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Solstice Alpha

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Derek had told him that it was usually the youngest in the pack, so Stiles had assumed (once he got past the mental image of Derek as a kindergartener, wearing a red Santa hat and bossing around all the adults of the Hale pack) that Boyd would be the obvious choice. Not only was he the youngest in werewolf terms, being the last bitten, he was also actually the youngest; he'd only turned sixteen in August, at the start of their junior year. Most importantly Boyd was a pretty laid-back guy who probably wouldn't do anything terrible, like accidentally-on-purpose challenging Derek's authority for real, if he got to be the alpha for a night.

Boyd was such an obvious choice that--unlike pretty much every other part of the pack's very first winter solstice party--Stiles hadn't felt the need to carefully negotiate it in advance with everyone else. The first sign that something was going sideways was when Lydia unfolded the little scrap of paper Stiles had written his vote on and rolled her eyes. She tilted it to show to Allison, who smiled indulgently and shrugged.

Lydia barely looked at any of the other scraps of paper. She turned to Derek, who was standing in the doorway, at a polite distance from the voting going on at the dining room table, which was already set for dinner. "Well, almost unanimously, we choose Stiles as our solstice alpha."

Derek nodded, showing nothing remotely resembling surprise.

"Uh, wait, do I get a veto?" Everyone was abruptly looking at Stiles with nearly identical expressions of exasperation. "Well, come on, what! I'm not even a werewolf, you guys, how can I--"

And then it caught up with him. Of course he was the obvious choice; he was exactly as threatening to Derek's alpha status as a five-year-old. Never-bitten was even younger than last-bitten. And if Derek hadn't actually mentioned that humans were eligible--well, it had been hard enough getting Derek to tell him anything at all about how the Hale pack's traditional solstice party was supposed to work. That particular omission was no surprise.

"No," Lydia said unnecessarily. "You don't get a veto. You've been chosen; now you have to challenge the alpha and win so we can have a solstice party."

"Yeah, don't ruin everything," Scott said cheerfully. "If you lose I think Derek's going to make us train all night."

Jackson scowled. "If I have to run suicides after I convinced my parents to put off leaving for our ski trip, Stilinski, I will--"

"Plus I'll call off Christmas," Derek interrupted blandly.

"So, no pressure!" Erica said with a bright smile.

"Uh," Stiles said blankly, looking around at all their bright, eager, expectant faces. "Uh, guys, I don't actually--am I seriously supposed to fight Derek for your honor and to save Christmas and everything?"

But there had to be a way this worked, if little kids usually got picked. Right on cue Derek and Lydia rolled their eyes--almost in unison, which was sort of impressive since Derek was behind Lydia and couldn't see her expression--and Lydia said, "Isaac, you're officiating the challenge, why don't you explain it?"

Isaac nodded and walked over to stand directly between Stiles and Derek. Everyone else shifted to the far side of the dining room table, and Derek actually stepped into the room, so there was an open space between them like they were about to duel or something. Stiles half expected Isaac to pull out a hankie to drop, but instead he brought some notecards out of his pocket.

"The competition is Star Wars trivia," Isaac announced. "Best of five wins."

Stiles blinked, opened his mouth to say that was unfair and then closed it again. Of course it was unfair and pointless; that was the idea. He knew that, he just hadn't really expected to be directly involved.

He also had not, in any way, been looking forward to watching Boyd and Derek stage a pillow fight at this point in the evening.

Derek nodded solemnly and frowned in concentration. "Ready."

"Oh, yeah. Ready," Stiles agreed.

Isaac nodded and added, "Please remain silent until the challenge is concluded," with a serious look at the rest of the pack.

"Name the creature which Jabba the Hutt--"

"Sarlacc," Stiles said automatically, and then slapped a hand over his mouth while Isaac and Derek both stared at him.

"Sorry!" Stiles said through his fingers, "It's probably something else, you can finish the question, I'll--"

Isaac shook his head. "Nope. Sarlacc is correct. First point to Stiles."

Derek nodded acknowledgement, and Stiles lowered his hands and clasped them behind his back.

"Name the capital of the planet Naboo," Isaac said next.

Stiles waited long enough to see Derek frown before he blurted out, "Theed!"

Isaac nodded again. "Correct. Two points to Stiles."

Stiles bounced on his heels. Derek shifted his weight.

"Name the ruler of the planet Naboo," Isaac said calmly.

"Queen--" Stiles said, and then stopped short. "Wait, before the Empire or under the Empire?"

Isaac looked blank, and Derek seemed sort of amused.

"No, come on, there are--guys, this is a major plot point, there's not just one. Have you even seen the movies?"

"In the theater, when I was a kid," Derek said with a shrug.

"You know who I mean, Stiles," Isaac said impatiently. "Just answer."

"Queen Amidala," Stiles huffed, "Who was succeeded by Queen Jamillia, who--"

"Stiles wins," Isaac announced, cutting him off. "Stiles is alpha."

Stiles smiled uncertainly and punched a fist in the air, but the whole pack cheered like they actually meant it--even Jackson was clapping for real. Stiles was startled into a real grin and did a tiny, stupid victory dance in the time it took for Lydia to come over and present him with the goofy red-lensed costume glasses.

Stiles put them on and looked toward Derek, fully intending to say I'm the alpha now, except that Derek had walked over to stand right in front of him. Stiles turned his head just in time to watch Derek drop to his knees at his feet.

"Oh," Stiles said. "Um."

Derek had his head bowed slightly, so Stiles was looking down at the back of his neck. His hands were open at his sides. This in no way resembled anything that Stiles had ever thought about in the privacy of his shower at home (the only place werewolves would not a) smell what you'd been doing later and then b) cheerfully speculate about the details, as he had learned in the last several months).

"Here you go," Lydia said, waving something at him. It looked red, like everything. Stiles nudged the glasses down slightly and peered over them to see the bright blue of the scarf.

"For your new beta," Lydia added unnecessarily, and Stiles took the scarf and watched his hands move like they belonged to someone else, blindfolding Derek and tying the scarf at the back of his head.

He tugged at the knot, checking whether it was tight enough, and Derek nodded just enough for Stiles to feel the motion. Stiles jerked his hands back to his sides and then looked over at the rest of the pack. They were all standing there looking cheerful and expectant, like he was supposed to know what the hell to do next. Stiles felt a burst of terrifying sympathy for Derek, who had somehow gotten them all through the last year intact: Peter, the hunters, the kanima, the alpha pack, Peter again for hopefully the last time, plus assorted romantic crises and parents finding out. All Stiles had to do was not fuck up a party.

