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Sweeter Than Honey

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 Stiles has always been particularly whiny about his heats. He's not really emotionally cut out for the month of minor inconvenience that leads up to the week of pure agony. Luckily, it's only once every three months, but still. So he coerces a lot of his friends into taking care of him by being the most annoying asshole he can. It surprises him, though, when he doesn't have to do that to Derek. Scott had been around since the beginning, so he complains a lot when Stiles sets his sights on him. Lydia gets increasingly annoyed, but she does what their biology demands she do which ends up being almost anything Stiles asks.

 Derek, however, is preemptive. Stiles isn't sure if it's from watching from a distance before they were all close enough for it to effect him or what, but he's never had to ask Derek for anything. Things just appear in front of him, and Derek never says a word about it.

 Which is why Derek is Stiles new favorite person when his heat month starts next.

 He shows up for movie night in two shirts and a sweatshirt, plus the thickest socks he owns and the one beanie he keeps for this exact reason, and Derek immediately turns to the Scott and Isaac on the couch and says "Move."

 "What? Why?" Isaac pouts.

 "Because Stiles is here." Scott sighs, rolling his eyes.

 "His heat's not for another month! He can complain when it's his turn." Stiles snaps, pointing at Isaac.

 Isaac rolls his own eyes and they both move to the floor. Scott leans back against the couch and Isaac settles into the V of his legs, munching dejectedly on popcorn.

 "You are by far the worst omega I know." Lydia states from the old loveseat, frowning. Allison elbows her from her lap, but Lydia just shrugs. "It's true. He whines more than anyone I've ever been with."

 "Is that why you won't get with me?" Stiles teases, climbing onto the couch and taking the quilt Derek magically produces.

 "Watch yourself, Stilinski." Allison warns, but it's with a teasing smile. Still, there is no way Stiles could take Allison in a fight and she knows it.

 "I'm glad I don't have to deal with that." Erica sighs from the beanbag chair someone must've brought. Boyd is sandwiched up against her side and snorts. "I'm serious. Like, omega-alpha sex sounds fun, but after watching the mess you turn into..." she gestures at Stiles, who admittedly is not looking his best right now. "I'm glad I'm a beta."

 "Stop picking on him and pick a movie." Derek huffs, returning from the kitchen with a mug and the biggest bowl of popcorn he could possibly manage. He hands the mug off to Stiles, who greedily inhales the hot coco, and plops onto the other side of the couch, leaving the bowl sitting between them.

 Stiles doesn't notice until halfway through the first Harry Potter that Derek's hand is resting right on top of his ankle, and he only notices because Derek removes it for half a second to scratch his nose and Stiles nearly kicks the bowl of popcorn onto Scott and Isaac trying to press back into him. It's more than a little embarrassing, but Derek is an alpha and any alpha's touch is great right now. Scott, Lydia, and Boyd could all vouch for how weird Stiles gets with touch.

 So he doesn't worry too much about it and just enjoys the feel of Derek's hand settling back into its spot on Stiles' foot.

 He falls asleep towards the end of Chamber of Secrets and doesn't wake up until he feels something move next to him. He blinks his eyes up at Derek, who is frozen halfway between standing and sitting. "Hi." he mumbles.

 "Sorry." Derek whispers back. "I didn't mean to wake you up."

 "S'okay." He yawns and stretches his arms above his head, shivering from the cool air hitting his skin. He peers around the room and frowns when he finds it empty. "Where is everyone?"

 "They went home." Derek admits. "A while ago."

 "How long is 'a while ago'?" Stiles asks, pushing himself up a little.

 "A few hours." Derek shrugs noncommittally. "You were tired, so I just figured I'd let you sleep here."

 "Thanks." Stiles yawns again and flops back onto the couch. "You're the best." He falls back into a hazy half-asleep state quickly, but not so quickly that he doesn't feel Derek pull the blanket up to his chin. He hums and curls further into himself. "The best." he mutters enthusiastically. Derek huffs a quiet laugh.

 "Goodnight, Stiles."

 He gets out a brief muttering of what could've been a reply before falling back to sleep. When he wakes up in the morning, he's hanging onto a dream where they'd been someone laying kisses across his chest and he nearly cried from want when he lost it in the soft golden glow of Derek's loft. There's phantom traces of touches on his skin and his heart aches for it.

 He sits up with a heavy sigh and looks around the room. There's a couple of soda cans and popcorn bowls on the side tables, left with nothing but kernels. He shakes himself out of the blanket, shivers at the chill, and starts picking up.

 Derek comes down only a few minutes later, when Stiles is peering into the fridge. He looks less than pleased by the morning hour, hair in all sorts of weird angles and eyes squinting against the sun. He's in the same t-shirt as last night, and a pair of basketball shorts that Stiles knows for a fact have a hole in the pocket. "You're awake." he mutters.

 "Obviously." Stiles snorts. "I was going to rob your fridge before I went home, but you have literally nothing."

 "I have milk." Derek grunts irritably, peaking around him. "And soda."

 "You have nothing." Stiles repeats, shutting the fridge. "I would offer to take you out for breakfast to reward your hospitality, but you look even less ready to leave the house than I do."

 Derek takes a long time to process the sentence. "We could go out to eat."

 "It's fine. Go back to sleep." he pats Derek's shoulder. "I'm going to go home and taking the hottest shower I can. Thanks for letting me crash here."

 "Anytime."

 "Careful, buddy. That's how you end up with roommates you don't want."

 Derek grunts in acknowledgement but is already trudging back towards the stairs. "Lock the door."

 "Goodnight, big guy." Stiles sings teasingly. Derek flips him off.

***

 Derek shows up two days later at nine in the morning. He's completely dressed and groomed, but he still looks annoyed to be awake.

 Stiles looks him up and down once before raising an eyebrow. "Did you forget to sleep last night?"

 "You're dad worked late last night."

 Stiles doesn't want to know why he knows that. "Yeah, so?"

 "Breakfast." Derek grunts, clearly still too upset to really vocalize.

