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between the click of the light and the start of the dream

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“Is this really necessary?” Stiles calls out as he trips over yet another exposed root. His eyes aren’t bad, and the moon’s almost full, but the forest is still too dark for him to see much of anything. He uses his cell phone for a bit of light, but it’s not doing anything but draining his battery. “Scott? Isaac? Erica? Boyd? Anyone, anyone, Bueller?”

Stiles starts when he feels more than sees something rush by him, and the lingering scent of perfume lets him know it was Erica. Plus, he hears her cackle as she runs away. “Funny, Erica. Real cute.”

He trudges on, his feet crunching in the fallen leaves. The late winter air is crisp, and he really should have worn more than a thin hoodie, but not much he can do about that now. And if the pack have their way (which they usual do, Stiles begrudgingly admits), they’ll be out here all night.

When he makes it to the top of a hill, he squints into the darkness. He thinks he sees the light of a cell phone in the distance and wonders if it’s Allison or Lydia. He contemplates texting them, but decides to just sit down instead. His feet are cold, his hands are freezing, and his breath is coming out in little foggy puffs. In sum, Stiles is miserable.

It had been Erica’s stupid idea. “Let’s go out tonight!” she’d said while they were all lounging around Derek’s loft bored after school. “I’m so tired of sitting here. The upcoming full moon has my skin crawling. Please, please?” When Stiles agreed, he thought they’d be going to dinner, to the movies, to the bowling alley. Not running around in the woods, half-wolfed out while the humans stumbled around after them. Allison followed Scott when they got here, and Lydia followed Allison, and Stiles – somehow Stiles ended up by himself.

He hears quick footsteps on the ground behind him, and then someone stops at his side. He looks up and sees that it’s Boyd. “Someone could trip over you,” Boyd says. Something scampers away behind Boyd, and Stiles thinks he sees a rabbit or a squirrel.

Stiles shrugs. “It’d serve them right.”

Boyd laughs before taking off again. Stiles considers texting Derek and asking him to come pick him up (because, like an idiot, Stiles had ridden with Lydia, Jackson, and Boyd instead of driving his own Jeep) but thinks the better of it. Derek would just gripe the entire ride home, if he came to pick him up at all.

Stiles is just about to get up and meander more in the darkness when he hears someone in front of him. He waits to see which pack member will approach him this time; he just hopes Jackson or Erica don’t try to scare or tackle him.

A twig snaps, and then he hears breathing and the rustle of leaves. He strains to get a better glimpse into the darkness, but it’s pointless. There’s nothing but a black void.

“Good try,” Stiles says, standing up and brushing off his jeans, “you’re doing a really shitty job with the whole werewolf stealth thing, just so you know. Need to work on your skills. My grandma can sneak around the nursing home better than you.” He only takes a step before he’s knocked onto his back so forcefully that he’s momentarily stunned. Oh, someone is definitely going to get it. Fuckers didn’t have to knock him down. He attempts to take a breath but realizes he can’t breathe because something on his chest is preventing him from doing so.

Suddenly, Stiles feels the most excruciating pain in his stomach he’s ever felt. It’s like his entire insides are being ripped out from him. He tries to scream, but when he opens his mouth, he realizes that he can’t make any noise because he’s choking on something metallic. Oh god, is that blood? he thinks in a panic, and even though he almost passes out, he raises up and looks down to see an arm sunk wrist deep in his stomach.

He can’t tear his eyes away from the arm, because despite the indescribable pain in his stomach, he just can’t believe this is happening to him. Sure, he always knew he’d probably die some horrific death – comes with the lack of healing powers – but he never actually believed it. Stiles tries to cry out again, but his mouth just fills with more blood as the arm pulls out a handful of what Stiles guesses is his guts. The pain is so horrifying that he can feel it everywhere, even in his eyes, which now feel like they’re going to pop out of their sockets.

He sobs, tastes the blood in his mouth and nose, and realizes that he’s about to die. He doesn’t know how he’ll survive since his intestines have just become some monster’s bracelet. The last thing he remembers before everything goes black is two large green eyes.

*

“Stiles!”

Stiles feels a hard slap against his face, and he sits straight up, trying to breathe and scream at the same time. He instinctively scoots away, confused and in pain and…and alive. He pats his stomach, even yanks up his shirt.

“Um, what is he doing?” Lydia asks.

Stiles almost cries from relief when he sees flat, pale white flesh, all still intact. No holes, no monster arms.

“Stiles? Dude, are you okay?” Scott asks tentatively, moving slowly like he’s afraid Stiles is going to flip out at any moment. Stiles is still staring down at his stomach and rubbing the smooth flesh like he’s in a daze.

“Stiles is always weird, but why the fuck is he stroking his stomach like some weird-ass pervert?” Jackson asks.

Scott grabs Stiles’ hand and pulls it away. “Stiles!” he growls and Stiles looks up at him.

“I’m not dead,” Stiles says.

“Unfortunately,” Jackson grumbles, and Isaac pushes him. Hard. No one even pays attention when Jackson ends up on the ground.

“What happened?” Erica asks.

Stiles looks up at them, realizes that everyone is staring at him and that he’s holding up his shirt. He pulls it down and shakes his head, like he’s trying to shake off something. “I don’t know. I was talking to Boyd – you did stop by me and mention how someone would trip over me, right?” Boyd nods, and Stiles sighs in relief, though he’s not sure why. The rest of it still doesn’t make sense. “Then I heard something in the woods, and then something was on top of me, and it ripped out my insides, right there.” Stiles points to the ground. “I can still feel the pain.” He rubs his stomach gingerly. “It felt so real.”

“You probably just fell asleep,” Allison suggests, “and had a nightmare.” She smiles, though it’s tight and too wide, and Stiles can tell she’s freaked out. They all are.

“Yeah, I guess so.” He pushes himself up, but his legs are so shaky they give out and he ends up on his knees.

“Fucking intense dream,” Isaac says. Scott tries to help Stiles up, but Stiles waves his hand away.

Stiles’ freak episode has all of them a bit rattled, so they decide to call it a night. Stiles couldn’t be happier. He’s full out shaking now, and he’ll go to his grave claiming it’s the cold.

“How did you find me?” Stiles asks Scott as they walk back to the cars. They’re further behind everyone else because Stiles’ legs are still not functioning properly and Scott hasn’t moved more than a foot away from him since Stiles woke up.

“I heard you screaming and felt your fear. We all did. You were lying on the ground, not moving. Just screaming.”

Stiles shakes his head. “What the fuck, man?”

“Worried about graduation?” Scott suggests.

“That’s still months away,” Stiles mumbles. Besides, he thinks that the knowledge of only being in high school a few more months is reason for a huge fucking party, not a cause for nightmares.

*

When Stiles gets home, he can’t quite shake his funky mood. If everyone hadn’t said that he was lying on his back when they found him, Stiles would have sworn that he’d been attacked. The whole thing felt like a memory, not a dream. He’s always had vivid dreams, so he knows how they feel. Sometimes he gets confused and has a sense of déjà vu, but he knows how a dream feels.

What happened to him? Doesn’t feel like a dream. It feels like a memory.

A pretty fucking awful memory. Stiles can’t get the image of that hand holding his insides out of his head, not to mention the pain. He feels the pain the same way he still feels old wounds: like when he broke his nose last year in a lacrosse game, when that Alpha from the Alpha pack tossed him out of a window, when Gerard beat him. It’s just as real, and right now, it’s still raw. He keeps absently rubbing his stomach in an attempt to make it better.

He’d never admit it, but he’s scared to go to sleep. But as much as he fights it, pretty soon he falls asleep watching TV.

*

Stiles tries to roll over, but he can’t. He goes to raise his arm to rub his eyes, but his arms are pinned on both sides. When he tries to move any of his limbs, he realizes that he is paralyzed. A heavy weight presses down on his chest, making it hard to breathe.

His first thought is that there is another kanima loose in Beacon Hills, but this feels different than his previous paralysis. And what does that say about his life, that he is now comparing the different states of paralysis he’s been in? Maybe he should just move already. But that would have to wait until after he gets the use of his limbs back.

Stiles doesn’t know how much time passes before he can move again, and then he wakes up in the morning with full use of everything. He doesn’t even want to fathom what freaky things are going on in his brain. He’s tired, his body fatigued, but he did spend half the night out in the middle of the woods with the pack, so that’s expected and he thinks nothing of it.

*

Derek buys pizza for everyone even though it’s not a pack meeting, it’s just a random Saturday night. Jackson and Boyd are on the living room floor arguing about what movie to watch, and Lydia, Allison, and Erica are discussing this fall’s fashion styles, and Stiles is picking absently at his pepperoni.

“Are you on an anti-pepperoni kick again?” Isaac asks from the floor.

Stiles blinks and looks up at him absently. “What did you say?”

“What’s with you?” he asks.

Stiles hasn’t told them that he’s been having nightmares every night for the past week. Horrible, vivid dreams straight out of the most sadistic horror movie you could think of. Most nights he’s woken up in a cold sweat, and last night he had another episode where he thought he woke up paralyzed.

“Did you have more nightmares last night?” Scott asks.

“You’re having nightmares?” Derek asks before taking a huge bite of pizza.

“No,” Stiles answers. “I didn’t have a nightmare last night, but…” He shakes his head. “Never mind.”

“What?” Scott persists.

“I could have sworn that I woke up and was paralyzed. I thought for a moment Jackson had turned back into the kanima.”

Jackson stops his argument with Boyd to whip his head around and glare. “Will you ever fucking let that go?”

Stiles cocks his head to the side. “Hmm, let me think about that. Um, no.”

“You’re just having crazy dreams. What happened in the woods was a fluke,” Scott says.

“What happened in the woods?” Derek barks. Isaac explains, and when he’s done, Derek looks at all three of them like he can’t decide whether to punch them or roll his eyes. “Didn’t you think that maybe I needed to know about this?”

“It’s no big deal,” Stiles finds himself saying although secretly he feels like it’s a big fucking deal. He’s freaked out, and he’s had very little sleep in the past week. He’s pretty sure the whole pack can feel that though, so, whatever. “Just a nightmare.”

Derek stares at him for a second too long, and it makes Stiles squirm. Finally, Derek blinks and turns away. “Let me know if anything else weird happens.”

*

Stiles runs through the woods. His heart pounds in his chest, his limbs growing heavier with each step. His body is gripped with fear, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up as he feels something right behind him. He tries to turn around, but he can’t. His body is stuck, and he trips and falls on his face.

When Stiles jerks awake, the first thing he notices is that he’s exhausted. The second thing he notices is that he’s not in his bed. He opens his eyes and finds that he’s lying on a pile of leaves in the middle of the ground in the forest. And it’s the middle of the night.

Well, he thinks to himself, I think it’s time to call Derek. Because this, this definitely constitutes weird.

*

It didn’t hit Stiles how absolutely terrified he was until he’d been walking for almost an hour. Barefoot. Because, apparently, whatever psychotic somnambulist impulse he had last night failed to bring along shoes or his cell phone. Which is why he is wandering around the woods in the dark wearing nothing but a thin pair of pajama pants like some lunatic, his feet scratched and his entire body numb from the cold. This is what happens to crazy people. Stiles never thought he was crazy, but maybe he is. If he is honest with himself, the last few years have yielded plenty of reasons for one to go crazy. It’s really a miracle that he’s lasted this long.

“Oh well,” he says out loud, because he’s scared and it’s too quiet and he’s crazy now and crazy people talk to themselves, “Graduating high school was such a lovely goal. And you almost made it, too. So close, Stiles buddy, but no cigar.”

He wishes he knew where he was. It doesn’t look like the preserve, but the preserve is freaking huge, and he hasn’t had the immense pleasure (note the sarcasm, he thinks wryly) of running through it like the pack. There are lots of trees and forests in Beacon Hills, and since he doesn’t remember how he got here, he could be anywhere.

He stops after two hours to rest. He crouches on a log and draws his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around them in a weak attempt at warming himself. His teeth are chattering, his body shivering, and he glances down at his feet to assess the damage. Gently, he touches each of his toes, notices even in the faint light from the waning moon they are turning blue. Yeah, that’s disconcerting.

Stiles decides that losing a toe in addition to going crazy and freezing to death in the woods on a school night would just be adding insult to injury. Overkill, really. And Stiles isn’t in the mood for any cosmic humor right now.

After he sulks on the log for longer than he should, he stands back up and starts walking. Now his feet are in even more pain, and he starts limping, favoring one foot for a few steps before switching. He’s contemplating just giving up when he hears something move behind him, and freezes. If getting eaten by a mountain lion gets added to the list of Things That Have Sucked For Stiles Tonight, he’s going to just kill himself and save the universe the trouble. Wouldn’t that be an amusing twist of events?

He tries not to breathe too loudly, and he hopes that even though he’s not hiding behind a tree and standing in the middle of a clearing that whatever is stalking through the underbrush nearby just passes by him.

“Stiles?” Stiles nearly collapses in relief when he hears Derek’s voice and sees red eyes through the trees. Derek’s by his side in a flash, wolfed out and eyes scanning over him. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Went for a midnight stroll,” Stiles says sarcastically as Derek’s face shifts back to normal although his eyes remain red. “What the fuck do you think I’m doing out here? I don’t know! I just woke up in the fucking leaves and fuck, I’ve never been so glad to see you.”

“You look like shit.”

“Really, Derek? If I wasn’t so happy that I’m not going to die now, I’d punch you. Or say something really mean and witty.” Stiles takes a step but between the pain, the cold, and the relief, he gets a bit lightheaded and almost falls. Derek’s hand is immediately there to steady him. Stiles would feel embarrassed if he wasn’t so exhausted.

Derek grabs Stiles’ arm and bends down, causing Stiles to jerk away in surprise. “What are you doing?”

“Stop moving,” Derek orders as he tried to wrap his arms around Stiles’ legs. “I’m going to carry you to the car.”

“Like hell you are.” Stiles swats at Derek’s head, earning him an annoyed glare.

Derek stands up and huffs. “It’s over a mile back to the car, your feet are frozen, and you’re bleeding.”

“You are not carrying me anywhere.” Stiles crosses his arms, though he doubts it’s real threatening considering the fact he’s shivering and wearing monkey pajama pants.

“This is no time for pride.”

“This is exactly the time for pride!” Stiles exclaims. “You are not fucking carrying me like some bitch.” Derek grunts loudly and stares coldly at Stiles like it’s going to cow him into submission. Derek should know him better by now; that look doesn’t affect him anymore. Stiles rolls his eyes and makes a shooing motion. “Lead on, oh mighty Alpha.”

“Be careful not to trip over your fucking stubbornness.” Derek leads the way through the forest, walking slowly since Stiles can barely walk. If it wasn’t Derek or the principle of the whole thing, he’d gladly let Derek carry him. He almost gives in after he painfully steps on a pinecone, but he sucks it up even though Derek gives him a look like he’s a dumbass. Stiles is pretty used to that look.

After they walk for a few minutes, Derek shrugs out of his jacket and hands it to Stiles without a word. Stiles looks at it warily, and Derek shoves it towards him in exasperation. “Thanks,” Stiles mutters quietly as he slips it on. The jacket is warm from where Derek had been wearing it, and Stiles wraps it as closely around himself as he can to trap Derek’s warmth against his skin. It smells of leather and something musky, and all Derek.

When Stiles finally sees the road and the Camaro parked alongside it, he breathes out a sob and can’t be embarrassed about it. As soon as they get into the car, Derek cranks up the heat to full blast. Stiles glances at the clock and realizes it’s almost 3 a.m.

“What happened?” he asks, more gently than Stiles expects, his voice so low it barely registers above the quiet song on the radio.

“I don’t know,” Stiles responds, playing absently with the cuff of Derek’s jacket. “I just woke up out there.” He turns to Derek suddenly. “How did you find me? Why were you even out there?”

“Your dad,” Derek explains. “The whole pack’s looking for you.”

“Shit,” Stiles mutters as Derek pulls out his cell phone. He texts the pack that he found Stiles, then calls the sheriff.

“I found him,” Derek says. Stiles can’t hear what his dad is saying even though he leans closer to Derek and strains his ears. Derek pushes him away and hands Stiles the phone.

“Hey Dad,” Stiles says when he lifts the phone to his ear.

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? ARE YOU CRAZY?” his dad yells, which causes Stiles to recoil a bit in the seat. Derek keeps his eyes trained on the road, though Stiles knows that even without werewolf hearing he could have heard.

“Dad,” Stiles starts, his voice breaking slightly. For the first time since he’d awoken, he feels scared and defeated. He slumps in the seat, propping his elbow on the door and rubbing his forehead wearily. “I’m fine. And I’ll be home soon. We’ll talk then. Okay? I gotta go now.”

“Stiles – “

“See you in a few, Dad.” Stiles ends the call and stares at the phone for a moment.

“You just hung up on your dad,” Derek says. Stiles breaks out of his trance and hands the phone back to Derek. Derek’s fingers brush his lightly, and he realizes just how much warmer Derek is, and how fucking cold he is still, even with the heat up. He crosses his arms tightly across his chest.

“I don’t feel like talking to him right this second,” Stiles admits. “That probably makes me an asshole, but we’ll be to my house soon enough and I’ll probably spend the rest of the night discussing what happened.” Stiles glances out the window. “Where was I?”

“Track Rock Forest.”

Stiles whips his head around and stares at Derek in disbelief. “You’re joking. You have to be fucking joking, that’s two counties away.”

“I’m aware of that, Stiles,” Derek says slowly and anything but patient.

“How the fuck did I – “ Stiles stops when he feels his chest start constricting, his breaths coming in short, quick gasps. No, no, no, nononono. This can’t be right, he thinks. Panic trickles through his limbs, freezing his mind on the empty fear settling in his stomach.

“Stiles,” Derek says, but Stiles barely hears him through the roar in his ears. He couldn’t have walked all the way to another county – Track Rock Forest was over twenty miles away. His head becomes dizzy as his breathing hitches higher and higher. “Stiles,” Derek says again, this time louder and stronger, and then he touches Stiles’ shoulder lightly. Stiles is so surprised that he momentarily snaps out of his panic and turns towards Derek. “Calm down.”

“Calm down? Calm down?” Stiles says hysterically. “How can I calm down? There’s no way…” Stiles shakes his head, trying to gain control of his breathing.

Derek hesitates before awkwardly squeezing Stiles’ shoulder and then quickly dropping his hand. “Did you have a nightmare last night?”

Stiles tries to remember, but his brain is fuzzy. It’s like there’s something on the edges of his consciousness, but he can’t quite grab it. “Maybe? I can’t remember. I think, um, maybe I was running? But that’s not an uncommon dream for me.”

Derek is quiet for a moment. “We’ll figure it out.” Stiles stares out the window and doesn’t believe him.

*

Stiles thinks just about every light in his house is on when Derek pulls into the driveway, but he realizes the lack of cop cars is a good sign. At least his dad didn’t freak completely out.

The sheriff is out of the house before the car pulls to a stop, and Stiles notices Scott, Isaac, and Erica hovering in the front door. Stiles barely steps out of the car before the sheriff pulls him into a tight hug. Stiles lets his dad hold him tightly, because he’s home and it’s late and nowhere is safer than with his dad.

“What happened?” his dad asks, much less angry than he’d been on the phone. Derek walks around the car and leans on the hood, absently messing with the keys in his hand. “Where were you?”

“Track Rock Forest,” Derek says. The sheriff has the same look on his face that Stiles believes he had earlier. He looks between Derek and Stiles like they’re playing some colossal joke on him.

“How…what…come again?”

“We don’t know, Dad.” Stiles runs a hand through his hair, finds a twig in it, and tosses it on the ground. “All I know is that I went to sleep in my bed around twelve, and then I woke up on the ground.”

The sheriff scratches his head. “But that doesn’t make any sense.”

“I’m aware of that, Dad.” Stiles starts shifting from one foot to the other, his feet sore and freezing.

“Maybe we should take this inside,” Derek suggests as he watches Stiles’ chilly dance, and the sheriff nods like he hadn’t thought of that.

He follows his dad and Derek and asks, “How did you know I was gone?”

“I woke up and saw the front door standing wide open on my way to the kitchen.”

Stiles’ legs protest when he walks up the few steps to the front door, and Scott smiles reassuringly as he pats Stiles on the back and Erica slides her arm through Stiles’. The house is so warm, and Stiles just wants to go to bed, but everyone herds him into the living room.

“I checked upstairs,” the sheriff continues, “and you were gone. I thought you had been kidnapped, but I called Derek first, just in case.”

“Thank god you did,” Stiles mumbles as he drops onto the couch while Scott and Erica surround him protectively, Isaac hovering behind him. Erica grabs the blanket from the back of the couch and drops it into Stiles’ lap, and he wraps it around himself, pulling his feet under him in hopes that they’ll dethaw. Erica disappears into the kitchen to make him a cup of tea while his dad and Derek take the two recliners nearby.

“You don’t remember anything?” Scott asks. Stiles shakes his head for what feels like the hundredth time. Now that he’s sitting down and getting warm, he’s fading fast.

“Look, can we do this tomorrow? I’m exhausted.” Erica hands him the cup of tea, and he takes a tentative sip. It warms him slowly as he swallows.

“That’s probably a good idea.” The sheriff rubs his eyes, and Stiles notices how worried he looks. Fuck, he thinks.

“School’s gonna suck tomorrow,” Scott says as he stands up. “There’s no use in even trying to go back to sleep for just a few hours.”

“I’m not going to school tomorrow,” Stiles declares, leaving no room for his dad to argue.

“Probably a good idea,” his dad says. “You should probably go to the doctor, get checked out – “

“Dad, I’m fine. Barring I don’t lose any toes, I should be good.”

“My mom is so not going to let me skip, especially since I’m failing trig.” Scott sighs.

“I think we should go see Deaton tomorrow,” Derek says, leaning forward in the recliner, elbows on his knees. Stiles glances at him and nods. Maybe he can figure out what is going on.

Stiles walks Scott, Isaac, and Erica to the door, and talks to them for a few minutes. Derek is still in the living room, talking quietly with the sheriff. Stiles slumps against the doorframe as the other three get into Erica’s car and leave. Derek walks through the door and pauses on the porch like he’s going to say something. Instead, he just looks at Stiles for a moment before jogging down the steps to his car.

Such a weird night. He closes the door, and when he turns around, he finds his dad staring at him. “I’m not crazy,” Stiles says, though he’s not sure he believes it. He’ll make his dad believe it, though. “And I’ll be fine.”

“I know, son.” The sheriff gives him a small smile before Stiles disappears up the stairs.

He’s in his bedroom before he realizes he’s still wearing Derek’s jacket.

*

Derek doesn’t show up at Stiles’ house until well after noon, and Stiles is grateful. He’d finally gotten to sleep around 4:30, after he’d showered and scrubbed all the dirt and muck off his body. Then, he’d checked out the status of his feet and determined all toes were safe, and then covered his numerous cuts with ointment so he wouldn’t get gangrene and lose a toe that way. Because he was cold and because he couldn’t quite calm the fear still tugging at him, he had put Derek’s leather jacket back on before he crawled into bed. It was soft on his skin, and the overwhelming scent of Derek every time he inhaled comforted him. But if anyone asked, he’d never admit that he slept in Derek’s jacket. Ever.

When Stiles meets Derek at the door, he immediately hands him the jacket. “Sorry I forgot to give it to you last night.” Derek takes it and shrugs.

Inside the car, Derek asks, “How did you sleep?” Stiles is momentarily thrown before he realizes the nature of the question.

“Nightmare free. Though, I was so exhausted that I don’t think I had the energy to have nightmares.” At that moment, Stiles’ stomach growls. Derek glances at him from the corner of his eyes, and Stiles smiles sheepishly. “I haven’t eaten yet. I’d just woken up when you drove up.”

Derek takes them to a local place near the veterinarian clinic. They both order burgers, and Stiles sips his Coke absently as he stares at the various things hanging on the walls. “Did you get any sleep last night?” Stiles asks when the silence is too much.

“A little bit,” Derek answers. “I don’t need much sleep.”

“Lucky.” Stiles had ended up getting seven hours, but he still felt wrecked. “Did Isaac go to school today?”

Derek nods. “He went back to Scott’s when they left your place. I don’t care if he went to school or not. I think he went just because Scott did.” Stiles snorts. Figures. “Why haven’t you been telling us about your nightmares?”

Stiles contemplates denying it, but there’s no use now. “I didn’t think they were a big deal. I still don’t.”

Derek’s eyes widen as his eyebrows lift in disbelief. “No big deal? Stiles, you ended up in the middle of the fucking forest.”

“We don’t know that’s what – “

“It has to be connected,” Derek says, almost to himself.

“I guess Deaton will tell us.”

“How are your feet? I’m guessing that’s what was bleeding.” The waitress sits down their plates and Stiles immediately stuffs the burger into his mouth, sighing contently as he chews.

“They’re sore,” Stiles replies. “And pretty beat up. I had a lot of cuts.”

Stiles tries to figure out the look on Derek’s face as he watches Stiles across the table. After a few moments, Stiles looks away and glances out the window, trying to ignore the way his limbs and face feel under Derek’s gaze.

*

Deaton stares at Stiles for a moment after he finishes explaining everything. Stiles tries to ignore Derek’s face – a mixture of anger and disbelief and maybe worry if Stiles squints enough – when he admits to the horrific nightmares and multiple bouts of maybe-paralysis.

“Well, Stiles, you have had an interesting few weeks,” Deaton finally says when he turns away. Stiles feels relieved. Everyone has just been staring at him over the last twelve hours – okay, maybe it was just Derek and Deaton, but both of those guys could win the gold medal in staring if it was an Olympic Event. Maybe it should be an Olympic Event, because it takes years of training, self-discipline, and practice to perfect it to the art form that Derek –

“Stiles.” Derek’s voice snaps him from his inner monologue. Stiles blinks at him.

“Huh?”

Derek rolls his eyes, and from where he’s seated at his computer, Deaton says, “I think I know what’s causing this.”

“You do? Thank god.” Stiles breathes out loudly, hoping that soon his troubles will be over.

“A hag.”

“A hag? Like an ugly woman? With warts and black teeth and matted hair who talks only to cats and small children?”

“No. A hag is a malevolent spirit who sits on a person’s chest at night and feeds nightmares into their brain. That’s why you felt the paralysis and why you’ve been having nightmares.” He swivels around in his chair.

“But why did I end up in the middle of the woods?”

Deaton sighs. “That, I do not know.”

“Okay, so maybe I am just crazy,” Stiles drones. “How do I get rid of the old hag?”

“That’s the thing. The lore isn’t consistent. There are many different remedies,” Deaton explains.

Stiles stares at him without comprehension. “So, what does that mean?”

“That means you have to try them all.”

“Oh great!” Stiles exclaims sarcastically. “Instant entertainment.”

Deaton hands him a piece of paper containing a list. “Try these first. If they don’t work, we’ll try alternatives.”

Stiles glances over the list in disbelief. He belatedly notices that Derek has come up behind him and is reading the list over his shoulder, Derek’s chest pressed against his back. Stiles tries not to get too distracted by the feel of it – and that’s something he’ll have to think about later, like when he’s home alone without a six foot tall werewolf pressed against him. Because that’s a disturbing train of thought he’d like to eradicate right away.

He shakes his head and scans the list again. “Where in the hell do I get an iron toothed comb used for the preparation of flax?”

*

Stiles rolls his eyes and huffs loudly so that maybe Derek will stop his meticulous inspection of his room. When Derek ignores him, Stiles finally says, “Dude, seriously? You’ve checked and double-checked everything like five times.”

Derek ignores him and continues peering at each possible entrance into the room. “We have to cover up all holes to keep the hag out.” Derek pulls the desk chair into the middle of the room and stands on it carefully as he reaches up to cover up the vent in the ceiling. Stiles tries not to stare at the small strip of belly visible while Derek’s arms are lifted, but he can’t seem to take his eyes off the smooth, pale flesh and light dusting of hair. He really hopes Derek is so intent on finding all the openings in the room that he won’t notice the sudden rise in Stiles’ body temperature. He’s pretty sure he’s a bit flushed now.

After he finishes the vent, Derek checks the window again, then re-checks the foam put in place to cover the cracks in the door. Finally, after half an hour, Derek turns to look at Stiles, who’s still sitting on his bed watching Derek, annoyed.

“Satisfied? I mean, that bordered on OCD. No one told me werewolves have OCD. I heard somewhere vampires have OCD, but not werewolves. How can you have OCD when you run carefree through the forest and eat small rodents all the time?”

“How many times do I have to tell you I don’t eat rodents?” Derek snaps before dropping into the armchair. “I think the room is secure. I guess we’ll find out.” Stiles doesn’t say anything, because now that it is close to bedtime, he is nervous. “Are your shoes aligned correctly?”

Stiles points to the floor beside his bed. “Laces towards me, toes pointed towards the door.” He glances at the clock, then back at Derek. For some reason, he really doesn’t want Derek to leave, but he’s not sure why. And he sure isn’t going to tell Derek that. “How will we know which one of these works?” Derek shrugs. “Do I just have to sleep in a secure cell with my shoes aligned perfectly for the rest of my life? Now who’s OCD?” Stiles adds as an afterthought.

“Deaton’s working on how to get rid of the hag permanently,” Derek says, running a hand over his face. Stiles notices he looks tired. Derek had said he didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before, but Stiles thinks he may have gotten even less than that. He doesn’t like that he’s the reason Derek looks so weary. “Until then, we’ll try to keep it away from you.” Derek stands and gives the room one final sweep.

“Thanks,” Stiles says awkwardly, because it’s the polite thing to do, not because he wants to keep Derek around for a few more moments. “For, you know.” Stiles motions around the room.

Derek nods as he opens Stiles’ bedroom door. Stiles hears Derek and his father exchange a few words, and then the front door shuts and Derek drives away.

A knock sounds on the closed door a few minutes later, and his dad sticks his head in. “Everything alright?” Stiles nods as the sheriff steps into the room and studies the foam around the doorframe carefully. “Derek really thinks this will work?”

“We’re hoping.”

His dad looks at him and smiles slightly. “Should I wish you sweet dreams?”

“Who knows, maybe that’s all I need to keep the hag away.”

“You’ll let me know if anything happens, right? Any nightmares or paralysis?” His dad has on his serious face, the one he uses for crime scenes, questioning people, and lecturing Stiles.

“Of course.”

His dad stands awkwardly for a few minutes before saying goodnight and then shutting the door. Stiles can hear him on the other side, checking the make sure all the cracks are covered before he walks downstairs.

Stiles drops back onto his bed and stares at the ceiling. He knows he should be worrying about the hag, but his mind is on Derek. He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t been attracted to Derek for some time. Someone would have to be dead not to be (and even then, Stiles was pretty sure vampires, ghosts, and zombies would still want him, and not even in the brains and blood way). But lately, Stiles has been feeling something…more. Not the usual teenage hormone-induced want, but a desire to be around Derek, talk to him, touch him in a totally nonsexual way. For fuck’s sake, Stiles had wanted to hug him last night in the forest, just to feel Derek’s strong arms around him.

All day, Stiles had been hyperaware of Derek around him. The heat coming off from him in the car, the way he looked at Stiles over lunch, his body pressed against him in Deaton’s office, the ripple of muscle beneath his Henley, the way his shirt slid up a few moments ago. Maybe it was the lack of sleep making him think crazy thoughts, but Stiles knows it’s something that has been simmering at the back of his mind for a long time. It just happened to pick the most inopportune moment to come to fruition.

Stiles sighs. It doesn’t matter anyway. It’s not like Derek is remotely interested in him. He’s just a member of the pack, nothing more.

As he falls asleep, Stiles thinks of Derek and hopes his dreams are filled with his face instead of any nightmares.

*

Derek calls him first thing the next morning. The sound of the phone ringing wakes him up, and he realizes there’s still fifteen minutes before his alarm goes off.

“What are you doing up?” Stiles answers sleepily. “Don’t you ever sleep?”

“Did it work?”

“Your voice is too loud and too…you this early. How does Isaac deal with it?” Stiles rubs his eyes and hears Derek grunt on the other end of the line.

“How did you sleep?” Derek tries again.

“How sweet of you to call and ask,” Stiles mumbles. His brain hasn’t completely woken up and he knows he’s talking nonsense, but that’s what Derek gets for calling him before his alarm goes off. “I slept fine. How about you?”

“No nightmares?”

“Not that I recall, but I did just wake up. I still doubt it, though. I’ve remembered all the others as soon as I woke up.”

Derek exhales loudly. “That’s good.” He pauses, and Stiles is still too sleepy to speak into the silence. “Um, well, have a good day.”

“You too, Derek!” Stiles says enthusiastically, mainly because he wants to hear the exasperated sigh on the other end. He smiles and rolls over until his alarm goes off.

*

Stiles yawns, even though it’s only 9:30 on a Friday. Lydia taps his face gently. “Wake up, sleepyhead. The night has just begun, and I personally plan on bowling until at least midnight. I’m going to wipe the floor with all of you.” She shoots up from her seat and saunters over to the bowling ball corral, grabs her pink ball, and then executes a perfect strike.

“I thought you were sleeping better,” Scott asks. He’s leaning into Stiles, studying him like he can see beneath Stiles’ skin to the root of all his problems.

“I am,” Stiles answers. It’s mostly true. He’s still having nightmares, though he hasn’t told the pack. Nightmares he can handle. Plus, it’s been almost two weeks with no paralysis or weird somnambulistic adventures. He figures the hag-proofing of his room has worked, and there’s no need to let on that his mind hasn’t quite caught up yet. “Just a bit tired. English papers and tests. The usual.”

Scott looks satisfied, but Stiles catches Derek’s eyes. He’s looking at Stiles’ intently, his head tilted slightly and eyebrows raised just an inch. Stiles makes a face at Derek, and Derek rolls his eyes and turns away. Obviously, his lie may have fooled Scott, but he’s pretty sure Derek saw through it.

During his turn, Stiles knocks down seven pins in all. Jackson and Lydia hackle him, and he shoves Jackson’s shoulder on the way back to his seat, which is now occupied by Isaac. “Really, dude? Seat stealing? Aren’t we above this now?”

“I was tired of standing. Now you get to stand.” Isaac grins and swivels the chair around gleefully. Stiles stands at the far end of the table. He’s of course the only one standing now. There are six seats at the table, but Erica and Allison are sitting in Boyd and Scott’s laps. “You can sit in my lap, Stiles. I won’t bite.” Isaac grins, his eyes flashing gold momentarily.

“That’s okay. I’d rather stand.” Isaac, Scott, and Allison laugh, and Stiles laughs mockingly along with him because he doesn’t think it’s funny at all.

When Derek goes up to bowl, Stiles drops into his seat.

“Brave,” Allison says. “You know he’s going to be mad.”

Stiles shrugs. “Apparently, Isaac started a massive game of bowling seat turnover, so every man for himself. Scott and Boyd are cheating, by the way, by having two people per seat.” They just grin.

“Get up,” Derek growls when he returns to the table.

Stiles pretends to think about it before shaking his head. “I don’t think you earned your seat. You only knocked down five pins. That’s horrible, Derek, really. I mean, you should be able to get strikes every time just by like honing your skills or something. There’s no excuse really.” Stiles grins while Derek stares him down, trying to look menacing. He even bares his teeth, but really, his normal teeth (or even his fangs, for that matter) aren’t really that threatening anymore.

“You’re obnoxious,” Derek says, standing right beside Stiles’ seat.

“You can sit in his lap,” Erica suggests. Isaac spits soda across the table, Scott looks horrified, and Allison giggles behind her hand. Stiles just tries to keep his heart rate steady because the thought of Derek in his lap – way too many ways that could end up.

“I do have a pretty tempting lap,” Stiles finds himself saying. Derek just glares at all of them and crosses his arms as he watches Boyd bowl.

When it’s Stiles’ turn again, he glances up at Derek. “You’re going to take my seat, aren’t you?” Derek’s eyes grow wide and his eyebrows rise comically as he lands his “you’re a fucking idiot” gaze on Stiles.

“Yep.”

“I could skip my turn, take a stand, well, a seat, against your table tyranny.” Stiles folds his arms across his chest, mirroring Derek.

Derek rolls his eyes. “Take your turn, Stiles, before I do it for you.”

“What? You’re going to throw the ball for me?”

“No, I’m going to throw you down the lane.”

“You wouldn’t hit any pins, not the rate you’re going tonight.” Stiles grins while Derek glares at him. Then, he finally gets up and Derek immediately sits down. “Cheater.”

“You’re the one who stole it in the first place.”

After Stiles throws a strike, he returns to the table. “Can I have my seat back?”

“Don’t you mean my seat?” Derek asks, eyebrow cocked.

“You could sit in Derek’s lap instead,” Erica suggests again. Everyone laughs, and Stiles makes a move, just to get on Derek’s nerves.

“Don’t even think about it,” Derek snaps, “unless you’d like to lose a limb.”

“So violent,” Stiles mutters as he pushes Derek’s shoulder affectionately. Derek tries to look annoyed, but Stiles thinks he doesn’t mind that much, so he swipes Derek’s soda and takes a sip from it.

Stiles steals the seat again when it’s Derek’s turn, and when he’s through, Derek just stands beside Stiles and picks up his cup, which Stiles has been nursing for the last fifteen minutes. When the cup is empty, Derek buys them another one, and after Derek takes a sip, Stiles is pretty sure he pushes the cup in Stiles’ direction.

*

Another week passes nightmare free. Stiles is still sleeping with the foam around the doors and his shoes positioned just right, but he’s starting to feel like himself again.

It’s Friday night, and he decides to go practice lacrosse with Scott. They haven’t hung out much lately, and the playoffs are coming up. It’s their senior year – they have to win. Stiles has improved quite a bit since his sophomore year, and even with Scott’s werewolf abilities, Stiles can get in a few decent passes.

When Scott blocks the ball before it enters the goal, Stiles feels a rage like he has never felt before. “What the fuck was that?” he yells as he charges Scott. Scott watches wide-eyed as Stiles jumps through the air and leaps onto him, knocking him down. Stiles rears back and punches Scott’s face a few times, his knuckles bruised and bloody when he stops. Then, in his fury, Stiles lifts his lacrosse stick and impales it into Scott’s chest. Scott cries out and gurgles, blood oozing around the crosse and out of his mouth.

Stiles jerks awake, and a moment later his dad flings open the door, gun raised. “Stiles! You alright?”

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Stiles yells, furious. His dad stares at him wide-eyed, and Stiles is so angry that his hands are shaking. He clenches his fist, but then seems to dissociate from the dream and stares at his dad guiltily. “I mean, I’m fine, Dad, sheesh. You can stop trying to scare my room now.” His heart is pounding in his chest. His body feels weird and his limbs are tingling. He’s absolutely terrified and looks on the floor just the make sure there isn’t a Scott-ka-bob lying there.

His dad glances around warily before lowering the gun and crossing the room. “You were screaming.”

“I was?” Stiles runs a hand over his face. “It was a nightmare.”

“I thought they were gone,” the sheriff says. He bends down to check Stiles’ shoes like they had mysteriously moved and let the nightmare in.

“Me, too.” Stiles glances at the clock and sees it’s a little after one. “Go get some sleep, Dad. You have work tomorrow.”

“Are you sure, son? You seemed pretty angry when I came in here. I can sit up with you and – “

Stiles shakes his head. “No need. I’m fine. Probably just a fluke.” The sheriff hesitates before nodding and leaving the room, closing the door securely behind him.

Stiles is reaching for his TV remote when he notices his hand. His knuckles are bruised and bleeding. Just like in this dream.

He tries not to think about it too hard as he throws on a sweatshirt and stuffs his feet into his shoes.

*

Stiles isn’t surprised that Derek is awake when he knocks on the door. Derek, however, is extremely surprised to see Stiles. Especially since he’s wearing pajama pants and hasn’t even combed his hair.

“What’s wrong?” Derek asks as he steps aside to let Stiles into the loft. Stiles rushes past him and into the kitchen. He’s hungry, and he knows Isaac keeps junk food around. He finds a bag of Doritos and drops onto a stool, still clutching the bag.

“What’s going on?” Isaac rushes into the kitchen, eyes shining gold. “Stiles, what’s wrong?”

Stiles lifts his hand, which is still bloody. “I had another nightmare, and I woke up with this.” Derek and Isaac both step close to inspect Stiles’ hand. “I don’t know whose blood it is,” Stiles says, trying to keep his voice calm.

“It’s yours,” Derek states, and Isaac nods in agreement. Stiles lets out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding and slumps on the stool. He sets the bag of Doritos down and pushes them away. He’s suddenly queasy. “What did you dream?”

Stiles relates the dream to them, albeit a bit guiltily since he murdered his best friend in it. “My hand looks exactly like it did in the dream,” Stiles says, cleaning the blood with the wet paper towel Isaac handed him. “But I never left my bed. I didn’t punch Scott. But it felt so real, like I had actually done it. I woke up feeling the rage, and my arms were aching. I yelled at my father for fuck’s sake.”

Derek sits on the stool beside Stiles and stares at the island counter for awhile, deep in thought. Isaac grabs the bag of Doritos and starts eating. He offers the bag to Stiles, but he declines, not hungry anymore. Peter steps into the kitchen and eyes them all. “Slumber party?”

“Stiles had another dream,” Isaac says with his mouth full. Peter frowns, his brow furrowing, before he disappears. Stiles shakes his head and realizes that dude is still weird as fuck.

“You must have broken the seals on your bedroom,” Derek finally says. “Did you get up to pee at all after you closed your door for the night?”

“Ew, Derek, getting a bit personal here. But no. I didn’t. My dad even checked my shoes, and they were still in the same position.”

“This doesn’t make any sense,” Derek mutters.

“Maybe it just left you alone for a couple of weeks, but now it’s back,” Isaac suggests. “Like after the forest thing it had something else to go do.”

Stiles yells in frustration and bangs his head on the island repeatedly. Derek puts his hand under Stiles’ forehead to either make sure he doesn’t get a concussion or break his counter. Stiles lets his head lay on Derek’s hand, and Derek doesn’t move it.

“What now?” Stiles asks miserably, head still down.

“We keep trying things on Deaton’s list,” Derek says, gently lifting Stiles back into an upright position.

“You do realize the things on that list keep getting weirder and weirder,” Stiles says. Derek nods, and Stiles wonders how much more humiliating this can all get.

*
It took Derek by surprise, the overwhelming sense of Stiles that hit him when he slipped on his jacket. Derek opened it and leaned down, sniffing the liner. It smelled like Stiles, like he’d wrapped it around himself and somehow buried himself inside the fabric. When he caught a faint trace of Stiles’ soap instead of dirt, Derek realized that Stiles must have slept in his jacket.

Something about that image made Derek’s chest tighten. It was easier when this was one-sided, when Stiles was just an overly horny teenager flirting. But sleeping in his jacket, that was something completely different. Something Derek didn’t want to entertain.

Derek wanted to find the hag. He wanted to find the hag and destroy her, rip her apart from limb to limb, with his teeth. He didn’t like being out of control, unable to protect his pack – to protect Stiles. The night he found out about Stiles’ nightmares, he surprised Isaac in his bedroom. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he growled, too angry about everything.

Isaac shrugged like it was no big deal. “I didn’t know Stiles had been having nightmares.”

“No, about the night in the forest.”

Isaac ran a hand through his curls. “It wasn’t anything, really. Stiles was screaming, not moving on the ground. Then he woke up all weirded out – weirder than usual – and that was that.” He shrugged again. “Nothing to tell.”

“Isaac, I need to know these things! What if – “

“You need to know them because you’re the Alpha, or because it happened to Stiles?” Isaac cocked an eyebrow, disturbingly similar to Derek, and Derek wanted to punch him. Isaac grinned.

“You’re an asshole,” Derek snapped before leaving Isaac’s room.

“I love you, too, Derek,” Isaac called after him as he pelted Derek with a pen.

Derek watched over the other members of the pack in case something happened to them, too. He trailed after Boyd and Erica, stopped by Scott’s house, checked on Jackson, and stood outside Isaac’s bedroom to make sure he was sleeping. But they seemed okay, didn’t complain of nightmares, didn’t wake up god knows where.

Leave it up to Stiles to get haunted by a hag, to end up two counties away where Derek couldn’t get to him easily.

The night they hag-proofed Stiles’ room, Derek parked his car down the street and watched Stiles’ darkened bedroom window, just in case.

Chapter Text

Saturday, he realizes just how much more humiliating things could get. “Fuck no,” Stiles says, shaking his head adamantly for effect.

“It’s a great idea,” Erica exclaims.

“I don’t know how a puppy pile will fix anything,” Stiles says. “I don’t think that sleeping alone is the problem.”

“It could be,” Allison points out. Stiles glares at her, because she’s supposed to be on his side. Human solidarity and all that. “Maybe if we’re around, the hag won’t have a chance to attack you.”

“So, what? We’re all going to sleep together for the rest of my life?”

“Sounds like fun.” Erica grins lasciviously. Stiles rolls his eyes.

“Look at it this way,” Scott says, “if we’re all together, someone will see what actually happens while you sleep.”

“This is not a good idea,” Stiles says again. He glances over at Derek, who is sitting in a chair in the far corner of the living room. Derek had been quiet during all this, which wasn’t that unusual except Derek usually never missed an opportunity to tell them all what he thinks they should do. He’d stayed out of this one. Stiles pleads with Derek with his eyes, knowing that if anyone would talk sense into his friends, it was Derek.

“I think they have a point, Stiles,” Derek says finally. Stiles glares at him, the furry traitor.

“You’re supposed to be on my side!” Stiles whines, though when he thinks about it, Derek has rarely been on his side, so why would he be now? Stiles just wants Derek on his side. But that has more to do with Stiles’ stupid feelings for the obnoxious werewolf than any nightmares.

“I want you safe.” The way Derek looks at him when he says it goes straight to Stiles’ core, twisting in a way that makes him feel confused and excited at the same time. Stiles finally has to look away when he realizes that he and Derek have been staring at each other for longer than was normal. When he catches Scott’s eyes, he sees that it didn’t go unnoticed by the others either. Dammit.

“Fine. Hey Peter!” Stiles shouts at Peter, who’s in the other room on the computer, “we’re having that slumber party tonight that you mentioned. You better bring the nail polish!”

*

It isn’t as horrible as Stiles expected. If Stiles ignored the reason that they were all there, it was actually pretty fun.

Jackson thought it’d be funny to rent a whole stack of bad B-horror films. “Now we’ll all have nightmares,” Allison says. Jackson smirks and replies, “We’ll be showing our support.” Stiles rolls his eyes. Jackson didn’t want to show any support; Jackson was just an ass.

Stiles gets to choose dinner, so they get take out from his favorite Chinese restaurant. Stiles’ stomach growls in anticipation the moment Boyd and Erica enter the loft with massive bags of lo mein, pepper steak, chicken teriyaki, and fried rice. And since it was Stiles’ party (of sorts), he stacks four spring rolls on his plate before the werewolves can devour them. They sit around watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! while they eat.

“This is so lame,” Jackson mutters through the entirety of Wheel of Fortune, to the point that Stiles, Scott, Isaac, and Boyd are pelting snow peas and miniature corn at his head. They make that into a game, too.

“Five points if you hit him,” Scott says.

“Ten points if it gets stuck in his hair,” Boyd says.

“Bonus throw if you pelt his ear or shoulder,” Stiles says.

“I think you should get something if you skim the spikes of hair sticking up in the front,” Isaac says. The others nod in agreement.

“You know I can hear you, douchwads!” Jackson says, turning around and chunking a duck sauce packet so hard it leaves a mark on Isaac’s cheek.

“I hope you’re all aware you will be cleaning my floor,” Derek snaps from his chair.

“Yes, Dad,” they all chime in unison.

Allison gets most of the puzzles correct on Wheel of Fortune, but surprisingly Derek answers the bonus round before any of them have a chance to look at it. They all stare at him in surprise, and he just shrugs.

Stiles and Lydia compete during Jeopardy!, while Peter answers almost as much as they do with the others piping up here and there.

“This city – the capital of Burkino Faso – is best known – “

“Ouagadougou,” Scott answers suddenly. Everyone turns and stares at him in surprise. “What?”

“That was impressive,” Allison says as she kisses his cheek.

“How the fuck did you know that?” Stiles asks.

“Hey!” Scott huffs, offended. “I know stuff.”

“Yeah, but not that stuff.” Stiles points to the TV. “I’m surprised you can even pronounce it.”

This time, Stiles gets a duck sauce packet in the face, though Scott didn’t put much heft behind hit. “I did a project on it earlier this year, okay? Satisfied?”

“I’m winning now,” Lydia says triumphantly as Stiles turns to her.

“It doesn’t count if I’m not paying attention.”

“Yes, it does. Your loss.” She smirks and Stiles gently tosses the same packet at her.

Later, while they’re watching one of the movies, Erica begs Stiles to let her do his hair. “Please? It’ll be like a real slumber party.”

“It’s not a real slumber party,” Stiles replies as Boyd shouts, “That stupid bitch is gonna get killed. Who goes outside in her underwear when there’re zombies running around?”

“Please????” Erica begs, batting her big eyes at him. He rolls his eyes and relents. Somehow, Allison and Lydia con Scott and Isaac into it, too. Jackson had said, “Fuck no, I’m not some fucking girl,” when Lydia had asked him, which started a short, yet heated, argument between the two. Scott agreed as soon as Allison asked him, and since Scott and Stiles were doing it, Isaac was an easy sell for Lydia.

That’s how Stiles ends up on the floor in front of the couch beside Scott and Isaac, while the girls sit above them on the couch. Stiles thinks Erica is braiding his hair, but he can’t be certain. He’s just letting her do whatever she wants, and honestly, he doesn’t mind the feel of her fingers in his hair. It’s comforting.

“Dude, did you see that?” Jackson yells, hitting Boyd on the arm and pointing to the TV. “He ripped off her tit!”

“Bitch deserved it,” Boyd says. “She shouldn’t have cheated on Rob. Who does that to a guy in the zombie apocalypse?”

Stiles leans over to Scott and says, “They are way too into this movie.”

“Let them have their fun.”

“But dude, the movie is terrible.”

“That shit you like isn’t any better,” Jackson yells. “Who the fuck would want to watch Lord of the Rings or Star Wars anyway?”

“Um, everybody,” Stiles says. “Or, I guess I should say, people who matter and people with good taste in movies.” Jackson reaches behind him and flicks Stiles off.

“Ooh, I like that Lydia,” Allison says. Stiles leans forward so he can peer around Scott at Isaac. Lydia has done something to his hair that makes it even curlier than usual.

“Dude, you look like a fucking poodle.” Stiles starts snickering, and Scott joins him.

“Well, at least I don’t look like a five year old going to kindergarten,” Isaac retorts. Stiles reaches up and touches his hair and feels the short strands divided into braided sections and some topped with what feels like barrettes.

“Really Erica?” Stiles starts to pull one of them out, but Erica slaps his hand. “Why couldn’t you do something normal to my hair like Scott or Isaac?”

“Please. Allison’s just using this as an excuse to rub all over Scott’s head, and Lydia has no vision. Though Isaac does look like a poodle.” Lydia starts protesting, but Erica continues. “Besides, you aren’t normal, so why should I do anything of the sort?”

“I hate you,” Stiles says, but it lacks any heat and Erica knows it. She leans down and presses a large kiss to his cheek. Boyd turns around and snaps a picture of them much to the girls’ delight, but Stiles is pretty sure he’s going to go and delete it if he can just figure out how to get the camera away from Boyd later.

Scott and Isaac remain seated while Stiles gets up to go to the bathroom. When he’s finished, he slips outside onto the back deck. He’s thankful his friends are so great, but he needs a minute alone. He’s starting to feel a bit suffocated.

The night is cool, but Stiles can feel spring in the air. He inhales and leans his elbows against the railing. He hears the muffled sounds of voices inside and smiles to himself. A few minutes later, the door opens and closes, and then Derek leans on the railing beside him.

“You okay?” he asks.

“Yeah, why?” Stiles turns to look at him, Derek’s face softer in the shadows.

Derek shrugs. “You’re just out here alone while all your friends are inside.”

“You’re out here,” Stiles points out.

“Your friends are still inside.”

Stiles wants to tell him that they’re friends, that he thinks of Derek as so, so much more. Instead, Stiles says, “I needed a moment of peace.”

“You look ridiculous,” Derek says, mouth twitching slightly. Stiles reaches up to the braids he’d momentarily forgotten about.

“Erica,” he mutters as he starts undoing them, slipping the barrettes into his pocket. When he finishes, he rubs his hair and asks, “Better?”

Derek steps closer and reaches for something Stiles can’t see. What Stiles can see, however, is Derek’s strong jaw, the stubble lining his cheeks, a hint of chest where his t-shirt scoops down in the front. Stiles hopes that Derek can’t feel too much of the arousal and desire oozing off of him, or just chalks it up to Stiles being Stiles. Derek’s fingers slowly unbraid the remaining section of hair Stiles had missed, and Stiles closes his eyes and ignores the shudder that passes through his body at the feel of Derek’s fingers in his hair. Derek’s fingers linger for a moment on Stiles’ scalp, and Stiles instinctively leans into the touch before Derek pulls away. Derek leans on the railing again.

Stiles takes a moment to collect himself before rejoining Derek. “Where have you been the last few hours? You probably would have liked the zombie movie, but only for how terrible it actually was. Actually, Jackson and Boyd’s commentary may have been the best part. They pretty much MST-ed it the entire time.”

Derek chuckles quietly, almost so quiet that Stiles didn’t catch it. It fills Stiles with a warmth it shouldn’t. “We used to do that, me and my siblings. Laura especially loved to make fun of movies.” Derek’s voice is barely above a whisper, and Stiles wonders if he was supposed to hear it at all. Stiles doesn’t know how to respond, but he’s saved from having to when Derek seems to snap from his reverie and glance over at Stiles. “I’ve been upstairs. Didn’t think you’d want me around supervising.”

“Dude, is that what you think?” Stiles shakes his head. “We always want you around. Or,” Stiles swallows, visualizes the consequences of each choice he could say, and decides to throw caution to the wind, “at least, I want you around.” Derek tilts his head slightly, stares at Stiles with those eyes, and Stiles adds lightly, “because it’s my party and I can do what I want. And everyone is invited. No one is excluded from the Hag-o-rama sleepover.” He grins, hoping it masks some of what he said.

Derek watches him for a moment, but then turns his eyes out into the backyard. Stiles isn’t sure where this conversation has gone or where it’s going. He feels like he’s driving off the road and gripping to keep the wheel straight. Maybe, he thinks wryly, I’ll wake up and this will all be a dream.

“I think Erica wants to play spin the bottle next,” Stiles blurts out in an attempt to steer the conversation in a different direction, and he realizes that he hasn’t done a very good job. “Which I personally think will just be awkward. I mean, you’ve got Scott and Allison, Lydia and Jackson, and Boyd and Erica, and it’s just weird to kiss another guy’s girlfriend. So that leaves me and Isaac, and I’m not so sure about that, and then there’s – “ Stiles stops himself before he says you, because Derek is looking at him strangely. Stiles can’t tell if it’s amusement, irritation, or jealousy. “There might be some truth or dare in there, too, but I’m not sure we can all be trusted together. It might turn too interesting.” Stiles’ face is burning now, and he knows that Derek is able to tell there’s at least something going on underneath him. “Or we can just stand out here and stare at each other. That’s cool, too.”

Derek leans close to Stiles, faces mere inches apart, and Stiles inhales suddenly, his lips parted. This is it, he thinks. Derek’s going to kiss me. Stiles waits patiently, never taking his eyes from Derek, who looks like he’s trying to solve the mystery of life or something.

And then Derek pulls away and walks back into the house, leaving Stiles feeling empty and confused.

*

Erica pushes the coffee table out of the way and makes a big pallet on the floor. She tells Stiles to lay right in the middle so the pack can surround him.

“This is a stupid idea,” he says for the billionth time. But he lies down anyway, because three irritated werewolves are staring at him with gold eyes. “Way to abuse your powers. Derek,” Stiles shouts, because Derek is somewhere else in the loft, “You’ve taught your betas bad habits.”

“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek yells back. Stiles has to hide his grin.

Stiles ends up sandwiched between Isaac and Scott, Erica laying crossways at his head with Boyd behind her, and Jackson at his feet. Lydia and Allison are snuggled with Jackson and Scott, so Stiles looks at Isaac and deadpans, “We can snuggle, too, if you want.” Isaac laughs and shoves Stiles playfully, sending him into Scott, causing Scott to groan.

Stiles hears the sound of a camera snap, and he raises up to see Peter holding a digital camera. “You know that’s creepy on so many levels?” Stiles asks.

“Derek!” Peter calls. “You’ve got to come see this. The pups are so cute.”

Derek’s footsteps fall heavily on the winding staircase, and he leans over the railing. He actually smiles, then pulls his phone out of his pocket. Erica, Isaac, and Scott pose for the camera, and Stiles thinks what the hell. Scott and Isaac put their heads on his shoulders, Erica rests her chin on his head, and even Jackson moves so he’s half lying on Stiles’ legs as Derek snaps the picture.

“I hate you!” Stiles yells.

“No, you don’t!” Derek responds as he starts up the stairs.

“Wait!” Derek halts on the stairs and cranes his head over his shoulder. “Where are you going?”

“Um, to bed?”

“Not upstairs you’re not.” Stiles sits up and shakes his head. He points to the empty space on the other side of Isaac. “If I have to endure this, so do you,” Stiles says like that argument has any validity. Derek just glares, and Stiles rolls his eyes. “Come on, mighty Alpha. Join your pack for some bonding time.”

“Yeah, come on, Derek!” Erica and Isaac yell. Now the whole packs starts in on him until Derek growls and stomps down the stairs and over to the pallet. Stiles tries not to pay too much attention to the thin navy pajama pants clinging to Derek in all the right places. Getting aroused in a pile of werewolves is probably not the best idea. Instead, Stiles focuses on Derek’s arms and chest in his wife beater, but that’s also a bad idea. Maybe he should just not look at Derek at all.

Derek finally settles beside Isaac after much grumbling, and Peter watches them in amusement and takes a few more pictures before leaving. But the damage had been done. Lydia and Allison have gotten their phones out of their purses and are snapping pictures of everyone and taking video, and it’s fifteen minutes before everyone decides they have enough pictures to fill twelve albums. Stiles wants to be mad, but if he’s honest, he feels pretty safe and happy surrounded by the pack. It feels secure and comfortable with Scott’s butt pushed against his side because he’s laying facing Allison, and Isaac’s arms and legs against his other side. In a completely platonic way, of course. The only werewolf he actually wants to be cuddling with in anything other than a brotherly kind of way is on the other side of Isaac, and he’s trying really hard not to think about that now.

“Are your arms and legs crossed?” Scott asks.

“Yep.”

“Did someone put the broom by the door?” Boyd asks. Lydia says she did.

“Did you say the chant?” Derek asks.

“Ugh, do I have to?” Stiles whines.

“Yes!” they all yell in unison. Stiles uncrosses his arms and recites to himself the chant Deaton wrote down for him. “Out loud,” Derek demands.

“Really? It’s so humiliating,” Stiles mumbles.

“Stiles,” Derek growls, so he rolls his eyes and starts.

I lay me here to sleep;
No night-mare shall plague me,
Until they swim all the waters
That flow upon the earth,
And count all the stars
That appear in the firmament!
Thus help me.

“Beautiful, Stilinski,” Jackson drawls. “Now, can you shut the fuck up so I can go to sleep?” Stiles kicks him in what he’s pretty sure is his arm. He shoves Stiles’ foot back.

The pack has been quiet for awhile before Isaac gets up. “I’ve got to pee,” he mutters, and a collective groan arises from the others.

“That’s my hand,” Jackson snaps at the same time Lydia says, “Watch my hair!”

Stiles is painfully aware that there is no space between him and Derek now. He stares at the ceiling, trying to decide whether to look over at Derek or not. Finally, he risks it and sees Derek watching him. His first instinct is to look away, but Derek holds his gaze. Stiles smiles slightly, and he’s pretty sure a small smile tugs at Derek’s mouth. Isaac comes back into the room again, and they both quickly look away.

Stiles tries to go to sleep, but he’s wired. Maybe it was all the Mountain Dew, maybe his dose of Adderall, maybe it’s the way Derek looked at him. Whatever it is, he wishes it would settle so he can sleep. He can hear Isaac’s heavy breathing beside him; he’d known the moment Isaac fell asleep because he’d snuggled close against Stiles. Someone is snoring softly behind him, and he thinks it’s Boyd, and he can hear Jackson mumbling in his sleep. At some point, he hears Allison giggle and Scott ssh her, and he tries to ignore whatever it is that they’re doing beside him.

Finally, after about an hour, he drifts off.

*

He wakes up and realizes two things. It’s still dark, and he’s curled against Isaac’s chest, and Isaac’s arms are around him. Odd, he thinks, but hey, whatever. Puppy pile and bromances and all that. Stiles lifts up to look at the clock across the room. A little before four. He looks down and realizes with a jolt that it’s not Isaac with his arms around him, it’s Derek.

Derek is sound asleep, his face slack, his mouth slightly open. His head was angled towards where Stiles’ had been, and when Stiles moves, Derek’s arms instinctively tighten. Carefully so as not to wake Derek, Stiles looks behind him and sees Allison pressed between Isaac and Scott, all three of them wrapped around one another. And that’s something his brain is too tired to contemplate.

Stiles considers moving away from Derek, but he glances down at him again, sees the way his hand is resting lightly on Stiles’ leg, and realizes there’s nothing in the world that can pry him from this spot. As gently as he can, he snuggles back against Derek, and as soon as he’s settled, Derek’s arms shift and he nuzzles his face into Stiles’ hair. Stiles stills for a moment, his heart beating in his throat because he’s terrified Derek will wake, but Derek’s breathing remains steady and constant. Stiles settles against him, his face resting on his chest, the soothing thump of Derek’s heartbeat under his ear.

*

Stiles is tied to a chair, the rope digging into his wrists and ankles. He struggles to get free, but his movements just cause the ropes to tighten. He feels the burn against his skin, can feel the rough fibers digging into raw flesh. He tries to cry out, but he’s been gagged.

In a panic, his eyes dart around, looking for anything. He’s in an empty warehouse, windows high up and some broken. There’s a door in the far corner. He struggles against his restraints again, which grow tighter and tighter until Stiles is sure his bones will shatter from the pressure.

A face appears in his vision. It’s blurry, and he tries to make out the features so he can tell Derek – if he ever gets back to Derek – but all he can see is the faint outline of stringy black hair and green eyes.

Stiles screams against the gag, trying to get as much volume as he can. The ropes go even tighter, and then Stiles is screaming in pain. One of his ankles shatters and his right shoulder pulls out of joint. The pain is so severe he can’t see straight, and he’s afraid he’s going to vomit with the gag in his mouth and choke to death.

The green eyes cackle and kick his chair over, and Stiles passes out from the pain.

*

Stiles jerks awake and reaches out for Derek. But the only thing he touches is cold concrete. Immediately, he sits up, the world swaying a bit as he looks around him. He’s in an empty warehouse, just like the one in his dream. He checks his shoulder and ankle, both still in tact, but he has rope burns on his wrists and ankles.

The sun is up outside the windows. Stiles gets to his feet (barefoot again unfortunately, but at least this time he has on a t-shirt) and walks to the door. He’s cold to the bone, which means he’s been lying there for quite some time. The door opens with some force, and Stiles sees that he’s in an abandoned warehouse in some shady looking industrial district. He doesn’t recognize it from Beacon Hills, but last time this happened, he ended up two counties away, so there is no telling where he is this time.

He sits down on the stoop to think and tries to stave off a panic attack. If falling asleep in a room full of werewolves won’t save him from this hag, he’s not sure anything will. His breathing threatens to overwhelm him, but he concentrates on it, inhaling and exhaling slowly. A few minutes pass and Stiles decides he’s okay enough to get out of here.

He scans the area around him, looking for anything – clues, people, cars, phones. But there’s nothing except buildings that look like really good settings for those movies Jackson and Boyd were watching last night. Hesitantly, Stiles walks down the road, keeping his eyes trained on the broken pavement to avoid broken glass, needles, or hepatitis. Unlike his werewolf buddies, he can’t miraculously heal.

The industrial park opens up into a rundown neighborhood. Stiles is more terrified than he’d been in the forest, mainly because he’s afraid someone will shoot or attack him. After half an hour, he’s freezing, his feet are sore and numb (again), but relief washes over him when he sees a gas station. It’s run down and also looks like the setting for a B-list horror movie from the 1970s, but Stiles isn’t looking a gift horse in the mouth.

The attendant looks nervous and eyes him warily when he enters. “Can I use your phone?” Stiles asks. The man doesn’t answer, just shakes his head no. “Please?” The man looks like he’s reaching for something, so Stiles darts out of the store before he finds out what.

He sees an old payphone and wonders if it even still works. When he picks it up and hears a dial tone, he almost sobs. He doesn’t have any change and hopes that calling collect still works. He follows the instructions, his brain thinking back to urban legends about needles in telephones, and tries not to think about what germs could be on the payphone. He collect calls Derek’s cell, hoping it’ll work.

“Stiles? Is that you?”

“Oh thank god, Derek,” Stiles says in a rush. “I don’t know where I am. I think it’s the set for a horror movie, and I’m not a busty blonde main star, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get hacked by an axe any minute.”

Derek sighs in frustration. “Can you tell me anything?”

“Um, I passed the junction of Wildwood Drive and McArthur Street a few blocks back. I’d describe something, but gray and run down and menacing covers just about everything.”

“Isaac, chart that,” Derek says, and then he hears Isaac’s muffled reply. “Where are you now?” Derek asks.

“Um, outside a gas station? There’s a mechanics next door, a bail bond place across the street, and what I think used to be a Chinese restaurant on the other side. I think the guy in the gas station is the villain in this movie. He wouldn’t let me use his phone, and I think he was reaching for an axe. Or maybe I’m the villain. I am the one in pajamas and barefoot with rope burns.”

“Rope burns?” Derek asks sharply.

“Yeah, I don’t know. Woke up with them.” Stiles hears Isaac’s voice again.