He looked back down at Derek, who was still kneeling there, head bowed, bright blue scarf tied around his head, and then he summoned up a grin and smacked him on the shoulder. "Arise, beta Derek, and go get dinner. And the rest of you jerks sit down."

The rest of the pack moved around the table, silently negotiating their seats--Stiles thought for a second that he should have done name cards and then remembered that he had delegated table-setting to Lydia. If Lydia hadn't seen the need for assigned seats, there was none. Jackson sat down first, yanking out a chair with a clatter and dropping into it in an obnoxious sprawl, obviously perfectly content to wait for Derek to serve him.

"Jackson," Stiles said brightly, because this one night he could. "Thank you for volunteering to help Derek bring in dinner! The turkey should be done resting now, bring that over here."

Jackson's smug contentment turned into a frown, which only deepened when he looked around and realized the rest of the pack was with Stiles on this. He stomped into the kitchen, brushing roughly past Derek in the doorway and forcing Derek to juggle the big bowl of salad and basket of rolls he was carrying.

Even blindfolded, Derek made the maneuver look graceful--Stiles suspected him of being a little showy to make the point to his betas that they didn't need any one sense to get around when they could use the others. Stiles watched every motion, and then froze at the realization that instead of just setting the stuff on the table, Derek was bringing it to him. Derek dropped to his knees, offering Stiles the salad and rolls.

Adding food to the whole kneeling-before-him thing somehow did not make it less weird, or less--weird.

Derek had never, ever demanded any alpha-prerogative when there were pack meals. If anything, he was prone to wait until everyone else had filled their plate before he took anything. But he wasn't a jerk to Jackson just because he could be, either, and had never expected any of his betas to act the way he was acting now; being solstice alpha wasn't about acting like Derek-the-actual-alpha acted the rest of the time. It was about being a caricature of an alpha, lording it over everyone. Obviously part of that was getting first choice of food.

Stiles cleared his throat and said, "Thank you, Derek," as he selected the most perfectly golden-brown roll and then served himself some salad. "Set those out on the table now."

Derek nodded and rose smoothly, moving around the far side of the table so that he didn't get in Jackson's way as he came back with the turkey. Jackson went to set down the heavy platter on the table and Scott and Boyd both, in unison, said, "Ah-ah!"

Jackson's eyes flashed with irritation, and Stiles pushed the red glasses up his nose to look at Jackson through them as he said, "Over here, Jackson."

Jackson came over and knelt down, nearly as smoothly as Derek, and Stiles took the knife and fork from the edge of the platter and carved the turkey. This was another thing he'd expected Boyd to be doing, but he'd looked up the best way to do it anyway, so he thought it went pretty well. He served himself and then nodded for Jackson to set the platter on the table, and looked up to see Derek standing behind Jackson, patiently waiting with a glass dish in his hands.

It wasn't until Derek knelt down that Stiles realized, in no particular order, that a) Derek was holding the tamales Stiles had last seen in the oven, and b) Derek was barehanded, and c) Stiles could actually see Derek's skin blistering around the edges of the pan.

"Derek!" Stiles snapped, and Derek's head jerked like Stiles had hit him, like Stiles even could hit him hard enough to make him react. "Set that down, Jesus!"

Derek turned toward the table, still on his knees, and Isaac grabbed one of the little ceramic tiles Lydia had brought because we're going to need trivets for the hot dishes and Stiles had just nodded and pretended he knew what the hell a trivet was. Isaac set the tile down on the corner of the table right beside Derek, and Derek set the dish on top of it with a slight clatter.

Before Derek could move, Stiles grabbed his wrists, tugging them over to look at the red, blistered burns across each palm and his fingertips.

"That was so stupid," Stiles snapped, horrified that Derek had actually been hurt. This was supposed to be a game, nothing more. "Why--I know there are oven mitts, I was using them, why didn't you use them?"

Derek made a stupid little face, screwing up his mouth and nose with distaste. "I can't feel anything through those."

"You'd rather feel your flesh burning?" Stiles demanded. "You are the worst werewolf, you are completely fired from getting dinner. Isaac, help Jackson get the rest, and don't burn yourself."

Isaac nodded and popped up to his feet, and Stiles said, "You just stay right here," and squeezed Derek's wrists, watching the burns fade. The blisters shrank away before his eyes, and the red faded to pink, before Stiles let go of his hands.

Jackson and Isaac leaned over Derek, offering food at arm's length, and Stiles filled his plate with the random assortment of dishes you got when you let the pack all contribute their holiday favorites. The others were helping themselves, passing dishes and salt and pepper and gravy and salsa, and Isaac dropped a potholder next to the tamales when he sat back down, scooping some onto Stiles's plate without being asked before he helped himself and then passed the dish, potholder and all, over to Scott.

Through it all, Derek knelt beside Stiles's chair with his hands held out, palm up. When the others were all talking and eating, and Derek's hands looked perfectly normal except for the way they were held out for his inspection, Stiles said quietly, "Okay, you go get the wine and pour it, without hurting yourself."

Derek nodded silently and got to his feet, and Stiles took a bite of turkey and looked down the table at his pack, only to find half of them looking speculatively at him.

"I don't know what any of you are talking about," Stiles said, mouth full. "Shut up and eat your dinners."

That made all of them smile, but none of them argued with the solstice alpha.

Everyone else messed with Derek a little as he walked around the table, pouring wine blindfolded. Derek dodged about half the ass-grabs and pinches and tickles, and spilled wine on everyone he didn't get away from. Stiles figured that was only fair, and didn't interfere on either side.

Derek had started with Lydia, who had brought the wine--she insisted that no holiday meal was complete, or possibly survivable, without it. Stiles had made a series of arguments ranging from the pointlessness of trying to get werewolves pleasantly relaxed with anything under 50% ABV to the whole underage drinking problem, but Derek had just shrugged and said, "You're all spending the night, wine with dinner won't hurt anyone," and Lydia had looked triumphant and slightly evil.

Stiles hadn't had a chance to get a closer look at what they were going to be drinking, since he'd been coordinating the cooking, and he didn't get much of a look when Derek leaned over him to pour a glass. He focused mostly on not making eye contact with anyone else at the same time he refrained from playfully groping Derek. He was busy eating. There was an alarming amount of food, even for teenagers and werewolves.

Derek disappeared into the kitchen to get rid of the empty bottle, but he came back a few seconds later and stood behind Stiles's chair. Stiles twisted around to watch him, and Derek looked down at him even though he couldn't see, tilting his head and smiling slightly in question.

"No," Stiles said firmly. "No lurking behind me while I eat, Derek. Sit down."

