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The Werewolf Companion

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The knock came from the other side of the door. It started off strong but grew feeble by the end, petering out into a few light taps.

 

Losing their nerve, Derek thought. Not surprising. “Enter,” he called out from the hallway, just loud enough for non-wolf ears. Another pause. Then the doorknob turned, only to abruptly turn back into place, as though the person on the other side had lost their grip. A few soft curses, then the knob squeaked and turned, the door cracking open. A mess of brown hair and large amber eyes followed.

 

The young man squinted into the dark hallway. Derek moved his hand farther up his own arm to attract his attention. The young man’s gaze caught on him instantly.

 

“Oh!” he said, his slightly open mouth snapping shut on the word. “There you are. Um, kinda dark in here. Didn’t see you, man.”

 

Derek reached out and flicked on the light. He forgot half the time. It wasn't like he needed the light on to see clearly in the dim hallway. Despite what humans often claimed, werewolves couldn’t see in absolute darkness. But then, it was never truly dark, not even out here. The ambient light from outside was enough for him to see by most nights as he moved through his house. He never read anything that wasn’t on a screen, so he didn’t need table lamps. Just the bare, overhead bulbs when a human visited at night. Like this one.

 

The man’s soft mouth had fallen open again. He stared at Derek, his eyes going from his face, to his arms, back up to his face. Then his eyes diverted around the hall, as if checking to make sure all the walls were there, before heading back to Derek again, this time in the vicinity of his belt, before popping back up to meet his gaze straight on. The man swallowed.

 

“Hi, uh. I’m Stiles.” Derek nodded once. He already knew.

 

“Did they tell you what’s expected?” Derek hadn’t meant to ask so bluntly. He had meant to introduce himself first, though he knew that the committee would have told Stiles what Derek's name was. But, as always, his default setting was 'gruff and aloof' when he was nervous. He supposed the plus side was that he always seemed self confident, even when he was anything but.

 

Stiles’ eyes scattered all over the hallway again. “Yes? Not really? I mean, we talked about werewolf, uh, proclivities in school… I took a whole course on werewolves in college, though I’ve never been a, uh, a comfort human-”

 

“Companion.”

 

“-companion for a shifter before. My best friend is a bitten wolf, and he used to crave puppy piles,” Derek cringed at the phrasing, “from all his friends, sort of a makeshift pack? A comfort sort of thing? And he gets really protective when any of his friends are hurt. He never used to be aggressive, like, at all, but he gets these moods where he just wants to growl at everyone who’s not pack. But uh,” Stiles paused for breath, making a fumbling gesture through the air towards Derek, before his arm fell by his side. “I've honestly never been around a born werewolf before. You guys are kinda rare.”

 

Derek stared at him, masking his emotions. Born wolves were more rare than most humans knew. Information that he kept to himself, just like everything else.

 

Stiles’ eyes were growing larger by the second. “I mean, that’s cool, you know? I feel, uh, privileged.” He swallowed hard, obviously at a loss for what to say. Derek decided to help.

 

“I require stand-in pack,” he started, trying his hardest not to show any emotion whatsoever. “The Conservation Committee approached me last year to try and arrange a companion. I didn’t need one at the time,” a lie, “but circumstances have changed and I agreed to give it a try on a trial basis.”

 

Stiles nodded eagerly. “I couldn’t believe it when they asked me to volunteer,” Stiles said. It was so genuine, Derek’s chest constricted. “They said that my extra werewolf courses at school, not to mention my experience with Scott, made me a good candidate. But hey, look, I apologize in advance if I screw up. I really don’t know much from firsthand experience. I mean, there’s stuff you read and uh, and see on the internet.” Stiles’ face flushed an instant, beet-red and Derek forced his eyebrows not to skyrocket, wondering just what sort of werewolf porn Stiles had been watching. “So when they said to come by and meet you to see if we’re, well, compatible or whatever, I didn’t know exactly what they meant?”

 

Stiles’ voice went high at the end, his eyes wandering nervously over Derek before snapping back to his face. Derek forced himself not to shift his weight or run his hands through his hair like he so desperately wanted to do. God, the kid thought he might have been sent as a stand-in mate, for fuck’s sake. Stiles was obviously super uncomfortable with the idea. Though he had still shown up. Derek took a deep, calming breath.

 

“I need someone my wolf views as a pack member,” Derek attempted to explain. He had hoped that the committee would have already explained the basics to the kid. Apparently not. “Born wolves feel the pull for family and pack strongly. The wolf side can sort of… waste away and become sick without pack.”

 

“Okay,” Stiles said, nodding slowly. He was obviously thinking a mile a minute, trying to take what he’d learned in college and from his friend (and probably from porn), and mash it into what he thought Derek was talking about. His bugging eyes said as much.

 

“I need to scent you,” Derek said plainly. “It’s the most basic pack trigger for the wolf.” Stiles’ eyes got even larger. “But,” Derek went on to explain, trying to make it seem like wolf-Derek and human-Derek were two different entities and not the same mixed-up doofus, “the wolf can’t tolerate a threat to pack.”

 

Stiles’ was nodding again. His mouth had completely fallen open. Derek forced his eyes away from the glistening lips and the hint of tongue that was just barely visible.

 

“Meaning,” Derek said, knowing that this was the make-or-break moment, “if you agree to this, you can’t let Scott scent you.”

 

Stiles’ eyebrows scrunched up.

 

“You can still be around him,” Derek said quickly, trying not to make it sound like the half-truth that it was, “but you can’t let him touch you too much. No actual scenting. Nothing my wolf would pick up on and trigger a defense response.”

 

Stiles’ face cleared. “Oh, no problem! Scott doesn’t really scent people anyway. Maybe his wife, but I told him years ago that he had to keep that to himself.”

 

Wife. So this werewolf friend, this Scott person, wasn’t a threat in that way. Derek let out a silent sigh. Though, that brought up another issue. 

 

“Other werewolves are the biggest problem,” Derek continued, “but smelling like anyone too much when you head over here isn’t a good idea. Family is different. The wolf will recognize family as non-threatening. But, if you are in a relationship, I will need you to shower before you come over.”

 

Stiles went red for the second time. Derek could actually feel the increased heat of his skin from across the empty space between them in the hallway.

 

“Um, not a problem,” Stiles admitted after a moment. “I’m not currently in a relationship right now, so...”

 

Derek gave controlled nod, squashing down the tremendous relief that flooded through him at that admission.

 

“Would you like to enter a trial period as my wolf’s temporary pack member?”

 

Stiles gave him a small smile, suddenly shy. “Yes.”

 

Derek held out his hand and they shook on it.

 

“Sorry,” Derek said, dropping his hand and leading him into the living room. “I didn’t want to let you into the main part of the house until after you’d agreed to the trial. It would be confusing for the wolf, having your scent in the den when you weren’t planning on coming back.”

 

“Oh,” Stiles said, “I never would have thought of that. See? You are going to have to teach me so much, like seriously. Please tell me if I do anything stupid. I never would have thought of any of the scent stuff. I mean, we went over it in school, but not the practical side of it. All they taught us was that ‘smell is very important to werewolves.’ I’m starting to think that doesn’t come anywhere near to explaining what a big deal it is. And Scott was sorta sensory-lacking before he was bitten, so maybe his senses aren’t even as keen as a normal bitten wolf.”

 

Stiles had a jittery sort of energy, bright and quick, looking over Derek’s bookshelves and the TV cabinet housing his small movie collection, all while chattering animatedly at him.

 

“Or the significant other thing. Man, I know nothing. Why did they think I’d be a good candidate for this?” Stiles chuckled, grabbing a book off the shelf and turning it over in his hands before setting it back, unconsciously marking the space as partly his while he did so. He really didn’t know a lot about the practical side of being in a wolf’s space. He also failed to notice that Derek didn’t answer his question. “So, what first? Do we sit on the couch and talk some more or- oh! Okay.”

 

Stiles snapped his mouth shut as Derek stepped into his space and took his head firmly in both hands. He’d meant to hold off, meant to do this gradually. Talk about boundaries first. But Stiles had been touching his things, talking away like they already knew one another, and the whole time there had been an itch growing in the back of Derek’s skull. A desperate need to touch and be touched. It had been so long. When was the last time? 

 

Derek slammed the door shut on that thought and leaned into Stiles’ warmth.

 

Stiles blinked at him, his gaze going soft and fuzzy around the edges, even as his heart rate started picking up. He tilted his head towards Derek, his mouth opening slightly, as though he were expecting Derek to go for a kiss. Instead, Derek’s thumb slipped under his jaw, tilting Stiles’ head to the side, while his other hand slipped down his throat, maintaining full contact, spreading scent, finally coming to rest on Stiles’ shoulder.

 

Derek paused a moment, looking at Stiles’ face out of the corner of his eyes. The human was all but panting, his heart racing now, eyes fluttering as Derek’s mouth hovered over his fragile skin. Was Stiles worried that Derek was going to bite him? Was he reconsidering this whole venture?

 

Derek felt a flare of possessiveness over the thought of Stiles changing his mind; of the human just wandering away and not coming back. Internally, Derek despaired. It was already happening. This is why he’d put off getting a companion for so long. He was already far past the point of no return. He just hoped that Stiles wouldn’t figure out how much and be scared off. No one really understood how intense born werewolves could be. Not until it was too late and they already had a wolf trailing at their heels, ready to follow for life. Most humans, in Derek’s admittedly limited experience, didn’t take kindly to having a werewolf for a shadow.

 

He bent his face to the side of Stiles’ throat, higher up, just over his fluttering pulse point. Derek turned his head at the last minute, rubbing the scruff of his cheek against the tender skin. Stiles let out a gasp, then held his breath as Derek trailed first down and then back up the side of his throat. Derek turned his nose to nuzzle behind his ear and Stiles squeaked, his hands flying up to grab Derek’s shoulders for stability. 

 

Derek huffed several times, breathing Stiles in and also rubbing his own scent - his shaving cream, his soap, his natural oils - as thoroughly into the reddening skin as he could. Pulling back a few inches, Derek inhaled deeply, mouth slightly open to also taste the air, satisfied that Stiles did indeed smell like him. Derek rubbed his hands up over Stiles’ cheeks and then into his hair for good measure, before stepping away.

 

Stiles looked like he was ready to collapse. Derek put a hand out to steady him just in case. The whole side of Stiles’ throat was a bright, burning red. His eyes were glazed over even though he was blinking like he was trying to clear them. His heart was still thundering away at an unnaturally fast pace, though it was slowly tapering off as he settled. 

 

God, Derek must have really scared him.

 

“Sorry,” Derek said, grimacing internally at how growly his voice sounded. “I should have warned you.”

 

“That's what real werewolf scenting is like?” Stiles managed to slur out, his eyes slow to settle on Derek as the human tugged on his clothes, pulling them to rights where Derek had managed to twist them sideways in his eagerness.

 

Derek made a gruff noise that approximated agreement.

 

“Okay. Yeah. Wow. College taught me jack-shit. Scott has never, ever done that to me.” Stiles rubbed his eyes, then his entire face. He winced when he touched the beard burn on his neck.

 

“Sorry,” Derek said again, helplessly. He wanted to feel bad about it. He did, on some level. But he also felt so much relief. Years of pent up tension had melted away while he was breathing Stiles in, touching him. It had been even better when Stiles had touched him back, even if it was just to steady himself because Derek was pushing him too far to the side and he was losing his balance.

 

The yearning he felt for more prompted Derek to speak before his desire to touch Stiles ran away with him. “If this is too much, I understand. Being pack with a werewolf can be overwhelming and-”

 

“No, no,” Stiles rushed to assure him. “I’m good. Just a little... uh…” his long-fingered hand paddled through the air, seeking the word that had escaped him. “Surprised. And annoyed at myself for knowing nothing, apparently. I wouldn’t be offended if you wanted someone who actually has experience-”

 

“You’re fine, Stiles.”

 

The human gave a nervous giggle, shuffling and ringing his hands suddenly. “So now, should we, um-”

 

“Can you come over again this weekend?” Derek asked, trying to keep the damn hope out of his voice. He really hated being a werewolf sometimes. Most times. So needy. So easily attached.

 

“Oh. Yeah. Sure.” Stiles said, his face dropping in disappointment for a moment before he schooled his features. Maybe he’d already had plans.

 

“Later next week would work too if you can’t make it.”

 

“No! Nope, all good. This weekend? Like… oh, Friday night?”

 

That was a lot sooner than Derek had dared hope. He nodded. “That’s fine. Friday works for me.”

 

Stiles broke into a smile. It was tremendously reassuring.

 

“I guess I’ll see you Friday then.” He turned to go. “Oh!” he said turning back so quickly he almost ran into Derek’s chest. “Phone number.” he held out his hand and Derek fished his cell out of his back pocket and unlocked it for Stiles. No need to tell him that the committee had already given Derek all of Stiles’ contact information. Not if it meant Stiles touching more of his things. And this was why sane people really hated being in relationships with werewolves. Neediness personified.

 

Derek forced himself not to smile when Stiles handed his phone back, after texting himself to get Derek’s number.

 

“Please promise to text me stuff that I need to know so I don’t commit werewolf social suicide next time I see you, dude. Please please promise.”

 

“I promise,” Derek said solemnly, making his face as much of a neutral mask as possible.

 

“Okay,” Stiles said, backing towards the door to the hallway. “Friday then?”

 

“Yes.” Derek trailed after him to see him out.

 

“Okay,” Stiles said again, his voice a little bit slow, eyes lingering on Derek’s face before turning away. 

 

Derek pretended not to notice Stiles touching his throat as he walked out the front door to his Jeep. 

 

And Derek absolutely did not sniff the lingering scent of Stiles’ shampoo on his hands after he watched him drive away into the night.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

"What did you think of him?"

 

Derek squeezed the phone so hard it creaked in his ear.

 

"He's fine."

 

"Uh huh." Derek could actually hear Erica Being Patient . "So, you think he'll work out? He was a good choice?"

 

Derek took a deep breath. He owed Erica. Out of everyone on the Conservation Committee, she understood him the best. It helped that she was also a werewolf; bitten, not born, but she got his need for privacy in a way the human members didn't. The humans meant well, but because of their concern over his secluded state, not to mention their awe over him as the one born werewolf in the town, they could be suffocating. That was why everyone but Erica was forbidden to call him for anything less than a dire emergency.

 

"Yeah, he'll work out fine. If he sticks around," Derek mumbled.

 

"Oh, you're not that bad," Erica said, the smarmy smile evident in her voice. "Just try other expressions besides scowling. That usually helps." She paused. "You're scowling right now, aren't you? I feel it. I feel the scowl."

 

"Erica."

 

"Okay, fine. I'm supposed to give you a survey, by the way."

 

"No."

 

"On a scale of one to five, one being the lowest and five being the highest, how would you rate your first impression of your temporary werewolf companion?"

 

"Three," Derek lied.

 

"Five, right. Okay next question."

 

Derek groaned.

 

"How would you rate your temporary companion's overall knowledge of werewolves?"

 

"Five."

 

"Two, got you. Next question-"

 

"Do we really have to do this now?"

 

"How would you rate the quality of your interaction?"

 

"Negative one million."

 

"And another five, that's great!"

 

"Why don't you just fill it in for me?"

 

“Fine.” It was Erica's turn to sigh. "He really is adorable, Derek."

 

Silence.

 

"You're lucky I already have a pack, because I would be all over that scrumptious little nugget of Were bait-"

 

"Erica…"

 

"But no, seriously. You have good taste."

 

Derek's chest seized up. "Erica, you can't-"

 

"Calm down wolfikins,” she sing-songed through the phone. “No one will tell Stiles that you requested him. And only when we forced you to choose someone. So that you wouldn’t die. You know, when you were practically hospitalized."

 

"I don't want him to know any of that."

 

"I get it. It's sorta your style. Repressed. Weird."

 

"Thanks."

 

"No problem!"

 

"I'm hanging up now."

 

"Fine. But if anything exciting happens I want all the details and-"

 

Derek hung up.

 


 

Friday night, there was a knock on the door. It was a lot more confident than last time.

 

Derek had been antsy for the past hour, practically walking around in circles looking for anything to take his mind off of the second meeting with Stiles. Now that Derek knew Stiles didn't have any real knowledge of born wolves or what it was like to spend a lot of time around one, he had to keep reminding himself not to pounce on him as soon as he was through the door.

 

But the terrible, heavy feeling that had fallen away when he had scented Stiles a few days before had come back. Not as a weight, but as a vague, tickling headache. It had grown every hour that he and Stiles had been apart, until it was a raging, burning itch in his brain. 

 

It was torture. He wanted the numb weight back. He didn't want all these instincts flaring to life now that he and his wolf were making an effort to create pack ties. Even if it was only temporary and brand new, he already needed Stiles. What if he left? Would Derek's brain flash-fry in his head?

 

Derek’s hand hovered over the door knob. He wanted to open it himself, like a normal person. Like any other twenty-something-year-old man would have done, werewolf or human, when a guest had arrived at their door. 

 

But no matter how much he steeled himself, he just couldn’t touch the handle. In his mind, it burned ember-red. So hot, his skin would melt the minute he touched it.

 

Repressing a snarl at his own weakness, Derek stepped back into the hall, away from the door.

 

“Come in,” he called, from a cowardly distance of about ten feet into the darkness. He remembered to snap the light on at the last second.

 

Stiles grinned at him from the doorway and something in Derek settled. The insane itching simmered down to a point of hot pain in the back of his skull. Present, but manageable.

 

"Hi," Stiles said, still smiling as he made his way inside, reaching back and shutting the door. Before he could even turn all the way back around, Derek had moved forward, his hand up, silently asking permission to touch. Stiles leaned into his hand immediately, and Derek ran his fingers up the side of Stiles’ throat, the same place he'd scented before. 

 

Stiles hummed and closed his eyes, not flinching away from Derek's touch. He even nuzzled into Derek's hand when it reached as far up as his cheek.

 

Derek let out a long sigh, the relief intense and sudden, crashing through him like pleasure, like-

 

He startled and pulled his hand away, turning abruptly towards the kitchen. Stiles followed him in silence, though Derek could sense the sudden tension all around them. He avoided Stiles’ eyes as he turned on the kitchen light. 

 

“Would you like something to drink?” Derek asked, doing his best to remember how his mother had treated guests. He wondered what she would think of his pathetic attempts. Cringing at the thought, but doing his best not to show his discomfort, Derek wrenched open the fridge. “I have water, orange juice, and sparkling water. Or I can make tea.”

 

“So healthy,” Stiles said, attempting a light tone but falling short. His expression grew even more strained as Derek turned his serious gaze on him. “Um, what flavor is the sparkling water? Maybe I can pretend it’s soda.”

 

Soda. Stiles must like sweet things. Derek should have asked what his preferences were when he was here last time. He should have texted him like he promised he would. He could have asked then. Derek was so bad at this. Failing already.

 

“Uh, strawberry-mango,” Derek supplied, looking back at the box of cans sitting on the fridge shelf.

 

“Sure, I can work with that. Give me one of those,” Stiles said, again trying to lighten the mood. Derek appreciated the effort, though he had no idea how to reciprocate. 

 

He handed Stiles the cold can, the two of them awkwardly staring at one another, until Derek realized that he should get something too, at least for the sake of having something in his hands. He reached back into the fridge and grabbed a bottle of plain water, before leading them out to the living room.

 

He motioned for Stiles to sit on the couch before he took his own seat in the matching armchair. Stiles opened his drink, took a sip, then carefully set the can down on a coaster on the coffee table. Derek did the same, instantly regretting letting go of the bottle when his hands had nothing to do and he had to clasp the arms of the chair to keep from fidgeting.

 

“So,” Stiles began, already the brave one in this weird arrangement. “How was the rest of your week?”

 

A perfectly normal, polite question. Neutral. Something Derek should have thought to ask.

 

“Fine.”

 

Stiles nodded at him encouragingly, waiting for more. When Derek remained silent, he could see the beginning stirrings of panic in Stiles’ eyes. He rushed to say something to save the situation.

 

“How was yours?” Not the most inventive, but at least it was a question that made sense. Derek ground his teeth.

 

“Ugh, long! And boring!” And then Stiles was off, rattling off the details of his week, and Derek was just so… grateful. He had been sure for a minute that Stiles was about to call off the arrangement, even before the trial was over. Not that they had set any specifics on how long the trial was. Yet something else they should have talked about. And there was paperwork they should have signed. Instead, Derek had just shaken his hand and then practically knocked him over in his rush to scent him. God, he was so bad at this.

 

Derek made an effort to tune into Stiles’ account of the last few days. He had such an engaging way of speaking, his eyes roaming all over the room as he recounted conversations he’d had with coworkers or his father, only to come back to Derek to make eye contact while he laughed, before his eyes drifted away again. 

 

It was so much more relaxing than having to maintain direct eye contact, something that was difficult, both for Derek as a person and as a wolf. Derek read it as confrontation, as an attempt to dominate, no matter how well-meaning the person was who was speaking with him. He could meet other people’s eyes, but only for short periods of time or he started feeling the need to confront them, his inconvenient wolf-instincts raising their ugly head.