 Stiles stomach growls automatically. He'd just been lamenting about the lack of eggs, and gearing himself up to either go get some or force himself to eat cold Poptarts since he'd broken the toaster two weeks before. And they weren't even frosted. "Totally there." Stiles agrees. "Let me get dressed."

 He's not as cold today, so he gets to go outside wearing an almost normal outfit. He still shrugs on his thick winter sweatshirt, though, and Derek cranks the heat in his car when he gets in. "Oh, you don't have to." Stiles says, even though his fingers are itching to reach out to it.

 "You've been cold all week." Derek reminds him flatly. "It's fine."

 Stiles shrugs and presses his hands right up to the vents. "Hey, I won't complain twice."

 "That's a first."

 Stiles glares at him, at the stupid smirk on his face because Derek is the guy who laughs at his own jokes even if he doesn't want you to know it. They pull up to the old diner, the greasiest place in town, and Stiles almost starts drooling. "You know how to pick them." he sighs, hopping out of the car.

 "I wanted good waffles."

 "Oh my god, waffles." Stiles moans, ducking into the restaurant while Derek holds the door. They grab a booth under a vent and Stiles chews on his nails while trying to decide between meals.

 "Get whatever you want." Derek says after a moment, not even looking up from his menu. Stiles hated alphas, sometimes. Their increased senses were so unfair.

 "I will." Stiles retorts, like he'd been planning on doing that all along. It's a lie, though, and Derek looks up at him. "Well, it's...I don't want to order too much."

 "Stiles, I'm serious." Derek says, and he is. He's clearly tired and annoyed and honestly Stiles doesn't want to fight him so he nods.

 When the waitress comes over, he orders three entrees with only four glances in Derek's direction and two cups of coffee because he knows he'll down the first and want more before she has time to refill him. Derek orders waffles and another cup of coffee, which he immediately pushes in Stiles' direction when it comes.

 "Dude, I'm not drinking your coffee."

 "You'll drink it eventually." Derek promises him, propping his chin up on his hand and closing his eyes. Stiles quickly sips his first one, which burns on its way down, and starts in on the second. Unfortunately, the warmth is too addicting and that's done too and their waitress is nowhere in sight. Eyeing Derek up and down and making sure he wasn't peaking, he grabs his cup and starts sipping it.

 Derek smirks again.

 "Shut up." Stiles mutters into the cup, and Derek's smirk grows. "I'm thirsty, okay?"

 "Okay. But your next cup is decaf."

 Stiles sticks his tongue out at him while he's still got his eyes closed and then ducks back into the coffee.

 The waitress waltzes over a few minutes later with their food balanced on an impressively big tray. Stiles gives a pleased hum when he smells all the food he's ordered. When the waitress asks if they want refills, Derek cuts in with "Yes, but decaf, please."

 She nods and disappears to get her coffee pot.

 "I'm not going to OD on coffee. Do you know me?"

 "Yes, and yes you would."

 "You don't know that." Stiles argues, shoving a huge bite of scrambled eggs into his mouth.

 "All evidence points to it." Derek says smugly, dumping syrup all over his waffles without even buttering them. Stiles makes an offended noise. "What?"

 "You're doing that all wrong." he squawks, staring in horror at the mess he's made.

 "What?"

 "You screwed up two perfectly good waffles."

 "By putting syrup on them?"

 "Derek," Stiles sighs, setting down his fork. "There is an art to eating, okay?"

 "Good god." Derek mutters, leaning back in the booth.

 "For some things, it's simple, but for waffles..." Stiles gestures to his own perfectly warm and golden ones. "There is a process to be followed."

 "And what process is that?" Derek asks, looking amused.

 "First, you butter them. Obviously."

 "Some people don't like butter."

 "You shut your mouth." Stiles snaps. "That's not funny."

 "Some people are lactose intolerant."

 "Butter doesn't count."

 "Tell that to them."

 "Butter your waffles, Derek." Stiles demands, and Derek breaks into a full out laugh. It's rare that he does that, but Stiles can't help but smile every time he does. It's the most contagious laugh he's ever heard.

 "Alright, fine, butter the waffles. What next?" Derek asks, grinning.

 Stiles schools his face back into seriousness. "Then, you carefully apply syrup to the portion of the waffle you'll be eating first."

 "Wait, what?"

 "Like this." Stiles says, slathering butter across one of his waffles and then taking the syrup and drizzling it over one corner. "Then, you cut it off..." He does. "And eat it."

 Derek looks completely bewildered when he pops the waffle into his mouth. "Why the hell would I put that much work into waffles?"

 "Because my waffles are crisp and delicious," Stiles says, still chewing. He swallows and jabs a fork at Derek's plate. "And yours are soggy."

 Derek looks down at his waffles and then glances back at Stiles. "So you hate soggy waffles."

 "I hate soggy anything." Stiles corrects. "'Soggy' is a gross word, and I don't want anything to do with it."

 Derek snorts and pulls apart his completely ruined waffle. "Noted."

 Stiles spends the rest of breakfast schooling him on how to eat certain things—"You can't eat cake and ice cream separately! How do you get the ice cream to soak into the cake?" "Doesn't that make it soggy?" "It makes it delicious."—and Derek humors him good-naturedly. He drinks four more cups of decaf coffee and cleans all three of his plates and picks at what's left of the hashbrowns on Derek's. He's full and happy and warm from the sun and the vent above him.

 "Thanks." he blurts in a brief moment of silence after the waitress has cleared their table.

 "For what?" Derek asks, finally getting a sip of coffee himself.

 "Breakfast. It was fun."

 "You're welcome." Derek mutters into his cup, his ears turning pink. Stiles briefly thinks about teasing him for it but decides against it. He doesn't want to be that guy. Derek had enough bullying for a lifetime without his help.

 "So what are your plans for the rest of the day?"

 Derek shrugs.

 "What, nothing?"

 "Might take a run around the preserve."

 "Wow, that sounds great." Stiles drawls.

 "Why, what're yours?"

 "Video games, obviously." Stiles snorts.

 "Your brain must love you."

