“I don’t understand why your sister hangs out with Stilinski,” Jackson said as he slid into the lunch table next to Lydia, his eyes on the table in the corner where Stiles Stilinski sat with Cora, Scott McCall, and Allison Argent. “She’s hot, she could hang out with way better people.”
Derek’s voice was practically a growl when he replied, “Don’t talk about my sister Jackass.”
He looked over his shoulder and saw Cora with her head thrown back in a laugh at something Stiles had said. He hadn’t been listening to what they were saying over in the corner but when he looked over he saw Stiles was holding back a smile, something most people wouldn’t notice, but Derek did because he may have spent some time studying Stiles, not that he would ever admit that.
Stiles had changed a lot since high school started. He had been an awkward kid who laughed too loudly and was second in their class until his dad died at the end of sophomore year. Stiles, who now wore leather jackets and black jeans with motorcycle boots and obscure band shirts, who was covered in tattoos, who had a lip ring and a scar that went from his left temple through his eyebrow from an incident he refused to talk about. He was Beacon Hill’s resident bad boy these days, a reputation that he had gained in the two years since his dad died in the line of duty and seemed to wear with pride.
As if he could feel Derek’s gaze on him, Stiles turned around and winked at him. Derek turned around quickly and tried to focus on the conversation at his table, but he could hear Stiles say, “See something you like Hale?”
“Stiles don’t torture my brother, he’s already suffering enough because he sits with Jackson,” Cora said and Derek heard Stiles laugh, a musical sound that he didn’t hear often, but when he did it made him smile.
“Are you coming to the pack meeting tonight?” Derek heard Cora ask Stiles and probably the table at large since Scott had joined the Hale pack after he was bit by a rogue alpha and Allison had somehow become the official Argent liaison at only 18.
“I have to work, but I’ll be there after,” Scott said cheerfully. To most people it was a wonder that he and Stiles stayed so close after everything that had changed, but to anyone who knew the two boys, it was obvious they were more like brother’s than friends, “And I’m picking Allison up.”
Derek peaked over his shoulder again, Stiles was stretching, his arms over his head pulled his tight black shirt up, revealing a strip of his pale back that was overlain with complex tattoos. “Yeah I have to talk to Talia about the fucking fairies in the preserve anyway,” Stiles said when he finished stretching.
The bell rang, pulling Derek back to his table. He grabbed his bag and said goodbye before walking out of the cafeteria, his letterman jacking in his arms. As he walked toward his English classroom he heard familiar heavy footsteps behind him, “What do you want Stiles.”
“Can’t a fella say hi to the starting shortstop for the Cyclones without an ulterior motive?” Stiles said as he came up even with Derek and smirked at him, his brown eyes alight with something like mischief.
Derek stopped and looked at Stiles, he had gotten a new tattoo since the last time Derek saw him, it was peaking out of the v-neck he was wearing, it looked like a black vine crawling across his shoulder down his collarbone. “What do you want?”
“Impatient,” Stiles said with a wide smile that was all teeth, “Just wanted to see if you wanted to come into the woods after school, we can play big bad wolf and little red.”
“I have practice,” Derek said, willing his ears to not turn red. He pulled his eyes away from Stiles’ lips and saw the smirk reach Stiles’ eyes.
“Ah, another time then,” Stiles said with a wink as he walked toward his class. It was a surprise to everyone that Stiles hadn’t just dropped out of school when he turned 18. He had been living on his own since he was 16 and had emancipated himself. He had told Derek that living with the McCalls had been fine, but he wasn’t the family type if it wasn’t his dad. Derek knew Stiles well enough to know that he was going to graduate because it was what his parents would have wanted. He had told Derek once, while he was drunk off his ass and wandering out the preserve, that once he graduated from high school he hoped he would stop feeling like a disappointment to his parent’s memories.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Derek called, looking around to make sure no one had seen them. He didn’t care much about his reputation, but Jackson was already unbearable, he would be even worse if he thought that Derek was pining for Stiles. He had already tried to get Danny and Derek together because they were both out of the closet, though Derek was bisexual, not gay.
“I would never,” Stiles said with another wink at Derek and a mock salute.
Derek watched as Stiles walked away, his ass swinging in a way that made Derek wonder if Stiles knew he was watching and how he felt about him.
The thing about Derek was, on the outside he really did appear to be a stereotypical high school jock. He was the star of the baseball team, he had been the star wide receiver on the football time, he was going to college with a full ride for baseball, he hung out with the other jocks, and he wasn’t dumb by any standard, but he focused most of his energy on sports. But under all that, he was a lot more, he loved animals, which surprised no one in his family but most of his friends didn’t know about it, and on top of all that, he’s a werewolf.