Derek obeyed, sort of, sitting down on the floor next to Stiles's chair. Stiles glanced down the table and realized that there wasn't actually anywhere else for Derek to sit. He'd known that, vaguely. Derek had told him that the "defeated" alpha was expected to serve the pack for as long as they allowed him to stay at the party.

Still, there was a lot of food, and it sucked that Derek didn't get to eat with the rest of the pack. On the other hand, Stiles was the alpha, so if he wanted Derek to eat it was probably up to him to do something about it. Stiles looked around the table--it was weird how far away from the others he felt here, at the head of the table, behind the red glasses. He couldn't help glancing down at Derek again as he thought it, realizing that being alpha was probably a little bit like this all the time. Derek had his face turned up toward Stiles, and smiled when Stiles looked at him, like he could feel Stiles's attention--smell his breath or hear his heart--

Stiles didn't want to think about what Derek might hear in Stiles's heartbeat. Instead he picked up a cherry tomato that had managed to get covered in both salad dressing and gravy and held it out toward Derek. "Here."

Derek didn't reach for it, like Stiles assumed he would; he leaned in and closed his mouth on it, and over the tips of Stiles's thumb and finger, and sucked it out of Stiles's grip. That left Stiles's hand hanging in the air and Stiles staring at Derek's mouth. He made another little irritated face as he chewed, whether because he'd been tricked into eating a vegetable or because of the weird combination of flavors, Stiles had no idea. Just when Stiles was about to decide to pretend he hadn't done that and get on with eating dinner, Derek swallowed visibly and whispered, "Thank you, alpha."

Stiles's mouth dropped open. He knew his heart was racing and that that was the least of what Derek--or any other werewolf in his immediate vicinity--was going to notice about Stiles's reaction.

Stiles looked up and saw that Scott was blushing to the tips of his ears and had pointedly turned in his chair to face Allison. She gave Stiles a smile over Scott's shoulder that looked a lot like the smile she'd had when she saw that Stiles didn't realize he was supposed to be solstice alpha. Stiles lost interest in polling the rest of the table at that point, because he knew it would only get worse from there.

He picked up a piece of turkey and held it toward Derek without saying anything, and Derek shifted onto his knees this time as he brought his mouth to Stiles's fingers. There was less suction this time but more tongue. Stiles exhaled unsteadily and tried to figure out if this was all some kind of setup--but the whole point of the solstice alpha was to humble the real alpha, not to play an unnecessarily elaborate practical joke on the fake one. This was the kind of insidious mind-fuck someone might resort to if they were actually under someone else's power, but Derek was only playing the role for a couple of hours tonight, and they all knew it. So that had to mean that he was playing the role the way he wanted to play it.

Stiles picked up a piece of tamale and offered it to Derek, who took it in delicate little bites from Stiles's hand and licked his fingertips clean when he finished. Stiles was actually, undeniably hard by the time Derek finished, and this was way out in left field from any fantasy he'd ever had; those involved Derek being pushy in actually pushy ways, not this weird, fake submissive seduction, which was confusingly hot and also just confusing. And impossible to ignore, no matter how hard the rest of the pack was working at it.

Stiles took a gulp of his wine and told himself he was going to stop torturing himself even as he picked up a fingerful of mashed potatoes.

By the time dinner was over, Stiles suspected that he had drunk not only his wine but also all of Scott's and Isaac's. He was feeling pleasantly warm and fuzzy and hardly freaked out at all about Derek still kneeling by his chair whenever he wasn't specifically fetching something for someone else at the table.

There wasn't really any amount of pleasantly buzzed--possibly no amount of drunkenness that did not lead to unconsciousness and then, shortly thereafter, death--that could have prepared him for the party games portion of the evening, though. Erica had been left to organize that, which was in hindsight an obvious and horrible tactical error. Stiles had figured Boyd would be in charge of reining her in, and instead Boyd just stood there and abetted her with a quiet smile, and that was how Pin the Tail on the Werewolf happened.

Derek was the werewolf in question. Stiles had the tail--no mere slip of paper, something heavy and worryingly lifelike, covered in black fur that was a creepily good match with Derek's hair--and the rest of the pack was responsible for trying to get Derek to stay still and get the tail put on. It started out with everyone standing around in the living room in a circle, with Derek at the center and Stiles hovering near one edge. He was just giving himself a don't grope him in front of the whole pack don't grope him in front of the whole pack oh god they can all smell you thinking about groping him pep talk when Isaac--Isaac! who Stiles trusted!--dove in and tickled Derek while Scott and Boyd were trying to get a good grip on his arms.

Derek leaped like a cat, turning a hundred and eighty degrees in the air while letting out a weirdly choked-off laughing snort. He managed to bounce off the ceiling and land outside the circle--aided by Lydia diving out of his way and knocking Jackson over as she did--and that was it, the hunt was on.

"Guys!" Stiles yelled, hopelessly, as five werewolves took off in hot pursuit of a sixth, "Guys, we just finished making it not a totally destroyed ruin in here, could we not--"

There was a series of thuds from somewhere above. Stiles looked over at Lydia and Allison, and they all shrugged and went back to the kitchen. There was another bottle of wine, and Stiles elected to go on not finding out exactly what it was. Allison collected their glasses from the dining room table and poured, and they all stood in the kitchen and listened.

"Attic," Stiles said at one point, when that particular creaky board sang out, and then there was the sound of the trapdoor and Allison said, "Roof."

They all looked out the kitchen windows, but none of the wolves came down to the ground outside. Maybe that was a rule Derek hadn't told Stiles; maybe they all had to stay inside the house the whole time. It would go along with Derek's insistence on all of them spending the night.

There was a small clatter of stuff hitting hard surfaces, and Lydia said, "Window into Jackson and Scott's bathroom."

Allison's mouth twisted like she knew exactly what had gotten knocked off the windowsill, but she just took another sip of wine and went on listening.

Glass crashed upstairs, sounding close, and Stiles set his glass down and edged out into the foyer to watch Derek leap down from the balcony while the rest of them thundered down the stairs, Lydia and Allison trailing cautiously after him. Derek turned toward them and then stopped short, recognizing them as an obstacle or just trying to keep from trampling them.

Either way, it was enough to get him caught. When the betas tackled Derek, Lydia and Allison jumped on, too. Stiles just stood there and watched for a while, appreciating the laughter and yelling, hoping that that would sink into the freshly-repaired-and-painted walls like the smoke of happiness.

"Whoa," Stiles said, "whoa, I think I am actually kind of drunk, you guys."

"What was that?" Lydia yelled, and it occurred to Stiles that Lydia was a little bit drunk, too, and that it was nice having other humans around. "You need us to give you access to Derek's ass?"