“You’re in Oakhurst,” Derek tells him. Stiles thinks that at least it’s closer than Track Rock Forest had been. “Scott and Allison are close by. I’ll send them – “

“No!” Stiles interjects without realizing it. Derek is silent on the other end. “I,” Stiles starts, but he’s not sure what to say.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

*

Stiles doesn’t know how long he sits on the sidewalk of the abandoned Chinese restaurant. It’s at least half an hour. He tries to look inconspicuous, but an eighteen year old kid sitting at an abandoned building in the middle of the bad part of town? Not necessarily a good thing. However, no one bothers him, so thank god for small miracles, right?

The Camaro speeds into the parking lot, tires squealing as it turns off the main road. Stiles sighs in relief when Derek shoves it into park and gets out of the car. He doesn’t notice Isaac saying something, but crosses directly to Derek, who’s coming around the car towards him. Without thinking, Stiles throws his arms around Derek and buries his face against his shoulder, trembling. Derek just holds him without moving while Stiles fists his shirt.

When Stiles finally pulls away, he can’t look at Derek and instead looks at Isaac. Isaac is looking at him knowingly, and Stiles doesn’t have enough energy to care.

Stiles walks over to the passenger side and gets into the front seat after Isaac climbs into the back. When Derek gets into the driver’s seat, he has already shucked his jacket and is handing it to Stiles. Stiles puts it on gratefully and wraps it close, dropping his chin slightly to inhale.

“Are you okay?” Derek asks.

“I’m fine. Just cold.” Derek turns the heater up like the last time, and Stiles holds his hands palm first against the stream of heat.

Derek’s eyes scan the area, stopping on the gas station next door. “Is that the gas station? The one that wouldn’t let you use their phone?” Stiles notices Derek’s hands gripping the steering wheel, his jaw clenched so tight it might shatter, and his eyes bleed red.

Stiles places a hand on Derek’s arm, his skin searing against Stiles’ frozen hands. Derek jerks his head and glares at him with furious red eyes. “It’s not worth it. I just want to go home.” Derek appears to be debating it, but finally, he nods curtly and drives the Camaro out of the parking lot too fast.

“Why didn’t you call 911?” Isaac asks.

Stiles’ face pulls in concentration when he realizes that the thought had never even crossed his mind. The only thing that had been on his mind was calling Derek.

“I wasn’t hurt,” Stiles lies, though he knows they’ll know. “Plus, I didn’t want to get my father involved.” That’s the truth. “He doesn’t need to know about this,” Stiles says quietly as he looks out the window. “He’s got enough to worry about.” Stiles glances over his shoulder and doesn’t miss that Derek’s eyes are still red.

*

Derek takes Stiles back to the loft, where the pack is waiting anxiously for him. Scott pulls him into a hug as soon as he steps across the threshold. “Dude, we’ve been looking for you for hours!” Scott exclaims as Lydia, Allison, and Erica clutch and kiss and fuss over him until Stiles pushes them away. “We woke up and you were gone, and Derek flipped his shit,” Stiles flicks his eyes to Derek, who’s looking at anything but Stiles, “and we split up to look for you.”

Erica brews him a cup of tea like the last time, and Derek makes him sit on the couch so he can explain everything. So, Stiles ends up sandwiched between Scott and Erica again, and Stiles thinks they are taking the whole protective thing just a bit far. It’s not like the hag is going to do anything to him now in the middle of the day. Not to mention that she had all her fun with him last night.

Stiles tells them what he remembers: waking up still on the floor in the loft around four, the dream, the pain, then waking up with the rope burns. Derek comes over and sits on the edge of the coffee table as he examines the rope burns, the rest of the pack squeezing around him and inspecting both wrists and ankles.

When Scott and Allison have pulled his wrist one way, Jackson and Lydia pulled his leg another, Boyd and Isaac have grabbed his other leg while Erica was studying the wrist Derek is holding, Stiles exclaims, “Okay, seriously, stop! I’d prefer not to get quartered by a bunch of werewolves today. You’re about to pull my limbs out of joint.”

They let go of Stiles, all except Derek who is still looking intently at the rope burns. “These look real,” he mutters. “How is that possible?”

“Maybe that’s how the hag is transporting him,” Boyd suggests. “Tying him up?”

Derek shakes his head. “He’d still be bound when he woke up.”

“A spell from a witch?” Scott asks.

“Oh great. A witch and a hag. If only I was so lucky,” Stiles mutters, wrapping his free arm closer around himself. He’s suddenly aware he’s still in Derek’s jacket, and the thought comforts him, and that thought unsettles him. Scott tries to ask an unspoken question with his expression when he feels Stiles’ bouncing emotions. Stiles just sighs and gives him a resigned smile.

“It’s not a witch,” Derek says, finally letting go of Stiles’ wrist. “I’ll call Deaton, and we can do some research.”

“First, I’m going to go home and go to sleep. I’m exhausted,” Stiles says, fighting to keep his eyes open.

*

Stiles manages to hide the events from his dad, and when he asks why Stiles was going back to bed, Stiles makes up a story about staying up too late with the pack. His dad believes it easily, and Stiles sleeps for most of the day. He wakes up around six p.m. He showers and makes sure to wear one of his plaid shirts with the longer sleeves to cover up the rope burns. The last thing he wants his dad to see is his beat up wrists. He’d made up some lie about a minor scuffle with some supernatural baddies to explain his busted knuckles from that other dream when his dad had caught sight of them. After he eats dinner with his dad, he settles on the couch. His dad stretches out in the recliner with a beer and loads up their back log of The Voice.

They’re halfway through an episode when the doorbell rings. They look at one another, unused to visitors. Stiles checks his phone as his dad walks to the door just to make sure he didn’t miss a text from the pack.

“Derek! Come in,” Stiles hears the sheriff say, and Stiles turns around quickly and looks over the back of the couch as Derek steps across the threshold. “What brings you by, son?”

“Checking on Stiles,” Derek says, and Stiles starts waving his arms around wildly in the international PLEASE STOP FUCKING TALKING gesture. Well, international to everyone but Derek, of course.

His dad turns around, and Stiles acts like he’s swatting at a fly as his dad studies him with narrowed eyes. Stiles tries to look innocent. “Stiles, did you forget to tell me something?”

“Um,” Stiles scrunches his face like he’s thinking, “well, Dad, technically, there are a lot of things I’ve forgotten to tell you. Like, Erica put barrettes in my hair last night, and Boyd likes bad zombie movies, and – “

“Stiles,” his dad sighs, running a hand through his hair. He turns to Derek. “Maybe you can tell me what’s going on?”

Derek glances at Stiles over the sheriff’s shoulder, and Stiles is pleading with his eyes, trying to communicate with him via Derek language, ie eyebrows and eye widening. Derek just looks at him like he’s an idiot.

“Stiles had a nightmare last night,” Derek explains, and Stiles braces himself. “It was kinda bad. He was paralyzed again and screaming. We had to wake him up.” Stiles’ eyes widen in shock when he hears the lie. Derek didn’t tell his dad he ended up in the middle of nowhere again. Derek read his mind! AWESOME!

The sheriff quickly crosses back into the living room and stands between Stiles and the television. “Paralysis? You’re being paralyzed and you didn’t think it necessary to tell me??” he shouts.

“Um,” Stiles mutters, realizing that Derek was, in fact, a dirty traitor after all. He had failed to mention that important bit of information to his dad.

“The truth, Stiles!”

Stiles notices that Derek has silently entered the living room and is now standing against the far right wall, looking as uncomfortable as Stiles feels. “Sometimes, when I have a nightmare, it feels like I can’t move.” His dad’s face would be hilarious if Stiles wasn’t the reason it was morphing through all those emotions. Stiles could almost see the worry lines deepening around his eyes. “It’s just part of the dream. I’m not really paralyzed or anything. Just a nightmare.” He smiles sheepishly.

The sheriff runs a tired hand across his face. “Stiles,” he says, voice strained. “I need to know these things.” He looks at him wearily. “Is there anything else you’re not telling me? Have you woken up anywhere else?”

Stiles unconsciously rubs the rope burns on his wrists. “No, Dad. It’s just been some bad dreams. Nothing to worry about.”

The sheriff falls into the recliner. “We’re taking you to a doctor tomorrow after school.”

“Dad, I don’t think – “

“No arguments, Stiles!” His dad glares resolutely at him. Stiles sighs. “This isn’t normal, even if it is a hag or whatever. You shouldn’t be getting – “ his dad flails his hand around aimlessly, “paralyzed at eighteen. I’m getting you checked out. By a doctor.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” Derek says from where he’s rooted against the wall.

Stiles glares at him. “Traitor. You’re supposed to back me up!” Derek stares back at him irritatingly blank-faced.

“Derek, why don’t you sit down? Watch some TV with us,” his father says, obviously ending the conversation, and Stiles gapes.

“That’s not really necessary,” Derek argues. “I just came over to check the charms before Stiles went to sleep – “

“Well, that’s not gonna happen for a few more hours, buddy. So, you know, I’ll be okay. You know where the door is.” Stiles gives Derek an annoyed sneer before turning back to the television. He’s pissed now. Not only was stupid Derek in his stupid house, but he told his dad about the paralysis – and he’d been really really trying to keep that a secret! His dad was already worried enough; he didn’t need anything else to worry about. But Derek and his stupid big mouth…”What are you doing?”

Derek looks over at him from where he’s now seated on the other end of the couch. “Uh, watching The Voice.” Stiles rolls his eyes as his dad hits play on the DVR.

Stiles didn’t think watching TV with Derek and his dad would be enjoyable, but it kinda is. Derek contributes to Stiles and his dad’s running commentary on the blind auditions, and sometimes even argues with them.

“What do you mean he can sing?” the sheriff yells at the television. “He’s terrible!”

“Are you even listening to the same person I am?” Derek responds, hand gesturing towards the screen. “His voice is great.”

“You’re an idiot,” the sheriff yells. “He was flat the entire time!”

“It was stylized.”

“Shit is what it was.” Stiles doesn’t miss Derek’s half-smirk.

“I’m still pissed no one chose that last girl,” Stiles grumbles. “She was the best all night!”

“Your ears are broken,” Derek retorts, and Stiles throws a cushion at him.

After catching up on a few episodes, the sheriff decides to settle in for the night and Stiles goes upstairs to finish some homework. Derek follows and rechecks the hag-proofing.

“Thanks for ratting me out to my dad,” Stiles grumbles when the door closes.

Derek rolls his eyes. “I didn’t rat you out. How was I supposed to know you were lying to him?”

“Just assume it at this point!” Stiles exclaims.

Derek hands Stiles a pair of rusty scissors.

“Aww, Derek. Rusty scissors. You shouldn’t have.”

“Deaton said put them under your mattress. Some accounts from Russia mention they’re supposed to scare away hags if you put them in the hay you’re sleeping in,” Derek explains. Stiles lifts his mattress while trying to hide the porn DVDs he has shoved underneath from Derek.

“I’m not sleeping on hay, no matter what,” Stiles grumbles.

“You don’t lie to your dad that often,” Derek says, resuming their earlier conversation.

“He doesn’t need to know about all this,” Stiles mumbles petulantly as he drops onto the edge of the bed.

Derek sits beside him. “I didn’t tell him about last night. Or the rope burns.” He reaches out and pushes up the cuff of Stiles’ plaid shirt, revealing the reddened flesh.

“And I appreciate that.”

“He can handle it, you know,” Derek says quietly, fingers trailing lightly over the abrasions. Stiles’ skin tingles where Derek’s fingers brush against it, sending chills up his arm and down his spine. Suddenly, the room has lost most of its oxygen and he can’t focus on anything but Derek’s fingers. “Your dad is strong.”

Derek’s voice snaps him from his haze, and he glances up at him. “He shouldn’t have to be strong or handle it.” Stiles pulls his hand away angrily. “I don’t want him dealing with any of this.”

“He’s already dealing with it.” Derek stands and walks out of the room, leaving Stiles alone on the bed, staring at the empty doorway, his entire body vibrating with energy. He sits there long after he hears Derek’s car drive away.

When he goes downstairs to get a glass of water, he peeks into the living room. His father is slumped in the recliner, asleep. Stiles ignores the bottle of whiskey sitting on the side table as he returns upstairs and starts on his homework.

*

Derek woke up in the middle of the night, surprised to feel a warm body against his. Isaac, he thought, because it wouldn’t be the first time. Though Isaac needed touching and snuggling less than he used to. Derek stretched as Isaac buried his face into Derek’s chest in his sleep. Derek looked down to push him off and almost jumped across the room.

It was Stiles, not Isaac. Stiles, with his arm slung over Derek’s hip, Stiles with his head laying in the middle of Derek’s chest, Stiles with his mouth slightly open and drooling on Derek’s t-shirt. Derek had a moment of panic, needing to get away from Stiles and his body pressed against Derek’s and his fingers curling absently along Derek’s side. But when Derek started to move away, he caught a glimpse of Stiles’ face, pinched in worry even in his sleep, his eyelashes fanning against his skin. Although he knew it was a bad idea, he pulled Stiles closer to him.

When he woke up again, his arms were cold and empty. He rolled over, reaching out and searching for Stiles. After not finding him, he opened his eyes. It was almost dawn, and everyone was asleep. But Stiles was nowhere to be found.

“Stiles?” Derek called out, getting up and first checking the kitchen, then the bathroom, even his bedroom. “Stiles? This isn’t funny!” But Derek had a feeling Stiles wasn’t playing around.

“Scott!” Derek yelled, rushing back down the stairs. “Stiles is gone.”

“What?” Scott and the others sat up, eyes glowing gold and instantly alert.

“He’s not here. Get dressed. Now.” Back upstairs, Derek pulled on the first clothes he found and stuffed his feet into his shoes. “Did any of you see anything?”

“No,” a chorus of voice rang out from below.

“How the fuck did a house full of goddamn werewolves not. See. ANYTHING??” Derek growled, grabbing a chair along the wall and throwing it into the wall. It broke into pieces. Scott, Isaac, and Boyd suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs.

“Dude, Derek, he’s okay,” Scott said. “He has to be okay.”

Derek pushed past them and ran downstairs, grabbing his car keys and ignoring the looks everyone was giving him before heading out the door. Isaac jumped into the passenger side just as Derek was driving away.

“Hey,” Isaac said, placing a hand on Derek’s shoulder, “We’ll find him.”

“He…he was right beside me,” Derek said quietly. “How did I not hear him?”

Isaac squeezed gently. “It’s not your fault.” Derek didn’t respond, and Isaac dropped his hand. “He’ll be okay. Stiles is always okay.”

Derek’s heart beat tripled when his phone rang, and his hand shook when he answered it. “Stiles? Is that you?”

“Oh thank god, Derek. I don’t know where I am. I think it’s the set for a horror movie, and I’m not a busty blonde main star, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get hacked by an axe any minute.” Isaac laughed beside him, and Derek felt a stab of relief followed by irritation. Of course Stiles was fucking rambling and making jokes. At least he was okay.

“You’re in Oakhurst,” Derek said when Isaac confirmed the address. “Scott and Allison are close by. I’ll send them – “

“No!” Derek gripped the phone tightly, and Isaac stopped midtext to Scott and glanced at him. “I…”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Derek said, something heavy and relieved settling in his core. “Not a word,” Derek snapped when he hung up, and Isaac held up his hands in supplication and smirked.

When Derek tore into the parking lot, he wanted to murder everyone. The hag, the gas station attendant, the drivers of the cars who’d honked and cursed him for breaking every traffic law known to man to get there.

The moment he’s out of the car, Stiles made a beeline for him, ignoring Isaac while throwing his arms around Derek’s waist. Isaac raised his eyebrow, and Derek glared as he wrapped his arms around Stiles, who was shaking in his arms.

His vision bled red as Stiles’ fists curled into his shirt.

Chapter Text

The sheriff gets off work early the next day so he can meet Stiles at home and take him to the doctor.

“I could have driven myself,” Stiles says when they’re on their way in the cruiser. “You didn’t have to take the afternoon off.”

“This way, I know you’ll actually go to the doctor instead of just saying you go.”

“Dad! Are you trying to say I’d lie to you? I’m hurt, really.”

The sheriff glances over at him quickly, giving him a patented Dad look. “Stiles, it wouldn’t be the first thing you’ve lied about recently.”

“I haven’t lied to you.”

“What about the paralysis?”

“That wasn’t lying. That was a purposeful withholding of information, which is technically not a lie since I never said it in the first place.” Stiles shrugs as he fiddles with the door handle.

“The law calls it obstruction of justice.”

Stiles groans and looks over at his dad. “Really, Dad? You’re going there?”

“Is that the only thing you’re not telling me?”

Stiles hesitates, not wanting to tell his dad about the rope burns and the busted knuckles and the warehouse. He shakes his head. “Nope, can’t think of anything else I need to tell you.”

“What about Derek?”

“Derek doesn’t need to tell you anything else either,” Stiles replies, confused.

“No, I mean, when were you going to tell me you two were dating.”

“WHAT?” Stiles yells, twisting in his seat. He just stares, open-mouthed, trying to process and find the words. “You’re having a stroke. That’s the only explanation. I mean, are you insane? I’m not dating Derek.”

A smile spreads across the sheriff’s face. “You don’t have to deny it so hard, son. I know you like girls and guys, and you know I’m totally cool with that. Derek’s a nice kid, even if he’s a bit odd – even for a werewolf – and needs a job. And he is a bit older than you, but you’ll be nineteen in about a month, so I guess I won’t have to shoot him for that.”

Stiles’ brain is whirring a mile a minute. He just couldn’t process. His dad. Talking about him dating. Derek. “I’m not dating Derek! I won’t ever be dating Derek! Just…not gonna happen, Dad, so nothing to worry about!”

They stop at a redlight, and his dad turns to study him. Stiles really hopes his cheeks aren’t as red as they feel. “Okay, fine, whatever you say.”

“Thank you, Dad.”

“But it’s okay if it happens.”

*

Stiles isn’t surprised when the doctor says nothing is wrong with him, except that he needs to get some rest. He tells his dad he could have saved him some money on that diagnosis.

The next two nights, Stiles sleeps nightmare free. He almost believes that the stupid rusty scissors are working, but whatever it is, he’s thankful to get two full night’s sleep. Although he’s sleeping, he’s still tired, more unfocused than usual, and irritable. He forgets to do an anatomy assignment, but the teacher lets him turn it in late since Stiles has a near perfect average in the class. Plus, he’s done the most meticulous cat dissection so far this semester. He snaps on Lydia between classes, so bad that she doesn’t talk to him for the rest of the day and Jackson gives him dirty looks and threatens to kick his ass. He just can’t be worried about that though; he’s got bigger things to worry about than hurting Lydia’s feelings.

When he drives onto his street after practice, he groans when he sees Derek’s car parked on the street in front of his house. Derek is leaning against his car, all cool like, with his arms and feet crossed, his perfect biceps busting out of the sleeves of his black t-shirt. He looks like he’s posing for a photoshoot instead of waiting for Stiles. Gah, he’s worse than Jackson.

“Practicing for America’s Next Top Model in my front yard?” Stiles gets out of the Jeep, stumbling a little. Derek pushes off the car and stands in the street, waiting. Stiles ignores him and heads for the front door.

“Get in the car.”

Stiles turns around, shaking his head. “My father always taught me not to get into cars with creepy, strange men.”

Derek glares, eyebrows moving further up his head. “Get in the car. Now. We’re going to see Deaton.”

“Ugh, really? I’m sweaty from practice and hungry and don’t really want to see Deaton. Can’t you go without me? Report back and hand me another random item to sleep with?”

“If you don’t get in the car, I’ll put you in the car myself.”

Stiles grins as he shifts from foot to foot. “I’d like to see you try.”

“Stiles, for fuck’s sake.”

“Fine!” Stiles stomps over to the Camaro, making sure to glare at Derek the entire time. “You’re ridiculous.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Derek retorts, and Stiles laughs at the absurdity of it. “We can go get dinner if you want,” Derek says as he drives.

“That’d be great. I’m so hungry I could eat your arm off.”

Derek smirks. “With those teeth? Wouldn’t even break the skin.”

“Oh, excuse me, Mr. I Have Big Scary Fangs I Like To Flash Around. I forget that you can do everything perfectly. I bet you use that to pick up girls, don’t you? Give them that model glare, then flash then your fangs, and say something lame like, ‘I’m the Alpha’.” Stiles laughs and Derek looks over at him in disbelief.

“Really? That’s how you think I pick up women? That’s the best you can come up with?”

“Actually, I don’t think about you picking up women at all. I doubt you’d have any trouble.”

“Why do you say that?”

Stiles waves his hands in Derek’s general direction. “Hello? Look at you. No woman – or man, for that matter – in their right mind would turn you down.”

“You’d be surprised.”

“It has to be the grumpy face. Women don’t like grumpy face. Or the fangs.”

“Or the fangs,” Derek laughs quietly, and the sound fills Stiles with a tingling warmth he’s pointedly ignoring.

Derek takes them to dinner first, at a pizza place a few blocks from Deaton’s. Stiles is so hungry by the time they get inside, he doesn’t care what they order. Derek lets him choose, so he orders a large pepperoni, which Derek agrees to. While they’re waiting, Stiles sucks down an entire glass of Coke, then chews thoughtfully on the straw.

“What?” Derek asks. Stiles snaps from his thoughts – which were rather blank for him.

“What?”

“What are you thinking about?” Stiles watches as Derek’s fingers absently turn his glass around in a circle. “You’re uncharacteristically quiet.”

“Nothing,” Stiles says. “I’m just tired.”

“Have you been sleeping?”

“Nightmare free, actually. Maybe the hag has packed up and decided that torturing me was boring.”

Derek doesn’t respond, just takes a sip of his water. Which totally shouldn’t be hot, but is. Stiles looks away, ignoring Derek’s lips, the way his tongue darts out just a bit, the way his throat undulates as he swallows. Dammit, he needs to focus on something else.

“So, what’s new with you?” he asks suddenly. Derek quirks an eyebrow. “Look, I’m fucking tired of talking about the hags, how I’ve slept, what dreams I’ve been having. It’s all anyone wants to talk about with me. Please distract me with whatever is going on. Even if it’s just you buying a new shirt. In grey. Or doing two thousand pushups. I don’t care. Just talk about anything.”

Derek smiles slightly and sits back in the chair, running a hand over his face. “Isaac tried a new recipe last night. He saw it on the Food Network, but maybe he didn’t want me to tell you that. So, don’t tell the others. He’s kinda sensitive about that stuff.”

“Wow, Derek, that was like, the longest sentence I’ve ever heard you say.”

He sighs in exasperation. “Do you want me to keep talking?”

“Shutting up.”

“Isaac’s a pretty good cook, actually. Better than me. My culinary skills are lacking.”

“That’s just sad. But it explains the rabbits and the squirrels.” Stiles grins and Derek rolls his eyes. Stiles waits, but Derek doesn’t say anything else. “That’s it? Isaac tried a new recipe? You didn’t even tell me what you ate.”

The waitress brings their pizza then, and Stiles doesn’t care about what Isaac cooked anymore because there is a large, hot pizza in front of him. He grabs a slice and shoves it into his mouth, moaning in contentment. When he opens his eyes, he finds Derek staring at him in shock.

“I’m hungry, sorry.” Stiles takes another huge bite as Derek slowly pulls a slice off the pan.

When Stiles is grabbing his second piece, Derek says, “Lasagna.”

“Huh?” Stiles mumbles as he swallows.

“Isaac made lasagna.”

“Oh. Nice. My mom made the best lasagna. It was so cheesy, with the perfect sauce.” Stiles smiles to himself, but feels a bittersweet sadness settle over him. “God, I haven’t thought about that in years. I’d give anything to eat that again.”

“For my mom, it was spaghetti. She made her own noodles, her own meatballs, her own sauce. It was amazing.”

Stiles looks up at Derek, surprised to hear Derek mention his family. Stiles is pretty sure he’s never heard him do that before. Derek’s eyes have a faraway look to them, his face soft. Stiles has to stop himself from reaching forward and touching his cheek.

Derek lifts his eyes and holds Stiles’ gaze, smiling softly. Stiles realizes they’re having a moment. They’re both talking about their dead mothers’ cooking and having a moment. He has to bite his tongue to refrain from saying something stupid and messing it up. The last thing he wants to do is break this moment, cause Derek to turn his eyes from him.

When Derek finally looks away, Stiles feels lightheaded and his heart is beating a touch too fast.

*

Stiles is riding a high he hasn’t felt in weeks. That pizza was like, the best pepperoni pizza he’d ever had – he might have to break up with curly fries for it – and Derek paid for his dinner (even if he guilt tripped him into it for forcing him to go to dinner when he could have easily made it at home).

But Deaton, Deaton sure knows how to be a downer.

“Well, Stiles,” he says, pushing his chair back and consulting an antique tome. He’d spent the last few minutes studying Stiles’ wrists and knuckles, and now he was bent over the book, face pinched. “It’s not a witch, I can say that with certainty.”

“Thank god.” Stiles breathes a sigh of relief.

“If it was a witch or any kind of magic, it would leave behind some kind of residual magic, but there’s nothing.” He looks up from the book. “I still believe it’s a hag.”

“Great. So, nothing new, obviously.” He turns to Derek. “Glad we cleared that up.”

Derek glares at him, and Deaton continues, ignoring them, “On the contrary, these marks are new and very important pieces of information. In the accounts I’ve read, it doesn’t mention physical marks, but unfortunately, my information on hags is sorely lacking.”

“Really? Couldn’t tell.”

“Stiles,” Derek growls, and Stiles bites back his next rude remark.

“Continue trying the remedies I’ve given you. You say you haven’t had any nightmares the last few nights?”

“Nope. No nightmares.”

Deaton’s face creases thoughtfully. “Continue what you are doing. I have a few ideas, but I’m not sure they will yield anything. I need to make a few calls, maybe take a short trip.”

Stiles nods and glances to Derek. Derek’s studying Deaton carefully, and looks like he’s trying to form words. “Why could the hag take Stiles when he was in the middle of a pile of werewolves? Wouldn’t one of us have woken up?”

“Hags have very specific ways of doing things. My guess is that whatever it does leaves no scent, or that it somehow enchants you so you can’t wake up until Stiles is far away.”

“But you just said – “

“It may not be the same kind of magic, or it may not be magic at all. That’s what I am going to find out.”

Deaton gives them a placid smile, and Derek turns to go. Stiles follows him outside, but doesn’t speak until they’re back on the road.

“That was unhelpful,” he grumbles.

Derek doesn’t say anything. His jaw is tight, his posture rigid. Stiles knows Derek won’t respond to anything he says, so he uses the opportunity to ramble about whatever he wants to. He talks about Batman until Derek drops him off in his driveway.

*

Stiles wakes up suddenly, and when he tries to move, he can’t. Fuck, he thinks to himself as he tries to move his arms, his legs, his head, but nothing gives. His eyes scan as much of the room as he can, but it’s dark and not much is happening on his ceiling. But then he sees a flash of green eyes, so brief he thinks he may have imagined it.

Maybe it’s a dream, he thinks. Maybe this is just another nightmare, but the longer he lies there, the more it feels like reality. He’s still not moving, and unlike the other times this has happened, he’s not falling back asleep.

It starts creeping up his chest, tickling at the back of his throat. No! No, no, nononono, he repeats to himself. This is not the time for a panic attack. He feels the weird tingly feeling in his arms, the twisting of his stomach, and then his chest starts to constrict, making it so that it’s difficult to breathe. It feels like something is pressing down on his ribs, pressing so hard that his chest is going to cave, that his bones are going to break under the pressure.

He still can’t move. He can’t roll over, place his head between his knees, call out for his dad. And with each second that passes, he can’t breathe. All he can do is stare at his ceiling and feel his throat constricting tighter and tighter.

A few minutes later, Stiles can’t breathe. He’s in full-on panic mode, gasping for breath in vain. His vision blurs and there’s a roaring in his ears, and somewhere in the back of his mind he thinks this would be the most embarrassing way to die, that Jackson would never let him live it down.

And then he blacks out.

*

When Stiles wakes up, he gasps for air. His stomach feels like something is constricting it and he can’t get enough oxygen no matter how much he breathes in. He looks around, notices daylight outside instead of dark. Glancing at the clock, he almost falls out of bed. It’s 9:30 a.m., and he’s late for school.

Skipping his shower, he throws on the first clothes he can find, grabs his book bag, and races to his Jeep. By the time he gets to school, he’s going to have missed first and second period. As he drives through town, attempting to stay within the speed limit, he tries to figure out how in the hell he slept through his alarm.

He waits until classes change before going inside the school, and he’s quickly sandwiched between Scott and Isaac.

“Where have you been?” Scott asks, worried. “I texted you like fifty times.”

Stiles digs his cell out of his pocket, where he’d slipped it after getting dressed without as much as even glancing at it. He notices there are a shit-ton of missed texts and calls. Mostly from Scott, but a few from Isaac, Lydia, and Erica, too.

“I overslept,” Stiles says, shoving his phone back into his pocket.

“That’s what we hoped,” Scott says, punching Stiles’ arm affectionately. “We were giving it until third period before we called Derek.”

Stiles groans. “You didn’t call him, did you? Please tell me you didn’t.”

“No,” Isaac says. “We wanted to make sure you were just slacking before we involved him.”

“Dude, after the last time you disappeared.” Scott shudders. “We didn’t want to raise any false alarms. He’d probably break our arms.”

“I wasn’t slacking,” Stiles mutters angrily.

Scott and Isaac’s eyes widen. “The hag?”

Stiles nods. “Couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. I think I had a panic attack, but I don’t know if that was real or a dream.”

Scott reaches out and pulls down the collar of Stiles’ shirt. “Um, are you supposed to have bruises around your neck?”

“What?” Stiles feels his chest tightening again as he rushes to the bathroom, despite the fact that the bell was ringing for the start of third period. He stops in front of the mirror, wincing at his bed head and overall weariness – seriously, he looks like the walking dead, but not in a cool zombie kinda way - and pulls his collar down. Four long narrow bruises circle each side of his neck.

“Do those look like fingers to anyone else?” Isaac asks.

“This can’t be happening,” Stiles says, pulling his shirt up to check his chest. A large blue bruise covers his sternum.

“Guess we know why you couldn’t breathe,” Stiles hears Scott say, but it’s like he’s miles away. The roaring is back in his ears, and he’s gripping the sink tightly with his hands, trying to suck breath through his tightened windpipe.

“Stiles, are you okay?”

“Stiles, buddy, we’re here. It’s okay.”

Stiles closes his eyes, tries to think of anything but the bruises. Curly fries, video games, Scott, research, lacrosse, Derek, his dad. A few moments pass, and then the worst is over. He opens his eyes and stands up straight, slightly shaking, and then turns to Scott and Isaac.

“You look like shit,” Isaac says, and Stiles laughs hollowly. “Just so you know.” He bumps Stiles’ shoulder affectionately. Stiles pushes Isaac and then walks out of the bathroom to third period.

His AP English teacher gives him a tardy slip when he walks in, and he embarrassedly takes his seat. Boyd, Lydia, and Allison all glance at him curiously, and he shrugs and smiles. He drops into his seat, irritated because he hadn’t been tardy all year, and he really hopes this isn’t going to become a problem. Detention is the last thing he needs right now.

A few minutes later, his phone starts vibrating in his pocket. He takes it out and sees his dad is calling. His heart rate spikes as panic starts to form in his chest (seriously, he must have some kind of panic attack hangover because this is getting ridiculous). He hits ignore, and then a few seconds later his dad texts him.

Are you at school?

Stiles surreptitiously texts back, sitting in english now.

Were you late for school? The front office called me.

Yes?

Should I be worried?

No.

We’re having a talk when you get home.

Stiles sighs and sets his phone in his lap, completely unaware of what his teacher is saying about Shakespeare and Macbeth. Everything is just too overwhelming, being late for school, his dad texting him, the bruises, he just wants some fucking sleep, and fuck, not the breathing again –

“Stiles?” Stiles jerks in his desk and almost falls to the floor, causing the people around him to laugh. His teacher is looking at him expectantly. “Would like you to answer the question?”

“Um…”

“Lady Macbeth,” Lydia pipes up from the other side of the room. “Which is totally sexist, but the whole play is misogynistic. Shakespeare writes all the women…” His teacher turns towards Lydia, who apparently had the answer she was looking for. Boyd turns around and makes a questioning facial expression, but Stiles shakes his head.

A few minutes later, he gets another text. From Lydia.

You’re welcome and you owe me. And I still haven’t forgotten about the other day.

Stiles grins. I’ll never be mean to you again, my perfect wonderful amazing strawberry-blonde princess.

After class, Boyd, Allison, and Lydia surround him protectively as they leave the classroom. “Are you okay?” Boyd asks as Allison slips her arm through Stiles’.

“Why were you late for school?” Lydia asks.

“Overslept.” Stiles runs his free hand through his ridiculously messy hair. “I’m just exhausted.” The last thing he wants to do is rehash everything yet again. They need to start having Stiles Hag Update pack meetings so he can tell everyone everything at one time.

He’s passed off to Erica, Isaac, and Jackson for fourth period AP Calculus. Five minutes barely pass before his phone is buzzing again and he’s really contemplating just turning the damn thing off. He feels flushed when he sees Derek’s name.

What happened?

Stiles quickly responds, You’re going to have to be more specific than that. Many things have happened. I could list them all for you, but it may take awhile.

Derek texts back immediately. You were late for school. You had a panic attack. You have bruises.

Stiles has to keep himself from groaning aloud. He glances around the room, trying to figure out which traitor told Derek. So, he texts Scott.

Did you tell Derek?

While he’s waiting on Scott’s reply, Derek texts him again. Don’t ignore me.

Stiles responds, I’m in calculus learning very important stuff about differential equations. And you’re distracting me. Bad Derek.

Scott replies then. No. But I think it may have been Erica. Isaac told her you showed up at school.

Stiles glares at the back of Erica’s head, but she doesn’t turn around, so he texts her. Why did you tell Derek? Are you twelve?

After she reads the text, she glances over his shoulder and grins at him. Isaac is like so easy to break. He has this tickle spot on his side that makes him break EVERY TIME. Stiles really doesn’t want to know how she knows that. Moving on. You have bruises, Stilinski. And had a panic attack, and Boyd said you almost had another panic attack in English. Derek told us to tell him if anything else happened to you.

Stiles rolls his eyes. Of course Derek did. You’re supposed to be my friend!!

I’m more scared of Derek than you. She turns around and grins again.

Stiles finally texts Derek back. Not a big deal. Overslept. Um, there may be some bruises, but I bruise easily, so I probably just ran into like the door on my way to pee in the middle of the night. And the panic attack thing is totally over exaggerated. So, like, no reason for Derek worries.

You’re a terrible liar.

Differential equations are really important. I think I’ll get back to those now.

Stiles turns his phone off because he is done texting everyone. He really just wants everyone to leave him alone. That’s why instead of heading to the lunchroom after calculus like usual, he ends up in the library. In a corner. Hiding and wishing he’d taken the time to make himself a damn sandwich this morning, but too stubborn to swallow his pride and go to the lunchroom and face his friends. Yep, because hiding in the library was a much better option.

He was reading a book he’d randomly picked off the shelf and bobbing his head along to his headphones when someone sits beside him. He glances over and sees that it’s Lydia.

“Did Derek send you?”

She scoffs. “Like I would ever do Derek’s bidding.” She reaches into her bag and pulls out a sandwich and a bag of potato chips. “I came alone. I didn’t even tell the others where you were.”

“How did you know?” Stiles’ mouth waters at the food. He realizes he hasn’t eaten all day, and his stomach growls loudly just to prove it. Lydia smirks.

“I’m a genius.” She hands the food over, and Stiles pulls the wrapper off and stuffs the sandwich in his mouth.

“I love you.”

“I know.” She sits back in the chair and crosses her legs. “What’s going on, Stiles? Turning off your phone, skipping lunch. Avoiding everyone…that’s not good.”

He takes two more bites before he feels like he can adequately talk. “They’re so fucking clingy,” he says with his mouth full. “I just…it’s been a rough day.”

“It’s only 12:30.”

“Exactly.”

Lydia leans forward and looks at him seriously. “Stop running from your friends and stop being a wimp. Tell them to back off. Tell them thanks for caring. Admit that you’re freaked out and might not know what to do. Just do something, something that’s not hiding in the library.”

“Fine,” he huffs, stuffing the rest of the sandwich in his mouth.

*

Scott and Isaac sit away from him at lacrosse practice, so he has to move to the other side of the bleachers and sit with them. They just smile and start talking like nothing happened. Stiles knows that’s why they’re his best friends because they’re totally awesome.

He works himself ragged at practice on purpose, hoping it might both help calm him and help him sleep. He forgets about his dad’s threat to have a talk until he sees the cruiser in the driveway when he gets home. He groans and just wants food, a shower, masturbation, and sleep. In that order, preferably.

“I’m home,” Stiles yells when he walks inside, dropping his bag in a heap by the door. He walks into the kitchen, where his dad is finishing up dinner.

“Hungry, kiddo?”

“Starving.” Stiles grabs two plates and forks and sets them on the table.

His dad waits until they’ve started eating to talk. “What happened this morning, Stiles?”

Stiles swallows, then takes a sip of water. “I had a nightmare, and I overslept. That’s all.”

“That’s all.” His dad looks at him carefully. “Then do you care to explain those bruises on your neck.” Stiles’ hand flies up to his exposed neck, and he curses himself for forgetting about them. “Or the scabs on your wrists?” The cuff of his hoodie has slid down, exposing the rope burns. “Stiles, what the hell is going on? Did someone hurt you? You look like you were kidnapped.”

“No!” Stiles shouts, stopping that train of thought. “No one did anything.” He runs a hand through his hair and sighs in frustration. He hasn’t felt the need to cry in a long time, but he feels like he could easily drop all his walls and just fall apart right there on the table. But he wouldn’t do that – couldn’t do that. Not in front of his dad. “It…we think it’s the hag.”

“WHAT?” his dad yells, and Stiles flinches. “I thought Derek said you were taking care of it. With the weird foam and the brooms and the chants.”

“We’re still trying,” Stiles says calmly. “The lore isn’t consistent. We don’t know what will work.”

The sheriff opens his mouth, then closes it, then opens it again. “So,” he finally says, and Stiles can tell he’s furious, “what you’re telling me is that you have some hag on you and you don’t know how to kill it.”

Stiles nods. “Basically, yeah.”

“Stiles, this is insane!”

“Don’t you think I know that, Dad?” he yells. He slams his fork down on the table. “I’m the one who’s having to live it every damn night. And everyone is all around me asking am I okay or will I be okay or are you having a panic attack or whatever and I just want everyone to leave me the hell alone so I can get some fucking sleep!” He stands up and storms towards the stairs.

“Stiles Stilinski, you get your ass back here right now,” his dad demands. Stiles stops at the bottom of the stairs and drops his head. He doesn’t move, just grips the wall.

“Stiles,” his dad says, softer this time and right by his ear. He places a hand in the middle of Stiles’ back.

“I’m so sorry, Dad,” Stiles says, voice barely audible. He’s exhausted and he’s pretty sure that’s making the grief be at its current crushing level.

“It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not.” Stiles straightens and looks his dad in the face, trying to ignore the fresh wave of guilt when he sees his father’s expression. “I’m okay. I’ll be okay. Today…today was just a really bad day. I just want to go to sleep.”

The sheriff looks at him for a few moments before nodding his head and pulling him into a tight hug. “I love you, Stiles. I’m here if you need me.”

“I know, Dad.” He holds on to his dad for a few seconds longer before letting him go. “I’m gonna go shower and go to bed. I’m not really hungry anymore.”

His dad nods and Stiles takes a shower and then crawls into bed, falling asleep before 8 p.m.

*

He’s nightmare free, so the next day is much better. That night, he’s halfway through reading Macbeth when he hears a tapping at his window that makes him jump. Laying down his book, he leans back in his computer chair and glances at the window. Derek is on the other side. Surprised, Stiles goes over and unlatches it. Derek slips easily through.

“What are you doing here?” Stiles asks.

Derek stands in the middle of the room and holds up what appears to be a silver comb. Stiles looks at it in confusion until Derek says, “From Deaton. It’s an iron toothed comb used for flax.”

Stiles shakes his head. “Do I even want to know where Deaton got that from?”

“Probably not.”

“You’re right. A man’s relationship with his flax is very personal. We don’t know what kinds of freaky flax things Deaton’s into. It could scar us.”

Derek rolls his eyes and sits on the edge of the bed. Stiles nods and says, “Fine. Just sit on down. It’s only ten p.m. and hanging out with me apropos of nothing is always fun. Though, it’s going to be incredibly boring for you this time, buddy. Can’t entertain you like usual. Unless you somehow find ADHD high schoolers trying to concentrate on Macbeth and calculus entertaining.”

Derek walks over to the bookcase on the far wall. “I think there’s plenty to keep me entertained.” Stiles watches distractedly as Derek tilts his head to the side slightly and scans the titles. Stiles tries to figure out why Derek is still there as he picks up a few books, reads the back, and then replaces them. Derek probably wants to double check his room and make sure he sleeps with that flax comb or whatever before he leaves. Too bad he’s going to have to wait until Stiles finishes his homework. Derek bends over to grab a book from a low shelf, giving Stiles a great view of his ass. Too bad, indeed. Finally, Derek settles on a mass market crime mystery. Not exactly what Stiles would have chosen, but hey, to each his own. Derek then goes back to the bed and toes off his shoes before settling back and starting to read.

Stiles has to pry his eyes away from that image. Derek stretched out on his bed reading may be the sexiest thing Stiles has ever seen. And he’s not sure what that says about him since Derek is completely clothed and doing nothing but staring at a book with his feet crossed at the ankle. But Stiles doesn’t miss the delicate way Derek’s fingers turn the page, the way his body relaxes against the pillow, the focused interest in his face, the long line of his neck.

Concentrating on homework is going to be hell, he realizes.

*

Stiles leans back in his desk chair and sighs heavily as he rubs his eyes. He stretches his neck from side to side, then pushes his chin to crack it. The sound is loud in the quiet room.

“You’re exhausted,” Derek says quietly, and the sound startles Stiles. He’d almost forgotten Derek was still there.

“You think?” Stiles responds curtly. He has two more scenes in Macbeth and five more calculus problems, but he just can’t be bothered. He swivels around in his chair and looks at Derek, who’s staring at him over his book. Stiles notices the book is half finished.

“Done with homework,” Stiles yawns. “I can’t even see straight anymore. Shakespeare started to look like Chinese or something.”

Derek closes the book without a word and sets it on Stiles’ nightstand before standing. He waits expectantly by the bed, and when Stiles doesn’t move, Derek looks pointedly at him and then down at the bed. Stiles sighs and crawls in. “This is wrong on so many levels,” Stiles says, “it’s like you’re tucking me in or something.” He shudders. “I think this is going to give me nightmares.” Derek rolls his eyes and hands Stiles the iron comb, which he holds as instructed.

“Do you really think this is going to work?” Stiles asks, his fingers running nervously along the points of the comb. Despite his best efforts at being sarcastic, he’s pretty sure his voice betrays him.

Derek’s face seems to soften just a bit as he sighs. “I don’t know.” Stiles doesn’t find that comforting at all. As he watches Derek’s retreating back, he realizes that he doesn’t want to be alone, and just as Derek’s about to crawl across through the window, Stiles blurts, “Stay.”

He’s horrified as Derek turns around, eyes round with surprise. Absently, Stiles rubs the rope burns on his wrist as he curses himself and his stupid lack of brain-mouth filter, even though he hasn’t wanted Derek to leave since he crawled through that window earlier this evening. They stay locked in a moment staring at each other, and despite Derek’s statuesque stillness, Stiles can almost see his brain deciding. Stiles is surprised Derek’s debating it at all – he expected Derek to punch him before jumping out the window.

“Okay.”

Stiles’ mouth drops open, and this time he’s excited and relieved and terrified at the same time. Derek hesitates before returning to the bed, and Stiles scoots over so Derek can stretch out beside him.

“Thank you,” Stiles says quietly because he’s too embarrassed to say it louder.

“You’re welcome,” Derek responds even quieter, so quiet Stiles wasn’t sure he said it at all.

Stiles doesn’t say anything else; he turns onto his side, grabs his TV remote, and flips to a rerun of an 80s sitcom. It’s comforting to him, the familiar jokes and laugh track in the background, and although Derek hasn’t moved since he sat down, the sound of the television and Derek just being behind him causes Stiles to relax for the first time since he woke up.

He’d never admit it to Derek, but he’s afraid to go back to sleep. He knows that no iron comb or pair of scissors will protect him in the long run. He hopes the hag will leave him alone for another night at least, but he touches his wrist again anyway.

When the episode is over, Stiles goes to the bathroom and then crawls back underneath his covers. He’s sitting up in bed, looking over at Derek. Derek’s still fully dressed and on top of the covers, but he is there.

“Um, good night,” Stiles says awkwardly. He turns off the television and the side lamp, then snuggles down under the covers, back towards Derek. He feels Derek shift beside him as he gets comfortable. When Stiles glances over his shoulder, he sees Derek lying on his back, hand lying above his head, eyes closed.

Derek’s staying. Derek’s actually going to stay the night and sleep beside him. Stiles knows that it won’t protect him from the hag – hell, he was in a pile of werewolves and it didn’t do anything – but just knowing that Derek is that close beside him helps ease some of the tension from his body.

“Stiles, relax and try to fall asleep,” Derek whispers a few minutes later. “You’ll be okay.”

“Okay, sorry,” Stiles mutters, moving around a bit to get more comfortable. If he just happens to press his feet against Derek’s leg, well, he’s not saying anything, and Derek’s not moving away from him. Touching Derek, hearing his breathing in the quiet room, it’s enough to lull Stiles’ brain to sleep.

*

Derek was awake hours after Stiles fell asleep. He listened to the sounds of the house, the sheriff snoring down below, Stiles mumbling in his sleep. He seemed to be sleeping soundly, no nightmares. A few times Derek thought he’d heard the beginnings of one, could feel Stiles tensing up and hear him groaning, but he’d placed a hand on Stiles’ back and he’d seemed to calm down.

As Stiles slept, he gravitated closer and closer to Derek. He knew Stiles was awake when he pressed his feet against Derek’s leg at first, knew he’d done it on purpose, but Derek didn’t care. Stiles calmed almost instantly when he’d touched Derek, and the longer he slept, the closer he moved towards Derek’s body. Currently, Stiles was on his side facing him, flush against Derek from knee to toes, his hands pressed against Derek’s side, forehead against his shoulder. Derek thought Stiles looked so vulnerable in that positions, curled almost in on himself.

Derek had stopped by the previous night to check on Stiles, but when he’d gotten out of the car, he’d heard him upstairs sleeping. Derek waited for a few minutes, making sure Stiles was okay before driving back to the loft. He didn’t know why Stiles refused to tell him about the dreams, about the episodes. Derek wanted to help – wanted to protect him. He was going to figure out how to kill the hag if it was the last thing he ever did.

Stiles mumbled something that sounded strangely similar to “pie” and then moved so that his leg and arm was slung over Derek’s body. Derek sighed, knowing this was a bad idea, but he wrapped a protective arm around Stiles, and Stiles buried his face against the side of Derek’s body. He ignores the content sound Stiles makes and the smile that covers his face in his sleep.

Chapter Text

Derek shows up at Stiles’ window a few nights later. Stiles tries to act irritated when he unlatches it. “Are you ever going to leave me alone?” he asks as Derek slips across the window sill.

“How are the nightmares?”

“No ‘hello Stiles. How is school? What’s new with you?’ Straight to business.” Derek purses his lips as he drops to the bed, already toeing off his sneakers. “Okay, immediately taking your shoes off, guess you’re staying for awhile. I don’t really have anything exciting planned, just a little TV, but you’re not hogging the remote.”

“Stiles.”

“No nightmares. Maybe the hag is gone.” He shrugs and walks over to sit on the other side of the bed.

Derek’s face is carefully blank as he sits silently beside Stiles. After Stiles realizes he’s not going to say anything, he picks up the remote, flips through the channels, and stops on a Lord of the Rings movie marathon.

“A new pack came through our territory yesterday,” Derek says during a commercial break.

“Yeah?” Stiles turns his head to look at Derek. Derek’s looking straight ahead at the TV, his profile sharp and defined in the low light.

“They’re settling nearby. They seem nice. A large family with some smaller kids, a few younger teenagers. They’re migrating from the Midwest somewhere.”

“Cool. Are you making friends with other wolves? That’s so cute,” Stiles teases, though he’s not quite sure how packs interact with each other. The only thing he has to go on is the Alpha pack, and he’s pretty sure that’s not common practice.

“We’re going to draw up an alliance. Peter and I are going to have to go to their territory whenever they get settled.”

“That’s good, right?”

Derek finally looks at him and nods quickly. “Yes, it’s good.”

“Then good.” Stiles grins and turns back to the television.

They watch all of The Two Towers and the beginning of The Return of the King before Stiles starts getting sleepy. It’s just before midnight. He groans in frustration, and Derek looks at him, confused. “I used to stay up until like two or three. Now I can barely make it to midnight.”

“That’s not a bad thing, you know.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Let me guess. When you were in high school, you went to bed at ten and got up every morning at six.”

“Pretty much.”

“God, you were such a geek. You were a geek, weren’t you? Not like a comic book geek, but like one of those guys who always did what they were supposed to and never got into trouble and probably never even had a girl – “ Stiles cuts himself off, eyes growing wide because he can’t believe he almost just went there. He knows Derek didn’t do what he was supposed to. He knows what Derek was doing at sixteen – Kate Argent. He turns awkwardly back to the television, trying to force himself to disappear.

He starts when Derek reaches over and places a hand on his leg, squeezing his knee gently, and then looks over at him.

“You didn’t say anything wrong,” Derek says. “So stop beating yourself up.”

Stiles opens his mouth to say something, but instead, he leans forward quickly and presses a kiss to Derek’s mouth. His aim is off because the kiss actually ended up half on Derek’s lips, half on his chin. The kiss is chaste, dry lips touching dry lips, and Stiles pulls away before anything really happens. He’s yelling at himself, because seriously, something is terribly wrong with him.

Stiles stares at Derek in horror, wondering if he can blame the hag for his sudden insanity. He notices that Derek’s not angry and not leaping out the window. Derek is looking at him, a mixture of resignation, hesitation, and aggravation on his face.

“Derek, dude, I am – “

“Oh fuck it,” Derek interrupts, “I can’t do this anymore.” Stiles tries to figure out just what Derek means by that as Derek grabs the back of his head so quickly that Stiles doesn’t realize he did until their lips are touching again. Derek kisses him hungrily, fingers wrapped around Stiles’ neck and pulling him even closer. Stiles isn’t complaining; actually, Stiles is trying to decide whether or not this is reality or another nightmare brought on by the hag. Though, the hag usually has him dying or killing someone, not making out with Derek.

Stiles makes a surprised sound when Derek’s tongue slips across his lips and into his mouth. His tongue is hot, hotter than any other person he’s kissed. Derek confidently slides his tongue against Stiles’ with just enough pressure that he can feel it all the way into his belly, but it’s softer than Stiles expected. He expected Derek’s tongue to be like the rest of his body, hard and defined, but it’s pliable and giving as Stiles pushes against it, Derek relenting a bit and letting Stiles direct the way the kiss goes. For some reason Derek’s submission to him – even if it’s nothing but just where his tongue goes – causes a rush of excitement to course through his veins.

Stiles shifts closer to Derek so he can tilt his head at a different angle, and Derek takes the opportunity to kiss him deeper. Stiles settles his hand on Derek’s hip, the other flat against Derek’s chest. He can feel the slow rise and fall of Derek’s chest, feel the heat beneath his palm, the steady thump of his heartbeat. Derek pulls back slightly and tugs Stiles’ bottom lip between his teeth, the blunt edges biting into the tender flesh. A soft moan escapes Stiles’ mouth, and he can’t be bothered to feel embarrassed. Derek worries his lip gently before pressing shallow kisses against his mouth, and then against the corner of his mouth, his cheek, his jaw. Derek nips playfully at Stiles’ ear, causing every nerve in his body to tingle, and then presses a kiss behind his ear.

As Derek’s tongue drags wetly behind his ear, Stiles bends his head and places kisses against Derek’s hair, his temple, his ear. With his tongue, Stiles draws the shell of Derek’s ear into his mouth and then bites down experimentally. He feels Derek jerk in his arms as he growls, and Stiles can’t help but feel satisfied. Derek kisses down Stiles’ neck, and Stiles mourns the loss of any part of Derek to kiss, but Derek is licking and kissing at his neck so he can’t be too upset.

Regretfully, Derek removes his mouth and looks at Stiles, eyes heavy-lidded and pupils blown wide, before pressing a short kiss on his mouth.

“What was that?” Stiles asks breathlessly. “Other than fucking awesome, that is.” Derek’s face is only inches from Stiles, so close that Stiles can see flecks of yellow in his eyes, can see the saliva still on his kiss-swollen lips. He realizes that if he wanted to, he could just move an inch and kiss Derek again.

“You tell me. You’re the one who kissed me.” Derek’s fingers tap a rhythm on the side of his neck, gently pressing into the tight chords in his neck.

“I don’t even know.” Stiles rests his forehead against Derek’s and closes his eyes. He inhales slowly and his senses are filled with Derek. “What did you mean when you said you can’t do this anymore?” Stiles opens his eyes so he can see Derek’s reaction.

Derek cups Stiles’ cheek lightly and rubs his thumb beneath Stiles’ eye. He doesn’t say anything.

Stiles pulls away suddenly, wide grin on his face. Derek’s brow knits in confusion. “So you were going to kiss me that night on your balcony!” Stiles pokes Derek in the chest for emphasis. “I wasn’t making it up!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Derek says, though he looks guilty.

“So,” Stiles says, dropping his eyes nervously to his hands. “What are we then? I mean, what is this? Not that I think it’s anything, or has to be anything, it could be a total fluke one time thing, but just in case I want to make sure we’re on the same page and – “

“Stiles,” Derek says, cutting off his rant. Stiles lifts his eyes, staring up at Derek through his lashes. Derek runs a hand over his face and Stiles feels his heart stop for a moment. “I don’t know. I’m terrible at this.”

“Oh right,” Stiles responds, “like I’m the expert.”

Derek brushes his fingers lightly through Stiles’ hair, then slides them down the side of his face before resting them on his neck. “Let’s just…small steps. If,” Derek pauses and swallows, and Stiles thinks this may be the first time he’s ever really seen Derek look nervous.

“Okay,” Stiles nods. Derek looks like he’s kind of in pain, so Stiles says, “If this is gonna turn into more than two friends who maybe sometimes – hopefully more times than sometimes – kiss, then we need to be sure. I’m pack and it can get weird if we fuck all this up. Plus, baggage and all that. I get it.” Derek winces slightly. “Look, between trying to graduate and being haunted by a hag, I’ve got enough on my plate. But…” He trails off, his cheeks growing warm, “if we, I don’t know, release stress by some heavy make-out sessions, then I won’t be too upset.”

Derek just stares at Stiles and then shakes his head, but he’s smiling slightly. “Okay.” Derek kisses Stiles again, but pulls away when Stiles tries to get too into it again. “But you need to go to sleep. You have school tomorrow.”

“Fine,” Stiles grumbles. “Spoil sport.” Derek laughs quietly and kisses Stiles one last time, using quite a bit of tongue Stiles thinks on purpose. “Yeah, now I’m really going to want to go to sleep,” Stiles grumbles, turning over onto his side. Derek curls up behind him, wrapping an arm around Stiles’ waist and dropping a light kiss on his neck.

*

Stiles nurses a large coffee as he waits for Scott in the parking lot at school the next morning. He’d fallen asleep rather easily when he’d settled down (and he was pretty sure that had something to do with Derek), but Derek had awoken him when he was getting out of bed early this morning, and they’d spent half an hour making out before they heard the sheriff stirring around. Derek had jumped out of the window, leaving Stiles with a ridiculous hard-on he quickly took care of.

They had decided that since they were taking whatever they were doing slowly, they would hold off on letting the pack in on it. However, Stiles told Derek he couldn’t keep it from Scott, and Derek had begrudgingly agreed. Not that it would have kept Stiles from telling Scott anyway, but he thought it was nice to let Derek think he had some kind of say so.

Scott smiles broadly as he opens the door to the jeep, and as soon as he’s inside and closes it, his face scrunches. “You were with Derek last night. What did you two do? Oh god, if you had sex, don’t tell me.”

“We didn’t have sex.” Scott sighs in relief. “We just made out.”

“Stiles! What…just what?”

Stiles can’t decide whether to be annoyed or amused at Scott’s reaction. “It just kinda happened. He came over to check on me, we watched a movie, and then I kissed him, and it escalated from there. But we’re not together or anything. We’re just…seeing where things go.”

“You and Derek. Are just seeing where things go.” Scott looks at him in disbelief.

“Yes. So shut the fuck up.”

“I didn’t say anything!”

“You said it with your face!” Scott huffs. “Don’t tell the pack. We don’t want anything to get weird until we figure things out. It may be nothing. But I had to tell you because you’re my best friend.”

“I think I should feel honored.”

Stiles pushes Scott into the passenger side door.

*

At lunch, Isaac says, “Derek said you didn’t have any nightmares last night.”

“How would Derek know?” Allison asks.

“He stayed at Stiles’ last night.” Stiles glares at Isaac; why did he have to even mention it? At least he didn’t mention it was the second time. Erica was already drooling across from him.

“He did?” Erica leers. “That’s why you smell – yet again – like you sprayed on Eau de Alpha this morning. So, what happened while Derek was there?” She waggles her eyebrows.

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Really, Erica? He was doing his over-protective Alpha thing and stayed just in case the hag came back. Which she didn’t. I haven’t had any nightmares for days. Maybe that flax comb is working.”

“You’re no fun!” Erica says. “Seriously, you have the perfect set up for a fucking porno, and you just sleep. You are like the most boring teenage boy on the planet. Well, aside from Isaac, of course.”

“Hey!” Isaac and Stiles exclaim in unison.

*

Scott and Stiles stay late at lacrosse practice. Scott wants to run a few plays with Stiles, and Stiles doesn’t mind because he’s been missing a few important plays lately. When they’re done, they sit on the bleachers and share a sports drink.

“How are you doing?” Scott asks. “Like, really. I know you’ve been lying to us.”

“Is it that obvious?” Stiles sighs before taking a long drink.

“Just to me. I’ve known you since kindergarten. Talk to me, dude.”

Stiles runs a hand through his sweaty hair. “Between not sleeping, trying to keep up with school work, and worrying that I’m going to wake up bloodied somewhere, it’s just been difficult.”

“And then there’s Derek,” Scott says.

“Surprisingly, that doesn’t stress me out.”

“Really?” Scott looks at Stiles incredulously.

“It’s just…” Stiles glances off at the line of trees at the edge of the field. “Simple. Like, if it works out, great. If it doesn’t,” Stiles shrugs.

Scott stares at Stiles for a moment. “You really like him. Huh.”

“What? I don’t. I mean, I like him, but – “

“You like him. Even though you’re not freaking out, you like him. I think it’s because you like him so much.”

“Scott, that makes no sense. I liked Lydia for like ten years.”

Scott shakes his head. “Derek likes you back. We’ve all suspected it for a long time.”

Stiles’ mouth drops open. “You have? And when were you going to clue me into this bit of pack knowledge?”

“Derek’s weird, dude. We weren’t sure. It’s cute, you two.”

“The other’s don’t know, do they?” Stiles asks anxiously. “Especially Erica?”

“Nah, they still think y’all are doing the usual Derek-and-Stiles dance.”

Stiles sighs in relief. “Good. I do like him, but I’m not ready to jump into some crazy relationship with him. Like, I’m totally not ready to be you and Allison or anything.” Stiles shudders.

“Nothing wrong with that.” Scott claps Stiles on the shoulder. “Come on, let’s go get some dinner.” On the way to the jeep, Scott says, “I think we need to do something special for spring break since you’ve been so fucked up lately. We need to get away from Beacon Hills. Plus, it’s senior year. Road trip!”

Stiles nods. “Could be fun. I think it’s a great idea.” Scott beams and looks extremely pleased with himself.

“Good. We’ll bring it up to the pack and start planning. But first?” Scott says as he opens the passenger side door and tosses his crosse into the back seat, “it’s Scott and Stiles uninterrupted video game night.”

Stiles’ face breaks into a wide grin. “You’re on.”

*

They’re in the middle of playing one of the Resident Evil games when Stiles’ phone buzzes. He glances down at it and sees it’s from Derek, but since Scott has ignored all texts from Allison (though, to be fair, Allison had only texted him three times since practice), Stiles feels obligated to ignore the one from Derek. But the longer his phone sits there, the more he’s dying to find out why Derek texted him.

When Scott goes downstairs for a drink run, Stiles checks the message.

Dropped by, but Scott was there. How are you feeling?

Stiles responds, Tired, but okay. Come by tomorrow night.

Scott has returned by the time Derek responds, and during a down moment in the game, Stiles surreptitiously checks his phone. See you tomorrow.

Stiles smiles.

*

Stiles gets the call in the middle of the night. His father had been working the late shift, and Stiles ignored the phone when it rang. But when it just keeps ringing, he finally stumbled through the dark house and answered it.

When Stiles gets to the station, the deputies greet him, but he doesn’t even see them. One of them takes him by the elbow and leads him into the back, where they autopsy the murder victims. All he sees when he steps through the doors is a black body bag. He approaches it slowly, then pulls the zipper down.

His dad lays motionless on the gurney, face pale and blue, his dead eyes staring straight into Stiles’ soul.

“No,” Stiles starts, shaking his head. “No, no, nononono.” Stiles grips the sheriff’s shoulders, the blood still warm on the fabric of his uniform. “Dad, wake up.” He shakes the sheriff gently. “Please, wake up.” Stiles grips him harder, then shakes him until his dad’s head is flopping lifelessly back and forth. “WAKE UP, GODDAMMIT. WAKE UP! WAKE UP!”

“Wake up, Stiles!”

Stiles snaps awake. His dad is sitting on the edge of the bed, his tired face leaning over him. The overwhelming grief is still a tight knot in Stiles’ chest, so tight he can barely breathe.

“Hey, Stiles. It’s okay. It was just a dream.”

“Dad,” Stiles chokes out. His face is wet and he realizes shamefully that he’d been crying in his sleep. He wipes his cheeks hastily before throwing his arms around his dad.

“Well,” the sheriff says, patting Stiles awkwardly on the back. “Are you okay, son?”

“Great,” Stiles says as he clings to his father. His warm, breathing, very-much-alive father.

When the sheriff finally pulls away, he looks at Stiles in concern. “This isn’t getting any better, is it?”

Stiles shakes his head. “Not really.”

“Should we, um, maybe go see someone? Like a shrink? Or another doctor?”

“I’m not crazy.”

“I know. A hag, right?” he asks. Stiles nods. The sheriff rubs a hand over his face. “You can’t go on like this.”

“I know.”

“Anything I can do?” Stiles shakes his head. “Can I ask what you dreamed?” Stiles hesitates. “You can tell me.”

“You…were dead.”

The sheriff’s face looks pained. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” Stiles rubs his eyes with the heel of his hand. “Get some sleep, Dad. You look as ragged as I feel.”

“Thanks,” he says sarcastically as he gets up. By the door, he adds, “You sure you don’t need me to do anything? We can watch TV in the living room or something.”

“No, I’m good.” Stiles smiles, though he’s lying. When his dad closes his door, he falls back onto the pillow and tries to stave off the creeping panic attack. His father is alive. He can hear the water running in the bathroom and the sounds of him moving around on his way back to bed. But Stiles’ body and mind still feel like he’s dead.

Stiles rolls over and grabs his cell phone. It’s after two, but he doesn’t care. He texts Derek anyway.

Had a horrible nightmare. Feel like shit. Am now going to spend all night watching bad sitcom reruns because of it. As if the nightmare won’t stop!

He clicks on his television and tries to calm himself. A few minutes later, Derek replies.

Are you okay?

Stiles texts, Fine. Panic is subsiding. Why are you up? It’s the middle of the night. You should be sleeping. Even wolfies need their sleep.

You woke me up.

I’m sorry. :( Forgive me?

Maybe.

:)

Good night, Stiles. Then followed immediately by the text, Text me if you need me. I don’t mind being woken up by you.

The conversation with Derek helps loosen the tension in Stiles’ body. When Stiles gets up to go to the bathroom, he goes downstairs and stops right outside his father’s bedroom just to hear him snoring.

*

When the doorbell rings the next night, Stiles bounds happily down the stairs, eager to see Derek. He tries to mask his disappointment when he finds Erica, Isaac, Allison, and Scott on the porch instead.

“Hey, guys,” Stiles starts, “What are you doing here?”

“Scott told us that you’ve been feeling bad,” Allison explains.

“Not that we needed him to tell us. You reek of sad!Stiles all the time,” Erica says. Isaac shoves her not-so-nonchalantly, and Erica punches him back, which starts a mini-slap war, resulting in Scott being knocked off the porch while Allison huffs in irritation. Stiles feels a weird, perverse sense of affection for these ridiculous wolves (and person) standing at his doorstep.

“We’re taking you out,” Allison finally says.

“We’re not going to have to sleep in a big pile again, are we?” Stiles asks.

“You had fun, admit it,” Erica says, now pinching at Isaac’s side. Isaac’s in between growling and laughing. “But sadly, no. We’re going to play miniature golf.”

Stiles’ chin drops to his chest as he stares at them. “All the combined resources of werewolves and hunters and the best you can come up with is putt-putt?”

“Would you rather run around the woods? It is almost the full moon again.”

“That’s what got me into this in the first place.”

They take Allison’s car to the complex. Boyd, Jackson, and Lydia are already there, and Stiles searches in vain for Derek. His phone buzzes suddenly, and Stiles glances down and sees it’s from Scott. Confused, he opens it. He’s coming later.

Stiles glances at Scott, who smiles a bit embarrassed. Stiles grins widely. You’re the best best friend. I want to dedicate a monument of curly fries in your honor.

Scott reads it and laughs, but looks pleased. The others look between them and then shrug and probably chalk it up to the two of them being weird.

Boyd leads them through the loud game room with Skee-ball machines, arcade games, and air hockey table. “Air hockey!” Stiles exclaims as they pass, but Lydia grabs his arm and pulls him along.

