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Every colour in the rainbow

Chapter Text

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.

"Twenty-three, sir."

"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!

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up first, but kept his eyes closed. He could feel Derek's arm wrapped around his body, but that didn't mean the colours would still be there when he opened his eyes. His heart beat wildly at the thought, and Stiles tried not to whimper at the idea of being given this gift of colour only to lose it so soon. Derek's arm tightened around him briefly, and he woke up slowly, rubbing Stiles' back and calming him enough that Stiles could open his eyes without freaking out completely. Green-blue-gold eyes looked back at him and Stiles grinned broadly, relief rushing through his body as he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Derek's chastely.

"Thank you for still being in colour," Stiles breathed, tucking his head under Derek's chin as he played with the edge of his red blanket.

"You too," Derek murmured, kissing the top of his head and breathing his own small sigh of relief.

"Looking forward to seeing your home?" Stiles asked, lifting his head to grin at Derek.

He nodded, smiling a broad smile in return, and Stiles' heart skipped a beat. He wanted to kiss Derek again, to make it more than a kiss of thanks and gratitude, but Stiles remembered his Dad's warning from the night before and just slipped out of bed instead. Derek rolled onto Stiles' side of the bed, his face in Stiles' pillow.

Blues, reds, and greens meet Stiles' eyes and he couldn't help but grin at the sight. He used to sit in his room for hours, trying to imagine the varying shades of white, grey, and black as the colours he'd been told they were by his parents or salespeople. His blue desk, green striped chair, red laptop, yellow phone, all of it had sat right there before him but he'd only seen grey. Now, now he could see that his blue desk was lighter than the blue he'd imagined, his chair was actually greenish-yellow with dark green stripes, his laptop was closer to pink than red (Jackson had laughed at him when he'd seen it, but Stiles didn't care, it was in colour now), and his phone was a shade of yellow that almost hurt his eyes. Stiles wanted to keep looking at it forever.

"Do you want a towel for a shower?" Stiles offered over his shoulder, gathering clothes for his own shower.

"I'll wait until I get home, thanks," Derek replied, lifting his head so he could be heard.

"All right, I'll be back soon," he replied, hurrying out to the bathroom, his fingers trailing along the blue and gold wallpaper lightly.

By the time Stiles got over the fact that their bathroom was a garish shade of pink, finished his shower, and returned to his bedroom, Derek had dragged himself out of bed and was in the middle of changing his shirt. Stiles hadn't knocked, distracted by the colourful nameplate that was nailed to his door (his mother had made it for him when he was in kindergarten, and now he could see his name in the colours she'd chosen for him), and stopped short on seeing Derek, Derek's back, and namely Derek's tattoo.

"Whoa. That must've been expensive. How much colour did you put in that?" Stiles asked excitedly, hurrying forward to touch the spirals reverently.

Derek's entire body tensed, and Stiles pulled back, thinking he'd done something wrong. But the look Derek gave him over his shoulder was just one of pure confusion. "What are you talking about? It was done with black ink."

"Not from where I'm standing," Stiles said.

He reached around Derek to grab his yellow phone off his blue desk, turning Derek slightly so the morning sunlight caught all of the colours and snapped a photo before handing his phone to him.

Derek frowned. He'd only paid for black ink, and had only wanted this tattoo in black ink, as a way to rebel against the very idea of colour and soul mates. Laura had gone with him to the parlour, quiet for once in her life as she watched him choose a design and placement. She'd talked to the tattoo artist beforehand, but Derek assumed that she'd just wanted to ensure the equipment was sterilised or something. Now, however, he saw what she'd done. The triskelion had a black centre, expanding out into three spirals, each one exploding into a bright mess of colour. Blues melted down to greens which gave way to reds, oranges, yellows, purples. Every colour he had been taught about - and even some he probably hadn't - were all on display on his back. Laura had known that he wanted a black tattoo and the reason for it, and he could have been upset about what his sister had done, but right now, he only felt grateful. She'd given him a world of colour even before he could see it, and he'd had no idea.

"She must've spent so much money on this," Derek muttered softly, touching the photo.

"Ah, damn. I lost count at thirty-six colours. And I'm pretty sure that some of these colours aren't even in any colour index that's been created. I don't know if this is burgundy, fuchsia, or maroon," Stiles muttered, his fingertips tracing along one of the spirals gently.

Derek tried not to shiver in response to his light touch, closing his eyes and breathing deeply. Stiles hugged Derek briefly and then moved away so he could get dressed.

After breakfast, Stiles drove to the Hale house, Derek in the passenger seat of his blue Jeep. They were both fairly quiet on the journey, the sunlight bringing out all of the colours of Beacon Hills, and Stiles laughed on seeing that the statue of Beacon Hills' founder was an ugly puce colour. Derek shook his head, but was grinning as well.

The Hale house was magnificent, a soft cream colour on the outside, and on the inside it looked just like a colour magazine. Everything was colour coordinated, from the beige skirting boards to the light blue colouring on the ceiling, green and brown walls. Stiles felt like he was in the forest again. The furniture was coloured neutrally, dressed with various accessories, pillows, rugs, table cloths. He followed Derek through every room in the house, happily describing each new colour discovered.

"Oh, I'm stealing these pillows, and you can't stop me! I haven't seen this shade of red before!" Stiles exclaimed, bundling the pillows in his arms and running over to where Derek was standing, trying to get through the door despite his armful stopping him.

"Are you stuck?" Derek asked, a smile tugging at his mouth when Stiles grunted and tried to move unsuccessfully.

"Just a little. Help?" Stiles asked meekly.

"Oh, I don't know. You're planning on stealing my throw pillows. Perhaps I should leave you there and call the Sheriff."

Stiles burst out laughing, a few pillows slipping out of his grasp. Derek smiled, pleased that he could make Stiles laugh, and picked up the fallen pillows, nudging him out of the lounge room.

"Where to now?" Stiles asked, pillows under each arm.

"I think I'll show you the grey room now. You're looking a little overwhelmed," Derek said, glancing to Stiles' red cheeks and glassy eyes.

"No, I'm fine! We haven't seen all of the house yet!"

"We've been through every room."

"Not yours," Stiles said, hurrying upstairs before Derek could physically drag him to the grey room.

Derek winced slightly. He'd been avoiding his room, hoping that Stiles wouldn't notice its absence in the whirlwind tour of his house. Obviously, Stiles wasn't distracted quite that easily. He went up the stairs after Stiles and found him waiting in front of the only door that hadn't been opened yet. Derek wanted to protest, to lie and say his room was a mess and they should just leave it, but Stiles looked so curious and excited.

"You go in first," Derek said with a brief nod.

Stiles' eyes widened slightly - Derek had been the first one in every room at Stiles' insistence - but he nodded in return, licking his lips like he was nervous. He shifted the pillows so they were under one arm, and used his free hand to open the door.

Derek waited, staying back so he wouldn't have to see the look of disappointment on Stiles' face. He didn't think he could handle that.

"Oh, that makes sense," Stiles murmured, looking around the black and white room slowly.

He couldn't see a single colour in the room. The carpet was black, white furniture, bedspread and pillows in black (with white stitching, even), and even Derek's curtains were black too. Compared to the rest of the house, it felt like this room had simply been leeched of all colour.

Derek had his eyes closed when he felt Stiles' arms wrap around his body, and he opened them in surprise to find his soul mate hugging him, cheek pressed against his torso firmly.

"You did it to get away, didn't you? From all the colour and the idea of soul mates? You didn't believe you'd find yours, did you?" Stiles asked, voice soft and calm, and not disappointed like Derek thought he would be.

He nodded in response, a lump in his throat. He dropped the pillows and hugged Stiles back, breathing in his scent. The response to his black and white room could have been so utterly different, and Derek would never feel anything but gratitude for getting a soul mate who understood.

They spent a good ten minutes hugging, and Stiles pulled back slowly when he felt that Derek was calm enough.

"Show me the grey room? I think I need to stop for a while," he admitted with a smile.

Wordless, Derek nodded, took Stiles hand and led him to the library. Swiping the access panel on the doorframe, Derek watched as Stiles' eyes widened in delight as the grey room's hidden door slid open behind a bookcase.

"Oh, I think I just fell in love with your house," Stiles admitted, squeezing Derek's hand and grinning up at him.

Derek chuckled softly and led Stiles to the grey room. Stiles went inside quickly, shoulders losing some of their tension as he was surrounded with the familiar colour of grey. Derek followed him inside, relaxing as the colour faded away behind him. Stiles plopped down onto a mess of grey pillows, tugging Derek to join him. Derek didn't hesitate, moving to sit behind Stiles, an arm around his shoulders as Stiles closed his eyes and just breathed.

"It's only been half a day. I don't know how I'm going to survive school tomorrow," Stiles murmured, moving to wrap himself around Derek in a full-bodied hug.

"I can come visit you if you'd like?" Derek offered slowly, hesitantly.

"I'd like. A lot," Stiles said, his voice muffled against Derek's shoulder. "How will I find you?"

"I'll probably be the only one with a black car," he admitted.

Stiles laughed and Derek felt himself relax again. He didn't have to feel bad about owning black, grey, and white clothes; not with Stiles. Derek held onto him a bit tighter, both sitting there quietly as the intensity of the colour washed away from them.

Later, after they left the grey room to get something to eat, Stiles begged for Derek to take his shirt off so he could inspect his tattoo properly. Derek agreed, pulling his shirt off and letting Stiles lead him to the lounge room. The windows were open, sun was pouring in, and Derek soon found himself lying on his stomach, Stiles straddling his hips and touching each colour on his tattoo reverently. Derek fell asleep under Stiles' light touches, and woke up hours later to find Stiles curled up on top of him.