"No, I take it back," Stiles said. "I am only hanging out with werewolves forever now."

Erica just looked up and smiled at him, and Stiles remembered that he didn't even have to talk to embarrass himself in front of the wolves. His entire social life was a hopeless catastrophe. Then the whole mass of them went still in a way that Stiles realized meant that Derek, underneath all seven of them, had stopped fighting.

"Here you go," Scott said, "Come on, perfect spot for the tail, man. Get him."

Stiles looked down and realized he was in fact still holding the stupid tail. He climbed up onto the pile of werewolves, and stared down for a second at Derek's ass in tight jeans, neatly framed by the arms and legs holding him down, so Stiles couldn't see anything else. Then he jabbed the sticky end of the fake tail right into the middle of it, square on the seam of his jeans, and before he even let it go the thing moved.

Stiles shrieked and tried to jump straight into the air like a cat, which didn't work very well due to lack of werewolf muscles and also being kind of drunk. The rest of the werewolves scattered, shoving him upright in the process, and Erica was not only giggling evilly but holding a remote control.

Derek just lay on the floor for a minute with a wagging tail sticking straight up from his ass, looking totally defeated. Eventually he pushed up to his feet and looked around, still blindfolded, before he said expressionlessly, "I hate all of you."

Three different camera-phone shutter sounds went at once, and Derek heaved a sigh, shoulders drooping. Stiles walked over and tugged curiously at the tail, but it stayed attached to his pants. The shutter sound went again and Stiles realized that he had just had his picture taken with his arm around Derek and one hand on his ass. He leaned into Derek's shoulder, surrendering to the inevitability of incriminating photos, and yelled out, "Next we're playing a nice quiet game with no property damage."

Stiles lasted through about an hour of Derek perching behind him on the back of the couch while Stiles took on the rest of the pack (broken into teams: Scott and Allison, Jackson and Lydia, and Erica, Boyd, and Isaac) at Millennium Edition Trivial Pursuit. The game wouldn't have presented a problem even if Stiles had been a lot drunker, but Derek kept leaning in and whispering helpful facts about hockey and pop culture Stiles didn't remember from when he was eight. Every so often Erica would make Derek's tail wag and Derek would sigh sadly against the back of Stiles's neck. Stiles kept getting more sober and more aware of the way Derek's lips didn't quite touch his ear and the way Derek was keeping Stiles between himself and the rest of the pack like he wanted to be protected from them. Or maybe he just liked being plastered up against Stiles's back.

"Okay, enough," Stiles said, after Derek whispered, "Tom Hanks," and Stiles realized that he never wanted to associate being that turned on with those words. Stiles stood up and turned to face Derek, reminding himself that this was part of the plan, and said, "I've had it, man, I thought it would be okay to keep you around as a beta, but this just isn't working. I'm kicking you out of the pack."

Derek made a sad little frowny face and his tail drooped decisively. "Oh. You're--no one wants me to stay?"

"We could use someone to wash the dishes," Scott pointed out, before Stiles had time to worry that this part was going to go really badly off-script. "He'd probably be good at that."

"He'd just break them," Jackson said scornfully. "He couldn't even carry food right, he left me and Isaac to do all of that."

"And he broke that light fixture," Isaac added, shaking his head. "I liked that one."

"Awww, but he's so nice to play with," Erica said, waggling the remote control, and Boyd snatched it out of her hand.

"Definitely out," Boyd said, wrapping an arm firmly around Erica.

"Out," Stiles agreed, and grabbed Derek by the arm, yanking him down from the couch and leading him, unresisting, toward the front door. The rest of the pack closed in behind them, but this time they didn't shove or tackle Derek, just herded him along as Stiles dragged him through the house and out to the porch.

Derek didn't dig in his heels until they were on the porch, and then he wrapped himself around Stiles and whispered, "If you let me stay I'll make it worth your while, alpha."

Stiles groaned and shook his head as he gave Derek one last shove. Derek made a big, showy leap down the front steps, landing in a roll on the ground and then popping back up to his feet. He looked back at them for a minute in the light spilling out of the house--still blindfolded, still with that ridiculous tail hanging off his ass--and then he turned and ran.

"Yeah," Stiles yelled after him, because, really, he had to say it once. "I'm the alpha now!"

Phase two of the party--while Derek was out in the woods experiencing the third stop on the triskele of werewolf power--was mostly about finally decorating the house for Christmas. Derek had forbidden them to put anything up before the solstice, which had provided the first hint to Stiles that there was something special about the solstice and led, eventually, to the traditional Hale pack party getting resurrected by the new and improved-from-ten-months-ago Hale pack. They'd cut a tree in the woods that morning, and while Boyd helped Allison and Lydia set it up in the living room, Stiles was outside getting boosted up to the porch roof by the rest of the werewolves.

"You're really not going to let me fall, right," Stiles said, looking warily down at Erica and Isaac, who were each holding one of his feet.

"Even if they did I would catch you," Scott promised, perched on the slope above him, holding the rope of holly and lights twined together that they'd bought at the farmer's market because, seriously, there were limits to how personally Stiles was willing to handle this part.

"Right," Stiles said, taking the end of the holly garland in one hand and a hook in the other and anchoring it to the end of the gutter. Holly for protection in the dark time of the year, he thought firmly. Holly for the protection of this house and the protection of this pack. Holly to hold back any who would harm my pack.

He managed to stab himself on a particularly prickly leaf and cursed under his breath as Erica and Isaac shifted him down the roof, but it felt right anyway, to give some little sacrifice of pain for the protection the holly would bestow. He hooked the next section on and kept up the litany in his mind. Holly for protection in the dark time of the year.

By the time the holly was finished Stiles was feeling mostly sober. His hands felt like they'd been used as pincushions, but he'd also felt something click into place when the lights turned on, and he knew that the holly wasn't only decoration. He felt something inside himself light up, too.

The pack cheered again, like they had when he became their solstice alpha. Stiles grinned over at them and said, "Come on, time for the tree!"

They all stormed inside to where the tree was set up, boxes of decorations arrayed around it. Most of them were things each of them had culled from their own family's Christmas decorations--just a few each from most of them, although the ones Allison had brought were brand new, still in the store packages. Isaac had a whole box of stuff, along with lights and an ancient shellacked cranberry-and-popcorn garland. There was also a box that Derek had said they had to put up first. Stiles knelt and opened that, discovering nine smaller boxes inside. He passed them out to the others, keeping two for himself, and they all started trading them around as they opened them.

Most of the ornaments were little ceramic wolves: there was a red one that said Derek on the back that was immediately handed over to Stiles. There was a blue one for Jackson, and Scott, Boyd, Isaac, and Erica's were in shades of gold and orange.