 

But Stiles was just so natural at sidestepping all of that wolf hierarchy nonsense and welcoming Derek into what he was saying. Inviting him to join Stiles in his world for a little while with no expectations. Warm eyes on him just long enough to read Derek’s reactions and smile at him, before he was back in his own head, spinning the next story.

 

Derek slowly relaxed, his grip loosening on the armrests as he settled more easily into the seat. Soon he was half-smiling at a rambling story about some asshole named Jackson falling down the steps at Stiles’ graduation ceremony, while Stiles cackled in glee, his face lit up in remembered triumph.

 

“So his girlfriend at the time, Lydia, who he did not deserve ever in his life, and was planning on breaking up with him anyway since she was going on to get her doctorate and he was moving to like, Bumfuck Nowhere, walks up to him at the party afterwards, downs an entire flute of Champagne with her pinky out, hands him the empty glass, and walks out the door. And, and,” Stiles laughs so hard he snorts and half chokes, “to this day, he thinks she broke up with him ‘cause he fell down those damn stairs! Scott and I have done everything we can to keep him thinking that.”

 

Stiles wipes the tears out of his eyes, his laughter winding down to a long sigh, a smile still lighting up his eyes.

 

“Anyways, sorry about that. I haven’t gotten to tell that story to anyone new in like, months, and it is my absolute favorite thing that happened in college.”

 

“You graduated last year?” Derek was determined to make conversation. He could do this.

 

“Yeah. Now I’m working at the station with my dad. I’m not sure if I’ll go into law enforcement specifically. My ultimate career goal is to help supernaturals who are victims of discrimination and violence. That’s the main reason I took that werewolf courses in college. Well, that and Scott, I guess.”

 

Derek’s heart started racing. He broke into a cold sweat all over, fighting to keep his panic off his face. There was no way Stiles could know how strong of a reaction Derek would have to being reminded that he had been a victim himself. Stiles had no way of knowing that Derek was a victim. Those files were sealed. Unless the sheriff had mentioned it to him… but no. There was no hint in Stiles’ eyes that he had just said anything significant. He was just telling Derek about himself and his job plans. And Derek wanted to know as much as he could about Stiles. So he got a handle on his feelings and reacted as normally as he could.

 

“Are you going to specialize? Larger cities have whole units dedicated to supernaturals.”

 

“I mean, maybe? I don’t know if I’d want to move out of Beacon Hills though. My dad and Scott and all. And who knows? I might be horrible at it. It’s not like I’ve shown any great expertise when it comes to werewolves, and my best friend is a wolf, for god’s sake.”

 

“I think you’re doing fine.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.” Derek offered a small smile, there and gone. It was the most emotion he dared to let out without the cracks showing in the facade he was desperately trying to keep in place.

 

Stiles smiled at him. He had such an easy smile, warm and welcoming. Derek hadn’t seen anyone smile at him like that in-

 

Nope, he was not thinking about that.

 

Stiles cleared his throat. “So uh. You sorta already did the scenting thing, right, at the door? Um. I was just wondering what else I should be doing? I mean, I read the pamphlets at the Center and everything, but they pretty much all said that each werewolf is different, and not expect the same things of a born wolf as of a bitten one, cause the instincts are different, and usually not as strong in bitten wolves, so. Well, like I said, Scott doesn’t scent anyone, not, not like, like that. But he does like to cuddle with our group of friends when he’s stressed. Are you… is that something you would like? Would it help the wolf feel the pack ties and stuff?”

 

Derek swallowed. He’d gone stock still, resisting the urge to stare at Stiles with wide eyes. Instead, he pulled himself together and tried to appear like he knew what he was doing.

 

“Actually, I was going to suggest that. It would help.”

 

“Oh yeah?” Stiles’ face was surprised. “You mean I actually got something right about this whole companion thing?” He chuckled, shaking his messy head of hair back and forth. “Okay, so how do we do this?” he asked, sitting up straighter on the couch and tugging his clothes into place, like he was ready to spring into action as soon as Derek said the word.

 

Derek swallowed again, trying to get his heart out of his throat and back in his chest where it belonged.

 

“The couch is good,” Derek rasped.

 

Stiles nodded and settled back, before looking at Derek expectantly. Derek rose from his seat  and sat down close to Stiles, feeling awkward as he reached out to cup the back of his head and draw Stiles slowly to his chest in a loose hug. 

 

Stiles was right, he did need this. He had needed it for years. Needed it so bad that the hurt had twisted up inside him, until he was so used to the aching loneliness and the isolation that it was unsettling for the pain to vanish when he touched Stiles. The absence of the ache felt like intense pleasure, even though, in reality, it was the absence of sensation. A release.

 

Derek pulled Stiles closer instinctively, losing his uncertainty as he wrapped him more securely in his arms, his nose seeking Stiles’ throat. He hadn’t scent-marked him nearly enough by the door, and the wolf huffed in agitation. Derek attempted to rectify the situation, nuzzling in and sweeping his face along the smooth expanse of skin under Stiles’ jaw. 

 

With one arm wrapped securely around Stiles to keep him close, Derek moved his other hand to guide Stiles’ head, so that they completed a slow, sweeping circuit in tandem: Derek’s face sliding up Stiles’ throat from his collarbone to his ear, while his hand guided Stiles’ head back down in an opposite motion, before reversing the movement and guiding Stiles’ head up while his slipped down. The resulting friction mixed their scents completely, meaning that this time, Derek would smell as much like Stiles as Stiles did of him.

 

After a moment, Stiles understood the motion and no longer needed Derek to guide him, moving less carefully against him and with more enthusiasm now that he knew what Derek wanted. Derek knew this was a weird thing to ask of a human, but Stiles didn’t seem to mind and it was lighting up Derek’s brain like a fucking power station, so he pushed all remaining thoughts out of his head and turned his face into Stiles’s skin.

 

Derek’s scruff was longer today. Softer. It was still raising a fierce blush to the surface of Stiles’ pale skin, but it didn’t seem to be hurting him. Derek pushed in harder, rubbing the side of his throat against Stiles’ luxurious hair, as Stiles made the slow, downward motion that Derek had showed him.

 

Derek pushed forward even more, chasing the scent and the warmth, the soft rub of Stiles’ freshly shaven face and throat, the skin butter soft. So soft. Derek brought his forehead to the side of Stiles’ face, feeling the warmth over his eyes, his eyebrows rasping softly and he rubbed his whole face against him, feeling so much better, so much more than before. He felt good. This was what good felt like.

 

He pushed too hard on his next pass and Stiles’ overbalanced, one long arm flying out behind himself to the couch cushion, his back bowing as Derek followed, still rubbing his face against him, too enthralled to stop. Derek clambered over him, vaguely aware of arranging Stiles’ body beneath him, of slipping between his knees so that he could rest his weight on him, drench him in scent. His hands reaching into his hair, cupping his head to encourage Stiles to keep moving.

 

Derek left the hot, abused skin of one side of Stiles’ throat and switched to the other, bracing himself so that their chests maintained contact, his weight pushing Stiles down into the yielding cushion below. He could vaguely feel Stiles’ knees bumping his hips where Stiles’ legs were drawn up on either side of him, Stiles’ outside foot resting on Derek’s calf to prevent himself from needing to brace it on the floor. The couch was too narrow for this. Derek briefly considered hauling Stiles to the carpet, but decided against it. At least the couch was soft.

 

The opposite side of Stiles’ throat felt cool in comparison to Derek’s flushed face, and he was finally able to slow down and rest his forehead in the dip where Stiles’ neck met his shoulder and just breathe. He listened to Stiles’ thumping heart, running fast and strong like it had last time, though the body under his was loose where he could feel Stiles against him; chest, face, arms.

 

Derek moved them and Stiles went like a rag doll, letting Derek tuck him against the back of the couch, Stiles’ head cradled on Derek’s bicep as Derek reached under him and curled his arm around, the fingers of his hand brushing Stiles’ bright red ear. He was stretched along his side, just barely managing to stay on the couch, protecting him from anything that might come through the living room door. 

 

Tucking Stiles’ soft head of hair under his chin, Derek settled in, holding Stiles loosely enough for him to breathe, but otherwise pulling him close. Stiles’ was insanely warm, and Derek was sweating from holding him so tight, but it also felt amazing. Like sunshine on a freezing day. Derek nuzzled in impossibly closer.

 

Long minutes went by of just the two of them breathing, their heart rates settling. Stiles made a twitching little movement, his fingers making a soft sound against Derek’s shirt where his arms were folded up between them.

 

“So,” Stiles murmured, sounding half-asleep “this is what real werewolf cuddling is like.” He chuckled to himself, shaking his head back and forth as much as he could in the space he had. “I am a complete idiot,” Stiles mumbled, before tucking his head in tighter beneath Derek's and going limp.

 

They stayed like that for nearly twenty minutes before Derek finally scraped together enough brain cells to climb off the couch. He watched Stiles reposition himself on his back, scotching up so his head rested on the arm of the couch. He was rumpled and sleepy and looked so warm and soft.

 

“Are you hungry?” Derek asked.

 

“Yes,” Stiles groaned, rubbing his face. “But I also really, really don’t want to move.”

 

“I’ll heat something up. You stay there.”

 

“Mhm. Okay,” Stiles mumbled, his eyes falling closed.

 

Derek slipped quietly into the kitchen and immediately set about making up something simple and quick. He didn’t have a lot of food in the house at the moment, but he did have some zucchini, onions and garlic that he could saute in olive oil and add to noodles along with some jarred sauce. It wasn’t fancy, but with some extra spices, it should taste pretty good.

 

It wasn’t until Derek was squeezing lemon juice over the sauteed zucchini while the noodles bubbled in the large pot on the back burner, that he realized he was actually enjoying cooking. For the first time in years, the idea of food seemed like something to be excited about and not just a necessity.

 

Derek gently roused Stiles when the food was ready, and they ate mostly in silence. Stiles blinked heavily but ate with enthusiasm, only stopping to tell Derek that it was great and that he wanted seconds.

 

Later, after Stiles had helped clear the table, they stood in the kitchen eating canned pears- the only thing sweet enough to count as dessert that Derek had in the house.

 

“Okay, next time let’s watch a movie,” Stiles said, slurping juice off his spoon. “I’ve seen your collection. Everything is at least ten years old. Now, don’t get me wrong. You have amazing taste. But there were no Marvel movies, dude. None.”

 

“Fine.”

 

“You’ll let me bring the Avengers over? I can bring snacks too! What’s your favorite?”

 

“Uh…”

 

“Oh, come on. You have to have a favorite snack. Everyone has a favorite snack.”

 

“Twizzlers,” Derek admitted, finally.

 

“Ew. Really? Twizzlers?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Ugh, you’re so weird. Okay, I’ll bring you your gross Twizzlers and then I’ll also bring good snacks.”

 

Stiles set his bowl in the sink and patted down his pockets, checking for his phone, keys and wallet. He turned and headed for the front door, Derek trailing after him.

 

“So, Sunday?” Stiles asked, eyebrows up. “You won’t die of lack of Twizzlers till then?”

 

Derek snorted. “It’s just one day, Stiles.”

 

“Okay fine. But be prepared to try some tasty snacks too. And to praise my movie selections. Cause we can’t be friends if you don’t respect my superhero obsession and-”

 

Derek pulled Stiles into a hug mid-sentence.

 

“Alright, okay,” Stiles said, putting his arms around Derek and hugging him back. Derek took one more deep breath of the two of them together and then let Stiles go. 

 

“See you Sunday.”

 

“Yeah, and I’m serious about you texting me, okay?”

 

“Okay.”

 

Stiles turned and headed for his Jeep. As soon as Derek knew he was safely inside and that the Jeep had started, he nudged the door shut with his foot. He wanted to keep as much of Stiles scent in his den as possible.

 

Chapter Text

 

The forest was dark. Not silent, not to a born werewolf, but very peaceful. 

 

Derek left his house on Saturday at the usual time, starting well after sunset, even though he couldn’t sense a human or another wolf for miles. That didn’t mean he would take any unnecessary risks by leaving his den during the daytime. That was just asking for trouble.

 

It was the same routine as always. He shifted inside his house and squeezed through the large dog door in wolf form, heading straight back into the forest that grew right up to the back of the house. He did the usual circuit around the house to make sure no one was nearby or had been on the property without his knowledge, before striking out for the forest path.

 

The trail took him past the old house. He still lived on the family property, though he couldn’t bring himself to rebuild the original house. He paused at the edge of the clearing, small trees and shrubs beginning to slowly take over the yard. Derek paused for longer than usual, his canine eyes peering into the shadows, recalling memories.

 

He knew he couldn’t actually smell charred flesh. It was a battle he fought over and over again with himself. There was no smell of death here. A little bit of char from the rotting wood, but more mold and decay than anything else. No skin. No flesh. That was all in his mind.

 

He turned away silently, like always, continuing the perimeter search. He raised his head at the sound of deer making their way to the creek that ran to the north of the property. It was the same family of deer he always attempted to avoid, knowing that they wouldn’t come this way in peace if they knew there was an apex predator prowling their forest. He heard the mother’s small hooves, followed by her yearling and her new fawn.  He picked his way carefully along his own trail, making sure not to cross theirs, until he was far out of range of their senses.

 

Derek got back to the house later than usual. The moon was up, not yet full. His paws and muzzle were damp. He shook off in the yard as best he could before crawling through the dog door again and shifting back to his human form. He paused to listen, the same routine every time. He scented the air and looked cautiously around himself before checking all the rooms, one by one, then listening again. Satisfied that no one had made their way inside while he was out on the property, he at last allowed himself to take a hot shower, banishing the lingering chill in his hands and feet.

 

Afterwards, dressed in a pair of soft cotton pants and a T-shirt, Derek felt human enough to check his phone. It was three in the morning, later than his usual bedtime. He had missed several texts from Stiles.

 

Stiles [10:28 pm]: omg i can’t find your stupid twizzlers anywhere

Stiles [10:29 pm]: i mean they r pretty gross but I know that people besides you eat these things

Stiles [10:29 pm]: derek did you go out and buy up all the twizzlers just to thwart me 

Stiles [10:53 pm]: i found them! I had to go all the way to walmart but i found you a family sized pack

Stiles [10:54 pm]: heh heh pack

Stiles [10:54 pm]: well i have them now so i guess we have to go through with movie night

Stiles [10:55 pm]: see you tomorrow dude

 

Derek thumbed the reply box on pure adrenaline, feeling the need to respond to Stiles immediately. His pack member, temporary or not, had tried to contact him and he hadn’t been available to answer. Now Stiles was most likely asleep and Derek had lost his chance of reciprocating in the one way Stiles had asked him of so far.

 

(Promise you’ll text me, Derek.)

 

He swallowed around the tightness in his throat, willing himself to calm down. He stared at the blinking cursor.

 

It was okay. Stiles wasn’t in any danger. He wasn’t expecting an answer. He hadn’t even asked him a real question. He’d just been… teasing him. 

 

Derek could text tomorrow and everything would be fine. It would be fine. It was okay.

 

Taking a few deep breaths through his flared nostrils, Derek switched over to the one other active text conversation in his phone. The one he had been trying to forget all day.

 

Erica [9:45 am]: Hey, heads up that the committee wants to do a placement followup interview with you regarding stiles

Derek [9:53 am]: No.

Erica [9:54 am]: I’m stalling them as long as I can and it’s not like someone will show up unannounced or anything

Erica [9:55 am]: They have to make sure he’s doing the job he’s qualified for… oh, that’s right he has no qualifications at all

Derek [9:57 am]: No interview. Stiles is fine. He’s doing fine.

Erica [9:59 am]: Look I know he is. But there are rules about this sort of thing

Derek [10:02 am]: Werewolves are legally allowed to select any willing party as pack. Pack members don’t need qualifications.

Erica [10:04 am]: Duh, I’m in a pack, I know how it works. But Stiles was sent thru the center. We’re supposed to only send qualified candidates. The only reason you got away with this at all is because Fran has a soft spot for you

Erica [10:05 am]: You could sue us

Derek [10:08 am]: I’m not going to sue the Center.

Erica [10:09 am]: I know that and Fran knows that. Still doesn’t make it completely legal. Or ethical

Derek [10:12 am]: Then you should have trained him first. I told you it was okay to put him through courses first if that’s what he wanted to do. 

Erica [10:13 am]: You didn’t have that long, don’t kid yourself

Erica [10:13 am]: Look, I'm really glad it worked out, okay? I know it’s working out. I mean, fuck, you’re actually texting me back

Erica [10:14 am]: But this is a thing the center needs in its records so that they can legally cover their butts

Derek [10:18 am]: Can you do the interview?

Erica [10:19 am]: No promises, but I’ll try my best. It won’t be for another week at least

Erica [10:19 am]: Please don’t stress too much. Or, more than usual for you, okay?

 

Derek closed out of his messages and plugged the phone in to charge next to his bed. He hated not knowing if it was going to be Erica doing the stupid interview or not. It would still be stressful even if it was her, but manageable. If it was anyone else, he didn’t know how he would react. He would almost rather call off the arrangement with Stiles than have a stranger here, asking all sorts of personal questions. Almost.

 

After doing his final door and window check of the night, Derek curled up in bed, a pillow clutched to his chest. It was the only way he had been able to fall asleep for months. One of the warning signs, according to the experts at Beacon Hills Hospital. Derek rubbed his face into the pillowcase, searching for a sense of security he couldn’t find. Only the knowledge that Stiles would be coming over the next day, and that he needed to get as much sleep as possible so that he could be alert while his temporary packmate was in the den, allowed Derek to finally drift off to sleep.

 


 

Derek [8:02 am]: I’m sorry I missed your texts last night. I was out on the property without my phone.

Derek [8:05 am]: Walmart was the one place I overlooked when devesting the town’s stores of candy, as I had hoped you would have higher standards than that.

Stiles [10:15 am]: oooohhh a sense of humor 

Stiles [10:15 am]: i see how it is

Stiles [10:16 am]: no more holding back

Stiles [10:16 am]: and how can you stand to be ‘funny’ so early in the morning

Derek [10:22 am]: Eight in the morning is a respectable time to get up.

Stiles [10:23 am]:  ugh i regret my movie choices cause you are gonna relate to captain america wayyyyyy too much

Derek [10:24 am]: To who?

Stiles [10:25 am]: OMG u just made me spill coffee on myself

Stiles [10:25 am]: pls tell me you r joking

Derek [10:26 am]: Maybe a little.

Stiles [10:26 am]: u had me worried

Stiles [10:26 am]: well i have ur gross non-candy

Stiles [10:26 am]: plus some actual good stuff

Stiles [10:27 am]: and a ton of movies so we should start early so we can watch at least 3 of them

Stiles [10:27 am]: so what time is good

Derek [10:31 am]: Five?

Stiles [10:31 am]: 5 it is

Stiles [10:31 am]: see you then

Derek [10:32 am]: I’ll see you then.

 


 

Stiles came in lugging four full grocery bags. Derek got a warm smile for taking three of them out of his hands as Stiles closed the door. He followed Derek into the kitchen, talking to him the whole way.

 

“So I saw that they had a movie candy sale and I couldn’t pass up getting the usuals, alright? So we may have Raisinettes, Sno-caps, Junior Mints, Dots, Milk Duds, Whoppers and Mike and Ikes, but I did not get any chocolate covered peanuts. Oh, man, though now that I think about it, you probably like those too, don’t you? Well I did get some pretzel Combos with peanut butter, so… that’s something right? Oh, and Reese’s Pieces. For all your peanut needs.”

 

They made it to the kitchen and both started unpacking the bags, Derek keeping an eye out for anything that needed to be refrigerated. As expected, one of the bags was cold to the touch and revealed several tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, fruit popsicles, three boxes of assorted Bagel Bites and a six pack of Cherry Coke.

 

Stiles already had a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos open and was munching happily while unpacking a bag full of pretzels and still more chips.

 

“As promised,” Stiles announced, triumphantly smacking down a large package of Twizzlers on the counter in front of Derek. “Though I also caved and got you these,” he added, pulling out a bag of baby carrots and a tiny bottle of ranch dressing. “So you can pretend we are being healthy.”

 

Derek almost made Stiles drop the bag of carrots when he dove for him, rubbing his palms up both sides of Stiles’ neck and into his hair. The instinct, which had seemed paramount only a moment before, faded once it had been satisfied, leaving Derek mortified in its wake.

 

Stiles set the carrots down heavily. “Right,” he said, blinking at Derek. “Scenting. Sorry, I forgot by the door. Too excited by snacks.” His eyes fell to Derek’s mouth, weighted and slow. Derek wasn’t sure Stiles was even looking at him. He seemed lost in his own world.

 

“This all looks good,” Derek tried, forcing himself to remember what people said when others brought them food. “Not healthy, but uh, tasty.”

 

Stiles blinked and his gaze returned to Derek’s eyes, a smile blossoming over his face. “Did you just say tasty?” Stiles broke into a laugh.

 

“Shut up.”

 

Stiles just laughed harder. “Okay, okay. Pick out your ‘tasty’ treats and let’s get started. You have a lot of Marvel to get caught up on, starting with Iron Man.”

 

Derek took the Twizzlers, the carrots and the pretzel and peanut butter Combos. Stiles would not stop laughing at him and repeating “I knew it,” to himself as they got settled.