He reluctantly got up, helping Stiles to his feet, watching him yawn and rub at his face until his cheeks were a warm red colour. Derek pulled his shirt on and offered to drive Stiles home, but he just shook his head in response.

"We drove here in my jeep, and I don't want to make you walk back here or something," he admitted, pulling Derek in for one more hug before he loped out of the house to his car.

Derek watched as Stiles drove out of the driveway and down to the main road. He stayed outside for a while after he could no longer see the tail lights of Stiles' jeep, just taking in the colours of the evening sky and world around him. Eventually, he got cold and realised that he needed to eat something for dinner, so Derek went back inside. It wasn't until he was ready for bed later that night that Derek realised something was different about his room. On his white bed with the black bedspread were the four red throw pillows that Stiles had liked. He smiled at the sight of them and slipped under his covers, one of the pillows tucked under his arm. Derek slept easier that night than he had on his own in some time.

...

"Are you all right, son?" John asked Stiles, seeing just how quiet he was.

Stiles blinked when John put a hand on his shoulder. "Oh, hey Dad."

"What's wrong, Stiles?"

"Nothin', just thinking," he murmured.

"Want to talk about it?" John offered.

Stiles chewed at his lip for a moment, as if weighing up his options, and eventually nodded. "I'm freaking out that this isn't going to work out."

"Already? It's been a day, Stiles. What could possibly go wrong this soon?"

"I don't know. But, I mean, it doesn't have to just be something going wrong now, right? Scott's mum and dad were soul mates, and they didn't work out," he pointed out. "I know that everyone's circumstance is different," Stiles added before John could say exactly that, "But what if I'm like Melissa, and I don't realise Derek's a jerk until I'm in too deep? Or worse, what if I'm like Scott's dad and I don't even know it? I don't want to lose this."

"You won't lose it, Stiles. Melissa can still see colours, even without Rafe," John reminded him gently. "And I can assure you one hundred percent that you aren't like Scott's dad, okay? Besides, we're both pretty good judges of character, and I don't think Derek's a bad guy."

"I don't think he is either... What if I just mess it up anyway, just by being myself? It's been known to happen," Stiles added, pouting as he rested his chin on his knees.

"Stiles, listen to me very carefully: if this doesn't work out between you and Derek, it will not be your fault. It may not be his fault either, it may just turn out that way. But no matter what, so long as you stay the wonderful person I see every day, I'm positive that there's no way this won't work out between you."

Stiles took a minute to work his head around the double negative, but figured his dad was attempting to reassure him, and stood up to hug him tightly. "Thanks, Dad. I'm still going to worry about it because I'm, well, me. But thanks," he said, grinning briefly.

"I'd expect nothing less. Now, just remember that a relationship takes work, okay? You can't just expect things to happen, or Derek to know how you're feeling without talking about it. And the same goes for you; actually let him talk once in a while," John said, chuckling.

"I'll work on it," Stiles promised. "I'm exhausted. See you in the morning, Pops."

"Sleep well," John said, pressing a quick kiss to the top of his head before Stiles went upstairs to get ready for bed.

Fifteen minutes later, Stiles was lying in his bed, trying to get to sleep unsuccessfully. He tossed and turned for a few more minutes, then looked over at his phone. It was probably too late to text Derek, but he wanted to do it anyway.

Hi Derek. Just wanted to say good night. So, uh... Good night, Derek! Hope I didn't wake you :/

Wide awake over here: I'm a night owl. Good night, Stiles :) sleep well.

He grinned at the screen, pressing his face against his pillow as he tried not to blush wildly, and eventually, Stiles fell asleep.

...

End of the second chapter.

Thanks for reading!

Chapter Text

Stiles was sitting at a table with Lydia Martin. Scott was beside him, completely besotted in Allison's everything, and Jackson was on the other side of Lydia, both of them snarking at each other in a way that demonstrated just how long they'd been together. Stiles kind of hoped that he'd never be as annoyed with Derek as Lydia and Jackson seemed to be; but then again, he supposed that everyone expressed their love differently. He looked at his phone again - the fifth time in as many minutes - waiting for Derek's text to say he was outside. It had taken almost ten minutes to convince Scott (and Jackson, but he didn't count in Stiles' book) that he could really see colours, even arguing with him over the nuances of the purple flowers on Allison's dress before Scott believed him. Scott was worried that Derek was older than Stiles, that they'd never met him before (despite the fact that he'd only met Allison last week as well), and wanted to meet him to determine just how good he would be for his best friend. Stiles had rolled his eyes, and Allison had hid a laugh behind her hand, and Stiles could kind of see why Scott loved her, just for that.

Hey Stiles, I'm outside now. See you soon.

"Ah!" Stiles exclaimed, snatching up his phone, biting in his apple to hold it in his mouth, and running out of the cafeteria, ignoring Scott's question.

Scott and Allison were after him in a second, Lydia and Jackson a moment later, and somehow, it seemed that most of the school followed to see just who Stiles' soul mate was. The sudden popularity and interest in him made Stiles' stomach churn - these people hadn't known or cared who he was a week ago - but he figured they'd lose interest when the next couple paired up.

Derek smiled briefly at the sight of Stiles running across the parking lot towards him, and lifted a hand to wave at him. Stiles stopped short, staring at him with wide open eyes, and Derek dropped his hand quickly, hoping he hadn't just done something stupid and embarrassed him. Stiles' cheeks were red though, and he was looking at Derek like he was a steak and he was starved. It wasn't the first time such a look had been directed at him, but it was the first time that Derek didn't mind being the recipient of such a look. He grinned a little as Stiles came closer (and what seemed to be the entire student population spilled out of the school building).

"Have I made you speechless?" Derek teased, still grinning.

"A bit," Stiles admitted, grinning back at him. "Where'd you get that jumper? You need a hundred more," he added breathlessly, taking in the maroon jumper with thumb-holes that were obviously designed to drive Stiles crazy.

There was something ridiculously sexy about Derek in a jumper with thumb-holes that looked warm enough for both of them, and he wanted to curl up in Derek's arms.

"He's your soul mate, Stiles?" Lydia asked, letting out a small whistle as she looked Derek over without an ounce of shame.

"Yeah, he is," Stiles said, not looking away from Derek before stepping forward and wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug.

"Everything okay?" Derek asked softly, sensing that the others probably didn't believe Stiles or that they really were soul mates.

What a bunch of children.

"Better now," he replied, words muffled against his chest.

Derek glared at the gathered students until they started to disperse, then led Stiles over to his car, parked away from the rest of the cars in the lot. Stiles seemed to breathe easier when they were alone (even though one persistent kid and a girl holding hands kept them in sight), and hugged Derek properly, pressing a quick kiss to his cheek.

"Thanks, Derek. It's been a crazy day," Stiles said with a shake of his head. "Dealing with my sudden rise up the social ladder is tougher than it sounds."

"Oh. I kind of just glared at everyone, so that might be detrimental to your popularity," Derek admitted, but Stiles simply shrugged.

"Never been popular before now, so I don't care if it goes away again. Scott's not going to care if I'm popular or not," Stiles added, waving at the kid with a broad grin. "I'll introduce him later; can we just hug again? Your jumper is seriously amazing."

"Ah, so you're only with me because of my jumper," Derek teased, pulling Stiles in close again.

"I don't know; I'm pretty fond of the person wearing the jumper too," Stiles murmured, looking up at him and smiling.

Derek blushed slightly at the sincerity in Stiles' voice, and he buried his head against Stiles' neck so he wouldn't see his pink ears. Stiles chuckled, even as Derek tugged him over to the car before he could embarrass himself further.

"Get in; I've got a surprise for you," Derek said, nodding to the passenger side door.

"Is it candy? 'Cause I'm not meant to get in cars for candy," Stiles teased, opening the door and sliding onto the seat anyway.

Derek shook his head with a grin and got in the driver's side. Stiles was quiet by the time he closed the door, and he watched nervously as Stiles took in the grey interior of the car. He'd spent most of the night re-upholstering the interior of his car so he could give Stiles his very own grey room. Derek had even altered his window shade to give it a grey backing.

"I thought this might be easier than you trying to get to my house at lunch time, and it'd help you get through the day. I can drive out here at lunch, or whenever you need me to, and - "

He was cut off abruptly by Stiles kissing him. It was one of their longer kisses, not exactly chaste as their first had been, and Stiles seemed to be trying to communicate with his lips and without words. Derek didn't mind that kind of communication at all.

"Thank you, Derek. I needed this more than I realised," Stiles murmured as he pulled away.

He settled down back on his seat and leaned it back, looking up at the grey covered ceiling calmly. There was an abrupt knock at Derek's window and they both jumped in surprise.

"Stiles? You okay in there?"

"I'm fine, Scott!" Stiles called back, rolling his eyes. "Do you mind if Scott and Allison get in too? He's not going to leave until he's determined you're not a serial killer or something ridiculous like that."

Derek wanted to protest; he didn't want anyone other than Stiles in his car, really, but it seemed like this Scott person was important to Stiles. He sighed softly and nodded, opening his door and pulling the driver's seat forward.

"Get in," he said to Scott and Allison.

"Great, thanks," Scott said with a broad smile, tugging Allison into the car after him.

"Oh, this is a great idea. I wish I'd thought of something like this; the school's grey room is tiny and smells like pee," Allison lamented.

