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“Stupid, stupid, stupid keys,” Stiles muttered, fumbling what must have been his third attempt to fit the key in the keyhole.  “Stop distracting me,” he mumbled over his shoulder.

Derek only pressed himself closer to Stiles’ back, and damn the bastard but Stiles could feel his smile, beard scraping deliciously as he nuzzled along Stiles’ neck.  Derek’s arms came up, caging Stiles in between his body and the door, enfolding him in heat and leather, and Stiles practically felt his brain short circuit.

He gave up on the keys for the moment, letting them fall from his nerveless fingers so he could press both palms flat to the door.  He pushed back into the hard warm line of Derek’s body, letting his head fall back to grant Derek greater access to his neck.  Stiles felt Derek’s rumble of approval resonate through his whole body, making him shiver.  Christ, he had never known his neck was so sensitive, but right now he felt about five minutes away from coming just from the prickle of Derek’s beard and the warmth of his mouth where he seemed to be doing his damnedest to suck the mother of all hickeys into Stiles’ skin.

“Derek,” Stiles tried to protest, but the name transmuted into a sound that should have been frankly illegal as Stiles felt Derek’s teeth scrape over the mark he had made.  “I have neighbors,” he finally managed to choke out as Derek’s hand skimmed under the hem of his shirt, rubbing a slow, gentle circle onto his belly that somehow seemed more obscene than anything Stiles had ever had done to his dick.

Derek eased back and Stiles felt suddenly bereft.  He needed those hands and that body back on him right the fuck now, and what had he been protesting about again?

He turned around, a jolt of heat sizzling through him at the way Derek looked.  Previously, Stiles would have considered himself an expert in how Derek looked.  After all, in the three months of surreptitiously watching him in the coffee shop they both frequented (It’s not stalking if you both just happen to be there every day, Scott!) before Stiles got up the courage to ask him out, he had seen Derek looking tired and frustrated and stressed, and on a few magical occasions even mildly pleased.  

Then there had been four weeks of increasingly more frequent dates — awkward conversation that had gradually grown easier until by tonight’s date they were up half the night talking, the sexual tension between them ratcheting ever higher until finally Stiles had invited Derek home with him.  Over the course of those four incredible weeks, Stiles had broken past Derek’s shyness (Who would have ever guessed that Derek’s Resting Murder Face was 98% social anxiety?) and had seen Derek smile more, and even laugh.  He had never seen this look, though — Derek’s lips pink and kiss-swollen, his pale, mesmerizing eyes heavy-lidded and languorous.

It was too much, and Stiles was only human (Well, more or less — shut up brain, I’m busy).  With another strangled sound he pulled Derek closer, arms winding around his neck, capturing his mouth with greedy lips.  Derek came readily, kissing Stiles back almost desperately, as if he could learn him from the inside out.  Derek’s big hands snuck under Stiles’ thighs to hike him up effortlessly against the door, and Stiles had never known that manhandling was a kink either but how strong was Derek exactly, and could they even fuck up against a wall like this?

As if in answer to his unspoken question Derek rolled his hips, a leisurely hard grind that made Stiles gasp with the pleasure-pain of the friction.  

“D-Derek,” Stiles stuttered out as Derek started a slow and dirty rhythm, the hard line of his cock in his jeans hitting Stiles’ just right, and Christ but Stiles was about to come in his pants and this was just embarrassing

“Stiles,” Derek rumbled, smiling wolfishly, and oh God that wasn’t helping at all, the man’s sexyness was practically a lethal weapon, and Stiles gave up, his thighs tightening around Derek’s waist, flexing to grind back as hard as he could, giving himself over entirely to Derek’s rhythm.

Another low grumble of approval reverberated through his body, and Derek’s big hands slid up Stiles’ sides, and then up his arms to lace their fingers together, pinning Stiles’ hands up against the door.  They were both gasping open-mouthed against each other's lips, every sinuous roll of Derek’s hips sending shocks of pleasure through Stiles, and he was so close, so close ...

And then suddenly he was falling, legs slipping from around Derek’s waist as Derek unexpectedly jolted back.  Stiles stumbled, only Derek’s hands keeping him from sliding to the floor, but then those were gone as well.  Derek untangled his fingers and pushed free abruptly as Stiles barely got his shaky legs below him in time to stay upright, grasping for the doorknob to keep his balance.

“Wha? —” Stiles started, but the word froze on his lips.  Derek was turning half away but not before Stiles caught a glimpse of his face.

Derek’s beautiful eyes were wide in a suddenly pale face, shoulders hunched protectively as he shoved trembling hands into his pockets, before his gaze grew shuttered and distant as if a switch had been flipped.

Stiles felt chilled to the bone, the warm haze of lust evaporating as if it had never happened.  He pressed his lips together to keep himself from saying whatever stupid thing was bubbling up in his throat.  Probably something completely embarrassing, begging Derek not to go when from the look in his eyes he was already gone.

“I — I have to go,” Derek mumbled, his chin lifting with determination but his eyes not quite meeting Stiles’.  “I — I’ll catch up with you tomorrow, okay?”

“Yeah.”  Stiles’ voice sounded as rough and raw as he felt.  He could feel the bitter twist of his lips, a reflection of all the humiliation and disappointment welling up in his belly.  “I get it.”

Derek looked confused for a split second but he was already turning away.  “I — I’ll —” he rasped, before apparently giving up.  He half-shrugged and then walked away, disappearing down the stairwell, the clatter of his steps just a little too fast to be casual.

Stiles leaned his head back against the door, squeezing his eyes shut tight to keep back the hot tears he could feel prickling behind his eyelids.  He pulled in a shaky breath, letting it out slowly before swallowing down the lump in his throat.

He leaned down to pick up his keys, his whole body feeling tired and achy.  This time he fit the key into the hole with no problem.  He closed and locked the door behind him, looking around his apartment with dull eyes.  It looked just as pathetic as he was — broken down and bedraggled, a mess of books piled all over the place.  

Stiles sank down onto the saggy, threadbare couch, pulling the old quilt his mom had made over his legs.  “Fuck,” he muttered, drawing his knees up to his forehead and burying his face in the familiar, musty cotton.   “Fuck!”

His ears popped, a hint of ozone curling through the air, and when Stiles resignedly lifted his head all of the walls of his apartment had changed color — now mottled a dark purplish-black like a coming storm, the perfect match to Stiles’ despairing mood.   Just great.

Stiles thought about gathering the energy to reverse what he had inadvertently done, and almost immediately abandoned the notion.  He’d fix it later.  It’s not like anyone else would be seeing the inside of his apartment now, anyway.  He might as well give up now and add “Forever Alone” to his myriad tattoos.

He fished his phone out of his pocket and bit his lip, debating.  Finally he pressed the Facetime button.  It rang for quite awhile before Scott’s bleary face suddenly appeared out of the gloom, the image jumping and swaying as he moved from the bedroom to the living room of his house.

Stiles waited until Scott was settled on his own couch, the thickness in his throat returning at the look of concern on Scott’s face.  “Hey, Scotty,” he managed.  “Sorry to wake you up.”

“Bro, what happened?” Scott asked, his brows furrowing even more.  “You look —”

Stiles managed a hollow laugh as Scott cut himself off, apparently trying not to make Stiles feel worse by telling him how awful he looked.  As if that were even possible.

“I went out with Derek again tonight.”

“The coffee shop guy?  I thought it was going —”  Scott’s concerned face suddenly sharpened, his eyes glowing red.  “Did he hurt you?” he snarled, the words coming out lispy around his elongating fangs.

“Relax, dude.  Nothing like that.  Although I appreciate your chivalry, you can put the wolf-face away.”  Stiles pulled in a deep breath, letting it out on a shaky sigh.  “It’s just that — things were going so well.  We went out for dinner and talked for hours, and then we took a walk, and it was going so great.  I just — I just really liked him.  I was even gonna ask him if he wanted to come home with me for Thanksgiving to meet Dad.  And we came back here, and we were making out, and then —”  Stiles blinked rapidly as his throat started to close up again.