 

At first, Derek tried to sit in the arm chair and give Stiles some space on the couch, but Stiles just pointed at the spot next to him and said, “Uh-uh, I am so getting some of those Combos before you eat them all.”

 

Derek gave a pointed look at the mountain of snacks on the coffee table directly in front of Stiles, but caved easily and sat next to him. Stiles started opening bags and popped his Coke can open, while Derek started the movie.

 

The beginning of Iron Man was difficult. He had actually seen it when it first came out, but his life had been a lot different then. Now, he had a hard time watching the scenes with Tony Stark being tortured. He fiddled with his snacks instead, and went back to the kitchen for a bottle of water, taking the remote with him ‘on accident’ so that Stiles wouldn’t hit pause for him. 

 

The rest of the movie was much easier. He liked listening to Stiles laughing at all the jokes, grinning like an idiot every time Derek looked over at him. He didn’t keep up a running commentary throughout the movie, which surprised Derek, who would have bet money that Stiles was one of those people who insisted on talking over every scene. He did, however, consume a staggering amount of calories with ease, going back to the kitchen for a new can of Coke twice before the first movie was over.

 

He made sure that Derek stayed put for the post-credits scene and then turned to him, beaming. “So?” he urged, nudging Derek’s knee with his. “Off to a good start?”

 

“Yeah. It was good.”

 

“Just good?!”

 

“It’s good. I liked it.”

 

Stiles made a “go on” gesture with his hand.

 

“Tony Stark is… funny.”

 

Stiles’ mouth fell open in aghast horror. “Tony Stark is funny? Yes, and the sky is blue and water is wet. Oh my god Derek!”

 

“I’ve heard that he’s even funnier in the movie where they are all together.”

 

“‘The movie where they are all together.’” Stiles looked like he might cry. “Okay, you know what? Challenge accepted. If you aren’t quoting Marvel movies in a month, they can revoke my Werewolf Companion status for good, cause I will have failed.”

 

Derek found himself quietly laughing at Stiles determined expression, and when Stiles caught him at it, the huffy personna he had been using to tease Derek dropped away, leaving a fond, bemused look its place.

 

“Dinner,” Stiles said, getting to his feet.

 

“Dinner?”

 

“Yeah, dude, Bagel Bites!”

 

Derek groaned. “Please let me make you a salad at least.”

 

Stiles shrugged. “I mean, okay, if you want to. Don’t worry though, I get plenty of nutrition.”

 

“Oh really? From where?” Derek followed Stiles back to the kitchen, picking up empty wrappers as he went.

 

“Vitamin drinks.”

 

“No.”

 

“No really. So many vitamins.”

 

“I’m making you a salad and you’re eating it.”

 

“Only if I can also have Bagel Bites.”

 

Derek caved, still mildly horrified. “Okay, fine. Just as long as you eat an entire serving of salad beforehand.”

 

“Fine.”

 

“Fine.”

 

Stiles talked about his dad, the sheriff, while Derek washed romaine lettuce and chopped vegetables. Stiles lounged against the counter, sipping a bottle of water, after Derek had practically knocked his fourth can of Coke out of his hands.

 

“I actually watch my dad’s diet pretty close. Like, yeah, I brought all this junk food over here, but none of it can come home with me unless I hide it in my backpack and smuggle it to my room. He’s all I have family-wise, and I’m keeping that stubborn bastard alive as long as possible.”

 

Derek gave Stiles a small smile from the sink where he was rinsing some spinach to add to the other greens. “You’re a good son,” he said quietly, looking back at his hands under the running water, missing whatever expression passed over Stiles’ face. “You moved back home after college?”

 

“Yeah,” Stiles said, coming up to the counter right next to the sink, to lean and watch Derek working. “It made sense. I could probably afford a small place, but what's the point? My dad claims he doesn’t mind me living back at home now that he thinks he doesn’t have to keep a close eye on me,” Stiles threw Derek a tiny wink at that and Derek rolled his eyes.

 

Getting Stiles to actually eat the salad was not as difficult as Derek would have imagined. Stiles shoveled it in just like he had with the junk food, barely pausing to breathe. Derek sat on his side of the couch, holding a plate with a large serving of salad and three Bagel Bites arranged primly on the side, while Stiles came up for air from his mixed monstrosity of a plate, ranch dressing everywhere and half the Bagel Bites accidentally stirred into the greens.

 

“Seriously? Only three Bagel Bites?” Stiles asked around a cheekful of food.

 

“They taste like cardboard.”

 

Stiles gasped. “How dare you!”

 

“Do you want mine? You can have them.”

 

Stiles narrowed his eyes at him as he stuck out his plate towards Derek to receive the rejected food. “I’m blaming this on the werewolf thing, dude. Otherwise, this might be the one flaw that breaks up our working relationship. And we haven’t even seen my favorite Avengers movie yet.”

 

“Which is?”

 

“Nope, no, not telling. You have to guess.”

 

“Guardians of the Galaxy.”

 

Stiles’ whole face went comically lax. “Wha- how? How could you possibly know that? Have you seen it already?”

 

“No.”

 

“Are you secretly a comic book nerd? You’ve read all the Marvel comics ever published, haven’t you?”

 

Derek was having a hard time containing his smile. “Nope.”

 

“Then, how?”

 

Derek shrugged.

 

“Oh you are so telling me,” Stiles proclaimed, setting his magically emptied plate down on the coffee table. “And I’m going to guess yours. And I’m going to be right.”

 

“I have to see them all first.”

 

“Yes, you do.” Stiles acted put upon, wiping one hand down his face. “Well, it’s only seven-thirty. Think you can stay up for another film, grandpa?”

 

Derek insisted that they clean up before starting the next movie, chuckling to himself as Stiles whined about it the whole time, though it only took a few minutes. They settled back on the couch to watch Iron Man 2, but only after Stiles went through an entire one-sided debate as to whether the Incredible Hulk ought to be included in their marathon or not. 

 

Once the movie started, he fell silent, the blue light from the screen flickering over his face as the sunlight faded and disappeared outside. Derek listened past the sound of the movie, monitoring the darkness outside. No sounds of a threat. Just the occasional small animal. A few scattered cars passing a mile away on the road, never slowing or stopping, just continuing on into the night.

 

Derek inched towards Stiles before he could think about whether or not it was a good idea. Stiles’ eyes left the screen in a flash, taking in Derek’s now still form where he had awkwardly halted on the couch. Stiles swallowed heavily as they both stayed frozen.

 

“Um,” Stiles managed, his voice slightly higher than before. “Do you… Do you want to uh, werewolf snuggle?” Derek lowered his eyebrows at the phrasing, but nodded. “Okay. Good. Sounds good. How would you like me to-”

 

Stiles ended with a small squeak of surprise as Derek dragged him over his thigh so that he was sitting in the V of Derek’s legs. He had a brief, very werewolf, moment of enjoying the feeling of Stiles trying to regain his balance, squirming in his hold, before coming back to himself with a small frown.

 

Derek clamped his legs against Stiles’ hips, so that he couldn’t wiggle back and discover the reason why Derek always carefully kept their lower halves apart. He stuffed a throw pillow between their bodies, not subtle, but effective, before pulling Stiles back into his chest and bear hugging him from behind.

 

He let out a rumbling groan at the sheer relief that washed through him at touching Stiles again. The movie played on in the dark room, the sound effects too loud for his sensitive ears, but Derek didn’t really care. He rubbed his face into the soft fabric of Stile’s T-shirt, his beard rasping over the cotton. Putting his nose to the side of Stiles’ neck, he huffed him in while his arms drew even tighter. 

 

Stiles made another small noise, completely caught in Derek’s grip, unable to move. He squirmed just for a second, before sighing and giving in. It felt like Stiles was a marionette and his strings had just been cut. Derek’s armful of human went limp, dead weight shifting into his arms in a more complete way, like he was filling in the empty corners.

 

Derek grumbled against his skin, leaning back so Stiles could let his weight rest against Derek’s chest. He checked him over, fussing until Stiles was resting comfortably, his arms trapped under Derek’s, his head lolling against Derek’s shoulder and the back of the couch, eyes blearily aimed at the TV screen.

 

At last Derek sighed, his body relaxing, going almost as limp as Stiles except for the secure hold he had around him. Derek spent the rest of the movie with his nose ruffling through the short hair at Stiles’ nape and around his ear, his lips just brushing the flushed shell before he would catch himself and sweep his cheek down the side of Stiles’ throat. He felt the elevated thump of Stiles’ heart though the human’s back, reverberating through Derek’s chest, thundering against Derek’s steadier beat.

 

The movie credits rolled and the screen went back to the opening menu, music playing on a loop. Derek spared long enough to switch the TV off with the remote, before dropping it on the couch cushion, and returning all his focus on Stiles. He released Stiles’ arms from beneath his own, making Stiles moan as he flexed his muscles after nearly two hours of immobility. Stiles moaned again, much more urgently, when one of Derek’s hands pressed against his chest, holding the human captive against Derek’s body, while the other hand crept into Stiles hair and gently pulled his head to the side.

 

Derek rumbled involuntarily at the warm expanse of skin held tautly in front of his face, and Stiles moaned again, one hand fluttering over Derek’s where it was pressed over his heart, which had taken off in a gallop. 

 

He didn’t seem to be afraid. The small part of Derek’s brain that wasn’t completely taken over by his instincts hoped Stiles wasn’t actually afraid of him.

 

The part of him that was completely hijacked by his werewolf instincts was reveling in how thoroughly muddled their scents were. It was almost perfect. Almost. Their scents could be stronger, more infused. And though he now knew what Stiles smelled like, what they smelled like together, he didn’t know how Stiles tasted.

 

“Ah!” Stiles gasped at the first pass of Derek’s tongue along the side of his throat. “Oh my god!” Derek paused, unsure for a moment. “N-no, go on. It’s okay,” Stiles breathed out, his eyes rolling back when Derek complied and licked again.

 

His fingers unclamped in Stiles’ hair, only to grip harder and angle his head more to the wolf’s liking. Stiles’ fingers trembled over Derek’s as he held his hand flat to Stiles’ chest, one peaked nipple brushing against his inner wrist as he lapped at Stiles’ pulse point.

 

He tasted salty. A little sweet. Amazing.

 

Derek licked up behind his ear, exploring, seeking out new sensations for his tongue. Stiles was panting and trembling and Derek loved it. He had never felt so complete. He swirled his tongue over the intricate pattern of Stiles’ ear before licking in. Stiles whole body jerked in his arms as he let out a cry that only spurred the wolf on. 

 

Stiles’ body was bowed so far over to the side from Derek’s grip on his hair, that the wolf finally gave into the temptation, rolling Stiles down into the cushions on his stomach, the werewolf following close behind. His chest pressed against Stiles’ back, pinning him, the human's body sinking into the springy softness of the cushions below.

 

Derek had enough of his senses left to keep the pillow between his crotch and Stiles’ ass, before helplessly grinding down against him, licking and then gently biting at Stiles’ throat. The human’s head was turned to the side, eyes fluttering as he moaned and gasped oh my god, oh my god, so quiet, Derek could barely hear him above the urgent pounding of blood in his ears.

 

“Stiles,” he rumbled, his voice half-shifted, coarse and deep. Stiles just moaned louder and Derek swept his tongue up his straining throat, his cheek, lapping at the corner of his mouth. Stiles couldn’t turn his head any further, though he seemed to be trying, his moaning gasps becoming more urgent as Derek’s tongue flashed in the sweet corner of Stiles’ mouth.

 

Derek could feel the shift of Stiles’ hips beneath him, the motion causing the pillow wedged between them to move - too soft, not enough - against Derek’s straining erection. Derek ground down harder, still not getting enough, though it felt good. So good. He wanted it to be Stiles, Stiles naked and writhing, sweaty and panting beneath him.

 

He nipped at Stiles’ jaw, his throat. He could feel the tickle of his fangs in his gums, and that’s what made him realize just what instinct he was following. This was no pack bonding drive. It was the mating instinct. The wolf was trying to mate with Stiles. Stiles, his hips jerking with intent against the couch and who was saying Derek’s name, the pitch getting higher, frantic. Moaning as Derek licked and sucked at the corner of his mouth, his eyes squinted up tight, his whole body projecting building tension. Derek whined as he tried to slow down, tried to think. Was Stiles okay? He had no idea what it would mean to be considered Mate by Derek’s wolf. It would change things and-

 

Stiles cried out beneath Derek, his hips pistoning. Derek could feel him come, could smell his release. His own instincts came back online full force. He grabbed the pillow from between them, flinging it to the floor and grinding down directly against Stiles’ clothed ass. They both moaned at the feeling, Stiles’ long and drawn out, soft. Derek’s was high and needy, just that small increase in intimacy and closeness feeling euphoric. The thought of actually being inside Stiles, both his cock in his ass and his teeth in his throat, the tugging at his gums and the root of his dick as he would strain forward-

 

Derek’s face dropped against the slick skin of Stiles’ throat as he came, long and devastating, grinding down against the pliant body beneath him. 

 

By some miracle, Derek didn’t bite him.

 

“Stiles,” he panted, coming back to himself slowly, face still nuzzled into Stiles’ skin, seeking comfort now rather than release. “Stiles, are you okay?”

 

Stiles feebly nodded his head. He cleared his throat but didn’t try to move. “I am very. Very. Okay.”

 

They drifted together for a few more minutes, before Derek realized how much weight he was resting on Stiles and moved off of him reluctantly. Stiles groaned and sat up, peering at where Derek had collapsed in the armchair with bleary eyes, squinting in the dim light. Derek remembered suddenly that he could see Stiles much better than Stiles could see him. He stood up and flicked on the overhead light.

 

Stiles recoiled at the sudden brightness, then groaned and rubbed his eyes. “I definitely need to clean up,” Stiles mumbled, sounding like he was waking up from a long nap.

 

Derek nodded and led him to the bathroom, before heading to the kitchen to clean himself up hastily with paper towel. He attempted to appear to be doing something useful when Stiles emerged from the bathroom, his hair damp where he’d run water from the tap through it to straighten it back into order.

 

“Um,” Stiles said, “was that, uh, a pack thing? Or…?” He let the sentence hang there unfinished, his eyes suddenly shy, flitting from Derek’s face to the walls and back. It reminded Derek so much of the first time they’d talked in the hallway, back only a week ago, when Stiles admitted not knowing anything about born wolves.

 

Needy little slut, he heard whispered in his ear by a different voice. A dead voice. Humans didn’t like to being mated to born werewolves. They really, really didn’t like it.

 

Derek swallowed. He stared into Stiles' large, amber eyes. And lied.

 

“It’s a pack thing. Sorry if it was weird. I got carried away. We don’t have to do it again if-”

 

“No, no, it’s fine.” Stiles’ face was doing something complicated. Derek tried to decipher the emotions running like shadow and light over his features. Then Stiles squared his shoulders and the play of emotions vanished. He smiled at Derek, bright. A little fake. “What are pack members for?” he said lightly. “Don’t worry about me, I didn’t mind it.”

 

Something in Derek’s chest twisted at the words, stabbing deep. It was okay. He knew this about humans. That’s why he had lied in the first place. Humans didn’t… Stiles didn’t need Derek in his life that way. It was okay, they still had the arrangement. Unless Stiles wanted to break it. Derek was too much of a coward to bring that possibility up right now. He just wanted Stiles to stay.

 

“Well, I should probably get going,” Stiles said, leading them into the living room. “Wanna watch Thor next time?” Next time. Derek nodded eagerly. There would be a next time. “I’ll just leave it here, then?” Stiles turned questioning eyes towards Derek, who nodded again. 

 

Stiles picked up the remainder of his things, stuffing a few bags of unopened candy into his bag. Derek promised to save the rest for next time and then he was walking Stiles to the door. Stiles said goodbye and so did Derek and then the door was closing. The sound of the Jeep starting up, gravel under tires, the sound fading down the driveway and then down the road, until Derek couldn’t hear it anymore.

 

He waited another five minutes and then ran to the back door, threw off his clothes, shifted to wolf form, and bruised his ribs in an effort to get out the dog door and into the woods as quickly as possible.

 

Chapter Text

 

Erica tapped a pen on her clipboard, staring both Stiles and Derek down from the armchair in Derek’s living room.

 

Why Derek had thought it would be easier for Erica to do the interview, he had no idea. He could have intimidated or sweet talked a human, but Erica was not taking any of his shit. Next to him on the couch, Stiles wiggled and fidgeted with his water bottle.

 

“So, you’re saying that I shouldn’t be wearing anything scented when I come over?” Stiles was asking, his long fingers moving restlessly over the crinkling plastic.

 

“That would be ideal, yes,” Erica said, coming off as terrifyingly professional. Derek narrowed his eyes at her. She was up to something, but he couldn’t figure out what. He’d expected her to show up as, well, maybe not a friend, but much less formal than she was now, sitting there in a tailored pair of pants and an expensive looking blouse. “Most temporary companions find it easiest to make the full switch to unscented products while they are working with a wolf.”

 

Erica lifted a few pages on her clipboard, as if validating a question she was about to ask. Derek knew that she already had everything about himself and Stiles memorized. His eyes narrowed further.

 

“I see here that you are part of a bitten wolf pack?”

 

“Yes.” Stiles was practically sweating and they’d just started the interview not even five minutes ago.

 

“Scott McCall,” Erica drew out the name slowly. “Yes, I know the name. And how does Scott feel about your work with Derek?”

 

“Oh, fine,” Stiles answered quickly. Derek could feel the nervousness coming off him in waves. It made him want to put a hand on him, steady him. But he wasn’t sure if that would help or make Stiles’ anxiousness worse. “Yeah, no, he actually supports it. I mean, it’s not like we’re a real pack or anything-”

 

“Not a real pack? What do you mean?” Erica raised one slim eyebrow, and Stiles nearly flailed off the couch.

 

“Er, I mean just that we don’t have any sort of order or pack rules or anything. It’s just Scott and his wife and our friends and me. I guess you could say it’s more like a really close-knit group than a pack. We stay in touch a lot, and when we’re together, Scott likes a lot of attention, like hugging and stuff. I guess it’s like, nothing official keeping us together, like pack structure or anything. Not like what we learned in college.”

 

Erica made a show of jotting down a few notes, then looked back up at Stiles. “There are no wolves other than Scott in your pack?”

 

“No, just him.”

 

“And he’s never tried to seek out other wolves as friends?”

 

“Uh… actually, now that you mention it, I don’t think so? He’s honestly not a lot different from the way he was before he was bitten personality-wise, I guess? I mean, he’s healthier and a lot stronger and not a clutz anymore, and his senses are enhanced. And he can do a beta shift and grow claws and his eyes glow sorta amber and he gets the sideburns and fangs, but I’ve honestly only seen that a few times and only after I begged.” 

 

Stiles bounced his knee up and down, looking so nervous and anxious to please that it made Derek bite his inner cheek to keep from interrupting or touching him. He noticed Erica’s eyes on him and turned away from Stiles - when had he turned his entire body towards him? - to give her a stern look.

 

“And Scott is also married to a human?” Erica asked her expression unimpressed. 

 

“Yeah.”

 

Erica nodded and studied the papers in her hands again, letting Stiles sweat. “I don’t see any record of you working with other wolves before?”

 

“N-no, Derek is my first.” There was a pause, during which Stiles seemed to realize the other possible meaning to his words and his face flamed bright red. Derek could see the glitter in Erica’s eyes as she suppressed a smile.

 

“And you haven’t been around a born werewolf before?” she asked, thankfully moving the conversation on before Stiles could try and stutter out any sort of explanation or apology like he so clearly wanted to.

 

Stiles glanced at Derek before speaking, something he’d been doing the entire interview, as if verifying that Derek was alright with him answering. Whether he was doing it on purpose or not, Derek wasn’t sure, but it settled something in him every time Stiles did it.

 

“Not really. I mean, we had a guest speaker in school, who came in and talked a little bit about the differences between born and bitten werewolves, and about the different pack dynamics that can result.”

 

Erica considered him for a moment. Derek started to get nervous.

 

“And the guest speaker, did they discuss the dynamics of a pack consisting of one human and one born wolf?” 

 

Stiles’ eyebrows raised at Erica’s question. “Uh, no?”

 

“Stiles, how many packs do you think there are that consist of only one human and one born werewolf?”

 

“Uh…”

 

Erica raised an eyebrow at him again, effectively capturing his full attention. “I have been doing this job for five years and I’ve been a werewolf for ten years,” she said, watching Stiles intently as he gaped at her, “and let me tell you. I have not once heard of a pack like yours and Derek’s.” 

 

She paused to let that sink in. Stiles looked over at Derek, his mouth still hanging open in shock, and the urge to touch and reassure him was so strong, Derek brushed his fingertips momentarily down Stiles’ forearm and then away, resisting the urge to grab his hand. Stiles swayed towards him momentarily, and then caught himself and looked back at Erica, who was studying them intently.

 

“That, to me, means two things, a pro and a con,” Erica continued, leaning forward slightly and ignoring her clipboard for the first time, its usefulness as a prop having come to an end. “The con, obviously, is that none of us has the faintest idea how this type of pack dynamic works, or if it even works.”

 

Derek had the urge to block Stiles from Erica, as if she was about to pick him up and carry him out as some sort of failed experiment.  Erica caught his eye and gave him the tiniest of smirks as if reading his mind.

