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Seat Belts & Gravity

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“So, I think Scott wants to expand again.”  And Stiles says ‘again’ but what he really means is ‘for the first time.’  Liam was engineered by epically shit-tastic circumstances and he mostly keeps his head down anyway, hasn’t really folded in as well as all that.  One encounter with a berserker and the kid cracks apart.  He’s not built for the life and they’ve mostly left him alone over the years, their relationship with him the same as people who exchange polite cards once a year at Christmas.  Not involved in the day-to-day but not entirely forgotten either.

Derek grunts to show he’s listening but doesn’t give anything else away.

Stiles gets that.  He’d brought up this conversation with Derek specifically because he thinks it’ll be of the most interest to him, even if it is potentially a bit painful to listen to.  Because Stiles thinks Derek misses having a large pack, misses Erica and Boyd and Isaac and Jackson because they’d been his and – weirdly – sometimes Stiles gets nostalgic for them too.  He’s thought about calling Isaac or Jackson and asking them what the likelihood of their returning to Beacon Hills is, which is ridiculous because he thinks they’re both dickbags in their own unique ways but, somehow, they became his pack anyway. 

“It’s pretty much bullshit that teenagers are the best for it because we’re, you know, not teenagers anymore and I’m not sure if you’re aware of this: teenagers kind of suck ass.” 

Derek huffs out a little laugh, mutters something that sounds like, “I remember,” with a pointed glance at him and Stiles counts that as a win because they’re not really friends anymore, not that they ever really were – at least in the traditional sense, and sometimes it’s nothing but awkward.

He hates how loose things have gotten with Derek pack-wise.  Scott’s the only one still in the area and he’s never been great about keeping up his end of a friendship, even when he’s invested.  Then there’s Lydia, halfway across the country and never that close to Derek besides, Malia, off who knew where and not that interested in informing any of them about it anyway, Kira, shipped off to Maine with her parents after her dad got the university offer and Stiles, who’d gone to school two hours away and regretted it in moments like this. 

Derek had gotten quieter over the years, wrong too many times to slam anyone up against a wall and snarl his point at them, too sure he’s unfit to be the loudest voice, the leader of the pack.  It makes Stiles’ skin itch and he takes to picking at the guy with words and relentlessness whenever he’s around, until Derek’s just as riled as Stiles could always make him, until he’s more familiar even if his eyes flash blue rather than red now.  Stiles is an asshole and Derek has always been his counterpart in that, both just as stubborn, as impulsive, as unwilling to apologize or course correct and Stiles hasn’t grown up yet.  He’s not about to let Derek.

Stiles doesn’t think he’ll ever want him to be someone else, no matter how old they get, someone mellow and calm, doesn’t want to watch Derek hold himself tighter and bound up rather than confront the world with anger and a bad attitude, hiding behind superior strength and an impressive tatteredness.  Stiles likes that better, it’s genuine (even if it’s not necessarily healthy) when most people aren’t. 

“Anyway, since you’re the only one who’s recruited before, I’m thinking Scott will want to pow-wow with you about the newbies.”

Derek gives him a look and, yes, Stiles might have engineered this whole thing because it would give Derek a purpose but he hadn’t wanted him to know that.  He did genuinely want a big – well, bigger – pack again but he also wanted a reason for Scott to have to keep in contact with Derek, a reason for the little pack they had left to work together again.  He’s saved from having to own up to it by his pocket blaring, “I nearly dropped the torah when my hands turned into paws.”

Derek snorts and Stiles says, “Yeah, laugh it up, big guy, yours is ‘Muffin Top.’”

Stiles grins when Derek scowls at him and fishes his phone out of his pocket.  “Scott’s coming over,” he says, relaying the message.  Derek acknowledges him with another grunt.  “I hardly know how to deal with how talkative you are these days,” he says with a roll of his eyes, because Derek being careful with his words is annoying.

Derek shrugs, barely refraining from a huff.  “What do you want me to say?”

“Literally anything.  You can’t rely on me to fill the void just ‘cause I usually do.” 

Derek grins at him, slightly sly.  “I think I can.”  And even that’s better because now it’s less about guarding his words and more about wheedling Stiles by not saying any. 

Stiles will take that.

He flips Derek off, gets up from the couch, stretches and wanders around the loft.  It hasn’t changed much.  The wall of windows still needs to be cleaned.  (Stiles’ hands and nose print from a few visits ago still visible.)  None of the furniture matches and all of it looks like it would do unpleasant shit to your spine.  There’s dust on most surfaces like it’s more forgotten than lived in.  The hole in the wall has crumbled a bit more, cement rock crowding its base.  Past it is nothing but hulking shadow and Stiles sits on the edge of Derek’s bed, presses his hand into the scratchy comforter.  He takes a swig of his beer, says, “Dude, you can’t wolf-nest with this.  If there’s anything you need to shell out the big bucks for, it’s bed stuff.  Mattress, comforter, sheets,” he ticks it off on his fingers, “you need to go high end with that shit.”

He nearly drops his bottle when he looks up to find Derek standing right in front of him. 

“Smooth,” Derek comments, looking smugly satisfied with himself. 

Stiles kicks him in the thigh as he passes.  It looks awkward as hell and doesn’t even get his leg to buckle like it was meant to but he’s pretty sure it was the thought that counted.  He follows Derek into the kitchen, leans across the island counter, beer between his palms.  “So, what’s up, what’s new, what the hell have you been doing with yourself?”

It’s only recently that that’s become a question that Stiles asks, always half-afraid he’d get the response, ‘buried another body, moved into a dilapidated warehouse, had another family member show up and bolt,’ before.  Considering he only knew how to handle the world with sarcasm and a tiny sprinkle of mean, he wouldn’t have been the best person to answer to any of that.

Derek shrugs, gets some drink with the words ‘power’ and ‘energy’ and pictures of lightning bolts on it out of the fridge because he’s apparently embraced the gym rat stereotype he’s been honing for years and turns around to meet his eyes.  “Got a job at the lumberyard a few months ago, the one downtown.”  He says it like he’s reaching for something to plop down in the impatient silence the question’s left in its wake, not like it’s anything he was all that eager to share.  Stiles nods.  Derek shrugs again, seeming to realize Stiles is waiting for him to go on.  “That’s it.”

“Seriously?  That’s it?  Talked to Isaac, Jackson?  Been hanging out with anyone?”  Derek shakes his head.  “Dating anyone?” 

Derek’s entire body goes rigid.  “I’m not—You know that I don’t…”  He looks wholly uncomfortable and Stiles didn’t really know that, though pattern would indicate it.

He straightens up, glances at the door but ‘five minutes’ in Scott-time generally translates to somewhere nearing two hours, so if he can nut up and get serious about this, they’re at least not likely to get barged in on.  “I thought that things ended well with Braeden.”  And she was the last relationship Stiles knew about, though he hopes she’s not the last one Derek had because that was four years ago. 

Derek still looks so stiff that Stiles wouldn’t be surprised if something had cracked in him but he keeps up his end of the conversation, so he’s uncomfortable but pushing through regardless and Stiles figures they should keep at it.  “They did,” he bites out.

“Have you seen anyone since then?”

Derek works his jaw for a half-second.  “Not—There were a few—nothing that lasted more than a night.”

“Ah,” Stiles says carefully.  He takes a sip of his beer, trying to pretend like he isn’t walking on eggshells and this is a normal conversation and they talk like this all the time even though they both know otherwise.  “So you’re regularly—”

“No,” Derek cuts him off.  “It’s not—I don’t like… having strangers here or foreign scents on…”

Stiles swallows but his brain has trouble processing that one and he can’t exactly hold back the, “So how long has it been since you—”

“A while,” Derek says, close to a growl.

Stiles considers that, taps his short nails against the counter so he can hear them make the dull thudding noise – reassuring himself he’s in the moment – and says absolutely as casually as he can manage (which isn’t all that casual considering his voice went up at least an octave), “Well if it’s just about not wanting to hook up with strangers and, believe me, I get that, I do, then what about having sex with me?”

Derek’s head snaps up, eyes wide, and he looks hunted almost.

“Or, you know, we could not do that,” Stiles backpedals, giving a strangled sort of cough that he means to be a laugh and walking away back to the couch.  He blames the fact that he hasn’t gotten laid yet this year and that Derek looked like a lost little celibate boy whose family died in a fire (not okay, even in your head, Stiles, he chastises himself, outwardly wincing) and what even is this beer anyway, like 110 proof or something?  Stiles checks the label.  It’s a light beer, like always, and he hasn’t even finished his first yet.