“Head in the game Hale,” Coach yelled as Derek nearly missed a ground ball that was hit right to him for fielding practice.
“Sorry Coach!” He called after he fielded the ball. He needed to get his head in the game because because the playoffs were coming up, but he couldn’t stop thinking about Stiles doing something stupid in the woods by himself.
Jackson turned on the pitcher's mound and said, “Thinking about Stilinski’s ass Hale?”
“Fuck off Jackson,” Derek spit back, stretching before Jackson turned and threw another pitch. It went wide and Danny hand to reach to get it, “Head in the game Jackson, are you thinking about your car?”
Jackson flipped Derek off and he laughed as they continued with practice.
Derek got home just in time for the pack meeting that night, his hair still damp from the shower, and his baseball bag slung over his shoulder. “Ah good, you’re here.” Talia said as Derek dropped his bag near the door and made his way to the living room where the rest of the pack was already gathered.
“Where’s Stiles?” He heard himself ask before he could stop it. Cora gave him a knowing look and a flash of worry dashed across Scott’s face.
“He said he had something to take care of before he came over,” Scott said, giving away nothing in his voice, but he was starting to smell like anxiety.
“What was he taking care of Scott?” Talia asked, alpha seeping into her voice in a way that made Derek want to answer.
“Just something,” Scott said with a whine, “He didn’t tell me.”
Derek groaned internally and steadied himself to tell his mom that Stiles had asked him to do something in the woods earlier that day, but was saved by the sound of Stiles motorcycle racing up the driveway. A minute later Stiles limped into the living room, his shirt was torn across his chest and there was a bruise blossoming on his cheek.
“What the fuck Stiles,” Cora said before Derek could speak, but she summed up what he was feeling perfectly. The worry in her voice was evident even through the anger.
“Language Cora,” Talia said, then added, “But I agree with the sentiment. What happened to you Stiles?”
“Just some fairies, don’t worry they’ve been taken care of.” Stiles said, lowering himself onto the couch next to Derek and exhaling in relief when he was off his leg.
“You were going to talk to mom about them today,” Derek said, trying to glare at Stiles, but his words came out more concerned than angry, “Why’d you go at it alone?”
“I was just out there to get some wild berries for a spell, I was ambushed,” Stiles said and there was no lie in his heartbeat, “I wanted back up just in case this happened, but someone had baseball and someone else had boxing and someone else had to work.”
“This is why we never go alone into fairy infested wilderness,” Peter mused from the chair he was sitting in, “I could have backed you up.”
“Hard pass,” Stiles said, he had shed his jacket and was examining the cuts on his chest, they weren’t deep, but there were several of them. Derek got up and got the first aid kit they kept for the few human members of the pack and motioned for Stiles to take his shirt off so he could patch him up. “Is that all it takes for me to get you to touch me? I shoulda gotten myself attacked by the fairy court sooner.”
“Shut up Stiles,” Derek said, ears burning as he applied antiseptic to the cuts. They were still bleeding a little and he wanted to make sure Stiles didn’t lose any more blood than he had to.
“I’m just saying, I think they did something to my thigh, I can take my pants off too if you want to examine it,” Stiles said, his voice low but they were in a room full of werewolves who could hear everything that was being said and how it was effecting Derek’s heart rate.
Talia cleared her throat, “We’ll be talking later Mr. Stilinski.”
“Sure thing oh alpha my alpha,” Stiles said, wincing at Derek dabbed at his cuts with rubbing alcohol.
The rest of the meeting passed without any dramatic events. The pack was planning a trip down to Sacramento for Derek’s playoff series and they had been granted permission from the Martinez pack to stay at their compound. The Hill Pack in Seattle was sending a representative to visit them to learn about how to deal with vampires. Laura would be back from college in a month and she was bringing her human boyfriend who didn’t know about werewolves yet.
By the time the meeting was over Derek could practically feel Stiles itching to leave, “Stiles, stick around and talk to me. Derek you come too.”
“You’re in tro-uble,” Cora whispered to Derek as he helped Stiles to his feet and made his way to Talia’s soundproof office.
As soon as the door was closed Talia turned on Stiles, “Never pull something like that again.”
“It was an honest mistake,” Stiles said with a shrug and then a wince.
“Bullshit,” Derek said. He squatted down in front of Stiles to finished bandaging him up, his hands felt hot on Stiles’ skin as he worked. He had never seen Stiles without a shirt before, he had a few scars along his abs and back from incidents he hadn’t told the pack about. His back was covered in tattoos, in black vines and runes all intertwined, connected by a tree trunk that went up his spine. Derek had to stop himself from running his hand over them.
