For some reason, shit like this always falls to Stiles. Personally, he thinks it should be one of the betas. Or Lydia. Or… okay, not Alison. Alison would probably be a really bad choice.
But do you know who else is a really bad choice? Stiles.
Still, he’s standing on Derek’s front porch now, so he might as well knock.
The paint flakes off under his knuckles and he realises that he’s never had to knock on this door before, because Derek always knows he’s coming and always greets him on the porch so as not to miss any quality glaring time.
It’s probably a really bad sign that Derek is nowhere to be seen right now. But Scott and Isaac said that Derek was in a weird mood, not that he was like, bleeding out or anything, so Stiles tells himself not to panic.
He pushes on the door, and immediately gets a reaction.
“Stiles,” Derek’s voice snaps from somewhere to Stiles’s left. “Get out.”
“I, um.” Stiles hesitates. He briefly considers doing as he’s told for once, then laughs at his own brain and carries on into the house. “You okay, dude?”
“I’m not joking.” Derek’s voice sounds raw, strained to a point that’s got to be painful. “Go home.”
Stiles keeps walking. If there were any outside danger, Derek would be killing it, not arguing with Stiles and, stupid as it sounds, Stiles never feels like he’s in any real danger from Derek himself.
Especially not right now.
He’s turned the corner and found Derek and, well, he doesn’t know what he was expecting, but it wasn’t for Derek to be sitting at his kitchen table, looking slumped and miserable, head in his hands.
“Okay,” Stiles says slowly. Now he feels like turning tail and fleeing. He is much better at last-minute hail mary’s than he is at dealing with people who look sad. “Did someone die?”
Derek actually laughs at that. Not a good laugh, a defeated, oh my god did you really say that? sort of laugh.
Belatedly, Stiles slaps a hand over his mouth because oh my god did he really say that?
“Sorry, sorry, fuck,” Stiles says from between his fingers. He figures he at least owes Derek a supportive pat on the shoulder for a fuck up like that and, since Derek doesn’t enjoy supportive pats, he pulls out the chair opposite him and sits down instead. “What’s up, man?”
Derek looks up at him, but it seems to take a couple seconds for him to focus on Stiles’s face. That’s kind of troubling.
And by kind of, Stiles means very.
“I’m fine,” Derek says flatly, “everything’s fine, Stiles. Go home.”
“Yeah,” Stiles says, dragging it out. “You know I won’t and I know I won’t, so why don’t we skip all the back and forth and jump to you telling me why you look like death? You can’t be sick; you don’t get sick. So…”
Derek drops his eyes from Stiles’s and stares down at the table. That’s new.
Stiles starts to think that it’s possible that he is completely and totally out of his depth right now. “Right.” He blows out a breath. “Can you at least tell me why you told Isaac to go crash at Scott’s? You know you freaked them both out pretty badly with that.”
Derek’s hands curl into fists on top of the table. Before he clenches them all the way, Stiles is pretty sure they’re shaking. He has never seen Derek shake before.
“I can’t look out for him, right now,” Derek confesses quietly.
“Wait.” Stiles holds up a hand. “You think Scott can do a better job with that? You’d tell me if you were actually like, concussed or dying, right?”
“Yes, Stiles, I’d tell you if I was concussed or dying,” Derek promises. He sounds frustrated but he also sounds like a robot. Basically, he sounds like C-3PO.
Stiles huffs, frustrated. He stares hard at Derek, trying to piece together any clues. But he looks fine. His hair’s even kind of damp and curling at the ends like he’s had a shower recently. His clothes are clean – not ironed, but clean, and who’s Stiles to judge anyone else on shit like that? – there’s no blood or gross stuff under his fingernails. There’s…
There are two thin, purple/grey bruises around each of Derek’s wrists, fading to brown at the edges.
“Woah,” Stiles says and grabs one of Derek’s fists, hauling his arm across the table for a better view.
Derek snarls but Stiles instinctively squeezes harder, accidentally digging his nails into the back of Derek’s hand and Derek – unexpectedly – goes completely still.
“You have bruises,” Stiles says, looking up at Derek in confusion. “How do you have bruises?”
