrate on my voice. Block the other sounds out.”

“Concentrate. Great. Because I’m so good at that.”

“Stiles.”

“Okay. You know you have to talk if you want me to concentrate on your voice.”

“I’m always amazed you can hear anything over the sound of your own voice,” Derek sounds amused. “If you feel yourself start to change, you’ll need an anchor. Something that you can concentrate on, something that will pull you back to being human. You know that Scott uses Alison. Isaac uses his father. You need to find something that will do the same for you.”

“What do you use?”

There’s a pause before Derek answers. “Anger. I use anger.”

Stiles isn’t convinced Derek is telling the truth, but gives him the courtesy of not pressing him. He just sighs and closes his eyes. “Of course you do Bruce Wayne, of course you do.” Stiles tries to think of something, his mind flits to thoughts of his dad, but that’s so tangled up with guilt for lying to him that all it does is make him feel sick to his stomach. The pack, but the pack makes him think of Derek and thoughts of Derek make him, well, they don’t make him calm, so that’s out. When it hits him, it’s so obvious that he could smack himself in the face for not thinking of it first. His mom. Not his mom towards the end, not when she was so sick Stiles could barely recognise her (but she still had that smile, and those eyes that everyone says Stiles has now) but when she was healthy. When she was his mom.

“Okay?” Derek asks.

“Yeah. I’ve got, yeah, okay. All set Alpha boy, teach me.”

“Sit up.”

Stiles clambers to sit up, crosses his legs and looks down at Derek who is still lying on the bed. “And?”

Derek rolls his eyes and glares and, really, since Stiles is now in possession of Derek’s wolfy powers, it’s just not that intimidating. “We’ll start slow. You know what our wolf forms look like. Hold out your hand and find the change in you. Concentrate only on your hand and push it through until you change.”

Holding out his hand, okay, he can do this. Stiles holds his left hand in front of him and thinks about the wolf and, oh, that’s weird. He can feel something in him, it’s almost a buzz, almost like how he feels when he takes too much Adderall but more - primal. Stiles watches his hand as it changes, eyes widening as he sees his fingernails extend, his skin getting rougher, hairier. “Holy shit.”

Derek’s holding back a smile and Stiles doesn’t know if Derek realises that Stiles can read his own face. And, oh, Stiles suddenly realises that for as long as this whole thing goes on, he’ll be able to read every emotion on Derek’s face. It’s like having a magic key to Derek-thoughts. Interesting.

“Take a moment. Think about your anchor. Think about how that ties you to your human side and let it work.”

Stiles nods and thinks about his mom. The way she would curl up with him on the sofa in the evenings when his dad was at work. The way she’d let him mess his hands in paint and splat them all over the kitchen floor to make patterns. How she’d give him kisses on both cheeks and the forehead before he went to sleep. Stiles watches his hand go back to normal and lets out a shaky breath. That was oddly intense and Stiles kind of feels like he wants to fall asleep right there.

“You okay?” Derek asks.

Stiles rubs his eyes and blinks. “Yeah, yes. It felt draining, really cool, but draining. Is that because I’m not used to it? Like, will it get easier the longer this goes on? Not that I really want this to go on that long, but passing out after going all wolfy seems like it could get bad, or inconvenient at the very least.”

“You feel like you’re going to pass out?”

“Not exactly? I feel kind of like I want to sleep, but that could just be because I, uh, haven’t been sleeping and that whole thing was kind of tiring,” Stiles sighs. “I don’t know dude, I can’t tell what part of this is because of the bodyswap, the change or just my own tired brain.”

“You’ll tell me if something feels wrong.”

Stiles laughs, because, really? He’s in Derek’s body, just wolfed out his hand and Derek wants him to tell him if something feels wrong? Stiles looks at Derek, meeting his eyes and shakes his head. “Yeah, sure, if anything other than the general weirdness of this whole situation feels wrong, I’ll tell you.”

“We can work on more later.” Derek’s closed his eyes now and Stiles wonders if he should go. They’ve got a little time before they have to go back to Stiles’ house, but he has this feeling in his gut like he doesn’t want to be too far from Derek at the moment. The smell of cinnamon and fall leaves is still floating around, and it’s making his heart ache in the strangest of ways. He lies down next to Derek again and figures that even if Derek doesn’t like it, it’s not like he can do anything about it since Stiles is in possession of all of Derek’s, not-at-all-hot, strength. Stiles sets the alarm on his phone to go off in an hour and shuts his eyes. The last thing he hears before he falls asleep is Derek’s heartbeat, steady and strong.

--

Stiles makes a mental note: once they’re back in their own bodies, Derek is never, ever allowed to drive the Jeep again. Not ever. Stiles is already worried about whether the Jeep will survive Derek’s driving skills until they manage to reverse this and he may or may not jump out of the Jeep as soon as Derek pulls up outside the house. He summons all of the glaring powers that he’s pretty sure come along with the whole werewolf thing and shoots a look at Derek. The asshole just smirks as if he hasn’t almost killed Stiles’ Jeep.

“You just remember that if you kill my baby, you’ll be relying on Jackson to pick you up next time you’re bounding through the town on your paws because some deep dark evil has shown up.”

“I’m not going to wreck your Jeep, Stiles.”

“Tell that to the gears.” Stiles stops a few steps from the door.

“What?”

“Nothing. My Dad’s not home yet so we can just go in, okay,” He can’t stop his fingers from tapping against his thigh as he walks up to the door. “Uh, keys. They’re in my - your pocket.”

Derek rummages around in the jacket and hands the keys over to Stiles, following him into the house. Stiles catches a glimpse of himself in the hallway mirror and, shit, that is just creepy. So creepy he has to look away because it’s one thing to know he’s in Derek’s body in theory, but actually seeing it is a level of weird that Stiles might be able to cope with tomorrow. Possibly. He walks into the kitchen, Derek sits at the dining table and looks around, Stiles belatedly realises that Derek has still never been in this part of the house and, oh yes, that is a photo of Stiles dressed as a deputy for Hallowe’en on the shelf that Derek is staring at. That’s not embarrassing at all. Stiles glances at Derek. “What are your cooking skills like? Since I’ve never actually seen you do anything but grill meat.”

“Decent.”

“Uh huh. Do those skills extend past grilling meat on an open flame? Using your claws to shred lettuce? And don’t even think of denying that, I saw you,” Stiles smirks. “It doesn’t really matter, there’s food I already made in the freezer. I, uh, well, you know I’m not always around for him, so this is easier. They’ll just need to be heated up in the oven. My dad, he’ll - he’ll try and sneak food he shouldn’t, so just don’t let him. If he wants fries, he’s not allowed. Salads all around, okay? If he wants take out, the meals he can have are circled in the menus. If - if he starts drinking, he, uh, might not stop unless you take the bottle away. He won’t fight you for it, that’s not who he is, but he sometimes -”

“Stiles, stop,” Derek’s somehow ended up next to him and is resting one hand on Stiles’ shoulder, the other on his side. “I’ll look after your dad.”

Stiles can feel his body sag with relief. It’’s not that he doesn’t trust Derek, he does - now, but it’s his dad. He knows he’s fucked up alot since Scott was bitten, knows he’s lost so much of his dad’s trust, but whatever happens in his life, he’s never going to stop caring about his dad. “Yeah, okay,” He clears his throat. “You want something to eat? I was going to heat up some bolognese, it’s lean meat, lots of vegetables. There’s some spaghetti in the cupboard. If we eat now, then can you heat some up for my dad later if he wants to eat?”

Derek nods and gets the spaghetti from the cupboard, finds a saucepan and fills it up with water. Stiles watches with a small smile twitching at his lips, he knows, logically, that Derek had grown up in a house, as part of a family, but it still makes him smile whenever he sees Derek being almost domestic. Helping him furniture shop had been - Stiles shakes his head to get rid of the memory and gets the bolognese out of the freezer. It’s kind of freaking him out how he can smell the meat, even though it’s frozen. He doesn’t want to think too much about that. Stiles can’t help but think he and Derek work well together, an easy rhythm is established as they move around the kitchen. Derek pulls out some sodas from the fridge for them and they take the food upstairs, just in case Stiles’ dad comes home early.

The spectre of school tomorrow hangs over Stiles’ head. He guesses that it’s a bonus of being the weird kid, still, that no one will really question if he acts a bit strange, and the rest of the pack will cover for him, but - and he kind of hates himself for thinking this - he can’t have his grades slip because of this. Stiles watches the line of Derek’s neck as he drains the can of coke and wonders how to approach the subject. Eventually he shrugs, pulls some books off his desk and hands them to Derek.

Derek looks at him, kind of confused before he groans. “I have to study, don’t I?”

“Yeah, well, no. I’ll do my homework, but you’ll have to know enough to get by in classes. Lydia’s in most of my AP classes, so she can always help you out. Just, don’t rely on Scott in any classes. Ever.”

“I could figure that one out for myself.”

Stiles laughs, only a little. It’s hard not to rag on Scott sometimes, but the dude is still his best friend. “Just read over those, it’ll basically catch you up.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Sit on my bed and see if I can concentrate on picking out sounds and smells. I’m kind of - it’s a little overwhelming. Having you here to focus on is helping, but when you’re at school being me, I can’t. I need to know I can control it without you.”

Stiles watches Derek for a moment before he clambers onto his bed, sits with his back against the wall and closes his eyes. He can hear everything, Mrs. Wilkerson next door is singing along to her radio, there’s a car stopping up the road and Stiles can hear the brakes grinding. There’s the constant, steady sound of Derek’s heartbeat. It’s familiar now, he can pick that out easily. Stiles concentrates on the normal, neighbourhood sounds, tries to block out the strange ones; the pipes in the Johnsons house across the road, someone’s squeaky shoe walking down the road. It’s not easy, not easy at all, especially since Stiles knows his concentration is shit at the best of times, but he thinks it’s working, sort of. Once he hears something new, he places it and removes it from his mind. It’s fucking strange, and he doesn’t know how he’ll cope if it’s under pressure, but he’s getting it. He thinks.

He opens his eyes a little and grins at the sight of Derek with his head stuck in a math textbook. Stiles takes one last look before he shuts his eyes again and tries to concentrate on smell. The first thing he picks out is his pile of dirty laundry in the corner and, well, that’s just gross. He starts to smell something else and, oh man, that’s the stench of his own dried come. Really? First dirty socks and now his own come? Why can’t he smell something nice, like whatever Mrs. Wilkerson is baking, or the flowers outside? Why are the first things he smells so disgusting? Stiles groans and shakes his head because now he can’t get the idea that this is what Derek smells every time he lurks creepily in his room and, Stiles is well aware that Derek was a teenage boy at some point and therefore probably doesn’t care, but it’s pretty fucking gross. And knowing that Derek knows how often he jerks off is slightly embarrassing. Not that Stiles thinks it’s a lot. Not considering he’s a teenage boy. At least Stiles can be secure that Derek doesn’t know who he thinks of when he’s jerking off. Stiles is pretty sure that isn’t a werewolf power. If it is, he may need to curl up in a ball and never leave his room.

Suddenly, he hears the familiar sound of his dad’s vehicle, he’s grown up with that car, Stiles could pick that rumble out without having wolf powers. It’s not pulling up yet, but it’s getting closer. Stiles gets off the bed and taps Derek on the knee. “My dad will be here in a moment.”

“Should I go downstairs?”

“Uh, he’s kind of used to me hanging in my room, but - it’d be nice for him. And you’ve got to heat up dinner for him anyway,” Stiles sighs. “I’ll stay up here and lurk.”

Derek’s mouth quirks slightly, almost a smile, before he walks out of the bedroom and heads downstairs. Stiles sits at his desk, pulls up his English homework and listens for the slight click as Derek switches on the television, the rustle of the sofa cushions as he sits down. Stiles flicks through the pages of his book and tries not to think about how much he’s going to miss his dad. He’s spent most of the past few years feeling guilty every time he has to lie to his dad, every time his dad has caught him somewhere he wasn’t meant to be and, at some point, it just became easier to avoid his dad. And, fuck, but that makes him feel sick, because he knows what it’s like for them now, knows they’re all the other has left and Stiles, he’s been running out of the house, ducking conversations and, shit. Stiles clenches his fists, startles at the pin pricks of pain, fuck. Fucking fuck, he’s lost control and his hands are claws, he touches his face carefully and, yep, he’s wolfed out. Well. Shit.

Stiles moves his mouth, experiments by running his tongue over the fangs. Huh. Weird, really fucking weird. He hears his dad’s car pull into the driveway and jumps as the car door slams. He needs to calm down, now. His anchor, his mom, he can do this. He can. Stiles closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He thinks about the afternoon he was off sick from school and his mom sat with him on the sofa, the way she wiped his nose with her sleeve when they ran out of tissues, how he fell asleep on her lap and didn’t wake up until his dad came home. The simple feeling of happiness as he’d woken up to the sight of his parents looking down at him. Stiles steadies his breathing and concentrates on that until he feels the fangs retract. He opens his eyes and watches as his hands go back to normal. Wow. Stiles runs a hand over his head, and hey, hair to mess up, that’s a novelty.