Stiles burst out laughing while Scott just looked at her in shock. Derek got in and shut the door again.

"Scott, Allison, this is my soul mate Derek. Derek, this is my best friend Scott, and his girlfriend Allison," Stiles introduced, closing his eyes.

Scott started to ask Derek questions about his life, what he did in New York, why was he back in Beacon Hills, the whole nine yards until Stiles sat up, turned around, and put his hand over Scott's mouth.

"My Dad's already met Derek and been through the 200 questions, okay? Dad likes Derek, I like Derek, and this grey room is now a quiet room, so shh," Stiles said.

Scott pulled Stiles' hand off of his mouth. "Fine, I'll trust you on this. But you hurt my friend, you'll regret it, understood Derek?"

He nodded solemnly, though he didn't know what a teenage boy with floppy hair could ever do to make him regret anything.

"Good, now be quiet," Stiles muttered, settling back on his seat and breathing deeply.

Scott moved so that he was learning on Allison, and she looked up at the ceiling, running her fingers through his hair gently. They stayed that way until the bell rang and they had to go back to class. Stiles hugged Derek tightly before he left, promising to visit him after school.

As Derek drove back to his house, he contemplated that though it wasn't exactly the way he'd planned to spend time with Stiles, it had been nice to meet his friends and know that he had people that cared for him.

...

End of the third chapter.

Thanks for reading!

Chapter Text

Stiles text his dad to let him know that he'd be studying over at Derek's that afternoon. He soon received a reply from the Sheriff telling him not to stay too late - it was a school night - and that he'd been home late due to paperwork, so not to worry about his dinner. Stiles, of course, worried about his father's dinner, and replied with a list of foods that he wasn't allowed to eat. (Now that he could see green properly, Stiles was determined to put as much green stuff in their food as possible and hope that his father wouldn't notice.)

"How about you send a list of food he is allowed to eat instead? That might be shorter," Derek murmured with a grin, seeing just how long Stiles' text message was becoming.

"I can't; have to be stern and firm with my old man. He's as stubborn as I am, honestly," Stiles muttered, shaking his head. Then he tilted his head back and grinned at Derek. "Thanks for letting me study here."

"Of course. What are you studying, anyway?" Derek asked curiously, sliding off the lounge to sit beside Stiles on the carpeted floor.

"English assignment on the use of colour in Shakespeare. Blood red lips, black wires upon her head, that sort of thing. It makes so much more sense now that I can actually see colour," Stiles admitted. "Oh, speaking of colour, I bought something for you," he said, leaning over the coffee table to reach his bag.

He'd made a promise to the Sheriff; Derek forced himself to look away from Stiles' ass, taut and firm and right there in his face, and looked up to the sky blue ceiling.

"Here. I saw that you liked this one the most on the weekend, and I... well, I wanted you to have it," Stiles said, eyes bright and cheeks flushed pink as he presented the book of animals in colour to Derek shyly.

"Stiles, I can't. It was your mother's book," Derek said, though he ached to take the book, to open it to see the reddish-brown wolves, the bright and ridiculously coloured peacocks, the shiny and bright schools of fish.

"It was hers, now it's mine, and I'd like you to have it. Please, Derek," Stiles added, pressing the book against his chest.

"Thank you, Stiles. I... Thank you," he murmured again, tugging Stiles close to kiss him firmly, trying to express everything he couldn't say out loud.

Stiles kissed him back, a slow drag of lips against his, as if he knew exactly what Derek was trying to say, and they both pulled away with shuddering breaths.

"Remind me to get you books more often," Stiles murmured dazedly, grinning broadly at him.

Derek chuckled, pressed another kiss to Stiles' mouth, this one sweet and chaste, and then manoeuvred him out of his lap and in front of his English notebook again. "Keep studying; I'll get started on dinner."

"You mean I can stay for dinner?" Stiles asked eagerly.

"Well, yeah. You already said your dad's working late; no point in both of us eating alone."

Stiles licked his lips and nodded. "Excellent idea. What a smart soul mate I have," he said with another broad grin.

Derek rolled his eyes and stood up. "Anything you're allergic to?"

"Nope!" Stiles replied, popping the p.

"Good to know. I'll call out when it's almost ready," Derek promised, leaving for the kitchen.

Stiles pouted slightly - he wanted to spend more time making out with Derek, not do his stupid homework! - and then sighed heavily, uncapped his highlighter and started to read the book, the lid loose in his mouth as he tapped the pages.

...

Derek called out, frowning slightly when he didn't hear an answer from Stiles within the first few seconds. He stood still, waiting a bit longer, and there was still no response. Derek headed to the lounge room, telling himself that he'd probably fallen asleep and that there was nothing wrong. Stiles was fine, obviously concentrating on the book in front of him, and Derek relaxed slightly, knocking on the doorframe. Stiles jumped and flailed a bit.

"Dude, make some noise! You scared the hell outta me!" Stiles groaned weakly, forehead hitting his book.

"I called out, but you didn't answer. You scared the hell out of me," Derek muttered, the last part more for himself than Stiles, but he heard anyway.

"Did you think I'd left?" he asked curiously.

Derek shrugged slightly. "Something like that. You want dinner or not?"

Stiles stood quickly, almost tripping over his feet (and the coffee table) to follow Derek back to the kitchen.

"Where do you want to eat?" Derek offered, handing a bowl of spaghetti to Stiles.

"Outside'd be nice; think I need some fresh air," Stiles said with a quick grin.

Derek nodded and led Stiles to the back porch without a word. Once they were seated at the tiny metal table, Stiles practically inhaled his food. He then started talking about his assignment and somehow, half an hour later, Stiles had diverged from Shakespeare to the mating habits of African tree frogs. Derek hadn't even realised the shift in conversation.

"Didn't you start off talking about Shakespeare?" he asked suddenly, frowning slightly.

"Yeah. That sort of thing happens a lot. Uh, I know it's hard to keep up with me, but my brain's running on a billion cylinders, and I have no mouth filter. I will talk about anything, no matter who's around. Last year, I wrote an essay on the history of male circumcision for my final exam in Econ," Stiles said, grinning slightly. He saw Derek's look of surprise and confusion, and quickly continued, "It was a case study, and there was a Board of shareholders. The question referred to something about male members being cut."

Derek chuckled, shaking his head. "All right, that makes as much sense as anything. Did you even pass?"

"Yeah, actually, I did. I mean, I lost a chunk of marks 'cause of that final question, but if I'd just been marked on the rest of it, I would've gotten a hundred out of a hundred," Stiles said, grinning.

"I'm not surprised; you seem like a smart kid."

"Kid?" Stiles spluttered indignantly.

"I'm not going to call you a young man, that just sounds creepy."

Stiles muttered under his breath about being called a kid, but Derek heard some muttering about young man as well, so figured he would be forgiven eventually.

"Come on, let's go back in. You can finish your assignment while I read my new book," Derek said with a smile, helping Stiles to his feet to kiss him.

"Or we could make out instead," Stiles quipped, grinning again.

"Finish your essay and then we will," Derek replied.

"You drive a hard bargain," he groaned, grabbing his empty bowl and going back inside. "Lemme wash the dishes first. You cooked, I clean. It's the house rules," Stiles added when Derek looked ready to argue.

"It's my house, Stiles."

"Not the point!" he called over his shoulder cheerfully.

Derek winced when Stiles almost walked into the doorframe, and decided to help Stiles with the dishes.

"Would you like to go somewhere this weekend?" Derek asked, hoping Stiles didn't hear his heart beating as loud and as fast as he could.

"With you?" Stiles asked, feeling stupid the minute he said the words. "Wait, dumb question. Yes, I'd love to. Anywhere in particular you want to go?"

"I thought the zoo. Y'know, for the penguins and zebras and pandas," Derek teased, unable to stop from smiling.

Stiles laughed, elbows up to white frothy bubbles, and nodded. "Sounds good, Derek. A whole day with me at the zoo; think you'll survive?"

Derek raised an eyebrow slightly. "I'm sure I will," he murmured, moving to hug Stiles from behind, his arms wrapped around his waist, and nuzzled against his neck.

"Shit, I might not," Stiles groaned, leaning his head back, the bowl slipping back into the soapy water with a slight clunk. "Can we make out now?"

"Dishes first," Derek said, pressing a kiss to the reddened skin he'd just rubbed his stubbled cheek against.

Stiles whimpered something unintelligible, and did the dishes, refusing to let Derek move away from his back. He washed the bowls, cutlery, pots, and utensils in fifteen minutes, all of them placed on the dish rack carefully. Stiles drained the sink, his body actually trembling in Derek's embrace as he washed off the residue and bubbles from his arms.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, just horny and need to kiss you, y'know?" Stiles admitted with a slight laugh, turning in Derek's embrace to kiss him firmly.

"Yeah, I know," Derek murmured against his lips, holding his hips as he kissed Stiles again, his tongue sliding against his mouth before Stiles shuddered, clinging to his shoulders.

Derek's hands slid around Stiles' back, groping his ass firmly, before he lifted Stiles up onto the bench. Stiles immediately wrapped his legs around Derek's waist, leaning into their kiss eagerly. Derek responded quickly, hitching Stiles' hips so his body was pressed against his, kissing him before moving down to kiss his neck.

"Shit, I'm about to fall in the sink," Stiles cried out, grabbing Derek's jumper.

"Fuck," Derek muttered.

