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“This is gross.” Stiles makes a face as he scrapes goop off his arm. “I think this is demonic creature brain matter. On my bicep.” He gags. “Get it off!”

“It isn’t brain matter,” Derek says dryly, but he does reach over to wipe his hand over Stiles’ arm. “It’s just chunks of intestines, I think.”

“That’s so much better?” Stiles grimaces. “Next time, give me some warning before you decide to explode the thing we’re fighting, alright? I can at least take cover like everyone else to avoid the worst of the flying bits of disgusting viscera that somehow only seemed to come in my direction.”

“I planned it that way, obviously,” Derek deadpans. “For the record, I did tell you to duck.”

“Like I could hear anything with that creature shrieking?” Stiles gives up trying to get the worst of it off of him. “I need a shower.”

“You’re not getting in my car covered in that.” Derek shakes his head as he smirks at Stiles. “And everyone else already took off, so it looks like we’re at an impasse.”

“You’re an ass. I’m only covered in this because I was trying to help your stupid pack, and now you refuse to let me in your precious Camaro?” Stiles rolls his eyes, feeling his frustration start to turn to aggravation. “Fine. I’ll just walk home, I guess.”

Derek snorts. “Right because you’re fit enough to walk nearly ten miles?”

“I am fit! Do you think track and lacrosse are sports for people who can’t exercise?” He’s annoyed at Derek for being such a jerk, but he’s also frustrated with the rest of his friends for running off and leaving him as soon as they realized he’d gotten covered in exploding creature bits. At least Derek stayed, but it was probably some sort of alpha sense of obligation more than anything else.

“There’s a difference between playing sports and walking ten miles at three in the morning after fighting an evil creature.” Derek’s tone is condescending, like Stiles is a child having a temper tantrum or something.

“Fuck you.” Stiles picks up the flashlight where he dropped it during the whole battle thing and then storms off in the opposite direction of Derek and the road towards town. He’s really starting to stink, and he’s got to get this stuff off of him soon or he’s going to lose his composure and either throw up or scream. Neither of which are good options.

Derek growls behind him before he starts following. “Damn it, Stiles. Come on. I was just fucking with you because it’s so easy to do,” he says, sound more amused than contrite. “I’ll take you home, and you can just clean out my car tomorrow.”

“You can clean out your own car!” Stiles spins around and deliberately aims the flashlight right in Derek’s gorgeous—no, stop it Stiles, it’s obnoxious, not gorgeous—face. “I’m tired of being your entertainment, Derek. It’s been nearly three years, and I’ve busted my ass trying to be the best damn pack member you could ever want because I know me being human is a liability, and I do whatever is needed for everyone in this pack, and the only thanks I get is you making fun of me and treating me like a joke. Hell, you wouldn’t even have a pack if I hadn’t played mediator between you and, oh, every single person who now calls you alpha!”

There’s a flash of red before Derek steps forward. “How long have you been holding that one in, Stiles? You know damn well that you’re a key member of this pack, and you’re behaving like a spoiled child right now having a fit because I don’t even know why. I told you I was joking, so why don’t we go back to my car so I can get you home? The creature’s innards are starting to smell.”

“You should have told me your plan! It’s obvious everyone else knew, and I didn’t, and I hate being excluded just because I’m weaker than everyone!” Stiles bites his lip when he yells at Derek but then he turns and takes off, running through the forest with the flashlight guiding his way. It’s not Derek’s fault that Stiles has feelings for him, and that he’s feeling particularly sensitive right now when everyone else is all coupled up and talking about fucking senior prom like it’s so important and he doesn’t even have a date because he’s been in love with an obstinate asshole alpha who still treats him like a helpless human even after everything he’s done to prove himself.

When he comes across a river, he stops running and just sucks in a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly as he tries to calm his nerves. Derek didn’t follow him, didn’t chase him, doesn’t want him, and just doesn’t care. He needs to get that into his stupid brain before he ends up doing something that ostracizes him from his pack. The river looks pretty deep, he realizes, and he’s still covered in gunk. Well, if he’s being reckless and stupid, why not go all the way?

Stiles drops the flashlight on the ground before he takes off his plaid shirt. Then he pulls his t-shirt over his head. After he cleans himself off, he’ll try getting the clothes semi-clean. Thank God it’s March, and the weather is already pretty warm even this early in the morning. His boots are next followed by his jeans. When he’s only wearing his underwear, he hesitates a moment before he decides fuck it. He shoves them down, stepping out of them before he walks over to the river.

“Holy shit,” he mutters as he feels the cold water on his feet. There’s not much light, but he can at least see a little bit. This is so stupid, he knows it, but he’s pissed off, frustrated, and needs to wash this crap off of him so whatever. Hopefully there won’t be any creepy crawlies floating in the river. When he’s walked in up to his waist, he takes a deep breath then falls back under the water. He completely immerses himself in it, running his hands over his arms and face to get that gross stuff off of him. As he washes off, he gets accustomed to the cold water, and he dunks his head again to try get the stuff out of his hair.

