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Tell Me, So I Know

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*

 

Stiles blinks down his nose into the blue expanse below him. The ocean? He doesn’t remember going to the beach. He’s not- he’s not really sure what he remembers. Slowly, his eyes wander upwards to a ragged black border, spikey triangles pointing down into the blue. No, it’s trees pointing up, into the sky. He’s upside down.

Stiles’ stomach lurches as he reorients. One of his arms is thrown over his chest, the other akimbo on the ground beside him. He’s muzzy with the blood rushing to his head, and there’s a vague, uncomfortable pressure where his lower back is propped up, but it all feels pleasantly far away. Something tells him that’s a bad sign. He knows his name, that he’s twenty years old, that it’s December fifteenth- no brain injury at least.

He forces himself to look around and heaves a sigh of relief when he realizes he’s not alone. Derek’s standing just to his left, looking away from Stiles with a worried expression. It’s comforting; he’s probably thinking of the best way to get them out of here.

“Hey, Derek” Stiles croaks.

Derek turns towards him, and as he does, the vision fades away to nothing. Stiles swallows drily, staring at the empty swath of grass and dirt in front of him. Hallucinations are... significantly less comforting. He can feel panic winding tight in his chest. What the hell is going on? Edging towards frantic, he lifts his chin and finally sees what’s holding him upside down.

It’s a car wreck.  

 

*

 

Derek has known for a while that he has a serious problem, but if there’s one thing he’s mastered in his twenty-three years it’s denial. Refusing to think about your problems is almost the same as not having problems, right? Only this problem’s name is Stiles and he’s becoming impossible to ignore.

Today is said problem’s 18th birthday party and Derek’s just trying to get through the event without humiliating himself. At the moment, that means clutching a beer like it’s a defensive weapon and scowling out at the room in general to head off any potential conversation. It’s working. Stiles is in the kitchen, barely in his line of sight, and nobody else is trying to engage him. That’s… it’s a good thing. Stiles explodes with laughter at something Scott’s said and practically folds in half, clutching his stomach. Derek wants to press up behind him and kiss the laughter right off his soft pink lips. He takes a long pull of his beer and looks away.

If he’s honest, Derek has known since he found Scott and Stiles on his property what Stiles was to him. But up until this point he’s been able to pretend he was just confused, or that it was at worst a misdirected crush. Now that Stiles is of age, though… there’s no mistaking the reactions he’s drawing out of Derek’s body. Just the way he smells now would be enough to confirm it, and along with the way Derek’s wolf pulls to him, the way he can almost feel his skin vibrating when Stiles is near? There is no room for misinterpretation, no way around it. Stiles is his mate, simple as that.

Derek isn’t sure if he’d be any less screwed without that, though. Stiles has always been a quick-witted conversationalist, but with two years of supernatural battles under his belt he’s gained an edge of confidence that’s somehow made him even more appealing. For example, Derek had every intention of missing this party and he’d declared as much when Stiles invited him. Only Stiles had looked at him incredulously and said something like, “Nah, the whole pack’ll be there. You have to come.” And instantly Derek was nodding dumbly despite himself, incapable of refusing Stiles anything.

It’s not just the confidence, either. Oh no. Stiles has also developed the lean muscles in his upper arms and across his broad back, gained a bit of tone around his middle. Just to really crank up the torture to eleven, Derek assumes. Jesus, those shoulders…

Derek tips the last of his beer into his mouth, and sighs at the empty bottle. Now he can either stand around with nothing to do, or he can brave the kitchen - and Stiles - for a new one. If Kira were around maybe he could ask her to go for him, but she and Malia are dancing obliviously in the middle of the room. Lydia is not dancing, and when she sees him at loose ends her eyes practically light up - now that he works with the Sheriff’s department occasionally, she’s been all too happy to pepper him with very specific questions about Parrish. So, kitchen it is.

Stiles glances at him as he walks in, pops his mouth obscenely off his own beer bottle to say “Yo, Derek!” before flattening his tongue against the rim, catching a droplet that had clung there.

“Hi,” Derek says back, coming to a tense stop at the small circle of friends between him and the fridge. Scott gives him an encouraging smile; Derek sometimes has the sense that his Alpha knows exactly what’s happening - or not happening - between him and Stiles, though he’s not sure how. He wishes he’d paid more attention to his parents when they gave him the birds, bees and wolves conversation.

“Finally wishing me happy birthday?” Stiles says. “I’m officially an adult, now, you know.”

Derek knows, all too well. “Happy birthday,” he replies mechanically. It takes almost all his focus to stop himself from thrusting his face into Stiles bared neck, burying his nose in that perfect scent and mixing it with his own, licking down the pale raised line of his tendon and paying special attention to each precious mole, nipping and sucking his mark right at the tender juncture of...