“Not yet.”

“But I love air hockey,” Stiles whines. “It’s little discs floating on air and bouncy things. It’s the bestest ever. This is supposed to be my day. Can’t I do what I want?”

“No,” Lydia answers.

“If I’m having to endure this, so do you,” Jackson grumbles.

“Jackson!” Lydia lets go of Stiles and puts her hand on her hip. “You promised you weren’t going to complain. This is you complaining!” They start arguing next to a pinball machine and Stiles just rolls his eyes as he follows everyone out towards the miniature golf course.

“If they kill each other, can I play air hockey then?” Stiles asks. Erica pinches him. Hard. He’s pretty sure he’s going to have a bruise. “Hey! Fragile human skin here!” She grins, conspicuous little points jutting out over her lips.

They’re arguing about who gets what colored golf ball when Derek arrives. Stiles tries not to look too excited; he attempts cool and aloof instead. As soon as Derek looks at him, wearing snug jeans and a white t-shirt, Stiles’ face breaks into a wide grin of its own accord. Stupid traitorous mouth. But then Derek smiles back, and Scott has to bump his shoulder to get him to stop grinning at Derek like an idiot.

“Should we wait on Lydia and Jackson?” Allison asks, glancing back towards the building where the two are still arguing inside.

“Fuck ‘em,” Boyd says, grabbing a golf club. Stiles thinks the tiny, short metal club looks pretty ridiculous in Boyd’s large hands. “I wanna play some putt-putt.” Stiles can’t help but laugh.

Stiles never thought miniature golf could be fun, but watching five competitive and aggressive werewolves try to hit a tiny ball into a hole is the most entertaining thing he’s ever seen. Stiles and Allison are in stitches the whole time, leaning against each other to keep from falling over from their laughter. Every time one of the werewolves hits the ball, it ends up soaring through the air and missing the destination by a wide margin. The first time Derek putted, he hit it so hard that they had to go ask for a new ball since that one was probably miles away. Isaac tried to tap his, but it still bounced three holes away.

Half-way through, Erica throws down her club. “This is stupid. I quit.”

“Oh, hell no,” Stiles snaps, pointing his finger at her. “I didn’t want to play this stupid game, and we’re not stopping just because all of you suck.”

“I used to be so good at this,” Boyd commiserates. “I’m actually kinda bummed.”

Derek claps Boyd on the shoulder as he walks by, leaning close and saying, “Get over it.” Derek is actually less upset than Stiles would have expected, and Stiles tells him so. “It’s a stupid game anyway, so what does it matter that I’m losing?”

“So, what you’re saying is that my current status as winner means nothing?”

“Basically.”

“So cold, Derek.” Derek pokes Stiles playfully in his side as he walks away.

When they return inside, Lydia and Jackson are in the corner kissing, and everyone ignores them. Scott wants to play Skeeball, so he, Isaac, and Allison go that way, Erica reluctantly plays miniature golf with Boyd again so he can try and remember how he played as a human, and Stiles eagerly runs over to an empty air hockey table.

“Do you dare to challenge me?” Stiles asks when Derek follows him.

“Air hockey?” Derek raises an eyebrow.

“Oh god, don’t tell me you have some prejudice against air hockey, too. Or is it that you just have prejudice against fun and awesome?”

Derek picks up a mallet and slips a dollar into the machine. Stiles smiles excitedly as the air whooshes out of the pin-prick holes, lifting the puck. “That exciting, huh?” Derek asks. Stiles smacks the puck with his mallet, causing it to immediately go into the goal. Derek glowers and Stiles grins.

“Score one for Stilinski!”

Derek pulls the puck out and sets it back down before hitting it. It shoots so quickly into the goal that Stiles barely sees it skim across the table.

“That’s cheating!” Derek smirks. “You delight in my pain, don’t you?”

Although Derek’s reflexes and strength give him an advantage, Stiles has been playing mean air hockey for years, so they are soon tied 5 to 5. Five minutes pass, and neither of them have scored.

“You’re gonna lose, Hale,” Stiles trash talks. “You may think you got this because of your superpowers and your overall general athletic build, but I’ve got years of experience and stealth. No one expects me. I’m small and ninja-like.”

“I believe you’ve confused the meaning of the word stealth. You, Stiles, are the opposite of stealth.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Stealth requires patience and quiet, neither of which you possess.”

“Your trash talk sucks, dude. Sucks just about as bad as your putt-putt.” Stiles hits the puck and it almost slips into the goal, but Derek catches it at the last minute.

“At least I have a reason. There’s no reason for you to lose to a girl.”

“Allison is a hunter. And an archer. She has keen precision skills.”

“Excuses, excuses. Just admit it, Stiles. You suck.”

“In your wettest dreams.” Derek is so surprised by Stiles’ comment that he hits the puck too hard and it flies off the table and lodges in the wall. They both stare at each other in surprise before Derek goes to grab it before someone notices. The edge of the puck is chipped, but otherwise, it’s okay.

Stiles’ face is bright red. He can feel the heat radiating from his cheeks. “Apparently, you suck at air hockey, too,” Stiles mumbles into the awkwardness.

“Are you two over here tearing down the place?” Isaac asks as he and Scott approach them.

“Derek seems to think this goal isn’t good enough, so he tried to make a new one over on the wall.” They look over, and Scott mutters, “shit!” as Derek gingerly passes the puck to Stiles and glares at him. Stiles is pretty sure he’s saying, “That’s not what happened, moron,” with his eyes, but at least he doesn’t rat him out in front of the others.

“Tied score?” Isaac asks, crossing his arms as he watches them. “My money’s on Derek.”

“Traitor.”

“I think Stiles. He’s beat me at air hockey for years,” Scott says.

“Thanks for the support, buddy. When I win, I’ll share my victory nachos with you and not with that traitor Isaac.”

“If you keep talking, you won’t get any nachos because I’ll win,” Derek says, hitting the puck and almost causing it to go in, but Stiles is right there. Because he’s a ninja.

Scott and Isaac watch silently as Derek and Stiles stay trapped in the match, Stiles rambling nonsense insults at Derek, and Derek responding occasionally. Finally, Stiles hits the puck at just the right way and Derek moves to stop it, but it skids off his mallet and into the goal.

“YES!” Stiles shouts, causing people around them to stare at him. Stiles flicks his wrist towards Derek, finger pointed. “IN YOUR FACE! IN YOUR BIG, FURRY, STUPID ALPHA FACE! SUCKA!” Stiles flicks his hands down to his crotch in a V, then high-fives Scott.

“He’s taking this way too seriously,” Isaac says to Derek as Stiles does a victory dance. “He’s going to be insufferable now.”

“At least I don’t owe Scott money.”

*

Stiles stands in line too long for nachos. On his way to the table, he hangs back, just out of sight by a corner. Derek sits between Isaac and Erica at a table, Boyd, Scott, Jackson, and Lydia facing them from the other side. Isaac says something, and Derek laughs. His arm is stretched out along the back of the booth behind Isaac, his fingers resting lightly on Isaac’s shoulder. Erica leans into Derek, and he has his body angled so she can fit comfortably against him. Stiles leans against the wall and stuffs a nacho dipped in cheese in his mouth as he watches Jackson relate something to the table, Derek watching interestedly and nodding at intervals. He feels a warmth spread through him at the sight, at the way Derek is surrounded by people he cares about and who care about him. Friends, family.

“I think he’s a good choice,” Allison says quietly behind him. Stiles is startled and nearly loses the grip on his food. “Derek. I’m happy for you.” Stiles glowers over in Scott’s direction. “He didn’t tell me. I kinda sorta figured it out and Scott’s not a very good liar.”

“Stupid Scott.” Stiles offers the container to Allison, and she picks out a nacho. “It’s not serious or anything. We’re just…testing the waters, I guess.” Allison nods, though she doesn’t quite look like she buys it. “I like seeing him like this,” Stiles whispers, just in case the wolves are listening. “Surrounded by pack. He looks – “

“Happy,” Allison finishes for him. Stiles nods as Derek tightens the arm around Isaac’s neck, crushing him in a headlock. He wonders idly what the people walking by think of the spectacle, but he realizes who cares because no one would understand anyway.

*

“No. We are playing again.” Stiles digs a dollar out of his pocket. “We can’t leave it tied. Where’s the fun in that?”

“Stiles,” Scott groans. “That game took forty-five minutes. We’re ready to leave.”

“Then go. I can just catch a ride with Derek. I feel like this is going to be a long night.”

“I almost want to stay and watch,” Boyd says. “I’ve never seen them like this.”

“You’re not very observant,” Erica says as she drags him away. “I think this is their idea of foreplay.”

Stiles ignores her comment and keeps his eyes trained on the puck, though he feels embarrassment and desire rolling through his body. He knows Derek can feel it on him, feel the heat in his cheeks. His cheeks have been pink almost all night since his mouth keeps getting carried away with him.

They play until the place closes at midnight. The final score is Derek four games, Stiles three.

“I think you cheated on that last game,” Stiles complains as they walk to the car. “I don’t think sitting there with your mallet in front of the goal should count.”

“You’re just mad you didn’t do it.” Derek opens the driver’s side door as Stiles drops into the passenger seat.

“The game had to go somewhere, and you are a big baby who refused to lose and didn’t play. I say we’re tied.” Stiles hooks up his iPod and Derek doesn’t try to stop him.

“Sore loser. Just accept that I am superior in every way.”

“Fuck that,” Stiles scoffs. “I, a lowly human, beat you as much as you beat me. If anything, with my human handicap, I win. It’s more impressive that I beat a big grumpy werewolf than you beat a tiny little human.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “Shut up, Stiles.”

“Hit a button, did I?” Stiles smiles smugly and listens to the song on the radio.

“Stop feeling pleased with yourself.” Stiles tries to emanate even more complacent vibes, just to annoy Derek. It seems to be working if Derek’s sighs are any indication.

Stiles is rambling about the historical origins of lacrosse when Derek suddenly turns onto a dirt road Stiles isn’t even sure is a road. They drive a little ways before Derek parks the car and turns it off, radio still playing softly in the background.

“Oh my god, you’re going to kill me. I beat you at air hockey and you’ve brought me out here to kill me.” He’s not actually scared; he’s more confused than anything. Derek looks at him wide-eyed and shakes his head incredulously.

“You’re an idiot.”

“That’s not the way to speak to a dying man.”

“Stiles,” Derek says, unbuckling his seatbelt, “I’m not going to kill you.”

Stiles swallows as he watches Derek move closer to him and reach down to unclasp his own seatbelt. His brain goes in all kinds of directions, sexy directions about why they are stopped in the middle of nowhere. When Derek reaches out and curls his fingers around his neck, Stiles is really hoping for those sexy directions.

Derek rolls his eyes and huffs in exasperation. “Will you stop looking like that? You look like you’re afraid I’m going to eat you.”

“I’m still not quite sure what you’re doing.”

Derek leans in closer, his lips only a few inches away from Stiles. “I thought it was pretty obvious.”

“Nothing is obvious with you, Derek.”

“Then let me fix that.” Stiles can’t wrap his mind around Derek using lame pick-up lines before Derek is kissing him, and then Stiles doesn’t care about pick-up lines or anything but Derek’s mouth. Stiles eagerly moves towards Derek, bumping their faces and causing Derek’s mouth to drag down his chin onto his neck. Derek doesn’t seem to mind, though, because he’s now licking the soft skin underneath Stiles’ chin.

Stiles tries to figure out how to get closer to Derek with the annoying gearshift between them, Derek distracting him with his mouth on his throat, Adam’s apple, behind his ear. Stiles’ hands move of their own accord, sliding down Derek’s arm, up into his hair. It occurs to Stiles that they are making out. In a car. He starts to laugh.

Derek pulls away, face worried, which makes Stiles laugh even more. “Dude, do you realize we are making out in a car?”

“So?” Derek kisses Stiles’ mouth in an attempt to stop him from talking, but Stiles doesn’t let him. He turns his face, so Derek kisses his cheek and jaw.

“This is like the set-up for a porn. And one of my not-so-secret fantasies. But in all the times I’ve played this in my head, the fucking gearshift was never a problem.”

Derek removes his mouth from Stiles’ cheek and glances between them, chuckling softly. Stiles is half-kneeling, half-sitting in the passenger seat, the gearshift digging into his thigh. And he cannot get close enough to Derek, and it’s driving him crazy. Derek glances over his shoulder, eyeing the backseat.

“We could – “

“YES!” Stiles exclaims, and Derek looks at him in amusement. “I mean,” he says, trying to tamp down his enthusiasm, “that’s cool.”

Derek climbs over the seat with some difficulty. “Too big for this fucking tiny car,” he mumbles when he hits his head and gets his leg stuck between the seats.

“Not complaining from this angle,” Stiles says, staring at Derek’s ass that’s right in his face.

“Really?” Derek cranes his head to glare at Stiles, and finally maneuvers into the backseat. “That could have gone smoother, Derek,” he mutters to himself.

“Next time, we should maybe just get out of the car first?”

“Okay, smartass. Get back here, now.” Derek stares impatiently as Stiles gets onto his knees and tries to climb head first into the backseat. He’s not as large as Derek, but his limbs are long and everywhere all at once and he somehow gets stuck around the ribs between the two seats. Derek smirks triumphantly.

“Asshole,” Stiles mumbles as he tries to extricate himself from between the seats. He pushes himself straight up and hits his head on the ceiling with a loud owwww. “This is so much sexier in porns and my fantasy.”

“How many times have you fantasized about this?” Derek asks as Stiles shifts so he can lift his legs over first.

“A lot, actually. As soon as I got the jeep, that’s all I could think about.”

“And who features in these fantasies?” Stiles stops mid motion, hovering between the front and the back, and stares at Derek. “Um…” He can tell from Derek’s face that he’s making fun of him. “Still an asshole.” He shakes his head as Derek grabs his arm and tugs him with a bit more force than Stiles was expecting. Stiles lands with a squeak in an unceremonious heap in the backseat. “So sexy.” He doesn’t have time to right himself before Derek is pushing him back against the wall of the car.

“Who did you think about, Stiles?” Derek growls against his mouth. “Did you ever think about me?” Stiles looks up into Derek’s eyes, confused. This is a side of him he’d never expected. There’s a wild look in his eyes, and Stiles hates himself for thinking it’s so fucking hot. “I’ve thought about you, you know.” Derek licks right under Stiles’ chin, stopping behind his ear. He breathes on it, the warm puff of air causing Stiles to shiver. “I’ve thought about you under me like this, in the backseat. On the hood.”

“Fuck,” Stiles moans, his cock hardening with each passing word. “Stop fucking with me.”

Derek pulls back and looks down at Stiles; his eyes are bright and intense, his mouth redder than usual. “Is it that hard to believe?”

“That you’ve thought about fucking me in your car? Yes.” Stiles’ hands are inching up underneath Derek’s t-shirt, his fingertips touching warm skin. He moves his fingers along the waist of Derek’s jeans, scratching with his blunt nails before sliding them up farther.

“You’re stupid then,” Derek says, but his voice is full of affection. They’re cramped in the backseat. Stiles has one foot on the floor, one foot pressed against the window, and he’s slouching uncomfortably against the side. Derek has one knee on the seat beside his hip, his other knee on the floor. Neither of them can move very well, but Stiles is okay with that. It just means that they are clinging to one another, their hands roaming on any bit of skin they can get. Derek’s hands are in Stiles’ hair, on his neck, his arms, and Stiles’ hands have slid all the way up to Derek’s shoulders, where he’s gripping them.

“Oh!” Stiles breathes as Derek starts rutting against him, and Stiles can feel the hard length of Derek’s cock against his hip. “Oh, fuck, you’re hard.” Stiles knows it’s a stupid thing to say, but he can’t believe that Derek – Derek! – is hard and grinding against him. Willingly! And because of Stiles.

“It generally happens in these situations,” Derek says against Stiles’ ear, his voice teasing. Stiles realizes he loves the sound of it, wants to hear Derek’s voice like this always. “I may concede to that,” Derek says, pulling the lobe of Stiles’ ear between his teeth with his tongue.

“Oh fuck, did I just say that out loud?” Stiles’ embarrassment mixes with his desire when Derek hums confirmation and gently bites the flesh between his teeth. Derek drags his teeth from Stiles’ ear to his neck, where he licks and nuzzles and worries the flesh. Every swipe of his tongue, every time his stubble pulls against his skin, little shocks of desire pulse through Stiles’ body like he’s never felt before. Derek bites the skin where his shoulder meets his neck, and Stiles bucks his hips involuntarily.

Suddenly, the only thing he can think about is how fucking hard he is and how he just needs to come before his cock explodes.

“That can’t actually happen,” Derek says as he slides one of his hands underneath Stiles’ shirt, sending sparks all across his body. “But I think you were just rambling aloud again.”

“This is what you do to me,” Stiles mumbles, his fingers drawing patterns over where he guesses Derek’s tattoo is. “I lose the ability to control my mouth.”

“I thought you always lacked that ability.”

Stiles scratches his nails roughly down Derek’s back in response, and he feel s Derek jerk and hears him moan, and the sound goes straight to Stiles’ cock. He starts moving faster, and Derek cants his hips erratically. Stiles is bracing his foot against the window to try and get more leverage and thus more contact with Derek. Even through the fabric of their jeans, Stiles can feel Derek’s heat.

Derek moves up Stiles’ body, finding his mouth again and kissing him sloppily and with a lot of tongue, and Stiles loves it. He decides he loves Derek’s tongue and Derek’s teeth and Derek’s back and Derek’s everything. Derek has shifted his angle just a bit, and the friction is harder against Stiles, and he digs his nails into Derek’s back as he gets close. He feels Derek’s thrusts turn more erratic, his breathing coming out heavy against his mouth. Then Derek moans and he’s basically humping Stiles as he comes. Stiles opens his eyes briefly and sees Derek’s eyes squeezed shut, and between the knowledge that Derek Hale is thrusting against his crotch as he comes and the friction against his own aching cock, Stiles arches a bit off the seat and comes too, the wet warmth spreading thickly in the inside of his boxers.

He’s panting, his cock still twitching as Derek licks and nuzzles into his neck. Stiles cards his fingers lightly through Derek’s hair, enjoying the feel of the soft strands underneath his palm. For once, Stiles doesn’t feel like talking. Instead, he hums contently as Derek nuzzles his neck, his hands moving slowly over Derek’s hair, neck, shoulders, arms.

Stiles doesn’t know how long they lie like that. Derek’s weight isn’t too heavy on him, and Stiles suspects that Derek is bracing most of the weight himself. Music is still playing in the background, and Stiles distractedly wonders if it’s going to run the battery down.

“Are you okay?” Derek asks against Stiles’ neck.

“Huh? Yeah, I’m great. Well, except for the squishy mess in my pants, but really, I’m not that worried about it. Does that make me gross? Cause if you think about it – “

“You’re fine.” Derek laughs quietly as he pushes himself up and gazes down into Stiles’ face.

Stiles’ brow knits in confusion. “Why wouldn’t I be? Are you not okay? Was that not good for you? I mean, I know we just basically rubbed off like two horny teenagers – I mean, that’s basically what I am – but I’m not really good at all this – and god that sounds so lame, but I thought you came, but if you need – “

“Stiles. Shut up.” Derek presses a kiss to his lips. “You were too quiet. It was a bit disturbing.”

“I thought you’d be glad that I shut up.” An easy smile spread across Stiles’ face.

“Oh, believe me, I was glad. It just caught me off-guard.”

“Nice to know the only way I can surprise the all-mighty Alpha is to shut my mouth.”

Derek kisses him again before starting to sit up, which causes Stiles to whine a bit in protest. Derek raises an eyebrow and glances at the clock. “It’s after one a.m. Your dad will expect you home at some point.”

Stiles grumbles to himself as he sits up, a grimace on his face as everything in his boxers shifts around. “I’m so fucking gross.”

Derek smirks and starts to get out of the car, but he pauses and turns around first. “By the way,” Derek says, his voice softer than Stiles expects. He reaches a hand out and touches Stiles’ face gently. “It was good. Better than good.” Stiles feels relief from something he didn’t realize he was worried about. Derek seems to feel it because he smiles before opening the door and moving the seat so they can crawl out of the backseat.

*

Derek rings the doorbell a few nights later. The sheriff opens the door and greets him with a wide smile as he ushers him into the house.

“Derek! What a surprise. How are you?”

“Fine, sir.”

Stiles bounds down the stairs, stumbling on the last one and nearly face planting. He straightens and stares at Derek in confusion. “What are you doing here?”

“I thought we could go see Deaton again, see if he has any new information,” Derek explains.

The sheriff nods his head. “Very good idea, Derek.” He turns and gives Stiles a knowing look.

Stiles rolls his eyes and ignores his father. “I don’t want to go see Deaton. The nightmares are nothing, really.” That earns him a glare from both Derek and the sheriff. “What?”

“Grab your shoes and let’s go,” Derek orders. Stiles huffs but runs upstairs, grabs his shoes and cell phone, and then rushes back down into the living room. “He won’t be gone too late.”

“Don’t worry about it,” the sheriff says as Derek leads Stiles out of the house. “Hopefully Deaton can figure something out.” He waves from the porch as Stiles climbs into the Camaro.

“Deaton isn’t going to have anything new to say,” Stiles grumbles as he fastens his seatbelt.

“We’re not going to see Deaton,” Derek says with a mischievous grin. Stiles thinks the look is odd on him. “I’m stealing you tonight.”

“You should,” Stiles says. “I’m in high demand. Everyone wants me. You should feel jealous.”

“The pack’s been very attentive,” Derek says. “They want to keep an eye on you.”

“Yeah, I had to finally tell Scott and Isaac after lacrosse yesterday that I had to get some homework done. Plus, sometimes a guy just needs a night to himself. They’ve kept me occupied like every night for the last week. I know they mean well, but damn.”

“They’re worried about you. Plus, they hope that if you’re happy and exhausted, you might not have nightmares.”

“It hasn’t worked that well.” Derek scowls at him. “Don’t look at me like that. I don’t need a babysitter every time I have a nightmare.” Derek doesn’t say anything, but even without werewolf senses Stiles can feel the disapproval wafting off him. “You know, you’re pretty brave, kidnapping the sheriff’s son from right under his nose.”

“I didn’t kidnap you. Your dad gave me permission to take you.”

“To Deaton’s. Not wherever you choose. Which is where, by the way? Am I dressed appropriately? If the place has a dress code, I may not pass.” He glances at Derek, wearing a grey Henley and black jeans. “I left all my goth clothes at home.”

“It’s not goth,” Derek snaps, but Stiles is pretty sure there’s a small smile around his lips.

*

Derek takes them to a fast food drive-thru and buys them cheeseburgers, and then drives into the north of the county, somewhere Stiles has never been before. He turns down a hidden road, much like the one they were on previously, but this time Derek kept driving deep into the woods. If Stiles didn’t trust that Derek knew where he was going, he’d be worried they were going to run into a tree or drive off an embankment.

Stiles must have been more obviously nervous than he realizes, because Derek murmurs “Relax” as he drives. Stiles nods, but doesn’t release the hand gripping the doorjamb.

Finally, Derek stops the car at the edge of a high hill. When Stiles gets out of the car, he realizes that it’s not overlooking the city like he expected, but a dark valley. Stiles looks out, where the moonlight is highlighting the slopes of other hills and the outline of trees. “This is beautiful,” he says quietly. He glances over his shoulder, where Derek has perched on top of the hood, heels resting on the front bumper.

“This is my favorite place,” Derek explains as he reaches into the bag and pulls out one of the burgers. He holds it out for Stiles, and Stiles climbs onto the hood beside him.

“I can see why.” Stiles inhales. “It’s so quiet. I feel like I shouldn’t speak above a whisper.”

“This place is magic,” Derek says, and Stiles stares wide-eyed. “It can get you to be quiet.” His face breaks into a grin and Stiles makes a face.

“Always ragging on me,” Stiles says before taking a bite of the burger.

After a few minutes, Derek says, “I did go see Deaton again. He gave me some more things for you to try.”

“I thought what I was doing was working.”

“Not if you’re still having nightmares. Deaton’s concerned.”

“He said that?” Derek quirks an eyebrow. “Yeah, of course not. Deaton never says anything really.” He sighs. “What do I have to do now?”

“It’s not too bad. You can start tomorrow. But I think we have to figure out how to kill the hag.”

“Did you bring me out here and buy me dinner because you have to tell me something awful like to kill the hag I have to be the virgin sacrifice on an alter before getting my heart ripped out by a witch doctor?” Derek stares at him. “I watched Indiana Jones last night, sorry.”

“That’s what you did with your night to yourself?”

“Well, that and jerked off like three times.” Stiles shrugs but feels himself blush. “What can I say? Archeologists make me hot.” Derek shakes his head and finishes his burger.

“Scott and Isaac want to go somewhere for spring break,” Stiles says suddenly.

“Oh?”

“Yeah. They said it would be nice for me to get away. I don’t know, though.”

“You should go,” Derek says. “A trip with your friends would be good for you.” Stiles just looks at him. “What?”

“If we go, you’re coming, too.”

“No. A bunch of high school seniors don’t want their Alpha going on spring break with them to chaperone.” Even in the dark, Stiles can see the vulnerable slouch of Derek’s shoulders.

“That’s not how they think of you,” Stiles says as he reaches over and grabs Derek’s hand. “And I wouldn’t go anywhere without you. What fun would that be? Plus, you’re the one with all the money.”

“Oh, so you just want me along to pay for things.”

“Basically.” Stiles laughs, and even Derek chuckles. “You don’t have to distance yourself. We always want you around.” Derek huffs like he doesn’t believe it, and Stiles squeezes his hand. “Yes, even if you’re older and the Alpha. You’re like the grumpy older brother who makes sure no one kills themselves.” Derek doesn’t respond, but Stiles can see him relax a bit. “Where should we go?” Stiles asks, threading their fingers together. “I think the beach, just so I can get a bit of sun. Do you realize how pale I am?”

“Yes. It’s kinda hard to miss.”

“Funny, Derek. Lydia, Erica, and Allison would probably like the beach. Do you like the beach? Have you ever even been to the beach?” Stiles tilts his head and squints his eyes as he tries to visualize it, but that leads to the image of Derek in swim trunks and Stiles gets distracted.

“Yes, I’ve been to the beach. Contrary to what you might think, werewolves go on vacations sometimes, too.”

“I just assumed your vacations were camping in the woods and chasing deer and stuff.”

“We do that, too.” Derek smirks. “Peter and his wife used to take all the kids to the beach every summer. My parents and my other aunt and uncle never went. I don’t know what they did, but for a week me, my siblings, and my cousins got to do pretty much whatever we wanted because Peter didn’t really care what we did.” Derek stares out into the night, a faraway look in his eyes. He’s smiling slightly and Stiles wishes he had a camera so he could capture it forever.

“As long as Peter doesn’t wear a speedo, I guess he could come along,” Stiles says because he doesn’t know what else to say. Derek laughs and kisses him.

They kiss on the hood for awhile, but soon Stiles is slipping down the slope and almost completely slides off the car. Derek grabs his hand and leads him over to the passenger side door. Stiles glances at the backseat and groans. “As much as I want this to go beyond PG kissing, that backseat was small dude. Two large guys making out was definitely not on the minds of the designers.”

Derek leans down and pushes the seat as far back as it can go before dropping down into it. Stiles stares down at Derek, waiting for him to explain. Derek raises his eyebrows and then looks down at his lap. “Oh,” Stiles says. “Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, then. Um, let me just – “

“Stop thinking about it and just get down here.”

“Fine!” Stiles throws one leg around Derek’s hips, as he tries to figure out how exactly to – Stiles yelps as Derek yanks him down onto his lap and closes the door behind him. Stiles is sitting on Derek’s thighs, knees on either side of his hips.

“Was that so difficult?” Derek asks, amused. Stiles glances down between them, where their crotches are extremely close. He swallows. “Are you nervous?” Derek settles his hand on Stiles’ shoulder, fingertips brushing across the back of his neck while his other hand rests on Stiles’ hip.

“Nope,” Stiles says, but his voice comes out a bit more high-pitched than he intended. Derek rescues him from saying anything else by kissing him. Stiles is self-conscious about being in Derek’s lap at first, but the longer Derek’s tongue swipes inside Stiles’ mouth, and the closer he pulls Stiles against him, the less he cares. Soon, Stiles is unconsciously rolling his hips against Derek’s, his hands fisting in Derek’s shirt.

“You brought me out here to take advantage of me, didn’t you?” Stiles asks when Derek starts kissing his neck. Derek just bites him in response, then licks the flesh. “I’m not complaining, just so you know.”

Derek drops his hand to Stiles’ crotch and squeezes his half-hard cock through his jeans. “I noticed.” The moment Derek touches him, Stiles’ cock jerks to attention and he moans despite himself. In a flash, Derek has Stiles’ jeans unzipped and he’s shoving his hand inside, pressing his palm against Stiles through his boxers.

“Oh fuck,” Stiles says, leaning back against the dash as he tries to refrain from thrusting up into Derek’s hand. Derek uses Stiles’ new position to push Stiles’ shirt up and then lick a long stripe up the middle of his chest, ending with a quick flick of Stiles’ nipple. “This is just unfair,” Stiles says, reaching between them and undoing the fly on Derek’s jeans. “We can’t have this be one sided, and being the generous guy I am, I feel obliged to – oh,” Derek pushes his hand inside Stiles’ boxers and wraps his fingers around his length, “oh god fuck Derek.” Stiles momentarily forgets about Derek’s jeans while Derek slowly slides his hand along his cock.

“You did this on purpose,” Stiles manages, his eyes drifting closed as Derek’s thumb brushes across the head.

“You really never stop talking, do you?”

Stiles opens his eyes and looks down at Derek, hint of a smile tugging at his lips. “No, not really.” He breathes out slowly as Derek circles his thumb around the tip of his cock because he’s really trying not to come. His desire to touch, oh god touch Derek’s fucking cock shucks him from his haze and allows him to refocus his energy on getting Derek’s pants undone. The angle and Stiles’ general ineptitude at disrobing other people makes it clumsy, but Derek is patient and just keeps lazily stroking him, causing his cock to twitch and harden even further if that’s possible. But nothing prepares Stiles for what it’s like when touches Derek’s cock. It’s so fucking hot it almost burns his palm, and it’s hard and large and Stiles moans as he wraps his fingers around it.

“Fucking beautiful,” Derek whispers. Stiles’ eyes flick up, and he smiles sheepishly because he was so intent on touching Derek’s cock that he didn’t really think about Derek, you know, still being there and watching him. Derek grabs the back of Stiles’ skull with his hand and crushes their mouths together. Stiles experiments with his grip on Derek’s cock as he tries to figure out the best way to do this. “Wait,” Derek says, gently pushing Stiles back against the dash. “I don’t think either of us want to come in our underwear again.”

Stiles shakes his head adamantly. “Definitely not.” That was not the most comfortable ride home, Stiles thinks, even with the knowledge that Derek not only did that to him, but was also in the same position because of him.

Derek murmurs, “Raise up.” Stiles raises up on his knees as best he can, his head and neck craned against the ceiling of the Camaro. Derek hooks his thumbs in the band of Stiles’ underwear and jeans. When Derek pulls the fabric away from Stiles’ erection, he growls low in his chest and buries his face against Stiles’ stomach, which Stiles realizes for the first time is right at eye level. Stiles bites his lip and concentrates on his breathing as he watches Derek nuzzling against his hip, his cock right beside Derek’s face. Derek licks along Stiles’ hipbone before pulling away and lifting his own hips up. In one swift motion, Derek has pushed his jeans and briefs to his knees.

Stiles settles back on Derek’s lap and just stares at Derek’s cock. Derek rests his hands on Stiles’ hips, rubbing his thumb over the skin, as Stiles looks. The pink tip with a bit of moisture leaking, the foreskin drawn tightly beneath the head, the veins along the shaft, the patch of dark hair at the base. He swallows and drags his thumb across the foreskin in fascination, and is rewarded with a groan from Derek.

Not so patient now, Derek wraps his hand around both their cocks, pressing the lengths together, and Stiles kisses him again. Derek’s hand can’t get much movement, so he breaks the kiss and brings his hand up to lick the palm before replacing it. Stiles braces his arm on the ceiling of the car, grounding himself as he rocks his hips into Derek’s hand. Derek’s head is back against the headrest as he watches Stiles, his hips rocking to the same rhythm as Stiles. Stiles bends down to kiss Derek again because it’s all just too much, Derek’s hand and his cock and his eyes, and he loses his fingers in Derek’s hair, his hands gripping and pulling. Derek swipes his thumb across their heads and Stiles is coming, fast and hard over Derek’s hand, moaning into his mouth. As he’s coming down, he twines his fingers with Derek’s and helps slide their fists over their cocks still pressed together. Stiles’ cock feels overly sensitive, but Derek’s eyes are squeezed shut and he’s breathing roughly, and then Derek tenses beneath him, his back arching off the seat, as Stiles feels warmth spreading over their hands. Stiles strokes them both a few more times as Derek relaxes into the seat, and then pulls their hands away.

“Well, at least it’s not our underwear,” Stiles says as he looks down at their combined come covering their hands and shirts. Derek smiles lazily, his face open and happy as he grabs the back of Stiles’ head with his other hand and pulls him down into a lazy kiss. Finally, when Stiles can barely breathe, Derek lets him go and then wipes his hand on his t-shirt. “That’s gross, dude.”

“Do you have a better idea?” Derek quirks an eyebrow. Stiles shakes his head and wipes his hand on Derek’s shirt, too. Derek stares at it, then up at Stiles.

“Why ruin more of my shirt? That just made more sense.” Derek tries to look mad, so Stiles just kisses him again. He realizes when he looks down that their cocks are lying limp against one another. “You know,” Stiles says, “this isn’t really us taking it very slow.”

“No, it’s really not,” Derek says, kissing the underside of Stiles’ chin. All other thought leaves Stiles’ brain as Derek kisses him.

*
Derek didn’t mean to kiss Stiles. Sure, he’d wanted to kiss Stiles for ages now, almost every time he was in the same room with him. Derek could barely look at those full lips without wanting to touch them.

When Stiles kissed him, he’d been surprised, angry, and terrified. He wasn’t stupid – he knew Stiles felt something for him, too (or at least found him attractive – it was hard for Derek to believe he deserved anyone to truly care about him), but he never expected Stiles to act on it.

He’d been embarrassed when Stiles had accused him of almost kissing him on the balcony that night – because that was exactly what happened. Stiles had been so beautiful standing on the balcony, the contours of his face stark in the pale light from the crescent moon. He’d smelled like want, like comfort, like pack and home.

When Stiles kissed him, so clumsily and sweet, Derek couldn’t resist any longer.

Stiles didn’t know what taking him to the overlook meant. Stiles didn’t know that Derek’s father used to take him there, that the whole family would go camping up there, that they’d have bonfires on the full moon and spend all night together running around under the stars. It had been a long time before Derek could go up there without feeling the worst gut wrenching pain, and even then, with Stiles happily beside him on the hood of the car, there was a sadness he couldn’t escape. But he wanted to share it with Stiles, the happiness and the sadness, and one day, he’d tell Stiles about his family, and those bonfires and camp outs and what his mother’s smores tasted like and how his Dad had pretty much explained to him everything about life right there on that cliff, overlooking the valley.

Chapter Text

The next week passes in a blur. Stiles has the normal homework and studying for AP tests, and since he’d like to keep his perfect GPA and score high enough on AP tests to get college credit, he’s been studying extra hard. But there’s also the lacrosse playoffs, which has him, Scott, and Isaac running hard. Those things are mostly okay for Stiles. Well, mostly. He misses five passes that he should have caught in practice one day, and Coach Finstock makes him run suicide runs until Stiles almost pukes. He’d gone straight to bed that night. During the play-off game, Stiles misses two goals and almost loses them the game. Finstock benched him and everyone was pissed at Stiles, even Scott and Isaac.

Stiles was pretty sure he could deal with that if that was all he was dealing with. But he’s still having nightmares, so he’s getting less and less sleep each night. He just can’t bring himself to sleep. He tosses and turns for most of the night, and after he wakes up from the inevitable nightmare, he usually doesn’t fall back to sleep.

He tried the other remedies Derek brought him from Deaton, which came with more humiliation and frustration. He followed some of the lore from Germany, which had him urinate into a clean, new bottle. After doing that, his father saw him coming down the stairs carrying it.

“What in the hell is that?” the sheriff asked, following Stiles into the back yard where he tied the bottle on the frame of the swing in the yard so it could hang in the sun for three days. On the third day, Erica, Isaac, Scott, and Allison drove him and the bottle to a nearby stream. The worst part was that he couldn’t say a word until he got rid of the bottle.

“Ten bucks he doesn’t make it to the creek without talking,” Erica said.

“Twenty that he’ll do it,” Isaac had said. Stiles smiled at him for having faith.

“Hey Stiles,” Erica said, leaning against him and whispering into his ear.

“It’s not fair if you cheat,” Scott said.

“Plus, Derek will be pissed if you fuck this up,” Isaac said. “He’ll have to wait another three days.”

“What will get him to talk?” Erica asked, and started trying to get him to discuss everything with her. When that didn’t work, she started saying blatantly incorrect things to Stiles in attempt to get him to correct her. He almost did when she went on a tangent about Batman that had him biting his lip, but he was saved by Isaac wrestling with her until they almost crushed him. Stiles was pretty sure Derek wouldn’t be happy about that, either, but he kept his mouth shut.

At the stream, Stiles had to throw the bottle over his head into the water, and they all laughed at him, even Scott, the evil traitor.

Stiles also tried getting into bed backwards, but that didn’t yield any results either. He was still plagued every night by the hag, and even though he hadn’t woken up anywhere weird, he was getting paralyzed more frequently, but he didn’t tell the others that.

And on top of all of that, the pack barely left his side. Every night, they were either at Stiles’ house or he was being forced to the loft, or Scott’s, or somewhere else. A few nights they had sleepovers, and Stiles knew they meant well, but really, he just wanted some time alone and some time to get his head together.

His dad even commented on it. “Stiles, you look like shit.” They were at dinner, and Stiles was barely seeing the food on his plate. He ate on autopilot, just shoveling potatoes and carrots into his mouth. “You haven’t even commented on the fact that we’re eating steak.” Stiles looked up blearily at his dad’s plate, which had a few bites of a T-bone on it.

“Oh. Well, you shouldn’t be eating that. Bad Dad.” The sheriff looked like he wanted to say something else, but he kept his mouth shut.

And today, today was definitely not his day. He’d had a nightmare which featured him being tortured by faceless werewolves, and he’d woken up with two shallow gashes down his side that matched the ones the dream wolves had given him. He’d accidentally run a red light because he wasn’t paying attention, he’d gotten back a history test he’d made a C- on, and at practice he tripped and fell on his face because he was so tired he tripped over his own feet. When he threw one of the balls too wide, Finstock threatened to make him do suicide runs again, and when he missed a pass Danny threw at him, Finstock yelled him over.

“Stilinski! What is your problem? You have literally gotten so bad in the last two weeks that I’m thinking of putting you on the other team to help us win.”

Stiles was leaning on his crosse, his brain fuzzy. He was exhausted, and he really didn’t want to listen to this. “Is that it? Can I go back to practice?”

“No, you cannot go back to practice. Ten laps, now!” Stiles just stared at him. He wouldn’t make it through one lap. “Stilinski, are you deaf? Run, now!”

Without thinking, Stiles tossed his crosse on the ground. He just wanted to punch something, but instead, he stormed off the field. He vaguely heard voices calling after him, but he ignored them. Scott and Isaac caught up with him at the edge of the field.

“What are you doing? Are you crazy?” Scott asked.

“Coach is livid,” Isaac said.

“I don’t fucking care!” Stiles yelled. “I’m leaving. Now.” He turned again, but Isaac and Scott walked with him.

“We’ll come with you.”

“No, you won’t.”

“Derek won’t be happy if we let you storm off alone,” Isaac said.

Stiles turned and glared at them. “I don’t fucking care if Derek is happy or not!” He spun around on his heel, and this time, Scott and Isaac didn’t follow him. When he’d gotten home, he’d told his dad he didn’t feel well and was skipping dinner before collapsing on his bed.

Now, he is lying sprawled on his stomach, trying to not freak out about, well, everything. His head is killing him, and he just wants one good, uninterrupted night of sleep. He dozes off and is startled awake by someone shaking him gently.

“Dad, I told you, I don’t want dinner,” Stiles mumbles into the pillow.

“Stiles.”

Stiles feels a mixture of relief and irritation at the sound of Derek’s voice. He doesn’t even roll over.

“Isaac told me about practice,” Derek says, a hand rubbing lightly against Stiles’ shoulder.

“I told him I didn’t fucking care if you were happy or not. I still don’t.”

“What’s wrong?”

Stiles rolls over and sits up, glaring at Derek. “What’s wrong? What’s wrong? I basically failed a test, and broke the law today, and now am probably kicked off the lacrosse team. I would give my left nut to get some fucking sleep, my friends are obsessed and won’t leave me alone, which means I haven’t been alone in like forever, but even when I am, I’m too fucking tired to jerk off. And I’m being haunted by a psychotic hag who takes pleasure in hurting me.” Stiles realizes his error the moment the words are out of his mouth.

“What happened?”

“Nothing.”

“You’re lying.” Derek stares hard at him. Stiles sighs and lifts up his shirt, revealing the two gashes. Derek’s eyes flash red. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I can’t just run to you with every fucking problem. This is no worse than anything else that has happened.”

Derek breathes in slowly, and then he looks at Stiles like he’s not sure what to do. Finally, he grabs Stiles and pulls him close, kissing him gently. Stiles relaxes into the kiss, but then pushes him away. Derek’s brows furrow.

“I…I can’t do this right now.” Stiles winces at the brief hurt look that passes over Derek’s face. When Derek gets up to go, Stiles reaches out instinctively and catches his hand. Derek glances over his shoulder. “Don’t go.”

“But you just said – “

“Look,” Stiles starts, his voice harsher than he intended. “My head is all kinds of fucked up right now. And this,” he points between the two of them, “whatever this is between us, I can’t deal with it in any major way. First we’re taking things slow and then we’re jerking each other off in your car and then we’re back to heavy makeout sessions, and I don’t even know what I want. I mean, I’m going to college next year and I don’t know if I’ll be here or somewhere else or even if you’re willing to do something long distance or if I am. All I know is that every time I think about you my head does funny weird things that I’m too strung out to understand. I’m around the pack all the time but all I want to do is be around you, and sadly the only thing I’ve been fantasizing about with you lately is just sleeping. Fucking sleeping.” Stiles feels drained when he’s done, and he’s pretty sure he said more than he should have, but he just doesn’t care anymore.

Derek’s face softens, and he toes off his shoes and lies on the bed beside Stiles. “Lay down,” Derek whispers, holding his arms open for Stiles. Stiles glances over his shoulder at his closed door. “If your dad shows up, I’ll hide.”

Stiles crawls onto Derek and sighs as Derek wraps his arms around him. Derek slides his fingers into Stiles’ hair and rubs his scalp soothingly, and immediately all the tension melts from his body and he moans. “You should get paid to do that,” Stiles murmurs, “except I don’t think I like the idea of you doing this to anyone else.”

“Go to sleep, Stiles.”

“The sun is still up.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“What if I have a nightmare?”

“I’m here. Just try and sleep. I’m not going anywhere.”

Stiles is going to reply, but instead he drifts off into sleep.

*

Stiles jerks away, the nightmare immediately fading into nothingness. He can’t remember anything about it as he sits up. Derek’s stretched out beside him, almost finished with the book he started the last time he was there.

“How long was I out?”

“About four hours.”

“That’s not too bad.” Stiles rubs his eyes and swings his legs over the side of the bed. He stops at the bathroom and then pads downstairs when his stomach growls. The television’s on in the living room, so he enters and says, “Hey Dad!” before realizing the sheriff’s asleep in the recliner. Stiles frowns when he sees the open whiskey bottle and the empty tumbler on the side table. He leans towards his dad and sniffs. He’s smelled worse.

Stiles sighs as he grabs the bottle and glass and goes into the kitchen. There’s a turkey burger and French fries left for him in the microwave. Seriously doubting his father ate a turkey burger, Stiles checks the trash can and sees the empty packet of ground beef. If it was any other day, Stiles would care; now, he’s just trying not to succumb to a panic attack because of the whiskey bottle he’s still clutching in his hand.

“Let it go, Stiles.” Derek startles him, whispering so close in his ear, and Stiles obeys and loosens his grip. Derek screws the top on the bottle and Stiles points to a bottom cabinet. Stiles grips the edge of the counter, feeling guilty and angry and worried and everything else all at once. “You can’t blame yourself,” Derek says quietly, a hand between Stiles’ shoulder blades.

“He’s been drinking more since all this started,” Stiles responds, eyes glued to the counter. “I’ve just been ignoring it.”

“He’s worried,” Derek says. “He doesn’t know what to do. It’s consuming him.”

“Is this supposed to make me feel better?”

“You should just accept that your father loves you.”

“It doesn’t give him the right – “

“Stiles, you don’t need to worry about this now. You’ve got enough on your plate.” Derek slides his hand up and curls his fingers around Stiles’ neck, squeezing lightly. Stiles sighs and leans into the touch.

“Do you want something to eat?”

“Sure.”

Stiles fixes Derek a sandwich, and Derek carries both plates upstairs while Stiles returns to the living room and covers his dad with a blanket.

*

Stiles wakes up a few hours later, Derek’s arm draped over his hip heavily. He glances at the clock. Almost 3 a.m. This time, he’s slept around three hours, making a total of seven hours. He can feel Derek’s even, deep breaths behind him as he sleeps.

Stiles snuggles closer to Derek, pressing himself as close to his warm, solid body as he can. Without waking, Derek adjusts his position and wraps his arm more tightly around Stiles. Stiles relaxes into the embrace, ignoring everything skirting at the edges of his brain. This isn’t the time to think about this, isn’t something he’s ready for. Because he knows the moment he thinks about it, forms the words in his mind, fully admits it to himself, there’ll be no going back.

*

The pack keeps glancing at him nervously during lunch. Stiles hadn’t noticed anything amiss before then, though in hindsight, Scott and Isaac had seemed pretty weird before school, and Erica had avoided him although she usually meets him between classes. Lydia had pretended to be going over her anatomy notes which kept her from talking to him, and Allison had only waved at him during gym.

Now, they are all just looking at him and picking at their food. They’re not even trying to make fake conversation.

“Really, guys? I’m not going to flip on you or anything,” Stiles finally says when he can’t take it anymore. “Besides, if I do go all mental, it’s not like you can’t take me.” That at least gets a smile out of all of them. Scott grabs Stiles’ pudding cup, and Isaac relates Finstock’s reaction the afternoon before, and the weirdness seems to pass.

Finstock tells him if he ever pulls a stunt like that again he won’t live long enough to be sad about missing the championship game, and Stiles is so happy he’s not off the team he just nods fervently until Finstock tells him to stop imitating a bobble head.

For the next few days, Stiles sleeps better with less vivid nightmares, and the pack isn’t glued to his side, so he gets a bit of homework done along with some well needed jacking off. He almost feels like himself again.

After he finishes with his homework, he bounds down the stairs and into the kitchen to find out when dinner is going to be. He skids to a halt right inside the door. His dad is standing at the stove next to Derek, who’s mixing a salad. And they’re talking.

“What…why…um, I’m having a nightmare, aren’t I? It’s the only explanation.”

Derek glances over his shoulder with an arched eyebrow, and his dad turns to him exasperated. “What are you talking about, Stiles?” he asks. Stiles points between the two of them, his finger moving back and forth, over and over again like it might begin to make sense. His dad glances at Derek, then rolls his eyes. “It’s just dinner, Stiles. Stop acting like that. Here.” He shoves three plates into Stiles’ hands. “Be useful.”

Stiles stares at them for a beat more before setting the table. How can they stand there like this is normal behavior? It’s not like his dad and Derek hate each other or have never had a conversation – there were plenty of conversations after the sheriff found out about werewolves – but this, this was something Stiles had never expected. Derek Hale coming to dinner.

When they sit down, the sheriff hands Derek the plate of fish first, so Derek takes a piece and passes the plate to Stiles. Stiles eyes Derek over the salmon. “What are you doing here?”

“That’s not very polite, son.”

“When have you ever known me to be polite? Especially to Derek?” Stiles plops a spoonful of peas onto his plate.

“I dropped by to see how you were doing,” Derek says, ignoring Stiles’ comment. “Your dad said you were studying, so we talked.”

“You talked. You two? About what?” Stiles looks between them in horrified curiosity.

“Baseball mostly,” his dad answers.

“I don’t believe it,” Stiles mutters, shoving peas into his mouth. It’s not that he cares that Derek is here – on the contrary, it’s been almost a week since he’d seen him and he’s rather glad that Derek’s there – but the idea of Derek and his dad talking, alone, in a room, and making dinner?? It just weirds Stiles out, and not much does that anymore.

“How’re things down at the station?” Derek asks politely, and Stiles shakes his head. Since when did Derek make small talk?

“Quiet, though…” The sheriff starts telling Derek about a recent bout of vandalism cases, and Stiles has heard it multiple times, so he zones out. Instead, he focuses on Derek. Derek listens with interest as his dad talks, nodding his head and interjecting a comment here and there. It’s so…normal. Derek looks relaxed, his shoulders at ease in his navy t-shirt that scoops down just enough so that Stiles can see a bit of Derek’s collarbone. And Stiles can’t help but stare as Derek lifts the fork to his mouth and takes a bite of food, his lips and his tongue moving in a way that shouldn’t really be sexy, but it’s Derek, so –

“What do you think, Stiles?”

Stiles jerks his head towards his dad, who’s waiting expectantly. “Um…”

“Were you even listening?” His dad sighs.

“Dad, I’ve heard that story about five zillion times, so sorry if I didn’t pay attention while you related it yet again.” His dad shakes his head and Derek kicks him under the table. Stiles glares at him, and Derek’s looking at him pointedly, like he could communicate telepathically. If he could, Stiles is pretty sure he’d tell him to stop being an idiot.

“What have you been up to, Derek?” the sheriff asks conversationally. “Do you have a job yet?”

“Dad!” Stiles whines. “You can’t ask people questions like that.”

“Why not? It’s a valid question. Derek hasn’t had a job since we’ve known him. I’m just asking if that has changed.”

“It’s rude.”

“It’s called conversation.”

“I don’t have a job,” Derek interjects, his voice raised just a bit. Stiles and his dad turn to him like they’d forgotten he was in the room. “I just haven’t gotten around to getting one.”

“Well, son, what do you do all day?” The sheriff sets his fork down and leans toward Derek.

“Sits around and broods,” Stiles answers jokingly. His dad sighs again, but the edge of Derek’s mouth twitches. “Picks out new black and grey shirts. Devises diabolical plots to torture his betas.”

“Stiles,” the sheriff groans.

“I read a lot.” Derek shrugs. “I seem to keep pretty busy.”

“What did you do before you came back to Beacon Hills? When you lived with your sister before this?”

“Dad!” Stiles just about yells. “You can’t ask him things like that!”

The sheriff shifts around and looks at Stiles incredulously. “And why the hell not?”

“Because…” Stiles trails off and cuts his eyes hesitantly to Derek. “You…just can’t.”

“Why? Because his sister died?” Stiles stares at him in horror. “Stiles, I don’t think asking Derek about his life before Beacon Hills is going to break him. One of the worst things after your mother passed away was how people wanted to pretend she never existed so as not to upset me.” He turns back to Derek, and Stiles watches them both, gaping. Derek doesn’t look upset; he looks amused at the exchange between the two of them.

“I went to college,” Derek says. “Finished in three years, and worked at a gym as a trainer. That’s what I was doing right before I came back here.”

“You went to college?” Stiles asks. “I never knew that.”

“You’ve been friends with him for two years and you never asked him?” His dad shakes his head.

“Well, no. I didn’t want to be rude like some people.”

“What? And ask him about his life?”

“He has claws, Dad. And really large teeth. Like this.” Stiles bares his teeth and hooks his fingers as he makes a scratching motion.

“So, he looks like a kitten?” Derek laughs, and his dad smiles in victory.

“At least call me a puppy. That’s closer to a wolf than a kitten. But seriously, Dad. You’ve never seen him all wolfed out. Or angry. He’s terrifying. You don’t ask Derek questions because you might die.”

“It’s never stopped you from irritating me,” his dad says.

“You’re not scary. And won’t kill me.”

“I carry a gun.”

“So? Do you have claws? Do you have fangs? Not scary, Dad. Sorry.”

Derek swallows the bit of water he just drank. “I disagree. Your father is terrifying.”

Stiles stares at him. “Stop being a sycophant.”

Derek shakes his head. “I’m not. He’s your father, and he’s arrested me. He’s terrifying.”

Stiles laughs in disbelief, but notices his father looks pleased. He hopes Derek is telling the truth, just for his father’s sake. Although it would totally take away some of Derek’s scariness.

“Have you two made any progress on the hag?” his father asks over dessert. They shake their heads, and Stiles pokes at his pie. “Derek, should I be any more worried than I am? Stiles won’t talk to me about it. He says he’s fine, but he still has nightmares, I hear him almost every night.”

Stiles glances at Derek and doesn’t miss the quick flick of his eyes in Stiles’ direction. “It seems to be under control for the moment. Not much to worry about. It’s been mostly dreams for the last month, and so we’re hoping that maybe it’ll just go away.”

The sheriff eyes Derek carefully. “Just goes away?”

“But we’re still trying to find a way to get rid of it, just in case,” Derek quickly adds. Stiles thinks that maybe Derek was telling the truth when he said he was scared of his father if his sudden discomfort is any indication.

“Well, Stiles,” his dad says when they’re finished and he stands up from the table. “Since Derek and I cooked, you can do the dishes.”

“What? Hey, no fair! I’m being haunted by a hag, doesn’t that count for anything?” he yells as his dad disappears into the living room. “Anything? Dad? Come on!” Derek smirks and Stiles starts gathering plates. Stiles is happy when Derek grabs the empty bowls and follows him into the kitchen.

“What are you really doing here?” Stiles asks. “I’m not dying, am I?”

Derek rolls his eyes. “I just wanted to check on you. I hadn’t seen you in awhile.”

“I’m fine,” Stiles says, and it’s not really a lie. “I’ve been getting a little more sleep, I’ve caught up on my homework, and I’ve actually gotten some time to myself. Everyone’s left me alone lately.”

Derek nods and looks pleased. “That’s good.”

Stiles scrubs a plate as something dawns on him. “You told them to leave me alone, didn’t you?” He drops the dish in the sink.

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

Stiles watches as Derek rinses the plate. “You’re a terrible liar.”

“You said you were tired of them,” Derek says.

“Oh no, I’m thrilled. Actually, you may be my new favorite. I love Scott, but I’d had just about as much of him and Isaac as I could take.”

They finish the dishes in comfortable silence. Stiles finds the ease with which they wash the dishes intriguing albeit a little disturbing. But he’s so content to have Derek there by his side, with the quiet way he moves and the way his arm brushes against him when he reaches into the sink, that he doesn’t even feel the need to talk, which is something he doesn’t want to seriously think about if he’s honest.

Afterwards, they go upstairs, the sheriff glancing at Stiles with a raised eyebrow as they pass the living room. Stiles dutifully ignores him and decides to let his dad come to whatever erroneous conclusion he wants to.

Derek studies a display of action figures on the bookcase while Stiles tries to find something to watch on TV. Of course when he asks Derek, he has no preference. Stiles finally settles on Adult Swim, and then Derek joins him on the bed, toeing his shoes off as he sits.

“I’m sorry about dinner,” Stiles says as he lies back against the pillow. He gives Derek an apologetic smile.

“Your dad isn’t so bad.”

“But he asked…so many questions.” Stiles still feels a bit uncomfortable breaching the subject of Derek’s past.

“You can ask me questions, too, you know,” Derek replies quietly. “Just because I don’t talk about it doesn’t mean I won’t.”

“I just thought – “

“Do you like talking about your mom?” Derek interrupts. Stiles pauses for a minute, then nods his head. “Sometimes I like talking about mine, too. And the rest of my family.”

“Oh. I just…”

“I know.” Derek reaches over and squeezes Stiles’ knee gently, then leaves his hand there. Stiles chews on his lip, trying to figure out if he should ask Derek a question. He left it open for him to ask, so he should use that opportunity, right? But what question to ask? “You don’t have to ask anything. You look like you’re stressing.”

“There’s just so much I want to know,” Stiles blurts.

Derek’s smile is small. “It’s not as interesting as you think. You know most of the important stuff.”

“What do you like to talk about? What parts of it do you think about?” Stiles turns onto his side and puts his arm under his head as Derek begins to talk. His voice is quiet, reflective as he talks slowly like he is choosing the perfect words. He tells Stiles anecdotes about growing up, about his parents, Peter, Laura, his cousins. Stiles realizes Derek was right; it’s not what most would call interesting, it’s mostly normal family antics, arguments, and holiday memories. But to Stiles, they’re some of the most fascinating things he’s ever heard Derek say.

Derek tells him about living in New York, college, how he and Laura kept to themselves mostly as they tried to move on, no thoughts of making a new pack. Stiles notices how Derek’s voice gets sadder then, and he takes Derek’s hand in his own. Stiles tries to imagine Derek sitting in a classroom, all leather and brooding and cold stares, and just can’t picture it.

Derek is telling him about his job as a personal trainer when he suddenly removes his hand from Stiles’. Stiles feels momentarily rejected until his dad pokes his head through the cracked door.

“I’m going to bed,” his dad says, eyeing both of them carefully. “Don’t forget you have school tomorrow.” He looks at Derek. “Good night, Derek.”

“Night, sir. Thank you for dinner.”

The sheriff nods quickly as Stiles yells, “Night, Dad! Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” He rolls his eyes before disappearing downstairs.

“Does the pack know about your family and college?” Stiles asks.

“Isaac knows some of it because he’s heard me and Peter talk about various things over the years. I think they’re more scared to talk to me about it than you are.”

Stiles hears the water running in his dad’s bathroom downstairs, figures he’s gone for the night, so he scoots closer to Derek and places a tentative hand on his shirt. “Thank you, for telling me.” He fingers the soft navy cotton, feels Derek’s hard chest beneath it.

“You’re welcome.”

Stiles moves closer, for some reason nervous about kissing Derek. It’s not like it’s their first kiss, but Stiles feels like they’re in some limbo place where he doesn’t know what they are or what they’re doing or if they can even kiss. His fingers inch up slowly until they brush against the soft skin that had been peeking from the neck of Derek’s shirt all night. Derek’s sigh is almost inaudible, just loud enough that Stiles caught the soft exhale of breath.

Derek remains still as Stiles decides what to do. He leans closer and presses his lips against the exposed collarbone, then flicks his tongue against it. Derek moans softly.

“I thought you said you couldn’t do this,” he whispers as his hands automatically slip into Stiles’ hair, Stiles worrying the skin, scraping his teeth against the soft jut of bone while licking the dip beneath.

“I did,” Stiles says, his lips moving against Derek’s skin, “and we didn’t that day. I still think,” he places a few kisses across Derek’s chest before licking the base of his throat, making Derek growl softly, “we should take it slow.” He kisses Derek’s Adam’s apple. “Explore,” kiss to the side of Derek’s neck, “discover,” kiss under his chin, “and enjoy.” Stiles hovers just above Derek’s mouth, enough space between their lips that they tingle in anticipation.

“Fuck, Stiles,” Derek breathes, his warm, damp breath blowing against Stiles’ already sensitive mouth. “You don’t know the meaning of slow. Not if you keep doing that.”

Stiles grins before Derek attacks his mouth, grabbing him around the waist and flipping them back on the bed so Stiles is on his back, his head at the foot of the bed. Stiles sighs contentedly into Derek’s mouth, his tongue sliding against Derek’s in between the soft presses of their lips.

Stiles’ hands slide underneath Derek’s t-shirt, fingers splaying over soft skin, and he rubs his hands up and down the smooth planes of his back. He remotely thinks that maybe they should shut the door, but they’re almost silent aside from their breathing and the slide of denim against denim, and he’s pretty sure Derek would hear his father before he could sneak up on them.

Derek’s hands find their way inside of Stiles’ shirt as he moves to his neck, rubbing and licking against the sensitive skin. Stiles bites back a moan as Derek scrapes his stubble against his neck and then bites it softly, enough to hurt but not leave a mark. Then Derek’s thumbs flick over Stiles’ nipples as he lifts Stiles’ shirt. Stiles lifts his head and settles his hands on Derek’s shoulders as Derek licks at his stomach and chest, kissing his way up before biting down hard against his right rib. Stiles feels his jeans grow tight as he bucks up in surprise while Derek sucks and licks the skin. He does the same on the other rib and then right under his collarbone, just underneath the neckline of a t-shirt.

By this point, Stiles is rubbing against Derek, trying to get his cock into any contact he can. Derek kisses his way up Stiles’ neck, kissing his mouth briefly before returning to nuzzling his neck. Fucking werewolves, he thinks right before Derek palms him through his jeans, and then he’s just murmuring, “FuckyesshitgahDerekfuck,” as Derek kneads his hand through the fabric against Stiles’ erection. Derek starts licking as he rubs his face against Stiles’ neck, flicking his tongue behind Stiles’ ear and against an unexpected sensitive spot, and then Stiles is arching into Derek’s space as he comes inside of his boxers.

He drops back onto the bed and pants. “You ruined another pair of my boxers,” Stiles says quietly, his hands carding through Derek’s hair as he noses against the base of Stiles’ throat. “We should take our clothes off more. It’d be a lot cleaner.”

“Stiles,” Derek says against his skin, “Shut up.”

“Oh yeah?” Stiles pushes Derek’s shoulders until Derek’s on his back, and then Stiles is kissing him hungrily as his hand mimics what Derek did a few minutes ago. “Payback’s a bitch.” He feels Derek’s hard length through the black denim, squeezes his fingers around the outline and then just rubs the heel of his hand up and down. Derek’s hands are in his hair and against his back, fingers sliding along Stiles’ skin, and then Derek presses his hips into Stiles’ hand as he orgasms.

When Derek opens his eyes a few moments later, Stiles smirks. “Now you can drive home and think about what you’ve done. Think about it and feel really bad for what you’ve done.”

A lazy grin spreads on Derek’s face, and Stiles wants to bottle it up and make Derek repeat it over and over. “Maybe I’ll drive home naked.”

“What would Peter and Isaac think when you came in?”

Derek shrugs. “I don’t care what they think at this point.” He reaches up and trails his fingers across Stiles’ neck.

Stiles groans. “You totally did that werewolf thing, didn’t you?” Derek looks slightly embarrassed. “So, the whole pack will smell you on me tomorrow at school?” Derek stares at him and then leans up nuzzle against the other side of his neck. Stiles rolls his eyes and angles his head to drop a kiss to his Derek’s lips. “You’re insufferable.”

*
Isaac came home and told Derek about Stiles over dinner, and Derek had to restrain himself from jumping up and running all the way to Stiles’ house to check on him. Stiles had seemed so scattered, his entire body felt like one tight coil of anxiety as he lay against Derek. Derek held Stiles, touching him so much that Derek wondered if he was doing it to comfort Stiles or himself.

When the sheriff asked about his past, Derek had been a bit surprised, but okay with it. He sometimes wanted to talk about his family, his parents and Laura and the others, because he missed them. No one ever asked about them, but sometimes he wished they would. He sometimes wanted to remember the good times, talk about memories that didn’t contain smoke and ash and pain. Sometimes, he and Peter would talk about the past, but even that was rare. When Stiles asked Derek to tell him about his life – asked him to tell him about what he thought was important – Stiles had looked genuinely curious and excited to hear Derek talk, though Derek couldn’t understand why. Aside from the fire and the occasional supernatural issue his parents dealt with, he’d had a normal childhood. As he told Stiles about his life, as he watched Stiles drink in every word, he realized that he’d never told these things to anyone before, that other than himself, Stiles was the only one who shared his memories.

And as he kissed along Stiles’ skin, sucked the marks into the pale flesh and spread his scent along Stiles’ neck, Derek admitted something to himself he’d known for a long time. He was ridiculously in love with Stiles.

Chapter Text

Between Scott, Isaac, and Boyd’s jobs, the pack could only get away for one night during Spring Break. Jackson and Lydia got into a huge fight because Lydia wouldn’t let Jackson take the Porsche. “We’re not taking three cars, Jackson!” she’d yelled. He’d glared and then stormed out of the loft, which Lydia took as a victory. That’s how she ends up driving her car, with Jackson sulking in the front, while Allison, Scott, and Isaac sit happily crammed together in the backseat. Stiles is riding in the front seat of the Camaro, Derek driving with Erica and Boyd in the backseat. They leave early Sunday morning, heading a few hours away to the beach.

“First turn on the radio,” Stiles announces the moment they get on the road, and Derek rolls his eyes but doesn’t say anything when Stiles hooks up his iPod. He settles on his Best of the 80s mix, which is his and Erica’s favorite, so they spend forty-five minutes singing along to their favorite 80s songs.

After a few tracks, Boyd joins in with his deep baritone. Derek, however, remains silent, his fingers wrapped around the steering wheel and his eyes on the road. But when Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer comes up, Stiles pokes him. “You have to know this song.” Derek glances at him quickly, but says nothing. During the chorus, Stiles and Erica sing it at full volume, belting the lines, and Stiles looks over at Derek, whose mouth is moving as he sings the words. Stiles reaches over and pinches his side affectionately, and he’s rewarded with the upturned corner of Derek’s mouth.

When it’s Derek’s turn to pick the music, he chooses a playlist of 90s alternative-rock. “Didn’t really pin you as an alt-rock kind of guy. Were you into grunge? Did you wear a lot of plaid? Because if so, we can totally share a wardrobe, though most of my plaid isn’t despondent and jaded.”

“My dad always listened to it growing up,” Derek explains quietly. Boyd and Erica could, of course, hear, but when Stiles glances over his shoulder, he finds them making out in the backseat. He’s not quite sure where Boyd’s hands are, but he thinks, what the hell, way to go Boyd! before ignoring them and turning back to Derek. “We used to listen to a lot of it together.” Stiles reaches over and grabs Derek’s hand, threading their fingers together. They ride like that for the rest of the trip.