Derek follows him as he attempts to retreat.  Which.  Rude.  “You’re serious?”  He sounds some mix of angry and incredulous and Stiles doesn’t really know what to make of that.

He shrugs.  “Well, yeah.”  He glances back at Derek’s face, which is utterly disbelieving, and Stiles kind of wants to punch him.  Well, Kate Argent or Jennifer Blake really but they’re both long deceased so he’ll settle for Derek, because the look of surprise on his face should be comical and instead it’s painfully real.  “What, like it’s a hardship?  You’re stupidly attractive and you totally used to butt your way into my teenage fantasies with some regularity, pun definitely intended.”  But it’s more than that, more than just his perfect body, and Derek has to know that.  He has to understand that he comes into play here too.  “I trust you.  I think you trust me too.  And if it’s awkward as hell?  Then I’m gone before the week is out.”  Stiles makes a kind of rocket-zoom-type motion with his hand.  “We both subscribe to the ‘ignore it until it goes away’ style of conflict resolution, so, by the time I come back we’ll be mostly normal, or at least able to pretend as much.  Plus, there is no way that with your face and your body that you’re not dynamite in the sack.”  That is all exceptionally good reasoning, if he does say so himself, and he feels slightly less like he wants to die for making the offer. 

Derek shoots him a furrowed look, admitting in a mutter, “I don’t actually know.” 

Again, Stiles is struck by the urge to punch dead people.  Instead he grins cheekily.  “Just another benefit to this – open communication.”

“Just sex and then…”

Stiles shrugs again, drains his drink in one go.  He’s remarkably sober for someone having this conversation.  “And then whatever you want.  We can go back to our usual not-talking while we’re apart or we could talk every night for all it matters to me.” 

“I don’t—I’m not—I can’t be in a relationship with you, Stiles,” Derek says quickly, like he fears this is the sticking point.

Stiles smiles, not entirely surprised and not what he was offering either.  This is about getting Derek laid, not getting him a healthy relationship.  Stiles is more than happy to leave that to the next guy or gal because he’s not totally over being selfish yet and not nice enough to be what Derek needs besides.  “That’s cool, dude.  A casual sex relationship while I’m in college, definite sex here and potential sex there?  That kind of sounds like I just hit the orgasm jackpot.  And, Oh my God, that should be a thing.”  He sobers at Derek's unimpressed glower, circling back to the topic at hand.  “But that doesn’t mean that we can’t talk, that we’re not friends.  It’s hard to tell because we’re both bad at that whole thing but I think we are.”  As much as they really could be, at least.  They were never going to be Stiles n’ Scott: the Second Coming but they could be Stiles and Derek: Cobble-y Friendship, built on mutual trust, threats and body parts. 

“I—yes,” Derek agrees, like he’s only just realizing it.  To be fair, Stiles kind of is too. 

“So we’re not losing that, we’re just adding to it and you can toss whatever you want in there now that we’re at the check-out line, throw in some double A batteries and a Snickers bar you didn’t know you needed while you’re at it, you know?”  Derek shoots him an assessing look and Stiles has the realization that Derek might have no idea how to turn this down without seeming like a jackass and he mentally kicks himself for coming at it with such an edge.  “Listen, if you’re not interested, no hard feelings, okay, honestly.  I’ll be butthurt about it for a few days because that is the ego-check of a lifetime but by the time I’m back here?  We’ll be all good again.  Scout’s honor.”

“No, I—” Derek swallows, “I want to.”

Stiles’ whole body feels like it stutters to a stop and he’s sure his stupid heartbeat gives that away.  Pretty much all he can do is try not to gape stupidly at Derek, because only once he hasn’t been turned down does he realize how much he expected to be.  Which makes him wonder why the fuck he offered in the first place when he didn’t legitimately think he’d ever, in a million years, get Derek to agree to it. 

He suspects his mouth may have been working faster than his brain, as it usually did, and only now was his brain pulling that Wonka-shit of, ‘No, don’t, stop,’ all cavalier and uncaring and when it was far too late to veer off course.

Derek’s eyebrows form a deep ‘v’ and he says self-consciously, “This, with you, it’s the most successful relationship I have.”  He pauses like he thinks he’s about to be laughed at, jaw tight, and he lets out a whistling breath through his nose when he isn’t.  “I don’t want to ruin it.”  Like I’ve ruined so much else; he doesn’t say it but they both hear it.

Stiles tries to take another swig of beer but he finished it already and is left dumbly smacking his dry mouth.  He rolls the empty between his palms.  He wants to say that Derek couldn’t ruin anything but it’s sex, it’s getting naked with another person, the ultimate in vulnerability, trusting another person when you’re completely and utterly defenseless.  And Stiles does trust Derek, and specifically in that I’m-completely-and-utterly-defenseless way but Derek’s not exactly the most open guy in the world and Stiles has the self-confidence of a really insecure slug and Derek’s face kind of defaults at, ‘I’m plotting your death.’  So while Stiles doesn’t legitimately foresee any problems because Derek + Stiles + sex can only equal really good times, he can’t promise they won’t come up.  “It would be a mutual destruction, dude, stop trying to hog all the credit,” is what he comes up with.

Derek snorts but doesn’t look reassured.  Like he recognized it for the deflection it was.

Stiles sighs, sets his empty bottle on the coffee table (far away this time, so he won’t reach for it again) and says, “I can’t promise you that it’ll all be perfect because, hey, your life pretty much never is.  I can promise that it won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened to you because that’s a hard contest to win and, let’s be real, I’ll never be a serious competitor when it comes to that since I’m not killing people you know, or trying to.”  And it’s indelicate but he’s an indelicate kind of guy and Derek just rolls his eyes anyway, looking like he’s fighting the upward twitch of his lips.  “Basically all I can tell you, without my heartbeat playing double-dutch, is that I honestly can’t think of anything we couldn’t come back from because, yeah, I value this too.”  It sucks to say, to be so honest without cushioning it in six layers of irony or sarcasm so he can backtrack if need be, but this is something that requires that Stiles be able to look point-blank in Derek’s face and say grotesquely sincere things, so he’s trying not to un-serious it up.  It goes against literally every instinct he has.

Derek’s eyes are wide, surprised, and Stiles scoffs.

“We’ve been in each other’s lives for six years.  Stop acting like it’s a shock that you matter to me, dude.”  He says it with a ‘pshaw’ in his tone, like none of this is a big deal even though he wants to crawl out of his skin, tack on about sixteen ‘bros’ and try to fist bump someone in order to counter the genuineness of the moment.  He doesn’t though.  He tells Derek he matters because he does and if this blows up in their faces, Derek’s going to need to be able to find this moment, draw a little John Madden Jesus-fish-circle around it as, ‘proof Stiles Stilinski cares, even if he’s bad at showing it.’

Derek doesn’t say it back but only because he said it first.  He called Stiles his most successful relationship, which is unbelievably sad because they talk maybe four times a year and Stiles is sure Derek’s had more successful relationships (well, not sure but he’s going to pretend like that’s a given because otherwise he’d probably never stop hugging poor Derek Hale and that is so not their dynamic) but not ones that have sustained as long as this.  People leave in Beacon Hills, give up on the town, the people, on life itself.  And he and Derek are still here, six years later, still able to drink a beer and share space.  It’s kind of remarkable in a really understated way. 

Stiles turns on the couch and looks at Derek for a full minute, in a way he’s never looked at him before – trying to strategize macking on his face.  He’s got a beard and Stiles has never dealt with that really, just Jordan who’d let his scruff get out of hand.  At least until it’d get prickly and rub Stiles’ skin raw and Stiles would kick him into the bathroom to shave.  He really hopes Derek’s face isn’t like that.  He’s pretty sure werewolf hair is even more weaponized than human hair. 

He leans in, darts his eyes between Derek’s stupidly pretty ones and his mouth and Derek’s leaning in too and Stiles swallows because they’re really going to do this.  He’s one mouse click away from checking the box, ‘alter relationship status,’ and he’s still warring himself over whether or not this is the worst idea he’s ever had while he sits there in suspended momentum, breath bated.  He decides, closes the distance and catches Derek’s upper lip between his own. 

It’s not all that different from a kiss Stiles has drunkenly given Scott nearly every New Year’s, stupidly puckered up and effortlessly chaste. 

He’s pleased to find Derek’s beard is soft rather than scratchy under his lips and he switches to Derek’s lower lip to get more of it, find out if that’s a fluke. 

It isn’t. 

He stops cataloguing it, treating this like it’s an experiment and opens his mouth slightly.  Just barely flicks his tongue up the center of Derek’s lips, mindlessly pushing closer. 

