Derek woke to the feeling of Stiles climbing over him to get out of bed. He opened his eyes in time to see his slim form vanishing through the bedroom doorway, the latch catching quietly behind him. He was surprised to see bright sunlight streaming in the windows, as he hadn’t meant to sleep at all, let alone the entire night. He heard the sound of the bathroom door closing as he sat the rest of the way up in bed, feeling muddled and still half-asleep. He pulled on the T-shirt that had ended up wedged under Stiles’ pillow, followed by the sweatpants Stiles had borrowed two nights before and worn home. Stiles' scent surrounded him, helping him to feel calm, but no less muzzy-headed.
Stretching out with his keen sense of hearing, he listened intently for any signs of danger, finding nothing out of the ordinary. He could hear Stiles’ dad shuffling around downstairs in the kitchen, likely making coffee from the sounds of a spoon rattling and paper rustling, followed by the soft beep of the machine switching on to brew. Turning his focus to the neighborhood outside, Derek heard a few cars, a dog a few houses over, someone opening their squeaky garage door further down the street. Nothing dangerous. He tried to relax, but he still felt on edge. Drained but wired all at the same time.
Derek stood in the middle of the room for a moment, trying to convince himself that Stiles was safe even though he couldn’t see him. The water running in the shower and Stiles’ voice randomly blaring out song lyrics and scraps of dialogue from movies was reassuring. Though it wasn’t the same as being in the shower with him. Derek eyed the closed door with a frustrated sigh.
He sat in Stiles’ desk chair, blinking heavily, wishing his brain would clear and his thoughts would stop feeling so wadded up and tangled. He turned his nose into his shoulder, breathing in the heavy scent of Stiles’ that clung to the sleeve. It helped. But it couldn’t stop the terror of wondering what would happen next.
He almost wished that he could go downstairs, talk with the sheriff, get coffee for himself and Stiles. But not only was that impossible because of a single closed door - Derek glared at it again - but that would also put him one step closer to being taken back to his own lonely house out in the preserve. Maybe the Stilinskis would be willing to wait for the sun to set, so that he could leave without falling apart, again, in front of Stiles. God, what Stiles must think of him. He probably couldn’t wait to get rid of this contract. He hoped he hadn’t ruined Stiles’ dream of working with werewolves. Stiles was so good at this, so intuitive and kind. He would be able to help so many wolves-
Derek only realized he was growling when the bathroom door opened and he cut himself off in surprise, swallowing heavily. Instead of heading back to the bedroom, Stiles went down to the kitchen. Derek heard him greet his dad, only for the two to start squabbling over why there was no flavored creamer in the fridge. Derek listened to them for a bit, his heart beating too fast.
He leaned on the desk, dropping his head in his hands, only for his elbow jerk to the side as a book slid under his weight. Derek grabbed it before it fell off the desk altogether, his eyes catching on the title: Helping Lone Wolves to Thrive: A Beginner Companion’s Guidebook. It was one of the new ones that Stiles had gotten a few days ago at the Center, but already it was weighed down with a full set of Post-It notes and pieces of scrap paper. Derek opened it to where both a pen and a lime green highlighter were straining the spine.
Chapter 12: When to say goodbye
The goal of all companions is to help their charge progress to the point of no longer needing temporary support. As discussed in the preceding chapter, some companions find themselves drawn to stay in the pack structure once their wolf recovers sufficiently and if the bond and circumstances allow.
However, it is more likely to be the case that your wolf finds themselves strong enough, thanks to your support and guidance, to begin building ties to other werewolves by either reestablishing old pack ties or forming new ones.
This chapter deals with the signs that it’s time to let your wolf continue progressing on their own, with the help of their new pack.
Is it time to move on?
You should be proud of yourself and your wolf if they have advanced to the point where they are strong enough to forge ahead without the support of an assigned companion. Keep in mind that this was your goal from the beginning. A wolf needs ties to other wolves to thrive. You have likely played a large part in supporting your wolf while they form new bonds (or make reconciliation) with pack members.
You may notice that your wolf begins to take on more responsibility within their new pack structure, even distancing themselves from you somewhat. This is natural, and in no way means that you have failed. Quite the opposite! If they have progressed to the point of making pack a priority in their life, you have met with success as a companion.
It can, however, be a very stressful time for you as a devoted caretaker. Some wolves break ties quickly with their companion once they no longer need the support. Others may wait for you to make the first move to end the arrangement.
Derek’s eyes skimmed over the next paragraphs, landing on a section that was heavily underlined and covered in lime-green pigment, notes crammed into the margins and Post-Its obscuring half the page.
What to do if you are overly attached
It’s true that many companions are good at reading the signs of growing independence in their wolf and moving on gracefully to their next assignment. However, it is not unheard of for one-sided bonds to form between a companion and their werewolf charge.
