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You Look Like Bad News (i gotta have you)

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Stiles tips his head back and glares up at the early morning sun with a scowl, shaking his head slowly back and forth and rolling his eyes so hard it almost hurts. The crowd forming around him is mostly doing much of the same – eye rolls, huffs of annoyance, a couple mutterings of fucking again? Lydia Martin purses her lips and clacks past the action without so much as a sidelong glance, Allison Argent stapled to her side with huge brown eyes, casting worried looks at Stiles again and again like she half expects him to wind up locked into the tussle like he's on occasion been prone to do.

Last time he did that, it only made the fight about fifty times worse. He's learned his lesson. Now he just stands back with everyone else and either watches with a frown or looks away in favor of making sure there are no teachers coming to break this up for the zillionth time since the school year started.

Scott scatters backwards in the dirt, kicking up a fine cloud of dust, and growls. “You like to think you're so tough, don't you?” He accosts, wiping the blood dripping down his chin away with a flick of his wrist.

Derek Hale growls right back at him, starts circling around the other alpha with a glare as hot as the fucking sun. Scott starts circling too, and Stiles makes the comparison between two lions in the jungle fighting over a zebra carcass.

Only, in this particular fight, there's no carcass. There's no motive, no incentive, no nothing except for a very long history of absolute fucking hatred dating back to around the first grade when Derek walked right up to Scott during recess and crushed his brand new set of crayons with a violent stomp. Derek wound up pushed into the sandbox, Scott wound up shoveling sand by the scoopful into Derek's eyes, and Stiles wound up pouncing on top of Scott's back to try and break the fight up. Back then, he still tried shit like that.

He continued right on trying shit like that throughout the entirety of elementary school – where most of the fights centered around things like crayons and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches smushed up in the dirt and Derek having a crush on the same girl as Scott (though Stiles has long and still suspected that the only reason Derek said he liked Erica is because Scott said it first. Nevermind the fact that Erica liked Stiles more than either of them because at least he wasn't a raging psycho.)

In middle school, Scott once cracked Derek over the head with a baseball bat during PE after a spat regarding whether or not Scott passed first base before Derek managed to catch the ball and tag him. Then the time when Derek walked right up to Scott in the hall in an attempt to wrestle the lunch money out of Scott's clenched hand and Scott headbutted him hard enough that blood started spurting out of Derek's nose at a fairly alarming rate. That's another one of the times that Stiles unwittingly got involved – he pushed Scott away and yelled at him for a second while Derek cried (but pretended like he wasn't because he was a big tough eighth grader) and waited for his nose to heal itself back into place, and then Scott was yelling at Stiles, and Derek was yelling at Scott for yelling at Stiles, and in the end all three of them wound up in the principal's office.

High school is worse. Way, way worse.

Because the thing is, they don't even need things like girls or omegas or lunch money to get into it. The only thing they need is two seconds of aggressive eye contact, and it starts. An accidental nudge in the shoulder while walking past each other in the hallway turns into a fucking brawl. Derek walking into homeroom and glancing at Stiles the omega for two seconds too long turns into a full blown shouting match over where Derek's glance wanders while the teacher at the front of the room tries to get them to lower their voices to no avail.

And the teachers, by the way, are starting to get as tired of it as the rest of the school population. Sometimes, Harris spots the two alphas duking it out during lunch period (Derek shoving chicken nuggets down Scott's throat to try and choke him out, Scott clawing haplessly at Derek's forearms, Stiles eating an apple less than two feet away and glaring out at nothing while the rest of the teenagers in the room snicker to themselves), mutters something under his breath, and keeps walking. Their History teacher has started just perching herself on the edge of her desk with her arms crossed over her chest whenever the two start in on a shouting match across the room (you absolute friggin' idiot, it's pronounced Sacajawea not Suh-cug-a-wuh do you know how to frickin read?) - only ever stepping in when one of them utters a real curse word.

Stiles has started to consider making Scott transfer to the school across town. At least for once a day at school could entirely revolve around actual, like, school, instead of him standing back with his fingers locked around his backpack straps while two alphas try and rip each other's fucking throats out with their claws. The sheer amount of class and recess and PE and lunch time that has been wasted because of those two simply cannot be fucking calculated anymore. It's unfathomable.

It's gotten to the point where Stiles just flat out grabs Scott and fumbles him off in the opposite direction whenever he sees Derek coming down the hallway, commandeers Scott into a seat far, far away from Derek in all the classes they share together; if Stiles sees Derek walking into the lunchroom, he pulls Scott back and engages him in a conversation outside the door for a couple minutes until he's sure Derek's already gotten his tray and is sitting with his friends at the same table they always sit.

Right now, Scott is raking his claws across Derek's face, and Derek is slamming his fist into the side of Scott's temple to send the other wolf skittering across the dirt lot, only five feet away from where Stiles is currently standing with his hands on his hips. Once Scott has his footing right again, he hisses a curse out in Derek's direction and then uses his Chem book to smack Derek upside the head.

Derek stumbles so hard with the force of it that he nearly goes careening into Stiles. Luckily, Stiles saw that a mile away, and manages to avoid being pinned down underneath a hundred and eighty pounds of senior and half-way decent cologne.

Like this is the worst thing Scott could have possibly done, in spite of the fact that Stiles is fine and Derek didn't even touch him, Derek rounds on Scott with a growl and thrusts his hand in Stiles' direction. “Watch out for the fucking omega, McCall!”

“Hey!” Scott snarls back, taking a step forwards with his Chem book raised high in the air for another swing, “you don't worry about him, okay? I worry about him!”

Stiles puffs out a sigh.

“And what a great job you're fuckin' doing,” another hand thrust towards Stiles – in spite of the fact that both of them are acting like he's not even really there. “Nearly throwing me on top of him!”

“He's fine. Right, Stiles?” And Stiles is somehow always dragged into it these days – especially recently. Derek looks at him for a second during every single fight, and starts snarling about how Scott is such an asshole for getting into fights while an omega is standing right there, and Scott yells back about how Derek doesn't even get to look at Stiles and on and on and on. One thing alphas fucking love fighting over, more than anything else in the world, is omegas.

Stiles opens his mouth, but Derek is already taking a step towards Scott and yelling directly into his face. “You are such a piece of absolute -”

“Get the fuck away from me -”

“I hope I never see your ugly face again -”

“That's why I already have a date to prom, right? Who's your fuckin' date?”

Derek lurches forwards like that is the absolute final straw, moving like he's really going to smash Scott's head open and splatter his brains all over the grass and innocent bystanders this time – so Stiles decides it's about time he takes charge of the situation. As much as he ever can.

He wraps his fingers around Scott's upperarm and tugs him out of Derek's way, so fast that Derek skids to a stop hard enough to nearly catapult him forwards onto the ground.

Scott staggers to Stiles' side with a huff as Derek whips around with a vengeful glint in his eyes. “You stay away from me!”

“You're the one who -”

“Oh, whatever!” Stiles hisses, herding Scott away without even glancing in Derek's direction. “Honestly, I'm getting so sick of you two.”

“Of me?” Scott chortles a laugh in the back of his throat, sending a glare over his shoulder to where Derek is collecting his backpack from the grass. “When I'm never the one who starts it!”

Scott starts it just as much as Derek starts it, and always has. Stiles would like to be a hundred percent on Scott's side, like yeah, Derek Hale, fuck that guy! Real piece of good-looking shit, right!? But the truth is, that kinda ended in middle school when Stiles presented as an omega instead of a beta and Derek stopped irrationally hating him as much as Scott just based on association. It's frowned upon to give omegas shit of any kind when you're an alpha, and is beyond frowned upon to physically assault an omega, so that makes perfectly fine sense.

If Scott's not around, then Derek is fine. He gives Stiles quick once-overs, sometimes makes eye contact, and then looks away without another word. Stiles and Derek have literally never had any kind of personal problem (aside from the fact that he beats on Stiles' best friend 24/7). But, truth be told? The fights have gone on for so fucking long, and Stiles has seen Derek punch Scott in the face so many times, that it honestly doesn't have any effect on Stiles whatsoever anymore. He doesn't have it in him to get annoyed at Derek Hale, doesn't have it in him to be on Scott's side implicitly like Scott is so innocent and never does anything wrong and Derek is the real shithead in all situations – because it's just not true.

As many times as Derek incites something, so does Scott. And as many times as Derek does something really shitty, so does Scott.

Stiles cannot pick a side. For his own sanity, he just nods his head along whenever Scott starts ranting about how much he hates Derek, but internally, he's barely listening. It wouldn't do to admit to his best friend that during all the fights, he's started focusing more on how big Derek is and how his muscles move underneath his clothes and how attractive Stiles thinks he is – it would not do at all.

“Right,” Stiles agrees with a pat to Scott's back. “Wipe the blood off your face, for God's sake. You look like a mess.”

With a short muttering under his breath, Scott uses the bottom of his black t-shirt to scrub along his jawline and sop up the blood lingering from already healed wounds. Stiles can only imagine what this would all be like if they couldn't heal themselves; most likely, one of them would've been killed a very, very long time ago. Not that he'd ever say it to Scott's face, but...

Derek probably would've been the victor of a fight to the death. Muscle mass and size put together? Yeah. Derek wins a good seventy percent of the fights. But it isn't like Stiles thinks about that or anything, or cares.

“I hate that guy,” Scott says bitterly when he's done cleaning himself up on the walk to homeroom. “I've never hated anyone more in my entire life. He is the fucking worst.”

Stiles nods. It's self-preservation, man. The one time Stiles tried to defend Derek, Scott nearly bit the omega's head off, in spite of the fact that Stiles was right that time. And he'd have been right a zillion other times, too, if he ever dared to bring it up. But once getting screamed at by an alpha werewolf about loyalty and friendship and what the fuck, is more than enough for Stiles' lifetime. So he keeps his mouth shut, now.

He stays away from Derek, tries his best to keep Scott away from Derek, and that's all there is to it. Self-preservation. They can make it out of high school alive, this way.

The one and only class that Derek has with Stiles without Scott looming over his shoulder is final period English. Generally speaking, actually, Derek sits pretty close to Stiles in that class – in the few other classes they share, of course Scott is present and sitting right behind Stiles, so Derek keeps his distance if only to avoid another bickering match about the omega directly over said omega's head. But in English, Derek sits, at most, two seats back from him or sometimes even directly behind him. Stiles has never thought too much about that.

The few times he has considered it, he's chalked it up to the typical stuff. Omega-scent, omega-aura, omega everything. Stiles is so used to people only wanting to be around him because he's an omega that he doesn't even blink at the way alphas sit too close to him or offer hugs all the time. Truthfully, he doesn't mind it. He likes a good hug.

So, English is the one fifty-minute period of time in their lives that Derek can be within even fifty feet of Stiles without Scott flipping out about it – makes sense that he takes advantage of that.

Today, Stiles walks in to find Derek already leaning back in the chair right behind the one Stiles always sits in. He gives Derek a blank look before sitting down, feels eyes on the side of his face as he bends over to pull his books up out of his bag; by the time he's raising his eyes to look back at Derek, the alpha's already scribbling a doodle into his notebook, staring pointedly downwards.

Stiles leans back in his seat, ignores the fact that he can feel body heat from Derek's fingers at the back of his chair, and class begins.

Halfway through, the teacher announces that she's pairing them off to work on projects due next week, and Stiles knows. He gets this feeling in the pit of his belly, like the sixth sense, I see dead people, and all. He just fucking knows. The way the universe works, the amount of good karma Stiles has as opposed to bad karma, the fact that he's unlucky to begin with – he's positive of what's about to happen.

Yet, he sits there and prays to whatever God may be up there that he gets paired off with Boyd or Erica or even, Christ, that weird kid that sits in the back of the room meticulously and bizarrely pulling marshmallows apart with his fingers in every single class Stiles has ever had with him – anyone besides -

“Derek Hale,” Mrs. Rose says in a singsong voice, before pointing right at Stiles, “why don't you work with your friend Stiles?”

Your friend Stiles. Stiles rolls his eyes to the back of his head and barely bites back a sarcastic remark. Mrs. Rose knows good and god damn well that Derek and Stiles' interactions might not be openly hostile, but they're not friendly. One time, she walked in on Stiles trying to wrestle Scott away from holding Derek down and sharpie-ing a dick across the side of his face. She knows what she's doing.

In her little teacher mediator mind, she thinks she's going to get Derek and Stiles to be BFF's and maybe that'll solve the fucking issue of McCall vs. Hale. Stiles has always imagined that there's a scorecard hanging up in the teacher's lounge, Hale written on one side with McCall on the other, tallymarks dating back to Freshman year underneath each. Whoever loses the bet once Derek graduates at the end of this year has to buy the other group lunch. It's feasible. He wonders bitterly which side Mrs. Rose is on – if the way that Derek always gets A's on his papers is anything to go by, he'd guess Hale.

Stiles sighs through his nose when Mrs. Rose moves on to pairing off the next two sorry saps, raises his eyes to the sky, asks God to send down an ice cream truck from the sky to kill him here and now like in that episode of Spongebob, and then turns around to face Derek Hale...

...who, for one, doesn't look at all put off by this news. Stiles knows his face probably looks like he's expecting Derek to pull out a gun and shoot him point blank in between the eyes, probably looks like he's in fucking pain, but Derek is just sitting there pulling out a fresh sheet of loose leaf from his notebook, clicking his pen, meeting Stiles' gaze with a cool, composed look on his face.

“Do you have an author you wanna do?” He asks casually, looking Stiles dead in the eyes – like he was not at all fighting Stiles' best friend to the fucking death this morning. “Everyone is probably going to pick Fitzgerald.”

Stiles clears his throat and shrugs. “I don't have anyone in mind, really?”

Derek clicks his pen again, leans back in his seat – looks Stiles up and down. The rest of the pairs are talking quietly amongst themselves, and when Stiles listens, Derek is right. Most people within his hearing range are already discussing which of Fitzgerald's books they like the most, which makes sense. This is American Lit and he's the most obvious and famous choice; plus, you get to watch a cool Leonardo DiCaprio movie and pretend it's schoolwork.

“We should do someone, like – obscure.”

“Obscure,” Derek repeats, smiling. Stiles could probably count on one hand the number of times that Derek has had the opportunity to smile in Stiles' direction.

“Well, not someone completely random. But if we do someone that no one else does, I bet we get a better grade.”

“So, not Mark Twain, then?”

“Yeah, no.” Stiles turns all the way around in his seat, given confidence by how actually civil and normal this conversation is going, and places his hands down on top of Derek's desk. Derek absentmindedly licks his lips and looks at where Stiles' fingers are splayed out on top of that loose sheet of paper, before clicking them right back up to Stiles' face like he doesn't want the omega to see him staring at his fingers like that. “Let's do a female author. Everyone else sounds like they're doing males, and Mrs. Rose would love it.”

Derek's lips quirk up even more into a full blown grin. “So you've deduced that Mrs. Rose is a raging feminist.”

“After that twenty minute baseless rant about Sojourner Truth last week, yeah,” Stiles laughs, absentmindedly playing with the paper on the desk.

“I've been using that to my advantage all semester long,” Derek confesses as he leans slightly more forward in his seat. “Even a mention of how gender plays a role in any book gets her so excited she forgets to read the rest of the paper and you get an automatic A.”

Stiles smiles at him – yeah. Mrs. Rose is definitely on Derek's side in the bet. “I think we should do Emily Dickinson.”

Across from him, Derek's eyebrows raise into his hairline. “Poetry?”

“Yeah. I like poetry,” then, for reasons unfathomable to him – he asks, “don't you?”

For a second, Derek just stares at Stiles' face, as if he's trying to find something there. Some kind of explanation, or an answer, or something aside from just freckles and a small smile – Stiles doesn't even feel that uncomfortable under the gaze. He just sits there and watches Derek's eyes move until they finally lift up to meet his.

“Yeah,” Derek finally says, clicking his pen one last time. Stiles gets the hint and removes his hands from the top of the loose leaf – but Derek picks a line a good three down from where Stiles' fingers were touching. As if he doesn't want to get near the places where Stiles touched or something, which...okay?

He watches as Derek scrawls Emily's name in blocky letters on the page, right as the bell rings. Over the sound of students zipping up backpacks and slamming books down on top of desks and running full speed out of the room towards the hallway, Mrs. Rose starts yelling about the due date and the rubric, as if anyone is actually listening to her.

Derek takes the sheet of paper, touching only the bottom of it for whatever reason, and slides it gingerly into his notebook, slapping the cover closed over it. Stiles bites his lip, glances out the windows as he zips his own bag up, and then sighs. Knowing he has to say something.

“So, um,” he starts, scratching at his cheek nervously. “Maybe this goes without saying, but – don't...tell Scott?”

Derek blinks at him, befuddled. “Tell him what?”

“That we're, like, working together.”

There's silence for a moment, and then Derek is rolling his eyes and slamming his notebook down into his backpack. “If McCall seriously would get pissed off about you and I having a project together, then he's an even bigger fucking baby than I previously thought.”

Stiles bristles. It's literally like their whole little thing back there, with the do you like poetry and civil conversation never fucking happened, just because Stiles even mentioned Scott's name. “Don't be an ass. Probably we're going to have to spend a lot of time together to get this done, so -”

“You can come over to my house tomorrow,” he interrupts with a shrug, standing from his seat and draping his backpack strap over a shoulder. “We can start working on it.”

“Um – yeah.” Stiles agrees, because why not? A Saturday afternoon at the Hale house sounds perfectly fine to him. His sisters are nice enough, either way, and they have a pool. “But my point is that Scott isn't going to like -”

“I'm not going to tell him,” Derek interrupts again, rolling his eyes. “Like we're best fuckin' friends and braiding each other's hair and gossiping, right?”

Stiles scrunches his face up in disbelief and annoyance; who knew Derek Hale was this sarcastic? That's Stiles' thing. “It wouldn't be very beneficial if Scott showed up and started beating you up for hanging out with me, so! I'm just saying!”

Derek gives Stiles one last look, and then starts walking out of the room, shaking his head back and forth. “Is noon tomorrow okay?”

“Fine,” Stiles snaps at him, collecting his own backpack from the floor and rising out of his seat. “See you then, jerkoff.”

Stiles isn't kidding about Scott most likely freaking out if he found out about Derek and Stiles having a project together.

Scott's whole thing about Derek is that he strongly suspects that everything about the guy is terrible; which would, of course, include his treatment of omegas. Scott would have no fuckin' clue how Derek is around omegas, how he talks to them, if he's nice enough, seeing as how nearly every single interaction the two of them have is just them beating on each other and yelling obscenities. There's never been a lot of room for just sitting back and observing what Derek's actually like. Scott, really, has absolutely no idea outside of what everyone else knows.

So, yeah. Scott insta-assumes that Derek likes to use his alpha power to beat up on omegas or get them to do as he says, and he's pretty sure Scott hates him enough that he assumes Derek is one of those horrible alphas who would take advantage of an omega in heat. There's no bearing for these assumptions. They just exist in Scott's head, and no amount of talking down from Stiles is going to make him not think that way.

If Stiles were honest and told Scott that he's going over to Derek's house today, Scott would absolutely flip his fucking lid, go running over to Derek's house faster than Stiles could ever catch up, and beat the shit out of the guy right there in his own home. Nevermind the fact that that house has two other alphas living in it who would gladly beat Scott up for even trying it. Scott's not the most brilliant thinker in the best of times; add in his natural alpha-desire to protect his omega best friend, and, well...

It's just best if he doesn't know. That's what Stiles convinces himself of before telling Scott that his dad grounded him and he's not allowed to go to Scott's house this afternoon like they had planned, instead of the truth. For everyone involved, it's just better if Scott never finds out.

So, in secrecy, Stiles drives off to the Hale's nice house on the edge of the preserve.

As soon as Stiles is clambering up the front steps to the fancy porch, Derek pulls the door open, like he'd been waiting for him since the first squeal of the brakes on the turn off a mile back, and gives him a once-over. It's funny to see him in a different setting other than school, and also funny to see him without shoes on – he's just standing there in jeans, socks and a t-shirt, but Stiles thinks he looks fucking bizarre. Almost like he's more - for lack of a better word - reachable, like this. Not just some older senior who coincidentally likes to beat the shit out of people (Stiles' best friend for starters), but just like a normal kid.

Stiles scrapes the bottoms of his shoes on the welcome mat, before stepping inside and toeing them off at the door. Assuming that's what he's supposed to do, judging from the fact that Derek isn't wearing any.

The Hale House smells like tomato sauce and basil, which makes a lot of sense seeing as how Mrs. Hale owns and runs the best pizza place in town. This is a very, very sad fact; the Hales make the best fucking pizza Stiles has ever eaten in his life, but he hardly ever gets to eat it because Scott has a pretty strong ban on all things Hale. Stiles has, on occasion, been driven to sneaking over there as late as he can possibly go, sitting in the dimmest part of the parking lot, and shoveling three slices down his throat in record time. He's not proud of this.

But that pizza is fucking good. Scott be damned.

Derek takes Stiles upstairs to his bedroom, and that in and of itself is an experience. Stiles never gave even half a thought to what Derek Hale's bedroom would be like, but he didn't quite imagine...this.

A nice big bed in the middle of the room, a rug on the ground that looks like Derek vacuums every single god damn day, a neatly organized bookshelf, a color coded closet, and a line of shoes without a single thing out of place. It looks like the room of a serial killer on Law and Order.

Stiles says as much out loud. “Well this is fucking creepy.”

“What?” Derek asks as he closes the door behind them.

“Do you even come in here, ever? Or do you just step inside for fifteen minutes at a time to clean and then run out before you can leave any dust behind?”

Derek purses his lips, but they curl upwards into a smile anyway, almost in spite of himself. “I like things neat.”

The omega inches farther inside of the room – he feels weird even stepping on the rug, wearing his socks with the holes in the toes, like he's going to dirty the place up just from existing. “There's neat,” he starts, gingerly dropping his backpack down on top of the bed, “and then there's this.”

“I guess your room is a disgrace, then,” Derek counters, quickly commandeering the only actual chair in the room, the one in front of his desk, so Stiles has no place else to go but the bed. “Dirty dishes and a month's worth of backed up laundry.”

“Spot on,” Stiles clicks his tongue and points at Derek with a wink. “Is it even okay if I sit on the -”

“Yes, Stiles. Are we going to talk about my room all day, or are we going to get to work?”