Derek shrugs one shoulder. “They’re fading.”
If they’re fading but still visible now, Stiles can’t imagine how bad they must have been when Derek got them. He presses his finger to the centre of one bruise, curious, because he thinks he knows what they’re from. They’re so familiar.
“Did you get arrested again?” he asks. If he was, it wasn’t by Stiles’s dad; Dad would definitely have mentioned it over breakfast.
“What?” Derek blinks at him. “No. Stiles. Leave it.”
“Okay, then,” Stiles jokes, brain running on without him. “You let someone handcuff you for fun reasons, then.”
Derek goes absolutely still and wait, what? What the fuck?
“Oh my god, you did?” Stiles asks, voice rising to a really embarrassing squeak at the end. He stares at the bruises and tries to get his attention back on the issue at hand. It really doesn’t work.
Stiles has played with his dad’s handcuffs a couple of times, even though cuffing himself doesn’t really work for him. He likes to squeeze them around his wrists and image it’s someone else’s skin that’s bruising – Scott’s mostly. Not because he likes Scott, not like that, but because Scott’s safe and wouldn’t freak out if he knew. Stiles has always thought that it would be skeevy to imagine handcuffing someone like, like Lydia or… well, Derek, when he doesn’t know if they’d be into it. Except apparently Derek is into it. Holy fuck.
“Can you please leave now?” Derek asks. There’s a bit of a bite to it, but mostly it sounds like a genuine – plaintive – question.
“No, hey, it’s okay,” Stiles says quickly. “I don’t care. And I’m not going to tell anyone or - ” He trips himself up on his own too-fast brain again. “Did someone hurt you? Is that why you’re all – ” He waves a hand, indicating all of Derek’s weirdness.
Well, not all of it. Just the new stuff.
“No one hurt me, Stiles,” Derek says. He stands up abruptly and Stiles thinks Derek’s about to physically remove him from the house. Instead, Derek says, “Fuck,” in a soft voice, and sits down abruptly, head going back into his hands.
It’s Stiles’s turn to jump up. “What was that? Are you okay?”
“Fine,” Derek says, like he’s a stuck record. He breathes carefully and looks up at Stiles. When he does, his eyes are wide and he doesn’t look angry anymore. He looks scared. “I don’t know what’s happening to my body.”
Stiles feels his eyebrows shoot up. That doesn’t sound good. Especially not for Derek who always knows what his body’s doing. “When did it start?” he asks carefully, kneeling down in front of Derek.
Derek looks away. Stiles thinks that he isn’t going to answer, but it turns out that he’s just not going to look at Stiles while he does. “We were…” He clears his throat. “We were in bed. It was going well. Then his roommate came home and he asked me to leave. Which I did. By the time I got home, I felt like this.”
Stiles takes a breath and doesn’t react to the fact that Derek said he.
“Okay, right, let me think.” Stiles doesn’t know what kind of blinding inspiration is going to come to him, but he’s read a lot about doing the kinds of things that he thinks Derek was doing last night, so he might have something stored away in his brain somewhere. “No chance this guy might have slipped you some wolfsbane or anything?”
Derek shakes his head impatiently. “It doesn’t feel like that.”
“What does it feel like?” Stiles asks. He holds up his hand before Derek can snark at him. “And yes, I understand that I’m asking you to describe your feelings, but just this once, you can do it.”
Derek glares at him. He doesn’t manage to hold if for more than a second though, and then he slumps, staring down at Stiles’s hand, which is once again, oops, wrapped around Derek’s wrist.
Stiles takes it away but Derek just slumps more, which isn’t good.
“I feel like I felt after the fire,” Derek says and then absolutely refuses to elaborate.
“Okay, why don’t you go take a nap?” Stiles suggests. At the look Derek gives him, he rolls his eyes. “Right, sure, you don’t nap. Of course you don’t. Why don’t you go lie down? You look terrible.” He waves his phone. “I’m gonna look some stuff up. Don’t worry, I’ll fix you.”