Due to the highly emotional nature of the work companions are engaged in with their wolf, it is completely natural to develop feelings of fondness, even love, for your charge. However, you must always bear in mind that the end goal of being a werewolf’s companion is to help your charge return to a fulfilling life as a wolf. This means creating pack ties and helping the wolf to stop self-isolating. If your charge does not show signs of welcoming you into the pack structure, you must respect this choice and allow them to move on without guilt. Pack ties are strong and highly specific. A wolf will know instinctively if they view you as temporary pack or true pack.
As painful as it can be, if a wolf does not view you as true pack, you must respect their wishes and make every effort to end the contract on a positive note. As discussed throughout this text, the entire purpose of a companion is to help the suffering wolf heal to the point that they can function on their own within a traditional pack structure. Trust your wolf to know whether they are able to accept you as true pack.
If you are struggling with feelings of depression or loss after an assignment, please reach out to your local Center. There are resources for handling difficult and confusing emotions caused by being a companion, including grief counseling. Remember that it’s only natural to feel attached to your charge, and feelings of fondness and empathy can be of great benefit to an ailing wolf.
However, towards the end of an assignment, it is best to begin distancing yourself from your wolf so that they rely more heavily on pack. The next section will deal with some strategies for pulling back support gradually and helping your wolf adjust to reliance on true pack.
Derek swallowed heavily, his eyes flicking over to Stiles’ cramped notes. Footsteps sounded on the stairs and a moment later Stiles was attempting to open the bedroom door, fumbling slightly. He could do nothing but watch helplessly as Stiles finally made it through the door, clutching two mugs of coffee awkwardly in one hand. As soon as his eyes landed on Derek, he beamed.
“Hey, you’re up!” Stiles set the mugs on the desk, ceramic clinking as he continued to talk. “I just realized as I was trying to open the door that I essentially locked you in here and I’m so sorry about that. I was just thinking of you trying to sleep in a bit more, you know? And werewolf hearing and all, and my dad and I forget to keep our voices down so-”
Stiles reached out for one of the mugs, his eyes dropping to the open page in front of Derek. He froze in place, like all his gears had suddenly stopped turning.
“Oh,” he said, still rooted in place. “That’s uh… homework. For class. I um, was reading it. You know. For class. And… you didn’t happen to see any of the notes or anything, did you?” he seemed to remember that there was coffee and grabbed a mug, taking a sip and hiding behind the cup, peering at Derek with huge eyes through the rising steam.
Derek’s gaze flitted back to the textbook, swallowing when he again saw the words ‘grief counseling’ circled and the Post-It with the Center’s support line scribbled down in shaky penmanship. He looked back up at Stiles, watching him intently.
“You thought that…” Derek looked back down at the book for the wording. “That it was time to move on?”
“Oh god,” Stiles said, sitting down heavily on the edge of the desk and nearly sending his other books flying. “I’m so stupid. We met Isaac and Boyd, and it was just amazing watching you, Derek. You knew right away what to do and with Isaac, and he just, like, transformed from this scared, cringy dude into someone relaxed and basically normal. I was in awe. It was obvious that you’re a natural alpha, and that you were meant to have a pack, and I… I couldn’t believe how fast it happened. I was so. So. And then I came home and read that,” he exclaimed, pointing an accusing finger at the book, “and I thought, ‘Oh my god, it’s happening fast.’ And then you wanted to meet with me before the pack meeting to talk, and I thought… I thought-”
Stiles’ voice hitched, running out of breath, and he looked helplessly at Derek, his scent sharp with distress. Derek reached out and clasped his bare knee, grounding them both with the touch. Stiles gasped, his eyes squeezing closed, as he continued to talk.
“And I wasn’t ready, Derek. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Not at all. But the book said that I had to be professional and put you first, and I want to do that, okay? I really really want to, but I just… the thought of not having you in my life anymore… I just couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t fucking breathe when I thought about it. And I made a total ass of myself before the meeting, and you were just so… so goddamned perfect. Holding me and making me feel so good and floaty and loved, and then I remembered that I didn’t get to keep that, and I just… broke. Into stupid little pieces. Just fucking shattered.”
He looked at Derek then, and his eyes were wide and nearly golden in the sunlight, his face open and soft. Stiles had been worried about him leaving? Why would Derek ever choose to leave?
“You’re my mate,” Derek said, the words slipping out in his confusion. “I never want to be apart from you.”
Stiles stared at him in shock, his eyelashes fluttering as he blinked. His mouth formed around words that he failed to give voice to.
