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You Were a Kindness When I Was a Stranger

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Derek Hale is about five decades younger than Stiles expects him to be, and about five squillion times more attractive. He's wearing a black suit that matches his black hair, and a red tie that's probably been dyed with the blood of his enemies, and he looks like he wants to kill someone when Stiles is escorted into his office by one of his minions, a guy who's pretty enough to be a model. Hale's eyes zero in on Stiles, who fights the urge to blurt, "HAHA JUST KIDDING!" and run all the way back down all fifty floors and never come back. This guy is intense, and he's going to eat Stiles for breakfast.


It goes better than Stiles expects, but since he expects Hale to immediately realize he isn't even actually with the college newspaper and throw him out on his ear, it's a pretty low bar.

Hale answers each question thoroughly and thoughtfully, but barely glances at Stiles for the first twenty minutes or so, which Stiles doesn't really mind because it takes a little of the pressure off. Why this guy--one of the most powerful businessmen in the state of California--agreed to be interviewed by a journalism student is a complete mystery. He certainly has more important things to worry about.

Several more beautiful minions hover around Hale like languid-eyed accomplices in homicide as Stiles goes through the questions Scott painstakingly typed out for him. They bring Hale fresh glasses of water before the previous one is even empty, and slide things in front of him to sign, which he does only after reading them while still talking to Stiles, which is impressive because Stiles can't even listen to music and play video games at the same time.

"Talk to Boyd," Hale says to his minions several times, waving things away. "Show that to Boyd, let him decide." He probably means Vernon Boyd, who is his second-in-command according to Scott's notes, which Stiles barely had time to read before Scott shoved him out the door with his clammy hands and told him not to worry, he'd do fine. Stiles is the bestest friend to ever best friend anyone, that's an undeniable fact, and Scott will owe him--big time--for this.

When Stiles is getting down to the last few questions, Hale suddenly sits back in his chair, chin propped on one fist, and looks at him. His eyes are some weird color Stiles can't identify from this distance, but they look strangely pale against all the rest of him that's so dark.

"Leave us alone," Hale says suddenly and the minions swoop up their papers and their computer tablets and vanish. The door closes behind Stiles with what feels like an ominous thud.

Stiles isn't sure what's happening. Maybe he's overstayed his welcome. Maybe Hale's figured out he's an imposter sent here because Scott has a bad habit of not checking expiration dates on things he finds in the fridge. Stiles folds the list of questions in half, then in half again, and tries to look like a professional interviewer person who knows when his time is up. He just barely resists the urge to tug on his tie. "I'm, uh, pretty much done if you need to--"

"Turn that off," Hale says, eyes flicking to the little recorder sitting on the desk between them, then back to Stiles' face. Stiles feels like he's being sized up for a coffin.

"Sure, absolutely," he says, and leans forward to hit the stop button. He's not sure if Hale is about to give him some really juicy info off the record, or berate him for wasting his time. Whatever he's about to say, he doesn't want it on the recording with the rest of the interview.

"How old are you, Mr. Stilinski?" Hale asks him, when Stiles settles back into his chair. His strange eyes are slightly hooded now, unblinking.

Stiles actually has to think about that for a second. The question is not at all what he's expecting, plus it's hard to put together a coherent thought in the face of so much authority and hotness. "Twenty," he says, after an embarrassingly long pause during which his mouth is probably hanging open while he does some quick math. "Why?"

Derek Hale smiles at him, slowly. A surprisingly big, pleased grin that utterly transforms his face, and makes him look, inexplicably, even more dangerous.


"College must be expensive," Hale says after the waiter drops off their steaks and shuts the door to the private dining room behind him. The private dining room in the expensive restaurant where Stiles is starting to suspect he is on a lunch date with Derek Hale.

Stiles feels weird talking about his own financial situation--which is tight, very tight--with a guy who probably has a million dollars lost in his couch cushions and doesn't even miss it. "I'm doing okay," he says, and tries to look unconcerned about it.

Hale hasn't touched his steak yet, barely looked at it. He picks up his wineglass and takes a sip, eyes on Stiles the whole time.

"What if you could do better than okay?" he asks.


"I'm going to hurt you," Derek whispers in his ear, like a promise, as Stiles straddles his lap, knees sticking to the leather of Derek's couch, hands tied behind his back. Derek's teeth close over Stiles' collarbone, dig in enough to make him twitch and rub his painfully hard cock against Derek's shirt. Stiles is naked and Derek is not, and it's been less than twenty-four hours since Stiles walked into his office and asked him what his long-term plans were with regard to sustainability and alternative energy sources, and Stiles has sucked Derek's cock three times. Derek hasn't let Stiles come at all.

"Yes, please," Stiles says, because he's already learning, and the crack of Derek's hand on his ass is the best and worst thing Stiles has ever felt.


