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A Lesson in Scenting

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It all started when Derek told him he didn’t smell right.

Erica had laughed out loud when Derek had told Stiles that in front of the rest of the pack. Right smack in the middle of a pack meeting. As if Stiles had any control over how he smelled.

Okay, yeah, maybe he could shower a little more often, but he was a teenager. That was not an issue he should be shamed for.

Stiles didn’t think Derek had meant to make him angry. But he had still been pissed.

Because first of all, Scott didn’t go around telling Allison she smelled wrong. And the moment Stiles realized Derek was coming at him because he was one of the token humans of the pack, Stiles had been angry enough to punch the man.

He wouldn’t have actually done that. He liked having a throat and not getting red-eyed murdered, thank you very much. But still, Stiles was pissed.

He was pretty sure Derek recognized that.

Because the man came to him late that night, swooping thought Stiles’s window as if knocking first or ringing a doorbell wasn’t a thing that existed. Stiles really should have expected the visit but he still startled so bad, he fell out of bed, hitting his head hard on the edge of his bedside desk.

If anything, that pissed him off more.

Especially when Derek moved over to stand above him, raising an eyebrow if Stiles was the one doing something wrong. Stiles briefly debated grabbing his leg and yanking the man down too.

“What are you doing.”

“Oh, you know,” Stiles said, glaring up at him. “Just taking a nap on the floor. Like usual. What the hell does it look like, Sourwolf?”

“You’re still mad.”

“Correction, I’m still pissed.”

“Why.”

“Why? Why?” Stiles shoved himself and Derek took a step backward. Stiles was pretty sure if he had been a werewolf, his eyes would’ve been blazing gold. “Dude, what the hell? I smell wrong? Why don’t you just announce it to the rest of the world that I’ll never be a proper part of the pack?”

Derek’s expression tightened. Stiles scowled at him.

“You know, you could just tell me.”

“Tell you what?”

“That I’m not a proper part of the pack.”

“I’m not telling you that,” Derek said, looking annoyed. Stiles crossed his arms.

“Then next time, keep your words to yourself.”

“I didn’t mean it in a bad way.”

“What the hell did you mean it like then, Sourwolf? Because I don’t know what I’m supposed to be smelling like, but in case you’ve forgotten, this token human isn’t a werewolf! And I can’t smell myself and think ‘hm, I don’t smell enough like the furries I run around with. That should change!’”

Stiles could’ve sworn Derek’s lips twitched. But he wasn’t here to be funny, dammit. 

“You never tell Allison she doesn’t smell right.”

“Because she smells fine.”

“Oh, so this isn’t a ‘pick on the pack humans’ issue then. Oh no, it’s all about ‘pick on the pack Stiles’. Dammit, Derek, get out of my house!”

“It’s not like that, Stiles.”

“Then what the hell is it like? Cause I’d love to know.”

“It’s…” Derek clenched his jaw, looking constipated. “Allison has Scott. Scott makes sure she smells like pack. In a way that none of the other betas can.”

Stiles blinked at the man for a moment. Then he gagged and turned around, waving a hand through the air. “Oh my god, I did not need that realization.”

“Apparently, you did.”

“Giant fluffy asshole. What the hell am I supposed to do then? I am not sleeping with any of your betas. Or Jackson.”

“I really don’t want you to sleep with Jackson.”

“I really don’t want to sleep with Jackson.”

“Good.”

“Good!”

When Stiles turned back around, Derek was giving him a narrow-eyed look. His face turned a little warm and he sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Fine, whatever. I’m still pissed at you.”

“Okay.”

“But I want to be a proper part of the pack.”

Derek looked surprised. And then his face softened. “Stiles, you are. I didn’t… mean it in a bad way.”

“Yeah, well, I was offended.”

The man winced. Stiles groaned, deflating a little.