“And I’m sorry for that,” Derek continued, staring up at him from the desk chair, Stiles both too far away and too stiflingly close. “I’m sorry for…” his throat threatened to close up, “for lying to you. I was just so,” (desperate, alone, dying) “selfish. I couldn’t keep going without you. And when they told me I had to have someone close to me, I just. You were all I could think about. All the time. And after the hospital they said, ‘Okay, that’s it, we’re sending someone’ and I could only think about you. Only you. I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.”
Stiles stared at him, his plush mouth goldfishing for a long moment. “Just to be clear,” he ventured, “you want to keep me around? As pack?”
Derek’s eyes snapped to the phrasing in the book and then back to Stiles’ honey-colored eyes. “True pack,” Derek said, using the wording from the textbook.
“True pack,” Stiles said, his pretty, impish face breaking into a huge grin. He took in a deep breath and let it out explosively. “Oh thank God. Derek, you have no idea. I thought I was losing my flipping mind. I kept thinking, ‘I can’t be the only one feeling this,’ but then something would happen and I wouldn’t be sure again. But I didn’t want to be pushy if you were only being, uh, intimate with me because I was just the one that was there, you know?”
Stiles stopped long enough to chug some coffee before drawing breath and charging on.
“And the book talked about one-sided bonds, and I was all like, ‘Well shit, that’s totally what happened to me. I bonded with Derek, but he doesn’t feel the same.’ And I was all just, out of my mind with it, you know? And I kept thinking, having these crazy fantasies, that if we were really pack, stayed pack, stayed together, then we could be a crime fighting duo. You were so badass saving that little girl, Maddie, and you're hella smart, so I know that if you wanted to, you could one hundred percent pass all the necessary courses and stuff to become a supernatural consultant. I mean, can’t you just fucking picture it? We would be Mulder and Scully, man! Though way more attuned and also like, actually together…”
Stiles stalled at that, fidgeting with his mug and throwing Derek uncertain Bambi eyes. Derek was staring back in shock. He wanted that. God, he wanted that with Stiles. He wanted to be that with him, for him. Functional. Useful. Whole.
“I mean,” Stiles said, once again hiding behind his now nearly empty mug. “Would we? Be together, I mean?”
Derek swallowed roughly, trying to find his voice. “Please,” he managed at last, reaching out and trailing his fingertips over the side of Stiles’ face. He nearly had coffee dregs sloshed onto him as Stiles fumbled to set the mug down at the same time as crawling into Derek’s lap. The flimsy chair groaned in protest, but stayed in one piece as Derek’s hand slid through Stiles’ damp hair and he pulled him forward into a desperate kiss.
Erica pulled up to the Stilinski’s house at a blisteringly early ten a.m. If nothing else proved to Derek that she really cared about their friendship, the fact that she was not only out of bed, but dressed and wearing makeup when she should have been sleeping in on her day off, ought to prove the endless fondness she had for the furry numbskull.
As she approached the front door, smoothing a hand over immaculately glossy hair, she could barely make out the sounds of a hushed conversation emanating from what must be Stiles’ bedroom. Smiling to herself, she knocked loudly on the door, causing a distinctive squeak from Stiles and the much nearer padding of slippered feet down the front hallway.
The sheriff opened the door, looking adorably mussed in his dad-robe and matching slipper-moccasin things that all fathers somehow ended up with. “Sheriff Stilinski,” she greeted, giving him a saucy wink just to see him squirm and try to pat down his fluffy hair.
“Hi Erica,” he said, friendly and bashful, stepping aside to welcome her in. She kicked off her ankle boots onto the pile of shoes by the door, noting with a quirk of her lips that Derek’s black monstrosities lay jumbled with the rest. It was turning into a proper pack entryway. Now they just needed hooks for all the hoodies and black leather bombers that were sure to add up if she had her way and Derek kept taking in strays from broken packs.
“Would you like some coffee?” John offered, still trying to pat down his hair, this time fighting a rebellious cowlick in the back.
“I’ll make it!” Stiles hollered as he came clattering down the stairs. “Hi Erica.” He walked straight into her arms for a hug, coming down to her height and molding his lanky body into a smaller shape to give her a proper hug without smudging her makeup. Seriously, if Derek ever decided he didn’t want this kid (which he would be absolutely insane to do), Erica would snatch him up in a heartbeat.
Derek came down the stairs at a slower pace, watching them all carefully. He looked younger, somehow. Like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders but he wasn’t sure how to balance without it.
“Welcome to Café Stilinski,” Stiles enthused, wrapping an arm over her shoulders and escorting her down the hall to the kitchen. “Thanks for helping last night,” he said quietly as they entered the room together.
“Any time,” Erica said, giving him a sincere smile.