 

“However, there is a real opportunity here to learn about a ‘one human, one born wolf’ pack dynamic,” she continued, and Derek relaxed slightly. “But I must stress,” she said, looking darkly, first at Stiles, then at Derek, “that if Derek’s condition worsens, we are going to have to look into other possibilities for him.”

 

Stiles’ throat clicked as he swallowed, looking anxiously over at Derek. “Wor-worsens?” Stiles managed hoarsely, and goddammit, Derek did not want Stiles to think of him as some invalid. He snarled silently at Erica and she raised her lip slightly back, not quite challenging enough for him to take action. Though they were in his den, she was an invited guest, and was not actively trying to take Stiles away. So he dropped the snarl, but watched her closely.

 

“Yes,” Erica said, turning back to Stiles, “his condition cannot be allowed to worsen.” Thankfully, she gracefully sidestepped what that condition was. “So I need to ask you a few questions about how the trial is going, to see if any adjustments need to be made.” The clipboard made a reappearance, and she tapped her pen on it, as if calling class to order. “First, are you doing only daily scentings, or do you stop to see Derek more than once a day?”

 

Stiles’ jaw once again went slack. “Daily?”

 

“Yes, of course,” Erica said, for the first time some real worry slipping into her gaze. “Stiles, you are seeing Derek at least everyday for scenting, aren’t you?”

 

“Um…” Stiles looked at Derek then back at Erica. “I mean… I’ve been coming over about twice a week?”

 

“Twice a week?” Erica’s face was disbelieving. She glared at Derek and then back at Stiles. “You are seriously only seeing him twice a week?”

 

Stiles fidgeted while Derek used all his focus to keep from moving a muscle.

 

“Oh my god,” Erica said, rubbing a hand over her face, but miraculously not smearing her makeup. “Stiles,” she said, leaning forward in the armchair. “You have to see Derek every day. I don’t think you realize, most temporary companions move in with their wolf.”

 

Stiles’ face was shocked. He obviously had no idea that moving in was the usual method of pack bonding. Derek hadn’t wanted to scare him away by mentioning it, and when Stiles hadn’t brought it up himself, he let it drop. Erica obviously sensed that this was Derek’s fault and glared daggers at him.

 

“Oh,” Stiles said, his voice small. Derek shifted minutely closer to him.

 

Erica visibly collected herself, putting her professional guise back on, though it was strained.

 

“Stiles,” she said, gently. “Is this too much to handle right now?” She met his raised eyes and gave him a sympathetic smile. “Maybe you didn’t understand the commitment involved in taking this assignment.” 

 

Derek winced. That’s what he was after all. An assignment. He knew that. So why did it hurt so damn much to hear it out loud?

 

“No!” Stiles protested, pulling himself together. “I mean, yeah, I messed up, but just because I didn't know. Not because I don’t want to.” He turned to Derek. “Listen, I am so sorry. I just… I didn’t…” He turned back to Erica, panic on his face. “I can come see him every day. Now that I know, I can totally do that.”

 

Erica waited a moment, evaluating the earnest expression on Stiles’ face. Just when it seemed the tension couldn’t mount any higher, she smiled at him. “Okay, good,” she said, as Stiles slumped in relief. Her eyes flicked to Derek and then back to Stiles. “If you can, I would like you to come over twice a day for a while, whenever possible.”

 

“Yeah, I can do that,” Stiles responded quickly, nearly falling out of his seat with how much he was leaning forward. The smile Erica was giving him was soft and amused. 

 

“And,” she added, pausing, no doubt for dramatic effect, “you may want to consider spending the night occasionally.”

 

“Oh.” Stiles looked at Derek. “Oh,” Stiles said again.

 

“We’ll talk about it,” Derek told Erica firmly, and saw Stiles’ shoulders relax a fraction.

 

Erica nodded. She went about the process of putting her clipboard back in her large purse before standing up and leaning over towards Stiles, a card in her hand.

 

“Stiles, I’d like you to call me in the next few days, alright? There are some things we need to discuss.” Derek growled at her. She rolled her eyes. “Not about this lunk,” she said, pushing Derek’s shoulder and managing to move him a few centimeters with her enhanced strength. “But I think that you could benefit from some training, focusing mainly on born wolves. The colleges mainly teach courses on bitten wolves. And, as you are learning, born wolves are completely different.”

 

The three of them made their way to the front door, Stiles walking next to Erica, and Derek bringing up the rear.

 

“Seriously,” Stiles complained, “I can’t understand why the courses lumped born and bitten wolves together. Derek isn’t anything like Scott.”

 

Erica glanced over her shoulder at Derek, smirking. “He isn’t, is he?” she said, throwing fuel on Stiles’ indignant fire.

 

“No,” he stated emphatically. “It’s almost like born werewolves are some sort of secret or something and I don’t know why… oh my god, why are you two looking at each other like that? There is something to that, isn’t there? Are born werewolves part of a conspiracy theory? Am I like, in an actual episode of the X Files? I mean, more than I already was, what with the werewolf thing and all-”

 

“It’s not some big conspiracy, Stiles,” Erica huffed.  “Most born wolves prefer to keep a low profile. There are laws in place to protect them, and part of that is not making their vulnerabilities more public than necessary. There are… groups,” Derek repressed a shudder, “that don’t like werewolves, especially born wolves. So there’s an ongoing effort made by organisations like the Committee to keep born werewolves out of the spotlight. For example, both Derek and Scott’s drivers licenses say “werewolf.” There isn’t any distinction between the two except for the records kept by the local werewolf services and medical facilities.”

 

“I had no idea,” Stiles said, looking intrigued.

 

“Well, I guess we’re doing our jobs then.” Erica smiled at Stiles, and Stiles smiled back, and both of them had such twin expressions of devilry that Derek deeply regretted them meeting. “Oh!” Erica said, searching her pockets and then her bag. “I forgot my phone. Stiles, could you see if I left it in the living room?”

 

“Sure!” Stiles said, eager to help, and bounded off back to the other room. 

 

Erica was in Derek’s face lightning quick, her finger buried painfully in his chest. “He is absolutely, one hundred percent, exactly what you need, and if you screw this up, so help me, I’ll- Oh, thanks Stiles! Perfect. Well I’ll be going. Bye Derek. Bye Stiles.”

 

“Bye Erica!” Stiles called out the door, waving like a little kid. “I’ll call you!”

 

“You’d better!” she hollered back, opening her car door. Under her breath Derek could hear her mutter, “Don’t fuck this up, Hale,” before the door slammed shut and she was headed back towards the main road.

 

Derek let out a long breath.

 

“That wasn’t so bad,” Stiles said, shutting the front door and turning back to Derek with a smile.

 

Derek glared. “It was awful.”

 

Stiles looked torn between wanting to console him and wanting to tease him for being so pessimistic. In the end, he did neither.

 

“It’s almost dinner time. Wanna eat?”

 

“Yeah,” Derek agreed, and followed Stiles back to the kitchen.

 

He pulled ingredients for sandwiches out of the fridge while Stiles got down plates and made some lemonade from concentrate. Not as good as fresh, but it had to be better for him than soda, right? 

 

Derek had taken pains to make a grocery order that had a lot of the quick, simple foods Stiles gravitated towards that weren’t absolutely lacking in nutritional value. So he had ended up with a fridge full of sandwich makings and cut up veggies and ranch dressing, a freezer full of sweet potato fries and organic mexican entrees, and cupboards stocked with pudding cups, fruit cups, and beetroot chips. Not the healthiest options out there, but he decided that anything resembling actual food was a step in the right direction.

 

Stiles finished making the lemonade and rummaged for glasses. “So,” he said, his heart rate picking up slightly. “Every day, huh?”

 

“I didn’t want you to feel pressured,” Derek muttered to the bread he was spreading mustard on.

 

“But Erica was right? You need me to stop by every day?”

 

Derek shrugged, not looking at him. “Only if you can. No pressure.” He sensed Stiles rolling his eyes.

 

They ate on the couch, the TV off for once, both of them lost in their own worlds. Derek liked the way Stiles’ heart sounded in his den. It wasn‘t exactly a steady beat, as it would pick up from time to time, or stutter slightly for seemingly no reason (though not enough to make Derek worry that there was anything medically wrong with him). But the sound of a second heart, beating out of rhythm with his own, was more soothing than he could have imagined after all the time spent alone.

 

Plus, he liked feeding Stiles. Liked watching him eat the food he provided. Liked doing more than just his own dishes after a meal. It was all incredibly calming.

 

And the way Stiles smelled. He was still using scented body wash and hair products, and the fabric softener they used at the Stilinski home was something that was probably advertised as smelling like mountains or rain or something as equally crazy seeing as it smelled like chemicals to Derek. But he still smelled good, even with all the fake scents. Even the chemical, human scents made Derek feel better. It reinforced that it wasn’t just him, just one neurotic werewolf, sitting in his den anymore. 

 

Besides, he could still smell the real scent of Stiles underneath the perfume additives. Where his pulse beat in his throat, the skin exposed and not hidden by his loose T-shirt, the rich blood running close to the surface, there was a unique scent to his flesh and blood. Derek had gotten to breathe it in a few times now, though it was never enough. Even running his tongue over that spot hadn’t been enough.

 

He thought of the taste of Stiles on his tongue, the unique blend of soap and natural oils and the deep, siren call of hot blood. He thought of their mixed scent and the way it had lingered on his lips and tongue afterwards. That deep feeling of completeness that had washed over him, that had stayed with him, until it at last faded with the lingering taste of Stiles.

 

He did need to see him every day, wanted it. Wished he would never leave. God, the smell of him. The feel of him.

 

Derek was shocked back into awareness by a hand in his hair and a moan in his ear. Apparently, in his longing fugue, he had made his way across the couch cushions to Stiles and was now actively scenting that delicious spot he’d been obsessing over. The one near Stiles’ ear but just below his jaw.

 

Encouraged by the hand in his hair, Derek pressed his lips to the spot, lingering. He opened his mouth slightly and drew a breath, the cool air moving sharply over Stiles’ skin as he inhaled. He felt Stiles shiver and heard his voice in his ear, high and insistent. Derek could taste him this way, Stiles’ scent filling up his lungs and sinuses, catching in his throat and making his spine prickle with need.

 

He loved how Stiles went boneless for him, becoming malleable and heavy, letting Derek move him how he wished. So perfect, Derek thought, refusing to let the words escape.

 

Instead, he let his fangs slowly drop, their manifestation not hurting so much as pinging an electrical switch in the back of his brain. His teeth felt insanely sensitive, as if something in Stiles’ scent had triggered a completely different physical response in their manifestation, the nerves wired differently to his brain. Not for violence, this time, but for sex.

 

Derek let out a whole body shiver, the feeling too intense. The air rushing past his fangs as he huffed in Stiles’ arousing scent was sending shocks down his back, inside his brain, to the root of his cock.

 

He leaned in, seemingly on instinct, and touched the blunt length of his fangs to Stiles’ skin, the points curving back towards Derek’s half-open mouth and away from the fragile skin. At the shock of the heat of Stiles’ throat on his teeth, Derek had what could only have been a dry orgasm. He shook bodily, a tremor running through him as his eyes rolled back and he pressed forward, closer to Stiles, closer to the warmth and scent of him.

 

He was holding Stiles blindingly tight, though Stiles just went even more limp, more trusting, in his arms. He was holding onto Derek loosely around his shoulders with one arm, his other arm being pinned to his side where Derek held him, allowing full access to his throat and that spot that was making Derek lose it.

 

Derek began tonguing the few inches of skin that gave him the most of Stiles’ essence, the front of his fangs still pressed bluntly against his throat. The flavor coating his tongue, he licked over the backs of his fangs as he swiped at Stiles’ skin. Again, his eyes rolled back and his whole body convulsed. He would have sworn it was a small orgasm, though he didn’t ejaculate. His dick strained in the confines of his jeans, pulsing with the current of his inflamed blood, but he hadn’t actually come.

 

He whined and pressed closer. He’d never felt anything like this before, never knew it was possible to feel like this. He lapped at Stiles’ skin and his own fangs, tonguing them both insistently, feeling a shivery ecstasy in every nerve ending.

 

Derek had the back of Stiles’ head in his hand, careful to keep his claws retracted and only manifest his fangs, the rest of the wolf tucked away. He resettled them on the couch, kneeling over Stiles, the man’s arm still hooked around the back of Derek’s neck, pulling him down, keeping him close.

 

He pulled back, just for a brief moment, to look at the spot he was worrying into intense heat on Stiles’ throat. It was bright red, throbbing. It looked incredibly sensitive. Derek tested it by blowing cool air over the mouth-shaped mark. Stiles’ keened, his hard cock brushing Derek’s as he arched up off the couch from that small bit of stimulation.

 

Stiles’ blinked hard several times when Derek didn’t immediately go back to devouring that spot on his throat, too caught in Stiles’ expression of intense pleasure. He wanted to put that look on Stiles’ face again and again. He would never get tired of seeing it.

 

The human gasped for breath. “More,” Stiles managed, his voice broken and ragged around the edges. Then “Derek!” when he went for that pulsing red mark again, the skin so sensitive against the firing nerve endings of Derek’s fangs and tongue, his entire mouth suddenly an erogenous zone.

 

Swallowing down his saliva, rich with Stiles’ natural skin oil and pheromones, made even his throat constrict with pleasure. He had a sudden image of what it would be like to take Stiles’ cock into his mouth, into his throat. The feeling of being fucked raw when he was like this, hanging by a thread and ready to come at any moment.

 

The thought had him grinding down into Stiles’ pliant body, his hard length practically scraping Stiles through their jeans. 

 

Then, suddenly, there was a long-fingered hand fumbling at Derek’s button and fly. Stiles moaned when he didn’t find any underwear in the way, Derek’s cock falling into his palm bare. Derek wasted no time in opening Stiles’ jeans and pulling the elastic waistband of his boxers down and under Stiles’ balls. Then his hand was around the smooth, cut length of him, Stiles wailing and writhing in his loose grip.

 

Stiles turned his head, dislodging Derek’s mouth from his throat. But then Stiles’ own mouth was there, not so much kissing Derek as licking his fangs and mouth. Derek cried out, the twin sensations in his mouth and cock overwhelming. 

 

Derek thrust down into Stiles’ hand, the human not so much jerking him off as providing a tight space for him to rut into.  Derek loosely pulled at Stiles’ beautiful cock, glancing down between their bodies when he could spare a moment from the all-consuming feeling that was Stiles’ hand around him and his tongue in his mouth.

 

Kissing back was impossible, not only because Derek’s brain was offline, but also because he was so conscious of biting Stiles that he didn’t move his own mouth much. Instead, he let Stiles’ work his tongue over his lips and fangs, the wetly-rough texture of Stiles’ tongue wrapping around the tips, catching, but not tearing, on the points.

 

The noises Derek was emitting  were truly embarrassing. He let his mouth go passive, letting Stiles do what he liked. In turn, Stiles’ hand remained still except for the occasional twist, his palm wet from Derek’s steady stream of precome. 

 

Derek jerked Stiles slowly, worried that he would get carried away and hurt him with his focus so solidly on the sensations shooting into his brain from his mouth and his cock. 

 

At first it was an overwhelming rush of sensation, swamping him all at once, assaulting him from his mouth and from between his legs, pinging back and forth and lighting him up with unbearable pleasure. But slowly, over the course of a few blissful, mindless minutes, Derek felt the concentration of sensation shift down, settling in the base of his cock. 

 

His forehead bunched in concentration. Stiles’ hand felt amazing gliding slickly over his hard flesh, but there was an urgency coalescing in his hips and thighs, a need he didn’t understand, to snap into Stiles’ welcoming grip, fast and hard. He followed it blindly, just mindful enough not to hurt the fragile human below him.

 

“Uh!” he said, the sound ripped from him by the sudden uptick in sensation his pistoning movements were bringing him, his flesh feeling like it was splitting from pleasure. 

 

Stiles’ hand grew tighter, vise-tight. It was unbearably tight. No, wait. It wasn’t Stiles’ grip, it was him. He looked between their bodies just as Stiles’ gasped, “Oh my god, Derek, are you knotting? Is that your knot?”

 

“Yes,” Derek gasped against  Stiles’ lips, still not properly kissing him, too caught up in the new sensations clawing through his brain. “I’ve never… oh god,” he panted, feeling like he was being ripped apart and put back together over and over. “Oh god, oh god,” he babbled, driving like a sledgehammer into Stiles’ fist, on the edge, but not coming. He should be coming.  Why was he not coming? He had to come. He had to. “Ah! I have to! Stiles, please please please!”

 

He had no idea what he was begging for until Stiles unwrapped his arm from around Derek’s neck and reached between them, switching his grip and grabbing Derek’s knot with both hands. He squeezed. Hard.

 

“Ah!” Derek screamed. He stilled for a full five seconds, before losing his mind and drilling into Stiles’ clenched hands. He was going to. He was so close. He was. He was . He was coming. Oh god, he was coming. 

 

It was nothing like anything he’d ever felt. He knew he had the potential to knot, as a male born werewolf, but. No one had told him. He had no idea. No idea it would be like this.

 

“Stiles,” he gasped into his human’s throat. “Stiles, Stiles,” he murmured, thrusting languidly now, feeling hollowed out.

 

“Are you still coming?” Stiles whispered, sounding awed and breathless.

 

“Yes,” Derek growled into Stiles’ throat, feeling his orgasm crest and subside. Crest and subside. He growled his euphoria into Stiles’ skin.

 

“Holy fuck,” Stiles said, his voice barely audible.

 

He was covering Stiles in his come, their hips pressed together, just enough room for Stiles to get his fists around Derek. He had let go of Stiles’ cock when he had realized he was knotting, afraid of the very real possibility of hurting him. But now that he was more lucid and in control of his own strength, he took Stiles’ throbbing cock in his hand again and began to pump him from root to tip, his own come slicking the way.

 

Stiles still hung on to his knot, his jerking movements as Derek brought him to the edge causing Derek’s ongoing orgasm to spike. They both groaned in pleasure and relief when Stiles’ thighs spasmed and he came with a cry, legs shaking around Derek’s hips.

 

Derek remained braced above Stiles, staring between them, at Stiles’ come mixed with his, Stiles’ hands slowly relaxing from their grip around his knot. 

 

His knot. Jesus, it was huge. Nearly the size of one of his fists. But so tender, so sensitive. He had never come like that. Ever.

 

Following pure instinct, once Stiles’ hands had fallen away, he ground down on Stiles’ softening cock, mixing their come together, spreading it over both their groins. The sensations of Stiles jerking in overstimulation beneath him brought him through his final climax.

 

He hunkered down over Stiles, just careful enough to allow him to breathe, but otherwise crushing him into the cushions.

 


 

The clean up was as brief and silent as the last time, Stiles using the bathroom while Derek cleaned up as much as possible with paper towels in the kitchen. Though this time, he would definitely need a shower once Stiles had left.

 

Stiles emerged a few minutes later, bashful and exhausted. He promised to see Derek the following day, as per Erica’s instructions. Then he said goodbye and left.

 

Because Derek let him go without a word.

 

Because last time, Derek had said that his craving for Stiles was nothing more than a pack thing. 

 

Because Derek was an idiot.



 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles showed up the next morning before work, the sun barely above the treeline. Derek heard him shuffling outside on the porch for a minute, before tapping on the door and then letting himself in.

 

He gave Derek a bleary smile and shuffled right into him in the hallway, thumping softly into Derek’s chest and tilting his head to the side in offering. Derek's stomach did a small flip at the gesture. He wanted to wrap his arms around Stiles' warm body and drag his nose through his soft hair, still slightly damp from the shower.

 

Instead, he held himself back and leaned in politely, delicately skimming his nose over the offered skin. He breathed in deeply and Stiles’ pure scent enveloped him. He smelled incredible.

 

Derek rubbed his cheek down the side of Stiles' neck, then zoned in on some of his strongest natural scent points, breathing in behind Stiles’ ear then under his jaw, all while trying not to grab at him or get carried away. He moved around to the other side of Stiles’ straining throat, and that’s when he saw it: a mouth-shaped blotch, darkly blooming on Stiles’ neck. 

 

Derek’s mark. 

 

A multitude of emotions swam through Derek’s gut at the sight, and he burned with a sweetly-sick possessiveness. He only meant to scent over the mark, hoping to appease the wolf and let Stiles leave for work. He hadn’t meant to cage Stiles against the wall and lick his throat. Stiles moaned.

 

“So, you like the scentless products, huh?” Stiles asked, squirming against Derek’s body, like he was trying to scent him back. Derek buried his nose in Stiles’ hair, smelling the natural scent of him and and then rubbed his stubble through the soft strands, mixing their oils together.

 

“I like smelling you,” Derek agreed, rumbling in his chest and going back to lick at the hickey on Stiles’ throat.

 

“Oh good,” Stiles said, one arm twisting around Derek’s neck while the other hung at his side, clutching a plastic shopping bag. “I stopped at the drugstore on the way home last night- oh god your fangs.” Stiles held still as Derek brushed his elongated incisors against the mark, huffing in the scent of him. He slotted a thigh between Stiles’s legs as he leaned in, grabbing Stiles’ hair and twisting his head to the side so that he had more room.