“No more going into the woods alone,” Talia said, no alpha in her voice now, just motherly concern that made Stiles smell of misery.
“It’s cool,” Stiles said with a forced smile, “No one would miss me anyway. Can i borrow a shirt to get home, as sexy as the leather jacket without a shirt is, it’s still a little cold outside.”
“We’re going to talk about this later Stiles,” Talia said, running a hand through Stiles’ hair like she so often did to Derek.
“Sure thing,” Stiles said, sounding defeated, then he turned to Derek, “A shirt?”
Derek nodded and jogged up to his room where he grabbed the first clean shirt he saw. Stiles laughed when he saw it, it was one of Derek’s old baseball shirts, his name and number on the back, the sleeves red and the rest of the shirt white. The front said Cyclones on it in big letters, “Just my style,” Stiles said with a laugh.
“Oh shut up,” Derek said, handing Stiles his jacket from the couch, “Call me if you need anything.”
“Will do big guy,” Stiles said as he pulled his jacket on and half strut, half limped to his motorcycle before swinging his good leg over and kicked off with a wave to Derek as he did.
Derek made his way back into the house and Talia called, “Derek, can you come back in here for a minute.”
His heart sank, he had a feeling he was about to get chewed out for not telling her that Stiles was in the woods. He took a steadying breath and walked back into the office where his mom was still sitting. “You know we think of Stiles like family, we always have.”
He nodded, it was true. Stiles had been in his life long before he left his graphic tee shirts behind, long before Scott was bitten, long before Stiles mother had died. Claudia Stilinski had been Talia’s best friend, her confidant, and her emissary before she had died. “You know it’s okay if you date him, we wouldn’t let anything that happened between you two effect his place in the pack and in our family.”
“What?” Derek said, his heart was pounding in his chest. Was he that obvious about his feelings? “I don’t want to date Stiles.”
She smiled and cupped his cheek, “Sweetie, it’s abundantly clear that you both have more than friendly feelings for each other. Just know we support you in whatever you choose.”
“You don’t think it’s a bad idea?” Derek asked, flopping onto the arm chair.
“I think Stiles is a brilliant young man who has taken all of the pain in his life and turned it inside of himself. He’s covered his skin with warpaint for a battle that he’s been fighting on his own, I think you two are suited well for each other,” Talia said with a soft smile. “We’ll support you in anything you choose.”
Derek nodded, feeling a little light headed as he thought about what his mom had just said, “I have homework.”
“Go do it then,” Talia said with a laugh.
He slept poorly that night, tossing and turning while he thought about feelings for Stiles. But it was more than that, he couldn’t help but think about what his mom had said about Stiles covering himself in warpaint for a war that he had been fighting on his own. Stiles shouldn't feel alone, not when he had so many people loved him, but then he thought about how he would feel if he had lost his entire family and he understood.
The next day at school Derek walked out of his calc class to find Stiles and Jackson standing in the hallway, almost nose to nose. “What did you sneak into Hale’s locker and take his shirt? He’d never give it to you.”
“Fuck off Whittemore you don’t know anything about my life,” Stiles spit back. Derek could feel the anger coming off of him from where he stood down the hall and without even telling his legs to move he was walking toward them.
“I bet you jerk it to the thought of Hale in the locker room, but that’s the closest you’ll ever get to him, he has standards and you’re just a wanna be James Dean with your leather jacket and sob story. No one would care if-” Jackson broke off as Stiles pushed him against the lockers.
Derek could see the tattoo on Stiles’ back start to glow slightly, it probably wasn’t visible to human eyes but he didn’t want to risk it. He also didn’t want to risk Stiles getting suspended for fighting Jackson over a stupid shirt. He wrapped his arms around Stiles’ waist and pulled him away from Jackson, “Don’t fight me Stiles.”
“Oh I see how it is,” Jackson said with a nasty smile at Stiles and Derek, “You are fucking him. Go on Hale, deal with your fucktoy.”
He didn’t respond, he just half carried, half dragged Stiles toward an empty classroom and shut the door. “What was that?”
“That was normal,” Stiles said with a shrug once Derek had let him go, “Jackson and I get into half fights at least once a week.”
“You’re tattoos were glowing,” Derek said, stepping toward Stiles and pulling at the collar of his shirt. He tried not to think about what it mean that Stiles was wearing his shirt today even though he could have changed into his own.