“What happened?” Scott asked quietly, his face back to human again.

The laugh Stiles forced through his tight throat was harsh and bitter.  “He dropped me like a hot potato.  I mean, everything was fine, and then he freaked .  He, like, literally dropped me on my ass, and then ran away like he had seen the devil.”  Stiles had to look away from the bitter twist of his own lips in the Facetime inset screen.  “Which, I guess he did.”

“Hey.”  Scott chided.  “You know I don’t like it when you say that kind of stuff about yourself.”

Stiles pulled a face but then nodded, drawing in another shaky breath and letting it out slowly through his nose.  They sat in silence for awhile, Scott’s quiet companionship making Stiles feel just a little bit less alone.

“Do you know what it was this time?” Scott finally asked.  

Stiles shrugged.  “He — he had my arms over my head, the tatts might have been acting up.”  Stiles frowned down at the tattoos on his forearms, his scowl deepening as the fox on his right forearm stretched itself before curling back up to sleep, as if flaunting its misbehavior.  “Or maybe my eyes did the thing again, who knows.  It doesn’t matter.  Whatever it was, it was bad enough to send him running for the hills.”  Stiles rested his head back against the sofa, closing his eyes wearily.  

“Hey — your eyes are beautiful, even when — especially when — they’re purple,” Scott said staunchly.  “And if Derek couldn’t handle it, then he’s the one who’s missing out on a good thing.”

“Yeah, just like Marisol.  And Katashi.  And fucking Jeremy —”  Now the raven on his left forearm was awake too, fluttering its wings in agitation as the surrounding pattern of runes glowed and twisted.  Stiles clenched his hands into fists, trying to get himself under control, feeling the spark snapping and flaring in his chest, his wildly swinging emotions causing the magic to build up, itching to be set free.

“C’mon, man.  Deep breaths.  Breathe with me.  In...two...three...out...two...three.”  Stiles focused on the sound of Scott’s voice, breathing slowly with him for long minutes until his control was restored.

“Thanks, buddy,” he finally said.  “I — I don’t know what I’d do without you.”  He felt weary down to the bottom of his soul, but he mustered up a hint of a smile.  “Think you can talk Allison into a poly relationship?”

“Hey.  You’re always part of our family,” Scott said sincerely.  “Even though I never want to see your dick again.  The high school locker room was plenty for me.”

Stiles huffed a reluctant laugh.  They sat in silence for awhile longer as Stiles looked around the gloomy apartment, trying to muster up the energy to at least get to his bed.

Scott’s yawn finally jolted him out of his morose stupor.  “Sorry to keep you up,” Stiles said.  “I shoulda let you go back to sleep an hour ago.  Apologize to Allison for me too, okay?”

“Nah, it’s fine.  The twins will be up soon anyway and I’m on call in a few hours, easier to just stay awake.  You know I’m here whenever you need me.”

“Yeah.”  Stiles swallowed again.

“Hey, it’s only a few more months ‘til your dissertation is done anyway, right?  You’re gonna graduate — a semester early, no less — and I’m gonna make everyone call you Dr. Stilinski just like you make everyone call me Dr. McCall, and you have a kickass teaching job lined up back here near us and your dad.  By next year you won’t even remember what’s-his-face Grumpy Coffee Shop Guy.”

“Yeah,” Stiles agreed again, while his traitorous heart whispered, His name is Derek, and I’ll never forget him as long as I live.

Scott obviously heard the lie in Stiles’ heartbeat, his expression hardening again.  “You should have it out with him.  I mean, what the hell?  So you’re a little magic.  Next time you see him at the coffee shop —”

Stiles groaned.  He hadn’t even thought that far ahead.  “I’m gonna have to find a new place to get my work done,” he muttered.

Fuck that.  You were there for years before he ever started going there, and if he doesn’t like it he can leave.”

“You’re right,”  Stiles said without conviction.  Finally he forced himself to his feet.  “Thanks, bro.  I think I’m gonna get some rest.  I’ve got papers to grade all tomorrow, and a meeting with my advisor on Monday.”

“Sure thing.  You know I’m here any time, right?”

“Yeah, I know.  Thanks, Scotty.”

Stiles hovered outside the door to his favorite coffee shop, gathering his courage.  “If he doesn’t like it, he can leave,” he repeated under his breath.  He took in a deep gulp of air and pushed the door open, the bell jangling wildly.  

Derek was sitting at his usual table.  His startled eyes flashed up to meet Stiles’, and — that was all it took for Stiles’ determination to vanish.  He squeezed his eyes closed.   “Hide," he breathed, feeling the tattoos that bound his magic flaring to life.

The clatter of a toppling chair jolted his eyes open again.  Derek had jumped to his feet, his gaze searching the doorway.  Stiles hastily sprang aside as Derek brushed right past him, opening the door to look out, scanning the street before turning around to look back into the coffee shop, his ridiculous eyebrows furrowed in confusion as his eyes skimmed right past Stiles without the slightest hitch.  

Stiles held his breath as Derek wheeled around again, pushing the door open.  Ignoring the puzzled gaze of the barista, Stiles slid out the door right behind Derek and cravenly fled back home, to grade his papers in the gloom of his still fucking purple apartment.

Stiles didn’t even know why he did it.  He had managed to stay away for three days before he found himself walking back to the coffee shop on autopilot, half brain-dead after teaching a marathon three-hour seminar on top of another lengthy meeting with the most difficult member of his dissertation committee.  Only when he found himself outside the door did he pause.  He backed up, looking through the window.  

Derek was there at his usual table, looking warm and soft and oh so beautiful in that damn sweater with the thumbholes that had appeared in some of Stiles’ dirtiest fantasies back when he was still helplessly pining after Cute Grumpy Coffee Shop Guy.  And even though Stiles should be mad — should be hating Derek after the way he had just dropped him in disgust and turned tail at the first hint of magic —  looking at him now Stiles couldn’t help but remember all the good things.  The first shy smile Derek had given him.  The way Derek’s guarded body language had slowly opened up, letting Stiles in.  And then that last night, the way Derek’s beard had scraped across his neck, the way his arms had caged Stiles in, making him feel safe and warm and wanted...

And maybe Stiles was just that pathetic, but he was pushing the door open before he could think about it any further.  Derek’s head snapped up as soon as the doorbell jangled, and for a moment Stiles was worried that whatever hasty spell he had cast wouldn’t hold.  But Derek’s eyes slid right past Stiles again, confusion crossing his expression for just a brief moment before he frowned back down at his computer.

Still distantly wondering what in the hell he was doing , Stiles got his order from the barista and sat down at his usual table — or at least the one he had moved to several months ago because of the unobstructed view it afforded of Cute Grumpy Coffee Shop Guy.  Stiles opened up his laptop as well, but after a few minutes he gave up even the pretense of getting work done and just sipped his coffee gloomily, watching Derek.

It hurt to be this close to Derek again, to see him and hear his voice, but somehow it soothed Stiles as well.  And okay, maybe this was officially stalking now, lingering close knowing that Derek couldn’t see or probably even hear him — Stiles was still a little fuzzy on the details of the spell he had instinctively cast — but maybe this was what Stiles needed to heal.    

He wasn’t weak enough to go every day — he still managed to do most of his work in his musty campus office or in his apartment, the walls now spelled back into a neutral beige that should make his landlord happy when he moved out in a few months.  Still, once or twice a week, when he was feeling particularly tired or sad or lonely, he found his steps leading back to the coffee shop and allowed himself ten or fifteen minutes, wallowing in the bittersweet pleasure of Derek’s oblivious nearness.

And at first Derek seemed just the same as always, but as the weeks went on Stiles started to notice some differences.  Derek’s hair was longer now and a little wild, his beard no longer neatly-trimmed.  He seemed thinner, and a few weeks later dark shadows appeared under his eyes and never quite went away.  Was his latest book giving him trouble?  Was he ill?  Stiles wished he had the right to know.