The first thing the pack does after checking into the hotel is get ready for the beach. In the hotel room, Stiles looks through his sparsely packed backpack. Derek watches him in disapproval.

“Did you just shove everything in there?” Derek picks up one, unmated sock. Stiles snatches it and shoves it back inside the bag. “Did you even look at what you were packing?”

“Look, Judgey McJudgerson, who made you the pack police?”

Isaac snorts from the other side of the room. “Pack police. That’s funny.”

Stiles grins smugly at his own unintentional wit before turning back to Derek. “I don’t think I packed anything beach appropriate.” Derek shakes his head, eyes effectively communicating just how idiotic he thinks Stiles is. “I mean, I brought swim trunks, but…” he glances at Isaac, who slips on his flipflops and sunglasses before leaving the room shirtless. As soon as the door closes, Stiles lifts his shirt and points to the three marks Derek left. “It’s been days, Derek, and they’re still there. I can’t go out in public like this.”

“Are you embarrassed?” Derek asks, amused.

“That the crazy Alpha werewolf marked me all to hell? Yeah,” he laughs awkwardly. “No one needs to know our business, regardless of how much they’ve assumed from you leaving your scent signature all over me.” Stiles is about to lower his shirt when Derek reaches out and touches the mark on his right rib lightly. Stiles leans almost involuntarily into his touch. “Do we really have to share a room with Isaac?”

Derek raises an eyebrow. “We’re the only single ones, so yeah. We can’t leave Isaac alone.” Derek’s fingers trail to the two healing gashes along Stiles’ side, and Stiles sees the angry expression on his face.

“He can share with Allison and Scott.” Derek’s eyes go wide, and Stiles scoffs. “Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed the hinky things happening with those three. I’m just saying. Allison could be an extremely lucky girl.”

Derek seems to contemplate it for a moment before shaking the thought from his head. “I guess it wouldn’t be the weirdest arrangement I’ve ever seen.”

Stiles gapes. “You need to tell me about whatever caused that comment some day.”

“Here,” Derek says, standing up and pulling his t-shirt over his head. “Wear this to the beach.”

“But, you’ve been wearing it all day.” Stiles takes the shirt, not sure if that thought is appealing or appalling.

“You’re not getting my clean one. In under five minutes, it’d have ice cream, ketchup, and mud on it.”

“Don’t forget blood,” Stiles says as he pulls Derek’s shirt over his head. It’s too big and hangs a bit on his slight frame, but it’s warm and smells just like Derek. Plus it hides the marks, so Stiles figures it’s awesome all the way around.

“You sure you don’t have anything in something brighter, like red or pink?” he asks. Derek pushes him to the bed forcefully, causing Stiles to bounce and sprawl and flail as Derek walks out of the hotel room.

*

Stiles leans back on his elbows on the towel between Lydia and Derek. Allison is on her stomach on the other side of Lydia, Lydia is reading a book, and Derek watches the others out in the ocean, surfing.

“Ugh, just go surfing with them!” Stiles pushes Derek’s arm. “You’ve been watching them like a sad wolf for half an hour.”

Derek shrugs. “It’s okay.”

“Dude, you seriously can’t tell me you want to sit here with the humans for girl time or whatever.” Stiles rolls his eyes. “I don’t surf. You, however, probably do because you’re superwolf and can do everything. So, go.” He pushes Derek again, but Derek resolutely remains seated. Stiles just doesn’t understand why Derek is so stubborn. “Gah Derek, you don’t have to babysit me!” Derek turns his head sharply and glares at him. “The hag isn’t going to come and attack me just because you let me out of your sight for like five minutes.” Stiles points towards the waves, where Isaac and Boyd are on surfboards until Isaac wipes out. “Go surf and bond with your betas.” Stiles thinks that Derek is going to be annoyingly stubborn until he runs a hand across the back of Stiles’ neck and gets up. He watches as Derek crosses the sand, the sun glowing on his rippling muscles. He feels a weird, perverse satisfaction as women and men both watch Derek jog towards the water.

“Do you think that maybe,” Lydia starts, eyes still on her book, “Derek just wants to be around you?”

Stiles stares at her. “Um, no. That’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever said, Lydia.”

Allison lifts her head, loose bun bobbing on top of her head. “Stiles, we’re not stupid. We know you and Derek are kinda dating.”

“We’re not dating,” Stiles replies. They both look at him in disbelief. “He has absolutely, one hundred percent, truthfully never taken me on a date.” Unless you count that one time when Derek picked him up and bought him dinner (albeit fast food in a paper bag) and took him to his special place (and that isn’t even a sexual reference) and they sat on the Camaro and talked under the stars. That might be considered a date, but Stiles wouldn’t admit that. Or share it. That’s his memory, and his alone.

Lydia rolls her eyes. “Semantics, Stiles.”

He glances down and picks at the hem of his shorts. “How did you know?”

“Other than the fact that you’re wearing his shirt?” Stiles fingers the neckline, which hangs lower on his chest than where it did on Derek, and then bunches the soft fabric in his fist.

Allison says, “You two have been dancing around each other for years. We’ve all seen it.”

“What…does the pack sit around and talk about my love life when I’m not around?” Stiles asks, annoyed.

“Stiles, you do that on a weekly basis,” Lydia points out.

“That’s not the point,” he argues. “Because it’s all your love lives, and not mine. So it’s different.”

“Jackson saw you two cuddling the night of the sleepover,” Lydia states.

“Isaac told us about how you told Derek to come pick you up when Scott and I were closer,” Allison continues. “And Erica smelled Derek on you weeks ago when you first had sex.”

Stiles sputters and almost chokes. “Derek and I, we, no. We have definitely not had sex. Still a virgin here.”

“That’s not what Erica said.”

“Yeah, well, Erica’s a horny bitch.” Stiles rubs a hand over his face and looks out at the ocean, where he sees Derek ride a wave beside Erica.

“You can tell us,” Lydia says.

“Yeah,” Allison says enthusiastically. “What’s Derek like? He was born a werewolf, so I bet it’s different than Scott and Jackson.”

“Well, there was quite a difference between when Jackson was human and after he was turned – “

“One handjob,” Stiles blurts. “That’s all we’ve done – and gah, please stop talking about your sex lives, I get enough previews as it is – it was one handjob in the Camaro. And some frottage like twice. So, see? Not having sex. I’m pretty sure none of that counts. You could probably show what we’ve done on cable television. Or at least HBO. I’m pretty sure Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire are more risqué.” Stiles runs a hand through his hair, which sticks straight up with sweat, sunscreen, and frustration. “Why am I even telling you this?”

“I think it’s cute,” Allison says, smiling her annoyingly sweet and magnetic smile. Stiles hates that smile because it’s so damn difficult to be mad at her when she uses it. He momentarily feels bad for Scott.
“Though,” her face goes serious for a moment, “what’s going to happen if you two break up? Are you going to leave the pack?”

“Huh? No one said anything about leaving the pack,” Stiles says, not liking the way a wave of panic bubbles in his throat.

“I guess they could theoretically exist in the same pack if they break up,” Lydia says, turning towards Allison. “As long as Derek doesn’t abuse his Alpha powers.”

“Have you thought about that, Stiles?” Both girls turn to him expectantly. He looks between them, trying to figure out just what in the hell they are talking about.

“We haven’t even gotten together and you’re already talking about us breaking up?”

“It could happen,” Allison says.

“Probably will,” Lydia adds.

“Look,” Stiles snaps. “Everyone is fucking someone in the pack, except me and Derek. And, well, Isaac,” he adds, because he’s going to leave his theory to himself. “All of you can break up at any point, and Allison and Scott have broken up like four jillion times.”

“Scott’s not the Alpha,” Allison says defensively.

“Doesn’t matter. Everything will be fine. And if it’s not, we’ll deal with it then. We’ve dealt with so much shit, what’s one break up on the long list?” Stiles asks, really resenting both of them for putting thoughts into his head and ruining his mood.

“It’s not like any one cares,” Lydia says. “We’re all pretty happy for you. It’s just a reality. So, one word of advice, Stilinski.” Lydia pokes him the chest. Hard, too. He’s pretty sure she’s going to leave a bruise. “If you break his heart, we’ll break you, understand?” She tilts her head and smiles her terrifyingly threatening smile. Stiles nods.

“But on the other hand,” Allison says, “if Derek breaks your heart, we’ll break him.” She looks thoughtful for a second. “So, really, neither of you can break each other’s heart, which would solve everything.”

“So no pressure, eh?” Stiles grumbles as he decides the conversation is definitely over and watches Derek and the others surf.

*

Allison and Lydia wade into the ocean while the others are still surfing. Stiles waves at Scott when he gets on shore, and he jogs over with his surfboard.

“Hey man, what’s up? Wanna come in? It’s fucking awesome. You’ll love it.”

“Maybe in a minute,” Stiles says. “I’m hungry, let’s go down to the pier and grab some food.”

“Should we ask the others?” Scott glances over his shoulder towards the ocean, where Lydia and Allison are splashing Derek with water until he dunks Allison while Erica, Boyd, and Isaac swim back into the surf.

“Nah, they look like they’re having too much fun. Come on.” Scott drops his surfboard in the sand and Stiles slings an arm across his shoulders. “Besides, we haven’t had any Scott and Stiles time in awhile. It’s long overdue.”

Scott turns to him and grins widely. “It is.” Stiles shoves Scott onto the sand and takes off sprinting towards the pier. It takes Scott a few minutes to catch up, and he pushes Stiles. He stumbles, but keeps his footing as he runs after Scott.

After getting nachos (because the uncivilized place didn’t have curly fries!) and Cokes, they sit at a picnic table in the shade that overlooks the ocean. “I think it’s highly unfair I am the only one at risk of sunburn and skin cancer here.” Stiles grabs a nacho and shoves it in his mouth.

“What about Lydia and Allison?”

Stiles waves his hand dismissively. “Their skin will get a perfect glow and they’ll look as perfect as always. I’m covered in about forty pounds of Coppertone.”

“You seem like you’re doing better,” Scott says, staring more at the table and the shared plate of nachos than Stiles. “I haven’t really seen you much the last week. I’m glad you’re not yelling at people anymore, especially me.”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, grabbing another chip. “I’m sorry about that. It was not my finest day.”

“I understand.”

“No, really. I’m sorry, dude.” Scott looks at him and smiles. “And I’m sorry that Derek told you to stay away.”

Scott grimaces. “He yelled at us and got all snarly and red-eyed. His concern for you would have been cute if it hadn’t been so terrifying and obnoxious.”

“He yelled at you?” Stiles rolls his eyes. “Leave it to Derek to listen to one thing I say and take it to the extreme.” Stiles lifts a chip to his mouth and drips a bit of cheese onto the bottom of his shirt. “Shit. Derek’s gonna kill me.”

Scott shoots him a curious glance. “You’re wearing his clothes now?”

“It’s not like a normal thing,” Stiles counters. “I forgot to bring a beach worthy t-shirt. He let me have this one, because you know that Derek uses any opportunity to make us all feel inferior by running around shirtless.”

“Mmmhmm,” Scott nods, unconvinced.

“It’s true! Derek gets half naked more often than Erica.”

“You could have gone shirtless.”

“You know I don’t like doing that. Self-esteem issues and all that.” Scott looks at him, and Stiles rolls his eyes. “Fine. But you can’t tell the others.” Stiles waits until Scott nods, and then he lifts his shirt. Scott nearly chokes on his chip.

“Derek marked you?” Scott exclaims, his voice low. “Dude, that is not going slow. That’s like, major.”

Stiles drops his shirt and feels his face color. “Nah,” he says, grabbing another chip. “It’s not that serious.” Scott doesn’t say anything, but Stiles can tell he wants to. “What?”

“It’s just…you should have seen Derek that day he ordered us to leave you alone. It was more than just protecting pack. And leaving those marks, and scent marking you – “

“What? Are you trying to say Derek may be more serious about this than I am?”

Scott shrugs. “You’re wearing his shirt, Stiles. When have you ever known Derek to share, well, anything.”

“He shares his sodas.”

“With you.”

“Oh.” Stiles thinks, then says, “He shares his food.”

“Still you.”

“Really, dude? You’re his fucking betas. The guy has to share something.”

“Pain.” They both burst out laughing. Sobering a bit, Scott says, “You’re the only one Derek obviously goes out of his way to share or do anything else with. I mean, he’s like four thousand times better than he used to be, but he’s still Derek.”

Stiles crosses his arms and stares at the ocean. “Does everyone know?”

“Huh?” Scott grabs the plate and pulls it towards him, but Stiles slaps his hand and moves it back to the middle.

“Lydia and Allison said everyone talks about me and Derek and whether or not we’re dating. And like, you all think we’re fucking – “

“Whoa!” Scott interrupts. “I never thought that. That was Erica.”

“I would tell you if I was having sex with Derek.”

“That both comforts and terrifies me,” Scott says with an awkward laugh. “You did kinda smell like sex, though.”

Stiles sighs, and for the second time that day says, “Handjob, dry humping. It’s not a habit, only happened a few times.” He runs a hand through his hair. “I wanted to tell you, except, you know, hags and nightmares and Derek’s cock and someone else was always around.”

“It’s cool.” Scott shudders. “Now I’m never going to get the words ‘Derek’s – ‘ Ugh, I can’t even say it.”

“I could point out all of the times you described, in detail, Allison’s – “

“But you won’t!” Scott says, looking at Stiles with hard eyes. “And please don’t ever tell her I’ve told you like everything.”

“As long as you don’t tell Derek.”

“Deal.”

They finish off the plate of nachos, and then go play some video games at the arcade before joining the others.

*

After dinner, Lydia and Boyd gather everyone into the floor of Lydia and Jackson’s room to play Settlers of Catan.

“Who’s pairing up?” Scott asks, like anyone doesn’t know that he and Allison are going to play together. She’s already sitting in his lap. “Allison and I will take one for the team.”

Erica rolls her eyes. “Such a team player. Don’t you and Allison share a brain now? When are you getting the conjoined body?”

“She’s just jealous,” Allison whispers as she kisses Scott.

“Jealous?” Erica scoffs. “Have you seen Boyd?” She points. “Just look at him. I have nothing to be jealous of. Come on, baby, flex those arms. Come on.”

“I’m not playing with Jackson,” Lydia states firmly, thankfully drawing the attention away from Erica.

“Hey!” he exclaims. “What’s wrong with the way I play?”

“You trade with anyone.”

“Oh, shut up. You’re the queen of the development card, so don’t criticize how I play.”

“Okay!” Erica interrupts before they escalate into a full-blown shouting match. “So, there’s Lydia, Jackson, and then Scott and Allison together. Three spaces left.” She looks around. “Who’s sitting out?”

“Stiles and I will play together,” Derek announces. Everyone turns and looks at him.

Erica leers. “Everyone can play! Boyd and me, you and Stiles, and Isaac.”

Stiles is trying to figure out how to squeeze into the small space between Derek and Lydia when Derek grabs his arm and pulls him into his lap. Stiles pretty much plops down, all limbs and clumsiness, and bumps both the coffee table and Isaac sitting on the other side of Derek. Lydia yells at him for messing up the board and Jackson picks up the pieces that got knocked onto the floor.

“Are you sure about teaming up?” Stiles asks when he settles comfortably on Derek’s lap. Scott’s giving him his patented “I-told-you-so” look, Allison is grinning at him knowingly, and Erica’s watching them with a satisfied grin. Right now, Stiles loves Lydia, Jackson, and Boyd for not giving a fuck about his love life.

“It’s fine,” Derek says, rubbing his face against the side of Stiles’ neck. “Just as long as you don’t settle on all ore this time.”

“One time!” Stiles yells. “One time, fuckers! And I settled on an ore port. It was a genius idea until Lydia was a bitch – “

“Hey!” she yells.

“And monopolized all my fucking ore.”

“Dude, I thought you were gonna kill her,” Scott says with a laugh.

“I think he grew fangs that night,” Boyd says.

“Catan does weird things to a man,” Stiles says with a shake of his head.

“Don’t settle on all ore,” Derek repeats as he leans forward to study the board, settling a hand on Stiles’ hip. Stiles tries to figure out how he ended up in Derek’s lap and how in one short day they went from not together and hiding their not-togetherness from the pack to maybe sorta being together and sitting in each other’s laps in front of the pack. He hands Derek the settlement and road pieces to start off because he doesn’t really care where they settle first. All he cares about is Derek’s warm body pressing against him as Derek moves forward to place his pieces on the board.

Stiles feels like the whole pack is watching them out of the corners of their eyes as they play. It makes him uncomfortable because he’s not even sure about this whole thing with Derek, and now it’s like it’s on display for everyone to watch and judge and talk about. Derek must feel some of Stiles’ anxiety because he places a hand on the small of his back and rubs in comforting circles, his chin resting on Stiles’ shoulder as he watches the game.

With Derek’s warm hand on his back, his other fingers brushing lightly against his side, he stops worrying so much about what the others are thinking and instead enjoys playing the game.

“Hey!” Stiles shouts as Erica and Jackson trade cards. “I asked you for wood while ago and you wouldn’t trade!”

“Because you didn’t give me wheat,” Jackson replies.

“I didn’t have any! I had ore!” Stiles groans and feels like punching Jackson in the face as he upgrades to a city. “You all suck.” Derek turns his face into Stiles’ neck and nuzzles it lightly. Stiles shivers as Derek drags his nose behind his ear. Stiles would be even more embarrassed by Derek’s obvious displays if everyone else wouldn’t have been doing variations of the same thing. Stiles was a bit surprised by Derek because he pretty much hasn’t paid attention to anything but Stiles since they sat down. At one point, Stiles asked him if where he should build his road; he only shrugged and pressed his lips to the base of Stiles’ neck. Maybe it was being away from Beacon Hills; maybe it had fried Derek’s brain so that he was okay with being all up on Stiles with the pack around. Or, hell, maybe Derek just clued in to everyone knowing and figured why hide something that wasn’t even a secret. Regardless, it had been taking Stiles by surprise all night, but he found that he kinda liked this side of Derek.

Pretty soon, everyone but Stiles, Lydia, and Isaac lose interest in the game. Boyd and Erica are making out, Jackson is running his hands through Lydia’s hair, Allison and Scott are making puppy eyes at one another, and Derek has his arms wrapped around Stiles and is once again nuzzling his neck.

“Fine!” Lydia shouts, flipping over her development cards. “With these victory points and one more upgrade, I win.” She stands up. “Not that anybody cares, but I win. Again.”

“Dammit!” Stiles says, throwing his cards down. “I was about to win.”

“Too bad.” She smiles sweetly.

Erica and Boyd get up and wave as they rush out of the room, followed by Scott and Allison, and then Isaac, Derek, and Stiles. Stiles really hates everyone right now because they all get to go to their private rooms where they can fuck all night long and he has to go back with half a boner and share a room with Isaac.

Derek grabs Stiles’ hand and holds him back as Isaac disappears inside their room. He waits until it shuts before whispering in Stiles’ ear, “Be nice to him. He’s feeling a bit left out.” Stiles looks at Derek over his shoulder. Derek looks almost sad. “You’re broadcasting pretty loudly what you want, and he knows you’ve got to share a room with him.”

“It’s your fault,” Stiles says quietly, jabbing Derek in the chest. “You molested me for the last two hours.”

Derek grins, though his ears are a bit pink. Stiles leans forward and kisses him, sighing at the feel of Derek’s lips against his. “I’ll be nice to him, I swear,” he says against Derek’s mouth. “Plus, slow. We’re supposed to be taking it slow.”

Derek sneaks a hand under Stiles’ shirt, fingers brushing lightly against the bruises on his ribs. Stiles’ eyes close for a moment. “I think your theory about Scott and Allison may not be too farfetched,” Derek says suddenly. “I think he’s feeling down about that, too.”

Stiles sighs and runs a hand through his hair. “One Cheer-Up-Isaac special, coming up.” Derek looks at him intensely, a strange smile playing around his lips, and Stiles looks down. “What?”

Derek kisses him hard and then goes inside the hotel room.

*

“Stiles.” He hears the voice and looks around. A pleasant female voice, one that feels him with peace and sadness. He follows the sound down an empty hallway. The voice sounds familiar, tugs at something deep inside him, something he’d like left alone. “Stiles…”

“Mom?” He chokes on the word, the sound foreign but also as familiar as if he heard it last night as she tucked him in.

“Stiles.” He sees her in a doorway, her hair long and dark, the same honey-colored eyes looking back at him. She’s wearing his favorite dress, the one Stiles always thought she was the prettiest wearing. Her face is full, like it should always have been.

“Mom…what are you doing here?”

She smiles serenely, and he can’t help himself, but he goes in for a hug, and she turns aside, revealing the rest of the room.

Snarling comes from the corner, and he braces himself to fight or run as he looks over, but he’s not prepared for what he sees. His father is sprawled on the floor, Derek wolfed out on top of him, his fangs ripping and tearing at his father’s throat. Stiles tries to scream but he can’t, his own mouth filled with damp earth that he nearly chokes on. He looks over at his mother, who’s still smiling serenely.

“He’ll die, too,” she says, her voice a sound he wants to block out but chase and hold on to forever. “Your father will die, and that monster will be the one to kill him.” Stiles looks back at the corner, where Derek has raised his head, eyes bright red, blood dripping down his mouth and chin, his claws sinking into the exposed flesh of his father’s chest. Stiles sobs, reaches for them.

“No, Derek, please, don’t.” He turns back to his mother, but her face has morphed into one of decay, with hollow eye sockets and missing skin. A maggot crawls along her cheek. “Mom,” he cries as she laughs, the sound cruel and harsh, damp earth tumbling out of her open mouth.

He sees a flash of green eyes before Derek growls and lunges towards him.

*

“STILES!”

Stiles screams and moves away as Derek pounces, but gets confused when he falls off the bed and lands on his butt. He takes a breath and gags, leans over and spits dirt onto the carpet.

“Stiles,” Derek says, now crouched in front of him, eyes red. He reaches out for Stiles, and Stiles scoots away quickly.

“Don’t touch me!” he snaps, kicking his arms and legs out. “Get away!”

Stiles cowers in a corner, shaking, mouth still tasting of dirt, his arms wrapped around his legs. Derek’s still crouched in the same spot, his eyes normal and staring at Stiles like he’d actually hit him. Isaac is at Derek’s back, eyes gold, hand protectively on Derek’s shoulder.

Stiles looks over and realizes the door’s open, and Scott, Boyd, Jackson, and Erica are all there, wolfed out and looking around. They look at Stiles curled in the corner, Derek on his knees, and Isaac behind him.

“Stiles had a nightmare,” Isaac explains. They nod, their features slowly shifting back to normal, though their eyes remain yellow.

“You okay, Stiles?” Scott asks, dropping onto the floor beside him. Derek suddenly gets up from the floor and pushes past Erica, Boyd, and Jackson out of the hotel room. Stiles can’t focus on anything but the image of his father, Derek’s mouth tearing into his skin, and his mother’s voice. “Stiles?”

Scott lays a hand on his arm, and Stiles blurts, “I heard my mother’s voice. In my head. And saw her. She was standing right in front of me.” He stares at the far wall, her image still in his brain. “Then I saw her rotting corpse. My mother’s – “ He can’t finish that sentence; he stands up suddenly and runs to the bathroom and vomits. He can’t deal with the images – his zombie mother, his mauled father, Derek…that monster will be the one to kill him. Stiles heaves again, the taste of damp earth still strong. Scott’s right there, rubbing his back and murmuring soothing words.

Stiles flushes and then sits on the edge of the tub. Scott sits beside him.

“Are you okay?” he asks.

Stiles looks up when he sees Isaac, Erica, Boyd, and Jackson squished in the doorway and trying to peer inside. He laughs despite himself because that image is priceless.

“Yeah,” he says, running a hand over his face. “It’s not a party until someone pukes, right?” Scott laughs and slings an arm around his shoulders, pulling Stiles close.

“What’s going on?” Lydia asks as Allison says, “Where is everyone?” The wolves at the door walk away, leaving Scott and Stiles alone. Stiles rests his head on Scott’s shoulder, closes his eyes and inhales.

“Your breath smells terrible,” Scott jokes, and Stiles laughs, then breathes openmouthed on purpose.

“What happened?” Scott asks quietly. “When you woke up…you looked at Derek like you hated him, like being near him just repulsed you.”

“The dream,” Stiles answers, sitting up and placing his elbows on his knees. “Derek…ate my father.” Stiles can still feel the terror, the betrayal at seeing Derek in his dream. He’s not exactly sure what happened after he woke up, but the last thing he wants to do is hurt Derek.

“What?” Scott shakes his head. “You know that won’t happen.”

“It was just so damn realistic.”

“Come on, get up.” Scott stands up and motions for Stiles to do the same. Stiles looks at him like he’s crazy. “Get off the tub, brush your teeth, and go find Derek.”

“Fuck, Scott. I fucked up big time. Derek – “

“Is a big boy who knows how you feel about him. Things were pretty intense for a minute, and you were terrified. No wonder he had to get out.” Scott grabs Stiles’ arm and drags him to his feet. “But you’ve got to go find him.”

Stiles sighs and agrees. After brushing his teeth and having all of the pack touch him and make sure he’s okay, Stiles makes his way down the hall. He checks both stairwells, then the lobby before going outside. He finds Derek leaning against the building, away from all the streetlights. Stiles has to double check to make sure it is actually Derek before walking over to him.

“There you are,” Stiles says when he approaches. Derek doesn’t look at him; he’s staring at his bare feet. “Please look at me.”

Derek lifts his eyes, and Stiles hates himself because he put that look there, he caused that pain in Derek’s eyes.

“Derek, I’m so fucking sorry.”

“You have nothing to apologize about,” Derek says evenly.

“I don’t actually remember what I did, but Scott says I freaked out or something.”

“You told me not to touch you,” Derek whispers. “You looked like you hated me, like you were terrified of me.” Derek looks at his feet again. “I…I never thought I’d see that look on your face. Not with me.”

Stiles runs a hand through his hair, trying to figure out what to say and how to fix this. He can’t even imagine what Derek must have thought when Stiles had looked at him like that.

“You were so scared and in so much pain, Stiles. I couldn’t – “

“Ssh,” Stiles says, stepping closer and placing a hand on Derek’s mouth. Derek flinches at the contact, and Stiles feels more guilt stacking on him. “Please don’t look like you did anything wrong. I’m such a fucking idiot. I should – “

“Stiles, I was right beside you and couldn’t protect you,” Derek says, voice barely audible. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry I can’t protect you from the hag.”

Stiles slides his arms around Derek’s waist and holds him tightly. Derek hesitates, but then his arms are around Stiles in a near-crushing embrace. “It was my mother,” Stiles says, voice gravelly against Derek’s shoulder. “The fucking hag used my mother. Her voice, her face…” He tightens his arms around Derek, trying to swallow down the lump in his throat.

“Why…” Derek clears his throat. “Why did you look at me like that?”

Stiles turns his face and lays his cheek against Derek’s shoulder. “You were also in the dream.” Derek tenses around him.

“And?”

“You ripped my father’s throat out with your teeth.”

Derek buries his face in Stiles’ hair, holding him tightly. Stiles melts into Derek’s arms, the fear and residual feelings finally subsiding.

“I could never hate you,” Stiles mumbles into Derek’s t-shirt. “Or be afraid of you. I trust you more than I do anyone else.” Derek’s arms are warm and strong around him, his face and nose brushing lightly against the side of Stiles’ face. Stiles presses his face against the crook of Derek’s neck, breathing him in, feeling the scratch of his stubble, the beating of his heart.

When they finally walk back into the room, they find the whole pack waiting for them. Jackson, Lydia, Boyd, and Erica are on one bed with Scott, Allison, and Isaac on the other. Stiles squeezes Derek’s hand he’s holding as they kick the door shut behind them.

Stiles falls face first onto his bed as Allison gets up. Derek takes off Stiles’ shoes, then goes into the bathroom to wash off his own dirty feet before returning to bed. Stiles has scooted up towards the pillows, and Scott is laying to his left while Isaac has left enough room between him and Stiles for Derek. When Derek settles behind Stiles, Erica stretches out on the foot of the bed while Allison gets into the other bed.

“I think we need pictures of this,” Stiles mumbles as Derek and Scott get settled and Erica pushes at his feet. “I want proof of Boyd and Jackson snuggling.”

“Shut up, Stiles,” Jackson yells, but he feels Erica sit up and then hears the click of her camera phone.

“I love you, Erica,” Stiles says.

“Love you, too,” she replies as Jackson mutters and Boyd laughs.

Stiles curls into Derek, burying his face against his chest, and Derek wraps his arms around Stiles. Scott presses close against Stiles’ other side, and he feels Erica’s hand resting on his ankle. He doesn’t know how long he lays there before falling asleep, but he doesn’t care. There’s nowhere else he could feel safer tonight other than in that bed surrounded by the pack.

*
When Derek saw the look on Stiles’ face, a voice in the back of his head said: This is what you deserve. You deserve for everyone to look at you with fear. You deserve for everyone you love to be terrified of you, because you will kill them just like you killed everyone else.

You deserve Stiles to look at you with that fear.

Derek almost choked on Stiles’ fear and panic, and he had to get out of the hotel room fast. He pushed past the pack blocking the doorway, Boyd gripping his shoulder soothingly as he passed. He wanted to comfort Stiles, crush him against his chest and protect him from everything, but he couldn’t – he couldn’t handle seeing Stiles look at him like that again.

Things were going so well – he overheard Lydia and Allison’s conversation with Stiles, confirming what he already knew. Erica had dropped by the loft about a week ago and said, “Are you ever going to tell us about you and Stiles?” like she was hurt Derek hadn’t announced it. He’d gotten embarrassed, and Isaac told him later, “Dude, we’ve known the entire time. You two aren’t exactly discreet.”

Not that Stiles didn’t make Derek happy, but the pack being okay with it, feeling that the pack was happy because Derek was happy – that was the best feeling in the world. And when they were playing the game in the hotel room, Derek was almost blissed out, surrounded by his pack with Stiles in his arms. And he could freely hold Stiles and nuzzle him and show the pack that they were together.

Yeah, Derek knew he was being a bit ridiculous, but it had been a long time. And he’d watched them enough over the years, they could deal with him cuddling Stiles.

But Derek should have known it was too good to be true. Outside the hotel room, leaning against the wall, he tried to be logical – it was the hag, not Stiles. But that was worse; Derek could do nothing to protect Stiles, nothing to keep him safe.

The moment Stiles opened the outside door, Derek caught his scent. It grounded him, the sound of his heartbeat and breathing comforting. And when Stiles curled into his arms, his fists digging into Derek’s t-shirt, the sadness and dissipating fear pouring off of him, Derek felt more helpless than he had in a very long time.

Chapter Text

The two weeks after spring break, Stiles, Scott, and Isaac train their asses off for the lacrosse championship game. That Friday, Stiles is a nervous wreck. He thankfully doesn’t have any nightmares after the Spring Break Debacle, so he’s rested and focused. But this other team…they’re big, dude. And good. And Beacon Hills has won the last two years, so there’s a lot riding on this.

“If you lose,” Finstock tells them, “I’m feeding you all to my pet alligator. He’s used to small mice and freshmen, but it’s time he got a treat. But he doesn’t deserve a treat because he’s a punk. SO DON’T SCREW UP!”

Isaac claps Stiles on the shoulder and squeezes. “Calm down, Stiles. It’ll be fine.” Isaac runs on to the field, and Stiles nods and jogs out on to the field behind Danny. When he’s in position, he glances at the stands and is surprised to see Derek sitting beside his dad. Scott’s mom, Allison, Lydia, Erica, and Boyd are also there. When he thinks Derek is looking his way, he gives him a little wave. Even from the field, he can see Derek’s wide smile as he waves back.

“He’s hot, Stilinski,” Danny says from behind him. Stiles spins around. “How in the hell did you land that guy as your boyfriend?”

“Wha?” Stiles stares at Danny open-mouthed. “He’s, uh, he’s not my boyfriend.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Danny grins, and Stiles hears the game about to begin. He glances into the bleachers again, and Derek looks murderous. Shit, should he have said Derek was his boyfriend? They’re not boyfriends, well, not really. Fuck, this is all too confusing and – SHIT! BALL!

Stiles raises his crosse, catches the pass, and starts running towards the goal, dodging a few players until – “Fuck!” he mutters from his back. His breath was knocked from him, and someone – Jackson, he thinks – is helping him up.

“Get your head in the fucking game, Stilinski.” Yep, definitely Jackson. The asshole.

Beacon Hills is down a goal with only seconds left. Stiles sees the ball and runs towards it, and somehow ends up scooping it up before the extremely large guy from the other team gets there. Stiles tosses it towards Isaac before the large guy knocks him to the ground. “Really?” Stiles yells when he gets his breath back. Greenberg helps him up just as Scott scores a goal. The whole crowd explodes into applause, and Stiles slings an arm around Greenberg and starts yelling and jumping up and down. He runs over to Scott, who embraces him.

“Did you see that? It was fucking awesome!!!”

“Wished I could have seen it, buddy, but I was flattened by a dump truck.”

“Huh?” Scott’s face scrunches, and Finstock steps up to the huddle.

“We can circle jerk after we win,” Finstock says, squeezing between Isaac and Danny. “So, go finish kicking their asses!”

The crowd is screaming and cheering as they spread back onto the field. Stiles glances up into the bleachers where his dad and Derek are yelling and clapping. Stiles laughs at the two of them together, at Derek cupping his hands around his mouth and shouting. Something warm and consuming spreads through Stiles, almost overwhelming him.

A few moments later, when Isaac is running towards the goal, Stiles glances back over his shoulder where Derek is yelling and pointing. As the buzzer sounds, and the sheriff’s face contorts in joy and he throws his arm around Derek’s shoulders, jumping excitedly while Derek pumps his fist and cheers, Stiles doesn’t even care that they’ve won because he realizes in that moment that he’s head over heels in love with Derek.

*

There’s a big after party, and Stiles stays for long enough to see Greenberg do a keg stand, Lydia do more shots than three of the other guys on the team, and Isaac sneak enough of Peter’s “special” liquor into his and Scott’s cups that they’re wasted. He leaves them in Allison’s capable hands and goes outside the text Derek.

He’s waiting on Derek to pick him up when someone joins him on the front porch. It’s Danny.

“Heading out already?” Danny asks, dropping onto the top step beside him. He offers Stiles his cup of beer, but Stiles declines.

“Yeah. Tired, and it’s getting a bit crazy in there.”

“Boyfriend coming to pick you up?” Danny smiles at him knowingly, one eyebrow cocked.

“I don’t have a boyfriend,” Stiles mumbles.

“It’s cool, you know. You being gay or bi or whatever. I just thought all those times you asked me if you were attractive to gay guys that you were just being you. I didn’t know you were being serious.” He takes a sip from his cup.

“I’m not – ugh.” Stiles sighs. “Why do you even care?” he asks in exasperation, running a hand through his hair. He also wants to ask Danny what he’s doing out there because he really wants him to leave. Stiles wants to sit on the stoop alone and think about the startling realization he had on the field earlier. Well, not startling exactly because it’d been kicking around his periphery for awhile, but he wasn’t planning on like declaring it (even to himself) any time soon, especially in the middle of the championship lacrosse game. Maybe it was the adrenaline or –

“It’s intriguing. Plus, I still have no clue how you landed someone so hot.”

“Thanks, Danny. I appreciate your confidence.”

“I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you – “

“Thanks,” he says wryly.

“ –but you’re not exactly textbook gorgeous or anything. And that guy – “

“Danny, really not helping here.”

Danny shakes his head. “This isn’t coming out right.”

Thankfully, the Camaro pulls up in front of the house then, saving Stiles from any more awkward conversation.

“Well, Danny, it was great talking with you, but my ride’s here, so…” Stiles stands and points his thumbs behind him.

“That’s him, isn’t it?” Danny grins. “You’re such a liar. Don’t worry,” he says, standing up, ”I won’t tell everyone your little secret.”

Stiles rolls his eyes.

“And, um, sorry about earlier. That really didn’t come out right. There’s nothing wrong with the way you look. I swear.”

Stiles blushes. “Thanks, man.”

Danny smiles. “You’re okay, Stilinski. And hey, if your boyfriend has any friends, you know…” He shrugs. “Help a guy out.”

Stiles laughs and runs to the car, waving to Danny as he opens the door and drops into the seat. Derek is glaring past him at Danny. Stiles is really glad no one can see through the windows. “What?”

“I want to break his face.”

“Danny?” Stiles turns towards where the front door is closing. “Why? Danny’s cool.”

Derek stares at Stiles in exasperation. “I heard what he said to you on the field.” Stiles tries to remember. “Acting like he didn’t think you were good enough to have an attractive boyfriend?”

“Um? Have you seen yourself? I don’t know how this happened. I just thank my lucky stars that your glower scares everyone away and I’m not affected by it. Gave me less competition.”

“And I don’t even want to know what he said earlier that made him tell you there’s nothing wrong with the way you look,” Derek continues as if Stiles hadn’t said anything. He puts the car in gear and drives away. “And Stiles, you don’t have any competition,” Derek mutters quietly, like he’s embarrassed. Stiles grins and leans over to kiss Derek’s cheek. “Congrats on winning by the way.”

“Thanks, dude. Isaac deserves the real praise, though. His goal won us the game, so he’s the real MVP. We should like buy him a cake or something.”

“I wanted to kill that kid on the other team, the one that kept knocking you down. If your father hadn’t been sitting right there, I probably would have,” Derek growls.

“No, you wouldn’t have. Field full of people, and really, you’re nothing but a softie wolf. So stop being overdramatic.”

“I’m still checking you for bruises.”

“Oh, is that what you’re calling it now?” Stiles gets rewarded with a punch to the shoulder that actually fucking hurts.

*

Later, they’re lying on Derek’s bed in their underwear, Derek’s iPod playing quietly in the background. They have the loft to themselves since Isaac was still at the party and Peter was who knows where. Stiles has his head on Derek’s chest, drawing lazy circles on his abs. He’s tired from the game, but he’s also wired, a constant thrum under his skin. He’s secretly hoping that kissing isn’t all that Derek has planned for tonight, because Stiles doesn’t want to have to take care of himself, well, himself. It’s been too long since he’s had any quality time with Derek, and fuck it, he just wants him to touch his cock. That one time wasn’t nearly enough.

“I’ve got to go out of town for awhile,” Derek says quietly, his fingers in Stiles’ hair. Stiles stops what he’s doing and raises his head. Derek curls his fingers into his scalp.

“Why? Where?”

“Remember that pack I told you about? Peter and I are going to negotiate a treaty with them. It’s a good thing for us. Means more protection, more extended pack security. When my parents ran the pack, we had connections all over the place. After the fire…” Derek sighs. “Laura and I cut all ties with everyone and I haven’t tried to make any new alliances since coming back to Beacon Hills.”

“Then this is a good thing!” Stiles says, slapping Derek’s bare shoulder. “I’m proud of you.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “It’s hardly praise worthy.”

“Shut up. I’m proud of you.” Stiles kisses him gently. “When are you going?” Derek looks to the side, and Stiles feels his heart drop. “You’re going to miss my birthday, aren’t you?”

“Yes.” Derek moves his hand to cup Stiles’ cheek. “I’m so sorry. I tried to schedule it at a different time, but it was impossible.” He pauses and watches Stiles. “Are you mad?”

Stiles shakes his head. “I’m not mad. Disappointed, but not mad. You’re the Alpha. You have to do what you have to do. With great power comes great – “

“No!” Derek exclaims, grabbing Stiles around the waist and flipping them so Stiles is on his back. “Don’t say it. Not again!” Derek tickles Stiles’ sides, causing him to laugh hysterically.

“Not…fair…” he manages breathily between bouts of laughter. Stiles collects himself enough to move his hands up under Derek’s arms, the one place he knows for sure is one of his tickle spots. Derek barks out a laugh and immediately jerks his hands away, clamping his arms down over Stiles’ hands. But Stiles can still wiggle his fingers, so he’s wiggling against Derek’s skin, and Derek is laying on him and slowly curling into a ball, laughing.

“Stop!” Derek breathes, “Stiles, I mean it!” Stiles laughs and keeps tickling, loving the way that Derek’s face is scrunched, his eyes squeezed shut, mouth stretched wide in a smile.

Stiles finally relents and stops, and Derek rests heavily on top of him. Stiles tries to pry his hands from under Derek’s arms, but Derek keeps them tightly trapped. “I’m gonna need my hands eventually, you know.”

“Nope. Punishment,” Derek mumbles against his chest.

Since Stiles’ hands are useless, he jabs at Derek with his knee. “Hey, you started it. I should punish you.”

Derek lifts his head, eyebrow raised and a mischievous glint in his eyes. “Oh really? What kind of punishment do you have in mind?”

Stiles groans, his half-hard cock stirring. “My brain just went in so many directions I can’t even handle it right now. I just…” He shakes his head, trying not to get carried away, but filing them all away for later, when he’s alone. That’s jack off material for weeks.

“I think you liked that idea,” Derek says, finally letting Stiles’ hands go as he slides up his body, dragging frustrating friction across Stiles’ crotch.

“I’m not the only one,” Stiles replies, voice low as Derek’s erection presses against him. He bucks his hips, and Derek’s eyes flutter closed. Stiles lifts up and closes the distance between their lips. Derek inhales deeply as he kisses Stiles, his hands gripping Stiles’ hips as he ruts against him. Stiles responds eagerly, glad to finally have Derek paying attention to something other than his mouth.

Derek starts kissing under Stiles’ jaw, his neck, dragging his teeth along his collarbone, then trails his tongue down the middle of Stiles’ chest before stopping at the band of Stiles’ boxers. When Derek removes his mouth, Stiles looks down and finds Derek looking up at him, eyes bright.

“Can I – “

“Yes,” Stiles blurts. Derek laughs quietly, and Stiles thinks that in that moment he’s the most beautiful person he’s ever seen. Derek blushes, and Stiles groans. “I said that out loud, didn’t I?” Derek nods. “God, I have got to learn how to control my mouth around you.”

“I don’t mind,” Derek says, licking Stiles’ cock through his boxers. Stiles moans more loudly than was probably necessary, but ohmigod Derek’s mouth was almost on his dick. “Can I suck your cock?” Derek asks, his fingers playing with the waist of Stiles’ boxers.

“I’m sorry, Derek, I’m not going to let that fucking perfect mouth blow me, no way. I haven’t only been waiting for a blowjob for the last eighteen – almost nineteen – years of my life, so – “

“Stiles.”

“Yes, please Derek. You don’t have to ask. You never have to ask.”

Derek’s smile is quiet before he hooks his thumbs inside the waistband and pulls Stiles’ boxers over his erection and off. Stiles feels extremely naked and exposed, even though technically Derek has seen his cock once before. But that was in the car, in the dark, and even with werewolf vision, this is different. This is Derek with his face right there, studying Stiles’ cock like he thinks it’s the most interesting thing he’s ever seen before.

Stiles shudders as Derek’s warm breath blows against the shaft, and then Derek licks from the base to the tip, and Stiles really wants to watch Derek’s tongue sliding along his cock, but his eyes voluntarily close. First, Derek sucks the tip into his mouth and sucks on it, and Stiles moans again, no shame at all. His legs fall open even farther, and if Derek’s hands were keeping his hips still, he’d be humping his face by now.

Derek’s tongue traces the outline of the head and slides through the slit before he slides his lips further along the shaft. “Fuck, Derek, your mouth,” Stiles breathes as he watches Derek’s head lowering, and he reaches out and threads his fingers in Derek’s soft hair. He inhales, trying to ground himself so he doesn’t come too quickly. He wants to enjoy this, concentrate on the feeling of Derek’s warm, wet mouth moving around him. It’s softer than he expects, Derek’s lips and tongue, and Derek is licking and sucking and making these small sounds of pleasure that are just as sexy as Derek’s lips stretched around his length.

Oh god, he thinks, Derek’s mouth is around my dick. “I can’t believe this is happening,” he mutters, his fingers rubbing Derek’s scalp lightly. Derek flicks his eyes up, and Stiles gets lost in them for a moment, the bright almost gold color and wide pupils. “I can’t believe you’re sucking my dick.” Derek rolls his eyes and removes one of his hands from Stiles’ hips to cup his balls. Stiles keens as Derek rolls them gently in his palm, and that feels better than he expected, and then Derek presses his thumb to the skin behind his balls, and Stiles is caught off-guard and lifts his hips slightly, his entire body exploding as he comes, moaning and gripping the sheet in one hand, Derek’s hair in the other.

“Fuck, god, that was – shit, I’m so sorry,” Stiles babbles as Derek pulls off his cock, swallowing. His tongue darts out to lick a bit of come from the corner of his mouth that had dribbled out. “Fuck that’s hot.” Derek grins, leaning back in to finish licking the leftover come from Stiles’ cock. His cock is so sensitive it almost hurts when Derek’s tongue touches it. “I’m so sorry I didn’t warn you. It took me by surprise.”

Derek crawls up Stiles’ body, dropping openmouthed kisses as he goes. “I don’t mind,” Derek whispers against Stiles’ mouth before kissing him. It tastes odd, his come, and it shouldn’t be as exciting as it is. But it’s Derek’s mouth that tastes like his come, which is awesome.

“My turn!” Stiles says suddenly as he pulls away, flailing as he tries to extricate himself from underneath Derek.

“You don’t have to,” Derek says, but Stiles looks at him like he’s crazy.

“Fuck that. You’re not taking away my chance to get up and personal with your cock. That’d just be cruel.”

Derek rolls his eyes, but chuckles as he turns onto his back. Stiles looks down at his tented navy boxer briefs, suddenly feeling nervous and worried. Sure, he’d seen this countless times in porn, but doing it to Derek Hale was a completely different thing. He thought about what Danny said earlier, about how he didn’t know how Stiles had gotten such a hot boyfriend – and regardless of whether or not they were boyfriends – Stiles suddenly wondered the same thing, and oh god, what if he –

“Hey,” Derek breaks into his thoughts, his hand cupping the back of his head. “Stiles, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”

Stiles’ eyes go wide. “Oh no, I want to. I just…”

“Don’t be nervous. You have no reason to be nervous.”

Stiles looks at him incredulously. “Really? I can think of hundreds of things – “

Derek suddenly grabs Stiles’ arms and pulls him quickly up so they’re face to face. “Hey, you’re perfect. You have nothing to worry about.” He kisses Stiles softly. It makes Stiles’ entire body tingle. “Forget about everything else, forget about what that guy said today. You landed me because you’re you, and I don’t want anyone else.” Derek kisses him again, and Stiles feels much more confident. “Now,” Derek says, looking at him seriously. “Blow me.”

“Aww,” Stiles groans, “Really, Derek? Way to ruin the mood.” He pushes Derek as Derek laughs, and Stiles can’t help but grin despite how lame Derek is.

Stiles slowly removes Derek’s briefs, enjoying taking in the sight of Derek’s cock. It was thicker than his, but not as long. Following Derek’s example, he slips his lips over the head and sucks lightly as he swirls his tongue around. When he looks up at Derek, he’s looking down at him hungrily, his eyes heavy-lidded. Derek nods encouragingly, and Stiles grins around his cock.

Stiles tongues the slit as he wraps his fingers around the shaft and squeezes. At Derek’s quiet noises, he decides to try something he read about online once. He grips Derek’s length and starts moving his hand up and down, sliding Derek’s foreskin along with it, as Stiles sucks the head. “Fuck, Stiles, fuck,” Derek growls, his heels digging into the bed on either side of Stiles. Emboldened by the praise, Stiles removes his hand and slides his mouth down as far as he can go, until the tip is pushing at the back of his throat, then slides back up and down again, adopting a steady rhythm. Derek rests his hand on Stiles’ shoulder, his fingers curling into his skin. Stiles distractedly brushes his fingers through the dark curls at the base of Derek’s cock, then moves his hand to Derek’s balls like he’d done earlier. They’re warm and heavy in his palm, and he rolls them around experimentally.

“Stiles,” Derek moans, “I’m going to come.” Stiles glances up at Derek, propped up on one arm, head thrown back, exposing the long line of his neck, the muscles in his abs and chest contracting as he moves slightly. Stiles wraps his fingers back around Derek’s shaft, pumping his fist as he moves his mouth, and Derek’s fingers dig into his shoulder as he goes still and comes in Stiles’ mouth. He tries to swallow it, but he can’t get it all, and some ends up sliding to the base of Derek’s cock and down his chin.

He swallows the last of it and lifts up, grinning lopsided at Derek. Derek makes a noise in the back of his throat as he reaches out and wipes a bit of come off of Stiles’ chin, then slips his finger inside Stiles’ mouth. Stiles sucks Derek’s come from his finger, and he sees Derek’s cock twitch beside him.

Derek draws him into a messy kiss, where he seems to be trying to lick Stiles’ mouth clean. When Derek pulls away, Stiles is lightheaded.

“Fuck Stiles,” Derek breathes against his mouth. “You should never be nervous about anything ever again.”

Stiles grins, feeling pretty pleased with himself. “I’m awesome. I give awesome head. How fucking awesome is that?” Stiles pumps his fist in the air.

“Not sexy,” Derek murmurs, though he’s grinning.

“Shut up,” Stiles says, snuggling up against Derek’s side. “I’m the best, aren’t I?”

“Yeah.”

Stiles lays there, Derek rubbing his back. Stiles is drifting off when Derek whispers, “I’m sorry about your birthday.”

“Hey, it’s okay.” Stiles lifts his head and smiles. “I’ll have plenty of other birthdays.”

Derek smiles sleepily, wraps his fingers around the base of Stiles’ neck. “I’ll make it up to you. You deserve it.”

“Because I’m fucking awesome.” He grins complacently.

“Go to sleep.”

“Fine.” Stiles drops his head, closes his eyes, and inhales contently. “Still fucking awesome.” He feels Derek’s body shake as he laughs.

*

Stiles waves to the deputies as he walks through the station towards his dad’s office. He knocks, then sticks his head in. His dad waves him inside as he talks to someone on the phone. Stiles drops into the seat on the other side of the desk and pulls their dinner from the takeout bag.

“I’m not sure, the detectives are still looking into leads.” The sheriff rubs his eyes wearily. “The lab said the DNA sample was contaminated.” He nods his head, then says, “I’ll let you know as soon as I know something.” He hangs up the phone and sighs.

“What’s going on?” Stiles asks, picking up his soda. He pulls the straw into his mouth with his tongue.

“The latest murder. The DA’s getting antsy and wants answers, but there are none.” He grabs the foil and unwraps it. “You’re actually letting me eat meat?”

“It’s all natural. The place is a grain fed, green café. Sandwich meat on a wrap isn’t going to give you a heart attack.” Stiles watches as his dad takes a bite and makes a face like it’s the best thing he’s ever eaten. “Why was the DNA sample contaminated?”

“Stiles – “

“Like you didn’t know I would ask.” Stiles rolls his eyes and takes a bite. “Tell me,” he says with his mouth full.

“I might as well. Derek will probably tell you anyway.”

“Huh? Why will Derek tell me?”

“I called him earlier today. I think the lab thought the DNA sample was contaminated because the DNA wasn’t human.”

“Not human? Like,” Stiles makes fang and claw motions, “not human?”

“I don’t know,” the sheriff says slowly. “That’s why I called Derek.”

“Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll be the hag,” Stiles jokes, though it comes out more bitter than he intended.

“Still nothing?” Stiles shakes his head. “But no nightmares lately, right? It’s been a few weeks now.” Stiles nods, still determined to keep the Spring Break Debacle a secret from his dad. He’d made Derek swear that he’d never tell him or he’d never talk to him again. Derek looked too tempted by that, so Stiles told him he’d never kiss him or do anything else ever again, and Derek agreed.

“Deaton went somewhere to visit some library or voodoo shop or fairy circle to try and figure something out. He’s hoping that we can find out how to kill it.” Stiles picks at his wrap absently.

“The first thing Derek asked when he picked up the phone was if you were okay,” the sheriff says. Stiles looks at him, and he has an eyebrow raised. “Still pretending there’s nothing going on between you two?”

“Um,” Stiles stutters, trying to figure out what to say.

“You’ve been over at Derek’s loft like three times this week,” the sheriff continues. “And I know it wasn’t a pack thing. I saw Allison, Scott, and Isaac out last night when I was on patrol. When you were at Derek’s.”

“Um,” Stiles repeats.

“Son, I sat beside him at the lacrosse game. I’ve never seen Derek at a lacrosse game, and he was cheering. And shouting for you – more than he was Isaac, and that kid’s like his brother. And when that guy from the other team kept tackling you? I thought Derek – “

“I get it, Dad.” Stiles tosses his wrap onto the desk and runs a hand through his hair, suddenly extremely nervous and embarrassed – and fuck, was he blushing? God, why was this so difficult? Not like his dad didn’t already know, as he was so kindly pointing out. “Derek and I are kinda dating. But just kinda. I think.”

The sheriff looks at him in disbelief. “You think you and Derek are kinda dating? How in the hell do you not know?”

“It’s complicated.”

“How is it complicated? You two are dating. Deputy Barnes said he saw you both at that, what do they call it? Fro-fro place the other night. He asked me if I knew my son was gay and if Derek was still a person of interest.”

Stiles groans. “Fro-yo, Dad. Not fro-fro. Get with the times, gah. And that wasn’t a date. I wanted something sweet and Derek had never had fro-yo before – can you believe that? Never had fro-yo, he’s so sheltered – and so we drove to get fro-yo, and – “ Stiles stops and sighs. “Derek paid for it and he drove me and I guess it was kind of a date. Especially because he held my hand as we walked around and ate it. Ohmigod, how cheesy does that sound?” He drops his head onto the desk in mortification. When he hears his dad laugh, he lifts his head and glares at him.

“I’m sorry, Stiles,” he says, trying to get his breath back. “It’s just hilarious. I didn’t think I would be dealing with this with my eighteen year old son.” He leans forward and looks at Stiles seriously. “It’s okay to go on dates to get fro-yo - “

“I changed my mind, Dad, just never say that again. Say frozen yogurt.”

“Frozen yogurt, then, with your boyfriend and hold hands.”

“Even if said not-boyfriend is Derek Hale?”

“Even then.” The sheriff smiles. “Though, I’m not sure I can picture Derek holding hands. Are you sure it’s him? Not someone else? Someone who smiles every once in awhile and has a job – “

“What’s with you and his employment status? Gah.” Stiles laughs, though. “So, I guess I’m kinda dating Derek.” He looks at his dad seriously. “Are you sure you’re okay with this? You’re not just telling me that you’re okay with it and then secretly you’re going to plant evidence to have him arrested or shoot him with a wolf’s bane bullet?”

“I’m fine with it, Stiles. You’re basically an adult. You’ll graduate soon and then you’ll go off to college and then who knows what you’ll be doing. In the greater scheme of things, I think I prefer that you’ll be doing god knows what with Derek instead of god knows who.”

Stiles blushes, but grins. “Awesome.”

“But do we need to have the sex talk? I hope you know to go buy condoms and – “

“DAD!” Stiles shouts, shaking his head and trying to stop that train of the conversation right that moment. “We are not having this conversation right now. Or ever. Preferably ever.”

“I wouldn’t be doing my fatherly duties – “

“You’ve done them. Believe me. I’ve been helping Scott buy condoms for years. But they’re really not needed – “

“Just because you can’t get pregnant – “

“Derek’s a werewolf, he doesn’t get sick – “

“That doesn’t matter! You still should be practicing – “

“DAD!” Stiles exclaims, “I’m still a virgin. Um, mostly.”

“Oh god, you’re right. We don’t need to have this conversation. Ever.”

Stiles’ face is blood red, he can feel the heat radiating from it. “Thank you. Let’s get back to eating.”

They both chew in awkward silence for a few moments, but then the sheriff says, “I’m having a talk with Derek, though.”

“Oh god.”

“And I’m not sure I like this mostly thing.”

“Dad,” Stiles whines.

“And maybe I should rethink your curfew. And you going over to Derek’s. Ever.”

“Dad!”

“Fine. You’re eighteen, I get it.” They’re quiet again, and the sheriff says softly, “I guess I’m glad that it’s someone you really care about, that it’s Derek, you’re mostly a virgin with.”

Stiles wants the earth to swallow him up, but he smiles despite himself.

*

Scott knocks on the door later that night. Stiles is watching TV by himself, trying not to fall asleep. “Get dressed,” Scott says as he walks into the house, followed closely by Isaac. “We’re going out.”

“Where?”

“Guys night,” he replies as they follow Stiles upstairs. “Erica’s with Lydia and Allison, and so we decided to do something fun.”

“What did you come up with?” Stiles pulls on a mostly clean pair of jeans and a hoodie.

“We’re leaving it up to Jackson.”

“Oh god.” Stiles follows them back downstairs, turns off the television, and then locks the door behind him. “Please tell me he didn’t come up with something douche-y. Or that requires a dress code.”

Scott and Isaac shrug as they crawl into Stiles’ jeep. They end up at Jackson’s house; Jackson, Boyd, and Danny are already there, playing pool. Stiles goes over to Boyd, who claps him on the shoulder as he watches Jackson set up a shot.

“Okay, Stiles?” he asks, hand resting on Stiles’ shoulder.

“Yeah, I’m great. I always love watching Jackson try to prove himself by knocking around tiny balls with a stick.” Stiles grins widely at Jackson, who glares at him.

“You’re one to talk, Stilinski. You’re the one into balls and sticks now.” Jackson takes his shot, sinking two balls.

“So clever, Jackson. Gay dick jokes. Ha, ha, ha.” He turns to Danny. “How have you stayed friends with him for so long?”

“I ignore Jackson most of the time. He stopped giving me shit in middle school,” Danny says. “Though since we’re on the subject, how’s that boyfriend of yours?” Danny smiles knowingly.

“It’s still weird to even hear it,” Boyd says as he walks over to the pool table, cue in hand.

“Why?” Danny asks.

“Because it’s Derek,” Jackson replies. “I mean, Derek.”

“I haven’t heard you complaining about Derek the last few years,” Isaac says defensively. Stiles thinks it’s cute how Isaac stills doggedly defends Derek. Plus, he knows it’s unnecessary; Jackson’s just running off at the mouth.

Jackson glares at Isaac, and Danny looks at them curiously. “You’re all friends with him?”

“Yeah,” Scott says. “We’ve gotten to know him pretty well since he’s basically Isaac’s adopted brother.”

“That’s right,” Danny says as Boyd sinks a shot. “I forget that your living situation is different.”

“Derek’s awesome,” Isaac says. Stiles sees the sincerity, the affection on Isaac’s face as he talks to Danny about Derek. It makes him like Derek that much more because Isaac is almost a completely different person now than when he was before Derek. Even if turning sad teenagers into werewolves may have been a little extreme.

“Why didn’t you bring him tonight, Stiles?” Danny asks. “I’d love to meet him.”

“Do you have a secret plan to steal him away from me?” Stiles asks. “Because you seem really interested in him.”

Danny smiles his ridiculously charming smile. Stupid Danny. “No, Stiles. I’m just fascinated.”

“You really shouldn’t be,” Jackson says, as Boyd sets up a shot. “Nothing about Stiles is fascinating.”

“Are you bringing him to prom?” Danny asks. Everyone, including Boyd, whose chest is hovering over the table as he prepares to shoot, stares at Stiles. He suddenly wants to run away and hide because this is something he definitely doesn’t want to talk about.

“No,” Stiles answers, looking down at the floor, anywhere but at the others.

“You’re not?” Scott exclaims. “Why?”

“Can you imagine Derek at prom, Scott?” Stiles doesn’t say what’s really on his mind – that he’s afraid Derek would say no because, well, it’s a high school prom, that he’s not sure he’s ready for all of the school to know that he’s got a boyfriend, that he’s still not sure they are boyfriend-boyfriend as everyone else wants them to be, and even if they are, prom may just be too much pressure on something so new that Stiles is terrified of fucking up. Plus, it’s just a stupid dance. “Besides, Derek and I are like not serious boyfriends – gah, that word sounds so stupid – or anything. We’re just dating, seeing where things go.”

No one looks like they believe him.

“Erica wants to rent a limo,” Boyd says, changing the focus from Stiles. Stiles wants to run over and kiss Boyd. “Do you know how much those things cost? I still don’t even own a car.”

“Allison wants one, too,” Scott says. “We should share. Go together, I’m sure Allison and Erica won’t mind. Girls love that kind of thing. Lydia, too. What do you say, Jackson?”

“I can afford to rent a limo,” Jackson sneers.

“Yes, Jackson, we’re all aware of how much money your parents have,” Boyd snaps. “That’s not the question. The question is would you like to share a limo with us?”

Jackson shrugs. “Ask Lydia. I’m only going to this stupid dance because she’s making me.”

“Don’t let him fool you,” Danny says, “he’s been looking at tuxes for months.”

“Shut up!” Jackson yells.

“If you can keep Jackson in line,” Stiles says, “you can stick around, Danny. Give us the dirt on him.” Jackson glares and punches Danny, and Stiles glances over at Isaac. He looks sad, like he did that night on spring break, and it occurs to him that Isaac hasn’t mentioned a date. Stiles goes over to him and slings an arm across his shoulders. “Isaac, I have a serious question.” Isaac looks at him curiously. “Would you go to prom with me?” Isaac pushes him, but laughs. “Come on, I’m serious!” Stiles laughs, “But you’ll have to pay for your part of the limo. We’re going Dutch.”

“You won’t ask Derek, but you’ll go with Isaac?” Danny asks. “Won’t he be jealous?”

“We’re not ‘have to go to prom together’ serious. Besides, he’ll be relieved he doesn’t have to go,” Stiles says. “Plus, Isaac and I are going as friends, as buds. We’ll stand by the dessert table and find cute girls without dates to dance with. Right?”

“Right.” Isaac looks around and asks, “If I chip in, can I go in the limo with you?”

Boyd and Scott roll their eyes. “Of course, dummy,” Scott says, punching Isaac affectionately. “It wouldn’t be the same if we all weren’t together – “

“Which is why we’re allowing Jackson in the limo, too,” Boyd says. Jackson flips him off.

Stiles looks at Isaac closely, closing one eye, then the other. “I can’t decide if you’re an orchid or a carnation kind of guy.” Isaac pushes Stiles off his stool, and from the floor Stiles yelps, “Fine, you’re not getting a corsage, you asshole!”

*

Stiles lets himself into Derek’s loft with the spare key he keeps hidden for the pack. He hears the radio playing and follows the source into the living room, where Derek is working out. Stiles watches appreciatively as Derek does pushups, admiring his bicep and back muscles and briefly considering starting a pushup routine himself. But then he realizes he’s just too lazy for that.

“Just gonna watch me?” Derek asks from the floor, barely sounding winded.

“I’m sure as hell not going to join you.”

Derek finishes his set and then sits back onto his haunches. Stiles can see the sweat glistening on his chest and he wants to go and lick it off. Derek smiles amused as Stiles stares unabashedly. “You’re not really subtle, Stiles.”

“Should I be when there’s a hot, half-naked guy covered in sweat and muscles on the floor?”

Derek jumps to his feet and crosses the room to kiss Stiles quickly. “Hi,” he says.

“Did you secretly take me on a date the other day?” Stiles blurts. Derek pulls back and stares at him, brows knitted in confusion. “When we got fro-yo. Did you take me on a date and I didn’t even realize it?”

Derek shrugs. “Maybe. If you call it a date. I didn’t really think about it.”

“I think it was a date. You paid, we held hands and walked in the park and you shared your cone with me. It was a date. I had my first date and I didn’t even know it!”

Derek laughs, though he’s looking at Stiles like he’s insane. “Was I supposed to announce it or something?”

“I don’t know.” Stiles pulls away and drops down onto the couch. “I feel like I’ve been cheated. I’ve never been on a date, and I missed my first one!”

“Stiles,” Derek says, sitting on the couch beside him, his sweaty bicep sticking against Stiles’ arm, “you didn’t miss it. You were there.”

“I want you to take me on a proper date this time. I’ll go back home and you can come pick me up and take me to dinner and a movie and we’ll be all nervous and try to impress each other.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “That’s the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard you say, and I’ve heard you say some really ridiculous things.”

Stiles’ face pinches in frustration. “Don’t you want to take me on a date?”

“Of course I do, idiot. But it doesn’t matter if you knew about it or not.” Derek stands up and looks down at Stiles. “I’m going to go take a shower. Then I’ll make you dinner, I’ll even let you pick the movie. How does that sound?”

“Can we be all nervous about whether you’ll scoot closer and you do that fake yawn thing to put your arm around me or scoot closer when I go to the bathroom?”

Derek turns and starts up the stairs. “You’re still an idiot.”

*

Later, Stiles is sprawled on Derek’s bed, Derek between his legs kissing and licking along his inner thighs. Stiles closes his eyes and hums contently. He’s feeling relaxed, enjoying the feel of Derek’s lips on his skin. His cock is lying limp and sated against his hip, overly sensitive from Derek’s mouth being on it not ten minutes before.

“I could get used to this, you know,” Stiles says sleepily. After he came, Derek had licked the come from Stiles’ cock, then continued to kiss, lick, and generally touch Stiles’ body wherever he wanted, and Stiles wasn’t complaining. Currently, Derek is nosing his balls, his hands sliding up Stiles’ sides. Derek drags the flat of his tongue against Stiles’ balls, and Stiles hums in pleasure. Then, Derek bites down on his hip right beside his pubic hair, then sucks and licks the tender skin.

“Are you doing that thing again?” Stiles raises his head as Derek kisses his way up Stiles’ torso and chest before sinking his blunt teeth into the skin where his neck meets his shoulder. Stiles wraps his arms around Derek and kneads his back as Derek’s tongue drags across his skin.

“So you won’t forget me while I’m gone,” Derek whispers as he covers Stiles’ mouth with his own. “And everyone will know you’re mine.”

“Yes,” Stiles mumbles against Derek’s mouth, “all those people who will be seeing my crotch will see it’s claimed.”

“That’s the idea.”

Stiles pushes Derek away, and he looks down at Stiles, half-lidded eyes and hair flat against his head, his lips red and swollen. “What do you think I’m going to do while you’re gone?”

