He had been sitting outside of Stiles’ house in a nearby tree for a total of 14 minutes by his count, before he heard the rattling of an engine as the jeep pulled into the Stilinski driveway. The car is turned off and the powering down leads to a simple silence.
He’d been at the game. He’d seen Stiles on the bench. He went to Beacon Hills High and their lacrosse team had certainly been improved by the arrival of petty, pretty-boy Jackson and werewolf, athlete Scott.
He only goes to make sure Scott is treating “his pack” well enough. Considering the rejection to join his own pack stung even now, Derek still considers humans who participate in the supernatural of Beacon Hills under his jurisdiction of needed protection.
Scott isn’t technically an alpha.
Derek subconsciously scoffs in his tree.
He’s jerked back to the present when he hears the front door thud closed. He likes his perch. The branch is the perfect distance away from the house that Derek has a clear view into both the upper and lower stories of the backside of the Stilinski home.
It’s also far enough away that at night, dressed in his usual black, he can go undetected by human vision.
He watches as Stiles enters into the hallway and turns right to go up his stairs. If Derek focuses he can hear each heavy step as Stiles ascends. He’s carrying all his gear and a few seconds later Stiles returns to sight through his bedroom window. He looks worn out and the tired circles under his eyes look stark on to his pale skin.
It must be cold in the house, Derek thinks. The Sheriff has been at the station for hours. He wouldn’t have left the heat on. It may be California, but winter and spring can still be chilly.
He watches as Stiles dumps his armfuls of gear on the floor near his closet. Stiles looks relieved to be home and able to relax. Derek thinks that maybe he looks too relieved...
Is there something he’s missing? Did something happen that is taxing the human’s strength more than usual? Could Scott be dealing with some wolf issue and Stiles has to take the brunt of it because he won’t go to Derek for help?
Derek stops himself. “Calm down. Nothing is wrong.” he thinks. They did lose the game tonight. That must be it.
Stiles starts to slowly strip off his jersey, his shoes and socks, his uniform shorts. Stiles has a bruise on the back of one arm and a few on his knees.
Derek can almost feel the goosebumps himself, as he watches Stiles actively try to relax despite the chill that must be invading his bones now that he’s unclothed.
In his boxers, Stiles disappears out of his room again. Derek idly wonders if going commando is as common for humans as it is for werewolves. He decides it’s probably unlikely. Moments later, the tiny bathroom window lights up. He hears the shower start.
Stiles reappears in his room. Suddenly, Derek is examining his claws like a teenage girl would examine her nail polish. He’s listening intently for the sound of the bathroom door clicking closed again, with Stiles inside. He knows what happens after Stiles first turns the shower on, it must just be a weird ADHD habit where he leaves all his clothes in his room.
Stiles has a strange splotch of brown skin at the crease of his hip and his left leg. It must be a birthmark.
Derek had found that out the first time he watched Stiles.
He’s still listening, head cocked to the side, when he hears what can only be an innocent moan of satisfaction coming from the steamed bathroom window. One side of his mouth tilts up ever so slightly. He quickly scolds himself, eyebrows scrunching together and he trains a scowl back in place.
He’s just checking in on the other “pack”. No need to get emotional.
Derek should probably head over to Allison’s house soon, to watch her the same way. Stiles is safe at home, in the shower no less, and she was at the game too. Weirdly, the thought of Allison coming home to a warm house with her father waiting when Stiles is stuck with cold and empty makes something in the back of his head writhe.
He doesn’t like observing Allison though. The risk is much higher. Getting caught would mean certain injury and her father is pretty paranoid already. He just doesn’t get anything out of it.
“She’ll be fine.” Derek surmises. Stiles’ dad isn’t home anyway, Allison has a more present and protective family.
Although... maybe if the Sheriff ever found out about the supernatural phenomena that seemed to follow them everywhere he would be just as fierce a protector as Chris.
Derek had drifted off into his own thoughts but a murmured groan wheels his attention back to the nude teen he can’t actually see. It takes Derek’s brain a moment too long to catch up, he’s already listening fixedly again.