Derek clears his throat, points at the fridge. “Just getting another beer.”

“Oh sure,” Stiles says, and obligingly leans back on the center island to give Derek a clear path. Unfortunately, the way he’s pushed his weight back onto his elbows only serves to cant his hips farther out into the already cramped passage. Like he’s presenting himself. Derek grits his teeth and shimmies by. How the hell is he supposed to act normal when his wolf is calling out to claim its mate and Stiles keeps unintentionally doing things like that? He grabs two beers so he doesn’t have to do this again anytime soon and takes the long way around the island back to the living room.

Stiles is picking up on Derek’s behavior, he has to be. They had a good friendship building, or Derek felt like they did. They’d been talking more, joking around a bit and occasionally ganging up against Scott when it came to questions of idealism versus pragmatism. Only now Derek can barely stand to be in the same room as Stiles without touching. And there’s no way he’s doing that.

As he makes his way back to his designated corner Derek can hear Stiles pull Scott into a heated conversation, pitched exactly at a volume where he can’t make out the words. Derek doesn’t need to hear, though. He’s acting like a creep. He knows Stiles doesn’t want to be dragged into a relationship with a damaged older man spouting some coercive “you’re my mate” rational. Who would?

If Scott really does know and has said anything to Stiles, he’s probably appalled and disgusted. If he hasn’t, Stiles is probably just confused about why Derek’s suddenly so strange around him. His mother would have told him Stiles has the right to know. Hell, she’d probably have told him that Stiles would be lucky to have him. But his mother isn’t around, and Derek knows Stiles would be anything but lucky to be his mate.

Derek just wants things to stay the same with his small, found pack. He doesn’t want to put pressure on their friendship, or make Stiles uncomfortable. He isn’t going to. It’s just… it’s fine. The whole house is rife with Stiles’ maturing scent, a rich musk that could probably give him a boner by itself if he breathed too deeply, but it’s fine. Derek shuts his eyes, drinks another few gulps of beer, and wishes he could disappear.

 

*

 

Stiles tamps down his panic and forces himself to think rationally. A crash. Okay, and before that? Well, clearly a car ride…in an unfamiliar black SUV? Hunters, his memory supplies, finally catching up. He’d been on patrol, and he’d just texted the all-clear to the pack when two of them grabbed him from behind, and one more had come up around in front of him.

He scans the wreck in sudden panic, but he’s alone. Or- no. He sees the driver’s arm hanging upside down. He’s still buckled into his seat, unmoving. There’s blood dripping from his middle finger. The windshield is nothing but sparkling pebbles of glass scattered in the grass around the hood of the car. Stiles can just make out another man crumpled face down on the roof of the back seat, near Stiles’ feet, or the mangle of metal and cushion that is obscuring them. He isn’t moving either. The third is nowhere to be seen, likely thrown from the car as it rolled.

They hadn’t been smart enough to buckle up, but they’d been good at their work. They’d gotten to his phone before it locked and scrolled through the text history to figure out in minutes the complex system of ‘all clears’ and ‘danger’ codes he and Lydia had taken months to create.

When he’d recognized the stretch of road behind the Hale house, he’d known it was his only chance. He remembered exactly when the too-sharp turn was coming up, and that it would be slick with the light rain from earlier in the day. He’d done the one thing he could do with his only-human strength: He’d started talking loudly, distracting his captors until the last minute when he’d lunged from the back seat, grabbing for the wheel…

Well, he thinks, his eyes skating over the bodies again, it had worked.

The only issue is his leg, pinned in the mangle the crash made of the seats. His back is scraped and oozing blood from where it’s been taking his weight on the shattered glass of the window, but the leg- he can’t exactly feel it but the quality of the numbness tells him the adrenaline buzz isn’t hiding anything good.

He gives an experimental roll of his hips and the pain in his leg spikes. It doesn’t move, though. Stiles squirms again, fighting down another wave of panic when his leg remains trapped, pinned at the thigh.

He needs to get out. There’s so much he needs do still do, he’s only twenty for God’s sake. There’s his Dad, Scott and the pack... and there’s Derek. It’s him Stiles can’t possibly leave, not like this. Their date anniversary is coming up, and after that Christmas and his birthday... There are too many things they still haven’t done, things they haven’t said. Stiles braces his arms to pull at his leg with renewed purpose. It can’t be over like this.

 

*

 

Stiles corners Derek at Starbucks the next week. It’s the first time that they’ve talked since the party, and Derek can’t quite bring himself to dash out onto the street, not when Stiles had asked him to wait with such uncharacteristic carefulness. He’s picking up his order now, glancing back at their booth like Derek’s some strange breed of easily startled animal.