Derek groans, opens his mouth too and then it’s long strokes of their tongues for full minutes that make Stiles’ guts squirm, heat pooling low.  Derek’s hands find his hip and shoulder and they’re impressively careful, uncertain.  Stiles doesn’t have that in him anymore, he’s half-hard already, entire body warming to this and he’s half-standing before long, pressing Derek back into the couch.

He fists a hand in the back of Derek’s soft hair, digs his fingers into the small of his back to get his body to arch into him while he rolls his own down.  It’s sloppy and uncoordinated and the fucking best.  Stiles pulls away, scrubs knuckles down Derek’s cheek, and pants.  “The beard, s’nice.  Bit worried about that, to be honest.”

Derek snorts.  “About as worried as I was about this,” he says warmly, stroking the hand that’s on the back of Stiles’ neck up the dome of his buzzed hair. 

It makes Stiles look like he’s sixteen all over again but the long hair reminds him of the nogitsune and every time it would get the slightest bit greasy he’d feel violently ill.  He moves his head back and forth under Derek’s hand, liking the way it feels before he’s back to attacking his mouth.  Derek’s already looks swollen and Stiles’ feels much the same.  Stiles likes seeing it on Derek, wants to make it so much worse before it gets better, and he moves from half-standing to half-kneeling over Derek, knees on the cushion on either side of his thigh.

He’s already throbbing because Derek is a fucking moaner, practically every bite, every thrust of Stiles’ tongue makes Derek moan back into his mouth.  Like he’s grateful for it, like he wants it, like he’s gone without for years, like he’s turned on out of his mind and Stiles can’t really deal with all that in any other way but to skim the hand that’s been clenched death-grip-style in the small of Derek’s back up to the base of his neck under his shirt and squeeze.  It’s his way of saying: this fucking shirt needs to be destroyed, shirts on you is no.

Derek doesn’t get it, but Stiles can forgive that because, instead of stripping, he’s pushing his hips up off the couch so he can meet Stiles’ dick with his hip and, yeah, that’s really fucking good if, admittedly, a bit awkward.  Stiles is the one who chose to straddle Derek’s fucking thigh though; Derek’s just making it work for them and showing a remarkable bit of strength and stamina at the same time by holding himself up and rolling his body into Stiles’ while Stiles tries not to come in his pants. 

Derek’s arm fits around Stiles’ waist and then he’s lifting Stiles up, half-rolling them so Stiles is on the cushion next to him, thighs spread on either side of Derek’s hips but still half-sitting up and attached to Derek’s mouth like a barnacle.  Stiles has never liked kissing this much, his lips always tender and easily made raw but this is exactly what he’d always envisioned when his masturbatory fantasies would focus on Derek.  This feels like more than a fulfillment of them.  Plus, Derek’s so passionate and intense and hungry and sloppy about it that Stiles can’t help but turn it into a competition.  It maybe gets a little more bite-y due to that whole aspect.

Derek doesn’t seem to mind.

He does pull away though, and his chest is fucking heaving and his pupils are blown wide, lips red and expression dazed and all Stiles can think is that he did that, to a werewolf, to Derek freaking Hale.  Stiles reaches up, smirking, and traces the shell of Derek’s ear with his thumb.  “Too fast?” he asks, trying to be sensitive but really just sounding smug as hell.  And, well, it’s not like Derek didn’t already know he was an asshole.

Derek shakes his head, licks his lips and jerks his head up.  “Scott.” 

Stiles’ eyes widen.  Fuck.  He’d forgotten all about Scott.  The expression on Derek’s face says he did too, and also that he’s trying to strategize some way to fuck Stiles into the couch without Scott knowing about it.

Unfortunately impossible.

Stiles wriggles away from him and cringes.  “How much does it look like we were just making out, scale of one to ten?”

“Thirty-seven,” Derek says back, deadpan.

Stiles winces.  “Crap.  I’m going to go splash cold water on my face and, uh,” he gestures to his super obvious hard-on, “think of Jesus.”

Derek snorts, nods to show the plan’s been approved, and Stiles scurries out of sight. 

He stares at himself in the mirror and he should be horrified because his mouth is puffy and his cheeks are red from Derek’s mountain man facial hair and even Scott might not be oblivious enough to miss the obvious that is his face but he can’t stop grinning dumbly at his own reflection because he and Derek are sexually compatible like fuck.  And, okay, Derek could probably be sexually compatible with a fig but it’s still pretty effing great.  And Stiles is experiencing this new thing where he feels not just desirable but powerful and, as a really insecure slug, that’s definitely a first.

He hears Scott’s bright voice but decides to wait until his breathing’s regular to come out, since there’s nothing he can really do about his face.  He does splash it with cold water, just ‘cause. 

He gives himself an extra minute, shakes out his hands and opens the door to find Scott right outside it.  He’s lifted into a bone-crushing hug before he can even take a step. 

Dude, have I mentioned how much I hate that you went away for college recently?” Scott says mostly into his armpit and it’s a little worrisome how unfazed Stiles is by that. 

“Not yet today,” Stiles tells him, quippy.

Scott sets him down, pulls in a deep breath and says as though he’s reading his letter at an intervention, “Stiles, your moving away has affected me in the following ways: it sucks and I hate it.” 

“Sorry, buddy,” Stiles says with an exaggerated frown, accidentally catching Derek’s eye across the room.  He looks away quickly because there was heat there and he is not getting a boner around Scott. 

Not again at least. 

But it’s been made pretty clear with just that look, they are fucking ripping into each other as soon as Scott leaves and Stiles would really like to let his brain short-circuit over that like it’s threatening to do but these two losers have the conversational skills of verbose plants.  Which means it’s, sadly, on him to make this not-awkward.

“Scott has entered the stage of Alpha-dom that includes creeping on kids in high school parking lots.  Derek is still the reigning king of high school creepery.  Discuss,” Stiles says smartly, going to get himself another beer while Scott bemoans today’s teenagers and how they all smell hurt but over stupid stuff, like Algebra grades and whether or not Brad wants to date and what people even mean by, ‘see you around.’

Stiles comes back into the room to Scott saying, “I have no idea how you found Isaac or Erica or Boyd.  How were you able to differentiate regular teenage suffering from actual suffering?  Because those are the kids I would like to help, you know?” 

Derek shrugs and the line of his shoulders is ridiculously attractive and Stiles wants to brush his fingertips over the bound-up muscle.  Derek just looks tense and Stiles really wants to do something about that and it’s a little grotesque how quickly he’s gone from ‘stupidly unsure of himself’ to ‘wanting to put his mouth and hands all over Derek.’  “Boyd came to me,” Derek says, downplaying Scott’s compliment.  Which is dumb because Scott never gives Derek compliments.  He should revel in them when they arrive.  “You weren’t born a wolf, there are nuances to it, ways to smell pain rather than angst.”

Stiles’ mouth falls open.  Scott wasn’t born a wolf.  All this stuff, it’s like he has to be reminded it’s there.  And that’s how it’s always been.  How many times has Stiles had to ask him to listen to a conversation or a sound in the distance because it wasn’t second nature to be doing so already? 

He waits for Derek to enter the kitchen, grabbing another beer for Scott (who simply likes the social aspect of ‘drinking a beer’) and stands at his shoulder as he closes the door of the fridge.  Derek’s straightening up when Stiles leans in, puts his mouth near his scruffy cheek and talks in a tone Scott won’t be able to overhear, providing he’s not using any wolf powers.  Which Stiles has just realized he won’t be.  “Hey, so, you should finish up this conversation with Scott, let him ask his questions, give him all the sage, wizened advice you’ve got stored up in that big werewolf brain of yours and, in the meantime, I’m going to go get naked and do really unspeakable things in your bed.”  Derek’s hand squeaks where it’s wrapped around the beer bottle and Stiles grins.  “It’s the big werewolf brain, does things to me.”

It really fucking does.  He spreads his legs and is completely blatant about adjusting the thick line of his cock against his thigh, trapped there by his jeans, which are really making the bulge look quite impressive.  He's pinning a ribbon on them later.

Derek closes his eyes, nostrils flaring as he breathes in and Stiles brushes his front as he passes him, turning off towards the bedroom that’s got a door.  He thinks it might have been Isaac’s once upon a time.  All he knows now is that it’s not a bedroom in the middle of an open floor plan where literally anyone could walk in on them.  You’ve got to have no sex life for that one to work.  Which he realizes was actually kind of perfect for Derek.  Definite emphasis on ‘was’ though. 

Whomever was living there was not looking out for Stiles’ interests and lube is impossible to find.  He settles for aloe vera, which is probably used to the treatment he’s about to give it, let’s be honest.  Isaac just looked like he had a hard time keeping his hand out of his pants, okay?

