“The curse is literally burning your heart away. You need to tell me who did this to you, Peter. I need you to tell me who did this, right now!”
Stiles is frantic, he always is. But today is different- today is different because Peter Hale just collapsed through his window at 12 am and is choking out smoke. He’s frantic because this is the first magical emergency he’s dealt with without the pack there.
But Peter needs help now.
“Peter! Goddammit- tell me who did this so I can at least do something!” The last thing he needs is to kill a man on his first solo job. Stiles has only been able to properly use his spark for three months. In those months he’s also done more destruction than healing magic- though that might have more to do with how shaky he was on spell work and less on the spells he was actually casting.
“Gck-!” The elder Hale chokes out, who Stiles hasn’t really been a big fan of since the whole... mass murder, rising from the dead, using the pack and generic emotional traumas he’s caused.
“Shit!” Quickly Stiles casts a pick-me-up spell and puts Peter on the bed before scrabbling for his shirt. He has no idea what he’s doing- hell he hasn’t even turned the light on yet, but Peter is- Stiles doesn’t even know-
But recently Peter has been proving himself to the pack, whether the older man acknowledges it or not, he’s been accepted ( begrudgingly so at first, Stiles will admit) into the group alongside Derek and Cora.
And as pack, Stiles is going to try his damnedest to at least help.
“Jesus Peter-” He complains, gagging on the smell of burnt flesh-
He doesn’t think he’s ever going to be able to eat barbecue ever again, because he’s stricken by how much it reminds him of the smell. Peter’s chest is burning as fast as it heal, leaving a glowing and blackening chest heaving for air.
“W-wi....gch!” Peter chokes but it’s enough for Stiles to catch on.
“Witches. Great. This is a curse by what I’m guessing is a girl you pissed off?”
“Mm-” Peter seems to go boneless as Stiles charms his hands to be icy cold. It’s been a handy ( heh. handy ) trick that’s only really used for when Kira accidentally burnt her fingers on a live wire last week. “Something about... Heart break..?” As he speaks, smoking tendrils are seeping up out from between his lips, as if his tongue were creating smoke signals for Stiles’ non-existent audience to figure out.
“ Peter .” Stiles rolls his eyes heavenward and goes to find his book of reversing spells. It was the second book Deaton had given him exactly one hour after having his beginners book of spells. In his defense, Scott had looked adorable with rabbit ears. “Leave it to a Hale to piss off a woman and it turns out they’re actually a magical beings with a damned vengeance.”
That pulls a sore sounding chuckle from Peter. No matter how casual he’s acting, Stiles can only imagine how much it burns for his literal heart to be starting and stopping while it burns from the inside and heals just as fast.
“Right. Okay. I can do this. IcandothisIcandothisIcandothis.” Stiles takes a deep breath, ripping his eyes away from Peter long enough to open the tome and start flipping the pages. His own heart is in his throat, choking out all the confidence he’d been gaining ever since he’d stopped blowing things up two week ago.
Stiles feels like he’s going to blow up.
“Don’t you dare die on my bed, Peter.” Stiles threatens when the man lets out a particularly painful cough.
The lights are out but with one charmed hand on Peter’s chest, cooling the sweltering heat below it and the other frantically flipping through pages he doesn’t have the time to go over and turn on the lights. “ Alegre e axúdame a ver!” Stiles says in frustration. As the room lights up so he can see clearly, he’s grateful that he’s got that one memorized.
At least he was until he looks back down and sees that Peter’s in worse shape that Stiles thought.
“OH MY-” Peter offers a very painful looking smile. “What in the hell is that?!” He exclaims while looking at Peter’s extremely disfigured right flank.
“H-had... t’ keep. Gck!” He pauses to gasp for air while Stiles inspects what looks very much like char marks over Peter’s right shoulder, arm and side. How he missed that on the initial discovery of Peter choking out smoke and a clutching a burning chest; is kind of a miracle. Hey now, it was fucking dark . “...W’iff... th’ theme.” Peter slurs, wincing when Stiles moves his charmed icy fingers to the shoulder. The skin there is hot, and oh god -
is that bone? Oh he’s going to have to burn these sheets after this. Damn Hales.
“ Christ-” Stiles stifles another gag. The spell in here to reverse a curse isn’t showing up and Peter seems to be struggling to keep his eyes open. “Okay this is- you’re going to be fine . Okay? Just- Just stay awake, Peter.”
He drags his eyes away from his book when there’s no answer. His chest is positively black now, marring his usually pale alabaster skin- save for the glowing embers of where his heart should be.