Running wouldn’t really help, anyways. Stiles clearly knows that things are not the same as always, no matter what Derek says. He shouldn’t be surprised that he’s failed to hide his predicament. Mating bonds are supposed to be shared among the pack, to be celebrated. Just his luck that his particular situation is nothing to celebrate.

“Hey,” Stiles says, squirming into the seat across from Derek. “Uh, so, we’ve kind of not been talking. Scott says he thinks your wolf is having some reaction to me?”

“It’s not a big deal,” Derek offers instantly. It comes out defensive and he can feel his face heating up in an embarrassing blush.

“Sure, yeah. No big thing, I get it,” Stiles scoffs. He’s trying to look casual, but the way he’s slowly deconstructing his cardboard coffee sleeve says otherwise. “But… what is it, exactly? That isn’t a big deal? Scott just says I should ask you.”

Derek opens his mouth to deflect, huffs out a sigh instead and decides to just go for it. “You’re my mate.”

Stiles’ eyebrows shoot up, and his perfect mouth gapes open. “I’m your what now?”

“Mate. Or, you could be,” Derek backtracks. “I mean, you are, but it’s not... it’s hard to explain. We don’t have to do anything.” Stiles looks even more uncomfortable now. God, Derek is messing this up spectacularly.

“Uh, buddy, I get that it’s hard to explain wolf stuff to little old human me, but… you’re going to have to give me more than that. I have no idea what “your mate” even means. Other than the obvious.”

“It’s just… my wolf side, um, likes you. Thinks we’d be good together.” His human side too, but he’s not going to admit that one if he doesn’t have to. This is already awkward as sin.

“How can you tell?” Stiles squints at him. “Do you only get one mate? Wait, and is this new?”

“It’s… it isn’t new, but it’s stronger. Now that you’re eighteen. You smell different from the rest of the pack, that’s part of how I know,” Derek offers. “My wolf kind of perks up when you’re nearby. It’s just a feeling, a little like around the full moon. And yes, it’s kind of a… one and done deal.”

Stiles digests this quietly. Derek has a sip of lukewarm coffee; the silence is almost companionable, a little like he didn’t just ruin their friendship with a out-of-the-blue declaration of romantic intent.

“So, does the other side feel it, too?” Stiles asks out of the blue.

Derek’s heart trips a little. Stiles had never shown any indication that he thought of Derek as a potential partner, beyond a few times he gave off the scent of meaningless lust, but some small part of him had hoped it was a two-way bond.

“It’s not really a science, Stiles,” he mutters. ”Some packs have reported human mates feeling the bond, but often they don’t. And it’s not always two-way, even between wolves. It’s fine, if you don’t feel anything we can just forget this even happened.”

“I didn’t mean that,” Stiles blurts. “I mean, I’m culturally sensitive to your weird wolfie instinct thing. We can try dating. If you want.”

“Really?” Derek asks, shocked. “You don’t have to do anything because of this, I meant that. It’s not a big deal to… ignore a mating bond.” That is a straight up lie, but it comes out easily enough.

“We could still ignore it, if dating doesn’t work out,” Stiles says quickly. “I’m not saying like, let’s get married or, or commit to the bond or whatever. Wait, is there a werewolf mating ritual?” Derek gives Stiles a flat look and he waves a hand as if to concede that mating rituals are beside the point. “We can see how it goes. And stop if it’s not what y- we want.”

Derek is a little baffled by Stiles’ easy-going attitude about the whole thing, but he doesn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. “Okay. We’ll just… see how it goes.”

He feels a little giddy about having a chance with Stiles - with his mate - but he tries not to get his hopes up. Turns out that’s pretty easy to avoid when he considers the very real possibility of having Stiles for two weeks and then hearing him say that, eh, this idea’s not so great after all and thanks for the memories but they should go back to being friends.

 

*

 

Stiles still can’t free his leg, which is starting to really hurt. Worse, from the way he’s feeling more and more lightheaded he has a notion there’s some non-trivial blood loss happening where he can’t see. It seems like he could pull past the resistance if he finds the right angle, but he’s worried about making the damage to his leg worse.

He needs help, desperately. Anywhere else in Beacon Hills a crash like this would be found in no time, but the stretch of gravel roads behind the Hale House are not exactly well traveled. If he passes out like this, he’s at the mercy of whatever happens to him after that, and... well. That could be bad.