It’s not hard to imagine Derek with him, knowing he’s probably straining to hear, and it makes him patient in a way he’s never been before, makes him close his eyes and listen.  To the sound of his zipper coming down, the quiet rustle of his clothes as he sheds them, the squirt of the lotion, the slick-sloppy sounds of him slipping fingers inside himself and the gut-punch, choked off moans he gives in response to his own probing. 

It’s the best kind of torture not letting himself touch his dick and it strains against his own intentions, but he’s saving that.  For Derek.  Ramping up the intensity by denying himself the release and it probably means he’s not going to be able to last but Derek isn’t his boyfriend, he’s his fuck friend, his pelvic partner, his bang bro, his poke pal, his genitals’ caller, and coming is kind of the whole point.

He genuinely has no idea how long it’s been, only that he’s up to four fingers, his moans have gotten throatier and his dick is leaking, when Derek shows up.  The door is thrown open so hard it bounces off the wall and Stiles lifts his head in time to see Derek’s eyes shorting in and out between electric blue and a calmer green and this is what he means by Derek making him feel powerful.  He practically rips out of his own shirt, teeth bared and sharp as he gets out, “You are such a little shit.”

Stiles is panting and sweating and overstimulated to a likely dangerous degree but he still manages to fumble his mouth into smirk.  “Touched you noticed.”

Derek gets on the bed, clawed hand finding Stiles’ hip and forcing him over.  The heel of Derek’s palm presses him down between his shoulder blades until his chest is flat against the mattress.  It’s a good place to be, with his muscles trembling and unable to hold him up and his thighs bracketed by Derek’s, he feels boneless and taken care of in the same moment.  Derek’s not even out of his jeans, they’re just hastily pushed down, and then he’s shoving in like there’s a time constraint on the offer.

It utterly lacks any class or finesse and Stiles thinks he might vote Derek’s dick mayor of his ass.

“Fuck, Stiles,” Derek punches out, rolling his hips and half-collapsing on top of him, claws wrapped carefully around Stiles’ wrists so they’re not touching skin and weight bearing down on him to hold him still.

Derek seems broken by the good of it and it’s the bliss on his face when Stiles turns around as much as the way Derek’s thrusts are making his cock rub against the mattress that has Stiles groaning, “Jesus fucking bubble-blowing Christ, I’m right there, fuck, don’t stop.”  His forehead drops back to the bed and he whines, arching his back and riding back into Derek’s thrusts like they’re cresting waves.  “Derek.”

Derek’s hand leaves Stiles’ wrist so he can lever himself up on a fist, bear down on Stiles while he pants out, “Goddammit, Stiles, you are so fucking—”

He tapers off in a groan at the sound Stiles makes when he comes, having ridden the edge of his orgasm so long that it almost hurts finding release.  Derek’s hands reach his hips, yank his ass back into Derek’s pelvis so he can’t collapse completely, claws making pinpricks in his skin, and Derek grinds rather than slams into him.  He comes with a gravelly, broken vibration that Stiles can feel somewhere a lot deeper than his bones and takes a moment just holding himself there before flopping over onto his back next to Stiles. 

Stiles makes a contented humming sound and flattens himself into the mattress, arms snaking under the pillow near his head and pressing it into his cheek.  He yawns, ass pleasantly numb, and says, “We are so good at making decisions.  Best makers of decisions.  This was up there with, like, seat belts and…” he frowns, face twisting up, mind impressively blank, before he lands on, “gravity.”

Which doesn’t really make sense.

Derek only snorts though, hands showing nothing but human traits as he slides one up Stiles’ heated back.  He presses his open mouth to the salty sweat on Stiles’ shoulder and Stiles lifts his head enough that he can kiss Derek back instead.  It’s still sloppy, still lacking any sort of prettification, and still the best make out session Stiles has ever had.  And so not weird.  It should be weird.  It in no way is.  It’s as though a previously unknown dam has broken between them and now that they have permission to touch, they can’t seem to stop.  Stiles isn’t complaining.

He sighs when they finally break apart, breathing hard and eyelids heavy.  Derek’s staring up at the ceiling, expression lacking any sort of tell, and Stiles lays there until he realizes he’s starting to doze and rolls over with a groan towards the edge of the bed, looking for his pants.

Derek glances over at him as Stiles is trying to remember where he did the little strip-tease for his benefit.  “What are you doing?” he asks gruffly, like he’s forgotten how words work.  A hand smooths down Stiles’ back almost carelessly.

Stiles leans into it, coming up victorious with his jeans in his hand.  He shakes them a little, gently, because they’re his favorite, ribbon-winning jeans now, and cants his head to the side.  “Trying to remember how to wear clothes,” he says dubiously.

Derek sounds like he’s grinning.  “Clothes not required.”

Stiles snorts and tells him, “I don’t ever want to wave hello to my dad from a jail cell whilst naked.  Surprisingly not on my bucket list.”

“You’re leaving.”  His voice sounds like piano wire strung too tight.

Stiles drops his pants, craning his head around to look at Derek’s face.  It had never even occurred to him that Derek might want him to stay.  “Do you not want me to?” he asks, trying to sound sincere and as far from jeering as possible. 

Derek shrugs carefully, expression closed off and eyes hooded.  “I’ve never done this.  If that’s what people do after—” 

“Okay,” Stiles cuts him off, “but I didn’t ask about people.  I asked what Derek wanted Stiles to do.”  He smiles, brushing his hand down Derek’s bicep.  “Do you want Stiles to stay?  Fair warning, Stiles might slip into talking about himself in the third person for the rest of the night.” 

Derek rolls his eyes but the humor bleeds out of him pretty quickly.  After a minute, he works his jaw, spits out, “Stay.” 

Stiles’ smile widens into a grin and he shimmies down under the covers like that had been his plan from the beginning.  “Sweet, Stiles could use a few hours before entering the pantsderdome anyway.”

Derek shakes his head but the crinkle of his eyes gives away his relief.  “You are so strange,” he says, subdued. 

“Oui,” Stiles chirps back, rolling over onto his side, back to Derek.  He falls asleep within minutes.

He wakes up balancing precariously on the edge of the bed, Derek having stuck to his own side so there’s an ocean of comforter between them, and he rolls over bonelessly enough that his hand flops down hard into Derek’s chest.

Derek retaliates by giving him the most thorough blowjob Stiles has ever received.  Stiles responds by sinking down on Derek’s cock and riding him, hard, and this is clearly the kind of fighting they should have been doing for years.

Stiles blows on his coffee, which is stupidly still too hot to drink without burning the roof of his mouth off.  He’s considering doing it anyway, because coffee.  So close and yet so far, he thinks with a cartoonish frown.  Scott takes a pointed sip of his own since he has his dumb werewolf-healing and Stiles decides, bitterly, to knock him down a peg or ten.  “Oh hey, by the way,” he drags out casually, “I’m fucking Derek now.”

Scott snorts, coffee shooting up his nose and he makes a pained face, like he’s having the exact opposite of an ice cream headache but it’s at least just as horrible.  “Oh my God,” he makes an odd snuffling sound, trying to rid the coffee from his sinuses and bemoans, “what, why?”  His eyes widen as Stiles opens his mouth and he blurts out, “No, Jesus, not actual why, rhetorical why.  This could have been a secret you kept past your deathbed, you could’ve taken this with you, never to be known by me or anyone else and you ruined it.”

He looks physically pained but Stiles knows a lot of his anti-Derek rhetoric is based on nothing more than that being his comfort zone when it comes to the guy, that in actuality he feels more warmth than anything else when it comes to him.  Scott admitted he’d started to respect and appreciate Derek more about a month or so into his own Alpha-dom, only then able to appreciate how much instinct sometimes warred with logic.  Toss in being manipulated by a mentally unstable uncle who was the last of Derek’s family and, yeah, maybe they were both retroactively cutting Derek the breaks he never got.

Stiles shrugs, grinning so wide his cheeks hurt.  “Sorry, buddy,” he’s so not, “but you know I don’t like keeping secrets from my Alpha.  And, dude, you may be Alpha of this pack but he is totally Alpha of the sack.  I mean, it’s, like, majestic sex, you know?”

Scott gags quietly to himself.

“Where you pretty much can’t even open your eyes all the way because you’re afraid your tiny human brain won’t be able to comprehend the epicness of what you’re seeing.  So you just walk around half-aware and with that ‘about to drop’ feeling you get when you’re at the top of a roller coaster and this blinding grin on your face.”

“Stop.  Please stop talking to me.  Stop sharing.”