“I’m going to make you all the most fantastically decadent coffee drinks to be had in any private residence in all of Beacon Hills,” he announced then, as Derek and John filed into the kitchen behind them. “Who likes marshmallow fluff and caramel sauce?”
They each ended up with mugs of caffeinated sugar, per Stiles, and omelets from Derek, who stood at the stove like it was his own form of zen meditation and created them each an individualized order of fluffy eggs and cheese. Erica watched Stiles watch Derek, his cute little elf face alight with adoration as Derek quietly and gracefully created their breakfast, not a movement wasted.
Erica wanted to tell him that such grace was common for born wolves. That most of them could make anything ordinary look like a complicated dance that they alone knew how to perform. But she couldn’t tell him that. Because she didn’t know if it was true. Derek was the only born wolf she’d ever seen in person. She’d never known his family. She’d never met a born wolf from outside of Beacon Hills. They were so rare as to be nearly legendary. Most people would go their entire lives without meeting one. She flicked her eyes back to Stiles’ dopey smile. It wasn’t important for her to enlighten him of that fact. She had a feeling he already knew Derek was special.
John dug into his breakfast with gusto, getting his omelet after Erica was served first, something he insisted on that earned him another wink and a smile. Stiles complained that his dad didn’t appreciate his efforts at making eggs nearly as much, but had to take it back when Derek finally set his plate down and he moaned rapturously at the first bite.
“I always forget how good you can cook,” Stiles said, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he grinned at Derek. “When I move in, will you cook for us every night?” Derek stared at him with huge eyes while the sheriff’s fork screeched across his plate.
“Move in?” Derek asked hesitantly into the sudden silence.
“I mean, if you want me to, I was thinking about going home with you? Tonight? I could just pack a couple bags and bring anything else over as it’s needed, no big move or anything. But. Um.” He looked around at all their faces, suddenly unsure. Erica was certain she was fucking beaming at him. The sheriff looked a little frazzled, but mostly resigned and supportive. Derek looked… Derek looked shell-shocked. “But, um, I totally don’t have to,” Stiles rushed to say when Derek still didn’t say anything. Or move. Or breathe. “I know that we didn’t discuss it and this is really sudden and I just assumed, again, oh my god, I’m so sorry-”
Erica kicked Derek under the table and he jolted back to life.
“I want you to,” he blurted, seeming no less terrified, but now with a look of awe and longing flooding his expression. “I… please, yes, please move in with me,” he somehow managed, and Erica wondered if he knew how much love he was projecting out of every pore, though she highly doubted that he had any idea.
John shot her a commiserating look when neither Stiles nor Derek seemed likely to stop smiling soppily at one another. “I still need you to come over twice a month and mow the lawn,” John announced with fake gruffness, before going back to his eggs.
“And I think we should still meet here for pack gatherings for a bit, if you’re okay with that, Sheriff?” Erica asked.
“Fine with me,” John nodded.
That seemed to settle it and they all went back to their breakfasts and huge mugs of sweet coffee, Erica and John pretending not to notice when Stiles caught Derek’s hand under the table, or the werewolf’s ears slowly turning a flaming red.
Derek set Stiles’ oversized duffle bag in the bedroom, both of them pretending for the moment that the earth hadn’t tilted under their feet as they walked back to the living room.
Stiles, living here, with him. Coming home to him after work. Staying the night. Eating breakfast here. Using his shower, his towels. Helping with the laundry, the shopping, the cleaning. Touching his things: his books and movies and clothes and dishes. Touching him . Derek couldn’t find his voice. Could barely breathe.
“Want to get snacks and watch a movie?” Stiles asked, stretching his arms over his head, grinning at Derek even though he smelled slightly nervous.
“Sounds good,” He managed, though what he wanted to ask was: Are you sure? Are you sure you want to live with me? And: What will this be like? Tell me what it will look like to live with you. What shape will our days take when I can offer you nothing but my presence?
They raided the snack cupboard together, the ambience slowly shifting from outright terror (Derek) and gentle nervousness (Stiles) into something playful and less fragile. Stiles discovered that the family-sized bag of Twizzlers was over half gone and gasped in dismay.
“How can you eat these?” He wailed, dangling the crackling package up by the corner and shaking it at Derek. “You eat gross, healthy food all the time. Can’t you at least choose something delicious when you consume empty calories? Like, Reese’s Pieces. So good. Peanut buttery goodness.” He grabbed his own pack of candy and made goo goo eyes at it, before a look that probably meant trouble for Derek crept over his face. Batting his eyes and attempting to look the picture of innocence, Stiles turned to him with a feigned look of confusion on his face. “I thought dogs liked peanut butter?”
Derek growled at him, low and dangerous, delighting in the way Stiles’ eyes went round and his mouth dropped open. Setting down his snacks on the kitchen counter, Derek took a step towards him, telegraphing his movements. Stiles squealed and spun in place, making a break for the living room.