Derek's eyes are green. Or maybe blue. Or maybe gray. All Stiles knows is that when Derek looks at him, he feels like Derek could ask him to do just about anything and he would probably do it. Eagerly.


After Derek fucks his ass the first time, a few weeks into their arrangement, he stretches out behind Stiles and snugs him close, stroking his thumb over Stiles' hip bone and breathing damp air into his ear.

"You won't always be allowed to come when I do that," Derek says, and nudges the back of Stiles' head until he tips his chin down and lets Derek mouth the back of his neck.

"I know," Stiles says drowsily. He's glad Derek hadn't expected him to hold back this time, because there was nothing that could have prevented him from coming while Derek fucked him and talked to him and held his hands down.

"We'll work on it. I'll teach you to control it." Derek's teeth scrape lightly against Stiles' shoulder blade, making him shiver. "I'll teach you to wait for me, and it'll be so good. It'll be so good, Stiles."

Stiles believes him.


It doesn't feel as weird as Stiles thought it would, having sex in exchange for money. He quits his job at the pizza place and puts new tires on his Jeep, and doesn't worry about how he's going to buy books when the new semester rolls around. He always has plenty of money now, and school is paid for, and he gets to spend time at Derek's penthouse apartment, which is like something out of a movie about beautiful rich people, getting fucked senseless.

He tells Scott about it, sort of. Not exactly what they do in bed, or how much of a business arrangement it is, just that he's hanging out with Derek and Derek is helping him financially. Scott doesn't ask many questions, but that's probably because he really doesn't want to know. He sees Derek's sleek, expensive car pick Stiles up when Derek wants to see him, and he sees the marks on Stiles' body when he comes home afterward. He's not an idiot.

In bed, Derek likes to make Stiles submit, make him whine and squirm, but he also likes to run his hands over Stiles' body and tell him how pretty his mouth is, and how good he looks on his knees. Just the way the tone of his voice changes when he gives Stiles an order makes Stiles' heart beat faster. Being with him is easy and fun, and Stiles actually misses him a little when Derek is traveling on business or Stiles has to study and they can't see each other.

Stiles' sexual experience with guys is limited to the jerking-off-to-porn type, and the kinkiest thing he's ever done before this was put a rubber band around his balls once, so everything about this is new to him. The Internet is a vast and terrible resource, though, and Stiles reads up a little, just enough to not completely terrify himself. He thinks Derek might be really good at this.

Or at least smart enough to not throw Stiles into the deep end right away. Derek was clear from the beginning about what he wanted, but also clear that Stiles had the power to say no to any of it, or even all of it. "A test run," Derek had said the first day, once they'd gotten back to his place. "Nothing heavy duty, and I'll stop if you don't like it."

But Stiles had liked it, though he hadn't really been sure he would until they were on the couch, Derek's hot palm cupping the back of his neck, and Derek caught Stiles' earlobe between his teeth and murmured, "I want to tie your hands behind your back." Stiles had liked that a lot. And liked most of the stuff they've done since then, too.

Stiles has always been a smartass, and it does get him in trouble once in a while, but Derek seems unusually tolerant of sass for a guy who gets off on giving orders. That's probably the weirdest part, really. That Derek, whose default facial expression seems to be "intimidating glare," doesn't actually take a reign of terror approach to his personal relationships.

Sometimes Stiles makes mistakes, but he only gets punished for willful disobedience, never for ignorance. Derek is patient with him, and never mean, and is always careful about explaining the rules and what he expects, but he's also demanding and unyielding. He asks a lot, but he gives a lot, too.

And it's not all handcuffs and spankings and learning to deep throat. When Stiles spends the night, Derek usually makes breakfast for him in the morning, and is constantly vigilant about Stiles' wants and needs. Stiles can barely talk about or glance at anything without Derek buying it for him, and if he so much as frowns, Derek wants to know what the problem is and how he can help. It's sort of sweet.

He probably shouldn't get too attached to him, Stiles thinks, when it's already too late.


He blows off plans with Derek once, early on in their arrangement, in favor of a post-midterms falafel and Frisbee celebration with Scott.

He gets the paddle, and has to sleep alone on the floor next to Derek's bed all night.

He doesn't do it again.


Derek doesn't talk about himself much, but he almost always answers questions if Stiles asks them. Stiles being Stiles, he asks a lot of questions. One of the bits of information he gleans from this approach is that Derek is even younger than he thought, not even thirty yet, which seems a ridiculously tender age to have so much money and power. It's sort of a miracle Derek isn't a complete and utter douchebag.

"Thanks," Derek says wryly, when Stiles tell him this.

"You don't even have a cocaine problem or anything?" Stiles wonders. He still finds this amazing.

"I have other weaknesses," Derek says, voice dropping down an octave or two, and he hauls Stiles up over his knees and yanks his underwear down.