“ Peter?!” Oh god. ohgodohgodohgod- “ I can do this- just reverse the curse. Reverse the curse, and it’ll be fine. It’ll be... oh my god-” The air is way too thick and all he can fucking smell is Peter and his fucking burning skin-
“You can do this Stiles. Calm down.” Talking to himself seems to help, he hopes Peter isn’t conscious enough to hear how he chants ‘ I’m batman’ over and over as he flips faster through this ridiculously big book. Later, he’s going to take the time to make color coded tabs.
The pages are thick and old, stained from many hands running it’s pages and being transported likely hundreds of thousands of times. the edges of the paper are browned with use and the middles are yellowed by age. Peter’s breathing is way too slow for Stiles’ tastes.
“ Reverte a maldición!” Stiles says desperately when he can’t find it. It doesn’t work, and he feels like stomach churn as if he’s eaten way too many greasy curly fries. Stiles feels like he’s going to puke with the panic that’s surging through him.
“C’ mon! Fuck fuck fuck- Peter I swear to go I’m going to kill you myself if you die. I’ll make Lydia help me too. Where the hell is it?!”
Suddenly the book shudders and the pages begin to flip on their own. Stiles would be more worried if he wasn’t so hellbent on not letting the Derek’s uncle die for a third time. Dying once and having to heal for eight years had to be hard enough- and then getting his throat ripped out? ( to be fair Peter deserved that one a bit- who kills their own niece to avenge their family?!) And to now die again because he can’t find the damn page in this stupidly bigass book?!
He’s heard of sparks who can use their will only to conduct spells- But before now Stiles has never seen it .
Until now, because the spell is there suddenly and thank god because he’s pretty sure Peter isn’t breathing. Stiles doesn’t have time to process, just follows the steps accordingly. He spreads both hands over the affected area and begins a complicated chant.
He only messes up twice, but it’s more from the adrenaline than anything else. He’ll have time to panic after. Once Peter isn’t actively dying on his bed at nearly one am in the morning and he can call the pack to come and-
Stiles really wishes werewolves would stop climbing through his window at night.
The spell takes more out of him that he expects but it doesn’t bother him in that moment. Stiles is much more concerned with the corpse-like looking werewolf on his bed. The room fills with a residuals burst of red light, and crackling away with a loud CRACK .
It reminds him of the sound thunder makes just before the clouds open and drench the world below.
Peter is still for a moment, before his back is arching and his body seizes. For a terrifying second Stiles thinks the spell backfired- but then he watches as Peter gasps in a breath.
“Oh thank fucking god-” He wheezes out as Peter grabs the hand that had before been charmed to be cold.
“Sh.... it!” Peter gags on his own breath but he figures that might have something to do with his extensive injuries.
“You’re telling me. Once you’re healed up I’m going to punch you in the face. Scaring the hell out of me is so not cool, Peter.” Stiles lectures, falling to his knees and letting out a shaky breath. He pulls out his phone while Peter stares up at the ceiling with a rueful smirk.
“Hello?” Derek greets with a groggy voice. Stiles lets out a weak laugh. He’s been here trying to revive this guys uncle and-
and Derek was sleeping?
“Stiles? What’s wrong?” Stiles didn’t realize the tears falling until he goes to breathe but all the air just reeks of burned skin- “Stiles. Where are you?” He can hear rustling on the other end of the phone. Peter groans from the bed in front of him.
“My house.” Stiles answers. He wonders if Derek can tell how scared he was over the phone. He hopes, in some far away place- that Scott won’t be upset that he called Derek first. Scott might be his alpha but Derek’s uncle is still half-dead and on his bed. There’s nothing Scott can do now anyways.
“I’m on my way.” Derek’s voice is curt and sharp. It pushes Stiles to stagger up, and turn the actual light in his bedroom on before extinguishing the spell that had been magically lighting it up. The last thing he needs is to crash from using too much magic.
Time kind of just... stops until Derek gets there. There’s this gap of time between Stiles charming his hands again with the frostbite spell to soothe Peter’s burns, and when suddenly there’s warm hands on his arms from behind.
He tells himself that it’s the panic attack and use of so much magic in such a small time frame that has him falling back into the cautious hands behind him. Stiles isn’t going to face those feelings- especially not tonight.
“Stiles.” Derek says, his voice vibrates in his chest which is nearly touching Stiles’ back. He doesn’t have time to think about the fact that he’s only wearing boxers with cheeseburgers on them and a stupid graphic tee. It doesn’t sound like it’s the first time his name was called, but it’s the first time he hears it as Derek pulls him back from the now sleeping Peter Hale.
Dammit, Stiles had liked those blue sheets.
“Stiles, tell me what happened. Are you okay?” It’s obvious that he isn’t, but Derek is turning him around, guiding him out of the burnt flesh smelling room and to the bathroom.