He lifted Stiles, holding him up in his arms, Stiles' legs still wrapped around him, and Derek carried him to the lounge room. Stiles laughed in his arms, breath warm against his neck and shoulder. His laughter was cut off abruptly when Derek dropped him onto the lounge, crawling over his body to kiss him again. He needed to have this with his soul mate, to touch him as much as he was allowed, to kiss and hold him, to be with him in every way possible. Stiles moaned underneath him, his body arching up off the lounge to press against Derek's firmly. Derek let his body follow Stiles' down back onto the lounge, covering him and trying not to crush him. Stiles didn't seem to care, his hands grabbing at Derek's shoulders and hips, trying to pull all of him down, even as they continued to kiss eagerly, tongues licking into mouths, lips wet and swollen, and Derek just knew that Stiles would look positively debauched when they finally pulled away.

"Fuck, Derek. I... I'm gonna cum in my pants if I don't..." Stiles breathed, trailing off as he started to kiss Derek again.

"If you don't what?" Derek murmured, sliding his thumb against Stiles' swollen bottom lip.

"I don't even... I either need to calm down or go jerk off, but I don't want to move and I don't want to calm down either," Stiles admitted, a blush on his cheeks.

Derek licked his lips at the thought of Stiles jerking off in his house, in his room even, and his hips jerked against Stiles' as if they had a will of their own.

"Derek, please."

"Please what? Please stop or please more?" Derek asked, forcing himself to go still.

"More. Definitely more. Fuck the pants; it wouldn't be the first time," Stiles muttered, pulling Derek back down to kiss him again, grinding their hips together.

"Oh, really?"

"First time with another person," Stiles admitted, breathless and grinning.

"Sure you want it to be with me?" Derek asked, his voice soft and surprisingly serious, even to his own ears.

"Yes. Definitely and absolutely, one-hundred and ten percent sure. Now, give me more," Stiles murmured, leaning up on his elbows so he could kiss Derek again.

Derek responded eagerly, pressing Stiles back against the lounge as his lips moved against his slowly, dragging his stubble along his cheek and listening to Stiles whimper.

"Oh, fuck! Derek, I'm ... fuck - " Stiles cut off with a guttural groan, body arching, and Derek ground his hips down against Stiles' firmly, kissing Stiles through his orgasm.

"Better?" Derek murmured into the crook of Stiles' neck.

"Mmm, yeah. You?"

"I'm good," he said softly, then sat up and pulled Stiles up along with him.

Stiles sighed contently, draping himself over Derek's body and shoulders, his head resting on Derek's shoulder. "I could just sleep here for the next twelve hours," he admitted, yawning widely.

"Why don't you stay, then? I've got guest rooms," Derek added, knowing he wouldn't be able to resist Stiles if he was in the same bed as him.

"Can't do that; I don't have any spare clothes for school tomorrow."

"I've got clothes that you could wear," Derek said, shrugging.

"You don't mind?" Stiles asked, yawning again.

"Not at all. You let your dad know so he doesn't worry, I'll go make sure the spare room's fit for sleeping in," Derek said, pressing a chaste kiss to Stiles' mouth before slipping off the couch and heading upstairs.

They both knew that the spare room was tidy - Stiles had seen it on the weekend, and Derek hadn't had any visitors since - but Derek wanted to find something in his closet that wasn't black or a varying darker shade for Stiles to wear tomorrow. He'd probably have to find some pyjamas for him as well, considering what had just happened to Stiles' pants.

Derek was still hard and aching himself, but he had no desire to ruin his pants, and would take care of it later when he was alone. With Stiles sleeping right down the hall? he thought to himself, wincing. A cold shower would have to suffice then.

He found a few coloured shirts at the back of his wardrobe, probably gifts he hadn't had the heart to throw away, but he had no luck with coloured pants. Stiles would just have to wear black jeans and a coloured shirt; hopefully he'd be all right with that.

"Hey, Derek? That really wiped me, so I'm going to bed now, 'kay?" Stiles mumbled at his doorway.

Derek nodded, turning with the clothes in his hands. "Thought you might like to wear these tomorrow. I'll find pyjamas for you if you don't mind waiting a few more minutes?"

"S'all good, I sleep in the nude," Stiles said, and winked at him saucily like he wasn't standing there with cum drying in his pants.

"Really?"

"Well, boxers usually, unless it's cold," Stiles said, grinning. "How about you?"

"Boxers and singlet, mostly. I don't really feel the cold," Derek said, shrugging. "What did your dad say?"

"That I have to let him know when I'm at school in the morning so he doesn't worry. And to be safe," Stiles added, blushing slightly. "Bit late for that though, right?" he murmured, looking down at his pants.

"A little," Derek agreed, breathless as his cock twitched at the sight. "I'll show you to the guest room," he said quickly, going to hurry past Stiles.

Stiles, however, grabbed his wrist, eyes trained on his crotch. "You're still hard," he breathed, eyes wide.

"Don't worry; I wouldn't let myself cum, these are expensive pants," Derek said, trying for a joke.

"Then get on some old sweats and we can rub against each other in bed. You're sleeping with me again, right?" he asked, brown eyes wide and pink lips pouting.

"We shouldn't, Stiles. I don't think I can control myself very well around you," Derek admitted, stroking Stiles' cheek gently.

"You seem pretty in control to me now," Stiles murmured, turning his head to press a kiss to Derek's palm.

He did not whimper in response. Derek, however, did pull Stiles closer for another kiss, lips firm against each other, and the gathered clothes dropping to the floor between them.

"Come to bed with me, Derek. Please? I promise, we'll honour my dad's wishes about nothing below the waist. Honest," Stiles added, breath coming out in small sharp gasps. "I need you, need to be close to you, need to wake up to your colour," he murmured, rubbing his cheek against Derek's with each admission.

"Okay," Derek groaned, those two syllables feeling like the hardest thing he'd said in his entire life.

Stiles' bright grin was worth it, and Stiles tugged Derek over to the bed eagerly. His soul mate was going to be the death of him, but Derek wasn't sure that he really minded.

...

End of the fourth chapter.

Thanks for reading!

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up curled in Derek's embrace, and it took him exactly three seconds to realise that Derek was hard and pressed up against his ass. Derek was still asleep if the soft sounds of his snoring was anything to go by, and he was moving his hips slowly, slightly, the movement barely there. Stiles doubted that he would have noticed had he not been pressed right up against his body. He squirmed slightly, realising that he needed to pee. And possibly jack off for ten straight minutes.

"Stiles," Derek moaned in his sleep, his hold tightening around Stiles' waist.

Make that fifteen minutes. Oh, and seriously needing to pee. But hearing Derek moan his name in his sleep meant that Stiles was not going to move unless there was a life-threatening thing happening. And even then, nope. He told himself that he didn't need to pee, didn't need to pee, didn't need to pee at all, not even a little. Fuck, he seriously had to pee. Maybe if he ran to the bathroom, he'd be able to get back before Derek woke up? Stiles reasoned, his bladder and growing erection demanding his immediate attention.

"Shit," Stiles groaned, tugging Derek's arm off his body quickly and bolting for the door before his body could betray him.

Derek woke up blearily when Stiles scrambled off the bed, kicking him in the shin on the way out, and then went still as he realised he was hard as a rock. He'd probably just traumatised Stiles, who'd run away from him as soon as possible. God, he was a dirty old man, and he'd just taken advantage of his younger boyfriend.

Stiles felt a billion times better after peeing, and hurried back to Derek, hoping he was still asleep so they could go back to cuddling. He was almost disappointed to see that Derek was awake and he looked somewhat terrified for whatever reason.

"Hey, you okay?" Stiles asked, frowning.

Derek's eyes widened slightly, and there was more of the terrified expression going on there, but he eventually nodded. Stiles didn't believe him for a second.

"Uh, sorry for running out on you. I had to pee seriously bad. You ... you okay down there? You need me to leave?"

"I'm fine."

Stiles frowned slightly at Derek's curt response and cut-off expression. "No offence, dude, but you don't sound fine."

"I... I'm sorry," Derek said, sounding absolutely devastated.

"What for?" Stiles asked, wondering if Derek had bought him a puppy and then kicked said puppy because there was seriously nothing he could think of that Derek needed to be sorry for.

"This morning. I was... What I did, it... It wasn't right."

Stiles blinked, a frown forming. "What did you do, exactly? I'm drawing a blank here."

"I... I rubbed against you," Derek admitted, and god, it sounded even worse aloud.

"Oh, that. Yeah, I was enjoying that. I just seriously had to pee. Actually, I wouldn't mind if we went back to the rubbing and cuddling," Stiles added easily, grinning broadly.

"You - what?" Derek felt very confused right about now.

Stiles laughed softly and closed the distance between them, his hands resting on Derek's shoulders firmly.

"I'm giving you permission to rub against me anytime you like. And the cuddling is also good. And kissing, I like that too," Stiles added, kissing him and letting his hands slip around his neck. "Seriously. Any time. Maybe not so much in front of my Dad, but that's just so we won't give him a heart attack."

"Okay," Derek breathed out, feeling a little lighter in his chest all at once.

"Now, what are your thoughts on receiving cuddles?"

Derek's response was cut short when Stiles' phone started playing music loudly, and Stiles paled slightly on realising that he had to get ready for school.

"Hold that thought. Shit, are those clothes still here?" Stiles asked, looking around the room in a panic.

"I'll get them, you go get ready," Derek said, pushing him slightly towards the door.

Stiles nodded and ran for the bathroom for the second time that morning. Derek gathered up the clothes he'd given to Stiles the night before and headed after him, leaving them in a pile in front of the bathroom door. Deciding that breakfast would probably be a good idea for both of them, Derek went downstairs to the kitchen.