A week later, Stiles was leaving his last class, getting tangled up in his messenger bag strap as he tried to sling it over his shoulder while simultaneously opening the door.  He almost stumbled on the stone steps — Derek was just standing there, in the quad, staring at the building.  Stiles walked toward him, wondering, as Derek’s eyes continued to scan the people leaving the building.  Was he possibly — could he be looking for —?

“Stupid,” Stiles told himself.  He was probably here doing research for his book.  Or maybe he was even dating a perky little undergrad.  Stiles kept his head down, walking away before he had the misfortune to see whomever Derek might be waiting to meet.

“What if he was looking for you?” Scott asked as soon as Stiles told him the story over Skype. 

Stiles scowled at his computer screen, wishing he hadn’t mentioned it to Scott after all.  The last thing he needed was false hope.

“Why would he come to campus?” Stiles grumbled, repeating the logic he had been trying to hammer into his own mind all evening.  “He’s got my phone number.  Hell, he knows where I live .  If he wanted to get in touch with me he’s had plenty of opportunity.  I just have to…”  Stiles swallowed, embarrassed that even after all this time, talking about Derek still caused his vision to go misty.  “I just have to get it through my thick skull.  He doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

Stiles was able to stay away longer that time, but five days later found him inevitably back in the coffee shop again.  Derek looked even worse, both weary and agitated, the purple smudges under his eyes darker than ever before.  It almost hurt Stiles physically to see Derek looking so unhappy.  

Maybe he could do a quick spell for Derek.  Just a little boost, of good luck, or happiness, or…

Christ, Stiles was pathetic.  Scott was right, maybe what he really needed was a fresh start — to leave this town and start the teaching job he had worked so hard to obtain, near his family and friends again.  The idea should be thrilling, and yet all Stiles could feel was a hollow ache at the thought of never seeing Derek again.

Angry at himself, Stiles drained the last of his coffee and moved towards the door.  As he passed by, Derek suddenly jumped to his feet, slamming his computer closed and starting to pack up his things.  

Stiles left, half worried that if Derek left before him Stiles would be tempted to follow, and that — that was just stalking at a level that even Stiles couldn’t explain away.  And how much of a creepy loser was Stiles that the thought would even occur to him?  Stiles was so distracted by his bitter thoughts that it took him too long to notice the footsteps behind him.  He turned around.  For a moment he thought that the spell had worn off, but Derek was not following him — brushed right past him, in fact.  But still he carried on in Stiles’ direction.  By the time Stiles caught up with his quick pace, Derek was walking back and forth in front of Stiles’ building, muttering something, peering at his phone.    

Stiles watched in confusion.  He even thought of revealing himself, curiosity burning bright at what Derek was doing here.  But just as he finally made up his mind to do so, Derek turned and stomped off, leaving Stiles bewildered and bereft.


Chapter Text

Stiles edged toward the window of the coffee shop.  He had promised himself that he would stay away, once and for all, but it wasn’t his fault if he had happened to walk by and glance through the window, was it?  And once he had looked, it couldn’t escape his notice that Derek was just sitting there, head in his hands.  He hadn’t even unpacked his computer, and his coffee sat apparently untouched in front of him.

Staring through the window at Derek yielded no additional clues.  After a brief but heated mental argument with his own better judgment, Stiles pulled in a deep breath and shoved the door open.

“Finally!” the barista exclaimed, startling Stiles with her vehemence.  She had never been particularly happy to see him before.  In fact, she had tended more towards eyeing him warily ever since that time he had spilled his latte all over the register.

She ducked below the counter, and as Stiles’ curiosity drew him forward she popped back up again, shoving an envelope towards him.  “Whatever is going on between you and your boyfriend, or your ex, or whatever he is, I don’t want to be in the middle anymore,” she said firmly, shooting a glare in Derek’s direction.  “But maybe this will make you both stop bringing the place down with your moping.”

“I don’t mope!” Stiles countered, offended.  She only raised an eyebrow at him, and Stiles found himself avoiding her too-knowing gaze.  “I’ll have my usual,” he mumbled, trying to salvage the scraps of his dignity, and pretended not to see her roll her eyes as she turned away to make his drink.

He stared down at the envelope, heart thumping.  Stiles was scrawled on the front in Derek’s distinctive cramped handwriting.  

Stiles slipped his index finger under the envelope flap, pulling it open, hissing and sticking his fingertip in his mouth when he received a papercut for his trouble.  He pulled out the single sheet of paper, unfolding it with shaky hands.


I need to talk to you.  Please.  I’m sorry for how I left that night.  I’ve been looking for you everywhere, and sometimes I sm.  I need to explain to you what happened, but you — I guess you’re avoiding me, and I can’t blame you.  They say you still come in here sometimes, though, so I’m hoping you get this.  Please, Stiles.

- Derek

Stiles raised his head, staring at Derek in disbelief.  Derek had been looking for him?

As if he could feel Stiles’ stare, Derek lifted his head from his hands, looking around the coffee shop.  Once again, his eyes skimmed right past Stiles, and with a curse Derek shoved to his feet, picking up his bag and heading for the door.

Stiles held his breath as Derek brushed right past him.  He remained frozen in place for just a moment, before digging in his wallet, fishing out a $10 bill and slapping it on the counter before hurrying out the door himself.

Night was falling fast, and Derek was walking so quickly he was already almost swallowed up in the gloom between streetlights.  Stiles started to jog to catch up with him, his messenger bag banging into his hip so hard it would likely leave a bruise.  

Derek stopped at the corner to let an SUV make a right turn in front of him, and Stiles breathed a sigh of relief.  Grading papers and typing on his computer all day had not conditioned him for long-distance jogging, and he mentally promised himself he’d hit the gym the day after his dissertation defense.

Suddenly, both passenger side doors of the SUV sprang open.  There was a muffled crackle and Derek lurched backward, falling to the ground in convulsions.  Stiles barely realized that he had dropped his bag on the ground and was running now, yelling Derek’s name.  He felt the runes on his torso flare to life as he pulled on his spark, gathering a ball of energy between his palms.  

A man dressed in black had jumped out of the passenger side of the SUV, crouching by Derek.  He whirled around at Stiles’ yell, lifting his arm as Stiles threw the ball of energy at his face, willing it to turn to fire as it sped through the air.  It knocked the man sideways into the half-open door, the gun falling from his hand.

“Derek!” Stiles yelled again, before realizing that he was still hidden from Derek, if not the others.  “Reveal,” he muttered, gathering another ball of energy.   “Derek!”

This time Derek seemed to hear him.  He half-rolled on the ground, his head turning in Stiles’ direction, and Stiles got a glimpse of electric blue eyes, fangs, a furrowed brow, and — fuck, Derek was a werewolf, and Stiles really should have known.  

“Fucking hunters,” Stiles hissed, throwing the second ball of energy through the open passenger side door at the driver, still running full-tilt.  He skidded to a stop next to Derek, who was trying to struggle to his feet and had only made it as far as his knees  The man in black had finally wrestled his way out of his flaming jacket and was stomping on it, and Stiles took advantage of his distraction to put his palm flat against the man’s chest, sending a jolt of electricity through his body.   See how you like it, he thought venomously.  

The ball of fire Stiles had thrown at the driver had set the interior of the car aflame, and through the haze of smoke and flames Stiles saw the doors open on the other side.

“C’mon,” he said, pulling on Derek’s arm, forcing him to his feet.  “We gotta —”

He pulled Derek forward, his weight dragging heavily against his side, just as another SUV screeched to a halt beside them, boxing them in.

“Run," Derek lisped through his fangs, trying to shove Stiles away, but there was nowhere to go.  One of the men from the flaming SUV had circled around the front and was approaching, gun drawn.  Stiles gathered another ball of energy between his palms but before he could throw it he felt a sharp sting at his shoulder blade.  For a moment he thought Derek might have accidentally clawed him, but he looked back just in time to see the barbs of the taser.