“But I’m totally a good person and all about forgiveness. Okay? And now I’m not doing the dirty with anyone in the pack but if there’s another way—”

Suddenly, Derek was shrugging off his leather jacket, shoving it forward. Stiles stared at him for a long moment and then raised an eyebrow.

“Okay, Sourwolf, use your words. What’s going on here?”

“It’s… a pack scent.”

“Your jacket.”

“Yes.”

Stiles studied the man for a long moment and then barked out a laugh. “Oh, oh! Oh my god, I see what’s going on here.”

“Nothing is going on here.”

“So if I go around wearing that, I won’t smell like Derek Hale?”

The man’s face turned red. “You’ll smell like pack.”

“And Derek Hale.”

“Would you rather go around wearing one of Erica’s blouses?”

“I’m sure I could pull it off.”

He thought he saw Derek’s eyes spark a little and the man shoved the jacket even harder into his chest. Stiles grunted and took it, and then the man gave him a short look. “Just wear it.”

“Yes, sir.”

He definitely got a spark that time. Derek growled something that Stiles was pretty sure was only an attempt at a word, but he couldn’t be sure. But before he could make another comment, Derek was moving back toward the window. 

And pulling himself out of it as fast as he had pulled himself in.

Stiles blinked dumbly at the empty spot where Derek Hale had been for a moment. Then he glanced down at the jacket in his hands and very discreetly took a small sniff. It smelled like leather and pine. It smelled like Derek.

Not that Stiles cared. Or had any ideas about what that was supposed to smell like. He pulled it on and stared at his window for a long moment, debating. Then he turned back toward his bed.

Stiles may or may not have fallen asleep with the jacket still wrapped around his shoulders. Whatever.

He didn’t care.

-

Somehow, wearing Derek’s jacket turned into wearing his shirts. 

Stiles didn’t know what to do at first, when he woke up one morning to find a stack of henleys sitting folded up on the end of his bed. But Derek didn’t say a word at the pack meeting, so Stiles figured he’d just go along with it.

And so jackets turned into shirts, shirts turned into the betas following him around school, and Scott started giving him strange looks and complaining about his scent. Enough so that Stiles showed up at the loft one day with Derek’s jacket folded over one arm, only to get a red-eyed look as he tried to hand it back over.

“I don’t want it.”

“Dude, it’s been three weeks and I’m not stealing your jacket. Take it back.”

“It’s a good scent.”

“I’m pretty sure the only things it smells like are curly fries and this token human now,” Stiles said, pointing at himself. He tried to hand the jacket over again but this time, Derek growled.

“I don’t want it.”

“Dude, it’s your jacket.”

Derek’s face did a few funny things. After a long moment, Stiles pulled it back into his chest and watched as the man’s eyes scanned over him, flickering a little when they zeroed in on Stiles’s shirt. Or… Derek’s shirt. Which Stiles had meant to change out of before he came here. He winced. 

“I can give your shirts back too.”

“No.”

“What the hell do you mean, no? Dude, I thought I understood what this whole ‘scenting’ thing was, but all that’s happened are the betas being more touchy-feely, Scott getting all whiny, and Jackson looks like he wants to either murder or hug me whenever he sees me in the hallway.”

Derek’s right eye ticked. Stiles raised a brow.

“I don’t only smell like pack, do I?”

“You do.”

“Huh. Derek, what does Allison smell like?”

“Pack.”

Stiles rolled his eyes and stepped closer. For a moment, Derek looked both nervous and a little scared, but then his expression went stony again. Stiles raised his chin, searching the man’s face. “Okay, fine. But who does she smell like.”

“Scott.”

“And who do I smell like?”

Derek looked at him for a long moment. Then he grunted and turned away, stalking out of the room and into the kitchen. Stiles blinked and then scrambled after him, much to Derek’s frown. The man passive-aggressively pulled out a cup and flipped on the coffee maker, and all but pretended like Stiles wasn’t there.

Stiles crossed his arms over his chest, glaring. “We’re talking about this.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.”