Stiles was downstairs in fifteen minutes, dressed and wet hair combed into a style the best he could. He poured a bowl of Cheerios from the selection of cereal Derek had put out on the bench, not sure what Stiles would actually want for breakfast, and talked about his upcoming classes for the day. He was worried about Chemistry and the prejudiced teacher that taught the subject; apparently Mr. Harris still had yet to find his soul mate and was a bastard to anyone who had already found theirs. The only reason Lydia passed his class was because she was the smartest teenager ever, and not even Mr. Harris could hold back that sort of talent. Derek didn't know whether to feel amused or threatened by this Lydia that obviously had so much of Stiles' respect, but figured that Stiles was with him for a reason.

On his way out, Stiles pressed a kiss to Derek's cheek, bag slung over his shoulder, and Derek felt a little lost in the sudden silence of his house, his cheek tingling. Deciding that he'd need to update his resume now that he could see colour, Derek grabbed his coffee mug, bowl of cereal, and headed up to his computer room. Maybe he'd feel better if he actually had a job to fill the silence of his day.

...

Have a job interview. Won't be able to come to school today. Sorry :(

Derek's text had come through during the mid-morning break, but Stiles told himself that he would be fine. He was fine until lunch, when the colours from other people's outfits started to overwhelm him - he had to have a serious talk with Greenberg about wearing canary yellow and eggplant purple together. So, he was absolutely fine. Nothing wrong here, nothing to see, move along people. Fuck, he was screwed.

Chemistry was the first class after lunch, and Stiles was still getting overwhelmed by the colours as the day passed. It didn't seem to affect Scott and Allison in the same way as it did him, but Stiles figured it was because they had each other in close proximity. Still, Allison had admitted that she'd been in the school's grey room, so maybe it wasn't that rare to feel overwhelmed by it all?

He had a free period after Chemistry, so Stiles told himself sternly to get through the lesson, and then he'd be able to escape to the grey room. He would survive the next hour, he would.

"Good afternoon, class. I hope you've all had a filling lunch, and you've got strong stomachs," Harris said as he walked in with a cloth-covered trolley. "Today you'll be dissecting frogs."

Okay, he would definitely not survive the next hour, Stiles revised, feeling a little sick as he saw the trays of pale green lifeless frogs.

He took his tray, picked up his scalpel and after making an incision and seeing the blood, the blue veins and red arteries - or was it the other way around? - Stiles decided that he wasn't going to be able to survive the next minute. He ran from the room, and ran directly for the grey room.

Stiles had only been huddled in the small room for a few minutes when he fought to breathe, his lungs burning and his eyes squeezed shut as he tried to get his mind to settle down and focus on anything but the colours flashing behind his eyelids.

He finally heaved breath in, his chest rising and falling with the motion, and Stiles realised two things: he'd probably never be able to be a doctor, no matter how much the medical field needed more colour-fied people; and Allison was right, the grey room really did smell like pee.

...

Derek knew that people were prejudiced towards those that could see colour, and those that couldn't, but he had sent his resume to three businesses last week alone and hadn't heard a single response. Now, after emailing them to amend his resume and tell them that he could now see colour, Derek had received phone calls from all three companies within the hour. He still had the exact same skill set, education, experience, but apparently now that he could see colour, that meant all the difference. It was frustrating to think that something so small had been the cause of his joblessness for the last three months, and Derek hated that there might be people more qualified or experienced than him out there that were being denied their own opportunity in life simply because they hadn't met a certain person yet!

He felt bad about leaving Stiles to the mercy of a full day of colour, especially still so soon in their relationship, but Derek hoped that he would be okay until they could see each other later that day. Later in the day, after he had finished his interviews and had changed into more comfortable clothes, Derek headed out to do some grocery shopping. He avoided the big store that advertised their colour supplements on the window, preying on the lonely and desperate when everyone knew those tablets didn't do a damn thing anyway, and headed to the locally owned store instead. They didn't stock supplements and since he'd been going to their store regularly, Derek had become a familiar face to the workers and owners alike. While they hadn't been hiring when he'd first started applying to anyone and anything for a job, the owners of the store had actually suggested a few places he might try instead. He had actually gotten an interview for one job, but had been overqualified for the position and the owner refused to offer it to him on the principle that it would not only be a waste of his talent, but an insult to not offer the pay he deserved. While it had been a small boost to his ego at the time, Derek had bills to pay and food to buy, and there were days when he figured the meagre pay would have been better than nothing at all.

Derek felt his phone vibrate against his leg while he was out grocery shopping, and he looked at the screen, frowning when he saw that it was from an unknown number.

Stiles freakn out. He needs u.

He practically dropped his shopping basket where he was and ran out of the store to his car. Derek floored his accelerator, heading up to the school without a second thought. He pulled up in a haphazard way, parked the Camaro sideways, and ran into the school before he even realised he had no idea where the hell Stiles was. Thankfully Scott must have heard him slam the front doors open, and ran around the corner in a skid, waving for Derek to follow him before heading right back in the same direction. Derek hurried after Scott and went straight into the school's grey room, seeing Stiles huddled in the corner and looking as pale as he'd ever seen him.

Derek didn't bother to question him, not when Stiles was like that, and just moved over to him, wrapping his arms around Stiles firmly. Stiles gasped, grabbing at his arm and shirt, pulling him closer and clinging on.

"Hey, it's okay, Stiles. I've got you, I'm here, it's all right," Derek murmured softly, rubbing his back in careful circular motions, continuing even after he calmed down.

"Th-thanks, Derek," Stiles mumbled in his embrace, fingers slow to unclench against his arms.

"You're welcome. Scott, can you get Stiles' homework for the rest of the day? I'm taking him home," Derek said.

"What 'bout Roscoe?" Stiles asked.

"Who's Roscoe?" Derek asked, frowning.

"His car," Scott answered. "I'll drive the Jeep to your house with your homework, okay? I promise I'll be careful," he added.

Stiles looked a little sceptical, but nodded.  "You break her, I break you."

"I know, I know. You've told me before. Go, get home before someone comes looking for you. Take care of him, all right?" Scott said to Derek with a brief glare.

"I will. Come on, Stiles. Let's get out of here," he murmured, helping Stiles out of the small grey room and guiding him out to the Camaro.

Stiles was quiet on the drive back, his eyes either closed or directed up to the grey ceiling, and Derek kept sneaking glances at him when he stopped at lights or signs.

"We're at your house," Stiles said in surprise when he saw where they'd arrived.

"You don't have a grey room," Derek replied, shrugging slightly. "I'll text Scott the address if you want him to bring your homework here instead. I'll call your Dad and let him know as well."

Stiles nodded, looking grateful, and let Derek guide him inside quietly. Derek didn't have to do much to persuade Stiles to go straight to the grey room, and in turn, Stiles didn't have to do anything to get Derek to stay with him. Before he could even ask, Derek sat beside him, curled around his body, and held him close. Stiles sighed softly, leaned back into his embrace and let the lack of colour wash over him, just as soothing as Derek's breath against his neck and the feel of his heart beating against his back.

...

End of the fifth chapter.

Thanks for reading!

Chapter Text

Derek was reluctant to go to the door when he heard the knocking at his front door since Stiles was sleeping contently bracketed between his legs. He slowly and carefully dislodged Stiles, standing and making sure Stiles would be comfortable and stay sleeping before he darted out of the grey room to answer the door. He blinked in surprise on seeing the young man standing there, the larger boy silent despite his consistent knocking.

"Can I help you?" Derek asked, frowning slightly.

"Derek Hale?"

"Yes."

Before the man could say anything else - or explain his presence - a girl with blonde wavy hair came up behind him with three shopping bags in hand.

"Mama Boyd sent us with your groceries. Let us in, would you?" she called.

The young man - who looked similar to the woman that owned the local grocery store, now that Derek thought about it - gave a nod, then headed down the steps to take the bags from the girl easily.

"I didn't pay for them," Derek replied, frowning slightly.

He vaguely remembered dropping the basket in the middle of the store and running out. There were eggs in that basket, he realised with a wince.

"Mama Boyd said to pay next time you're in," the young man replied, voice soft. "I'm Mama Boyd's son, just call me Boyd," he added.

"I'm Erica," Erica said, grinning broadly. "Mama Boyd figured you had some sort of emergency with the way you ran out of the store. And since Stiles wasn't in class after that shit Harris pulled in Chemistry, it wasn't too hard to guess why."

"What did Harris do?" Derek demanded, guiding the two teenagers through his house to the kitchen.

"Made everyone dissect frogs. He's a Chemistry teacher, yet he tried to pull off a Biology class just to fuck with Stiles. He really hates Stiles; no one knows why," Erica added with a shrug.

"Erica, you can't say that," Boyd muttered.

"It's true, Boyd. He's the only one that's got his colours in the last week - hell, the last year! - and then Harris just suddenly has a supply of frogs that need to be cut open? Everyone knows how much Stiles hates blood, and blood in colour sure ain't pretty."

"You two've got your colours?" Derek asked in surprise.

Erica smiled brightly and planted a kiss on Boyd's cheek. "Yep! Got 'em last year when Boyd was working the register at Mama Boyd's store."

Boyd looked a little embarrassed, but slipped an arm around Erica's waist and held her close. The action made Derek think of Stiles.

"I've got to check on Stiles. Thanks for bringing the groceries."

"Can we hang out?" Erica called after him.

Derek didn't reply, and Erica must have assumed that meant a positive thing, since she and Boyd followed him into the grey room a few moments later. Derek had settled back behind Stiles, arm wrapped around his waist and making sure he was still breathing evenly and calmly, and raised an eyebrow as Erica ducked back out of the grey room only to return with Boyd behind her.