“I- He..” Stiles shakes his head, eyes falling to his hands that Derek’s pushing under the sink. Maybe later, when the world doesn’t feel numb and his feet feel like they’ve fallen asleep- he’ll be annoyed that Derek is manhandling him like a two year old.
Instead he lets Derek wash his sooty hands, ones that are a little tacky from handling Peter’s burned skin. Just thinking about it, Stiles can feel the bone under his hand when he’d inspected Peter’s right flank.
“Calm down.” Derek’s voice brings him back, low and deep beside his left ear. The breath against it is hot and the warmth of Derek’s body behind him is soothing, so he leans back against the chest there. “You did good.”
And- wow . Stiles didn’t realize how much he’d needed to hear that.
He can’t help from the way his sight blurs, and he’ll blame it on the adrenaline crash if Derek ever mentions it. He had done good. In fact, Stiles had been doing great since all this magic crap started a few months ago. All anyone said about it was how it was kind of cool or how maybe he should try learning these spells.
No one had thought to say what should have been obvious-
He’d done good.
Stiles lets out a heavy breath- ignores how it sounds closer to a sob. His hands are red and achy when they come out of the water. Belatedly he realizes that he might have blisters from the burns he’d been treating. He hadn’t even felt them when it must have happened, to be fair though Stiles had been remarkably busy.
“Stiles?” It must be weird for Derek, to have to deal with Stiles when he probably just wanted to know what happened to his now recovering uncle. He nods his head stupidly, hoping that appeases the wolf that’s supporting most of his weight in front of the mirror. Stiles doesn’t meet the man’s eye- doesn’t even look in the mirror at all. He wonders if he’s got enough juice in him to heal up these hands before they blister-
An ever-warm hand is circling his wrist and leading him somewhere again. Stiles doesn’t fight it. He lets Derek treat him like a child because for once, Stiles doesn’t want to be the problem solver. He’s had enough problem solving for one day.
“A curse.” He says, because Derek had asked him what happened. The man was probably eager to see to Peter even though it was, well, Peter . No matter how much he wants to stay here and let Derek take care of him, Stiles figures the guy probably doesn’t want to babysit a despondent spark at whatever-o’clock it was. “Peter said-” Stiles sighs heavily. If he thinks too hard he’s scared that he’s going to start crying again.
That is something he doesn’t want anyone to see. Especially Derek.
“He said that- Some witch. She cursed him, his heart was… it was burning .” Derek has sat them on the couch but Stiles doesn’t really remember that happening. It’s as if the moment his mind realized there was no more danger it had just checked out. He knows that’s just the adrenaline crashing but it makes him feel a bit stupid too.
He’s sat here, in his cheeseburger boxers, unable to string together much of a sentence while the guy he’s been kind of into for the past year or so is taking care of him. Derek should be up there with Peter. Stiles wonders if he can smell the burning flesh that had filled the room- or if Stiles is just unable to stop smelling it now that he’s gotten a whiff of it once.
Derek hums or says something low enough that Stiles doesn’t catch it. There’s a phone ringing somewhere- or maybe it’s just him, because Derek doesn’t react for a few moments before the man is sighing loudly.
“Stiles.” He’s had to have said Stiles’ name many times by now. Stiles feels like it’s the only thing Derek has said since he got here. Nevertheless, he looks up into green eyes that are looking particularly worried. “Your cell phone is ringing.” Oh.
Now that Derek says it, he can hear the electronic imitation of a ringer beside him. Stiles takes a full ten seconds to realize he’s meant to answer it before pressing the green icon.
“Hello?” He asks, admiring the way Derek’s brows seem to shift from worried to frustrated. It’s a little funny how for someone who’s been told he should express himself more- Stiles can read the guy like an open book.
“Stiles! Cora texted me telling me that Derek just ran out? He said something about you? Is everythi -” Stiles doesn’t hear the rest before Derek’s taking the phone from his lax grip. That’s fine. Stiles doesn’t really have much to say anyways.
“He’s fine. Peter showed up here with a bit of a magic issue. It’s fine now.” Stiles thinks that Derek might be downplaying it a bit, but just busies himself with looking at the man’s hand holding his phone. “Yeah. Alright.” Derek finishes up the call and walks off to the kitchen.
Stiles takes this moment to run fingers through his hair. He finds that holding his head is a good excuse to cover his eyes with his hands, pressing into them hard so that he can’t keep picturing the smoldering muscles and bones he’d seen tonight. Or was it morning?
Doesn’t matter. The point was that the picture was awful, and the more he thinks about it the more his tender palms ache softly. Stiles presses harder against his eyes until all he can see are swirls and blots of colors and stars behind his eyelids. Not mostly-dead Peter Hales with mutilated burns over his body.
