"A werewolf convention?"
Derek sighs. Somehow the waggling of his eyebrows comes off as brooding rather than dumb, as it would have on Stiles.
"So let me get this straight. You're going to some alpha wolf convention - where you all get together and talk about your alpha wolf problems - and you want to bring me?"
Derek runs a hand through his hair.
"Everyone else is busy—"
"Oh, so I'm a last resort? Gee, thanks, Sourwolf."
"—so I was really hoping you could come. I'll look weak if I go alone."
"What makes you think I care if you look weak? What makes you think I care at all?"
Derek levels Stiles with a stare.
Stiles shrugs and sighs, exasperated.
"You know what? Fine. But you better not get all broody and mad and act like I'm embarrassing you."
Derek bites his lip and breathes loudly through his nose, agitated.
"I'll make it worth your while, okay? Just. Please come."
It looks as though it has physically pained Derek to speak. Stiles sighs again.
They've been in the Camaro for thirty minutes.
Thirty deadly silent minutes.
Derek grips the steering wheel with white knuckles as Stiles fidgets in the passenger seat.
Finally, Stiles breaks the silence.
"Hey, how about some musi— "
Derek exhales loudly through his nose. His knuckles somehow become paler as his fingers clench the steering wheel's black leather.
"What kind of music do you like?"
The question is gritted out.
"I specifically asked for a room with two double beds. What about my request is so difficult for you to accommodate?"
Derek's seething and his eyes are in danger of bleeding red. The hotel clerk looks terrified, eyes darting from Derek in the foreground and Stiles in the background.
Stiles reaches out to Derek's arm.
"Hey, big guy. Relax. One of us can sleep on the floor or something. Or we can snuggle. It's not that big of a deal."
Derek turns to Stiles, and in that moment, he just looks so ridiculously wild in the Hampton Inn lobby. Despite this, the tinge of red begins to recede from the edges of his irises and his hands relax.
"It's really alright with you?"
Stiles is baffled; no, downright bewildered. Derek, asking what Stiles thinks? What's next, zombies?
Probably. Considering everything that's happened in the last year and a half, zombies are probable at this point.
"Yes, Derek, it's fine. Now stop terrifying—Charlie, right?—so we can drop our bags off. I don't feel like dragging this thing around forever."
Derek looks uncertain and shifts from foot to foot. Stiles thinks it's adorable.
He's so fucked.
After about the ninth time Derek and Stiles are mistaken for a couple, Stiles pulls Derek outside the convention center.
"Okay, dude, you're going to have to tell me what the ever-loving fuck is going on here." Stiles jams a finger into Derek's chest for emphasis and immediately wishes he hadn't. Ow.
Derek's hands are clenched, and so are his teeth.
"I didn't know everyone was bringing their mate. I thought we were just bringing a trusted member of the pack."
Stiles doesn't know whether to retch or flail in confusion. Trusted member of the pack? When the fuck did that happen?
Then again, Stiles was Derek's last resort. Ouch.
Stiles swallows and looks back at Derek.
"Does this mean we're going to have to pretend that we're… mates? Jesus fucking christ, I didn't even know werewolves had mates. Do you mate for life?"
Derek's caterpillar eyebrows maneuver incomprehensibly across his forehead. Finally, they knit together.
"If you're okay with it?"
Stiles balks. This is the second time Derek has asked him if he's okay with something. What the fuck kind of water (or coffee) have they been drinking here in Seattle? Is it something to make all the alphas play nice with each other?
Whatever it is, the open, pleading look on Derek's face melts his heart.
"Fine. But you owe me one."
Stiles can't decipher Derek's face.
If Stiles didn't know better, he would think Derek was enjoying showing him off.
(Stiles enjoys being shown off by Derek.)
The possessive arm curled around his waist is pleasantly warm and wonderfully reassuring as it guides Stiles around the room. He leans a little bit into Derek's muscled torso and thanks the Force that werewolves are so fucking tactile.
He's surprised, though, to feel lips and warm breath at his ear as Derek asks if he's doing alright.
Alright? Stiles is over the fucking moon. He's a little hungry, though. Mingling takes a lot of energy out of Stiles.
He hopes that Derek isn't listening too closely to his heartbeat.
Apparently, Derek is a lightweight for a werewolf.
Stiles should have known there was wolfsbane in that punch.
Derek turns out be awfully nice when he's tipsy. He even lets Stiles have the first shower.