He ran after him, both of them pounding loudly down the hall, letting Stiles get to the middle of the room in front of the couch before nabbing him right off his feet, his long legs kicking in the air as he squirmed in Derek’s grasp. He didn’t smell frightened, though Derek could taste the adrenaline in the air, Stiles’ heart running along lickity split, panting in his arms even though he’d only run a few dozen feet.
Stiles groaned as Derek pressed his face to the curve of his long neck, scenting him deeply, his lips parted to take in the flavor of him. Stiles’ head dropped back as Derek sucked at the side of his throat and one of his hands slipped under the hem of his T-shirt and dragged up Stiles’ warm belly, fisting roughly in his happy trail, making him writhe in Derek’s grip.
Derek felt the part of his brain light up that said prey, while simultaneously telling him, mate. Growling deep enough to rattle their bones, he nipped at Stiles’ with blunt, human teeth, wanting nothing so much as to sink into Stiles in every way he could, to take and give and give and give until they were the same person.
“Yes!” Stiles said, as though reading Derek’s thoughts. “Yes, come’on!”
Derek licked and sucked up his throat, still holding him tightly from behind as Stiles tilted his hips back into him, gasping when Derek’s erection pressed against the curve of his ass. Derek’s tongue flicked over Stiles’ jaw, then his ear, Stiles giggling feebly before groaning and arching back into Derek. He returned to Stiles’ throat after a moment, biting softly, wanting to break skin, to take, oh, so badly wanting it, but holding back like always, careful of the fragile creature in his arms.
“I want you to,” Stiles panted, as Derek worried a flushed mark along Stiles’ delicate skin. Derek paused, breathing hard against him. “I want you to bite me. There. On my neck. The place where you left the mark before.”
Derek froze in place, his hands gripping the warm, pliant body he was holding. “Stiles…”
“I know you won’t change me,” Stiles said, hearing the note of despair in Derek’s voice. “I’ve done a bunch of reading, and I specifically called my tutor and um… I know that it takes special intent for an alpha to turn a human. And I also know,” his voice dropped to a whisper. “I also know that there is a different bite. One that a wolf gives to their mate.”
Derek could barely breathe as he held Stiles to him, so tightly that he had to force himself to relax so that he wouldn't harm him. “I… want that,” Derek admitted, barely able to breathe with desire. There was more, of course. There was the fact that he didn’t deserve Stiles. That he’d kept the truth from him. That he was selfish and damaged and useless and Stiles should leave, he really really should just... leave. But. Derek wanted him more than he’d ever wanted anything in his entire life.
Stiles rolled back against him and let out a moan. “Oh god, I want you to be inside me when you do it.”
“Yes,” Derek rasped against the side of Stiles’ throat, his hips hitching forward, rocking against him.
Stiles pulled out of his arms and practically ran back down the hallway towards the bedroom, their bedroom, shedding his flannel shirt. He was kicking out of his pants by the time Derek reached him, panting in a desperate bid to keep himself from flying apart. Stiles crawled, naked and beautiful, onto the bed, turning to watch Derek strip out of his clothes.
“How do you make everything you do look like sex?” Stiles asked, awed, one hand drifting to his own erection, his pale fingers contrasting to the bright red of the shaft’s tip.
Derek didn’t answer, too distracted by the scent of Stiles’ naked body, his arousal and sweat and skin, to think of anything to say that wasn’t a possessive growl. As he dropped the last of his clothes on the floor, he realized that a deep rumble was growing in his chest after all, seemingly out of his control.
His mate had asked to be claimed. His mate. His mate.
Derek’s mouth flooded, his fangs turning wicked and sensitive in his mouth. He could feel his eyes gleaming red, hot points of flame in his head, showing off for his mate, proving that he was desirable, able to defend them and their den. The human part of him cringed at his primal posturing, but it also felt… freeing. He focused on Stiles, the raw rumble in his chest ratcheting up.
Stiles’ mouth was hanging open, his hand working with much more intent over his erection as he stared at Derek, gasping when he saw the red eyes and fangs, his hand working even faster.
“Oh, god yes,” he groaned. “Bring all of that over here now, Derek.”
Between one breath and the next, Derek was on his hands and knees over Stiles’ starfished body, running his tongue over his lips before moving to his throat, unable to kiss properly due to the fangs, which refused to melt away, his human side eclipsed by the supernatural, Derek not able to do anything to persuade his body otherwise.
The base of his cock was already tingling, sending out strange little shocks that grew and tangled in his abdomen, growing larger, hotter, tightening up his thighs and stomach. His knot forming. He pulled back to breathe, trying to slow his body down.