"Oh, for our eyes!" Scott said brightly, and then said, "Look, mine's got an arrow through his heart," and grinned at Allison like that was supposed to be romantic. But Allison's ornament was an arrow--a warm clear coffee brown like her eyes--and Lydia's, the exact right shade of blue, was a key, and Stiles was left with an amber brown sprig of mountain ash in his hands. The others watched while he hung it up--mountain ash to keep out those who would do us harm--and then hung up the red wolf on the branch just above it.

Then they all dove in at once, fighting over where to place their own ornaments--and the rest of the ornaments--and the lights and the garland. Stiles put the red glasses up on top of his head and went to start washing the dishes.

After Stiles had put the star on top of the tree, adjudicated three different arguments about where mistletoe could be put up and what kind of kisses it justified, and resorted to saying, "Because I'm the alpha, that's why," twice, he made them all sit down and watch Star Wars. He provided useful information (in case any of them were ever engaged in a life-or-death Star Wars trivia match) in a constant commentary track that helpfully camouflaged the sounds of makeouts happening all around him. He would have made a dog joke about their Pavlovian reactions to being in a dark room with a movie playing, except he wasn't sure there was anyone left to make it to, despite the odd number of people in the room other than him. He didn't really want to look around to be sure.

He could do the trivia-enrichment audio track completely on autopilot, which was good (because it meant the sound kept going even if his mind wandered) and bad (because his mind was wandering like crazy). The longer he sat there with the others, the weirder it was to be there with the pack, in Derek's house, without Derek.

It wasn't just because he wanted Derek to come back and be in charge of telling the others, or even him, when to shut up and watch the movie. Stiles missed being able to look over at him, to see Derek roll his eyes or--lately--maybe smile a little at something Stiles said. And the whole point of tonight--with all the planning and badgering-for-information and blackmailing everybody into showing up no matter what they had to tell their parents that had preceded it--had been to make sure that Derek had the kind of werewolf holiday thing he remembered from before the fire. Even if Derek being gone was part of the point, Stiles wanted him to be here, wanted to see if this was okay.

Stiles wanted to see Derek being happy. He wanted to know that he'd gotten this right for Derek, but more than that, he just wanted Derek to be happy.

"Oh, shit," Stiles said, because this maybe went beyond liking Derek as part of the pack and thinking furtively naughty thoughts about him, even beyond getting unavoidably turned on when Derek licked his fingers. This was--he really--oh, shit.

Stiles realized the whole pack (minus Derek) was staring at him, and he blinked and squinted at the TV and said the first thing that came to mind, so thrown off that he jumped to completely the wrong part of the patter. "If you listen closely, this is the part where Mark Hamill totally screwed up and said Carrie instead of--"

Lydia raised an eyebrow. "Luke isn't even on screen, Stiles."

"Shut up," Stiles snapped, "you've never even seen this movie before," but at least his brain managed to catch up and restart in the right spot after that. Everyone went back to ignoring him for each other so Stiles could quietly, quietly freak out and hope that none of the werewolves were paying too much attention to his heartbeat.

He felt more or less calm by the time they got to the prison break, which was when all of the werewolves suddenly sat up straight. Stiles fell silent, a reflex honed through way too many life-or-death situations. From the TV came "My name is Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you", and right on cue there was a loud knock on the front door.

All of them looked at him, at that, and Stiles paused the movie even though it was the best part. He tried not to sound too stupidly excited as he said, "Huh, who could that be?"

None of them moved or answered, still watching him, and Stiles put his red glasses firmly in place--one last time--and led his pack to the front door.

It was Derek, of course--now minus the blindfold and the tail and plus a stack of bakery boxes and several shopping bags. He met Stiles's eyes right away, and Stiles felt himself flush, remembering everything he'd done while Derek was blindfolded. Derek smiled, and then looked past Stiles to the others.

"If you'll take me back as your alpha," Derek said, "there are presents. And desserts. But if you'd rather keep Stiles--"

"He threatened to make us watch the whole Star Wars trilogy in one night," Lydia piped up immediately.

"Also he's a total fascist about mistletoe," Isaac added.

"I never thought I'd say this, but we need an alpha who talks less," Scott added.

Stiles turned around at that one, gasping out his betrayal even as all of them were grinning and waving Derek in. "Et tu, Scott?"

But it was too late. Derek crowded up against his back, plucking the red glasses off his face and pressing his wrist casually against Stiles's throat.

"I'm the alpha now," Derek growled.

Stiles felt it through his whole body, and hoped his whimper sounded like surrender.

They all sat around the tree to open their presents. Stiles barked out a loud laugh at his Han Shot First t-shirt, both because yes and because of the evidence of premeditation. It wasn't like Derek could have picked it up at the 24-hour Wal-Mart while he was out getting pie and ice cream.

Derek shot him a pleased look, almost smug, and Stiles had to look away.

He kept looking back, though. He couldn't resist seeing Derek like this, happy with his pack, who were happy with him. The party might be kind of a silly, artificial way for the pack to show they accepted their alpha, but it was real, too. They had all accepted Derek enough to play this out with him, enough to accept his gifts and sit on the floor eating pie and ice cream straight out of the containers and let him see them having fun.

Even though it was what he'd thought he wanted half an hour before, Stiles found himself getting frustrated as the pack reunion went on. He was just one of the pack now, demoted back to the never-bitten harmless human he'd always been, getting no more than one-eighth of Derek's attention and probably less. Definitely less, in fact, since Derek found a way to touch everyone as he moved around the room--even Lydia and Allison, who he usually maintained actual normal personal space with--but he kept his distance from Stiles. After taking the glasses, and his pack, from Stiles at the door, Derek stayed completely hands-off.

It was too pointed to be an accident, too complete a reversal from earlier in the night. Derek was still treating him differently from the others, backing off from his emphatic closeness while Stiles was playing alpha. That had to mean that it hadn't just been a game. It had to mean Derek was leaving the next move to Stiles. He could ignore this, or wait until he could get Derek really alone and make him say in words that he was interested, or drag this out as long as he wanted to.

By the time everyone had opened their presents and eaten all the pie and licked ice cream off their fingers and started drifting toward their various beds, Stiles had realized that he wasn't even slightly interested in dragging it out. He wanted this kind of a lot, now that he'd figured out what he wanted, and Derek was interested enough to be obvious in front of his pack. Stiles couldn't see any reason to spend the longest night of the year alone right when he'd found out he didn't have to.

