John smiled as Stiles went around the house his eyes wide with each new discovery he made. Over the years, he'd slowly forgotten what colours were where, and it was certainly interesting to hear it from his son's point of view. Now, as his son exclaimed over how bright their couch was (blue, no turquoise, no ... what's the colour of the ocean? It's that colour, I'm sure of it!), John was reminded of how excited he'd been when he first saw colour as well. He looked over to Derek, who was just standing there taking it all in - taking Stiles in as well, it seemed, and John couldn't really blame him for that; Stiles could be a handful at the best of times - and smiled gently.
He still felt a bit bad about inadvertently bringing up his family; he should have connected Derek Hale with the Hale car crash. It had been one of his first cases as a Deputy, and it had been the first that he'd seen in colour, though he sometimes wished it hadn't been. The Argent's SUV had crashed into the Hale's minivan, both cars totalled, leaving only one survivor. The last he'd heard, Peter Hale was still comatose. Derek and his sister had been in school and as soon as Laura turned 18, she and Derek left Beacon Hills. According to what he'd been able to get out of Derek (while Stiles had a mouthful of his burger, curly fries, or apple pie), Laura had found her soul mate last year and Derek had decided to come back to Beacon Hills to the Hale's home and try to make his own way in life. He'd only been in Beacon Hills for three months and was still looking for a job.
"Oh, we have to go to the beach! And the movies; they've got a special cinema just in colour! And the zoo; I want to see the penguins and zebras and pandas!" Stiles said.
John tried not to laugh at the way Derek's eyes widened a fraction before the young man frowned at Stiles.
"They're all black and white though," Derek replied.
"Ah, so you can still talk," Stiles teased, grinning.
John moved over, putting a hand on his son's shoulder to try and settle him. "How about you ask where Derek would like to go, Stiles? He hasn't been able to get a word in edgewise since you walked in with dinner and discovered our carpet's purple," he said, chuckling lightly.
Derek seemed surprised at John's suggestion, as if he hadn't thought of seeing anything in colour before. John filed that away for later; every child he'd ever met had a list of things and places they wanted to see when they could see colour.
"Sorry," Stiles said, blushing. "Where would you like to go, Derek?" he asked earnestly, smiling up at him.
"The library would be nice. I hear they have books in colour," Derek admitted, looking a little embarrassed.
Stiles' eyes widened and he ran out of the room, almost knocking John over in the process. John sighed, but couldn't help smiling. It had been a long time since he'd seen Stiles so genuinely excited over something. He looked over to the photo albums that were carefully stacked away behind glass, the ones that Claudia had painstakingly poured over while she was sick in the hospital, writing in careful neat script each colour in the photograph. She'd done it for him, to remind him of the colours they'd seen together, to match with the memories and the captured moments in time. He hadn't looked at them in years, but he looked forward to doing so again, this time with Stiles being the one to point out the colours.
"How old are you, Derek?" John asked, hoping to wrangle some information from him before Stiles returned and commandeered the conversation again.
"You're my son's soul mate, Derek, I think you can call me John," he replied, smiling in what he hoped was a reassuring way.
Derek seemed to relax at that, and smiled in return. "Thank you, John. Uh, so Stiles Stilinski... Is that his real name?"
"It's the name he likes to be called, since no one can pronounce his name properly," John said, grinning a little. "He might revoke my dessert rights if I tell you his name without his permission, and I'm sorry, son, but that's just not something I'm willing to sacrifice."
Derek laughed when he realised John was joking, but it didn't seem forced which was nice. "That's fine, John, I wouldn't want to be the reason you miss out on dessert."
"My son's only sixteen, Derek, I hope you'll remember that."
Derek jumped like he'd been hit with a taser, blushing. "I... He... I know... I wouldn't..."
"Dad, stop trying to intimidate Derek. Just because we're soul mates, it doesn't mean we're going to start going at it like bunnies, okay? Give me a bit of credit," Stiles muttered, coming into the lounge room with his arms full of books. "Besides, I'm 17 next month."
"Do you need some help?" Derek asked, still blushing slightly (as far as John could tell, at least).
Stiles shook his head, placing the stack of books on the coffee table, before kneeling in front of them. "I grabbed as many as I could," he said, tugging Derek's hand so he would sit beside him.
John recognised the books as the ones Claudia had purchased. They were the only books in the house that had colour in them - it was a difficult and expensive process to put colour in books for many publishers, so they were rare. Claudia had loved anything in colour, but books especially, and he had spent hours with his wife at bookstores and garage sales trying to find and buy as many books in colour as possible, no matter their subject. Claudia had laughed, joking that their collection rivalled the local library's, and John still believed that. He smiled at Stiles and Derek as they opened the books, pure wonder written on their faces, and he left them to their discovery. Maybe he could sneak in another piece of apple pie.
Stiles quietened down as he and Derek looked through the books, sometimes stopping to read the content, but mostly just taking in their colours instead. Some were written in different languages, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was the fact that he could see the blue writing, the coloured pictures of different animals, or the intricately designed and coloured borders on the pages. Over the course of the evening, they'd moved from the floor up to the lounge, sitting side by side until Derek pulled Stiles onto his lap after the younger man kept trying to read over his shoulder. Stiles had sighed happily, the contact with his soul mate making him settle down and feel content. He was now sitting between Derek's legs, Derek's arms wrapped around him as they both read one of the children's picture books. There were so many colours, and Stiles was amazed that someone had been able to create something so lifelike.