His brain finally reaches a conclusion but it’s too late. He can’t un-listen. There’s the sound of skin on skin and the raised pulse and the little whimpers that keep getting louder.
Derek flinches in his tree.
He stares at the branch supporting him, seemingly riveted by the bark. The blush creeping up his cheeks is natural, he tells himself.
“Anyone would blush if they heard this...” He tries to turn off his ears, as best he can.
He’s scratching a triskellion into the branch with the tip of a honed claw. His teeth are clenched so hard it’s making his ears ring. The ringing isn’t nearly loud enough to block out the indecent soughing.
He makes a distinct attempt to listen to something else, anything else.
There’s a lone squirrel, digging in the ground at the base of an elm a few trees over. The bats are waking up in the neighbor’s attic. There’s probably at least sixty crickets chirping between him and the low fence around the Stilinski yard. Three houses down the street there’s a couple fighting in their kitchen. They’re screaming now. Something about the wife yelling out a different name during sex...
Derek’s ears twitch as they involuntarily focus altogether on Stiles again. His moans are in no way subdued, he knows there’s no one home. His heart is pounding now and the rhythm of his hand is starting to border on manic.
Derek squints his eyes shut, his brain conjuring up a thousand visions he didn’t mean to imagine. He pants out a single breathe and his next inhale is noticeably shaky.
His eyebrows knit together as he tries to hear the crickets or the fighting, but even the pesky squirrel has abandoned him.
“Shit, shit, shit, fuck!” Derek echoes into his own head.
He hears Stiles whimper pathetically, one last time. The heart beat begins to dip back towards a normal resting rate. Derek sighs out, his own heart still loudly pushing blood through his veins.
Derek breathes in through his nose, out through his mouth just like he was taught. His muscles open to the relaxation he’s forcing. He tries to run a hand through his hair but is cut short when his claws get caught on the bark. Looking down, Derek sees he has gouged five deep slits into the poor faultless tree.
Derek rescinds his claws and mentally apologizes to the tree... he thinks a simple “I’m sorry Tree. If you had ears you wouldn’t blame me...” will do.
The next time Derek looks back into the windows he’s greeted by a much more flushed teenager.
The kid was seventeen by now... Derek listlessly wonders if he’s ever even gotten a handjob from a hand not connected to his own arm. Clamping down on that train of thought, he cautiously tries to listen again.
Clad in pajama pants and his own skin, Stiles leaves his bedroom. He reappears in the kitchen downstairs, flips on the lights and flings open the fridge. He fidgets as he stands staring. Leaving the fridge wide open Derek sees him take a few overly large steps to were a thermostat sits on the wall. Stiles punches a few buttons and nods to himself satisfactorily.
Gliding back to the fridge he stares again, twitching his hips slightly to some beat in his head. Derek sighs and rolls his eyes. This kid. Stiles is so completely unguarded, so completely comfortable in his own home. He doesn’t act like this when he and Derek are face to face.
Nobody acts that way around Derek. Not even his own betas.
Though, it has been getting better, Derek reflects. He’s begun to actually communicate with them more, he’s even been trying to lower the castle-thick walls he keeps around himself in order to let them in a little. Derek thinks they notice. Maybe he should ask them if things are getting any better...
Isaac would probably just tell him ‘it’s a process’. He’s always saying that now. Derek wonders if he read it in a book somewhere.
All the while, Stiles has gone from his fridge to his pantry probably near a dozen times by now. Only walking on the balls of his feet.
“Is hardwood flooring really that cold?” Derek muses.
Currently Stiles has gotten some sort of tupperware thing out of his fridge. Leftovers, most likely. Something that looks like fish is taken out and Stiles puts it on a plate, throws it into the microwave and literally twirls...
The kid twirls.
“No wonder he’s a virgin,” Derek remarks to himself quietly, in the safety of his tree.
Derek scratches his neck and blinks lazily as he shifts his ass on the branch. Werewolves get cramped and sore too. He arches his back once and then settles back into his slouch. It’s strangely relaxing just watching someone in their natural environment.