 

The bag Stiles had been holding fell to the floor with a clatter. A small tube rolling across the hardwood floor caught Derek’s eye. He pulled back from Stiles to squint down at the packaging.

 

“Concealer?” Derek asked, straightening up and peering at Stiles’ flushed face. His eyes dropped to the dark mark above Stiles’ work uniform. “Oh,” Derek said, beginning to realize the significance of what he’d done the night before. 

 

Humans didn’t mark, not on purpose, usually. And when they did, it wasn’t something they shared with others. Derek cringed inwardly. He often got human and werewolf behaviors and customs mixed up. While his parents had tried to teach him the correct way to behave with each group, it had been too long and the lines in his head had become blurred. 

 

Stiles wouldn’t want his coworkers to see the mark on his neck. Or his friends. Or his dad.

 

“I’m really sorry,” Derek said, feeling both anger and guilt wash over him. He wanted Stiles to display his mark. He wanted every other werewolf, every other human, to know his claim on Stiles… except Derek had said they were nothing but packmates. And that mouth-shaped mark on Stiles’ throat was no ordinary pack marking.

 

“I hope you don’t mind if I put this on in the bathroom?” Stiles asked sheepishly, disentangling himself from Derek’s lax grip and swooping down to snatch the makeup off the floor. “I wanted to let you scent me first before I put it on. I hope that was the right thing to do.” His eyes went to Derek’s face and then quickly away, fidgeting with his uniform.

 

“Yes, that was a good idea,” Derek said, his voice rough, wanting nothing more than to press Stiles back against the wall. Instead, he trailed after him to the bathroom, watching while Stiles tore into different packages.

 

“I wasn’t sure what to get,” Stiles said, products sprawled all over the counter. “I found a YouTube tutorial for covering up hickeys that seemed easy to follow, so I just got some of the things that she said to use.” Stiles fumbled in his pocket, emerging with his phone. “Hey, do you mind holding this while the video plays? And pausing it for me when I need to? I just know that I’m going to get makeup all over my phone otherwise.”

 

“Sure,” Derek said, taking the phone from Stiles carefully. “I shouldn’t have marked you like that. I’m sorry.”

 

The look Stiles gave him seemed genuinely surprised. “Oh, no, no. Don’t worry, I actually like it. Er, getting it especially. I uh,” Stiles laughed nervously. Derek’s stomach clenched. “I mean, it’s a pack thing right?”

 

Derek grit his teeth. “Right.”

 

“Yeah, I thought so. Maybe next time, uh, if you do it again? Maybe below collar level?”

 

Derek swallowed heavily and met Stiles’ eyes in the mirror. Both of them looked down at the glaring mark on Stiles’ creamy skin, several inches above where his shirt hugged tight to his throat.

 

“Of course,” Derek managed. He quickly hit play on the video, holding at a good angle, and then watched as Stiles painstakingly covered up his claim.

 


 

Derek was pacing. He paced a lot. Not leaving the den during daylight hours had been hard on him for the past decade. But it was even harder now.

 

There was a feeling in the back of his brain, persistently reminding him that Stiles was out there somewhere, vulnerable, in a line of work that could potentially put him in danger. Even if what he mostly did was sit behind a desk, as he had told Derek. 

 

What if a werewolf was brought in, feral and enraged, and saw how beautiful and vulnerable Stiles was? What if Derek hadn’t scented him well enough? He’d started to in the hallway, but then he had stopped when he realized that Stiles intended to cover up the mark on his neck. And the makeup that he’d put on, while it didn’t reek of perfumes, it still obliterated Derek’s scent under layers of chemicals and pigment.

 

Another wolf might not even realize that Stiles was under a werewolf’s protection. They might try and take Stiles for themselves, or hurt him if they thought they couldn’t have him. 

 

Derek made another circuit through the kitchen, down the hall, into the bedroom, then back toward the living room, his hand held over his mouth to keep whatever sound wanted to escape locked up tight.

 

He had already texted Stiles once to make sure he’d gotten to the station alright, and Stiles had texted him a series of photos from the breakroom of a box of donuts disappearing. Then he’d sent, Stereotypical, but true, and I only had three!

 

Since then he had gone quiet. No doubt working. An ordinary day for him. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to-

 

He was just starting another pass from the hall into the living room, when there was a knock on his door. Derek stopped in his tracks. He had been so consumed with his worry over Stiles, he hadn’t even processed the sound of an engine getting closer to the house. Though now that he had been pulled from his reverie, he recalled the sound of a vehicle getting closer.

 

His eyes snapped to the clock on the TV in the living room. It was just after lunchtime, much too early for Stiles to be coming back, if he was even going to make it over tonight. He’d already stopped by that morning and they hadn’t made plans. Derek had hoped, but…

 

Besides, that hadn’t been Stiles’ Jeep. Derek knew that vehicle by now and it wouldn’t have slipped his attention so easily. Derek didn’t have any deliveries scheduled for that day, and besides, the delivery people knew to use the back door and set everything inside the porch. They never knocked on the front door.

 

“Come in,” Derek called from the dark hallway. He braced himself, feeling his fangs tickle in his gums and his fingertips itch with the points of his claws.

 

The door swung open, a tanned arm following it, and then Derek stood squinting into the bright sunlight streaming over Sheriff Stilinski’s shoulder.

 

“Derek,” Stiles’ dad nodded gruffly at him. “You and I need to have a conversation about my son.”

 


 

Derek handed John a cup of coffee, setting his own on the coffee table in front of the couch, having deferred the large armchair to the sheriff. John thanked him and took a sip, his weathered eyes crinkling in the corners.

 

“So,” John began, businesslike. “Stiles is your temporary companion.”



“Yes, sir.”

 

John nodded. “He’s always been interested in werewolves. Even before Scott was bitten. And afterwards, it was Stiles that did all the research and helped Scott adapt to the changes. So I know for a fact that he is comfortable with werewolves.” John took another sip of black coffee. “However, I don’t recall him signing up to officially become someone’s temporary companion.”

 

They sat, staring at one another. 

 

“Look,” John said, when Derek continued to sit frozen to the couch cushion. “Derek, you have to know that I’ve been pulling for you - my whole staff has been pulling for you - since that night. We couldn’t stop what the attack from happening, and I’m sorry for that. But since then, the people responsible are either dead or in jail, in a large part because my officers went above and beyond to bring those bastards down. So believe me when I say, I believe that you deserve a break. I think you deserve happiness. But listen. Stiles is my son. And it’s my responsibility to make sure he’s safe, even if he’s twenty-three and not a kid anymore.”

 

Derek didn’t move. He didn’t take his eyes off the sheriff. He could see him from that night, the older man superimposed over the younger version in Derek’s memory. The soot and grime that covered all of them as ash rained down from the burning house, sticking to sweaty skin. Derek, panic-ridden and afraid, restrained in special cuffs to keep him from running back into the collapsing ruin of the house. John leaning in, blocking Derek’s view of the fire, not saying anything, just holding his forearms gently, trying to stop Derek from pulling against the metal until he bled.

 

“I’m sorry,” John said. Both Johns. And then Derek was blinking and he was back in the present. The afternoon light seemed too bright, and he shut his eyes, surprised to feel the wet squeeze of tears.

 

“I-” Derek started, alarmed that he couldn’t get any more words out. John gave him a moment, sipping his coffee and looking away to let Derek compose himself.

 

“Stiles told me he was helping you, back when he first started coming out here,” John said once Derek had gotten himself under control. “I admit, I was surprised, but mostly pleasantly so, since Stiles, unique as he is, is a great person and loves to help. And I’ve always hoped you would start to rebuild your life. 

 

“It wasn’t until I saw Stiles sneaking in last night with a bunch of makeup because he thought he could hide the most insane werewolf hickey I have ever seen in my life,” John continued, turning almost as bright red as Derek, though he probably didn’t want to curl up and die as badly as Derek did in that moment, “that I realized he might be in over his head. That maybe you both are in over your heads.

 

“So this morning I went to the hospital and talked to Dr. Deaton. He isn’t allowed to give me details, of course. But he told me enough.” 

 

John set the mug aside and moved forward in his chair. He reached out and laid a gentle hand on Derek’s wrist, were there would have been marks from the cuffs all those years ago if Derek was able to scar.

 

“Derek, I’m sorry it got that bad. I’m sorry that you were hospitalized. And listen, I know Stiles must seem like your whole world right now and that you have to keep him at all costs. Protect him no matter what,” John sat back, letting go of Derek before he could feel too awkward. “And look, I don’t know a lot about wolf culture besides what I know about Scott, and he doesn’t have strong wolf instincts, or so I’ve been told. But Derek, even I know that wolves don’t mark up their pack members like that.”

 

Derek curled into himself. “I’m sorry, sir.” He rubbed his hands over his face, not knowing what to say. He drew breath to say more, but John held up his hands to stop him.

 

“Please no details. Do not do that to me. I have enough gray hair as it is. I told you what I saw because I don’t want either of you to get hurt. Stiles seems to think that this is some platonic pack thing, god knows why, and I can see by your face that you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. No offense.”

 

Derek shook his head. “None taken,” he ground out, his voice feeling like broken glass. He had no idea why John wasn’t just shooting him in the head with a wolfsbane bullet and burying him in a shallow grave in the woods after seeing Stiles’ neck, but he was becoming cautiously optimistic that this meeting wasn’t going to end in his grisly death.

 

“Okay, I’m almost done with my spiel, and then I’m gonna head back to the office and pretend I don’t know that my son is wearing a pound of foundation on his neck.” John rubbed at his face, his eyes screwing up. “God, I need so much therapy at this point. You have no idea what raising Stiles has been like.”

 

“He’s… spirited,” Derek tried, hoping to god that John wouldn’t somehow take that the wrong way.

 

“That’s one way of putting it,” John huffed. “I would have also accepted ‘possessed.’” 

 

Derek snorted and John gave him a small smile, shaking his head. 

 

“Anyway, the thing I came to say is just, be careful. Don’t get hurt. Don’t hurt Stiles. And also, while I realize this might be hard for you to accept, there are people who care about you, Derek. You aren’t as alone as you think.” John started getting up. “Also, you’re invited over for dinner. And I’m not taking no for an answer.”

 

Derek swallowed harshly, trying to think of a way to protest that didn’t sound rude as he followed John to the door.

 

“Thank you, sir, but I really can’t-”

 

“Make it work,” John said, opening the front door. “I don’t want the two of you isolated out here. And don’t put any more marks on my son, understood?”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

“Alright then. Thanks for the coffee. Be seeing you soon for dinner.”

 

John pulled the door shut behind him, leaving Derek stammering in the dark hallway.

 


 

“My dad came to see you?! Oh my god, really? And you’re both still alive?”

 

“I would never hurt your father.”

 

Stiles flapped his hand at him. “I know, I know. And actually, my dad is a pretty chill guy, but Jesus! I can’t believe he drove out here after lunch to interrogate you.”

 

“He didn’t interrogate me.”

 

“Then what did he do?”

 

“He invited me over for dinner.”

 

Stiles stared at him from where he was perched on a stool in the kitchen, watching Derek cook while drinking a glass of wine. He blinked at Derek and then burst out laughing.

 

“Of course he did,” Stiles managed to huff after a moment, shaking his head fondly. “Oh my god. Well you gotta come over now. I was going to invite you, you know, but I thought it would be awkward. This is actually perfect. I can cook for you for a change and-”

 

“I can’t go,” Derek said, concentrating hard on caramelizing the onions in the pan in front of him and not looking at Stiles’ crestfallen expression.

 

“Sure you can. My dad wouldn’t have asked if he hadn’t meant it and-”

 

“I can’t go, Stiles,” Derek said, moving the pan to a cool burner with a clatter and clicking off the stove. He glared down at the half-finished meal, trying to remember the next step, ignoring the fact that his hands had started shaking.

 

“Hey, hey,” Stiles said softly, getting up from his stool and standing next to Derek, letting their hips and shoulders touch. Derek wondered where he’d learned to do that. He immediately felt calmer at the touch of Stiles’ body, but he wasn’t closing Derek in or controlling him in any way. Stiles gently rubbed his cheek on Derek’s shoulder and he relaxed even further. “Are you able to explain to me why?”

 

God, Stiles was so good at this. Derek knew he was using special calming techniques, but it felt so natural. From anyone else, the soothing body posture would have made him even more upset, but Stiles… Stiles was really good at this.

 

Derek took a deep breath. “I don’t-” he started, before stopping again, briefly scenting Stiles’ soft hair to calm himself. He tried to find the words. It was so difficult to explain. It was hard enough to tell the doctors. So far, he’d avoided telling almost everyone in his life, though he assumed Erica knew, with the way she treated him. His ears burned and he felt the hot flush of shame and guilt stealing over him.

 

Stiles slowly raised his hand to Derek’s back and began to rub soft circles over his T-shirt. Derek turned his face into Stiles’ neck, the side without the makeup, and breathed deep.

 

“We can go sit on the couch to talk,” Stiles said, but Derek was already shaking his head.

 

“I want to finish making dinner,” he said, though his voice was choked and he sounded pathetic in his own ears. With trembling hands he replaced the onions on the burner and turned on a low flame. He moved away from Stiles to get the ground sirloin out of the fridge. Stiles helped him measure the spices to mix into the meat, and then helped him form the meat into patties with a slice of cheese tucked in the center, where it would melt when the burgers were cooked. 

 

They worked quietly until Stiles started to gently tease him about the fancy burgers, and a large portion of the remaining tension fell away from Derek’s shoulders. He was grateful that Stiles let him finish dinner. He also appreciated how Stiles was actively helping, but that he wasn’t taking over, as if Derek couldn’t handle it himself. 

 

Derek knew it didn’t matter in the large scheme of things but, to him, abandoning dinner was equivalent to admitting that he couldn’t be relied upon to feed Stiles. That he was a terrible pack mate. That Stiles should move on, leave him behind. It made no sense to anyone but him and his wolf, but Derek was going to finish dinner and feed Stiles. He had a task to complete. He breathed slowly and concentrated.

 

It wasn’t until he was slicing tomatoes, his hand finally steady, that Derek was able to talk. “I don’t usually leave the house during the day,” he said, looking down at the cutting board, concentrating on the knife so that he didn’t over-process what he was saying. “I’d like to come have dinner with you and your dad. But I’m not sure I could.” He finished slicing the tomato, adding it to the hamburger buns before rinsing off the romaine lettuce. 

 

“Can you leave the house after dark? Is that easier?” Stiles asked, his voice carefully neutral. Derek didn’t like it, but it was so much better than the indignation and confusion he had gotten from the few people who knew about his agoraphobia who weren’t Deacon. Derek shuddered inwardly and pushed it out of his mind. He was with Stiles right now, and Stiles needed an explanation.

 

“I can leave the house after dark,” Derek said slowly. He had told very few people this part. Actually, he had only ever told Deacon. “I go outside and walk through the woods most nights.” 

 

“Okay,” Stiles nodded. “Would it work if we made sure that the dinner was later in the evening, after sundown?”

 

Derek let out a long sigh, adding the caramelized onions to their burgers and picking up their plates to carry over to the table. “I…” he sighed again and stood behind his chair after putting down the plates, staring at the food and not wanting to look at Stiles, who had followed him over with the wine bottle and a second glass for Derek. He appreciated the gesture, though he wouldn’t be gaining much from the alcohol. “I don’t leave the house like this,” he said, making a small gesture to indicate himself.

 

Stiles nodded, still neutral. Derek could see him trying to process what Derek meant. It would be so much easier if Stiles could just guess what Derek was trying to explain so that he didn’t have to say the words. But Stiles hadn’t been around born wolves before. He had no way of knowing what Derek was talking about. To give himself some more time, Derek sat down heavily in his chair and started eating. He sipped the wine Stiles poured for him, nodding at Stiles in thanks, still without looking at him.

 

Stiles took a few bites, making an appreciative noise that made Derek curl his toes. After a few minutes of eating, Stiles, still wearing a look of pure concentration, asked, “So, do you dress a certain way? To leave the house?”

 

Derek gave a small snort and shook his head slightly. “Um, sort of.” Why was it so hard to say out loud? (You freak, you’re nothing but an animal.) “I don’t leave the house in this form.”

 

Stiles blinked at him. He slowly took a bite of his burger, his large doe eyes watching Derek calmly while the wheels turned in his head. Swallowing suddenly and straightening up so fast he almost knocked his wine glass over, Stiles gasped at him. “No!” he said, his mouth dropping open and his eyes going huge. “No! Oh my god. Please please tell me it’s true.” A huge smile seemed to be threatening to burst out on Stiles’ face. “You can turn into a wolf, can’t you?”

 

“Well…”

 

“Can’t you?!”

 

Derek gave a little shrug. Stiles leapt from his chair with a whoop and practically started dancing in place. “Can I see?! Please tell me I can see! Oh my god, oh my god!”

 

Okay, so maybe telling Stiles wasn’t going to be as big an issue as Derek had thought.

 


 

After they had cleaned up from dinner, Derek finally gave into Stiles’ pleading, heading into his bedroom alone to shift into his wolf form. Stiles’ squee when he emerged made Derek’s sensitive ears ring and flatten to his skull, but his packmate quickly made up for that by falling on his knees and petting him all over, tugging on his ears, and burying his hands in the thick fur ruff of his neck.

 

“I love dogs!” Stiles proclaimed happily, petting him, having no idea how that came across to a werewolf in full shift. Derek snorted through his long nose, but didn’t pull away. Stiles had no way of knowing, and his reaction was one of such pure delight, there was no way Derek could take serious offense. “I’m sorry, Derek, but it’s true,” Stiles said in response to Derek’s huff. “Dogs are the best! Just the best!”

 

Derek put up with the petting and the cooing for another several minutes before trotting back to his bedroom, ignoring Stiles’ disappointed whining. He shifted back in privacy and pulled his pants back on, before heading out to the living room, pulling on his shirt.

 

“So do you think you could-” Stiles started, but let the rest of the sentence hang there as he caught sight of Derek before he had his shirt all the way pulled down over his chest and stomach. And okay, maybe Derek had done that a little bit on purpose, wanting Stiles to show a bit of appreciation for his human form. Apparently, Derek was jealous of his own wolf. Well wasn’t that just great. Another weird and upsetting thing to tell his therapist the next time he was forced to do a mental health check-up.

 

Derek sat next to Stiles on the couch, and for a moment Stiles looked a little bashful, trying to stare at him without looking for too long. Attempting to hide his fond smile, Derek gently took a hold of Stiles’ upper arms and pulled him into his lap. Stiles, still a little shy for some reason, straddled Derek’s hips and laid his hands lightly on Derek’s shoulders. He settled in and sighed when Derek ran his hands over his face and hair, scenting him carefully.

 

“I was going to say, do you think you could come over to my house as a wolf?” Stiles asked, his thumbs brushing the ribbed neck of Derek’s T-shirt. Derek went still under him, considering.

 

“I don’t know,” he said at last. “I’ve never tried leaving my family’s property in wolf form before.” 

 

“Wanna try?” Stiles asked, smiling down at him from his perch in Derek’s lap. Derek loved the weight of him. He loved feeling his nervous energy as he shifted in his lap, his legs on either side pressing down into the cushions. Derek looped his arms loosely around Stiles’ waist.

 

“We can try,” Derek said. 

 

Stiles punched the air above his head. “Yes!” He started to squirm in earnest, excitement radiating off of him. Derek felt flattered despite his reservations.

 

“No promises though,” Derek said, finding he could be light about it for once, as he carded his fingers through Stiles’ hair.

 

“I’ll be happy for you just to give it a go,” Stiles said, painfully sincere, his warm brown eyes large and searching. Derek felt a fluttering warmth in his chest. Stiles ruined it the next moment. “Plus, you are the most awesome dog ever! You’re like, huge! And soft. So soft. And black, like you your hair.” Here Stiles got distracted petting Derek, his long fingers stroking over his scalp and then down to cup the sides of Derek’s face, his thumbs feeling the coarse texture of his short beard.

 

Their eyes locked, and Derek spared a moment to wonder if this was the moment when a human couple would kiss. Instead, he turned to nuzzle Stiles’ wrist. He could smell the warm blood beneath the thin skin, and Stiles’ heart was picking up, beating faster like it usually did during scenting.

 

His lips against Stiles’ inner wrist, Derek looked up at him earnestly and asked, “So, you’re saying you like my wolf form better than this one?” Then he put his mouth against Stiles’ skin and held his wrist to his face, rubbing his stubble over the fragile skin of Stiles’ arm, before moving back up and taking two of Stiles’ fingers in his mouth.

 

Stiles’ breath punched out of him. “N-no. No. That’s not what I meant. Uh. Oh Jesus. I can’t think of words while you are doing that.”

 

Derek gave a hint of a smile, feeling the corners of his mouth twitching up, before focusing on the fingers in his mouth. They were so long and delicate, tasting faintly of dish soap but mostly of skin. Stiles’ nails were trimmed short and didn’t scrape on his tongue but for the tiniest scratching sensation as Derek licked around them and between them.

 

Stiles was staring at him open mouthed, his eyes half-mast and glassy. Derek met his gaze and laved up the underside of the two digits, sucking them gently, feeling content and dreamy. Derek blinked heavily, the tip of his tongue stabbing between Stiles’ fingers, lapping at the join where the digits met his hand, the soft flesh yielding slightly to the pressure. 