A weight drops beside him on the couch and it should be a little worrisome how much Stiles wants to lean into Derek. Stiles lets out a shaky breath again.
“You don’t have to sit with me. I’m fine.” Stiles tells Derek. And he is, Stiles is fine. He’s a bit shaken up, sure; but otherwise he’s fine. Derek doesn’t answer so Stiles looks over at him and-
Derek’s much closer than he’d thought. The wolf isn’t touching him, but only just. Green eyes analyze him in a way that Stiles wonders if Derek knows how much he reminds him of Peter in that moment. Apparently meeting Derek’s eyes seem to confirm something because the man leans back into the cushions. Stiles frowns.
“Aren’t you going to check on Peter?”
“Do you want me to?” Derek raises a brow as if the hairs could form their own physical question mark on the man’s forehead. Did Stiles want Derek to leave him down here? Not really, no.
“You don’t have to stay with me.”
“That doesn’t answer my question, Stiles.” Derek levels his stare, and it’s very hard to look away from those eager green eyes. “I’m asking what you want.” Stiles shrugs his shoulders.
Because what Stiles wants… What he wants isn’t ideal.
Stiles wants Derek to stay here. Stiles wants Derek to hold him and he wants him to take away the smell of burning flesh that is tattooed to memory.He wants Derek to hug him so hard he can’t breathe because that would feel better than how the is air choking him. But Stiles can’t ask for those things. He certainly can’t ask for the other even less ideal things he wants Derek to do.
“I don’t need anything.” He says instead. That too, is not a lie. Stiles doesn’t need anything. He knows he’s avoiding Derek’s question, can see it in the familiar look of annoyance he’s given. Stiles looks back to his legs instead.
Part of Stiles just wants to sleep, now that the anxiety isn’t wrapping around him like a boa and the adrenaline has long since crashed, Stiles would kill for a nap right now. Just the thought of it though, has him feeling nauseous. The last thing he wants is for his subconscious to make him relive that. Up until now, the most Stiles has done with magic had been little things, like growing plants and trying not to implode things when he got overwhelmed.
“Where do you keep your mugs?” Derek asks eventually, interrupting what had been a decently comfortable silence.
“Top cupboard, left of the sink.”
The weight beside him is gone and Stiles doesn’t feel too guilty about taking Derek’s place on the couch. The wolf’s body has warmed up the blue cushions and armrest. Stiles pulls the blanket off the back of the couch to hide his boxers like any decent person would have. The pack have seen him in worse though, and he’s sure that if Derek had had a problem he would have told Stiles.
Stiles is all too familiar with Derek letting him know if he’s done something annoying.
“Tea?” Derek asks at a normal volume from in the kitchen.
“Right side of the cupboard where the mugs are.” He can hear the tearing noise of the packet and declines it when Derek asks if he wants sugar in his. Stiles hadn’t even known they had tea; but he’d figured if they did that would be where to find it. Melissa probably put it there on one of her visits over.
Stiles wasn’t much of a tea drinker, but his mom was. Dad drinks it here and there, Stiles hasn’t ever commented on how the man usually will just make it and leave it to sit on the table. There are probably one or two full cups of tea in the man’s study right now, actually.
Derek doesn’t comment on Stiles stealing his place, just places a warm mug in Stiles’ hand and holds another for himself as he sits where Stiles had been. They drink in peace, and it’s only when he’s halfway through the mug of tea that Stiles even realizes the man doesn’t plan on moving.
Jesus. Stiles shouldn’t be so happy about that.
Instead Stiles settles heavier into this place, pressing his toes under Derek’s thigh like the child he is and holds the mug close to his chest. It smells like lemons. Stiles wonders if its the same tea his mom used to drink. He can’t remember.
He doesn’t sleep, but he does doze off for maybe an hour. The only reason he wakes is because he can feel Derek gently taking the mug from his fingers where it had been clutching it to his chest.
“Go back to sleep.” The beta wolf says, but Stiles can’t. He tries for a little while, before deciding it’s best if he showers. He tells Derek to make himself at home ( as if the man hadn’t already ).
This is where he is now, in the shower and letting the hot water beat down on his skin until he’s scrubbed it raw. He makes sure he no longer feels like the smell of Peter’s burnt skin is clinging to him. Though he never heard the door make a sound, he finds a pile of clothes waiting for him on the counter that hadn’t been there before. Stiles tries not to think too much of Derek going through his dresser. It feels more intimate than it should.
When he’s finished, there’s this moment where he kind of just… Stares at his reflection in the mirror, wet hair still dripping. For some reason, after something slightly traumatic happens (which- honestly when was that not happening these days in Beacon Hills?) Stiles always expects to look different. To appear as affected by it as he is emotionally. The only sign that he’s any different though, is the fact that his hair is wet from being in the shower.