There’s a glass out now, full to the very top with Mountain Dew Stiles just pored out of a 2-liter. Derek huffs again, and scratches his calf. He really ought to be going, he thinks. Sleep is good sometimes, maybe tonight he won’t have nightmares. It’s been a good week in that regard.
He decides he’ll just stay until the kid is back a settled in his room.
Stiles is bobbing up and down around the kitchen space on the pads of his toes. One minute he’s staring at the microwave waiting for it to finish up, the next he’s spinning around to look back into the fridge like he’s considering making something else as well.
Derek can only narrow his eyes in bewilderment at how at ease Stiles is.
The microwave bings audibly to Derek and Stiles face gets this look of contentment that has a tiny part of Derek tugging inwardly.
He watches as Stiles retrieves a fork and then sets the fish, Derek is pretty positive it’s fish, on the counter and starts to eat, standing up. Derek wants to roll his eyes again at the human but he’s done the same thing himself so who is Derek to judge.
Derek halfheartedly wishes Stiles would just settle into his room already so Derek could go home and catch some Z’s. He doesn’t actually want to go home... it’s not as if he feel burdened by watching the members of Scott’s “pack”.
Derek just doesn’t want to keep watching the comfortable way Stiles moves when no one’s around and there’s no pressure to be anything other than himself.
He wishes trivially that Stiles could be that way around him... maybe that anyone could be that way around him. Derek runs a hand down his face and resigns himself to his dutiful observation.
Finished eating his leftovers, Stiles rinses his plate in the sink and puts it straight into the dishwasher.
Derek has a brief moment where he thinks, “Mom always pleaded with me and Laura to do that.” They’d usually just left the plates in the sink. He shakes the memory away and grits his teeth. Maybe Stiles will go to his room now.
But alas, Derek laments, he knows nothing. Stiles opens the fridge again, grabs a piece of half-eaten pizza out of a bag and tosses it in his toaster oven.
“Who even has toaster ovens...” Derek curses and shifts his seat on the tree branch. Hopefully his pack won’t comment on how late it is if he ever manages to leave... it’s getting close to eleven and Derek’s rarely out so late.
Sometimes he thinks his betas are too attentive.
Derek watches as the Mountain Dew is refilled and Stiles continues to twirl and twitch and fidget. But then, as soon as he started he stops and looks directly out the window.
Derek freezes where he was about to stretch. His muscles yearn for the release but Stiles is looking right at him.
Derek’s eyes are wide open and he’s trying not to breathe hard when Stiles ruffles his own hair, scratches the front of his neck and makes a face. He tilts his head and makes another.
“His reflection... thank god.” Derek exhales his respite. For a second there Derek thought he was screwed. Not the Stiles could ever do anything to actually hurt him. That would be ridiculous. Despite his father being the Sheriff, Stiles was mostly bark with little bite.
It would just be awkward if Stiles caught him.
Derek is stuck thinking about Stiles’ mouth again when he hears him muttering under his breath, and gets out a second plate. Derek can’t quite make out what he’s saying. If only he could get closer...
Not that it matters, of course, Derek supplies against his own wants.
“Whatever Stiles is thinking about is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter.” Derek insists. He hates it when he can’t even believe himself... it doesn’t matter, except that it does. He wants to know for no other plausible reason other than to know.
Stiles puts his warm pizza on the plate, grabs the Dew and leaves from sight.
“Finally,” Derek thinks. But he doesn’t move from his spot.
Stiles saunters into his room, sets the pizza down on his desk and disappears again. Downstairs in the kitchen window, all Derek can see is a hand flailing around the corner, smacking the wall until it finds its target.
The kitchen lights turn off and Derek hops down from the tree. He stretches full-out now, no longer thinking about Stiles... well maybe just a little. It’s probably just residual.
He lets his neck fall to one side and then the other, the cracking a welcome sound. A small sigh escapes his lips as he stretches again arms in the air, straight towards the sky this time.