“Hopefully,” Derek says, sliding back down Stiles’ body and raising one of his legs, “think of me.” Derek gently bites the skin on the inside of his thigh, then worries the bruise. “Preferably when you touch yourself.”

“Fuck, Derek,” Stiles moans. “Like I needed any other reason to think of you when I jack off.”

Derek grins almost menacingly as he places a matching mark on Stiles’ other thigh, and then noses the curls at the base of Stiles’ cock and rubs his stubble against the inside of Stiles’ thigh.

“My turn!” Stiles sits up suddenly and accidentally knees Derek in the face. He reaches out in embarrassment, touching where his knee connected with Derek’s jaw. “Shit, did I hurt you?”

“You’re fine,” Derek grumbles, and Stiles kisses his cheek.

“There, I kiss it and make it better.” Derek’s irritation melts as he laughs quietly as he lets Stiles push him onto his back. “I don’t know why you’re so worried about me,” Stiles says, dragging his finger against the wrinkled foreskin covering Derek’s cock, “because I’m not the one going to meet with all sorts of new werewolves. I need to make sure they know you’re mine.” Stiles imitates Derek by rubbing his cheek against the inside of Derek’s thigh and then nosing his balls before pressing a kiss there.

“Stiles, fuck. Do you know how sexy that is?” Derek leans up on his elbows and watches as Stiles kisses around Derek’s cock, then rubs his cheek against the crease of his hip.

“I don’t,” Stiles says as he bites the inside of Derek’s thigh hard. Derek’s moan sounds ridiculously filthy, so Stiles does the same thing on his other thigh just to hear him do it again. He sucks the skin until he sees it bruise, then looks up at Derek. “That okay?”

“Don’t act so innocent,” Derek says with his eyebrow raised. “I think you know exactly what you’re doing.”

Stiles scoots up and sucks a bruise onto Derek’s hip, then looks down, frowning. “Fuck.”

“What?” Derek reaches out and cups Stiles’ face.

“It’s already gone. Look.” Stiles sits up and points to Derek’s thigh, where the mark has already healed. “Damn your werewolf healing.”

“I’ll know it was there.”

“That’s not good enough.” Stiles chews on his lip for a few moments, thinking, and Derek watches him with interest. Suddenly, Stiles jumps up and crosses to Derek’s desk and returns to the bed with something in his hand. He bends down, and with a sharpie, writes a small S over the bruise on Derek’s hip that is already fading. “That’s better.” He raises his head and grins at Derek. “Now you’re marked, too.”

“With a sharpie?”

“This way,” Stiles says, turning and writing another S on the inside of both Derek’s thighs, and then draping himself over Derek’s chest, “you will see me in the same places I’ll see you.”

Derek shakes his head and slides his hand down Stiles’ arm as Stiles places another mark just above Derek’s heart. “And now I’ll be close to your heart while you’re gone.” He kisses the initial and then rubs his cheek against it.

Derek stares at Stiles, an unreadable look on his face, and Stiles wonders for a moment if maybe he’d gone too far when Derek grips the back of Stiles’ head and crushes their mouths together, kissing him so fiercely that it catches Stiles by surprise.

*

Stiles doesn’t like how much he misses Derek while he’s gone. It’s not like he sees Derek every day anyway, but there’s something different about him being off somewhere else away from them with Peter and another pack. The others feel it, too, even if they don’t want to admit it. It’s the first time Derek’s ever gone away, leaving his betas behind. Stiles thinks it would be hilarious if they didn’t look so miserable. Even Jackson looks uncomfortable and a bit edgy.

They end up spending their afternoons with Isaac at the loft. The pack tries to act normal, but Stiles catches them sniffing around the house, and Erica and Isaac curl up under the blanket Derek always uses while they watch TV one night. Derek texts the pack every day, texts Stiles throughout the day, keeping him up to date with what he’s doing while Stiles just rambles like usual.

On his birthday, Stiles wakes up to a text from Derek that reads, Happy birthday. Stiles grins when he sees the timestamp, knowing Derek must have texted him as soon as he woke up. Lydia puts balloons in his locker, Allison baked him cupcakes, and the pack hug and touch him all day. He’s pretty sure it’s partially because it’s his birthday, partially because they’re feeling overly needy. Either way, it’s nice to have them around instead of irritating him like it would have a week ago. Birthday nuzzles are awesome in Stiles’ book.

That night, Stiles’ dad takes him to dinner at their favorite restaurant. It’s their birthday tradition, just the two of them and Scott like it’s been for the past ten years, and since it’s a special occasion, Stiles lets his dad order steak. They don’t talk about the hag or anything pack-related; they reminisce about past birthdays, his dad getting maudlin about how old Scott and Stiles are getting and how small they were when he’d first brought them to this restaurant when Stiles turned nine. “It was your mother’s idea,” the sheriff says, a sad smile on his face, and Stiles feels sad, too, but he talks about some of his favorite birthday memories of his mother for half an hour, until they’re laughing and happy and sad at the same time. Scott doesn’t even say anything when Stiles’ eyes get a little misty. When they get home, they continue the tradition and let Stiles choose whatever movie he wants to watch, and the three of them sit in the living room and eat ice cream and popcorn, and the sheriff falls asleep half-way through the movie like always.

When Scott leaves, Stiles doesn’t tell him that the best birthday present he got was uninterrupted Stiles-Scott time like it used to be.

Upstairs, he checks his phone and sees that Derek asked about his day, and so Stiles responds before getting on his laptop and looking at some well-needed birthday porn. He only sits there for a few minutes before he starts to feel weird. His limbs start tingling, his stomach in knots. He stands up and is about to lay down when he feels like something has gripped him behind his chest with such force he drops to his knees.

Stiles feels the growl start deep in his chest, feels pain course through his entire body, ending in a searing throbbing from his fingertips. He looks down at his fingers and sees claws extending, then notices the pressure building in his mouth as something punctures his gums. Sharp fangs lengthen over his lip, and an uncontained rage bubbles under his skin. He throws his head back and roars.

“Stiles!” His dad bursts through his bedroom door, his eyes wide in fear when he sees Stiles crouched on the floor. Stiles turns towards him in a defensive position and bares his teeth. “Stiles?” The sheriff doesn’t lower his gun, and Stiles growls and snaps his fangs, then lunges for the sheriff. Two bullets hit Stiles square in the chest but don’t slow him down. He tackles the sheriff to the ground, stretches his neck and howls before sinking his teeth deep into his father’s throat, the warm blood flowing over his tongue.

*

Stiles jerks awake. In a panic, he looks at his nails – completely normal – and then touches his mouth. Normal teeth, but when he pulls back his hand, he notices the blood. He runs into the bathroom, shocked by his own reflection. His mouth and teeth are smeared with red blood.

Stiles runs downstairs to his father’s room, his brain conjuring every worst case scenario possible, but the room is empty, and then he checks the living room and the driveway. His father’s cruiser isn’t parked outside. Stiles tries to think, his brain cloudy and confused, and when he glances at the clock, he remembers his dad had to go in this morning at 3 a.m. for the early shift.

Not sure what to do, he calls Scott. It takes him three tries before Scott picks up.

“Stiles? What’s wrong? Where are you?”

“At home. Um…if I had you sniff blood, could you tell if it was mine or not?” Stiles stares at his fingers, tastes the metallic tang in his mouth. He’s afraid to wash it away until he knows for sure.

“Stiles, what happened?” Scott’s voice is suddenly alert and worried on the other end.

“I had a dream. And, um, you didn’t like smell any wolfy mojo on me tonight, did you? – and we did go to dinner didn’t we? Like, I’m not giving off ‘I’m-turning-into-a-werewolf’ vibes, am I?” Stiles raises up his shirt and looks at the two gashes that have almost faded completely. He’s pretty sure he can’t turn into a werewolf from a dream-induced gash, but he’s not sure he knows anything anymore.

“I’ll be over in a few minutes.”

Stiles goes into the bathroom, unable to handle the blood anymore. He wipes it away carefully and spits into a cup, making sure there’s enough for Scott to check out when he gets there. Stiles is waiting on the couch in the dark when Scott races inside the house.

“Where’s the blood?” Stiles holds the rag and cup out for Scott, and he sniffs them both then Stiles’ mouth carefully. “It smells like your blood.” Scott sniffs it again to double check. “Yeah, this is all you.” Stiles sighs in relief, though that bit of information isn’t very comforting, either. Scott steps close and sniffs Stiles’ neck. “The only werewolf I smell is the pack and traces of Derek. You’re still human.”

“Thank god.”

“Why did you think you were turning into a werewolf?” Stiles tells Scott about the gashes and the dream. “First, you dream Derek eats your father, now you’re eating your father.” Scott shakes his head. “That’s rough. Does your dad know?”

“No! And hopefully he never will.” Stiles drops his head into his hands. “We did go to dinner, didn’t we?”

“Yeah. I left here just before midnight.” Scott stands up and walks towards the door. “I can stay, if you want.”

“Nah, I’m good.” Stiles opens the front door and leans on it. “I need to get to sleep. Big anatomy test tomorrow.”

“When’s Deaton coming back?” Scott asks as he steps onto the front porch.

“Soon, I hope. I hope he found something. I…I can’t do this much longer. It’s been two and a half months, Scott.”

“I know, man.” He claps Stiles on the shoulder. “Hang in there. We’ll figure it out. We always do.” Scott presses their foreheads together briefly before jogging to his mom’s car.

Back in bed, Stiles grabs his phone and texts Derek. I miss you.

Ten minutes later, Stiles is almost asleep when he hears his phone buzz.

What happened? Are you okay?

I’m fine. I just really miss you.

*

“Guys, this is really unnecessary.” Stiles tries not to trip over his own two feet as Boyd leads him by the arm towards Derek’s loft, Isaac’s hands covering his eyes. His foot hits something and he stumbles, Boyd’s strong grip the only thing saving him from falling flat on his ass. “I know it’s a birthday party. It’s not a surprise if I know we’re celebrating tonight.”

“Shut up,” Boyd says.

Stiles sighs and lets Boyd manhandle him, Isaac stepping on the back of his feet as they walk up the few flights of stairs. Finally, they stop in front of Derek’s door and Boyd leads him inside.

“Surprise!” everyone yells when Isaac drops his hands. The loft is decorated with crepe streamers and balloons, a stack of gifts are on a table beside a cake and ice cream and a stack of pizza boxes, and the pack are standing in the middle of Derek’s living room. Erica is holding a computer, and Stiles notices Derek’s on screen via Skype. He’s suddenly blushing and grinning like an idiot.

“Oh god, he just noticed Derek,” Jackson mutters, and Lydia slaps his arm.

“This is, this is really awesome,” Stiles says as he looks around. He sees board games stacked on a table and the video game systems already hooked up. “Thanks.”

“He’s so cute when he blushes!” Erica says. “Here, take the computer, Stiles. I’m tired of holding Derek.” She shoves the laptop into Stiles arms, and he almost drops it.

“I can’t believe you planned this.” Stiles can’t stop grinning as he cradles the laptop.

“It was Boyd’s idea,” Erica says, grabbing Boyd’s hand. “He’s a closet romantic.”

“Aww, Boyd, you old softie.”

“It’s just Derek on Skype, gah.” Boyd pushes Jackson down.

“Um, Stiles? I can’t see anything but your shirt,” Derek’s voice calls out from the computer.

“Shit, sorry.” Stiles holds up the computer, grinning widely when he looks at Derek’s image on screen. The pack is staring at him, so he walks over to the table and faces the computer away from them, so he’s the only one that can see Derek. “Hi.”

“Hi.”

Derek looks amused at Stiles’ ridiculously wide grin, and Stiles wishes he could reach through the screen and touch stubble, run a hand through his hair.

“I think I’m going to throw up,” Jackson says from the couch.

“Shut up, they’re adorable,” Lydia says.

Stiles wants to say something, but he flicks his eyes away from the screen for a moment to the pack watching him. When he looks back at the screen, Derek is looking down and doing something off screen. Then, Derek holds up a piece of paper where he’s written in his tiny scrawl I miss you.

Stiles feels like his face is going to break from smiling so hard, and he hears squealing behind him and turns around to see Allison, Lydia, Erica, and Isaac bunched together and looking over his shoulder at the screen.

“Ohmigod, Derek is so romantic,” Allison squees, and Stiles thinks he sees Derek’s face coloring even through the computer.

“Can I kill your betas? Pretty please? It will be the best birthday present ever. Really. They don’t know the meaning of the word privacy.”

Derek laughs and Stiles shifts his body and moves the computer closer, hopefully out of the sight of the pack. “All I can see is your neck, Stiles.” Stiles tilts the screen, and when he looks down, Derek’s written I’m sorry I can’t be there. Stiles nods, and Derek lifts his shirt where the S is still visible. Derek runs his fingers over it lightly, and Stiles blushes even harder.

“Go enjoy your party,” Derek says then, pulling his shirt back down. “Happy birthday.”

“Thanks.” He waves as Derek signs off.

Stiles looks up, and seven sets of eyes are watching him. “Nosy bitches.”

“Come on, loverboy,” Erica says, grabbing Stiles by the arm. “It’s time to party.”

*

Stiles is drunk. He didn’t think he’d had that much to drink, but Allison had made jello shots that were really good but he swears they didn’t taste like alcohol at all. Isaac, Scott, Boyd, and Jackson had scoured the whole loft and found all of Peter’s aconite liquor, so the pack was as drunk as he was. Currently, Stiles was sprawled on the couch in Isaac’s lap with his legs draped over Lydia, who was in Boyd’s lap. Scott and Erica were dancing, and Jackson and Allison were playing a drinking game on the floor beside them.

“I think I’m drunk.” He lays his head back on Isaac’s shoulder and grins. “I feel great.”

“Your hair is really soft,” Isaac says, running his fingers through it.

“Yours is really curly.” Stiles touches the curls, then runs his fingers through them. “You have nice hair. I like curls. Lydia has curls. I always liked her curls.” Stiles rolls his head to the side. “Hey Lydia, did you know I always liked your curls? They are so perfect.”

Lydia giggles and pats Boyd’s cheek. “Did you hear that? I’m perfect.”

“You are perfect,” Stiles agrees. “God Isaac, I just want to rub your hair for like ever. It’s almost better than Derek’s.”

Erica nearly slings Scott across the living room as she moves them around so she can see Stiles. She’s leading, and Scott has his arms around her and his face pressed against her chest. “Should Derek be jealous?” Erica says, her words slurring a bit. “You and Isaac do flirt a bit too much – “

“And they’re going to prom together,” Boyd says.

“Dude,” Stiles says, pointing at Isaac but almost poking his eye out. “Isaac is like, the best. He’s like, my bro, my best friend.” He turns towards Isaac. “I love you, man!”

“I love you, Stiles. You’re like, the best.” Isaac turns to Erica. “I love you, Erica. You’re the best. And have the best rack. You and Lydia has such nice boobs. Allison’s are nice, too, just smaller.”

“Nothing wrong with that,” Scott mumbles from Erica’s shoulder. “I love Allison’s boobs.”

“We know,” everyone yells.

“And Scott, and Boyd, I love you guys, too. I even love you, Jackson.”

“Jackson, you are okay.” Stiles looks at the floor where Jackson takes a shot. “At least you’re pretty. That helps. Maybe too pretty though. I think you’re so pretty you go around to weird looking.”

“You’re the weird looking one, Stilinski,” Jackson mumbles as he tosses a card onto the floor. Allison squeals and tosses a card down on top of that one.

“You’re not weird looking,” Isaac says. “I love you, Stiles.”

“Oh god,” Scott says, “Isaac’s hit that point again where he loves everyone.” Isaac giggles as Scott squirms out of Erica’s grip, runs, and jumps onto Stiles and Isaac. He lands somewhere around Stiles’ spleen.

“Fuck, Scott, I think you broke me. Owwwwww.” Stiles rubs his side where Scott’s elbow landed.

“I love you, Scott.” Isaac reaches out and pats Scott’s face with the hand not in Stiles’ hair.

“I love you, Isaac.”

“Good, we love each other,” Stiles mumbles from between them. “I’m still broken.”

“Allison, your boyfriend’s about to have a threesome with Stiles and Isaac,” Lydia yells. “It’s gonna be hot.”

“Hey!” Jackson yells as Allison gets up from the floor with an “Oooh!”

“Are we gonna have a threesome?” Stiles asks, looking back and forth between Isaac and Scott. “I don’t remember agreeing to that. I don’t think Derek will like that.” Stiles reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone. “Let’s call him and find out.” Stiles calls Derek, but gets his voicemail. When he hears the beep, he says, “DEREK! We’re having a party.”

Isaac grabs his hand and pulls the phone towards him mouth and yells, “Hey Derek! I love you!” as Scott leans close and Erica leans over him to yell, too.

“Your betas really miss you, man. They’ve been moping around the loft, like sniffing your bed and stuff.”

“Once!” Scott says. “We did that once!”

“They got into Peter’s werewolf liquor. SSSSSHHHHHHHH,” Stiles says, spitting on Scott’s face, “don’t tell Peter because he’ll probably be – HEY! The voicemail cut off.”

“Call him again,” Boyd says. “You didn’t say anything.”

Stiles calls his voicemail again and Erica grabs his phone from him. “Derek, Stiles is cheating on your hair with Isaac’s hair. He’s been stroking it for like hours and sitting in his lap and Scott’s in his lap and – “

“Scott, get the phone – “

“Hey! I’m trying to talk to Derek – “

“Derek,” Stiles says when he reclaims his phone, “Isaac has soft hair. And it’s curly! I think I cheated on your hair. I’m so sorry. Don’t tell your hair. I don’t want it to get upset.”

All of the pack end up talking to Derek’s voicemail, and when Stiles finally gets his phone back, he says, “I have no clue how many messages we’ve left you. I think Lydia and Allison want me, Isaac, and Scott to have a threesome. But I only want to have sex with you. You’re so hot, Derek – “

“He is,” Lydia says while Allison and Erica, who are now also on the couch, too, agree.

“And like your cock is great. Even if it’s not circumcised, which is totally cool because mine is so I like know what that looks like, and I think I should get to see it more. I haven’t seen it that much – “

“Really?” Erica exclaims. “I thought you two would be fucking all the time. That’s all Boyd and I did when we first got together – “

“Us, too,” Allison giggles.

“Your pack says we’re undersexed,” Stiles says when he calls Derek’s voicemail again. “Does that mean we’re going slow enough? Sometimes I have to jack off like five times a day just to keep up with what you do to me. Derek, I just, gah, I love you, man.” Stiles pauses, the alcohol flowing through his brain and making him so whatever pops into his head. “I love you, Derek.”

“I love you, too, Derek!” Isaac yells.

“I love you!” Scott echoes, and soon the whole pack is screaming how much they love Derek.

“I probably should go now,” Stiles says when he calls back. “Scott broke my spleen and is sitting on my lap and I’m on Isaac’s lap and Isaac is comfy so I think I’m just gonna go to sleep now. I hope you’re having fun with other werewolves running through the woods and chasing birds and stuff. Bye, Derek!” The pack yell a collective farewell before Stiles tosses his phone onto the floor.

“Make room for Jackson!” Lydia demands, and everyone shifts on the couch and Jackson somehow squeezes between Allison and Boyd.

“Are we all seriously on this couch?” Scott asks, sitting up and looking around. He gets out his phone and snaps a few pictures before settling on Stiles and closing his eyes. “Happy birthday, Stiles.”

“Happy birthday!” they yell as Stiles shifts so his head is comfortable on Isaac’s shoulder and Scott’s head is on his stomach, his legs and feet stretched across Allison, Lydia, and Boyd.

*

When Stiles wakes up, he’s pretty sure someone ripped off his head. It’s killing him. He sits up and realizes he’s on the floor between Boyd and Allison, and he’s pretty sure he’d been snuggling with Allison in his sleep. Erica, Jackson, and Lydia are cuddled on the other side of Boyd, and Scott and Isaac have their arms wrapped around each other on the other side of Allison. Stiles goes to the bathroom, grabs a glass of water and some headache medicine from the kitchen, and finds his cell phone on the floor. It’s just 10 a.m., way too early for him to be up after a night of drinking. There’s a text message from Derek that just says call me, and Stiles suddenly worries if he said something he shouldn’t have on the voice mail last night. His memory is really fuzzy and his mouth runs away with him on a good sober night.

He walks upstairs to Derek’s room and stretches on his bed as he calls him.

“Morning,” Derek says, voice amused. “How do you feel?”

“Why are you yelling at me?” Stiles holds the phone away from his ear.

“That good, huh?”

“I want to die. But your bed is soft. I may never leave it.”

“Did all of you sleep in my bed?”

“No one did. Everyone’s asleep downstairs. I woke up and came up here to call you. I’m the only one that gets to sleep in your comfy bed that smells like you. Perks of dating the Alpha.” Stiles pulls back the covers and slips between the sheets. “Your sheets are so soft. And smell like you. I think all you werewolves are rubbing off on me, I’m picking up your scent. Is your scent stronger because you’re Alpha?”

“Are you still drunk?”

“I don’t think so.”

Derek laughs on the other end. “Did you have fun last night?”

“Yes. Though, it’s all a bit fuzzy.”

“Do you remember calling me?”

“Yeah, I left you a message.”

“You left me twenty three.”

“Twenty three?” Stiles exclaims, and boy was that a bad idea, because gah, his head. He pulls the comforter over his head to block out the offending light. “Oh fuck, my head.”

Stiles hears Derek chuckle. “They were quite interesting. Particularly the ones where you and Erica talked about cheating on my hair with Isaac’s hair, Isaac’s message about how much he loved me and I was his favorite brother but he loved Scott and Allison, Erica’s message dedicated solely to Boyd’s biceps, Jackson’s where he talked about how much he missed me and wished I was home. I think at one point Scott and Allison forgot I was on the phone and started making out. There was a lot more, but those were pretty interesting.” Stiles groaned. “There were quite a few where you talked about my body, especially my uncircumcised cock, which apparently you find very interesting and did a school report on once? Circumcision, I think, not my cock, unless you actually did write a report about my cock – “

“No, it was the history of circumcision. Though I’d love to do the research to write a report on your cock.”

“I especially liked the message where you described in detail what you wanted to do to me when I get home.”

Stiles pops his head out from under the covers and grabs the glass of water from the nightstand. “What did I say?”

“Let’s just say, your tongue must have a mind of its own.”

“Please delete all those messages. And never ever speak of them again.”

“I may keep the ones where you detailed your plans for me.”

“I can’t decide if that’s hot or humiliating.”

“I’m going to hold you to your promise. Your tongue has its work cut out.”

“It’s looking forward to it.” Stiles smiles to himself.

“Seriously, it was nice, hearing all your voices. Believe it or not, I miss my pack, too. It’s hard being away from them.”

“Mmhmm,” Stiles murmurs, getting sleepy the longer he lays in Derek’s bed with Derek’s voice in his ear.

“It’s especially hard being away from you.”

“I like it when you say things like that,” Stiles mumbles. “I like that you miss me.”

“Of course I miss you.”

“How much longer are you going to be away?” Stiles asks.

“Few more days at least. Not much longer.”

“Good.”

“Are you still in my bed?”

“Mmhmm.”

“It’ll smell like you when I get home. And it’ll drive me crazy.”

“Maybe I’ll roll around in it naked.”

Derek growls quietly. “God, I miss you.” Stiles smiles. “Go back to sleep. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Be careful.”

“I will.”

Stiles ends the call and buries himself deeper into the sheets, enveloped completely by Derek.

*

Stiles is running. He can’t see who – or what – is behind him, can just hear the pounding in his own ears. The forest is dark, and he barely sees the fallen branch in the path before he leaps over it and keeps going. A bullet whizzes by his ear, grazing the skin, and Stiles chances a look over his shoulder.

Hunters.

He changes his tactic, goes for a zigzag deeper into the woods to try and shake them off. He crashes through thick underbrush, his feet tangling on something. His ankle twists and he falls hard, crying out in pain.

This can’t be happening, he thinks as he tries to stand back up. The pressure on his foot is excruciating, and he’s only gone a few steps before he falls and is immediately snatched up.

“Where are they?” the one who grabbed him asks. Stiles can’t make out their faces in the darkness, but he sees three silhouettes before him. “Where are the mutts?”

Stiles doesn’t answer, just spits in the guy’s face. He throws Stiles to the ground and kicks his side hard. “Don’t bother,” another voice says. “He’s nothing but a dirty wolf fucker, that Alpha’s little whore.” The man bends down and yanks Stiles to his knees by his hair, and Stiles bites the inside of his mouth to keep from screaming in pain. “You won’t give up those filthy monsters, will you? It’s a disgrace, the sheriff’s son being fucked by a werewolf. It’s disgusting.”

“I think it’s a disgrace to hunt down innocent people. That’s disgusting.” The man punches him, and Stiles is pretty sure his jaw is broken.

“We’re wasting time. Just kill him, leave the body in pieces for the Alpha to track.”

“We can make it into a game, have the pack find him.”

“Prize for finding a body part is a wolf’s bane bullet to the heart.”

“No!” Stiles yells as two of the men hold his shoulders, keeping him on his knees. His brain is whirling as he tries to figure out how to get out of this alive, how to save the pack. Terror and dread settle deep in his belly when it occurs to him that he may not get out of this one. “Leave them alone! They haven’t done anything.”

Stiles feels the hard press of a gun against the back of his head, and a body gripping terror overtakes him as everything seems to slow down. He hears the gunshot burst against his eardrums, feels the split second of severe pain as the bullet enters his skull, and then – blackness.

*

Stiles jerks awake to the sound of someone screaming, and he looks around frantically before realizing the screaming is coming from his own mouth. He closes his mouth and notices that he’s not in his room, he’s once again in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night. But he’d been prepared for this, been prepared since the last time, when he’d woken up in the warehouse. He reaches inside his hoodie pocket and almost cries from relief when he feels his cell phone. It’s just before 2:30 a.m., and he calls Scott.

“Stiles?” Scott answers sleepily on the fifth ring.

“It happened again.”

“Where are you?”

“Um…a forest. Get online, track the GPS in my phone.” Stiles’ eyes adjust and he checks his surroundings as Scott gets on the internet. After the second time this happened with the warehouse, Stiles made a few provisions in case the hag struck again. He found out how to track GPS on his phone, almost always slept in a hoodie, pajama pants, and socks, and tried to remember to leave his cell phone in his pocket. Although it’d been over a month since the hag struck like this, he’s glad he was prepared.

“Got it. You’re in the preserve. I’ll be there soon.”

When Stiles hangs up, he tries to stand, but immediately falls back down. His ankle is throbbing, and he pulls up his pant leg and sees that it’s swollen. Twisted, just like in the dream. The rest of him seems fine, at least. He’s just glad there’s no bullet hole in his head.

He hears something move in the underbrush behind him, and he really hopes that it’s nothing large with a taste for humans, or a hunter. Stiles was off hunters before, but he’s seriously off them now.

Twenty minutes later, Stiles’ phone rings and he jumps and yelps so loudly he’s glad no one was around to hear it. His ankle is also hurting again since he apparently put pressure on it when he jerked. “Scott, please say you’re here. It’s dark.”

“We just parked. We’re close, I can smell you.”

Thirty seconds later, Stiles hears something crashing through the underbrush and then Scott and Isaac stop in front of him, eyes bright gold in the dark.

“Are you okay?” Scott and Isaac drop beside Stiles and sniff him, hands skimming over him. He tries to move away.

“Fine, except my ankle. It’s twisted, you’ll have to help me walk, and no, you’re not carrying me, so don’t even ask.” Scott and Isaac both grab one of Stiles’ arms and carefully help him to his feet. Experimentally, Stiles puts some pressure on it, then decides that was a bad idea. He slings his arms over the others’ shoulders and starts slowly limping towards the car.

“Anything else hurt?” Isaac asks when they’ve been walking for a bit.

“No. Just, horrible dream, screaming, and waking up in a forest again. You know, the usual.” They hobble along in silence until Stiles suddenly asks, “You didn’t call Derek, did you?”

“No, we thought you’d do that,” Scott answers. “Do you want us to?”

“Don’t tell him,” Stiles says.

“What?” they exclaim.

“He doesn’t need to know about this. He’ll just rush home and he needs to set up this pack alliance and not worry about me. Just…don’t tell him. There’s nothing he can do anyway,” Stiles finishes quietly.

“Stiles, I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Scott says.

“Yeah, besides, I’m a terrible liar,” Isaac adds.

“Guys, please. For me? No one needs to know about this except the three of us. If anyone asks about my ankle, I’ll just say I tripped. No one will question it. Derek will come back in a few days, everything will be fine.”

Scott and Isaac share a look over Stiles’ shoulder, but begrudgingly agree.

*

They go to Scott’s house before taking Stiles home so they can get Melissa to check his ankle. She wraps her thin, cotton robe around herself as she follows Scott downstairs after he wakes her, her messy curls sticking up everywhere.

“Like the hair, Mrs. McCall,” Stiles says with a grin, and she sighs dramatically.

“He seems fine to me, Scott.” She sits down on the coffee table in front of the couch while Scott goes into the kitchen. Isaac’s hovering nearby, anxiously pacing back and forth and chewing on his fingers. “Stiles, what did you do this time?”

“I resent that, really, I do. It’s been a long time since you’ve had to patch me up.”

“Because now you get that vet to do it.” She gives him a serious look. “I’m not stupid. Just because Scott can heal doesn’t mean I haven’t seen the constant fading cuts and bruises. So, out with it.”

“We were playing Dance Dance Revolution and Isaac tripped me because I was winning?” Stiles grins what he considers his award-winning grin. Melissa’s not convinced.

“I’ve seen you play DDR, Stiles. You’re terrible,” she murmurs, getting momentarily distracted when Scott brings her a cup of coffee. She smiles and squeezes Scott’s arm gently. “Besides, Isaac’s better at that game than even Allison. So,” she takes a large sip, waving her hand at him pointedly, “you better lie to your father better than that if you expect him to believe you.”

Stiles sighs and glances briefly at Scott and Isaac. Suddenly, Melissa looks at Scott. “Is everything okay? You haven’t been attacked, have you?” She stands up and starts patting all over him, looking for evidence. He groans and runs over behind Isaac.

“Mom, stop, gah. Nothing happened. It’s that hag we told you about. The one haunting Stiles.”

“Good,” she says, sitting back down, and Stiles looks at her, offended and hurt. “Crap, that’s not what I mean, Stiles. I mean – god, it’s the middle of the night and I’m patching up my kids, okay? Give me a little leeway.”

Stiles warms instantly at being called one of her “kids” – he’s been an honorary McCall as long as Scott’s been an honorary Stilinski, but it’s still comforting to hear it. Especially after the night he’s had.

Melissa checks over his foot carefully, rotating it and touching it gingerly and with minimal pain. Stiles briefly wonders what it must be like, for her and his dad, to have these supernatural kids (or supernatural adjacent, in his case) who are always in danger and getting hurt. It must be awful, he thinks as she bends his foot back and forth. He wonders if it was easier for Derek’s family, since they were werewolves, too, and if it would be easy if he and Derek had –

What the fuck was wrong with his head? Did he almost think what he almost thought? He shakes his head suddenly, back and forth until his cheeks are flapping. Maybe the hag has broken his brain. Again. When he looks up, Scott, Isaac, and Melissa are staring at him.

“Getting rid of the heebie-jeebies,” he explains sheepishly. He figured telling them “getting-rid-of-terrifyingly-serious-and-lifetime-commitment-thoughts-about-our-Alpha” wouldn’t go over too well.

Melissa shakes her head. “It’s not broken, just sprained. Scott, go grab the ace bandage from the bathroom and Isaac, can you get the crutches from the upstairs closet?” They disperse and she looks at him seriously. “Wrap it, stay off of it for a few days.”

“Does that mean I can stay home from school?”

“That means you walk on the crutches.”

“Crap.”

“It should be okay in a few days, maybe a little longer. Use ice to help with the swelling and the pain.” She carefully sets his foot on the ground and then kisses his forehead.

“Thanks,” Stiles says, feeling all warm and fuzzy, as Isaac props the crutches against the couch.

“I’m gonna take Stiles home, and we’ll just sleep there?” Scott hesitates, and Mrs. McCall nods. He rushes upstairs and returns a few minutes later with a bag. “I packed your stuff, too,” Scott tells Isaac. “You had some clothes over here.”

“Thanks.” Isaac claps Scott on the shoulder as Stiles struggles to his feet on the crutches.

“Thanks, Mrs. McCall,” Stiles says as he makes his way slowly to the door, trying not to lose his balance.

*

Stiles is pretty sure that his armpits are going to end up more injured than his foot from those damn crutches. He hobbles to class with great difficulty, and after one of the crutches slips before school and he almost face plants in the parking lot, saved only by Jackson’s lightning-fast reflexes, the pack decides they won’t leave his side, afraid of Stiles doing any more damage to himself.

“You did this at the park last night?” Lydia asks, lips pursed and that calculating look on her face. Stiles nods, easily masking the lie. He hasn’t been around werewolves for years without picking up a few tricks, thank you very much.

“Scott, Isaac, and I were kicking around a soccer ball, Scott kicked it a little too fast, I tried to get it, stepped on it, and you know how clumsy I am, just twisted it.” Scott and Isaac nod in agreement.

“Stilinski, you are the clumsiest loser on the planet,” Jackson says.

“At least lacrosse is over,” Boyd says.

“I know.”

“Will it be okay by prom?” Allison asks.

Stiles slings an arm around Isaac’s shoulder. “You may just have to carry me in your arms all night. I can dance on your feet. It’ll be romantic.”

Isaac shoves Stiles into Erica, who reaches around and slaps Isaac on the back of the head. Stiles ducks to avoid Erica and Isaac’s slap fight as the conversation turns to prom.

*

Stiles is staring at the refrigerator, trying to figure out how to make dinner and seriously contemplating just ordering take out, when he hears the front door open. He manages to turn around without falling by the time his dad enters the kitchen.

“Ah, shit.” The sheriff grimaces as he lays his holster and badge on the counter. “What happened?”

“I thought you were working late today.”

“That was the last two nights. Don’t evade my question.” He crosses his arms and squares his shoulders. Stiles braces himself.

“Twisted my leg playing soccer.” Stiles shrugs and almost loses his balance. “No big deal.”

“Son, don’t lie to me,” the sheriff says, finger pointed. “Despite what you might believe, I’m not an idiot.”

“Fine, Isaac did it. He’s a real jerk, I’m going to get Derek to punish him severely when he gets – “

“Stiles!” The sheriff rubs his eyes. “It was that hag, wasn’t it?”

“Technically, we can’t be certain that the hag – “

“Stiles!”

“I woke up in the forest again, yes.” He leans on his crutches. “I’m fine, Mrs. McCall said my foot was fine, I just – “

“You went to Melissa?” the sheriff yells. “My son wakes up in the forest and he doesn’t – “

“You were sleeping, and I didn’t want to wake you because of work – “

“That’s bullshit, and you know it, Stiles – “

“I DON’T WANT YOU TO WORRY!” Stiles explodes, unable to take it anymore. His father stops and looks at him, stunned. “I’m sick of everyone worrying about me. I’m sick of seeing you look at me like you do, like you’re terrified that I’m going to just disappear. And I know you’ve been drinking more – “

“Stiles, I haven’t – “

“Dad, I’ve seen the bottles. I can’t do this to you.”

The sheriff drops heavily into one of the kitchen chairs. “Stiles,” he starts, voice breaking, “You’re my son.”

“I know that, Dad.” Stiles carefully hobbles over to the chair beside him. “But you can’t kill yourself worrying about me, because then what will I do?”

The sheriff reaches out and clutches Stiles’ arm. “This is getting out of control, Stiles.”

“It’s fine, Deaton’s going to find something – “

“What if he doesn’t?”

“I don’t know!” Stiles runs a hand through his hair. “I have to trust that he will find something.” Stiles stares at the table. “I know he will, he always does.”

*

Stiles wakes up paralyzed, but otherwise he has a decent night’s sleep. He and his dad didn’t quite work everything out, but they sat up later than usual watching television. When he wakes up, he tries to walk on his foot, finds it still too painful, and reluctantly braces himself for another day on the crutches.

His dad has the late shift, so Stiles is on the couch, eating Chinese take out, when the front door suddenly opens. He flails until he sees that it’s Derek is storming into the house, slamming the door behind him. Stiles glances down at his shirt, where there’s now a pile of rice. His heart is pounding , he’s embarrassed because he’s covered in his dinner, he’s probably in need of a shower, and he’s surprised and wondering why in the hell Derek is standing in his living room.

“Thanks for scaring the shit out of me, Derek. Now half my dinner is on my shirt. And you could have knocked, because this is my house, you know. Hey, aren’t you supposed to be gone for a few more days, not that I’m not excited that you’re here instead of a crazed cat burglar – “ Stiles stops mid-sentence when he finally finishes cleaning himself up and looks up at Derek. Derek is glaring at him, eyes red. “What?”

Derek doesn’t say a word, just looks at the crutches then back at Stiles.

“I thought we had worked on your communication skills. Use your words, Derek, because – “

“Were you going to tell me? Or were you just going to lie to me like you have everyone else?” He takes a step forward, and for a split second, Stiles is scared.

“Well, see, um – “

“You were planning on lying to me,” Derek growls. He balls his fists at his side, eyes never wavering. “And what’s worse, you convinced Scott and Isaac to lie to me, too?”

“Dammit, Isaac,” Stiles mutters.

“Oh, Isaac kept your secret, but he’s a terrible liar, Stiles. One look at him and I knew something had happened. Why in the hell didn’t you call me?” Stiles is amazed by how still Derek is, like he’s carved out of stone. Stiles realizes briefly that his brain is deflecting the real problem here, which is that Derek is mad at him. No, correction. Derek is furious. And it’s different now, because they’re dating, and shit, this just got so much more serious.

“I knew you’d run straight home,” Stiles says quietly, looking at Derek’s chest instead of his eyes. “You needed to do that pack thing, not come home because of me.”

“What about when I got home? What’s your excuse for lying to me then?”

Stiles opens his mouth, but for once, he’s speechless. Underneath the anger, he hears hurt in Derek’s voice. It’s not like Stiles wanted to hurt anyone, he just didn’t want to tell them because this was his problem and he wanted to protect them and he was tired of ruining everyone else’s lives by having shit happen to him. And now Derek is in his living room and Stiles just wants to hold on to him but Derek is mad at him – madder than he’s ever been at Stiles and that’s saying a lot – and everything is so jumbled up inside that he can’t form the words.

“Coming up with a lie?”

Stiles snaps his head up. “That’s not fair.”

“It’s not? So, it’s fair to be attacked by the hag again, get seriously hurt this time - “

“It’s just a sprain, it’s no big deal – “

“And then get my fucking betas to lie to me? To their Alpha?” Derek’s voice rises in volume as he seems to grow even taller. Stiles shrinks back in the couch. “I cannot – will not – have my betas lie to me – “

“I’m not one of your fucking betas!” Stiles shoots to his feet, but instantly regrets it when pain explodes in his foot. He bends towards the couch, inhaling a few times before grabbing the crutches.

“But you’re part of my pack!”

“That doesn’t mean you control me!”

“I’m not trying to control you, Stiles,” Derek yells, “I’m trying to protect you!”

“WELL, YOU CAN’T PROTECT ME!” Stiles screams. He just feels like he’s going to come apart at the seams, feels repressed anger, frustration, and panic rising to the surface, and despite his efforts to keep it contained, he just can’t anymore. “NO ONE CAN! So why the fuck should I call you and get you all upset? Why should I worry anybody about anything? I CAN DEAL WITH THIS!” Stiles is shaking, his hands gripping the crutches so tightly it hurts.

“No one said you can’t,” Derek says quietly. He seems to have deflated some, but his eyes remain red.

“Then why is everyone treating me like I’m fucking helpless?”

Derek tenses again, and he leans forward to say something, but then shakes his head. “Stiles, just…fuck you for being such a selfish asshole.”

“Yeah? Well, fuck you for being an overprotective crazy person.”

Derek spins on his heel and storms to the door, throwing it open wide. As he walks through, he turns around and says, “You don’t lie to the people you love. Lying isn’t trust, Stiles.” Then, Derek slams the door.

Stiles stands in the middle of the living room, fighting off a panic attack.

He isn’t helpless. He’s fought off Alphas and kanimas and crazy hunters and all kinds of other things. He might be frail and human, but he isn’t weak. He can take care of himself and doesn’t need his father, a pack, or a crazy protective Alpha to do it for him.

As he stands in the living room, his arms straining with the force of holding himself up, Stiles has never felt so alone.

*
Derek felt a sense of relief when he parked the Camaro in front of the loft. If he concentrated hard enough, he could hear Isaac’s steady heartbeat just beyond the windows above him. He smiled, glad to be home. He’d dropped Peter off in town to meet the woman he’d been seeing, and Derek was looking forward himself to surprising Stiles after dropping off his stuff and talking to Isaac.

“Isaac?” Derek called out as he stepped into the loft.

“Derek?” Isaac quickly crossed the living room, and Derek pulled him into a tight hug. “You smell like that other pack.”

Derek rubbed his hands down Isaac’s back, his cheek against his hair. He’d only been gone a little over a week, but he didn’t like how faint his scent was on Isaac. He didn’t want to think about how faint it would be on the rest of the pack, wanted to think even less about how Stiles probably didn’t smell like him anymore.

Isaac nuzzled his neck and snuggled against Derek, humming contently until he was satisfied. Derek squeezed his shoulder and walked over to pick up his bags again. “Everything okay while I was gone?”

“Yeah,” Isaac said, and Derek felt the slight uptick of Isaac’s heart. He narrowed his eyes in suspicion, but he wasn’t sure if it was anything to worry about or not. Maybe he was worried about them getting drunk. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

Derek didn’t answer as he walked upstairs. He could smell the faint scent of Stiles in his bed, and his eyes flashed red and his cock started to harden immediately. He leaned down, pulled back the comforter, and sniffed. He almost moaned when he smelled that Stiles had in fact rolled around naked in his bed.

“Anything happen with the hag I should know about?”

This time, Isaac’s heartbeat quickened significantly, and Derek felt the fear and panic coursing through him. He hurried downstairs, glaring.

“What happened?”

“Um, nothing. Everything was great.” Isaac smiled, but he was a terrible liar.

“Isaac,” Derek growled, eyes flashing. Isaac took a step back, looking pained.

“Scott and I were playing soccer with Stiles and he sprained his ankle and – “

Derek roared as fury merged with the urge to protect. Stiles was hurt? He didn’t call? Isaac was lying to him?

He rushed out of the loft, Isaac calling after him. In the car, Derek dialed Boyd.

“Derek?”

“What happened to Stiles?” he barked.

“Uh, he sprained his ankle. I think he was playing soccer with Isaac and Scott,” Boyd answered, sounding confused.

“Is that what really happened?”

“Yes? That’s what he told us.” Boyd was quiet for a moment, and Derek looked down and saw he was driving too fast and didn’t care. “Erica said they’ve been acting weird the past few days, but I haven’t noticed anything. They’re always weird.”

Derek ended the call and seethed the rest of the way to Stiles’ house. He tried to control his rage when he was in front of Stiles, the wolf wanting to protect, claim, and hurt. Stiles was on crutches, Stiles didn’t smell like him anymore, and Stiles was lying to him.

“I’m not one of your fucking betas!” Stiles yelled. It was true, but it still cut Derek somewhere deep.

“But you’re part of my pack!”

“WELL, YOU CAN’T PROTECT ME!” It was like someone had ripped out Derek’s heart. He’d known he couldn’t protect Stiles for months now, but to hear it from Stiles’ mouth was worse than anything he could imagine. He heard Stiles’ words like he was far away, felt the fear and confusion and pain radiating from him. He wanted to wrap his arms around Stiles, make the pain go away, that look in his eyes…protect him. But he couldn’t.

“You don’t lie to the people you love. Lying isn’t trust, Stiles,” he said, slamming the door.

After leaving Stiles, he drove to the preserve, shifting into his wolf form, and just ran.

Chapter Text

“Stiles, what’s wrong?” his father asks at breakfast the next morning. Stiles barely slept, and this time it had nothing to do with the hag. He’d obsessed about the fight with Derek all night, his brain scattering in so many directions he had trouble keeping up. He felt guilty, justified, sad, angry, and then everything all over again.

He almost called Derek around 2 a.m., when he had convinced himself he fucked up royally and they were going to break up. Did they break up? Stiles was new to this relationship thing; did storming out of your boyfriend’s house mean you’d broken up? Would Derek just break up with him like that? Stiles was pretty sure he’d never seen him that angry before (because that angry!Derek was different than the angry!Derek who, say, fought off the Alphas).

And yes, Stiles was angry at himself, but he also wanted to yell at everyone in his life. Didn’t they know that he was doing the best he fucking could? They didn’t have a hag haunting them almost every night, going to sleep and waking up not knowing if it was reality or a dream, if you were in your bedroom or a somewhere random. Stiles didn’t want everyone worrying about him, they had enough to worry about – and he always wanted to protect the people he loved, it was his default setting – but they didn’t seem to understand that.

But he also couldn’t get that look on Derek’s face out of his head, the hurt underlying the fury when he talked.

“Was it the hag?” Stiles snaps from his thoughts and looks blearily at his dad. His father’s face is creased in worry and he looks tired from his shift.

Stiles shakes his head and moves cereal around in the bowl absently. “No.”

“Are you lying to me?”

He sighs “No.”

“Then what is it? You look like hell.”

Stiles chews his lip and raises his eyes. He almost tells him, but his dad looks like he can’t take something else, even if it’s just something about Stiles fucking up his love life. “Just a lot going on. AP tests are soon, and I’m not really focusing.”

His dad studies him for a moment before turning back to the morning paper. “Try and get some rest, son. You’re not invincible.”

*

Stiles manages to get through the next day without the pack bombarding him with questions, so he figures they don’t know yet. Isaac, however, keeps giving him uncomfortable glances between classes and at lunch, like he wants to say something but is afraid to. Stiles doesn’t encourage him.

Three days pass, and he’s still not heard from Derek. Stiles has typed out countless texts, almost called him like a hundred times, but he always stops himself. He’s terrified that Derek will tell him he doesn’t want to see him, that it’s over. And Stiles is pretty sure he can’t handle that right now. So, yeah, he’s being a coward and hiding from everyone.

The only good thing that happens is that the pack is still oblivious and Stiles finally can ditch the crutches. His foot still twinges if he steps on it too hard, but overall, he’s good.

That night at dinner, Stiles isn’t paying attention as his dad talks, the sound a comforting hum in the background. He looks up when it stops. “Why’d you stop talking?”

“Tell me anything I just said.” Stiles looks at his plate guiltily. “That’s what I thought. I talked to Derek today.”

Stiles snaps his head up. “You talked to Derek?”

“Yep, that new pack had some information about the unsolved murder, and he offered Peter to take care of it. And then he asked about you, if you’d had any problems the last few days. I told him I thought that was an odd question since you two are so close now. And he told me the funniest thing.” The sheriff leans forward on his elbows. “He told me he hadn’t talked to you in three days. Now, see, I’m a cop, so I did some detective work, and guess what I discovered? Three days ago was when you started looking like hell again.”

Stiles sighs and leans back in the chair. “Derek and I had a fight. There. Happy?”

“Stiles, you lied to me. Again.”

“It isn’t a big deal, we just had a fight, so what? Allison and Scott fight like every other day. I don’t see either one of them getting the third degree.”

“We’re not going to do this again,” the sheriff says quietly. “We’re not going back to the lies and the excuses and you just hiding everything and keeping it all to yourself. I won’t allow it, Stiles.” He shakes his head adamantly. “Not again.”

Stiles crosses his arms over his chest. “Fine. No more lies. I’ll tell you everything. Give you a detailed list of my daily activities, starting with my morning – “

“Stiles, don’t be an ass.” Stiles rolls his eyes. “Don’t push me away.” The sheriff stands up from the table, sets his fork on his plate. He’d barely touched his food. “And whatever Derek did, don’t push him away, either. That boy cares for you more than you realize.”

The sheriff walks out of the kitchen, leaving Stiles alone at the table.

*

The moment Stiles walks into school, he knows something is up. When he sees the pack exchanging glances, he guesses that they know now. But he’s not going to bring it up if they aren’t. Besides, he was up all night thinking about what his dad said and almost didn’t come to school just to get some sleep.

At lunch, he’s picking at his sandwich when something hits him in the head. He looks up and sees everyone staring at him. They look upset.

“You’ve got to talk to Derek,” Erica finally says. “I can’t handle him anymore.”

“You don’t have to live with him,” Isaac mutters.

“Just say you’re sorry or whatever and move on.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Mind your own damn business, Erica.”

“Seriously,” Jackson says, “Derek is like walking angst. I thought he was past this but then you go and fuck it up – “

“Jackson,” Lydia warns.

“Do you even know what happened?” Stiles asks suddenly. “Or are you just making shit up from Derek’s mood or scent or whatever?”

“Yeah, how do you know Derek isn’t the one that needs to come crawling back to Stiles and apologize?” Scott snaps, bumping Stiles’ shoulder gently.

“Derek’s done his share of screwing up,” Allison adds.

“Being around both of them is torture,” Boyd says. “I can’t even be in the same room with Derek, and Stiles, you’ve been broadcasting some pretty heavy scents of your own.” Stiles stares balefully at the table as the others keep talking.

“Well, you all owe me ten bucks,” Jackson says. “I told you they wouldn’t last the school year.”

“I assumed they’d at least make it to graduation before they self-destructed,” Erica jokes, grinning at Stiles. He glares at her.

“Or until Stiles went to college and found someone less grumpy,” Boyd adds quietly.

“Come on, Stiles. Cheer up. It’ll work out,” Allison says encouragingly. “People fight all the time. Look at how often we all fight.”

“You and Derek will work it out,” Scott follows Allison’s lead and nods.

“If one of you will actually talk to the other,” Isaac grumbles.

“And if not, at least you can say you’re the lucky chosen one who got a piece of that hot Alpha – “

Fuck. You.” Everyone stills and stares at him in shock. He turns to Jackson and says, “and fuck you. Actually,” he waves his hands around the table as he stands up, “fuck all of you.” He grabs his book bag from the floor and storms out of the cafeteria, ignoring the pack’s voices calling after him.

Furious and upset, he heads through the school, luckily not running into any teachers on duty. He goes to his jeep and drives out of the student parking lot before the attendant can catch him. In an attempt to avoid any problems, he texts his dad, who asks if he’s okay and then promises Stiles something good for dinner. He barely processes the drive home, pulling into his driveway before he realizes it.

He’s sitting on the back porch steps, staring at the grass and lost in thought, when he hears movement. He looks at the side of the house just as Lydia rounds the corner.

“What do you want, Lydia?”

“Stiles, that is no way to treat your friends.” She smoothes her skirt before sitting beside him. “Though, you’ve had a problem with your friends today, haven’t you?”

“If you came over here to tear me a new one, do it and leave. I’m really not in the mood.”

“Yes, I snuck out of school and skipped my afternoon classes to yell at you.” Lydia scoffs. “I could have done that later.” She scoots closer to him and hooks her arm through his. “I came to check on you.”

Stiles cranes his neck and looks down at her. “Really?”

“I’ll deny it if you tell anyone.”

He smiles, but it’s only momentary. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Oh no,” Lydia says, “You’re going to talk to me. Isaac has no clue why Derek has been acting the way he has, and even Scott has no idea what happened. You need to talk to someone.” He props his elbows on his knees and rests his chin in his hands. “Scott told us about the forest.”

“Fucking Scott.”

“I can be very persuasive when I want to be.” Stiles cuts his eyes over at her. “And he’s weak, especially when Allison helps me.”

“I hate you.”

“Don’t make me punch you, because if I chip a nail on your hard head, you’ll pay.” Stiles stares at his hands in silence. “Why didn’t you tell us about it?”

“Why didn’t you tell everyone when you were being haunted by Peter?”

“That was a long time ago. Things are different now,” she whispers.

“How?”

“We’re a pack now.”

“Yeah, so what?”

“Stiles, what’s really going on?”

“Derek and I had a fight,” he says.

“I gathered that much.” She squeezes his arm.

“I lied to him. Got Scott and Isaac to lie to him, too.” Stiles sighs. “He was so furious, Lydia. And hurt. God, how did I let myself hurt Derek? The first person he trusts – “

“Stop right there.” He looks at her, and she gives him a hard expression. “Never compare what you have with Derek to that. Even if you breakup, it’s not the same thing.”

“I just want to protect him,” Stiles admits. “It’s killing him that he can’t do anything about the hag. He doesn’t think I see it, but I do.”

Lydia takes his hand and threads their fingers. “I understand that, Stiles. But you’re being an idiot.” He looks at her sharply. “I love you, but you’re as emotionally stunted as Derek sometimes. Derek’s crazy about you, like ridiculously so, and he’s the Alpha. Of course he’s going to be worried and overprotective. And you, like an idiot, get mad at him because of it!” She purses her lips. “Put yourself in his shoes. How would you feel if he lied to you?”

Stiles rubs a hand over his face.

“Which leads me to my next point.” Stiles groans. “Stop running away from your friends. It’s becoming a habit, and a very unattractive one. Have you thought about what it’s like for them? Jackson’s tried to explain it to me, and the way I understand it is this. That protective instinct you have for your dad, Derek, them? Multiply it by like ten thousand. That’s how they feel about their pack – “

“I know all this, Lydia – “

“Well, I think you need reminding.” She glares at him. “Jackson told me that you’ve been broadcasting some really strong anxiety vibes for the last few months. Months, Stiles. They’ve been feeling nothing but your anxiety for two months. Of course their instinct is to protect you. Hell, my instinct is to protect you. Your instinct is to protect them.” He looks at her guiltily. “Jackson was being an ass today – surprise, surprise,” she sighs. “And Erica was, not surprisingly, also being a bitch. They didn’t really make a bet, though.”

“That’s nice to know,” he says sarcastically.

“All this has them really upset. Between Derek being gone and now Derek being miserable, Jackson has been a nervous wreck.”

Stiles stares at her with wide-eyes. “You mean Jackson – “

“Don’t – “

“Actually has feelings? About Derek?”

“Stiles.”

“Yep. Shutting up now.”

Never tell him I told you that. Ever. He’ll kill me.”

They sit in silence for a few minutes, Stiles stewing over what Lydia said.

“We’re all tired,” she says eventually. “This isn’t affecting just you – it’s affecting the whole pack. And it’s affecting Derek exponentially more because you’re his – “ She hesitates.

“I’m his what?”

“You’re his Stiles.” He sighs and rests his head against hers. “I get where you’re coming from, Stiles, I really do. But I also think you need to stop pushing everyone away, stop trying to protect everyone else. Just because your dad, Derek, and your friends care about you doesn’t make you weak.” She leans closer and lowers her voice, “It makes you stronger.” She kisses his cheek lightly. “So stop being a fucking idiot or it’s not the pack or the hag you’ll have to worry about.” When he looks at her, he knows she’s completely serious, and it’s terrifying.

They sit in silence, Lydia holding his hand as he closes his eyes.

*

Later that night, he’s watching television with the sheriff when his phone buzzes. His heart nearly stops when he sees that it’s a text. From Derek.

But he feels a rush of disappointment when he reads the text.

Deaton’s back. Be there in 20 minutes.

“Everything okay, Stiles?” the sheriff asks.

“Deaton’s back. I gotta go.” Stiles stands up, and turns around in a circle looking for his keys and trips over his shoes.

“Calm down.” The sheriff stands up and grips Stiles’ arm. “Did he find anything?”

“I don’t know, Derek just said he’s back.”

“Derek’s going to be there?” Stiles nods. “That’s good, right?”

“We’ll see.” Stiles stuffs his feet into his shoes and looks at his dad. “What if he didn’t find anything?”

“Do you want me to come with you?”

Stiles shakes his head. “I’ll fill you in when I get home. You need to rest, you’ve got the early shift in the morning.”

The sheriff nods and pulls Stiles into a crushing hug. If Stiles holds on to his dad for a little longer than necessary, he figures no one will know the difference.

*

Stiles is surprised to see the entire pack in the vet’s office when he arrives.

“Oh god, I’m going to die, aren’t I?” Stiles feels a gripping terror, because that has to be the only logical reason why everyone has gathered at Deaton’s. He’s going to die.

“Stop being a drama queen,” Boyd says, “you’re not going to die.”

“Boyd is quite correct,” Deaton says. “At least, you’re not going to die just yet.”

“What? Am I gonna die like next week?”

Deaton sighs with that placid look on his face, and everyone else groans. “I’m not a psychic, so I cannot say. But you most likely will not die from what you’re thinking.”

Stiles feels relieved and chances a glance at Derek. Derek’s so tense that Stiles is afraid he might break, and he just wants to run his hand down his neck to loosen - focus, Stiles. Derek’s not looking at him, and that probably hurts the most.

“Why is everyone here?”

“That’s probably the dumbest question you’ve ever asked,” Scott says.

“Erica said she’d never speak to Derek again if he didn’t let us all come hear what Deaton found,” Isaac explains. Erica crosses her arms and glares at Stiles. “But I’m supposed to tell you that she’s not speaking to you, Stiles.”

Stiles sighs and rolls his eyes. “Okay, whatever. Can we get to the hag-killing stuff?”

“Well, that’s what’s interesting Stiles,” Deaton says as Stiles hops up on the counter. Deaton pauses, and Stiles wonders if he does it for dramatic effect because it’s sure as hell working. He should win some award for it or something. Dramatic staring and dramatic pausing. Just being dramatic in general because Deaton’s a pro. Finally, Deaton says, “It’s not a hag.”

Stiles is about to say something, but Derek beats him to it. “What?”

“I started suspecting it as soon as Stiles began waking up other places, but I wasn’t sure. Although there is a North American hag lore, most of the information is old Germanic and Scandinavian. I believe this is why we were unable to find anything on how to defeat it.” Deaton stares at them all calmly.

“Wait, so if it’s not a hag, what in the hell is it?” Derek growls. Stiles is glad he’s doing the talking because he’s not sure his mouth would work if he tried. His tongue suddenly feels numb and his heart, man that’s beating really really fast, and if it’s not a hag, then what in the hell has been haunting him, and what if he really is going to die, or if this is worse than he thought, and man, the room is getting really bright and where did all the air –

Stiles feels a hand curl around his neck, panic subsiding as Deaton says, “It’s a mare.”

“I’m being haunted by a fucking horse?” Stiles manages. He glances over and notices that Derek’s the one with his hand on his neck. He stares at him in shock until Deaton starts talking again.

“No, Stiles, it’s not a horse. Mare is where we get the common term nightmare. More specifically, it’s the Anglo-Saxon mære, a demon who, among other things, brings about terrible nightmares and sleep paralysis.”

“How are you sure it’s a mare or mære?” Derek asks, his fingers curling tighter around Stiles’ neck. Stiles tries to ignore the way his skin tingles, the way he feels calmer and safer than he has in days.

“The distinguishing characteristic of a mære is the martröð.”

“The what?” Stiles asks.

“The mare-ride. That’s why you’ve been waking up other places. The mare has been riding you,” Deaton explains.

“At least someone has been,” Erica mutters. Derek turns to her, eyes red, and growls. She cowers into Boyd’s side.

“Whoa, whoa. Hold up,” Stiles says, hands waving around. “This mare, some nightmare demon from like fifteen hundred years ago, has been taking my body for joyrides at night?”

“More or less, yes.”

Stiles rubs his eyes and sighs. Derek squeezes his neck. “So, what does this mean?”

“It means that we can hopefully catch and kill it.”

Stiles turns to Scott. “If you say anything about not killing this thing – “

“Dude, it’s been messing with my best friend. I am on board with the killing.”

Stiles grins. “Good.”

“What do we do?” Derek asks, dropping his hand and moving across the room, closer to Deaton. Stiles’ neck feels cold where Derek’s hand had been, and he reaches up the rub it absently.

“That’s up to Stiles. He has to be the one to kill it.”

“Oh great,” Stiles groans. “Really?”

“It chose you.”

“What do you mean chose him?” Allison asks.

“You say everyone was in the forest that night, except for Derek?” They nod. “Mares have animal forms their spirits can occupy. Most likely, you happened upon it in that form and she targeted the pack. Since Derek wasn’t with you, she probably saw you as vulnerable, a werewolf pack without an Alpha, weak. And then to penetrate the pack, she attacked the weakest member.” Everyone turns to Stiles, and he suddenly feels both furious and like someone punched him in the gut.

“I am not the weakest member of this – “

“Calm down,” Deaton says evenly. “Let me finish. It could have been you, Ms. Martin, or Ms. Argent. The human members, the weakest links so to speak.” Stiles glares at Deaton. “You were probably physically the closest, which is why it attached itself to you specifically. But I also think there’s an additional reason why Stiles was chosen.” He pauses. “You were convenient, yes. But I think the mære found you the best target – “

“Because I’m the weakest,” Stiles mutters bitterly.

Deaton shakes his head. “Oh no, Mr. Stilinski. Because you’re the core of this pack, the glue that binds everyone together.” Stiles stares at him, open-mouthed.

“So,” Scott starts, his face scrunched in confusion like he is still processing, “the hag, mare, muhru or whatever it’s called, was trying to get to all of us? And they used Stiles cause he was there and the glue or whatever?”

“Oh yes. Mære are dangerous because they torment their victims. Not only would they be torturing Stiles, but the entire pack through him. They’re unpredictable. Sometimes they kill their victims, have even been known to remove the skin – “

“WHAT?” Stiles and Derek both exclaim. They catch each other’s eyes before turning away quickly. “I can lose my skin? I just thought – oh god,” Stiles puts his head between his legs, his breathing picking up again.

“Breathe, Stiles,” Scott murmurs, beside him and rubbing his back. If Stiles hadn’t just been told the sadistic mare who’s been borrowing his body might flay him, he’d be embarrassed of his continual panic attacks. Right now, though, he’s too worried about his skin.

“But I have such nice skin,” Stiles whines. Isaac snorts beside him, and a few of the others giggle nervously.

“I doubt that will happen,” Deaton says. “Accounts of mære who kill their victims generally report that the mares do it immediately. This one in particular seems keen on torturing you and the pack. Most likely, you will go insane before she kills you.”

“Oh great. I’m just going to go all whack-job, graduate in a straight jacket.” Stles runs a hand through his hair.

“How do we kill it?” Derek snarls.

“Stiles will have to capture the mære while he’s asleep.”

“Is that even possible?” Jackson asks.

“Stiles will have to achieve something called Lucid Dreaming, which is basically – “

“An out of body experience,” Lydia finishes.

Deaton nods. “Very good, Ms. Martin. The thing is, most of us do that every time we dream anyway. What Stiles has to do is become aware of it. Awareness has always been the key to the doors of perception. In Lucid Dreaming, you just have to take full control over your physical consciousness.”

“How is Stiles supposed to do that?” Allison asks.

“Yeah, he can barely control himself when he’s awake,” Jackson mutters.

“That’s the one problem. Lucid Dreaming is very difficult to master. It takes years of training – “

“We don’t have years,” Derek interrupts angrily.

“I am aware of that, Derek. I can brew a potion that will help Stiles focus his consciousness while dreaming. Though, it will take about a week to prepare.”

“And then?” Stiles asks.

“And then you wait for the mære.” Deaton turns in his chair and flips through a large tome. “Until then, I can teach you a few techniques for focusing your consciousness.”

As Stiles goes over different meditations, incantations, and focus practices, the pack slowly dissipates behind him. Stiles barely notices; he’s trying very hard to concentrate. He wants to be ready if the mare returns.

After he finishes with Deaton, he walks into the front and sees Derek sitting in a plastic chair in the waiting area. Stiles walks through the wooden gate awkwardly.

“Hey,” he says when Derek stands.

“Hi.”

“Um, at least we know what it is now. And how to kill it.” Stiles stuffs his hands into his pockets and rocks back and forth on his feels. “If I can focus long enough to Lucid Dream.”

“That’d be a miracle.”

“Were you waiting – “

Derek points behind Stiles. “For Deaton. I have a few questions.”

“Oh, yeah, of course you do.” Stiles takes a few steps towards the door. “I’m gonna go now.”

“Did you memorize the incantations?” Derek asks. Stiles nods. “Are you sure?”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “I think I can memorize a few lines.”

Deaton steps into the doorway “Derek? You need to see me?”

“Yeah, I’m leaving.” Stiles gives Derek a weak smile before leaving the office, feeling both relieved and heartbroken at the same time.

*

Stiles can’t move. His limbs feel like they are glued to the bed. He lays there and stares at the ceiling for awhile before his mind starts to focus. This is a dream, he thinks. He tries to move again, but he’s still paralyzed.

Focus. He wills his hands to move, repeats to himself, You are dreaming. This is not real. Suddenly, he moves his fingers, just a bit, but it’s enough. A fuzzy form flashes in and out of vision above him, and he realizes it’s the mare.

He opens his mouth as he moves his fingers, wait, no, his whole hand, and says, “I see you.”

An ear-splitting scream pierces through the room, and the mare comes into full focus. Long black hair obscures everything but her glowing green eyes, and her form is crouched on his chest, but he can’t get a good look. She screams again and moves violently, digging her knees into his chest until he’s afraid it will cave in. The mare thrusts itself off of Stiles’ body and disappears.

Stiles jerks awake, looking around for any signs the mare was there. He finds nothing until he moves. His entire chest is throbbing. He rushes over to the mirror and lifts up his shirt, and two large, round knee-shaped bruises are forming on his chest.

He’s both freaked out and excited. He focused! He focused his consciousness! Yeah, the mare got away, but this plan might actually work.

*

The next day, Stiles goes straight home from school and spends all evening researching mares. He scours the internet, the bestiary, then drives to the Beacon Hills library to do even more research. He leaves when they close at 9 p.m.

As he gets into the Jeep, he feels something hit the back of his head, and then he blacks out. He wakes up in a large warehouse. He’s tied to a chair, zip ties digging painfully into his wrists, a piece of cloth wrapped tightly in his mouth, so tightly he gags. His eyes dart around, looking for ways out, anything to use to his advantage, anything to clue him into where he is. The room is plain with high windows, and he feels like he’s been there before.