Derek excused himself to go check the borders--not the far boundaries of the Hale property, but the tree line, the tunnel entrances, the area where they'd all parked their cars and the near approaches to the house. It was the werewolf version of Stiles's dad touring every door and window on the first floor before he went to bed, and it gave Stiles about a five minute window to make his move.

Everyone had a place to sleep in the house now: the wolves all had their own rooms on the third floor, and on the second floor there were guest rooms, one theoretically available for Lydia and Allison to share, one for Stiles. In practice Lydia would be in Jackson's room and Scott would be in the guest room with Allison, and only one of Isaac, Erica, and Boyd's rooms would be in use, though it was anyone's guess which one.

Derek's was the only bedroom on the first floor, because that meant anyone going in or out had to go past him. Stiles hadn't been in there since the day they'd painted the whole first floor a few months ago. He paused just inside the doorway, looking around, but it was pretty ordinary. There was a double bed and a dresser, and that chest they'd had to sand and air out for weeks to get rid of the smoke smell, and an ugly, battered armchair from a garage sale that Derek had said he liked the feel of before he ever sat in it.

Stiles turned on the lamp and then sat down on the bed, only to stand up a second later. Just being here was one thing, but Stiles remembered Derek's mouth on his fingers, Derek's whisper in his ear. If Derek could be that obvious, Stiles could too. He stripped off his flannel shirt, then stripped off the t-shirt underneath, then darted out of the room, grabbed his new t-shirt and pulled it back on as he ran back to Derek's room. He toed off his shoes and undid his jeans, sat down, stood back up and shoved the jeans off. That left him in his t-shirt, boxers, and socks, which looked stupid, so he picked up one foot, hopping to keep his balance as he pulled his sock off. It occurred to him as he did that it would have been easier to just sit down, and of course that was when the door opened behind him.

Stiles froze and then very, very carefully looked over his shoulder.

Derek was leaning in the doorway, eyes raking intently over Stiles, arms folded across his chest.

"Hey," Stiles said, suddenly breathless and very, very aware that he was mostly undressed in Derek's bedroom, one wobble away from being sprawled on Derek's bed.

Derek smiled slowly, gradually revealing his teeth. "May I come in?"

"Uh," Stiles said, and finally jerked his sock off and put his foot down, turning to face Derek. "It's your room."

Derek nodded. "And my house, and my pack, but tonight is the night when I ask. Do you want me to come in?"

Stiles suddenly couldn't think of a word to say. He swallowed hard and nodded.

Derek didn't move, but he shifted his hands down to stuff them into the pockets of his jeans, and Stiles couldn't help looking down to the front of Derek's jeans, drawn tight--tighter--over the bulge at his crotch. "How far in, Stiles?"

Stiles was standing there in one sock and candy-striped boxers and a nerdy t-shirt. He rubbed his bare toes against the opposite ankle, opened and closed his hands and gestured at nothing in particular, winding up to the only answer he could think of. "All the way. Definitely all the way."

The words were barely out of his mouth before Derek was there, pressed up against Stiles and bearing him down onto the bed.

Derek held himself over Stiles, not touching, just surrounding Stiles with his body. Stiles couldn't look anywhere but up at Derek looking down at him. Derek didn't do anything else for a few seconds, and Stiles watched his eyes move from Stiles's eyes down to his mouth, tracking all over his face until Stiles was about to close his eyes and try to hide from the scrutiny. Then Derek ducked his head down and kissed him, soft and gentle and slow.

Stiles kissed back enthusiastically, but Derek kept pulling away when Stiles tried for tongue. Finally Stiles flopped his head back onto the pillow, jerking out of the kiss, and said, "What? How many questions do you have to ask tonight?"

Derek smiled, totally unguarded. He darted in to kiss Stiles again, a fast press of lips, before he said, "I need you to tell me what you mean when you say all the way."

"Uh," Stiles said, because they were in Derek's bed and he should not have to be the one explaining this. He threw one leg awkwardly up over Derek's thigh and tried to drag himself closer, but Derek just stayed suspended over him like a deeply uncooperative werewolf jungle gym. "You know, all the--"

Derek raised his eyebrows and Stiles groaned. "I mean fucking! I mean I want you to fuck me."

Derek grinned but gave him another kiss, and rolled his hips down, rubbing his dick against Stiles's through his jeans and Stiles's boxers. Stiles definitely whimpered into Derek's mouth. He got his other leg up around Derek's hips and both hands in Derek's hair, and even as he was grinding against Derek he was thinking that it was kind of like The Notebook lying down. He tried to decide if he cared that that made him Rachel McAdams; she was really pretty and kind of awesome.

And then Derek stopped again, lifting his head to say, "You sure? You don't want me to get down on my knees and do whatever you tell me?"

"Is this a fucking party game?" Stiles demanded, rubbing himself up against Derek, now that he had the leverage, even as he failed to drag Derek back down for more kissing. "If this is for real then I want you for real, no weird opposite day Derek."

"Okay," Derek said, too easily, and then he pulled away from Stiles completely, shoving Stiles's legs off of him so he could kneel up on the bed and pull his shirt off. Stiles just lay there and watched, propped on his elbows and staring. He'd seen Derek shirtless more times than he could count, but this time it was for him, this time it was for sex, which they were going to have together, because he really really liked Derek, and Derek....

"Why now?" Stiles asked, and Derek, because he was a mean bastard, stopped with his hands on the buckle of his belt and looked at Stiles in that you're not making sense but you might get there soon so I won't make any threats yet way. "Why tonight, why did you--you were hitting on me pretty hardcore, right, out of nowhere. Why did you never drop any hints before?"

Derek looked down at Stiles for another few seconds, and then ducked his head, looking down at his own hands. "The solstice reversal isn't just for the pack. They're released from their alpha's control for a night, but the alpha is released, too. There are things an alpha can't do, and one of them is making a move on the most vulnerable member of his pack without being sure it's welcome. On solstice night everything is upside-down, and everyone has a chance to do what they usually can't."

Stiles wanted to argue with a bunch of that, but when Derek looked up what came out of his mouth was "Who are you calling vulnerable, because I don't know if you saw the holly out there--"

Derek grabbed one of Stiles's wildly gesturing hands and brought it up to his mouth. He dragged his teeth across a holly-stabbed sore spot, which made Stiles shudder in an all-new way, squirming on the bed as the spark of pain went straight to his dick.

"Vulnerable," Derek repeated, rubbing his thumb gently over the same spot on Stiles's palm. "Not weak. It's not that you won't come through for us, but that you'll get hurt doing it. It's only right to be careful, to be sure you don't take more hurt than you have to. You could have said no to me any day of the year if you wanted to, but I wanted to ask when I knew you were in a good position to shoot me down."