There’s nothing different about him.
Of course not. This is something he’s been training to do anyways. Being an emissary- this is going to be expected of him. The thought is something he’s known since rushing into his magical studies. Deaton had made sure he knew what he was getting himself into- But Stiles also knew that, well to be blunt- eventually the pack would need something more than a research assistant and goofy best friend. Baseball bats don’t always work out.
Finding out he had a spark, that he was something . It made him feel… worthy? No… It’s not quite the word he wants to explain the warm feeling in his gut; but it’s the best Stiles can come up with right this moment.
Without really thinking about it, Stiles goes into his room as per routine. He doesn’t even think about it before he’s standing there, Peter’s still where he left him, his previously scorched upper body is mostly healed now. Stiles stares a little longer until the nausea takes an ugly turn and he’s gagging on a smell he’s about eighty-three percent sure isn’t there. If he notices, Derek doesn’t say anything when Stiles has rejoined him on the couch. And if Stiles wholly puts his feet in Derek’s lap instead of trying to worm them under the man’s thigh? Well Stiles knows Derek will just figure it’s more about being an annoyance than the physical comfort.
“TV?” Stiles asks, already reaching for the remote. Derek hums in agreement, looking beyond exhausted where he’s sat. “If uh, if you want, Derek- you can take my dad’s bed? He won’t be home until Monday. Some fishing trip with a couple buddies.”
Derek scoffs and casts a glance over at him. Stiles purses his lips because what’s that supposed to mean? “I’m fine. Shut up and pick something.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, stretching out purposely to be annoying and picking a random channel. He pokes Derek’s abdomen when the man starts to doze off not three minutes later. “Seriously man, it’s okay.”
“Would you just take the offer? Not like you’re the only Hale taking up a room for the night.” Derek narrows his eyes, grabbing Stiles foot- rude - when it pokes him again.
“Stiles I’m not going to steal your dad’s bed.”
“ Why not? ” he challenges. “He’s not here. You’re tired. There’s a bed upstairs. Problem solves itself.” Derek looks a bit more annoyed, but he doesn’t say anything. Actually he’s-
Is he sleeping with his eyes ope- Oh. No he just blinked. What the hell is he staring at?
“Why are you staring at me?” Stiles asks, looking down at his nose as if he could see his face. “Do I have blood on me still?”
Again Derek doesn’t answer. Where the hell went the guy going ‘ Stiles, stiles, stiles’ just earlier? Did bodysnatchers grab him while Stiles was showering?
“Nothing.” Derek replies. He’s waited those few seconds too long for Stiles to think it’s actually nothing; but he knows how unlikely it is for Derek to tell him the truth once the wolf has made up his mind though.
“Whatever.” He focuses on the FRIENDS episode rerunning. He’s not sure why but Chandler is naked in a men’s bathroom. Derek huffs out a sound eerily similar to a laugh but it could also be mistaken as a sigh- only it happens a few more times when a joke is made.
Stiles looks over at Derek. The man is slouched back comfortably on the ratty blue couch of Stiles’ living room. It’s got to be nearly four by now and his eyes have crows feet at the corners. Why has he never noticed that before? Derek’s mouth even twists up in a small smirk at the TV program.
Even though the particularly bad stuff in Beacon Hills has been fairly calm since Jennifer-- Stiles thinks that it shouldn’t have taken him nearly three years to see Derek Hale smile. What if he has and Stiles just wasn’t looking ?
He promises himself to make sure Derek smiles more. Preferably where Stiles can enjoy it. He makes sure to look at the TV again just as it reaches the credits, where Joey is acting as a zombie or something. Derek huffs out a long deep sigh through his nose as it flashes to commercial. Stiles is about to open his mouth and bully the beta into just taking the damn room upstairs; yet instead he finds himself stifling a yawn.
A new episode of FRIENDS starts playing as he stretches out comfortably. It’s only when he feels the push of warmth that he notices Derek’s hand is still holding his socked feet. Stiles can’t find himself to be bothered by it and the man doing the holding is far too tired to give a damn.
“Thanks. For coming.” Stiles says while staring at the opening intro.
“Of course.” Derek answers, in that same quiet voice that Stiles had used, as if they spoke louder than a whisper it would wake Peter upstairs. He thinks that the TV would wake the man, if anything could, but he doesn’t move to turn it down either. Instead Stiles continues the marathon.
Derek falls asleep holding Stiles’ feet. Stiles falls asleep staring at Derek’s sleeping face.
Stiles makes good on his promise to Peter tomorrow, promptly punching the elder Hale ( though not in the face) in the shoulder for scaring the hell out of him. Derek’s laugh is louder this time, and it makes his skin tingle a little. Peter looks just as dumbstruck as Stiles feels when he hears it, aching fist forgotten from where it had connected with Peter’s shoulder.