A few minutes later, when Stiles' bottom is red and warm, Derek holds him open and pushes inside. "This is way better than a cocaine habit," Stiles decides, hissing at the way his ass smarts so perfectly when Derek's hips bump up against it. Derek laughs, and there's very little conversation after that.

The one thing Derek definitely does not want to talk about is his family, so Stiles consults with Google, and immediately regrets it. The results that come back are almost all news stories from six years ago: Hale Family Tragedy and Eleven Dead In Suspicious Blaze and Hale Family Perishes in Tragic Fire and other gruesome headlines. Stiles doesn't click on any of them. Even though it's public knowledge, this is obviously something Derek doesn't want to discuss, and it feels like a violation of his privacy to go around him.

The death of Stiles' mother was the single worst thing to ever happen to him in his life so far, and he will never get over it, never stop missing her. To multiply that by eleven, to suddenly be the last man standing in his family, and then, while not much older than Stiles is now, also be expected to head a multi-billion dollar corporation? How is Derek even still a functional human being?

Before, Stiles thought of Derek as lucky, to have been born beautiful and smart and into a wealthy family. Now, Derek doesn't seem very lucky at all.


Once, on a sunny Sunday morning, Stiles turns away from the toaster to find Derek leaning against the kitchen counter, steaming cup of coffee in his hand, watching him.

"Come here," Derek says softly, and when Stiles is standing in front of him, Derek drags the backs of two fingers down the side of Stiles' face, and Stiles' legs follow the motion until he's kneeling at Derek's feet. Derek's hand comes to rest gently on the top of Stiles' head, and they stay like that, Derek sipping his coffee, until the toaster pops up.

Derek's fingers skim down to tip Stiles' chin up as he bends to kiss his forehead. "Get your Pop-Tarts," he says, and then turns to look out the window, a panorama of sunlit skyscrapers and brilliantly blue sky, as Stiles gets to his feet.

The Pop-Tarts are, as usual, molten hot, and as he sucks on his burned fingers and waits for them to cool Stiles looks over at Derek, the easy slope of his shoulders and the relaxed set of his jaw. He looks happier than Stiles has ever seen him.

One of the things Stiles learned pretty quickly is that being on his knees doesn't mean he's powerless. As much as Derek loves having the upper hand, he only enjoys the privilege because Stiles gives it to him. And the upper hand is a relative thing.

Stiles occasionally sees Derek on television, always looking immaculately dressed and coldly invulnerable, the most powerful guy in the room. He thinks about those images sometimes, when he hears the way Derek's breath catches when Stiles offers his wrists up to be bound, or when he feels him lose his rhythm when Stiles starts to beg, or when he sees Derek unguarded and content like he is right now. He sees the difference between this Derek and the Derek on TV, and he thinks, I did that.

Derek is definitely the most powerful guy in the room, as long as Stiles isn't in it.


They're going to celebrate Christmas early, before Stiles goes home for break. It's a holiday that causes Stiles no small amount of angst, because what can he possibly give Derek that Derek doesn't already have or couldn't buy for himself? Or, hell, buy the factory where they make it, plus the patent?

"You could make me something," Derek suggests, when Stiles mentions it, because apparently there's no anxiety Stiles isn't willing to voice. They're cuddling on Derek's couch, watching the rain beat against the windows. Derek is running his thumb over the bruises on Stiles' wrist, ones he put there himself earlier in the week.

"I'm not in kindergarten!" Stiles protests and pokes Derek in the ribs with his elbow, which earns him an annoyed huff. "I can get you a real gift."

"I don't need anything else," Derek tells him, practically purring it into Stiles' ear as his fingers skim up under Stiles' shirt and pinch his nipple. They get a little sidetracked.

It continues to make Stiles crazy, though, so he eventually badgers Derek into agreeing he will not buy anything fancy, which Derek only does grudgingly and while making it clear that he considers this an incredible imposition, but Stiles stands firm. Derek's the guy who gives him a new Apple product every time he has to cancel a date, so there's no telling what the dude's gonna do for an actual gift-giving holiday.

It's not what Stiles expects.

Derek leads him into the bedroom, and then into his enormous walk-in closet, and points to the set of drawers on the far wall. One of them has a red Christmas bow stuck on it, so Stiles goes for that one. When he opens it, it's empty, except for one of Stiles' T-shirts that somehow got left here a while back.

"Great, you gave me my own shirt," Stiles says, before he realizes: the gift isn't the shirt. The gift is the drawer. "Oh, um. Thank you," he mumbles, suddenly feeling a little warm and wriggly, like he wants to laugh and kiss Derek at the same time. Just climb all over him and love on him.

When he glances over at Derek, feeling a little self-conscious all of a sudden--which is ridiculous, given everything they've done together over the last few months--Derek is moving toward him, a predatory gleam in his eye.

