Waking Up to Something New
Like Jackson. Or…Derek. Especially Derek. That would be awkward. Or maybe it wouldn’t be awkward and that would be awkward.
God, he wished his head didn’t hurt so much. Or the cloth didn’t pull at his skin and the cold didn’t sting in what he was coming to figure out was a cut…on his head.
Stiles grimaced, closing his eyes again, and blindly swatted at the person beside him. The edge of his hand hit something hard—rock hard, with a soft cotton material covering it—and he yelped, jerking his hand back a mere second before a low, guttural, warning growl tore through the air.
Stiles froze, waiting for the person to speak, and when they didn’t say anything, he shook his head—and cursed as another jolt of sharp pain lanced through his skull. He shifted against the mound of pillows he suspected were propped behind him and did his best to twist away from the cloth still cruising over his left eyebrow and temple, but then had to stop because two strong, powerful hands caught his face in a death grip.
“Hold still,” a gruff voice ordered. “There’s still pieces of glass in this last cut. I need to get them out so I can see if you need stitches. You have a concussion, but I think it’s only mild.”
What was sourwolf doing playing his nursemaid? He hated Stiles. Or Stiles thought he hated him, at least.
Did he hate him?
Fuck. Someone must really hate him to make Derek the only one available to help him. Either that or his life just sucked that much. Considering how much he hurt, he suspected the latter one.
He shifted against the pillows again and fought to free his head.
“Dammit, Stiles, I said hold still! You’re making things worse.”
Huh. That almost sounded like annoyed concern in Derek’s voice, but why would a grumpy alpha be concerned about Stiles? It didn’t make sense. Unless…
“Dude. Did you hit me over the head with something? Is that why you’re…here?”
Another growl, followed by, “You’re in my bedroom at my loft, you idiot. Where else would I be? And I swear to God, if you don’t hold still, I will tie you to this bed!”
Bed. He was on a bed. Derek’s bed?
Geezus. What was he doing in Derek’s bed? That was just…all kinds of wrong.
“What…happened to me?”
The hands on his chin and at his forehead stilled. “One of the rogue alphas rammed the passenger side of your jeep. Your head hit the driver’s side window and the glass shattered. I got there just as the jeep hit the side of a tree. I got you out while the others chased off the alpha. Now hold still and let me clean you up.”
“Why didn’t you take me to the hospital? I could have internal injuries and—”
“Other than your head, you’re fine. You’re not injured anywhere else. I would know if you were.”
Right. The blood. He’d be able to smell the blood.
Stiles frowned, opening his eyes again. This time, he was able to see the concentration on Derek’s face—and the scowl.
“You can tell if someone has internal injuries?”Stiles asked, blinking to keep his image into focus. “Like i-internal bleeding?”
Derek glanced at him then looked away to refocus on the cut at his left temple. “I can tell a lot of things,” he said, brow furrowing as he picked and swiped at the cut. “You know, I don’t think this is going to need stitches, but it will hurt like hell for a few days.”
Stiles’ frown deepened. “How long was I out for? I don’t even remember you getting me out of the jeep or bringing me here. Shit. How bad is the Jeep? Dad’s going to go ballistic when he finds out.”
“He already knows. He’s the one that suggested I bring you here. He doesn’t think your house is safe right now. He’s staying at Scott’s house until we find the alphas and get rid of them.”
What? “He just…left me with you?”
Derek met his eyes, his gaze confused, troubled. “You think I can’t keep you safe? That I’m untrustworthy for you to be around?”
Yeah, actually, that’s exactly what he thought. “Dude. The alphas almost killed you how many times now? How long before they find out about this place? How long before they decide to take it and you—and me since I’m stuck here—out?”
Derek shot to his feet, dropping the cloth into a bucket of water beside the bed. “All right. I’ll call your dad and let him know you’d like to stay with him at Scott’s house.”
Shit. Now he felt like an ass. “Look, man, it isn’t that I don’t trust you to keep me safe. Or that I don’t trust you at all, it’s just…they’ve gone after you more than any of us. Besides that, we hate each other, Derek. My staying here makes no sense.”
“I don’t hate you, Stiles. You annoy me. Constantly. But I don’t hate you. I’ve never hated you.”
He hadn’t? Well, hell. “I’ve never hated you, either, but that’s beside the point. I’d annoy you to death if I stayed here. You’d wanna rip my throat out the entire time.”