“Oh but I want to do all the sharing,” Stiles says wickedly because this is as much about retribution as it is anything else.  He’s not going to mention Allison’s name because he knows better but Scott deserves a lot worse than this after that.  “Also, how could you not tell me about the refractory period for werewolves?  I swear, it was like a forest of hard dicks but I was only in bed with one really fucking giant redwo—”

Scott drops his head back against the base of the coffee house’s couch; it makes a hollow thunking sound.  “I hate you so much, you’re scarring me for life.  It’s happening right now, do you not see the wounds?”  He holds out his arms, still reclined too far in the squishy cushions so it looks like he’s being eaten by a neon green sofa.  “Stiles, I’m wounded.  Deeply.  Look at the pain you hath wrought, you villain.”

Stiles perks an eyebrow.  “Weirdly Shakespearian, man,” he praises, offering props where props are due before chugging along undeterred, “Anyway, in one night, we fucked, like, seven times and, okay, that’s including this morning… and this afternoon but, holy shit, dude, I have never had this much sex with anyone in a twenty-four period.”

Scott groans, rolling his eyes up to the ceiling.  “I’m so glad your relationship is going so well.” 

“Our sexationship,” Stiles corrects seamlessly, coffee finally cool enough to sip, “and hell yes it is.  I mean, you look at Derek and you think: hot like burning,” Scott’s eyes bug like he’s never had that thought before.  Stiles ignores him some more, “but I also kind of thought: potentially shit in bed because he’s so hot he doesn’t have to try, you know?  But he’s completely the most unselfish guy I’ve ever fucked.  He tries so hard with everything he does that it would be adorable if it wasn’t so fucking dirty.”

Scott stares at him seriously and says, voice solemn, “You have to stop talking about having sex with Derek or I will make you watch as I puncture my own eardrums.”  He carefully grows the claw of his index finger, daring Stiles to challenge him.

Stiles reluctantly relents, because ew, gaze falling to the counter with a defeated sigh.  The guy behind it is lackadaisically ringing up customers and Stiles remembers one of the few times he’d brought Derek here, back when he was in high school.  He’d watched him awkwardly handle himself as the girl helping them kept batting her eyelashes at him and trying – and failing – to touch Derek’s arm.  Despite his model good looks, he’d always been remarkably uncomfortable with attention or being casually touched and Stiles frowns, realizing all over again how impossible it is how well things have gone with stepping up his and Derek’s broship. 

He feels a flicker of emotion for the guy and quickly texts him an emoji of a smiley giving him the finger.  Feelings neutralized. 

It doesn’t even take Derek five minutes to text back:

Are you being a dick or saying you want mine in you?

Can’t it be both?

I don’t see why not.

Stiles is grinning like an idiot when he looks up at Scott, taps the cardboard sleeve around his coffee and says, “See, there was a reason I got mine in a to-go cup!”

“Are you bailing on me to—”

“Bailing on you to get laid!” Stiles crows victoriously, not about to let Scott ruin something he’s wanted to say to him since they were freshmen – high school freshmen, and dashes out the door.

So.  Sex is in fact there, on his college campus, wandering down the halls of his dorm at three in the morning, sipping coffee in the student union, reading quietly in the library, lounging on the quad, just generally being about.  The problem is: Stiles has never in his life learned to make a good first impression, which is just about all he needs to unlock the extra special bonus level filled with nothing but genitalia that everyone keeps raving about.  His last cringe-worthy attempt at social interaction had somehow ended with him talking about the biology of a tapeworm and then accusing his date of bringing up the topic as soon as he realized what he was doing.

He’d been home by eight-thirty. 

“I charmed you, I made you be my friend.  You make other people want to intercourse me,” Stiles bemoans, cheek pressed flat to the sticky library table and mouth pulled into an exaggerated frown.

Beckett flicks him in the exposed cheek with a neon blue painted nail that’s half-chipped.  He scowls up at her.  “One, you are so not the reason we’re friends,” she says, counting on other paint-flecked nails, starting with the middle one, “I took pity on you and your sad aloneness.  Also, Professor Toupé paired us together because we were both late or, in my retelling: he saw our immense friendship potential with the laser-keen insight his synthetic hair has given him.  Whichever.  The point is, you did nothing.  Two, you should look into reproduction through budding.”

Stiles opens his mouth readily and she cuts him off just as fast, thin lips pinched.  “Do not start describing the mechanics of budding to me or I will cut all ties with you and pretend I don’t speak English every time we run into each other after this.” 

“You’re zero percent fun, Beckett.  Live your uninformed life however you like though, I guess.”  Stiles sits up finally, taps his short nails against the table and says, “And I’m kind of tempted to push this just so I can hear you make up foreign gibberish every time I force you talk to me.  I would craftily stalk you just so you had to do it roughly thirty times a day.”   He’s actually perking up over the thought of making other people’s lives difficult.  And he’s somehow surprised that he can’t get a date.

“Um.  Captain Beckett,” she says with a sniff, narrow nose in the air.  “I’ve told you that is the only way that nickname is acceptable.  Otherwise we’re going back to Rebecca.” 

“Okay, firstly, you have to earn the rank of captain and you can’t even trick someone into wanting to mash genitals with me, or reach the top shelf in my kitchen without hopping.  Prove you’re captain material and we’ll revisit.  Secondly, do you really want to share a name with the newest, deadest girl on How to Get Away with Murder?  I’m sorry for being more optimistic about your survival skills than that.”

Beckett narrows her eyes, so much so that Stiles can’t even see the smear of blue eyeshadow across her lids anymore.  The same eyeshadow he suspects she’s been wearing for the past three days.  Truthfully, he loves that about her because he's been wearing the same shirt all week.  “My foot is perilously close to your junk, man.  And is at pretty much all times.  I don’t even have to back up to get my boot to your groin.”  She points a sharp finger at him.  “Do you really want to insult my stature?  Is there really where you want to go, bub?”

“I do not,” Stiles says quickly, reflexively drawing his knees together.  “Retracted and I’ve issued a statement of apology through my campaign manager.”

“Thought so.”  She screws up her face like she’s genuinely thinking and says, “I will try to get you a date with people I don’t care about that much so when you inevitably run them off with your… you-ness, it won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened.  In the meantime though, don’t you have that ridiculously hot sex friend you can poke?”  She pauses and then waves a hand over the empty space between them.  “And, yes, that was a pun.  You’re welcome to laugh.” 

Stiles gives a forced guffaw while she glowers at him.  “Did you only bring him up so I’d let you stare at the pictures again?” 

“Yes,” she quips back, completely unashamedly.  Stiles really did luck out with her.  He pulls out his phone so she can scroll through his butt buddy album with the proper ‘ooo’ing and ‘ahh’ing in place and he can steal a few momentarily unattended Twizzlers from her pack.

He really has no idea where he stands with Derek.  After their marathon sex-day, they haven’t spoken so much as a weak, ‘hey,’ to each other.  But that’s kind of the point of them, he thinks, there when you want it, gone when you don’t.

As it turns out, he really shouldn’t have spent any time at all angsting over it (or if the asymmetrical tilt of his collar was ‘trying too hard’) because when he gets back to Beacon Hills and turns up on Derek's doorstep, the only reaction he gets is a blink.  And then Derek is crowding him up against cool metal of his door, kissing him stupid and sliding warm palms up under his grungy t-shirt.

Not to be outdone, because Derek is not going to be the more sexually proficient between them – not today, not ever – Stiles shoves his hands down the back of Derek’s jeans and grabs his ass, pulling him into the spread of his thighs.  Derek shudders against him, nosing into his neck, like it’s the best thing and, yeah, boink bros.  This is a thing they can totally do.

When Stiles’ ass is pleasantly aching, sending pulses of ‘fucked good and done’ throughout his entire body and making the muscles in his thighs twitch, he finally feels the tension of his most recent failed dating experiments slip away.  He’s lying close to Derek, shoulder on top of shoulder and he grins, remembering.  “I told Scott about this, by the way.”  He’d forgotten to tell Derek the last time he was here, at the top of the month.  He’s never come back so quickly but he’s also never had sex waiting for him either.  Or Beckett threatening to take his place and suck Derek’s dick herself if he didn’t go take advantage of all that pretty waiting for him.

Derek snorts, rubs his nose into Stiles’ temple.  “I know, he hasn’t been able to look me in the eye since.”  He’s so much more open to touch than Stiles would have thought and Stiles has come to the conclusion that Derek must’ve been starved for it, that he’s using Stiles to fill a void there as much as for an orgasm.  Derek hasn’t had a pack in years, hasn’t had someone he was that close to in all the time Stiles has known him, because even when he did have a pack they’d never been all that great at the wolfy closeness.  He kind of feels like a massive doofus for not figuring out Derek was probably missing this when he was in high school and doing all that research.