Testy, Stiles thinks, rolling his eyes and settling gently on top of the bed spread. Derek watches him intently, skirting his eyes along every part of Stiles that's currently touching his quilt, the way Stiles' fingers are spread out behind him on the pillow near the headboard. Ignoring this, Stiles zips open his backpack and gets out some of the notes he's already taken for the project, scanning with his eyes, and also ignoring the way Derek is staring at him. “I thought we could focus on the year she wrote 366 poems in 365 days because that's fuckin' awesome.”

“Okay,” Derek agrees amiably.

The afternoon passes pretty much like that. Stiles and Derek focus on the project and not much else – though, Derek spends a considerable amount of time leaning back in his desk chair and just watching while Stiles scribbles things on his notebook, or taps something into his laptop. And again, it sounds creepy, but Stiles is beyond used to this shit at this point. He's spent the last five years of his life ever since he presented as an omega and his scent changed, all skinny and lanky while all his beta and alpha friends got buff, getting used to the way alphas tend to regard him.

It's like he's the most amazing thing that's ever existed. Even Scott, sometimes, just sits there and observes whatever it is that Stiles is doing, stares at his skin, sniffs surreptitiously at the way he smells. They can't help it. Alphas like omegas. A lot.

Omegas, though, are generally pretty blasé towards alphas when not in heat; which, honestly, drives some alphas insane that omegas aren't impressed by them at all. Stiles is much the same. He could give a fuck how much money Derek's family has or how strong he is.

If there's something deeper in the way Derek looks at him, or if there's something more to the way Derek's gaze lingers on specific features of Stiles' body (the freckles on the side of his face, his lips, his fingers) then Stiles doesn't care or notice. Let him look. Whatever.

They get about half of their project done, get a handful of slides ready for the powerpoint, and Stiles learns a good handful of things about Derek Hale. First of all, he's not that bad of a guy. Which, surprise surprise, not everything that Scott says about him is true – but, still. He's pretty calm and docile, especially when compared to the situations Stiles is usually encountering him in. He's also apparently a very big fan of sports, which Stiles never knew about, somehow? He can't say that he remembers ever seeing Derek at any of the lacrosse games, but then again, Stiles can't remember the last time he actually went to one of those games; considering the last time he interacted with coach or any of the players is when he tried and failed to get on the team. A sore subject.

Derek likes sports and a fuckload of books and a lot of the same music as Stiles. He's actually sort of amusing in an asshole type of way, and doesn't give Stiles any shit in regards to the project. He does his share of the work, and likes all of Stiles' ideas. It's not a bad afternoon.

Halfway through the day, Derek disappears downstairs and comes back with a plate of pizza rolls, Stiles absolute favorite fucking thing on the face of the planet, and that's about the exact moment that Stiles decides he sort of likes Derek. It's hard not to like an alpha bearing pizza rolls, right? Scott doesn’t need to know about that.

“I sorta thought you'd be morally opposed to these,” Stiles had said around a mouthful of the snack. “Seeing as how your family makes real pizza and these are, like, abominations.”

“My mom usually throws these out if she finds them in the house,” Derek confessed this in a low voice, like it was a big secret he was sharing with Stiles. “I got these today just knowing she wouldn't be around.”

Stiles noticed that Derek barely ate more than one, even though there was an entire plate of them. He marinated for a second on the fact that Derek went out today and bought these most likely specifically because he knew Stiles was coming over – and it's not a secret schoolwide that Stiles is a fan of everything greasy and nasty and horrible for you in the freezer section of the grocery store. Stiles has brought in pizza rolls from home just to microwave them in the cafeteria. Derek's surely seen that.

So, the guy went out and bought a snack just for Stiles. Big deal.

Stiles looks at the time once all the pizza rolls are gone and announces he has to go home soon with a sigh. Derek seems genuinely put out about this, frowning and looking at the time himself – he almost seems like he's about to try and argue with Stiles that it's only four o'clock, but then closes his mouth and watches as Stiles packs his bag up.

“Tomorrow, then?” The alpha asks hesitantly. When Stiles looks up, Derek is meeting his gaze directly.

“Yeah, okay. Same time?”

Derek nods.

There's a moment where Stiles is just slinging his bag onto his shoulders and patting around his jean pockets to make sure that he has his keys and phone, and Derek rises into a standing position. He's all huge and looming and alpha, and Stiles really starts to wonder how it is that Scott has ever even once won a fight against the guy. Because, he's huge. Like...really.

Silence passes, and Stiles meets the alpha's gaze again, to find him still staring. Again, not even a flinch from Stiles. Used to it. “Then, I'll see you tomorrow!”

He starts walking towards the door, hand outstretched to tug on the knob, but before he can get within reach, Derek is wrapping a huge hand around his forearm and pulling him back gently to face him.

Stiles jerks a bit at having an alpha touch him, but quickly relaxes when Derek's fingers pull back just slightly, so they're more gentle and less intruding than before, like he's letting Stiles know without saying anything that he's not going to hurt him. Appropriate alpha/omega touching formalities – if only Scott were here to see this.

“I just wanted to say,” Derek starts out jerkily, keeping his fingers on Stiles' arm. The omega blinks at him owlishly, glancing between the fingers touching him and Derek's face again and again. This feels out of character, strange, and altogether fuckin' nutso in Stiles' mind, but he lets the wolf continue. “...I'm not really that much of an asshole.”

“Oh,” Stiles squeaks, before clearing his throat and trying again. “Oh. Yeah, no. Totally. I get that.”

“I know I've said a lot of stuff to Scott -” he pauses, looking away like he's embarrassed. “Done a lot of stuff to Scott. And he's your best friend, so...”

“Hey, man,” Stiles tries for a casual voice, but he thinks it sounds awkward and forced, as he reaches his own hand out to pat Derek on the back in a very bro manner. “I'm not holding any grudges. You guys are fucking childish and nutty-alphas, and I'm honestly used to it.”

Derek watches as Stiles retracts his hand from the weird bro-pat, furrows his brow, and then tightens his fingers just slightly on Stiles' arm. Like he expects him to try to walk away from the conversation. “I wanted to apologize.”

Stiles feels his eyes go huge – gigantic deer in the headlights look, and he sputters. “Apologize?”

“Yeah. You've been caught up in that stuff a lot, and I just wanted to -”

“Well – fucking...” he angles his body slightly away, pulls away from the alpha's fingers, and puts his hands on his hips. He gives Derek a complete and total lookover; from the jeans, to the shirt, to the mouth, to the hair, and frowns. This conversation is suddenly starting to feel a lot like the fucking Twilight Zone or Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

All the times that Scott and Derek have gotten into it, and all the times that Stiles has gotten wrapped into it, and Derek has never, never once, apologized. To anyone. And neither has Scott, for that matter. So color Stiles shocked out of his fuckin' socks.

“Where is this coming from?” He demands imperiously. “Are you trying to make good with Scott? Because if that's the case, pal, let me tell you, you're a dollar late and a buck -”

“I don't care about Scott,” he waves his hand noncommittally in the air at the name. Stiles knows that's code for I'll beat his ass again as soon as I see him fuck that guy, and it makes him purse his lips hard.

“He's the one who actually deserves an apology, you know!”

“Like I don't deserve one?”

“I'm not saying that!” Stiles argues, narrowing his eyes and stomping a foot. Since he's not wearing shoes and he's standing on a rug, it's pretty pathetic. “You both should apologize to each other, and bury the hatchet!”

"I could give a fuck about any hatchets with Scott McCall,” he says in a dark voice, glaring out past Stiles' head as if Scott himself were standing there just waiting to be punched. “I don't care what he thinks about me.”

“Then why,” Stiles takes a step forward, shrugging his shoulders like what the fuck, “would you come at me with that I wanted to apologize shit?”

“Because,” and he says it like it's so fucking obvious, “I care what you think.”

That makes Stiles stop short. He squeaks some noise out from the back of his throat, and then promptly shuts his mouth to keep any other embarrassing noises of shock trapped inside where Derek can't hear them.

Because – and this is loud and in all fuckin' caps, red writing on a huge billboard – WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Of all the things Stiles has ever expected to come tumbling out of Derek Hale's mouth, of all the things he thought he'd hear from his best friend's literal arch-nemesis...

I care what you think doesn't even rank. I care what you think is from an alternate universe.

“Why the – what?”

Derek sighs through his nose, palms his forehead, rolls his eyes to the ceiling – he mutters something under his breath that sounds like this isn't coming out right. “I just wanted to apologize, okay? It genuinely bothers me to think that you hate me.”

Stiles swallows, and it sounds loud in his own ears. It sounds like it's amplified with a microphone, megaphone, being broadcast across all stations. It's all nervous and fidgety and Stiles can't make direct eye contact with Derek because he's really genuinely anxious about what he'd see in the alpha's face, what this conversation is becoming. “I – don't.”

Pause. Derek blinking, neck rearing back slightly in surprise. “You don't?”

“No...” Stiles says slowly, shaking his head even more slowly. “You – make good pizza?” It's the only thing he can think to fucking say. It's horrible and stupid and his face burns in shame, but this conversation is mindfucking him.

“Then,” Derek starts, taking a tentative step closer, “you and I. We don't have problems. Anything with Scott and I, that's -”

“Separate,” Stiles nods his head firmly, tries to stay cool as a cucumber as Derek takes another step closer to him. It's not working, and his has to entwine his fingers to keep from nervously running his hands through his hair again and again. “Separate problems.” Derek steps closer again, and Stiles' nerves snap. “Um!” He jumps away, towards the door, and Derek freezes in place. “Anyway, this has been – a thing. Nice chat. I've really gotta -”

Derek watches with a slightly bemused smirk as Stiles fumbles his way back over to the door and wrenches in open, casting a furtive glance over his shoulder at where Derek is standing. “Tomorrow, though! Okay, bye!”

Stiles practically runs down the hallway and down the stairs, staggers into his shoes and doesn't bother tying them up, speedwalks to his car parked in the driveway. Climbing inside, slamming the door behind him. He puts both hands on the steering wheel, stares up at where he knows Derek Hale's bedroom window to be, and frowns.

Quietly, to himself, he says, “what the fuck.”

How is it possible that one of his very first actual honest-to-god conversations with Derek Hale wound up like that?

It's a question that Stiles has been trying to answer non-stop ever since it happened, to absolutely no avail. In his mind it doesn't make very much sense, after years of barely even interacting with one another, out of nowhere Derek is going on about how he wants to apologize to Stiles for the years of the weirdest possible relationship they could've ever had.

And that I care about what you think, shit? What the Hell was that about? It was just weird. That's all it really boils down to. Just plain old fucking weird.

When he shows up at Derek's house, empty except for them if the bare driveway and garages are anything to go by, he has plans of waltzing right up to the guy and demanding to know if that single pizza roll he had eaten was, like, food poisoned or something. That some weird worm got inside of the roll and then climbed inside of Derek's brain to convince him to say all that shit, that it wasn't really him, but instead, his evil twin Dean. Dean who likes to – apologize to people? What the fuck.

Stiles doesn't actually end up saying any of that stuff. Instead, he more or less clams up as Derek leads him back up to his bedroom, and that seems okay, at first, because it looks like Derek is going to act like the whole bit never happened.

Stiles settles back down onto the bed in the same spot as yesterday, noting that absolutely everything is exactly as it was the day before without even a single book out of place on the shelf, and they get back to work.

Powerpoint slides. That's what Stiles is thinking about. Powerpoint slides and prose and Emily Dickinson's use of hyphens. That's all he's fucking allowing himself to think about. Every so often, he glances up and finds Derek leaning back in his desk chair, watching Stiles' fingers with his eyes as they tap across the keyboard to write in everything Derek is saying from his own notes, and -

Out of nowhere, it doesn't feel so much like the way every other alpha looks at him. It really doesn't. Suddenly, it feels a lot more like Stiles wants to shove his hands into his pockets so Derek can't look at them, so he doesn't have to think about what it means that he can't fucking take his eyes off of them. He can't help but wonder what exactly it is that Derek is fucking thinking about just staring at his fingers like that.

After the conversation they had yesterday...Stiles doesn't feel confident that all the staring, and the sitting behind him, and the once-overs are all just because he's an alpha and Stiles is an omega and they're predispositioned to want each other on some carnal level.

After that conversation, it's starting to feel more personal than that. Stiles tries not to think like that, because it's nuts to even hear it in his own head, but he really, really can't help it. Not with Derek's eyes on him like that.

Stiles starts chewing on the end of a pen because he's fucking nervous and Derek can probably sense that and it makes him even more nervous, and then he looks up and Derek is watching him chew on the pen and it sends his heart beating rabbit fast, and he just kinda...

“Okay,” he shouts, throwing the pen across the room so it clicks against the wall – Derek follows this with his eyes and then slides them slowly back to Stiles' face. “Okay! You know what? We need to talk about this, because I feel like there's been a communicative, like, error, and we need it rectified, man!”

Derek cocks his head to the side, smiles, and says, “a communicative error.”

“Yes! Derek! A misunderstanding, if you will!”

“A misunderstanding about what, exactly?”

“A misunderstanding,” Stiles pulls his legs underneath him to get more leverage, to raise himself up on top of his knees so he's sitting taller, more in charge of the conversation, “in regards to what you said yesterday.” Before Derek can say anything else, and it looks for a moment like he's trying to, Stiles launches in. “Because I feel like there was some miscommunication, all right? I feel like we weren't fully understanding each other,” he flails his hands around in the air, and Derek's eyes follow them wherever they move, “and I think you misspoke and you put ideas in my head, the wrong ideas, and we need to just air it out, and – can you not look at my fingers like that?”

The room freezes for a moment, as Derek looks away from Stiles' hands and smiles. “What?”

“My fingers Derek,” Stiles holds his hands out in front of himself, his fingers all out on display like spider's legs or bendy straws or pipe cleaners, and Derek eyeballs them even harder. “You stare at them. Like – what do you want, man?”

Derek gets a look on his face that suggests to Stiles that if he uttered even a single one of the thoughts he has when he looks at the omega's fingers, Stiles would absolutely faint and collapse in shock. Or – maybe – possibly – arousal. That if Derek were to just flat out say what he thinks about with Stiles' long fucking fingers Stiles would be sent into heat and that would be that. Game over.

To protect himself from such humiliation, Stiles shoves his hands down into the pockets of his hoodie and pretends like he's not looking away in embarrassment, pretends his ears aren't turning pink. “Okay – look – forget the fingers. Forget I said anything about that. Let's get back to the conversation.”

“I'm confused as to what this conversation is about.”

And he's just sitting there looking so alpha and so fucking smug like he knows exactly what's going on right now, that Stiles physically cannot stop himself from ripping his hands clean out of the pockets he put them in to protect them and starts flailing again. “You confused me yesterday! And I'd like some answers.”

Derek looks like he's about to say answers about what, so Stiles beats him to it.

“Like about how you and I hardly know each other, yet you're acting like -” he can't say the words out loud, so he doesn't, just plows forward, “and about how you're all trying to apologize, and how you look at me sometimes! And how -”

“Stiles,” Derek cuts him off with a laugh, holding a hand out to pause him mid-speech. “Stiles, relax. I didn't mean to freak you out by what I said. I honestly was just trying to clear the air.”

“Okay,” Stiles agrees slowly, nodding his head. “But, fucking enlighten me – why do you give a shit about whether the air between us is clear or not? That's what I'm after, here!”

Derek leans back in his chair, fixes Stiles with what easily constitutes as a smug gaze, and then shrugs. “I like you.”

The words fizzle around inside of Stiles' brain for a moment, jerking and popping and bouncing like pouring milk into a bowl of rice krispies, and all he can really do outwardly is drop his jaw and look away for a moment. What comes to his mind as something to actually say, is, “you hate my best friend.”

“It's been a bit of a roadblock,” Derek says conversationally, like they're discussing the weather or the time or what they want to order from McDonald's.

Roadblock. It's been a roadblock. Meaning that Scott is in the way, and has been in the way, as in this has been going on, with Derek liking Stiles, and maybe he would've said something sooner if it hadn't been for Scott always beating the shit out of him for even looking in Stiles' direction. “Oh...”

“I've had absolutely no chances to ever get you alone -” which is true, so fucking true, “and if I ever try to even talk to you, he freaks out -” true, true, true, “and I know you think of me as attractive, because I can smell it,” oh God, true, true!!, “so I just thought, fuck it.”

“Fuck it,” Stiles repeats, nodding, still not meeting the alpha's gaze. “It's all that simple to you.”

“Alpha,” he points at himself, “omega,” then to Stiles. “Pretty simple math, there.”

“How about this,” Stiles counters, finally flipping his eyes around to glare in his direction. “Alpha,” index finger at Derek, “omega,” index finger at himself, “and then,” index finger out the window, “a second alpha who will literally rip you limb from limb if he catches wind of you even thinking about putting your hands on me!”

Derek smiles. He smiles. Like it's all fun and games to him. “I don't know if you've noticed,” he shrugs, “but Scott McCall doesn't particularly scare me.”

“Oho,” Stiles shakes his head and jumps down off the bed, begins to pace back and forth over the rug in his socks. “Oho! You think since you've won a couple of fights -”

“Most of the fights, Stiles.”

“...that you've got it all in the bag? Let me tell you something, buster,” Derek mouths buster to himself like it's so ridiculous, shakes his head with a smile, “when it comes to me, Scott has a tendency to go fuckin' Godzilla. Okay! And in this scenario, in the scenario where you and I fuck,” at the word fuck, Derek's eyes glow red for a fraction of a second, before he reins them in and they fade back into muddy green, “you're Mothra, pal!”

“Mothra?”

“Gigantic moth monster who never had a fuckin' chance, frankly,” he mutters to himself as he paces, twining his fingers together. “You're nuts, did you know that? Really nuts! Just absolutely off your rocker – I have half a mind – to go and tell Scott right now!”

Derek stands up from his desk chair, but keeps his distance from where Stiles is pacing, doesn't try to step forward as if he can sense that it wouldn't exactly be welcome right about now. “You've got a lot to say about what Scott thinks, and a lot to say about what I think, but I haven't heard a single word about what you think.”

“What?” Stiles hisses irritably, pausing in his pacing to give Derek a sneer.

“Forget Scott. He's out of the picture. Just think about you and how the thought of you and I,” an index finger points in between them again and again, “touching each other makes you feel.”

Stiles jerks, spins around so he doesn't have to face Derek, doesn't have to look at his stupid good-looking face, and takes a second to himself.

The guy has a point, there. He's been so wound up just fucking imagining Scott's face if he ever found out, if he ever heard the kinds of things Derek has said to him, the kinds of things Derek's probably been thinking about, staring at his fingers and his neck and his everything most likely – that he's never taken much time to really marinate on what he himself feels towards it.

The reality is, Stiles has no problem with it. Scott and his rage out of the picture, Stiles is down for it.

Derek has a point. Him alpha, Stiles omega, really that fucking simple. All the time that Stiles spends rolling his eyes at alphas and ignoring the way they look at him and treat him so nicely, but come heat time, Stiles froths at the fucking mouth thinking about one of them touching him. For alphas, it's almost like that all the time – since they don't get a heat, it's just a constant haze of lowkey want whenever an omega walks through the door.

And Stiles doesn't have a problem with the thought of Derek touching him. He really doesn't. The only problem he has is that Scott's head would fucking explode, but as soon as Stiles just forgets about Scott ripping Derek's eyes out of his skull if he ever found out...

Stiles swallows, shakes his head. “Fuck.” It sounds so succinct, like everything he has to say just boiled down into one simple little thing.

How quickly they've gone from sitting around putting together a fucking powerpoint about Emily god damn Dickinson to – whatever this is. Whatever the absolute hell this is.

Derek walks over to where Stiles is standing, frozen for the moment in his pacing, and stops a good foot away. Plenty of room for Stiles to jerk backwards if Derek does something that Stiles doesn't like. Plenty of time for him to say, hm, no, thank you should he decide to do just that. The alpha cocks his head to the side, gives Stiles a thorough staring, and says, “you don't watch the fights so much anymore.”

Stiles can't even fucking fathom how Derek could've ever noticed what Stiles is or isn't looking at while those fights are happening. But apparently, he has. “No, I – I don't enjoy them.”

“So you don't think about,” his tan fingers reach over and brush along the bit of Stiles' forearm exposed by his t-shirt, and Stiles shivers, “...how gentle I could be, if you let me.”

The words are like fucking stimulants. Shooting across his skin like live wires, waking him up like a shock to the system while simultaneously freezing him right there where he stands underneath Derek's fingers as they start gently stroking up and down Stiles' bare skin.

“I could be so gentle for you, Stiles,” a step closer, just enough for him to lean downwards to sniff at Stiles' hair, like he's been wanting to do that for so long – all the times he sat behind Stiles in English class, it's like he was just staring at the back of Stiles' head. All the hair, and the skin, and the freckles, just waiting for him to smell and taste and touch. “Say you want me, and you've got me. Say you don't,” he takes one last inhale like he's predicting this response and trying to get as much as he can out of the moment he has, “and we can go back to the project. You pick.”

The choice should be hard. At the absolute bare minimum, it should be hard. It should be difficult for him to sit there and think about how much Scott hates this asshole in front of him, how absolutely mad Scott would be, how everything about this is most definitely going to end in burning fucking flames as soon as it gets out, and then combat that with how much he wants Derek. That should be hard.

Either that, or it should be easy. To just step back, hands up, and say, let's just finish the project, Derek. Because it's fucking stupid for him to do this. He knows that. God dammit. He knows it.

Instead, he wraps his fingers into Derek's shirt, pulls him down, and kisses him.

It's a pretty quick thing. Stiles fists his fingers so deep into Derek's shirt that it strains around his broad shoulders without the extra give, and Derek licks into Stiles' mouth so fucking hungrily it's like he's trying to find something in there – both of them breathing through their noses harshly and quickly – and then Stiles pulls back.

“Fuck,” he hisses, stepping away from Derek, walking over to the opposite end of the room, giving him ample space to start pacing again. His go-to what the fuck do I do move. Pacing. “Oh, God dammit.”

Derek just sort of stands back, lips parted, hand still hovering in the air where it was just on Stiles' neck, and he has this blank look in his eyes. Like he's in a daze or something. Stiles starts pacing faster, and tries very, very hard to not think about the fact that just a ten second kiss from him is all it takes to get an alpha fucking starstruck practically – because if he thinks about that too hard, thinks about how easy it is, how much Derek has wanted him, then he's going to...

He charges back across the room and pulls Derek back down again; this time, he wraps his arms around Derek's neck, and Derek fits his big hand on Stiles' hip in the exact place where his shirt is riding up, so the warmth of his palm spreads out along Stiles' bare skin. It's fucking nice, is the thing. Kissing Derek is nice. It feels good. Derek is good at it, and he feels good pressed against Stiles' body, and all Stiles wants is fucking more.