His pocket contains some spare change, but no phone. Of course, the hunters took it. But it isn’t nearby on the ground, and he can’t see it anywhere in the car, though he’s not at a particularly good angle to search. It’s ridiculous; Derek’s old home is just over half a mile away, and if any of his friends were there he could easily get their attention just by screaming. Only the hunters had been talking about trapping them at the school, ten miles away, where they’re probably just now realizing that he’s late, and at least half an hour from starting to worry.

“Help!” He shouts hoarsely, just in case. Nobody howls in return.

The blood loss is the main concern, if anyone is coming or not. He manages to shrug out of his plaid overshirt and ties it into a makeshift tourniquet around his thigh, tight enough to do some good he hopes. With a prayer to a vague idea of God that he’s not doing something incredibly stupid, Stiles push-tugs around the pinning pressure on his thigh.

He has the brief sensation of it coming free and of sliding down onto his back before he passes out.

 

*

 

Derek never would have let himself believe it if it wasn’t happening, but somehow ‘let’s just try’ has become a real, steady relationship. It’s been easier than Derek thought to fall together with Stiles, to make date plans together and bicker and joke. To kiss. Even when he fantasized about them together, it had been a blurry idea of something held together mostly by hate-sex. He’d never imagined the baseball game dates, their easy confidences late at night, Stiles strange pensiveness between his bursts of chatter, the comfortable silences.

Scott and the pack took them getting together in stride, too, more so than Derek honestly expected. If anything he feels more a part of the group as half of Stiles-and-Derek than he did as just Derek. It’s… nice. Even the sheriff seems on board at this point, though at first it had been a bit touch and go. Six months seems like momentous marker of how good things are, and Derek is fizzing with pleasure to have made it this far.

It’s not perfect, of course. When Derek said ‘I love you’ a couple months before, Stiles had just said “are you saying that ‘cause it’s a mate thing?” in a voice full of skepticism and only after that added, “I mean, like, you too.” They say it now, the proper way. Occasionally. Anything “mushier” than a quick, direct statement when they’re parting or in bed gets shut down decisively by Stiles, if not in so many words then by the hunted expression he gets whenever Derek’s feelings come up.

Derek can’t exactly say it doesn’t bother him that Stiles can’t stand to hear how Derek really feels, but he’s still happy to take what he can get. They still enjoy spending time together, after all. For tonight, he made reservations at the nicest spanish place in town, Coqueta, and it’s a little amazing to know even before Stiles’ face lights up that it was the right call because he’s memorized all Stiles’ favorite foods. Its even more amazing to him that Stiles knew to make him french toast that morning - with blueberries, exactly the way he likes.

“Do you mind if I order for both of us?” Derek asks. Stiles grins like the cheshire cat, nods. Derek knows that about Stiles, too; how he enjoys giving up a bit of control in the right circumstances.

The waiter comes up to their table and pours their waters, smiling warmly. “Hola, bienvenidos a Coqueta. Can I take your order?”

Derek smiles back - he likes this part. “Si, de primero quiero los Huevos de Codorniz. Como plato principal, Albondigas a la Feria, Pulpo a la Parilla e brioche y... la plancha con caña de cabra.”

The waiter beams at his perfectly accented Spanish. “Y que quieres beber?

Que nos recomendaria?” Derek asks, deferring on this part of the order.

La Gorrondona o Tabla de Sumar.”

Tabla de Sumar, por favor.”

Si, gracias. Será sólo un minuto.

Stiles’ eyes are dark, and when the waiter leaves he whispers, “Have I ever mentioned how hot you are when you speak Spanish?”

“Not often enough, I think,” Derek jokes, taking a sip of water to hide his smile.

“No, really,” Stiles says, brushing his ankle teasingly up Derek’s calf. “Can you say something else in Spanish, just to me?” He waggles his eyebrows when Derek hesitates, as if there’s a chance he’s not going to cave. Derek clears his throat. Stiles leans in, expectant, face lit by the warm glow of the tea candle between them. Derek lets out a long breath and says,

 

 

Tal vez no ser es ser sin que tú seas,

sin que vayas cortando el mediodía

como una flor azul, sin que camines

más tarde por la niebla y los ladrillos,

sin esa luz que llevas en la mano

que tal vez otros no verán dorada,

que tal vez nadie supo que crecía

como el origen rojo de la rosa,

sin que seas, en fin, sin que vinieras

brusca, incitante, a conocer mi vida,

ráfaga de rosal, trigo del viento,

y desde entonces soy porque tú eres,

y desde entonces eres, soy y somos...

[translation]

 

He trails off, knowing he can’t say amor in the next line without Stiles realizing exactly the sort of thing he’s being told.

“Holy hell,” Stiles rasps, his voice heavy with lust. Even in the low light Derek can see the pulse in his neck, the rabbit-fast tick confirming exactly how attractive Stiles finds his bilingual skills. “What was that?”