 

He whined in his throat when Stiles leaned in and started kissing his neck, leaving a hot trail down to his shoulder. The boy was already breathing hard, his hips beginning to rock, shuffling further forward to press against Derek’s erection. Derek shuddered and pulled Stiles closer by his hips, directing his movements and encouraging him to move harder, faster.

 

Stiles moaned against Derek’s neck, only to whimper when Derek pulled off Stiles’ fingers, needing something else in his mouth. He grabbed Stiles under his arms and half stood up, controlling Stiles’ fall onto his back on the couch. Leaning over him, Derek started fumbling with Stiles’ work pants, pushing up his shirt and nuzzling and licking Stiles belly.

 

Stiles seemed to realize what Derek had in mind and let out a moan. He reached down to help Derek get his belt open and then his pants unbuttoned and unzipped. From there, Derek was able to do the rest, pulling down both pants and boxers, sliding them to Stiles’ ankles, before burying his nose in the crook of Stiles’ thigh, breathing in his strong scent.

 

Stiles’ legs fell open, welcoming him in, and Derek greedily scented him, rubbing his beard against Stiles’ pubic hair and humming in happiness at the intimate feeling and smell of him. Stiles was so vulnerable like this, and there was a tug under Derek’s ribs at the trust he was being given right now.

 

Stiles had his fingers entwined in Derek’s short hair as best he could, holding on when Derek’s nuzzling became licking. His soft sighs cut off into a frantic moan when Derek moved from licking the crease of his thigh to take Stiles’ cock into his mouth.

 

Derek barely spared a thought for adjusting to the taste or to consider that this was the first time he’d ever had his mouth on another man. None of that mattered, because this was Stiles, and his taste and scent were so much stronger here, mixed up with the salty tang of precome and the musky scent of sex.

 

He growled with possessiveness and Stiles screamed in response and writhed beneath him, pleasure and desperation radiating off him in waves. Derek swallowed and Stiles’ thighs began to tremble. 

 

It wasn’t long before Stiles was pulling at his hair and trying to tell him he was close, all while Derek ignored him and went on swallowing around him, bracketing is thighs with his arms while he gripped Stiles by the hips, his big hands spanning the slim expanse of him easily. He rutted down against the cushion beneath him, one of Stiles’ legs over the small of his back and his other foot on Derek’s thigh, undoubtedly feeling the motion of Derek’s hips.

 

“Derek!” Stiles’ stomach tensed and his legs started to shake, and then he was straining backwards with his shoulders into the couch, lifting his hips and pushing into Derek’s mouth as far as he could go, spilling down Derek’s throat and crying out wordlessly.

 

The taste of Stiles hit his tongue and then Derek was tripping over into orgasm in Stiles’ wake, rubbing down hard against the couch and feeling his release turn the inside of his jeans slippery. He didn’t knot, likely because Stiles’ wasn’t touching him directly, but it still felt incredible. His brain continued to cascade delicious chemicals as he came down, his head cradled against Stiles’ inner thigh, long fingers slowly stroking through his hair.

 


 

Derek’s face and chest were so warm, so perfectly comfortable, he didn’t want to move. He was surrounded by the most delicious smell. Comforting. Arousing. But the rest of him felt cramped, his legs uncomfortable and his arm and shoulder jammed up underneath him in an annoying way.

 

Blinking, his eyelashes brushed over warm skin and soft, sparse hair. His pillow giggled. Derek jerked the rest of the way out of his haze and sat up. Stiles groaned.

 

“Aw, but you were such a good blanket.”

 

Derek rubbed his eye and tried to tame his hair where it had been smashed up against Stiles’ thigh for - he looked at the clock on the TV - about a half hour. He turned back to Stiles, who was still sprawled on the couch, looking the picture of happy and content, even with his uniform pants around his ankles.

 

Derek swallowed.

 

Sometimes werewolf companions choose to spend the night. God, he wished that Erica had elaborated on that point more when she was here. Maybe made it a strong suggestion like she had with the daily scenting. There was nothing he wanted more than to wrap Stiles up in his bed.

 

Stiles made a feeble movement, tugging at his hopelessly wrinkled uniform. “I suppose I should head home and sort this out,” he sighed, slowly sitting up to reach down towards his twisted pants.

 

Derek knelt down next to the couch and blocked Stiles’ progress, hands going to Stiles’ belly of their own accord. “I promised I wouldn’t leave marks,” he heard himself saying, justifying his wandering hands as he examined every inch of Stiles’ skin.

 

“I mean,” Stiles said, sighing when Derek’s hand smoothed up his flank, pushing his shirt farther up, “I'm sure it would be okay if no one could see them.” He smirked at Derek from the arm of the couch, and Derek gave him a small smile in return.

 

“Maybe,” Derek managed, petting Stiles’ happy trail with one hand while he kissed over his stomach and then followed his hand down, ending with a small nip to his hipbone and earning a gasp. He gave the soft spot under his belly button one final kiss before tugging his shirt down and helping him to get his boxers and pants back up his long legs.

 

Stiles gazed up at Derek, his eyes soft and somehow far away, before seeming to realize that he was now fully dressed again, save for the open belt buckle lying over his waist. He sat up, beginning to fumble with his belt before thinking better of it and getting up to use the bathroom.

 

Derek trailed down the hallway to his bedroom for a change of clothes, in desperate need of a shower. He waited for Stiles to finish up in the bathroom and then slipped in after him, Stiles dropping his eyes to Derek’s filthy jeans and giving him a smirk as he brushed past him on the way to the living room. Derek heard the TV click on as he stepped into the shower, and something in him settled down knowing that Stiles would wait for him.

 

They stood in the hallway twenty minutes later, Derek completely unnecessarily scenting Stiles all over again and Stiles graciously allowing him, grinning ear to ear like he had some private joke. Derek looked at him questioningly, but he just shook his head and ran his fingers through Derek’s hair one final time before heading out.

 

“Text me what day works for dinner with the old man!” Stiles called back at him, before the door closed and he was alone. He listened to Stiles’ Jeep until it was out of range, before heading out on patrol.

 


 

The deer were back, wandering down to the stream, picking through the underbrush. Derek followed along, carefully downwind, listening to the fawn’s clumsy stumbling and the animals’ slow progress down to the creek bed. He listened for a while longer, certain that there were no predators other than himself in the vicinity, before moving on.

 

He paused at the usual spot in the clearing by the ruined house, but didn’t linger, following the path up towards the highest point of the property, a treeless space covered in rocks and weeds. He sat at the top of the ridge for a long time, scenting the air and watching the shadows shift under the passage of the half-moon. 

 

Derek felt different in wolf form tonight. Lighter, more connected. Usually, he tried to block out his human side while he was shifted, shutting out the difficult, weary thoughts of his daytime-self.

 

Tonight, though, he couldn’t help thinking about Stiles’ arms around his wolf form, so easily accepting and so obviously delighted. His simple joy at discovering that Derek could turn into a “dog.” 

 

Derek huffed, shaking his head as if trying to throw water from his fur. Stiles meant no disrespect. To him, dog was the highest compliment, not an insult. And maybe Derek could get used to hearing the word directed at him by Stiles, and leave that other voice behind in the murky past where it belonged.

 

He felt so connected to his human side just then, out under the stars and thinking of Stiles, that he considered changing forms. It only needed to be for a moment, just to know that he could do it. He stared down at his paws, thinking of them transforming into human hands, of standing up tall and bare under the light of the moon, breathing in the fresh air, the world dimming slightly with his half-human vision, but still clear. Still safe.

 

He wanted to. He leaned into the edge, the full body shiver of transformation tickling at the edges of his perception. 

 

In the end, though, he couldn’t fall over the edge. Couldn’t take that final step.

 

Next time. He could try again next time.

 

He trotted home in his wolf form, feeling foolish about his reluctance to make the shift, even though he knew he was safe; nothing but a family of deer for miles. He wasn’t totally dejected, though. Maybe he hadn’t managed to shift in the open but, for the first time in years, he had seriously considered it.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Erica [11:12 am]: Stiles is going to start taking classes at the Center

Erica [11:17 am]: Are you panicking? Stop panicking

Erica [11:24 am]: You know that I can see that you’ve read these messages right?

Erica Calling

 

“Stop panicking.”

 

“He should take the classes,” Derek said, pacing and avoiding thinking about why he suddenly felt like hitting things. “It’s what he wants to do with his career.”

 

“He’s not going to suddenly drop you just because he learns some of the weirder stuff about born wolves,” Erica said. “I mean, I’m still friends with you.”

 

“You’re also a werewolf.”

 

“A bitten werewolf. It’s not the same.”

 

“To humans it is,” Derek argued.

 

“Not to a human that’s best friends with a passive, bitten wolf, and then gets stuck with your alpha ass, it’s not,” Erica replied. 

 

“Don’t tell him I’m an alpha.”

 

“He’s going to figure it out, Derek. He’s going to be taking classes. Real ones this time. And if he starts taking the online courses to prep for his degree in werewolf psychology and sociology at the Academy, he is definitely going to know.”

 

Derek paced faster. What he wouldn’t give to be able to walk around outside right now. This pent up energy almost hurt.

 

“He’s not going to drop you when he finds out, Derek,” Erica repeated, her voice taking on a consoling edge.

 

“He might.”

 

“He won’t.”

 

“Alphas are demonized in the media. We’re no better than monsters to most people.”

 

“That’s bullshit and Stiles will know that.”

 

“But-”

 

“Stiles is smart, Derek. And for some reason, he likes you. You really think he’s going to wash his hands of your stupid wolf butt just because your eyes glow red and the news ran a story about a feral alpha several years ago?”

 

“But Scott was bitten by that alpha.”

 

“Oh. Right. Still-”

 

“Don’t tell him yet. Please. Just… I really don’t want a different companion assigned to me. I’m used to Stiles.”

 

“Used to him, huh? Nothing more than that? You’re just used to him?”

 

“Erica,” he growled. He was sweating. Why was he sweating? His hands clenched.

 

“Derek, relax. We aren’t running the next class for two weeks. There's plenty of time to tell him all the stuff you really should have already told him.”

 

Derek’s hand gripped tight around his phone.  The tendons in his neck felt like they were about to snap.

 

“Okay,” he mumbled.

 

“He’s probably going to tell you all about how excited he is over the classes next time he sees you, so, you know, be supportive.”

 

“Of course I’ll be supportive. I’ve already said he should take them.”

 

“Just don’t give him the look.”

 

“What look?”

 

“Is there a mirror nearby?”

 

“No.”

 

“Well, it’s the look I’m positive you’ve got going on right now,” Erica sighed. “Something along the lines of mild food poisoning and paralysis.”

 

Derek scowled. “Erica.”

 

“Yeah, okay, I know. I’m going now. Love you, sugar lump!”

 

Derek hung up.

 


 

"Hey," Stiles said. Derek looked up at him, his tail tucked tight and his ears flattened with worry. Stiles chuckled softly. "You know, I think you're even more expressive like this."

 

Derek hunched further down. Emotions came much purer in wolf form. He was nervous about getting into Stiles' Jeep with him. He trusted Stiles, or he would never have agreed to this. But he was leaving his den and his property for the first time since the hospital, and those were not good memories.

 

They stood in the hallway in front of the door. Stiles had a backpack slung over his shoulder that Derek had packed earlier with the ridiculously optimistic idea that he might be able to shift back once he was at Stiles’ house, and he had wanted clothes, just in case. Now though, staring at his own front door from waist-height, he thought he might not be able to take the first step.

 

He watched as Stiles’ hand reached for the knob, and he instinctively leaned his weight into Stiles’ thighs, his furry shoulder thumping into Stiles’ jeans, gently knocking him to the side. He didn’t want Stiles to touch the handle. He didn’t want Stiles to get burned. He didn’t want to see what was on the other side. 

 

“It’s okay,” Stiles said, hand ruffling over the smooth fur on the wolf’s head. “We’ll only be in the open a few seconds, and then you can hop right into the Jeep.” 

 

Without further ado, Stiles tugged the front door open and was herding Derek out onto his front porch. Derek strained his ears for signs of danger, finding nothing but the usual night sounds. He huffed at the air, and it was grass and dirt and small creatures in the underbrush and Stiles.

 

The passenger side door of the Jeep creaked open and Stiles honest to god patted the seat to get Derek to jump up. 

 

“I put a blanket down for you and everything!” Stiles chatted, getting into the driver’s seat once Derek was settled and starting up the engine. “Do werewolves shed? I don’t know if werewolves shed. I don’t even know if normal wolves shed. I mean, it would make sense that you would, right? Don’t they have to breed dogs specifically not to shed all over the place? You know, for people with allergies, or maybe OCD or something.”

 

Derek was so busy giving Stiles an unimpressed look, he didn’t even notice when they drove past his family's property line.

 


 

The sheriff blinked down at Derek before raising his eyebrows at his son. Derek sat with as many good manners as he could, tail curled around his paws and back straight, while Stiles fumbled his shoes off in the entryway behind him. He resisted the urge to sniff the air, though there were so many new smells it was difficult to keep his nose from twitching.

 

“So, I know you made me promise never to just show up with a dog,” Stiles said, coming to stand next to Derek, “but this one followed me home. Can we keep him?”

 

The sheriff snorted and Derek flattened his ears and stared hard up at Stiles, but his chest squeezed uncomfortably at Stiles’ words. The thought crossed his mind briefly that he could just stay in this form. It would be easier if he was the family dog. If they could just keep him, simple as that. It was a ridiculous fantasy that didn’t last more than a few seconds, but the yearning to belong remained. Derek straightened up even more, determined to behave.

 

“Welcome to our home, Derek,” the sheriff said with a smile. “I’m glad you could make it. Please make yourself comfortable.”

 

“Should I have bought a doggie bed?” Stiles asked in mock horror.

 

“Stiles,” his father warned, though his eyes crinkled up. Derek pulled his tail in tighter over his front paws.

 

“I’m going to put your stuff in my room,” Stiles said to Derek, tossing his hoodie on the back of the couch. “You can look around if you want.”

 

He turned to go up the stairs to the second floor and Derek was instantly at his heels. Stiles stopped and looked down, a confused frown on his face.

 

“I think he’d be more comfortable going with you,” the sheriff said, admirably trying to keep the smile out of his voice.

 

“Fine, but you chew on any of my shoes and we’re going to have a problem.”

 

“Stiles!”

 

“Yeah, yeah, sorry dad. Sorry Derek.” Derek fixed him with a superior look, before intentionally gazing off into a random corner. “It’s so creepy that I know exactly what you’re thinking and you can’t even talk,” Stiles muttered, continuing up the stairs. Derek followed right behind him.

 

They reached a room saturated with Stiles’ scent, and he felt instantly relaxed. It took all of Derek’s willpower not to climb into the bed and hunker down for the rest of the evening. There was no danger here. He had the Stilinski’s to protect him, and he was there to protect them. Safety. Pack.

 

“So, you wanna, uh, get changed?” Stiles asked, looking down at him. “I mean, we could always serve you a plate on the floor but…” Derek started nudging Stiles out of the room by headbutting him in the thigh until he got the hint and left, closing the door behind him. “See you downstairs,” Stiles called through the door, unnecessarily loud. He still didn’t seem to grasp the extent of Derek’s enhanced hearing. Derek really needed to meet this Scott kid face-to-face. He had taught Stiles absolutely nothing of importance about wolves.

 

He felt less secure with Stiles gone. Not for the first time, he felt the inadequacy of not being a born alpha. He was emotionally still a beta, with all natural instincts of a pack member, not a pack leader. He was overly protective, but he had always been like that. It was a personality trait, not anything he’d gained from becoming the new alpha as the last surviving member of his pack.

 

With no human eyes on him, he was free to drop pretense and snuffle around the room. Emotions lingered in Stiles’ discarded clothing, as well as the scents of other people and places. Stiles’ uniform from that day smelled like stress, determination and pride. It smelled of the police station and patrol cars, of a coffee house and a diner. There were multiple food smells: donuts, coffee, french fries and ketchup, a burger for lunch. He could smell where the sheriff had put his hand on Stiles’ shoulder and the pride and love in that touch. He could smell faint remnants of other people, none of them too threatening. But most of all he could smell them together, him and Stiles. His human form scent, distinct from his current form’s more wolf-like scent, and Stiles sweet-salty smell, overwhelmingly perfect.

 

Derek backed away from the closet, knowing that he had spent a lot longer than was polite investigating Stiles’ things. He stood in the middle of the carpet and shifted back before nerves got the best of him. He refused to think of what it meant that he was shifting outside of his den for the first time (voluntarily) in years.

 

But he felt… safe here. Surrounded by Stiles’ scent, it was like an extension of his own den. He stood for a moment, naked and oddly vulnerable, despite being the most dangerous creature within hundreds of miles, possibly in the entire Northwest. Not that humans couldn’t figure out a way to destroy him. He knew that only too well.

 

He dressed quickly, taking a moment to indulge by rubbing his face in Stiles’ pillow, coating his clean, drier fresh clothes in a layer of his packmate’s soothing scent. It made him feel braver, more secure. Some alpha , he thought to himself, before fixing his hair in the mirror in the hall bathroom. 

 

He headed down to where he could hear Stiles complaining about his father’s stubborn refusal to buy a leaf blower, while his dad complained about Stiles’ apparent inability to use a rake. The kitchen was filled with the cheerful clattering of plates and the metallic sound of silverware being jostled. Derek could smell the lasagna in the oven and knew it was done, along with the ever-so-slightly burned garlic bread.

 

Home. Not his, maybe, but still a home. His heart stung.

 

“Derek, can you help Stiles with the glasses?” John asked, refusing to acknowledge his change in form or the open look of longing that must have been on his face in that one, unguarded moment. Stiles stopped talking about stubborn old cops who didn’t love their sons enough to pay for a modern convenience and spun around, his face breaking into a huge grin when he saw him. 

 

They busied themselves setting the table and filling glasses with water. Stiles opened a bottle of wine and Derek set out the juice glasses the Stilinki’s used instead of wine glasses. “Stiles broke them all,” John admitted. Stiles stared at him in betrayal.

 

The meal was lively, though Derek didn’t participate much more than answering questions and laughing at Stiles’ indignation when his father called him out for something ridiculous he’d said or done. At one point, when they were finishing up and Stiles was smacking his dad’s hand away from taking a third helping of lasagna, Derek laughing openly at the look of fond exasperation John threw his son, Stiles caught and held his eye. Stiles smiled at him, slowly, a little dopey, his amber eyes sparkling.

 

“I like seeing you laugh,” Stiles said. Derek felt his face heating.

 

They cleaned up the remnants of dinner while John headed up to his room to change for his night shift at the station. “Alright, I'm heading out,” the sheriff announced as Derek finished drying a pan and Stiles put the last of the leftovers in the fridge.

 

“Okay dad, stay safe,” Stiles said, taking a few steps over to his father and giving him a quick side hug.

 

“I will. You boys have a good evening and remember what I told both of you.” John leveled them each with an imposing Dad Look. Right. No marks. Derek’s ears got hot and Stiles rolled his eyes. 

 

“Get out of here, old man. Love you.”

 

“Love you too, son. Night, Derek.”

 

“Goodnight, sir. Thank you for dinner.”

 

John nodded and was out the door a few minutes later. Derek listened as his car pulled out of the driveway and down the street.

 

“He’s really gone?” Stiles asked in a whisper, noting Derek’s cocked head. “Not spying on us from the front window?”

 

Derek managed a small smile. “No, he’s really gone.” 

 

Stiles grinned. “Good! Let’s play video games and eat junk food. I have a whole stash.”

 

“I know. It’s in your bottom dresser drawer.”

 

“You snooped in my room?!”

 

“Hard not to notice the fog of chemicals pretending to be food coming from that corner,” Derek replied steadily.

 

Stiles gasped. “How dare you! Now I have to decide if you deserve the Twizzlers I bought especially for you.”

 


 

“You’re terrible at this,” Stiles complained half an hour later. “I thought that your superpowers would translate well to video games. But no, Derek, I was so misguided and wrong. How are you this bad?”

 

Derek shrugged. “This is the first time I’ve played since I was a teenager.”

 

“But still . You’ve held a controller before, right?”

 

Derek snorted. “Yes, Stiles. I’ve held a controller before.”

 

“Then how?”

 

“I played sports. And my sisters liked the PlayStation more than me, so. I only played when they didn’t have anyone else to play with.”

 

Stiles shook his head. “Look, you need to come over more, if only so you can learn to play this without embarrassing yourself.”

 

“I’m not embarrassed,” Derek said, as his character keeled over and died. Again. He wasn’t quite that bad. He might be hamming it up a bit to get under Stiles’ skin. He got so flushed when he was exasperated. And he smelled stronger. He moved closer to Stiles on the couch, still holding the controller as he leaned his head over and breathed in by Stiles’ ear. “But I’ll come over more if you want me to.”

 

Stiles’ face went slack instantly as his mouth dropped open and his eyes went glassy. On screen his character dropped dead as Stiles swayed closer to Derek.

 

“You could stay. Tonight. Here,” Stiles said, his eyes dropping to Derek’s mouth, then scanning down his body before looking back into his eyes.