Stiles looked between their bodies and groaned. “I want that, Derek. I want that in me. Put that in me and bite me. Right. Now.”
Derek whimpered and hung his head down close to Stiles’ face, looking at him pleadingly, unable to find the words he needed. Only knowing that as much as he wanted Stiles, he wouldn’t risk Stiles regretting this, regretting him. Derek reached down and grabbed his knot, as if he could force it back, make it disappear. To be normal for Stiles. Not a needy, desperate animal. Just a normal man. One that Stiles could choose to leave, who wouldn’t follow Stiles to the ends of the earth. He was Stiles’ shadow, but Stiles deserved better, he deserved more.
“Hey, hey,” Stiles said, always able to sense Derek’s distress, even if he didn’t know the exact cause. “I have you Derek. I have you.”
He pulled Derek’s body down to collapse on top of his own, his hands running over his back and through his hair. Stiles’ hips kept giving little twitches, like he couldn’t quite help it, though his voice was mostly steady.
“I researched this, Derek,” Stiles assured him, his fingers running down his arm and then back up, smoothing over his back tattoo and then down to the dip in his spine. “I know what it means to be your mate. And I want it. I’ve wanted nothing else since I met you. Okay? Do you believe me?”
Derek had his face buried in Stiles’ neck, gnawing his own lip in an effort to keep his fangs off Stiles. He nodded against Stiles’ skin. What else could he do? If nothing else, he trusted Stiles.
“Do you…” Stiles’ scent suddenly dipped from the spicy scent of arousal and became almost acidic with doubt. “Do you actually want this Derek? You can say no. We don’t have to-”
“I want this,” Derek rumbled, barely human, wrapping his arms tightly around the lithe body beneath him. Stiles smiled at him, his scent soaring back up towards happiness, hot and lovely.
“Then I’m ready, big guy,” Stiles said. He winked. Derek gave a strangled chuckle, his head going light and effervescent. A feeling of fondness and gratitude so sharp, it felt like it was cleaving him in two, welled up under his sternum.
He dragged his tongue over Stiles’ lips and Stiles opened his mouth, allowing Derek to taste him before Stiles turned his focus to Derek’s fangs. He lapped at them delicately while Derek keened helplessly and tried to stay still, not wanting to cut Stiles with the sharp points. Stiles quickly worked out that the most sensitive part was where Derek’s fangs met flesh, and he tongued the ridge at Derek’s gums, until Derek’s cock was drooling between their stomachs and Derek was moaning, long and low in his throat.
Stiles pulled away long enough to flail over the side of the bed and reach into his bag, coming back with lube and a smirk, before affixing himself to Derek’s mouth once more. “Mmm, not quite done with these,” Stiles murmured, tossing the lube next to them on the bed and licking carefully over Derek’s fangs, before sucking on one just to get Derek to cry out, his body shuddering on top of Stiles. He tried to keep his full weight off of the slender body beneath him, fighting not to rut down wantonly.
He was only distracted from Stiles’ attention to his fangs by the hand that slipped between their bodies, gliding past their erections, Stiles’ fingers dipping down between his own cheeks. Stiles pulled away from the kiss, working his hand farther down, his arm twisting between them. Stiles’ face screwed up in concentration, before a strange, wet noise had Derek kneeling back and looking between Stiles’ legs. He was grasping a… a plug, Derek realized. He was pulling it from his body, the glistening silicone spreading him wide, wider, making him gape open obscenely before finally sliding free.
“When-” Derek gasped, gripping Stiles’ under his bent knees and pushing them up towards his chest, gazing in wonder at Stiles’ fluttering hole. His knot throbbed and his stomach muscles spasmed as precome dribbled from his slit.
“Been training up to it for a while now,” Stiles admitted, holding the plug up for Derek’s inspection, while his other hand searched for the lube. “Worked it in up in the bathroom while Erica had you distracted with pack stuff. It’s not as large as you, but it’s close enough for me to take your knot tonight with no trouble, big guy.”
Derek groaned. Stiles gave him a lopsided grin and then wrapped a handful of lube round Derek’s half-formed knot. His entire body clenched up with the shock of pleasure. He groaned as if in pain, shaking and thrusting into Stiles’ hand, which suddenly pulled away.
“Oh wow,” Stiles said, his eyes blown out dark and wanting. “You are going to go fast this first time, aren’t you? Okay, okay, we can work with that. That’s why I had the plug in to begin with so, uh, how do you want me?”
Derek whined and kissed him. Well, it was more like licking at Stiles’ lips and teeth while pressing the front of his fangs to Stiles’ warm mouth. He didn’t know how to answer Stiles’ question. His words seemed to have dissolved. He just wanted Stiles. Wanted his mate. His mouth left Stiles’ lips and he sunk down to the spot on Stiles’ throat that was like a siren call, brushing his fangs over it, receiving shocks in his mouth that relayed straight to his knot.