His attention shifts as a door in the far corner opens, and two men come inside with a hooded figure. They ignore him, and dread fills him as he tries to figure out what’s going on, who the men are. One of the men zaps the captive with enough volts to send him to his knees with a muffled grunt of pain. The other yanks the hooded figure back to his feet and nearly drags him over to a support pole running through the middle of the warehouse, about ten feet directly in front of Stiles. They tie the person to the pole with ropes, then remove the hood.

It’s Derek.

Stiles tries to scream, but it comes out muffled because of the gag. He fights against his restraints and the zip ties cut into the flesh of his wrists and ankles, but he barely feels it. He only feels fear, staggering, paralyzing fear.

Derek is in his Beta form, wolfed out with red eyes. He’s also gagged, his face and bare chest bloody and bruised and not healing for some reason. His eyes immediately go to Stiles. When Derek sees him, he tries to make a sound somewhere between a growl and a howl. Stiles is sobbing and screaming, trying to will himself out of the chair. His hands are wet, and from the pain centered on his wrists, he’s pretty sure it’s blood. He thinks maybe he can use it to his advantage and tries unsuccessfully to slide his hands out of the restraints.

The two men don’t say a word. Stiles watches helplessly, his arms on fire from fighting against the restraints, as they beat Derek in tandem. The men land punches on his face, his back, his abdomen. After one punch, Derek’s nose is bleeding, and after another to his back, Derek’s sagging against the pole. But the men just keep hitting, and Stiles feels each strike against Derek’s body like it’s on his own. His heart hurts in a way it never has before, and tears slide down his face as he thinks, Derek, I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry.

The two men stop, and Stiles breathes a sigh of relief. Derek looks horrible, but Stiles has seen him worse.

He’s come back from worse.

Derek lifts his head with some difficulty, and Stiles notices that Derek’s eyes are vacant, and his face is feral and more wolf-like than Stiles has ever seen before. It terrifies him. Derek struggles, using all his strength against the ropes binding him, but they don’t yield.

Nothing happens for a few moments, and Stiles thinks maybe the worst is over. If they leave him for long enough, he can figure a way out – but as he catches sight of what one of the men is holding, he starts screaming all over again.

A long silver knife, gleaming in the orange overhead lights. Derek’s face turns in his direction, towards his rocketing heartbeat and his muffled screams, but he looks through Stiles, like he’s not seeing what’s there. Derek’s eyes, but Stiles doesn’t know if Derek’s behind them anymore.

Stiles jerks his body so hard that the chair falls over, knocking the breath from him and sending shattering pain from his shoulder. The man not holding the knife stalks over to him and yanks him up by his arm. He leans close to Stiles’ ear and whispers, “Watch him die.”

The world freezes, everything zeroed in on that one moment, that one knife that stabs into Derek’s smooth torso. Derek jerks in shock, and then the man twists the knife, red blood rushing from the wound as black lines spider across Derek’s skin. The knife is laced with wolfs bane, Stiles realizes.

The knife is removed and Derek sags, his face contorted in pain as the gash oozes and the black creeps its way across skin, skin Stiles has barely had a chance to memorize, barely had a chance to kiss.

Stiles doesn’t know how long he sits there, watching Derek’s blood pool on the floor, his skin growing paler as his body grows weaker. Stiles is numb; he feels detached, unable to process or accept what he’s seeing.

Finally, the man moves to Derek’s side, grips Derek’s hair and yanks his hair, jerking his head back to expose his neck. Stiles’ eyes widen and he shakes his head, starts fighting against the restraints again with all his strength. Please no. I love you, Derek. I love you. I love you, Iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou. The chair skitters across the floor. The man sneers, then quickly slashes Derek’s neck.

Stiles screams.

Blood flows from the gaping wound, and the man cuts the ropes, sending Derek falling from the pole into a crumpled heap on the ground. The other man cuts all of Stiles’ restraints, and within seconds Stiles is by Derek’s side, cradling his head in his lap.

“Derek,” he sobs, blood soaking into his jeans. He presses his hand against Derek’s still chest, then pulls off his plaid shirt and tries to wipe up the blood around his neck. “You’re gonna be okay,” Stiles says, pressing the shirt to the gash on Derek’s neck. “Please? You have to be okay.” Derek doesn’t respond, his pale face turned motionless towards Stiles.

Stiles looks up at the men, consumed with hatred, and the men laugh, eyes flashing green.

A dream, Stiles thinks, looking down at Derek’s lifeless body. The weight feels real, everything feels real, but it’s a dream. It has to be a dream.

He hears something to his side, and he looks over and his father’s body is lying there, ripped apart with claw marks. He chokes out a sob and clutches more tightly to Derek’s body as bodies appear all around him – Scott with open, vacant eyes and his throat ripped out; Isaac shredded to bits; Erica unrecognizable except her blonde hair; Jackson’s decapitated body; a burnt corpse with red curls; Allison covered in bullet holes; Boyd cut in half. And beside them all, a decaying corpse with dark hair and honey-brown eyes.

Stiles closes his eyes, grips Derek and rocks back and forth, repeating it’s a dream, it’s a dream, it’s a dream as he hears a cackle in the distance, and the stench of death and decay fills his nose.

*

“Stiles!”

The voice pierces through the fog, and Stiles opens his eyes, immediately rolling to the side and throwing up on the floor. A soothing hand rubs his back in wide circles.

When Stiles’ stomach is empty, he looks around, frantic and confused. “Where’s his body? What did you do with Derek’s body?” he screams, scrabbling to get up. But strong hands hold him down.

“Stiles, look at me.”

Stiles whips his head towards the voice and blinks. His dad’s tired face is staring at him. He looks scared.

“Dad?” Stiles scans his surroundings, his brain focusing. He’s in his room. His dad is alive. The pack is alive. Derek…Derek is alive.

“Stiles, what the hell?” The sheriff runs a hand over his face. “I’ve been trying to wake you up for ten minutes.”

“I’ve…I’ve got to go.” Stiles throws the covers off of him and bolts from of bed.

“Go where?” The sheriff exclaims, jumping up and grabbing Stiles’ arm. “Son, I don’t think you need to be going anywhere.”

“I have to go see Derek.”

“Stiles, it’s after three a.m.”

“I don’t care.” He spins around and looks at his dad. “I have to see him.” Stiles can’t bring himself to say what he dreamed, still can feel Derek’s blood on him. His body is in knots and he knows he won’t truly believe Derek is alive until he sees it. He still feels the fresh terror and pain.

The sheriff gently takes one of Stiles’ hands and lifts it. “Let’s take care of this first.” Stiles notices his wrists for the first time; thin, deep gashes cut all the way around them, dried blood on his skin.

“Zip ties,” Stiles mutters. The sheriff sighs as he leads Stiles down the hall into the bathroom. He lifts each wrist separately, cleans them with a warm rag first before rubbing on peroxide and ointment. Then, he wraps them with gauze.

“You say you can kill the mare?” the sheriff asks, swiping his thumb across the bandages. He has that look on his face like he wants to open fire on everything around him.

“Deaton says he’ll have the potion ready next week. Then this will all be over.”

His dad holds his wrist a moment longer before squeezing his hands. “I hope so. This needs to be over. For both our sakes.” He stands, and Stiles notices in the harsh light of the bathroom how haggard his dad looks.

As he brushes his teeth, he vows to kill the mare if it’s last thing he does.

*

Stiles is one big ball of anxiety the entire drive to Derek’s. What if Derek didn’t want to see him? Stiles could handle that, he guessed. He’d see Derek was alive, and he’d go home and back to sleep. The dream really confused him. It felt more real than before; it was like he was actually sitting in that chair, actually holding Derek’s lifeless body in his arms. He was pretty sure he went to the library earlier that evening, but he didn’t remember falling asleep. That…that was troubling.

As he walks up the stairs to the loft, he calls Derek. He picks up on the third ring. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m outside your door.”

The call disconnects and a few seconds later, Derek opens the door. The only thing he’s wearing is black boxer briefs, his hair flat on one side and sticking out on the other, his face and eyes still sleep heavy even though his body is tense and alert.

“Stiles, what’s – “ Derek makes a surprised sound when Stiles throws his arms around his waist and holds him tightly. Without hesitation, he wraps his arms around Stiles and closes the door with his foot.

Stiles holds Derek close, inhaling the clean scent of his skin, feeling the warmth of his body, listening to the combined sounds of his breathing and heartbeat. “You’re alive,” Stiles whispers to himself. He jerks when Derek puts a hand on his head and rubs his hair.

“Stiles, what happened? You’re shaking.”

Stiles lifts his face from where it’s buried against Derek’s neck. Derek’s eyes are concerned, his brow furrowed, and he rubs comforting circles on Stiles’ back while his other hand still rubs his head.

“You’re alive.” Stiles lets go of Derek, and Derek loosens his grip just enough to allow Stiles to move around in the circle of his arms. Stiles touches Derek’s cheek, runs his fingers against the rough stubble, pats his chest and his arms. Derek is solid, warm, here, alive.

“Stiles, you’re starting to freak me out.”

Stiles lifts his eyes and closes the distance between their mouths. He hadn’t intended on coming over here and kissing Derek – or touching Derek at all, to be honest – but Derek is alive and in front of him and he’s missed him so fucking much.

Derek tenses the moment their lips meet, but then quickly melts against Stiles’ mouth. He pulls Stiles closer, deepening the kiss and pushing him against the front door. Stiles claws at Derek’s back, searching for purchase, and licks into Derek’s mouth with a frenzy bordering on madness; Derek moans quietly into his mouth. Stiles breaks the kiss and inhales, his head hitting against the door, and Derek’s mouth immediately moves to Stiles’ neck. He licks and bites and sucks, blunt teeth digging into the tender flesh, and Stiles is so gone that he doesn’t care about the visible bruise he’ll have tomorrow. He just runs his hands over Derek’s biceps, his shoulders, up the sides of his neck and back down. Derek presses against him more closely as he rubs his hardening cock against Stiles’ hip, and Stiles moves, trying to find any bit of flesh to grind against. Derek curls his fingers into Stiles’ hips, hitching him further up, onto his tiptoes, to the point where Stiles lifts his legs and wraps them around Derek’s waist. Derek adjusts his arms, gripping Stiles’ ass tightly in his hands.

Derek growls happily against Stiles’ throat where he’s licking under the collar of his shirt, and Stiles leans forward and kisses Derek’s stubbled jaw, bites along the sharp edge of bone and then bites his earlobe lightly. Derek rubs more fiercely against him, pushing Stiles into the door as their cocks grind into one another, Stiles’ shoulder blades digging painfully into the hard wood, his heels digging into Derek’s thighs. Derek thrusts against him, the sound of Stiles knocking into the door with each motion a soft rhythm in the background. His fingers are digging so roughly into his ass cheeks that Stiles doesn’t doubt he’s going to have finger shaped bruises in the morning. Derek lifts his face, looks up at where he’s holding Stiles slightly above him, and his eyes are bright, his lips damp in the sparse light coming in from the windows. His shoulders and arms flex as he holds up Stiles’ body weight, and Stiles bends and licks a strip from the knob of Derek’s shoulder to behind his ear. Derek shivers beneath him, a soft moan escaping his lips, and Stiles finds Derek’s mouth and kisses him again, and it’s fevered and all tongueteethlips, like they’re trying to crawl into one another’s mouth as Derek increases the motion of his hips, and Stiles hopes the door doesn’t give behind him.

Suddenly, Stiles is whipped around and Derek is carrying him, legs still wrapped tight around Derek’s waist, hands cupping Stiles’ ass, mouths kissing fervently, as Derek crosses the loft and ascends the spiral staircase. Stiles is writhing in Derek’s arms, trying to get as much friction on their cocks as possible, Derek’s tongue wet and soft and warm inside his mouth.

Derek slams the bedroom door shut with his foot when they’re inside his room, and he turns towards the bed, causing Stiles’ elbow and knee to bump into the bookcase and knock a few books to the floor with a loud clang. Neither one of them care. Stiles toes off his shoes, which fall to the floor with a loud thump, as Derek blindly tries to find the bed and accidentally causes Stiles’ knee to knock over the lamp.

Stiles falls to the bed with a soft thud when Derek lets him go, and he bounces once as Derek stretches his body and covers him completely, hands and tongue everywhere at once. Stiles is fighting between kissing Derek and dropping his head back against the bed as Derek licks and sucks at his neck as he works his hand between their bodies. Derek raises himself up on elbows momentarily, Stiles chasing after his mouth, as Derek frees his cock and Stiles shoves his pajama pants and boxers down. When Derek settles his weight back on Stiles, his hot length touches his own, and he bites back a moan as Derek wraps his fingers around their cocks, pressing them together.

Derek is pumping his fist when the bedroom door bursts open. They both freeze and look over to where Isaac is standing in the doorway, partially wolfed out, and staring at them in horror.

Isaac sputters, “I heard a loud crash, and smelled Stiles, and he seemed scared and upset, and both your heart rates were accelerated, and oh fuck – “ He spins around on his heel and slams the door behind him. Derek starts laughing, burying his face against Stiles’ shoulder.

“Thanks for running to my rescue, buddy,” Stiles shouts.

He immediately hears Isaac’s muffled, “No problem.”

Stiles joins Derek’s laughter, and then kisses him. “Do I still, fuck,” Stiles moans as Derek brushes his thumb across the heads of their cocks, “feel like fear?”

“A little,” Derek breathes huskily against his ear before dragging his tongue behind the shell of Stiles’ ear. “You shouldn’t, god Stiles, be scared.”

“It’s been,” Stiles starts, pausing as Derek starts rubbing his face against the crook of his neck. He speeds up his hand, and Stiles drops a hand between them to help. “A rough night.”

“Fuck, Stiles,” Derek mutters against his skin, teeth grazing his collarbone. “You smell all wrong.” He moves slightly and starts rubbing his cheek against the other side of Stiles’ neck.

“I showered,” Stiles says stupidly, his brain pretty much concentrated south of his belt, where Derek’s grip was tightening, his thumb circling their heads consistently as Stiles slides his hands along their shafts.

“You don’t smell like me.” The last word was barely discernible through Derek’s growl, the rumble low in his chest and hot as fuck. Derek turns his head and bites Stiles’ shoulder, and Stiles cries out as he comes messily between them.

Derek raises up on his knees, Stiles still rubbing his own cock through his orgasm, and pushes up Stiles’ shirt as he grips his cock and pumps his fist a few times before thrusting his hips forward and squirting white strips of come onto Stiles’ stomach and chest.

“Holy fuck, Derek,” Stiles moans, and if he could come again so soon, he would have. He continues stroking his cock as Derek grips his own, his body coming down from his orgasm. Stiles just had a bucket list fantasy crossed off the list, Derek Hale stroking himself and coming on him. Check and double fucking check.

Derek drops onto the bed beside Stiles, his breathing heavy, as he reaches out and rubs their combined come into Stiles’ stomach and chest. Stiles watches him for a minute before taking his own hand, covered in just his come, and smears it on Derek’s chest. Derek emits a low growl as he grabs Stiles’ wrist and lifts the hand to his mouth, licking a line of come that was dripping into the bandages.

“What happened here?” Derek asks, noticing them for the first time, and then touches the two round bruises on his chest.

“Can we not ruin like the hottest sex we’ve ever had, please?” Stiles begs. Derek narrows his eyes, but concedes for now as he leans down and licks at the come around Stiles’ limp cock and dark curls. After Derek licks most of that from Stiles skin, he rubs the drying come into Stiles’ chest and stomach a bit more before rolling off the bed. He pulls his boxer briefs back over his cock before leaving the room.

Stiles drops his head to the side and catches a look at the time. He jumps up when he sees that it’s after 4 a.m. He’s slipping on his shoes, his shirt carelessly covering the sticky mess on his torso, when Derek reenters the room, holding a wash cloth. His brows furrow in confusion.

“It’s after 4, dude. I gotta be at school in like 3 hrs. I need to try and get a few more hours of sleep.”

Derek nods and lifts Stiles’ shirt, gently cleaning the mess on chest. When he’s finished, he tosses the rag towards the hamper in the corner and steps to the side.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Derek lightly touches Stiles’ bandaged wrist.

“It’ll be over next week, right?” Stiles asks hopefully. Derek doesn’t respond, and Stiles awkwardly walks out of the bedroom and down the spiral staircase, and quietly lets himself out of the loft.

*

At lunch the next day, Stiles blearily eats his sandwich. He’s been half-asleep all day since he didn’t get back to sleep after he got home, too pumped up from Derek’s. In his bedroom, he noticed that his dad had cleaned up the puke on the floor, and Stiles felt guilty as he dropped into bed. He’d tried to sleep, but he just kept thinking about Derek. The sex had been fucking great, but it’s not like they actually made up or talked or anything. Stiles felt horrified that maybe he had just gone over to Derek’s for a booty call, but then he felt rather pleased with himself if he did, in fact, participate in a booty call last night. Cross that off the bucket list, too.

“I’m glad you finally made up with Derek,” Scott says as he drops into the seat beside him. Stiles looks over at him, confused.

“I didn’t make up with Derek.”

“Stiles, you can’t lie to a bunch of werewolves,” Scott points out.

“Listen to my heart; I’m not lying.”

“One,” Boyd starts, “you have a glaring hickey on your neck.” Stiles reaches up and touches his neck self-consciously, finding the spot Derek bit and sucked into his skin hours before. And sure enough, it’s high enough that his collar isn’t covering it. And he’d forgotten all about it. Whoops.

“Two,” Erica continues, apparently talking to him again, “you fucking reek of Derek. It’s like he – “

“Moving on,” Lydia interrupts.

“Three,” Allison says, “Isaac told us he walked in on you two having sex.” She smiles at him, amused and sympathetic, and he glances around the table at the rest of the pack, who are all smiling knowingly. Erica looks positively giddy as she leers at him.

“Isaac!” Stiles snaps, finally turning his attention to him.

“What? You and Derek didn’t tell me I couldn’t tell them.” He shrugs as he takes a bite of a hamburger.

“What about the bro-code? Living with the Alpha confidentiality?”

“Isaac’s probably still in shock,” Jackson jokes.

“I’d be in shock if I walked in on you and Derek,” Scott says, shuddering.

“Ooh, I wouldn’t. I’ve been trying to get Isaac to give me all the juicy details,” Erica says, throwing an arm around Isaac’s shoulders.

“I told you, I didn’t see anything.” Stiles thinks back, and he’s pretty sure Isaac didn’t see anything from his angle, but Stiles can’t be sure.

“Why were you at Derek’s?” Jackson asks. “Crawling on your hands and knees and begging him to take you back?”

“He wasn’t on his hands and knees,” Isaac mutters, and Erica squeals in delight.

“I had another nightmare, ass-face.”

“What happened?” Lydia asks.

“Um,” Stiles takes a deep breath and looks at the table. “It was bad, let’s just leave it at that. It left me with these.” Stiles holds up his wrists and pulls back one of the bandages to show them the angry, deep gash around his wrist.

“What the fuck?” Erica exclaims, nearly vaulting over the table. “Stiles, are you okay? That looks serious.” Her eyes flash gold before she sits back down.

“It’s fine.” He sighs. “Can we talk about something else?”

“What time are we meeting at the loft for prom tonight?” Allison asks.

“Tonight?” Stiles lifts his head and looks at them.

“Yes,” Erica says slowly. “Prom is tonight. It’s Friday.”

Stiles feels a moment of panic. Friday? When did it – has five days really passed? His brain whirls as he tries to remember what he did this week. Scott’s strong hand on his shoulder brings him out of his thoughts.

“You do know it’s Friday, right?”

“Yeah, sure,” Stiles lies, and he can tell no one is convinced.

Stiles takes extra time gathering his trash when lunch is over so he doesn’t have to walk with the rest of the pack. Friday? Friday? How did he lose days? He knows he’s been around every day – the pack and his dad would let him know otherwise – but he’s got large chunks of time missing.

Lydia comes up to him at the trash can. “What kind of tux did you get?”

“I don’t think I’m going to prom.”

She purses her lips. “You forgot to get a tux, didn’t you?”

He scratches his head. “Yes. But I still don’t want to go to prom. Not after last night and the dreams, and I got like zero sleep, and – “

“Stiles Stilinski,” she starts, expression hard. She pokes him in the chest. “I know what it’s like to wake up in the woods, naked, with no clue where you are or how you got there. I know what it’s like to be haunted night after night for weeks on end, and to get no sleep. But you know what? You deal with it. You put on your makeup, you wear your cutest outfit, and you deal with it. So,” she says, glaring at him. “You need to pull up your big boy panties and deal with it and go to fucking prom.” She flips her hair and smiles. “Okay?”

“Okay,” he stammers.

“Good. Allison and I will meet you right after school. We’ll get you a last minute tux.”

*

Lydia was psychic. She totally knew that Stiles was going to try and slink to his jeep and leave school without her knowledge, and she almost scared him to death when he found her leaning against it when he got there. Reluctantly, he follows them to the prom rental store in town. The racks are almost bare, and he is rather disappointed when neither Lydia nor Allison will let him rent the awesome powder blue tux he finds on the discount rack. “But I’d look so frigging sweet!” he begs, but Lydia physically drags him away from it, huffing.

Miraculously, they have a black tuxedo that’s almost his size (Stiles is pretty sure Lydia made a few calls and made sure they had something for him, especially if the looks the salesperson is giving her is any indication).

“It’s not powder blue, but I hope you’ll think it has enough personality,” Allison says with a smile.

“Oh please, it’s perfect. And fashionable, even if a little too big. You’re skinnier than I thought,” Lydia says as she walks around him, examining him. He’s staring at himself in the mirror, admiring the silver vest and bowtie combo. Much better than classic black.

The sheriff is waiting on him apprehensively with the camera when Stiles comes down the stairs.

“Aw, Dad, really?” At the bottom of the stairs, Stiles points to the camera. “This isn’t a big deal.”

“It is too a big deal! My son is going to his senior prom.”

“Oh god, don’t get emotional. You’re not going to get emotional, are you?” Stiles grimaces as he notices that his dad’s looking a little overwhelmed, and maybe just a bit misty. “You’re totally getting emotional.”

“Shut up. Leave your old man alone. This is the only time I get to do this.” He sets the camera on a table and reaches out to straighten Stiles’ tie. “You look very handsome. You’re getting so big.” Stiles rolls his eyes, but he smiles anyway.

“Dad, don’t be ridiculous. I look like some freaky Ken doll dressed up in this tux.”

“You look dashing.” The sheriff grabs the camera from the table and raises it. “Smile so I can get some pictures.”

“We’re taking pictures later!”

“I’m taking them now. Now, pose on the stairs and look like you’re excited to go to prom.” Stiles does as he’s told, smiles and poses so his dad can get his photos. After he snaps the last one, he lowers the camera and says sadly, “I wish your date was standing there beside you.”

“Hey, I could call Isaac if you want.”

“You know what I mean, Stiles.” Stiles steps towards his dad, and he squeezes Stiles’ shoulder gently. “I know there’s someone else you’d much rather be going to prom with.”

Stiles shrugs. “It’s not a big deal. Taking him to prom would have been complicated, and I don’t even know if we’re still together – “

“Believe me, son, you two have not broken up.”

Stiles tries not to pay attention to the way his heart grabs on to his father’s words and runs away with them.

The entire ride to Derek’s, Stiles tries to calm his pounding heart. He’s nervous about seeing Derek, nervous about going to prom, and running on way too much caffeine and Adderall. He’s pretty sure he could bounce off the walls if he tried.

Allison and Erica’s cars are parked in the lot by the loft, but he doesn’t see Jackson or Lydia’s. Inside the loft, Allison is standing beside Scott, looking breathtaking in a red dress with beads, and Stiles is pretty sure Scott has cartoon hearts in his eyes.

“Boyd, looking tight as ever,” Stiles says as he walks over, grabbing Boyd’s hand and embracing him quickly. Boyd’s wearing an all-white tux and a top hat. “Allison, why didn’t you let me get a top hat?”

Allison giggles as Erica says, “Boyd can pull it off because he has swag, something you’re unfamiliar with.”

“You cut me deep, Erica.” Stiles grins and looks over her purple dress in appreciation. “You look fantastic,” he says, staring openly at the plunging neckline.

“Eyes stuck, Stiles?” Boyd laughs good naturedly.

“I believe they got stuck on your girlfriend’s ridiculous cleavage, yes.”

“Should I be jealous?” Isaac says from behind him, and Stiles turns around to see him coming down the spiral staircase, followed by Derek. Stiles sees him and feels his heartbeat stutter, and Derek glances at him quickly. Stupid heartbeat.

“Isaac, I love you, but your rack just doesn’t compare to Erica’s.” Stiles turns back to Erica and puts an arm around her waist as he kisses her cheek. “All screwing around aside, you look beautiful.”

A rare, shy smile passes over her face, devoid of the bravado and assurance she usually sports. “Thanks.”

Stiles crosses towards Isaac. “I was going to get you a corsage, but I didn’t know what color your dress was…”

“You should have told me that you were wearing a different colored vest and tie. We could have matched!”

“He didn’t get it until a few hours ago,” Allison explains. “Lydia and I had to take him because the dummy forgot to get a tux.”

Lydia and Jackson arrive a few minutes later. When Lydia walks in, Stiles remembers why he was in love with her for ten years. She’s wearing a long blue dress that looks like it’s covered in twinkling diamonds. After assessing how fantastic everyone looks in their prom outfits (and feeling rather ugly and plain in comparison), Stiles can’t help but wonder what Derek would look like in a tux, what they’d look like together. He shakes his head as Isaac tells a joke, and laughs.

Taking photos takes forever. Derek handles the camera, which Stiles is glad for because it keeps Derek occupied and distracted. He’s not sure he could handle talking to Derek, or having him look at him. Stiles is tired and ready for prom to be over already.

“Your turn!” Allison says, urging Stiles towards the winding staircase.

“Come on, Isaac.” They pose like the Charlie’s Angels and then flip off the camera. Derek rolls his eyes.

After group shots, Stiles starts for the door when Erica grabs his hand and leads him to the staircase, where Lydia has pushed Derek. Derek and Stiles stare at each other.

“Get together and smile,” Allison says, now holding the camera.

Stiles looks at Scott helplessly, who just shrugs, and then turns to Derek. Derek’s tense, face blank, as he looks back at Stiles. Stiles briefly wonders if Derek can still smell their combined scent on his skin.

“Don’t be difficult,” Erica says from beside them as she pushes Stiles into Derek. Derek’s arms reflexively go around Stiles. “Much better.”

“Fine,” Stiles mutters, putting an arm around Derek’s waist and looking towards the camera. Derek rests his arm around Stiles’ shoulder awkwardly.

“Smile!” Allison says brightly before pressing the button. “Let me take another, just in case.” They end up taking around twenty pictures before Allison, Lydia, and Erica are satisfied that they look perfect and not stiff.

Then, Erica says, “Now one where you’re kissing.”

“No,” Derek says.

“Derek, don’t be a twat. Come on.”

Derek sighs and Stiles turns his face. He leans forward awkwardly just as Derek does, and they press their lips together chastely. Derek only pulls his face away a fraction as he inhales, and before Stiles can move, Derek kisses him again, more fully. Stiles lifts his hand to the back of Derek’s head and grips it as he kisses back, his brain and entire body screaming Derek.

When they finally part, Stiles stares stupidly at Derek, whose face reflects the same baffled expression.

“Broken up my ass,” Erica mumbles as Lydia says, “They’re such idiots,” and Boyd says, “Jackson, you owe me fifty bucks.”

Stiles stumbles a bit as he steps from Derek’s embrace, and he doesn’t miss the others snickering. He glares at them as he goes to stand by the wall, ignoring the confusion and frustration he’s feeling. Concentrate on prom, he tells himself. Punch and bad music and making fun of your classmates who can’t dance with Isaac. Don’t think about Derek’s stupid face and his stupid mouth.

He trails behind the large group as they file out of the loft down towards the waiting limo, but before he’s through the door, he hears, “Stiles.” He turns around, and Derek is standing in the middle of the loft looking at him uncomfortably. “You look really nice tonight.” Derek pauses, and Stiles stares in shock. “More than nice.”

Stiles nods because he can’t form words, and then hurries out and down to the others still climbing into the limo.

*

Prom isn’t half bad, even if it is in the gym. The music doesn’t suck too much, and he spends the first hour or so by the refreshment table with Isaac, making fun of the way people were dressed and how they’re dancing. For Stiles, that’s quality entertainment.

Erica comes over and grabs both of them by the hand and basically drags them to the dance floor when she decides they’ve been wallflowers long enough. “It’s your senior prom!” she yells over the music. “You have to dance!”

So, Stiles dances. He dances by himself, cutting some sweet moves on the dance floor, if he does say so himself. Then he dances with the pack: slow dances with Lydia and Erica, does a hip hop booty shaker number with Allison, even dances with Boyd, Jackson, and Scott. He gives Allison a knowing look as she dances between Isaac and Scott, and she looks horrified. Stiles gives her a thumbs up, and she smiles in embarrassment. During one slow song, he and Isaac hold each other’s shoulders, dancing arm’s length apart like awkward sixth graders and laughing the entire time at the strange looks they were getting. Even Danny and his date come and join the pack for some group dancing.

“Too bad you couldn’t bring your boyfriend,” Danny leans over and says over the music. Stiles nods, and then Danny touches his neck. “Looks like he left you something to remember him by though.” Stiles’ hand flies up to his neck, and fuck, he forgot about that damn hickey again. Danny laughs as Stiles blushes, but then Stiles smiles a shit-eating grin and waggles his eyebrows. Danny claps him on the shoulder. “Bravo, Stilinski.”

Allison joins them both at the refreshment table later. “Go ask those girls to dance.” She points across the gym at two girls Stiles recognizes from some of his classes who are sitting alone at a table. “Have some fun!” Stiles starts to protest, but she cuts him off. “It’s not cheating on Derek, idiot. Now go, both of you.”

Stiles and Isaac sheepishly walk towards the girls. Stiles notes that they’re both very pretty. To his surprise, they’re more than eager to dance with him and Isaac. Stiles learns the girl’s name is Beth, and they dance around five songs together before her shoes start to hurt her feet. Stiles kisses her on the cheek and walks her back to her table.

Around 11, he starts fading, fast. The songs are getting slower and more couple-y, and his date is currently still wrapped around the same pretty red head. He heads over and taps Isaac on the shoulder. Isaac lifts his head and glances over his shoulder.

“I’m going to head out.”

Isaac nods. “I’m gonna hang here with Amy. She’s got a car, and we’re gonna go get some food after this.”

He then interrupts Allison and Scott’s slow dance. “We got a hotel room!” Scott exclaims.

“My dad had to go out of town for work – not for that work, for his actual job – and so he’ll never know.” She grins excitedly.

“We’ll get food tomorrow, I promise, man,” Scott says, patting Stiles on the shoulder.

Alone in the limo, Stiles tries not to feel jealous and hurt. They’d had it planned – since Isaac and Stiles were going to prom together, and Allison’s dad wouldn’t let her get a hotel room, they were going to ride around in the limo and go to an all night diner together after the dance. But Stiles was now riding in the limo alone, dumped by his fake date.

He was really done with this day.

*

The limo drops him off in front of the loft. He waves goodbye to Fred, the limo driver he’d gotten to know on the way from the dance. He pats his pockets for his keys, but realizes he left them upstairs. Great, he thinks, but at least it’s after midnight, so Derek will probably be asleep.

Stiles lets himself into the loft quietly, fully aware that tiptoeing does nothing to hide him from a werewolf, but he tries to be quiet anyway. No sense in unnecessarily waking up Derek. He finds his keys lying on the kitchen counter and grabs them, glad he can finally go home. When he turns around, he makes an embarrassing surprised sound. Derek is leaning against the doorframe, arms and ankles crossed. It should really be illegal, Stiles thinks, for Derek to be allowed to wear thin t-shirts and low-hanging pajama pants.

“Hey,” Stiles says awkwardly. “I hope I didn’t wake you.”

“I was up,” Derek answers. “I didn’t expect you home so early.”

Stiles shrugs. “Isaac found a girl, Allison and Scott got a hotel room, and well, it was fun for awhile, but then kinda got boring. You know, prom and all.”

“No, I don’t know.”

Stiles’ eyes widen when he realizes his misstep. “Shit, Derek, I’m sorry – “

“It’s okay.” Derek pushes himself off the frame and steps further into the kitchen. “I never went to prom. I wasn’t exactly outgoing in New York.” Stiles nods awkwardly. “Did you have a good time?”

“Yeah, I did. Isaac and I made fun of people – “

“Of course you did.”

Stiles makes a face. “Danced a little, that’s about it.”

“Who’d you dance with?” Derek steps closer and leans towards Stiles’ neck, inhaling. “You danced with Danny?”

Stiles’ face scrunches in confusion. “Not really…um, he and his date danced with us. You need to get over your weird hatred of Danny.” Derek glares at Stiles.

“Who’s the girl?”

“Her name is Beth. She was nice. Allison made us dance with them because they didn’t have dates. Isaac hit it off with his girl.”

“You didn’t?” Derek raises his eyebrow, and Stiles rolls his eyes.

“Oh yeah, she’s just my type. Tall, bearded, permanent glower, pain in my ass.”

Derek grabs Stiles’ hand and leads him into the living room. “What are you doing?” Stiles asks as Derek walks over to his entertainment center and messes with some buttons. Soft doo-wop music drifts from the speakers. “The 1950s? Really?”

“It’s classic,” Derek says, taking Stiles’ hand and wrapping his other arm around his waist. He takes a step to the side, and they are suddenly slow dancing in Derek’s living room. “And it’s romantic,” Derek whispers against Stiles’ ear.

“I always knew you were a romantic at heart,” Stiles responds, curling his hand around Derek’s neck. They sway gently side to side, their feet barely moving as they turn in a circle.

“My parents used to dance to this kind of music,” Derek says quietly. Stiles pulls back to look at his face. There’s a small smile around his lips, his eyes soft. “They’d put it on and slow dance in the living room, and we’d sometimes join in. When I was really young, Laura used to make me dance and sing with her.” He laughs quietly, and Stiles can feel it vibrating against his chest.

“My mom used to dance with me around the kitchen,” Stiles offers. “Silly dances to bad music. She had awful taste in music.” Stiles smiles fondly at the memory. “Sometimes, she’d make Dad dance with her in the kitchen while she was making dinner. He pretended like he hated it, but you could tell he loved it.”

Stiles gets lost in the memory, of the image of his mother leading his father reluctantly around the kitchen. He can still hear the music in his head, hear her laugh. When he looks at Derek, he finds Derek watching him so intensely it makes his entire body tingle. Stiles leans forward and kisses Derek then. The kiss is soft and slow, just like the music, their dancing. Stiles is unhurried, his mouth enjoying the soft press of Derek’s lips against his, the wet warmth of his tongue as it circles his leisurely, the feel of Derek’s strong body against him.

Derek pulls away first. “I would have taken you to prom.”

“I know.” Stiles brushes his lips across Derek’s. “This is better.”

Derek lets go of Stiles’ hand and slides his arms around his waist, pulling him close. Stiles holds Derek’s shoulders as they dance temple to temple, Stiles allowing himself to get lost in the hazy old melodies.

“You look wonderful tonight,” Derek whispers.

“I know you’re just being nice, but thank you.”

Derek pulls back and sets bright eyes on Stiles. “You have no concept of how beautiful you are,” he says quietly, dragging the backs of his fingers lightly down Stiles’ cheek. Stiles quickly glances down at his tux, which is in a state of disarray. The tie is undone and hanging around his neck, the first couple of buttons on his shirt and his vest unbuttoned, his shirt sleeves rolled up. “One day you might understand how I see you.”

Stiles wraps his arms around Derek’s neck, somehow pulling him even closer. He kisses him deeply, still slow, but with more passion and fervor. The music rolls softly in the background as they kiss, holding on to one another desperately. When Stiles pulls away, he nuzzles his face into Derek’s neck, inhaling contently as Derek hums beneath him. Stiles cranes his neck so he can press a kiss against Derek’s skin.

They dance like that for awhile, until Stiles is too tired to continue. “I should get home,” he says as he reluctantly pulls free of Derek’s arms. It’d felt so good to be back in them that he never wants to leave them again.

“Stay with me tonight,” Derek says, and it surprises Stiles so much all he can do is stare. “Please?”

“What are we doing, Derek?” Stiles sags against Derek’s chest, face against Derek’s neck, fingers curled into his thin t-shirt. He can feel hard muscle and hot flesh under it.

“You tell me.” Derek’s fingers card through his hair, and Stiles closes his eyes momentarily.

“It’s my prom night. I’m exhausted. I don’t really want to talk about everything. Can we just say I’m sorry and forgive each other?”

“Stiles, I forgave you the moment I walked out of your house that night,” Derek murmurs.

Stiles pulls back suddenly. “Then why in the hell have you not talked to me?”

“We both needed to calm down, figure things out. This hasn’t been easy on either of us.” Derek cups Stiles’ cheek. “I know why you didn’t tell me. Just promise me you won’t lie again.”

“I promise.” Stiles sighs. “As long as you’re not crazy protective over me all the time.” Derek purses his lips, and Stiles says, “I want to protect you, too, you know.”

“I know, but it’s not your job – “

Stiles pushes out of Derek’s arms. “Why isn’t it my job?”

Derek runs a hand through his hair. “Because I’m the Alpha and a werewolf and I have to keep you safe – “

“That’s bullshit, and you know it,” Stiles says, jabbing his finger into Derek’s chest.

“It’s not bullshit, Stiles!”

“It’s not your responsibility to keep me safe – “

“It is, too – “

“Why?”

“Because I love you!” Derek exclaims. As soon as the words are out of his mouth, he looks horrified. Stiles is pretty sure he’s never seen Derek’s eyes that wide or his eyebrows that far up his forehead.

Stiles can’t quite comprehend what just happened. This whole night, man – fuck prom night. It’s too intense, and Stiles has fought Alpha packs and kanimas. He looks at Derek, thinks about every little moment between them that could pop into his mind. He thinks about how he feels when Derek is around, about how he feels when he isn’t. Yeah, he could live without Derek, but the thing is – he really doesn’t want to.

Derek’s watching him intently and inhaling deeply, obviously trying to gauge Stiles’ reaction. He looks lost, his face open and vulnerable in a way that Stiles has never seen before. If there was any doubt before, it melts the moment Stiles looks into Derek’s unguarded eyes.

“Have you ever thought,” Stiles starts, voice rough and unsteady, “that just maybe I want to protect you because I love you, too?”

Derek’s eyes go even wider, and then his face breaks into the most beautiful smile Stiles has ever seen. Derek grabs Stiles and pulls him close, crushing their mouths together. His mouth is almost painful against Stiles he’s kissing him so hard, but Stiles doesn’t care and kisses him back just as hard and forceful. When they finally pull apart, Stiles can barely breathe.

“Are we not broken up then?” Stiles asks, and Derek rolls his eyes.

“We were never broken up,” he grumbles. “I’d tell you plainly if we were breaking up.”

“That’s good to know,” Stiles grins, extracting himself from Derek’s arms. “So, if I’m staying the night,” he calls behind him as he ascends the stairs, “I need to change clothes. I’m not sleeping in a tux. Think Isaac would mind if I borrowed some of his – “

“You are not wearing Isaac’s clothes,” Derek growls. Stiles glances over his shoulder at Derek, who’s following him with red eyes. “I’ll give you something.”

“Isaac’s closer to my size.” Derek just looks at him with a hard expression. “That’s some weird werewolf territory thing, right?”

Derek glowers as he slips past at the top of the stairs. “It’s bad enough when you wear Scott’s clothes, but he’s your best friend.”

“Isaac is technically like my best friend, too.”

“It’s different.”

“Aww, are you jealous?” Stiles slides his arms around Derek’s back from behind and rests his chin on his shoulder as he watches Derek rummage through drawers.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You don’t have to worry about that kind of thing in a pack,” Derek answers sharply. “Sharing clothes means sharing scents, so it’s strongly connected with mating. The thought of you wearing another wolf’s clothes, even one of the pack’s, when you didn’t have to – “

“I get it. Alpha rage, and all that.” Stiles kisses the back of Derek’s neck. “I’d rather wear your clothes anyway. Even if they’ll be too big.” He drops his arms, and Derek hands him a t-shirt and sweat pants. Stiles slips off his vest and tie as Derek sits on the edge of the bed. “Now, don’t get too excited by seeing me in my boxers. Because although I’d love a repeat of last night, or even something a little more,” Derek smirks, “I am not having sex or losing my virginity on prom night.” Stiles tosses his pants and shirt into a heap on the floor before stepping into the sweat pants. “I am not some teenage cliché. Plus, you weren’t even my date, so I’d be having sex with a guy who wasn’t even my date to prom! How trashy is that?”

“You’re an idiot,” Derek says, hooking his fingers in the loose band of the sweatpants and pulling Stiles forward. He presses his face against Stiles’ bare stomach, inhaling and rubbing his cheek against it. “You still smell wrong.”

“Maybe it was all the jizz you left on me last night.” Derek lifts his eyes, and Stiles realizes how adorable he looks glaring from under those ridiculous lashes with his nose pressed into his bellybutton. But he decides not to tell Derek how adorable he actually is.

“That smells right, like us.” Derek licks along Stiles’ stomach, and Stiles moans softly.

“Erica said – or well, implied – that I smelled like your jizz.”

“Erica’s one to talk.”

“Whoa!” Stiles yells, taking a step back and waving his hands around. He rubs his eyes. “That’s one image I will never be able to get out of my head. Oh god. I’m so glad I’m human. How do you all ever look each other in the eye?”

Derek shrugs and leans back on his elbows. Stiles is staring at the long line of his torso, his thin pajama pants that really hide nothing, and the bit of skin and dark hair visible where his shirt is riding up, and trying to remember why not having sex is a good idea. Derek lifts his shirt a little, and Stiles glares at him.

“Sure you don’t want to change your mind?”

“I hate you.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s not how you feel about me.”

“Fucking werewolf asshole,” Stiles grumbles, grabbing Derek’s t-shirt from the bed and tugging it on. It just hangs on him. Stiles turns towards the dresser mirror and catches his reflection. “I look like a twelve year old in my brother’s clothes.”

“No, you don’t.” Derek leaps from the bed and is at Stiles’ side in a flash. He’s sniffing along the collar of the shirt. “You’re perfect. Look so sexy wearing my clothes – “

“No, really, I don’t.”

“Smell fucking perfect, like us.” Derek nuzzles his face into the crook of Stiles’ neck and licks the bruise he’d left.

“That hickey wasn’t very subtle.”

“Wasn’t supposed to be,” Derek murmurs, his stubble tickling Stiles’ neck as he talks.

“Even Danny noticed it.”

“Good.” Derek sinks his teeth gently into the already tender flesh, and Stiles feels desire shoot through him.

“Which means my father will definitely see it. He probably already has.”

“Your dad knows we’re dating,” Derek says between placing gentle bites along Stiles’ collarbone. “He’s already had a talk with me.”

Stiles groans and pushes Derek away, because really, if he continues, Stiles will end up on the bed sprawled naked on his back.

“What did my dad threaten to do to you?” Stiles asks as he walks down the stairs.

“He basically said he didn’t care if I was a werewolf or not, that if I hurt his son he’d kill me. And he informed me he knew how to kill a werewolf, too.”

“That’s my dad.”

Derek stretches out on the couch and pulls Stiles down on top of him. Stiles shifts until he’s lying comfortably on top of Derek, head resting on his chest.

“Are you working with him now?” Stiles asks as Derek idly flips through the channels. He turns his head and sets his chin on Derek’s sternum, and Derek cranes his head to look down at him.

“What?”

“Dad keeps saying you two like talk on the phone or something. And you sent Peter to deal with that problem the other pack helped you with?”

“Oh, that. Your dad calls me sometimes when he comes across a case that he suspects is supernatural in origin. I check it out, let him know what I think.”

“How long has this been going on?”

Derek thinks, then shrugs. “A year or so?”

“You’re like the supernatural consultant. You should open up your own business, get paid for your services.”

“Well, your dad is always on my ass to get a job,” Derek jokes.

“Exactly. See? Win-win.”

Derek rolls his eyes, smiling. “I’m not opening up a supernatural consultant agency.”

“It’s the best idea ever. Think about it.” Stiles grins and lays his head back on Derek’s chest. Within moments, he’s asleep.

*

Stiles is having a very good dream, which was odd because he doesn’t have good dreams. He’s dreaming that Derek is sucking his cock, then fucking him from behind. Slowly, Stiles reluctantly wakes from the dream, completely hard and super horny. He blinks slowly, looking around and noticing that at some point during the night, Derek must have moved them upstairs because Stiles is in Derek’s bed. Maybe he is still dreaming because he’s hard and horny and his cock feels really good and he is pretty sure he isn’t touching it. Or, at least, he hopes he isn’t since Derek is asleep beside him.

Stiles gains more awareness and moves to find two strong arms around him, holding him in place, a hand lazily rubbing his hard on through the sweat pants.

“Morning,” Derek says sleepily behind him, breath warm on Stiles’ ear. His brain is really trying to figure out if this is a dream or reality, and he’s hoping like fuck it’s reality.

“Am I dreaming?”

“No,” Derek says, pulling the shell of Stiles’ ear between his teeth.

“Good because this just made my favorite wake up method ever.” Derek chuckles and rocks his hips against Stiles’ ass; he can feel Derek’s obvious erection pressing against his lower back. “Fuck alarm clocks, gimme alarm cocks.”

Derek groans, his forehead resting between Stiles’ shoulder blades. “That’s a terrible joke.”

“Give me a break, I haven’t properly woken up yet.” Stiles rolls closer to Derek, craning his neck and searching blindly for Derek’s lips. Derek kisses him, slow and sloppy as he slips his hand into the front of Stiles’ pants and grabs his cock. “Mmm, I like this dream. This dream can stay.”

“It’s not a dream,” Derek mumbles against his mouth, fist sliding over his cock slowly. Stiles hooks his thumbs in the band of his sweatpants and pushes them to his knees, freeing his cock so Derek can move over it more easily. Derek removes his hand only long enough to push his own boxer briefs down, and Stiles moans when he feels the hot length pressed against the small of his back. As Derek resettles himself, Stiles reaches his hand behind him blindly, feeling the air until he touches the top of Derek’s head, then slides his hand around the back of his skull. Stiles’ nose nuzzles underneath Derek’s chin, and Derek bends down and kisses his mouth lightly.

Stiles drops his head to the pillow when his neck starts to get uncomfortable, and Derek drapes his outside leg over Stiles’ legs. He drops kisses along the side of Stiles’ face as he pumps his hand, Stiles flexing his fingers in Derek’s hair as his hips push into his grip. Stiles feels Derek’s cock trapped against the small of his back, Derek shifting his hips to cause a bit of friction.

Derek lets go of Stiles’ cock momentarily to drop his hand and massage his balls. He rolls them around in his palm, his hips starting to move a bit faster and more erratically against Stiles’ back. Stiles moans, loud and awake. He opens his eyes and finds Derek watching him hungrily.

Derek grips his cock again, holding it a bit tighter and increasing his speed. Stiles presses closer to him, adding more friction against Derek’s cock trapped between their bodies. Alternately, Derek tries to maintain his motion on Stiles and rub himself against Stiles’ skin. Stiles finds the whole situation incredibly hot, and digs his fingers into Derek’s neck to jerk his face down into a kiss when he comes, and Derek’s hips moved even faster as he comes messily between them.

“Fuck,” Derek breathes, dropping his forehead to Stiles’ shoulder.

“My thoughts exactly.” Stiles cranes his neck and kisses Derek’s cheek until Derek lifts his head and meets his impatient lips. Derek reaches between their bodies and rubs his come into the skin of Stiles back before rolling him onto his back. “You do realize you’ve just ruined your sheets.”

“I can wash them,” Derek says as he leans down and licks a line of come from Stiles’ stomach. Stiles runs his fingers through a pool of it and smears it on Derek’s chest with a grin.

“There, you kinky werewolf fucker. Now you’re covered in my jizz, too.”

Derek smirks as he wipes a bit of it off Stiles’ stomach and smears it next to where Stiles did. “Stiles, I have no problem with you coming on me. I encourage you to.”

“You’re so weird,” Stiles says with a smile, wrapping his fingers around Derek’s bicep and tugging him into a kiss.

Later, Stiles sits on a stool in the kitchen while Derek makes breakfast.

“How was the other pack?” Stiles asks. He’s enjoying watching Derek’s body moving in the late morning light from the kitchen windows, wearing nothing but his underwear. He’s staring at the shifting muscles in his back, the dark hair on his legs, the dimples in his back, his perfect ass in those briefs.

“Very nice,” Derek answers, glancing over his shoulder as he scrambles eggs. “I think an alliance with them will be beneficial to both packs. They helped out on that case your dad was working on. It was something I hadn’t encountered before but they had.”

“Did you enjoy being with them?”

“I did. It was nice being around a large family of werewolves.” He spoons eggs onto a plate before turning the pieces of bacon.

“Do you ever wish you could join another pack like that? A proper pack?”

“What in the hell are you talking about?” Derek turns around fully and leans against the counter with a hard expression. Stiles is momentarily distracted by his bed head, his smooth torso, the coarse hair on his thighs.

He shakes his head and asks, “Do you ever wish that you were in a different pack? A more traditional pack? One that’s maybe a family?”

“Stiles, we are a family. And there’s no such thing as a proper pack. All packs are different and are formed under different circumstances.”

“I just always think of us as some rag-tag busted up pack.”

Derek sighs in exasperation. “That’s because you’re an idiot.”

“I don’t, I just,” Stiles tries to find the words as he spoons eggs from the plate Derek hands him. “I just sometimes wonder if you’d be happier with another pack, if one day you’d meet a nice werewolf girl or boy and fall madly in love.”

“Stiles,” Derek says, coming around the counter. He cups Stiles’ face and rubs his thumb under his eye, and he’s looking at him with an expression on his face he’s never had before. “I’m already madly in love.” Stiles feels himself blush, and he buries his face in Derek’s chest. “Oh, that reminds me.” Derek hurries from the kitchen and goes upstairs. Stiles slides off the stool and is taking the bacon out of the pan so it won’t burn when Derek returns downstairs, hand behind his back.

“What’s behind your back?”

Derek looks embarrassed, his face coloring slightly. “I never got to give you your birthday present.”

Stiles drops back onto the stool, making gimme hands. “I get a birthday present?”

“Of course. I was going to give it to you when I got back.” Derek sits on the stool beside him and sits a small box on the counter, perfectly wrapped in crisp blue paper with a bow in the middle.

“Did you wrap this? Because, I gotta say, I can’t imagine you wrapping a gift.”

“Shut up and open it.”

“Opening it.” Carefully, Stiles tears the paper and removes the lid of a plain, brown box. Inside is a round, smooth silver stone connected to black leather. Stiles picks up the leather and lifts the stone from the box, dangling it before his eyes.

“It’s hematite,” Derek explains. Stiles glances at him, uncomprehending. “It’s a strong protection stone, among other qualities. One of the women in the pack specializes in crystal magic. She told me the Greeks called them ‘blood stones’ and Native Americans made war paint from it that was thought to make the wearer invincible. It’s supposed to keep the wearer safe and keep them grounded and calm in stressful situations.”

“Derek,” Stiles starts, tearing his eyes away from the stone and finally looking at him. He’s speechless. “I don’t know what to say. No one’s ever given me something like this before.” Stiles looks at it again, then back at Derek. Derek seems nervous, unsure. Stiles reaches out and grabs his hand. “It’s perfect.”

Derek’s face breaks into a smile. “It’s a necklace, but you can put it wherever you want if you don’t want to wear it.”

“Of course I want to wear it.” Stiles notices that the leather will slip over his head. He puts it on and looks down at where it hangs. “Thank you. I love it.” Stiles leans forward and kisses him.

They’re eating breakfast a few minutes later when the door opens and Isaac walks in. His shirt is untucked and unbuttoned, his jacket slung over his shoulder, his hair messy. He looks at them wide-eyed and embarrassed.

“Stiles, I didn’t expect you to be here,” he says, shifting nervously from foot to foot.

Stiles doesn’t have time to ask before Scott runs through the door. “Hey, Isaac you forgot your – “ Scott cuts off quickly when he sees Derek and Stiles staring at them. “Oh, Stiles, Derek, didn’t expect to see you.” He smiles guiltily.

“I live here,” Derek says flatly.

“Um, yeah. Allison’s waiting, so…” Scott hands Isaac his cell phone and nearly runs out the door while Stiles stares at Isaac in confusion. He turns to Derek, who’s watching Isaac with a raised eyebrow.

“What happened to Amy?” Stiles asks.

“She, um. We went to get food. Then she left with Beth.” Stiles thinks that through, and is about to ask another question when Isaac says, “I didn’t get a lot of sleep, so I’m going up to bed.” For some reason, his eyes go wide and he blushes before he races upstairs.

When Stiles turns to Derek, he’s staring after Isaac with a bemused expression on his face.

“What just happened?” Stiles asks.

“You should really ask them.”

“Ugh, what good is dating the Alpha if I can’t use it to snoop on my friends?”

Derek huffs and turns back to his eggs, and Stiles pulls out his phone. He’s got a sneaking suspicion about what happened, especially if Derek’s reticence is any indication. Plus, he saw them dancing at prom. Stiles isn’t stupid. Or judgmental. The more the merrier, if that’s what makes you happy.

He texts Scott, What just happened, dude? Tell me. I won’t judge. I’ll probably high-five you and perhaps get you to explain a few things to me, because the actual logistics don’t make a lot of sense. You might have to draw me a picture.

Stiles laughs to himself as Derek says, “You’re really an asshole.” Stiles looks up and sees that Derek was reading the text over his shoulder.

“And you’re a nosy boyfriend.”

*

The first thing his dad says the next day is, “You got back with Derek.”

“How did you know?”

“You’re grinning from ear to ear,” the sheriff points out. “Plus that huge hickey you’ve been sporting for two days was a big clue.”

“He gave me that before we got back together.”

The sheriff sighs in exasperation. “Plus, you’re wearing his shirt.” Stiles looks down at Derek’s shirt hanging loose on his frame. He touches it and smiles. He’d put on a clean shirt after breakfast when he was determined to leave, but he and Derek had gotten distracted and ended up making out for half an hour while Stiles kept claiming he just wanted to change his shirt. His dad’s voice pulls him out of his daze. “How was prom?”

“Fun.”

“How was after prom?”

“Better.”

“I don’t want to know.”

“Nothing happened,” Stiles says, patting his dad on the arm. “But I am going to sleep now.”

He starts up the stairs as his father says, “I’ve got the evening shift. I’ll leave dinner in the oven.” Stiles nods and waves behind him.

*

Stiles laughs cruelly as he looks down at the man bound and gagged on the floor at his feet. The man is begging him with his eyes, begging him to let him go, but Stiles just kicks him in the stomach.

He feels a rage course through him, a thirst for blood. He feels so angry as he grips the knife in his hand. He drops to his knees, raises the knife, and looks into the terrified eyes of his victim as he plunges the knife into the man’s torso, gutting him violently. Blood spews onto his face and hands, the smell thick and sour in the air. He watches as the blood flows from the wound, pumping less and less as the heart slows and then stops. He hears a high-pitched cackle and sees a flash of green eyes.

Stiles jerks awake, still angry. But it quickly subsides as he realizes he’s not in his bed, but on cold concrete. He goes to push himself up, but his hand slips in something wet and warm. He looks down and sees dark pools of blood, and notices for the first time he’s gripping something in his other hand. He yelps in fear and scoots away, dropping a large knife to the floor. The same knife from his dream. His eyes scan the room in a panic, stopping on the lifeless form in the corner of the room.

Stiles stares at it in fear, frozen in place as a panic attack overcomes him. His throat closes as he tries to breathe, the air scraping through his windpipe. Instinctively, he hangs his head between his knees, concentrating on the simple act of exhaling and inhaling. When his breathing stabilizes, he stands up on shaky legs and walks to the corner.

The dead eyes of the man from his dream stare up at him.

Stiles screams as he falls backwards onto the concrete floor, barely registering the sharp pain that shoots up his arm. He crab walks backwards, pressing himself as closely against the wall as he can, his eyes shut tight. Blindly, he digs into the pocket of his hoodie and grabs his phone. Opening his eyes, he looks away from the body as he calls his father.

“Dad?” His voice breaks when his dad answers. He sobs into the phone. “Dad, I think I killed someone.”

*

When Stiles showed up at Derek’s door in the middle of the night, Derek was terrified. He’d been so furious with Stiles for lying, been so hurt and crushed. He’d wallowed in his angst for days before Isaac came up to him and told him he had to snap out of it, for the pack’s sake. He was right; Derek was being ridiculous. He’d already made a vow to go see Stiles the next day to fix things between them.

But then Stiles showed up at his door, terrified and shaking, and Derek wanted to rip apart everything just to get that look out of his eyes. And then Stiles was kissing him, and Derek was holding him again – and if he was honest, he’d been scared he’d never get the chance again. But Stiles smelled all wrong, like pack, not him, not them, and he wanted to spend the next week making Stiles smell right again. He wanted to protect him from the mare, rip that demon bitch apart with his teeth, and insure that she never hurt Stiles again. And as he pressed Stiles into the door, he knew that they had to fix whatever was wrong between them, because it was getting increasingly difficult for him to live without Stiles in his life.

Chapter Text

Stiles waits in the opposite corner of the warehouse for his dad. It’s the warehouse he’s been in before, the one that keeps popping up in his dreams, and he knows the mare is fucking with him. But he’s not worried about that right now. He’s terrified, and he’s pretty sure the word terrified doesn’t adequately represent how scared he actually is.

He killed someone. Some innocent person is no longer alive because of his hands. How can he look at the pack, Derek, his father ever again? He is a murderer, a criminal. He was going to go to jail. Sure, it was the mare somehow controlling him, but that wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. Maybe he could blame it on the mare, cop a plea of insanity, and live the rest of his life in an asylum.

By the time he hears his dad calling his name, he’s shaking violently. A door opens, and Stiles’ head jerks towards the sound, and he expects to see his dad leading the entire Beacon Hills sheriff’s department in to arrest him and process the crime scene. But it’s just his dad, dressed in regular clothes, followed immediately by Derek and the entire pack.

“Stiles? Stiles, are you okay?” the sheriff yells as he runs towards him.

Stiles jumps up and throws his arms around his dad, clutching his shirt and sobbing. “I killed him, Dad. I’m so sorry, I killed him.” He feels his breathing increase as he thinks about it, worse now that his dad is there. “Please don’t hate me, I’m so sorry.”

“Stiles, hey, son, look at me. Calm down. What are you talking about?” The sheriff pushes Stiles back at arm’s length so he can look at him, and Stiles rubs his wet eyes unashamed.

“The man over there. I killed him. I killed him in my dream and I woke up and he was dead.”

“What man?”

Stiles forces himself to look at the other corner, where the body is still lying in a pool of blood. “That body!” He points, his hand shaking as he extends his arm. The sheriff and the pack turn.

“That body?”

“No, the other fucking body, of course that body!

“The one in the corner?” the sheriff says slowly.

“Yes!” Stiles can’t understand why they’re not yelling at him, slapping handcuffs on him and leading him away.

“Stiles,” the sheriff starts and places a hand on his shoulder, “there’s no body.”

Stiles looks at his father in confusion before running across the large room and dropping to his knees beside the corpse. He grabs the front of the man’s shirt and lifts him up. “LOOK!” he screams. He twists his torso and looks at them, pointing to the man. “This is the body. See?”

“Stiles,” Lydia starts, taking a tentative step forward. Jackson grabs her arm to stop her, and she halts. “There’s nothing there.”

Stiles looks at her, then back to the lifeless person he’s clutching. “What are you talking about, there’s no body?” Stiles asks, voice hitching higher. “It’s right here. I’m holding it. I’m covered in his blood.” Stiles reaches over and grabs the knife, holds it up. “This is the knife I killed him with.”

Stiles looks at each of them in turn, his grip on the knife and body tightening as he sees the freaked out, scared expressions on each of their faces. Finally, he looks at his dad, who has tears rolling down his face.

“No, no, nononono,” Stiles repeats, shaking his head. “There’s a body here. I killed it. I slipped in the blood. I’M HOLDING THE FUCKING BODY. WHY CAN’T YOU SEE IT?” he screams, shaking the body with each word. Panic and terror are threatening to overwhelm him; he has no clue what is going on. “Maybe this is another dream.” Stiles looks around for the mare. “COME OUT, YOU BITCH.” He starts to stand, but slips in the blood and falls back to his knees.

“Stiles,” the sheriff says gently behind him. “Come on, son. There’s nothing there.”

Stiles turns and grabs his father’s hand. “See?” He places the sheriff’s hand on the corpse. “You’re touching it. Can’t you feel it?” he asks desperately, but from the pained look on the sheriff’s face, he can tell he doesn’t. He drops his father’s hand and starts shaking the corpse again. “WHY CAN’T YOU SEE IT?” he screams over and over until someone tries to pull him away, but he clutches at the corpse, convinced they will be able to see it if he could just figure out how to make them.

“Stiles,” the sheriff says, but Stiles jabs his elbows and arms behind him in an attempt to get the sheriff off of him. Suddenly, he’s yanked from his knees and is on his feet, facing his father. Stiles glances over his shoulder and sees Derek holding him, face hard and blank.

“You see it, don’t you, Derek?” Stiles begs instead of asks, needing him to confirm it.

Derek’s hard mask slips a bit, and Stiles sees the pain and fear flutter over it almost imperceptibly. But Stiles doesn’t miss it. “No, Stiles, I don’t.”

“Oh god,” Stiles cries, everything crumbling around him. Nothing makes any sense; he looks down beside him and still sees the corpse on the floor, but he also sees the pack and his father, and he can’t tell if this is a dream or reality. Suddenly, the air is completely stripped from the room and he can’t breathe at all. He’s in a hole, everyone far, far away, voices a mild echo in the back of his mind, but it’s quiet here, less confusing. But he can’t breathe. He’s choking for air, but when he opens his mouth, nothing floods into his mouth. Just darkness.

“Stiles!” His father, Scott, Erica, Derek, other voices cut into the darkness, repeating his name as the echoes become more distinct, and the room starts to focus as his vision clears. Everything is so fucking bright.

“Stiles!” Scott’s voice cuts loudly through everything, and Stiles covers his ears as he gulps in large breaths of air.

“Bust my fucking eardrum,” he mutters breathlessly.

“You’re okay,” Erica says, her voice worried.

Stiles straightens, and the room starts spinning as he takes a step. He almost falls, but strong hands catch him. He sags against a body he’s pretty sure belongs to Derek.

“Stiles?” the sheriff asks, bending down to look at him. “Are you okay?”

“I don’t know, Dad. I don’t think so.” Stiles feels drained and weak, and Derek helps support him by circling his arms around his waist. Stiles glances over to the corner, where the corpse, the blood, the knife remain.

“Do you still see it?” the sheriff asks.

“No,” he lies, and he feels Derek tense around him and sees the pack collectively shift out of the corner of his eyes. His dad, however, believes him and looks relieved.

“Good.” He straightens up and runs a hand through his hair. “We need to get out of here,” he says as he looks at the pack.

“Good idea,” Derek says. He doesn’t leave Stiles’ side as they walk out, but keeps a protective arm around his waist. Stiles is glad for it because he’s pretty sure he couldn’t walk otherwise. Outside, Derek tightens his embrace as Stiles tries to walk away. “I think I should take Stiles by Deaton’s, just to be sure.”

The sheriff nods. “I think that’s probably best. I’ll follow you there.”

Derek shakes his head. “I can take him. It probably won’t be anything anyway.”

“Yeah, Dad,” Stiles says tiredly. “You need to rest. You worked all evening and then have to go in tomorrow.”

The sheriff hesitates, but then reluctantly agrees.

“I’ll take care of him, sir.”

“I know you will.”

Stiles climbs into the passenger side of the Camaro while Derek talks to the pack. He’s too tired to feel guilty that everyone, including Allison and Lydia, came out for nothing. He rests his head against the window and closes his eyes until he hears the driver’s door close.

“Stiles?” Derek asks. Stiles lifts his head and opens his eyes. “You okay?”

“I’m seeing dead bodies on the floor. What do you think?”

“Why did you lie to your father?” Derek asks as he cranks the car.

“He doesn’t need to worry anymore. His face, Derek. Fuck.” Stiles shudders at the memory. Derek reaches over and grabs Stiles’ hand.

“You shouldn’t lie to him.”

“I’m not doing this right now.”

“He’s stronger than you think.”

Stiles doesn’t believe him and hopes his dad doesn’t hit the bottle too hard when he gets home.

At the vet’s office, Stiles explains his version of what happened, while Derek explains his.

“He was just,” Derek’s voice breaks slightly and he trails off. Stiles feels even more horrible, and hooks his finger in one of Derek’s belt loops. “He was clutching at nothing, like he was miming shaking a body, but there was nothing in his hands.”

After they finish, Deaton is quiet for a few moments. “This is very interesting. I think the mære has moved to the next step and is trying to drive you insane. The hallucination you saw is more than likely a subconscious transference from your dream. Basically, a waking dream.”

“But why?” Derek asks, rubbing a hand over his beard.

Deaton turns to Stiles. “Has anything changed with the mære?”

Stiles tries to think of anything, then remembers the bruises on his chest. “After we practiced meditation, I consciously moved my hand in a dream and saw the mare. She like screamed and then jumped off my chest and left bruises.”

“She was aware you knew about her?” Deaton asks.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure.”

“Was that before or after you came to the loft in the middle of the night?” Derek asks.

Deaton looks at him expectantly. “I had a nightmare,” Stiles explains.

“It was more than a nightmare; Stiles was terrified and shaking.”

“Who’s telling this story, huh?” Stiles snaps in irritation.

“Boys.” Stiles sighs. “What did you dream?” Deaton continues.

He glances at Derek uncomfortably. “I dreamed that hunters killed Derek and made me watch,” Stiles whispers. Derek’s eyes go wide as he tenses, his hand immediately going to Stiles’ neck and rubbing soothing circles on it. “And then the whole pack, my dad, and my mom were dead around me. It was the most realistic dream I’d had up to that point. I didn’t even remember falling asleep.”

 

“Hmm…seems the mære was already causing you to hallucinate.”

“Is that why I couldn’t rest until I made sure Derek was alive?”