"This is nice. Haven't been in a grey room for almost six months," Erica said, sighing as she settled down in Boyd's lap. He didn't seem perturbed by it at all, wrapping his arms around her to hold Erica steady.

"You've adjusted to the colours that well?" Derek asked softly.

"Yeah, I guess so. It's more that Boyd is like the human version of a grey room, all quiet and calm, and besides, he's in all of my classes. Makes it easier to sit next to him and just breathe when it all gets too much, y'know?"

Derek looked down at Stiles and gave a slight nod.

"How many people can you fit in here anyway? I don't think I've ever seen a grey room this big before," Erica added, looking to the soft covered benches behind Derek's shoulder.

It was easier for him to sit on the floor and be close to Stiles, so Derek hadn't bothered with the actual seating yet. Back when his family was alive, they'd all been able to sit in the grey room comfortably.

"Erica," Boyd said, voice soft. "The grey room is a quiet room," he murmured, pointing to the sign.

It simply said 'shut up!' and underneath, written in his mother's perfect lettering were the words 'that means you, Peter!'. His mother had put it in when Uncle Peter decided that the grey room needed music - his choice of punk and rock music hadn't been appreciated. It had been a running joke over the years, but faded over time to the point where Derek had completely forgotten about the sign.

Erica sighed and shrugged, tilting her head back to rest on Boyd's shoulder so she could look up to the grey ceiling.

Derek gave Boyd a grateful nod, shifting Stiles slightly so his leg wouldn't go to sleep, and rested back against the bench to sit in the welcome silence.

The silence didn't last very long, with another knock at the door less than twenty minutes later. Derek was loathe to leave Stiles again, but Erica didn't bother asking and left the grey room to answer the door for him. Barely a minute later, she returned with Scott in tow, Stiles' homework bundled in his arms. Boyd pointed at the sign, so Scott simply nodded hello, and sat next to Derek and Stiles.

...

Stiles stirred eventually, blinking his way awake. He went still, even as his heart beat wildly against his chest, when he saw nothing but grey around him; he was certain for a minute that he'd lost his colours somehow, that Derek was nothing but a dream.

"Hey, you're awake! Derek wanted me to get you up since dinner's ready," Scott said with a grin, his cheeks red and his shirt green.

Stiles let out a loud sigh of relief, his body tingling as he made himself breathe again. "Oh, thank fuck. Remind me to never fall asleep in a grey room. Shit," he groaned, rubbing his hands over his face.

"You feeling better?" Scott asked as he came out of the grey room.

"Yeah, I am. Fucking Harris and those frogs, like what the actual fuck?"

"Stiles, language!"

Stiles was surprised to hear his father's voice, but he glared at Scott for not warning him that the Sheriff was there. Scott just looked sheepish and shrugged.

"Hey, Dad. What are you doing here?" Stiles asked, heading to the kitchen. "In fact, what are you two doing here too?" he asked, surprised to see Boyd and Erica in Derek's kitchen as well.

Derek stopped serving up dinner long enough to look over Stiles and determine that he was okay before turning back to the stove.

"We dropped off Derek's groceries; he offered to cook dinner for all of us, and only idiots turn down free food," Erica said, grinning.

"Well, I also came to see how you were doing. I'll be talking to the school tomorrow for an explanation about Mr. Harris' behaviour," the Sheriff added.

"God, please don't, you'll only make it worse."

"He is an adult, not a bully on the playground, Stiles."

"Yeah, he's an adult that has a hand in deciding my academic future, which is worse," Stiles pointed out, looking to the others for backup.

"He's just upset because you got your colours. He'll settle down again soon," Scott said, trying to be mediator.

"Soon isn't good enough, son. He is a teacher, that means he's got a responsibility towards his students, not to torment them," the Sheriff said, jaw tight.

"Please, Dad, just leave it. I promise I'll tell you if he does something like that again, okay?" Stiles said, a little desperately and wishing the conversation was over three minutes ago.

"Fine, but if I find out he's doing that sort of stuff to you again, you're going to be grounded until graduation, understood?"

"Understood," Stiles agreed quickly.

"You're lucky you don't know Mama Boyd; she would've steamrolled her way into the school and then run Harris over too," Erica muttered.

Scott laughed a little, but Boyd shook his head.

"Mama Boyd owns a steamroller. Erica's not joking."

"Why does she own a steamroller? Where did she even get one?" Stiles asked, morbidly curious.

"She worked in construction when she was younger; no one tried to stop her when she left with it," Boyd said, shrugging.

"Can I meet your mum one day?" Stiles asked, grinning broadly.

"Shop at The Rink; Mama Boyd owns it and is usually there most days," Derek said.

The Sheriff groaned at the thought of his son meeting someone that owned a real steamroller.

"Did you want to eat dinner in here or the dining room?" Derek asked, gently reminding them that he'd dished up and their plates were waiting.

As the dining room was the general consensus, the others grabbed their plates and cutlery and headed to the dining room. Stiles stayed in the kitchen, realising that they must have been given a tour while he was asleep since they were all walking ahead confidently without waiting for Derek. He turned to Derek, who raised an eyebrow at him curiously, and Stiles grinned in return.

"Thanks for coming to the school for me," he said, hugging Derek firmly.

"You're welcome, Stiles," Derek replied, his voice soft as he hugged Stiles in return.

They slipped into silence for a moment, the noise from the others in the dining room distant and not intruding on their peace. Eventually they pulled away, and Stiles grabbed their plates, carrying them down to the dining room as Derek organised drinks for the others, arriving soon after.

"I thought we'd have to send a search party out for you," the Sheriff said, their absence noted.

"They wouldn't have had to go far; we were still in the kitchen, Dad," Stiles snarked back.

Erica snorted her laughter, Boyd rolling his eyes at his girlfriend's warped sense of humour.

"Oh, hey, how'd your job interview go today?" Stiles asked Derek when he sat down.

Derek looked a bit embarrassed. "I walked out before I even got to the interview. It was at one of the tourism agencies; they were promising these people that if they went on this cruise or that tour then they'd find their soul mate, and... everyone knows that it's not possible to guarantee that, but those people looked so lonely and desperate. They were preying on them to get their money, and I couldn't stand the idea of doing that to anyone, especially when soul mates are needed to just be happy. My grandparents weren't soul mates, and they loved each other as much as my parents did, it doesn't make a person or their relationship any less or more because they've got their colours."

He was breathing heavily by the time he'd finished his tirade, his cheeks red at the admission and the way the others were looking at him.

"My parents don't have their colours either," Erica said, shrugging. "I didn't really go through life expecting to get mine, but that doesn't mean I'd change it either," she said, squeezing Boyd's hand briefly.

"Were you at True Love Tourism?" Boyd asked.

"Yeah, how'd you know?"

"They're renown for preying on the desperate. Apparently three people getting their colours while on their tours means they're experts now; my sister was scammed by them last year. She lost all of her savings and couldn't get a refund due to the contract's wording, despite their slogan's guarantee."

"Did she tell the police?" the Sheriff asked.

"She tried; she was living interstate at the time and bought her tickets online. Made it harder and more expensive to fight," Boyd replied briefly, returning his attention to his dinner.

"Tourism's huge for the global economy, but because it's so big, it's harder to govern. Just like those stupid colour supplements, everyone knows they don't work, but the pills are still kept on the shelf because otherwise they'd have to admit they don't know how soul mates actually work," Stiles muttered, shaking his head.

"Oh, you missed something big at school, Stiles," Scott said, shovelling mashed potato into his mouth.

"What? Did one of the frogs come back to life and jump down Harris' shirt?" Stiles asked, grinning.

"Jackson bought Lydia paints; the set with 100 colours. He had them flown over from France," Erica said while Scott continued to eat.

"What did he do?" Stiles asked; Jackson usually only bought Lydia expensive gifts when he'd screwed up in some way.

"Forgot their ten year colour anniversary," Scott said, shaking his head. "Something that big would have to be remembered, surely?"

"Some people have different anniversaries they remember," the Sheriff pointed out.

"Did you ever forget your colour anniversary, Sheriff?" Erica asked curiously.

"No, but Claudia did. A few times, in fact. I joked that I'd have to marry her on our colour anniversary just so she'd remember; she took me up on that," John admitted with a slight grin.

"You never told me that!" Stiles said, almost choking on his food in his hurry to swallow.

Derek patted him on the back until Stiles didn't look quite so red in the face, and poured him another glass of water.

"So what are you planning on doing now, Derek?" John asked, the change of topic obvious to everyone, even Scott who was still scoffing down his food like he hadn't eaten for a week.

"I have another two interviews tomorrow. I scheduled them for different times, so I'll be able to visit you at lunch," Derek added to Stiles, who beamed happily. "I'm hoping to get one of those. One's at the wildlife preserve, the other's at the local veterinary clinic."

"You got an interview with Dr. Deaton too?" Scott asked, looking up from his now-empty plate.

"What do you mean 'too'?" Stiles asked.

"I applied for the apprenticeship at the vet last good. It was specific about people with colour, so I thought it'd be good to get some experience and some money; I could take Allison out on a proper date then," Scott admitted, his cheeks red.

"When's your interview?" Stiles asked curiously.

"Uh... In about forty minutes," Scott said, checking his watch.

"You realise it takes thirty to get to the vet from here by car?" the Sheriff pointed out.

Scott's cheeks reddened further. "Can I borrow your car, Stiles?"