He’s more surprised to find that he doesn’t mind though.  He likes the physical proof that Derek trusts him, and it makes him feel like a better person than he is that he can give Derek this.  That he can be a purely nice thing in Derek Hale’s life rather than another shit event.

He joins in on the laughter in Derek’s voice, settling in close, content to be Derek’s live-action stuffed animal.  It’s going to lead to a lot of sex if past history is any indication.  He yawns, asks unassumingly, “Staying?”  Even though he has a good idea of the answer.

Derek shrugs, still hesitant about owning up to not wanting Stiles to bolt after sex.  It’s only recently that Stiles has put the touch thing to it but he thinks there are other reasons besides.  Stiles wants to tell him it’s not a big deal, that he gets it even, because of course Derek doesn’t want to feel used like that after Kate, after Jennifer, but he gets the feeling that Derek would rather Stiles leave than be forced to talk about why he doesn’t want him to.  So Stiles is trying not to poke at it.

It’s not easy for him.

“If you want,” Derek says, nonchalance badly feigned. 

“Mmhm,” Stiles hums sleepily, slipping under the sheets and turning on his side.

Stiles wakes up with a temperature of what feels like six hundred and ten and mentally goes through a list of diseases that come with severe fever – definitely probably maybe polio and that ‘R’ one, the one with fever in the name.  Rutabaga fever?  And that isn’t right at all but Stiles’ brain is baking in his skull and he’s lucky he even remembers the vegetable because he’s dying, clearly. 

He blinks, feeling flattened, chest tight and breaths hard to come by on top of everything else and he realizes that ‘on top of everything else’ is basically Derek’s catchphrase right now.  The douchewolf.  He’s draped himself diagonally across Stiles, cheek conforming awkwardly to the ball of his shoulder, chests thrown together, arm half-folded and bunched up under his side.  Stiles is sweating like they’ve just had a particularly intense bout of banging, only he’s just been laying there, soaking in the sauna that is Derek Hale.

Stiles pushes him off without ceremony.  Or tries to, shoving ineffectual hands into Derek’s warm chest, so fucking miserable that he wants to punch Derek in his dumb face because what kind of werewolf asshole can’t stick to his own side of the bed?  And, yeah, Stiles wants him to have nice things but it’s hard to remember that when his insides are roasting to a crispy finish. 

Derek’s like a lead fucking weight and Stiles pushes at him harder.  He finally groans, eyelids fluttering open separately and Stiles growls angrily, “Oh my fucking Thorian God, get off me, you goddamned furnace.”  He’s never been great about being woken up and being hot is even less of a favorite thing and he seriously wants to do damage to Derek’s insides.  Fair’s fair after all.  Derek takes his time shuffling off of him, still half-asleep, and Stiles snarks impatiently, “Seriously, Derek, stop touching me, you’re a thousand goddamn degrees.”  He doesn’t say, in a perfect Nick Miller impression, this is my nightmare.  Even though he has one, and it is. 

Derek finally rolls off of him, pushing him back over and nearly off the bed, snarling, “Get back on your own side.”

Stiles slap fights with the arm shoving at him and snaps, “I’m on my side, stop it.”  Derek smirks, just keeps pushing him and Stiles physically lifts his hand away.  Derek lets him.  “Okay, seriously, hands off, they are pretty much like hot coals.  Stop touching me.”  Derek pulls down the sheet from around his waist, tugs on it so it falls away from Stiles’ too, smirking.  Like he knows exactly how easy Stiles is.

Fucker.  But he’s not exactly wrong either. 

Stiles licks his lips, staring at Derek’s red dick, climbs angrily between his calves and impales his mouth on the length of him.  Derek groans, back arching and head falling back.  His hands twist in the sheets up by his head, arms bent, and Stiles bobs down twice before pulling off, panting, sweat clinging to the roots of his hair, soaking his chest and beading on his upper lip.  He sits up, kneeling between Derek’s legs.  “Fuck, I’m sweating so much because you are giving off a thousand BTUs right now.”

“Stiles—” Derek groans, shifting his hips up.

Fuck, Stiles really wants to blow him.  He grips Derek’s dick, swipes his tongue over the head of it while his hand pumps him and Derek’s hand finds his shoulder, slides up over his shorn hair, blazing a path over his skin, and Stiles snaps, “If you touch me again, I will stop, I’m not kidding.  Hands to yourself.”  Derek removes it after baring his teeth.  Stiles tilts his head to the side, holding himself up over Derek so their skin won’t even accidentally brush.  “I’m trying to figure out how I can blow you without literally combusting.”  He licks over his lower lip, trying to strategize it, and puffs out miserably, “Can’t, can’t do it, you are so fucking uncomfortable to be around.”  He straddles Derek’s hips, reaching behind him for his dick.  “Gonna ride you.”

“Fine, just stop whining about it,” Derek says grumpily, hands coming up to steady Stiles’ hips. 

Stiles lets go of Derek’s dick and slaps them away.  He hasn’t been this angry or sexually frustrated or sleep-deprived or violent in a while and Derek needs to stop fucking testing him.  “Stop touching me, oh my God, were you hit in the head with a motherfucking brick recently, you asshole?  Hands.  Off.”  Why can’t Derek get that through his stupid cement-head?  Stiles is so miserable and tired and turned on and he wishes Derek had a fucking saw right now, he’d cut off his arm and then some.

“Shut—up,” Derek huffs out angrily, twisting his hands up in the sheets again and lifting his hips to meet Stiles as he sinks down on his cock.

Stiles leans back, as far away from Derek as he can get, palms on the mattress behind him while he rolls his ass down onto Derek’s dick.  Derek nearly touches him more times than he can count but he keeps his head and keeps his hands away.  Stiles rewards him by circling his hips until Derek is whimpering and then slamming back down on him.

It doesn’t take either of them much longer, which is lucky, because Stiles still feels like he’s hot enough that he’s burning through all the water in his body.  He swings his leg over, off of Derek, and contemplates going to sleep on the couch.  He decides against it.  Derek’s asked him to stay and he’ll do it, even if it’s likely to murder him.  Or Derek.  He kicks the sheet away, flops down on the far edge of the bed, still catching his breath, and says, “God, fuck, that was—now stay away from me,” he warns around a yawn.  “I’m exhausted.”

Derek kicks him in the back of his knee, grinning his evil grin of evilness and of successful microwave-hand deployment… something.  Stiles is losing the thread of his thoughts.  “Go back to sleep then, on your side.”

“Asshole,” Stiles grumbles under his breath, headache starting to bang away between his temples.  It’s going to be a long fuckless night.

The bed-sharing thing does not get better.  Stiles comes back every other week for the most part, because his collegiate peers are stubbornly sticking to thinking of him as odd – and not in an endearing way – and mean.  And so what if that’s pretty accurate?  Derek can overlook it and Derek should be as fragile as a china doll and as isolated as Norman Bates and he puts up with Stiles and his runaway mouth.  Weak constitutions in kids these days, is Stiles’ opinion on the matter.  Also, Derek for the win pretty much.

Except.  Except that other, new complications come along with the whole penis pals arrangement. 

Stiles notoriously despises being hot when he sleeps.  But Derek gets all offended and huffy when he tries to leave after they fuck, pretends he’s neither of those things and then is a prick about putting out when Stiles returns.  Which means Stiles is stuck in bed with a fucking furnace if he wants to put his dick in Derek, or vice versa.  And he does want to do those things, the vice and the versa.

He’s suffocating the next weekend when he wakes up with Derek literally on top of him.  Stiles tries to elbow him off but he only manages to move Derek about five inches to his left.  “Derek, I don’t want to murder you but I have to now.  I am so fucking hot,” he whines miserably.

Derek nuzzles into his neck, nose pressing near the hinge of his jaw.  “You are,” he mumbles sleepily.

Stiles jabs him in his ribs as hard as he can with his finger.  “Not really awake if you’re doling out compliments all willy-nilly.  Derek,” he growls. 

Derek comes to, eyes flashing.  “What?” he snaps.

Like he’s got some right to be pissed when Stiles is on fire because Derek is such a fucking overemotional asshole about being left alone in bed.  Stiles almost remembers a time when he cared about that, past trauma, touch starved, blah-de-fucking-blah.  Derek is a lava monster and Stiles hates him. 