Derek shrugs. “Just something I memorized once. It reminds me of you.”

“What’s it mean?”

“It’s a parable about a sheep who pesters a wolf with too many questions and gets eaten for being so annoying.”

“Liar,” Stiles says with a smirk, but he leans back in his chair and doesn’t press the issue for the rest of the meal.

 

*

 

Stiles comes to, some unclear amount of time later. His leg is free now, and he’s flat on his back next to the wreck. He pushes himself up to a sitting position and tries to take stock of the damage. His pant leg is soaked through with blood, from mid-thigh to below the knee; there’s a four inch gash in it, a deep one from what Stiles can see before he has to look away, stomach churning.

There’s no way he can walk like this. Just a stupid half mile to the Hale house, he’s free, he’s awake, all he needs is a way to get back to civilization. The wound on his leg doesn’t have to be fatal, not with a hospital mere minutes away by car… But there’s no way to communicate with his friends, no texts or phone calls or howls or even stupid snapchat and he knows he’s only getting weaker despite the makeshift tourniquet keeping most of his remaining blood pumping in his body. He’s going to die if he doesn’t do something, and Derek’s going to lose yet another person who loves him.

Derek. Stiles had felt the bond with him, maybe as early as when they got caught on his property. He’d had no way of putting a name to it or knowing what it meant… but there had been a frisson of buzzing electricity under his skin whenever Derek was around, pushing up against him. Stiles had instinctually wanted nothing more than to push back, rile him up, command his attention. And then Derek had said ‘mate’ and everything had clicked into place.

Yet, Derek had barely wanted to acknowledge that Stiles was his mate, much less dig into everything that meant. It had been easy to not say anything about his own side of things. Just until he knew a bit more, he’d assured himself.

So Stiles had read up on their bond by himself, since Scott, as a bitten wolf, had no clue about any of the traditions or meaning of it for the pack. Deaton’s old texts had been painful clear on how important the bond was supposed to be. Stiles had read them over once, twice, and remembered how just the day before Derek had said they should probably just ignore it. That’s how little his human side wanted Stiles.

He’d also discovered that a two-way bond like theirs was unheard of to leave unconsummated, while a one-way was a bit more grey, acceptable to leave as a platonic relationship. Stiles had been glad he’d kept it to himself, so Derek had the out. He’d promised himself he’d never use the bond to force Derek to stay with him if he didn’t want to.

Only there had been other things about the bond in those texts, Stiles remembers with a burst of something like hope. Shared dreams, shared pain, all sorts of nearly unbelievable things... It’s crazy to think it would work, but at this point magic is about the only thing he has left at his disposal.

Stiles has no idea what he’s supposed to do, to communicate through their bond. They’re barely even talked about being mates, much less tried to mind meld, but he squeezes his eyes shut and tries to pull Derek to him, to call out. It feels like praying; there’s no feedback to let him know if all his want and yearning is doing anything at all. But he keeps trying, not for an angel but for Derek.

 

*

Rolling around in bed while making out is one of the better parts of being in a relationship, Derek decides. Or maybe that’s another mate thing, how perfect it is to mix their scents in his bed, the delicious combination of playful and sexy that Stiles instinctively achieves when they’re together. It certainly wasn’t like this with Braeden, or anyone else he’s been with for that matter.

Derek pulls Stiles on top of him, between his legs, and directs his hand downwards as he reaches for the lube. Stiles rolls them over, laughing.

“Oh no, you’re topping tonight, mister. Lacrosse was hell, no way my thighs are up to it.”

“It’s fine, I can just blow you,” Derek offers, scooting down the bed.

Stiles pulls him back up with a flirty smile. “Not that I don’t appreciate the offer, because your blowjobs are actually amazing, but I’m kinda in the mood for a good fuck.” He rolls his hips seductively, and Derek has to stifle a moan, clutching at him to keep from doing anything he’ll regret.

“Just… tonight’s not good,” Derek sighs. “I’m sorry.”

Stiles sits up, suddenly serious. “Is something wrong? Is it… an us thing?”

“No, no,” Derek assures him. He runs a hand up Stiles arms, surprised he’s so easily worried. Things have been great between them, they’re coming up on a year and a half of dating, or whatever this is turning into. They’ve spent more nights together than apart, lately. “It’s just really close to the full moon.”

“Oh,” Stiles says. “Right! Knotting.”

“Yes,” Derek says, flushing. He bites down on a second apology; there’s only so many times he can say it before it’s a bit pathetic. It’s not something he has any experience with, since it only happens between mates, but he knows a supernaturally expanding dick isn’t high on anyone’s kink list. Except, of course, his.