 "It doesn't hate me." Stiles agrees with a grin. "I mean, it works to keep me alive still, so it must be pretty fond."

 "Must be." Derek snorts, grabbing the receipt and peering at it.

 "Am I an expensive date?"

 Derek glances up at him, looks him up and down, and says "No."

 Stiles absorbs this for a minute before he speaks. "Did you just call me cheap?"

 Derek smirks, which confirms Stiles' suspicions, but then says "I'm kidding."

 Stiles hackles lower, but only just. "That's not funny."

 "You have a very selective sense of humor." Derek informs him, laying out a two twenties on the table.

 "If I were a hooker, I'd be a good one." Stiles insists. "Expensive and sought-after."

 "I don't doubt it." Derek agrees as he stands, and even though it's said in amusement there's an air of honesty about it that pleases Stiles.

 "You better not." Stiles sniffs, standing as well. "You never know what kind of connections I've made in this business."

 "Go." Derek orders lightly, jerking his head towards the door he's holding open.

 "I'm the one people fall in love with. The one guys leave their partners for. I'm that good." Stiles maintains as he walks passed.

 "I know."

***

 Stiles gets sick three days later and as such is even more miserable than normal. He wakes up at three in the morning, unable to breathe, and takes a dose of Nyquil which knocks him out until one in the afternoon. When he manages the energy to fumble his phone to him, there's a lot of messages waiting. Stiles sends a mass text explaining his situation, which is responded to with various teasing and well-wishes.

 He zones out for awhile, just flipping between his homescreens, when someone knocks on the door and he grossly sucks up the drool starting to leak from his mouth. With a wince he gets out of bed and peaks out his window. Sighing, he pulls it up with maximum effort and shouts "What do you want?" through the screen.

 Derek looks up at him and brandishes a grocery bag. "Supplies."

 "I don't want supplies, I want to die." Stiles informs him.

 Derek rolls his eyes. Stiles can't see it too well from here, but there's sort of a whole head roll that he does with it. "I'm coming in."

 "I'm going to cough on you." Stiles warns him, even though there hasn't been a single tickle in his throat yet.

 Derek ignores him and grabs the key from the crack in their porch steps. For a sheriff, Stiles thinks, his dad has never bothered to hide the key that well.

 He stumbles back into bed without bothering to close the window and Derek appears in his doorway a moment later. Stiles glares at him. "You're exposing yourself to this mess, remember that."

 "Okay." Derek agrees, dropping the bag by Stiles' feet and moving to shut the window. Stiles can't resist sitting up and digging through it. There's a new box of tissues, another bottle of Nyquil and one of Dayquil, a couple of microwavable soup things, and a package of mini Reese's which Stiles immediately takes out and rips open with his teeth.

 "It's almost like I know you." Derek mutters, dropping everything but the soup onto his lap. Stiles hums through the three Reese's he's popped in his mouth. "I'm going to make one of these."

 "Bring up something to drink?" Stiles calls after him, and even though Derek doesn't respond he's not surprised when he brings up a bottle of Gatorade that Stiles' dad had recently stockpiled in the fridge. Stiles swallows a third of it in one go, and then lays back and sighs. "Thanks."

 "Don't worry about it." Derek says, moving things into more convenient places than on his lap. "You want a book or something?"

 "Yeah, I've got Dance of Dragons on the desk." Stiles gestures weakly towards it and Derek grabs it for him, eyeing the placement of the bookmark.

 "You haven't gotten very far in."

 "I just got my hands on it last week." Stiles explains. "And I usually only get a chapter or two in before I pass out."

 "Not enjoying it?"

 "Just tired." Stiles shrugs, grabbing another Reese's. He ignores the glare Derek gives him about the soup sitting not two feet from him."You know, that time of the year."

 "Are your heats always so bad?"

 Stiles shrugs. "Pretty much. When I was fourteen, Dad took me to the doctor. Apparently I've got some sort of hormone imbalance that makes heats harder on me."

 Derek sits in his desk chair. "I'm sorry."

 "It's whatever now. I'm used to it."

 "Do suppressants help?"

 Stiles scrunches his nose up. "They would if I took them."

 "You don't?"

 "No. They mess me up. I don't like it."

 Derek nods. "I've heard that about omega suppressants. That they make people foggy."

 "I bet being an alpha rocks." Stiles sighs. "Heats only twice a year, suppressants that make you feel more flu-like than dead-like..."

 "I don't know about it 'rocking,'" Derek snorts. "But it's different, for sure."

 "They tell us that in school." Stiles says flatly. "You're not impressing me any."

 Derek raises an eyebrow. "Am I supposed to be impressing you?"

 "I'm sick. Of course you are."

 Derek sits forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "You know the differences, Stiles. Where an omega is helpless, the alpha makes up for it by being hyper-vigilant. We run hotter instead of colder, we get aggressive instead of needy."

 "What don't I know?" Stiles prompts. "What's something people don't realize about alpha heats? The one thing they didn't tell you in school that you wish you'd known?"

 Derek considers this for a second. "It would've been nice to know how gullible it would make me."

 Stiles frowns. "Gullible?"

 "Alphas want more than anything to protect, to please. We want someone to take care of." Derek shrugs. "Sometimes that makes for some pretty stupid decisions."

 "Kate." Stiles guesses quietly. Derek nods. Stiles wants to reach over to him, to pull him over and hold him, but instead he pulls out a Reese's and tosses it over to him. Derek smirks and pops it into his mouth.

 After nearly five minutes of complete silence, Stiles gestures to his laptop. "I've got Netflix." he says. Derek automatically picks it up and hands it over. He's two steps back towards the chair before Stiles can get out "We could watch something."

 Derek blinks at him. "Oh. Okay."

 Stiles moves towards the wall and pats the bed next to him. Derek toes off his shoes and crawls on. They spend a few minutes propping up pillows and figuring out laptop placement before they actually get to picking something to watch—which is a whole other ordeal because Derek is pickier than Stiles expected—but when they've settled in with Without a Paddle, it's not weird at all. They share the space as easy as they share the candy; probably easier, because Stiles slaps Derek more than once away from the bag.