Of all of it.

Which is exactly why he forces himself to pull back again, but just for a second.

He keeps his arms around Derek's neck, and looks him dead in the eyes. “This is a horrible idea,” he says, matter of factly. Kisses him again, hard. Pulls back. “Like, monumentally bad.” Another kiss.

“You,” Derek breathes in-between kisses, “are giving me mixed signals.”

Stiles gives an affirmative noise into Derek's mouth during another long kiss, because, hell yeah, he's giving him mixed signals. This entire thing is a mixed signal. It's a cross between the way he feels about having Derek touch him like this and the way he feels about the look Scott is going to give him if he ever finds out about this shit.

There's no greater mixed signal than that.

And, yet, Stiles can't stop. Alpha/omega desires burn deeply inside of him, and they must be fucking scorching inside of Derek, so strong that neither of them really give a fuck. When there's so much for them to care about, they just can't spare the time. Not while their hands are on each other.

Derek pulls off of Stiles' lips to kiss along his jaw, feather light and rabbit quick. Stiles tips his head back to give him better access, lets the alpha lave his tongue up and down the column of his throat, lets him suck a mark into his skin with teeth and firm lips, all the while panting gentle breaths between his teeth.

“Hey,” Stiles pipes up when Derek's hand skirts down towards Stiles' belt, “have you ever -”

“Yeah,” Derek says, dipping his fingers in the space between Stiles' clothes and his skin, running them along back and forth like he wants to take them off but is waiting for Stiles' affirmative. “Have you?”

Stiles flicks his eyes away and wonders who it was that Derek has slept with before. He thinks about if he's ever seen Derek with a girl, or a boy, another omega, and he remembers some rumors from earlier in the year about him and Erica (which made Stiles laugh because hello Elementary school) but those fizzled out pretty quickly from what he remembers. Shortlived. Must've been a just-sex thing, which is all Erica every really has the time for considering her grade point average and her after school job saving up for college.

“Yeah,” he says back, a little ashamed, still. His first time wasn't that great. Truth be told, he's never even told Scott the specifics because it was so embarrassing and stupid and he just wanted to lose his virginity so damn bad he'd have been willing to sleep with the first guy who asked. So he more or less did. Whatever. “But I don't – not -”

“Okay,” Derek says easily, taking his hand out of Stiles' pants like it doesn't bother him at all. “We can just touch. Let's just -”

“Okay,” Stiles breathes back into his mouth, and before he knows it his back is on Derek's bed and Derek is climbing on top of him. Two big hands rest on either side of Stiles' head, holding Derek up as he leans down to catch Stiles' lips again with his own.

Seconds pass like this. Nothing but the wet sounds of their mouths working together in the silence of the bedroom, the silence of the entire empty house, and it's easy to not think so much. Just concentrate on Derek's hand gliding steadily up and down Stiles' torso, on Derek's lips moving, his tongue, the way he smells, tastes...it's easy.

Derek pops his lips off of Stiles' and says, “what do you want?”

Stiles breathes. “What's your thing with my hands?”

The alpha smiles above him, all predator and sex and want. “You want me to show you?”

It's like Stiles doesn't have a choice – he nods. He nods, and Derek reaches down to unbuckle the belt of his jeans and then undo the button, one-handedly shoves as much of his boxers and pants down as he can while they're like this. It's enough that his dick springs free, that Stiles can fucking see it, and as soon as it's out, he glances up at Stiles' face as if he's checking to make sure it's okay that he did that. When Stiles doesn't do much except stare at it from his head's spot on the pillow, he must take this as a go-ahead.

Derek reaches down and takes one of Stiles' hands by the wrist, begins slowly guiding it towards himself. Again, a glance at Stiles' face. Waiting for an interjection or a stop.

Nothing comes. Stiles lets Derek tug his hand down. He allows Derek to gently use his index finger to sop up the bit of pre-come leaking out of the tip of him, to stroke that one lone finger down the shaft to spread the damp around the skin, shivers at how warm it feels. He just sits there when Derek uses his own hand to wrap Stiles' fingers around his dick, and then Derek sighs. “Just – let me -” he drops his hand back down onto the bed for leverage, and moves his hips.

Derek slides in between his fingers slowly, all the way to the tip, and then back down. Again, and again, at a perfectly even pace. Stiles curls his fingers a little tighter, stares up into Derek's face and watches the way his eye lashes flutter and his lips are drawn down in concentration as he fucks himself with Stiles' fingers, pushing in and out and in and out like he could do this for hours.

And Stiles thinks he doesn't quite get what's so great about a certifiable handjob. Like, what? Are his fingers magic or something?

Either way, it's fucking hot. It is fucking hot that all Stiles is doing is laying there with his fingers around Derek's dick, not even god damn moving, and Derek is getting off on it himself.

“Fuck,” Derek breathes between his teeth, starting to move faster. “Stiles, fuck...”

“I'm not doing anything,” Stiles says, shifting underneath Derek, jerking his hips up slightly out of habit. “This is all you.”

Derek shakes his head, bites his lip. “No, it's –“ he cuts off around a groan, hips spasming unevenly.

Stiles takes this as an opportunity to start doing something – so he puts his free hand on Derek's shoulder to stop him, with a whine from the back of the alpha's throat, and then moves his hand up and down. Much slower than Derek was going, but it appears to be enough.

Derek huffs and drops his forehead down onto Stiles' shoulder, moving his lips to his collarbones to kiss gently at what he can. “That's good,” he murmurs, “that's good, oh my God...”

“What is it?” Stiles asks with a small smile, working at Derek just slightly faster. Derek responds with a whine against Stiles' skin, like he just can't fucking stand it. “My fingers?”

“Long,” Derek pants, “I don't – I've thought about this.”

Stiles grips him tighter and starts pumping him with the sheer intent to just get him off, make him come, and Derek bites Stiles' neck around a moan.

“I've thought about your hands on me,” he admits quietly as Stiles works. “I've just wanted...”

Wanted me, Stiles thinks. Fucking wanted Stiles so bad it's all he could ever think about. The idea of it is so all encompassing, and having Derek in his hand is such a fucking distraction, he just...goes with it. All of it.

Derek comes, all over Stiles' shirt and pants and hand, and then Stiles laughs when Derek produces a wet wipe out from his bed side dresser.

“You do this a lot?” Stiles asks, raising his eyebrows.

“Do I jerk off a lot?” Derek counters with a sigh. “Yes, Stiles. Like every other teenage boy out there, I jerk off and have to sop it up with a wet one.” He rubs it along Stiles' shirt gently, and then down along the crease in his jeans where most of the mess wound up.

“Typically I just ball my clothes up and shove them in the hamper.”

“And your dad smells it all over your clothes when he does the wash.”

Stiles pauses. He had never thought about that. One of the perks of being an omega – blissful fucking ignorance. Oh, well, he shrugs; it's not like his father never knew he masturbated?

“We should work on the project some more,” he offers, sliding out from underneath Derek to reach for his laptop somewhere on the bed beside them. “If we do more work, we could have it done by tomorrow after school.”

“All right,” Derek agrees with a smile, pulling his pants back up and settling down beside Stiles on the bed.

So that's what they do. They sit there and work on the project after Stiles just gave Derek a handjob - like nothing even happened.

At school the next day, Stiles puts about twenty times more effort into his plan of keeping Scott away from Derek. It's not just any time he spots Derek coming their way, and not just when Scott pauses and sniffs the air and hisses Hale out from between his teeth.

It's constant. The sheer thought of running into Derek today has Stiles on fucking edge like a wolf caged into a corner, has his hackles raised and his jaw clamped tight. The idea of having to stand there right beside Scott while Derek looks at Stiles, after Stiles fucking – after what he did – after – Jesus Christ.

While he was with Derek, every thing was cool. They got as much done on the project as they could, and then Derek's mom and sisters came home. Derek quickly shot up from his bed and sprayed a wolf-friendly air freshener around the room to drown out the scent of sex from the air, right before Cora Hale came bursting into the room shouting about how she won the spelling bee, waving a trophy around the air triumphantly while behind her Laura screamed the Rocky theme song at the top of her lungs.

Mrs. Hale had two boxes of pizzas in her hands, gave Stiles a warm smile and said he was welcome to participate in the celebration. Of course Stiles did, even without the nudge in the side Derek gave him to tell him he'd like that. Fuck what Derek wants, Stiles thought – this was about the pizza. The fucking best pizza in town he never gets to eat because he's supposed to be boycotting Hales all across the board just because of Scott.

At the time, even that thought hadn't woken Stiles up to reality. He just sat there like a traitor and a god damn slut – eating pizza at the Hale dinner table and listening to Cora recount all the words she thought she definitely misspelled, while underneath the table Derek kept bumping his foot against Stiles'. It was nice.

Then, he got in his car and drove home. Then he was alone with his own thoughts, no Derek there to be hot and sweet anchoring him down. Just. Him. In his fucking shame.

And not shame about hooking up with Derek. Oho, no – that was way too great for him to feel anything but pride over. That's not the fucking issue here. Derek is so far from the issue, and the sex is so far from the issue.

The issue was when Stiles pulled up in his Jeep in the school parking lot and saw Scott leaning up against his bike waiting for his best friend to show up for school. That was the god damn issue.

As much as Stiles knows that Scott's hatred of Derek and all things Hale is irrational and petty and childish, he can't deny that it's really not best friend-like to do something like what he did. You don't fuck your best friend's enemy. You just don't do it. Not without a conversation, first. And, yeah, there was no time for a conversation, it just happened, but...still.

It was really hard to not feel even the teeniest bit guilty about the entire thing. Scott chatted in Stiles' ear all day about his date with Allison over the weekend and dude, it sucked you were grounded, I wanted to skype sooo bad to tell you all about it, while Stiles listened with one ear and kept watch for Derek with the other. It was imperative that the two of them stay far, far away from Derek today.

Scott because having to look Scott in the eyes while the guy Stiles fucked around with the night before is walking towards them is just too much of a horrible thought to bear, and Stiles because – because Stiles isn't sure what he's gonna do if he has to see Derek outside of English class and their after school meeting to finish their project.

So, avoidance. In their shared classes, Stiles keeps his eyes glued to Scott's face, listening and nodding his head as Scott chatters, doesn't ever look for Derek. During lunch hour, Stiles purposefully sits with his back towards Derek's usual table (the one he shares with Boyd and Erica and Isaac and all the other too cool for school kids with their dark clothes and intimidating glares) and makes Scott do the same without his knowledge. The day passes fine that way.

In English class, Stiles is on edge. He's jittering his leg up and down, glancing all around himself like a squirrel on the hunt for a nut, feeling exposed as though there's a neon sign that says HOOKED UP WITH DEREK HALE hovering above his head.

The sign only gets brighter and more theatrical when Derek walks in and sets his eyes on Stiles first fucking thing with a tiny smile on his face. God, this is so horrible, Stiles thinks as he walks closer and closer, like literally the worst fucking thing ever. There is nothing worse than this moment. This is like being dragged through Hell fire coals by my ankles towards the Devil waiting for me on his throne to bequeath an eternity of torment on my soul.

Derek sits down behind him, taps one finger on Stiles' shoulder, and says, (and his voice is so fucking loud it sounds like his mouth is right next to Stiles' ear), “are we still hooking up after school to finish up?”

Hooking up. What a fucking word choice, Hale. What a god damn word choice. “Mmmhmm,” Stiles says, as casual as he can manage while his face is on fire and he's glaring pointedly at the white board where Mrs. Rose is writing the day's in-class assignment.

“All right,” Derek says, like he isn't picking up on Stiles' terror at all. Stiles knows that the alpha has finally leaned back in his seat from the creaking sound of the chair, but he also knows for a damn fact that Derek's hands are hovering dangerously close to his back. Like, his fingers are touching Stiles' back. As if he's just reminding Stiles the entire class period that he's sitting there. Existing.

Stiles manages to finish the assignment before the bell rings by some miracle, even with Derek's distracting god damn fingers, and as soon as he's up and handing it in, he's out the door.

For the remaining minutes he has before the final bell rings and he's supposed to meet Derek in the computer lab, he's pacing in the hallway. Up and down in front of the same set of lockers, twisting his fingers together and muttering under his breath about options.

Option A : violently tell Derek that they are under no circumstances ever to hook up again because it was stupid and dumb.

Option B : tell Scott the truth, stand back and watch as Scott kills Derek with his bare hands and Stiles doesn't even have to face the music. Not an option at all, actually. Expunge this from the record.

The real Option B : calmly explain to Derek that the situation is too fucked up and hey, maybe if Derek and Scott ever shake hands and make up, they can hook up again because, man...it was great.

Option C : forget everything, charge headfirst into danger like fuckin' Bravehart and have sex with Derek all over again.

Option D : bury himself alive and wait for the worms to eat him

He's only just starting to weigh the pros and cons of fleeing the scene and disappearing, getting a new name and new place to live, a new family, when the bell rings.

It isn't like he has a choice. Either which way, he has to tell Derek something. With a sigh, he makes his way down towards the computer lab like he's going to his own fucking execution, gripping the straps of his backpack and dragging his feet the entire way.

Once he walks in there, it is no surprise to him whatsoever that Derek is already there, waiting. He's leaning back in a swivel chair, spinning slowly back and forth, clicking a pen nonchalantly. He looks up when Stiles walks in, and gives him a small smile, just like in English class. Stiles braces himself against the good looks and the alpha-ness of it all, plops down right beside him, and pulls his flash drive out.

“So, um,” he starts, clearing his throat awkwardly, “just – a couple more slides. And then we'll be done.”

“Yeah,” Derek agrees, nodding. “More stuff on the Master Letters.”

“Mmmhmm,” Stiles says – and Jesus Christ, since when does he say mmhmm? “Just some last, like, notes...”

Derek fucking reaches over and puts his hand on Stiles' shoulder. Squeezes it, all friendly and nice and intimate, and then releases it. Like, no big deal. Just casual touching between people who have done it!

Well. Not even. It was a handjob. But the point stands!

Stiles grits his teeth and ignores it. He opens up the powerpoint and Derek pulls out his notes and they start making the last two slides. It's all very civil and serious, just getting some work done. Stiles thinks this is a really good project and that they're going to get an A and Derek agrees, and everything is going fine.

When Stiles is putting the finishing touches on the final slide, Derek runs his fingers down Stiles' back all sexily and that's the final fucking straw.

“Okay!” He practically shouts. The human girls a row down from them look up in surprise, raising their eyebrows. Stiles blushes and looks away, focusing back in on Derek's face of vague amusement. “Get your – fingers off!”

Derek retracts his hand immediately, dropping it down into his lap and frowning.

“Listen, pal, we need to have a talk.”

“Okay,” Derek agrees slowly.

“I think it needs to be damn said,” Stiles starts, adjusting the collar of his flannel, “that, like -” he tries to remember his options. What were they again? Sex, no sex, sex? Something like that. Or it was...attack Derek violently or attack Derek calmly? Fuck it's hard to think with Derek looking at him like that, after having Derek touching him so recently. “We can't!”

Derek furrows his brow together, frowns even more deeply. “We can't what?”

Stiles motions in between them with flailing hands, scanning his eyes around the room to make sure that there are no wolves in sight to eavesdrop on this conversation. “This!”

“This what?”

“Oh – my god,” Stiles facepalms. “I know you're not this oblivious. You know what!”

Derek puffs out a sigh that confirms Stiles' suspicions, and then creaks in his chair like he's leaning back again. “If you really don't want to -”

“I don't,” it comes out easily, in spite of how much of a fucking lie it is. And Derek can hear that. He can hear it loud and clear.

But since he's a nice person and not a fucking animal, he pretends like he doesn't. He just scrutinizes Stiles' face for a moment, before nodding his head and logging off of his computer. “If you don't want to, then we won't.”

Stiles tugs downwards on his shirt and tries to feel accomplished. He more or less handled the situation, that easily, but he still feels...unfulfilled. Like he has unfinished business somewhere down the line. “Well...good!”

“If this is about Scott, you know, I can talk to him, and -”

“Don't...” Stiles points a menacing finger in Derek's face. Derek goes cross-eyed looking at it, and then clicks his eyes up to Stiles' face with a thin smile. Like he thinks it's fuckin' funny. “...you even think about telling Scott a damn word. Not a damn word!”

“Don't you think that he and I could benefit from a talk -”

“A talk?” Stiles gets a vision of Scott shoving Derek's head through a meatgrinder.

“An apology.”

Stiles throws his hands in the air. “Frankly, buddy, there's really no words that are a big enough apology for everything! Like – some shit can't just be taken away!”

“What is it with you and the weird petnames?” Derek gives Stiles a quizzical look paired with another of his smiles, tilting his head to the side. “Pal? Buster? Buddy?”

Stiles hadn't realized he was doing that. He shakes his head, realizes that it's true, and confesses, “must be a nervous tic.”

Derek leans back even farther in his chair. Stiles is starting to recognize that as Derek's go-to confidence move – as though if he just pretends like everything is all casual and cool, he can make them be all casual and cool. “Because I make you nervous.”

“I know you're not trying to flirt with me,” Stiles warns dangerously, logging off of his own computer and picking his backpack up off the ground. “I know that you're not.”

“I'm not,” Derek says, but he's smirking. The fucking fake.

“The project is done and e-mailed,” he says, ripping his flashdrive out of the computer and raising his hands in the air like done. “You need to stop sitting behind me and putting your fucking meat skewers into my back -”

“Meat skewers?”

“And that's all there is to it! Finito!” Derek sighs through his nose as Stiles rises to a full stand, shucking his backpack over his shoulders and fixing Derek with a frown. “That's the end of the story! We can't do it anymore!” A pause. “Bucko. There's a new one. Just a friendly tease between friends,” Stiles starts backing away, towards the door, while Derek stands up from his own chair and collects his bag. “Because that's what we are! Just friends. Actually – not even friends. Acquaintances. Right. Just plain old acquaintances. Maybe not even. Classmates. Peers! Just peers.”

Derek gives Stiles a tired smile, starts walking to follow him out of the room. “Just peers. Okay.”

“All right, well. Glad that's out of the way.”

 

Derek slams the door of the janitor's closet shut behind him, and as soon as they're alone, Stiles is leaping on top of him. Limbs tangling and heavy panting and lips searching for each other in the dim light underneath the swinging lightbulb that Derek keeps smacking his head into because he's so tall, fuck.

Stiles gets pinned back against the wall of shelves behind them, fitting himself as much as he can to sit on the highest one he can reach before wrapping his legs around Derek's waist and pulling him in closer for a deeper kiss. Derek growls into Stiles' mouth at the handling, grabbing onto Stiles' hips and tugging until they're flush against each other.

He pulls his lips free from Derek's and tilts his neck back, a clear invitation, and Derek takes it happily to work his mouth down in sloppy kisses along his jaw and neck. Stiles breathes, raises his eyes to the cruddy ceiling of the fucking closet they're in, and thinks here we go again.

How they wound up here...it's so stupid. It is so stupid. One second Stiles was walking alongside Derek in the mostly deserted halls, positive that he'd done the right thing. Because not hooking up with Derek is irrefutably the right fucking thing, no matter what his dick or omega hormones think; there's just no two ways about it. He can rationalize it all he wants.

And he fucking knew that not five minutes ago.

What happened was Derek existing. Just walking along and not saying much of anything, not giving Stiles the cold shoulder for shutting him down, not giving him dirty looks, just being. In his stupidly attractive white t-shirt and well-fitting jeans and good looking face.

Stiles thought I can't believe I hooked up with that, and then he thought, not that it matters!

He wasn't doing that anymore.

“I hope Mrs. Rose likes our project,” Derek had said, all cool and chill.

“Yeah,” Stiles agreed in a rasp. “We put in time.”

Both of them must've thought of the exact same thing at the exact same moment. Because the time that they were supposedly putting into working so hard on this project was actually, in part, spent – well. Not doing that. Not doing that at all.

Derek tensed up moderately, his shoulders bunching up like he was thinking about Stiles' fucking fingers again, and Stiles twined his hands together in front of him and started thinking about Derek's body on top of his, the way his muscles moved as he...

The next thing Stiles was thinking about was oh, hey, there's an empty janitor's closet and then – and then...

Derek palms at Stiles through his jeans and Stiles tosses his head back, smacking it into a crowd of cleaning supplies that all clatter around on the shelf, knocking into each other with a domino effect that's loud enough to alert someone to the two of them being in here.

Apparently neither of them care much, because within seconds, Stiles' pants and boxers are down off of his hips and Derek is skirting his fingers along the juncture between his hips and his crotch.

“Are you sure about this?” Derek says, taking a second to just press the pause button on this fuckdom. He moves his hands on Stiles' hips and settles them there firmly, but doesn't touch anywhere else, not distracting Stiles or goading him into the answer he wants with sex. It should be enough to remind Stiles of what he had been thinking about earlier. It should be more than enough for Stiles to climb down off the shelf and pull his pants back up.

But. He doesn't do that. “Yes,” he breathes instead, pawing at Derek's neck like he needs him – and in a way, he really, really does. “Yes, yes.”

Derek kisses Stiles on the lips, mouths his way over to his ear, leaving a trail of saliva behind in his wake. “Need you to be quiet, okay?”

Stiles nods, mindlessly, because he has no idea what he's fucking in for. Absolutely no god damn concept of what's about to happen to him.

The first time he had sex, also incidentally the last, the guy was rough. Stiles didn't mention that it was his first time because he didn't want to seem all childish – in spite of the fact that he was fucking sixteen and at the bar with a fake ID that his father would've absolutely ripped his head off if he knew existed. And Stiles? Obviously sixteen. There was no well, maybe he's just got a young face– no fucking way.

The guy didn't appear to care much, like he liked it that way, and that should've been Stiles' first clue that it wasn't exactly going to be the fairytale he had always built it up to be in his head. Long story short, it wasn't that great, and he can't even say he enjoyed it that much. Oh, well.

This, clearly, was a different ballgame altogether. Stiles hadn't been expecting this much.

So, when Derek quickly drops to his knees in front of Stiles and licks at the head of his dick, Stiles' brain just sort of goes...bye.

He adjusts his place on the shelf, which, by the way, is creaking like at any moment it's going to collapse in on them both – but Stiles has it on pretty good authority that if that were to really and truly happen, Derek's reflexes would be fast enough to catch him and strong enough to hold him. So he's not really worrying too much about that, and why would he be, when Derek is sucking on the tip of his fucking dick.