“I mean, are you that sure I wouldn’t be into it?” Stiles says with a shrug. “I think of myself as a ‘don’t knock it til you try it’ dude, you know.”

Derek stares. “What?”

“If you want to,” Stiles says. “That is, if knotting wouldn’t complete the mate bond magic thing and get us like, supernaturally married? Would it?”

“No, it’s still just sex,” Derek assures him. He tries not to be too hurt that Stiles is talking about a lifetime bond with Derek like it’s an STD.

“Okay, so… let’s try. Do you want to?”

“I- yeah,” Derek admits. He does, so much. He wants Stiles any way he can have him, even if he can’t figure out where they really stand when Stiles doesn’t even want to hear Derek’s feelings. Even if sometimes it feels like Stiles is only with him out of some misguided sense of owing Derek a chance with his mate.

Sex, though, is something Stiles has always been vocally approving of, and if he says he wants to try knotting, Derek will do his best to make it good for him. Derek drinks in his breathy little moans as he’s worked open, Derek even more generous with the lube than usual as he takes his time to ensure Stiles is fully prepped before they start.

“Here,” Derek says as he rolls on his back. “You should be on top, just take as much as you’re comfortable with.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “I thought we were going to be kind to my thighs today.” He still tosses a leg over Derek’s torso and settles himself down comfortably on his hips.

“I can still do most of the work, I just need to see your face to make sure you’re okay,” Derek says, reaching up to press his palm against Stiles’ cheek.

Stiles turns into it to press a quick kiss to the side of Derek’s hand as he raises his hips and reaches back to line them up.

Derek starts slow, or tries to - Stiles must have been lying about Lacrosse practice because his thighs seem to be working just fine. He’s rocking up at a brisk pace, dropping down each time with a breathy huff that makes Derek’s hips twitch up in answer. At this point they both know exactly how to get each other wound up, exactly the angles that hit their sweet spots, and Stiles is milking every bit of his expertise.

Derek does the same, wrapping a hand around Stiles’ temptingly flushed cock and stroking a counter-pace that he knows will get his boyfriend off quickly. He doesn’t want to risk knotting him just as he comes, when his muscles will be clenched the tightest, but if Stiles doesn’t orgasm soon Derek’s not sure he can hold off.

Stiles’ rhythm goes rough, devolves to him grinding down as hard as he can onto Derek’s dick, mouth open in a soundless cry as he comes all over Derek’s chest. Derek lets him come down, brushing his softening cock gently, before he takes control again. He pushes up into Stiles with little, bouncing thrusts, gritting his teeth to keep from coming at the rich scent of Stiles’ come and sweat. He only pushes in shallowly until he can feel the tight ring of muscles loosen again. Then, he gives into the feeling that’s been building in him since Stiles asked to try this, thrusting hard only a few times before he lets himself come.

Stiles gasps at the rush of hot liquid and the increase in pressure. Derek searches his face, worried for a second, but there’s not a hint of pain beneath the surprise.

For his part, the feeling of his knot swelling up as he comes amplifies the feeling past anything he’s experienced before. The waves of pleasure just keep rolling over him, long past when a normal orgasm would have ended. He can barely tell what wanton sounds he’s making, but he’s fairly sure his eyes have rolled back to the point where he’s seeing something holy.

“Look at you,” Stiles murmurs as Derek slowly comes back to himself. He’s wearing a tiny, sweet smile as he looks down at Derek and runs a reverent fingertip over his parted lips. “That’s just for me, isn’t it?”

Derek hums a grateful affirmation, still past forming real words words, and Stiles leans forward for a deep kiss and to bump their damp foreheads together playfully. Derek nuzzles back, wrapping his arms around Stiles to keep him close and breath their mingled scents. This is the point where everything he wants to say is almost bursting out of him, and even though he knows Stiles wouldn’t want to hear it the moment feels private and sacred; theirs. Like they’re actually mated, rather than just together because Stiles is experimenting, seeing if Derek is really what he wants.

“Here,” Derek says after a moment, pulling Stiles’ leg over his waist and rolling their bodies together so they can spoon until his knot goes down.

Stiles moans a little at the sensation of Derek moving inside him, still filling him tightly. Derek ends up biting his own lip, full of the feeling pulsing from his groin but also with affection for Stiles’s enthusiasm, his confidence and shyness, his everything.

Siempre seré tuyo,” Derek breathes into his ear, loving the way Stiles’ skin shivers under his hands at the words. He twists his hips again, trying to pull their bodies that fraction closer together.

“Fuck,” Stiles moans. “I don’t think you know how good that feels.”

