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Derek can hear him, or rather he can hear the familiar rumble of the Jeep coming up. He groans, upset that he's alone. He knew he should've kept Boyd behind, but really, there was no need for him to stay. Derek could only hope Stiles was alone. The thought of dealing with Scott left a bitter taste in his mouth. He knows it bothers Stiles, acting like a go-between, but Derek would rather have that then have to deal with someone that he'd trusted -- that he'd tried to trust -- who had used it against him.

At least Stiles is honest with him; even all the times he'd casually suggested killing Derek, he'd done it where Derek could hear. At the very least he can use Stiles' agitation to his advantage, use it as anchor to keep the other thoughts away -- the thoughts screaming mate mate MATE over and over in his head. It's hard to keep them away for long, though, not with the way that the two of them seem to keep saving each other. For all of their outward animosity, their priorities are awfully similar: protect family, protect pack, and it's just that line of thinking that has his wolf at the forefront lately whenever Stiles is around.

He'd like to pretend that it has nothing to do with that night in the police station. That it has nothing to do with how Stiles’ body felt against his, warm but surprisingly hard. It had taken the usual feelings he gets around Stiles -- the ones that say to protect him, because he's weak -- and shaken them all up. Because amidst everything else going on, he got the sense that Stiles had more strength than he let on, no matter how he tried to hide it under ill-fitting clothes. He couldn't say that his wolf didn't like it.

"Hey, Derek!"

"What do you want, Stiles?"

"Geez, can't a guy even get a hello first?"

"What do you want, Stiles?" Derek repeats, stepping out of the shadows.

"Holy God! Can you not do that? Human here, with a fragile human heart." Derek just scowls at him, because it's not as though he needs to be reminded.

"Why are you here?" he asks, impatient.

"I don't know, broody face. All I know is that Scott sent me a cryptic text asking me to help him, life and death and all that. I know you guys are like, on a break or whatever, but seriously. I'm not one to turn away wolfy backup just because of a grudge."

"A grudge?" Derek almost wants to laugh. "You're not stupid, so I'm assuming you've forgotten his betrayal and how it almost got me and my pack killed." Stiles is silent for a moment and Derek thinks maybe he's won, but then...

"He betrayed me, too. He lied to me, too. But he's my best friend, and he doesn't deserve to die." His words burrow under Derek's skin, because as angry as he is at Scott, he understands. The fact that Stiles is willing to go toe-to-toe with Derek to protect Scott -- when he knows his eyes have gone red and his teeth are bared in a snarl -- makes him dizzy with want.

"Fine," he grits out, and he sees Stiles' eyebrows go up in surprise. "What do you need?"

"Backup, mostly. Your eyes, ears, and sense of smell so I don't get caught. He's caught up by the Argents and needs a distraction to get away."

"So, let me guess. We're the distraction?" Stiles smiles wide. "Fine. But I'm driving."

Derek grabs his leather jacket, pushing Stiles toward his car.

---

Scott's life-and-death situation turns out to be -- shockingly enough -- directly related to Allison. Whatever method they were using to quietly make plans, her father had figured it out, and one intercepted message had left Scott holed up in the thickest part of the woods, surrounded by hunters. They were apparently content to wait him out rather than make the first move.

Derek would like to blame the miscommunication on Scott, but in the end it doesn't really matter, the Argents are closing in and Derek’s the only thing standing between them and Stiles. He can't run faster; he can only maintain his position behind Stiles who is staggering, losing his footing, so Derek does the only thing he can think of. He grabs Stiles by the arm and hoists him over his shoulder.

“Hey!"

"Just shut up. The Argents are too close. Yell at me when we get back to the car."

With Stiles on his shoulder, he's free to run full out. They make it to the car in record time and are soon speeding away.

"Did Scott..."

"Yeah. Yeah, he got away."

Stiles is still breathless, breathing hard and now that they're out of immediate danger Derek can relax. Except he really can't, because he's taking in a lung full of air thick with the scent of Stiles' blood.

"What happened?" he demands, not sure how he missed Stiles getting hurt even in all the confusion.

"Huh?" Stiles asks, frowning down at himself. He blinks when he sees the big red splotch on the front of his torn shirt. "Huh. I don't know," he says, lifting the fabric carefully. "It doesn't hurt." Stiles tugs his shirt up a little and pokes at his own stomach, then hisses. "Okay, shit, I lied. That hurts kind of a lot." Derek's pulling the car off the road before he registers what he's doing. "Stop. What're you doing? I have to get home!"

"I need to see it. You can't go home like that." Derek reaches over to lift up Stiles’ shirt. Stiles tries to slap Derek's hands away, but Derek just growls.