“Oh, uh,” Stiles ran a hand through his already messy hair, “They’re kind of connected to my spark. My magic.”
“You have magic tattoos,” Derek said, letting his hand fall away from Stiles.
“You grow fangs and mutton chops,” Stiles shot back, stepping closer to Derek so Derek could smell nothing but Stiles.
“You’re more powerful than you let on,” Derek said, “You’re a mage, not just a spark.”
“Just a little bit,” Stiles said with a shrug and then a wince.
“Let me see your cut,” Derek said, pulling the hem of Stiles’ shirt up and looking at the bandage. He ran his hand over Stiles sides, up to ribs, his thumb grazing over the bandage. “This looks like it’s healing.”
Stiles nodded, making a noise in this throat and then he put his hands on Derek’s shoulders, “I’m going to do something either very brave or very stupid.”
“Okay Harry Potter,” Derek said, his hands still on Stiles’ skin.
Without any preamble Stiles leaned in and kissed him. His lips were soft and dry, his hands moved up to Derek’s neck, pulling him closer and Derek yielded to him, let himself be kissed and moved to where Stiles wanted him. His hands moved down Stiles’ sides to his hips and he held on for dear life as Stiles slipped his tongue into Derek’s mouth.
Derek felt his legs hit a desk and he slid onto it, his legs spread and Stiles stepped between them eagerly. Stiles’ hands were in Derek’s hair now and Derek groaned as Stiles bit his lower lip and he could feel himself getting hard. Stiles moved his hands down Derek’s neck to his shoulders and pushed his letterman jacket off so that he could get his hands on Derek’s muscular arms.
“Fuck,” Derek breathed as Stiles nipped at his ear, “Fuck Stiles.”
“I like when you say my name like that,” Stiles murmured into Derek’s ear, his hands trailing down Derek’s back.
Before Derek could reply the door to the classroom swung open and Coach walked in. “Really Hale? Take it somewhere private. Jesus Christ why did I quit drinking?”
Derek was bright red as he and Stiles walked out of the classroom, “So, somewhere more private?”
“I can’t cut school Stiles,” Derek said and Stiles laughed, a real, full body laugh.
“Sure you can, you don’t have practice tonight,” Stiles said, grabbing his hand and pulling him out of the building. “Come on, live a little.”
Derek just laughed and Stiles took that as a yes. Before he knew what was happening he was on the back of Stiles motorcycle, holding on for dear life. Stiles drove them toward the preserve, they were heading to a clearing that had a few picnic tables and a small covered area. Derek had found Stiles in that same spot after his dad had died, drunk off his ass and throwing rocks at trees. He seemed better now, more like the Stiles Derek had known most of his life, but still different.
They both got off the bike and Stiles said, “before we get down to any more funny business, I need to tell you that I’m in this Hale, I’m in it for as long as you’re stupid enough to have me.”
“Me too,” Derek said, stepping closer to Stiles and pulling him in to kiss him lightly on the lips. “We should probably go on a date before we do anything else.”
“What? No funny business?” Stiles asked with a pout that made Derek laugh.
“Maybe later, first I’ll buy you lunch.” Derek said, kissing him again and smiling to himself.
“Buy me lunch after,” Stiles said, kissing Derek again and slipping his tongue into his mouth in a way that made Derek forget all about food.
An hour later found them sitting on a picnic table, lips red and swollen from kissing, “It’s cold,” Derek said, putting his arm around Stiles and pulling him close to him for warmth.
“I got this,” Stiles said, rubbing his hands together. When he pulled them apart there was a small ball of fire where there should have been just air. Stiles smiled at the look of awe on Derek’s face, “Magic.”
“Magic,” Derek muttered, then leaned forward and kissed Stiles again, “You can really do magic.”
“Yeah,” Stiles said with a laugh, “If only I could magic us some food. All that making out made me hungry.”
“Let’s go get lunch,” Derek said, standing up. Stiles followed behind him, extinguishing the flame between his hands and zipping his leather jacket up.
They ended up at a diner on the outskirts of Beacon Hills and Derek laughed at their reflections as they walked in. There was Stiles in his leather jacket with torn up black jeans and heavy boots, his hair a mess, tattoos making their way up his neck, and reflective sunglasses, he was the picture of every boy every mother had told their daughter to avoid. Then there was Derek in his letterman jacket, his hair just slightly tousled from the helmet, his jeans free of any rips, his knock off Ray Bans pushed up onto his head. On the outside should have been opposites, people whose paths never crossed, but instead Derek found himself looking down a path that he and Stiles would walk down together hand in hand, probably stopping to make out every few hundred feet.