Stiles whines in the back of his throat, trying to stay as quiet as possible, like Derek said. It's hard. It's very, very, hard. It gets harder when Derek starts taking in more of him, pulling in another inch and then sucking back to the tip, another inch, back to the tip; Stiles starts shuddering and knocks over another round of Lysol cans.

Below him, Derek pulls off and presses a finger to his smiling lips. Stiles nods his head frantically and silently in agreement, just wanting that feeling back, and Derek gives it to him. Although, this time around, he doesn't really ease Stiles into it. He takes in as much as Stiles as he can in one go, and Stiles can't help it – he cries out.

Either because he can't help it or because he wants to draw one last sound out of Stiles before he knows better, Derek laves at Stiles' sensitive vein with his tongue as he pulls off, and Stiles squeals again, shoving his fist into his mouth to try and stop it.

“I can't,” he hisses, shaking his head while Derek kitten licks at the tip a couple of times for good measure. “I can't, I can't, I'm going to scream.”

“Okay,” Derek huffs a laugh out and rises up to his feet, “there are wolf-teachers still on campus, Stiles, if they hear us -”

“I know.” He imagines Mrs. Rose bursting in on this fucking homoerotic scene in a janitor's closet – forward thinking as she may be, she can't turn a blind eye to this shit. On school grounds. Then he imagines his own fucking father being called down to the principal's office because, guess what, his son is in trouble, and he'll never believe what for this time. Those thoughts alone should be enough to keep him quiet forever, but he knows beyond any shadow of a doubt that if Derek puts his mouth on him again he's going to lose it. Absolutely just fuckin' explode.

Luckily, Derek has a better idea.

“Here, here,” he whispers, slapping his big hand over Stiles' mouth and using the other to slide along Stiles' erection, slick and workable from Derek's saliva. Stiles' moan is muffled pretty effectively by Derek's hand, enough so that Stiles thinks that even a wolf would only hear him if they actually stopped and listened for it, like they were looking specifically for two guys having sex in a closet. Which, most people wouldn't be. So. “There we go,” he murmurs gently into Stiles' ear, pumping up and down in a steady rhythm that has Stiles almost biting the flesh of Derek's palm.

Stiles fists his hands into Derek's shirt, scrabbling for purchase on something, as his orgasm builds up higher and higher, and Derek kisses around his own fingers on Stiles' face, rubbing his thumb along the top of his cheek. Stiles makes another muffled moan, this one higher pitched, needy, desperate, and Derek moves faster.

“I know,” he says, “quiet, baby, quiet.”

And he doesn't have a lot of time to ruminate on that word baby, how affectionate and close and intimate it is, when contrasted with the fucking situation they're in right now – because seconds later, he's coming in spurts and nearly clawing into Derek's shirt to hold back a moan.

Derek pulls off of Stiles' face, letting the omega breathe in and out deeply without being impeded by a foreign object. He leans forward and kisses Stiles' cheek, running his fingers up and down his chest in a steady rhythm.

“Hm,” Stiles comments when he finds his voice again, glancing down at the mess he made all over his shirt. “It's a shame you don't have your wet wipes.”

Derek raises his eyebrows. Then, he reaches back and pats around the side pocket of his backpack (because he's still got it on, holy fucking lord), before producing a tiny travel sized pack of the wipes.

“Oh my fuck,” Stiles guffaws as Derek pulls a wipe out and starts work on Stiles' shirt. “I cannot believe – the nerdiness of it all.”

How does this even compute? The alpha that gets into fights with Stiles' best friend 24/7, and wins a good seventy percent of the time, is a fucking nerd that keeps his bedroom eerily clean and walks around with travel-sized wet wipe containers. And Stiles isn't naive enough to think that Derek is constantly using them for things like mopping up come – oh, no sirree bob. The guy probably wet wipes anything and everything; he's probably one of those people who has to wipe down a public toilet before sitting down on it. He uses those wet wipes to sanitize his hands before eating his lunch and scrubs at a ketchup stain before it sets in and wipes scuffs off of his shoes and it's just so -

Cute. Ridiculously fucking cute.

“I feel like I've seen you wearing Avengers t-shirts about a dozen times before, and you're calling me the nerd, here.” He throws the wipe into the trashcan perched a couple feet away from them.

“Um – it isn't nerdy anymore once it's a box office success. You can come at me when Wet Wipes the Movie hits theaters, pal.”

“Pal.”

“Shit,” Stiles snickers to himself, rolling his eyes before pulling his pants back up onto his hips, zipping them up again. “I don't know why I keep doing that to you.”

Derek tilts his head to the side in faux confusion, smirking. “I thought we established it's because I make you nervous?”

With a sigh, Stiles pushes Derek out of his way to fit his backpack back up on his shoulders and stand back up from the shelf.

At this point, they're just two fuck-ups standing in a janitor's closet with a come-stained wet wipe in a trashcan right beside where they're standing, and Stiles guesses that reality should be setting in – and it sort of does. But not the way that it should be.

It should be telling him to huff and morosely tell Derek, again, that they just can't be doing this shit because of a half dozen reasons and it's stupid and idiotic and it's just going to end badly.

Instead, it sets in in the form of Stiles finally fucking realizing that this is sort of happening now. He and Derek are hooking up in janitor's closets and creating inside jokes out of nowhere and Stiles actually likes him beyond just the sex bit, and Derek seems to like Stiles the same, and...it's happening. Stiles officially and completely doesn't know what to do about it, except just let it happen. Ride the wave out until it crashes down.

Which it, inevitably, will. Maybe that's half the thrill of it. The thought that anyone could've walked in during that, the thought that Scott could've – horrifying as it is to really consider it, but in the abstract, there's something undeniably sexy about it all. That they're doing something bad. That they have to keep it a secret, or else.

Stiles suddenly understands the appeal of the forbidden romance.

Not that he's calling he and Derek a romance or anything.

“Here,” Derek pulls a card out of his wallet and hands it over to Stiles – who takes it to examine the writing across it. It's for his family's pizza place, a one free slice!! card with an amusing little caricature of a pizza smiling at him. “You should come in sometime. You never do.”

He thinks about how Derek has noticed that, even with the amount of traffic that a popular place like that must get, and wonders again just how long it's been that Derek has liked Stiles like that. “Yeah,” he agrees, pocketing the card. “Scott.”

“Right,” Derek nods with a sour look on his face. “Well, don't tell him.”

Stiles looks up. Meets Derek's eyes directly. “Don't tell him,” Stiles repeats; because he doesn't think that Derek realizes the full weight of what that sentence really means.

Or, maybe, he does. Because he says it again. “Don't tell him.”

----

As it turns out, Mrs. Rose did like their idiotic project on Emily Dickinson – quite a bit as a matter of fact. She liked it so fucking much, in spite of the fact that all they did was create a powerpoint wherein they acted like they had any real talent of deciphering poetry whatsoever, and hated everyone else's so damn much that she asks Stiles and Derek to present their stupid project to the class to show everyone else how it's done.
“Maybe it was the sex,” Stiles winked at Derek after they left class the day she held them back to tell them. Derek laughed – even though both of them knew it was entirely because of their subject choice and the way they catered shamelessly to Mrs. Rose's obsession with analyzing gender norms.

Either way, they stand in front of the class, Derek on one side of the smartboard and Stiles on the other, and take turns presenting their bullshit project. It didn't occur to Stiles at the time, even though he felt his face get hot on more than one occasion when he considered the fact that he was standing in front of a classroom next to the guy he's having janitor closet sex with these days, that being up there with Derek in front of everyone might kinda...get around?

It would've been ten times bigger news if Derek and Scott had been forced to work together on a project. Most likely because any and all attempts to get Scott and Derek into a room alone with one another to work things out or work on anything or even just be civil to each other for ten seconds have all ended in bloodshed and tears, and those stories still get passed around the school like fucking legends; the same thing would've happened in this class, as well.

But, it's still pretty decent news that Stiles, the best friend of the enemy, had to work with Derek on something. Ir really, really should have occurred to Stiles at some point that people might talk. He's never been a part of the rumor mill except in casual mentions (did you hear Derek Hale nearly ripped Scott McCall's head off for pushing Stiles Stilinski in the hallway? - which was a playful shove by the by, but Stiles thought back then that Derek would take any excuse to get into a fight), so maybe he didn't entirely see it coming.

He should have, though. He really should have.

When he's stepping outside after giving his presentation with Derek, who vanishes from sight the second he spots Scott these days, and walking towards his Jeep, he feels a huge hand smack him in the back of the head hard enough that he jerks his neck forward and shouts in indignation.

“Hey!” He hisses, whirling around and half expecting to see another omega trying to fight him (because a beta or an alpha would never try to fight him) but instead sees Scott. Looking royally pissed off. Almost the way he looks whenever he makes eye contact with Derek. “What's the -”

“Were you ever going to tell me?” He demands, eyes huge and accusing.

Stiles' mind immediately starts playing a film of him and Derek touching each other illicitly; but Scott couldn't possibly be talking about that because there's no fucking way he could know about that. It's lucky Stiles has a quick-thinking brain, lucky that he didn't immediately start grovelling on the ground for forgiveness, and instead says, “tell you what?”

Scott crosses his arms over his chest. “About you and Hale working together.”

Not nearly as bad as the sex part. Although technically the sex part is interwoven somewhere in there, Scott just doesn't have any fucking clue about it. Stiles runs his palm over his forehead, stares out past Scott's head, and sighs. He should have really thought about how he was going to handle this if Scott ever found out. He really should have. “I – well -”

“You kept it from me,” a tan finger pokes into his face angrily, “you hid it.”

“Well!” Stiles defends uselessly. “I didn't want to -”

“You should have asked for another partner, Stiles!” In spite of how stupid it is for Scott to even suggest it, he says this. “You know how fucking insane it makes me to think about him being anywhere near you, do you know and understand how psycho he is? Do you get that?”

Actually, no, Stiles thinks bitterly. Derek isn't psycho. Or, at least he isn't when Scott's not in the room – but the thing is, the same exact thing can be said about Scott in regards to Derek, and the proof is in the pudding right here and right now. No one else could make Scott this paranoid, and no one else could drive Scott nuts enough to accost his best friend in the school parking lot where people are slowing down to listen in on it; it's like a fucking sickness, Stiles thinks. “You know, this is why I didn't tell you,” he starts walking towards where his Jeep is parked, and Scott follows with angry footfalls, “this is exactly why I didn't tell you.”

“Because you knew I'd have a problem -”

“Because I knew you'd be nuts about it! It's not a big deal, Scott!”

As Stiles is pulling open the driver's side door to his Jeep, Scott reaches his hand out and smacks it closed again with a slam – Stiles rears around and gapes at him, jaw dropped, incensed. “I'm not being nuts, Stiles,” another finger gets pointed in his face, “I'm trying to look out for you. That guy – that piece of shit – shouldn't be around omegas.”

And again, with the alphas fighting over omegas bit. Really, in this particular situation, there are factors like Scott and Derek hating each other and the long, long history of misdeeds they've done to one another, but this in specific is what really sets the two of them off. Stiles being an omega makes the entire thing that much more fucking bonkers than it would otherwise be, just because he's so meek and helpless and skinny and the alphas have a bizarre drive to mark omegas up as theirs. Romantic or platonic or just for the fuck of it, every single alpha in this god forsaken school and town has at least one omega that if any alpha even looks at the wrong way, they'll kill for.

Sometimes, it doesn't even have to be an omega they know. Stiles can't even count on both hands and feet how many times a random alpha has stepped in at the grocery store or the gas station to tell off some other wolf for looking at him too long or saying something that makes him uncomfortable. It just happens.

So, yeah. In this particular situation, it's really not fucking helping that Stiles is that omega for Scott. And if the way Derek is all into putting his hands all over Stiles is anything to go by, he'd say the same can be said of him as well.

Which isn't good. Not good whatso-fuckin-ever.

“He's been nothing but, like, professional, Scott,” Stiles assures him, and hopes that Scott is too angry to be listening in on his heartbeat. “The project is over and done with, now, so there's nothing to be mad about.”

Scott puts his hands on his hips and glares. “Except the part where you lied to me.”

“I didn't lie. Just – withheld some information.”

“So when you told me you were grounded -” Stiles' heart sinks, and he knows he's backed into a corner, “you weren't actually at Derek Hale's stupid house, then, were you?”

Stiles fidgets his fingers, opens his mouth to say something, but can't think of a way out of this one. Since Scott knows Stiles so well, he recognizes the finger twitching for what it is and throws his hands in the air. “I knew it!”

“Sorry,” Stiles immediately says before Scott can go on another tangent – also, because he legitimately is. “I'm sorry, okay?” It was shitty of him to lie like that to his own best friend. That's irrefutable. “But you have to admit that you tend to go a little...off your rocker whenever Derek comes into the equation.”

“That's not -”

“We're fighting in a parking lot right now over the guy, Scott.”

His best friend purses his lips and frowns guiltily, averting his eyes to stare into the Jeep. Not even he can argue with that point. “I just don't like that guy, and I don't like him being around my friends.”

Stiles nods, because he can't say anything else.

“The project is done, now though?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, opening up his door again to climb inside.

“So, you won't be seeing him anymore?”

There's a pause. Not long enough for Scott to get suspicious of why it's taking him so long to answer that obvious question, but long enough for Stiles to get his wits about him. He glances past Scott's head where he's standing out on the pavement beside his bike, and pulls the door closed at the exact same time he says “no, I won't,” hoping that the slam is loud enough for the alpha to miss the lie.

That should've been it. That should've absolutely and positively been the final fucking nail in the coffin of Stiles and Derek – fighting with his best friend over a guy? Come on! How childish and stupid can it get? Stiles should have gone back to the way it was before, with Derek; standing off to the sidelines with his arms crossed watching the guy wrestle with his best friend. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a safe space to be, and it's better, because that scenario doesn't involve telling Scott a web of fucking lies just so he can have an orgasm.

Unfortunately, that was not it. Not by a long shot.

Stiles barely had time to even make a decision about Derek before the decision was being made for him. He was pawing around in his clothes hamper, sifting through the pockets of his pants to try and find a five dollar bill he'd had once upon a time, and instead of that, he pulled out the card that Derek had given him last time they'd been alone together.

Stiles stared down at the card with pursed lips – at the stupid fucking pizza pie with a smile on its nonexistent face – and knew he was fucked. Absolutely and completely fucked. There was just no way Stiles could go back to how things were before, he couldn't just forget everything and act like it never happened to begin with. It's just not realistic. It's shitty, and it's not a good fucking idea, and Stiles knows that he will rue the day he made this decision; but looking at that card, he knows he doesn't have a choice.

What's he supposed to do? (He knows what he's supposed to do, but the thought is so shitty and horrible he can't bare to linger on it for too long.)

So, instead of doing the right thing, he clambers inside his Jeep and drives off to the Hale's pizzeria on Main street.

Like a villain in a movie, he pulls his hood up and parks in the lot for the ice cream place across the street instead, because his car is probably the most recognizable piece of shit in this entire town and if Scott even heard rumor of Stiles' car being in the Hale's parking lot, he'd come running down here in an instant to blow the place up with TNT.

He crosses the street with shifty eyes, slides in through the door; immediately, he's greeted by the heavenly scent of spices and melting cheese and tomato sauce, and he feels like flopping to the ground in ecstasy and just sniffing the place.

Instead, he acts like a normal person and walks up to the counter. When he scans the room and doesn't see anyone from school or anyone he even knows milling about, he flips his hood down and tries to act casual.

It gets much, much harder to shoot for casual when Derek rounds the corner from the back and grins the second he sees Stiles standing there waiting. Stiles grins back himself, and it's so stupid and cheesy and idiotic, but there they are – grinning at each other in a pizzeria while a Top 40 song blares over their heads in the background.

“Well, well, well,” Stiles greets the alpha as soon as he's behind the register, “fancy seeing you here.”

“I know,” Derek motions to the huge sign hovering over his head that reads HALE FAMILY PIZZA. “A crazy coincidence.”

Stiles fishes in his pocket for the card Derek gave him, and then slides it across the counter like they're conducting a very, very serious business transaction. Derek watches Stiles' fingers as they move along the granite counter, and Stiles tries not to think about that too hard. “I came to cash this in.”

“Right,” Derek takes the card, squiggles something across it that looks like his signature, and dumps it into a pile full of similar looking cards. “So, what kind?”

Stiles has only been here a grand total of, maybe, ten times in his life. And ten times sounds like a lot, but this place has been open since Stiles was seven years old. Ten times in nearly ten fucking years. Not a lot at all. Typically, when he has his clandestine pizza meetings outside in his car, shoveling pizza into his face and hoping to God Scott doesn't ride by on his bike, he just gets extra cheese. Fast, simple, good.

It's a good standby. “Extra cheese,” he says, and right as Derek starts moving to grab it he reiterates, “like, extra, Derek.”

“Got it.”

“I mean – drown me in it. So much cheese you're afraid I'll choke.”

Derek gives him a look, somewhere crossed between amusement and not, and then vanishes to fetch his pizza. While Stiles waits, he takes in the little details of the restaurant; the tiny figurine of an Italian chef sitting on the counter next to where he's standing, the lame psuedo-art on the walls depicting rolls of cheese and basil leaves, the tiled floors, the typical wooden slat benches for the booths. There's a picture of the actual Hale family hanging to his left, and he steps closer to examine it a little deeper; it's just Derek and his sisters and mother, maybe four years ago judging by Derek's size, standing in front of the place with stupid smiles on their faces. It's nice.

Derek comes back, drops the paper plate in front of Stiles, and smiles.

“That doesn't look like it could choke me,” Stiles points out.

“Good,” Derek huffs a laugh, “go on and sit down.”

Stiles doesn't know if that's code for wait for me, but when he's got a slice of pizza in his hands, he doesn't care either which way. He chooses the closest booth and starts gorging himself immediately, huffing down bite after bite; even though he just had some of this a week ago at Derek's house, he had forgotten just how good this shit is. Honestly, he's going to break into this place late and night and steal the secret family recipe. What the fuck.

Apparently, it was code for wait for me, because a minute or so later Derek is coming out from the back door, sans apron but still in his flour dusted black work shirt with HALE in white letters on the left side. He walks right over to where Stiles is having his religious experience and says, “come on out back with me.”

“Um,” Stiles sputters around a mouthful of food, “I'm not done with my pizza?” He's about to start in on if you think I really came here just for you you've gotta another think coming my friend, this is half about you and half about the pizza, when Derek interrupts.

“Bring it with you,” he rolls his eyes as he says this, grabbing onto Stiles' upper arm to tug him up. Stiles goes with it with little more than a squeak from the back of his throat in protest, chewing on his pizza as Derek leads him out the back door into the cool evening air.

Once they're out there, Stiles leans back against the wall to fixate on his pizza. He doesn't pay attention to what Derek's doing as he chews methodically, getting every last bit of taste out of his slice as he can, and then swallows.

If he had been paying attention, he would've noticed the way Derek was staring at his lips. It would've been a warning for when the alpha grabs Stiles by his shoulder and pushes his head back against the wall, tilting Stiles' chin back to snuffle at his neck.

Stiles takes another bite of his pizza while Derek gives him a hickey, and thinks about how weird this would look to anyone who could possibly pass by this scene.

“I've been thinking about you so much, lately,” Derek murmurs into Stiles' ear, his breath cooling the saliva from the hickey off to make Stiles shiver. He wonders about that for a second, marinates on it as he stuffs the last of the pizza crust into his mouth and crunches along on it – has he been thinking about Derek so much, too?

He's been thinking about the guy enough that he couldn't fucking resist coming down here to see him, even with the threats given to him by Scott earlier today. That's a lot of thinking. Enough to write a novella, most likely.

Derek kisses Stiles' cheek, his temple, just stands there breathing in the scent of his hair, and Stiles doesn't mind. What he does mind is - “ugh. I'd love to be participating in this right now, but,” he holds his fingers out, long and spindly, “I'm covered in grease.”

There's a pause, Derek rustling around in his pockets for something, and then a wet wipe is dangling in front of Stiles' face for him to snatch out of the air. Stiles doesn't even make a comment about it, this time – because of course Derek keeps a second travel pack around while he's at work – he just takes it with a smile and wipes himself off.

He tosses it into the closest dumpster as soon as he's done, and then wipes the dampness off onto his jeans. “Okay,” he says, “now we can do this.”

Kissing Derek sort of doesn't get old. Stiles always used to wonder how anyone could stand to suck another person's face off for minutes at a time, never really understood the appeal. Every time he'd watch a movie with an extended kissing scene, or overheard someone at school talk about how they made out for like, an hour, he always scrunched his nose up and wondered how neither of them threw up at any point during that. Kissing, when you break it down, is sort of...gross? And weird. Gross and weird, most definitely. Tongues swordfighting each other (or battling for dominance like in a bad fanfic – Stiles has been on the internet before, all right? Possibly reading smutty Star Wars fanfiction. Nevermind.) It just never really appealed to him. He typically rolled his eyes and scrolled his way through the long descriptions of what both parties' tongues were doing, hand placements, and on and on. Because, really, who cares about a kiss? When does the sex happen?

Stiles sees now that the reason he didn't get it before was because he'd never been kissed right. The last time he had someone's tongue in his mouth, it was that gross guy at the bar who only liked him because he was an omega, and honestly, he kissed like a fish out of water, which is really the only thing Stiles can equate it to. Like a fucking billy bass or a catfish sucking the oxygen clean out of Stiles' mouth. One can imagine how unpleasant that would be.

Derek is just different.

Stiles will spare the longwinded descriptions of fingers searching and tongue movements and lips popping, but suffice to say, Derek knows how to fucking kiss. And he knows the good places to put his hands (hips, neck, cheek) and the good way to take breaks (shifting his lips down along Stiles' neck, jaw) and – yeah. Good stuff.

Stiles pulls off for a second, clenching his fingers tighter into Derek's shirt, and says, “I taste like pizza.”

“I made that,” Derek says back, pecking him on the forehead, “so you taste good.”

“I can't even give you shit for being snobby about it. You do make good pizza. Like, holy shit it's so fucking good – what's the secret?”

“Family recipe,” he waggles his eyebrows and smiles. “I can't reveal that kind of confidential information.”

Stiles is about to try and tickle the truth out of him, already has his long fingers out and ready to go, when Derek furrows his brow, smile fading, and lifts his head in the air like he's listening for something. A second or two passes, and then he looks down and gives Stiles a very puzzled expression. “I'm pretty sure I hear Scott's bike.”

Stiles freaks out. One second he's all cuddling with Derek next to a fucking dumpster after having eaten a slice of pizza – later pondering of this situation will make Stiles laugh – and the next he's shoving Derek's hands off and away from him and yelling about holy shit I gotta go I need to leave we need to hide!!!