Thirty minutes after Stiles crawls into bed and begins to read (The Courtship of Princess Leia, thank you very much), he's compelled to look up.
A pair of gorgeous glasz eyes are inches away from his.
"You smell so good, Stiles."
Stiles awkwardly (and unsuccessfully) attempts to escape the cage of Derek's arms.
Derek's eyes are half-closed and his mouth open as he scents Stiles. God, Stiles can't believe that this is his life. Fucking werewolves.
"Derek, you can have the bed. I'll just get on the floor—"
Stiles laughs nervously. Derek's going to be pissed tomorrow morning. Where's this coming from, anyway?
"What do you mean, 'no'?"
That's how Stiles wakes up wrapped tightly in werewolf limbs. Looking back on the night before, Stiles has no idea how he even got to sleep.
Jesus, Derek was warm.
He was also—oh, shit.
You know, as a dude, Stiles understands certain things, but this? It can't get much more awkward than this.
Wait, is Derek nuzzling Stiles's neck?
Just when he thought it couldn't get more awkward. Stiles literally can't believe this is his life, he can't.
Derek's arms tighten around Stiles as Derek pushes his nose into Stiles's neck. Apparently, this is a thing.
Why is Stiles actually not surprised?
Oh, right, because Derek did this for like a million years last night.
Stiles quietly gets out of the bed. Derek seems to be mostly-asleep, if not completely-asleep.
Stiles silently gets dressed and leaves the room.
God, he needs to clear his head.
Twenty minutes later, running footsteps sound behind Stiles on the sidewalk. He steps aside so that the jogger can pass.
It's not a jogger.
His eyes are wild and his hair's a mess.
Nevertheless, he grabs Stiles's forearms.
"Where were you this morning?! I woke up and you were gone! I thought you were in danger!"
Stiles laughs nervously.
"Nope, just needed some fresh air."
So Derek doesn't remember.
But Derek looks wounded.
"I thought… never mind. It's not a big deal."
"No, Derek, what—"
"I said never mind. Leave it."
"I'm not one of your fucking betas. You can't make me submit to you. We're equals."
"I didn't mean it like that!"
"Then how did you mean it, Derek?"
Derek grips his hair and grits his teeth.
"Look, I thought you—I. Last night. I think I've been reading you all wrong. I've been thinking you wanted to—I've been thinking you wanted a—Stiles, you don't even know how you make me feel, do you?"
"How can I know if you don't fucking tell me? You were drunk last night, Derek. Anything said or done then doesn't count—"
Stiles is cut off by the hard press of Derek's lips against his own. It's obvious Derek hasn't done this in awhile, but it doesn't matter to Stiles as he threads his fingers in Derek's dark hair. Stiles nips lightly at Derek's lower lip, releasing a deep groan from Derek that reverberates down Stiles's spine.
Someone across the street hoots.
They part, and Derek is grinning. Stiles realizes that this is the first time he's ever seen that happen.
He resolves to make it happen more often.
"That's so romantic!" Allison squeals as she squeezes Stiles's arm. Stiles resists the urge to wince. Girl got a grip.
Scott looks queasy.
"That means Derek had morning breath for your first kiss. Gross."
"Thank you, Allison, and Scott, I tell you the whole super duper romantic story, and that's what you get out of it? I don't even know why I'm friends with you."
"Because you love me."
"I love Derek more."
Scott pretends to retch as Allison and Stiles laugh.
"Derek, you fucking creeper."
Surprisingly, Derek looks ashamed, moonlit in Stiles's room.
"Do you want me to go—"
"No, you're fine. Don't worry about it."
Stiles smiles gently.
"I kind of have a thing for creepers, anyway."
Derek lifts an eyebrow.
"What kind of creepers?"
God, his voice.
"The selfless kind who's also a little awkward and loves Pablo Neruda. The kind who's a solid leader and role model for a bunch of teenage werewolves. The kind who tries every day to be a good person, and succeeds, because he is a good person, even if he doesn't believe it sometimes.
And, you know, the kind of creeper who loves me back."
Stiles is standing now, his hands wound at the nape of Derek's neck.
"Even when he sees me in my Spiderman boxers—"
Derek kisses him softly. Stiles backs him toward the bed.
Derek breaks the kiss for a moment.
"You know you just said that you love me, right?"
"Derek, you've known that forever. How many times have I saved your life?"
"Well, for the record, I love you, too."