“Fuck,” he breathed as everything seemed to go black, pain searing through him as every muscle in his body seemed to seize up at once.  He dimly heard a roar of rage beside him, and then he heard nothing at all.

“Stiles.  Stiles.”

Oh, Christ, what had he done last night?  This had to be the most hungover Stiles had ever been in his life.  His mouth was dry as sawdust, his head pounded, and his whole body felt achy.  He groaned, squinting as his gummy eyes cracked open.

He blinked a few times, everything seeming to spin until he finally realized he wasn’t lying down in his own bed, but rather sitting up.  He tried to lift his hands to his aching head but was stopped with a jolt and the clang of metal.  


Stiles licked his lips, squinting into the gloom.  “Derek?”    

It was starting to come back to him now.  The hunters, and Derek, and the fucking taser.  He tentatively tried to call on his runes, but felt only coldness where the answering flare of his spark should be.

“Fucking hunters,” he grumbled.  “Must be iron cuffs.”

“What?  You know about hunters?  And — what?”

Stiles distantly felt he should be panicking, but honestly he hurt too much to focus on much else.  Even his tongue ached, the coppery taste in his mouth telling him that he had probably bitten it when he was tased, and it was starting to bleed again now that he was talking.

“Yeah, I know about hunters,” Stiles managed, trying to orient himself a little bit to his situation.  He was chained to a chair, apparently, bare-chested, with cuffs on his feet and his hands bound behind his back.  “They usually leave people like me alone, but my best friend Scott is a ‘wolf, and we had some trouble with hunters back in high school.”

“People like you?  Stiles — what are you talking about?”

Stiles tried to wipe his left eye on his shoulder.  Something there was sticky — ugh, probably blood.  From the feel of things he had landed face-first on the sidewalk when they hit him with the taser.  “You know.”  Stiles tugged tentatively at the cuffs around his wrists, but they seemed to be plenty tight.  “‘Cause of the magic.”

“What?!”  Derek’s voice was surprised and alarmed.  “You — you’re magic?”

Stiles rolled his head, making out the dim form of Derek across the darkened cellar.  He seemed to be chained to the far wall, and now that the ringing in Stiles’ head was fading a little he could hear the weird, edgy buzz of electricity.  Christ, they were keeping him incapacitated with a low-voltage electric current, the bastards.

“Yes, Derek,” Stiles said acidly, fed up with pretty much everything right now.  “I’m fucking magic, as I’m sure you know, because why else did you drop me on my ass a few months ago and run out of my place like your little werewolfy tail was on fire?”

“I —”  The growl that came rumbling out of Derek’s chest sounded like pain and frustration combined.  “Stiles, I didn’t know.  It was — it was something else.  I wanted to explain.  I waited for you in the coffee shop the next day, and I thought I even saw you, but then you were gone, and — I smelled you everywhere, and they said you were in there all the time, but I could never find you.”

Oh, fuck.  Stiles was just starting to remember Derek’s letter now.  And was it really — had Stiles been inadvertently fucking with Derek this whole time?  For a human, hiding from sight and sound would have been fine, but for a ‘wolf, to be surrounded by Stiles’ scent but never able to find him — it must have been torture.

Stiles wrinkled his nose at his own mental turn of phrase.  Well, maybe not torture compared to the actual car battery Derek was strapped to right now, but —

Stiles tried scooching the chair closer to Derek, but it wouldn’t budge.  He had the vague idea of looking down at the legs to see what was keeping it in place, but as soon as he lowered his head a wave of nausea rushed over him.  He swallowed down the bile, desperately trying not to throw up all over himself.  For one thing, it would probably make his head hurt even worse.  

He tried to think over what Derek had said, his thoughts feeling thick and sludgy.  “Why didn’t you call me?  Or — I mean, you even know where I live.”  And, fuck — Stiles suddenly remembered Derek pacing in front of his house, waiting in front of his building on campus.

“I tried!  I can’t even explain it.  Your number — I looked in my phone, and there was just nothing there where your number should be.  And I thought I remembered where you lived, and I even followed your scent from the coffee shop, but then it just — it just ended, and there was nothing there, where I remember your building being.”

Holy Christ.  Stiles couldn’t imagine feeling worse than he already did, but apparently he could, the fading wave of nausea revived by a sickening roil of guilt in his belly.  He hadn’t deliberately hidden himself so completely from Derek, but then again he had never been quite sure what his hasty spell had involved.

“I did a spell,” Stiles confessed.  “When I saw you in the coffee shop the next day, I couldn’t face you, so I panicked and I did a spell to hide from you.  I thought it would just keep you from seeing or hearing me, but — I’m a little sloppy with my magic sometimes.  It must have hidden everything that would let you find me.”

Derek made a soft, wounded noise, and Stiles felt even worse.  

“I’m sorry, Derek.  I didn’t — I thought you saw my magic, and were creeped out by it.  It’s happened before, with other people, and I — I just thought you were disgusted by me.  I — it was a cowardly thing to do, and I’m sorry.”

Derek shook his head.  “I’m sorry, Stiles.  I should have stayed, and explained, but — I was freaking out, and I wasn’t sure what to say, and —”

“Wait a minute,” Stiles interrupted, a realization belatedly surfacing through his muddled thoughts.  “If you weren’t freaked out about my magic, why did you bolt like that?”

Silence fell across the room, underlaid only by the harsh buzz of the electric current.  


Derek’s groan that time sounded less pained and more... embarrassed?

“I —”  Derek seemed to pull a deep breath in, before mumbling out in a rush, “I-started-to-not.”

“What?”  Stiles shook his head as if that would clear his ears, immediately regretting it as the pounding in his head increased.  “Started to not what?”

“Not not,” Derek rasped, making Stiles’ head hurt even more.  Had he lost the ability to process language all of a sudden?  “Just —”  Derek appeared to struggle with what he wanted to say for a long minute before finally grinding out the words through clenched teeth.  “My dick.  It started to — to knot.”

“Oh!   Oh, I get what you’re saying.”  For a moment Stiles felt only relief, glad that the conk to his head hadn’t actually scrambled his brain, before he felt his jaw drop open.  “Wait — that’s a thing?!”  

“Apparently.”  Derek’s sigh was long-suffering, and honestly Stiles felt that it was a little uncalled-for.  I mean, he was totally shaking up Stiles worldview here, if knots were a thing that existed outside of some rather fringe erotica sites that Stiles had really only checked out in the name of being thorough in his research as a sexually curious teenager.

“But — my buddy, Scott, he doesn’t have one.  Or, at least he didn’t tell me — and he definitely would have told me —”

“It only happens to born wolves, and even then — I always thought it was a myth.  I mean, when I was a kid I’d kind of hear jokes about it, but not like it was real, and then after my family — well, I guess I didn’t actually get ‘the talk’ from anyone. Anyway, it’s only supposed to —”

Derek’s words cut off suddenly, and silence fell again.     

“What?”  Stiles pulled on his cuffs again, squinting forward to see if Derek had suddenly passed out or something.  “Derek, it’s only supposed to what?”

Another heavy sigh, and Derek’s voice was so low that Stiles could barely make out the words.  “It’s only supposed to happen with your true mate.”

“With your — that’s a thing too?  True mates?”  Stiles felt his own eyes widening in the darkness as the full impact of Derek’s words hit him.  “Wait a minute, we’re a thing — I mean, we’re that thing — we’re true mates?”

“Apparently.”  And fine, he could pretend to be grumpy, but Stiles could hear an almost-smile in his voice now.

“And that’s what freaked you out so much?”  An awful thought occurred to him.  “Did you — did you not want to be mates with me?”

“Stiles — that’s not it at all.  I really like you.  I just — I just freaked out, okay?”  Derek’s words were underlaid with a rumble of frustration, the silhouette of his biceps straining against his bonds.  “I didn’t even know my dick could do that, and finding out that it could and that you were not just this cute smart guy I liked but my actual true mate, it was — it was just a lot.”