Stiles keeps thinking of the way Derek had whispered those words. As if it were a shame that Stiles hadn’t expected Derek to come racing when he’d called. It wasn’t that Stiles didn’t trust him- no it was more that Derek had stayed. He has a feeling Derek knew this was what he meant.
Stiles doesn’t bring it up. When he retells what happened to Scott, Stiles keeps it to the point and short. He doesn’t mention to anyone that he can’t stand cooking meat. He puts Dad on a vegetarian diet when he’s back from the trip.
Derek and Stiles don’t talk about sharing a couch at four am. Things go back to normal.
Not really .
There’s a tension between them now, one that has been festering in the back of his mind for ages, but has finally gotten noticeable . Stiles can’t stop thinking of how Derek had smiled that night- refusing to sleep on a bed and taking up residence on Stiles’ couch. Turns out- if you know which buttons to push, Derek has this deep and absolutely devastating laugh that makes Stiles’ face feel hot.
Jesus fucking Christ- so much for subtle, huh?
So what if he thinks Derek Hale is drop dead gorgeous? So what? Most of Beacon Hills thought that. Sure maybe they thought he was human but Stiles rested his point. So what if Stiles thought it was kind of cute when Derek laughed while shifted, with sharp fangs and glowing eyes-
So what ?
Nothing was going to happen. Nothing could happen. Because Stiles wasn’t- he wasn’t -
“You hungry?” Derek’s voice interrupts his thoughts, Stiles cocks his head to the side. Since when does Derek make small talk? Usually it was just long silences that Stiles filled with jabbering.
“Yeah. I mean, I guess?” Stiles shrugs but hardly looks up from where he’s texting until the camaro stops. It’s a bit early to be at Deaton’s already… He thinks. Yet when Stiles looks up he sees they’re not at Deaton’s.
He looks at the sign for Andie’s Diner, then back to Derek. To the neon sign, then back to Derek again. Stiles is really confused what exactly is going on here.
“You said you were hungry.”
“Yeah, I- But…”
“Just come get something.”
“Um… okay?” He’s never been told to join someone for a late dinner so aggressively before. “Is everything alright?” Derek seems fairly annoyed when they sit in a booth in the far corner, boxed in by a window on either side. The beta takes the seat backing the wall, and Stiles doesn’t miss how the man’s eyes sweep the room first.
“Everything’s fine.” Doubtful. The look on Derek’s face tells Stiles something isn’t fine, but he knows that it’ll make it worse if he pesters Derek. He decides that reading the menu is probably the better option here.
“If everything’s fine- then why do you look like a wolf in the headlights?” Stiles grumbles, swinging his leg back and forth beneath the table. If he kicks Derek once or twice- well it was an accident and complete coincidence.
The waitress comes over and it’s then that Stiles gets a chill down his spine. She’s nothing dangerous, but she smiles at Derek and he smiles back- Stiles reads about the burger options instead.
“And what about you?” She suddenly asks Stiles, who honestly had checked out of the conversation.
“Hm? Oh. Uh…” He looks down at the menu and reads the first thing he sees. “The chicken burger and curly fries.” She nods and scribbles it down before collecting their menus and leaving them.
Derek doesn’t talk much, just sits there with his back to the wall like a caged animal. Stiles is curious if there’s a spell to make sourwolfs relax. He might have to make one up at this rate.
The soft pitter patter against the windows draw his attention to the now raining sky instead. Stiles forgets about Derek’s weird behaviour for a while. It’s actually more normal than Derek has been if Stiles really thinks about it. There’s no smiles just this frown that he’s pretty sure means Derek is deep in thought right now.
Stiles lets his foot brush against Derek’s, refusing to look at the man and fixating on the droplets on the window. They’re just beginning slow descending races down the pane. He wonders how long the rain will last- tries very hard not to think about what it would feel like to be in one of those cheesy romance comedies Lydia makes him watch from time to time.
Kissing in the rain… has Derek ever done that? He’s quick to pull his thoughts away from that though, mindlessly moving his foot back and forth beneath the table. Occasionally he bumps Derek but this time it really is by accident. Stiles’ mind drifts.
It’s been almost a full two weeks since Peter climbed through his window and scared the ever-living daylight out of Stiles. He hasn’t told anyone about how it gave him nightmares. He knows Peter had shown an enormous amount of trust in him for showing up like that where he would normal have just slunk of into god knows where until it healed or something. Stiles thinks that in trade for Peter’s trust, nightmares aren’t too bad.
It’s not like they’re the first ones.