"There's more," he says against Stiles' temple as his hands deftly work Stiles' belt buckle and nudge him back toward the bed at the same time.

Oh, is there ever more.

Derek blows him. Not just a little sucking and licking before he fucks him, which Stiles is used to and loves, but an awesome, sloppy blowjob that goes on and on, because Derek will always choose orgasm denial if he can, but Stiles doesn't care because he's never had someone suck his dick this thoroughly, and at the end Derek lets him come in his mouth, which has never happened before.

Once Stiles thinks he can walk, Derek bends him over in front of the huge mirror in the closet, Stiles' hands squeaking against the glass as he braces himself, and watches himself fuck Stiles' ass.

"Look at you," Derek pants as he practically lifts Stiles' toes off the floor with every thrust, but Stiles doesn't want to look at himself. He wants to look at Derek, with his strong hands curled around Stiles' hips, and his teeth sunk into his lower lip when he tips his head back and groans through his orgasm.

They end up in a heap on the floor, and after they finally shower and get back into bed, Stiles gives Derek his present, which is a hideous construction paper Christmas tree, complete with pipe cleaner garland and a glitter star, handmade by Stiles himself. Derek laughs, white teeth and crinkly eyes and everything, and doesn't even complain the next morning when there's glitter all over the bed, clinging to the stubble on his face and making his ass sparkle when he walks toward the bathroom.

Stiles doesn't expect to hear from Derek over Christmas, but he gets a lot of texts the first few days, and a surprise phone call late on Christmas Eve, after he's already in his little bed in his old room, feeling oddly vulnerable.

No amount of prying will get Derek to divulge where he is and who he's with, which leads Stiles to conclude that he's all alone in his apartment with a bunch of fruit baskets from people he barely knows and a stupid paper tree with glitter all over it. It's a sad image. He should have asked Derek if he wanted to come with him for Christmas, he thinks, before he realizes that would be ridiculous. What would he tell his dad? Hey, Dad, this is the rich guy who pays to spank my ass, is the guest room ready?

But Derek's family is irrevocably gone, and he doesn't seem to have many friends, just people who work for him. Actually, when Stiles thinks about it, for all that he's incredibly busy and often surrounded by all of his gorgeous minions, Derek seems kind of lonely. It makes Stiles feel bad all over again for ditching him to play Frisbee that one time, and not just because his butt hurt for two days.

After the presents are opened on Christmas morning, he sends Derek a text message. He agonizes over what to say, because he wants Derek to know he's thinking about him, but doesn't want to come across like he's pitying him, which Derek will hate. He spends several minutes typing and then backspacing multiple times before he settles on merry christmas I miss you. Derek responds almost instantly: Same here. Hurry home.

Stiles had thought he was home already, back in the house he grew up in, where his father still lives. But he was wrong.


They spend Super Bowl weekend together at Derek's place, part of a new thing Stiles has noticed since Christmas, where they're spending more time together—sometimes multiple days in a row—and doing things that don't involve sex. They watch movies and go to used book stores, and Derek cooks a lot. Stiles' drawer has slowly filled up with clothes and comic books and random stuff that keeps finding its way into his pockets and then into Derek's washing machine. He even officially has his own side of the bed, with a charger for his phone on the table.

He's starting to feel a little strange about the sizable deposit that still shows up in his bank account on the fifteenth of every month, but he's not sure how to bring it up, or if it's even his place to do so. He tells himself it's pocket change to Derek, but mostly he just tries not to think about it at all.

On the day of the game, Stiles makes a huge pot of chili, one of the few things he's really good at, and they eat on the couch, nudging each other with their feet and trash talking both teams equally. But it's not really much of a game, and once it's clear what the outcome is going to be, Derek turns his attention to Stiles instead.

Derek kisses him and kisses him, and slides his hands up under Stiles' shirt, and holds his hips against him so Stiles can feel how hard he is, and then goes back to kissing him again. Long, slow kisses that wander down Stiles' neck and behind his ears as Derek's fingers trace tiny circles into the skin above the waistband of his jeans. When Stiles is grinding against him in frustration, wishing Derek would put him on his knees or turn him over or anything, anything that he wants, Derek sits back and says, "All right, time for you to go home."

Stiles falls back onto the couch, gasping, and nearly wails in disappointment. "You aren't going to fuck me?" He's so turned on he can barely keep himself still, like his blood is on fire.

Derek smiles and shakes his head, and tugs Stiles' shirt back down. Just the way the backs of his fingers brush against Stiles' belly makes Stiles' hips try to roll up, seeking Derek's thigh. This is unbelievable, and when Stiles starts to say so, Derek taps Stiles' mouth shut with a finger on the underside of his chin and gives him a quick kiss with no tongue or anything.

Stiles' hands clench themselves in Derek's shirt and try to drag him closer, but Derek just laughs, low and dirty, against the curve of Stiles' ear. "I want you to go home and think about me when you jerk off," Derek says, and Stiles does. Multiple times.