“Okay.  Well.”  Derek thought he was cute, and smart.  Wait — priorities — Derek was okay with them being true mates.  Stiles felt like he needed a minute to sit with that information and just enjoy it, but this whole pesky kidnapping situation was one hell of a buzzkill.  “I’m glad we got our personal drama cleared up just in time to get killed by hunters,” he grumbled.

“I’m not going to let them kill you,” Derek snarled, and Stiles appreciated the sentiment, but then again, he wasn’t sure that Derek would have too much input on the issue.

Derek seemed to come to the same realization, his voice a little sheepish as he added, “I don’t suppose your magic is gonna help us out here?”

“Not so much.”  Stiles tugged at the cuffs again in frustration.  “My magic is elemental, which means the iron cuffs pretty much take it out of the equation.”  Something was percolating in the back of his head, a wriggly, sneaky little thought slip-sliding around at the edges of his mind like a minnow.  “Wait —”

Derek stopped whatever he was starting to say, and they sat in silence for a minute, Stiles concentrating on the thought, trying to coax it close enough to grasp.  Something about his magic, and the letter Derek had written him.  No, not the letter, the papercut —

“Blood magic!” Stiles exclaimed.  “Not my usual thing — I mean, the arcane stuff is frankly a little creepy if you know what I mean — but I’ve seen it done a time or two and I think I understand the basics of it.  Let me just —”

With a wince, he bit down hard on the sore part of his tongue.  The coppery, salty taste of blood flooded his mouth, making his stomach churn again.  He gathered a mouthful and spat it on the floor at his feet.

“I’ll probably only have one shot at this, and I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to do, so just — be ready for anything.”

Derek nodded, and Stiles squeezed his eyes shut tight, trying to clear his head.  True mates, he thought, with wonder.   Derek and he were true mates, he had found his true mate, and he’d be damned if he’d let hunters kill him before he had even had a chance to get all up on that, and they just needed to be free, just that one thing, to be free, free —

The toe of Stiles’ shoe was moving without his conscious guidance, tracing a rune in the splash of blood at his feet.  He drew the last stroke, something in the back of his brain knowing the rune was complete, but nothing seemed to happen.

“Dammit,” Stiles muttered.  “Maybe I need to try again with more blood —”

With a rattling crash, Derek suddenly fell free of the wall.  In seconds he had ripped the battery leads off his skin and then he was crouched in front of Stiles, cupping Stiles’ face between his palms and pressing a soft, chaste kiss to his sore lips.  Before Stiles could even process it, Derek was at his back, breath hot on the back of Stiles’ neck.  The screech of twisting metal heralded Stiles’ freedom as the separated cuffs fell off his wrists.  Then Derek was at his front again, breaking the cuffs around his feet.  

Stiles lurched upright, Derek catching him as he stumbled on numb legs.  And damn, Derek was shirtless too, and Stiles could really use more time to appreciate that view.  Derek’s hand was warm on Stiles’ sore wrist, and Stiles felt the brief, dizzying warmth of a pain drain, his head clearing and all his aches fading for a beautiful moment before he pulled his wrist free.  

“Save your strength,” he warned.  “We’re not out of here yet.”

“Stay here,” Derek growled.  “I’ll take care of the ones upstairs.”

“Ha ha, no,” Stiles shot back, feeling the welcome flare of his runes coming to life as he gathered a ball of energy between his palms.  He knew his eyes were shining purple, and if he had ever had any doubts about Derek’s ability to deal with his magic, they were dispelled once and for all by the look of pure want on Derek’s face, illuminated in the violet glow.   

Derek pressed forward, and this kiss was hard and fierce, stealing Stiles’ breath at the same time it settled something warm within his chest.  Then Derek was stepping back, his hands going to his belt, and if Stiles had thought the shirtlessness deserved appreciation, that was nothing compared to Derek’s truly spectacular ass, as Derek shoved his jeans and boxers down over his thick thighs.  

“Guh?” was all that Stiles managed in question, before Derek was crouching and shivering, and then — quick as that — a giant black wolf stood where Derek had been, electric blue eyes glowing in the darkness.

That’s a thing now too?!” Stiles screeched.  And fine, maybe that had been a little too shrill and Stiles deserved the baleful look the wolf was shooting him over its shoulder, but seriously.  Stiles had thought he was pretty well-versed in the supernatural, but the last few hours had expanded his horizons like whoa.

And then he had to push himself past his surprise, because the wolf — Derek — was already bounding up the stairs with an ominous rumble, and Stiles had to hurry up to join the party.

Chapter Text

Stiles felt snug, and floaty, and completely content.  In the back of his mind he felt like maybe there was something he should be paying attention to, but at the moment everything felt so liquid-warm and delicious that he just couldn’t bring himself to care.  He burrowed deeper into the soft bed, sighing as the warm, hard body behind him snuggled itself a little closer…

With a yip of surprise Stiles shot upright, yelping again as the movement sent a spike of pain through his skull.

“Shhh.”  Derek’s hands were gentle on his shoulders, easing him back down, black lines snaking up Derek’s forearms as that warm, floaty feeling returned full force.  “Just relax.  I’ve got you.”

“Oh, man.”  Stiles scrubbed a hand over his eyes, his mind hanging up for a long second on the realization that he was wearing his Doctor Who-themed boxers and nothing else, the full extent of both his nerdery and his multitude of supernatural tattoos on display.  

The events of last night seemed like a surreal montage — getting kidnapped with Derek, the magnificent ruthlessness of Derek’s wolf as he incapacitated the hunters.  Stiles had magicked up a bushel of poppy pods, enough to get the hunters put away for heroin trafficking for a long time with the anonymous tip he had called in from one of their cell phones.

Derek had wanted to take Stiles to the hospital, but had settled for an emergency Facetime call to Scott, who had talked him through a concussion evaluation and determined that Stiles just needed time to heal.  Speaking of which…

Stiles felt for his spark, smiling as it flared and snapped within his chest, as bright and lively as ever.  He gently removed Derek’s hand from his wrist, swallowing past the first spike of pain.

“It’s okay,” he mumbled up into Derek’s concerned face, resisting the urge to reach up and smooth out his furrowed brow.  “I was almost tapped out last night, but I’m recharged now.  I just have to —”  

He closed his eyes and concentrated, letting the spark spread through him.  He could feel the runes lighting up in radiating circles outward from the center of his chest, his ink tattoos stretching and fluttering and twisting in satisfaction.  The pain in his head faded first, followed by the ache in his bones and muscles, and the sore and swollen spot on his tongue.  Finally, he felt the scrapes on his face and wrists fading away until his body thrummed with energy, no injuries left to heal.    

He opened his eyes again, to find Derek staring down at him in awe.  

“They’re — you’re — amazing,” Derek breathed, dispelling the last little bit of worry Stiles had about how he might react.  “Can I?”

Stiles nodded, not really sure even what Derek was asking, but willing to let him do pretty much anything he wanted.  Derek pressed two tentative fingers to the fox on Stiles’ right forearm, and they both watched with wonder as it stretched and preened under Derek’s gentle touch.  The warm fingers slid up, skimming over the elaborate weave of runes at Stiles’ inner elbow, and Stiles inhaled sharply, shivering with pleasure as the runes glowed brightly under Derek’s touch.

Derek yanked his hand away, his brow furrowing again.  “Did I hurt you?”

Stiles shook his head, grasping Derek’s hand and bringing it back to his skin, a little more prepared this time for the glow of the runes under Derek’s touch.  It felt soothing and arousing at the same time, as if Derek was reaching inside him, caressing his spark.  

“Feels good,” Stiles breathed.  “It’s just — that’s never happened before.  They’ve never responded to anyone else, I mean.  Usually they only glow when I’m drawing on my spark.”