The waitress- a woman whose name Stiles didn’t bother hearing, comes back and hands them their food. Stiles ignores how blatantly she flirts with Derek. Like Stiles said, everyone in Beacon Hills has noticed how drop dead gorgeous Derek is. He’s not jealous, it’s just a fact.
He’s not jealous.
He’s not .
Oh… but he is. Stiles is so frustratingly jealous because he shouldn’t even care about this. It’s Derek for god’s sake. He doubts the guy is even on the market for a relationship and if he is? Well Stiles is fairly certain it wouldn’t be with some confused kid who’s just freshly graduated from high school. Derek’s not even… whatever the hell Stiles is.
Labels are stupid, alright?
Stiles doesn’t want one, if he has one then that makes this like… a thing . And then Stiles will be that guy. The one who ruined his relationship with Derek and made the pack dynamic all fucked up just because he had a little bit of admiration for the beta.
Stiles picks at his fries and listens to the chime of 80’s indie rock that plays overhead. The rain has picked up a steady rhythm in the background that he forgets about while staring down at the food. Now that he’s looking at it, he scrunches his nose a bit. He still hasn’t been able to eat meat since seeing first hand Peter’s skin burn off from that curse. The smell makes his stomach churn a little. At least he has his fries.
“You’re quiet.” Derek comments after a while. Stiles had honestly forgotten the guy was there almost, if not for his hyperaware need to know things, Derek had barely said a word to him since they sat down.
“I’m eating.” Stiles quips.
“Never stopped you before. Is something wrong?” He looks up to meet Derek’s eyes. The man’s stubble is more scruffy today that usual, walking the tightrope of is it a beard or not .
“Nothing’s wrong.” He says, frowning at the man. “Just tired. All this training with Deaton is kind of taxing on a dude’s stamina.” What was Derek getting at? Wasn’t he the one always telling Stiles to put a lid on it, anyway?
The answer doesn’t seem to appease Derek. He shakes his head with a sigh and Stiles groans loudly. “ What? Derek I’m fine, honestly. I didn’t think you worried this much about me.” It’s meant to be a joke but it comes out a little sharper than intended.
“I always worry.”
“Well you don’t have to.”
“I’m not a kid, okay? If I say I’m fine, then I’m fine- alright?!” He stands, doesn’t really know why he’s angry, just that he is. Stiles would like to storm out but its pouring out. Other diner goers are staring at him and he looks down where Derek is sat, watching him. “I’ll wait in the car.”
Stiles gets the hell out of the diner and pulls a little on his hair as he walks to the camaro. The hell is his problem?! Stiles doesn’t need a babysitter worrying about him every three seconds!
He opens and slams the passenger seat door, crossing his arms and glaring back at the neon sign. Being treated like a child by the guy you like isn’t particularly a great feeling. In fact it makes Stiles feel patronized and that as a general concept makes his hackles raise up. No one was allowed to talk to him in that gentle worried tone- not unless it was his dad.
Stiles feels the knot in his stomach tighten as he sees Derek in the windows of the diner. He’s still sitting there, and even pauses to talk with the waitress. He’s not sure why that pisses Stiles off more. Hell.
Of course he knows why it pisses him off more.
Because it’s Derek and Stiles maybe-kind-of-sort-of-a-lot likes him. And it pisses him off that Derek can just sit there and act like he’s worried about Stiles; like some… some little kid . When the car door opens and closes quietly Stiles makes a point of not looking over. Derek heaves a tired sounding sigh.
“You want to tell me what all that was?”
Stiles glares at the raindrops on the camaro’s windshield.
“I’m not starting the car until you at least talk to me, Stiles.” Apparently two can play at this game because Derek is turned in his seat, frowning at Stiles like he’s just ruined Christmas.
“I already told you, I’m fine.”
“No you’re not, Stiles. Because that? That wasn’t fine .” Derek points at the diner, and Stiles glares harder at the neon sign as if he could make it fizzle out.
“Oh really? And you know me so well, don’t you?”
“Yes. Actually, I do.”
“Then why don’t you tell me what it meant? If you’re so fucking smart?”
“I know you’re pissed off, and I don’t know why.” Stiles shakes his head. Of course Derek would be oblivious. Someone who looks like him would never have to be aware of other’s feelings-
“I’m- It’s not that simple.” Because Stiles isn’t mad . He’s frustrated as hell ( and maybe a little mad) .
“Would you just talk to me?”
“Why? Aren’t you always asking for me to shut up?”
“It’s not fair! Alright?! You can’t just sit there and act all fucking worried about me! You can’t just do that, and then turn around and act like it’s nothing! You can’t just show up all- all- fucking- you can’t just do that at fucking four am and act like that means absolutely nothing to you!” Stiles is facing Derek now, he’s not really sure at what point he properly made eye contact but the moment he did this stream of verbal vomit started spewing.