“I don't think -”

Stiles starts pacing back and forth around the enclosure they're in. They're boxed in on one side by the back of the restaurant, boxed in on another by a dumpster, on another by another dumpster, but then there's an open space. Where Stiles can clearly see the street and the street can clearly see them.

It's too much to hope that the smell of trash would break apart the scent of Derek and Stiles sharing saliva. Altogether too much to hope, when it comes to an alpha. And Scott has a fucking decent nose.

“He's getting closer.”

Stiles throws his hands in the air, and does the only thing he can think of.

He leaps forwards, with the clear intention of launching himself head first into the nearest dumpster and burying himself in trash so Scott will never have any hope of smelling him unless he's actively searching (and by God, one can only hope that he's not) – but Derek catches him mid-fly.

The alpha wraps his arm around Stiles' skinny midsection and pulls him back against his side before he's even halfway to the trash, huffing out a laugh. “Because spiraling through the air into a pile of trash isn't conspicuous at all, right?”

Stiles weasels out of Derek's grip and flops to the cement like a fish out of water, scattering out with flailing limbs and an indignant meep, before pulling himself up into a standing position. “I'm – I need to go!”

Without looking over his shoulder to see what Derek is going to do about all this (if he were smart he'd just go back inside and back to work; Stiles is banking on Derek being smart. He'll turn out to be wrong in a minute here, but a guy can hope, right?), he runs out from behind Hale's Pizza, sprints across the busy interaction with a half dozen honks sent his way, and makes it to the ice cream parlor where he parked his Jeep.

He doesn't have time to even waltz in and order a cone, doesn't have time to get the pizza and Derek smell off of his clothes and skin, before Scott is rounding the corner on his bike and slamming to a stop the second he sees Stiles standing there.

Behind his back, Stiles crosses his fingers and prays to whoever is up there – hopefully a benign ruler that doesn't hate him – that Scott will not sniff too strongly at him.

“Hey!” Scott greets the second his helmet is off his head. “Getting ice cream?”

“I was – just about to text you,” Stiles says; which is only half a lie. If he were legitimately coming to get ice cream, Scott is the only person he'd be texting anyway.

“Cool!” He climbs off his bike and drops his helmet on one of the handle bars. He starts talking about trying a new flavor, and Stiles is nodding up and down, thinking about how the sugar sweet smell of the inside of the ice cream shop should be more than enough to override anything else Stiles has on him at the moment.

They're moving to walk inside, hopefully to sweet freedom without Scott ever noticing anything, when Scott abruptly hunches his shoulders into a tight line and whirls around to glare at the opposite side of the street.

Stiles doesn't have to look to know what's caught his attention. But look he does, slowly, and with a frown. He curses the ground he walks on. He really does.

Across the street, Derek is just standing on the sidewalk out in front of the pizza place, glaring. Jesus fucking Christ. This cannot be happening right now. But of course it is. Of course it is.

“Hey, Hale!” Scott shouts, even though he doesn't have to for Derek to hear him, and Stiles facepalms so hard he nearly breaks his nose. “You make a habit out of staring at omegas, or?”

Derek's jaw clenches tight, so fucking tight that Stiles can practically see the muscles working inside his mouth even from where he's standing. “You make a habit out of coming to my side of town?”

“Your side of town!” Scott steps to the edge of the sidewalk, leaning over it like any second he's going to go leaping across the road to start beating Derek's ass. “I don't remember seeing the fucking memo in the newspaper about you owning property!”

Every single fight that these two have is really this stupid. It's hard to believe, yes, but God almighty, they are running out of material, and it's starting to show.

Derek lifts a single finger up to point at the sign with his last name on it in huge letters, glowering, and Scott huffs out an indignant breath. His body tightens up the way Stiles knows that it does whenever he feels like punching something, so he decides that it's just about time for him to step in before this turns any uglier than it already is.

“Let's just go inside,” Stiles says in a pleading tone of voice, pulling on Scott's arm to drag him back towards where the ice cream is waiting for them. At first, the alpha's not moving an inch, not giving anything for Stiles to work with, and Stiles sighs, tries pulling harder even though it's useless either which way. “Come on.”

Scott, finally, turns around and puts his arm around Stiles' shoulders protectively, somewhat possessively, and starts herding him away from both Derek and the ice cream, veering him off towards the parking lot where Stiles' Jeep is parked. “I don't want to be within a mile of him,” he mutters darkly, just loud enough for Derek to hear if he's listening. And he most likely is.

He glances over his shoulder as Scott takes him farther and farther away, to find Derek still just standing there, watching them. It looks like his fists are balling and unballing, over and over again, like he would like nothing more than to come leaping over here to shove one of them into Scott's face for taking the omega away, even after he sucked his mark into Stiles' neck.

When Scott is pulling the door open for Stiles and pushing him inside the car, he flips around, shakes his fist in the air, and yells, “stay away from my best friend, Hale!” Scott has literally no fucking idea how much of a gauntlet he's throwing by saying that – none whatsoever. To Scott, it's a warning and nothing more, a do not touch sign hanging off of Stiles' neck with Scott's signature on the bottom.

Scott doesn't know that Derek's already touched Stiles, that he's dragged his fingers all over Stiles' body and claimed parts of him that Scott just can't get to. It's best that he doesn't know, but in this particular situation...

It's just going to create more problems. Stiles knows beyond any shadow of a doubt that no matter how cool and calm Derek might be able to be, how nice and gentle he is with Stiles, he's an alpha still, all the way down to his bones. And alphas don't fucking like other alphas keeping things from them. It's all in their nature.

Again, as Scott slams the door for Stiles after telling him that they should meet at the other ice cream place across town, Stiles sits there for a moment and thinks about stopping. Here and now – dropping it all cold turkey. No more sneaking around with Derek. No more making out and no more pizza and no more handjobs in janitor's closets. None of it! Just move right along before things get more deep, before it stops being about sex and desire and starts being about – well.

Starts being about heartbreak. But that's just starting to feel inevitable. Stiles knows this, even now, sitting in his Jeep and backing out and away from the block where Derek is still standing, but something in him has just snapped. Derek has snapped something.

For some reason, whatever reason, he just cannot fucking put this down. Can't. Won't.

This is going to be bad.

Stiles thinks, let it be bad, then.

Sometimes fifteen minutes of good (great, wonderful, amazing) makes the two hours of bad (horrible, sad, angry) worth it. Right?

----

School is strange, now.
Before, Stiles was constantly trying to wrestle Scott this way and that, keep him as far away from Derek as possible no matter what; but honestly, compared to this, it's starting to seem a lot like Derek used to actively seek the two of them out. It's starting to occur to Stiles that maybe Derek used to purposefully goad Scott into fights and arguments – and Stiles isn't stupid, now. He's not oblivious anymore. He knows for a solid fact that if Derek was doing any of that shit on purpose and not just being himself, then Stiles played a part in all that.

The thought of Derek being willing to literally fucking fight someone just to stand ten feet away from Stiles for five minutes...well. It's stupid and alpha-brained and Stiles hates it. While also, somewhere deep inside of him, buried away with all the rest of his omega tendencies, he's sort of into it. Whatever.

The point is that now, Derek stays away. And it's starting to show – as in, people are starting to notice. There are murmurings all over the school about how maybe Derek and Scott have finally buried the hatchet, because it's been a week since the last time they got in a screaming match in class or a fist fight during PE. That's the longest they've gone without fighting about something since, well...probably since the fifth grade. So this is monumental. It's all anyone apparently has to talk about; everywhere Stiles goes with Scott, even he can hear the whispers, so God only knows how much Scott is hearing.

He doesn't comment on it, though. Stiles highly doubts that it bothers him that Derek hasn't been around for him to fight lately.

It's not like he knows why. If he knew why, then he'd be fuming. Frothing fucking angry with foam coming out of his mouth.

Derek avoids them now because

a.) half the reason he was always haranguing them to begin with was because he wanted to get closer to Stiles (a shit attempt – but an alpha's an alpha and in the end...it kinda worked?)
b.) he gets his Stiles time elsewhere and otherwise. He doesn't need to pound on Scott to reach his end goal anymore.

Over the past couple of weeks, Stiles and Derek have sneaked around to see each other practically every single night. As soon as Stiles knows that Scott is home from work and probably not going to be hitting the town any time soon, he sends out the bat signal to Derek (which is to say, he sends a text with the caterpillar emoji out to him, no matter how inexplicable that may be.) If he's not been busy, Derek has either come to Stiles' house to park a block or so away for Stiles to climb out his window and run to, or, if Stiles' dad wasn't home, Derek would come in to Stiles' bedroom.

Mostly they talk, actually. As it turns out, Stiles and Derek have some pretty half way decent banter once they get into it, and it's really easy to fall into a pace with Derek in a conversation. Any and all silences they encounter are comfortable and filled with the sounds of a movie or television show (or kissing), and they get along extremely well. Which is...kind of hilarious, actually. When Stiles thinks about how long they've known each other, but never been fucking allowed to really have a one on one conversation or any kind of conversation at all, it's hilarious that it's turned out like this.

That they like each other so much, after all. It's almost a shame how long it took them to get to this point.

Sometimes, they do other stuff. The kind of things that have Stiles scrubbing his skin extra hard in the shower the following morning so Scott will never be able to pick up on it.

It's almost routine, by now. If Scott and Stiles happen to cross direct paths with Derek, he's very, very careful to not do anything more than give Stiles a cursory glance, completely innocuous without anything charged behind it at all, and he doesn’t dare make eye contact with Scott. Stiles is sort of glad he's never had to say out loud that it's just not a fucking option for Derek and Scott to carry on the same way they usually do if ten minutes later Derek plans on putting his hands on Stiles. That's a fucking given.

So c.) getting physical with Scott will only result in Derek not being able to get physical with Stiles. It's probably enough incentive to keep Derek docile for days.

Walking into the lunch room today, Derek is already settled at his typical table with his super cool dark-clothed friends, picking absentmindedly at his hamburger and giving Stiles a quick look. As soon as they lock eyes, Erica is turning around in her chair, red lips chewing around the skin of an apple, to stare at Stiles, as well.

Stiles doesn't know how much Derek has actually told his friends about them. He's been operating under the assumption that no one, as in no fucking one not a soul, but the two of them have any idea what's going on with them. That would be the safest bet, and it's the sort of thing that Stiles thought went without saying. But from the way that Erica is looking at him now, appreciatively like she likes what she sees (she did have a crush on him for a while if anyone remembers that – Stiles likes to marinate on that thought every time she shows up to school in tight leather pants and cleavage enhancing corsets), and the way Isaac and Boyd lean in to each other to murmur words that Stiles can't hear without taking their eyes off of him, while Derek just sits there like none of this surprises him...

He thinks that maybe Derek's told his friends.

Which sort of isn't fair. Scott is, honestly, Stiles' only friend. And maybe that sounds a little sad, but it's not like the two of them have ever needed anyone else. Stiles and Scott share every thing together, do every thing together, and there's not always been a lot of room for anyone else. The fact that Stiles now has something he absolutely and completely cannot fucking share with his best friend...

Well. It sucks. Maybe Stiles is jealous that Derek has friends that he can talk to about whatever he and Stiles are.

As Stiles crosses the room to get in line for his own hamburger, ignoring Erica's eyes still boring into the side of his face, tracing every freckle he'd bet, he thinks about what they are, even. Secret lovers is a good title, but what does that even entail? Does that mean boyfriends, but only top secretly? Does that mean friends with benefits? Does that mean anything?

These questions drive him nutty enough that by the time he's sending out the caterpillar, and even more so by the time Derek is climbing up the stairs to his bedroom, Stiles is kind of pissed off. The kind of pissed off where a part of him knows that he has no real right or reason to be pissed off, but that he can't fucking help it either which way so he's going to let loose no matter if Derek thinks he's being irrational or not.

As soon as Derek's walking through the door with a dairy queen blizzard cup in his hand, Stiles is attacking.

“Did you tell your fucking friends about us?” He demands, voice coming out more harsh than he intends it to. But it's not so much his fault, really – the fact that they can only talk when they're all alone later at night leaves a lot of room for stewing.

Derek blinks, holds the ice cream out like a peace offering, and frowns. “I – was I not supposed to -”

“Are you kidding!” Stiles demands. He considers slapping the ice cream out of Derek's hand in a dramatic show of anger, but thinks twice on it when he notices it's his favorite flavor. Instead, he pulls the ice cream out of his hand vindictively and waves the spoon around in the air. “So you're telling people? When this is supposed to be fucking – clandestine!”

“Clandestine?” He repeats the word and huffs out a sigh. “A lot of words I'd use to describe you, Stiles, but clandestine doesn't even rank.”

“Are you going to explain why -”

“Fuck,” he rubs a hand down his cheek, sits down on the bed where Stiles is ruefully stabbing his spoon again and again into his ice cream to stir the melty bits in with the not melty bits, softening it all up. “I told them because they're not going to tell anyone.”

“So you think.”

“So I know. They're my friends – they wouldn't do that. Maybe you're used to having a loudmouth for a best friend -” Stiles would be offended, but...true, “but my friends could give a fuck about high school gossip. They've known I've liked you for a long time.”

Stiles swallows a glob of ice cream and wipes the bit dribbling down his chin away with the back of his hand. Oh. For a long time. Stiles had assumed that, from the way Derek has talked to and about him before, but...hearing it said so directly out loud? It makes Stiles feel a little fuzzy on inside like a warm blanket on a cold night. “Oh. So – you...talk about me. To them.”

“Yes,” Derek says this slowly, a smile working its way around his lips. “As friends do, we talk about our interests.” So Stiles is an interest of Derek's. Well, all right. “Are you mad I told them?”

“I was,” Stiles admits; and obviously, he's deflated. The ice cream paired with romantic confessionals – works every time. “I guess I'm just nervous, because if Scott ever found out -”

“Yeah,” Derek interrupts in the bitter tone of voice he always uses whenever Scott comes up in conversation. “I know that.”

If Scott ever found out. Truthfully, Stiles isn't a hundred percent positive what exactly would happen if Scott ever found it. It's easy to imagine that he'd freak out and punch Derek in the face again and again, in the abstract sense. Like, abstractly, of fucking course Scott is going to yell and fight and raise all kinds of Hell if he ever finds out.

When he finds out, Stiles corrects quietly in the back of his head. When.

But, concretely? Stiles tends to shy away from actual images of this happening, because, if he's being honest, the thought somewhat terrifies him. He doesn't like the fact that it might come down to him choosing between his best friend and his – whatever Derek is. He doesn't like that one bit. If he were asked to choose, he knows he'd pick Scott. Years of friendship can't be over taken by a good looking guy that brings him ice cream and pizza.

But the thought hurts. More than Stiles is likely to ever admit to himself.

“...my friends wouldn't tell anyone about us, let alone Scott, so don't worry about that.”

Stiles spears his spoon into his ice cream and rounds on Derek, crossing his legs and digging his knees into the side of Derek's thigh. “Speaking of about us – what exactly did you tell them we are?”

A quizzical look crosses Derek's face, all furrowed brow and lips curved down into a frown. “I told them I'm seeing you.”

Stiles grips his ice cream cup just slightly tighter in his fingers. “Okay...so, seeing me as in you feast your eyes on me from time to time, and -”

“Seeing you as in we're dating, Stiles.”

He gets that feeling in his stomach like the drop on a rollercoaster or like he's running down a hill as fast as he possibly can – that surety mixed with unsurety, being positive that this is happening now, but not so positive about what's coming next. Dropping, dropping, but he can't see if there's a turn coming up, or where they're going to end up, or how fast they're going to go and how far they're going to take it.

It's the most unpleasantly good feeling Stiles has had in a while. Hard to explain.

Stiles tries not to react to it. He really honestly tries not to grin like a stupid idiot at the thought of being official – as official as two clandestine lovers could possibly be – with Derek Hale, but the smile comes across his face anyway. He hyperfocuses on tossing his ice cream around with his spoon, glaring downwards so Derek can't see him being so stupid about this.

So, they're dating. Dating means they do all kinds of stuff together, and dating means that he has someone to – well. It just means that he has someone. Which essentially means that he doesn't have to do much of anything alone, if he doesn't feel like it. Theoretically he could drag Derek along to anything he wants, because now he has a person.

“So,” he starts, drawing the word out nervously. He picks up a spoonful of ice cream and then dumps it back down into the cup, watches himself do it like this is the most fascinating thing he's ever seen. It's to make up for the fact that he's obviously anxious, and obviously wound up. He doubts that it's working, or that Derek can't tell. “Next week, um – I have my heat.”

It's quiet for a beat. Stiles can't bear to look up into Derek's face to see what he'd find there. Also, he really doesn't want to reveal his pink cheeks for Derek to see and know that he's embarrassed.

“Okay,” Derek says. Stiles can't read that tone.

“And, typically I'm not in school, because – you know,” he waves his spoon around in the air idiotically, feels like kicking himself for it. “So...maybe you won't see me for a couple days...”

Another pause, and then Derek is clearing his throat. Stiles plays with half of an oreo buried in ice cream, wishing that he could bury himself in ice cream. “Okay.”

“Or -” he starts, swallows thickly, “or you could come over?”

Derek shifts minutely on the bed; from the corner of his eye, Stiles can see him clasp his hands together in between his spread knees, like he's trying to keep himself together. “You want me to come over?”

“If you wanted to,” Stiles tries for a nonchalant shrug.

“During your heat, you want me coming over?”

Another shrug.

“A direct yes or no would be helpful, Stiles.”

Stiles' ears go hot and he feels like pouring the melted ice cream over his head for an excuse to back out of this conversation. “I – fine! Yes, Derek, I want you to come over during my heat!”

There's yet another pause, and Stiles has half a mind to leap up from the bed and flee the scene altogether to spare him the embarrassment. “You're saying you want me to fuck you.”

A type of sound crossed between a horrified screech and an indignant gasp comes out of Stiles' mouth. He deposits the ice cream on his bed side table just so he can slap both of his hands over his face, shaking his head back and forth and back and forth. “Yes, Derek, okay? I'm going into heat, and I want – I want!”

This is A Big Deal. They haven't had actual sex yet. There's been plenty of kissing and hickeys and handjobs and blowjobs, but no for real penetration. Which is a huge fucking deal, not only because it's sex and intimate and there's lots of trust there and yadda yadda, but also because he'll be in heat.

Vulnerable.

“I have to ask that,” and his voice does sound strained like he's not enjoying this anymore than Stiles is. “Prior consent and all, that's important, Stiles. C'mon,” he tugs on Stiles' wrists to pry the omega's hands off of his face.

Stiles doesn't remove his hands, so he just talks straight into his palms, voice sounding muffled. “I'm consenting, all right? You have my full permission to penetrate me!”

“Christ,” Derek huffs, and stops trying to pull on Stiles' wrists. “There's nothing to be embarrassed about. I'm the one who has to think of a good excuse to get an absence note out of my mother, so you just think on that.”

The thought makes Stiles laugh into his hands. Maybe if Derek could be perfectly honest with his mother about where he'd be (fucking an omega in heat – Stiles doesn't doubt for eight seconds that the secretary up in the office has hundreds of those kinds of notes stashed away in a filing cabinet somewhere) it would be even more mortifying for him.

Finally, he rips his hands off his face, which has to still be pinkish and humiliated, and meets Derek's eyes. Then they're just sitting there staring at each other for a moment, letting reality sink in. They're really going to do it; Stiles is finally going to have someone to take care of him through his heat and make sure he's doing okay and not absolutely fucking suffering in unbearable arousal.

Someone is going to be there to handle that arousal. Derek in specific. It's enough of a thought that Stiles blushes again and looks away.

“What time should I come over?” Derek asks to break the ice. “Which day?”

“I guess I'll text you the specifics,” Stiles waggles his eyebrows,” Marty McFly.”

Derek cocks his head to the side. “What?”

“In my phone,” Stiles picks up his phone from beside him on the bed and waves it in the air, “I put you in as Marty McFly to deflect suspicion.”

For a second, there's dead silence, and then Derek is pinching the bridge of his nose and sighing. A deep, tired sigh, like he's rethinking having sex with this huge fucking dorkasaurus sitting next to him. “Marty McFly? Because that's not fucking suspicious in the least bit, Stiles. It's exactly like I said – you are not clandestine at all.”

“Oho! And I guess you think you're so sly! What'd you put me under, then, Sherlock?”

Derek looks bashful for a second. Like, really incredibly bashful, as though Stiles has just prodded at an embarrassing wound somewhere on his person. This only makes Stiles all the more curious – dangerously curious, his father would call it.

“What is it!” Stiles demands, leaping up onto his knees on the bed to hover over Derek's head menacingly. “Tell me what it is, I have to know, now!”

“Why?” Derek demands, shoving gently at Stiles' hips to try and push him away. “It's not a big deal.”

“If it's not a big deal then show me,” he pokes Derek in the cheek over and over, grinning. “Show me, show me, show me!”

“Nope.” Derek's cheeks are burning hot with embarrassment, and it drives Stiles nuts.

With his long fingers that Derek likes so much, he starts in on what he knows to be Derek's one and only fucking weakness.

Tickling.

Before even the alpha can react, Stiles is shoving his spider leg fingers underneath Derek's armpits, squiggling them around, and Derek shouts. It immobilizes and paralyzes him enough that all he can really do is flail indignantly around – too much of a good alpha to use even the smallest iota of strength on Stiles to get him away, even through this torment.

“Tell me what it is!”

“No!”

“Is it Trap Queen?” He squiggles his fingers in deeper and Derek makes the funniest noise, something like a laugh mixed with a clown honking one of their little horns, scrabbling his fingers deep into the bed and kicking his legs around in the air. “Is it My Moon and Stars? Is it Pope John Paul the Second?”

It goes on like this for maybe ten more seconds; god only knows what ten entire seconds of this kind of tickling can do as far as torture goes. Honestly, Stiles is amazed that people had to come up with things like drawing and quartering, or waterboarding or any of that trash – tickle a person for long enough, and you can get most anything out of them. Stiles has learned this pretty thoroughly through Derek.

“Okay, okay!” Derek hollers around the tears in his eyes, the few giggles he's letting himself let out. Stiles stops moving his fingers, but keeps them buried in place for more tickling if he's just trying to catch Stiles off guard. “Jesus Christ. Fine, here.”

Derek fishes his phone out from his jean pocket, keys in the passcode (which Stiles knows is his birthday – which Stiles has told him time and time again is fucking idiotic) and holds it out for Stiles to look at.