“I think I do,” Derek answers. Each motion sends a burst of sensation through the tender skin of his knot, the same pleasure Stiles must be feeling as it tugs on his sensitive rim. He makes the motion again, surprised to see Stiles’ cock twitch with interest, starting to fill again. Derek adjusts his legs for leverage and keep grinding their hips together, reaching one hand over to tentatively stroke Stiles as well.

“Oh,” Stiles gasps, pressing back against Derek and then jerking forward into his slicked fist. “Yeah, just...Please…”

A few moments later he cries out, almost in surprise, as he comes again. Derek rubs the come on his hand into their skin where it landed, careful not to overstimulate Stiles’ sensitive skin as he does.

Stiles twists his head to bring their open mouths together for a sloppy kiss, then swats at Derek’s thigh where it’s laid over his own. “You jerk,” he pants.

“What?”

“I can’t believe we could have been doing this since last year.”

Derek laughs into the juncture of Stiles’ neck and shoulder before pressing a tender kiss there as well. It still feels bizarre that he can have this, that Stiles seems to want it, too. Even if Stiles is just waiting and seeing, still on the fence about whether he should actually commit, Derek can’t imagine giving up something this perfect.


*

 

The crunch of tires braking on gravel stirs Stiles out of the stupor he’s slowly slipped into. It’s Derek’s dumb blue Ford, he realizes, and he’s never been happier to see the ugly beast. Derek throws open the door, yelling his name, and scramble-slides down the incline towards the wreck.

Stiles has just enough time to entertain the terrifying thought that this is only another hallucination before Derek falls to his knees beside him, touching his face and shoulders. Stiles almost melts with relief; he’s really here.

“Derek,” he says, patting the other man’s cheek clumsily. He’d almost given up, and he’s pretty sure he doesn’t have five minutes left to get to the hospital, but it had worked. He’s not going to die alone, at least.

“Are you okay? Shit, you are not okay,” Derek babbles, his hands hovering over the bloody leg.

Stiles shakes his head, dreamy slow. “I am now. You’re here. I love you so much, you’re...”

Derek presses a hand over his mouth. “Don’t you fucking dare, Stiles. You’re going to be alright, just help me get you up. You’ll be fine.”

He wedges his shoulder into Stiles’ armpit and levers him up on his good leg, taking most of the weight. They get half way back to his car before Stiles’ strength gives out and he sweeps him into a bridal carry. Stiles presses his cheek into Derek’s chest, smiling a bit when he can pick out the dull thump of his heart beat. He could almost doze off he’s so comfortable, except he still needs to...

“Derek, I-”

Don’t.” Derek interrupts again. By some miracle he manages to get the passenger side door open without dropping Stiles, and slips him into the seat. He’s just fastening the seatbelt when Stiles grabs a handful off his shirt and drags him half into the car.

“Just, can you tell me? That you love me? Please.”

Derek’s face crumples, and he puts his hand over Stiles’ where it’s still gripping tight on his shirt, keeping him in place. “No, Stiles, don’t do this for me. I know you hate it when I talk that way, you don’t have to...”

“No, tell me. Like you always do. Digame.”

Derek blinks at him, wide eyed. “You…”

“Just say it, please, I need to know.”

Siempre te he amado, incluso antes de conocernos, eras mi vida,” Derek says in a rush. His eyes are still huge and searching, and Stiles finally lets his hand slip from its tight fist and puts it gently on the back of Derek’s neck instead.

“Good. Because you’re it for me. You’re my forever love, that’s what it means that I’m your mate. I don’t know why I didn’t say it literally years ago. I guess I thought maybe you deserved something better, but honestly I could never let you be with someone else. Even if you wanted to, I’d prove to you that we belong together. I just needed to tell you, and…  I wanted to hear it. One more time.” He pulls Derek in for a quick kiss, noses bumping together. He can feel his body relaxing now that he’s said it back, properly. If he has to go, it’s enough to know that at least Derek loved him.

“Stiles, don’t you dare let go,” he hears Derek shout, but it seems like it’s coming from a long ways away. “Stiles!”

 

*

 

Stiles wakes up to the antiseptic smell of the hospital and the regular bleep of his own heart monitor.

“Derek?” he says, though it comes out almost unintelligible.

Derek startles awake from where he’d been slumped over Stiles’ legs. “Hey there, hey you,” he says quietly, dragging the hospital chair up to the head of the bed. “You’re up.”

“Feel like I got hit by an SUV,” Stiles manages, still sounding like he’s talking around gravel. “Ha ha.”

Derek huffs out a sigh, almost a laugh. “You lost a lot of blood, Stiles. If I hadn’t found you for another hour, even thirty minutes… we were so lucky.”