“You’re on top of me, you dick,” he snarls.  “Is this what happens when you bottom?  Gotta reassert your dominance by literally pancaking me?”  He starts to tack on, ‘not worth it,’ but it really kind of is and he doesn’t want Derek to hear the lie and act like a smug asshole about it for the next few days he’s in town.  Derek opens his mouth and Stiles cuts him off angrily, “Yeah, I made that a verb because I’m a damn wordsmith.”  He’s practically daring Derek to argue with him about that.  He’s uncomfortable and pissed off and Derek knows what he’s like when Stiles wakes up with him so close and yet he still can’t stay on his own goddamn side.

“Fine,” Derek says with a roll of his eyes, like Stiles is being dramatic rather than going through some of the worst suffering he’s ever experienced ever.  (Not dramatic.)  He flops over onto his back, blissfully far away from Stiles.

Stiles kicks away the bedding that’s not really touching him but close enough and feeling like it’s giving off heat, but he can’t cool down fast enough.  “Oh my God, I’m dying,” he complains.  He grabs at Derek’s forearm.  “Come on, come here.” 

Derek yawns, rolls back over and poises himself over Stiles’ body.  “Want me on top?” he asks, eyebrows all up. 

Stiles can’t think of literally anything he wants less.  He pushes Derek over so he can sit up and starts to stand, tugging Derek with him as he does.  Derek looks down at where Stiles is pulling at him, unimpressed and eyes hazy.  Stiles huffs, says, “No, you shit, I want you out of bed.”  Since it’s clear he’s not moving without some direction.

Derek nods, stumbles to his feet and guesses, “Kitchen again?”

Stiles considers that one for a second.  The tile might feel nice on his skin and his dick gives an interested twitch.  He shakes his head.  “No, put on some clothes.”

Derek’s eyes actually open all the way and he snarls, “What.”  No inflection, then a suspicious, “Why?”

Stiles ignores him, pulling on a pair of boxer shorts and a threadbare t-shirt, not sure whose is what, not caring either.  Derek’s still grumbling but pulling on sweatpants and a hoodie because apparently he doesn’t feel like he’s about to melt.

Stiles yanks on his shoes at the door and drags Derek out into his hallway and down the stairs to his parking lot with nothing more than a gruff, “Come on.” 

“What are we doing out here?”  Derek almost looks like he might start pouting, blearily staring at the bare trees, the dried leaves in the gutter, the brittle grass like it’s all somehow betrayed him.  His hair is going in nonsensical directions and his nose is red and he looks seconds away from a tantrum. 

Derek gets all grumpy and adorable when he’s woken up, while Stiles gets near-homicidal in a way that is not even close to endearing.  It’s annoying that Derek wins this game.

“Cooling Stiles down so his eyeballs won’t melt out of his face.”  He should be shivering already, early November and in shorts and a t-shirt, and instead he’s still waiting for the heat that’s clinging to his skin to dissipate.  Stupid Derek, stupid lava monster werewolf asshole.

Derek shifts his bare feet on the ground, mumbles down to his toes, “I don’t think that’s a legitimate concern.”  He pins Stiles with narrowed eyes and adds, “Also, it’s unattractive when you talk about yourself in third person.”  He says that like he’s been saving it.  He probably has, knowing him.

Stiles ignores him some more, leaning up against the wall of Derek’s building and staring up at the twinkling lights in the sky.  The paint behind him is cool but he feels like he’s heating it up rather than it cooling him down and he huffs heavily, unhappily.  Getting close to Derek still sounds like hell on earth because he might physically combust being presented with a werewolf in a hoodie, sweatpants, and a one hundred degree temperature. 

He shakes off his misery and walks further down the sidewalk, Derek’s feet dragging a little as he follows.  Stiles wasn’t really expecting him to but he realizes Derek probably doesn’t want to go back to an empty bed, no matter how much he’d rather be sleeping.

He checks the street, making to cross, when Derek growls at him and drags him back by his forearm.  “There’s no sidewalk over there.  Don’t be an idiot.”

Stiles shakes him and his stupid hot hand off and lets him walk at his side as he kicks at a broken piece of concrete.  Derek keeps scrubbing a hand over his face like he’s trying to keep himself awake while Stiles seeks out stronger patches of wind that aren’t blocked by trees or the surrounding buildings.  There’s nothing but the rushing sound of the breeze that’s threading through their clothing and the occasional hum of a car streets over and out of sight and while Derek looks lulled by it, Stiles feels invigorated.  Which helps him finally find something to make him grin.

He stops right outside the fence, the sign with the all caps message, ‘NO TRESPASSING,’ glaring down at him.  Derek doesn’t even notice it.  He sways to a stop next to Stiles and says grumpily, “I want to go to bed.” 

Stiles shrugs.  “So go,” he says, getting a foothold in the metal diamond cut-out and hefting himself up.

Derek yanks him back down onto the sidewalk by the collar of his shirt and growls.  “Stiles, no.”

Stiles hops back down, bitchfacing at him.  “Mention ‘private property’ to me and I will claw your eyes out.  I’m a thousand degrees,” he says matter-of-factly.  Implying, ‘your fault ten grrrgillion and ten percent.’

Derek rolls his eyes.  “You’d be dead if you were a thousand degrees.  Your hyperbole is misleading.”

Stiles stares past the fence where the water of the pool is rippling slightly, enticingly, in the breeze and pulls his shirt off over his head.  “Come on, you’ll be able to hear if anyone comes.”  He waggles his eyebrows at Derek.  “Boost me up.”


Derek’s arms are crossed over his chest and Stiles leans into him, brazenly palms his dick through his sweatpants before slipping his hand inside, caressing soft, warm skin.  He grins sharply.  “Do it.”

Derek cants his hips into him slightly, barks out disagreeably, “Fine.”

Stiles’ grin is a blinding thing and it’s a headrush almost, how powerful Derek can make him feel standing on a sidewalk in the middle of the night in nothing but a pair of boxers and ratty Chucks.  For the first time in a long time, he doesn’t need a bat to feel like he can effect the game.  He’s a powerful player all on his own, at least when it comes to Derek.  It’s… really nice actually.

They end up having sex waist-deep in the water, Stiles biting down on the side of Derek’s hand to keep his broken moans quiet and Derek’s eyes glowing in the dark when he comes.  They saunter back to the loft, tiredly leaning into each other, fireflies humming loudly (yeah, those still exist, migratory pattern forever changed).  Stiles pulls his hood up over his buzzed hair to warm his chilled flesh and tightens the string of the sweatpants hanging low on his hips while Derek grumbles about clothes-stealing sleep haters.

Stiles rolls out of bed after glancing at the clock.  He’s only been out for about twenty minutes before the heat of Derek’s skin woke him again.  He’s not even that close this time but the sheets were pulled up high, trapping the warmth against him.  He pulls on his hoodie, his boxers, yawns himself out onto the balcony.  He sits down on the cold metal railing and hangs his legs down over the side, fumbling for crinkly cardboard and plastic. 

He’s watching the first beginnings of pink hues break out over the horizon when Derek finds him.  He’s on his third cigarette.

Derek slides open the door, scrubbing at his face.  “What are you—Are you smoking?”  He blinks as though he suspects he’s looking at a mirage.

“No,” Stiles says guiltily.  He considers stubbing out the lit cigarette in his hand before deciding, ‘fuck that.’  His smoking doesn’t affect his and Derek’s fucking and considering that’s the foundation of their sexationship, he’s not required to do anything he doesn’t want to.  He waves his hand, rubs it over his shorn hair.  “My fucking roommate,” he says, lips twisting.  “We agreed to be patch brothers, then he comes in smelling of smoke and I found his pack and stole it, like a nicotine-specific klepto but with the sole intention being so he couldn’t backslide, but then I just had a pack of cigarettes,” he shakes them, pack half full and rattling, “and I’m pretty sure if you don’t smoke them, they start forest fires in retaliation or something.”

Derek’s nose wrinkles even as he takes the space next to him.  He mumbles, voice still sleep-laden, “You could find out… by not smoking them.”  He perks an eyebrow, adds, “And since when do you smoke?”

Stiles is in the middle of a deep drag and he blows it out slowly, watches it climb up and up and up and shrugs.  “Off and on for the last two years.  It’s terrible, I know, s’why I keep quitting, but it helps me focus on one thing at a time.  ‘Cause I’m doing something else in addition to the shit I’m thinking about so it helps me think of just that one thing.”

“What are you thinking about?” Derek asks, watching the smoke too, expression impossible to read.