He hears his dad call his name and almost stands before he realises, yeah, that’s not happening. Stiles opens the door a crack and listens to his dad talking to Derek. He picks up their voices easily enough, and tries to ignore the churning in his stomach at the way his dad is only just holding back from using interrogation techniques when asking about his day. Derek’s answers are fairly close to what Stiles himself would say, and Stiles tries to ignore the insistent voice in his head asking just how much attention Derek has been paying to him in order to imitate him so convincingly. Stiles hears a thudding sound and realises it’s Derek’s heartbeat. He’s not panicking, but he’s in no way calm and Stiles wishes he could go down there and, well, he’s not quite sure what he’d do to calm Derek down, but he wishes he could do it.

When Derek comes back upstairs, there’s a strange look on his face and Stiles can’t place it. He’s not sure he’s ever seen that look on his own face before. Derek just shakes his head when Stiles asks if he’s okay and Stiles watches as he sits on the bed, rests his head in his hands. Stiles knows that nothing happened that he could hear, but Derek’s acting like his dad shoved his shotgun in his face, which - “Hey, my dad didn’t threaten to shoot you, right?”

“What?” Derek looks up, a frown on his face. “No. He, uh, he hugged me.”

“And you’re suffering the after effects of a Stilinski hug? They are awesome, I understand.”

“Stiles.”

“Sorry.”

“No, he’s -” Derek breaks off and it looks like it’s actually hurting him to get these words out. “He’s a dad, that’s all.”

“He’s - oh,” Stiles nods slowly and sits next to Derek. “Yeah. There might only be the two of us, but we’re a pretty tight family. With the hugging and the caring. Try not to have an aneurysm when he says he loves you.”

Derek chokes out a shallow laugh and flops back on the bed. And Stiles, he’s heard a few laughs from Derek since he stopped being the most broody of all the broody werewolves, but he thinks he’ll never stop feeling a warmth in his stomach each time it happens. It’s so ridiculously rare, still, that it probably has more of an effect on Stiles than he’d like to admit. He spends a moment looking at Derek, wonders if that’s what he looks like when he’s relaxed. Derek raises an eyebrow at him and Stiles realises he looks really fucking stupid with a raised eyebrow and, well, at least he’s finding out now.

“So, what are we doing now?”

Stiles shrugs. “Homework’s finished. I usually mess around online until I feel like I’m gonna pass out. When I’m not being dragged out of my room to run around town with supernatural beings of course.”

“Oh, of course.” Derek doesn’t move from the bed.

“We could watch a movie on my laptop?”

“I’m not watching Zombie Strippers again.”

“Dude. That’s a classic. You have no appreciation for the movies I love.”

“That’s because you have terrible taste in movies.”

“Blasphemy.”

“Just pick something that isn’t going to end up with me wanting to hurl your laptop out of the window.”

“Okay, one, if you do that, you’re buying me a new one and explaining to my dad why my window has been shattered and two, you do realise I could actually throw you out of the window, right?”

“Are we watching a movie or am I going to be subjected to you talking all night?”

Stiles snorts. “Those things are not mutually exclusive,” he mutters as he gets up to grab the laptop from his desk. “Alright, move over.”

Derek moves silently, pulling a pillow up to rest his head against it. Stiles settles next to him, trying to ignore the way their legs are pressed together. He’s pretty sure if Derek was in his own body, he’d be able to tell how fast Stiles’ heart is beating, probably be able to smell what he’s trying not to think about. But if Derek was in his own body, they wouldn’t be on Stiles’ bed about to watch a movie, and Stiles wouldn’t be in the position of working out just how they’re going to sleep together. Which is a fucking unfortunate phrase to use when he feels Derek sink into the bed, relaxing as the opening credits of Batman Begins starts. Is it wrong to still have a mental hard on for a dude if he’s stuck in your body? Stiles has the feeling it’s incredibly narcissistic, but it’s not like he actually wants to have sex with himself, it’s still Derek he wants to get naked, it just happens that he’s in Stiles’ body and, jesus fuck he needs to stop thinking about this. He shifts, just a little, until Derek’s leaning his head against Stiles’ shoulder and, huh, that’s not exactly what Stiles was going for, but he’ll take it.

--

Derek’s got his eyes closed by the time the movie ends and Stiles almost doesn’t want to move, but a quick listen to his heartbeat and he can tell Derek’s not actually asleep. There’s a knock on the door and Stiles startles, scrambles for a moment before he realises his dad isn’t coming in. Derek opens his eyes and Stiles gestures to him frantically until he catches on.

“Yeah?” Derek calls out.

“I’m heading to bed and I’ll be gone by the time you wake up. Try and get some sleep, okay son?”

“I’ll try.”

Stiles can hear his dad hesitating behind the door before he carries on to his bedroom. He falls back onto the bed and rubs his eyes. Okay, right. They don’t have to deal with sneaking past his dad in the morning, that’s got to be a plus. Although, what is Stiles going to do tomorrow? He can’t exactly follow Derek to school and lurk, at some point a teacher will call the police and that’ll get his dad involved and, really, that’s not going to end well. So Derek will go to school and he’ll do...something. Stiles is way too tired to even think about what he’s going to do tomorrow, especially since he’s realised that in order to sleep, he’s going to have to share his bed with Derek. And that they’re both going to have to change their clothes, which will involve looking. At stuff. Stiles wonders if being in Derek’s body means he’s coordinated enough to get changed with his eyes closed, but his luck being what it is (see: being in Derek’s body) he’s pretty sure that even with wolfy powers he’ll end up falling ass over head while naked.

“Are you tired?”

Stiles can feel Derek’s eyes on him and he rolls onto his side. “Yeah, I guess. Uh, you want to use the bathroom? Bed clothes are in the middle drawer.”

Derek nods. “Okay. Remember, the wolf makes your body temperature higher.”

“Is that your excuse for walking around half naked all the time? Because that seems pretty flimsy to me.”

Derek rolls his eyes and gets off the bed, pulling off the plaid shirt Stiles had put on that morning. It’s freaking weird to watch himself take clothes off and it’s almost the most bizarre strip tease ever, but thankfully Derek stops when he’s shirtless and, really, all that does is prove Stiles’ point that Derek has an addiction to taking his shirt off. Stiles is well aware of his own body temperature, and there’s no way Derek feels hot enough to strip down like that. It’s Derek’s own exhibitionist tendencies that makes him parade around shirtless all the damn time. Not that Stiles is complaining. When he’s in his own body, Derek can take his shirt off whenever he wants, that’s fine. Stiles would, however, appreciate it if he doesn’t do the same while he’s in Stiles’ body. Derek pulls out some clothes and disappears out the door towards the bathroom.

Stiles is fairly certain he should probably shower after Derek because he really has no idea what Derek got up to before they went hunting for the witch and that alone was pretty gross, what with the roaming around in the woods again. So. Stiles. In Derek’s body. And a shower. He can totally cope with this, he can. Absolutely. Stiles groans and gets off the bed, he heads over to the dresser, rummaging around for a pair of his dad’s old police academy sweats. Derek comes back, shirtless of course, and Stiles nods at him, waves a hand towards the bed before ducking out of the room. He stands in the bathroom, trying to avoid the mirror as he strips off the black t shirt Derek had been wearing that day. Stiles waits a moment before undoing the jeans and pulling them off his legs and, yeah, he’d been able to tell that Derek - he - was going commando but. Okay. That’s a thing. He switches the shower on, ignores the fact that it’s still damp from Derek’s shower and steps under it.

He’s not avoiding looking down at Derek’s body, he’s really not. It’s just awkward and Stiles, he’s the king of awkward, but there are really no rules for being stuck in the body of the dude you kind of want to bone so he’s making this up as he goes. He’s trying not to think of the fact that Derek was in here, in his body, that he saw Stiles’ naked body when Stiles has barely ever been shirtless around him. Stiles is definitely not thinking about what Derek thought about his body, not thinking about the fact that Derek had his hands on Stiles’ body and, shit, that thought is gets a reaction in the most inconvenient way. Stiles finishes washing and switches the water to cold. He’s fairly sure that if he jerks off while in Derek’s body, he’s got a direct trip to hell.

Derek is already in bed with the light off when Stiles comes back to the room, he’s sitting up and examining Stiles’ timetable, the lamp by the bed casting shadows on his face. Stiles hesitates by the door, he hasn’t slept with another person in his bed since before puberty made sleepovers with Scott really awkward. Derek looks up and frowns. “What?”

Stiles shakes his head. “Nothing. You got any questions about tomorrow?”

“I do remember going to school, Stiles.”

“But in the dark ages, right?” Because, yeah, reminding Derek of their age difference is totally hot. Stiles mentally slaps himself.

“That’s cute. You want to sleep on the floor?”

“My bed, dude. And I could kick your ass right now.” Stiles plasters a grin on his face before walking over and climbing in the bed. Derek huffs and lets the timetable drop to the floor. Stiles isn’t quite sure where to put his limbs, it seems like he’s everywhere at once and he’s worried about smacking Derek in the face with his arm.

“What are you doing?” Derek stares at him.

“Trying to work out how to move around with all your damn muscles without smacking you in the face.”

Derek rolls his eyes and grabs Stiles’ flailing arm, which, Derek has to know that the lack of wolf powers means that wouldn’t actually stop Stiles. Still, Stiles does stop and lets Derek move him around until they’re somewhat settled. And, okay, Stiles can do this. He’s a couple of inches away from Derek, on his stomach, Derek is on his side with his back to him, curled up with an arm under a pillow. Stiles can’t tear his eyes away from the rise and fall of Derek’s back as he breathes. He’s always known that his body is human, that it’s fragile, but under the thin t shirt Derek pulled on to sleep in, it hits him just how breakable he really is. It’s a sobering thought and Stiles closes his eyes, tries to put it out of his mind as he falls asleep.

--

So, Stiles isn’t an expert on waking up with another person in his bed, but he’s fairly certain that what Derek is doing can be classified as snuggling. At some point in the night, Stiles rolled onto his back, and now he’s lying there, looking at the top of his own buzzcut as Derek’s unconscious body had apparently decided it was appropriate to wrap himself all around Stiles. There are arms around his stomach, their legs are tangled together. He’s basically being treated like a human teddy bear. Which, okay, he’s not complaining, but it’s Derek. And Stiles is pretty sure that if Derek was in his own body and woke up like this, he’d smack Stiles in the face. Or just glare at him. Ever since Derek found out what Gerard did to Stiles, he’s stayed away from the bodily harm. Stiles contemplates trying to sneak out from underneath Derek, but the choice is taken away from him when he hears Derek’s heartbeat speed up a little and realises that Derek is waking up. And hello awkward. Derek goes stiff against him, and not in the good way. Stiles can see a flush creeping up the back of his neck and, oh now he feels bad.

It’s not like Stiles is an innocent party in this, he has his arms around Derek and, he’s trying not to think about it because it sort of creeps him out, but he’s not unconvinced his lips weren’t resting against the top of Derek’s - his - head. Stiles will not think about kissing the top of his own head because there’s only so much denial he can use before he’s trying to find out if he can buy the memory wiper from Men In Black somewhere. So yeah, he’s not going to let Derek feel bad about this.

“Morning,” Derek doesn’t lift his head from Stiles’ chest, but he also doesn’t detangle himself, so Stiles counts that as a win. Stiles glances at the clock on his bedside table. “So we’ve got a little time before you need to get up. Do I have to talk to you again about being nice to my baby? Because, seriously dude, you break it, you buy it. Or at least pay for it to get fixed, preferably by a mechanic who won’t die a horrible death in front of me.”

“I’m not going to break your Jeep.” Derek mumbles and Stiles is sure that if he didn’t have werewolf hearing now, he would’ve missed that entirely.

“You say that, but judging by the evidence, I’m not convinced.”

Derek lifts his head at that, frowns as he pushes himself up into a sitting position, detangling himself from Stiles and Stiles absolutely does not miss the feel of that. He doesn’t. “I won’t kill your Jeep. Stop saying that.”

“We’ll see, buddy, we’ll see. My dad’s already left, so you get washed, dressed or whatever and I’m going to go and make breakfast because I’m starving. Is this a side effect of the wolf thing? Because Scott is like a bottomless pit, but I’ve never seen you eat.”

“We burn more energy than humans. Our blood runs hotter, so yes, it’s a wolf thing.”

“Great,” Stiles grumbles. “If this thing goes on for too long, you’re covering groceries.”

Derek gives him this strange look, and Stiles can’t quite interpret it. It’s almost fond, but it’s something else as well. Stiles gets caught up in wondering what it means when his face does something he’s never seen it do before, when Derek gets out of bed and walks off to the bathroom. Okay then. He yawns and stretches, damn that’s a lot of muscle to loosen up, and walks downstairs, valiantly ignoring the sound of a shower starting up in the bathroom. Stiles pulls together waffles, eggs and bacon, all the things he eats for breakfast when his dad isn’t around to try and steal it.

When Derek comes downstairs, Stiles is clutching a mug of coffee and watching the bacon sizzle, occasionally poking at it. Derek slumps against the fridge and glares at Stiles, which, what? Stiles rolls his eyes and glares back. “What’s with the face?”

“Nothing.”

“Come on grumpy. No bacon if you don’t tell me.”