Apparently the last thing he was doing was reading the caterpillar text from Stiles, because that's what's instantly there on the screen without any tapping on Derek's part. Stiles' eyes scan over the caterpillar and then the texts before that (there's a stray cat outside the window in history and it's meowing – looking for u bc u spurned its advances!! how could u derek!!) (Yeah, I meant to tell you about that.), before settling his eyes on the contact name.

Baby. Exactly like that.

Stiles shifts his eyes from the phone to Derek's face, to find him pointedly looking away like he's not sure how Stiles is going to react to that information. But it isn't like Derek hasn't called Stiles baby before – it's just that, most of the time, Stiles has chalked it up to sex and sexy times and orgasms because that's really the only time Derek ever says it. Stiles assumed that it wasn't like, a thing with him.

But apparently, if he's calling Stiles baby in his phone orgasm-free, it's a thing. An all the time thing.

Derek has a person he calls baby and that's Stiles, Stiles is baby to Derek, and it's – well.

Stiles leans forward and presses his lips onto Derek's temple. Feather soft and barely there. Derek turns his head to face Stiles again, a small smile blooming on his face, and Stiles takes the opportunity to kiss him on the mouth, just as softly.

“You can call me that, you know,” he says when they pull away, looking Derek dead in the eye.

“Okay,” Derek agrees, reaching up to put his hands on Stiles' hips, squeezing them slightly. “Then, I will.”

“You can call me baby,” kiss to the lips, “and you can tell your friends you're dating me,” kiss to the cheek, “and you can come over during my heat,” to the forehead.

Derek abruptly grabs Stiles' chin, somewhat roughly, actually, and tugs it just enough that he can meet Stiles' gaze head on. Their eyes are so close that Stiles almost has to look at each one individually, can't hold both at the same time. “I cannot believe I waited so long for this.”

It's meant to be sweet and honest and another romantic statement piled on to this entire moment that they're having right now in Stiles' bedroom, but all it does is remind Stiles of why.

Why he had to wait so long, why they both did. Why they can't have each other's real names in their phones.

The entire thing really is clandestine. And it's hard to see it any other way, as much as Stiles wants to see it as straight forward and easy and simple, like the way talking to Derek is, when Stiles knows that it's on some level dangerous for them to be doing this.

For the hundredth time since the first time that Derek and Stiles even kissed, Stiles remembers that this thing that they've got going on here?

Sooner it later, it has to end. And it's not going to be pretty.

----

The Sheriff typically exits the house at around six am to start his shift.
On heat days, though, he stays around until about nine to make sure Stiles gets up and gets something to eat in his system before he drifts farther and farther into heat-land. In heat-land, Stiles has a hard time remembering to eat. Which doesn't make much sense, since he's always fucking starving, most of the damn time, but it's like there are two separate opposing sides in his head at all times.

The side of him that wants food, and the side of him that wants sex. Guess which one tends to win out most of the time. They don't call it a biological imperative for nothing.

His dad is always so fucking awkward the morning of, shuffling around the kitchen and clearing his throat awkwardly around the stink of Stiles' heat; dropping a plate of food down in front of him and watching him like a hawk to make sure it gets ingested in its entirety, grabbing Stiles by the shoulder whenever he tries running off to do something more interesting and shoving him back into the kitchen chair. Half the time, he can't even get the word heat out of his mouth, so he opts for calling it um – er – ah, as if he hasn't had an omega son who goes through heats four times a year and has for the past five years, now.

Stiles is more or less used to it now. Every time his dad stutters and stumbles around the sheer idea of it, Stiles just rolls his eyes and focuses on his hashbrowns.

He can't very well tell his father that he has someone coming over, of course not. Even if the Sheriff kinda has to be okay with the thought of Stiles having sex during his heats, because he needs to have sex during his heats god dammit, that doesn't mean he has to be okay with the particular person he chooses to do it with.

Derek Hale might sort of be high on the list of people the Sheriff would arrest if he found in his son's bedroom. There's a series of reasons for that; the prime reason is because Scott has drilled it into the man's head that Derek is evil and horrible and mistreats omegas all the time. Before, Stiles just rolled his eyes whenever Scott started ranting about Derek when his father was in earshot, because who fucking cared, right? Who cared what his dad thought about Derek Hale?

Of course, now, he kind of wishes he had stepped in and said it wasn't really like that. Now it's too late to go back. So, no, he doesn't tell his father someone's coming over because he'd want to know who and Stiles can't say who, so he just waves the Sheriff off after he finishes his breakfast without even mentioning it.

Stiles doesn't do much to get ready for Derek showing up. He just goes uptstairs to his bedroom, spends maybe two minutes tops sweeping his dirty clothes into the hamper, and then that's all his heat body can take before he flops face first onto his bed and tries to ignore his hard-on. He wonders momentarily if Scott would ever put two and two together about Derek not being in school conveniently on the same days of the month that Stiles always has his heat; but even if he did notice that, Stiles doubts that he'd come up with that conclusion.

In Scott's mind, that's just not possible. The only thing Scott could imagine is Derek taking advantage of Stiles in his half-cognizant state, which Derek would never even fucking consider doing.

Scott would know that if he spent five seconds just talking to him.

Twenty minutes of lying there in the cave of his bedroom, and then Derek is pushing open the door, freezing solidly in place where he stands.

Stiles sits up and gives him what he thinks is a sexy smirk but must be coming across more deranged serial killer if the look Derek gives him – wide eyes, dropped jaw, blank stare – is anything to go by. His entire body is a tense line in the doorway, his knuckles turning white with the effort he's putting into holding onto the door knob. Something creaks, like he's about to rip the entire door of its hinges.

“Hey,” Stiles greets breathily, eyes shifting from the pizza boxes in the alpha's hand to his face, again and again, trying to pick one to focus on. “Hi, hey.”

Derek clears his throat, and it sounds loud in Stiles' ears. Vesuvius erupting loud. “Is it okay if I come inside.” His voice is – Stiles doesn't know how to quite explain it. It's very controlled, Stiles thinks, each word picked precisely after seconds of deliberation.

“You don't have to ask that,” Stiles clarifies for him, confused. “We already talked about -”

“I didn't -” he pauses, clears his throat again, closes his eyes. “I didn't think it'd be – you don't -”

“Derek,” Stiles says evenly, sitting further up on the bed. “Come inside.”

A pause long enough for Stiles to frown and sigh through his nose passes. “If I come in there, I'm not going to be able to keep my hands off of you.”

At the words themselves, Stiles' eyes roll back into his head, which lands with a thump on the wall his bed is resting up against. He breathes out, and then back in, in tandem, again and again, gets that feeling of losing control that comes and goes in waves every time he has his heat. This has to be the strongest it's ever been before, that need to just – touch someone. And he guesses that has a lot to do with the fact that there's someone to touch – an alpha – standing ten feet away from him. Right there.

“Then get in here,” he finally says, and that's that.

Derek stomps into the room, slams the door behind him, tosses the pizza boxes onto Stiles' dresser. There's a flurry of clothes flying through the air; Stiles ripping his t-shirt off and tossing it somewhere to the side, Derek pulling his shoes off with bangs where he throws them, the elastic of underwear snapping against skin, and it's over within seconds.

It takes seconds for both of them to get their clothes off, and for Derek to knee his way onto the bed right on top of Stiles. Big hands push Stiles down into his pillows before Derek is kissing him; hot and desperate and heavy, like a weight holding him down. Stiles sort of flails underneath him, kicking his legs a bit on the sides of Derek's hips, hands and fingers moving along Derek's bare skin quickly and fervently like they're trying to find purchase somewhere, but there just isn't any.

Restless, Stiles attributes this to in some distant part of his brain. Bored. Want more.

“Please,” he hisses through his teeth when Derek starts kissing his neck, “please, please, please...”

“Tell me,” Derek murmurs, dragging his bottom lip along the shell of Stiles' ear. “Tell me what you want, baby, you have to tell me.”

Stiles whines. Words suddenly feel like something he never learned how to use – like he just sorta skipped that whole part of mental development and dove head first into the stage where he thinks he can get his point across by jerking his hips forward to try and rub himself off on Derek's skin.

“Come on,” Derek prods again, tilting Stiles' head back around on the pillow to look him in the eyes, “say it.”

Long fingers skirt up and down Derek's chest. He feels clammy and overheated and like if he doesn't get what he wants now, right fucking now, his entire head is going to explode and there'll be nothing left of him but chunks of brain matter splattered all over the walls. Not even that picture in his head is enough to turn Stiles off. Shit, if anything it just gets him even more aroused. Is there anything that won't make him want to hump somebody's leg during his heat? Anything at all?

“I want you,” Stiles finally manages. “I want – I want -”

Derek mouths at one of Stiles' collarbones and his brain fizzles out again as he tilts his head back, hitching out a moan.

“I want you in me,” he spits the full sentence out in a rush, pushes Derek's forehead as hard as he can to get him away from his collarbones and towards something more interesting, “come on, fuck me.”

“Jesus,” Derek hisses when Stiles starts trying to rear his body upwards, even with Derek more or less caging him in. He kicks his legs around, tries twisting himself to get on to his knees, but with Derek's hips in the way he can't even fucking understand how to do it. It must go on for long enough, the octopus limbs trying and failing to get something accomplished, because Derek actually laughs and says, “calm down, calm down, I've got you.”

Derek slides backwards just enough on the bed, digging his fingers into Stiles' hips and helping the omega flip over onto his belly. As soon as he can, Stiles pulls himself back up onto his knees and rears back against Derek's naked body with intent – hard enough that Derek has to brace himself with a hand on Stiles' back to possibly keep himself from going spilling over the back of the bed.

“Holy shit,” Derek's voice sounds strained. A thick finger pokes at some of the slick making a mess out of Stiles' thighs, and then Derek's huffing, making a noise crossed between anxious and amazed. “I've never done this before.”

“What?” Stiles pants into his arms on the pillow; if he had the ability, he'd be reminding Derek that when Stiles asked last, Derek had said he had done this before. As it is, all he can really do is push his hips back again, shoving into Derek's body.

“I've never been near an omega in heat before,” he clarifies. “Fuck. I – wasn't expecting this. The way you smell...”

They have classes about this in school. Optional classes, of course, that parents can sign their kids out of if they so choose, because there's always the odd ones who think heat training is unnecessary – but most kids have to take that fucking class. Stiles took it. It consists mainly of explaining in very scientific terms how much slick an omega produces per heat cycle, how the smell of it makes alphas crazy, but there wasn't much specific talk. Stiles can't remember a single day of that class where they talked about the part where Stiles goes through actual near unbearable pain if he doesn't get off, or the part where alphas nearly go as crazy as omegas do, lose control just as much.

Derek wouldn't have expected this in a million years. The problem, now, is that Stiles doesn't have it in him to explain anything. He just shakes his head, arches his back, moans something unintelligible – Derek gets the hint.

“All right, all right,” two thick fingers start probing inside of Stiles, most likely with the intent to work him open and pliant for Derek to slide inside, but Stiles practically screams in indignation.

“Don't need that,” he insists, pulling himself forwards to get the fingers out of him, because it hurts. It's not enough, it's not anything, compared to what he fucking needs, right now, it's nothing. “Come on, come on, come on -”

Without another word – and good, because if Derek started talking again or trying to fucking finger him Stiles was likely to just leap out his window to go find someone to get the job done for God's sake – Derek digs his fingers deeply into the skin of one of Stiles' hips and uses it as leverage to thrust himself inside of Stiles' body.

Stiles flops forward, can barely hold his body up anymore at how it feels to have a real live dick inside of him instead of just some cheapo toy, and really just goes fucking limp. Letting Derek do whatever he wants. Which is exactly what he's supposed to do, in terms of like, the wild, and evolution, and biological blah-blah-blah – Stiles always sort of thought that the last thing he'd ever be doing, even as an omega, is lying there like a doll to be played with while some alpha does whatever he wants to him.

As it turns out, heat-Stiles is all about that. Heat-Stiles wants nothing more and nothing less than to just get fucked. So that's what he does. He burrows his cheek into his pillow, blinks blearily out into his bedroom without focusing on any particular point, and keeps his back arched as hard as he physically can. That's all he needs to do.

Derek growls something that Stiles can't understand, fists one hand into Stiles' hair while the other steadies Stiles' hip to keep him where Derek wants him. If Derek wanted to, he could arrange Stiles into any position he could think of. He could literally drag Stiles all around the room, and Stiles would be fine to just go along with it, getting rug burn on his thighs and asking for more.

As it is, Derek isn't a fucking asshole; he does only what he and Stiles agreed to. He fucks him.

Stiles' limp body jerks along with the thrusts even with Derek's hands holding him down, because his fingers are barely holding onto the sheets underneath him to steady himself. It's like he can't even extend that much energy right now, can't think about anything else except how hard and fast and good Derek sliding in and out of him is. It feels like every single thrust is like a fucking cosmic event, as dramatic as it sounds – it's good enough that Stiles comes five thrusts in with a pathetic little mewl, and Derek doesn't even slow down. He grunts approval at how Stiles tightens around him with the force of his orgasm, moves his hand out of Stiles' hair and onto his cheek.

His fingers press deeply into the skin, there, roughly pushing Stiles' face deeper into the pillow like the alpha in him is saying stay fucking put, don't move, need you to stay right here for me.

It's only a minute later that Stiles is coming again, panting – halfway through that, he reaches his tongue out and flicks it against Derek's pinky finger, the closest digit to his mouth; this is the only thing Stiles can think to show his affection with, right now. He definitely can't move, and he definitely can't talk, so he settles for the next best thing. And if the way Derek growls Stiles' name and fucks harder is anything to go by, he'd say that Derek is fine with it.

Finally, and somewhat unfortunately, Derek's body tightens up, his finger nails (claws, maybe, it might be claws) scratching into the skin on Stiles' face, and he's working himself through his own orgasm inside of Stiles' body.

As soon as Derek is pulling out of Stiles and taking his hands off of him, Stiles gets enough control of his body to fall forwards onto the bed and say, “lord God.”

“Yeah,” Derek huffs, like that's all he can say.

Stiles is actually pretty cognizant, about now. The second Derek got out of him he felt about ten times more alert, more able to fucking move, finally; and, truth be told, a part of him is kind of missing the feeling of just letting himself be. It was nice to let go, like that, focus on one particular feeling and think about nothing else except for Derek's hands on him, no one else except for himself and Derek.

“That was – different,” Stiles confesses slowly, slurring his speech a bit. His heats before all this have been blurs of food and coming, food and coming, food and coming, with a few showers intermittently mixed in there for good measure. There was never any point during those days where he felt relaxed or like he was getting what he wanted. This time, he definitely, definitely got what he wanted. And then some. “That was fucking – nice.”

“Yeah,” Derek says again, dropping down onto his ass on the side of the bed, smacking his back into the wall and spreading his legs out to drape over Stiles'.

After that, it's quiet for several moments, save for Stiles' panting breaths and the sheets rustling underneath his fingers as they clench and unclench in perfect tandem, again and again. His stomach is draped over a couple of cold wet spots, which he knows must be his own come, which is gross, but at the moment, he can't find it in himself to really give a shit. Nothing really matters, here.

Once a solid two minutes have passed, Derek, bizarrely and out of the literal blue, blurts, “Sorry.”

Stiles shifts so that he can turn his cheek in Derek's direction, lips parted in surprise. “Huh?”

The alpha rubs his hand across his forehead, then down one side of his face, and then runs both hands down his face at once, shaking his head. “That was too far.”

Stiles gets the sense that this is about to be a serious conversation. Serious conversations don't typically take place with one party marinating in their own excrement and lying there like a fish flopped out on a lake deck. So, he uses his spaghetti arms to push himself up into a sitting position on his knees, grunting as he does so like it's the hardest workout he's had in a while, before rounding his body to face Derek's so he can give him a look. “What was too far?”

After a moment, Derek pulls his hands off his face and gives Stiles a look of his own – something like disbelief or annoyance or shock – and jerks one finger in the direction of the mirror Stiles has perched in the opposite corner of his room.

Befuddled, Stiles follows the finger, stares at himself for a second, and gets what Derek means.

With a small noise from the back of his throat, Stiles pokes at the pinkish claw marks left across his face (not deep enough to break the skin, but almost), and cocks his head to the side. “Huh,” he intones. He hadn't remembered feeling that at the time, but thinking back on how hard Derek was holding him down at some points, there, it doesn't surprise him. “Oh, well,” he decides, shrugging. “It won't scar.”

This response grants Stiles yet another near-unreadable facial expression from Derek, and it makes the omega feel like he's done or said something wrong. “Oh well?” Derek repeats this indignantly, sarcastically, shaking his head hard. “Stiles. That's not okay.”

“I didn't even feel it,” Stiles counters in a quiet voice. Something tells him that a soft tone would be best, in this particular situation, looking at how genuinely upset and shaken up Derek looks at seeing his own claw marks marring up his omega's skin. “You've seen the pictures they show in health class. Claw and teeth marks after mating are totally normal.”

Absolutely and completely normal, as a matter of fact. When Stiles was thirteen and took his first venture into alpha/omega porn on the internet, all he fucking saw was, like, sensual biting and clawing – just like what's on his face right now. Never deep enough to break skin, but deep enough to mark, for a while. It's natural. Alphas want to mark their territory. Stiles has always expected that he'd get a little bit clawed by whatever alpha he managed to land.

So color him confused as to why Derek is acting like he literally just beat Stiles across the face like a fucking monster?

“I didn't mean to do it,” he moans, thumping his head back against the wall and raising his eyes to the ceiling like he can't stand to look at what he's done. “I didn't even realize...”

“Derek, it really isn't like that,” Stiles says, inching himself closer on his knees to where Derek is curling into himself on the bed. “It's not like what you're thinking at all -”

“Then how are you thinking of it?” Derek asks as Stiles gets close enough to drape his hand across Derek's chest and run soothing circles over the bare skin again and again. “What do you call that?”

Stiles' mind is active, for the most part. He can think and speak and walk and all that good stuff, but there's just a slight haze over every thing. Kind of like being three drinks in at the bar, Stiles has always thought. Tipsy, but maybe some people can't really tell yet, able to walk to the bathroom without stumbling much. So, that being said, he can understand where Derek is coming from, but also, at the same time, he sort of can't. Like he said – he's always expected this, and he doesn't get why Derek hasn't also expected the same thing?

“I'm thinking of it,” Stiles starts, running his nails gently along Derek's stomach, watching as he shudders, “like your wolf wanted to mark me, so it did.”

Derek sighs through his nose, absentmindedly reaches down to stroke along Stiles' arm in a quick sweep, and then thumps his head against the wall again. “I should've asked, beforehand.”

“Well,” Stiles laughs, in spite of the situation. “You did kinda choose the worst possible spot.” He'll have to cover this up with make up when it comes time to go back to school after his heat ends; first of all, there's no fucking way it'll be faded by that time, and second of all, there's no fucking way Stiles has any excuse for why alpha claws are streaking across his face. Except for the truth. Which he still can't tell Scott. Or anyone, really.

“You're not upset?” Derek asks, boring into Stiles' eyes intensely like he's ready to catch a lie if Stiles tries to tell one. “It doesn't make you uncomfortable?”

“I'm not upset,” Stiles says firmly. “And it doesn't make me uncomfortable.”

Derek's shoulders sag in relief, and he lets out a breath he's probably been holding in since he first came back to himself after the heat-sex and saw what he'd almost unwittingly done to Stiles' face. Stiles can't help but feel anything but affection for how worried Derek had been for a few seconds there, how upset he was at the prospect of making Stiles uncomfortable by his own biological imperatives; it's as clear an indicator of just how much Derek really cares about him as Stiles is likely to ever get.

“Plus,” he starts, laughing in spite of himself, “even if you ripped one of my arms clean off my body and threw it out the window, it still wouldn't be worse than my first time.”

It's meant to be a joke, something to lighten up the tension – but instead of quirking his lips up or laughing, Derek just flicks his eyes to Stiles' face and frowns so deeply it looks like Stiles just told him that his dog died. “What's that mean?”

Stiles sighs, glances down at the hard-on that's already coming back into full swing on his body, shrugs like it's not a big deal. “I had, like, the worst sex ever. With the stupidest guy ever. At the stupidest bar ever,” he can't sense the vibe in the room, can't see that this is pissing Derek off, so he keeps right on talking like the motor mouth he is. “I met him at that bar on the other side of town with my fake ID and told him I was eighteen even though...” Stiles points at his face, the huge bambi eyes and freckles and clear boyish features. Derek traces all of these, and sets his jaw even harder. “Like, obviously he knew? Whatever – he was gross and only liked me because I was a young omega and – whatever.”

It's quiet for several beats. Long enough that Stiles shifts uncomfortably, to drop down off his knees and down onto his ass on the bed, stretching his legs out and avoiding Derek's eyes.

“Your first time,” Derek starts, voice clearly controlled to keep him from diving off into alpha-land where he threatens to beat up anyone who's ever even glanced in Stiles' direction, “was with some random omega fetishist at a bar.”

Omega fetishist. That's one hell of a term.

It's a lot like the wolf equivalent of pedophile, really, for how much weight it carries and how people will look at you if they think you are one. Omega fetishists are, obviously, obsessed with omegas to the point that omegas are the only things – and in this case, it is things for the way these people think of them – that they want to have sex with. They especially like them young, and especially like them to be in heat. With little to no knowledge of what's going on around them. So. Yeah. Not exactly the greatest people on planet earth.

That guy at the bar didn't coerce him against his will or trick him or anything like that; but clearly, he was one. If he had stumbled upon Stiles when he'd been in heat, then he wouldn't have batted an eyelash at hauling him off into an alley somewhere. Stiles knows that.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees, laughing because if he doesn't he might do something stupider, and shrugs his shoulders. “Not great, huh?”

Derek stares at him for a moment. There are a lot of directions that this conversation could go – one option is that Derek could freak out and get the fucking Sheriff on the phone to find this asshole before he gets his paws on some other hapless omega (because a twenty-something pawing at an underage omega at a bar is something the Sheriff's department, spearheaded by said omega's very own father, would be very, very interested in hearing about and handling). Another is that Derek could freak out and go out and find the dude himself and kill him with his bare hands. Which wouldn't be good.

Luckily for the both of them, Derek doesn't choose either of those two. Instead, he wraps his fingers around Stiles' chin, twists Stiles' head so he can look into the omega's eyes. “I wish -” he starts, voice sounding strained, “God – all the time I wasted...” beating up on Scott McCall, keeping away from Stiles for his own good and safety, never spending more than ten seconds at a time looking at him, “...I wish I could've been there to convince you to wait for me, Stiles. I wish it could've been me.”