“Why the hell did you care what I smelled like in the first place? I spend literally all of my time around the pack. There’s no way I didn’t smell like them.”

“Go home, Stiles.”

“We are talking about this, asshole.”

Derek turned around, slamming his mug down on the counter harder than Stiles thought was necessary. He forced himself not to move though, glaring at the man.

“I already smelled like pack, didn’t I? That’s why Scott nearly had a heart attack when he told me I smelled wrong. That’s why Erica laughs every time she sees me in the jacket. You weren’t trying to make me smell like pack. You were trying to make me smell like you.”

Derek’s eyes flashed. Stiles stepped forward so the only thing separating them was the counter and rested his hands on its flat surface.

“Why?”

“You can leave the jacket when you go,” Derek said, avoiding his gaze. “And bring the shirts back later.”

“Seriously, dude?”

Grey-green eyes flicked back up and Stiles threw up his hands. 

“I swear to god, I hate werewolves! This whole scent thing unfair to the average token human. I am confused, Derek. And I’m not leaving this loft until you start talking.”

“It’ll protect you,” Derek said suddenly. Stiles froze, blinking at him.

“Say what now?”

“Smelling like a pack,” Derek said, avoiding his eyes. “Smelling like an alpha. Any sort of threat that catches that scent will think twice before going after you.”

“Is that actually a thing?”

Derek gave him a flat look. Stiles ran a hand through his hair, some of his earlier frustration ebbing away. But something still bothered him.

“Okay, then why didn’t you just tell me?”

The man avoided his gaze. Stiles swallowed hard, shuffling his feet.

“Why not choose Scott to do the scenting? He’s an alpha.”

“Not a good one.”

“Okay, first of all, dude, never let him hear you say that out loud. And second of all, Scott would never let anything bad happen to me.”

“Not on purpose.”

“What is any of that supposed to mean?”

Derek looked up with a fierce expression. “You’re not Scott’s. You’re not his. And if it came down to things, Allison would be the one he protected first. Even if you are his best friend. But if you smell like me and anyone doesn’t take that threat seriously, I’ll make sure they know exactly why they should have.”

A shiver ran down Stiles’s spine. Derek looked away.

“I want you to be safe.”

“Because I’m yours,” Stiles said quietly. Derek straightened, eyes snapping back up, and his jaw clenched. But then wordlessly, he nodded, and Stiles swallowed hard, moving around the counter.

The man watched him like he was about to explode or something.

Instead, Stiles took his hands, intertwining calloused fingers through his own. The man’s eyes fluttered closed for a moment before focusing on Stiles’s face again.

“I’m yours,” Stiles said, watching his reaction. “And I am safe. Or… I feel safe. With you.”

Derek’s throat bobbed as he swallowed. Stiles smiled softly.

“Like nothing bad can happen.”

“It can.”

“Yeah, but I know one terrifying leather jacket-wearing alpha werewolf who will reign down terror if it ever does. One know knows my scent.”

Derek growled lightly. Stiles’s smile turned into a grin.

“But you know, there is more than one way to make me smell like grumps and growls. You could have come up with a dozen other excuses. Like, oh I don’t know. Does my mouth have a scent?”

“That’s gross, Stiles.”

“Yeah? Well, what about my lips—”

The man rolled his eyes and was moving forward before Stiles could finish his sentence. He squeaked and then melted, leaning into the feeling of Derek’s lips pressed against his own. Derek growled at the back of his throat and Stiles closed his eyes, a small whine working at the back of his own.

First of all, Stiles would like to say he hadn’t expected to come to the loft tonight and get himself both a possessive werewolf and a kiss hot enough to make him see stars. But then again, Stiles hadn’t expected the whole ‘leather jacket/clothes sharing’ occurrences either. And he wasn’t really complaining.

“Mine,” Derek said, breaths warm on his skin. And Stiles just grinned, moving forward to kiss the man harder.

Because yeah, he could be that.