“It’s not luck,” Stiles slurs. “I called you.”

Derek blinks, surprised. “No, you didn’t. I just… I was getting antsy that you weren’t at the school where you called the meeting, and I started driving. It was just chance I ended up behind the old property and saw the wreck.”

“Nope, I called you,” Stiles says proudly, pointing to Derek’s chest and then his own. “With the bond. Mates, remember?”

“Bu- It’s…” Derek sputters. “That’s impossible. You don’t even... in all the stories, only the strongest two-way bonds can work like that.”

“It’s not one-sided, I feel it too. I read up about it, and telepathy is totally a mates thing. Come on, think about this - you know it’s not just luck.”

Derek frowns, pensive. “I... I knew something was wrong. A little while after we got your text I felt like everything flipped upside down for a second, or something. And I was worried about you all of a sudden. I thought… I almost thought I heard you call my name.”

“I did, because I saw you,” Stiles confirms, excited. “Just after the crash, when I first woke up.”

Derek grasps his hand and for a moment they’re just looking at each other bursting with excitement at what they’ve discovered. Derek’s falters first. “But you never told me you felt it, too.”

Stiles shrugs. “You barely seemed to want to acknowledge the bond in the first place, I didn’t want to like, strong arm you into anything. You said we should ignore it.”

“No!” Derek protests. “I didn’t want you to feel forced into being with me by some magical werewolf bond that you didn’t even feel.”

“What? Man, I was into you forever. Like, before the fire forever.” Stiles groans, letting his head fall back onto the bed. “You were the one who was coerced. Your wolf was just like, ‘yup, this one. You’re trapped with this spaz.’ I didn’t want to remind you that you didn’t get to pick someone better.”

“Oh, Stiles, no,” Derek says, squeezing his hand. “I was so focused on thinking you’d hate me, I did an absolute shit job of explaining. The mating bond isn’t some higher power coming down and saying ‘you need to be with this person.’ Is a part of yourself, another sense… lt’s like if you never eaten brownies, but you could smell them. You’d know you wanted them, right? That they were exactly what you wanted to eat? But nobody is saying you have to. You want to.”

“I smell like brownies?” Stiles raises his head again, blinking owlishly.

Derek scowls. “It’s a metaphor. I’m trying to be romantic.”

Stiles smiles at Derek’s familiar angry eyebrow face. “Eh, B+ for effort.”

“Stiles,” Derek asks quietly. “What you said, digame. How did you know to say that?”

Stiles picks at the sheets on his thighs. “I wasn’t lying, I don’t really know Spanish.”

“But you know what I’ve been saying to you.”

Derek looks so nervous Stiles laughs a little. “No,” he admits. “Just... the idea of it. I memorized a phrase you said a lot and used it on Scott as a joke - I mean, I thought you were probably saying something stupid as a joke, or like saying a bunch of cuss words -  and he told me. What it really meant.”

“When?”

Stiles squirms. “Like, almost a year ago?”

“But you hate that… that sappy stuff,” Derek protests, shaking his head. “Why didn’t you tell me to stop?”

“I know I act like I don’t want to hear those things… but it’s just that if I can understand it I can tear it apart in my head, like you say ‘you’re the only one for me’ and I’m like, sure because of the mates thing, that’s not real. You say ‘forever’ and I think, okay, my mom and my dad used to say ‘forever and a day,’ that was their thing. And it wasn’t forever, she died. And you could say you’ll never leave me, but you might change your mind tomorrow. No matter what you say my brain is doing that, tearing it down. Only... when you’re speaking in Spanish I knew what you were saying, but I couldn’t argue with it. It was just there.”

Derek rubs his thumb gently over Stiles’ knuckles and Stiles looks down at their hands before he starts speaking again, quietly. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the bond. For me it wasn’t like… I didn’t get smells. It was more like I could feel my pulse more, and this buzzing, like electricity in my veins that calmed down when I was closer you. I thought I was so obvious. I never thought you didn’t want to talk about it because you didn’t think I felt it.”

“Like how I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t let me tell you how much I loved you?” a small smile tugs at the corners of Derek’s mouth. “We’re idiots, aren’t we?”

“Idiots in love,” Stiles quips, and then winces as he moves to sit up.

Derek pushes him gently back down, his hands lingering on his shoulders as if to reassure himself they’re real.

“I’m learning a little, from Scott,” Stiles says. “Spanish. I don’t know if I’m ready to hear it all without starting to freak out and tear it down. But I want to, with you. As much as I can.”

Yo quiero hacer eso contigo, también, querido,” Derek murmurs with a smile. “I want to, too.”