He whined again. “Stiles,” he managed around his fangs and all the saliva that had gathered in his mouth, flooding his palate in preparation.
Stiles seemed to come to some decision on his own, smearing more slick across his entrance before flipping over on his stomach and raising his hips under Derek’s stomach. He slotted back so Derek’s heavy prick nudged between his spread legs.
“Go ahead,” Stiles gasped.
Derek hitched his hips back, his length sliding back along Stiles’ perineum. They both held their breath as Derek rounded his back, just enough to have the head of his cock slip up the slick trail leading to Stiles’ entrance, The tip rested there, slotting into the divot where Stiles’ stretched muscle waited, clenching and opening in anticipation.
Derek dropped an overwhelmed kiss of adoration on Stiles’ back.
“Stiles,” he whispered reverently, looking down along Stiles’ spine, sitting back just enough to watch as he shifted forward and sank in slowly, his length, shiny with lube and dark with blood, disappeared into Stiles’ body.
Stiles was trembling and groaning below him, resting on his elbows, which he had pushed up next to his head, his hands fisting the bedspread to brace himself back against the initial slow penetration. “Unhhhh…mmmm,” Stiles gasped, his blissful moaning gradually turning into words as Derek’s knot met his rim. “Yeeees, ohhh... yes,” he moaned, his face turned to the side, vaguely searching for Derek’s eyes. Derek crouched down over him, straining forward to lick the corner of his mouth as he pressed forward.
Instinct had him wanting to push his knot into the perfect body adjoined to his, to sink in and in and in. His mouth throbbed, wet and hot and aching. He put his lips to Stiles’ throat, the spot he sought turned up towards his seeking mouth, Stiles straining to offer the perfect stretch of skin.
“Yes,” he cried out, as the points of Derek’s fangs pressed down and his brain flooded with powerful chemicals, his blood singing and calling out for his mate. Following pure instinct, Derek bit his own tongue first, letting blood and saliva mix in his mouth, before finally letting the tips break through Stiles’ delicate skin, spearing down into muscle, careful to pierce in the mating spot, where Stiles would take no permanent injury. He pulled back a fraction, letting his blood and spit flood the small wound, mixing with Stiles’ blood and-
Stiles keened, bucking back and impaling himself on Derek’s waiting knot. Derek pressed forward, meeting him, his knot slipping in, Stiles prepped body taking him perfectly in a grip like a vise.
Derek’s mind was flooded with Stiles. The feeling of him caught on his teeth, on his knot, squirming and begging beneath him, along with the growing sense of him in his mind: a white hot spark in the center of his consciousness, bright and all encompassing.
He slammed forward as far as he could, then pulled back the few inches the knot allowed, holding him fast within Stiles’ body, only to rut forward again. His breath stuttered out around his embedded fangs, the tug on his gums making his eyes roll back in delirious pleasure, the twin sensation echoing up from his knot, both caught within Stiles’ body. It was intense and powerful, his hips pistoning in short, jerking movements as Stiles screamed and came untouched. His mate’s body went limp and Derek gathered him up in his arms, holding him together tightly beneath his body as he continued to mate, all of the feedback he was receiving from Stiles encouraging him to keep going.
He knew he was close when his knot throbbed and Stiles moaned as it swelled slightly, his balls drawing up as all the muscles in his stomach and thighs pushed. Groaning deep in his chest, he stilled inside Stiles body and shook as he orgasmed. He felt Stiles coming again, clenching up around him and screaming into the mattress. He could smell his release, salty and sweet in the heavy air, making his own release roll on, past the point he would normally stop spasming, even the few times he had knotted due to Stiles’ touch before their joining.
But this. This.
Derek sobbed into Stiles’ sweaty skin. He could feel the echo off Stiles’ emotions, the awareness of his mate filling up the empty places that had left Derek hollowed out and alone for so long, finally filling up with nervous energy and sharp observations and so much love that Derek’s fangs finally released and he gasped into the side of Stiles head. He wanted to breathe in all of him, all of him, all at once. His mate. His Stiles.
Stiles was boneless beneath him, laughing and sobbing in turns. “Derek,” he kept saying, “Derek, Derek, Derek…”
He ran his tongue over the bite, coating it with his saliva. It was slower to work on a human, but eventually the edges healed to a raw set of puncture wounds. Stiles breathed wetly beneath him, the echo of his thoughts dreamy and content, filled with the echo of Derek’s sorrow and loss, but submerged in Derek’s overwhelming delight at having his mate at last safe and secure, wrapped in his arms.