The feel of fingers in his hair startles him, and he loses his balance, going underwater and gulping down river water as he struggles to right himself. Strong hands grip his shoulders and pull him up, Stiles coughing and spewing water as he sucks in air. “I’ve got you. Stop flailing.”

In that moment, Stiles’ brain catches up with reality, and he realizes three important things. One: Derek is holding him tightly. Two: There is bare skin behind his back which means Derek is not wearing his shirt. An experimental push back with his ass lets Stiles know that, wow, okay, Derek isn’t wearing pants, either. And is it really as big as it feels? Because damn. Three: Stiles is also naked and flailing around, which probably doesn’t make him look all that attractive or tempting.

“Did you really think skinny dipping at three in the morning was the wisest choice to make?” Derek asks, his breath a warm puff of air against Stiles’ ear. He can feel goosebumps breaking out all over his arms as he shivers.

“Yes?” Stiles clears his throat. “I had to get that gunk off of me, and I was pissed off.”

“I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d refuse to let me take the chance of getting hurt in order to destroy that thing,” Derek whispers, his fingers splaying out on Stiles’ hips, his thumbs rubbing circles against his wet skin. “I didn’t want to argue when I knew it was the best option. You aren’t weak, Stiles. Not at all.”

“That’s a stupid reason,” he points, swaying slightly back and closing his eyes when he feels wet chest hair against his back. “I might have come up with a better way.”

“I didn’t want to wait for another plan,” Derek admits, his scruffy cheek rubbing against Stiles’ bare shoulder. “I—I’m sorry I made you mad, alright? I was just teasing you.”

Stiles snorts. “It wasn’t you. It was me.” He cringes. “That sounds like we’re breaking up, but we aren’t even dating. I meant, I’ve been frustrated about other shit lately, and I lashed out because I needed to, you know?”

“No, we aren’t,” Derek whispers softly before he sighs. “Anyway, I can understand lashing out. I was deliberately provoking you.” Derek is still holding him, which is sort of surprising considering Stiles isn’t flailing around anymore. “I’ve sensed the frustration, but I wasn’t sure about the cause.”

“Why would you provoke me when I was having a shitty night?” Stiles is glad he can’t see Derek and that it’s dark because it’s giving him the balls to actually talk without being flippant or sarcastic. “As for the cause, it’s everyone being all happy and coupley. And it’s petty and mean of me, I know it, but I just get tired sometimes of being the third, fifth, seventh, or whatever wheel. I’m envious of them, alright? I want someone to hold my hand and be sweetly romantic or sexy seductive and just…you know?”

“Yeah, I know.” Derek’s voice is real quiet, barely above a whisper, and his grip on Stiles’ hips has tightened. “It isn’t petty to want someone, Stiles. If it is, I’m mean and petty, too.” He huffs before cursing under his breath. “I provoke you because you’re gorgeous when you’re flustered and annoyed. Your cheeks flush and you bite your lips and you just come alive in a way that gets me hot. And your eyes become like molten embers, which sounds ridiculous and I can’t believe I actually just said that. Fuck.”

Derek suddenly lets go of him and there’s a sound of water splashing behind him. Stiles turns quickly, forgetting the whole naked thing as he sees Derek submerging himself under the water. He can’t believe Derek actually just said that, either, but he did, and he isn’t a man who usually says stuff he doesn’t mean, which would indicate he thinks Stiles is gorgeous. What the hell? Stiles is only boy next door cute, not even rating high enough to be hot much less gorgeous. Without thinking about how stupid his next action actually is, he moves under the water towards Derek and presses their lips together.

There’s a moment when Derek just tenses then suddenly his hands are on Stiles’ back, fingers gripping his wet hair, and he’s kissing him back. Of course, sharing their first kiss underwater isn’t the smartest thing, but it is sort of poetic considering the first time Stiles realized he might like Derek, just a little, had been after saving his wolfy ass in the swimming pool. Too soon, they’re coming up for air, literally, sucking in oxygen before they look at each other in the glow from the flashlight. Then they’re kissing again.

This time is much better. Derek is letting Stiles take the lead, like he’s got any experience kissing, much less kissing hot alpha werewolves that he’s wanted for like three years, but he wings it. He licks at Derek’s lips, using his teeth when he shouldn’t and there’s too much spit for this to be sexy, and he feels frustration starting to nab at his consciousness but then Derek just strokes his spine with calloused fingertips and parts his lips for him.

When Derek flicks his tongue out, teasing Stiles with little licks before it becomes more intent, it makes him whine when their tongues touch. It’s kind of weird having someone else’s tongue in his mouth, but he thinks he could definitely get used to it. Derek is licking into his mouth, his hand reaching Stiles’ ass and squeezing as he pulls Stiles closer. Distantly, Stiles knows they’re both naked, which makes for a rather risqué first kiss, but there isn’t really anything sexual about the kisses. Derek isn’t grinding or touching him in ways that might be just a little too fast, regardless of Stiles’ feelings for him. Still, he moans into the kiss when he feels his dick press against Derek’s because hello! That’s pretty awesome, and he wants more of that. Just maybe not this soon.