Derek doesn’t make any smartass comments about not needing to be fixed and Stiles doesn’t sing Coldplay at him and it’s all very peaceful and pleasant and not at all what Stiles expects, or wants, from a conversation with Derek.
As soon as Derek’s left the room, Stiles pulls up the browser on his phone. He’s already filled all eight tabs with other research, it turns out, so he has to sacrifice some really interesting research on pixie dust to the greater good.
The greater good is Derek though, and Stiles privately thinks that’s okay.
Half an hour later, Stiles goes and joins Derek in his bedroom, where Derek’s sacked out on his creaky old bed, staring up at the ceiling. Apparently he really doesn’t nap.
“Subdrop,” Stiles announces, sitting on the bed. “That’s what you’re going through.”
Derek flicks his eyes to Stiles. “What?” he asks flatly.
“Well, you’re, you know… You’re a sub, or like, you were subbing, I don’t want to like, define your entire sexual preferences here, and someone left you hanging in the middle of a scene. So your hormones went wild and they can’t tell up from down right now. That’s all.”
Derek’s expression very eloquently says all? without him needing to say a word.
“I mean, you’re not dying, or anything,” Stiles amends. “And I know how to fix you.”
Now Derek looks a little more interested.
“Yeah.” Stiles nods, trying to look as enthusiastic about this as possible. “We just need to call up your friend and tell him that he’s a shitty dom and could he please come over here and give you the aftercare you deserve.”
“No,” Derek says immediately.
Stiles sighs. “Dude, come on. I know it’ll involve asking for help, but you know, if this guy’s… if he’s your boyfriend or whatever, he’ll deal.”
Derek’s eyes slide away from Stiles again. “He’s not my boyfriend, Stiles. He’s a man from a club. I couldn’t call him, if I wanted to.”
“What?” Stiles doesn’t know why he’s as shocked by that as he is. Just because he can’t imagine having kinky sex with someone he doesn’t know, doesn’t mean that Derek feels the same. “I mean… I mean, that’s fine. Totally fine. You let a stranger handcuff you? You?”
Derek shrugs. “It’s not like I couldn’t get away, if it went bad.”
Right. “Right.” Right, there is that. “Does that work for you?” Stiles asks, helplessly curious. “Even though you can get free?”
Derek doesn’t answer for a long time. When he does, all he says is, “Sometimes,” which is no real answer at all.
Stiles kicks his shoes off and leans back against the head of the bed. “Dammit, dude, I had it all solved. Why’d you got to mess it up?”
“By being easy?” Derek asks then actually looks surprised at himself.
Not as surprised and appalled as Stiles is, though. “Don’t call yourself that,” he snaps, his voice coming out completely, perfectly steely.
Derek goes still and Stiles gets an idea.
It’s probably a terrible idea.
“Derek,” he says, very quietly. “Don’t bite me, okay?”
Derek makes a small, enquiring noise. It’s not a no, so Stiles shifts around on the bed until he’s lying along Derek’s side. Very carefully, he puts a hand in the centre of Derek’s chest, just splaying his fingers to spread a little warmth.
“Is that okay?” Stiles asks, voice unconsciously dropping to a whisper.
Derek turns his head, eyebrows raised. “What are you doing?”
“Aftercare,” Stiles says, shrugging like it’s no big deal, like he has any idea what he’s doing here. “This site I found says that you basically just need someone to take care of you for a bit. How hard can that be?”
But Derek isn’t relaxing. Derek is getting very tense and looking very unhappy. “I don’t need you to look after me,” he grumps. “This will go away eventually.”
“How do you know?” Stiles snaps right back at him. He leaves his hand where it is, but doesn’t try to initiate anything else. “Look, I’ll stop if you really want me to, but I think I can help, here.” He swallows. “I want to help.”
He does. He really does. One day, he hopes, if he’s lucky and the gods smile on him, he’s going to find someone who lets him tie them up and he can’t imagine not wanting to look after them, to reward them, afterwards.
Derek shudders. It’s only once, but it’s horrible. He nods, closing his eyes. “I suppose you can’t make it worse,” he sighs.
“Thanks for that vote of confidence,” Stiles says, but he keeps his voice soft, hardly daring to believe that Derek just said yes.
