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Derek was away for three weeks.

 

He wanted to think of it as a small vacation, an exciting change from Beacon Hills’ dull routine to the fast paced transit of Buenos Aires. Of course his main motive was to give Cora a long overdue visit, but the change of scenery was quite welcomed anyway. He’s always apprehensive about new places, especially after having spent so long setting roots, but he knows it’s only temporary.

 

Three weeks felt like an excessive choice, one he ended up regretting a week and a half in, but when he only had two days left he wished he could stay longer. Three weeks really didn’t do much to mend their fraying relationship, but at least slowed its almost evitable deterioration.

 

Derek almost feels guilty when, after almost seventeen hours of stopovers and flying, he finally lands in the airport, two towns away from Beacon Hills. The familiarity is welcoming.

 

It’s not long before he finally arrives at the loft and the moment he slides the front door open and first catches the sight of the intact tall windows, he allows himself to relax and enjoy warm feeling of home. The feeling of safety, the feeling of his, the feeling of pack.

 

Home.

 

It looks the same as he left it, but he can tell people have been around during the time he was away. Most likely earlier if the glasses by the sink are anything to go by and the scent of Lydia’s Chanel perfume still lingering about the living area. He drops his bag and closes the door after him, letting the scents of his pack soothe him.

 

Regardless of his initial disapproval of the pack’s habits of leaving their things behind and their not so subtle attempts to dress the more than plenty empty spaces at the loft, he no longer finds the clutter overwhelming. His previous residences had been lacking decoration and luxuries (the abandoned train depot comes to mind), so it’s nice to have things. Proper things like furniture.

 

And plants. Now he even has plants.

 

Plants that have clearly been watered during his absence. It was Kira most likely since she was the one to bring them to begin with.

 

He decides against taking his luggage with him and walks to the staircase to head to his bedroom; all he really wants now is to relax in his home and bask in the familiarity of his surroundings. During his way up, he pulls his phone out of his pocket and taps on the message button to write a new one. It’s simple, just a come over?, minding the question mark because apparently that’s a thing that he can be teased about.

 

He doesn’t wait for the reply, dropping his phone onto his bed instead, and walks to the bathroom to take a much needed shower.

 


 

When he comes out of the bathroom, finally clean from all the mixed and wrong scents from outside and away, the loft is still empty. From the corner of his eye he can see that the notification light of his phone is blinking. He ignores it in favor of picking something comfortable to wear to bed. After spending nearly the entirety of his day wearing jeans and his worn but still stiff leather jacket, pajama pants and a tank top feel rewarding. And when he lies on his bed then it feels like he’s reached the epitome of delight; airports and airplanes are definitely not his favorite places to be in for extended periods of time. Or at all.

 

He considers slipping under the covers, but at the moment he can’t be bothered to move. Not this soon anyway, just when he can feel the last vestiges of stress leave his body.

 

And then he can hear the front door opening and the strong smell of Stiles and pack just makes him feel even more lax. Cora might still be considered pack to his instincts, but having her around didn’t compare to being surrounded by that bunch of kids. Well, not so much kids anymore, but it’s not like he’ll ever regard them otherwise.

 

For a moment he can sense Stiles hesitating, hear him pacing, but after a deep breath he starts climbing the staircase. He doesn’t look any different, but right, Derek was only gone three weeks; it’s not like anything is bound to change. Whatever Stiles was hesitating about is quickly forgotten when he spots Derek and offers him a huge smile. And it’s annoyingly contagious.

 

“Hey,” he says as he starts removing his hoodie, letting it fall to the floor and then moving on to kick his shoes off. “Good to have you back in one piece.”

 

“It’s great to be back.” And he means it so much. And judging by Stiles’ breathy snort, he can tell as well that he really does. Stiles doesn’t hesitate when climbing on his bed and scooting closer to him, and Derek no longer bats an eyelash at the abrupt invasion of his personal space. After all that is the reason why Stiles is here.

 

“You better have brought me something.” Stiles drapes an arm over his chest and nuzzles his head on Derek’s shoulder, trying to find a comfortable position.

 

Alfajores,” he says as he snakes an arm around Stiles’ back, bringing him closer to his chest, and then finally Stiles stops shifting around, sighing.

 

“Yes, talk dirty to me.” Derek pinches him on the side. “Fine, fine. I’ll dig them out from your bag later. They looked interesting in the pictures. Anyway, how is Cora?”

 

Derek doesn’t make a comment when Stiles throws a leg over his legs, the partial weight of Stiles on top of him feels strangely comforting. “Okay. She’s seeing someone.” Stiles nods and Derek knows that he’s expecting him to say more, and that if he doesn’t give it up, Stiles will get it out of him anyway “...so, of course, my visit was riddled with uncomfortable ‘meet the boyfriend’ meals.” He can feel Stiles shaking with silent laughter. “The breakfasts were by far the most awkward.”