And wow, but the bright, uncomplicated smile that spread across Derek’s face was enough to make Stiles’ toes curl.  Derek’s beautiful pale eyes were squinched up at the corners, his adorable bunny teeth on full display, and just looking at him made something in Stiles’ chest expand with joy.

Derek leaned down, and Stiles...turned his head aside at the last minute.

“I’m sorry,” Derek murmured, backing up.  “I didn’t mean to assume —”

“No!”  Stiles could have kicked himself for his instinctive response.  “Assume away!  I mean, please, in like half an hour feel free to...assume all over me.”  Stiles could feel the familiar warmth of an ugly blotchy flush creeping down his cheeks and neck.  “It’s just that...I could really use a toothbrush, first.  And maybe even a shower?”  Healing aside, Stiles’ mouth still tasted awful, and as eager as he was to get his tongue all over Derek he’d prefer if it were minty-fresh first.

“Oh.”  Derek seemed to sag a little in relief.  “Of course.”  Still, it was a long moment before Derek seemed able to draw back, standing up at the side of the bed and helping a still-wobbly Stiles to his feet.

Stiles emerged from his shower, scrubbed clean and feeling infinitely more human, and was only mildly disappointed to find Derek’s bedroom empty.  The siren song of a percolating coffee maker and sizzling frying pan was consolation enough.  

After only a brief moment of hesitation, Stiles rooted through Derek’s drawers until he found a pair of soft flannel sleep pants to slip on.  He hesitated only a fraction longer before shamelessly poking through Derek’s bedside table, fist-pumping in triumph when he found the small bottle of lube, slipping it into his pocket.  Maybe it was a tad presumptuous, but The Powers That Be had granted Stiles his wish to have the opportunity to get all up on that, and he was determined to make good on his promise as soon as possible.

He wandered down the spiral staircase, looking around himself with interest.  He must have been really been out of it last night.  He had hardly noticed Derek’s place at all, and it was beautiful — as different as night and day from Stiles’ own grungy little hovel.  The loft was a collage of exposed brick, soft-looking leather furniture, and hardwood flooring.  A wall of windows sent stripes of sunlight across every surface.  Another wall was fully taken up with bookcases, just as jumbled and disordered as Stiles’ own, and Stiles couldn’t wait to look through them.

Well, maybe he could wait a little bit, because Derek had dropped the frying pan back on the stove and was staring at Stiles like he would like to eat him up, eyes glowing that eerie yet ridiculously beautiful luminescent blue.

Stiles froze at the bottom of the stairs, caught in that hungry gaze, his dick getting hard so fast that he got a little light-headed.  Then suddenly Derek was on him, bare chest pressed to his own, face nuzzling deep into Stiles’ neck.  

“Whoa,” Stiles breathed, feeling his runes throb in synchrony with his dick at the hot press of Derek’s skin to his.  

"You smell like us,” Derek mumbled into the hinge of Stiles’ jaw, voice thick around his fangs as he rasped his beard across the tender skin of Stiles’ neck, and — wow, that was totally doing it for Stiles.  Apparently clothes-sharing was a thing they could both get behind.

“Turn off the stove,” Stiles instructed, because — safety first, and he was pretty sure he was about to lose all coherency of thought here.  Derek bounded away and was back in an instant.  He leaned in as if for a kiss and then seemed to hesitate.  

With a wordless needy sound that he would likely be embarrassed about later, Stiles grabbed Derek’s head, winding his fingers into that soft hair, holding him still while he devoured his mouth.  It was just as sweet and hot and wet as he remembered — the warm press of Derek’s lips against his own, the scritch of Derek’s stubble against the edges of his mouth, the absolutely filthy sound Derek made when Stiles sucked at his bottom lip. 

Stiles’ heart was thumping so loud in his chest he felt it might deafen him.  It suddenly hit him all at once.   This was really happening — Derek in his arms, after being certain for so long that he was lost to Stiles forever.

“I missed you,” Stiles breathed against Derek’s lips, and Derek made a hurt little noise into Stiles’ mouth.  He seemed every bit as desperate as Stiles was, his hands on Stiles’ back crushing Stiles even closer, restlessly gripping and squeezing as if to ensure that Stiles was solid underneath his palms.  He tore his lips away and buried his face in Stiles’ neck again, snuffling his skin as if he had been craving the scent of it.  

“I was going to make you pancakes,” Derek muttered in between nips at Stiles’ Adam’s apple.  

“Later,” Stiles managed, neck arching back to give Derek greater access as his hand slid down the back of Derek’s pajama pants to grab a satisfying handful of that spectacular ass.  “Much later.”

Together they stumbled past the coffee table and landed on the couch, Derek flat on his back as Stiles climbed on top of him, straddling Derek’s hips as he desperately sought his mouth again.  

True mates, Stiles’ mind chanted in an endless litany, Derek’s hands brushing over Stiles’ skin, setting his runes alight one by one until it felt as though Stiles’ whole body was aglow.  

Stiles rubbed his thumb over Derek’s tight nipple, smiling in triumph into the kiss as Derek arched and groaned beneath him, and...they both froze.

Stiles regained his composure first, knee-walking back a little bit to give the bulge in Derek’s pajama pants thoughtful consideration.

He snapped the elastic at the waist of Derek’s pajama bottoms.  “All right, big guy,” he said, aiming hard for a casual tone and admittedly overshooting it a little.  “Let’s get those off and see what we’re working with.”

Derek was blushing, pink from his cheekbones to the tips of his adorable sticky-out little ears, and Stiles just barely managed to keep his awww! internal.

With a determined set to his mouth, Derek shoved his pajama bottoms down over the sharp jut of his hipbones.

“Oh.”  Derek’s cock was pretty enough by itself, flushed full against his firm abs, just the right length and heft that Stiles could practically imagine the weight of it on his tongue.  And yet, there was something even more tantalizing about the slight thickening at the base, the way the skin was stretched so taut and shiny.

“Fuuuuuuck,” Stiles breathed, his hands twitching with the effort it was taking to keep from grabbing.  “I didn’t even know this existed before yesterday, why is this so fucking hot?  Can I touch it?  How big does it get?  How long does it last?  Wait, sit up, I want to get a better angle on this.”

Derek groaned, and Stiles suspected that it was meant to sound aggravated, but — whatever, it just sounded needy, accompanied as it was by a twitch of Derek’s cock and the slow slide of a bead of precome down the length of his shaft.

Derek’s face was fire-engine red but he pushed up on his elbows, kicking his pajama pants the rest of the way off and then sitting up as Stiles hopped off the couch with alacrity to give him more room to maneuver.

“I don’t know how big it gets or how long it lasts,” Derek ground out, curling his fist around the fledgling knot protectively and then shuddering at the feel of his own hand.  “It only happens when I’m with you.”

“Oh, Jesus, that’s the hottest thing I’ve ever heard,” Stiles breathed.  “Fuck, let me.” He tried to bat Derek’s hand away as he shoved the coffee table back and sank to his knees between Derek’s spread thighs.  “Can I?”

And maybe it was a wolf thing, but something about having Stiles on his knees in front of him seemed to do it for Derek in a major way, his eyes flashing blue and his canines lengthening as he nodded dazedly, eyes locked on the stretch of Stiles' throat.  

“’s sensitive,” he said, the lisp of his fangs making it sound like ‘thenthitive’ and Stiles would have awwwed again if Derek hadn’t moved his hand away in that moment, putting Stiles face-to-face with the object of his fervent desire.

“Holy…” Stiles breathed, enthralled as Derek’s cock jumped and twitched, the knot throbbing incrementally bigger as his breath washed over it.  

“Stiles,” Derek groaned, his fingers clenched white-knuckled in the couch cushions at his sides.

“Don’t rush me!” Stiles snapped, reaching out to cradle Derek’s cock in reverent hands, spreading the precome down the shaft to make it slick, acquainting himself with the ridges and texture, the give of the foreskin around the glistening head.  “I want to savor this.”