Derek sighs and shakes his head. “I shouldn’t be going to school. It feels wrong, I should be out there, looking for the witch. Looking for something to reverse this, fix this.”

“Who is it that you call, oh wait you don’t call, you just turn up in my room. Anyway, who is it that you creepily lurk around until they do research for you? That’s right, yours truly. What did you think I was going to do all day, Derek? Sit around and play with your wolf powers? See if I can punch cars? No, I’m going to try and find a way to fix this because I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea of this going on longer than it has to,” Stiles turns back to the food and starts dishing breakfast out. “So, could you please do me the favour of going to my classes and trying at the very least not to get me expelled?”

Derek looks down at his feet and Stiles can see the flush on his cheeks. Good. Stiles can’t believe Derek thought he was just going to sit around. Does he seriously think Stiles wants to be like this forever? For one, he’s fairly sure eventually his moral compass will collapse and he’ll end up getting very familiar with Derek’s body and he would actually still like to be able to look Derek in the eye. Stiles shoves a plate at Derek and gestures to the dining table. His dad has left a pile of folders in the corner and Stiles moves them over to the spare chair, watching Derek as he sits down. Derek takes a bite of the bacon and swallows before he looks up at Stiles and, ugh, that face Stiles knows well. “Sorry. I shouldn’t -”

Stiles waves a hand, smearing syrup across his hand. “Don’t. I don’t need an apology, not from you. Neither of us are at our best.”

“Still, it was wrong of me. I’m sorry.”

“Who are you, and what have you done with Derek?”

Derek smirks. “If we’re going to get into technicalities -”

“Ugh, no. No jokes from you. When you joke, I know things are bad.”

“I joke.”

“No, you snark. Just like Peter. Apparently it’s a Hale trait.”

“Are you seriously comparing me to my psychotic uncle right now?”

“Um. No?”

Derek shoots him a look that Stiles interprets as ‘you are so lucky I do not have my wolf powers right now’ and, okay, maybe Stiles had been a little harsh with that comparison. Stiles ducks his head and focuses on getting as much of his breakfast down his throat as possible. Werewolf appetites are apparently no joke. He glances at his phone and notices the time. “Shit, dude, you gotta go. Unless he’s been distracted by Allison, which let’s face it is a total possibility and if he has, I’ll totally hit him for you, but Scott should be waiting for you when you get there.”

“Right,” Derek gets up. “Should I take my phone or?”

“Huh. Um, well, I guess my dad might call you, and if I have my phone, I won’t answer, which will seriously freak him out. So we should swap?”

Derek nods and hands over his phone to Stiles, picking Stiles’ up from the table. “The passcode is 0322.”

That nudges something in Stiles’ head and he realises that was Laura’s birthday. He saw it one of the times he rifled through his dad’s files and that’s - yeah, okay. Stiles schools his face into a neutral expression as Derek goes upstairs to grab Stiles’ bag. It’s kind of weird to stand at the door and wave himself off to school, and it’s really weird to realise he won’t be in school today. Stiles looks around the house and sighs, research it is. Where the hell can he start with researching witches?

--

After realising that the internet would only throw up porn and bad supernatural novels when he searched for “witches + bodyswap” Stiles moved on to the books he had acquired from the Hale house. It wasn’t like he’d stolen them, and really, an argument could be made that as the dude always doing the research, he’s the one who should be in possession of them. Anyway, if Derek has ever noticed they’re gone, he hasn’t said anything. Stiles is flicking through the largest book, bypassing the chapter on wendigos (he remembers that episode of Supernatural and, just no. Stiles will not think about that happening in his life) when Derek’s phone vibrates with a text message.

Pack meeting tonight after school.

Good to know Derek is just as stoic when he’s in Stiles’ body. He glances at the clock and realises his dad will probably be off shift soon. Which means Stiles will be confined to his bedroom until Derek comes back. Awesome. Stiles sighs and sniffs himself. Ugh. He doesn’t know if it’s the werewolf senses, or if Derek was wearing these clothes for longer than he should, but he stinks. The pack meeting is probably a good idea, if only so he can grab some clothes from Derek’s closet. Also, he’s seriously hungry again. Stiles listens carefully for any sign of his dad coming home before leaving the room and heading to the kitchen, piling up his arms with food, score one for wolf strength, and running back up the stairs. He dumps it all on his desk before heading to the bathroom.

Stiles pauses for a second in front of the medicine cabinet and looks at his bottle of Adderall. He’s not sure where the ADHD comes into play with this, if he should take them or if Derek should take them. Since Derek is still himself in Stiles’ body, then it should really be Stiles taking them, but Scott’s asthma went away with the bite and, this isn’t the bite, Stiles knows that, but maybe his ADHD has gone the same way for now. Stiles picks up the bottle, rolls it around in his hand for a while before putting it back in the cabinet. This is really confusing him. If there are withdrawal symptoms, will he get them or will Derek? Can a werewolf go through withdrawal? And he really doesn’t want Derek to go through it while in his body because, well, it’s not fair on Derek and he also doesn’t want to have to deal with a sulky Alpha going through withdrawal while trying to work out what the hell to do about this bodyswap. Ugh. If he keeps a close eye on Derek he can spot the symptoms and if he asks, he thinks Derek will take the pills.

Fuck, okay, shower. Stiles sighs and strips, switching on the water. He gets in and lets his mind wander over the research he’s done so far. Depressingly, it looks like the only way to fix this is to find the witch who cast the spell in the first place. Stiles knows that witches do not react well to being tracked or trapped, and if this is what they did for fun, Stiles doesn’t want to know what they would do in revenge. His mind can go all sorts of places with that thought, places he’d rather it wouldn’t. Maybe the others can sniff the witches out? That would be helpful. At this point, anything would be helpful. Stiles reaches for the shampoo and washes his hair. He hasn’t had hair that needs more than soap since his mother died. He ducks his head under the water and rinses, eyes shooting open at the sound of his dad’s car coming down the road. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Stiles quickly rinses off the remaining suds and grabs a towel, switching off the water and collecting the clothes he left on the floor. He can hear the car getting closer, hears his dad pull the car into the driveway as he races down the hall. As Stiles closes his bedroom door and sits on the bed, his heart racing, he hears his dad stepping into the hallway downstairs. He also smells...chili fries. Stiles is going to kill his dad.

--

Stiles has his hand in a bag of Cheetos when he hears the Jeep pull up and Derek get out. Derek’s grinding his teeth and Stiles can almost feel the anger that flows from him, even from the outside. Stiles hopes Derek manages to get by his dad without raising suspicions. When he hears his dad call out to Derek, he listens in. It’s only fair after all the conversations he knows Derek has listened in on. It’s surprisingly uneventful, apparently Harris still has it in for him, big shock. His dad tries to question him again and Stiles can tell Derek is uncomfortable being so evasive with the truth, which is weird. Derek lies, a lot, he doesn’t trust easily, Stiles is still sort of amazed Derek trusts him most of the time, and Stiles never thought Derek would have a problem with lying to his dad, but apparently he does. There’s always been a sort of underlying respect from Derek whenever Stiles talks about his dad, and he’s the only adult Derek has ever willingly suggested telling about the pack.

When everyone was running on fumes, dealing with the Alpha pack, Stiles’ relationship with his father had been stretched to breaking point. Derek had brought up letting the Sheriff know while Stiles was over caffeinated and sifting through a pile of old papers Peter had dug up. Stiles was the one who couldn’t do it. He didn’t want to lie to his dad, he really didn’t, but he hated the idea of his dad knowing about all the supernatural shit, getting in the middle of everything. His dad was always in danger, Stiles had known this ever since he asked his dad why he carried a gun like the bad guys on the telly, but the thought of being the one to put his dad in danger was something he couldn’t get past. Stiles knew that if his dad found out, he’d want to be there fighting with them. After Derek had spoken that day, Stiles’ imagination had immediately pulled up an image of his dad being torn apart by werewolves. It must’ve shown on his face because Derek had dropped the subject, squeezed his shoulder and never mentioned it again.

Now, as he listens to Derek evade questions, Stiles wonders if he made the right choice. Maybe his dad should know, if nothing else, it might make the questions about why Stiles doesn’t want to go to college too far from Beacon Hills go away. Stiles hears Derek come up the stairs, and turns to face the door.

“Hi.”

Derek scowls and throws Stiles’ rucksack on the floor. “That was horrible. We’re fixing this. Now.”

“Good day at school, sweetie?” Stiles smirks. Hey, he’s been stuck indoors all day, he’s going to take his amusement where he can. If that means poking fun at Derek, so be it.

“Teenagers are stupid.”

“Are you forgetting that you’re mostly alive because of stupid teenagers? Specifically this stupid teenager?”

Derek huffs and sits on the bed. “That’s not the same thing. You’re not - you know when you’re being stupid.”

“Gee, thanks. It’s a good job my self esteem isn’t reliant on what you think of me.”

“Stiles,” Derek lets out a frustrated noise. “You have layers, depth. When you act stupid, I’m well aware there is more to you than that.”

“Oh.” Stiles kicks his foot back and forth, not meeting Derek’s eyes. It’s not that much of a surprise that Derek thinks he’s better than regular teenagers, he’s just not used to Derek voicing, well, anything. Ever. Especially feelings. Stiles is sure that Derek used to think he was just like all the other teengers. He likes to think that it was somewhere around the time Derek tried to get him to chop off his arm that his opinion started to change.

“Did you find anything?”

“Uh, sort of? I mean, I found some things, but I don’t know how helpful it’s going to be. It all says we have to track down the witch that did this, or another witch powerful enough to undo it, but that could be a problem because she, or he, wouldn’t necessarily know exactly what spell the first witch did to do this, so something could go wrong and, oh my god, we’re never going to get back into our own bodies are we?”

“We are,” Derek runs a hand over his face. “It just might take some careful planning.”

“Great. Because if this is what happens when we just stumble across some witches, I’m totally not on board with annoying them for real.”

“They were in Hale territory.”

“I know that. That’s why I went with you in the first place, help with the whole wolf witch relations thing. Which, big success by the way. Can I suggest you don’t mention that to them when we find them again?”

Derek is silent for a moment, he looks at Stiles and something passes across his face before he speaks quietly. “That’s not why you came with me.”

“What? No, it totally is.” And thank fuck Derek doesn’t have his wolf powers right now because Stiles has never told a more blatant lie in his life.

“That’s not why you came with me, that’s not why you’re helping me now.” Derek’s looking at him intently and shit, what is Stiles even meant to do here?

“I don’t - can we,” Stiles scrambles for words because, fuck, this is not where he saw this conversation going and maybe he possibly thought one day they - but not like this. “I’m not saying - just not now? Can this at least wait until we’re back in our own bodies?” Stiles’ voice is almost a whisper now and he can smell that cinnamon and fall leaves scent again, it’s stronger and it’s familiar and, oh fuck. That’s him. That’s what he smells like to Derek. He ducks his head, and he can hear Derek’s heart beating, it’s fast, like he’s nervous and, oh. Stiles has only just cottoned on to the fact that Derek’s the one bringing this up. Derek is the one talking about feelings. In a roundabout, grouchy way, but still. Stiles looks up and is blindsided by Derek suddenly being so close to him. How didn’t he hear him moving?

“Stiles, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to - we don’t - if you’re not,” Derek sighs. “I’m not going to make you talk.”

“Okay,” Stiles nods, almost to himself. “You get that I’m not saying -”

“I get it.” Derek reaches a hand out and touches Stiles’ cheek gently before withdrawing.

Stiles hates this. Hates witches. If it wasn’t for witches, he’d quite happily jump Derek right now because Derek would be in his own body and it wouldn’t be fucking creepy because, no, he’s not going to do this now. Doing this now would mean making out with himself and that’s a level of weird Stiles cannot deal with. Of all the weird shit he’s had to deal with over the last few years, that would just make his brain melt out of his ears. And, ew, gross. Disgusting image. He watches Derek settle himself back on the bed before speaking again. “So, uh, what time is the pack meeting?”

Derek goes with the subject change and glances at the clock. “A few hours. Will your dad still be here?”

“Um, it’s Monday, so he might go in early to do paperwork. If I don’t hear him, I’ll go out the window, meet you by my Jeep.”

“Here,” Derek leans over the bed, picks up the rucksack and tosses it at Stiles. “You have homework.”

“Harris?”

“Yeah. He really hates you.”

“Apparently being falsely accused of murder makes some people cranky, even when it happened years ago. I mean, you got over it, right?”

Derek snorts. “You accused me twice.”

“Hey, one of those was Scott.”

“So you said at the time. I don’t recall ever hearing about you contradicting him.”

“Okay, one, I thought you were dead, two, I totally defended you to my dad when he found out that we hang out and three, are we really going to go over this again?”

“No, because you have to do your homework before we leave.”

Stiles groans and starts to flick through his books, shooting a glare over at Derek as he stretches out on the bed and closes his eyes. Awesome, more studying. Stiles thinks he really needs to find a way to get someone else in on this research thing. Lydia maybe, or Erica, she’s surprisingly adept at research when she’s not giving into her She Hulk urges to smash shit up. Anyone, really, because if Stiles has to spend all day researching how to reverse a curse and all night doing his homework, he’s going to lose his mind.