 

Stiles just pats him sympathetically on the chest. “To be honest, she struck me as the type that would just randomly say, ‘oh right, Derek. Remember Tom? Yeah, I married him six years ago’ or something.”

 

“I guess it was her attempt at making us be closer. And Esteban is actually okay. Decent guy. Maybe they’ll come up and visit during Christmas.”

 

“He knows about the werewolves?”

 

“He knows about the werewolves.”

 

“Promising, then.” Derek nods in agreement.

 

They stay in silence for a couple of minutes; ignoring Stiles’ indistinct humming, it’s a comfortable silence. “How is everyone? I can tell you were with Scott and the pack recently.”

 

“They’re fine.” For a moment he can feel Stiles tensing and that immediately puts Derek on alert. “So, um…listen...” Stiles cranes his neck so that his chin is resting on Derek’s shoulder and Derek takes that as an invitation to look at him, trying his best to not look too worried. “No, no. Nothing’s wrong! Just, uh…they might have gotten the wrong idea.”

 

His frown deepens at that. “Wrong idea about what?”

 

“You know, when you texted?” Derek nods. “Scott grabbed my phone and saw it, and you could just see it in his face how he was putting things together. Wrongly together, but together anyway. So he was all ‘it’s been Derek all this time?’ And I was like ‘it’s not like that’, which sounded just so, so—”

 

“Bad,” Derek offers, already knowing what this is about.

 

Yes. So then Lydia had to pitch in, looking all smug, and go all ‘Stiles, a text at this hour can only mean booty call.’” Derek tries to remain serious, but Stiles’ attempts at trying to imitate Lydia are always terrible and thus funny. “And then you should’ve seen Scott’s face because apparently that hadn’t crossed his mind. He probably just thought that we were hanging out behind his back all this time, which is total bro code violation, by the way...but yeah, they think we’re boning. Scott is horrified, Lydia is, as I mentioned, smug, Kira is strangely happy, and Malia just…frowned and said something like ‘I thought we were playing at ignoring the obvious’, which I don’t even know what that means…” Stiles shakes his head. “Might as well just come clean and say this is just a cuddling arrangement. Sorry about your scary facade.” And then he goes back to nuzzling his shoulder.

 

Well, it isn’t like Derek didn’t expect anyone from the pack to not notice that Stiles and he were spending time together; he’s sure that their mixed scents would be a dead giveaway, but apparently Scott could still learn a thing or two about scent. “I doubt they still thought of me as scary anyway.”

 

“Right. But now they’ll know you’re cuddly and that as much as you want to deny it, you love to have your head scratched.”

 

“That is called a scalp massage and you should know that people enjoy them.” And as if to prove a point, his hand reaches up to the nape of his neck and carefully scratches his head, right behind his ears. He can feel Stiles shift closer if possible, relaxing even further. “See?”

 

“It’s still funny that you like all the scratching.” For a moment he continues with his humming. “Wait, so, you’re not mad?”

 

Derek stops scratching his head and repositions his arm around Stiles’ body. “Are we going to stop cuddling?”

 

“What?” Stiles looks up at him and Derek is glad to see the disapproval in Stiles’ eyes. “No.”

 

“Then no.”

 

“Awesome. ‘Cause I really like this arrangement. Which reminds me, uh…in case you don’t need my cuddles anymore just like, let me know in advance.”

 

“Why wouldn’t I need them anymore?”

 

“You know, if you meet someone or something.” Stiles’ hand starts playing with the neckline of his tank top, stretching the fabric and then idly tapping on his chest with his index finger. “Pretty sure that if you meet someone you’ll get your fair share of cuddles and you won’t need mine anymore.”

 

It does sound accurate, but his mind can’t really compute how he wouldn’t want to have Stiles the way he is now, all comfortable and warm, pressed against his side. Why would he give this up? “Huh. Right.” Stiles nods, his fingers now moving up to tap on his collarbones. “Right back at you.”

 

Stiles snorts, but makes no comment about it. “I guess it’s cool if I stay? I was going to offer going back to Scott’s in a while just to show him we’re not doing the dirty, but I’m too comfortable like this.” Derek just makes a noise of agreement and closes his eyes. This is too comfortable. “I kinda missed this.”

 

“Me too. I missed this.” And then he adds. “I missed you.”


Derek cracks an eye open and catches the sight of Stiles looking up at him, giving him that face splitting smile before nuzzling his shoulder again. “I missed you too.”