"I'd like to see my home," Derek said suddenly, his voice quiet.
Stiles was disappointed that Derek wanted to leave already, but tried not to let it show.
"With you, I mean," Derek added. "I want to see what my parents saw, what my uncles and aunts saw. They were always trying to tell me and my siblings the different colours of things, and they'd argue about it sometimes. My Aunt Lily would say that something was blood orange, and Uncle Peter would rile her up by saying it was red. Until Laura got her colours last year, it was something that I didn't even realise I'd missed... I want to see my home the way you see it."
Stiles' breath caught in his throat at Derek's admission, and he turned around in his lap to hug him tightly. "I want to see your home the way you see it too," he murmured against his chest.
"Derek, it's fairly late now. Would you like to stay the night?" John asked, coming in to the lounge room to find them hugging.
"Yes, Derek would," Stiles mumbled, his grip tightening on Derek's arms.
"Uh, yes, please," Derek added, blushing again when he remembered the Sheriff's earlier warning.
John sighed softly. He remembered the first few days with Claudia all too well; he'd spent most of it touching her, stroking her hair, barely able to believe that it was real, that he'd never seen colour until he met her, and never would again without her.
"I'm not going to sew you into the sheets, so I'll trust you to make your own judgements," he said firmly, looking between them before he left them alone once more.
Stiles was blushing at his father's words, but he couldn't bring himself to untangle his limbs from Derek. Derek didn't seem to mind and just stood up, Stiles wrapping around him even further as he held him up.
"Where's your room?" Derek asked.
"Upstairs; second door on the right," Stiles said, his voice muffled against Derek's shoulder.
They were both silent as Derek headed upstairs. Stiles kept his eyes open, cataloguing the eclectic colours. Purple carpet, mahogany staircase, blue and gold patterned wallpaper, green curtains with swirls of grey, orange skirting boards. Everywhere he looked there was another colour to be seen, turning the Stilinski residence into their own rainbow. His mother must have loved colours as much as his Dad loved the colour red. Now that he could see everything, Stiles doubted that there was anything white in the entire house, except for their crockery. He hid a smile against Derek's shoulder at the thought of that; his mother going so wild with colours throughout the house that they all needed a break while eating, even though her style of cooking ended up with even more colours, according to his Dad's stories over the years. (Apparently, green spaghetti and blue meatballs had been a feature when Stiles was younger, even though he couldn't see it for himself.)
His room was filled with blues and reds, greens scattered through in other places, and Stiles was pleased to see that his specially-purchased posters really were in colour. He finally untangled his legs and arms from Derek's body, but didn't let go of him for long, taking his hand in his own a few seconds later. He just wanted to burrow himself against Derek and never leave. It was an odd feeling, especially since he hadn't even known the guy this morning, but the pull to be near him, the explosion of colour, to know that Derek was feeling the same way he was, was enough to keep him by his side.
"Do you think we'll dream in colour?" Stiles asked, reluctant to let go of Derek's hand even though he had to change into pyjamas. He stood there staring at his pyjamas heaped on his bed, as if willing them to appear on his body.
"I don't know; it would be nice," Derek admitted.
He let go of Stiles' hand, moving to look at some of the posters on his wall and giving him enough privacy to get changed. Stiles pouted at the loss of contact, but changed in a matter of seconds, then started rummaging through his chest of drawers to find something for Derek.
"Ooh, I didn't know this shirt was this colour. I thought it was blue and green," Stiles said with a laugh, pulling out a bright blue and orange striped shirt.
"I hope you don't expect me to wear that," Derek said, a grin tugging at his lips.
"Hmm, you're right, it'll probably be too small for you. I should have something else," Stiles murmured. "Damn, it's white. It's probably the biggest shirt I've got, unless you want to borrow something from Dad? He's probably got heaps of colourful shirts. Oh, grey sweatpants! I thought these were a really pale blue. Do you want sweatpants or shorts to sleep in?"
"Sweatpants and the white shirt will be fine," he replied, smiling as he took the offered clothes.
He raised his eyebrow when Stiles just continued to stand there, staring. Stiles went red, turning around abruptly.
"Right. Sorry. It's not like I'm trying to see you naked or something. I mean, I definitely want to one day, obviously, but this is still too new, and the colours are still so overwhelming and it's just a lot for one day... Not that it's exactly been a full day. Oh, wow, tomorrow's going to be a full day of colour. I can seriously understand those grey rooms now. It's insane to go through life in nothing but black, white, and grey, and then all of this... I might need a grey room for myself," he said with a brief laugh.
Derek put a hand on Stiles' shoulder, smiling when he stopped talking and turned to hug him instead.
"I'm pretty sure my home has a grey room, you can use it whenever you like," Derek offered, rubbing his back in steady circular motions.
Stiles smiled up at him, his eyes amber brown and bright. He took Derek's hand and tugged him over to the bed, settling down on the bed so they faced each other. As Derek kept his gaze on Stiles' eyes, the first colour he'd seen and the last he wanted to see, Stiles kept his own gaze on Derek's, the greens, blues, and specks of gold following him into his dreams.
End of the first chapter.
Thanks for reading!