Still, he took pity on Derek, laving around the head with the flat of his tongue before working his way slowly down the shaft, licking and sucking the silky skin.  He paused for only a moment before tilting his head sideways, enough to get the knot mostly inside his mouth, exploring the taut skin with delicate little kitten licks.

Derek whined, his hips arching off the couch, the knot throbbing bigger under Stiles’ tongue, and that was so fucking hot it made Stiles groan around his mouthful, the vibrations sending another shudder through Derek’s body.  

Stiles pressed a palm against the tightened muscles of Derek’s abs, pushing him gently back onto the couch as he worked the knot with his tongue, licking and suckling it with more confidence now that he was certain he wasn’t going to hurt Derek.  He lavished it with attention, sparing only brief detours to mouth at Derek’s shaft and the heavy weight of his balls.  

Derek was making the most delicious noises, little whines and guttural grunts, his hips stuttering up in little stifled ruts — so sweetly responsive it made Stiles’ own cock pulse insistently.  Derek’s hands had unclenched from the couch cushions, the fingertips of his right hand now resting lightly on the hinge of Stiles’ jaw — not pushing, just ghosting his movements as if he needed the touch to anchor himself.  His other hand kept brushing across Stiles’ shoulder and arm, lighting up the runes there, sending pulses of warmth humming though Stiles’ body, lighting him up from the inside out.

Stiles was leaking shamelessly in his borrowed pajama pants, and when he finally managed to pull himself away from Derek’s cock, his voice was rough and hoarse.  

“I think that’s as big as it’s gonna get,” he panted.  “That’s totally doable, man.  Let’s get it in me.”

Derek’s response was a gutted noise, his expression dazed with lust, before he seemed to gather himself.  

“Are you sure?” he protested weakly, his voice as wrecked as Stiles’.  “Maybe we should —”

And okay, it was totally cheating, but Stiles swooped back in, nuzzling roughly at the knot, making Derek swallow the rest of his words on a ragged groan.  

He knew what Derek was going to say, and sure — maybe objectively it would be more prudent to wait and make Derek come first to see exactly what they were dealing with.  But on the other hand, Stiles was nothing if not impetuous, and looking up the expanse of Derek’s body, that cock pressed hard against the golden, lightly furred skin of his abs, knot glistening temptingly at the base, all Stiles could think was I want it.

“C’mon, Derek,” Stiles cajoled, his devious mind casting around for the words most likely to persuade the reluctant werewolf as he skimmed off his own pajama pants, barely remembering to retrieve the lube from the pocket in time.  “Don’t you want to knot me up?” he crooned.  He sprawled across Derek’s lap, a little ungraceful in his enthusiasm, slicking up his fingers.  “I can take it,” he breathed into Derek’s mouth.  

Derek sighed, fangs gone again as he kissed Stiles hungrily, swallowing Stiles’ hum of pleasure as he got the first two fingers inside, working himself open.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” Derek rumbled.  He pulled back and Stiles melted at the concern in his eyes.  

“You won’t.  Feel.”  Stiles drew Derek’s hand down to where his fingers were still buried deep inside.  He added a third finger, sighing in pleasure at the stretch of it.  Derek traced his rim, his mouth going soft with wonder as his fingertips felt out how sweetly Stiles was opening around the breadth of his own knuckles.  

“I’ll stop if it hurts,” Stiles promised, concentrating hard on his words through the waves of pleasure.  The angle wasn’t great for his wrist but the feel of his own fingers stretching himself wide, the thought that soon that could be Derek’s knot in was enough to make him press a fourth finger in, more than he’d ever bothered with before.  

“At the very worst — I heal, quicker than you even if I need to,” Stiles said desperately, and okay, he was flat-out begging now, but he’d be embarrassed about that later.

Derek looked like he was falling, his eyes fluttering closed as he nodded.  “Yeah,” he growled, a tremor passing through him as he opened his eyes again, dipping his gaze down to where Stiles was shoving back onto his fingers now.  “Yes.”  

Stiles managed to stifle a whoop of jubilation, instead kissing Derek, soft and sweet to reward his acquiescence.  

With reluctance Stiles pulled his fingers free, slicking his other hand up to stroke Derek’s neglected cock, slow and steady.  “Just look at it,” he murmured, palm sliding down to squeeze the knot, forcing a broken, needy sound from Derek.  “It’s going to feel so good inside me, I can tell.  It’s going to rub me just right…”

And, fuck, Stiles was in serious danger of making himself come with his own dirty talk if he didn’t get on with this.  Still, he took another moment to admire the way Derek’s cock looked with his fingers wrapped around it.  He slid them down again, watching his fist stretch wide over the breadth of the knot, the tips of his long fingers barely meeting over the thickest part.

“Stiles,” Derek groaned plaintively, and Stiles shook himself into action.  He raised up, Derek’s firm hands on his hips helping to brace him.  

Stiles carefully guided himself down until the fat head of Derek’s cock nudged right up against where he had worked himself so soft and open.  He teased them both for a moment, letting the head of Derek’s cock catch on his rim, and then he sank down slowly, enjoying the drag of it.  It had been so long since Stiles had even taken the time to do this for himself, let alone have someone else inside him, and knowing it was Derek, that it would be Derek from now on, sent an extra frisson of pleasure sizzling down his spine.  

Derek’s eyes were wide as if he couldn’t quite believe what was happening, his mouth lax enough to show the edge of his adorable little bunny teeth.  Stiles couldn’t help smiling at him, grasping the nape of his neck and pulling him into a kiss as he sank just a little bit further, slow little rocking movements of his hips settling Derek’s cock deeper inside of him.

By the time Stiles pulled back, breathless, he had worked himself down even further, the start of the knot stretching his rim wide as he paused for a moment, gathering his courage.  

Derek reached out, reverently brushing his hand over the stag at the center of Stiles’ chest.  It tossed its head, antlers brushing against the surrounding runes and setting them alight.  The touch seemed to resonate through Stiles’ body, a bone-deep thrum of pure pleasure.  He bore down, and then with a last hard grind the knot was all the way inside.  For a moment it seemed almost too big, the stretch too much, and then his body seemed to ease around it and it was just like he imagined, making him feel so full and pressing against his prostate just perfectly.

“Stiles.”  Derek’s voice sounded stripped raw, and Stiles realized that they were both trembling, just a bit.  “You feel so smell so good.”  Derek canted his hips up, grinding the knot in a slow, deep circle that made Stiles moan.  “The sounds you make —”

Then they were moving together, Stiles flexing down into every slow thrust, watching with awe as Derek’s eyes grew hooded, a blissed-out expression on his face, nostrils flaring as he drew in their scent.  Derek’s hands roamed restlessly over Stiles’ skin.  Each touch stoked the runes, generating jolts of pleasure.  It felt like sparks were skittering through Stiles’ body with every sinuous roll of Derek’s hips, centered on where Derek was thick and hard inside of Stiles, the knot pressing and rubbing.

It was good, it was so good, and Stiles was going to come way too soon.  Just as he was thinking it, though, Derek started to push up harder, cords of muscle standing out in his neck while harsh, desperate noises escaped him with every hitching breath.  “Stiles,” he said urgently, his eyes squeezed shut with the effort of his restraint.

“It’s okay,” Stiles gasped, breath punched out of him with every jolt of Derek’s hips.  “It’s gonna be okay.  Let it happen.  Give it to me.”  He moved his hand to his own cock, stroking it hard and fast, feeling the pleasure coil tighter and tighter at the base of his spine as Derek lost all semblance of grace, fucking up into Stiles in hard and uneven thrusts.  His fingers were tight on Stiles’ hips to hold him in place, the knot teasing at Stiles’ rim over and over until with a final, shuddering growl Derek pressed hard and deep.  

And Stiles could feel it, the deep hot pulse of the knot as it throbbed inside him.  “Oh, fuck, that’s amazing,” he babbled, his voice thready and frantic.  “So good.  Oh, fuck.”  He stripped his cock faster, suddenly desperate to come on Derek’s knot, to feel his own body clenching and fluttering around it.  