“How is that any different than all the other times you’ve annoyed me when you’ve stayed the night along with the pack?”
It wasn’t any different, except…lately, Stiles felt different when he stayed over. Uncomfortable different. As if everyone knew something he didn’t, and didn’t seem inclined to clue him in on it.
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” Stiles muttered, closing his eyes again. “You only have one bed, Derek. If I sleep here, where are you going to sleep?”
“Who said I wasn’t sleeping right here in my bed?”
Stiles stilled, and slowly raised his eyelids. “Excuse me? If you sleep here, where in the hell am I supposed to sleep? No way am I taking that god awful couch you’ve got, and I’m not too keen on crashing on the floor again, either.”
“Who said you had to? I don’t recall telling you that you couldn’t sleep in my bed, Stiles.”
But…Derek was sleeping in his bed. If Stiles slept there, too, then…
Stiles would have jackknifed up if Derek hadn’t held him down with a hand to the chest.
“Holy shit, dude! You expect me to sleep with you? As in lay right beside you? All night?”
Derek furrowed his brow again. “Why do you sound so surprised? It’s the simplest solution, and besides, with your concussion, someone will have to check on you throughout the night. That’s what Scott’s mom said anyway.”
And that someone had to be Derek? Why? What in the hell was Stiles missing that made this even remotely simple let alone okay with everyone? Okay with Derek?
The mattress wobbled as Derek scooted closer to him, and Stiles did his best to ignore the rush of heat that came as Derek’s denim-covered backside met the exposed skin at Stiles’ stomach.
“Does the thought of sharing a bed with me scare you that much?”
No, the thought of sharing a bed with him excited him that much…and that scared him because Stiles had never been into guys in the past. He joked, sure, but he’d never been serious about it. Never even been attracted to another guy until…
Shit. Until Derek.
Derek was the first guy Stiles had ever felt even a modicum of attraction toward…and the very idea that it might be reciprocated—and how the fuck did that happen?—scared the holy hell out of Stiles.
People Stiles liked weren’t supposed to like him back. It screwed up the natural order of the things. It screwed up—
A callused palm settled against his cheekbone. Stiles blinked, his thoughts stalling out, even as his heart raced and beat against his ribcage.
“You didn’t answer my question,” Derek accused, leveling him with a look. “Does the thought of sharing a bed with me repulse you?”
Stiles swallowed, hard, took a deep breath, and slowly shook his head. “No, but don’t you think it should? I mean, you’re a guy and I’m a guy, and…I’ve never been into guys. I’ve always been into Lydia, and, well, Lydia’s very much not a guy and—”
Stiles swallowed again, and forced himself to focus on Derek’s face. On Derek’s eyes. On the amusement that glittered inside the dark brown mass of his irises and the little bit of apprehension that sparked within them.
Oh, man. Was Derek nervous? Because of him?
“No,” Stiles repeated, heart thundering in his own ears as the pad of Derek’s thumb crept toward his mouth. “The idea of sharing a bed with you doesn’t repulse me.” But why didn’t it repulse him? It should, shouldn’t it? It should repulse them both.
Derek’s thumb brushed across Stile’s bottom lip and Stiles seriously thought he might embarrass himself at the first feel of the other man’s flesh against his mouth.
Another swipe across his lip, a slight pull downward to expose the inside, and Derek nodded, his own mouth forming into a rare, near perfect smile. “That’s good to know. Really good. Because the idea of sharing a bed with you doesn’t repulse me, either.”
Derek pushed to his feet then and bent to pick up the bowl of water off the floor. “You should rest now,” he said, turning and walking into the master bathroom, out of Stiles’ line of sight. “I’ll wake you in two hours. If you feel like talking more then, we will.”
That’s it? He’ll wake Stiles in two hours and they’d…talk? What about sharing a bed? What about…not being repulsed? What about—”
“Stiles. Stop thinking and go to sleep. You need your rest.”
Yeah, but what did Stiles need his rest for?
Recuperating from a concussion, or… coming to terms with sharing a bed with an alpha werewolf soon?
“Both,” Stiles decided, muttering under his breath. He needed his rest for both. But he would especially need it for the latter because no way would Stiles be able to sleep once Derek Hale crawled into bed with him.
No way at all.