--

Stiles is going to have to take back everything he’s ever said about Derek climbing in and out of his window because that shit is fun. Like, really fun. The lurking, okay, Stiles still has issues with it. Kind of. But the leaping and the climbing and the moving so fucking fast? Yeah, Stiles has no issues with that. Judging by the look on Derek’s face when Stiles climbs into the Jeep, he knows just how much fun Stiles had doing that. Stiles kind of wonders if Derek will let him go for a run in the forest when the pack meeting is over. He really, really wants to see how fast he can run in Derek’s body. Apparently he’s been saying this out loud because Derek just shakes his head as he steers the Jeep up to the house and, hey, Derek actually treated his baby with respect this time.

Derek waits for him to get out of the Jeep, Jackson’s car is already there, and Stiles guesses that means Scott and Lydia are there as well. The Camaro is parked and Stiles knows the only other person Derek lets drive it is Erica, she’d mentioned something about going to classic car shows with her Grandad and Derek had folded like a puppy. Something that Stiles had absolutely not found utterly endearing. Not at all.

“So, it’s not fixed then.” How did Stiles know that would be the first thing out of Jackson’s mouth?

Stiles can’t bring himself to do anything but glare at Jackson because, seriously? How can someone make even dumber comments than Scott? How is that possible? Stiles would really like to know. Thankfully, Lydia smacks Jackson across the head for him. It’s things like that which make Stiles remember why he spent so long drooling after her. Derek looks like he’s regretting ever biting Jackson. Though, to be honest, he gets that look a lot.

“If we can move on from Jackson’s stunning powers of observation, Stiles has some ideas about how to get us back in our own bodies.”

“They’re only ideas if you like pissing off witches.” Stiles points out.

“If we can, I’d like to avoid pissing off witches.” Boyd raises his hand, looking between Stiles and Derek.

“It’s seriously not part of the plan, but the only way we can reverse this is by finding the original witch that cast the spell. Which, yes, okay, hunting down witches is not something I want to do, but I also don’t want to be stuck in Derek’s body for the rest of my life, because, awesome athletic abilities aside, being a wolf is not something I want,” Stiles takes a breath. “And don’t think I don’t know that all of you are lost without an Alpha. We just - we need to fix this.”

Erica exchanges a look with Isaac and bites her lip before nodding at Stiles. “Okay. Whatever you need us to do.”

“Boyd, Isaac, you’re the best at tracking by scent,” Derek gestures to them. “Scott will take you out to where we were yesterday. Try and pick something up, track it as best you can and come back if you find something. Do not put yourself in the way of a witch. Be aware of any traps, mystical or otherwise. Scott, you come back once Boyd and Isaac set off.”

Boyd, Isaac and Scott get up and head towards the door. Scott shoots Stiles a tight smile before they leave. Stiles likes to think of that as part one of the plan. Next comes sorting through all of the utterly ridiculous werewolf - witch relations to find some way of getting the witch to come and talk to them without cursing them again, or cursing any other member of the pack. So. “Lydia?”

“Let me guess, you need my brains.”

“Now, Lydia, aren’t you happy that I appreciate you for the well rounded girl - woman you are? And yes. There’s so much history here, I need help deciphering what will help us and what won’t. I’ve got it all cross referenced and there’s notes here, but I don’t know what’s really relevant and what isn’t so -”

“Hand it over, Stilinski.”

Stiles grins. “My Goddess.”

“Not yours,” Lydia sing songs before she looks at Stiles. “You stink, by the way, go and get changed.”

Derek laughs, and even Erica looks amused. Jackson just looks like he was trying to be polite by not mentioning it, which, personal growth for Jackson maybe? Stiles shakes his head and starts heading towards the stairs.

“Wait,” Derek calls. “You hungry?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Jackson, Erica, you’re on dinner duty. See what there is in the kitchen.”

“Why do I have -” Jackson’s protest gets cut off as Erica drags him into the kitchen by his collar. Stiles is never going to get sick of seeing Jackson being treated like the lowest rung in the pack ladder. Maybe he holds a grudge, whatever.

Stiles carries on up the stairs and walks into Derek’s bedroom. It’s the first time he’s been in there alone and he can’t help but let his mind ponder what that means. He’s read the lore, knows that when a werewolf has a permanent dwelling, his bedroom is his den and that’s different, personal. Derek has never stopped Stiles from entering his room, not like he does with the other members of the pack. Stiles isn’t stupid, he’s always asked permission, he’s always been respectful, but. But he’s also always known that the amount of access Derek gives him is something different, something Stiles has been trying to ignore. He runs a hand over his face and tries not to think about how long he’s been trying to ignore that.

--

When Stiles comes downstairs, Derek is slouched on the sofa, flicking through a book. Lydia is at the table, her Macbook open in front of her, Stiles’ notes and books spread out. Every now and then she widens her eyes and mumbles to herself, words that make no sense to Stiles, but he guesses that means she’s making progress. Stiles can hear Erica and Jackson in the kitchen, knows that if he takes a few steps to his right he’ll see them arguing about the right way to make meatballs. The smell of the meat and herbs overpower his senses and he, well, he growls. The sound makes Derek turn his head and Stiles recognises that look, it’s the look Stiles gets when he’s trying not to laugh. Stiles shrugs and stalks over to the sofa, points a warning finger at Derek and sits down.

“I didn’t say anything.” Derek murmurs.

“You didn’t have to, I know my own face.”

Derek makes a ‘hmm’ sound and turns back to his book. Stiles rolls his eyes and looks around the room. It’s almost cosy now, the house is half new, half not. Derek had fought to keep the parts of the house that were technically fit to be lived in, even if it made the work harder. Stiles' eyes had almost popped out of his head when he’d done the sums, before realising that Derek had that horrible burden that all sole surviving family members end up with. Life insurance. Aside from necessities, Derek had hardly touched any of it. The money had just sat in accounts, waiting for him to get his head together. Stiles isn’t convinced that Derek does actually have his head together, he knows that Derek still carries all sorts of awful thoughts around with him, but the Hale house is refurbished now and he guesses that’s about as close to normal as Derek is going to get at the moment. In his more ridiculous moments, Stiles thinks about giving Derek gold stars for each step towards normality he takes. He’s fairly sure that wouldn’t go down well.

Isaac is the only pack member who lives with Derek full time. Erica and Boyd both have families, but they spend enough time here that they have their own rooms, though Stiles knows only one of those rooms gets any use. Jackson and Lydia rarely stay nights if they don’t have to, and never stay if Peter’s around. Peter has an apartment in town, which makes everyone happy. Peter still creeps Stiles out with his gross Uncle Bad Touch vibe and, yes, maybe when he’s around Stiles avoids being alone in a room with him. He has feeling that it makes him look like Derek’s loyal lapdog, but fuck it, he’d rather look like a lapdog than be touched by Peter again. Ever.

Stiles tilts his head back and tries to listen for Scott coming back to the house. He knows he can pick out Scott’s footsteps, but he can’t pick out Scott’s heartbeat. He can’t pick out anyone’s heartbeat except Derek’s, and Stiles, well he’s not really sure what that means. If it means anything, for all Stiles knows, he can only hear Derek’s heartbeat because he’s the one Stiles has been around, because Derek is the one Stiles has been experimenting with, and oh, that is not what he meant. Derek’s the only one who has been around when Stiles has been playing with his new wolfy senses. That’s all Stiles meant. Really.

He’s so distracted by his own brain that he doesn’t realise Scott is close, that he’s bounding towards the house. Derek looks up when Stiles taps him on the leg and frowns. “Scott.” Stiles says, nods towards the door as Scott walks in.

“Did they pick something up?” Derek asks.

“Yeah, Isaac said there was a scent, not familiar. Boyd said it had doubled back? I stayed with them until they picked out where it went.”

“And?”

Scott shrugs. “It was heading into town. They said they’d be careful,” Scott sniffs. “Hey, is there food?”

Stiles ducks his head to hide a grin. There’s seriously a reason that Scott gets the worst of Derek’s training techniques.

“Yes, Scott, there’s food,” Derek sighs. “Go and help Erica and Jackson.”

Derek tips his head back and pinches the bridge of his nose. Stiles can see he’s worn out already, and it’s a look he doesn’t like seeing on his own face, not just because he knows it’ll make his dad ask even more questions. This is not a good situation by any stretch of the imagination, and Derek has put so much effort into helping Stiles deal with the wolf part, that Stiles hasn’t even thought how Derek is dealing with being human. It blows Stiles’ mind how this is the first time Derek has been human, he knows Derek was born a werewolf, but he’s never thoughts about what that means. Stiles twists, turns to face Derek. He stares at him for a while because, let’s face it, Derek has spent more than his fair share of time staring at Stiles. Although, Stiles is technically staring at himself, not Derek because Derek’s in Stiles’ body, so is he really just adding to the amount that he’s been stared at? Whatever it is, it obviously works on Derek because he turns his head and glares at Stiles.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Stiles shrugs. “Just, y’know, wondering how you are.”

“You’ve been with me since this happened. I’m fine.”

“Not really what I was asking. Derek, you’ve never been human before.”

“I’m well aware of that, thank you Stiles.”

“Hey,” Stiles pokes him with a finger. “Come on. You know I don’t - look. I know helping me get control over the wolf was a more immediate problem than helping you deal with being human, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s important, you’re - can you just talk to me? Please?”

Derek looks at him and Stiles meets his eyes because, if they end up doing this, Stiles can’t be the only one who talks. Okay, he’s good at talking, but he’s a firm believer in relationships (and, what is he even thinking now? A relationship? With Derek? Stiles needs to bury his head in the sand a little more for his own sanity) being partnerships and that comes down on the side of Stiles not being the one having to do all the communicating. Stiles doesn’t remember much of his mom & dad’s marriage, he was only a child, but he remembers the feeling of openness in the house, something that he feels bitterly guilty about destroying by lying to his dad all the damn time. But this - he just needs Derek to talk. He just does.

“What is it you want me to say? Huh? I feel -” Derek breaks off and clenches his fists.

“You feel what? Come on, man.”

“Weak. Sorry.”

“Sorry? Derek, why are you - oh. Dude, I know you’re not calling me weak. You’ve spent your whole life being able to smash bricks with your hands, anything less than that is going to be weird for you. I get that.”

“Smash bricks with my hands? I’m a werewolf, not Superman, Stiles.”

“I don’t know, wolfsbane is kind of like your kryptonite, that’s all I’m saying.”

Derek’s mouth twitches up a little, and Stiles mentally high fives himself. It’s become a thing, because Stiles likes making Derek happy and, yes, he probably should’ve noticed where this was going a long time ago. What can he say? He’s really good at ignoring things when he wants to.

“I don’t think you’re weak, Stiles.”

“I know.”

“Okay.”

Derek lapses into silence again and Stiles sighs, he knows that’s about as much as he’s going to get out of Derek right now. Especially with the amount of betas lurking in the kitchen pretending not to listen to every word. Stiles pokes Derek with his foot and laughs as Derek shoots him a half hearted glare.

“That’s creepy.” Erica’s voice drifts over to them and Stiles cranes his neck to look at her.

“What’s creepy?”

“Seeing Derek’s face laugh so much,” Erica taps her finger against Stiles’ nose. “Better be careful, when you’re back in your own bodies, the big bad Alpha will have smiles lines.”

Stiles grins. “Is there a rule against Alphas having smile lines? Does the Werewolf Council deduct points if you’re not sufficiently growly?”

“You’re the worst.” Derek grumbles.

“I actually think you mean the complete opposite of that. I think you mean ‘Stiles you’re amazing and I wish I could be like you all the time’. Face it, being in my body is like a dream for you.” Stiles is sure he’ll have to stop this in a moment, because Erica is looking at him with wide eyes, as if she thinks he’s losing it but, oh, it’s so worth it to see Derek almost choking on repressed laughter.

--

Stiles puts the rucksack on the floor of his room, he’d figured it was easier to bring some of Derek’s clothes with him instead of heading back to the Hale house every day. He rubs a hand over his face and sits at his desk, switching his laptop on. Lydia had emailed her work over to him, promising that it was simple enough for him to understand, which, Stiles doesn’t even care about the jab, because he’s so grateful that someone else did the work for him. Stiles can hear Derek downstairs, talking to his dad, heating up lasagne in the oven. He misses his dad. This is almost easier, not having to lie to his dad, but making Derek lie to his dad makes him feel awful. Stiles misses being able to turn around and see his dad, even if it’s just his dad making a face at Stiles being, well, Stiles. He can hear Derek laugh, a little, and it makes something in Stiles’ chest clench. He tries to bury it and pulls up the file Lydia sent him.

Boyd and Isaac had tracked the witch to a small apartment over one of the coffee shops in town. They’d sensed something around it, and had headed back to the house to report back. Derek had taken the information in and ordered everyone to stay away from the coffee shop, which was fine, Beacon Hills has more coffee shops than it knows what to do with. Before all this, Stiles had actually been contemplating witchcraft as a reason the coffee shops stayed in business. Now, realising he might’ve been close to the truth, he’s almost put off coffee. Almost. He’s not crazy enough to never have coffee again, he just might be a little more discerning as to where he buys it.