Stiles reached for Derek's belt buckle with his free hand, but his brain kept churning through what Derek had said, and he stopped short as he said, "And this way it was in front of everyone."

Derek nodded. "No secrets. No hiding."

Not from the pack, anyway; Stiles figured he had about another eleven months of hiding this from his dad. But--

Stiles looked up, involuntarily, wondering if they were all busy enough on the third floor not to hear anything.

Derek bent down over him, laughing a little against his skin as he kissed Stiles's throat. "You humans and your ideas about privacy."

Derek turned his head and added, only slightly louder, "They all know perfectly well how not to listen to anything they don't want to hear, and they also know how to be polite enough to pretend they didn't hear anything they eavesdropped on when they shouldn't."

"Scott is definitely not listening," Stiles decided, and Derek turned his mouth back to Stiles's skin. The bed rocked a little bit as Derek moved in a way that Stiles hoped meant he was finally taking his pants off.

"I promise," Derek murmured. "Scott is definitely not listening."

It occurred to Stiles that Derek could say that for sure because he could hear exactly what Scott was doing, and then he dragged Derek up into another kiss and stopped thinking about that. Not thinking got a lot easier right then anyway, because Derek pressed back down on top of him, full length, and Derek was naked this time, all bare skin against Stiles's thighs and under his hands. His dick pressed up against Stiles's with only the thin cloth of Stiles's boxers between.

Stiles pushed up against him frantically, his dick jerking like it wanted to get closer to Derek all by itself, and he could feel Derek's moving against him. Derek's hand was on his side, shoving his shirt up. Stiles squirmed around, trying to help and trying to grind on Derek and trying to touch Derek, until Derek made an exasperated noise and hauled the shirt up so hard it burned against Stiles's skin and hid his face.

"Hands up," Derek said gruffly, and Stiles smacked his knuckles against the headboard as he obeyed. Derek yanked his shirt the rest of the way off and threw it away, and Stiles made himself hold still while Derek hooked two fingers into his boxers and pulled them down. Stiles just stared at Derek, all muscles and thick, hard cock poised over his own pale body.

But when he looked up he realized that Derek was looking down at him in total fascination. Stiles couldn't help squirming this time, and Derek leaned down and closed his hand on Stiles's dick, setting the other hand on the softness of his stomach and pressing down just hard enough to make him feel it. Stiles automatically tried to push up, and Derek held him still and stroked him with a light, teasing grip that still reverberated through his whole body--it was someone else's, Derek's, hand on his dick, and even if it wasn't going to make him come right this second it felt awesome.

"No, wait, that totally is going to make me come," Stiles gasped as Derek's hand kept easing up and down; he could feel his orgasm approaching, zaps of pleasure racing up his spine. Derek abruptly pressed down on Stiles's stomach and closed his grip, sailing straight past tight-enough and into, "Ow, ow, ow, fragile human, hey."

Derek just smiled as he let up the pressure, stroking Stiles's dick softly again as if in apology. "It's not time for you to come yet."

Stiles raised his eyebrows even as he pushed into Derek's hand, unable to keep still. "Dude, I don't know if you understand the concept of the hair trigger, but--"

"I can hear," Derek said, his voice going low and rough as he took his hands away, leaning down over Stiles again without touching him. "I can hear your pulse, your breathing, I can feel the way the muscles contract under your skin. I know you're going to come before you do. I can rev you up and back you off--"

Derek's hand was suddenly on Stiles's balls, tugging hard enough to stop him shooting off just from Derek's voice. Derek's lips dragged against his throat as he finished, "All night."

"You won't, though, right," Stiles said, his voice wobbling all over the place as Derek's knee nudged against his thigh and Stiles spread his legs wider. Derek's hand stayed cupped around his balls, but his fingers touched behind, probing and then pressing down, making Stiles arch up under him, gasping words that didn't make any sense. Derek's mouth cut off the flow of babbling, and Stiles kissed him desperately, like kissing could distract him from the slow, maddening touch of Derek's fingers, not even on his dick and still making him crazy.

He'd no sooner thought that than Derek's hand moved again, ghosting over Stiles's dick without quite touching it until he pressed two fingertips to the head, circling through the wetness there.

Stiles groaned. "Tell me you're not, tell me--"

Derek just laughed breathlessly as he took his hand away, and even knowing this was a terrible idea Stiles was spreading himself open, letting Derek's fingers slide into the crease of his ass and press--only the slightest bit wet and slick--against his hole. Derek had his thumb pressing behind Stiles's balls and Stiles couldn't hold back a whimper. He hadn't really thought through wanting this--it was just all the way, as much as he could possibly ask for--but oh God he really, really wanted this now. He wanted Derek pushing into him, opening him and filling him up.

Derek wasn't there yet, though, he was just circling around that spot, pressing against the muscle without really pushing in. "Tell me you've at least tried this before."

"Fingers," Stiles said breathlessly, and then, remembering the really important point here, he added, "with lube, okay, lots and lots of lube, because lube is your friend, my friend, our really awesome mutual friend right now, please tell me you have actual lube and you're not depending on bodily fluids for--"

"I have lube," Derek said in his ear. "But I was going to use my mouth, first."

Stiles opened and closed his mouth, but no sound came out. Derek's finger pushed just the tiniest bit inside him at the same time Derek's thumb pressed down behind his balls and closed some kind of sex-circuit that blew all the speech fuses in his brain.

"I just want to know if you taste as good as you smell," Derek whispered, rubbing his nose against Stiles's throat, and Stiles couldn't imagine that he smelled that great there, but Derek was literally about to put his mouth where his--no, wait--Stiles had no idea how that phrase went, but now he was always going to associate it with the possibility of Derek's mouth on his ass.

"Okay," Stiles said shakily, and apparently that was what Derek had been waiting for.

He moved back, kneeling up, and put one hand on each of Stiles's ankles as he said, "I want you up on your knees," like he thought that Stiles would kick him in the face or something trying to turn over, which--okay, possibly could have happened, but they got there without anyone getting kicked anywhere. Stiles found that the top of the headboard was the right height and depth for him to rest his folded arms on, bracing himself, and then Derek folded down over his back, his dick pressing into the cleft of Stiles's ass. Derek rocked a couple of times, running his hands down over Stiles's arms and then down his sides to hold his hips as he pressed kisses to the back of Stiles's neck. Stiles nodded into his arms like Derek had asked him a question, and Derek's mouth kept moving down his spine as he eased his body back from Stiles, keeping his hands steady on Stiles's hips.