He strokes his hand across Derek’s chest, just getting him used to being touched. Or touched by Stiles, at least.
When Derek doesn’t freak out or get any stiffer, Stiles presses carefully on the back of his shoulder. “Roll onto your side?” Derek starts to shift toward him, but Stiles shakes his head. “Away from me.” It feels right to add, “please,” so Stiles does.
Derek hesitates for a second then rolls onto his side, presenting his back to Stiles. Stiles slides his arm carefully around Derek’s waist and sort of spoons him without making any actual contact between his chest and Derek’s back.
“How’s this?” Stiles asks.
“Annoying,” Derek says immediately, which makes Stiles laugh and shift closer automatically. He freezes when they’re pressed all the way together, his knees behind Derek’s knees and his crotch kind of perilously close to Derek’s ass.
This is the moment when he expects Derek to hit him in the mouth, but he doesn’t. He turns his face toward the bed and into his own arm. “Less annoying,” he decides, after a second.
Stiles is struck with a really strong urge to kiss the back of Derek’s neck, but he doesn’t.
“Just, I don’t know, try to relax,” Stiles advises, flapping his hand around for a bit then deciding to settle it on Derek’s chest. Derek’s skin is hot through his t-shirt, and, when Stiles strokes him, it’s mostly unconsciously.
They lie like that for a while. Maybe Stiles is imagining it, but he thinks that Derek’s relaxing, he’s definitely breathing deeper, more evenly.
He doesn’t want to break the mood, but he also doesn’t want to lie here for the rest of time. Well, okay, he might. But he probably shouldn’t. “The, um, the website I found said that sometimes it helps to talk through the scene? Like maybe that helps it to settle right in your head.”
Derek starts to tense up so Stiles holds him tighter. It’s a completely instinctual thing, but it seems to help.
“How are we supposed to talk it through?” Derek asks. “You weren’t there.”
Stiles isn’t exactly surprised by the hot rush of jealousy that goes through him, but he’s not impressed with himself for it. “Tell me,” he says. He wants to coax but he makes his voice sound a bit firmer than that, like the killing-with-kindness way that Danny uses for lacrosse practice sometimes.
Derek’s quiet long enough that Stiles doesn’t think he’s going to say anything. Then he starts talking, words coming out awkward and stilted, but at least he’s talking. “He wanted to blindfold me, but I don’t like that, so I said no. He cuffed me to the bed and told me not to speak and not to move, then he went down on me.”
“Did you like that?” Stiles can’t help asking. “Not the blowjob, the keeping still and silent thing.”
“I like keeping still,” Derek admits. “I don’t care about the silence.”
“Makes sense,” Stiles agrees, trying to look at this clinically and willing himself not to get hard. “You’re pretty quiet anyway. Then what?”
Derek shrugs. “Nothing much. He was going down on me. The cuffs were tight and I, I liked that. Then he started to scratch his fingernails down my thighs.”
Stiles swallows. He hates himself for wanting to know about this for more reasons than just helping Derek. He’s never going to jerk off to it, though, he promises himself that. “That work for you?”
“Pinwheels work better,” Derek says, like that’s nothing. “Or knives. But a lot people don’t like to use those.”
“Right.” Stiles realises that he’s stopped stroking Derek’s chest and starts again. “Keep going.”
“It was working,” Derek says. He waves a hand around in the air like the words just won’t come. “I can’t, I can’t explain what happens but sometimes it works and I can… I can relax. I go out of my head for a while.”
“Subspace,” Stiles fills in for him. Privately, he wonders how long Derek’s been doing this for and why no one ever gave him a Kinky Sex and You talk. Even Stiles has had one of those and he’s never had any kind of sex with anyone, kinky or otherwise. “He got you there?”
“Yeah.” Derek trails off. When he starts again, he sounds further away. “That’s when his roommate came back. He just kind of, he just stopped, and told me to leave and. I now I feel like I’m stuck, not quite there anymore but not quite awake.”