A few months later, with Derek's solitary Christmas still in mind, Stiles spends his entire spring break with him, and after the first day realizes that Derek's cleared his schedule for this, and is on a psuedo-vacation. He's still on his phone a lot, and his computer, but they spend the whole week together mostly doing whatever they want. They go to a Giants game, and eat drippy ice cream cones in Golden Gate Park, and watch six zombie movies in a row. Stiles learns what a humbler is.

On the third day Boyd drops by to go over some stuff with Derek and get his signature on some paperwork, but Stiles never even sees him because Derek leaves Stiles kneeling on the bed, hard and desperate, his wrists cuffed to his ankles. Stiles has orders to stay hard for Derek, which isn't a problem at all.

He can faintly hear Derek's voice from the other room, a low rumble that seems perfectly pitched to make the base of Stiles' spine tingle, and he can see the fresh teethmarks on his thighs, feel them sting a little when he shifts on his knees. Just thinking about Derek's mouth on him makes Stiles choke back a moan, and he's dripping all over himself and aching when Derek finally shows Boyd to the door.

"Good boy," Derek says approvingly, when he sees Stiles, and then he opens his pants and ruthlessly fucks Stiles' face. It's so good Stiles thinks he might die.

When Derek gets hard again, he lets Stiles ride him and come whenever he wants to, and even leaves his wrists unbound so Stiles can touch him all he wants, bend down and kiss him on the mouth. Stiles comes all over Derek's stomach, something he rarely gets to do, and Derek must like it, too, because he swears and grabs Stiles' ass to move him faster, and chokes out Stiles' name when he surges up into him one last time.

Afterward, Stiles sprawls on top of him, clean-up be damned, and dozes while Derek lightly strokes the back of his neck with two fingers, over and over again.

"You're perfect," Derek says against the top of Stiles' head.

Stiles disagrees--he thinks Derek is the perfect one--but for once he's smart enough to keep his mouth shut.


It's pure coincidence that Stiles sees them. He's sitting in a pretentious hipster coffee shop, waiting for Scott to finish up an interview in the building next door and wondering why Derek hasn't responded to his text messages all morning, when Derek's car pulls up to the curb. For a split second Stiles thinks Derek has somehow figured out where he is, and has shown up to surprise him. Derek's been out of town for four days and they're supposed to see each other tonight.

But that's not what's happening at all, because as Stiles is shoving his phone into his pocket and downing the last of his coffee, Derek comes out of the restaurant across the street. With a woman. A beautiful woman.

She has long, dark hair that falls perfectly around a face with the kind of bone structure that would make a sculptor weep. Her shirt is cut just low enough to provide a tantalizing glimpse of cleavage, and her legs are about six miles long. She'd fit right in at Derek's company, where even the guys in the mail room look like they were recruited at a Vogue photo shoot.

Derek has his arm around her shoulders, and she's laughing, looking up at him, and as Stiles watches, stricken, she reaches up and ruffles his hair with her fingers, something Stiles would never dream of doing in public. Derek smiles down at her, his real smile, and kisses her on the cheek before helping her into his car.


Derek texts him an hour later, and it takes all of Stiles' willpower to not do something petty and immature like make him wait for a reply just out of spite. Or something really pathetic and sad like ask him how many other people he's sleeping with, and why he needs anyone else when he has Stiles, when Stiles doesn't need anyone else but Derek.

The car rolls up in front of Stiles' house at six o'clock sharp, and for the first time since the Frisbee incident Stiles considers not getting in it. It's the certainty that if he doesn't go he'll just be in limbo even longer, not knowing what's really going on with Derek, that makes him move his feet. That, and the realization that he'll probably go crawling back eventually anyway, and he'd rather not get the paddle again.

The drive seems to take forever, and Stiles uses the time to remind himself that he's Derek's employee. Sure, Derek doesn't pay Stiles' FICA or anything, but he's giving Stiles money in exchange for his time and his body, and that's all they ever agreed to, and that's all Stiles can expect. Derek isn't Stiles' boyfriend--they have an arrangement.

He just let himself get a little caught up, that's all, mistaking Derek's competence and natural tendency to take control for something deeper, and specific to Stiles. In his own defense, the drawer in Derek's closet is partly to blame, and the phone call on Christmas Eve that--Stiles groans and covers his face with his hands. That was probably where Derek was on Christmas Eve, when Stiles was feeling sorry for him and picturing him all alone: with his girlfriend.

Maybe Derek's had a girlfriend this whole time.

Actually, there are a lot of things that look different now in retrospect--every time Derek cancelled a date, or took a phone call in the other room, or was 'out of town' for days at a time. Derek had always given him the impression all of that was work-related, and Stiles had taken that at face value, but maybe that wasn't the case at all.

