They're watching a movie, sort of. Technically. Practically they've just eaten the last of the leftovers after binging on take-out and this is the third movie they're on and Stiles doesn't even remember what it is because they're couple-piling – and no matter what anybody says, that name makes sense and it's not lame because puppy piles are for the whole pack and they're non-romantic and couple piles are generally two-people-only, his logic is undeniable – and Derek is warm and comfortable and pliant under him.
It's not a sex thing, it's really not, but… the thing is, becoming part of the pack gave Stiles some instincts that are not quite human, even if he still is, one hundred percent. It's not just him, Allison, Danny and Lydia have it too, they talk about it sometimes when they have human-only-outings (generally in self-defense because there's a werewolf-only-outing that's really just an excuse for them to run around in the woods and roughhouse like the giant puppies they all are). So it's not really weird or anything, and actually Stiles sort of… likes it.
Being with Derek, it changed that a little for him; not significantly, most things are still the same, but his need to spread his scent all over the pack has increased, and he's even more into the feeding and mothering them now than he was before. Which is a bit embarrassing but a side-effect of being with the alpha, and when you put it like that – he's the highest-ranking member of the pack after Derek, despite the fact that he's human – it's actually sort of awesome.
That's not what this is about, though. It has nothing at all to do with the pack, but a lot with Derek. And to be fair, Derek started it, courting him by putting Stiles' face in his neck during puppy piles, which strictly speaking was against the non-romantic rules, but those were unspoken anyway so. It still blurred the lines a little and when Stiles starts licking Derek's throat in front of everyone he at first doesn't realize that it's maybe crossing some other lines.
At first Derek doesn't seem to care – in the sense that it doesn't bother him, not in the sense that he's unaffected, because Stiles doing anything around his neck always makes his heart pound and Stiles can feel it under his hand – but then he abruptly goes tense. Stiles notices that, but he's sort of busy right now and his brain isn't running at a hundred percent, pliant from food and comfortable and pack so he doesn't get that it might be an issue. He just runs one hand down Derek's body until it settles on his belly and broadens the stripes of his tongue, licks across Derek's jugular and then his Adam's apple, and Derek just relaxes under him and tilts his head back to give him more room. And Stiles just keeps licking – seriously if he were a cat this would be some serious bathing action going on right now – until he's sort of (as in, a lot, and he doesn't understand this stuff but he's learned to run with it) satisfied, and then he nuzzles Derek's collarbone and settles back down.
"Holy shit," someone says, and Stiles blinks and turns his head (because oh right, there are other people in the room), only to find himself under the intense scrutiny of eight people. Like, seriously intense.
Stiles blinks again. "What?" He looks at Derek, whose expression is sort of unreadable but also intense even as his body remains relaxed, and frowns before looking back at the others. "What?"
"Uh," Scott makes. "That was intense."
Oh, really. Stiles raises an eyebrow. "I'm getting that, dude. What was?"
Helplessly, Scott flaps his hand in some sort of gesture that is probably supposed to convey a message but really, really fails.
Lydia huffs and takes them out of their misery. "Stiles and Derek just demonstrated that they're in this for the long haul. Like we didn't know that already. Can we go back to watching this now? We're getting to my favorite part."
"What?" Stiles says because seriously, what? But she glares at him and then at everybody else so they all settle down, and Stiles is vibrating with curiosity now (seriously, what?) but Derek's hand is on the back of his head and he shifts them until they're lying on their sides, Stiles' back to the rest of the room. And then Derek does this thing he sometimes does that always makes Stiles feel warm and squishy and seriously happy and that's just very relaxing, okay, where he sort of cradles Stiles close and curls around him a little and rumbles deep in his chest. Settling down into that is all but instinctive.
But Stiles wouldn't be Stiles if he let something rest. So when everybody is gone and Stiles and Derek are lying in bed, he asks. "So, what was that about, earlier? With the thing Lydia said?"
Derek looks at him for a moment, eyes gleaming with the moonlight falling in through a gap in the curtains. (Derek likes that gap. Stiles has given up trying to achieve maximum darkness.) He's gotten a little better at explaining stuff over time, half by necessity and half because Stiles had trained him into it, but he says, "I submitted to you in front of the others." Like Stiles is supposed to know what that means.
Well, Stiles can make a guess, and it's an educated one too. "Because of the neck licking? Because seriously sometimes I really, really need to do it and you said it's okay. You like it."
Derek doesn't deny it, which would be stupid anyway because he really, really does. Sometimes they just lie there and Stiles devotes all his attention to Derek's neck, and Derek goes so relaxed and soft and cuddly it almost hurts Stiles, how much that makes him feel. That he can make Derek feel that way, feel so obviously good, with something so simple. It's the best thing ever, seriously.
"It's not something an alpha does with just anyone," Derek says.
Which is not quite an explanation, but Stiles is smart and also well-versed in Derek-speak, so he gets it. "Oh," he makes, eyes a little wide, because wow.
"You knew that," Derek says, a little irritated.
And yeah, Stiles sort of did, but still, it's different knowing it and knowing it. Being told with anything but words. Derek takes this alpha stuff very seriously (and Stiles knows now that it's because he wasn't born to it, was never meant to be alpha and feels inadequate still, despite the fact that he's been at it for years and has a good track record by this point). Still. "Dude, that's how you… courted me." Putting it like that makes it sound seriously Victorian and also sort of kitschy but there is no other way to put it; flirting really, really doesn't fit, it sounds too light, too… flimsy.
The look Derek shoots him is definitely irritated now, like Stiles is acting deliberately dumb, and… well. It was how Derek made his intentions known to Stiles, even if he'd needed Scott to explain it to him because for all his research, there are some small thing a person can miss if they don't have some handy werewolf senses to make it instinctive for them. So maybe Stiles should have known – maybe he even did, sort of, but it hasn't hit home until now, just how invested Derek is.
They're already lying close but at that, Stiles breaches the rest of the distance between them and puts himself against Derek's chest, wraps one arm around his waist and rubs his nose against Derek's collarbone. He wants to say something grand, some sort of declaration to match the weight of what he's just realized, but he's said it before, Derek knows, and he doesn't have any handy sensitive werewolf spots available that he could offer up. So he just nuzzles Derek's chest, and Derek wraps his arms around Stiles and tells his heart to calm down, so Stiles knows that Derek knows, and. It's kind of perfect, not in the kitschy romantic sense but in a way that's entirely them.