“Wow, you’re red as a tomato. I didn’t think werewolves could get sunburned, with the healing factor and all.”
Derek spun from where he was straining to see his own back in the bathroom mirror. “What the hell are you doing in here?”
“Came in for a soda,” Stiles answered, tossing a purple can in the air and then catching it. “If you don’t want people to see you in here, you shouldn’t leave the door open. Seriously, why isn’t it going away?”
“It’s not a severe enough injury to trigger healing, apparently,” Derek said, turning back to his reflection. “Stings, though.”
“That’s what you get for never wearing a shirt.” Stiles smirked when Derek glared at him through the mirror. “Are you going to break one of your fingers or something to kick start the process?”
Derek’s glare deepened. “No, I’m not a masochist, Stiles. It’ll clear up on its own just fine.”
“Okay, dude, whatever you say.” He grinned and tipped his head and then turned and left the house, heading out to the patio where Lydia was sitting by the side of the pool reading a book. Stiles squinted at the cover as he sat in the lounge chair beside her. It seemed to be in Latin.
She didn’t speak, so he didn’t either, and they sat in easy silence together as Scott and Isaac splashed each other in the pool.
After a little while, when Derek hadn’t come back out, Stiles started to get antsy. There was no reason for him to be taking so long. What was he doing in there? He hadn’t left, had he?
Stiles glanced around, but no one was looking at him; Lydia immersed in her book, Scott and Isaac having a splash battle at the other end of the pool, Kira stretched out in the sun on her tummy with her earbuds in.
He got up, trying to look nonchalant. He had only just straightened to a stand when Lydia looked up at him over the tops of her sunglasses and raised an eyebrow. Stiles hesitated, shrugged, and then continued on his way back into the house.
“Derek?” He called as soon as he stepped through the door. He was answered by a grunt, and hey, at least now he knew Derek was still here. “What are you doing in here?” he asked, heading in the direction of the grunt to find Derek still standing in the hall bathroom with the door open. He was holding a large bottle of neon green gel in one hand and his shoulders glistened wet and angry red.
“I’m just putting something on my sunburn,” Derek said, tone defensive as a grin slowly spread across Stiles’ face.
“Wow, man, I’m actually shocked that you know how to treat a sunburn.”
Derek rolled his eyes. “I’ve gotten sunburned before, Stiles.”
“I know, I know, not actually raised by wolves,” Stiles grinned and swore he saw the corner of Derek’s mouth curl up just a tiny bit. “You missed a whole big spot in the back, though.”
“What? No I didn’t.” Derek turned and stretched to see his own bare back in the mirror again. Stiles let his eyes trip across the lines of Derek’s abdomen for the briefest moment before stepping forward and pointing.
“See, this big patch right here,” he said, indicating a large spot near the center of Derek’s back that was clearly not shiny with aloe vera gel.
“Huh.” Derek straightened and squeezed some more gel onto his palm. He reached back to coat the spot, but his arm wouldn’t quite bend that far. He tried anyway, turning in place a few steps as he strained.
“Oh for god’s sake, give it here,” Stiles said, stepping forward and swiping the bottle of gel from the counter. He squirted some out, the bottle making an unpleasant farting sound as he did, and then moved to stand directly behind Derek.
He looked up over Derek’s shoulder and caught his gaze in the mirror. Derek looked as serious as Stiles had ever seen him.
“Relax, I’ll be gentle,” he said with a grin. Derek smiled back, almost, just a tiny twitch of his mouth.
Stiles smeared the gel across Derek’s back, mindful of his promise. Derek hissed at the contact but leaned forward to brace his hands on the counter, bowing his spine and letting Stiles work the cool substance into his reddened skin.
Stiles worked slowly, trying to drag out the opportunity to touch Derek, his eyes on his hands as they rubbed across the planes of Derek’s back. His skin was hot to the touch, almost feverish, but smooth and soft beneath Stiles’ palms as he stroked them down Derek’s spine.
Derek made a soft humming noise, startling Stiles out of his reverie. He realized belatedly that he had finished, that Derek’s back was thoroughly covered in aloe vera gel, probably several times over by now, and let his hands fall away from Derek’s skin. He looked up almost by accident, dragging his eyes from Derek’s back with difficulty, to find Derek staring at him in the mirror. Derek was breathing just hard enough to be noticeable, his eyes steady but unreadable, and Stiles realized as Derek’s nostrils flared that his own heart was pounding in his chest.
They stared at each other for a few seconds before Stiles managed to blink and step away. He tried to grin, but it felt weird on his face. “Okay, you should be all set now. See you out there.” He spun and strode out of the house without looking back, Derek silent behind him.
A few minutes later, Derek came outside wearing a white cotton t shirt that was visibly sticking to the wet patches of gel on his back and shoulders. He took the chair in the shade on the opposite side of Lydia and pulled out a book without looking in Stiles’ direction.