It's absurd to think Derek isn't seeing anyone else. He's handsome and rich and powerful; he probably has people throwing themselves at his feet all day long, and he's never promised Stiles anything beyond money and orgasms. Stiles just forgot that for a little bit, so maybe this was a good reminder.

He looks out the window at the city slipping by and takes one deep breath after another. He can handle this. He just needs to be realistic and stick to what they agreed, which is totally doable. By the time the car glides to a stop in front of Derek's building, he's got himself back under control.

That goes right out the window when he walks into the apartment and finds Derek--the Derek most other people never see--padding around the kitchen in ripped jeans and one of Stiles' faded old T-shirts that's a little too tight on Derek in a good way, bare toes flexing against the tile when he crouches down to search one of the cabinets for the meat thermometer.

Stiles is in love with him. There's no point in pretending otherwise.

Derek smiles when he sees Stiles, and pulls him close and kisses him on the forehead. "Missed you," he says easily, like it's nothing. Like it's true.

His hair is really messy. Stiles wants to cry.


Derek makes dinner, and while they eat he asks Stiles what he's been up to, which is always the same thing: school and school and more school. Stiles suddenly realizes that everything about him must be incredibly boring and childish to a guy like Derek, who can send the stock market tumbling with one carefully worded press release.

Stiles asks Derek about his trip, unable to help himself, and Derek pauses before he says, "It was interesting. We'll talk about it later," and Stiles isn't hungry anymore.

"Are you okay?" Derek asks him, when they're on the bed and he's taking off Stiles' shirt.

"Yeah, fine," Stiles says, and it's not a total lie. Derek still wants him, at least one more time. That's something.

Stiles had been looking forward to some reunion sex, which tended to be really memorable, but now he'll have to settle for goodbye sex instead, because after this they're going to have that talk Derek mentioned over dinner. Stiles tries not to think about how awful it's going to be.

Derek gets naked, too, which he doesn't always do. Stiles is grateful for it, because he loves to look at Derek, stare at the ridges in his stomach and the feathery sweep of hair under his belly button, and the way the muscles in his thighs strain when he fucks up into Stiles' mouth. This might be the last time Stiles gets to see him like this, so he wants to look his fill.

It's the kind of night where Derek takes his time, hurting Stiles a little in the best ways, stroking his jaw while Stiles sucks him, murmuring half-swallowed words against Stiles' ribs before he sinks his teeth in and makes him whimper. Finally, he puts Stiles on his back and fucks him with two fingers, braced over him on his other arm, making Stiles look into his pretty eyes as he winds him up tighter and tighter, until Stiles is begging Derek to just put his dick in him already.

Stiles nearly sobs when Derek finally eases into him, feeling raw and overwhelmed, and Derek slides a hand up Stiles' chest and closes it around his throat, pushing his chin up, bending his head back until Stiles has no choice but to arch his back, grinding down on Derek's cock.

"What do you say?" Derek asks. He makes the words sound so filthy. "What do you say when I give you what you want?"

"Thank you, Derek," Stiles says. It comes out hoarse and needy, but Stiles has no shame about that. It's nothing new. "Thank you."

Derek hooks his hands under Stiles' knees and starts fucking him in earnest, the muscles in his arms bunching as he holds Stiles where he wants him. Stiles gets so caught up in watching Derek that he forgets to concentrate, and he realizes he's about to come too late to stop it.

His hands are tied above his head and he can't reach down and pinch himself, which he was allowed to do early on when he was learning to hold back, so he frantically yelps, "Permission to come! Permission to come!" But it's already too late and before Derek can even answer him he's shooting all over his own belly.

Derek stutters to a stop, grip still tight on Stiles' knees, and they both stare down at the mess on Stiles' stomach for a second. Stiles hasn't done this in months. He can't bring himself to look at Derek's face.

The muscles in Derek's stomach are twitching as he holds himself still, chest rising and falling rapidly. He'd probably been close to coming. "I didn't give you permission to do that," he says, voice tight.

"I'm sorry," Stiles says immediately. "I wasn't paying attention, I--"

It's the wrong thing to say.

Derek's eyes snap to Stiles' face instantly, and Stiles can't help but look at him now; he's well-trained. "You weren't paying attention?" He looks angry now, so angry. "What were you thinking about instead, Stiles?" he asks with the carefully enunciated calm that means Stiles is in a fuck-ton of trouble.

"You! I was thinking about you!" Stiles hurries to say. "I was thinking about--"

But he can't say what he's been thinking about all day, can he? Because the truth is even more damning. So he doesn't say anything, and Derek just gets angrier. He lets go of Stiles' legs and pulls out, quickly, and it doesn't feel good. His face is thunderous.

"Turn over," he says, and Stiles' stomach clenches. Derek rarely fucks him face down--he says he likes to see Stiles react to him. Stiles really screwed up.