“That was probably part of it, though I believe your feelings for Derek may have had something to do with that.” Stiles stares at Deaton in shock, and Deaton looks as calm as ever. “And the mære used your feeling for Derek against you. I believe you upset the mære when you confronted her, and she has decided to punish you for it.”

“Should I be scared?”

“You should be cognizant.” Deaton stands and walks over to a cabinet. He opens it and searches for a bottle. “Here, I want you to take two of these.”

“What are they?” Stiles asks as Deaton drops two pills into his palm.

“Mild sedatives. I think after tonight, you need them. It will help you sleep and calm your nerves.”

“They won’t like trap me in some crazy dream or anything, will they?” Stiles asks, staring at them hesitantly.

“I don’t believe so. Usually, mære have to space out their visits, especially after one as intense as the one you described. They do not have unlimited power, Mr. Stilinski.” He hands Stiles a small cup of water, and Stiles downs the pills. “The potion will be done in a few days.”

“Thanks,” Stiles says, hopping off the examining table.

“Thank you,” Derek says, clapping Deaton on the back.

In the car, Stiles falls asleep before they leave the parking lot.

*

When Stiles wakes up, he’s in his bedroom and it’s light outside. He really has to piss, so he pads to the bathroom and then goes downstairs. He finds his father and Scott sitting on the couch, watching Sports Center.

“Hey Scott,” Stiles says in confusion. “What are you doing here?”

“Derek asked me to stay over and keep watch in case anything happened with the mare.”

“Oh.” Stiles scratches his head. “Why couldn’t Derek just stay here? Did you run him off, Dad?”

“Derek left this morning, when I took over.”

Stiles scoffs as he walks into the kitchen, suddenly starving. “He didn’t stay very long.”

“He stayed with you for over twenty-four hours,” the sheriff replies.

“Yeah, we told him he needed to go get some sleep and take a shower,” Scott jokes.

Stiles runs back into the living room, shocked. “TWENTY-FOUR HOURS? What day is it?”

“It’s Monday,” Scott answers.

“But…we have school, and you have work, and that means I slept – “

“A long time,” his dad says. “Whatever Deaton gave you must have been strong. But you needed it, son. You look a thousand times better.”

“Monday?” Stiles slumps against the doorframe. “I’m falling apart. I actually think I am in fact going insane.” He glances at Scott. “What did your mom say about you missing school?”

He shrugs and smiles. “She said as long as I graduate in a few weeks, she doesn’t care what I do.”

Stiles runs upstairs and grabs his cell phone before he returns to the kitchen and fixes himself a large bowl of cereal. Before he goes into the living room, he texts Derek.

I’m up. Finally.

Derek texts back a few minutes later while Stiles is sitting beside Scott, eating.

How do you feel? Any dreams?

Feel rested. And dream free.

The sheriff goes to work that afternoon, and Stiles and Scott go upstairs to play video games after Stiles showers.

“Thanks for skipping school and staying over,” Stiles says as he loads up Mario Kart.

“Stiles, you’re my best friend.” Scott turns when Stiles drops onto the floor next to him. “Are you okay? I mean, dude, you freaked us out. I couldn’t sleep that night. I stayed at Isaac’s I was so freaked.”

Stiles sighs. He’s been trying to ignore everything since he got up, just pretend it didn’t happen. “I don’t know, Scott.”

Scott hesitates, then says quietly, “What was it like? You were so sure.”

“Do you see me sitting here?”

“Yes.”

“It was like that. It was that real.”

Scott scratches his chin and stares at the far wall. “I’m here for you, you know. Even if you go crazy and stuff. I’ll always be here for you.”

“Thanks, man.” Stiles smiles and starts the game. A few minutes later, Stiles asks, “So, what’s up with you, Allison, and Isaac?”

“Nothing.”

“You’re a fucking liar. What happened prom night?”

Scott accidentally drives his car into the wall. “We danced.”

“I know something happened. Derek wouldn’t tell me, which meant something was going on. I think his wolfy nose smelled something interesting.” Scott doesn’t say anything, just focuses intently on the game. “It’s cool, you know. If you’re like dating them both or all three of you are dating or whatever. I gave up on traditional ideas of normalcy the moment you got bitten by a werewolf.”

“I guess we can’t hide it,” Scott says with a sigh.

“Is it like a sex thing? Like Isaac’s your and Allison’s sexy third?”

“Oh god, no. It’s not like that. It’s different. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a…”

“Companion thing?” Stiles offers.

“Yeah. We just fit somehow. It’s weird, I still haven’t figured out what in the hell is going on.”

“I bet Chris Argent will love that. I mean, he’s almost tolerable now, but Allison with two werewolves? His fucking head will explode.” They both laugh. “Well, I want details. I want to know how three people do it. I mean, I’ve seen videos, but like, if you lose your virginity before me – “

“Stiles, I lost my virginity like two years ago,” Scott points out.

“Your other virginity. Like, with a man, because even Derek and I haven’t done that yet.”

“We haven’t gone that far,” Scott says quickly.

“I didn’t know you liked dudes,” Stiles continues as if he didn’t hear Scott.

“It’s just Isaac,” Scott says. “It’s just so fucking weird. Can we stop talking about it?”

“Sure.” Stiles is quiet a moment, and then says, “Has Isaac and Allison – “

“Stiles!”

“Shutting up now.”

*

Derek comes to the house after dinner to relieve Scott, and they end up cuddling on the couch.

“Are you okay?” Derek asks, his fingers rubbing absently along Stiles’ arm.

“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” Stiles exclaims.

“Because you thought you killed someone and were seeing things. I’m pretty sure that warrants the question.”

“Fair point.” Stiles sighs and curls closer to Derek. “On a scale of 1 to ‘Here’s Johnny!’, I think I’m around a five. I’m kind of scared, because I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried I’ll be graduating in a straight jacket – and honestly, white is so not my color. But I’m also ready to fucking kill this mare.”

Derek brushes his lips lightly against Stiles’ ear. “I’m going to make the pack stay with you until it’s over. I don’t want to take any chances, and your dad said he thought it was a good idea, too.”

Stiles sighs. “That’s fine. I’m a bit freaked out, honestly, so I’m good with that. It’ll be like one big continuous party.”

“I went to see Deaton earlier today.”

“I thought you went home to sleep,” Stiles says, twisting in Derek’s arms.

“I did.”

“For how long?”

“Long enough.”

“Derek…”

“A couple of hours.”

Stiles punches Derek in the arm. “That’s unacceptable! You need to sleep. You have a whole pack who can watch over me.”

“My pack also attends high school. I don’t have to work.”

Stiles glares at him. “Tomorrow night, I don’t want to see you because I want you sleeping.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “I was talking about Deaton before I was interrupted by an annoying – “

“Yes, please continue. But you have to promise me you’ll sleep.”

“Stiles – “

“Derek.”

“Fine, I promise.” Stiles grins and kisses him. “Deaton and I have come up with a way for the pack to dream walk with you. That way we can help you with the mare.”

“Really?” Stiles sits up excitedly. “That’s awesome! Back up is always awesome.”

“The potion will be ready in two days.”

“Two more days,” Stiles breathes. “Then maybe this will finally be over.”

“Let’s hope so.” Stiles stares at his hands as he picks at a nail. “What?” Derek asks, fingers curling around Stiles’ bicep.

“It’s been really hard,” Stiles admits. “The last few months. I mean, I know you’ve all felt it, seen my panic attacks, but the stuff you haven’t seen?” He doesn’t look up at Derek, instead looks at the worn spot on the thigh of Derek’s jeans. “I’ve been so obsessed with pretending like everything is fine, with making sure everyone didn’t realize what was going on, even though you already knew.” He sighs and finally looks him in the eye. “I’m tired. It’s my senior year; I just wanted to graduate and go on spring break with my friends and go to prom. I wanted to date someone and have fun. I didn’t want to miss half of it because I was being haunted by a hag or mare or whatever.”

Derek pulls Stiles onto his lap, and Stiles straddles it easily. “You didn’t have to shoulder all this alone.”

“I know.”

Derek runs his hands along the side of Stiles’ head. “You’ve handled it pretty well. You’re strong, Stiles. Stronger than just about anyone I know.”

Stiles leans into Derek’s palm, eyes falling shut as Derek scratches his fingers along his scalp. “I feel so weak.”

“Why?”

“Where do I start?” Stiles opens his eyes. Derek drops his hand to his lap, and Stiles picks it up and starts absently playing with Derek’s fingers. “I keep having panic attacks, I can’t do anything to stop the mare, I’m the one the mare attacked, I’m seeing things that aren’t there, and you all witnessed it. That’s a pretty good start,” he scoffs.

Derek curls his fingers around Stiles’ and lifts his chin with his free hand. “None of that makes you weak. Letting the pack – your friends and family – know you’re upset, help you, support you? It doesn’t make you weak. Take it from me, Stiles.” He sighs and squeezes Stiles’ hand tighter. “I pushed people away for so long, didn’t ask for help or trust anyone. I wanted to protect everyone and keep them at arm’s length. We see how that worked out.” Derek smiles wryly.

Stiles cups both of Derek’s cheeks with his hands, rubbing his thumbs over his beard. “I see dead people, Derek.” Stiles snorts at his joke and Derek rolls his eyes. “Seriously though, I’m afraid the mare is driving me insane.”

“You’re not there yet,” Derek says, “at least any more than usual.”

“Ass.”

Derek laughs. “I’m glad you talked to me. It’s the first time you’ve really talked to me about this stuff. I’m here for you, always.”

“I love you,” Stiles says quietly, holding Derek’s face between his hands as he kisses him.

When he pulls away, Derek says, “I love you, too.” Stiles settles back into Derek’s arms, and despite sleeping for so long earlier, he soon drifts off to sleep surrounded by Derek’s steady heartbeat, his constant breathing, and his warm arms.

*

Derek’s laying on the bed beside him reading a book when he wakes up the next morning. When he gets to school, Jackson and Boyd are immediately by his side. They act as his personal bodyguards all day, and then Lydia, Allison, Boyd, and Stiles go to Lydia’s house to study for AP tests. Erica stays over that night and steals Stiles’ side of the bed, and he doesn’t make her move over because she threatens him with her claws. He texts Derek about it, and he tells Stiles and Erica to stop acting like idiots.

They’re lying in bed later when Erica says, “I’m sorry, about being a bitch about Derek. You know I’m not good when Derek is all whacked out.”

“I know.”

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“And you’re still my Batman.” Stiles can see her smile in the darkness. He reaches out and squeezes her hand.

He wakes up later in a cold sweat from a nightmare he can’t remember, and when he looks over, he sees Alpha red eyes glowing in the corner, and then hears snarling. He screams and scoots over in the bed, half on top of Erica. She sits up and curses.

“Do you see anything in the corner?” Stiles asks as the wolf takes a step forward, teeth bared.

Erica cranes over his shoulder and shakes her head. “Nothing. Do you see something?”

“Yeah.” He shakes his head and closes his eyes, breathing. It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s just the mare. When he opens his eyes, it’s still there, but the snarling has stopped and the image has started to fade.

The next day at school, Jackson and Boyd act as his bodyguards again, and he texts Derek during second period to tell him about the hallucination.

I’m sleeping at your place tonight, Derek responds.

No, you’re not. Isaac’s staying over like we planned, and YOU ARE GETTING SOME SLEEP. Otherwise, I will withhold certain sexual acts. So there. :P

Making threats you’ll never go through with is not an effective bargaining tactic.

I’ll mountain ash the entire house. You know I will.

You’re an asshole.

That night, the same thing happens, and Isaac confirms there’s nothing in Stiles’ room. When they meet up at Deaton’s the next afternoon after school, Derek is glued to Stiles’ side. He looks rested, though, and Stiles tells him he should always listen to him. Derek pushes him off the stool he is sitting on.

“I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about,” Deaton responds after they explain Stiles’ waking dreams. “The mære is still trying to drive you insane. As long as you keep a grip on reality and your subconscious, you will remain sane.”

“That’s not saying much,” Erica jokes.

“What do I do with the potion, doc?” Stiles asks. He’s looking at the thick olive green liquid hesitantly. It doesn’t look very appetizing, and looks more like poison than not. He leans close to it and sniffs, but it just has a faint metallic and earthy scent.

“What’s that?” Deaton asks, pointing to Stiles. Stiles looks over his shoulder and pulls out of Derek’s grasp as he turns around wildly, looking for whatever Deaton’s looking for.

“What?”

Deaton sighs. “Around your neck, Stiles.” Stiles’ hand immediately closes around his necklace. “It’s tumbled hematite, no?”

“Yeah,” Derek answers.

“Derek gave it to me for my birthday for protection.”

Deaton nods. “An effective gemstone for protection, but Derek unknowingly also gave you a channeling stone.”

“A what?” Scott asks.

“Hematite can help Stiles achieve consciousness on the subconscious plane. It helps facilitate the integration of higher spiritual energies into our existence on the physical plane.”

“Come again?” Erica says.

“It will help him achieve his out of body experience,” Deaton says more simply. They all nod. “Derek unwittingly aided Stiles in his fight against the mære.”

Stiles slips his fingers under the hem of Derek’s shirt and rubs his fingers lightly over the small of his back. “So, what do I do?”

“You will drink the potion, and if the mære visits you, then you will have control over your subconscious.”

If??” Stiles exclaims. “IF?”

Deaton looks at him. “If. The mære does not visit you every night, and we cannot summon her. So, you have to wait until she shows.”

Stiles just gapes at him. Scott speaks up. “But couldn’t that take like a long time?”

“It might take awhile. We have to be patient.”

“I’ve been patient!” Stiles yells. He’s angry and frustrated, and suddenly, he really needs to get out of there. He storms out of the office, and once he’s in the parking lot, he wishes he would have driven himself instead of catching a ride with Scott. He starts to pace the perimeter, kicking any debris he finds in his way, and contemplates running home. He’s fit; he probably could make it most of the way before passing out.

A few minutes later, he hears the door open and doesn’t even look up from the asphalt.

“Dude, you should be glad that Deaton is a patient man,” Scott says.

“Good for fucking Deaton. Let’s give him a goddamn medal. A medal for his stupid patience along with a medal for his stupid dramatic pauses and his stupid marathon staring.” Stiles stumbles upon a discarded take-out container and kicks it with all his strength. It lands somewhere in the grass.

“Stiles, what was that in there?” Erica shouts. Stiles glances up and sees Derek standing with them, watching him.

“Get in the car, Stiles,” Derek orders, more gently than Stiles expects, and it pisses him off.

“You get in the car,” he retorts lamely. All three of them roll their eyes.

“Stiles,” Derek sighs in exasperation. “Stop acting like a two year old and get in the fucking car.”

He knows Derek means his car, but Stiles just feels like fighting. “I came with Scott. What if he doesn’t want me to get in the car with him?”

“Dude, leave me out of this,” Scott says with his hands up, stepping away slowly.

“Fine, do whatever you want,” Derek snaps, yanking the driver’s side door open and dropping into the Camaro. Stiles watches as he cranks the car, then rolls his head in frustration and stalks over to the car, giving a short wave to Erica and Scott on his way.

When he closes the door, Stiles says, “Don’t fucking start with me.”

“Whatever.” Derek puts the car into gear and drives out of the parking lot, but doesn’t drive towards Stiles’ house or the loft. Stiles doesn’t care; he’s got his head pressed against the glass, stewing and wallowing in his own self-pity. He thought the potion was supposed to make it so this was over, and not over weeks in the future, but over now. He doesn’t want to deal with this anymore. He’s done, D-O-N-E done.

“Where are we going?” Stiles finally snaps. “I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t appreciate you forcing me to go somewhere I don’t want to go.”

“Too bad. I’m driving.”

“I should kick your werewolf ass for kidnapping me.”

“You got into the car willingly,” Derek points out. “Even your dad wouldn’t side with you.”

“Whatever.” Stiles sulks against the side of the car until he notices Derek pulling onto a slightly familiar road in the middle of the woods. He watches uninterestedly until Derek stops the car on a familiar cliff. He gets out of the car without a glance at Stiles. Stiles watches him walk to the edge and look out over the darkness before finally getting out the car.

They stand silently side by side for awhile, Stiles just staring out across the valley and trying to clear his mind. Finally, he asks, “Why are we here?”

Derek turns to him, eyes bright in the near full moon. “Get it out. Scream, kick, break shit, do what you gotta do. But you need to get it out of your system.” Derek walks away, past the car, and pulls up a board hidden under leaves. He pulls out a crate of rocks.

“Why the hell are there rocks hidden in the forest?” Stiles asks as Derek drops them at his feet with a loud clank. “There are like a gajillion rocks just laying around.”

“I told you this is my favorite place in the world,” Derek explains as he bends and picks up a large rock. He looks at it as he holds it, then he rears back and tosses it into the valley, the crash echoing a few seconds later. “Sometimes I need some me time.”

“And you come throw rocks?” Derek nods, and Stiles shakes his head. “Why can’t you just jerk off like a normal person?”

Derek bends down, picks up another rock, and shoves it at Stiles. “Try it.”

“No, it’s stupid.”

Derek sighs. “Just do it.” He nudges the rock against Stiles’ chest.

“Can’t we break shit or just fuck or something?” Derek lifts an eyebrow, but keeps prodding him with the damn rock. Just to get him to stop, Stiles takes the rock in hand and chucks it forward with all his might. A few seconds later, he hears the resulting sound of it crashing into the side of the mountain.

“Feel better?”

Stiles shrugs, but grabs another one. Before throwing it, he opens his mouth and screams as loud as he can. The sound echoes for seconds after he stops, then dies out. He glances over at Derek, who’s staring at him in surprise. “What? You told me to scream, so I did.” Stiles launches the next rock, and it hits something nearby.

They spend the next twenty minutes throwing rocks into the darkness, silently listening to the way they smash and crack against others rocks and trees. When they run out, Stiles is sweating and his arm hurts, but he feels better.

*

The next night, the pack gathers at Stiles’ house. Scott brings over the potion from Deaton, and they all crowd in Stiles’ bedroom.

“Does this really require, well, everyone?” Stiles asks at the faces around him. Half the pack is sprawled on the floor, Jackson’s straddling his desk chair, Boyd’s leaning against his bookcase, and Derek’s on the bed next to him.

“Yes. That way I only have to explain it once,” Derek says, dragging his fingers across the back of Stiles’ neck and leaving his hand there. Scott gives a small vial to Stiles, and he looks at the repulsive green liquid with distaste. “Deaton said that once Stiles has made contact with the mare in his dreams, we can dream walk with him and help. We won’t be able to kill it, but we should hopefully be able to help distract it long enough for Stiles to defeat it.” He tightens his fingers around Stiles’ neck reflexively.

“We’re going to dream walk with Stiles?” Boyd asks.

“Inside Stilinski’s head?” Jackson exclaims. “I’m not so sure how I feel about that. There’s no telling what kinds of fucked up we’ll encounter.”

“You think I want all your werewolf asses in my head?” Stiles snaps, and Derek rubs his thumb soothingly over the knot at the top of his spine.

“Excuse me,” Lydia pipes up from where she’s sitting on the floor in the corner. “But when we had the sleepover, the mare rode Stiles without anyone noticing it. Deaton mentioned that the mare may have done something to keep you from noticing her, so what happens if she uses demon magic to make you fall asleep or something?”

“I have a plan for that,” Derek replies. “We’re going to have layered security around Stiles – “

“Derek, that sounds a bit excessive,” Stiles interrupts, and Derek turns and shoots him an irritated glance. Stiles huffs and motions for him to continue.

“Someone in the same room with Stiles, someone downstairs, someone outside in the car. We’re going to have to stay awake to find out when Stiles encounters the mare in his dreams. Deaton said we’ll know because of the way his scent, heart rate, and emotions change.”

“Oh boy,” Stiles says, “and just in time for graduation. How exciting!”

“Stiles,” Erica says, “we don’t care. You’re our first priority. We’ll all graduate regardless.”

“Except for maybe McCall,” Jackson jokes.

“Hey! I’ve passed all my classes the last two years, asshole.” Scott tosses one of Stiles’ shoes lying nearby at Jackson’s head, and he catches it easily. “I even made honor roll.”

“Hey! Hey! No throwing of the shoes in my room,” Stiles exclaims. “You could break something.”

“Yeah, like Jackson’s face,” Scott mutters.

“One can only hope,” Stiles adds.

“Since you all have school,” Derek cuts in, “Peter and I will take over car duty. We’ll stay up all night and listen in.”

“That’s not creepy,” Stiles mutters, and Derek squeezes his neck a little too tightly. “Owow.”

“Unfortunately, as many of us that can be here needs to be here every night. If the mare shows up, we have to act fast. We can’t take any chances and fuck this up. The mare needs to die now,” Derek growls. Stiles drops his hand to Derek’s leg and brushes his thumb against his thigh.

“Looks like an extended sleepover,” Erica says gleefully.

“It could be fun,” Allison says, shrugging.

“At least we can get studying done,” Lydia says.

“Starting tonight,” Derek instructs. He looks at Stiles. “Peter’s in the car down the street, I’ll stay with you tonight, and we can spread out around the house.” Derek waits expectantly, and Stiles just looks at him.

“What?”

“Drink it.”

“Dude, it’s like 10 p.m.”

“Don’t care.”

“I’m not going to bed now.”

“You are. We need to catch this thing.”

“You think I don’t know that? I don’t think – “

Someone clears their throat. Derek and Stiles turn and see the entire pack staring at them.

“Guys?” Scott says. “While we love you two dating and all, we’d rather not watch your love bickering or whatever.”

“Fine,” Stiles says, picking the vial up from the bed beside him. “Bottom’s up.” He opens the vial, takes a deep breath, and downs the whole thing, gagging afterwards. “Oh my god, that is disgusting. Ugh…”

“What does it taste like?” Boyd asks.

“Ass.”

“And you would know – “ Erica starts, but Isaac kicks her.

“Now, do they take the dream walk potion?” Stiles asks, ignoring Erica but unable to ignore his own flaming cheeks and the slight red tint to Derek’s ears. When he quickly glances at her, she’s smiling smugly.

“Not yet. We’ll wait until you’re with the mare. We do need some of your DNA, though.”

“For what?” Stiles asks.

“To put in the dream potion. That way they will attach themselves to your dreams,” Derek explains.

“Hold up,” Scott says. “You didn’t say anything about drinking Stiles’ DNA! I mean, you’re my best friend and everything, but I don’t want to drink your toenails.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “We’ll use his hair.”

“Because that’s so much better,” Jackson mutters.

“Ouch!” Stiles yells, rubbing his head where Derek had suddenly plucked out a group of hairs.

“Shut up, it didn’t hurt,” Derek mutters.

“It did, too. I’m tender headed. I’m a tender flower,” Stiles says, still rubbing the sting.

“Lydia.” Derek gets up and hands her the hairs. “Keep these with the other ingredients I gave you. You’ll be in charge of making the potions and bringing us back if anything happens since you and Allison will be staying behind.”

Stiles yawns as Lydia puts the hairs into a ziploc, and then they all file out. They bicker over who is going to sleep where, what the shower schedule is going to be, and Stiles is really glad that his dad is working the late shift tonight. He just can’t wait for his dad to be stuck in a houseful of werewolves.

Between the couch, guest bedroom, and den, everyone settles somewhere, and Stiles doesn’t check or care where everyone ends up. He just closes the door as soon as he returns to his room and leans his forehead against it wearily. Derek’s watching him from the bed, shoes kicked off and belt unbuckled, his jeans unbuttoned. Stiles finally pushes himself off the door and crosses the room to collapse face first on the bed. Derek’s hand immediately goes underneath his shirt, his fingers scratching lightly up and down Stiles’ back.

“I’m tired, Derek,” Stiles says, voice muffled by the bed.

“I thought it was too early to go to bed.”

“’S not what I meant.”

“I know.”

Stiles rolls onto his back, and Derek’s fingers absently trail through the dark hair on his belly. He lets his eyes drift shut, focusing only on Derek’s fingers brushing against his skin. It’s nothing but Derek’s touch for a few minutes, the tension slowly leaving his body with each caress. Lazily, he lets Derek remove his shoes, socks, and pants before reluctantly lifting up as Derek tugs his shirt over his head.

Stiles cracks open an eye, and Derek is standing by his bed, ridiculously sexy with his unbuckled belt and jeans. Stiles suddenly wishes that the pack was somewhere far, far away because he just wants to finish ripping open Derek’s jeans and suck him off right there.

“Enjoying the view?” Derek jokes, and Stiles lifts his eyes from his crotch to see Derek smirking down at him with a raised eyebrow.

“It’s rather nice, I admit,” Stiles responds, physically having to keep himself from touching Derek. Derek just laughs, the sadistic bastard. “Is it my turn to undress you, now?”

“Why do you think I’m standing here?”

Stiles sits up quickly, smiling widely. “You do like to stand and brood; sometimes I get confused.” Stiles gets to his feet and grabs Derek’s shirt to tug it over his head. He allows himself a brief moment to run his hands across the broad expanse of Derek’s chest as he presses a kiss to the side of Derek’s neck. Derek sighs contently as his arms circle low around Stiles’ waist. Stiles tells himself to stop kissing Derek’s neck, to stop licking and dragging his teeth along the flesh, but his mouth isn’t listening.

“Stiles,” Derek whispers, and Stiles tells his cock to calm down. “We can’t. The pack’s right here.”

“I know,” Stiles mutters against his skin, intoxicated by the smell and feel of Derek against his face and tongue. Finally, he pushes himself away, though neither of them are happy about it. He sighs. “This was your plan.”

“I know. I think we can make it through one night.”

“It’s these fucking jeans,” Stiles whispers as he grabs Derek’s shoulders and pushes him back against the bed. “I’m not sure I want you wearing these in public. I don’t want to share this with anyone.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Derek grins as he lifts his hips and Stiles pulls the jeans off and tosses them in the floor. He stares at Derek’s half-hard cock through the boxer briefs and groans.

“I could crawl on top of you right now and rock your world,” Stiles whispers as he stands between Derek’s knees and looks down at Derek sprawled on his back on his bed. Derek’s eyes bleed red and Stiles’ cock is definitely no longer at half-mast.

Derek reaches out and grabs Stiles’ hand to pull him on the bed, and they crawl around until they’re situated side by side, facing one another. Stiles is still irritatingly hard, and Derek’s inhaling and touching his neck and arms a little more often, so Stiles drops his hand just to see, and yep, Derek’s fully hard, too.

“You usually have more control than this,” Stiles whispers.

“You underestimate what you do to me,” Derek replies, also in a whisper. “Plus, it’s almost the full moon.”

“Maybe you’re all rubbing off on me,” Stiles says. “Maybe it’s the full moon making me exceptionally horny.”

Derek shakes his head, trying to suppress a grin. “That’s just your normal state.”

“Are you saying I can’t control myself?” Stiles asks, insulted.

“Who started this tonight?” Derek asks, the grin on his face now, and Stiles knows he’ll never get used to how Derek looks smiling.

“You did.”

“How?” Derek asks, eyebrows nearly at his hairline.

“You wore those jeans.”

“Shut up.”

Stiles sighs. “Can the others hear us whispering?” he asks suddenly.

Derek closes his eyes, a look of concentration on his face. “They’re not paying attention to us. A few of them are already asleep.” Derek opens his eyes again.

“Do you think this will all work?” Stiles asks. “The dream walking and the potion? Because if it doesn’t, I don’t know what I’m – “

Derek covers Stiles’ lips with his finger, and Stiles, being Stiles and feeling hornier and more restless than usual, sticks out his tongue and sucks one of Derek’s fingers into his mouth. Derek’s eyes flutter shut. “Stiles…”

Stiles decides he doesn’t care if the pack is down the hall or on the couch or listening in the car. It’s his damn house, and dammit, he wants his boyfriend.

With Derek’s fingers still in his mouth, he rolls Derek onto his back, and Derek lets him without any resistance. He swings a leg over Derek’s hip and straddles him, and Derek’s hand falls from his mouth onto his chest. He twists a nipple between his fingers as Stiles pulls out his cock and starts jerking himself off. When Derek moves his hand to help, Stiles bats it away.

Stiles slides back so he’s seated right on Derek’s cock, and he rocks his hips against him as he slides his fist along his own shaft quickly and confidently. If Stiles wasn’t so hard and needed to get off so badly that his brain was fried, he’d have laughed at Derek’s expression. He’s slackjawed and surprised as he watches Stiles touch himself. When Stiles gets close, Derek grips his hips tightly, and Stiles lets him move his hips over his hard-on any way he needs. Stiles reaches down with his free hand to trace the outline of Derek’s jaw, the curve of his lips, and Derek sucks the digit into his mouth. Derek’s eyes bleed red, and Stiles bites his lip to keep from making any sound, and when Derek lets Stiles’ finger drop from his mouth, he sees fangs extending.

Stiles tightens his hand, so close now, and then Derek lifts Stiles’ free hand and drags his fangs lightly over the tender flesh of his wrist, and the sensation is too much because Stiles comes then over his tight fist that’s stroking faster than he thinks it ever has. Stiles is giving himself a few final tugs when Derek holds his hips still, his eyes shut, and thrusts upwards, rutting himself against Stiles’ ass. Stiles is still stroking himself when Derek opens his eyes, looking slightly dazed.

Derek grabs the back of Stiles’ neck and crushes their mouths together in a bruising kiss. “What the fuck was that?” he asks when he can talk again.

“The full moon?” Stiles asks with a tilt to his head, grinning. Derek rolls his eyes and Stiles reaches behind Derek’s head to grab the tissues from the headboard. He wipes himself clean and rights his boxers before rolling off Derek. He glances at the wet crotch of his briefs. “That doesn’t look comfortable.”

“I’ll sleep naked.” Derek peels them off, and Stiles openly stares.

“Not if we’re going to get any sleep, you’re not.” Stiles gets off the bed and heads over to a drawer while Derek cleans himself. He pulls out a pair of boxers and tosses them over his shoulder, and when he turns around, Derek’s lifting his hips as he slides them on.

Derek curls around Stiles when they slide between the sheets, and Stiles presses his face in the crook of Derek’s neck. “The boxers smell like you,” Derek murmurs.

“Well, they are mine,” Stiles offers, lifting his eyebrows and nodding.

“You know what I mean,” Derek grumbles against Stiles’ hair.

They’re quiet for awhile, and then Stiles says, “What if the mare comes tonight? I don’t know what to do, how to control my dream.”

“You’ll figure it out,” Derek replies. “You’ll kill the mare and things will be okay.”

Stiles doesn’t know if he’s trying to convince Stiles or himself.

*

The mare doesn’t come that night. Or the next night. Or the night after that. With AP tests and finals, the pack is busying studying and the pack sleepovers aren’t as fun as Erica originally expected. Mostly, Stiles works on homework from the time school lets out until the pack slowly begins to filter in between eight and nine. His dad pretends like he doesn’t like them around, but by the second night he’s squeezed on the couch between Isaac and Erica watching TV.

Derek has taken over car duty because he said he didn’t sleep at all the night he stayed with Stiles because he was too afraid the mare would try and put some spell on him. Stiles has alternately been sharing a bed with Scott and Isaac, and every morning when Derek comes in for the big breakfast the sheriff cooks (either before he goes in or after he comes off a shift), he wraps himself around Stiles and nuzzles against his neck for at least five minutes until he’s satisfied. He glares at Scott and Isaac through breakfast, and they ignore him because it’s not their fault Stiles wakes up each morning smelling like another wolf.

Stiles also researches, but he doesn’t tell anyone. There’s only so much studying he can do, and when he hits his limit, he reads everything he can about dream walking, lucid dreams, and focusing your consciousness. He starts the night of the full moon, the only night he spends by himself because although the wolves have control, Derek doesn’t want to chance it. He reads all night because he promised Derek he wouldn’t sleep, and his dad lets him skip school the next day. He goes by the library and checks out every book he can about dreams, but nothing is consistent or gives him the information he needs.

His dad comes to his room after he gets home from work one afternoon and leans against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest. Stiles has his nose buried in a book, his laptop open next to a legal pad on his desk, and he doesn’t even look up.

“You okay, kid?”

“Yep,” Stiles replies absently.

“Is it okay, the pack being here all the time?”

Stiles tears his eyes away from his book. “It’s okay, I guess. Don’t really have a choice.”

“House is gonna be quiet when they leave,” he says, eyes glancing off down the hallway.

“You like them here,” Stiles says, smiling as he leans back in his desk chair. “You like having the house full. I should have known when you started cooking for them.”

“I have to admit,” the sheriff says, “I never really understood the pack thing and why you all spend so much time together, but I think I get it now.” Stiles grins. “They’ve really been there for you during all this.” Stiles nods. “I wish I could have done more.”

Stiles shakes his head. “No, Dad. You’ve done plenty. Who helped me get through like every bad nightmare? I mean, dude, Dad, you cleaned up my vomit. You can’t get more awesome-sauce than that.”

The sheriff smiles. “I just figured, you know, one day you’ll have to clean up my vomit – “

“Aww, Dad, really?”

“Or my spittle, or change my Depends – “

“Eww, Dad, gross.”

The sheriff laughs, but then sobers and looks at Stiles thoughtfully. “Derek has really been there for you, too.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s what boyfriends do.”

He studies Stiles for a moment, and Stiles tries not to squirm under his dad’s penetrating gaze. “It’s serious, isn’t it? This thing between you and Derek.”

Stiles shrugs, not sure what he’s supposed to say to his dad. “I don’t know.”

“You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”

“Dad!” Stiles exclaims, his face coloring. His dad watches him expectantly, and Stiles sighs. “A little.” At his dad’s obvious disbelief, he says, “Fine, I love him, like a ridiculous amount, like didn’t know you could love someone this much amount. It’s kind of terrifying, honestly,” Stiles adds.

The sheriff steps into the room and sits against Stiles’ desk. “I felt that way when I fell in love with your mother.” Stiles’ chest constricts in the familiar way it always does at the mention of his mother. “Not that I think you’re going to marry Derek,” he adds hastily.

“Of course not!”

“You’re way too young and have college and your whole life ahead of you and you may meet someone else.” His father pauses while Stiles thinks of breaking up with Derek, meeting someone new. It leaves a bad taste in his mouth. The sheriff reaches out and places a hand on Stiles’ shoulder. “I’m not saying you will or won’t,” he continues, “but when I fell in love with her, it terrified me. I was just out of the academy, didn’t even have enough money to buy a new car, much less a house. But I knew. I knew she was the one, the love of my life.” His dad smiles sadly, and Stiles pats his leg. “What I’m trying to say, in a round about way, is that I understand what you feel. And I believe you. Hell, you’re nineteen now, you’re a man. This isn’t some teenage crush.” He wipes a hand across his face. “I know he’s in love with you, too. He looks at you like you’re the only thing in the world.” Stiles feels his face color because he’s blushing like a stupid twelve year old. He tries to keep the ridiculous grin off his face, but can’t. “I’m glad you found that. I’m glad that it’s with Derek.” He squeezes Stiles’ shoulder again before getting up. “But he still needs to find a job,” he calls as he leaves the room.

“Dad!” Stiles groans, but it’s hard to be mad when he’s grinning from ear to ear.

*

A week later, the mare still hasn’t shown up, but Derek won’t call off the plan. The pack still sleeps at Stiles’ every night, and Stiles only really sees Derek at breakfast before he returns to the loft to sleep. He’s been diligently sitting down the street in his Camaro every night, and although Peter keeps offering to let him have a night off, Derek only trusts himself to watch for the mare. Stiles just thinks he’s a control freak.

Stiles, Lydia, Allison, Jackson, and Boyd take their AP tests, and they throw a mini-party in celebration. They rent a movie, Isaac and Allison cook, and then Erica, Isaac, Boyd, and Jackson crowd on the couch with the sheriff while Scott, Allison, and Lydia occupy the other chairs. There’s one armchair left for Derek and Stiles, but Stiles steps out onto the front porch instead.

The air is warm, the night quiet, a few cars audible over the crickets and cicadas. He curls his hands around the porch railing as he lets the quiet and calm come over him. Stiles closes his eyes and inhales, doesn’t hear the door open but smiles when a hand runs up his shoulder.

“You okay?” Derek asks, slipping his arms around Stiles’ waist and resting his chin on his shoulder.

“I’m fine.” He leans back into Derek’s embrace, relaxing against his strong chest.

“How was your test?”

“It went well. They both did, I had two today.”

Derek holds him quietly, then asks, “Why aren’t you in there watching the movie?”

Stiles drags his fingernails down Derek’s arm and absently plays with the dark hair on his forearm as he stares guiltily. “I just wanted some quiet. And I knew you’d follow me out here.”

“I’ve missed you.” Derek kisses the side of Stiles’ neck lightly, then rubs his cheek against it. “It’s been torture, sitting in that car and listening to you sleep. I’ve wanted to be with you so bad.”

“I never would have known,” Stiles says sardonically. “Your morning scenting sessions didn’t clue me in at all.” He cranes his neck just in time to see Derek look embarrassed.

“I don’t like you smelling so strongly of them,” Derek mutters, though he sounds apologetic. Stiles laughs. “I’m glad you find it amusing.”

Stiles twists in Derek’s arms and circles his arms around his neck. “They’re your betas. And my best friends. But it’s cute. Everything about you is cute.” Derek purses his lips, and Stiles rolls his eyes. “Fine, a lot about you is cute. Other things are just pure sex.”

“Is that all you think about?” Derek asks, amused.

“I’m dating you, and I’m nineteen. So, yeah.”

Derek kisses him, soft and sweet, and Stiles sighs into his mouth. After a week and a half of only really seeing Derek in the morning and spending no time with him, Stiles is happy to be back in his arms, if only for a few stolen moments.

Derek’s hand moves south and grips Stiles’ ass, and Stiles bites Derek’s bottom lip in retaliation. Derek kisses along Stiles’ jaw and then licks the sensitive spot on his collarbone he knows is there. Stiles knows he knows; Derek has spent hours licking and sucking that exact spot.

“If we’re going to continue making out – which I am absolutely in favor of – we probably should move somewhere less, um, public,” Stiles says as Derek’s hands slide under his shirt.

“Scared your dad is gonna walk out on us?” Derek says with a laugh.

“More scared the nosy neighbors will be watching, and I’d like not to get the cops called on me, you know, seeing as I’m the sheriff’s son and all that.”

Derek pulls back, his lips red and wet, and Stiles has to kiss him one more time before grabbing his hand and hurrying off the porch. They end up in the garage, away from prying eyes (and his dad and the pack, too).

They make out against the wall, remaining fairly good since they know that everyone is close and still awake. “I can’t wait until this is over,” Derek whispers as Stiles kisses and bites across his jaw. “I’m going to keep you in bed all night and all day if you let me.”

“The president couldn’t pry me from that bed,” Stiles jokes as he licks Derek’s Adam’s apple. “What are you going to do to me in that bed?”

“Perhaps this isn’t the best topic of conversation,” Derek breathes as Stiles sucks on his Adam’s apple.

“I want to suck your cock,” Stiles whispers as he hooks his finger in the collar of Derek’s shirt so he can kiss along his collarbone. “I want you to hold my head and fuck into my mouth until your cock is bumping the back of my throat.”

Derek growls quietly, and when Stiles glances up, he can see red eyes peering down at him.

“I want to taste you on my tongue,” Stiles continues, straightening so he can kiss Derek’s mouth. “I want you inside me,” he whispers against his mouth. Derek freezes and Stiles realizes what he said, and he pulls back with wide eyes.

“We haven’t talked about that,” Derek says quietly, his face looking as surprised and horrified as Stiles’. “About having sex, I mean, um – “ Derek’s ears turn red and Stiles has never seen him look so embarrassed. He sighs. “We haven’t talked about intercourse.”

Stiles breaks. He just laughs, his head on Derek’s shoulder as his shoulders shake with mirth. It takes him a few minutes to recover, and when he looks at Derek again, he’s watching him like he’s insane. “Intercourse?”

“Well, that’s what it is.”

“Can’t say anal sex, Derek?” Derek glares at him, but his ears are still red. Stiles kisses him. “I’m sorry. My mouth just got carried away.”

“I want to, if you want to. When you’re ready.” Derek cups his face and brushes his thumb along his cheek. “I’m yours in any way you want me.”

It’s Stiles’ turn to blush and get embarrassed. He ducks his head, and looks back up through his lashes. “Even if you can’t say it?”

“Shut up, or I won’t do it.”

“Liar.”

“You’re right. I’ll do it anyway.” Derek half-smiles, and Stiles drags his fingers against Derek’s beard.

“I want to. I so very much want to.”

Derek smiles widely then, like he’s relieved that Stiles wants to have sex with him. Sometimes, Stiles isn’t sure what goes through Derek’s head, because he’s an idiot if he didn’t think Stiles would have landed on his back for him pretty much whenever.

“Good.” Derek kisses him. “After we defeat the mare, after graduation.”

“Why so long?” Stiles whines.

Derek looks at him like he’s stupid. “You want to do it now? With your dad and the pack nearby?”

“You have a loft.”

Derek sighs. “When it happens, we’re going to take our time and not rush. And I don’t want you worried about anything. Besides, you graduate next week.”

“I know,” he grumbles. “I’m just really excited now that I know it’s going to happen.”

Derek laughs. “Something to look forward to then.”

They kiss for a little while longer, then return to the porch and sit hand in hand on the stoop, Stiles’ head on Derek’s shoulder, and talk.

*

Derek got the call in the middle of the night.

“Derek, I don’t know what happened,” the sheriff’s voice rang out, and Derek was so shocked to hear the sheriff on the other end that he immediately jumped up and started getting dressed. “It’s Stiles. I didn’t know who else to call.”

Derek and Isaac called the pack on their way to Stiles’, and they met there as quickly as possible. They followed the sheriff, who raced through the streets with the siren and lights.

Derek worried the entire way to the warehouse, scared because Stiles killed a man, scared for what that meant for his future, what that meant for the mare, what that meant for Stiles’ sanity. But when they ran into the warehouse, Derek wasn’t prepared for what he saw. Because what he saw was so much worse.

The warehouse was thick with Stiles’ panic and terror, more overwhelming that it had ever been before – and Stiles had faced an entire pack of feral Alphas. No, this time Stiles was scared because he was lost, alone, and defeated.

“I killed him, Dad. I’m so sorry, I killed him. Please don’t hate me, I’m so sorry…The man over there. I killed him. I killed him in my dream and I woke up and he was dead.”

“What man?”

“That body!” Stiles pointed, his hand shaking as he extended his arm.

“That body?”

“No, the other fucking body, of course that body!

“The one in the corner?” the sheriff said slowly.

“Yes!”

“Stiles,” the sheriff started and placed a hand on his shoulder, “there’s no body.”

Derek was frozen in horror as he watched Stiles run and drop to his knees and grab at the air. “This is the body. See?”

At this point, Stiles’ fear and panic combined with the pack’s and his own made it impossible to breathe. Stiles was just looking at them helplessly, clutching the air, acting crazy. That’s it, Derek thought. Stiles has gone crazy.

“No, no, nononono. There’s a body here. I killed it. I slipped in the blood. I’M HOLDING THE FUCKING BODY. WHY CAN’T YOU SEE IT?” Stiles groped the air and shook nothing, his arms and head flailing around like he was having a fit. “COME OUT, YOU BITCH!” Stiles looked around, as if searching, then tried to get to his feet before tripping for no reason and falling back to his knees.

Then Stiles grabbed the sheriff’s hand and made him touch the body, but he was just touching air, and then he started shaking the air again. Derek made a move, but Scott grabbed his arm and shook his head, so Derek just waited and watched, his heart breaking.

The sheriff tried to grab Stiles, but Stiles started kicking and striking out, and he hit the sheriff once before Derek intervened, grabbing Stiles by the shoulder and lifting him to his feet, trying desperately to keep his fear and temper under control.

Then Stiles turned around, his face terrified and his eyes imploring Derek. “You see it, don’t you, Derek?”

Derek almost broke apart then, his heart already broken from the look in Stiles’ eyes, because he knew Stiles thought it was real, needed it to be real. And Derek didn’t know what to do, could only think about losing Stiles this way, what it would do to him, the pack, his father.

“No, Stiles, I don’t.”

“Oh god,” Stiles cried as he collapsed against his chest, everything crumbling slowly around Derek.

Chapter Text

Stiles is walking down a long hallway of closed doors that looks like something out of the freaking Shining and he just wants a hotdog. Yeah, a hotdog.

Wait, what is he doing?

He shakes his head and looks around. I’m dreaming, he thinks. He hears a loud cackle and sees a flash of green eyes, and it hits him, The mare’s here. She’s here.

“Oh shit, oh shit,” he repeats manically, desperately wracking his brain for what to do. “Why didn’t I prepare for this a little more?” He runs to the first door and tries to open it, but it’s locked. He goes to the next, and it’s locked, too. Where’s the pack? he wonders.

“HEY!” he yells. “I’M DREAMING AND THE FUCKING MARE IS HERE – “ She cackles somewhere deeper inside the house – or what he assumes is a house – “SO YOU BETTER GET YOUR FUCKING WEREWOLF ASSES IN MY HEAD RIGHT THIS INSTANT.”

Stiles leans against the wall and waits. He scans the hallway, tells himself to jump and sing. He does both, and he’s pretty sure this potion thing is working. He notices for the first time a window at the end of the hallway, and he’s walking towards it when he hears knocking. He halts and listens as the knocking gets louder.

“Stiles!”

Stiles almost collapses with relief when he hears Scott’s voice. He finds the correct door and yanks it open, and Scott, Erica, Jackson, and Boyd all tumble into the hallway.

“Bracelets,” Stiles asks, and each of them hold out their arms. Wound around each wrist is a bracelet made from African dream root and some other plants that Deaton had said would stay with them and help Stiles distinguish them from their projections from his subconscious. “Where are Derek and Isaac?” He glances at the doorway behind them, but it’s now covered over with bricks.

“They drank the tea Lydia made, too,” Scott says. “Maybe it didn’t work for them.”

“Derek’s going to be furious,” Boyd says.

Stiles sighs. “Well, it’s the five of us. Now what?”

They look around at each other, unsure. “Did you see the mare?” Jackson asks.

“Yeah. I heard her laughing. I think she’s somewhere deeper in this house.”

“Why are we here?” Scott asks, looking down both sides of the hallway.

“It’s like his mind palace,” Boyd says. “Not in a Sherlock Holmes sort of way, but the compartments of Stiles’ brain. I bet each door takes us somewhere different in his subconscious.”

“This is gonna get weird, isn’t it?” Erica asks.

“We’re in Stilinski’s head,” Jackson says. “How much fucking weirder can this get?”

The mare cackles again, and they all jump, Erica clinging to Boyd and Scott and Jackson leaping behind Stiles. “Welcome to my personal fucking nightmare,” Stiles mutters, rolling his eyes. “Let’s go.”

Stiles opens the door closest to him, and the doorknob turns and they step across the threshold. They’re in Stiles’ room, and Stiles is at his computer.

“Boring,” Jackson says and heads straight for the bedroom door. The next room is large and empty, with multiple doors leading off it. Jackson walks to the first on the right, and the others follow.

They’re on a sidewalk, and two little boys pedal past, yelling at each other.

“Hold on,” Scott says, staring at the two boys. “That’s us!”

“Ohmigod!” Erica exclaims. “Baby Stiles and Scott. You are so cute!”

“This is so weird,” Scott says as he approaches his seven year old self, now sitting on the curb sharing fruit snacks with seven year old Stiles.

They return to the empty room and take the next door. They find Stiles’ mom, healthy and singing as she cooks in the kitchen, and they physically have to drag Stiles out of the room. It’s starting to mess with his head, stumbling through his subconscious, viewing dream memories. The next room contains Lydia, and Jackson growls at him and chases him back into the main room.

“Dude, you know I was like in love with her for like ten years,” Stiles yells from behind Scott. Boyd’s holding Jackson, his yellow eyes glowing as he growls.

“You were fucking her!” Jackson snaps.

“It’s a dream!” Stiles yells. “That’s an old dream. I haven’t had that dream since – “

“Since you met Derek,” Erica finishes. Stiles nods, and Jackson seems to calm down.

“Get it together, Jackson,” Boyd says quietly, gripping Jackson’s shoulder.

“It’s the mare,” Scott says suddenly. “She’s messing with our heads. Stiles’ mom, showing Jackson Lydia…” They all share a nervous look.

“Be aware,” Stiles tells them all as he opens the next door. Inside, Erica and Boyd are being tortured by the Alpha pack. “Fuck,” Stiles mutters as he hears Erica whimper behind him. “Out, out!” he cries as he turns around and runs for the door.

Erica’s shaking and Boyd’s holding her when the door closes behind them. “It wasn’t like that,” Boyd says.

“It’s how I dreamed it,” Stiles says, “that summer you were missing.”

The next few doors are pretty mundane, and then they open the last one. Stiles is bent over a table, Derek pounding into him from behind.

“Oh holy fuck,” Scott exclaims, rushing out, followed closely by Jackson and Boyd. Stiles grabs Erica’s hand and has to drag her away.

“Aww, couldn’t I have watched just a few more minutes?”

“My eyes are burnt out,” Jackson mutters. “I will never unsee that.”

“Shut up,” Stiles snaps as he scans the room. He realizes that they’ve been in every door, so he turns back to the original door. He opens it and they all step onto a busy street. When Stiles turns around, the door is gone. “Fuck.”

“What now?” Boyd asks. Stiles looks around and sees his jeep.

“Come on.” They run and jump in the jeep, and Stiles cranks her without any problem. They start driving down the street, looking around for some clue, until the jeep starts going slower and slower, and then it morphs into a small pedal car.

“What the fuck is this shit?” Jackson asks, and Stiles looks around helplessly, at them all crammed inside as they all pedal the tiny car forward.

The road becomes narrower and narrower until suddenly the ground beneath them disappears and they’re pedaling on an undulating road surrounded by open water. Stiles glances to the side, sees him holding up Derek, sees the kanima stalking along the side of the pool.

“Stiles!” Jackson yells, sounding panicked.

“I’m trying!” Stiles says. He closes his eyes, wills them somewhere different. Anywhere, he thinks to himself.

They all land with a thump on the forest floor. The mare cackles, and it’s closer this time. “We’re gaining on her,” Stiles mutters, taking off at a run towards the sound.

He hears a scream beside him, and he stumbles as he sees himself being impaled by the arm of an indecipherable monster. He skids to a halt, Scott and Boyd crashing into the back of him.

“That was my first nightmare,” Stiles says as he points to his dead body, the arm holding his intestines in his hand above it.

“Maybe we’re getting close,” Erica says. Stiles nods and takes off running again and spies a door just ahead.

He throws it open and he’s on the lacrosse field. “My other dream,” he says, and just then, he notices that he and Scott are on the field. Then, just like before, Stiles stabs Scott with the crosse, and Stiles winces.

“You never told me,” Scott says quietly.

“I went to Derek’s that night,” he replies, seeing a door appear nearby. “I didn’t want you to know.”

They run through Stiles’ nightmares from the last few months – his dad dead in the police station, the corpse of his mother, Derek eating his father, Stiles eating his dad – until Stiles is weary and emotionally strung out.

The last door holds Derek being tortured, then Stiles on the floor surrounded by the decimated bodies of everyone he loves.

“Jesus Christ, Stiles,” Erica says as they run past.

They run through another door and end up in the same warehouse they’d been in a few times before, but this time it’s empty. They stop, and Stiles thinks it’s weird he’s not winded at all. Dream running, huh.

“What do we do now?” Scott asks, turning in a circle.

“You’re going to die,” Derek says as he appears from the edge of the room. His eyes are red, his fangs extended. “You’re going to die, Stiles. It may not be today, but you’ll die and leave him alone just like everyone else in his life.” Derek grins, vacant and cruel, lacking the radiance Stiles fell in love with. “It would have been better if he’d never have met you.”

Stiles chokes out a sob, the last straw after running through his most terrifying nightmares. He feels the terror and anguish threatening to crash down over him.

“Stiles,” Erica says, arm hooked through his. Scott’s on his other side, Jackson and Boyd pressed against his back. “It’s not real. It’s just the mare.”

“How do you know, Stiles?” another voice calls out. His mother steps from the shadows, beautiful like he remembers her.

“Oh fuck,” Scott says. “Close your eyes, Stiles. Think of something else.”

Stiles clamps his eyes shut, thinks of puppies, lots of puppies. When he opens his eyes, three snarling wolf cubs are aimed at him, but they quickly vanish. He breathes a sigh of relief until his dad appears.

“What if you’re crazy now, Stiles?” the sheriff says. “What if this is all a hallucination you conjured after the mare drove you insane?”

“Stiles!” Boyd yells. “Ignore it!”

“You’re insane,” his dad says. “And I’ve lost everything. You drove me to the bottle again, you ruined my life. You’ve always ruined my life.”

Stiles’ eyes are damp, and he breaks free from the pack’s grasp and steps forward.

“SHOW YOURSELF, YOU FUCKING BITCH!” he screams at the top of his lungs. With an ear piercing cackle, the mare flickers into sight, and the others gasp. She opens her mouth, and they’re all face to face with a nightmare.

Jackson faces zombies, Boyd and Erica Alpha wolf forms, Scott two hunters, and Stiles stares at a feral Derek. The pack launches themselves at the manifestations while Stiles runs from Derek. He tries to think of something, and crouches behind a crate and squeezes his eyes shut. He feels Derek grab his shoulder, claws piercing into his skin, his hot breath against his neck. He thinks of Derek holding him, Derek touching him, Derek smiling at him. When he opens his eyes, dream Derek is gone. He sighs in relief and scrambles to his feet.

The pack has defeated the monsters, but they look worse for wear. Scott’s pulling three arrows from his torso, Jackson’s got part of his arm and leg bitten off, and Erica is scratched. But they’re standing. Boyd, however, is on the ground, a large hole in his chest.

“Why aren’t they pulling him out?” Erica screams, and Jackson draws her close to him, his arm and leg already healing. “They’re supposed to pull us out if we get too hurt!”

“Give her time,” Jackson mutters into her hair. “Lydia will get him out.”

“Boyd,” Stiles yells. Boyd glances at him with heavy eyes. “Tell Derek not to pull me out unless I’m dying. I have to kill the mare tonight.”

“Okay.” Boyd nods and then fades away. Erica sobs into Jackson’s shoulder for a moment before she calms down.

Stiles takes a breath, alert for whatever the mare has planned next. But she doesn’t send anymore dreams. She appears before him, her face obscured by dark hair. She leaps at him and knocks him onto the ground. The air is knocked from his lungs, and she wraps her fingers around his throat. He struggles for breath until Scott, Jackson, and Erica come up behind her and pull her back.

“Kill her!” Jackson yells.

“How?”

“I don’t know! Just do it!” Erica says.

Stiles tries to think of a solution, but it takes too long and the mare gets out of the others’ grasp. They take off after it, and Stiles thinks of ways to kill her.

“Think of a weapon!” Scott yells. “Make one appear!”

Stiles wants to kiss Scott because that’s genius, and why didn’t he think of that? “What weapon?”

“Gun!” Erica suggests.

Stiles closes his eyes and thinks about a gun, and when he opens his eyes, there’s one lying beside him. “It worked!”

“Shoot her!” they exclaim. Stiles picks up the gun, aims at the mare, and pulls the trigger. The bullet hits Jackson instead.

“Not me, you fucking idiot!” Jackson lets go of the mare and holds his arm. Instead of blood, black starts oozing from the wound, and Jackson goes pale. “Wolfsbane!”

“Fuck!” Stiles tosses the gun to the ground. “Give me another weapon.”

“A katana,” Jackson suggests, and Stiles is about to tell him that’s a terrible idea when Jackson fades away.

“Fuck, it’s just us,” Stiles shouts.

“A baseball bat,” Scott yells, and a baseball bat appears in his hands.

“Got it.” He runs towards the mare, and she throws her arms wide, sending Scott and Erica to either side of the room. They hit the walls with a loud crash.

He doesn’t have time to react. The mare is on him in a second, crushing his ribs with her knees. He feels one snap, but he ignores the pain. This is his chance; this is his only chance.

Holding the bat tightly, he lifts it with both hands, but the mare grabs his arm and squeezes. Stiles screams in pain as he hears bone snap. His arm hurts more than just about anything he’s ever felt before, and he can’t even focus the pain is so consuming.

“Stiles!” Scott yells, and his voice penetrates the haze of pain. He blinks and sees Erica and Scott, bloodied and bruised, holding the mare above him.

“Do it now!” Erica screams.

Ignoring the searing pain in his arm, he lifts the bat. You can do this, Stiles, he repeats to himself. You’ve just got to believe. Stiles moves his arms, shoving the pain out of his mind as he focuses on swinging the bat. Slowly, like slow motion in a movie, the bat arches through the air and connects with the mare’s head. She screams, so loudly all their ears start to bleed, but she starts to flicker, then explodes in blast of green dust.

Stiles drops the bat and sighs.

*

He jerks awake and immediately feels something heavy on him. When he looks down, he yelps in fear. Black hair.

“Stiles?” Derek exclaims, immediately grabbing the mare. When he lifts it, though, they realize it’s dead.

“I killed it,” Stiles says, stunned. “I did it. She’s dead.” He smiles and drops back onto his bed. It’s then that he feels the pain. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Derek, Scott, and Boyd dealing with the mare’s body, but he’s not worried about that; let them do something. He killed her, he’s done.

Instead, he looks down at his arm, which is dark blue. He tries to move his hand, and pain shoots up his arm, but not as severe as he expected. The same for his ribs when he moves.

“Are you okay?” Derek asks, back by his side. He touches Stiles’ face, his chest, his arms as Stiles struggles to sit up.

“My arm and ribs hurt. The mare crushed them in my dream.” Stiles hears Boyd, Scott, and Jackson going downstairs. “It’s really dead?”

Derek’s face softens. “It’s dead. You did it.”

“Thank fucking god,” Stiles exclaims. “Where’s my dad? I need to tell him.”

“He’s at work,” Allison says.

“We need to get you to Deaton’s. Boyd and Jackson could use a quick once over, too. Especially since you shot Jackson with a wolfsbane bullet?” Derek raises an eyebrow.

“It was an accident.”

Lydia, Allison, and Erica go downstairs, leaving Derek and Stiles alone. Derek touches him again, his hands smoothing over every inch of exposed skin he can find. Stiles finally stills Derek’s hand. “I’m fine, Derek.” He waits for Derek to meet his eyes.

“I just had to watch you lying there, and you were jumping, and then Boyd was bleeding, and Jackson, and I couldn’t do a fucking thing.”

“Hey, hey,” Stiles says, pushing himself up with his uninjured arm and only wincing slightly at the pain in his ribs. He cups Derek’s face with his good hand. “It’s okay. I’m okay.”

“You’re not okay,” Derek says. “You’re in pain.”

“But the mare is gone. Focus on the relief, on the triumph.”

Derek places one hand on Stiles’ arm, the other on his rib. He looks down with a look of concentration, and then Stiles feels a weird, tingling sensation in his body, black lines going up both Derek’s arms. The pain lessens, and Stiles feels a bit lightheaded. “You did the pain sucky thing,” Stiles says breathlessly. Derek removes his hands, closes his eyes for a few moments until the black lines disappear. He inhales deeply before opening his eyes again. “You’ve never done that to me before.”

“Let’s hope I don’t have to again.” Derek’s mouth is a hard line, so Stiles leans closer (easier now that he’s pain free) and kisses him.

*

Deaton and Derek dispose of the mare’s body while Melissa (who Scott had called on the way to the clinic) puts Stiles’ sprained arm in a brace and wraps his bruised ribs. She says he should be fine in a few days.

Stiles calls his dad, who threatens to get off work and come straight home, but Stiles tells him that they’ll talk tomorrow because he’s just going to go home and pass out, and he’s not going to school in a few hours anyway, and that Derek is staying with him tonight. His dad surprises him by saying he thinks that’s a good idea.

Stiles crawls into bed around four a.m. The rest of the pack went home, and they were all skipping school the next day, too. Everyone is pretty wrecked, emotionally and physically. “I’ve already aced my AP tests and have a perfect GPA,” Lydia had said, “They don’t want to mess with us.”

He’s so tired that he can barely move, and Derek carefully arranges them so he’s holding Stiles close, but not so tight as to hurt him.

“What if this is just a dream?” Stiles murmurs, half asleep. “What if I wake up and it’s some evil trick from the mare? What if my dad was right and I really am insane and laying here with you is just a hallucination. What if – “

Derek covers his mouth with his fingers. “Stiles, stop talking. This is real. Me holding you is real.”

“But – “

“No buts.”

“But I’m still scared.”

Derek sighs and kisses Stiles’ hair. “Get some sleep. Nothing will hurt you. I’m right here.”

*

When Stiles wakes up the next morning, Derek is beside him, hogging all the covers, his face smushed into the pillow. Stiles smiles.

He quietly and carefully gets out of bed, and in the bathroom when he’s brushing his teeth, he remembers that he dreamed he was on a cruise with the entire cast of Star Wars, fighting battle droids, but his light saber wouldn’t work.

He smiles, because it was a good dream.

*

Stiles watches TV for a few hours alone before Derek wakes up and pads downstairs, rubbing his eyes. Stiles is caught so off-guard by Derek sleepily walking barefoot towards the kitchen in low-hanging pajama pants and a sleep-stretched wife beater that his heart jackhammers in his chest. Derek stops in the doorway to the kitchen and turns around, peering at Stiles curiously, one fist still pressed against his eye.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Stiles squeaks, because he’s not even sure he can verbalize the overwhelming thoughts spinning through his brain. Derek studies him for a few more breaths before disappearing in the kitchen.

Even though it’s midday, they’re still in their pajamas, cuddling on the couch when the sheriff walks into the living room, recently woken and freshly showered. Stiles waves to his dad with his braced arm, and the sheriff looks at it painfully.

“It’s not that bad, Dad,” Stiles says as he tries to extricate himself from Derek’s arms without hurting his ribs. He lets Derek help him into a sitting position, but only because he’s injured. “It’s just a sprain and some bruises. Mrs. McCall said I’ll be good as new in no time.”

The sheriff drops into his recliner, rubbing a hand across his face and settling his elbows on his knees as he leans forward. “Tell me everything.”

So, Stiles tells his dad what happened, and when he’s finished, the sheriff looks both horrified and relieved. “I should have been there. You should have called me.”

“What could you have done?” Stiles asks, though gently. “All you would have done is stand around with the others and watch Derek flipping out. Allison told me he was snarling and frothing at the mouth and yelling at Lydia because he thought she somehow messed up his potion. Apparently, Lydia got in angry, Alpha Derek’s face and told him off.” Stiles smiles proudly and looks over at Derek. “I wish I could have seen her tell you off.”

“It wasn’t quite that bad,” Derek mutters.

“Um, three against one, dude. And I tend to believe the others. They’re more reliable.”

“Stiles, you could have died,” his father says sadly.

“But I didn’t. I’m fine. How many times do I have to tell you that?”

The sheriff turns to Derek. “Is he really okay?”

“Oh, is this how it’s going to be now? You two ganging up on me like I’m not here?”

Derek laughs quietly. “He’s fine, sir. I promise.”

The sheriff sighs in relief and invites Derek to stay for dinner.

*

Derek sneaks back into Stiles’ room after the sheriff goes to bed. He’s being ridiculously clingy and overprotective, and Stiles wouldn’t admit it, but he’s still a little nervous about the mare coming back. So he doesn’t mind Derek staying with him at all.

They’re only in bed a few minutes before Derek gets handsy. “Still checking to make sure I’m not broken, or do you have nefarious things planned for those hands?” Stiles waggles his eyebrows, and Derek tries to look annoyed.

“You just smell off,” Derek says, running his hands along the sides of Stiles’ neck. “Like pain and blood and the mare.” He shakes his head. “I don’t like it.”

“Well, in all fairness, it’s been less than twenty-four hours, so…” Stiles watches Derek as he trails his eyes after his hands over Stiles’ chest. “So, what you’re saying is this doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that we haven’t had sex in like two weeks.” Derek’s eyes flick up to his, and he looks both irritated and turned on. “I’ve barely been able to jack off. Do you know how hard it is to find Stiles fun time when I only have a few hours to myself a day? Most of my prime jerk off time – before bed and when I wake up – has been filled with werewolves. Who aren’t you. I’m glad I’ll be alone now. I’m going to do nothing but watch porn and jack off for like three days.”

“I guess it’s a good thing I’ve spent most of my time at the loft and in the car alone.” Derek grins slyly, and Stiles groans into his shoulder.

“You can’t just say things like that, because the images.” He waves his hand at his head as he lifts it from Derek’s shoulder and looks at him again. “I’m sex starved, Derek. That was the mare’s real plan to drive me insane. Starve me sexually. I couldn’t even subsist on self-pleasure. She was an evil, torturous bitch. And now, my handsy boyfriend won’t even help me out. That’s why I have to watch porn and jack off for three days. Because you’re the worst boyfriend ever.”

Derek laughs. “Are you suggesting that I do something about that for you?” he asks, voice low and playful, and Stiles just wants to wrap himself around Derek and never leave the bed if it’ll keep him like this.

“No,” Stiles says. “I’m demanding.” He puts on his serious face, and Derek smiles.

Derek maneuvers them onto Stiles’ good side, his sprained arm resting on his hip. “Is this okay? I want to make sure you’re comfortable.”

Stiles doesn’t feel any pain, though it’s probably due to the mixture of painkillers and Derek’s werewolf thing from earlier. He moves his good hand experimentally, and it’s at an odd angle and he can barely move without a twinge in his ribs. “I’m an invalid, Derek. The mare is dead, and she’s still ruining my sex life.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “If you calm down, I have an idea. Do you have any lube?” Stiles’ eyes grow wide and his heart starts beating nervously. Derek shakes his head. “I told you, when that happens, we’ll be in the loft, with plenty of time, and you won’t be hyped up on painkillers.”

Stiles nods and motions his head behind him. “Lube’s in the nightstand drawer.” Derek reaches over him carefully and searches in the drawer. He drops back onto the mattress with a bottle in hand. “What are we doing?”

Derek glances at Stiles. “Trust me, you’ll love it.” That sends a shiver down Stiles’ spine and he nearly vibrates with anticipation as he watches Derek push the blankets down and remove his underwear. As he stares hungrily at Derek’s half-hard cock, Stiles tries to tug off his boxers with his hand, but he ends up rolling onto his back and jostling his sprained arm.