“I don’t un-”
“OF COURSE YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. God! You don’t get it- none of you do! I don’t-” A sob breaks off what Stiles wants to say, and honestly he’s not sure what it is he wants to say because his filter is completely gone. He’s not thinking straight- He’s not thinking at all .
Derek grabs his wrist when it goes for the handle of the car. “Stiles. You’re not making any sense.”
“Let go of me.” The waver in his voice isn’t winning his case here, but Derek loosens his grip, letting Stiles get out of the car.
“Would you just tell me what the hell is going on?!”
“Dammit Derek!” Stiles snaps, ignoring how the rain is soaking him. And he’s just so mad . And upset. It’s like a snake is wrapped around his chest and no matter how much he yells it just gets tighter. “Don’t you get it? I can’t handle you being there for me when all I want is more than that!”
Did he really just fucking say that out loud? God dammit!
Derek is suddenly in front of his and damn werewolf speed . Stiles turns away from him, trying to pull away when arms are catching him.
Shit. Shit shit shit shit-
“Stiles. Stiles look at me.”
“Dont-” He doesn’t want to hear it. The rejection that going to come- Derek is probably feeling sorry for him- probably completely regrets staying the night when Peter had been hurt. He twists around so his back is to Derek. They’re both soaked from the fucking stupid downpour. “Derek just-”
“ Look at me .” And how can Stiles say no when Derek’s voice begs him like that. He turns his face to see those blue glowing eyes. “I- Stiles… I didn’t think it was nothing.” Derek slowly turns him around so Stiles is now facing him properly. He feels like he’s going to choke on his own tongue. “When I came over that night… I stayed because I wanted to . I don’t know where you got this big idea that I didn’t care.”
“Because we’re pack .” Stiles spits. Because he’s heard a familiar speech like this from Scott, when Stiles has been down on his luck and the alpha has comforted him with similar words. It’s not what Stiles wants to hear right now.
“Partly, yes. But I could have made Scott come over. I could have gone home.”
“And what’s the other part?” Derek moves closer, and Stiles can’t move away because those stupidly strong arms are boxing him in. His eyes fall from Derek’s green-again-eyes to those lips. The world around them is drenched in water that is still falling from the clouds. The lights from the diner reflect off every surface, highlighting the Derek’s face with soft hues of red and white. Stiles figures that he looks like a drowned rat in comparison to him.
“I stayed because I was worried.”
“For you. ” Stiles rolls his eyes. Of course he’d stayed because he was worried, Derek the ever bleeding heart- “Would you just- God you are so frustrating! ” Derek glares at him with this look that Stiles hasn’t seen before. It’s weird because Stiles thought he knew all of Derek’s patented glares. This one is tight around the eyes but his brows aren’t furrowed like they usually do.
“Glad to know you felt you had to babysit me then.”
“Stiles! For the love of- You’re mad at me because you think I stayed for nothing? I’m trying to tell you something and you’re just brushing it off!” He growls.
“THEN JUST FUCKING SAY WHAT YOU MEAN!”
“FINE.” Derek shouts back, but hesitates for a long moment. Stiles is about to demand for an answer again but it’s cut off because-
Derek’s hand is on his jaw-
“Oh…” He weakly squeaks out just before Derek’s lips are pressing into his roughly. Stiles is pretty sure his brain just short circuited- But Derek’s never- He’s-
Derek pulls back after a moment, breathless and eyes roaming Stiles’ awestruck expression before smirking. “Is that clear enough?” Stiles nods stupidly, eyes locked on Derek’s mouth.
“You- I- Yeah.” Slowly his brain recalibrates. Derek doesn’t seem to mind, a small huff of laughter fans over Stiles’ lips. “You kissed me.” Stiles said dumbly.
Oh what the hell-
Derek smiles at him seconds before Stiles grabs the front of his coat, hauling him in for another kiss. This time Stiles doesn’t just stand there frozen stiff. He makes sure Derek knows exactly how much he feels. He thinks that they probably could have avoided most of this if he’d just used his words in the first place but-
But Stiles really prefers Derek’s way of talking. Such as, with his tongue in Stiles’ mouth and hands pulling Stiles closer. The fact that it’s raining like a cheesy romance novel right now? As perfect as the moment, the cold he gets from it isn’t as fun. At least he’s got his boyfriend to take care of him though.
As it turns out, Derek makes a mean chicken noodle soup.
“It’s from a can. I just warmed it up, I doubt that counts as cooking.”
“Shut up. It’s amazing.” Stiles croaks, and let’s Derek lead him back to the bed. “Thanks, by the way.”