"Okay, okay. You win."

Derek gently pulls the shirt up and over Stiles' head and tries to ignore the sight of pale white skin and lean muscles. He reaches across to slide the seat back so that he can get a better look, eyes slipping shut for a moment as he gets another deep breath of Stiles, all blood and sweat and adrenaline. He moves halfway across the car, leaning in close to get a better look at the gash running from Stiles' ribs down toward his belly. Something shifts in Derek's own stomach, because where he would have expected softness and vulnerability, Stiles is all firmness and muscle.

"Hey, hey," Stiles admonishes, breathless. "Hands off the merchandise." Derek realizes with a start that he's got both hands splayed over Stiles' middle, one thumb dragging gently along the cut. It's not deep, he can see that now, but he's a little taken aback by the strength of his urge to taste it, to clean it with his mouth and tongue. He pulls back slowly, blinking, trying to regain his senses, his control.

"Are you okay?" Stiles asks. It's funny, because he should be asking Stiles that, not the other way around. His wolf likes it, likes that this human cares, wants to help him and protect him.

"I should be asking you that."

"I'm fine."

"Really?"

"Yeah. I count every encounter with the Argents a success if I don't get shot." Derek doesn't like that. His eyes flash red for a second, but he's sure Stiles misses it.

"I've got a first aid kit back at the station." Derek is almost sad when he sees Stiles pulling his shirt back on, almost.

"It's nice that you've got a fully-stocked lair,” Stiles says, snorting on a quiet laugh, “especially since I'm not sure when the last time is that any of you even needed a band-aid."

"Stiles," Derek warns, pulling the car back onto the road.

"I'm sorry, is my terminology off? I guess lair sounds kind of villainous. How about den? That sounds sufficiently wolfy to me." Derek can hear his heart rate picking up, and he flashes back suddenly to a conversation they'd had -- it seems like forever ago, now -- about Stiles not doing well with blood. It's almost funny, considering how willingly he throws himself into danger, but Derek gets the sense that all of his chatter, at least this time, is a tactic to distract himself. He knows he's taking a chance when he reaches across the seat and drops a heavy hand onto Stiles' knee, but Stiles goes quiet right away.

His heart is still racing, but it's different now, less out-of-control panic than something else. Exhilaration, maybe. Derek can't stop the satisfied noise that works its way out of his throat.

"Usually people just give me a paper bag," Stiles mutters, "but this works, too." Derek's smile is quick, all sharp, white teeth, but the intake of air he hears tells him Stiles didn't miss it.

"Your father?"

“At work. Not for too much longer, I hope." Derek feels the faint ghosting of fingertips over the hand he has on Stiles' knee. "He's been working a lot. The station is still a bit understaffed." Stiles takes a deep breath and tries to laugh off his weak joke.

"He doesn't know you're out?"

"No." Stiles drops his hand completely onto Derek's and breathes deep when Derek doesn't remove it. They're quiet for the rest of the drive, Stiles holding himself stiffly to avoid making his wound any worse, and Derek trying his best to avoid the potholes. They leave their hands where they are, though, both actively pretending not to notice that they are, in fact, holding hands.

When they finally pull in behind the building that houses the old train station, Derek pulls away with a sharp twinge of regret. He hopes fervently that if any of his betas are here, they'll be feeling submissive enough not to point out the stink of possessiveness that he knows must be all over him. Miracle of miracles, the den is empty save for Isaac. He comes over as soon as he smells the blood.

"He okay?" he asks.

"No," Derek says shortly. He grips Stiles' arm and leads him into the room he uses to sleep. "Stay."

"Hey, isn't that my line?" Stiles smiles as he collapses on the makeshift bed. Derek calls for Isaac.

"I need you to get to the Stilinski house and keep tabs on his dad. Make sure he doesn't realize Stiles isn't there." Isaac doesn't waste any time, and within minutes his scent is long gone.

When he walks back into his room, Stiles is shirtless and poking at the open wound. Derek sucks in a breath, because he'd gotten hints of it in the car, but seeing it like this is completely different. Stiles is all lean muscle, arms flexing as he shifts to examine the ugly gash on his torso. Derek doesn't know how he spent so long assuming that Stiles was soft, although he has an idea that maybe, just maybe, it's because that's what Stiles intended. Looking at him now, though, his urge to protect is twisted up with his wolf's desire to roll over for all that strength.

He blinks, trying to shake off the feeling, and he realizes with a start that Stiles is looking at him, mouth slightly open and face flushed. Before he knows what he's doing, Derek finds that he's crossed the room and dropped to his knees between Stiles' spread legs.