Derek opened his eyes, the beautiful multicolored depths almost swallowed by his blown pupils.  He reached out, pressing his palm to the rune over Stiles’ heart, and that was all it took to throw Stiles headlong into his own orgasm.  He felt like he was shaking apart as the pleasure bloomed, hot and honey-thick, at the base of his spine.  He rocked compulsively down onto Derek’s knot, the press and tug of it attenuating the rush of pleasure as he stroked himself through it, streaking Derek’s chest and belly with his come.

He collapsed bonelessly against Derek, ignoring the mess between their heaving chests, mouthing absently at the damp salty skin of Derek’s neck while he tried to catch his breath and waited for his brain to come back online.  

“That was —” he started, the words transmuting to a broken gasp as Derek ground up inside him again with a low moan, the knot throbbing heavily once more.

“Holy fuck — are you still coming?” Stiles managed, his voice embarrassingly thin and reedy.  He tried to pull back to see Derek’s face but Derek tightened his hands on Stiles’ back, holding him in place as he buried his face into the curve of Stiles’ neck.  The tip of his ears were pink with embarrassment as he nodded against Stiles’ skin, beard rasping as he shuddered and writhed again, knot pulsing and twitching.

Stiles’ cock made its own valiant attempt to join in, twitching where it was pressed tight in the come-slick space between their abs.

“Oh my god, why is this so hot?” Stiles lamented, scritching his fingernails through the hair at the nape of Derek’s neck as he shivered and growled out another apparent orgasm.  “How long are you gonna come in me, while I’m all plugged up by your knot —”

Derek whined as another tremor passed through him. Then he was tilting his head up, capturing Stiles’ mouth, kissing him soft and slow and languid as he still trembled from time to time, churning his hips erratically with each aftershock.  And okay, maybe he was just trying to get Stiles to stop talking, but Stiles wasn’t complaining.

By the time it seemed to end Derek was just panting open-mouthed against Stiles’ lips, his eyes sleepy and sated, a low almost subsonic rumble resonating through his chest.

“Are you —” Stiles had to interrupt himself to press a kiss to the corner of Derek’s slack mouth, the tip of his eyebrow, the crest of his flushed, stubbled cheek.  He looked utterly debauched, and Stiles could not get enough of it.  “Are you...purring?”

The sound hiccuped for only a moment before Derek seemed to give up on suppressing it, shrugging as he slid sideways on the couch, pressing Stiles close to his chest.  Stiles settled his ear over Derek’s heart, smiling dopily with unadulterated happiness, and let the rumbling purr lull him into a contented slumber.

Stiles finally got his pancakes, late that afternoon.  And okay, maybe the delayed breakfast was his fault, but the first post-nap shower had definitely been Derek’s suggestion, and of course showering together had led to mutual soapy handjobs, which had resulted in another impromptu nap.  Basically, Stiles was hardly to blame for the fact that he was now ravenous.  He contented himself with crunching on an apple and enjoying the view while Derek flipped pancakes shirtless.

“Those smell amaaaaazing,” Stiles whined, reaching out to try to grab a crisp piece of batter from the frying pan while Derek effortlessly batted him away with the spatula.  Derek distracted Stiles by lifting him up onto the kitchen counter — Stiles mentally welcomed ‘manhandling’ back to his list of kinks — and kissing him until the pancakes were golden-brown and fluffy.

“Oh my god, marry me!” Stiles exclaimed as Derek slid a plateful of pancakes in front of him.  He soaked them in syrup before cutting off a huge wedge, shoving the whole thing in his mouth and then moaning ecstatically at the deliciousness.

Derek leaned forward, grabbing the syrup and applying it more judiciously to his own stack of pancakes.  “Okay,” he said easily.

“Okay what?” Stiles garbled around the mouthful of pancakes.  So he had lost track of what they were talking about, distracted by the fact that Derek was an absolutely amazing cook, who could blame him?

Derek raised an eyebrow.  “Okay to getting married.”

“Guh.”  Stiles could feel his eyes widening comically.  He took a big gulp of his milk, swallowing a little too quickly to try to wash the pancakes down.  “What?”

Derek was looking a combination of bashful and determined, and it was so fucking adorable that Stiles could hardly focus.  “Okay to getting married,” Derek clarified.  “Okay to living together.  Okay to dating, or adopting a dog, or maybe eventually adopting a kid.  Okay to everything.  Anything.  Whatever you’re willing to give me.”

“Are you — ?”  And okay, so usually this was Stiles’ M.O., going from 0 to 60 in no time at all, making wedding plans from the moment he first laid eyes on someone.  It was a little unnerving to be on the other side of the equation.  He could tell from Derek’s expression that he was dead serious, though, and so he took a moment to think carefully about what he was going to say before blurting out some stupid thing.  Probably something like “Yes, yes to all of it, a thousand times yes!”

“We only dated for a few weeks,” Stiles said, trying to be the level-headed one for once.  “We haven’t even seen each other for months.  Or, I mean, you haven’t seen me.”  He cringed as the words came out of his mouth.  So much for thinking things through.  Nice going, Stiles, reminding Derek of the horrible experience he had unknowingly put him through.

Derek seemed unfazed.  He reached across the breakfast bar, gently grasping Stiles’ hand.  He drew it to his mouth, placing a kiss over the rune on the underside of his wrist, nostrils flaring as he drew in Stiles’ scent.  

“You’re my true mate,” he said, his beautiful eyes serious and steady on Stiles’ own.  “I’ve known for months, thinking I had lost you.  I don’t have any doubts.”

“I —”  And to be truthful, Stiles didn’t have any doubts either.  He had pretty much known that Derek was perfect — was perfect for him — since the moment they met.  But someone had to be practical here.

“I have a job lined up, back at home,” he managed, stomach sinking at even saying the words out loud.  “It’s tenure-track, and those aren’t easy to find — and my dad’s getting older —”

“Okay,” Derek interrupted.

“Okay what!” Stiles snapped.  He had worked damn hard for that position, and it could be years before something like that opened up here, and if Derek thought it was that easy for Stiles to just abandon it all —

“Okay, I’ll move,” Derek said with a shrug, making Stiles’ anger sputter out as quickly as it had flared.  “If you don’t want to move in together yet, I’ll get my own place, wherever you are.”

Stiles felt a little unmoored, trying hard to tamp down on the warm fluttering in his chest — determined not to get his hopes up until he was sure that Derek was saying what he thought he was saying.

“You will?”  He looked around at the gorgeous loft.  “You have this beautiful place, and —”

“Stiles.”  Derek was around on Stiles’ side of the breakfast bar now, pressing close against him, his expression fondly aggravated.  “It’s just a place.”  He leaned down, silencing whatever objection Stiles was going to proffer next with a warm, wet kiss.

Stiles pulled back.  “You’ll move to Beacon Hills with me?” he confirmed, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.

Derek pressed another kiss to Stiles’ mouth.  “Yes.”

“You’ll come home with me at Christmas to meet my dad?”

This kiss was a little fiercer, a little dirtier.  “Yes.”

Stiles was grinning now, helplessly, against Derek’s mouth.  “You’ll have a house and a dog and little adopted babies with me?”

That pulled a growl from Derek.  “Yes,” he rumbled, pressing closer, mouthing at Stiles’ neck.

“Think with practice you can knot my mouth?”

“Ye—” Derek pulled back, startled for a moment before groaning.

“You’ll be the death of me,” he muttered, even as he pulled Stiles in tight, grinding his hardening cock against his hip.

“Too late,” Stiles crowed.  “You already promised to have my little adopted babies.  No takesies-backsies.”

“Mmm,” Derek hummed, mouthing at Stiles’ collarbone.  “What have I done?”

Stiles couldn’t help his smile, pulling Derek’s head up to kiss his beautiful lips.  “You found me,” he said happily, against Derek’s mouth.  Derek rumbled his agreement, and kissed him back.