“Fucking asshole,” Stiles snaps, can’t help himself, and Derek tenses. “Not you. God, no, not you.” He has to kiss the back of Derek’s neck then, there’s nothing else for it, has to squeeze him tight and press his cheek against Derek’s cheek even though Derek is probably going to hate all the touching.
Weirdly, Derek doesn’t seem to hate the touching. He goes limp in Stiles’s arms, hiding his face more firmly against his own bicep.
“Derek, hey,” Stiles says softly. “I know I wasn’t there, but it sounds like you did great.” Derek shivers so Stiles keeps going. “It sounds like you did so great, like you were so good. It’s not your fault he’s an inconsiderate asshole.”
Derek makes a sound like a shaky laugh, probably at Stiles’s righteous indignation, but whatever. Stiles is right. Stiles would never do that.
He thinks about whether or not he wants to say that. In the end, he decides it might help and presses his mouth to Derek’s ear. “He was a bastard. If I were ever lucky enough to have you in my bed, I would fucking cherish you.”
Derek moans, vulnerable and brittle. “Stiles,” he groans. “Please.”
“What?” Stiles asks, snapped out of the place his brain just tried to take him. “Please what? What do you need?”
Derek doesn’t answer, but that was mostly a rhetorical question, anyway. Stiles is pretty sure he knows what Derek needs. The way Derek’s jeans rasp against Stiles’s with every tiny twitch of his hips kind of gives it away.
“He didn’t even get you off, did he?” Stiles asks, spreading his hand over Derek’s belly.
Derek shakes his head.
“Do you want to get off?” Stiles asks carefully.
Stiles needs more than that. Also, fuck, he wants more than that. He’s not going to practicing domming on Derek when he’s like this though, so he just kisses the point of Derek’s jaw and unzips his fly.
Derek makes a broken huff of noise when Stiles gets his hand on his cock. He’s only half-hard but it isn’t difficult to coax him all the way there. Stiles is freaking out internally – there’s a cock in his hand! Someone else’s cock! – but, like it always does when it counts, his brain takes over and makes his body react totally calmly.
“There,” Stiles says quietly, jerking Derek slow and steady. Their positions really help him to act like he knows what he’s doing; with Derek in front of him like this, it’s just like jerking off.
Well, it’s nothing like jerking off. It’s Derek’s cock. But the angle definitely helps.
“Stiles,” Derek groans, hips jerking forward.
“Shh,” Stiles whispers. “There. Look at you, look how good you’re doing. Look how good you are, Derek, fuck.”
Derek sucks in a breath and comes all over Stiles’s hand, no fuss at all. He goes completely boneless as he comes down and Stiles pulls him backwards into a hug.
He’s hard too, but it doesn’t matter. That’s not what’s important, right now.
“Thanks,” Derek says quietly. He sounds steadier and Stiles prepares for him to jerk out of Stiles’s arms and disappear, but he doesn’t.
Instead, he curls in on himself a little and laces his fingers with Stiles’s, even though Stiles’s hand is covered in come.
“Gross,” Stiles protests, because it’s expected of him and because he’s not sure how Derek would take oh my god, you’re so hot.
“You’re good at that,” Derek says, completely ignoring him.
“You too,” Stiles says with absolute genuine feeling. He hesitates, but what the hell, he’s already gone all the way out on several limbs here. “I’d like to get better at it. Maybe we could… get better at it together?”
Derek squeezes Stiles’s hand so hard it hurts then seems to release the last of his pent-up breath. “Yeah,” he says.
Stiles waits, but that seems to be all that he’s going to say. “Wow, dude, don’t bowl me over, here,” he says, but he’s laughing, relieved that this worked and over the fucking moon that they get to do it again, in a less frantic, more negotiated way.
“Stiles,” Derek says firmly. Stiles thinks he’s going to tell him to shut up. What he actually says is, “Thanks.”
Stiles blinks. “Oh. You’re welcome.” He presses his face into Derek’s hair, breathing him in. “Now go to sleep, okay? I need to sneak out and jerk off in your bathroom, pretty soon.” Derek’s hand unexpectedly clenches around his. “But don’t worry, I’m planning to come back.”
“Good,” Derek says, and that’s apparently that.