"Derek?" It’s nothing but a whisper, laced with confusion. It doesn't stop Derek from gripping Stiles' knees and leaning forward to lick along Stiles's abs. The noise Stiles makes spurs Derek on, and he lifts his hands, bringing them to the buckle of Stiles' jeans. He pauses when he accidentally brushes a hand across the gash on his stomach and hears Stiles hiss in pain.

"Shit."

"No, no, it’s fine, keep going," Stiles says. Derek stands, shakes off a bit of the want he feels. "No,” Stiles repeats, “what're you doing?"

"We should patch you up first." Derek tries to avoid looking at Stiles’ face. Stiles looks debauched already, his cheeks flushed and his bottom lip swollen where he'd bitten down on it. It takes everything in his power not to drop back down to his knees and swallow Stiles whole.

"No," Stiles says quietly. Derek jerks a little in surprise, and when he meets Stiles' eyes he sees nothing but determination. "No," he says again, firmer, and then he stands up to face Derek. Derek doesn't know when it happened, but Stiles is as tall as him now, and he has to work to swallow past the dryness in his throat.

"What are you doing?" he asks, wincing when it comes out more as a weak protest than as a demand. Stiles swallows, bites his lip again, then composes himself and looks Derek in the eye.

"Taking care of you," he says, nodding once to himself. If anyone were to ask, Derek would say it was surprise that allowed Stiles to drag him around by the front of his shirt and shove him down on the bed. In reality, though, his wolf is howling, beyond pleased that they're showing Stiles their belly.

This isn't how it's supposed to go, Derek thinks. The alpha doesn't submit like this, so what's wrong with me? He knows, though, the thing he won't let himself dwell on too closely -- there's one person who can be his equal, who can give as good as he gets. Mate, he thinks, helpless to hide from it, and he flushes all over at the way Stiles' eyes are raking possessively over his body. Stiles reaches out his arm and strokes down Derek's chest, and Derek fucking whimpers, the noise more animal than human.

He hears Stiles suck in a surprised breath, and then he’s straddling Derek, reaching down and trying to pull Derek's shirt off. It's much easier when Derek breaks out of his stupor to help. Once Derek is shirtless, Stiles doesn't hesitate, just brings his hands up to trail down all the dips and curves of Derek's body.

"God," Stiles whispers, "how are you even real?"

Derek smirks, trying to summon up a little bravado.

"Sit-ups,” he says, “but mostly it's the whole werewolf thing." He’s rewarded with a grin from Stiles.

"I want..." He stops himself, frowning a little like Derek is a puzzle he’s finally working out. Then he lowers his head and swipes his tongue along Derek's nipple, and another helpless sound works its way out of him. Stiles doesn't waste any time after that in undoing the button on Derek's jeans and stripping them off of him, and he tugs Derek's boxers down his thighs before pausing just above the hard length of his cock.

"Do you want it?" Stiles asks, his voice hoarse from -- if his scent is anything to go by -- a mix of nerves and arousal. Derek nods his agreement, mouth shut tightly, but Stiles just shakes his head. "You have to ask," he says, pressing his forehead to Derek's thigh and huffing out a breath. Derek is still for a long moment, resisting as well as he can, but he knows it's inevitable.

"Please," he grits out finally, his voice not even sounding like his own. "Stiles."

Stiles smiles at that, wide and sunny and unexpected, and then he's dipping his head down and oh, swallowing Derek all the way down like he's done it a hundred times before. Derek can't help the snarl that tears out of his throat at that idea, but Stiles just groans around him and bobs his head, and Derek gives up trying to reign himself in. He lets loose, bucking up into Stiles' mouth, and with a strength that neither one of them knew he possessed, Stiles grips Derek's hips pushes him down into the mattress. Derek isn't even sure what the hell Stiles is doing anymore, he's so lost in the sensation of Stiles' tongue all over.

"Shit... where did... where did you learn?" Stiles lets up for a minute.

"I'm a 16 year old boy with an internet connection,” he says. “What do you think?" He grins before dropping back down to Derek's dick, this time using his hands and mouth to get Derek off. With one final pull Derek is coming, and Stiles is there catching all of it, his mouth open wider than Derek thought possible. He swallows it down, panting a little as he presses his forehead to Derek's hip.

"That okay?" he asks, a slight shake in his voice, and it reminds Derek that for all of his initiative, Stiles has never done this before. It stirs up his instinct to take, but as he tries to sit up, Stiles drops heavy hands on his shoulders and pushes him back to the mattress. He growls a little, a hint of red bleeding into his eyes, but Stiles just flashes him a quick smile and shifts to the side, pulling off his belt and unbuttoning his jeans. "You have enough to worry about," he says, nodding toward Derek's dick where it's lying nearly soft against his hip, still damp with Stiles' spit. "Because I want that inside of me, and I expect you to be ready when I am." He drags his own pants off before glancing around, and Derek knows right away what he wants.