When they pull apart, Derek is breathing hard, and he looks kind of stunned, which makes Stiles feel pretty damn proud of himself. “If we keep this up, I think we might end up doing something neither of us is ready for yet,” Derek murmurs, looking pointedly down between them. He licks his lips as he stares at Stiles’ naked parts. “Wow.”

“Yeah, well, you’re pretty wow, too, big guy,” he mutters, feeling a rush of heat across his cheeks because Derek Hale thinks his dick is worthy of a wow. He wants to laugh out loud, strut around, and generally act like a complete fool, but he’s almost eighteen, so he’s way too mature for that. Instead, he bites his lip. “What, uh, exactly is this?”

“You don’t know what kissing is?” Derek’s eyebrows are totally judging him. Stiles punches his arm lightly. “Oh, you mean this?” He motions between himself and Stiles. “This is me finally having the nerve to go after who I want. I was trying to wait until your birthday, but I couldn’t keep being patient when I watched you strip down and jump in the river.”

“Me?” Stiles clears his throat. “You want me? I just need to make sure I’m on the same page because it’s a little difficult to believe. Also, creeper wolf, you shouldn’t be watching me get naked without my knowledge. That violates so many privacy rules.”

“Stiles, you’ve jerked off in my bathroom. I think you violated those privacy rules years ago,” Derek points out, his tone slightly smug because the arrogant ass obviously knows Stiles had been jerking off to thoughts of him the only time he’d been unable to wait until he got home to take care of Private Stiles Time. “And, yes, I want you. I wasn’t aware that it isn’t completely obvious to, oh, everyone, but you seemed completely oblivious, so I guess I’m better at concealing my emotions than I realized.”

“Do you want me for just sex or something else?” Stiles figures he needs to ask because he can’t just assume Derek feels the exact same way just because he’s admitted to wanting him. “Something else being dating and hand holding and pet names and hanging out together and making out for hours.”

“No pet names,” Derek mutters, leaning down to press a kiss against Stiles’ mouth. “Otherwise, it’s definitely the second option. If that’s what you want?”

“Hell yeah,” he says, gripping Derek’s hair and kissing him enthusiastically. When he pulls back, he grins. “Okay, so maybe this is worth the whole creature viscera splatter fest because, otherwise, I’d have to had wait until my birthday to kiss you, and that would have really sucked. Weeks of unrequited yearning that I had no idea was reciprocated, and just teenage angst at level ten or something.”

“You’re crazy.” Derek’s tone is actually fond even though he’s giving Stiles his amused smirk. God, he’s an idiot for never noticing that before. No wonder the pack is always making fun of him for being unaware of what’s in front of his face. He never knew they meant about Derek, but he can’t really be mad at them now because they’re right. Derek kisses him again before tugging his hand and leading him towards the riverbank. “I’ll let you wear my shirt with your underwear so you don’t have to put those horrible clothes back on.”

“Aww. Thank you, snookums,” he teases, laughing when Derek flashes red eyes at him. He gets his underwear and pulls them on, preening a little when he notices how Derek’s just staring at him. He looks, too, even if the flashlight doesn’t give enough of a glow to really enjoy the vision of naked Derek before he’s pulling his jeans on without any underwear. God, that’s hot. “Commando, honey buns?”

“Stop with the pet names.” Derek grumbles as he throws his t-shirt at Stiles. “Put that on, and don’t get any ideas. Normally, I wear underwear. I was just in a hurry tonight because of the evil creature killing people that we had to hunt down.”

“Ideas? Me?” Stiles pulls Derek’s shirt on, breathing in the scent of him and feeling his belly make a weird flip floppy motion. He bats his eyelashes at Derek. “I’d never get any naughty ideas. I’m an innocent virgin, after all.”

“Virgin, yes. Innocent, not so much.” Derek rolls his eyes as he pulls Stiles over and kisses him soundly. “I like the smell of me on you. A lot.”

“You know, my dad’s working tonight,” Stiles reminds him, kissing his nose before he picks up the flashlight. “You want to pick up some food from that twenty-four burger place and maybe make out until we get too tired to do it anymore? If you’d want to, I mean. You’re right about neither of us being ready to move too fast yet, but making out with you sounds awesome, Derek. I’d kind of like to do that.”

Derek picks up his gross clothes and wraps them up with the inside of his flannel shirt on the outside. When he looks up at Stiles, there’s a shy expression on his face that makes Stiles’ belly do that weird flippy floppy thing again. “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, Stiles.” He takes Stiles’ hand, his lips curving into a pretty smile as he laces his fingers around Stiles’ and squeezes as they start to walk back to the car. “I’d really like to do that, too.”