"Turn. Over," Derek repeats. "If I have to say it a third time, you'll regret it."

That's definitely a motivator. Stiles flips over, an awkward movement with his hands still tied together and cuffed to the bed, but he manages, and spreads his legs and lifts his ass a little, belatedly offering obedience, in hopes it will placate him a bit. Derek's never fucked him while he was angry, and Stiles would have happily lived the rest of his life never knowing what it was like. Too late now.

He expects it to be rough and fast, and maybe a bad spanking first, but Derek covers him, arms bracketing Stiles' bound wrists, and thrusts into him slowly and then even slower. He doesn't talk at all, which is worrisome. Stiles is used to being showered with praise and compliments when they're fucking. But he doesn't really deserve any right now, he supposes.

Stiles gets hard again after a few minutes, and the friction of the sheets on his cock is nearly unbearable, but he hangs on, determined, and lets Derek takes his time, and tries to be a good boy. It goes on and on, and Derek is still silent except for harsh panting in Stiles' ear. The silence is the worst part. Stiles wishes Derek would just come already.

But he doesn't, and it's awful. Stiles finally breaks, even though he isn't even sure if he's allowed to speak. "I'm sorry," he says, voice cracking. "Derek, I'm sorry."

"I know you are," Derek says, but his voice sounds wrong. Removed and offhand, no affection in it at all, like the way he talks to people he doesn't know or trust. He never sounds like that with Stiles, and never has, not even the first time they met.

And that's the one thing Stiles can't take. He's done a lot of things to Derek, and let Derek do a lot of things to him, some of them he didn't find particularly enjoyable except for the fact that Derek wanted him to do them, but this--this he can't take.

The word sticks in Stiles' throat at first, and his eyes feel hot and he wants to curl up in a ball and hide. This isn't how he wanted this to end, but for the first time he actually wants to get away from Derek and what he's doing to him, so he squeezes his eyes shut and says, "Wolfsbane."

Derek's reaction is instantaneous. He levers up and off of Stiles, pulling out so fast it makes Stiles wince. When he reaches to untie the rope around Stiles' wrists, his hands are trembling. Stiles has never safeworded out before.

"What do you want me to do?" Derek asks when Stiles hesitantly rolls over and looks up at him, and if he thought Derek's face looked terrible before when he was angry, it's even worse now. He looks helpless and unsure, which is not something Stiles is used to seeing. It doesn't fit him.

When Stiles doesn't answer right away, Derek lifts a hand toward him, like he's going to pet Stiles' hair, and then he hesitates, waiting for permission. It's so surreal it makes Stiles forget for a second how miserable he is. But he does want Derek to touch him, still. He wants Derek to touch him always.

Stiles tips his head toward him and then rubs into the touch, inching closer, not sure of his welcome, but Derek gathers him close and kisses him on the forehead. He lets out what sounds like a relieved breath when Stiles clings to him.

"Is this okay? Tell me what you want me to do," Derek says again, hands drifting down Stiles' back. He sounds more like himself now, and his fingers are steady and sure on Stiles' skin, not shaking anymore.

"I want you to keep me," Stiles says, before he can stop himself. Derek's hands twitch against Stiles' hips, and then he pulls him even closer, nestling Stiles under his chin.

"I was going to," Derek says softly. Was going to. Past tense. Stiles sucks in a miserable, shuddering breath and wonders how in the hell he's going to get through the next fifteen minutes, the next few days, the rest of his life. He feels Derek's hand gently palm the back of his head. "Tell me what's going on, Stiles. I can't fix it if you don't tell me."

That's pure Derek, right there. He wants to take care of Stiles and help him and make his life easier, and up until now Stiles has been happy to let him do those things, but Derek can't fix this, can he? He can't fix how he feels about Stiles, which is not the same way Stiles feels about him. No one can fix that. All Stiles can do is bear it.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" Stiles asks, because keeping things in isn't his style and he has nothing to lose now. He's already lost all this, if what he thinks is true. "Is that where you went for Christmas?"

The hand still stroking Stiles' back stops, then starts up again. "What the hell are you talking about?" Derek asks.

"I was waiting for Scott and I saw you come out of a restaurant with a woman and she played with your hair and you didn't answer my texts all morning and you kissed her," Stiles says in a hurry, which is sort of jumbled, but Derek is used to that by now.

An agonizingly long silence follows, during which Stiles feels like he's slowly disintegrating from the inside out.

"Yes, that's who I was with on Christmas," Derek says, and even though Stiles knew it was coming, it's like being punched in the heart. Derek's hand slides around to carefully cup Stiles' face, but he doesn't make Stiles look at him, which is a small mercy. "And you're going to feel really stupid in a second," Derek adds, amusement in his voice, as his thumb skims Stiles' lower lip. "Because she's my sister."