Stiles swallows and keeps Derek's eye contact only because he cannot physically look away, can't move any part of his body after hearing a confessional like that.

“Me, too,” Stiles says honestly, because there's nothing else to say. He wishes a lot of things. He wishes that things could've gone differently for the two of them – he wishes that the path that was laid out for them at whatever start of time there might be wasn't so fucking rocky and hard and he wishes that he could tell Scott about this and he wishes that Derek could've been there for so much and – he strokes his finger tips along the scars on his face and Derek follows the movement with his eyes – he wishes that everything didn't have to be a secret. “But this was good, too.”

Derek smiles at him, nods his head. This is good too.

----

(Marty McFly 12:54) : After school?
(Me 12:54) : ??? full sentences, buddy
(Marty McFly 12:56) : Buffy? I thought we were past this stage in our relationship.
(Marty McFly 12:56) **Buddy fucking auto correct
(Me 12:57) : HA! Address me as buffy the vampire slayer from here on out i'll respond to nothing less than the full title
(Marty McFly 12:59) : Har, har, har.
(Marty McFly 1:00) : Full sentence : Do you want to meet up after school?
(Me 1:02) : Maaaybe.
(Me 1:02) : What'd u have in mind?
(Marty McFly 1:04) : Every thing.
(Me 1:05) : !!!
(Me 1:05) : how u know my dad is home all day today!! yet u tease me like this!! shame, shame!!!
(Marty McFly 1:07) : Shit, and my sisters are having friends over.
(Me 1:08) : didnt u tell me ur rooms are all soundproofed
(Marty McFly 1:10) : Because fucking while my sisters are in the next room really appeals to me whether they can hear it or not, baby. No fucking way.
(Me 1:12) : oh well. Nice knowin ur dick but we must part ways now – distance has ripped us apart
(Marty McFly 1:12) : Too bad :( You guys got along well.
(Me 1:13) : ok for some reason when I joke about ur dick being sentient its funny but when u do it I feel like ur a pervert in a chatroom stay away old man
(Marty McFly 1:16) : I just love how you show affection. Really.
(Marty McFly 1:27) : I'm not going home for the weekend without seeing you first.
(Marty McFly 1:27) : Stay back after English. Bullshit to Scott.
Stiles and Derek are pretty well acquainted with the inside of the janitor's closet, at this point. Out of all the places they could (and have) screwed around in at this point, the old standby is always the fucking janitor's closet.

They tried the boy's bathroom (too loud, too echoey, Derek's sneakers kept squeaking on the tile and Stiles kept kicking his legs into one of the metal stall doors, their principal came in halfway through with explosive diarrhea – they crossed it off the list), behind the bleachers in the gym (again with Derek's shoes fucking squeaking all over every thing, dust everywhere, a mouse crept out from the shadows and dove straight for Stiles' foot and Stiles shrieked – they crossed it off the list), in the woods beyond the lacrosse field (apparently Derek underestimated exactly when practice was set to start, Coach came this close to finding Stiles with his pants around his ankles and Derek on his knees, and luckily Isaac is the only one of the team who actually saw them – they crossed it off the list.)

The janitor's closet is the only spot that has never, ever failed them in all their travels. It's quiet, there's nothing for Derek to squeak on, no mice as far as Stiles can tell, and no lacrosse team showing up out of nowhere to break up the party. It's just them and some cleaning supplies. It's still a bit of risky business, because since it's always after school hours, there's every chance that a janitor will actually show up and do their job.

Stiles can't remember the last time he saw the janitor. He thinks them safe, at this point.

He checks over his shoulder down one end of the hallway – empty – then the other end – empty, before pulling open the door and slamming it shut behind him, whirling around to find Derek already standing there scrolling down his phone with his thumb. “Took you long enough,” he remarks, before pocketing the phone and giving Stiles a sideways grin.

“They were giving out leftover cookies for free in the lunch room,” he reaches into his hoodie pocket and pulls two cookies to hold out in Derek's direction, “I couldn't pass that up.”

“Of course,” Derek agrees, taking one of the cookies. “I should've expected nothing less.”

Stiles shoves the other three cookies he has in his pockets into his mouth in the span of one minute, while Derek takes his sweet time on his one and only cookie – nibbling on it bit by bit like an actual human being and not a rabid animal. Unlike Stiles.

Once he's done, he glances down at the crumbs and chocolate chip residue left on his fingers, grimaces, and makes grabby crab hands in Derek's direction.

Without even having to think about it, Derek reaches down into his backpack and produces a wet wipe, hands it to Stiles. It's way too fucking routine at this point. Like they've already been married for twenty years even though they've only been at this for around two months, now. They just sort of...flow together. It works. It's one of those things that just is and can't be explained, Stiles thinks. Derek and Stiles work.

“So,” Stiles starts, throwing his wet wipe away in the nearest trash. “I'm guessing you won't be around this weekend?”

Derek frowns. “Where'd you get that idea?”

“Your text,” Stiles points out with a furrowed brow. “You acted like seeing me before the weekend started was, like, essential.”

“It is essential,” Derek agrees, “that doesn't mean I won't be seeing you this weekend, as well.”

Stiles rolls his eyes like he's so annoyed and put out, but...he's not. At all. He's willing to take any and all opportunities to see Derek no matter the situation. Janitor's closet or a bathroom or Derek's car or the Jeep – anywhere. Stiles is into it. “Then what are we doing this weekend?”

“Your dad works on Sunday?” He takes a step into Stiles' personal space, intertwines their fingers on both hands and presses their palms together. Stiles nods, once – double shift. Prime hook up time. “Then we can do anything you want.”

Stiles grins, mischievously, and Derek gets a look on his face like he knows exactly what's coming. “Does that include you watching -”

“Don't. Say it.”

“...Star -”

“Stiles.”

“...Wars.”

“Not again,” Derek says resolutely, tightening his squeeze on Stiles' hand for a fraction of a second. “Not again, baby. I can't be put through it again.”

“There's no limit to the amount of times you can watch that movie. It's a classic for a reason.”

“Yes,” Derek agrees, nodding his head. “Because it's old -”

Stiles gasps, appalled.

“-and boring.”

“You're old and boring! When's your eighteenth birthday again, dinosaur? Yet I'm still tender and sixteen!”

“Tender,” Derek repeats, rolling his eyes to the ceiling with a small smile on his face. “That's one word to describe you. And, for your information, it's about two months after your seventeenth.”

“Ten whole months of being a baby before I was even born,” Stiles shakes his head, “I can see the gray hairs already.”

“Enough with the teasing,” Derek uses Stiles' hands to pull the omega's body flush up against his, before leaning down to press his lips against Stiles'.

Thus begins their ten thousandth make out session in the janitor's closet. Something about this just never, ever gets old, Stiles thinks, running his fingers through Derek's hair and letting Derek box him up against the wall. Stiles' feet get tangled up in a vacuum cord somewhere along the way, and he almost goes sprawling off somewhere into a dark corner, but luckily, Derek is focusing on his movements and body enough that he catches him before he flops to the floor.

Derek hitches Stiles' legs up by the knees, pulls them until Stiles gets the hint and crosses his ankles behind Derek's back, never breaking the kiss for even a second or even opening their eyes. Kiss someone enough times and for enough lengths of time, and you kind of become an expert on how to do it and what they like and what they don't. By now, Stiles is like, a black belt Derek kisser.

It's easy to forget about the fact that they're in a janitor's closet at school where anyone could walk in on them. Way too fucking easy. Dangerously easy.

Stupidly easy. A mistake.

Because Stiles gets too focused on Derek's hands reaching up underneath his shirt and Derek gets too focused on Stiles' scent and Stiles' heartbeat and Stiles' lips and Stiles' everything to pay close attention to anything else. Stiles stopped telling Derek to be careful and listen about six clandestine meetings ago, because they got cocky. They got lucky so many times they thought themselves safe for good.

Which is fucking idiotic, because Stiles always knew this would happen; he should've tried just a little bit harder to prevent it.

When the door opens up so hard that it bangs against the other side of the wall, Derek is honestly surprised, in spite of being an alpha werewolf. He jumps, startled, nearly loses his grip on Stiles' legs, but catches him at the last second.

He almost loses his grip again when he turns and sees who's standing there.

“What,” Scott starts, looking between Derek and Stiles again and again, “the fuck.”

For just a fraction of a second, Stiles tries to come up with an excuse. He tries to think of some way to talk his way out of this, make up something that makes even an iota of sense for why Derek and Stiles would be alone in the janitor's closet together – there's gotta be something he could come up with, right?

Except for the fact that Scott literally saw them sucking each other's faces, is looking at them right now; Stiles' fucking legs wrapped around Derek's waist, Derek's hands dangerously close to Stiles' ass.

There's no way to sugarcoat this. It is what it is. Scott's not a fucking idiot.

“What the fuck!” Scott shouts again, enough of a slap in the face that Stiles manages to push Derek away from him with shaking hands.

“Off, off,” he hisses to Derek; all the alpha really does is drop Stiles down onto the ground, but wraps a big hand around Stiles' upper arm, like he's trying to keep him from walking over to Scott's side. “Wait a second, everyone just -”

“What – what is – what?” Scott looks at Derek, then to Stiles. Derek, Stiles. Back and forth. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

“It wasn't like -”

“I knew you were sneaking around,” Scott jabs a finger in Stiles' direction, and Derek's grip on Stiles' arm tightens minutely. “I knew it, but I thought – I thought – not this!”

“It's not what it -” But he breaks off. It's not what it looks like, Stiles?, he chastises himself in his own head. It's exactly what it looks like.

Scott steps forward, face drawn and so fucking angry, in a way that Stiles has never seen it before, that honestly scares him, because it's not Scott at all – and maybe his heartbeat quirks up in fear, just slightly, maybe a touch of anxiety enters his scent. He can't be sure.

Whatever it is, the closer Scott gets to him, the louder Derek starts growling.

A low, steady snarl from under his breath. Menacing. He keeps his eyes pinned on Scott, who freezes in place once the growling spikes to a certain point of no return, and with the hand Derek has on Stiles' arm, pushes the omega back behind him.

“Derek,” Stiles warns – but it doesn't seem to have any effect on him. He just keeps growling, teeth bared.

Scott examines this. Anyone can see clear as day what's going on here, what the fucking situation is; two alphas fighting over an omega.

Scott and Derek have had a lot of fights in the past. Close to a thousand, Stiles would guess, at this point, and some of them have definitely been worse than others. There's been lots of blood shed and lots of suspensions and lots of general badness.

But the thing about all of them, every single last one of them, is that they would all pale in comparison to an actual fight over Stiles. Not just a mention of Stiles, and not just Stiles being there, but Stiles being like a fucking trophy to them. Whoever wins the fight gets to walk away with Stiles, and in the rules of the animal kingdom, Stiles wouldn't have much of a say in that. If it came down to it, neither of them would stop until the other was completely and utterly incapacitated.

It wouldn't be good.

It isn't good – this, right now? Bad. Bad, bad, bad.

“Hey,” Stiles tries pulling his arm out of Derek's grip, but the alpha won't budge. “Hey. Stop it.”

Scott sets his jaw. “This is the great guy you've picked, huh, Stiles?” His voice is so much meaner than Stiles has ever heard it before, and he tries not to take it to heart. He knows that it's just layers of hurt and betrayal built up that's making him talk like that. “Get your fucking hand off of him.”

Derek's fingers curl deeper, growls louder, and Stiles knows it's a lost fucking cause. The both of them are giving in completely to their alpha sides - it's just what happens. When it comes to omegas, it's just what happens.

Scott takes one more step forward, and that's that.

Derek shoves Stiles backwards, so that the omega is behind him fully, and launches himself at Scott at the exact same time Scott does the same right back to him.

They clash in the air, and wind up sprawling out into the hallway, far enough away from where Stiles is standing that he won't somehow get involved in the entire thing. Just like all the other fights before it.

But there's something inherently different about this one. There's something different about the way that Scott claws at Derek's face, and there's something different in the way Derek slams Scott's head into the concrete walls – more intent behind it, almost. There's a clear motive, and a clear incentive. For the first time in years, they actually fucking know what they're fighting about, and it's giving them a sense of purpose. To fight harder, more ruthlessly.

And the other thing that's different about it is that Stiles can't just stand back with his arms crossed over his chest, frowning and rolling his eyes; he fucking can't.

“Don't,” he shouts, throwing himself out of the closet into the otherwise empty hall. He stands ten feet away, clenching and unclenching his fists, unsure of where to go from there; both of them are snapping their jaws at each other, completely wolfed out, claws scraping flesh, grunts of pain, and all Stiles can do is stand there. “Cut it the fuck out, the both of you!”

Of course it doesn't work. They've gone into alpha-wolf wonderland, defending what they rightfully thinks belongs to them – as though Stiles is just like those fucking crayons from the first grade that started this entire thing to begin with.

The only thing that's ever managed to get them to stop is Stiles himself; so, with a puff of breath out of his chest, he stalks forwards and waits for the perfect opportunity. He watches as Derek snaps his jaws inches away from biting Scott's fucking face off, as Scott punches him underneath is chin and sends Derek staggering back just enough that Stiles can leap out in front of him.

He stumbles a bit, but manages to get in between them, spreading his arms out in front of Derek and growling, stop.

Scott was just about to come forwards for Derek again; he has to skid to a stop with a squeak from his sneakers when he notices that Stiles is in his way. He nearly swipes his claws across Stiles' chest, and he yelps in horror when he pulls his hand back at the absolute last fucking second.

A claw swipe like that on an omega isn't a quick-fix alpha-heal. He'd probably have been hospitalized.

The knowledge of what just almost happened is enough to make Scott retract his claws and shake the wolf off of his face. When Stiles glances over his shoulder, he sees the same thing of Derek – both Scott and Derek stand there for a second, panting breaths, blood from slowly healing wounds covering their skin, like they're trying to process what the fuck just happened.

Scott wipes the back of his arm across his face to sweep some blood off of his mouth, and then spits a wad out onto the ground to the left of him, snarling something under his breath. “So that's that, then, huh?” He gestures vaguely to where Stiles is still standing, spread out in front of Derek like he's protecting him. “That's your fucking choice?”

“There's no choice.” And there god damn isn't. The only reason Stiles dove in front of Derek is because it was most convenient, honestly – diving in front of either of them would've given him the same result. Scott can't really see that, in this scenario. He's still got alpha-goggles on.

“Ten years of being my best friend,” he snarls with a vicious finger pointed in Stiles' direction, “down the drain because of him.”

“That's not how it -”

“Him,” he repeats. “How could you do that, Stiles?”

Stiles opens his mouth, but all that comes out is a squeak. He drops his arms down at his sides, feeling defeated, watching as his best friend looks at him with such fucking disdain. Disgust, almost. Disappointment.

It's too much for Stiles to stand, so he looks away. He has to look away, down onto the ground, because he can't bear to see that look on Scott's face being directed at him. Part of him knows that he deserves it, of course he does – this was a fucking betrayal, through and through.

But if Stiles could explain it to Scott – how it's not just...like that. Then, maybe...

Scott makes a tch noise, starts walking away without another word.

“Wait,” Stiles croaks around his tight throat, moving forward to try and reach a hand out to stop him before he vanishes down the hall. “Wait, please, I can -”

“What?” Scott calls over his shoulder. “Explain? I could give a fuck, Stiles.”

Stiles freezes because he knows that chasing after Scott, right now, isn't going to do him any good. Scott is too mad, too wound up to really listen to a single word Stiles could say. He could explain it in the most logical way, and Scott would just punch his way through the door to Stiles' Jeep. Alphas.

It is absolutely the only thing that he can do – standing and watching him walk away. But that doesn't mean he doesn't fucking hate it. That doesn't mean it's not taking every single thing inside of him right now to just stay there and not give in to a chase.

Scott throws the doors open at the end of the hall and vanishes into the late afternoon sun.

Maybe it's irrational and unfair, since Stiles knows good and well that when it comes to the wolf-side, there sometimes can't be any controlling it. What just happened was wolves taking over, and it's not necessarily anyone's fault; but Stiles is mad, and sad, and Derek shouldn't have let himself get to that point to begin with. So, once that metal door slams closed, Stiles rounds on Derek.

“You fucking asshole,” he accuses, whirling around and throwing his hands out against Derek's chest for a shove. The only reason Derek budges at all is because he's surprised at this turn of events, Stiles knows, but watching him stumble from Stiles' hands for whatever reason is mildly satisfying. “You absolute fucking -”

“What?” He demands, honestly fucking shocked. “What? I was just -”

“I know what you were doing!” Stiles shoves him again, but this time Derek sees it coming, because he stays firmly planted. “I can't believe you could -”

“He was going to take you away from me, Stiles,” Derek reasons, latching onto Stiles' wrist before the omega can try for another shove, “if he got his way -”

“His way,” Stiles snarls back in a mocking tone of voice, prying his wrist free from Derek's grip and staggering backwards and away. “How could you act like that? Why would you do that?”

“I don't fucking get what the problem with me is,” Derek shoots back, drawing his brow together, “when he's the one who -”

"Enough!” Stiles' voice is so loud that the word echoes back and forth around the halls, loud enough that anyone on campus could probably hear it, and Derek's jaw snaps shut in shock. “Enough with the fucking he-said-he-did bullshit!”

“I was just -”

“I,” Stiles points to himself, “am not a ball on the playground for you two to fucking bicker over! You don't get to decide anything for me by beating the shit out of my best friend, you fucking asshole.”

Derek looks like he doesn't even know how to begin, with that. Like he's never for even a moment thought of it that way, or seen it from Stiles' perspective, and now that he is, he doesn't even know what to think. As if Stiles just blew his mind wide open.

The befuddled and confused expression on his face just pisses Stiles off all the more. He thinks about how boneheaded Derek was today, and how boneheaded he's always been for fighting Scott all the god damn time and how idiotic it was that they had to keep every thing secret just so this wouldn't happen – just so no one would wind up getting killed in some bullshit show of strength. Like that would ever prove anything to Stiles.

“I didn't mean it like -” Derek stutters, face just as baffled as before. “I didn't think -”

“Yeah,” Stiles spits, “you didn't think. You think you get to dictate who stays in my life and who doesn't -”

“No, I don't, Stiles, baby, I -” he reaches his fingers out to touch him, and Stiles jerks back, hard. As Derek watches Stiles recoil from him like that, watches Stiles stagger backwards just to avoid Derek's hand, the alpha's face shutters in what Stiles can read loud and clear as pain. It hurts Derek that Stiles would ever distance them like that.

“Don't,” Stiles warns in a low voice, crossing his arms protectively over his chest. “Don't.”

Stiles knew all along, from the very beginning, that this is what was going to happen. He said it over and over again, that he was just sitting around waiting for every thing to go to shit – and he thought, back then, that he would be able to handle it. Or, maybe, that he'd be able to think his way out of it. Come up with a solution.

Obviously, that's not what's happening.

----

Stiles knows that he made a really shitty decision.
Matter of fact, he's well aware that he made a series of shitty, shitty, horrible, awful decisions. He understands perfectly that Scott has every right to be angry. Stiles gets that he went behind his best friend's back, lied to him for two months, and sort of neglected their friendship in favor of screwing around with the kid's arch-nemesis. All arrows point to Stiles being in the wrong. Because Derek, really, didn't do anything wrong. What does he owe to Scott? Nothing. Nothing.

Stiles is the one who fucked everything up. Did those two idiots have to get into a fight in the school hallway after letting their alpha instincts take over? No. Did they have to make Stiles the object of their alpha-dominance duel? No.

But whose fault is it that it wound up like that to begin with? Who's the one who lied and sneaked around instead of just sitting Scott down for an honest heart to heart?

Stiles is thankful that all this went down on a Friday afternoon, so he doesn't have to see either of the two alphas at school on Saturday morning. He just lays in his bed and drowns himself underneath the covers, hiding from his father and his phone and the world in general, becoming nothing but a pillow of sad-sack.

Fucking up sucks. A lot. Hurting people he cares about sucks.

He gets two missed calls and three texts from Derek, who's as penitent as they come. In both his voicemails he never asks Stiles to call him back or to please answer him or any of it, doesn't put any burden on Stiles' shoulders whatsoever – he just point blank says that he didn't mean anything the way Stiles is thinking that he did, that he's sorry he acted like that, and on and on. It's nice. Derek is nice when he's not going alpha on everyone.

All the same, Stiles doesn't text or call him back. Needs just a little bit of time.

In specific, he is flat out refusing to have any contact with Derek whatsoever until he talks to Scott. There is something inherently nasty in the thought of going straight back to Derek after every thing that's happened, while Scott is probably hiding out in his own bed a couple blocks away, feeling even worse than Stiles is. Stiles isn't going to pick up a scalpel to dig harder at the wound while it's still bleeding.

When he finally emerges from his room mid-afternoon, the stink of misery and negativity emanating from him must be fairly strong – because his father takes one look at him from his spot on the couch, frowns, and says, “bad week?”

If only he knew the start of Stiles' bad fucking life. “Me and Scott had a fight,” he paraphrases, frowning as he leans down to peer into the fridge. Nothing looks good to him.

“A fight?” There's a pause. “When have you and Scott ever fought about anything?”

There's been bickering over whether or not someone cheated in a video game, spats over the last slice of pizza, and a couple of shoving matches when it came to some more serious stuff. But there's never ever once been a serious, don't-talk-to-me fight between Scott and Stiles. The fact that there is one now, and that it's all Stiles' fault, makes him feel like climbing inside the freezer and living in there until he freezes to death. A just punishment.

“Fighting over a boy,” Stiles moans, slapping his hand to his forehead while closing the fridge door. “How stupid.”

“I didn't know Scott -”

“Not like that,” Stiles corrects quietly. “I like someone and Scott...doesn't.”

When Stiles turns to look at his father, he finds the man's jaw working around the information. He narrows his eyes, glances out into dead air for a few seconds, before clarifying in a low voice, “Derek Hale?”

How easy it is to forget that his dad's fucking job is solving mysteries. Of course he'd have it figured it in ten seconds flat.

“The kid that Scott's always winding up in the principal's office for?”

“Yeah.”

“The kid that I've almost had to arrest -”

“As if you haven't almost had to arrest Scott for the same things,” Stiles challenges, crossing his arms over his chest. “Is this going to turn into a fatherly lecture about the guys I date?”

“Date? Since when are you dating Derek Hale?”

Stiles pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs. “Since I became a massive fucking asshole, apparently.”