 

Derek swallowed. “Would your dad be alright with that?”

 

“I mean, yeah. I told him what Erica said about, about sleepovers being good for you.”

 

Derek couldn’t help but snort. “Well, if it’s for my health.”

 

“Is that a yes? You’re gonna stay?” Stiles’ face lit up. “I don’t mind driving you home if you need to go-”

 

“No, it’s okay.” Derek’s fingers twitched. “That is, if you actually want me to stay. If not, then-”

 

“No! I do, I totally do. Uh, you want to get ready for bed then? You’re terrible at video games, so maybe we can watch a movie instead?”

 

“Sure.”

 

Derek trailed after Stiles upstairs to the bathroom, following him right inside. “Uh, okay,” Stiles said, looking around the small space for a moment with wide eyes. “Let me get you a toothbrush.” He fished around in the medicine cabinet. “Here’s one the dentist gave me last visit. Sorry it’s not as cool as mine,” he said waving his bright yellow toothbrush at Derek, the handle shaped like Tigger. “They were out of the Batman ones,” Stiles said, shrugging and reaching for the toothpaste. At least it wasn’t bubblegum flavored.

 

They brushed their teeth side by side, taking turns rinsing their mouths and brushes. Derek ended up going first when the mint toothpaste made him sneeze. Stiles laughed at him, somehow managing to get toothpaste on the mirror. 

 

Once they were finally cleaned up from that incident Stiles headed to his room, Derek a few steps behind. As soon as the door was closed and Stiles started rummaging around his dresser, presumably for his snacks, Derek stripped out of his shirt and pants, and then proceeded to make himself comfortable on Stiles’ bed. He took a second to just breathe, feeling the sensation of pack and safe wash over him, before he started getting the bed ready to share with Stiles.

 

It was a full mattress rather than a twin, thank god, and Derek chose the side closest to the door for his own spot. He rearranged the pillows and blankets so that Stiles could wedge himself comfortably in the corner for watching a movie on his laptop. He fussed for a bit longer, getting everything to lay right.

 

The room was too quiet. He looked up to see Stiles standing halfway to the bed, a load of extra sheets in his arms. He had a change of clothes over one elbow, probably what he preferred to sleep in, and a pack of Twizzlers hanging from his clenched fingers.

 

Derek reached out for the extra bedding, grunting his thanks for the thoughtful gesture, and began adding the new items to the blankets and pillows he’d already arranged. It was much more comfortable after the additions had been prodded into place. That accomplished, he turned back to Stiles and took the candy out of his grasp, setting it in the middle of the bed to share while they watched.

 

“Okay,” Stiles was whispering. “Okay… right.”

 

Derek reached out and tugged the clothing from Stiles’ grasp and examined it, finding two T-shirts and two pairs of pajama bottoms. Derek held up the largest shirt and raised his eyebrows. Stiles nodded. Derek held it up to his own chest, but he could tell it wasn’t going to fit, so he added it to the bedding instead.

 

Stiles was still hesitating and fretting, so Derek stood up, pulled him forward by his waist so that he was standing right in front of him by the bed. He made quick work of the buttons on Stiles’ flannel shirt, which wasn’t buttoned all the way up anyway, and slid it off his shoulders, tossing it on the bed with everything else. He reached for the hem of Stiles’ T-shirt next, and Stiles made a small noise, something like a startled yip.

 

Derek paused to look at him. He was flushed and staring down at Derek’s chest, watching the muscles shift while Derek worked his shirt up over Stiles’ torso. His eyes flicked up to Derek’s just before his face disappeared behind a wall of cotton fabric as Derek tugged the shirt off over Stiles’ head, tossing it to join the rest of the bedding.

 

Stiles was staring at him, a little dazed, as Derek situated the fresh T-shirt so that he could help Stiles into it. The processes took longer than necessary, because Stiles didn’t seem to know where to put his arms and got stuck, but eventually he was wearing the shirt he had chosen to sleep in.

 

Derek sat down on the edge of the bed and something like disappointment crossed Stiles’ face when he stopped touching him. He didn’t allow himself to think about it too carefully, just like he hadn’t let his hands wander all over Stiles’ slim chest and belly. He was being a responsible packmate, and he didn’t want to mess it up.

 

He pulled Stiles forward by the waist, holding him between his knees as he unbuckled his belt. Stiles let out another noise, sort of a gasp, but Derek tried not to get distracted. He pulled the belt out of the loops and set it aside, since it would be uncomfortable digging into their backs if he left it on the bed. 

 

By the time he had Stiles’ button undone and the fly unzipped, he was having a resurgence of very non-pack member thoughts. Getting ready for bed together had always been a family activity for him, one that never involved sexual intent, just caring and reassurance. And yes, normally his family did not actually undress one another, just helped when elbows got stuck or hair got caught, but it felt so natural to take over for Stiles. He was able to scent him this way as he put the fresh clothes on him, so that they smelled like one another. He liked doing this a lot. Maybe too much.

 

It was hard not to lean in and bury his face in Stiles’ warm belly and rub his scruff in the warm crease of his thigh where the hair smelled musky and so, so good. He distracted himself by helping Stiles out of his pant legs, which required some patience, as Stiles had seemed to forget how to use his feet.

 

As soon as his legs were free, he helped him into the soft pajama bottoms and pulled them up over his boxer briefs, coming to rest under his hip bones. Then he stared at his own hands on Stiles’ frame, his thumbs under his navel. He tried to block out how easy it would be to yank the front of his clothing down and pull him close so that he could get his mouth on him. 

 

Swallowing heavily, Derek instead asked Stiles to grab his laptop, which he nearly dropped on the way back to the bed. Derek took it from him and set it near the Twizzlers, then grabbed Stiles and pulled him over his own body and set him in the corner he’d made comfortable for him.

 

“Okay,” Stiles said again, his eyes dropping to Derek’s chest, his stomach, his thighs, then back up. Stiles pulled a pillow into his lap. “What would you like to watch?”

 

They settled on Netflix’s Daredevil, since Derek hadn’t seen it and Stiles was a huge fan. Stiles inched closer until Derek wrapped an arm around his back and hauled him in, Stiles’ head resting comfortably in the dip between Derek’s shoulder and pectoral muscle, his cheek and ear warm against Derek’s skin. He got distracted rubbing his beard over Stiles’ hair, feeling the soft strands catch and release, catch and release, lulling him into full relaxation. One final scan of the surrounding area, hearing nothing but normal human and small wildlife sounds, and Derek was finally able to rein in his focus, center it completely on Stiles.

 

He realized that Stiles was turning his head into the motion of Derek’s face, rocking his head slowly on Derek’s chest as he did, his breath ghosting over Derek’s nipple. Derek sucked in a breath, shivering.

 

Deftly, Stiles reached out and closed the laptop. Derek picked it up along with the unopened candy, and set them on the nightstand. He looked at Stiles again, just in time to see him take the nipple near his cheek into his mouth. 

 

Derek groaned, his whole body pulsing with the electric shock of it. No one had ever done that to him before. He never even touched his nipples when he got himself off. He had no idea he was that sensitive. “Oh fuck,” he whispered when Stiles sucked harder, humming against his chest.

 

Stiles shifted them around, nudging and pulling at Derek, until he was stretched on his back, Stiles straddling his hips, bent over him to get his mouth back on his nipple. Derek ran his hands through Stiles’ hair and down over the knobs of his spine, then back up his flanks. Stiles got his hand on Derek’s other nipple, and Derek arched up, moaning.

 

He wondered if a real alpha would allow this. If a real alpha would even enjoy this. But the thought was vague and half-formed. He couldn’t think through the pleasure. He cupped Stiles’ face, his hands cradling his skull and jaw, not holding him down or repositioning him. Derek just wanted to be connected, wanted to feel Stiles’ motions against him as he sucked and licked. One of his thumbs crept down to the corner of Stiles’ mouth, so that he could feel Stiles’ tongue working. They both moaned and Stiles started working more urgently, his hips beginning to rock.

 

Derek was already blindingly hard and leaking, wondering if he could come from having his nipples sucked and pinched by Stiles’ talented tongue and fingers. He felt the pleasure building, burning, a little bit like having his cock stroked, though not as direct. The pleasure in his groin was muted, spread out. It was diffused throughout his chest and down between his legs, the current connected and pulsing, concentrated in his nipples, tapering down to his cock in a dull aching throb that kept building.

 

“Stiles,” he whispered, wrecked. 

 

Stiles groaned and sucked harder, his free hand scrabbling up Derek’s shoulder to his neck, then his face, two fingers slipping into Derek’s mouth. His fingers didn’t go to Derek’s tongue like he expected, but felt along his teeth until he found his incisors, stroking down them encouragingly.

 

Derek moaned low and deep when he realized what Stiles wanted. He focused as much as his sex-addled brain could, manifesting his fangs slowly so that he didn’t accidentally slice Stiles’ fingers. His human canines sharpened to points, then started a painfully slow descent until they were full length and throbbing.

 

Stiles’ attention to his nipples waned as he focused on Derek’s mouth, stroking the front of the curved fangs and making appreciative noises. Derek shifted under him and Stiles’ attention returned to his chest, sucking and rolling and pulling… all while stroking his fangs and letting Derek lap at his fingers in bliss.

 

It was building, building slow and steady. Different from having his cock touched, but very real, very close. Derek had started up a low, urgent keening, one thumb still in the corner of Stiles’ mouth, the other gently holding his shoulder, silently asking him not to stop.

 

He was hovering on the edge, blissful, feeling Stiles’ lower belly lightly drift over his trapped cock as Stiles idly humped his thigh and worked Derek’s body inescapably towards climax.

 

“Ungh,” Derek groaned deep, his core tensing up tighter and tighter. “Stiles,” he urged, his whole body winding up. “Stiles,” he said again, the word slurred past Stiles’ wet, stroking fingers and his sensitive fangs. “Stiles! Stiles!” 

 

The tension finally snapped as he came in his boxers, shifting against Stiles’ stomach to help him focus on his pulsing cock, the orgasm rolling on and on as it reverberated through his chest and mouth, back down to his groin. It was as if his nervous system was confused as to where the release was happening, and kept searching for it in a loop.

 

“Oh god,” he murmured, panting hard into Stiles’ hand.

 

Once he could think again, he pulled Stiles off his nipple, his body spasming with oversensitivity, and sucked on the fingers in his mouth, his teeth once again blunt and human. Stiles looked down at him with dark eyes, his mouth open and flushed red. Derek growled, low and possessive, then reached out a hand and cupped Stiles through his pajama pants.

 

It didn’t take long for Stiles to get out of his pants and boxers, though they stayed hooked around one ankle in his haste. He was still straddling Derek, though he’d repositioned himself higher up, his plush ass resting in the cradle of Derek’s hip bones, just above his softening cock.

 

Derek reached for him, sucking his fingers back into his mouth, growling gently when he realized how much it turned Stiles on. He stroked Stiles’ cock, bare and dry, his touch feather-light, loving the smooth fragility of Stiles’ skin.

 

Stiles didn’t seem to mind the lack of spit or lube, as Derek kept his touch light, gentle, just enough pressure and movement to get him there. Stiles stared at him, his gaze going in and out of focus as he concentrated on the pleasure of Derek’s hand on him. 

 

Derek was convinced that Stiles’ face was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He wanted him like this all the time. His addiction, his obsession.

 

He took Stiles’ balls into his hand, rolling them carefully in time with his strokes up and down his cock, his mouth following the same motion as he sucked Stiles’ long fingers. Then Stiles’ eyes were snapping shut, his head falling back, as he groaned and pulsed up Derek’s chest, Derek arching as Stiles’ come burned against the skin of his bare throat.

 

Stiles sat heavily on him, his jaw slack, trying to catch his breath as he came down. Derek was more than content to lie there, stretched out under him, taking in the scent that was sex with Stiles. 

 

He took Stiles’ wet fingers out of his mouth and gently guided them to the spatter of come  on his throat. Moving Stiles’ hand under his, he massaged Stiles’ release into his skin, feeling the intense relief of being claimed in return. 

 

Even if it wasn’t official, or even a conscious act on Stiles’ part, Derek was branded as his, and he was happy.

 

He was home.

 

Chapter Text

There are red eyes following him as Derek struggles through the woods. He’s panicked, shifting first into wolf form, then into human, back and forth until he’s a jumbled mess of limbs, not man, not wolf, not even beta shift, but something gruesome and wholly other.

 

He struggles after the two boys ahead of him. Always just out of reach. His stomach turning over in the need to get to them. But his legs are a painfully fused mess of canine and human biology. Utterly useless.

 

He can’t move forward. The dark stretches; a cold tunnel between the trees. The boys still running, up ahead, their feet no longer touching the ground, but hovering above it, paddling in vain through the empty air.

 

The red eyes in the dark are gaining and Derek is shrinking, being pulled into the earth. The red eyes multiply, becoming a thousand tiny flames, merging and building into a raging inferno-




Derek jolted awake at the sound of a car door slamming outside in the driveway. A soft snore caught is attention on the pillow next to his as Derek listened to the sound of keys turning in the lock downstairs, followed by two thunks as shoes hit the floor in the entryway.

 

He was grateful that he and Stiles had cleaned up the night before when, instead of continuing down the hall towards the bathroom as he had expected, John opened Stiles’ door and walked in, already talking to his son about plans for the day. Derek was instantly regretful that Stiles failed to talk him into borrowing a pair of pajama pants.

 

“Oh god,” John said to the sight of Derek spooning his son in his underwear. In Derek’s defense, Stiles was fully dressed in pajama bottoms and a T-shirt. Also, Derek was a werewolf and easily overheated, which was why he was lying on top of the covers rather than underneath them, half-mooning the sheriff of Beacon Hills.

 

Stiles’ tousled head popped up at the sound of his dad’s voice. “Why is the heat up so high?” he demanded immediately, clearly not awake even though he was talking at full volume.

 

“That would be your werewolf blanket, son,” John said, looking like he had made a huge mistake coming home.

 

“Derek?” Stiles asked no one in particular, his eyes still closed, sweat beading on his upper lip from the inferno of body heat under the covers.

 

“Do you honestly not realize he’s in bed with you? Jesus, kid.”

 

“Oh hey!” Stiles said, his eyes cracked in Derek’s direction, craning his head over his shoulder. “Hi Derek,” he grinned.

 

“Christ,” the sheriff said, rubbing a hand over his tired face. “I’m going to bed. Don’t wake me up for any reason.” With that he closed the door with a bang and stomped down the hallway to his bedroom.

 

“Didn’t you hear him come home?” Stiles asked, yawning and stretching his arms over his head, nearly bashing Derek in the eye socket.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

 

“I didn’t know he was going to open the door.”

 

“Oh. Yeah, he does that. I like to think it’s because we’re close and not because I have ever been less than completely trustworthy.” Stiles flipped over so he was facing Derek, flopping an arm between them on the blankets. “You’d think he would have learned by now,” Stiles added, yawning again. “He needs enough therapy for what he sees as a cop, let alone what he’s caught me doing.”

 

Derek raised one eyebrow.

 

“No, nope, nu-huh, you really do not want to know,” Stiles teased, his head heavy and listing to the side where he had himself braced against the mattress with one elbow, a grin splitting his face. 

 

Derek’s chest squeezed.

 

Stiles struggled out of the covers and proceeded to clamber over him, nearly faceplanting when he tripped over his laptop’s power cord. He recovered quickly and went to his dresser, rummaging around for clean clothes. 

 

Derek tore his eyes away and searched through the bedding for all the clothes he’d stashed the night before. He sniffed the clothes as he gathered them, pleased that they smelled so much like both of them. It made the prospect of getting up and facing the day a little less daunting.

 

“Shower, then coffee,” Stiles mumbled from across the room, nodding to himself as he wandered out into the hallway. Derek followed with his armful of scented clothing and was startled when Stiles nearly shut the bathroom door on his foot. 

 

“Oh!” Stiles exclaimed, looking more alert as he opened the door wide for Derek. Stiles watched, his mouth partly open, as Derek closed the door behind him and quickly sorted the clothes he was carrying, hanging them up on the pegs on the back of the door. He turned back to Stiles, who yanked his gaze up and flushed red.

 

“You have a tattoo,” Stiles squeaked. Derek nodded. “That–that’s really cool. Tattoos are cool. I want a tattoo. But I’d probably flake out and get a stupid one, like a My Little Pony dancing on a rainbow or something, so I've never trusted myself to go into a tattoo parlor. At least not alone. But hey, maybe you could give me advice or something. Like, I’d ask you to go, but well,” his fingers twitched through the air, “the tattoo guys might not let me bring a dog in, and even if they did, they’d probably refuse to give me a tattoo after they saw me asking my dog for advice, so-”

 

Stiles’ flow of conversation didn’t seem likely to end any time soon, so Derek leaned into the bathtub and turned the shower on to warm up.

 

“-maybe we could pick a design out online and then I can show them and that way I’ll get something cool instead of something from an eighties kids’ cartoon, not that I don’t love My Little Ponies and Care Bears, it’s just not what the cool kids are getting nowadays. Not that I need to fit in or anything-”

 

Derek dropped his underwear and reached for Stiles’ clothes, tugging at them gently but insistently until Stiles let himself be manhandled out of them.

 

“-and I get that being worried about popularity is so high school and I’m a college graduate, but Derek, please don’t let me pick out a tattoo alone.”

 

“I promise,” Derek assured him, taking him by the upper arm and guiding him over the bathtub ledge and under the shower. He followed behind, pulling the curtain closed and triple checking the water to make sure it wasn’t too hot. Then he began assessing the different bathroom products. It looked like Stiles really had gotten a bunch of non-scented stuff. He found a fluffy, purple loofah hanging from a plastic hook stuck to the tile, and dribbled some of the body wash over it, lathering it with his hands.

 

When he turned his attention back to Stiles, the human was looking back over his shoulder, watching Derek’s every move. His amber eyes were wide and disbelieving, his mouth open in shock.

 

“A-are you going to-” Stiles started, cutting off when Derek began rubbing the sudsy sponge over Stiles’ back. “Oh my god, you are.”

 

Derek watched the white foam spread across Stiles’ creamy skin, the light and dark moles spattered down his back like they were intentionally placed for artistic effect. He let his other hand follow the pattern across Stiles’ back, touching softly. Stiles shuddered and he wondered if he was tickling him. He knew by now that Stiles' was sensitive.

 

Stiles stood quietly and let Derek rub soap all over him, not talking a mile a minute the way Derek thought he might. Nor did he relax into it and give himself over to Derek completely. Instead, he watched him as if studying what he was doing. He met Derek’s eyes as the werewolf raised Stiles’ arm above his head and washed his armpit, lathering up the hair and skin there thoroughly. 

 

“Is this a comfort thing?” Stiles asked, his arm still over his head. His voice managed to pull Derek up towards the surface from where he had been pleasantly drifting somewhere out in the ether.

 

Still not completely present, Derek rumbled deep in his throat, a pleased sound rather than a warning, reaching out to his packmate in a werewolf way. No words. Words complicated things. Letting Stiles’ arm bend back to his side, he pushed the suds with his fingers, watching them catch in the streams of water running down Stiles’ flanks and thighs, leaving the skin glistening wet and clean.

 

He pressed his own body against Stiles’ back, his chest pooling water where it intercepted the streams cascading over Stiles’ shoulder. He wasn’t clean like Stiles. He still smelled of the two of them together. He swept his cheek down Stiles’ damp neck, his beard getting wet, the short hairs trailing through the water droplets as he moved in a parody of scenting, though the water immediately washed all traces of scent away.

 

His cock slotted perfectly against Stiles’ ass as he held him close by his belly, pulling him back securely. Stiles was panting, his head thrown back, as Derek moved to wash the front of his body. He used the loofah to soap Stiles’ front, reaching between his legs, lathering the creases of his thighs, behind his balls, and finally moved his hands to Stiles’ dick, rigid and straining against his fingers as he lightly brushed over him, cleaning his body rather than fondling it.

 

“Derek, please,” Stiles whispered, his eyes straining in the corners to meet Derek’s.

 

Derek rumbled again, pleased and happy, though he felt like his job of washing wasn’t complete yet. He still had Stiles’ legs and feet to go. An argument could be made that the warm, sudsy water that had been flowing over them while Derek was paying attention to Stiles’ upper body had theoretically cleaned his legs already.

 

Stiles took the purple loofah out of Derek’s hand and hung it quickly back on the hook, then pried one of the werewolf’s hands off his wet belly to place it around his cock. Stiles gasped and arched back into Derek’s unmoving chest. He was careful to hold Stiles up, knowing that he wouldn’t slip but that Stiles was likely to.

 

After a few strokes with just water to smooth the way, Stiles blindly flailed at the conditioner on the ledge next to them. Derek understood and grabbed the bottle, clicking it open and squirting a small amount into his hand. Stiles gasped as Derek’s cool handful touched his straining erection, the rest of him warm from the streaming water and the werewolf heat behind him. He nudged Stiles forward a few inches so his dick was aimed out of the flow of water, allowing Derek to keep him slippery and not have their makeshift lube washed away.