The Sheriff shook his head and sighed. "I'll drive you. Take your plate to the kitchen first," he added. "Thank you for dinner, Derek. Stiles, I expect you home by 9:30. It's a school night."

"Guess we'd better go as well," Erica said to Boyd, who nodded briefly.

"Oh, and get your sister to call me in the morning, young man. I'd like to talk to her about her experience with that company if she's willing," the Sheriff added, handing a business card to Boyd.

"Yes sir," he replied. "Thank you for dinner, Derek," Boyd added, gathering his and Erica's plates and cutlery.

"Thanks, it was good," Erica said with a grin, taking their glasses and following her boyfriend to the kitchen.

"Did we just get rid of everyone in under five minutes?" Stiles asked.

"Seems that way. Finish your dinner; I'll see them out," Derek replied, leaving a moment later.

Stiles listened as the others talked and said goodbye, calling out to him as well. Stiles finished his dinner as the two cars drove away, so he took his and Derek's plates to the kitchen, starting on the dishes that were stacked by the sink.

"Your dinner's probably cold, I thought you'd want to heat it up while I did the dishes," Stiles called over his shoulder when he heard the front door close.

"Thanks," Derek said, putting his plate in the microwave for a minute.

"So what's your major, Derek? I'm guessing it's something to do with animals, but with the tourism interview, I could be wrong," Stiles added, squirting dishwashing liquid into the sink.

"The tourism one was just because I was desperate for money. I don't think I would have done it even if I'd gone through with the interview," Derek admitted. "I majored in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Program at Penn State. Animals don't care if you can see in black and white," he added, shrugging.

Stiles nodded in understanding, washing the dishes quietly as the microwave beeped to alert Derek that his food was done. They stayed in comfortable silence for a few minutes, Derek finishing his dinner and placing the black plate with the others on the sink.

"Almost done. If I finish my homework in the next hour, we can make out, right?" Stiles asked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

"You really get to the point, don't you?" Derek asked with a grin.

"It's been said before. Of course, it's also been argued before too, because I can ramble like nobody's business, but..."

Derek cut him off with a quick kiss, Stiles clutching at the plate in the sink so he wouldn't get his soapy hands all over Derek's clothes.

Derek's phone started ringing loudly, and he pulled away with a reluctant sigh.

"Go on, it might be one of the jobs telling you that you've got the job without needing the interview," Stiles said, grinning.

Derek sincerely doubted it, but found his phone anyway. "Hi Laura. I was going to call you."

Stiles saw Derek wince, then Derek left the kitchen, and by the sound of the back door opening a few seconds later, left the house entirely. He finished the dishes, setting the last of the pots on the drying rack precariously. Stiles watched the pot cautiously as he dried his hands off, then ran for the back door. If it fell off the rack while he wasn't in the room, it wasn't his fault.

Derek raised an eyebrow at Stiles in question when he burst out of the back door, but Stiles waved at him and stood there with hands on his knees as he bent over and tried to catch his breath.

"No, Laura, you don't... Because it's none... No! Well, actually... Laura, would you shut up?" Derek groaned, clenching his hand into a fist and looking torn between shaking it at the phone and smacking his head into it. "I got my colours, okay?! That's why I don't want you to set me up with what's-their-name. You're insufferable," Derek muttered, holding his phone the full length of his arm away from his ear when Laura squealed.

Stiles' eyebrows raised at her vocal projection because even he could hear her from the porch. He figured Derek would need some privacy and turned to go back inside.

"Yes, he's here," Derek said, sounding pained at the admission. "Stiles Stilinski. Yes, like the Sheriff... Laura! Oh, I hate you right now... Stiles, Laura asked if she could talk to you?" he called, wincing and holding his phone out. Then he retracted it quickly and put it back up to his ear. "Don't you dare embarrass me."

Laura's answering cackle wasn't comforting in the slightest.

"You sure you want me to talk to her?" Stiles asked quietly, walking down to where Derek had been pacing.

"Yes. She's as important as she is annoying," Derek said with a slight grin and shrug, then held out the phone.

Stiles figured his dad thought the same about him sometimes, and nodded, taking the phone. "Hi Laura."

"Oh my god! He was telling the truth! I really thought he was lying to get out of being set up. You really... My brother's really your soul mate?" Laura asked, sounding incredulous, pitying, and amazed all at once.

"Yeah, he is. Uh, I saw the tattoo on his back; how much did that thing cost you?"

Laura was silent for a moment, and Stiles frowned, thinking he'd accidentally ended the call somehow.

"Derek's seen the tattoo?" she asked, voice quiet now. "Did he... How did he react to it?"

"He was okay. He understood why you did it," Stiles said confidently, grinning at Derek.

Derek frowned slightly and tried to piece together what they were talking about from the one-sided conversation he could hear.

"You sure? He wouldn't have forgiven me for it a few years ago," Laura admitted.

"Yeah, I'm sure."

"So, how'd you meet Derek, anyway?" Laura asked.

"I was trespassing on the preserve. Unintentionally," Stiles added quickly.

Laura laughed. "You mean you crossed the invisible line that no one actually knows exists?"

"Yeah, that's the one," Stiles said, grinning; he liked Laura.

"So, you're the Sheriff's kid? I guess you're still in high school, then?"

"One more year and I'm going to college."

"Any idea on what you want to study, or should I be condemned into the depths of adult hell for asking?" Laura asked with a grin.

"Well, I was going to tell you, but now I want to know what's included in that kind of hell," Stiles said, laughing.

"Income tax forms, mostly."

"So it'd be bad if I said I wanted to be an accountant?"

"No, not at all. You'd just really have to like numbers and filling out forms, I think."

Derek gave up on trying to follow the conversation and went to sit on the porch steps instead.

"I'm hoping to get a good enough grade to get into Forensic Science. It all depends on my grade in Chemistry, which might be difficult considering my teacher hates me."

"Just how much do they hate you?" Laura asked curiously.

"He found out I got my colours, so today he brought in frogs for everyone to dissect."

"Oh wow, that's bad. You don't like dead frogs?"

"Not too fond of blood, actually. I mean, I don't throw up or faint on seeing blood, but I get kinda woozy."

"You realise that there's a high chance of blood at any crime scenes you might get to work in?"

"Yeah, I know. I'm hoping I'll be so desensitised to it by then that I won't even notice."

"Good luck with that. Hey, put Derek back on, would you? Oh, and Stiles?"

"Yeah?"

"Hurt my baby brother, I'll make sure you get to see that blood up close and personal, okay?"

"Uh. Yeah. Thanks?"

"No problem."

Stiles handed the phone back over to Derek and sat next to him, not even bothering trying to listen to their conversation. After a few minutes, Derek ended the call and looked at Stiles in concern.

"Just which limbs or body parts did she threaten?"

"Well, all of them, technically. She threatened to make me bleed, I think. It was kinda vague but still terrifying."

"She's good at that. If it's any consolation, she threatened me as well."

"What with?"

"Never mind," Derek said quickly, going red.

"Geez, must've been bad."

Derek gave a brief nod, then led Stiles back inside. "Now, what were you saying earlier? If you finish your homework in an hour, we get to make out?"

Stiles brightened up considerably at that, and Derek couldn't help but grin in response. Stiles kissed him chastely before practically running to the lounge room to start on his homework. Derek followed, licking his tingling lips.

...

End of the sixth chapter.

Thanks for reading!

Chapter Text

"We should have ice cream at the zoo to celebrate your job at the wildlife preserve," Stiles announced on Saturday morning as they headed to the zoo in Derek's Camaro.

 

"Celebratory ice cream works for me," Derek said with a grin.

 

"I mean, I would've gotten a bottle of wine to celebrate, but no one will accept my fake ID around here," Stiles said, grinning.

 

"You have a fake ID?"

 

"Um... That depends on what you plan on telling my dad," Stiles said warily.

 

"I'm going to pull over and call him right now. In fact, I'll put an ad in the local paper too, just to make sure everyone knows," Derek deadpanned.

 

"Oh, you've got all the jokes this morning, don't'cha?" Stiles muttered.

 

"How do you even know where to get a fake ID from?" Derek asked.

 

"I spend way too much time down at the station. I could probably name most of Beacon Hills' crooks off the top of my head. Admittedly, it's not a long list," he added with a grin.

 

"So you're not worried that whoever you got the ID from will name you as a customer?"

 

"Oh, no, I didn't get the ID from one of them. I made it myself. It looks legit, but because nearly everyone in town knows who I am, I know they won't accept it. I have to go further out of Beacon County if I want alcohol, and then I have to run the risk of getting back into Beacon Hills with it in my car. I nearly always get pulled over on the way back into town; I swear Dad's got someone watching the border just for me. Of course, I didn't realise how much trouble it would be just for a six-pack when I first made the ID," Stiles admitted.

 

Derek pulled into the zoo parking lot, turned off the ignition, and looked at Stiles with a frown. "It's worrying that you're so blasé about breaking the rules. Kind of endearing too, but don't tell your father I said that."

 

Stiles laughed, the sound lighting up his face entirely, and he grinned at Derek. "Does this mean you'll let me give you a blow job on the way back?"

 

"No. If you really think your dad's got someone watching your car, what do you think he's going to do to me after our first date?"

 

"Aw, you said this was a date. C'mere, boo."

 

"Not if you call me that again," Derek said with a shudder.

 

Stiles snickered and tugged Derek to him over the gear stick anyway. He kissed him firmly, licking into his mouth after a moment, and reached down, his fingers skating over Derek's lap before unlatching his seat belt.