Stiles leans back until he can see Derek's ridiculously handsome face. Derek looks like he's trying not to laugh.

"Your sister?" Stiles asks, disbelieving. I thought your entire family was dead, he thankfully doesn't say. It's possible he should have read one or two of those news stories he Googled. "But you said your day was interesting and we'd talk about it later!" he says accusingly.

Derek's amusement melts away as he blinks in confusion. "What does that--"

"You said we had to talk." Stiles pushes himself up onto his elbow, really getting into his righteous indignation now. "You dodged my question with a vague answer about 'a talk.' That's standard break-up language!" he insists, and then immediately regrets his word choice. It's not really "breaking up" so much as "firing," in this case. "I thought you were going to--to get rid of me."

"I'm not getting rid of you," Derek says.

"Then why do we have to talk? And where were you all morning? And why is your hair all messed up?"

Derek flops backward onto the pillow. "Oh my God, Stiles," he groans, rubbing his hand over his face. "Which one of those should I answer first?"

Stiles takes a second to think back. "Why do we have to talk?" That's definitely the most pressing question at the moment.

It doesn't seem like a good sign that Derek stares up at the ceiling for a minute before he answers. "Because my sister is in town and I was going to ask you to meet her," he says finally, eyes still fixed on the ceiling.

Again with the past tense. I was going to keep you, Stiles. I was going to have you meet my sister, Stiles.

"And now you don't want me to?" Stiles asks, his voice sounding embarrassingly small. That seems to be where this is going, though he has no idea what he did to make Derek change his mind. But he must have done something, and even though Derek still has one arm looped around Stiles' back, he feels tense and stiff, like he'd rather not be here right now.

Stiles watches Derek's throat move as he swallows, and then swallows again before he speaks. Instead of answering Stiles' question, he asks, "Who were you thinking about?"

Now Stiles has no idea what's going on. "Who was I what?"

Derek's jaw twitches. He still hasn't looked at Stiles. "Before, when you said you weren't paying attention. Who were you thinking about?"

"You," Stiles says. Didn't they already cover this? "Why would you think it wasn't you?"

Derek rolls his head on the pillow until he's finally looking at him. The hesitation Stiles sees written all over his face is not typical of him at all. "I know I can't control what goes on in your head, or what you feel, and I'm not stupid enough to think I'm buying that, too," Derek says. "That's not part of our arrangement."

Stiles barely stops himself from flinching at the word "buying." For the first time since all this began, he feels like a thing instead of a person. "Right. Our arrangement," he says bitterly, his already low spirits sinking even lower. He hates that word. Hates it. "Gotta stick to that."

"Right," Derek says, and he's back to looking at the ceiling again.

Stiles nods jerkily. "Right."

And then the weirdest thing happens. Derek takes a deep breath and suddenly morphs into stoic, aloof businessman Derek Hale, right in front of Stiles' eyes. "We agreed to certain parameters," he says, while Stiles is trying not to cringe away from him. He doesn't like this Derek at all. "And I respect that. If you don't want to keep doing this, I'll understand that, too. I'll still pay for your school, because I agreed to do it." Here Derek appears to falter for a second, then his voice goes strangely quiet as he says, "I don't want you to be with--to continue to do this because you're worried about the money."

It's all weirdly emotionless and business-like, except for that one little stumble at the end, which rolls around in Stiles' brain like a pinball, picking up speed as it bounces off all the other Derek-related stuff in there.

The drawer. The Christmas Eve phone call. Super Bowl weekend, and spring break, and the look on Derek's face that morning in the kitchen with the Pop-Tarts. And now: Derek's reaction when he thought Stiles was thinking about someone else while he was in bed with him.

Derek is the one who hasn't been sticking to the arrangement. Every single one of those things Stiles thought he'd misinterpreted was instigated by Derek, and Stiles hadn't misinterpreted them at all. And now Derek's trying to act like none of that meant anything, but it's too late, because Stiles is on to him. Stiles heard what he almost said.

Be with me, was what Derek almost said. I don't want you to be with me because of my money. And there's only one reason Derek would find that intolerable.

The warm, wriggly feeling is back, and this time Stiles can't contain it, and it comes bursting out of him in the form of over-enthusiastic affection. He clambers half on top of Derek and noisily kisses his mouth, his cheek, his chin, his mouth again. Derek gives him a baffled look, but his arms wrap around Stiles and squeeze, which is encouraging.

"You are a lunatic. What are you doing?" Derek manages to grumble as Stiles laughs against his mouth.

Stiles darts up and kisses Derek's forehead. "You're going to feel really stupid in a second," he says gleefully, and then he tells Derek exactly what he's been keeping to himself all this time, and it only takes three words.

Derek smiles at him, a huge, happy grin, and he doesn't look dangerous at all.

The End

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[Image Description: Cover for story.]