When Derek's lips touched his tailbone, Stiles couldn't help shuddering. Derek pulled back slightly and Stiles looked over his shoulder to say that it wasn't a bad shiver, just oh god oh god--but Derek had his eyes closed. Stiles watched him take a couple of deep, deliberate breaths before he looked up.

"You don't--" Stiles said hesitantly.

Derek smiled at the same time he pressed his cheek to the cheek of Stiles's ass, the prickle of stubble making Stiles twitch. "It's not time for me to come yet, either."

Stiles made a noise with no actual vowels in it and turned to lean his forehead against the wall. Derek's hands moved onto his ass, spreading him open for the touch of Derek's tongue. It was just weird for a second, and then Derek exhaled and pressed down with his tongue and oh God Derek's mouth was on his ass, lighting up nerve endings Stiles didn't know he had.

He went slow, and this was so much different than Stiles's own fingers, poking blindly, too hard or too light, flinching or impatient. Derek's tongue was so wet and so soft and still hard enough to push against him, to push into him, when Derek pressed in as close as he could. Stiles totally lost track of what was going on; he was sweating and the top of his head felt like it was about to float off, and the throbbing of his dick and tensing of his balls was nothing to the way Derek's mouth was working on his ass, the crazily awesome feeling of stubble against his ass cheek from time to time--he was going to have the weirdest, greatest beard-burn--and then Derek's hand moved, and Stiles made a truly undignified noise as he realized that Derek was sliding a finger into him, slick and easy with Derek's spit and Stiles's relaxation.

Derek pressed down against his prostate, and Stiles felt his dick jump, and couldn't help pushing back into the touch.

"So you were saying," Derek said, so close Stiles could feel Derek's breath against his hole, where Derek's finger kept on working in and out of him. "About lube."

"Please," Stiles agreed.

Derek made an indistinct noise and rocked his finger in and out of Stiles while he leaned away, uncovering Stiles's body, leaving him feeling impossibly cold while every inch of his skin felt flushed-hot.

"Condom?" Derek asked, and Stiles looked over to where his hand was hovering over the open drawer.

"Thought you couldn't feel anything through those things," Stiles said, pushing back onto Derek's finger in a rhythm that he seemed to have as much control over as the pounding of his heart.

"Don't let boys tell you that, condoms are not the same as oven mitts. Do you want me to use one?"

"Are you going to get me pregnant?" Stiles demanded. "No. I got Deaton's talk about what STDs werewolves can and cannot catch and transmit to humans, and since you're not bleeding from your eyeballs or covered in boils I think--"

"Okay," Derek said, leaning back over Stiles again, and Stiles had to close his eyes as Derek's tongue pressed in again along with his finger. Stiles gave up on trying to anticipate or think or do anything but feel as Derek eased a second finger in, slick and easy even as the stretch of it burned a little, just right, cutting the pleasure enough to make it bearable. Derek worked his fingers in and out, adding lube again and again, patiently stretching Stiles long past the point he'd ever had the patience for when it was just him, wanting to get off.

"Please," Stiles said, when he didn't think he could take it anymore, the pleasure that never actually finished him off, the constant overload of sensation. Surely at some point his heart would just stop from this, surely his brain would run out of capacity to process it. "Derek, please, please--"

He wasn't even sure what he was asking for, and he lost track of his mouth for a while as Derek's fingers kept going and going and then suddenly vanished.

"What, no," Stiles said, "no, why--"

"Shhh," Derek said, "I've got you, I'm right here," and then Derek was pressing against him, Derek's cock was pushing inside him. Stiles forgot all about talking and in fact breathing as Derek thrust slowly into him, feeling impossibly big and hot and hard, stretching him open and filling him up all at once.

"Breathe," Derek said, against the back of his neck.

Stiles nodded and didn't until Derek bit down on the nape of his neck, making Stiles gasp and unlocking something inside him; the rest of his body was suddenly there in his awareness, not just Derek's dick in his ass. He could feel Derek pressed up against his back from his knees to his shoulders, and Derek's hands on his hips, and his own dick, half-hard and lonely. He could feel the hair standing up on his arms as sweat poured off his skin. Stiles rocked back experimentally into Derek, and Derek steered the movement, tilting Stiles's hips until he got friction in exactly the right spot and his breath went out of him in a sob.

"Please," Stiles said when he remembered to breathe again, and Derek's hand closed around his dick, slick and hot.

"Anytime you want," Derek whispered, and then he started to move, fucking him in slow strokes that still had enough strength behind them to push him up the bed. Stiles braced against the headboard. He rested his forehead against his arms and watched the shadowed movement of Derek's hand on his dick, the steady rocking of Derek's thighs as Derek moved in him, fucked him, all the way. Almost as soon as he got used to the stretch and fullness of it he was overwhelmed by how good it felt, how much.

"Yeah," Derek said softly, "come on, there you go." His hand sped up just a little. Stiles watched himself come in Derek's grip, felt his ass tightening in the same rhythm on Derek's still-hard cock, every sensation intensifying into a white-out overload.

He felt himself sag when it was over, and Derek's cock inside him felt like the only place his whole body wasn't just melting into warm wax.

"Just a little bit more," Derek said softly. "Just let me."

Stiles nodded. He'd let Derek do anything right now as long as he didn't have to actually move. Derek pulled him back, tilting him upright, and then his back was resting on Derek's chest--Derek had to be sitting on his heels--and Stiles let his head rest on Derek's shoulder. Derek felt huge inside him, rocking up into him and setting off little aftershocks of pleasure that were almost too intense to bear.

Derek's breath was loud and fast in his ear, and he thought he could feel the racing of Derek's heart against his back. Derek's hands moved restlessly over his hips and sides until Stiles started following them, flexing his hips back against Derek, not quite in rhythm.

"Please," Stiles muttered, rising up a little just to make Derek pull him back down. "Please, please."

Derek's arms locked over his hips and chest like safety bars in a roller coaster, and Derek arched up under him, pushing in deep and hard one more time. Stiles felt Derek coming inside him and had to open his eyes, twisting to see Derek's face as well as he could. There was a flare of red leaking out under his eyelashes, his mouth hanging half-open but showing only human teeth. They stayed frozen like that until Derek blinked and looked at Stiles with pale gray eyes, as dazed as Stiles felt.

Stiles closed his eyes and relaxed into Derek's grip. He felt Derek move, and made a protesting sound before he realized Derek was just laying them down, not pulling away from him. He kissed the back of Stiles's neck as they both settled against the pillows, arms still tight around him.

Halfway to sleep Stiles muttered, "You're not going to be able to top that next year."

Derek huffed a laugh against the back of his neck and yawned as he replied. "Next year's up to you, solstice alpha."