The knot finally released, Stiles waking up from a doze to gasp and moan afresh at the gush of come flowing out of him, warm and ticklish as it ran down between his legs and over his tender balls. The bite on his neck throbbed delightfully, exactly as he had imagined it would.
He felt Derek wake before he actually moved, a bright, tender spot flaring to life in Stiles' mind. “I love you,” he thought at that growing bit of awareness. “I love you, goddammit, and you are not alone anymore and you are safe and loved and you are going to be surrounded by people who love you, always, and we will have adventures and save people and create a big pack and you are going to have so many people to protect and to love and who love you back and-” Stiles’ eyes filled with tears as Derek pulled him close and kissed him.
“I didn’t get all of that,” Derek said, pulling back just far enough to see Stiles’ eyes, his own eyes now the frozen green of spring caught in a sudden flurry of snow, deep and beautiful and just waiting for the sun to emerge. “But it felt… nice. Warm. Right here,” he said, tapping his own sternum.
“Good,” Stiles beamed, squirming close to him, stretching his neck just to feel the burn of his mate’s mark, before kissing him again. “I promise there’s lots more where that came from.”
Maddie clutched Wolf’s leash, the black lab mix panting happily as he trotted after her through the Center’s door, her dad holding it open for both of them to pass through. She glanced at Wolf for reassurance and he panted back, wagging his tail with his doggie grin.
It had been several years since the horrible man had grabbed her and taken her into the woods behind her family’s house, but she still got scared sometimes. Wolf made her feel safe. She liked dogs in general, but Wolf was extra special. He was good and smart and gentle. He was her best friend.
Her parents liked to pretend that it was Wolf who she’d seen in the woods that night, and for the most part, Maddie didn’t mind pretending that too. But Wolf’s eyes didn’t glow red, and he is too small to be the same dog. So. She knows that it’s just pretend to say that he was.
Maddie spotted Erica and they both squealed when they saw each other. Erica was great. She was pretty and nice and really smart. She tells Maddie all about werewolves and how most of them are really good people. Some of them are scary, but that’s why they have people like Stiles and Derek. Stiles and Derek keep the werewolves safe and the regular people safe. They can track monsters, whether they are human or not, and they save people like Maddie.
Stiles once asked her if she remembered meeting him from before, but honestly, she couldn’t. He didn’t say it, but she knows that he meant from that night. He must have been there. Maybe later too, when there were a lot of police officers around for a little while, and men in suits, asking questions and looking for things, for clues, out in the woods.
Her mom and dad told her that Stiles helped put the horrible man in jail, and he’s never coming back. She had asked Stiles and Derek about that later, when she and Wolf and her dad were visiting the Center one time after she was having a hard time sleeping. It surprised her when Derek was the one that answered. She really liked Derek. He seemed familiar somehow. But he was so quiet usually, just watching over Stiles and her when she visited, making sure she knew he was guarding them.
“He will never, ever leave that prison,” Derek promised her, looking very serious. He always reminded her of something when he did that, though she could never remember what.
“But, what if he does?” she had asked. It had been a nightmare of hers for months afterwards, even when the horrible man was in jail.
“Then I’ll make sure he never gets anywhere near your house,” Derek assured her. “And Stiles will help.” He’d put a hand on Stiles’ shoulder then, and the other man had smiled at him all sweet and a little sad, like they were sharing some sort of secret. “And you’ll be safe.”
Maddie hugged Erica sideways around the waist. She was getting taller, but hugs with grownups were still awkward.
“Are the husbands here?” she asked, meaning Derek and Stiles. Erica smiled at the nickname.
“Sorry, kiddo. They’re getting a new pack member settled today. They’re taking her out on the Hale property, showing her around.”
“Are they showing her the deer family?” Maddie asked excitedly. Derek had taken her to watch them once. They’d had to leave Wolf behind, but that had been okay, because her dad and Stiles and Derek had been with her, and Wolf was safe in the house with her mom and her brother. So everyone had been protected.
“I think so,” Erica said. She motioned for them to follow her back to the rec room. “What would you like to learn about today?”
“I wanna learn more about being a hero like Derek. And Stiles,” she added, knowing that they were a team and did everything together. She felt a little guilty about always thinking of Derek as the hero and Stiles as his sidekick. She knew it didn’t really work like that in real life. Still. Derek was special.
“Sure thing, Mads,” Erica said, her smile fond. “And then we can draw pictures of Wolf. Derek and Stiles have a spot on their fridge that needs filling, and I think a Wolf portrait would be perfect.”
“Okay!” Maddie agreed enthusiastically. Erica had a sly look on her face that adults got sometimes when they were thinking of teasing other adults, but Maddie pretended not to notice. Adults could be so weird sometimes.
Wolves were awesome.