 When the movie is over, Derek stands up. "I should probably get going."

 "Okay." Stiles says with a frown. "You got big plans?"

 "Cora wanted to Skype tonight." Derek explains, pulling on his shoes. "She convinced her pack to wire up for internet, so..."

 "Oh. God, yeah. Go. Have fun. Tell her hi."

 Derek stares at him for a moment before he nods and ducks out of the room. Stiles sighs in a way he refuses to call wistful and starts binge watching Friends.

***

 It rains on the next movie night. Stiles is just over two weeks from his heat, so the rain makes him want to cry and getting wet just makes it that much worse. The walk from his Jeep to the door of Derek's building soaks his clothes all the way through, mostly because he trips and falls into a puddle where he dumbly lays for at least ten seconds.

 So when he opens the door and sloshes in, he's pretty close to a meltdown already. Derek immediately stands from the couch. "What happened?"

 "I fell." he mumbles. "It's raining."

 "Are you okay?" Scott asks, itching to stand and help even though Isaac is in his lap. Stiles sees Lydia bracing herself as well.

 Stiles opens his mouth to say he's fine, because he knows he is, but instead what comes out is a horribly broken "I'm really cold."

 "Come on." Derek orders, gently taking his arm. "You can borrow something."

 Derek leads him up the stairs and drops his arm once he's standing in the middle of his bedroom. Stiles weakly tugs on his wet sweatshirt. Derek steps over a moment later, pausing in front of him. "Stiles?"

 "This was my favorite sweatshirt." he mumbles. "It's all muddy and...and wet now..."

 "Hey, I'll throw it in the washer." Derek assures him, raising a hand like he might try to touch him. "It'll be dry and clean by the time you go, okay?"

 "I know, but...but..." Stiles sniffs and starts wiping his eyes angrily. "But it's raining, and—and...and I'm just upset."

 "Hey, it's okay. Let's just get you out of those and you can get dry and warm and it'll be okay, I promise." Stiles nods again. Derek nods back and gestures to his bed, where clothes are sitting out. "I'm going to get you a towel, okay?"

 Stiles can only manage a nod, which apparently is not super reassuring because Derek hesitates before heading back downstairs to the bathroom.

 The wet slap of Stiles' clothes hitting the floor is more than disheartening, and by the time he's naked his eyes are burning with tears. He grabs the sweats first, pulling them on. It helps having warm clothes on him, some, but not enough. Then he grabs the sweater.

 When Stiles breaks into wails, there's the loud pounding of feet on the stairs before Derek nearly shouts "What's wrong? What happened?"

 "Y-you c-c-can't l-let me w-wear this!" he bawls.

 "What?"

 "I-i-it's too n-nice!"

 "Stiles, what are you talking about?"

 "I'm gonna ruin it, it's too soft, I can't—I can't—"

 "Okay, hey." Derek comes over and his hand brushes over his shoulder. Stiles automatically gravitates towards the warmth, whining. "Stiles, it's okay. I wouldn't have given it to you if I didn't want you to wear it, okay?"

 "B-but—"

 "Put it on, Stiles." Derek says firmly, nodding when Stiles looks at him. He sniffs and sits up, pulling the sweater over his head. It feels like butter, and Stiles' lip wobbles again. Derek just shushes him, running his hand up and down his arm. "Okay, good. See? That's okay. You're okay."

 "But what if I hurt it?"

 "You won't."

 "I could."

 "You won't." Derek assures him. "Okay?"

 Stiles hesitates a moment before throwing himself forward, into Derek's neck. "I just need a minute." he chokes out. "Can I—just a minute."

 "Okay." Derek agrees, arms coming up around him. "Yeah, okay."

 It's way longer than a minute, but Stiles can't move himself and Derek doesn't seem to mind so they sit like that for a long time. There's noises of the TV below, but nothing else which leads Stiles to believe everyone else probably left to avoid the scene. He's almost relieved by that, but mostly he just feels horrible.

 "I'm sorry." he repeats after awhile. "I...I didn't mean to."

 "You didn't mean to what?"

 "To...to break down like that."

 Derek sighs, arms tightening momentarily. "You don't have to apologize."

 "I want to." Stiles mumbles.

 Derek leans back slowly. "You didn't do anything wrong, Stiles."

 "It was just so soft and nice and...and I was so upset..." He pulls on the shirt, smoothing it across his skin. Then he laughs, a little hollowly. "You might not get this back."

 "That's fine, it doesn't fit me anymore anyway."

 Stiles is pretty sure that's a lie, because it's hanging off Stiles body like his orange and blue shirt did after Derek had borrowed it one time. But he doesn't really care to call him out on it.

 "You should stay here." Derek says suddenly. Stiles peeks up at him. "You shouldn't be driving." he explains. "You can stay and get some sleep."

 "Okay." he agrees, body sagging with exhaustion. "Okay, I'm just going to...if I can just lay down?"

 Derek nods and Stiles shimmies up the bed and under the covers without asking twice. Derek basically tucks him in and then leaves the room, and Stiles turns his face into his pillow to hopefully mask the quiet whimpers that come from him until he falls asleep.

 When he wakes up, he feels both better and worse. The sun is shining on him, which is nice, but he's in Derek's bed in Derek's clothes and the guilt of his breakdown is pretty quickly spiraling into another one. He can't imagine going downstairs and facing Derek, or worse not facing him and just disappearing. He feels a headache creeping up the back of his neck.

 There's a creak somewhere behind him and he turns around to see Derek tiptoeing up the stairs. He freezes, like he's the one who's not supposed to be there, and they stare at each other for a long moment before Stiles sits up and blurts "I'm sorry."

 Derek frowns. "Why?"

 "For last night. For stealing your clothes and your bed and stuff."

 Derek sighs. "Stiles, I don't mind doing things for you."

 Stiles might blush a little bit, but he chooses to believe Derek doesn't see it. "So...why are you sneaking around?"