 

"Come on, penguins and zebras and pandas await," Stiles said, grinning as he got out of the car.

 

Derek breathed in deeply and refrained from pulling Stiles back into the car to make him continue with his kiss and his hands. Fuck, he was in so much trouble. Stiles looked back into the car like he knew exactly what he'd done, and Derek breathed out just as deeply as he had inhaled before he stepped out of the car.

 

"So, what do you want to see first? There's a map here," Stiles said, tugging him over to the board. "Oh, they've got a peacock!"

 

Derek read the map carefully as Stiles started talking about male peacocks and their bright feathers.

 

"I mean, the female peacocks have got to feel pretty bad, just being all one colour, don't you think?"

 

"The male peacocks still fight over them and try to impress them with their colours; I don't think the female peacocks have anything to feel bad about," Derek replied, shrugging.

 

"Huh. That's a good point," Stiles said, sounding pleased he'd contributed rather than simply let him talk without listening or responding. "Did you see anything you wanted to see?"

 

"I'd like to see the red panda. It's at the other end of the zoo, though, so we can make our way up to it," Derek added.

 

The ticket booth roller door slid upwards, and Stiles took Derek's hand and led him over. Derek paid for their tickets before Stiles could get his wallet out.

 

"I'm buying the ice creams," Stiles said as they went inside with their tickets and maps. "It's bad luck to buy your own celebratory ice cream, anyway."

 

"Who said?" Derek asked, a little surprised as Stiles' grip tightened in his and he practically marched them through the zoo without stopping to look at the animals on either side.

 

"My mother, actually. I'd been given a gold star at kindergarten for getting all of my colours right, even though I guessed some of them. I had enough pocket money to buy us all ice cream, but mum said it was bad luck and that she had to buy the ice creams instead. So now celebratory ice creams can't be bought by the celebrator," Stiles said firmly.

 

Derek wasn't quite sure what to say to that, and fell silent as Stiles continued along the path without stopping. Then he saw that one of the zoo's food stalls was already open and guessed Stiles' idea.

 

"I don't think I could have an ice cream right now, Stiles," Derek pointed out.

 

"Oh, heck no. It's too early," Stiles muttered, continuing straight past the stall.

 

Well, there went that idea. Derek decided to just let Stiles guide them through the zoo, and tried to see the animals as they went racing past.

 

"Ah, here we are," Stiles said brightly, hurrying faster and pulling Derek along into a jog with him.

 

"Where?" Derek asked, stopping to breathe. Geez, he needed to take up running again if he was already out of breath.

 

"Ailurus fulgens," Stiles enunciated carefully. "Red panda."

 

"Oh."

 

Derek straightened up to see the large enclosure before them, the red panda's information plaque on the wall, and another sign stating not to feed the animals next to it.

 

"Holy crap, that thing's so cute!" Stiles cooed excitedly, seeing the red panda lounging up in the tree.

 

Derek stood there for a moment, looking at Stiles rather than the panda, surprised and touched that he'd brought them to the red panda first. He was sure that they had even passed the peacock somewhere back there, but Stiles hadn't even glanced at the creature.

 

"You want a photo with it? Well, not literally with it, but standing nearby or something?" Stiles offered, holding up his phone.

 

Derek pressed a firm kiss to Stiles' mouth, speechless and unable to think of another way to say 'thank you' without the words involved, then stepped back to let Stiles take his photo.

 

Stiles reddened at Derek's unexpected display of affection, and hurried to take the photo before he just stood there blushing as red as the red panda all day.

 

"Where to next?" Derek asked when he had taken a photo for himself.

 

Stiles looked around at the other animals, grinning when he spotted something written on a sign. Again, he grabbed Derek's hand and guided him along the paths.

 

"Really, Stiles? An actual panda?" Derek asked, trying not to laugh when Stiles grinned back at him.

 

"Well, I did say I wanted to see them."

 

"I'll find out where the zebras and penguins are then," Derek said, taking a photo of the panda before looking around for another sign with a map of the zoo.

 

Stiles laughed and grabbed Derek's hand before he could go. "Let's just walk around; we'll find the zebras and penguins eventually."

 

"What if we get lost?"

 

"The path is bright pink, Derek."

 

"Good point."

 

Stiles nodded. "I know. C'mon, you can choose which path we take."

 

"Left," Derek said, indicating to the path with a nod of his head.

 

"Left it is. An excellent choice!" Stiles exclaimed dramatically, looping his arm through Derek's as they headed towards the left path.

 

Derek couldn't help but smile and follow where Stiles led.

 

...

 

"I still can't believe you ordered a plain ice cream. Like, who even does that when there's free sprinkles on offer?" Stiles groaned.

 

"I like plain ice cream," Derek replied, shrugging as he licked at his cone.

 

Stiles muttered something under his breath that Derek didn't catch, but he returned to his own ice cream - packed with sprinkles, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, and some weird silver balls that apparently were edible.

 

"You're probably going to be sick after eating that, you know," Derek teased, grinning.

 

"Nah, I've got a steel trap for a stomach. Oh, look, there's that damn peacock again! Keep that greedy bastard away from my ice cream," Stiles said, glowering at the creature.

 

Derek hid a smile when the peacock challenged Stiles for the third time that day, feathers out on display, and making some weird squawking sound that Derek doubted was normal. The peacock's display brought on other people to stare, a few parents looking at the bird in awe while Stiles continued to glower at it.

 

"I promise to defend your food if it tries to get away with it again," Derek said.

 

"You're mocking me, I know you are," Stiles grumbled. "We were both there, you saw that thing go for my fries!"

 

Now that the peacock had the attention of others, it no longer seemed quite so intent on Stiles (or his food), and strutted away as other people cooed and followed at a slight distance, taking care not to step on the trailing tail of feathers.

 

"Yeah, you'd better keep walking!"

 

Derek shook his head and finished his ice cream in silence. Stiles hummed happily as he ate, almost choked on one of those silver balls until Derek was able to dislodge it after several firm smacks to his back, then ate everything else and left the rest of the tiny balls to melt away.

 

"That was seriously good," Stiles said, patting his bulging stomach with a sigh.

 

"Do you want to see anything else in particular?" Derek offered.

 

"Think I've seen all I wanted to see. Besides, I think moving is a bad idea right now. I'm just... gonna lie here... until the pain stops," Stiles groaned, lying back on the grass.

 

"I thought you had a steel stomach?" Derek teased, grinning.

 

"I do! It's the rest of me that's all... marshmallow-y. Oh, that's a bad word after so much food. Non-steel? Yeah, that works," Stiles murmured to himself, yawning widely.

 

Derek didn't mind sitting there as Stiles dozed off, looking through the photos they'd taken since arriving almost six hours ago. He snapped a few more photos of Stiles, lying there with ice cream on the tip of his nose, and a red blush on his cheeks from the sun overhead. Derek swiped the ice cream off in a motion so fast that Stiles didn't even stir, and moved so Stiles would be in his shadow and protected from the sun's rays. He sat there quietly, listening and watching the other people around them, his hand loosely held in Stiles' grasp.

 

...

 

The Sheriff was on the phone when Stiles and Derek arrived at the Stilinski residence that afternoon. He gave them both a smile and greeting wave before returning to his conversation.

 

"... and which agent helped you book the tour, Ms. Boyd?"

 

"Dad's been talking to Ronnie for four days. It's ridiculous how much red tape there is with those travel agencies," Stiles muttered, shaking his head.

 

"Who's Ronnie?" Derek asked, frowning and trying to remember if a 'Ronnie' had ever been mentioned before.

 

"Veronica, she's Boyd's older sister," Stiles replied. "She hates being called Veronica though, so tells everyone to call her Ronnie instead."

 

"So it's Ronnie, Boyd, and Mama Boyd?"

 

"And Papa Boyd, and Tee," Stiles said, ticking off their names on his fingers.

 

Derek was distracted by Stiles' fingers for a long moment before his words filtered through and he frowned. "Tee?"

 

"Verity, aka, Tee; she's Boyd's younger sister."

 

"Right. No one in that family likes their first name?" Derek asked curiously.

 

"Apparently they're all named after older family members, and the whole 'V' thing is a running joke in the Boyd family, so reunions are confusing beyond belief. Erica says that Mama Boyd's got one hell of a sense of humour."

 

Derek nodded, not doubting it for a moment.

 

"What about your family? There's you and I know Laura," Stiles said.

 

Derek closed his eyes for a moment, remembering the car crash as though he'd been there himself. He took a steading breath and when he opened his eyes again, Stiles was looking at him with wide eyes and a pale face.

 

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry, I didn't... I completely forgot, oh my god, I'm so sorry. Shit."

 

"Stiles, don't worry. It's not the first or last time my family will be brought up. It's just," Derek stopped for a moment, licking his dry lips. "It's still painful. My younger sister and brother were in the van with our parents, and our Aunt and Uncle and baby cousin, and they... only Uncle Peter survived, and he's been in a coma ever since. So, it's just me and Laura."

 

Stiles bit his lip, not knowing what to say, and flung himself towards Derek, wrapping his arms around his torso and burying his head against his shoulder. Derek's breath caught in his throat at the unexpected action, and he wound his arms around Stiles' body, resting his chin against Stiles' shoulder.

 

The Sheriff found them that way later when he came up to invite Derek to dinner, and he  recognised the distraught expression on Derek's face all too well, after weeks or months of staring at himself in the mirror after Claudia's death. He left again quietly without disturbing them, leaving Stiles and Derek to their moment.

 

...

 

End of the seventh chapter.

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