 

As Stiles twisted and squirmed in Derek’s arms, one of his hands tight over his mouth to keep from making any noise loud enough to reach his dad’s room, Derek was reminded once again that they were nearly the same height and that he could-

 

He stopped his ministrations on Stiles just long enough to grab the conditioner bottle again and get another small handful. He swung Stiles around so that Derek’s back was taking the brunt of the water. He rubbed the conditioner over his own cock and then reached between Stiles’ legs.

 

“Wha-what?” Stiles asked, alarmed, attempting to twist in Derek’s grip to see what was going on. His foot slipped, and only Derek’s arm around his waist kept him from going down.

 

Derek hushed him, his lips finding Stiles’ ear, then his neck, licking the skin there to soothe his squirming human. When it began to work and Stiles settled, Derek braced his feet and slid himself forward into the inviting channel between the tops of Stiles’ thighs.

 

“Oh,” Stiles said. Then his hand was slapped back over his mouth to smother a heartfelt moan as Derek reached around him and started pumping Stiles’ cock. He slipped in and out of the heat between Stiles’ legs, trying to find an angle where he could both rub the root of his cock against Stiles’ heat and also thrust the head up into the space behind Stiles’ balls. 

 

It wasn’t until Stiles’ other hand crept down from the front, his long fingers helping to press Derek up along his entire perineum, that Derek was able to maintain the steady thrusting he wanted. Stiles rubbed at Derek’s inflamed cockhead every time it pressed up under his scrotum, swirling his finger pads as he directed him up into his body heat. 

 

Derek couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to slip back and up. To catch the tip on Stiles’ rim. To sink into him and feel him from inside his body, his heart beat that much closer, the thump of it all around his cock. His knot. Squeezing and squeezing as Stiles thrashed against him, wailing out his pleasure.

 

His fangs dropped and he pressed them to the join of Stiles’ neck and shoulder as he pumped his hips forward, his rhythm starting to falter. He twisted his hand around Stiles’ weeping cock, the body in his arms writhing and silently begging to come.

 

Derek realized that he was pressing too hard with his fangs, that the tips were threatening to part the flesh beneath. He desperately wanted to bite, to claim. To feel the electric-hot rush of blood.

 

But somehow, impossibly, Stiles trusted him. Stiles was here with him, letting Derek act like this, not pulling away even though he literally had a bloodthirsty monster at his throat. That trust meant more than anything else. It was something that had been missing from his life since his family died. No one had trusted him. He hadn’t trusted anyone else, let alone himself, and yet here was this vulnerable, fragile human in his arms, trusting him with his life.

 

Derek pulled back from the partial shift with an effort, recalling his fangs and forcing his teeth to remain human as he buried his face in Stiles’ neck, as he began working them both up again after the brief pause he’d taken in his movements. Stiles’ hand, which had wandered into Derek’s hair, stroking him when he’d gone still, slapped back over his mouth again as Derek started thrusting in earnest.

 

Stiles’ fingers between his legs were able to rub more of Derek as his thrusts got deeper and he stopped pulling back as far. His head dropped to the back of Stiles’ neck and he watched between their bodies as he pounded forward in short, hard jabs. Stiles’ ass bounced with the force of the impact of Derek’s hips, and Derek sucked in a breath, watching, mesmerized, as the smooth flesh rippled and shimmied with each smack of his body.

 

God, but he wanted to be inside him.

 

“Derek,” Stiles gasped between his fingers. “Derek, please.”

 

He felt it then, at the base of his cock. He hadn’t known what it was the first time, but there was no mistaking it now. “I’m going to knot,” he said into Stiles’ ear, his voice low. He marveled at how quiet they were managing to be, though he supposed the white noise of the shower helped muffle the sounds they were making.

 

Stiles clamped down on a whine, nodding desperately. “Yes,” he managed through his fingers. “Fuck yes.”

 

“Gonna knot,” Derek repeated senselessly, though it made Stiles moan behind his hand. “Gonna knot you, Stiles.”

 

Instinct took over and Derek found himself grinding hard between Stiles’ tightly clamped thighs, his own precome slicking the passage where the conditioner had started to wash away. His teeth were on Stiles again, human this time and without the pressure needed to bruise, but he had a desperate need to have incisors against Stiles’ skin. 

 

Stiles’ magnificent fingers kept rubbing at his swollen ridge, pressing him tight to his own perineum, and Derek remembered just in time to move his mouth away from Stiles’ neck to farther down his shoulder, before he sucked hard at his skin, marking.

 

The ascent into orgasm began slowly, tickling him with the promise of release. His skin felt hot, stretched, even across his lower belly and thighs, concentrating at the base of his cock. He could feel it engorging, becoming more and more sensitive. Without the knot, the main concentration of pleasure was in the head, the next few inches of his shaft also felt good, but not as intense as the ridge around the tip. But the knot was like a second ridge, larger, spreading the growing feeling of orgasm wider and closer to his body. His entire pelvis felt like it was on the verge of orgasm. 

 

Holy fuck. 

 

It was the most physically blissful thing he’d ever experienced and he hadn’t even climaxed.

 

“Stiles,” he said, his voice sounding oddly in control, while inside he was a raging inferno of livewires and desperation. “You’re incredible.” Derek slid his hand up to the head of Stiles’ cock while he slowly massaged and squeezed it in his palm. Stiles undulated in his arms, stifling his sounds. “You’re the only one that has ever made me feel like this.” 

 

Alarms were going off in his brain, warning him that he was way too close to revealing things he was determined for Stiles never to know. Though he couldn’t remember why in that moment, with his brain flooded with electricity and the smell of Stiles.

 

“If I was inside you right now,” Derek spoke feverishly to the side of Stiles’ flushed face, “we would be locked together. I wouldn’t be able to pull out. Wouldn’t be able to move” He pressed his knot against Stiles’ hole from the outside, feeling Stiles clench and flutter against the sensitive skin as Stiles vehemently nodded against Derek’s cheek and then came in Derek’s hand. “Yes,” Derek gasped, milking him until he had a palmful of Stiles’ come. He reached between their bodies, carefully cupping his handful until he could wrap his fingers around his knot, twisting and rubbing Stiles’ spend over the tight bulge.

 

“Fuck,” Stiles gasped, bracing his legs even tighter around Derek, as the werewolf sucked hard at his shoulder blade and came for all he was worth. Taking a deep breath against Stiles’ wet skin, he twisted his hand around his knot and came again. Dazed, he did it again, the orgasm not as intense, but still enough to punch the breath out of him. He screwed his hand around his knot a total of three more times, reaching three more orgasms, each one decreasing in intensity, until he shakily pulled back from Stiles.

 

He realized with a shock that the water was cold.

 

They rinsed off under the chilly spray quickly, Stiles shivering by the time they stepped out, but smiling huge and sleepy as Derek wrapped him up in a towel. Derek paused a minute, once the water was off, listening for signs that they had been overheard. The steady thump of the sheriff’s heartbeat indicated that he was sound asleep. A low snore a moment later confirmed it, and Derek turned his attention back to Stiles.

 

“He’s asleep?” Stiles asked quietly.

 

“Yeah,” Derek confirmed, grabbing a towel for himself.

 

“Oh thank God,” Stiles chuckled. “He does not need another item on the ‘Things My Son Has Done That I Need Therapy For’ list.”

 

Stiles moved over to Derek and slung his arms around him, staring dreamy and sated into Derek’s eyes.

 

“Stay for breakfast?” he asked.

 

Derek nodded.

 


 

Derek ended up staying the entire day. Stiles never mentioned driving him home, and Derek would never leave again if it were up to him, so he ended up following Stiles around the house, luxuriating in the scent of them together. When Derek had offered one of the scented shirts, Stiles just shook his head and sighed, accepting the wrinkled garment good-naturedly and pulling it on.

 

They made breakfast and Derek helped clean up afterwards. Stiles had some laundry to do (this Derek was already well aware of) so he trotted up the stairs after Stiles even though Stiles had offered him the TV remote and told him to relax.

 

They sat on the carpet in Stiles’ bedroom, sorting through the mountain of dirty clothes, towels, and sheets that were piled there. “You need to stop eating at the diner so much,” Derek said, holding up yet another uniform shirt that smelled like burgers and fries.

 

“Hey, no fair!” Stiles squawked, grabbing it back and throwing it in the pile with the others. Derek smirked at him and Stiles just shook his head, stealing all the work shirts from the unsorted pile before Derek could grab them.

 

The sheriff got up around four, and thankfully made no mention of anything that may have disturbed his sleep, letting Derek breathe a silent sigh of relief. They ate leftover lasagna for dinner, all sitting around the dining room table, Stiles and his dad lobbing gentle insults at one another.

 

It wasn’t until Derek and Stiles were in the living room, watching an old black and white movie and folding the last of the laundry, that the most perfect day that Derek could remember having, perhaps ever, came to an end.

 

“Stiles,” John said, walking through the doorway, tension radiating off him. “Have you checked your messages?”

 

Stiles stopped snapping the flowery kitchen towel at Derek, which had been his favorite pastime of the last three minutes, and looked at his dad with worried eyes. He glanced around frantically for his phone, finally locating it under the coffee table. His face only grew more troubled as he read.

 

Pocketing his phone, he turned to face his dad, his expression looking bereft. “It’s him again, isn’t it?” he asked, an edge of anger creeping into his voice.

 

John sighed, obviously just as frustrated as his son. “It looks like it. I’m heading over there now. How soon can you drop Derek off and meet us?”

 

Stiles’ gaze flashed to Derek, his face doing something complicated. “Forty minutes if we hurry,” he said, shoving the laundry basket aside with his foot, and motioning for Derek to follow him as he raced for the stairs.

 

“Okay, stay in contact. I’m going now.” Without a backwards glance, the sheriff was out the door, practically running. A lead weight dropped in Derek’s stomach. He turned to Stiles only to see him already at the top of the staircase scrambling to get to him room.

 

Following quickly, Derek watched, helpless, as Stiles struggled into his uniform. He caught Derek’s eye for just a moment, another nameless expression flitting over his face.

 

“I’m sorry, Derek,” he said, grabbing for his gear and strapping a radio to his hip which he switched on, keeping the volume low. Derek could still hear the people talking, though not the words. The voices were professional sounding, but not as detached as he imagined they ought to be. Something had happened. Something bad.

 

Though it wasn’t a memory that stood out to him, not like the fire and the metal cuffs and Sheriff Stilinski, he could still remember the scrambled sounds of voices over the police radios as part of the background noise as his house burned. This sound was much more immediate and defined, breaking the silence of Stiles’ bedroom, alien and unwelcome.

 

John’s voice cut through the static over the radio as he confirmed he was en route to the site, and Stiles jumped, spurred to action once again. Derek had just enough time to grab his things and rush after Stiles to the front door. Stiles grabbed his coat and keys, flung the door open, and ran out to his Jeep. The door bounced off the wall from the force of Stiles’ momentum, swinging mostly closed, before the cross-draft from the open kitchen window slammed it shut.

 

Derek stopped dead in the tiled entryway. He looked around wildly. His shoes were there, lined up with Stiles’ sneakers and a pair of worn flip-flops. He had his bag under one arm, ready for Stiles to shove the rest of his clothes inside once he’d shifted.

 

He heard the Jeep’s engine start. Frantically, he pulled his shirt over his head, some of the stitches popping in his haste. He shifted as soon as the last of his clothes fell to the floor, whining at the doorknob. Even if he shifted back, he wouldn’t be able to turn it. He needed Stiles to come back for him. 

 

He needed Stiles.

 

He heard the gears shift in the Jeep, and then Stiles was backing out of the driveway. Derek barked once, so loud he made himself jump. He could hear his phone start to ring in his coat pocket on the hook by the door.

 

He shifted back to human form and answered quickly.

 

“Derek!” came Stiles voice, worried, upset. There was a blast of staticy voices in the background, his police radio turned up now so Stiles could hear.

 

“Stiles, I just need you to let me out. I can go with you, I-”

 

“No, no, it’s okay. Do you mind staying there for awhile? Oh my god, I’m so sorry for just leaving you like that. I would never but it’s an emergency-”

 

A voice cut over his just then from the police radio, every word horribly clear. 

 

“Eight-year-old male has been found alive. Believed to have a broken arm and possible concussion. Ambulance on the way. Five-year-old female still missing. Brown hair, brown eyes. Last seen wearing a pink sweater and-”

 

“Oh god,” Stiles said, his voice full of emotion. “This sick fuck has done this before and we didn’t have enough evidence to keep him in custody. I knew this would happen, I just knew it.” He took a steady breath over the phone. “I’m so sorry, I was going to drop you off at home first, but if there’s any chance of us finding her alive, it has to be in the next few minutes.”

 

Derek inhaled, deep and painful, but when he spoke his voice came out steady. “I can help.”

 

“What? But-”

 

“Stiles, I can help. I just need you to come back and get me.”

 

“But how-”

 

“Wolf, remember?” Derek said, the humor he’d meant to convey getting choked up somehow, dozens of emotions sinking their hooks into him, trying to drag him down. He shook his head and tried to stay focused. “If she’s still in the area, I can find her. A lot faster than you can, even with the help of tracker dogs.”

 

He could hear the sound of the Jeep slowing down, turning around. “You’re right, I know you’re right,” Stiles said. “I’m headed back, two minutes.”

 

“Just open the door for me, we can leave my stuff here.”

 

“Will do. Almost there.”

 

Stiles hung up and Derek shifted back to wolf form, waiting.

 


 

“Don’t let anyone see you,” Stiles cautioned as they neared the property, pulling to a stop along the tree line before getting within sight of the main house. 

 

Derek peered with his enhanced sight through the dark trees on either side. Stiles had said this was a large property. The forest was dense and there were numerous tiny hills and valleys, easy for someone to hide.

 

“We don’t have tracker dogs here yet, so you don’t have to worry about them. There are officers searching, but you should have no problem avoiding them.” Derek nodded, the motion feeling strange in wolf form. “I’ll drive up to the main house. If you find anything, come get me or my dad, I’ll let him know what’s going on.” Stiles leaned over and opened the passenger door. Derek leapt out, already scenting the air, picking up traces of multiple humans and… something strange. 

 

“Oh hey,” Stiles said just as Derek was about to head into the woods. “If you need our attention but we’re with other people, flash your eyes. I’ll be on the lookout.”

 

Derek’s ears flattened and his tail drooped, but Stiles wouldn’t have been able to see him in the dark, black on black. Stiles pulled away and Derek refused to think about it further, needing to concentrate on finding the thing he could smell; the thing that smelled off.

 

He picked his way silently through the trees, avoiding the officers that were searching through the underbrush for the little girl. The men and women he passed in the dark smelled as they should. They smelled like sweat and laundry detergent and stress. Normal. Human.

 

The scent he was catching was strange, but it wasn’t the smell of another supernatural creature. He would have sensed anything magical that had been lurking around town. This scent was much more subtle. And it was familiar somehow. Something about it setting his hackles rising and his teeth gnashing.

 

The scent increased and he knew he was getting close. His skin was crawling, his coat twitching. Everything about the scent was wrong and yet it was somehow stuck in his mind, tugging and pulling. A memory, one from behind his carefully constructed wall, was threatening to break loose and bring all the others crashing down on top of him.

 

Derek crouched down, hearing two heart beats. One slow and steady, slower even than the searching officers. Wrong. 

 

The other was light and quick. 

 

He slunk forward, peering over a ridge in the earth into a shallow, bowl-shaped valley. The trees weren’t quite as dense here, but the undergrowth was more plentiful. Derek heard shuffling and an off-kilter voice. It was… humming?

 

He saw him then; the man. He was human. No whiff of magic. As powerless as all humans. But that horrible smell. Derek wanted to rub his paws over his delicate nose. This close it was staggering. The scent would have been undetectable to other humans. It might not have meant much to Derek, except that he had smelled it before.

 

The man was bent over, sifting through the leaves and fallen branches on the forest floor with his bare heads. He didn’t have any sort of light, and must have been relying on the meager moonlight, barely filtering out from behind the clouds. 

 

After a moment, he straightened up and walked over to a clump of dry fern, reaching out again. There was a sharpness to his shape, an oiliness to his movements. The fur along the ridge of Derek’s spine stood up on end.

 

“I know you’re heeee-eeeere,” the man sing-songed. “Little giii-iiirl,” he called again. He laughed softly, the sound ugly. Moving forward again. Hunting.

 

That’s when Derek saw her curled up behind a tree, only twenty feet from the searching man. She looked so tiny and alone, balled up and gripping her sweater tightly around her small body, shivering and terrified. One hand was over her mouth, trying not to make a sound, though Derek could see her eyes straining in the dark. She was tensing up all over as the man plodded closer, likely getting ready to run.

 

The man laughed again. He was having fun, Derek realized. He could smell it underlying the other smell. The scent of happiness, in this context, was as revolting as the stench of the man’s rotten brain chemistry.

 

The smell of Kate, burning his family alive.

 

Derek felt the dizzying effect of vertigo hitting him, the scent of madness and evil intent recalling the night he lost his family so vividly, he listed to the side and stumbled on his suddenly nerveless legs. Kate had smelled strange to him, always. Not bad, not at first. He hadn’t known what the smell was- something hot and sweet, sickly-sweet the longer he knew her, until it was like a cloying perfume.

 

His form rippled with black waves of fur. He could feel his eyes flaring red, anger and sadness and loss all mixed up with gut-churning sweet scent of death-lust. Logically, somewhere far away in his rational brain, Derek knew it was all biologically, scientifically explainable. What was the mind but cells and chemicals? 

 

He was simply hyper-attuned to the scent of madness.

 

The girl gasped, seeing his glowing eyes in the dark. She scurried back, away from both of them, trying to get up and run, but she wasn’t able to get to her feet quickly enough.

 

Derek cursed his lack of control. He cursed his trembling limbs and his hazy, in-and-out focus on the scene before him. For an absurd moment, he saw Stiles as he had been as a teenager, running through the woods after Scott, screaming at the red eyes in the dark that hunted and hunted and would not stop.

 

The man swung towards the small girl’s movement, stalking her way instantly. His gait seemed inhumanly fast to Derek’s muddled brain. The man had started humming again, some half-remembered lullaby. He was smiling. Gloating.

 

He was going to-

 

The impact from behind slammed the man into the rocky ground before he could take more than a few steps, his head ricocheting sickeningly as it struck the earth. There was no time for him to call out or look around. It was unlikely he’d realized, even for a moment,  that he wasn’t alone with his prey.

 

Derek tensed, holding him down. Waiting for him to struggle, but he didn’t move. He could still hear the man’s heart beating. He could feel his lungs expand under his paws. Derek longed to rip his throat out, to remove him from the world forever, no longer a danger to children. He hesitated, balancing precariously between his need to kill and the knowledge that the police were here to take this man to prison. To lock him away from the rest of humanity.

 

Stiles was here, just a quarter mile away where Derek could hear voices and the engines of vehicles. He was close. Derek needed to bring the man to Stiles, so that Stiles would make him go away forever.

 

A little voice came out of the dark, shaken but hopeful. “Doggie?”

 

Derek swallowed down his rage, pulling the alpha red out of his eyes, though he knew she’d already seen; knew that the sight of his burning coal eyes would haunt her dreams for years to come.

 

Reasonably certain that the man on the ground wouldn’t get up as soon as he’d shifted his weight off of him, Derek left him face-down in the dirt and walked a few paces towards the little girl. Her eyes were wide and her face was stained with tears, but she seemed unharmed. She smelled scared, and there was the slightest graze of disgusting sweetness on the sleeve of her sweater, as though the man had reached for her but she’d managed to get away.

 

Trying to look as nonthreatening and dog-like as possible, Derek came up to her slowly with his head down, giving a few waves of his tail. He wasn’t prepared for the choking force of her arms around his neck as she hugged him with all her strength. 

 

“Good dog,” she said with vehemence. “Good dog.”

 


 

She let Derek walk her back to the house, her small fist wrapped up tight in the dark fur near his shoulder. He was worried that she would insist that he accompany her into the busy yard, bustling with cops and first responders. But as soon as she caught sight of her dad, who was frantically arguing with the sheriff that he should be allowed to go search with the police, she let go of him and went flying towards her father.

 

“Daddy!” she called, stumbling once over a toy in the yard, before regaining her balance and continuing her sprint. Her father turned sharply, his whole face crumpling when he caught sight of her. He went down on his knees right as she reached him and he swept her up into a fierce hug, sobbing brokenly and rocking her back and forth. His daughter, who hadn’t cried once the entire time she was with Derek, started wailing, clutching his neck.

 

“It’s okay, sweetie,” he heard the father say. “It’s okay. I’ve got you.”

 

Derek watched from the shelter of the trees as Sheriff Stilinski radioed his team to tell them that the girl had been found, but that the suspect was still believed to be hiding in the area. Stiles came out of the house just then, taking in the scene in front of him, relief flooding his face, before peering into the treeline.

 

Derek thought about the man lying unconscious in the woods. He wondered how likely it would be for the officers to find him before he came to and wandered off, looking for another victim.

 

He thought about Stiles. The easy trust he’d shown him that morning, baring his throat to a monster. A monster that had a drive to bite. Who had the ability to turn him. 

 

What would Stiles do if he knew the truth?

 

And what would he think if he knew that Derek had let child killer walk free, simply because he was afraid?

 

Knowing it would change everything, Derek looked straight at Stiles, and flashed his eyes.