 "I didn't think you were awake." Derek explains, finishing his ascent and heading towards his dresser. "I wanted to take a shower."

 "Oh."

 "There's food in the kitchen." Derek glances at him. "Not just milk and soda this time."

 "Okay." Stiles nods, working the overly long sleeves between his fingers.

 Derek wraps his clothes into a bundle and turns towards the stairs. "You need anything?"

 "No." Stiles lies. He needs a lot of things, a complete change of orientation at the top of the list and therapy landing in second. Some coffee would be nice, too.

 Derek doesn't seem to totally believe him, but he nods and heads down the stairs. That's when Stiles notices his own clothes folded on top of the dresser, underwear included because he was a total mess last night.

 He stands up to get changed, but when he comes to the sweater he hesitates. It was soft and warm on his skin, completely comforting in a way that he's never really felt during this time in his cycle. But he has to take it off, has to give it back. He slowly peels it off and folds it carefully, setting it next to his own shirt. He runs his hands over it a few times before finally putting his own clothes back on.

 He tiptoes down the stairs, but he can still hear the water running. He finds a receipt for something and scribbles a short thank-you note on it before he leaves.

***

 He wakes up in a cold sweat, already whining and aching. He's shaking when he grabs for his phone, stuttering out a text to his father not to come home, which may look more like Dnt cmo him but it's all he can manage before forcing himself out of bed and into the bathroom. He accidentally swipes pretty much everything off the side of the tub trying to crank the water up as hot as it goes, which drops him to his knees and causes a weak blubber to come out of his throat.

 Crawling under the water doesn't do much—it's not what his body wants—but it helps stop the shivering some and it keeps the sweat from building up on him. He lets the shower run on him until his teeth stop chattering and his whimpers are more like sighs.

 He jumps when there's a knock on his door, winces at how loud and unwelcome it really is. He wants to ignore it, but he can't when Derek's voice comes through the door. "Stiles? Are you okay?"

 "What are you doing here?" Stiles asks, sounding way more relieved than he wants to.

 "I got your text, I just came to check on you. But...are you..."

 "I'm going into heat." Stiles confirms miserably, one hand braced on the side of the tub, ready to lever himself out and into Derek's arms. "I didn't mean to send you a text."

 "It was mostly gibberish. That's why I came to check. Do you...do you want me to leave?"

 He doesn't. He doesn't at all. He wants Derek to come in and carry him out of the tub and into bed, but he knows that can't happen. "You should." Stiles settles on.

 "Okay. You..." Derek hesitates here. "You can call, if you need me."

 Stiles hunkers down into the tub again, sniffling. He hears Derek's retreating feet and can't stop himself from crying a little. He likes Derek, honestly. Even without the omega and alpha stuff. Derek is nice, and sweet, and funny, and takes such good care of him already. He wants that. He wants Derek to take care of him.

 When the water runs cold, he turns it off quickly and covers himself in every towel in the closet before shuffling back to his room. On his bed is Derek's maroon sweater. Stiles drops all his towels and throws himself on it, moaning into it. It smells like Derek's detergent and some of Derek and Stiles is already getting hard thinking about him, thinking about how he'd feel under him, inside him. Stiles gasps, ruts a little into his sheets and shoves the sweater into his mouth. It doesn't taste right, but the smell is so good that Stiles can't help it.

 He's still a few hours away from being in full-blown heat, so it takes him a little bit of work to come, but not very much. Once he gets a hand around himself it's game over. He whimpers and hugs the sweater, pushing it against his cheek while he shivers naked next to a puddle of come. It's not his proudest moment, but he doesn't even think about it because need is fogging up his brain.

 He's hard again within the hour, and stumbles to get his toy from its spot in the bottom drawer of his dresser. He sinks it into his hole while he's still on the floor, ass up and face pressed into that stupid sweater. His shoulder aches while he's pumping the toy in and out of himself, but he can't stop and he doesn't. There's a steady drool of precome and come slicking him up something awful, causing his fingers to falter and his thighs to slip against each other. It's just not enough, by himself.

 "Der..." he moans helplessly. "Derek, Derek..."

 He does this for hours, only managing to crawl into the bed after his knees hurt too much to continue on the floor. He's tired and thirsty and cold, but Derek's sweater calms him down enough that he can slink down to the kitchen and grab some Gatorade before re-quarantining himself.

 The week rolls on like that, a mess of noises and wet that leaves him gross and exhausted by the end of it. He ends his heat the way he started, crawling under the shower, only this time there's no knock on the door. Just a sweater that smells all wrong.

***

 He can't bring himself to give the sweater back. He's washed it twice and folded it up, left it sitting on his desk. He just can't return it without thinking about how Derek will know. He has to know, otherwise he wouldn't have left it. So Stiles just doesn't return it and tries to act like nothing's different. He's still a little uncoordinated for the first few days after his return, but everyone seems relieved it's over.

 Everyone except for Derek, at least.

 Derek keeps watching him, like he's waiting for him to fall apart again. Stiles goes back to sitting on the floor during movie nights and getting popcorn thrown at him and gets rained on without freaking out. He's fine, now that it's over, and he keeps telling himself that even though a part of him is desperate to be not fine just to have Derek stop looking at him weird.

 Isaac goes into heat shortly after him, so he and Scott disappear for two weeks, and then both Boyd and Allison get close to their heats, so they and their significant others vanish a week after Scott and Isaac. That leaves Derek and Stiles hanging out together, alone, with the sweater thing hanging between them.

 But Stiles will not budge. He's not going to bring it up, ever, and if Derek acts weird for the rest of his life than so be it. He was the one who left the sweater in the first place. If he had any reservations about it, he shouldn't have brought it.

 "What about Lost?" Stiles asks, scrolling through Netflix one night. With Boyd and Erica gone, it allows Stiles the chance to get acquainted with the bean bag chair, which is not as comfortable as it could be since there's a big Boyd-and-Erica shaped hole in it.