"In the foot locker," he says roughly, gesturing toward the small locker where he keeps his personal stuff. Stiles' grin only widens, and he bends to look through it in a way that Derek knows is intentional. He can feel his dick getting hard again at the sight of that tight ass wiggling around, and when Stiles whirls around with the lube in his hand, triumphant, Derek has to shut his eyes against all of that pale skin and muscle. Derek wants to grab, to taste every inch of Stiles, but the second he tries to make a move, Stiles hands are there pushing them away.

"Just let me..." He gasps while straddling Derek's hips, "Just let me do this." Stiles grits out. Stiles fingers are already coated in lube and making their way toward his backside, the angle a little awkward because Stiles doesn't have much room to work with. Or maybe that's the point, because Derek can't move, can only just watch as Stiles fucks himself on his own fingers, occasionally brushing against Derek's cock. It’s not always easy, being what he is, but right now with Stiles on top of him he's glad, because recovery time? It's almost nonexistent.

"Derek." Stiles is trembling. "Help me," he whispers. He sits higher and Derek growls, sliding his hand around. He forgets about the lube but it doesn't matter, because Stiles is wet and warm. It's unreal, the feeling of his finger pushed up against two of Stiles' own. He can't even pretend to imagine how it will feel when he's finally in Stiles, completely enclosed. He shudders just thinking about it. "Are you ready?" Stiles asks. "I need you to be ready. Because I'm ready. I'm ready."

Derek just nods, doesn't tell him he was ready the second Stiles fingers made their way inside. Stiles pulls his fingers out, reaches around to grab Derek's dick.

"Shit. Condom?" Stiles makes to get up, but Derek grips his shoulders.

"Don't need one,” he says, hoping Stiles gets it. “Trust me." Stiles relaxes.

"I do."

Derek doesn't want to think about that trust and what it means to him, so instead he grabs the lube and quickly slicks up his cock. Stiles moves Derek's hand, replacing it with his own, and brings himself down and Derek can feel it -- feel the head of his dick pushing its way inside. He has to hold Stiles’ hips to restrain himself from thrusting up and just taking. He focuses instead on Stiles face, his eyes closed, cheeks flushed and mouth hanging open wide in bliss.

It seems like forever before he's all the way in, breathing raggedly and listening to the rabbit-fast beating of Stiles' heart. With Stiles clenching hot and tight around him, it's difficult to lie back, to submit... but it's not impossible. He lifts his arms over his head, digging his fingers into the pillow even as they're shifting into claws. Stiles gasps, watching Derek's face, and he knows his eyes have gone red again. Stiles isn't afraid, though; he's never afraid of Derek, anymore, and the thought makes him want to howl.

When Stiles finally starts to move, a choked off sound works it's way out of his throat and he arches his back, head tilting back with the strain of holding back his wolf. It's not long before Stiles is riding him in a steady rhythm, little grunts and whimpers slipping out of his mouth on every thrust.

"You feel so good," he gasps out. "Derek, oh my God, I thought about this when I used my fingers, but it's so different, you're so much bigger." He grinds down hard, moaning, and his flushed cheeks and wet mouth drag Derek dangerously close to the edge.

"Fuck, Stiles," he says, squeezing his eyes shut again. "Please."

"What do you need?" Stiles asks breathlessly, and then he makes a thoughtful noise. "Okay, no, I know. I think I know." Derek's eyes fly open as Stiles bends over him, and before Derek can register what he's doing, Stiles is biting down on his throat, just hard enough to bruise.

That's it, that's all he can take, and this time he does howl, his hands coming down to clutch at Stiles' hips as he grinds up into him. It's perfect, and he's so close to coming that it takes a second to realize that something is wrong. Stiles sits back again, groaning even as his expression goes confused. "Derek? Are you... fuck. Is your dick getting bigger?" He's still rolling back onto it, curiosity not slowing him down, and Derek's eyes go wide when he realizes what this is.

"Stiles, you need to..." he makes a broken sound when he feels it -- his knot, it has to be -- pressing up against Stiles' rim. "You've got to stop." Stiles freezes, brow furrowed with concern, and this is why he's Derek's mate. Even though Derek is physically stronger, Stiles doesn't hesitate to worry about him, and to take care of him. But he can't... he can't let Stiles do this without knowing what he's getting into, and the last thing Derek wants to do is hurt him. He doesn't know what his face must look like, but something Stiles see there makes his expression clear, and he offers Derek a soft smile.