All at once an outside light goes on and Derek is immediately visible. The Stilinski’s screen door opens and out steps Stiles, one eyebrow cocked so high up Derek doesn’t understand how it’s possible. The room behind him is still dark and Derek’s metaphorical hackles rise.
Why did Stiles turn off the lights if he was going to come outside? Was Stiles aware of Derek watching him? Was Stiles playing him, making a fool out of him? But... how could he know? Oh god, did Stiles know he’d heard, earlier...?
Derek’s first instinct is to flee, but instead he just clenches his jaw and accepts the awkward silence, not-so-passively avoiding eye contact. It’s probably just making this more awkward.
“You gonna offer any kind of explanation, man?” Stiles inquires giving him confused lifted eyebrows and a jutted out bottom lip.
But the only thing entering his conscious stream of thoughts is “when did I start paying such attention to his lips?” Derek’s eyebrows draw together and he meets Stiles’ eyes. The amber orbs don’t appear accusing, just confused.
For some reason that’s reassurance to Derek and he doesn’t have time to ask himself why...
“No,” Derek manages to spit out. Stiles nods and looks at the ground like he’s considering something...
Derek just stares at him, mind racing. “I was having such a nice night,” he laments internally, “of course the kid would feel the need to throw it in my face...”
Derek sighs pointedly and pinches the bridge of his nose. All guilt gone, he glares at Stiles.
“It’s within my responsibilities to watch out for Scott’s pack since he’s not actually an Alpha, and you are technically in my territory.”
Stiles just nods more, seeming to understand. Derek narrows his eyes, the kid is being strangely quiet. Stiles licks his lips, teeth just grazing the bottom one. Stiles is looking to the side taking his own turn to avoid eye contact.
He misses the way Derek’s eyes flick to his mouth and stay locked there. Derek inhales deeply through his hypersensitive nose. He can taste the body wash on his tongue and feel the Old Spice tickling his sinuses. Underneath it all there’s the lingering scent of gratification, it’s intoxicating.
Stiles stops nodding and looks at Derek. Derek’s eyes snap back to Stiles’.
“So are you gonna creep out here all night or do you want me to heat up some pizza for you?” Derek’s brow evens out and he just stares at the human in disbelief.
“I’ll even let you go in through the window if you’re more comfortable that way!” a hesitant smile lights up Stiles’ eyes.
Derek watches as Stiles turn around... or was that another twirl. He turns the kitchen lights back on and Derek follows skeptically. Stiles has half his torso inside his fridge as he speaks again.
“So how long have you been out there, Derek?” He’s smirking when he emerges with cold pizza, but just as soon as the smirk appeared it vanishes as Stiles’ eyes goes wide, his mouth gaping open and closed like a fish. His heartbeat climbs in Derek’s ears. “Uhh... uh-”
Derek allows a smirk of his own to cross his features,
“Oh, only just a few minutes...” Derek lifts his eyebrows in his best face of innocence. “Why? Did I miss something exciting?” His eyes don’t leave Stiles’ and he resists the simultaneous urges to laugh, smack Stiles upside the head or just pin him to the wall and take.
Stiles is just standing there gaping at him, heartbeat still slightly too fast, and then he’s stuttering and throwing words at Derek like they’re a life raft and he’s on the Titanic, sinking fast.
“Oh no, of course not! We lost the game tonight- Greenberg’s fault! And my dad won’t be home anytime soon, so you don’t have to worry about him, and... oh! Allison and Scott have been so adorable I want to vomit during about 83% of their interactions. I mean, really, get a room guys! And then there’s this website I was on that said were-llamas were a thing, and I totally Snopes-ed them! It was great, you woulda loved it...”
He trails off and is breathing hard by the end of it and Derek just lifts his eyebrows in ‘suspicion’.
“So did you wanna go eat upstairs, your Alpha-ness?” Stiles mocks, laughing nervously.
Derek nods curtly at Stiles and the human turns away to half-jog up the flight of stairs.
Stiles’ relief is palpable.
Derek genuinely smiles to himself and follows the kid upstairs.