 "Fine." Derek says, for the fifth time. He's been like this since Stiles' return, all one word sentences and agreeable vocabulary but in a tone that implies he's upset. It's gotten especially worse since everyone else disappeared, because there's no buffer to cover their awkward silences where Derek waits for Stiles to say something about the sweater and Stiles resolutely refuses to say anything about the sweater.

 "Dude, seriously? Fine, we're watching Jurassic Park." Derek's lip twitches down, but he doesn't argue. Stiles throws his hands up. "If you don't want to watch it, say something!"

 "I don't care, Stiles. I said you could pick."

 "You hate Jurassic Park! I know you do! I only picked it so you'd stop saying 'fine'!"

 Derek does not look very impressed. "I don't care."

 "I'm going home." Stiles declares, throwing the remote at him. "I'm not coming back until Scott and Isaac come out of their hole."

 "Wait, why?"

 "Because you're actually the worst right now." Stiles says as he struggles out of the chair. "Like, I'm all for agreeable-Derek but emotionless-Derek sucks ass."

 "That's not what..." Derek stops, swipes a hand over his face and growls. "I'm just trying to be nice."

 "'Nice' is fine. 'Opinionless' is not."

 "I don't know what else to do, Stiles." Derek snaps. "I'm trying everything I can, but you're just..."

 Stiles frowns. "Me? Why is this my fault?"

 "Because you won't give me an answer!"

 Stiles stares at him for a long, tense moment before putting his hands up. "Wait, what? What answer? You didn't even ask me a question."

 Derek stares back at him. "Of course I didn't." he says incredulously. "That's not how it works."

 "How what works?"

 "Courting people." Derek says, and his ears turn a little red when he does.

 Stiles has to sit down again, this time in the normal chair. "Courting people?"

 "It's bad manners to ask directly." Derek huffs like he's quoting someone. He looks down at his feet. "Look, if you don't want to, it's fine. Just tell me."

 "Tell you no? Derek, I didn't even know you were doing it." Stiles hides his face in my hands. "Oh my god."

 "How could you not know?" Derek snaps.

 "Because no one's ever courted me." Stiles says hysterically, leaning his head back. "No one ever told me it was like that."

 "What do you mean no one told you?"

 "I mean my dad and I don't talk about these things and my mom never mentioned it and—and it's weird to ask your friends, and so I thought it was normal for people to just ask."

 Derek's staring at him. Stiles is staring at the ceiling, but he can feel Derek's eyes on him, probably bulging out of his head at how stupid he really is. He knew some of the basics; that alphas liked to take care of omegas and so that often resulted in gifts. But he thought there would at least be a card or something. I think you're cute, wanna share a heat with me?

 It makes so much sense now. Derek's preemptive care giving, the soft words and the softer touches. Breakfast.

 "I'm sorry." Stiles finally says, looking at him. Derek looks back to his feet. "I'm sorry I didn't know."

 Derek glances up at that and shrugs. "It's not your fault."

 "It's totally my fault." Stiles argues. "Derek, really. I—I am so sorry that you went through all that."

 "It's fine." he grunts.

 "If I'd have known—"

 "I said it's fine, Stiles. I get it."

 "You don't." Stiles argues, leaning forward. He really wants to throw himself at Derek, but he doesn't think it would be that welcome. "I kept your sweater next to me for my entire heat."

 Derek's head whips up lightning fast at that. "You what?"

 "It was my fucking comfort object." Stiles continues, because he might as well throw it all out there now. "I cried when I saw you left it. I wanted you to stay, but I thought you were only doing it because of hormones or something. I didn't want you to stay if you didn't want to."

 "Of course I wanted to." Derek argues. "Jesus, Stiles, walking out of your house was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I wanted—" he cuts himself off, shaking his head. "So what are you saying?"

 "I'm saying I'm sorry I didn't know, because it could've saved us both a lot of trouble." Stiles bites his lip and looks down at his hands. "And I'm saying that I know my next heat isn't for three more months, but if you wanted...I'd be okay sharing it with you."

 Derek appears in front of him, dropped onto his knees and cupping his face in one hand. "Don't say that if you aren't sure." Derek urges him. "If you're just saying that because you feel guilty or something, don't."

 "I'm not." Stiles confesses breathlessly. "I'm—I'm not, I want you there. I wanted you there before."

 Derek's whole face relaxes, leaning up to box him into the chair. Stiles grabs the front of his shirt and pulls until they're kissing, sighing at the relief it brings. Derek rumbles low in his chest and Stiles feels something twist in his chest at the noise. Derek grabs at his hips and tugs him further forward on the chair, almost off entirely, and it puts Stiles at enough of an angle that he's looking down at Derek.

 When they pull apart, it's slow. Derek turns to press tiny kisses to his jaw and then ducks back in again for a second before turning away again. Stiles smiles automatically, leaning into his space and feeling the lazy hum of rightness run through him. It reminds him of something his mom said once. When I met your father, everything slowed down. The world, my mind, my heart...it felt like honey, but sweeter.

 "What are you thinking?" Derek murmurs, brushing their mouths together.

 "Honey." Stiles answers sagely. Derek waits for more, but when nothing comes he just shakes his head at him, and Stiles smiles back.

***

 Scott and Isaac walk into Derek's apartment a little over a week later and Scott immediately wrinkles his nose. Isaac, with his less sensitive nose, just smiles at the two of them huddled on the couch together, totally oblivious to the fact that they'd had sex upstairs just twenty minutes before. Stiles winks at Scott, which gets his side pinched, which devolves into more kissing and causes Isaac and Scott to leave again.

 The next time Stiles' heat comes around, Derek refuses to let him be alone. Not that he minds, of course. In fact, he loves it. The attention is soothing and wonderful and makes him actually tolerable to be around. Derek, less so, but no one really complains about that.

 Stiles pretty much moves into his place the week before his heat. Derek clears out a drawer for him, which makes Stiles cry, which makes Derek start doting on him even more, which turns into more crying. So basically Stiles is still a mess, but he's a much happier mess.