His father must be able to sense that Stiles is in a truly shit mood, feeling down and out about himself and life in general, because he doesn't even scold him for the swearing. He just puffs out his own breath and leans deeper into the couch, putting one hand over his mouth and staring out the window as if he's thinking about how he wishes he'd actually arrested Derek at some point.

“Well,” he breaks the cone of silence, dropping his hand down into his lap and looking like this causes him actual physical pain to say, “you boys are too close to get this screwed up by a meathead like Derek Hale.” Meathead. “I don't know the specific situation, and I don't want to,” he points a finger at Stiles, menacingly, as if Stiles would ever get into specific details about the closet-sex Derek and Stiles have been having, “but whatever it is – you have to work it out. Sounds like silly teenage drama to me – not worth it.”

Right. Silly teenage drama. Silly alpha drama. Not worth it, not at all. Not in the least fucking bit, after every thing Stiles and Scott have been through.

When Scott turns around in his desk chair to see Stiles standing in the doorway, he makes a pretty big show out of crossing his arms over his chest and giving Stiles the dirtiest possible look imaginable. He's going for threatening and angry, and even if he really is threatening and really is angry, he's such a puppy that it comes across more like a little kid not getting his way. Really hard to take seriously, but Stiles forces himself to not smile.

“Who says I wanted to see you?” Scott grumbles, looking away and choosing a spot on the wall to leer at. “I've got nothing to say to you.”

“Okay,” Stiles says quietly, stepping farther into the room and twisting his fingers together nervously. “Then I'll talk. I owe you, like, a zillion apologies -”

“A zillion and one,” Scott corrects sourly, still not looking directly at Stiles.

“A zillion infinity, okay? I really messed up. I never should've –“

“You know,” Scott cuts Stiles off, apparently having decided that he does, indeed, have some choice words to say, and a lot of them. He squares his shoulders like he's getting ready for battle, entire body tight with the effort he must be putting into not absolutely flipping out. “It's not even about the fact that you and Derek Hale have been – ugh – whatever you've been doing with him. It's not even about Hale at all, because I don't care about him!”

If this were any other conversation and any other situation, Stiles would be pointing out that Scott most certainly does care about Derek, and cares a fuckin' lot, and there are about a hundred different examples of just how much Scott cares.

“It's about the fact that you lied!”

“I'm sorry,” Stiles says, as honestly as possible. “I just didn't know...how to tell you?”

“So the only other alternative was to go behind my back like that! To let me find out in the worst possible fucking way that you – and – do you know how much I hate that guy?”

“After all the times I've watched you try to curbstomp him, yes, Scott, I am aware.”

“Then how do you fucking imagine it felt to have to see him putting his stupid, ugly hands all over my best friend?” He fixes Stiles with a hard glare, the first time he's looked at him since Stiles first walked in here. “I saw your Jeep still in the parking lot, and I got worried, because you said you weren't feeling well.”

Stiles scratches at his face, looking away in shame as he thinks about that phony text he sent out to Scott to cancel their hang-out plans after Derek asked him to.

“I followed your scent – and I – ugh!" He scrubs at his eyes for a second like he's trying to wash the image of Derek kissing Stiles clean out of his brain. "How many times have you told lies like that so you could sneak off and see him? How long has this been going on?”

For a second, Stiles considers another lie. Like it just happened and that was the first time, or just something that would make the entire thing seem less shitty; but he figures that wouldn't help his case at all, and he's trying to turn over a new leaf. So instead, he chews on his thumbnail and mutters, “two months?”

Scott's eyes bulge out of his head and he looks ready to leap across the room to rip one of Stiles' ears off. “Two! Months!”

“Since the project in English...”

“I knew it!” He points a vindictive finger at Stiles and growls under his breath. There's no way in Hell Scott ever fucking knew it, never even suspected it, but he'll let Scott think himself as having been right all along on this one. “I knew you lied to me that day!”

“I'm sorry.”

“And that time you were getting ice cream,” he makes air quotes around the words, “you were at Hale's, weren't you?”

Stiles puffs out a breath, looks away again. “He gave me a coupon?”

“Ack!” Like the coupon is truly the most abominable thing imaginable, Scott looks about ready to vomit all over the floor. “You and him – the thought is so – I can't – it makes me so fucking angry -”

“I got that sense yesterday,” Stiles murmurs, “when you tried to claw his guts out”

Scott glares at Stiles for a moment longer, jaw ticking around unsaid thoughts; he's probably imagining his fist flying straight into Derek's fucking face and shattering his nose into a million pieces, probably thinking about all the ways that Derek has had his hands on Stiles, and this thought must be enough to send him into a red-hot rage, because he starts ranting again. “How many times have you had to take me into the bathrooms at school to wash blood out of my clothes because of Derek Hale, Stiles? How many times have I explicitly told him to stay the fuck away from you? And now! I guess you two are all – like – fucking an item, and eating pizza together and – watching movies and -”

“Yeah,” Stiles cuts him off, voice loud in his own ears, “except not anymore – I broke up with him.” His voice cracks on the word broke, and something about that must shatter some piece of the hard-shelled exterior Scott has going on right now. It's enough that Scott pauses, shoulders sagging, all of the anger he just had inside of him seeping out like someone's poked a hole in him somewhere.

“You – oh,” his voice is as quiet as its been since the start of this, since he first walked in on Stiles and Derek yesterday.

“Doesn't make sense for me to – with someone you hate, so,” he shrugs like it's not a big deal, averts his eyes so he doesn't have to look at Scott directly. “It was stupid, anyway.”

Silence.

This pause lasts, and lasts, and lasts. Scott stares at the profile of Stiles' face, while all Stiles himself can do is glare pointedly out the window and watch the green leaves blowing around the tree in the back yard. Scott must be letting himself simmer down to a point where he can have an actual conversation instead of just yelling and being mad; he must be finally reading the emotions swirling around the room, must finally be thinking about something other than the betrayal aspect of this entire thing.

He must be able to sense that Stiles is more or less heartbroken.

Because when he speaks again, he doesn't sound mad. He sounds almost sad, or regretful. “You know, you could've told me.”

Stiles shakes his head. “So you could what? Snap his neck?”

Another pause; Scott sighing and running a hand down his face. “I would've – you know, if you had told me you liked him so much...”

“Who says I did?”

Scott fixes him with a look. The best friend look. The you can fucking lie all you want but even if I weren't an alpha werewolf I'd be able to tell look. And Stiles feels chastised and stupid, feels like there's an X-Ray hanging from his neck so Scott can see clear through to his fucking heart, so he looks away. “If you had told me you liked him, I would've, like, been an adult about it. I can do that sometimes.”

“Sometimes,” Stiles agrees in an attempt to be funny, but Scott doesn't laugh. Doesn't even crack a smile.

“You felt like you had to lie to me about all this because you were afraid of my reaction.” He says this like he's cracked open the Rosetta Stone, now that he's finally being able to see it from Stiles' point of view, understanding. Stiles nods, once, and Scott sighs again. “I guess maybe I owe you an apology, too, then.”

“Scott, no, you really, really don't, I was the one who was all shady and a shit friend and -”

“If I've ever made you feel like for ten seconds you couldn't tell me something or you had to keep something from me out of fear of what I would do, then I've been a shit friend, too. Maybe I dragged you into my personal problems with Derek, and -” he sets his jaw like he's thinking about punching Derek's face again, “maybe that wasn't right. I just hate to think that I've ever made you feel like you can't tell me things.”

“I wanted to tell you,” Stiles says, finally moving further into the room to stand less than two feet away from his friend. “I wanted to tell you so bad! I really – me and him, it's – he's not like what you think, okay?”

Another tick from Scott's jaw, as though he's forcing himself not to burst out into an indignant shout.

“You've had him so wrong, I swear.”

“How is he with you?” Scott demands, and right as Stiles is opening his mouth, he tacks on, “be honest,” in a harsh tone.

“Honestly,” Stiles draws the word out pointedly, “he's so – he's like – he's so...” he trails off, looking away from Scott to try and find the right words to say. How does he even begin to explain what Derek is really like? How he is when it's just the two of them, all alone, how nice and kind and thoughtful he is, how that bullshit tough-guy guard he has on for everyone else falls off completely the second it's just he and Stiles in a room.

“Christ,” Scott hisses before Stiles can even get a word out. “Okay, Jesus. You like him a lot, then.”

Stiles smiles. “I like him a lot, Scott. And I know you – don't...”

“I fucking hate him with every single last fiber of my being,” Scott clarifies, deadpan.

“But I think I might be serious about him.”

Scott raises his eyes to the ceiling as if asking God why a curse so dark has been brought down upon his head, sighs so long and loud it's like his soul is exiting his body, and he says, “fuck. Fine. Fine. If you really feel that way about him, then I guess I'll be...civil.”

Civil with Scott and Derek is just something Stiles never thought he'd see in a million years; it's like the fucking end of World War III. Those are words Stiles just could never have conceptualized, ever, ever – and even if he knows, and really truly knows, that Scott and Derek are probably never going to be perfectly cool with one another, that they just might get into another physical fight one of these days, it's enough to know that Scott is willing to try.

“I'm sorry I hid it from you,” Stiles says, crouching down to meet Scott at eye level where he's sitting, “and that I was a bad friend.”

“Yeah,” Scott agrees, reaching out to pat Stiles' back a couple of times affectionately. “It's okay, man. Sorry I, like, tried to kill your boyfriend.”

“Sorry my boyfriend tried to kill you right back.”

“Eh,” Scott shrugs, giving Stiles a lopsided smile. “I'm used to it.”

----

Stiles ting-tings his way into Hale's Pizza and tries not to make that much of a commotion about it. He knows good and well that Derek heard the Jeep from a mile away, knows that he probably stood there listening for every last move that Stiles made, wondering if Stiles was just going to go to somewhere else, wondering if he was going to walk right past without even glancing inside.
So it's not a surprise to him at all when Derek is already fucking staring at him the second he's inside.

There's a sizable line of people waiting in front of the register, an even more sizable number of people sitting at booths, and it's loud. Fucking Saturday night dinner rush. Maybe Stiles should have come at a better time, but he wasn't thinking very much about the specifics of it. He just wanted to see Derek. Selfishly and like a dumbass.

Either way, Derek stands there frozen to the spot, a twenty dollar bill in his hands, fingers hovering over some keys on the register. Stiles pauses himself once the door closes behind him with another ring from the bell, makes eye contact with the alpha, raises two fingers in greeting.

Derek swallows, drops the twenty down onto the counter, and shouts, “I'm taking my fifteen!”

There's a flurry of motion; Derek whipping his apron off and over his head, the customers standing in line grumbling and holding their arms out like what the fuck, Cora with pizza dough on her hands appearing from around a corner in the back and shouting Derek we're fuckin' slammed! Stiles stands back and watches as Derek jumps the counter easily, cocking his head towards the back door, in spite of the fact that he has people literally yelling at him about pizza and I've been waiting twenty minutes – so it's all Stiles can really do to follow him and smile apologetically at the line of people glaring at him.

Right as he's walking out the back door, Laura Hale is wiping tomato sauce off her fingers and walking up to the register with a bit of a leering grin; so, situation mostly handled, hopefully.

Once he's outside, he's running a hand through is hair and starting in on, “sorry, I should've picked another time -”

Derek shakes his head fervently, insistently, and says, “no, you don't apologize, okay? You don't have to apologize, I'm the only one who needs to apologize.”

Stiles opens his mouth to retort, but Derek just starts going.

“I never should have made you hide everything from your best friend like that, no matter how much I dislike him,” he says this matter-of-factly, no room for arguing. “I get that, now. It was shitty of me to put that on you, and I was only thinking about myself.”

Stiles starts trying to talk again, flabbergasted, but Derek continues.

“And I shouldn't have fought with Scott yesterday, especially not right in front of you like that, and – you were right. About how I was thinking of you like an alpha thinks of an omega as something that belongs to me and that's not okay. I don't think that way about you.”

“I know,” Stiles finally gets his word in edgewise, and takes a step closer to where Derek is standing. “I know you don't.”

“It's just -” Derek fists some of his hair, growls under his breath, “you're an omega, and I'm -”

“Right,” Stiles agrees, taking another step forward. “You're an alpha, and sometimes the wolf just takes over.”

“I couldn't stand how he was talking to you, so I just -”

“Right.”

“It was stupid. I'm sorry, I won't be like that again,” he reaches a hand out now that Stiles is close enough, and wraps it around Stiles' shoulder, squeezing. “You're not just an omega to me, you know that? I hate that I made you feel like I was trivializing you like that – trivializing us.”

Stiles leans into the hand on his shoulder and nods his head. “Yeah. You kinda were.”

“It was so shitty.”

“It was really shitty,” Stiles nods his head. “But you're not the only one who messed up in this entire thing, Derek.”

“No, I'm the one who -”

Derek's martyr complex apparently knows no fucking bounds. Stiles rolls his eyes, reaches his own hand out to slap a finger over Derek's mouth before he can start in on how horrible and evil a person he is for trying to defend Stiles. “I went right along with everything, didn't I? Sneaking around was a shit idea for both of us. Treating you like a huge secret – that was wrong.”

Derek deflates a little bit, and he doesn't start trying to go on another rant even when Stiles drops his finger off of his lips. He stands there for a moment, keeping his hand on Stiles' shoulder, and then sighs through his nose. “We made a mess,” he says simply.

“We really, really did.” A disgusting, going-to-leave-a-huge-stain, a million paper towels and still not clean, mess. “I messed up,” he points to himself, then to Derek, “you messed up. Scott messed up. No one did the right thing, here.”

Derek nods, solemnly. Behind them, Stiles hears someone shout I asked for pepperoni!!! Where's the manager!!! at the top of their lungs, and both of them ignore it.

“I care about you a lot,” Stiles admits quietly, feeling his throat tighten up. “And – I like you a lot.”

“Me, too.”

“It was just a fight,” Stiles reasons, reaching up to grab at Derek's hand on his shoulder, squeezing it in a show of affection. “We had a fight.”

“It was bad,” Derek almost fucking whines, and Stiles has to hold back another eye roll – he can be so fucking dramatic.

“I know how you feel about me and I get the alpha thing -” Stiles does roll his eyes around that word, “but can you not beat up my best friend anymore?” He gestures a finger in between the two of them. “Because this isn’t going to work if you keep that shit up.”

Derek's eyebrows lift, his entire face shifting from downtrodden to something else, more hopeful and open. Behind them from inside the restaurant, something that sounds suspiciously like an entire pizza slapping across a wall, followed by an indignant shout of are you kidding me!!!, and Stiles furrows his brow and turns back, frowning in confusion, but Derek doesn't even flinch at any of it. “Are you saying -”

“The whole breaking up thing,” he starts, looking away from the restaurant again, “it's only been a day, but - I'm not loving the concept.”

“Me either,” Derek agrees quickly, using his other hand to wrap his fingers around Stiles' hip. “I'm sorry, and I don't want to – not see you.”

“I don't want to not see you, either,” Stiles intertwines their fingers together, smiles at the alpha. “I think I like you way too much for that.”

Derek grins, nodding his agreement. “I never want to argue again.”

“That,” Stiles surges forwards to kiss Derek on the lips, once, quickly, “is just not realistic. First of all because you're a complete dick,” another kiss, “and second of all because I'm a fucking asshole.”

“Good points,” Derek kisses him back. “So, we'll argue, then.”

“A lot.” Stiles widens his eyes, nodding ferevently. “Like, all the time. Constantly. No breaks.”

“Why do I get the sense,” he nuzzles into Stiles' neck, breathes out a happy sigh, “you're not talking about arguing anymore?”

“Because you're a fucking pervert,” Stiles hedges, pushing Derek's forehead away from his neck with a short laugh. “Honestly, Derek, is that all you think about?”

“With you?” He smirks. “Yeah.”

There's a crash, a few gasps, and then someone screaming I am the fucking manager, asshole!! at the top of their lungs.

Stiles breaks away from Derek and whirls around, trying to glare inside the glass backdoor. "Okay - what is going on in there. Can you hear that?"

Of course he can. When Stiles turns back to look at Derek, the alpha is just standing there, shrugging like it's nothing new. "Laura sucks at register."

Stiles tilts his head to the side in confusion.

"She messes up almost everyone's orders and then gets offended when they point it out to her," he shrugs again before motioning out to the bit of the street they can see, right as a middle-aged man comes storming out the front door of the pizzeria, grumbling under his breath and picking pepperoni slices off of his shirt, "usually ends like this. It's why we never put her up there."

Stiles raises his eyebrows. "I should start coming around here more often."

----

Derek slaps a paper plate down in front of Stiles at their new-usual lunch table, shifting his eyes all around the rest of their peers with a suspicious set to his shoulders, and says, "this is the last time," as he sits down in his seat.
Stiles grabs the steaming pizza that Derek microwaved for him off the plate, sniffs it before rolling his eyes into the back of his head, and shoveling it into his mouth. "It really, really isn't," he mutters with a full mouth as he chews.

"It is. If I keep bringing you pizza, then everyone else is going to start asking me to bring them pizza."

He might have a point about that. For starters, everyone, literally everyone and their mother, thinks that Hale's pizza is the best pizza in town. Some people even think it's the best pizza in California. Then there's the fact that there's no way, literally no way in hell that people haven't noticed Derek bringing Stiles pizza and microwaving it for him; because everyone has been staring at them lately.

Stiles gets that it's a big fucking deal that he and Derek are together. The rumor mill has talked about literally nothing else for the past couple of weeks but how Derek and Stiles are together and Stiles is trying to make Scott and Derek be friends and Stiles isn't Derek's type and why are they even together and oh my God I hate him he's so scrawny and stupid and on, and on, and on. The staring, and the double-takes, and the whispering; it was fun for the first two days, especially since he could walk down the hallways with Derek without being forced into a closet at any point in time, and he could sit near Derek in class and wait for him at his locker.

But it is without a doubt starting to get fucking old. If he has to overhear someone calling him alpha-bait one more time he's going to fucking lose it. Or he's going to ask Derek to lose it for him. Especially if he's going to get his pizza privileges revoked because of it.

"Why don't you just tell everyone you only do it for me?" He wipes the back of his hand across his mouth before devouring two more bites at once. "Aka, your boyfriend? Omega? I'm special."

Derek smirks at him, swallowing a bite of his turkey sandwich. "Special, yeah."

"Super special," another two bites, "which is why I'm still baffled as to why you refuse to tell me -"

"Stiles..." Derek warns, sensing already where this conversation is going.

"...why I'm not allowed to know the secret."

The alpha wipes a napkin across his mouth, gives Stiles a look, and then sighs. "Because it's top secret."

Stiles grins. "Like the Krabby Patty formula."

Derek gets a look on his face like he really, really wishes he didn't get the reference. "As fucking idiotic as that is, yes. Exactly like the Krabby Patty formula."

Nibbling on the edges of the crust, Stiles shakes his head. "I can't believe you keep secrets about, like, basil from me."

"It's not basil," Derek half-laughs. "And I can't tell you that, Stiles, I just can't. It's been in my family for generations upon generations - I could literally be shunned for telling anyone outside of the family."

Stiles frowns, crunching on the last of the crust and giving Derek his best wide-eyed look. "And I really can't believe you're not willing to be shunned for me."

"Oh, my God."

Right as Derek is opening his mouth to go on his 60th rant about family and loyalty and the Hale Family name (Stiles has heard it so many times now after trying to get the secret pizza recipe out of him that he could probably recite it form memory), Scott appears on the opposite side of Stiles and smacks his tray down on the table, giving Stiles a small smile and not even glancing in Derek's direction.

"Hey, buddy!" Stiles caws. "You're right on time! Derek was just about to tell us all about the super secret -"

"Stiles."

Stiles huffs out a breath; how much he fucking hates to not know things. This is going to drive him nuts until he finally figures it out.

Scott doesn't comment. He just sits down and sets to work on his carrot sticks. Which is pretty normal for their lunch time routine these days.

All the same, Stiles frowns, whirls around and Derek and makes crab hands at him with his greasy fingers until Derek gets the hint and produces a wet wipe out from his pocket, draping it in front of the omega's hands. Stiles takes it, and then pointedly raises his eyebrows at the alpha, giving an almost imperceptible jerk in Scott's direction.

Derek scowls, entire face curving downward unhappily, raises his eyes to the heavens while mouthing something that looks like "for fuck's sake", before he settles his eyes back down and looks at the profile of Scott's face. Scott, for his part, doesn't do much except for cast a wary side-eyed glance in Derek's direction, frowning himself like he's not looking forward to what he knows is about to happen.

Stiles really has been trying to get them on more equal footing; but he wouldn't call what he's been doing an attempt at all to make them friends. No fucking way. That's just not going to be possible, not while they're all still in high school, at least. Stiles knows way better than that.

What he's trying to do is make it so they can at least stand to be in the same room together without trying to rip each other's fucking heads off. Progress so far has been...glacial. It's like pulling fucking teeth sometimes, convincing these two to play nice.

"Scott," Derek starts, voice so reluctant it sounds like he's about to deliver some kind of medical travesty, "I noticed the new paint job." Fairly long pause. "On the bike."

Scott crunches hard on a carrot and grumbles for a second, before giving Derek another sideways glance and saying, "yeah. Green."

"Yeah," Derek says back, before looking away with finality. Conversation over.

As Stiles said. It's like fucking pulling teeth. But at least Derek didn't start ranting about how ugly he thinks the bike altogether is, how the new pain job makes it look like a diarrhea mobile. Which is exactly what he would've done were Stiles not sitting there. So, hey. Progress is progress.

Derek leans back in his seat and drapes his arm over the back of Stiles' chair, fingers tickling gently on the opposite end of his rib cage, before using his free hand to start going to town on his sandwich. A clear indicator that from here on out during this lunch period, he's checked out, and it's the Scott and Stiles show all the way.

Scott starts talking about prom (which Stiles convinced Derek to take him to, even though he'll probably refuse to dance as soon as they show up), and doesn't give Derek even a passing glance for the rest of lunch.

Both of them clearly fucking hate every second that Stiles forces them to spend even sitting in the same room with one another, at the same table no fucking less, but both of them are also willing to do it. Because it's important to Stiles that they at least pretend to get along. Scott loves Stiles a lot (and vice versa), and he's still an alpha - so he still is not wild about any other random alphas showing up to run their hands all over his best friend (least of all Derek fuckin' Hale), so Stiles expects a little resistance on his part; but he's really, really honestly trying because he's finally starting to get that Derek loves Stiles, too.

Although Stiles has started questioning just how much Derek loves him because he refuses to tell him the pizza secret, it's irrefutable that Derek does.