And, huh, he’s spent a little too long contemplating that because he can suddenly hear Derek coming up the stairs. Derek closes the door behind him and leans over Stiles, looking at the screen.

“Anything useful?”

“Kind of? I’m not sure what we did to annoy her in the first place, so we’re going to have to be extra cautious when he approach her. Which, when were we doing this again?”

“Tomorrow, if we’re able to sort out an approach tonight.”

“But no pressure or anything, right?”

“Stiles, I thought you wanted this to be -”

“No, no. I do,” Stiles sighs. “I don’t want to fuck this up, make it worse, get us turned into cats or something. Which would really be worse for you, being part of the canine family, I mean, being a cat would go against your entire nature, right?”

“I trust you not to get me turned into a cat.”

“I wish I did. Okay, here’s what we have so far. It says that we need a human to approach her first, which I guess can’t be me at the moment, so you’ll have to do it. Then, if she agrees, I can come in and we can try and get her to switch us back.”

“Sounds simple.”

“Yeah, aside from the whole she could turn us into cats thing, or just, I don’t know, make us vanish,” Stiles spins the chair around to face Derek. “Simple. Sure.”

“You know, you’re the one who always tells me to be positive.”

“I guess your overwhelming negativity is a bonus to being in your body,” Stiles watches Derek stand up and walk over to the bed and, ugh, now Stiles feels terrible. “I didn’t mean - you know, your negativity has actually mellowed. Obviously having a functional pack thing has been good for you, or, I don’t know, you’re calming down in your old age?”

Derek flops back on the bed, his feet still on the floor, letting out a quiet laugh. “Stiles, stop.”

“What? I’m not doing anything.” Stiles runs a hand through his hair and, hey, still getting weirded out by actually having hair.

“Stiles.”

“Okay, jeez. You know, it’s not right that you can still do this without your wolfy powers.”

“Do what?”

Stiles walks over and kicks Derek’s leg. Not too hard because he has no desire to add to the collection of bruises he knows his body is carrying, but still. “Know when I’m, y’know, like this.”

Derek pushes himself up on his elbows and frowns at Stiles. “That has nothing to do with me being a werewolf. You project like crazy, everyone can read you, werewolf or not. It’s why your dad is so worried about you. He can tell something’s wrong, he just doesn’t know what.”

“Oh.” Well, isn’t that a kick in the teeth.

“I’m not telling you that to make you feel bad, Stiles. It’s -” Derek pauses for a moment. “You’re fearless with your emotions. You love indiscriminately and wholly. That’s not a bad thing.”

Stiles, for once in his life, is actually kind of speechless. No one tells him things like that, no one lays out his qualities so starkly and Stiles, he has no idea how to react. Especially since it’s coming from Derek, which, what? When did this become his life? Stiles closes his eyes, this is something that will have to wait. He can’t deal with more than one crisis now without his head exploding. So, getting them back in their bodies first, dealing with whatever this is between him and Derek second, and hoping they don’t get turned into cats somewhere amongst that. His eyes open as Derek taps his fingers against Stiles’ leg. “Yeah?”

“You good?” Derek’s eyes are wide, Stiles can hear his heart racing a little faster.

“Yeah. Yes, I - thanks. For saying that,” Stiles screws up his face. “I’m not great with compliments, which is surprising considering how many people are lining up to shower me with them, right?” He huffs out a laugh. “So, tomorrow, you’re going to school? And then we’ll do this thing afterwards?”

Derek falls back on the bed and groans. “Can’t I skip?”

“Not a chance, dude. You skip, guess who hears about it? That’s right, my dad. Who gets in trouble? Me, providing we’re not cats at the time, and then who will save your furry ass the next time you’re in trouble? Not me, because I’ll be grounded. You’ll get Scott. Or Erica. Good luck with getting Scott away from stalking Allison to save you, and, by the way, is this a wolf thing? The late night lurking? Because I’m not sure it’s the way to go, for you or Scott.”

“It seems to have worked with you.”

Stiles makes a frustrated noise. “You can’t just say that, okay. I’m dealing with one life changing crisis at a time and that - that is second to getting us back in the right bodies and, yes, there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, but did you not hear me say one life changing crisis at a time?”

“Stiles. Stiles. I’m sorry, okay? I shouldn’t tease you.”

“Are you setting records for how many times you can apologise? Because you know I’ll still count it as you even if you’re in my body. They’re sour wolf apologies, not Stilinski apologies.”

“Count them as whatever you like. I mean them.”

Stiles is still standing, he looks down at Derek and finds himself completely mystified by this side of Derek. It’s not like he hasn’t loosened up, having a stable pack, finally, has made Derek relax his frowny face on more than one occasion. But he’s never been relaxed like this, never been teasing. Stiles examines Derek’s face and wonders if being in a different body, being in Stiles’ body, is letting Derek have a freedom that he’s never had before. If, maybe, underneath the grumbling about having to go to school and the fears of being weak, Derek is almost enjoying himself. He steps back a little when he sees a frown appear on Derek’s face and runs a hand over his face. “Did you, uh, want to shower?”

Derek shakes his head. “I’ll do it in the morning. I kind of - I’m really tired.”

“Now you know how I feel when you drag me around at all hours of the night. If it weren’t for the Adderall, I’d be falling asleep and failing all my classes,” Stiles sits back down at the desk and catches the look Derek shoots him. “What?”

“Should I be taking your pills?”

“No? I don’t know. I was thinking about it, before, and you, you’re okay, right? So then I thought maybe I should take them, but I’m not - there aren’t any symptoms. So. I guess it’s like Erica’s epilepsy? The wolf cures it?”

Derek sits up at that. “Would you - I mean, if it can do that, would you -”

“No. Part of me, maybe, wants it, but I like being human. I like being me, and, I know taking the bite doesn’t erase who you are, but this - being in your body, being a wolf, it feels wrong to me. Not wrong because of the body thing, but because of the wolf thing and, not that you’re wrong, or that any of the pack -” Stiles takes a breath because he can feel everything bubbling up inside of him and, shit, he’s starting to lose it. His fingers are suddenly clawing at his thighs and it’s all he can do to bring up images of his mom. The way she’d softly sing along to The Bangles on a Sunday afternoon, the way she’d add extra chocolate chips to almost everything she baked. Stiles can hear Derek’s heartbeat, hear his breathing get closer to Stiles. He reaches out a hand, placing it on top of Stiles’. Derek doesn’t say a word and Stiles just concentrates on the feel of Derek’s hand, the memory of his mother. It seems like no time at all before Stiles feels back in control. He opens his eyes to see his own face staring back at him and, wow, Derek looks really worried.

“You’re back. You’re okay.”

“Yeah,” Stiles’ voice is barely a whisper. “I’m okay.” He looks down at his thighs, blood has seeped into the jeans, there are holes where his claws were digging in, but that’s it. There’s no marks, no pain.

“You’re dealing with this better than Scott did.”

Stiles chokes out a laugh and looks at Derek. “That isn’t exactly hard.”

“I’m serious Stiles, I know you don’t want it, but -”

“Don’t. Please,” Stiles twists his hands. “I know you - from what Deaton’s been telling me, the things he’s been teaching me, it’s like there’s something else I’m meant to do, meant to be.”

“What?”

“I don’t know. Giles. Maybe I’m meant to be Giles,” Stiles throws his arms up and almost laughs at the blank look on Derek’s face. “And you would know who that was if you joined us for Buffy nights.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “It’s like you don’t get enough of the supernatural in your real life.”

“Dude, Buffy is totally different. For one, vampires. We don’t do vampires, though, yes there may be a slight similarity between you and a brooding vampire with a soul, but we all agreed we’d pick you over Angel every time. Isaac would pick Xander over you, but that’s probably a good thing seeing as how you’re pretty much like his dad. Though, ew, what does that say about Erica picking you?” Stiles shudders. “I don’t even want to know.”

“What are you - why do you all sit around discussing me?”

“Because you’re not there. If you joined us we’d probably stop.”

“Really?”

“Okay, I’d stop. The rest of them would be your problem.”

Derek snorts and straightens up from where he’s been kneeling on the ground. He sits on the bed and kicks off the Converse he’d put on that morning before starting to pull off his t shirt. Stiles coughs and turns back to the screen, taking a moment to shoot off an email to Scott before he closes the laptop and reaches for the rucksack he’d brought with him from the Hale house. He roots around for a moment before he finds the pyjama bottoms that were in Derek’s drawer. Stiles ignores the rustling of clothes behind him, the shucking of jeans, it’s too weird for him to think about and all he really wants to do is get changed without embarrassing himself. He slips out of his clothes quickly, resigns himself to the fact he’s probably wrecked this pair of Derek’s jeans and pulls up the pyjamas. Stiles goes without a shirt and, yeah, that’s probably going to bite him in the ass at some point, but Derek’s right, werewolves do run hot, so, whatever. Stiles is sticking his head in the sand, okay? One crisis at a time.

Stiles looks up as Derek makes to open the door. “Where are you going?”

“Midnight snack,” Derek flashes a grin. “And the bathroom.”

“Bring me up some of the lasagne? And the garlic bread, I could smell you heating it up. Oh, and some drinks?”

“Anything else?”

“Pretzels. Don’t look at me like that, this is werewolf hunger.”

Derek laughs as he heads down the hall and Stiles gives himself another mental high five.

--

Stiles spends most of the next day trying not to freak out about the fact that he’ll be confronting a witch later on and, oh my god, he’ll probably be turned into a mouse and Derek will be turned into a cat and the witch will let Derek eat him and not in the good way. And, oh, so not thinking about Derek eating him in a good way. Or in any way. At all. No. Stiles glances at the clock, there’s lacrosse practice after school so Derek won’t even be home for another hour at least. He tilts the chair back and sighs before he straightens up at the sound of the Camaro coming closer which means, well, it means at least Erica is here. Stiles waits for a moment, he wants to see if he can pick out Erica approaching, there’s something. He can - he can hear a faint heartbeat, and Stiles doesn’t think it’s faint because her actual heartbeat is faint, it’s just that he can’t hear it as strongly as he hears Derek’s. There’s the quick clip of her shoes, and that’s suddenly gone as, yep, she appears at his window, gracefully ducking into his room.

“To what do I owe this visit? I thought we were all meeting up at the house later.”

Erica shrugs and trails her fingers along Stiles’ bed, which, really? “The boys are all at lacrosse, I figured I’d come and hang out with you until Derek gets back. It’s either that or hang out with Lydia on the bleachers and, funnily enough, we don’t really have that much in common.”

“Okay. Well, my dad’s not home so you can hang...” Stiles drifts off as Erica curls up on Stiles’ bed because apparently Stiles’ bed is catnip for wolves. Wolfnip? Heh.

“Don’t you want to know?” Erica calls over.

“Know what?”

“How he got on at school being you?”

“Since my dad hasn’t had any phone calls from the school, I’m assuming he’s getting on fine.”

“He’s not quite as smart as you, but no one really notices. He’s actually doing a good impression. You should be flattered, he’s obviously been watching you closely.” Erica smirks and Stiles resists the urge to bury his face in his hands.

“Can you just not -”

“I think I deserve to know if my Alpha is thinking of dating someone.”

“Okay! No more talking about Derek maybe dating me or anything like that. Ever.”

“Ugh, fine. Can I just ask you one thing?” Erica sits up and looks at Stiles.

“You can ask.”

“Is this going to happen? You and Derek? Because, although thinking about Derek having sex is weirdly like thinking of my dad having sex and, well, ew. You’re good for him. You’re good for us. If you hadn’t been around when Boyd and I got away from the Alphas, I don’t know if Derek would’ve - I mean, he would’ve taken us back, but we wouldn’t,” Erica pulls on a strand of hair, looking strangely vulnerable. “The pack wouldn’t be as close as it is.”

“Erica. I -” Stiles breaks off for a moment, he’s not sure what to say. It’s one thing for he and Derek to be thinking about wherever their relationship goes, but if Stiles is honest, he hasn’t even thought about what the pack would be thinking. It’s like he’s preparing to date a single dad and, oh shit, that’s exactly what it’s like. Shit. Does this make him Erica’s potential step dad? This is why he only wanted to deal with one crisis at a time. He has no desire to twist up his brain before he has to face a witch. “Erica, okay, uh. Derek and I, we - there might - we’re kind of waiting until we get back in our own bodies before we -”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Erica nods and lays back on the bed, her hair fanning out around her, her leather jacket squeaking as she moves around. “Okay. You’d be a good step dad.”

And now Stiles won’t have to wait for the witch to possibly kill him tonight because he’s going to go and swallow some wolfsbane. Right now.

--

Stiles looks up when Derek comes into the room and stifles a grin at the look of confusion on his face.

“What’s going on?”

“Scrabble. We’re playing scrabble. All of Erica’s words are worryingly bloodthirsty.”

Erica smiles sweetly. “I’m winning, aren’t I?”

“That’s not because of your bloodthirsty words, it’s because you keep ending up on triple word score squares,” Stiles glances at Derek as he sits down next to Stiles. “I’m sure she’s cheating, but I can’t work out how.”

“How do you cheat at scrabble?” Derek asks.