"It's okay--"

"No. No, it's not," and even though he knows it's wrong he can't stop, he can't hold back his hips bucking to meet every single one of Stiles' thrusts down. "My knot." He gasps out. He has to get Stiles to realize what it means, that he can't do this with him, at least not yet. He tries to stop but his instinct is taking over, his hips snapping faster and faster trying to get in as deep as he can. Stiles doesn't fight it, just keeps grinding down harder. "Stiles. You have to stop. My knot."

Stiles’ mouth finds Derek’s, and the kiss is nothing but reassurance. For a second, Derek lets go of the fear.

"Yeah, that's it. Give me your knot."

Derek's eyes snap open.

"How do you...?"

"Bestiary, remember?" Derek's eyes widen, staring at Stiles’ brown eyes that are practically glowing now. "Werewolves only get knots with their mates."

"Then you know why we can't--"

"I want it. I knew when I started this with you it was a possibility, so please. Please, Derek, give me your knot."

The last part is barely a whisper, but Stiles can't hide his desperation. Derek gives one final thrust and he's buried inside Stiles, completely connected. Stiles comes with a shout, bending over and resting against Derek's chest. Seeing Stiles come untouched breaks him. He comes, feeling himself filling up Stiles, and he groans. They stay like that, Stiles lying on Derek, both trying to catch their breath.

"How long?" Stiles asks.

"I don't know,” Derek admits. “This hasn't ever happened before." Stiles smiles.

"Good."

Derek just pulls him closer, hugs Stiles tight to his chest, and they're almost asleep when Derek's phone goes off. Stiles snatches it up from the floor, making them both groan at the way the knot shifts inside him. Derek has a chance to see the caller ID -- Isaac, probably calling with an update -- before Stiles answers it.

"Call back later," he mumbles into the phone, and Derek can't keep a satisfied smirk off of his face, knowing that fucked-out voice and and glazed expression are because of him. His eyes go wide when he hears Isaac hissing at Stiles over the line, though, and he grabs the phone back from Stiles.

"--might have been able to fool him tonight, but I think he'll notice when I show up at breakfast, Stiles."

"Isaac," Derek says, "slow down. What happened?"

"Oh, Derek," Isaac says quietly, huffing a deep breath. "Good. The sheriff got home about half an hour ago, so I climbed in Stiles' window and got into his bed and I don't know if you know this, but real life isn't Ferris Bueller and the sheriff is, you know, a sheriff. So he's probably already figured out that there was something suspicious about the snoring noises coming from under this pile of blankets." His voice is getting frantic, volume increasing toward the end of his rant.

"Shh," Derek says. "I'll get Stiles home soon, okay? I appreciate you doing this."

"Oh," Isaac says again, and the way he relaxes is audible. "Of course. Is he okay?"

Derek looks down at Stiles where he's draped across Derek's chest and feels the corner of his mouth tugging up.

"Yeah, he's good," he says. "We're good." He hangs up the phone not long after, and Stiles tilts his head to look up at him.

"Can anybody do that werewolf whispering thing," he asks, "or is it just you?"

"It's because I'm the alpha," Derek says, and if he preens a little at Stiles' fascinated expression, then at least Stiles is good enough not to call him out on it. They settle in; there's not much they can do while they’re tied together, so they don't even bother. It's only as Derek begins to stroke Stiles’ flank that he feels the forgotten gash.

"It's fine. It looks worse than it feels," Stiles promises. "Besides, I have a feeling I'll be sore in worse places tomorrow."

Derek laughs out loud and like that all his doubts disappear. His wolf wouldn't have chosen Stiles if Stiles wasn't exactly what he needed.

"So it's a mate thing, right?" Stiles asks, and Derek huffs.

"Didn't we discuss this already?"

"First, it doesn't count as a discussion if your dick is in my ass." Derek raises an eyebrow, and Stiles rolls his eyes. "Okay, except for this. But what I meant was that a mate is supposed to challenge you, at least that's what I read, so you like the idea of me being strong, don't you?"

"I guess," Derek grunts, shutting his eyes.

"Oh man, being tied is awesome. I bet you're wishing you could run away from this conversation now, aren't you?"

"Being a captive audience for your babbling was an unexpected consequence," Derek murmurs, reaching up to tug Stiles back down to his chest.

"Yeah, you love it," Stiles whispers, and Derek drops a kiss on top of his head. They'll have to move soon so Stiles can get home, but if they're stuck here for a little while longer, then Derek isn't going to waste it.