 He wakes up the day of his heat without the cold sweats for the first time in his life. Derek's skin is pressed up to his and it feels so good that Stiles feels like he could come just from that. He can't, of course, but it sends a low thrum through him at every point of contact he has. Derek's already got one arm draped over him, so it's easy for Stiles to find his hand and slide it over his belly and chest. Stiles' soft moan makes Derek stir, his hand moving by itself to rest against his collarbone. Derek leans forward to press his lips to his shoulder. "Hey, baby." he murmurs, voice sleep-rough and deep.

 "You feel good." Stiles breathes.

 "So do you." Derek agrees, sliding his hand back down to cup his dick. It's already mostly hard, so Stiles' whimpers. "You wet for me yet?"

 Stiles bucks into his hand and whines. It's all the response he's capable of.

 Derek rolls them so he's hovering over Stiles and takes his boxers off—which are really a pair of Derek's, so they come off incredibly easily. Derek presses a few soft kisses to his thighs before coming back up to meet his eyes. "So beautiful." Derek tells him, cupping his face in one hand. Stiles turns and sucks his thumb into his mouth. Derek dips down and kisses him behind the ear. "Good boy."

 "Alpha," he whimpers around his thumb.

 "Mm, I like the sound of that." Derek breathes, teeth catching on Stiles' earlobe.

 "Please." Stiles begs, turning to try and catch his mouth.

 "Please what?"

 Stiles groans, because he doesn't know what he wants, especially doesn't know how to ask for it. He grabs Derek's wrist and pushes his hand towards his cock, but Derek stubbornly refuses to touch him. Stiles face twists up in discontent. Derek only smiles and runs his hands over Stiles ribs, causing his breath to hitch.

 "What a pretty omega." Derek hums. "So good."

 Stiles gasps, bucking his hips up. "Ooh..."

 Derek leans down and slides his lips across Stiles, which he chases desperately. Derek smiles again, and Stiles snaps his teeth at him. Derek laughs. "Okay, okay." he soothes. "I'll take care of you, baby, I promise."

 Stiles rolls his head back, exposing his neck for his alpha. Derek's breath hitches and then he growls, bearing down on him and biting. Stiles moans, reaching up to pull on his hair. "Yes..."

 "Fuck," Derek gasps. He maneuvers Stiles legs over his hips. "God, Stiles..."

 Stiles blinks open his eyes, meets the red of Derek's and knows his own probably dip blue in response. Derek slides his fingers between them and prods at his hole, slipping inside to his first knuckle. Stiles entire body lights up in response. He's never had someone else inside him during his heat. It's always been his fingers or his toys, and there's something so great about being able to let go and lay back and let someone else do the work for once.

 "More," he demands, trying to sink onto Derek's digits. "More."

 "Brat." Derek breathes, but it sounds fond. He pushes his two fingers completely inside him, and Stiles melts into his arms.

 "Oooh..." Stiles gasps as he turns into a puddle. Derek chuckles against his neck, wriggling his fingers around. He hits the perfect spot with unprecedented accuracy and Stiles grabs at the sheets and rips. "Fuck!" he squeals. He kicks something, and by the noise Derek makes in response it was probably him. "Don't stop!" he pleads, slapping one hand onto the back of Derek's head and pulling. "Alpha, please."

 Derek groans. "Fuck, Stiles, say that again."

 "Alpha," he whines, winding a leg over his hips to get a little leverage. "Alpha, please fuck me."

 "You—" Derek cuts himself off with a growl before diving in to kiss him. Stiles manages to let go of the sheet and grabs at Derek's wrist, working his fingers in and out himself. Derek laughs a little against his mouth and crooks his fingers again.

 Stiles comes without warning. His heat keeps him right there pretty much all the time, but it still usually takes a little bit more work than that. The suddenness of it causes his whole body to lock up, his nails to dig into whatever they're touching, which just so happens to be his alpha who hisses and tries to jerk away.

 When he comes down his hand goes lax, and Derek slips back out of his arms, sitting above him. Stiles sees his wrist, which has tiny red crescents bitten into his skin, and whimpers, grabbing at his hand and bringing it up to lay kisses over it. "M'sorry"

 "It's okay, baby." Derek soothes. "I know you didn't mean it, it's okay."

 "S'hurt?" Stiles wonders.

 "No, not really." Derek says with a smile. "Just surprised me."

 Stiles hums and kisses up his hand, finding his still slick fingers and sucking them into his mouth. Derek breathes something his doesn't hear, because he's too busy licking his sweet come off his alpha's fingers. Derek eventually takes them away, which gets an indignant whine, but he quickly replaces them with his tongue which Stiles sees as a fair trade.

 "So beautiful," Derek breathes. Stiles shifts underneath him and feels his cock brush across his stomach. It's like a punch straight to the gut. He gasps and then bites, hitching his legs around Derek's hip. Derek laughs into his mouth. "Greedy boy."

 "Please." Stiles whines.

 "Okay." Derek agrees, shifting to nudge against his hole. Stiles tries to sink down onto him but Derek holds his hips. "Hey, now."

 "Derek." Stiles reaches up to drag his nails over his shoulders. "Alpha."

 "I know what you want, you just need to be patient."

 There's a very unreasonable no ringing around his head, but it doesn't get out of his mouth. He does manage a very pouty sounding growl, though, and it only serves to make Derek smile again, which is nice, but it's also pretty annoying. Then Derek leans down and kisses him with that smile and it's much, much less annoying.

 While Derek is kissing him back into submission, he slips inside, which Stiles thinks is both wholly unfair and brilliant. He gasps and bites down on Derek lip, which makes him growl and push into him harder, which wrings a noise out of Stiles that he's not sure he's ever made.

 "Fuck," Derek breathes against his mouth. "Baby, you're so wet for me. So ready."

 Stiles bares his neck and whines. Words are beyond him, now. He's vibrating on a whole different wavelength from anything else he's ever experienced. Derek is firm and hot inside him, unlike any toy, and he never, never wants him to move.

 But he does move. He rolls his hips out and then back in and maybe Stiles is okay with a little bit of moving, because holy shit. It sends every nerve in his body into overdrive, pushes him further and further away from reality. His brain is muddled, time doesn't seem relevant anymore. He knows he's making noises but he can't control them, not even to tell his alpha how good he feels when he asks.