“I told you, I haven’t worked it out yet,” Stiles uses the ‘L’ in Erica’s ‘kill’ to make ‘loving’ before he leans back. “What’s the plan for tonight?”

“Isaac, Boyd, Lydia and Jackson will stay home, just in case anything goes wrong. You, me, Erica and Scott will go to the coffee shop. You three will wait outside while I go in and speak to the witch.”

Stiles exchanges a look with Erica. “And if it goes okay, I come in, right?”

“If we get her to agree, then yes. Stiles, don’t come in unless I say so. If she tries to - we don’t know what will - if something happens to us while we’re in the wrong bodies.”

“Derek,” Stiles places a hand on Derek’s knee. “I’ll wait, I promise. I’m not that keen on my me-ness floating around in the ether because I get your body killed and I have nowhere to go. Is that what would happen? Or would I just die? And I’m really not keen on dying, I’d like to avoid that, so yeah. I’ll wait outside.”

“As fascinating as this is to listen to, and as fun as it is kicking your butt at Scrabble, Stiles, I’m going to go,” Erica stands up and stretches. “Meet you both at the house in an hour?”

Derek nods. “Pick up Scott. Isaac and Boyd should be at the house already, get in contact with Lydia, tell her to bring Jackson to the house.”

“Will do, Papa Wolf.” Erica smirks as she leaps out of the window.

“Stop calling me that.” Derek groans as he rubs a hand over his face.

Stiles laughs and shoots a look at Derek. “She heard that and she’s cackling.”

“I blame you for that.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

Derek glares at him. “I seem to recall a dinner where you called me that exact same thing.”

“That was months ago, if Erica picked it up from me, she would’ve started doing it then, it’s got nothing to do with me.”

“You’re blushing,” Derek narrows his eyes. “What were you and Erica talking about before I got here?”

“Nothing. And also, I’m blushing? I didn’t even know werewolves could blush, is this the first time your body has blushed? Did you know you could blush?”

“Stiles.”

“Uh. Okay, she might’ve asked if we were going to, you know, the thing that we decided we weren’t going to deal with until after we dealt with the witch thing.”

Derek looks down, and Stiles can hear his heartbeat as it starts to speed up. He’s still got his hand on Derek’s knee and he pulls it back as if it’s burning. This isn’t - Stiles doesn’t know what to think. There’s any number of reasons Derek’s heart could speed up, but all Stiles can do is concentrate on the bad reasons. That maybe Derek has thought about this, and has decided he doesn’t want to talk about it at all, that maybe Derek doesn’t want this, doesn’t want Stiles and. Stiles has dealt with a lot, okay, he’s not weak, but right now he - fuck. This is why he doesn’t want to think about this until he’s back in his own body. Because maybe he’s human and breakable, but he likes being who he is most of the time and he likes Derek being who he is and this is just so much harder than he thought it would be.

“Stiles, hey, Stiles.”

“Huh. What?”

“You drifted off.”

“Oh. I was just -”

“I’m not angry, Stiles. And I’m not re-thinking anything. Except perhaps how much time you spend with Erica. I know we’re waiting to talk about this, but we both know that whatever happens isn’t just about us.”

“Us?” Stiles can’t help but smile at that. He hasn’t really let himself think about it, but he likes the sound of that. He likes the sound of it a lot and, oh god, he’s going to be one of those ridiculous people who ends up using ‘we’ and ‘us’ unironically.

“Yeah,” Derek returns his smile briefly. “Can we agree that you’ll stop thinking I won’t want to talk about this later?”

“Okay. Yeah, okay.”

--

The ride over to the coffee shop is tense, Stiles can’t stop his leg from bouncing up and down, and Derek doesn’t seem inclined to try and stop him. Stiles hates this, he hates waiting for bad things to happen, and he can’t think that, can’t think that this isn’t going to work, because if it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, he’ll be stuck in Derek’s body for - possibly forever and it’s only been two days and he misses his life. He misses his dad. Stiles misses his dad so much it actually hurts.

Derek pulls the Jeep up a few shop fronts down from the coffee shop, he eyes the Camaro in the rear view mirror before getting out. He looks through the open window at Stiles. “Stay in earshot. I’ll let you know how it’s going.”

Stiles nods his head once and sits back in the Jeep, watches Derek walk down the road. There’s wards all around the shop, Stiles can feel them and he knows they’re not going to do Derek any harm while he’s in a human body, but Stiles’ stomach tightens anyway. Derek walks in the shop and Stiles holds his breath, he can hear the shop become still until he picks out the voice of the witch.

“Alpha Hale. You found us.”

“I did.”

“And what is it you want from me? There’s very little harm you can cause while in that body.”

“I’m aware. That night, I did not approach you in hostility. That land is Hale territory, as you know, and I had every right to know who it was casting magic.”

“So you think what I did was because I thought you were hostile. That’s interesting.”

“It wasn’t?”

“There are problems with witch and werewolf relations, I won’t deny it, but that’s not the reason for the magic I wove. If it was simply hostility, I would’ve gone with a much different type of magic.”

“Then why?”

“You and your companion, as belligerent as he was, seemed to have an unexplored connection. You know what it is for a wolf to be alone and you, Alpha Hale, have been alone for a very long time.”

“So you made us switch bodies?”

“Well, bonding spells are so yesterday. Did you not realise this connection with your companion after this? Shall I invite him in? I assume he’s nearby and can hear us.”

“He is. Is he welcome to come in?”

“As long as he tries to keep his mouth shut.”

Stiles resents that, he really does. He climbs out of the Jeep and heads to the coffee shop. It’s not like he was trying to insult the witch, not really. He may or may not be mumbling that to himself when he reaches the door. The wards are still there, they’re faint and they won’t hurt him, but they’re still there. It’s enough to make him very cautious as he walks through the door.

“Ah, there he is.”

Stiles rolls his eyes and comes to stand next to Derek. “Yep, here I am. And there you are, and here he is. Can we get on with this?”

“Stiles,” Derek bites out. “Can you try not to antagonise her again, please?”

“Oh I’m finding him quite entertaining. Nevertheless, I assume you’ve tracked me down in order to have this reversed?” The witch raises an eyebrow. “Will you allow me to ask one question?”

“Do we have a choice?” Stiles asks.

“Not really. The two of you. Are you prepared to explore your connection?”

Derek glances at Stiles. “We’re ready to discuss it, if we ever get back to our own bodies.”

“I assume that’s the most I’ll get out of you, Alpha Hale. So, take each other’s hands. Breathe in. Close your eyes.”

Stiles can feel the magic as she weaves it, it’s not as harsh as he thought it would be. He assumed the act of breaking a spell would be more like splitting something as opposed to this swirly, floaty feeling that’s circling around them now.

“Open your eyes.”

The first thing Stiles sees is Derek’s face. Derek’s face is in front of him, which means that Derek isn’t in his body, that Stiles isn’t in Derek’s body and, oh, Derek’s smiling. Stiles knows that the heat on his cheeks means his face is flushing and he can’t bring himself to care because this? This feels right in a way he couldn’t even have imagined. “Hi.” Stiles bites his lower lip and grins at Derek.

“Hi.”

“Alpha Hale, you really should never let your enemies see you like this, I imagine your dangerous aura would be destroyed.”

Derek growls. Stiles rolls his eyes and tugs at Derek’s hands. “Come on grouchy. Let’s get out of here.” Stiles keeps tugging at Derek until they reach the exit.

“Goodbye Alpha Hale. I’ll make sure we stay away from your territory.”

--

Erica and Scott are leaning against the Camaro when Stiles and Derek come out of the coffee shop, they jump up at the sight of Derek. Erica immediately walks over and sniffs Derek before breaking out in a huge grin.

“You’re back.”

Derek touches the back of Erica’s neck briefly. “Yeah, I’m back.”

“And I’m back, if anyone cares?” Stiles shrugs.

Scott laughs and offers his fist, Stiles grins and bumps it before falling back against Derek’s side.

“Scott, take Stiles’ keys. Drive the Jeep back to the house with Erica.” Derek holds his hand out to Erica for the keys to the Camaro, which she hands over with a pout before she follows Scott to the Jeep.

Derek waits until they’re out of earshot before he turns to Stiles. “You want to drive?”

“What?”

“Do you want to drive?”

“Your car?”

“If I have to say it again, I’m taking back the offer.”

“No, no,” Stiles grabs the keys out of Derek’s hand. “I want to.”

Stiles slips behind the wheel and can’t resist running his hands along the dashboard. Holy shit this car feels good. He can hear Derek stifling a laugh, and whatever, this car is ridiculous and Stiles is going to take his time with it.

“Are you done fondling my car yet?”

“If you say you’ll let me drive it again, I’ll stop. Hey, can I take the long way back?”

“Depends.”

“On what?” Stiles turns his head to face Derek and, oh, okay. Derek’s pressing his lips against Stiles’ and Stiles, he couldn’t give a shit about driving the Camaro right now. He brings a hand up to clasp at Derek’s neck, the other fists in Derek’s t shirt. Stiles pulls Derek towards him across the gear shift and Derek lets him, he fucking lets him. Derek opens his mouth, lets Stiles deepen the kiss. He moves a hand to Stiles’ hip, pushes up Stiles’ shirt and strokes the skin there. It’s like a patch of heat that flows through Stiles’ entire body, he can feel it humming through his blood and goddamn, Stiles just wants to climb on to Derek’s lap. He pulls back slightly, his breathing laboured, coming in short, sharp bursts. Derek’s lips are still brushing against his. “Okay,” Stiles mutters. “No long way back.” He feels more than sees Derek smile and Stiles can’t resist kissing him one more time before he settles back into the drivers seat and flicks the engine on.

Derek’s hand rests on Stiles’ knee the whole drive back to the Hale house. When they pull up, Stiles sees his Jeep parked next to Jackson’s Porsche. He switches the Camaro’s engine off but doesn’t get out of the car. It’s strange, he’s back in his own body and he feels comfortable, it feels right, but the thought of going into the house and dealing with this is not appealing. Derek’s tapping his fingers along Stiles’ thigh to get his attention, Stiles turns to face him and, well, he likes Derek’s face. Stiles can’t help but smile.

“What?”

“Nothing, not really.”

“Can’t lie to me,” Derek grabs Stiles’ hand, links their fingers together. “What is it?”

“Creepy werewolf senses.”

“Stop deflecting.”

Stiles makes a face at him before he answers. “I kind of feel weird going in there. Not that it’s weird being back in my body, it’s great being back in my body, loving being me again. Just. The last two days have been fucking strange and I can’t switch my mind off, but I feel exhausted and -” Derek leans over and kisses Stiles again, biting softly on his bottom lip, making Stiles groan. Derek pulls back and smiles, Stiles can only imagine what he looks like. He can feel a flush on his cheeks and when he sees Derek’s eyes fall to glance at his lips, Stiles can’t resist running his tongue over them, grinning when he feels Derek’s hand squeeze his.

“How long until that stops working to shut you up?” Derek asks, his voice low.

“Uh. Never. Probably never.”

“Huh,” Derek rubs a thumb across Stiles’ cheek. “Good to know. You okay with going in there now?”

“Yeah, yeah, we could do that. Can I -”

“Yes, you can stay tonight.”

--

Turns out that the only thing awkward about going into the house is the way everyone sniffs as Derek and Stiles walk in. Fucking wolves. Erica has a genuine smile on her face and Stiles wants to pet her hair because she looks so much younger when she does that. Lydia raises an eyebrow and looks superior, which, not much change there, and everyone else just looks slightly bored. Except Scott. Scott kind of looks like he wants to run off and not think about anything to do with Derek, or Stiles, or Derek and Stiles together and that’s not unexpected, but it still kind of hurts. Stiles doesn’t quite know where to look, but Derek’s still clasping his hand and that’s enough for him.

Stiles settles next to Derek on the sofa, instinctively presses against him as Derek detangles their fingers and sits forward. Erica stifles a laugh as Stiles inches closer to Derek, almost sitting behind him now, he slings his arm around Derek and hooks his chin over Derek’s shoulder. Derek huffs, but he’s amused, Stiles can tell by the way the corners of his mouth twitches and, also, the fact that he hasn’t shoved Stiles off. Not that he would. Stiles is fairly sure about that.

“So, are we to guess from this little display that the spell worked?”

“Yes, Lydia, it worked.” Derek says.

Isaac looks over at Derek from his position on the floor, resting against a bean bag. “Will there be trouble with the witch again?”

“This wasn’t the result of conflict, she knows she made a mistake trespassing on Hale territory. She won’t come back.”

The answer satisfies them and they don’t press about the reason the witch did the spell in the first place, but Stiles is sure Lydia at the very least will have questions later.

“Is that it?” Jackson stands up. “Because my parents have been on my ass about missing dinners lately. Anyone who wants me to drive them back to town should get in the car now.” Lydia, Boyd and Erica say goodbye and follow him out the door.

Scott looks over at Stiles. “Are you staying here?”

“Uh. Yeah, I think so. You can take the Jeep if you want? Drive it to school tomorrow.”

“Dude, what about your dad?”

“I’ll call him, tell him I’m staying with you,” Stiles unwraps himself from Derek and stands up. “We’re good, right?”