“Ow, ow,” Stiles whines, “I’m an invalid, help.” Derek chuckles as he finishes pulling off Stiles’ boxers and helps Stiles get settled on his side again. Then, Stiles watches as Derek pops open the bottle and squeezes lube into his palm before wrapping his fingers around his shaft to coat it. “Hey!” Stiles exclaims, “I thought I was supposed to get in on the action, and this is most definitely action sans Stiles.”

Derek drops his head to the side, eyes wide and irritated. “Stop being impatient. Besides,” Derek says, slowing his wrist down significantly, “You like watching, don’t you?” Stiles wants to glare, but he just can’t stop staring at Derek’s fingers wrapping around his cock. Derek smirks. “See?”

“Cocky isn’t a good look on you,” Stiles murmurs.

“Oh, I think you like my cocky look quite a bit.”

Stiles drags his eyes up to Derek’s face. “You just made a lame dick joke,” Stiles says. Derek looks unaffected. “Derek Hale, I don’t think I’ve loved you as much as I do right in this moment.” Derek barks out a quiet laugh and then rolls to his side. He shifts closer until he’s pressed flush against Stiles’ body.

“Let me know if I hurt you,” Derek says seriously. “I mean it.” Stiles nods, and then Derek urges Stiles’ leg up before angling his cock into the space between his thighs. “Oh!” Stiles exclaims as Derek’s cock slides under his balls and perineum, sending a jolt of desire through his body. “Oh…”

Stiles pushes his legs tight as Derek curls his fingers around his neck and kisses him deeply. It’s an entirely new sensation as Derek thrusts against him, his cock brushing along the sensitive flesh between his thighs, pushed against the underside of his balls. Carefully, Stiles drapes his arm around Derek’s hip, sliding his other arm under Derek’s body so he can hold him tightly.

Derek moves at a slow rhythm, in no rush, and Stiles realizes this isn’t about getting off. Holding each other like this is intimate, more intimate than a lot of the things they’d done. And it is exactly what he needs. After everything that has happened, after the mare and the stress and his senior year, he just wants to feel Derek against him, his lips kissing him deeply and fully, his body hot and solid against his own. And the feel of Stiles’ cock trapped between their bodies as Derek’s cock slides between his thighs is almost too much. The unexpected pleasure is slowly unraveling him.

They stay pressed together like that for a long time, clutching on to one another as they kiss, Derek thrusting almost lazily between Stiles’ thighs. The build is slow, coiling tightly low in Stiles’ belly, deeper and more intense than anything Stiles has felt before. With each shallow thrust, he feels Derek’s hot shaft slide against his sensitive skin, press against his balls, pushing him close, but not there yet.

Derek is gentle with him, touching him almost reverently, as he slides his hands along Stiles’ back, back and forth like a ritual. His tongue is demanding, but soft, and Stiles is pretty sure he’s going to come apart completely before this is finished.

The pop of the bottle top is loud to Stiles’ overly aware senses, and he opens his eyes in time to see Derek’s face scrunched in concentration as he does something with his hands behind Stiles’ back. He’s about to ask Derek what he’s doing when Derek drags a finger between Stiles’ cheeks. Stiles’ eyes go extremely wide as the implications bombard his brain. Derek’s brow furrows.

“Is this okay?”

Stiles swallows and shakes his head so quickly he feels like a bobble head. “This is the definitely the definition of okay. So good I need to petition to change it in the dictionary. Maybe get on – “ His ramble is cut short by Derek pressing his finger into his hole. If all his brain power wasn’t focused solely on the tip of the finger moving shallowly in and out of him, he might feel embarrassed for the sounds he is making.

Derek kisses him again as he pushes the finger deeper, as far as he can from the awkward angle. It’s enough, though, for Stiles to start rutting as much as he can against Derek’s stomach and hips. Derek adds a second finger and lazily fucks him with his fingers, the sensations teasing enough to make Stiles want more, but just enough to make him feel even more connected to Derek as he clings to him and breathes hotly against his neck.

He kisses along Derek’s stubbled jaw, licks behind his ear as Derek growls quietly, his chest vibrating against Stiles’ ribcage. Derek moans into Stiles’ mouth as he comes hotly between his legs, holding his fingers deep inside Stiles as Stiles kisses Derek’s slack mouth, his hips thrusting faster as he clings to Stiles until he stills. He rests his head under Stiles’ chin, licking at the base of his throat, Stiles not worried about his own erection trapped between them as he holds Derek in his arms.

Inhaling deeply, Derek slides down in the bed and wraps his lips around Stiles’ cock, sucking and causing Stiles to muffle a moan against his forearm. He reinserts his fingers, pushing them deeper, and Derek’s mouth feels so good around him, his tongue swirling around just the right spots, that Stiles comes after only moments. Derek continues sucking and licking and sliding his fingers in and out, Stiles’ hips jerking awkwardly as he rides out his orgasm. After Derek swallows, he kisses and licks all around Stiles’ cock, balls, and between his thighs, making Stiles’ now soft cock twitch. Stiles is a big pile of mush on the bed, body thrumming contently, and then Derek licks behind his balls, along his overly sensitive perineum, and then drags his wet tongue once, twice over Stiles’ slightly tender hole. Stiles jerks in surprise and moans, and then Derek kisses his way across his thighs and over his hip and torso while Stiles hopes that they haven’t woken his father.

When Derek finally covers Stiles’ mouth again, Stiles wishes he could crawl inside him just to be closer. He isn’t sure what just happened, but he’s never felt such a desperate need to be close to Derek as he does right then. And Derek seems to feel the same way.

After Derek grabs a discarded t-shirt from the floor and cleans himself and Stiles, they lay with their arms wrapped around one another, Derek’s face pushed against Stiles’ neck, lips against his throat.

*

Graduation comes and goes, Derek sitting between the sheriff and Mrs. McCall in the audience. Lydia and Stiles tie for valedictorian, and so they both give vastly different speeches, Lydia going for serious and quoting Winston Churchill, while Stiles makes his light-hearted with a slightly maudlin ending that Scott teases him about afterwards.

That night, they decide to go to Jungle to celebrate.

“I don’t understand why we’re going to a gay club when we’re not even gay,” Scott says while they’re getting ready at the loft. “Well, except Stiles, of course.”

“I’m bi, dude,” Stiles calls from the other side of the room where he’s working on a bedhead spikey look with gel that’s only being halfway cooperative.

“None of us are looking to hook up,” Allison explains as she pulls on a pair of boots over pants that Stiles is pretty sure were painted on.

“And they play the best music in town,” Lydia says.

“Plus, all the guys are smokin hot,” Erica adds, beside Stiles at the mirror applying even more black eyeliner.

Stiles doesn’t hear the rest of the pack’s bickering because at that moment he catches Derek coming down the spiral staircase, and everything else in the room fades away.

Derek’s wearing black jeans that may be tighter than Allison’s pants, and a plain white v-neck t-shirt, his hair tousled perfectly. If Stiles wasn’t so turned on, he would be pissed because he’d been working on his own hair for like ten minutes and it still looked terrible.

Derek catches his eyes and indicates his clothes. “Is this okay? It’s simple, and I’m not sure about what to wear to a club.” He looks almost self-conscious.

Stiles tries to form words, but Erica beats him to it. She spins around, red lipstick in her fingers. “Derek, ohmigod. If every guy in that club doesn’t want to fuck you, it’s the end of the world.”

Stiles notices Derek’s ears burn pink. “You’re perfect,” he blurts.

“Way to keep him guessing, Stiles,” Erica mutters, patting Stiles on the shoulder as she turns back to her reflection.

“You’re coming with us?” Scott asks.

“I didn’t know you knew how to have fun,” Jackson says as he enters from the bathroom looking like he just stepped off a runway. Stiles really hates that guy sometimes.

“If that’s okay,” Derek says, “that I come along.”

“Please, if you don’t Stiles will just get drunk and whine about you not being there all night, so he’ll sit in the corner and text you and you’ll show up anyway,” Lydia says. “So we just assumed it.”

“You can hang out with us, Derek,” Boyd says, hand landing on Derek’s shoulder.

Stiles finally gets his wits about him and crosses over to where Derek is standing. He rakes his eyes over Derek, lingering a moment at his crotch in those jeans that Stiles is pretty sure came straight from heaven. His eyes meander over Derek’s chest and shoulders in the thin t-shirt before finally meeting his eyes. Derek’s eyes are shining, his expression looking as hungry as Stiles’, and Stiles doesn’t know why because jeans and a graphic tee? Not the sexiest look ever, but he has no misconceptions about being a sex god. He’s just apparently dating one.

“You can’t leave my side,” Stiles says, “because some gorgeous chiseled dude is going to try and take you away from me, and I’d at least like to try to put up a fight before someone steals you away.”

Derek reaches out and grabs Stiles’ hip, pulling him close. “Pretty sure I’ve got to watch you, too,” Derek says against his lips.

“We need to leave before Stiles and Derek start fucking on the floor,” Jackson says as he heads for the door. They ignore him and keep kissing.

*

The lights flash overhead, bright lasers of green and blue and purple, and Stiles’ eyes follow them as they cascade over the throng of people dancing to the deep dubstep beats radiating underneath his feet. Scott is saying something in his ear, but he can’t hear it over the vibration, the vibration that he feels in his toes all the way up to his throat.

Being drunk just makes it all more intense.

He’s dancing in a group with Scott, Isaac, Allison, Danny, two guys he doesn’t know, and Erica. He’s already kissed Erica and Danny, and after Scott finishes talking, Isaac loops an arm around his neck and kisses Stiles. Isaac’s lips are wet and taste weird – Peter’s special werewolf alcohol, he’s guessing – and then Isaac kisses Allison before Allison turns and then kisses him. She tastes of whiskey like Stiles does, and it occurs to him that he just kissed his best friend’s girlfriend, and his best friend’s pseudo-boyfriend? – and really Stiles is way too drunk to try to think about that. He thinks maybe he should just kiss Scott too, for symmetry and all that, because Stiles is the kind of guy who likes symmetry even if that means kissing Scott. Stiles looks at Scott, but they just start laughing, and then Scott kisses one of Danny’s friends, and the other kisses Stiles.

He’s kissed a lot of people tonight. If the music wasn’t so loud, he’d ask Erica if she put something in his drink because the pack got drunk pretty fast and has been hanging all over each other and kissing and groping in different combinations for the past hour. Erica may have put a spell on them – a pack flirting spell where they all kiss and grope, so he asks her. She throws her head back and laughs before pulling him to her and kissing him again, with a little more tongue than she used last time.

“No, Stiles. We’re just drunk, young, hot as fuck, and just graduated.” She grins wolfishly, and Stiles stares at her wondering how no one just figures out they’re all werewolves when they grin like that, because he can definitely see the wolf there. It’s probably a sex wolf, just waiting to pounce on something and fuck it. Which means he probably needs to move away before he either ends up with her sex wolf goo on him when she explodes on someone else or gets caught himself in her sex wolf claws. Hey, he doesn’t know what kind of sex life Boyd and Erica has; and if Scott, Mr. Allison-is-the-only-person-I’ll-ever-talk-about-again-we’ve-already-named-our-ridiculously-cute-gradchildren, can end up in a threeway, there’s no fucking telling what Erica would do. That bitch is cray-cray, Stiles knows this first hand. And while kissing her was fun in a “hey-I’m-drunk-and-obviously-a-bit-horny” kinda way, and he likes staring at her cleavage – like, a lot – he has no desire to like have sex with her or anything.

“Stiles?” Allison snaps her fingers in front of his face. “You still with us?” She giggles and stumbles into Isaac.

Stiles blinks, and tries to remember what he was thinking about. And hey, where’s Derek? He kinda needs to run his hands over those massive biceps right now. It should be his new routine. Once an hour he just runs his hands over them. And maybe licks them. It could be like eating. Except hotter. And with Derek. Well, he eats with Derek, because Derek is a nice boyfriend and takes him to dinner – but not nearly enough, and that is so gonna change because Stiles ain’t giving it up for free, and yes, he probably would because Derek, hello, but still, he deserves to go to a fucking Applebees and have his boyfriend (with no job, his dad’s voice echoes in his head) pay for him some mozzarella sticks –
sometimes they order in, though, Stiles’ subconscious reminds him in defense of Derek.

Wait – what is happening? The music was changing and someone grabs him around the waist and he starts dancing. He notices it’s Danny’s friend from earlier, the one who kissed him, and his hands were moving all around him, and he’s pretty sure that Derek is not going to be happy. And so he probably won’t take him to get mozzarella sticks, which he so wants right now. His eyes scan the crowd, and he zeros in on Lydia, who currently is sandwiched between Boyd and Jackson, and that was definitely Boyd and Lydia kissing. And Stiles is nothing if not a masochist, and it’s graduation, Carpe Diem or some other maudlin shit.

He’s gonna seize the day. So to speak.

Stiles pulls away from the guy who still had his arms around him (and what the fuck was up with that? What would Captain No Shirt with the perfect blonde curls want with him anyway?) and stalks over to Lydia. Boyd and Jackson look at him as Lydia lifts her face, and he motions her closer with his finger. Her eyes are a bit glassy because she’d shared shots straight from the bottle of Jack with Stiles and Allison earlier. When she takes a couple steps away from Jackson and Boyd, Stiles grabs her arm and pulls her close to him, and kisses her.

When they part, she looks at him, shocked. He leans close to her ear and says, “I’ve wanted to do that since the third grade. And now I have.” He pulls back, grinning at her, and she rolls her eyes and tugs him close.

“I would have kissed you way before graduation night, you idiot.” She pecks his cheek and pulls back with a drunken smile before stumbling back to Jackson.

Stiles wants to find Derek. He wants to tell him he kissed Lydia and about Erica’s sex wolf and hell, it’d been way too long since he’d seen him, and damn him, he was probably off somewhere screwing some hot guy like Captain No Shirt and buying him mozzarella sticks because Derek was perfect and this was a gay club and Derek was kinda gay (at least Stiles-gay, which Stiles still hadn’t quite figured out yet because he’s like the last person anyone would want regardless of sexual orientation) and Stiles shouldn’t have let him out of his sight but there’d been alcohol and a song he really liked and his friends and then they were all kissing and dancing together and it was just so fun. And Stiles had had a really bad year and he needed some fun.

Man, he was drunk. His rambling was getting even him confused.

He pushes through the dense crowd, ignoring a few guys who try to talk to him, and finally spies Derek along the far wall. He’s leaning against the counter, looking so fuckable Stiles feels his cock start to stir, until he catches sight of the guy chatting Derek up. He knew he should have never left Derek alone.

Derek catches his gaze and holds it until Stiles stops right in front of him. He reaches out and slides his hand up Derek’s chest, and then, because he can, leans forward and licks the skin visible above the deep V of Derek’s t-shirt.

“Hey!” the guy says, “I was here first.” He turns his nose up at Stiles like he’s not worth breathing the same air.

Stiles turns as Derek glares at the guy and says, “I’ve already told you to get lost.” He puts a possessive arm around Stiles’ hips.

Stiles gets an idea, holds up a finger, and leaves Derek for a moment. He returns with Danny in tow. “Danny, this is Derek. Derek, Danny.” Derek doesn’t look murderous, and instead, nods politely, and Stiles is proud of him. Then Stiles turns to the guy, who’s looking at him like Stiles stole Derek from him. “Danny, this is Derek’s friend…” He looks at Derek and Derek shrugs.

“Mark,” the guy (apparently Mark) answers.

“Danny, Mark.” Danny glances at him, and Stiles winks. He leans close and whispers, “You said if Derek had any friends…” Danny grins and turns to the guy.

As they walk away, Derek leans close and says to Danny, “Apparently, he likes to be tied up.” Danny glances at Derek with wide eyes as Derek steps onto the dance floor and pulls Stiles impossibly close to him. Stiles rests his hands on Derek’s hips while Derek’s arms go around his neck, hands immediately in Stiles’ hair.

“How did you know that?” Stiles asks.

“He told me. You know he’s not my friend,” Derek says against Stiles’ cheek, his breath hot and slightly sweet.

“Are you drunk?” Stiles asks, trying to get a better look at Derek’s eyes.

“A little.” Stiles stares at him, and his eyes are indeed a bit glassy and unfocused. Derek’s eyebrows furrow with his typical pinched irritation. “You’re all drunk.”

“And if we all jumped off a bridge…”

“Shut up.” Derek kisses him then, sloppy and open-mouthed and mostly tongue. Stiles doesn’t mind. “You taste like everyone else.”

“I kissed Lydia!” Stiles exclaims.

“I saw.” Derek’s dropping kisses all over Stiles’ cheeks and neck, wiping his hands all over Stiles’ shirt, and Stiles likes that Derek’s trying to make him smell more like himself even though no one but the pack can smell it. It’s kinda turning him on.

“It wasn’t how I always imagined it,” Stiles continues without missing a beat, Derek’s hands now underneath his shirt and rubbing along his skin. He feels the tempo shift as the song changes, and he moves his hips closer to Derek’s. “You’re not mad, are you? Cause I kissed like, everyone. Will you buy me mozzarella sticks anyway?” Derek pulls back and looks at Stiles like he’s spoken in Russian or something.

“I know,” Derek says finally, nipping at Stiles’ chin. “I’ve only watched you since we got here. I saw everything.”

“That’s both hot and creepy, Derek. You know, you’re kind of a creepster.”

“Really?” Derek asks, licking the sweat from the side of Stiles’ neck. Stiles loses all thought and rubs himself with a little more intent against Derek’s crotch. “I saw those guys hitting on you.” He bites the side of Stiles’ neck.

“Oh, Captain No Shirt. Yeah, he was weird. He was all arms around me like we were actually dancing or something. It was weird,” he says again.

“He wanted to fuck you,” Derek says, pulling away so Stiles can see his eyes flash red for a moment. “I could smell the arousal oozing from him across the room. Actually,” Derek says, glancing around with normal eyes, “you could fuck just about half this room if you wanted to.”

“Well,” Stiles says, hands sliding low to grip Derek’s ass, “there’s only one guy in here I want to fuck. I just don’t know if he’ll want to fuck me since the whole room wants to fuck him, too.”

Derek grins, eyes red again. “All mine,” he growls, burying his face against Stiles’ neck. Stiles moves his sprained hand – not sprained any more, but still a bit tender – up so he can wiggle a few fingers inside the top of Derek’s jeans (which is pretty impossible since his jeans are so tight) and then moves the other hand between their bodies to cup Derek’s cock. Derek bites the chord in his neck and they move like that to the music for a moment, Stiles massaging Derek through his jeans and Derek licking and sucking his neck.

“We need to go,” Derek says against his ear, voice so husky it should be illegal.

“Sure,” Stiles says, pulling back just enough to look at Derek. “But first.” Stiles pops the button on Derek’s jeans through the hole and shoves his hand inside. Derek’s eyes go wide as Stiles grabs his cock and starts jacking him off awkwardly, but apparently enough that Derek’s eyes start to droop. “You’re so fucking hot,” Stiles whispers as he watches Derek’s face contort in desire.

“You know there are people all around us,” Derek says, trying to be reasonable.

Stiles glances around at the large group of bodies around them. “No one can see us, the crowd’s too thick. Plus, there’s no way we’re the only ones doing this.” Stiles slides his other hand underneath the front of Derek’s shirt and tweaks a nipple at the same time he swipes his thumb across the head of Derek’s cock. Derek’s eyes close and his face goes slack, and Stiles kisses his mouth but then pulls back to watch as he circles a few more swirls around the crown and then Derek comes over his hand.

Stiles wipes his hand on Derek’s shirt, but Derek grabs his hand and holds it up to Stiles’ mouth, and Stiles lick a bit of the remaining come from his fingers before Derek kisses him as he rebuttons his jeans.

“We’re getting out of here now,” Derek says against his mouth, and grabs his hand to lead him through the crowd. He contemplates telling the others bye, but he sees Isaac, Allison, and Scott pressed together and making out, Jackson and Lydia dancing together in the crowd, and doesn’t see Boyd and Erica anywhere. Oh well, he thinks. Peter offered to come pick them up if they needed him (since Derek blamed him for supporting their drunken behavior anyway by providing the betas with alcohol) and the club had a large taxi line outside, so he figures they’d be pretty safe.

Derek tugs him to the Camaro, parked in the lot beside the club, and pushes him up against the side. He kisses him fiercely, hungry and demanding, and Stiles forgets they’re standing outside until they hear someone whistle. Stiles pulls away, embarrassed.

“You’re not driving home, mister. You are drunk.”

“Thanks, officer,” Derek drawls.

“Sheriff’s son. It’s embedded into my DNA.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “I’m not an idiot, Stiles. I just need to grab my cell phone. I accidentally left it in there. It must have fallen out of my pocket.”

“I don’t think it was ever in your pocket. There’s no way it could fit.” Stiles grins, and Derek kisses him again. His hands are underneath Stiles’ shirt, playing along his skin, when Stiles hears the loud sound of someone clearing their throat. He ignores it, as does Derek if his further exploration of Stiles’ torso and mouth is any indication, until a deep voice says, “Break it up, boys.”

He moves away from Derek, who latches his mouth to Stiles’ neck, and is horrified when over Derek’s shoulder he sees his dad standing beside the cruiser. He’s dressed in his uniform, which means he’s dealing with Sheriff Stilinski, not Dad, while drunk, underage, and with a drunk, extremely handsy, extremely horny werewolf molesting him in the parking lot of a gay club. Oh yeah, he also has a hard on, great.

“Dad!” Stiles squeaks, and Derek glances over his shoulder and just bursts into laughter as he collapses against Stiles. Both Stiles and his dad stare at him, which seems to make Derek laugh even harder. “You. Are. Not. Helping!” Stiles hisses. Derek just keeps laughing.

“I’ve never seen him laugh before,” the sheriff says thoughtfully. “I didn’t think he could.”

“Um, what are you doing here?” Stiles asks as Derek slumps against him, laughs dying but by no means stopping.

“Get in the cruiser, Stiles,” he sighs. “You too, Derek. You’re obviously in no state to drive home.”

Derek stands up, seeming to gain control of himself, and says, “Yes sir. Stiles has already given me the speech. I’m glad you’re doing your job by keeping Beacon Hills safe.” When Derek walks by the sheriff, he claps him on the shoulder. Stiles stares after him, shaking his head. Was Derek rambling drunkenly to his dad? This would be awesome if he wasn’t about to be arrested.

“Come on, Stiles.” His dad motions with his head. “Now.”

Stiles sighs in defeat and climbs into the back of the cruiser, trying desperately to ignore the group of people watching and snickering. This just better not end up on the internet. When he drops into the backseat, Derek looks at him and stifles a laugh.

“You’re the worst drunk ever,” Stiles says, and Derek just keeps laughing.

“You know, I imagined he’d be a mean drunk,” the sheriff says as he closes the door and buckles himself.

“Dad, what are you doing here?” Stiles asks again, rubbing his eyes as Derek starts nosing his neck. He tries to push him away, but two-hundred pounds of drunken werewolf strength makes it futile. Stiles just sighs and lets Derek do what he wants.

“Deputy Barker called me and told me I might want to get over to Jungle since my underage son was obviously drunk and being mauled on the side of a black Camaro.” The sheriff glances over his shoulder, looking disapprovingly at Derek who was humming contently against Stiles’ neck. He wasn’t doing anything except pressing his face against the skin, and Stiles thanked the stars for small miracles.

“Um, sorry?” Stiles offers as Derek growls quietly in the back of his throat, his hand going underneath Stiles’ shirt. “It’s graduation, Dad.” He shrugs.

The sheriff sighs. “I’m aware of that, as is Deputy Barker, which is why he called me to take you home instead of arresting you and Derek. Which I should do, just on principle.” He turns around and starts the car. “Derek, I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t molest my son in the backseat of my cruiser.”

Derek sits up suddenly, looking around confused. “What’s going on?”

Stiles rolls his eyes, his drunken buzz quickly being killed. “How drunk are you, Derek?”

Derek rubs his head and drop back against the seat. “I don’t get drunk often.”

“You don’t say,” the sheriff pipes up from the front. Derek cracks an eye open.

“Are you going to arrest me again?” Derek asks.

The sheriff actually laughs. Stiles figures he’s not in too much trouble if his dad is laughing. “No, not this time. Consider it a graduation gift.”

“You’re the best, sir,” Derek slurs, snuggling back against Stiles. “Stiles is also the best. You’ve raised the best son ever. He obviously gets it from you because he’s the best. He has the best everything. The best heart, the best eyes, the best lips, the best hands – oh Stiles, I love your hands – and – “

“Derek!” Stiles interrupts manically, afraid what Derek might say in his current state. His dad’s looking at them in the rearview mirror with pinched disapproval. “Might want to shut the hell up.”

“But I love your hands, especially when they’re on me.”

“That’s nice to know.” In an attempt to distract Derek, Stiles waves his fingers in front of Derek’s face, and Derek grabs them and presses them against his face. The rest of the ride is quiet, Derek content to sit curled against Stiles, Stiles nervous his dad is going to throw him out of the house.

They pull up in front of Derek’s loft a few moments later. “Derek, hey, get up. You’re home.”

The sheriff puts the car into park and turns around. “Go with him.”

Stiles stares at him in shock. “But…you’re not mad at me? You don’t hate me for getting drunk in public even though I’m nineteen?”

“No. Consider it another graduation present.”

Stiles smiles and pushes Derek out of the cruiser. Derek stumbles towards the loft, but the sheriff rolls down the window and calls for Stiles.

“Be safe, yeah?” He looks at Stiles meaningfully, and Stiles groans.

“Dad! We’re so not there and that’s so not happening tonight.”

The sheriff looks at him incredulously. “Son, I wasn’t born yesterday. Those jeans Derek’s wearing don’t hide much, and I don’t think he’s been let in on the ‘so not happening’ part.” Stiles wants the earth to open up and swallow him, right here, in this spot. “Besides, I’m pretty sure something’s already happened. You have a little…” he waves his hand around, “on your shirt.” Stiles glances down at his shirt, and sure enough, there’s a bit of dried come on his shirt. Great. The sheriff looks at Stiles uncomfortably before laughing as he rolls up the window.

Stiles tries not to dwell on the burning embarrassment as he walks up the stairs to the loft. The door’s unlocked, and when Stiles closes it and locks it, he finds himself pushed against it by a very large body.

“I missed you,” Derek growls against his mouth.

“I was out there for like three seconds,” Stiles mumbles as Derek’s hands seem to be everywhere at once, and Stiles decides that’s okay.

“I’m drunk,” Derek murmurs, teeth dragging against Stiles’ Adam’s apple. “Your dad is going to hate me.”

“Pretty sure he thought you were funny. Though, he may be giving you the evil eye whenever he sees you touch me from now until we’re a hundred.”

Derek’s hands move under Stiles’ shirt, pulling it off as he latches his mouth onto one of Stiles’ nipples. Stiles sags back against the door, eyes falling shut as Derek sucks on the tiny bud. When he opens his eyes, he starts clawing at Derek’s shirt, deciding it needs to be off, too. Then, he pushes Derek’s shoulders down. Derek looks up at him through impossibly dark lashes, his face confused, lips red and swollen.

“On your knees,” Stiles croaks, his mouth dry. He doesn’t even care how ridiculous he sounds. “I want you to blow me.”

Derek complies quickly, on his knees with his hands on Stiles’ pants before Stiles can blink. Then his mouth is around his cock, and Stiles threads his fingers into Derek’s sweaty hair. Derek’s sucking him sloppily, lots of spit and tongue and lacking his usual control and finesse, but Stiles doesn’t care. He presses himself back against the door, glad it’s there to help hold him up, because otherwise he’d already be flat on his ass.

“Up,” Stiles demands a few minutes later, and Derek obeys, standing so Stiles can step around him and push him face first against the door. “God, you’re so fucking sexy,” Stiles murmurs, sinking his teeth into the back of Derek’s neck as he reaches around his body to unbutton his jeans. Dropping down, he tugs the jeans to Derek’s knees and then stands back up. He wedges his fingers between Derek’s thighs, where it’s hot and still damp from earlier, and so Stiles slips his cock into the tight space there.

“Fuck, Stiles,” Derek moans, forehead pressed against the door and Stiles fucks him, cock sliding into the friction of Derek’s legs. Stiles can feel his cock moving against the underside of Derek’s body, bumping against his balls and it’s so hot, so tight, and piercing through the edge of his hazy mind. Stiles grips Derek’s hips tightly and starts pumping his hips quickly, feeling the head of his cock move beyond the squeeze of Derek’s legs and then back between them. He leans his head forward and licks the line of Derek’s tattoo, the sweat salty on his tongue, as he feels his orgasm building deep in his belly. Derek starts moving his hips the opposite way of Stiles, and after a few more thrusts Stiles comes messily between Derek’s thighs.

Derek spins around and Stiles drops to his knees, taking Derek’s hard cock into his mouth. Derek grabs his head, his hips pistoning into Stiles’ mouth, and with a few rough thrusts, Derek comes over his tongue. Stiles swallows, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he stands. Derek is dazed, slumped against the door, naked except for the jeans tangled below his knees.

“I expected to at least make it to the bedroom before we started fucking,” Stiles says, laughing slightly. Derek looks sleepy, so Stiles bends down to tug his jeans up around his hips. “Let’s get some anti-hangover precaution and go to bed.”

*

They wake up, slightly hungover and tired. Stiles makes Derek lay in bed for a few hours after they wake up and do nothing but watch bad TV and talk. Then, they take a shower and manage to make it through with only quick handjobs before getting out and getting dressed. Stiles hadn’t planned on sleeping over, so he pulls on his jeans from the night before (thankfully unsoiled) and borrows one of Derek’s t-shirts, which makes Derek happier than it should, honestly. It takes a whole ten minutes for Derek to stop nuzzling him so they can make it downstairs.

There’s a note on the kitchen island from Peter saying that he drove Erica and Boyd home, Lydia and Jackson took a cab, and that Isaac, Scott, and Allison were in Isaac’s room. And when Stiles gets nosy and goes to peek inside, he does in fact find Scott and Allison sleeping with Isaac in his bed. When they walk outside, they find the Camaro parked in the parking lot.

Stiles insists that they take the Jeep to the diner down the street and eat greasy food that seems to help with the hangover enough that by the time they exit, they feel like human beings again. Back in the Jeep, Stiles hesitates.

“What?” Derek asks.

Stiles looks over at him and says, “I need to run an errand. You can come with me, or I can drop you back off at the loft.”

Derek shrugs as he slides on his sunglasses. “No sense in going back home when we’re already out. I don’t have any plans today.” Stiles nods, happy Derek is coming with him even though he doesn’t know where they’re going.

Stiles drives the familiar roads to the county cemetery. When he pulls into the narrow lane and stops his car, he looks over at Derek nervously. He’d wanted Derek to come with him so badly he hadn’t thought what it might be like for Derek to be here.

“We can leave if this makes you uncomfortable,” Stiles mutters quietly, hands flexing and unflexing on the steering wheel. Stiles stops when Derek places a hand over his.

“I’m fine, Stiles,” Derek says just as quietly, and Stiles looks up through his lashes. Derek’s looking at him with such affection and understanding that Stiles feels a bit breathless. He nods and gets out of the jeep.

He takes the new flower arrangement out of the back of the jeep and walks the well-worn path from the lane to his mother’s grave. It’s shaded by the large trees nearby, one in a long line of other similarly shaped stones.

When they get there, Stiles drops to his knees, and with great care, replaces the slightly faded flowers he and his dad had put on at the beginning of spring. Stiles opted for something summery this time, so he arranges the fake, silk sunflowers in the marble vase.

“Hey, Mom,” Stiles says, his voice heavy with emotion. He reaches forward and brushes some debris from her headstone and pulls up some of the longer grass growing right against the stone. His fingers trail over her name. “Sorry I missed Mother’s Day. It’s been a crazy few months. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Stiles laughs and starts rambling about the hag and the mare and the nightmares and school and falling in love with Derek. He forgets he’s not alone as he talks to her like usual, filling her in on everything that’s happened since the last time he’d come to talk to her.

“I graduated,” Stiles says as he stands up. “You’d have been really proud.” He feels his eyes dampen, but doesn’t care. “Dad was really proud. He cried, the big softie, couldn’t believe his son was valedictorian. He also cried when I went to prom. You probably would have, too. You’ll be happy to know that Dad wasn’t alone in the stands. He’s still not dating, but there are people who’ll be around to take care of him when I go to college.” Stiles glances over his shoulder then, and sees Derek standing about fifty feet away against a tree, giving him the space he thinks Stiles needs even though he can hear every word Stiles says. Stiles motions him over with his head, and when Derek reaches him, he laces his fingers with Stiles’.

“I bet you think this is stupid, don’t you?” Stiles asks, wiping at his eyes. “Talking to her like she’s listening or some shit.”

“I don’t think it’s stupid at all.” Derek squeezes Stiles’ hand. “I think it’s good that you come regularly. I’ve been to our family cemetery once since the fire, and that was only recently.”

“We come every few months,” Stiles explains. “Change the flowers. Dad usually just stands and doesn’t say anything, and then he goes home and drinks too much. When I started to drive, I came by myself to talk to her. I used to talk to her when I was smaller, but it made Dad too sad, so I stopped.” Stiles bends down and arranges a flower that wasn’t quite right. “I know she can’t hear me, but it makes me feel better. Like she’s somehow still part of my life.”

“You told her about werewolves, I see,” Derek says, smiling slightly. “Did she found out before your father?”

“Oh, I told her as soon as Scott was bitten,” Stiles grins.

“You just told her about me,” Derek says more quietly. Stiles looks over at him. “It felt like something I shouldn’t have heard.”

Stiles slides an arm around Derek’s waist and settles his head on his shoulder. “I wanted you to hear all of it. I’ve never shared this with anyone. No one, not Dad, Scott, no one knows that I do this. I wanted to share this with you.”

Derek turns his head and kisses the top of Stiles’ lightly. “Thank you,” he whispers.

*

A few days later, Stiles shows up at Derek’s loft early in the day. He brought his overnight bag, because even though Derek hadn’t said it point blank, the “hey Peter and Isaac are gone until tomorrow” text was pretty obvious.

Derek smiles at him almost shyly when he opens the door, and Stiles feels as awkward as Derek seems to look. Derek takes Stiles’ bag and carries it up to his room, and Stiles drops onto the couch.

When Derek comes back downstairs, he hovers at the foot of the staircase and Stiles says, “This is really awkward.”

“Yeah,” Derek laughs and sits beside Stiles on the couch. “Maybe we’re trying too hard? Or put too much pressure on it?”

“It’s not like we haven’t pretty much fucked in every other way,” Stiles says, messing with the hem of his shirt. “But still. It just feels weird.”

“Here,” Derek grabs the remote from the coffee table and turns on the TV. “Let’s just hang out. With no expectations. We’ll do what feels comfortable, no matter what that is.” He glances down at Stiles. “Okay?”

“Okay.”

They watch TV for a few hours, and slowly, the tension starts to leave Stiles’ body. As he’s leaning against Derek with Derek’s arm around his shoulders, he starts to laugh.

“What?”

Stiles turns his face into Derek’s armpit and keeps laughing. “It just struck me how ridiculous we’re being.” Stiles crawls into Derek’s lap, his knees planted on either side of his hips. “Like, why am I nervous about anything with you? It’s not like you haven’t seen everything this hot, irresistible body has to offer.” Derek rolls his eyes as Stiles grins. “And not like your fingers and tongue haven’t been everywhere already. What makes your dick any different?”

Derek settles his hands on Stiles’ hips and looks amused. “I’m content to do whatever with you, even just sitting on the couch.”

“Oh god, we’re sounding like Scott and Allison.” Stiles shakes his head. “We have to like have a drag out fight soon and then fuck to make up for it.”

“Stiles, you stormed out of the loft and didn’t talk to me for three hours yesterday because we couldn’t agree on what to order for dinner. I’m pretty sure fighting is our natural state.”

“Just because you’re always wrong,” Stiles says, which earns him a glare. “Plus, it’s more fun that way.” Stiles absently plays with the buttons on Derek’s Henley. “Do you think the long distance thing will work out? I mean, Berkley’s not that far, but it’s not like we’ll be seeing each other every weekend, let alone every day, and – “

“Hey!” Derek interrupts. Stiles glances up at him. “We’ll make it work. I can come see you when you’re busy.”

“Because you don’t have a job,” Stiles teases. Derek rolls his eyes.

“Plus, you’ll be rooming with Isaac, so I can see him, which will make us both feel better, and it’s not like Scott won’t be there every other day anyway since you, Isaac, and Allison will all be there.”

“Yeah,” Stiles says. “He’ll probably be there more than at UCLA.”

“And we can take road trips down there when you have time to see him, Erica, and Boyd.” Derek pecks him on the lips lightly. “It will work out. I promise.”

“I’m going to miss you,” Stiles says, fingers curling into the front of Derek’s shirt. “What if you meet someone else?”

“In Beacon Hills?” Derek asks incredulously, eyebrows inching up his forehead.

“Someone could move in. Or, since you’re working with that new pack and are going to be meeting with others throughout the fall, you might meet some stunning werewolf.”

“Stiles,” Derek huffs out in exasperation. “How many times do I have to tell you I’m not interested in anyone but you? Besides,” Derek says, fingers disappearing under Stiles’ shirt, “you’re going to be surrounded by all sorts of attractive, smart co-eds. Who says you’re the one who has to worry?”

Stiles grins a lopsided grin. “Are you jealous?”

“No, I’m practical.”

“You’re jealous,” Stiles whispers as he leans closer. “Derek,” he says seriously, foreheads together, “even if you didn’t look like you do, like perfection walking, I wouldn’t want anyone else. I thought you were hot the moment I met you, but I didn’t fall in love with you until much later.” He presses his hand against Derek’s chest. “And believe me, it had nothing to do with the way you look.”

Derek smiles in what looks like relief and kisses Stiles. When they part, Stiles says, “You’ll keep an eye on my dad, right? Make sure he’s not working too much and goes out of the house occasionally?”

“Of course,” Derek says.

“You could always start working for him, you know,” Stiles suggests with a sly grin. “I mean, you two basically work together now. You could be their supernatural consultant, and you could get paid. It’d make him happy since you’d have a job, and you’d have something to look forward to instead of just sitting around in a lonely house.”

“Peter will still be around.”

Stiles purses his lips. “You need more company than Uncle Creepy.” Stiles starts playing with the hem of Derek’s shirt. “You and my dad could look after each other, and Scott’s mom too, and that way I won’t worry so much.”

“You’ll do that anyway,” Derek says against his mouth before he kisses him. They’re done talking then, and they kiss like that on the couch for awhile. When they break apart, Derek looks up at Stiles questioningly, and Stiles nods.

They kiss all the way to the bathroom, and take their time removing each other’s clothes before stepping into the shower. They wash each other, never more than a few teasing touches, saving all the good stuff for later. Stiles washes Derek’s hair, and Derek washes Stiles everywhere, from under his arms to behind his balls and between his cheeks. Then Stiles does the same to Derek, but they get slightly sidetracked when Derek pushes Stiles against the shower wall and they kiss and rut until they’re breathless and pull away reluctantly.

On the bed, they kiss for awhile more, Stiles stretched out on top of Derek, as their hands lazily spread over each other’s body.

“Are we doing this?” Stiles asks as he lifts his head and looks down into Derek’s face, so open and honest as he looks up at him. Stiles pats his flat hair, soft under his palm.

“We’re doing this.”

“Can I do something first?”

Derek’s brows knit in confusion but definite interest as he nods. Stiles gently nudges Derek’s shoulders, and Derek turns over onto his stomach, his head cradled on his arms. Stiles kisses all along his neck, his shoulders, then drags his tongue methodically over the tattoo on Derek’s back. Derek sighs in contentment as Stiles works over his skin, mapping the curves and ink with his tongue.

Stiles then drops kisses down his back and hips, places a couple on the round globes of Derek’s ass, then kisses his thighs before licking behind each of his knees. “Stiles,” Derek moans. “You’re driving me crazy.”

“Good,” Stiles replies before dragging his tongue up the inside of one of his thighs and then licking his balls lying between his legs. Nervously, Stiles drags a tentative finger between Derek’s cheeks. Derek muffles a sound against his arm. “Can I?”

“Yes,” Derek croaks out. “You can do anything you want, Stiles.”

Stiles drops a kiss to the back of Derek’s leg before hooking his fingers between Derek’s asscheeks and spreading him wide. Derek makes a low growl in the back of his throat, and Stiles just stares at Derek exposed before him. It‘s odd, staring at Derek like this, and Stiles’ brain has to catch up with itself before he leans down and swipes his tongue across his hole. Derek moans loudly, maybe louder than Stiles has ever heard him moan before, so he does it again just to hear the sound. But then Stiles is licking because he likes it, because he likes being this close to Derek, likes feeling him contracting against his tongue, likes tasting him. He experiments, uses just the tip of his tongue to trace the tight ring of muscle, then presses the flat of his tongue against all of it. He licks back and forth from Derek’s balls to his hole, and only seems to come out of his focused attention when he hears Derek, and he’s whining.

“Is this okay?” Stiles asks suddenly, afraid his one-track ideas maybe weren’t okay, but Derek cranes his head over his shoulder, eyes burning bright red, fangs peeking from between his lips.

“Yes,” Derek says, voice animalistic and desperate.

Stiles tries not to feel too pleased with himself as he goes back to licking and kissing Derek’s asshole, which is relaxing just enough for Stiles to poke his tongue in just a bit. Derek makes a sound above him somewhere between a growl and a whine, and then Stiles pulls away because his tongue is starting to tire and he grabs the bottle of lube lying beside Derek’s foot and pours some on his finger. Carefully, he slides the digit inside, and Derek is so tight around him, contracting around the intrusion, his toes curling into the comforter beside Stiles. Derek’s muttering nonsense above him, half-growls and endearments and filthy things he promises to do to Stiles as Stiles slowly slides his finger in and out.

“I want you to come,” Stiles says. Derek glances back over his shoulder, eyes still red as he looks at him questioningly. “We have all day and night. I want to make you come with my finger inside you.”

“Fuck,” Derek growls, dropping his head back to the bed as Stiles fucks him a little faster, licking Derek’s opening around his finger as he works it. Stiles adds another finger, stretching Derek gently, and twists his wrists to try and find Derek’s prostate. He’s pretty sure he finds it when Derek moans loudly again, so Stiles concentrates on that, as he slides his body up Derek’s back, tongue licking from the top of his crack all the way up his spine. His other hand slides along Derek’s side and then Stiles presses himself flush against Derek’s back, fingers still fucking deep inside him. Stiles wiggles his hand between Derek’s body and the bed, and wraps his other hand around Derek’s cock. He can’t move his hand because of Derek’s weight, but it doesn’t matter because Derek comes immediately with a shout, contracting almost painfully around Stiles’ fingers.

When he’s finished, Stiles remains draped on his back, hands sliding in Derek’s damp hair as he drops light kisses across his shoulder, neck, side of his face.

Ten minutes pass before Derek cracks open one eye. “What was that?” he asks, voice hoarse.

“Me, rocking your world.” Stiles grins smugly and angles his head over his shoulder to kiss Derek’s mouth. The kiss is lazy and sloppy, Derek barely moving his mouth. “I think I broke you.”

“Just maybe,” Derek says. “This was supposed to be your first time. It was supposed to be all about you.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Stiles responds, toes dragging along the back of Derek’s calf. “This is all about me. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Sometimes, I like to do things to you, too, you know. Like to make you moan, like to please you. It’s a two-way relationship that way.” He kisses between Derek’s shoulder blades. “Lucky for you.”

“Absolutely fucking lucky for me,” Derek says, voice starting to return to normal. “I have the greatest boyfriend in the world. You should do that all the time.”

“Really?”

Derek cracks his eye open again. “I thought I made it pretty clear how much I enjoyed it.”

Stiles stares thoughtfully at Derek’s arm as he drags his fingers along the rounded muscles of his biceps and triceps. “I wasn’t sure if that was okay,” he admits. “I mean, we never discussed things like tops and bottoms, and you’re an Alpha, and – “

Stiles is cut off when Derek rolls over, come dried on his stomach. But he ignores that for now, and instead pulls Stiles on top of him before clasping his hands together on the small of Stiles’ back.

“Stiles,” Derek starts seriously, and Stiles is momentarily distracted by how content and well-fucked he looks, and it’s the sexiest thing he’s ever seen, and he did that. He put that look on his face. Derek seems to sense his distraction because he waits until Stiles focuses on the conversation again. “I love you, and I want you. Was I planning on topping you today? Yes. But that’s negotiable. I want to be inside you so bad I can barely stand it.” Stiles blushes furiously at that, and Derek drags the back of his fingers against his heated cheeks. “But I want to feel you buried deep inside me, too. I want to connect with you in every way possible. But if you only want to do one or the other, I’ll do that, too.” He trails his thumb over Stiles’ bottom lip. “Yes, I’m the Alpha, but having sex with you? With my mate? That’s something different.” Derek drops his head to the side, exposing his neck. Stiles stares down at it wide-eyed. “I trust you with my life, Stiles. I love you.”

Stiles leans down and kisses the taut line of Derek’s neck, then bites it gently. Derek growls, his arms around Stiles tightening. Stiles licks the spot, and then looks up at Derek in a panic. “We’re not, like, werewolf married now, or anything, right?”

Derek chuckles. “No. It just means I’m yours as long as you’ll have me.”

“Or until you tire of my annoying charm.”

Derek flips them so Stiles is on his back. “Never gonna happen.” They start kissing again then, and soon they’re rutting against each other. “You sure about this?” Derek asks, and Stiles glares at him.

“Stop asking me.” Stiles holds Derek’s face between his hands. “All that stuff you just said to me? I feel the same. I want you, Derek, inside me, outside me, in my jeep, in my bed, sitting beside me on the couch, eating dinner with my father, answering my drunk texts when I go to frat parties and drink too much, sending me sad ‘I miss you’ texts every day, happy reunion kisses, fights about stupid shit, getting moody for no reason, helping you through the bad nights, waiting for you to come back from a run on the full moon, standing by your side the next time some big bad rolls through town – I want all of it with you.”

Something shifts on Derek’s face, like for the first time he’s getting what Stiles has been trying to tell him for like ever. Derek kisses him again, his fingers fumbling blindly with the lube as he coats his fingers. Stiles feels a finger touch his opening, and his cock twitches in response, and Derek slides the first finger inside, then the second and third. He’s twisting his fingers, scissoring them open as he prepares Stiles, and now that this was happening, Stiles aches with anticipation. But he’s also nervous; he’s watched a lot of porn in his life, but he’s not exactly sure what to expect.

Derek is patient, probably too patient, and Stiles is rutting against him and moaning, and he wants to feel anything, and he claws at Derek’s back and tries not to sound too needy when he mumbles, “Derek, please” around his tongue, trying desperately to talk without losing contact with Derek’s mouth.

Derek lifts himself up and takes one of Stiles’ legs and hooks it over his shoulder. He looks down at Stiles, his eyes bright with desire. Stiles curls his fingers around Derek’s bicep and notices Derek looks as nervous as he feels. “This is your first time, too, isn’t it?” Stiles asks. “With a guy, I mean,” he adds.

Derek nods as he swallows, and Stiles follows the bob of his Adam’s apple with his eyes. Stiles meets Derek’s eyes again, and he smiles softly. “I kinda like the idea of that.” He feels his cheeks flush, and Derek leans down and kisses him.

“Remember to breathe,” Derek instructs, and Stiles nods his head. Derek moves his hips, and Stiles feels the tip of his cock against his entrance, and he’s suddenly nervous again. But then he catches Derek’s eyes, and everything but his desire and need for Derek melts away.

Derek pushes forward, slowly pushing against the ring of muscle, and Stiles’ eyes begin to water. He blinks and breathes, just like Derek said, and some of the pain subsides. And then Derek is inside him, and sliding deeper with every second, and it burns as Derek stretches him, and he wants to pull away, but he doesn’t want Derek out of him. He breathes and Derek pauses, his thumb brushing tenderly against Stiles’ cheek, and Stiles can see the same excited anticipation he feels reflected on Derek’s face. For some reason, the thought that Derek is as excited about this as he is makes him happy.

Derek slowly and deliberately finishes pushing inside Stiles, his entire body shaking as he waits for Stiles to adjust. It looks like it’s taking a lot of restraint for Derek to hold back as Derek slides his hand across Stiles’ shoulder, down his arm, and picks up Stiles’ hand, threading their fingers together.

“You okay there?” Stiles asks, going for joking and light-hearted, but it comes out more serious than he intended.

Derek nods, body hovering above his, face mere inches from his own, and Stiles lifts up to close the distance between their mouths. Stiles feels like he is going to explode from the inside out. Derek fills him completely, and although it’s painful, it’s also giving way to pleasure. When they break the kiss, Derek’s brows crease in question, and Stiles nods, and so Derek slides out and back into him, setting up a slow rhythm. The longer Derek fucks him, the more used to the feeling his body gets, and he finds himself moving with him.

After a few minutes, Derek’s thrusts begin to come faster, and soft moans escape Stiles’ lips. Every pore in his body explodes with pleasure each time Derek thrusts into him. His leg slides off Derek’s slick shoulder, and he braces his heels on the bed, while Derek leans closer and kisses him. He moves their still entwined fingers above Stiles’ head, holding himself up. The angle of Derek’s movements feels different, and Stiles’ cock is trapped between their bodies. His hand goes to grab it, but Derek swats his hand away and wraps the fingers of his free hand around it. Derek’s hand is unable to move much between their bellies, his fingers uncoordinated on Stiles’ cock, but the sensation combined with Derek inside him is too much. Stiles comes, his entire body tensing and releasing as it is consumed by Derek. He keens, not paying attention to the noises that come out of his mouth as he rides out his orgasm, Derek’s cock sliding in and out of him like a constant, soothing tempo. Stiles’ body sags into the bed as he begins coming down from his orgasm, his breathing quick and body covered in sweat.

Derek whispers, “turn over” as he helps Stiles flip over onto his knees. Stiles’ entire body is trembling, and Derek holds onto Stiles with an arm around his waist. Although he’s just come, it feels good when Derek thrusts his cock back inside. Stiles likes the feel of Derek inside him, and never wants it to end. Derek places a kiss to the back of Stiles’ neck and grips Stiles’ hip roughly, fingers digging deeply into his flesh, as his thrusts come fast and erratic. Then he halts as he comes, buried deep inside Stiles’, moaning lowly before they both collapse on the bed.

They remain like that for a few moments, their breathing slowly returning to normal. Derek places kisses across Stiles’ neck and shoulders, and Stiles smiles against the pillow. Derek lifts himself just a bit, enough to kiss and lick his way down Stiles’ back, placing kisses everywhere his mouth can reach. Stiles hums happily, his entire consciousness trained on where Derek’s mouth brushes against him next. He is content, warm, sated, and exhausted.

Stiles whines when Derek makes him stand up, but Derek kisses him as he cleans him with a towel, wiping both their stomachs and cocks before gently cleaning between Stiles’ cheeks. Stiles leans against Derek’s solid body, a little sore as Derek cleans him, legs still a bit shaky and his body drained. Derek kisses him again before telling him to lean against the dresser as he fits the bed with clean sheets. Stiles doesn’t even wait for him to finish putting on the top sheet before he collapses face first on the bed.

After Derek finishes the bed, he curls against Stiles’ side. “How was that?” Derek asks.

Stiles opens his eyes, lying face to face with Derek, Derek’s bright hazel eyes staring at him so close. “It was amazing,” Stiles says. “You’re amazing, but you knew that.” Derek smiles, and from this close, Stiles can only tell from the crinkles in the corner of his eyes.

“It was pretty great.” Derek leans forward and noses his neck happily as Stiles runs his fingers through his damp hair.

“I have a question.” Derek hums his response against his skin. “Did you, like, google stuff to do? Because – I’m not questioning your sexual prowess or anything – but some of the things we’ve been doing seem a little creative.”

Derek moves his head back, and Stiles brushes his fingers against the hair pushed flat against his forehead. “Are you complaining?”

“Fuck no,” Stiles answers, “I just think it’s hilarious and cute that you googled gay sex tips.” Derek’s ears turn pink, and Stiles grabs his head and smashes their lips into a kiss. “It’s kinda sweet,” Stiles says when he lets go. “Maybe I’ll do some googling of my own. Or, better yet, there’s a lot of porn I’ve watched, and there are a few things I’ve always wanted to try…”

Derek shakes his head. “Can’t you be happy with what we just did?”

Stiles nods emphatically. “Oh, I’m very happy. Actually, I plan to keep being very happy. Multiple times before we go to bed. And hopefully a few times tomorrow.”

Derek laughs. “I may need to make a protein shake.”

“I didn’t think I’d have to worry about your werewolf stamina,” Stiles pokes his shoulder.

Derek grabs him around the waist and rolls them onto Stiles’ back and rocks their hips together. Stiles moans when he feels Derek’s half-hard cock. “Oh, I meant for you.”

“Asshole.” Derek grins. “I’m definitely up for another round, but maybe after a short nap.” Stiles closes his eyes and Derek settles his weight comfortably on Stiles, face nuzzled into the crook of his neck.

*

“I’m going to miss this,” Stiles says as he scoops up a ball and whips the crosse through the air. Scott easily catches the ball before it sails into the goal.

“What? Losing?” Scott grins and sends the ball back to Stiles.

“No, this. Lacrosse. Me and you.” Stiles shrugs. “Everything’s changing, man. It’s kinda weird.”

“Things aren’t changing that much,” Scott says, leaning on his crosse. “You’re not going that far away. No one is. You’ll be at Berkley with Isaac and Allison, I’ll be at UCLA with Erica and Boyd, Jackson’s going to Stanford, and Lydia’s going to CalTech. We’ll all be really close.”

“I know.” Stiles kicks the ball with his foot. “It’s just…this year sucked. I mean, yeah, we did some fun stuff, and I got with Derek and all, but I feel like I missed out on my senior year, and now we’re all going away, and what if I break up with Derek because our long distance relationship won’t work, or you break up with Allison or Isaac, or Jackson and Lydia break up, or Boyd gets drafted to the NFL and ends up playing for a team in like Asia, or someone joins a new pack or – “

“Stiles!” Scott cuts in, and Stiles looks up and is surprised to see that Scott has come out of the goal and is now standing right in front of him. “Chill, dude. The summer’s just begun and you’re already emo and written us all off.”

Stiles grins. “When did you get so smart, huh? Must have been some time while I was preoccupied by the mare, must have been.”

Scott pretends to be mad and tackles Stiles to the ground. They roll around on the ground wrestling for a few moments before just lying flat on their backs, laughing and staring up at the sky.

“I’ve missed you, man,” Stiles says.

“You’re the one who spends all his time with Derek.”

“Need I remind you of the last few years. One word: Allison.”

“Now you know how I feel,” Scott says, grinning as he looks over at Stiles. “It’s kinda awesome, isn’t it?”

Stiles laughs and nods. “Yeah, it really is.” He pauses, then says, “We had sex finally. Me and Derek.”

“I figured you didn’t mean someone else.”

“Shut up, dick.”

“How was it?”

“Fantastic.”

Scott lifts up on his elbows and looks over at Stiles. “I’m happy for you, dude.”

“You’re not gonna give me shit for it?”

Scott shrugs. “I still don’t know how comfortable I will ever be thinking about Derek’s dick,” he shudders, “but as long as you’re happy, I’m happy. You two make a good pair.”

“Thanks,” Stiles says. “I did it first, right? Have a sex with a dude? You and Isaac haven’t, because I’ll be really pissed if my best friend in the weird wolfy three way went all the way with a dude before me…”

Scott rolls his eyes. “No.”

Stiles fistpumps the air. “All right! I win.” Scott rolls his eyes again and kicks Stiles in the shins.

“We have to have weekly gaming nights,” Scott says as he gets up. He extends a hand and helps Stiles to his feet.

“And carve out at least a bit of Scott/Stiles time when you come visit Allison and Isaac.”

“Or when we go home and you see Derek.”

“Right.” Stiles nods and looks at Scott seriously. “Dude, we’re going to college. It’s fucking insane.”

“I know.” Scott’s pocket vibrates then and he pulls it out. “It’s Allison. We’re late for the bar-b-queue.”

They throw their lacrosse gear in the back of the jeep and go across town to Scott’s house, where the pack and some of their family are gathered for a celebratory cookout. When Stiles enters the backyard, he sees his dad manning the grill while Melissa talks to Lydia and Erica’s mom. Lydia, Allison, Boyd, and Isaac are playing cards on a picnic table, Derek’s drinking a beer and talking to Boyd’s grandmother, and Jackson and Erica are playing badminton, but keep hitting the birdies too hard. Chris Argent joins them a few minutes later, carrying a bowl of macaroni salad and looking slightly uncomfortable. Allison jumps up and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

“You okay?” Derek asks when he comes up to Stiles a few minutes later. He slides his arm around Stiles’ waist and kisses his temple.

“Yeah,” Stiles answers, looking around the scene with a smile. His dad and Chris are at the grill, arguing about something, and Melissa steps between them and settles whatever dispute they had. “Yeah, I’m great.”

*

Derek opened his eyes and looked around the familiar sight of Stiles’ room. He thought it was an odd place to start dreamwalking. When he sat up, he saw Lydia and Allison sitting anxiously on the floor.

“It didn’t work,” Derek barked, standing up and glancing at the bed where Stiles, Scott, and Erica were laid out, and the floor where Boyd, Jackson, and Isaac were. Wait, no. Isaac was blinking up at him. It didn’t work for him either. “What happened?”

“I don’t know,” Lydia said, glancing at the prostrate bodies. “Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone.”

Stiles jerked then as he mumbled something, and some of the Betas did the same. Derek rounded on Lydia, eyes red and fangs extended.

“You messed up the potion,” he roared. “You need to fix it right this fucking second! I have got to get in there!”

Erica and Jackson growled in their sleep, and everyone’s attention turned to that. “Lydia,” Derek growled again.

“Look!” Lydia yelled, getting right against Derek’s chest and looking up at him, finger pointed. He bared his teeth, but it didn’t faze her. “You’re not the only one with their boyfriend in there, fighting that mare. I’m just as fucking scared as you. And you’re also not the only one who cares about Stiles! So, I get that you’re the Alpha and freaking the fuck out because you can’t be there to protect your boyfriend and your pack, but you really need to calm the fuck down!” she yelled, her voice at screeching volume by the time she finished.

Derek glared at her and growled, but took a deep breath and went to stand beside Isaac. “Dude, she told you,” Isaac said.

“Shut up,” Derek barked.

They saw the blood on Boyd, oozing from under his shirt, and Allison yelled at Lydia to wake him up. Boyd opened his eyes and looked around disoriented.

“What’s happening?” Derek yelled, and Boyd touched his chest, lifted his shirt to see the already healing wound.

“They’re fighting the mare.”

Derek paced back and forth, every scenario scrolling through his mind as he waited for something. He could feel the fear and anxiety emanating from the sleeping forms, but he felt helpless. He wasn’t sure if the mare could kill Stiles in his sleep, but he was terrified it would happen.

And then Lydia woke up Jackson when black sludge started pouring from his shoulder, and he came to shouting, “That fucker shot me! He shot me with a fucking wolfsbane bullet!” And Derek laughed then, because Jackson was okay, the wound not transferring as badly into consciousness, and because Stiles was still okay.

But then Stiles was struggling in his sleep, then he screamed, his arm moving oddly. “Wake him up!” Derek yelled.

“He said not to wake him up unless he was dying,” Boyd said.

“I don’t care!”

“Derek, he made me promise.” Derek huffed out a frantic breath and watched as Stiles twitched, the fear and panic rising.

And then Stiles jerked awake, a disfigured body with tangled black hair appearing on top of him. Derek grabbed what he guessed was the mare, and when he got a good look at it, realized it was dead.

“I killed it,” Stiles said. “I did it, she’s dead.” The relief came off Stiles in waves, and after Derek dealt with the mare, Derek dropped by his side.

“Are you okay?” Derek touched every part of Stiles he could – his face, his chest, his arms – just to make sure he was alive and okay. The conversation he had with Stiles after that was a blur, his mind repeating He’s alive. Stiles is alive.

Then Derek placed his hands on Stiles and pulled the pain from his body. It hurt as it transferred into his own veins, and Derek didn’t want to think about Stiles feeling that much pain.

But as Derek kissed Stiles, he realized that pain meant Stiles was alive, and Stiles was alive because he killed the mare. Stiles was alive. He was warm against him, squirming on the bed, talkative on the way to Deaton’s, and solid later that night in Derek’s arms.

Derek hadn’t been there to protect Stiles, but the pack had been there, and ultimately, Stiles had taken care of himself. And although his wolf whined because he wanted to protect Stiles, something inside him felt relieved because he knew that Stiles could take care of himself.

*

EPILOGUE

Stiles jerks awake, his body broken out in a cold sweat as his heart pounds loudly in his ears. The terror grips him, leaving him paralyzed for a few moments before the images leave his head and he starts to recover.

With a shaking hand, he turns on the lamp and grabs the iPad from the nightstand so he can skype Derek. He waits impatiently for Derek to connect on the other end. After a few moments, Derek’s face comes on screen, eyes half-closed with sleep and hair messy like he had his face pressed into the pillow.

“Hey,” Stiles says as Derek seems to get his iPad situated where he was sitting in bed. Stiles gets a lot of video of the camera spinning around the room as Derek moves.

“You haven’t had a nightmare in awhile,” Derek says, yawning as he rubs his eyes.

“I know,” Stiles replies. “I’m sorry I called so late.”

“How many times have I told you not to apologize?” Stiles can see Derek’s disapproving glare even through the screen. “What did you dream this time?”

Stiles shrugs. “I don’t remember much.”

“You’re rubbing your wrist again,” Derek says softly. Stiles looks down to where he is, indeed, rubbing his wrist absently. “Were you tied up?”

“Yeah. Being tortured. Same old mare shit.” Stiles sighs and runs a hand through his messy hair. “It’s been a year, and I’m still having nightmares.”

“But they’re coming less frequently,” Derek points out. “You haven’t called me like this since right after you got back from winter break.”

“Still.”

“Deaton said it was nothing to worry about, just normal nightmares because of what you went through. No mares, no hags, nothing but plain old dreams.

“I know,” Stiles says, staring at Derek and missing him like crazy. He never thought it would be so hard being away from him, even though they usually see each other at least every other weekend. “How’re things in Beacon Hills?”

“Since I talked to you two days ago?” Derek laughs.

“Shut up, it’s late and I don’t want to hang up yet.”

“You know how I texted you about that house I was looking at?” Stiles nods. “I’m going back to look at it again. I want your opinion next time you’re home. I think it’s big enough for all the pack whenever they want to stay over, and it’s in the woods so we can run on the full moon.”

“Sounds awesome. I can’t wait to see it.”

“It’s a bit of a fixer upper, and really cheap. But I thought it could give me something to do. Your dad told me he could help me with some of the labor if I needed it.”

“You told my dad about this house before you told me?” Stiles asks, half-jealous and half-affectionate.

“We had lunch yesterday. I had just gotten finished looking at it.”

“I think it’d be good for Dad to help you.” Stiles nods his head for emphasis. “I wish you’d been at Boyd’s game last night.”

“I felt like I was. You, Isaac, and Erica texted me through the entire thing,” Derek grumps, though Stiles can tell he loves it.

“He’s pretty badass. There’s all sort of buzz around him. Erica tried to explain college football and NFL drafts to me, but I don’t like football. Lacrosse all the way, baby.”

“And baseball,” Derek adds.

“Mets all the way!”

“Idiot.”

“Shut up.”

“Are you okay?” Derek asks seriously.

“Yeah, I think so. Talking to you helped.” He smiles. “Scott’s spending the night tonight, so I think I’m going to go crawl into bed with him, Isaac, and Allison after I hang up with you.”

“Good, I’m glad you’re not alone.”

“Have you heard if Jackson is coming home next weekend?” Stiles asks. “Lydia texted me and said she was coming.”

“He said he’s trying. I think he may just skip whatever commitments he has. He hasn’t been home since Christmas break, and he’s feeling a bit edgy,” Derek explains.

“We’ve been too busy this semester,” Stiles sighs. “It’ll be nice to have the whole pack together. Scott and Isaac have been spending more and more time together the last few weeks.”

“The full moon’s next weekend, too, so I think it’ll be good for him to go running with us,” Derek says. “It’ll be good for all of us.”

“Are you saying you miss us?” Stiles grins.

“That’s a dumb question. You know I miss all of you when you’re not around.”

“An Beta-less Alpha. Who do you boss around? Little old ladies at the grocery store?”

“You’re a dick,” Derek says.

“I miss you, too.” Stiles sighs. “I miss you a lot.”

“Seeing you every two weeks isn’t enough,” Derek says. “You always come home smelling like other people.”

“I know,” Stiles rolls his eyes. “We spend the first twenty minutes with you scenting me again.”

“Shut up, you love it.”

“Guilty, I guess.” Derek smiles, and Stiles glances at the clock.

“I should try and get some sleep. I have an eleven o’clock class in the morning, but I’d still not like to stay up all night.”

“You sure you’re okay?” Derek asks again.

Stiles nods. “Talking to you always makes me feel better.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Stiles signs off, then slips out of bed and walks down the hall to Isaac’s room. When he opens the door, he sees Scott sprawled on his back, his hand on Allison’s hip, who’s in the middle of the bed facing him, and Isaac wrapped around her back. Stiles pads over to the side of the bed and taps Scott on the shoulder.

“Scoot over, bed hog,” he mumbles.

Allison stirs awake and sits up, and she shakes Scott. “Scott, wake up. Stiles can’t get in.”

“What’s going on?” Isaac sits up, gold eyes scanning the room. “Another nightmare?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, crawling in bed beside Scott. Allison and Isaac reach over and touch Stiles as Scott noses his hair.

“Okay, buddy?” Scott asks sleepily.

Stiles curls onto his side, Scott’s arm and leg pressing against his back, Allison’s hand resting on his arm, Isaac’s soft snores already filling the room, and Derek’s voice still in his head. “Yeah, I’m okay.”

-fin