 He comes the second time by throwing himself around Derek, shuddering little sobs into the crook of his neck and begging him to keep moving, just keep going. Derek doesn't stop, doesn't even hesitate. He digs his fingers into the base of Stiles' spine and keeps rocking into him, panting his own little pleas and noises into Stiles hair. Stiles gets enough bearings to start leaving love bites on Derek's neck, which drives a snarl from his alpha's throat.

 Stiles comes the third time when Derek's knot swells up inside him, but it's less violent than the other two. It's like he's finally satisfied. He breathes a sigh of relief when he feels Derek shaking against him, feels the knot pulsing, and uses his own hand to coax one final fourth orgasm from himself before laying back against the bed with Derek laying on top of him.

 He's nearly asleep again when Derek raises his head. "Are you okay?"

 "Mmhmm." Stiles answers, smiling dopily up at him.

 "Are you sure? Do you need something?"

 "Shh." He grabs Derek's hair and pulls him back down against his shoulder. Derek huffs a laugh and settles in more comfortably. Stiles feels a few jolts of sharp pleasure when the knot tugs against his rim, but they're not demanding. Not even close. He's too happy to be demanding.

 He wakes up when Derek slips out of him. It's gross, slimy. Cold. He frowns and grabs for Derek's retreating form. "Wait."

 Derek turns in surprise. "Hey, I didn't mean to wake you up."

 "Come back."

 "I will." Derek promises, grabbing his hand and pressing a few kisses to it. "I'll be right back, you stay right there for me."

 Stiles does as he's asked, but he pouts about it. Derek returns to see him curled around his pillow with a deep frown set into his face. His smile is only barely enough to appease him. The bag of cookies he waves at him does the rest.

 Stiles eats three without chewing and then another three with minimal chewing. Derek chews his, but very quickly. Of course, that could be because Stiles is inhaling them all and he wants to get some before they're gone.

 Derek spreads him out when they're done and produces wet wipes from who-knows-where and starts wiping him down. They're cold, which doesn't help, but it's nice to feel clean and it's nicer being cleaned, so Stiles does it with minimal complaining. When Derek is satisfied with his cleanliness, he wraps his mouth around his cock and makes him come two more times.

 Stiles drags him up and kisses the taste out of his mouth while Derek fucks him again, slower this time but just as satisfying. When Derek's knotted him for the second time, probably upwards of an hour later, Stiles feels almost clearheaded. Clearheaded enough to rub Derek's cheek and say "I love you."

 Derek laughs quietly against his palm. "Yeah?"

 "Mmhmm."

 "Remember that at the end of the week."

 "I will." Stiles warns him.

 "I'm counting on it."

***

 Stiles wakes up, but he still feels absolutely exhausted. However, his body aches and there's a distinct sickness of not having eaten anything substantial in at least twenty four hours, which means his heat his over. He smiles and rolls over in Derek's arms. Derek groans a little, probably more exhausted than Stiles is. Stiles chuckles and kisses his throat. "S'okay, don't wake up." he murmurs.

 "Done?" Derek asks gruffly.

 "All done."

 He breathes something like thank god, but he tightens his arms around Stiles in the same moment which means he didn't hate it too much. Stiles tips up and kisses his jaw before extracting himself. "I'm going to shower."

 Derek just grunts again, rolling into the space Stiles leaves for him and passing out. Stiles makes a note to buy him the biggest breakfast in the whole world when they're both more presentable. He takes a shower that's so long the water runs cold, using all of Derek's products so he smells like him even to Stiles' much less sensitive nose. He curls up in a towel that smells like his detergent and brushes his teeth with his toothpaste and feels content and happy.

 When he comes back out, Derek hasn't moved an inch. Stiles pokes his shoulder, but he doesn't even respond, so he leaves him and gets dressed in his clean maroon sweater and a pair of Derek's sweats.

 He's on his third bowl of Captain Crunch when Derek comes down the stairs, still mostly asleep and extremely gross. He blinks at Stiles a few times, as if confused that he's here, and then grunts "Shower."

 Stiles just smiles around his next bite.

 When he gets out of the shower, Derek is much more coherent. He cuts across the living room and lifts Stiles chin to kiss him, smiling when he feels Stiles is doing the same. "I'm going to get dressed." he murmurs.

 "Really? Don't feel like going another round?"

 "Don't be a brat." Derek warns him, and because Stiles has been conditioned over the last week there's a kick of arousal in his stomach. "Get me one of those bowls." Derek tells him, pecking his lips one more time before going upstairs.

 Stiles has just poured milk into his cereal when Derek comes back down, also in sweats. He pecks Stiles on the cheek as he grabs the bowl and then scarfs it down almost violently. "God, why is this so good?"

 "Lots of calories we've been missing." Stiles tells him, hooking a finger in his waistband absently. "Cookies only go so far."

 "Especially when you run out on the second day."

 "A note to make for next time."

 Derek raises his eyes mid-chew. When he swallows it sounds thick. "Yeah?"

 Stiles raises an eyebrow. "Did you think I'd change my mind?"

 "It was always a possibility."

 "No it wasn't." Stiles says, pushing the bowl of cereal out of his way and leaning up to kiss Derek, slow and soft and with everything he's been incapable of this past week. Derek's bowl clatters onto the counter so Derek can grab at his hips. Stiles laughs and leans back a little. "Hey, I thought we were relaxing today."

 "When are you ever relaxed?" Derek teases.

 "Rude." Stiles retorts, but with no venom. They stand there for a minute, just sort of swaying and holding each other. Stiles eventually lays his head on Derek's shoulder, breathes him in. Relaxes. He remembers what he said—he said it a million times over the week, how could he not remember?—but he doesn't say it now. Maybe later tonight, or maybe not for weeks. He's not sure when he'll say it again, but he knows he doesn't have to say it now. Not when he knows Derek can feel it, because that's what's most important. Derek knowing he is loved.