Scott nods, his eyes widening. “Yeah, of course,” He pulls Stiles into a hug. “You’re my best friend, no matter what.”

“After the amount of times I’ve saved your ass, I better be.” Stiles mumbles into Scott’s collar before he steps back, shoves Scott with a hand and smiles. “Go, Derek will drive me to school tomorrow.”

Isaac pulls himself up from the floor. “Scott, can I stay with you tonight?”

Derek’s head snaps up. “Isaac, you don’t have to go. This is your home as well.”

“I know,” Isaac smirks. “I figured you and Stiles might want some -”

“Go.” Derek cuts him off.

Stiles collapses back on the sofa, sighs at the way Derek’s hand goes straight to his neck, tracing a pattern there. Isaac takes a moment to go and grab some clothes before he leaves with Scott. Derek waits until the Jeep is gone before he turns to Stiles. “I want you to stay, but I need to do something first.”

Stiles has been waiting for this ever since they got back in their own bodies. He leans forward and runs a hand through Derek’s hair because he can, he’s allowed to do this and no one will stop him. Derek’s even leaning into it. “You need to go and run. I get it. Go communicate with your wolfy senses.”

“Stiles,” Derek shakes his head. “You’ll be here when I get back?”

“I’m not going anywhere. I might even make dinner.”

Derek gets off the sofa and stretches, his t shirt rides up and Stiles makes a mental note to lick that sliver of skin later. Yes, he has mental notes of what he wants to do to Derek. He’s been wanting this for a really long time, okay. Derek notices Stiles’ line of sight and smirks. He bends down and gives Stiles a quick kiss. “Later.”

“Tease.” Stiles calls shaking his head. Stiles can feel the leftover warmth of Derek’s body and sinks back into the sofa for a moment. It’s cosy, and Stiles almost feels like he could fall asleep right there, but his stomach protests that with a really loud rumble. There’s food in the kitchen and he kind of wishes Isaac hadn’t decided to leave because Isaac is a good beta and would totally make him food. But Stiles is the only one here and if he wants food he’s going to have to get up. Stiles’ life is hard and no one appreciates this.

--

Stiles has got pork chops on the grill by the time Derek comes in the door, he’s checking on the potatoes when Derek comes up behind him and pulls him backwards against his chest. “You done eating rabbits?”

“I didn’t eat rabbits, Stiles.”

“Well, good, because I’d definitely make you brush your teeth before uh, anything happened.”

“Uh huh,” Derek licks Stiles neck. “You’d make me?”

“Yeah. I’d - fuck, Derek.” And when did his voice start to sound so slutty? Shit, that’s biting and, oh, now that’s sucking and there’s no way in hell Stiles will be able to hide that from his dad.

Derek grins against Stiles’ neck. “Tell me more about how you’d make me do things, Stiles.”

“Shut up, you Alpha jerk,” Stiles laughs. “Come on, you’re going to end up with burnt pork chops.”

“There’s more pork chops, there’s only one of you.”

“Damn straight,” Stiles says, a smile on his face. He checks the chops and turns the grill down a little before turning around to face Derek. “Hi.”

“Have you called your dad?”

“Did it while you were scampering around the woods.”

“When have you ever known me to scamper?”

“I bet you totally scamper when you’re alone.”

Derek opens his mouth to respond and Stiles takes his opportunity to lean forward and kiss Derek, who grunts in surprise before his hands run down Stiles’ back, settling on his hips. Stiles presses himself against Derek, he can feel the warmth of Derek’s body as he winds a hand through Derek’s hair and pulls him closer. He wants to climb Derek, wants to wrap his legs around Derek’s waist and have Derek hold him up as he explores Derek’s mouth. Stiles is about to do that when the timer on the grill goes off and he pauses.

“I think the food’s ready.” Derek mumbles against Stiles’ mouth.

“Uh huh.”

“So we should -”

“Yeah.” Stiles takes a step back and turns around to the oven, Derek rests a hand on the small of Stiles’ back as he reaches around him to get two plates down. Stiles likes the contact, likes the way Derek seems incapable of not touching him, when they sit down he finds himself hiding a smile at the way Derek’s hand brushes against his every time he reaches for his drink. Stiles thinks the best thing about this is that it doesn’t feel new. Okay, yes, the whole making out thing is new, and that’s a mind blowingly awesome addition to his life, but this? The sense of comfort he has being around Derek? That’s been there since Derek stopped throwing death threats his way. And, okay, that’s maybe not the best way to go about starting a relationship, but Stiles so does not care because he’s here, and Derek’s here and that’s enough for Stiles.

Derek waits until Stiles finishes before he picks up the plates and takes them to the sink, Stiles follows him across the kitchen and plasters his chest against Derek’s back. Derek sucks in a breath as Stiles slips his hands underneath Derek’s t shirt, traces his fingers along the soft ridges of his abs and, fuck if Stiles hasn’t dreamt of doing this for a year. He drags his mouth along Derek’s neck, occasionally darting his tongue out, relishes the way Derek shivers in response. Derek’s hands are gripping the sink so tightly Stiles worries he might actually break it, he moves one of his hands to cover Derek’s, lightly stroking, murmurs words in Derek’s ear until his grip loosens. Stiles tugs at Derek’s hip, turns him around until he’s face to face with Stiles and oh, he can’t even with that face, he presses a chaste kiss against Derek’s lips. “Hey sour wolf, what’s up?”

“Nothing.”

“That whole ‘you can’t lie to me’ goes both ways y’know?” Stiles noses at Derek’s cheek. “I know you.”

Derek sighs and rubs a hand against Stiles’ back in circles. “No you don’t.”

“Really? You’re going to start this shit now? Now?”

“I’m not starting anything, Stiles. I’m not good at - there’s things you don’t know and I don’t know how -”

“Stop it,” Stiles pulls back far enough to look Derek in the eyes. “I know.”

“You can’t - how?” Derek’s face is almost panicked and Stiles doesn’t like seeing it like that, hates that he’s the one who has done this to him, put this look on his face.

“Come on, let’s not do this here,” Stiles takes Derek’s hand, walks back into the living room and glares at Derek until he sits down. He curls up next to him, rests his head on Derek’s shoulder and sighs. “I didn’t tell you because it didn’t matter, but I was the one who worked out who set fire to your house and, I know, it was none of my business, I know, okay? But you know I have this urge to go sticking my head into things I shouldn’t and my dad had this file, the file about the fire, with a sketch of this pendant and Allison, she had that pendant. And I knew who gave it to her. So. It wasn’t hard to work out. Put that together with your incredible self loathing and, yeah, I can put the pieces together. Plus the way you were around me, like -” Stiles breaks off for a moment and clasps Derek’s hand between both of his. “Like you wanted something, but couldn’t bring yourself to - sometimes I’d see you look at me like I was a puzzle you couldn’t work out. Then I turned eighteen and something changed, just a little and if I hadn’t been looking, I wouldn’t - but I did. Derek, I know you don’t want to talk about it. You don’t have to. But I’m never going to treat you differently because of it, I’m never going to push you for anything.”

“Stiles -”

“Let me finish,” Stiles kisses Derek’s cheek. “Yes, I want you, I want this, I want every single inch of you, but I’m a teenager and I’m used to not getting what I want. I can’t promise I won’t want things, but I can promise I will always listen to you and, okay, that’s more important to me, you’re more important to me, than getting laid.”

There’s silence for a moment and Stiles wonders if he’s completely, totally, irrevocably fucked this up, but then Derek pulls Stiles onto his lap. Stiles settles quickly, his knees resting on either side of Derek’s legs and Derek’s looking at him with an expression Stiles has never seen before. His face is so open it makes Stiles’ chest ache. Stiles wants to crawl inside Derek, wants to wrap himself all around him until he fixes Derek’s battered self esteem. Derek leans up and kisses Stiles, it’s like he’s putting everything he can’t say into this kiss. Stiles lets out what is most definitely not a whimper and Derek takes the opportunity to nip at Stiles’ bottom lip, which, yes, Stiles might be developing a thing for that if the way he digs his fingers into Derek’s shoulders is any indication.

Derek traces his lips along Stiles’ jaw before he pushes his face into Stiles’ neck and, oh shit. “Oh my God, De-Derek. Fuck.” Stiles gasps as he loses himself in the feel of Derek biting and licking at the tendons of his neck and, fuck, he is totally going to end up having to wear scarves all the time if this is going to keep happening. Derek huffs against Stiles’ neck, he’s sniffing and rubbing his face against Stiles and, God, this should not be as erotic as it is, but it’s Derek and Stiles is starting to think that anything Derek does should be classed as a sex act because, fuck if Stiles isn’t blindingly hard.

Stiles tugs at the back of Derek’s hair and rests his forehead against Derek’s. “You good?”

“Yeah.”

“Sure?”

Derek smiles, not a smirk, a genuine smile that hits Stiles right in the gut. “Yes, Stiles, yeah.”

Stiles grins at him and cups a hand against Derek’s cheek, rubs his thumb against Derek’s stubble covered cheekbone. “Next time, you’re shaving. I don’t even want to think about what my face is going to look like tomorrow.”

“Like you’re mine.” Derek says before he nuzzles his face against Stiles’ neck again.

Stiles hums happily as Derek’s hands tighten against his hips, like he’s holding Stiles in place. It doesn’t make Stiles feel trapped, doesn’t make him feel like he can’t escape, it just makes him feel safe, wanted. Makes him feel at home. “Yours?”

Derek pulls back and meets Stiles’ eyes. “Mine.”

“Oh God, I’m going to stink like you tomorrow, aren’t I?” Stiles groans.

“Only to other werewolves.”

“So, everyone I know?”

Derek shrugs and leans back, a tiny smile on his face. “You have a very limited social circle, Stiles, I can’t help that.”

“Oh. So I should go out?” Stiles teases. “I should meet other people? Is that what you’re saying?”

“No.”

“No?”

Derek sits forward and wraps a hand around the back of Stiles’ neck. “No.”

And Stiles knows he shouldn’t get off by the way Derek’s eyes flash, or the heavy feel of Derek’s hand against his neck, but tell that to his dick. “Okay.”

“Mine.”

“Are we going pre-verbal now?” Stiles mutters before his mouth is on Derek’s again, stubble burn be damned. Derek grins against the kiss before he grunts, and Stiles, he can’t help it, he starts laughing because, what? He collapses against Derek, laughing helplessly and Stiles can feel Derek gripping his thighs. It takes him a moment to get himself under control and he straightens up, grins at Derek. “You did that on purpose.” Derek shrugs, he’s looser now, more relaxed and Stiles wants to keep this moment forever, wants to be able to keep this in his head when it’s 2am and they’re fighting some ugly ass monster. This is what he wants in his head, always.

Derek laces their hands together and ducks his head, Stiles nudges Derek’s face with his nose, which is fairly ridiculous, but he’s not willing to let go of Derek’s hands. Derek raises his head and looks at him. “Want to go upstairs?”

“Uh,” Stiles knows his mouth is hanging open and he knows that’s insanely unattractive, but he, yeah, he wants. He wants a lot. “Yeah. Yes.”

Derek drops Stiles’ hands and wraps his arms around Stiles’ waist instead and, holy shit, he just stands up and takes Stiles with him. His freaky werewolf strength means Stiles doesn’t even need to wrap his legs around Derek’s hips. He does, because Stiles is damned if he’s going to miss out on acting out one of his fantasies, but fuck, it’s really hot that he doesn’t need to.

Stiles can’t resist running his hands through Derek’s hair and kissing him, he’s sure that if it weren’t for Derek’s senses they would be falling into everything along the way. They reach Derek’s bedroom, Derek bends to place Stiles on the bed as gently as possible and Stiles pulls him down with him because, fuck, he totally wants Derek’s body pressed against him for as long as possible. Derek buries his face in Stiles’ neck and sucks another mark there, Stiles groans and tugs at Derek’s t shirt. “This should come off.”

Derek detaches himself from Stiles’ neck and sits up, pulls his shirt off in one fluid motion before settling between Stiles’ legs, resting his head on Stiles’ stomach. His hands trail underneath Stiles’ t shirt, pushing it up, fingers lightly dusting against Stiles’ sides and Stiles can’t help the full bodied shudder that escapes him. Derek smiles and kisses the exposed skin above the waistband of Stiles’ jeans. Stiles squirms out of his t shirt and throws it off to the side, he reaches down and runs a hand over Derek’s face, exploring the contours of his cheeks, eyes, nose. He lets his fingers trail across Derek’s lips, groaning when Derek sucks his index finger into his mouth, hot, wet and - fuck, Stiles swears as Derek bites down, teasing, before letting Stiles’ hand slip from his mouth. Stiles tugs at Derek’s hair and however long this goes on (foreveralwaysplease his mind provides) Stiles knows he’ll never, ever get used to the way Derek is just letting him take control. It’s a scary level of trust and Stiles has no idea what he’s done to deserve it.

“What do you want, Stiles?” Derek looks up, meets Stiles’ eyes and smirks.

Stiles keeps pulling at Derek’s hair until Derek crawls up Stiles’ body and Stiles relishes at the feel of Derek’s weight against him. Derek buries his face in Stiles’ neck and presses his lips against Stiles’ throat. “I, uh, shit -” Stiles bites out. He wants to give Derek an answer - but the words just aren’t coming.

“What do you want?” Derek asks again, mumbling the words against Stiles’ throat.

Stiles groans as Derek’s hot breath hits his skin, digs his fingers into Derek’s arms. “You, I just want you.” Derek lifts his head up and stares at Stiles, his eyes wide open. They’re both breathing heavy, pressed against each other so tightly Stiles can feel the thudding of Derek’s heart. Stiles gazes back at Derek and, jeez, it’s like Derek doesn’t even realise how much Stiles wants him, wants this. Which, fuck, that’s just ridiculous. Derek makes a helpless noise and drops his face back into Stiles’ neck. “Derek. Hey, did I break you?” Stiles runs his hands up and down Derek’s back, traces the pattern of his tattoo. “I told you, whatever you’re comfortable with.”

Derek chokes out a laugh and lightly bites Stiles’ neck. “Not broken.”

“Of course you’re not,” Stiles lets a hand drift down to Derek’s waistband and slips his fingers inside the top of Derek’s jeans. “This good?”

“Uh huh.”

“But?”

Derek lifts his head up, grins at Stiles and, oh shit, that’s Derek flipping them over. Okay. Right. Werewolf strength. Stiles wriggles his hand out from underneath Derek and sits up. He squirms, his ass against Derek’s crotch, and smirks as Derek lets out a hiss.

“Stiles -” Derek bites out.

“What?” Stiles widens his eyes innocently and shifts before Derek growls and his hands grab Stiles’ hips. Fuck, that should not feel so good. Stiles whines and tries to rock backwards, enjoys the feel of Derek’s fingers pressing against his hips, he knows they’ll leave bruises, knows that he’ll be marked. Marked by Derek and, oh, that’s good. That’s really good. Stiles leans over, bends his body in half and kisses Derek. He bites on Derek’s bottom lip, opens his mouth and, yeah, those are Derek’s hands reaching round to Stiles’ fly and tugging his pants down. Stiles pulls away and shifts back a little, his hands going to Derek’s jeans, he shoots a questioning look at Derek and Derek nods before slipping his hand inside Stiles’ boxers and, fuck. Fucking, fuck. Stiles’ hands are fumbling with Derek’s buttons and he crows in victory when he finally gets them undone. Derek moves, pushes his jeans down one handed and Stiles, he can’t - he wants - Derek shoves Stiles’ boxers down before his hand wraps back around Stiles’ cock and, oh. Derek’s thumb ghosts over the head of Stiles’ dick and Stiles goes boneless, slumps forward and, oh, oh that’s Derek’s cock brushing against his - a groan escapes Derek’s mouth and Stiles shifts, his open mouth brushing against Derek’s cheek, stubble scraping his lips.

Stiles lets out a moan and reaches his hand down to grasp Derek’s cock. He sits up enough to give them both room and watches Derek glance down, there’s a red flush rising up Derek’s neck and Stiles can see a bead of sweat making it’s way down Derek’s temple. Derek throws his head back against the pillow, his mouth open, swearing quietly, and fuck, Stiles could actually come from that view. It’s not the easiest position, but Derek’s reactions are like an open book, Stiles smears pre-come down Derek’s cock and squeezes lightly on an upstroke, grins at the way Derek gasps, thrusts his hips and Stiles knows, knows from the way Derek’s jerking him off, faster, firmer that he’s not going to last much longer. Stiles squirms, pushes into Derek’s fist and looks at Derek, bites his lip when Derek meets his eyes and, fuck, fuck. Stiles doesn’t break eye contact, can’t look away as he works Derek, Derek groans Stiles’ name as he comes, and fuck, if that’s not the hottest thing Stiles has ever seen. Derek’s breathing heavy and his hand is still around Stiles’ hard cock. Stiles wraps his hand around Derek’s and, yeah, yeah that’s it. Derek’s eyes flicker between Stiles’ face and where their hands are joined, Stiles thrusts his hips forward, pants Derek’s name and - Derek grips Stiles’ hip with his free hand and, fuck, fuck, yes. Stiles comes with Derek’s name on his lips and Derek’s hand on his hip the only thing keeping him upright.

Derek grunts as Stiles flops forwards, the mess of come and sweat smears between them, but Stiles can’t bring himself to care as Derek runs his fingers lightly down Stiles’ back. Stiles sighs happily, buries his face in Derek’s neck.

“Stiles?”

“Uh huh?”

“If we don’t get cleaned up, this is going to be really uncomfortable soon.”

“Would you judge me if I said I didn’t care?” Stiles mumbles into Derek’s neck because, fuck it, he likes knowing their come is mixing together, rubbing against his skin. It’s them.

Derek’s fingers dig into Stiles back. “That’s -”

“Hot, right?” Stiles turns his head and plants a sloppy kiss on Derek’s jaw.

“You’re ridiculous.”

“You like me ridiculous.”

“I like you.”

Stiles smiles and lifts his head up to look at Derek. “You like me.”

“I thought that was obvious, with the kissing and the hand jobs -”

“Shut up. You’re expressing actual emotions here, allow me to bask.”

“Bask?”

“You like me,” Stiles rolls off Derek, tangles their fingers together and curls up around him, rests his head on Derek’s shoulder. He’s quiet for a moment, feels the come drying against his stomach. “Okay, I’ve changed my mind, this is kind of gross. We should shower.”

Derek laughs, detangles himself from Stiles and sits up, kicking his jeans off from around his ankles. Stiles watches him through half closed eyes and sighs at the view, Derek’s back muscles shifting under his skin, it’s all Stiles can do not to clamber over there and lick. Which, he’s allowed to do that now. Huh. And, oh, Derek’s manhandling Stiles’ legs, pulling his pants and boxers off all the day and, yeah, that’s not even - manhandling is totally a new kink and maybe, maybe he lets out a little bit of a groan because Derek looks back at him with a smirk on his face. Stiles snorts and kicks him against the thigh.

“Are you getting up?”

Stiles shakes his head and grins. “Nope.”

“Thought you wanted a shower?”

“But I also have a super strong werewolf boyfriend now, I really don’t see the need to ever move voluntarily again. You could be my own personal carry-type person.”

“Carry type person?”

“It’s a thing, or it could be a thing, can we make it a thing?”

Derek waits a moment before he runs a hand up the inside of Stiles’ thigh and that’s good, that’s - yeah. “If you don’t make me carry you,” Derek says, voice low. “I’ll blow you in the shower.”

Oh.

It’s not that Stiles runs to the bathroom but. Okay, he runs. He just finds it really hard to feel any shame about that with Derek on his knees, his hands digging into Stiles’ hips and the tiny little grunts Derek makes as Stiles pulls at his hair.

--

Stiles wakes up to the sound of an alarm going off. He attempts to move, but, hey, that’s Derek’s arm locked around his waist, his leg hooked over Stiles’ hip and his face mushed into Stiles’ neck. Stiles ignores the alarm and runs a finger over Derek’s arm. It’s strange, Stiles expects Derek to wake at the smallest noise, the lightest touch, but he’s fast asleep and, yes, Stiles finds it fucking adorable. He’d quite happily stay like this for the entire day, but he needs to get to school.

“Derek,” Stiles somehow manages to shift around to face Derek. “Hey, Derek?”

Derek just huffs and pulls Stiles closer to him and, okay, that’s kind of really awesome, but he has to go to school. He does. Not least because if he doesn’t turn up, they’ll probably call his dad and while maybe his dad has kind of accepted that he hangs out with Derek, if he finds him in bed with Derek, uh, wow. Apparently that’s a really good way to shut his brain down.

“Okay, not that this isn’t totally great, but seriously, I really need to get going.”

“No.” Derek mumbles, his eyes still closed.

Stiles laughs, disbelievingly. “Seriously dude, ‘no’ is not going to work here.” Stiles closes the small gap between their faces and places a line of kisses down Derek’s cheek until he reaches Derek’s mouth. Derek goes with it for a moment before he pulls back a little, opens his eyes and smiles and - oh, Stiles is pretty sure Derek could cure, like, everything with his sleepy smile.

“No means no, Stiles.”

“You know it scares me when you make jokes.”

“Uh huh. Hi,” Derek reaches an arm behind him and somehow manages to hit the clock and stop the alarm. “Why didn’t you switch the alarm off?”

“Because I was being held captive by your werewolf death grip. And I kind of still am. Dude, you know I’d be really freaking happy to stay right here with you, but, school. That I have to go to, and that you promised me a lift to. So.”

“Just. Give me a moment.”

“For wha -” And Stiles’ brain goes into meltdown because Derek’s kissing him again and it’s not like last night, not kisses that are going to lead somewhere else, just kisses because they can. Kisses because they’ve somehow managed to push past all the ridiculous, self imposed barriers stopping them from doing this and, yes, Stiles thinks, yes, this is something to be thankful for.

--

When Derek pulls up to the school, the pack is waiting for Stiles outside the doors. Erica winks at him as he climbs out of the Camaro and he knows, knows there’s a flush spreading across his cheeks. The others go in and Scott hangs behind for a moment, he claps Stiles on the shoulder and smiles. “I’m glad you’re happy, but I never, ever want to know details. Ever.”

“You once subjected me to a lengthy description of Allison’s fingernails,” Stiles smirks. “And, as beautiful as that was, payback is a bitch.”

Scott widens his eyes. “Fingernails are totally different to, you know, Derek’s business.”

“You know Scott, if you have one, you should be able to say it,” Stiles pushes the door to the school open and walks in. “Come on, say it with me: penis.”

“I’m not going to say that! We’re in school, Stiles.”

“I’m well aware of that, mostly because if we weren’t in school, I could be at Derek’s and we could be doing things. Mostly involving his penis. And mine.”

“I think I might be sick.” Scott mumbles as he speeds up along the hallway.

Stiles watches him go, contemplates yelling the many, many euphemisms he knows after him, but Harris is walking towards him and, well, the fewer detentions he gets, the more time he can spend with Derek. He keeps his head down and walks quickly past Harris. Yeah, the rest of this school year may be looking up.

--

Epilogue

Derek hangs back by the door of the Jeep and Stiles rolls his eyes at him. “Seriously? Are you actually scared of doing this?”

“No.”

“Uh huh,” Stiles shrugs. “This was your idea, you know. You’re the one who spent all that time convincing me that it would be better if my dad knew the truth.”

“I know that.”

“So?” And, of course Derek’s by Stiles’ side as soon as Stiles says that.

“You didn’t want him to know. Before.”

“That’s because - look, the last time you brought it up we were at war. There were bodies, and blood, and I wasn’t convinced I was going to make it out alive. So, no, I didn’t want my dad to know because I knew he’d get involved and if he - I wouldn’t be able to -” Stiles breaks off because even now, he can’t say the words out loud. He still thinks, sometimes, that if he says anything about his dad and death out loud it’s like cursing him. And, yes, with all he’s faced, he knows it doesn’t make sense, he doesn’t care.

Derek grabs for Stiles’ hand and tangles their fingers together, leans forward and kisses Stiles softly. “You’re okay.”

“Yeah. I figure, this is just the next step. He came to be okay with us hanging out, and he’s less grumpy about us being together -”

“Stiles, he cleaned his service pistol in front of me last week.”

“But he’s stopped doing every time you’re over. I’m sick of lying to him about this and it feels weird. He knows I’m with you, but he doesn’t know this huge thing? It’s the one thing I have left to tell him and since we - I think he should know.”

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Yeah, okay,” Derek tugs at his hand. “Come on, get your key out.”

Stiles fumbles in his pocket and unlocks the door, his hand is still entwined with Derek’s. It’s a steady comfort, it anchors him, makes him feel like he can do this. He calls out to his dad, finds him in front of the television. Derek follows Stiles in, sits on the couch with him, never lets go of his hand, which - it had taken Derek a while to do that. Stiles is still half convinced that Derek thinks his dad is going to shoot him and throw him out of the house, and Derek is never too reassured by Stiles saying that the bullets can’t kill him, but the thing is, Stiles can read his dad. He knows his dad was shocked, knows it took him time to adjust, but he’s seen Stiles with Derek and - he’s fine with it now.

“Stiles, why have you got the same look on your face that you had the day you managed to empty an ink cartridge on my spare uniform?”

“I don’t, do I? Uh. Okay, well, there’s no ink involved this time? I - we - there’s something we need to tell you.”

“Do I need my shotgun?”

“What? No dad, jeez. It’s going to sound kind of crazy and, believe me, there’s parts I wish weren’t true, but you need to know what’s been going on,” Stiles meets his dad’s eyes. “I don’t want to lie to you any more.”

“And Derek has something to do with this?”

Stiles nods. “Yeah. Not the parts that I wish weren’t true, but. Yeah. Kind of a big part.”

His dad leans back in his chair and waves a hand at them. Stiles glances at Derek and takes comfort from the small smile on his face, Stiles turns back to his dad and clears his throat. “Remember the night you found me in the preserve during Sophomore year? The night that you found Laura Hale?”

“Yes.” His dad says with a quick look at Derek.

“Well,” Stiles says, as he squeezes Derek’s hand. “It starts there.”