And Stiles really is a dick-shit – which is the graduation from dipshit, obviously – smoking around Derek but it’s too late to pretend he’s better than that now.  “What the fuck I’m going to do with myself,” he says with a deep sigh.  “I mean, I keep finding people in college who have these grand plans and maybe they’ll come to nothing, you know, but they still have a direction to move in and I just—I don’t know.  I’ve never known because I’ve always wanted to do sixteen things at once, so I sabotage myself by failing classes that I could pass in my sleep because I don’t want to keep moving forward if I don’t know what I’m moving towards.”  He gestures with the cigarette towards some unknowable future. “Basically I'm just a gigantic fucking mess.  And I can’t seem to stop disappointing my dad.”

“Your father is prouder of you than I’ve seen any parent be of a child,” Derek says softly, without the slightest bit of hesitation to it.  Stiles swallows because, weirdly, when Derek says it, it's remarkably easy to believe.  Derek frowns a little, quiet for a long moment and says, “I own this building, you know,” because Stiles is having a crisis of confidence and Derek apparently feels this is the time to rub his accomplishments in Stiles’ face.  Not great on social cues, this guy.

Or that’s Stiles’ guess anyway because otherwise why the fuck would that be anyone’s response to that?  He’s about to say as much when Derek finishes his thought. 

“You don’t figure out what you want to do, you come back here, give me blowjobs for rent,” he grins widely but there’s genuineness in his expression, “and you take your time.”

Stiles stares at him for a long moment, wide-eyed.  He leans in and kisses him because that was the right answer and he hadn’t expected Derek to have it.  He’s realizing that Derek is a lot more capable than he ever thought, that he hadn’t been giving him even half the credit he deserved.

Derek kisses back, hungrily, even though Stiles must taste like ash.

Stiles wakes to warm lips pressed to his back but they feel removed somehow, like there’s some barrier to them meeting his skin, more pressure than sensation and then he feels a finger tracing a small circle and snorts.  “How many nicotine patches did you put on me?”

Derek presses his lips to Stiles’ shoulder, his spine, his hip, right over each one of the patches.  He sounds like he’s smirking when he says with faux innocence, “You said you wanted to quit.”

Stiles rolls over, meets Derek’s mouth with his own but not before accusing, “Ass.”  Derek just grins at him and Stiles scrubs knuckles against his cheek.  “Stay like this.  At least with me,” he says, short of breath when he pulls away again.  Derek’s brow furrows and Stiles says, “Don’t be some bullshit zen version of yourself because you don’t think you’re allowed to be angry anymore.  You don’t have to be a nice guy, Derek Hale, because you’re a good one.  That’s better, you know?”

Derek swallows, wraps an arm around his waist and fucks him without letting go of his grip even once.

Stiles scratches at the patch on his bicep until Derek glowers at him and he drags his hand away, brightening when he recognizes the song playing softly on the radio.  He wrenches the dial up, despite Derek’s rules about him touching things in his car, in his loft, on his face, and sings along, tone-deaf and loud, “Are we out of the woods yet, are we out of the woods yet, are we out of the woods yet?”

He maybe adds a few more than T. Swift just ‘cause he likes saying it so much.

Derek grits his teeth, hands tightening on the steering wheel, claws threatening.  “Jesus Christ, Stiles, stop.  You are so obnoxious.” 

“Yes,” Stiles agrees with a sniff, not feeling the least bit bad about it.  Derek’s the one who said he’d pick Stiles up and drive him back when the Jeep broke down and Stiles had canceled their weekend plans.  It’s not like he hadn’t known what he was getting into.  “Also, petitioning for that to be our sexationship break-up song.”

Derek perks an eyebrow, glancing over at him briefly.  “What are you talking about?”

“You know, if we ever have to transition from intercoursing back to friending, this is the song we have to play.”

Derek snorts.  “Taylor Swift?”

Stiles pulls the air freshener shaped like Spongebob Squarepants (that he put there in the first place and that, for some reason, Derek hadn’t shred to bits as soon as Stiles left) from down around the rearview mirror and throws it at Derek’s head.  He catches it before it hits him.  Cheating lycanthrope.  “Screw you, dude, I see that judgmental look.  One, Taylor Swift is always relevant.  Two,” he grins, “this is just more incentive for you to keep intercoursing me forever.”

“You say ‘incentive’ and what I hear is ‘blackmail.’  Huh,” he adds, painfully sarcastic, eyebrows being all judgmental and arch. 

Stiles smiles sweetly at him.  “Hey, we never said blackmail was off the table in this little arrangement here.”

Stiles hasn’t seen Derek in two weeks when he fumbles out his phone and jabs a finger into his contact info (bum chum) after finally dragging himself away from gaping after his date’s back.  He starts talking before Derek can get out his standard, socially stupid greeting of, ‘What.’  “Can you, please, call me back, please, in five minutes, please, with a fake emergency?  Please?”

There’s a pause and then Derek’s suspicious, “Why?”

Ugh.  Worst boink buddy ever.  Why can’t he just say, ‘Yes, and then let’s fuck after?’  Always so unhelpful about everything.  Stiles groans, rushing through the explanation before his horrible, horrible date can return.  He’s going to kill Beckett for this set-up.  Kill, dead, murder, gruesome, unhappy, death.  This one is by far the worst yet.  She was not kidding when she said she was going for readily disposable friends.  “Because I’m on a date with a dude who is so into his Marine Biology major that every time he opens his mouth all I hear is ‘glub glub’ and it’s making me laugh, not gonna lie, but I think he’s talking about the death of his childhood dog so I’m the only one laughing, ya know?”

Truthfully, Stiles had stopped listening around the fifth time the topic circled back to hermit crabs.  Because while he is more sympathetic to tangents than most, that was really, really a bridge too far.

Derek’s quiet for a second before he asks, “What’s the emergency?”  Which means he’s going along with this and that is excellent.

Stiles resists the urge to fist pump to himself, spirits buoyed.  “I’ll leave that to you, big guy,” he quips, before realizing what he just said in his relief.  “On second thought, no, I will not, here’s the emergency—”

“Nope, offer revoked,” Derek says slyly, “my choice now.”

Fucking great, the guy with the worst plans in the history of ever is going to field this one.  Stiles drops his head to the table as he hangs up.

Derek waits ten minutes, long enough for Stiles to be asked the question, ‘Would you rather have gills or fins,’ before saying into his ear, “Stiles, I need you to come suck my dick.  Now.  It’s an emergency.”

Stiles nearly laughs out loud.  Derek’s rarely so forward, chooses action over words any day and Stiles can honestly say he wasn’t expecting it.  He puts on his most sincere frown for Gill McGlub, apologizes profusely and somehow manages not to run out the door.

He’s knocking on Derek’s two hours later.

Derek perks an eyebrow at him but there’s a smile playing around his lips.  “You didn’t actually have to come.”

Stiles makes a faux-scandalized sound as he strips out of his jacket.  “You did say it was an emergency, didn’t you?  Derek, it’s not like you to just catawampus toss that word around.”

“No, it isn’t,” Derek agrees with a smirk, dragging Stiles in by his hip, rucking up his t-shirt, “and I did say that.”

They’re undressed so quickly it’s got to be some kind of world record.  Stiles weirdly wants to do it again, only with a stopwatch this time.  He thinks he still has the one he temporarily misappropriated from Coach.

They’ve been fucking for the better part of a year and Stiles keeps waiting for it to reach ‘nuclear catastrophe’ levels of bad because nothing is flat-out this awesome but it keeps not happening.  Derek’s even hanging out with Scott now and they’re picking out pack together and offering each other weird one-armed hugs when they part company and being real life bronemies.  He’s less quiet now too.  More willing to call Scott stupid when he’s being stupid, more willing to smack the remote out of Stiles’ hand when he tries to make him watch the same episode of Broad City for the third time in a row.  He’s more of the Derek Stiles remembers but less angry, more prone to smiling, just… better.

And Stiles is having a hard time not wanting to be around him.  Like, a lot.  A potentially unhealthy amount even maybe?  But, to his credit, anyone would enjoy watching Derek get stuck in a corner in Halo now that Stiles has taught him how to play video games.  That shit is hilarious

Which means the prolonged absence from Beacon Hills – okay, from Derek, the greatest keister crony to ever exist – is winding him maybe a tad bit tighter than normal.  But finals and being the world’s foremost college newspaper journalist (an undisputed title… because no one besides Stiles cares about their crap school newspaper.  Which still means he’s the best so… point stands) have conspired to make taking a weekend off utterly impossible.

Stiles taps the eraser of his mechanical pencil against his book and says, “It’s times like these that I wish I was a more, ‘assemble a group of unlikely misfits to break into the professor’s office and steal the answers to the final,’ type rather than a, ‘drink too much Red Bull, take too much Adderall, mainline coffee and inevitably fall asleep at six am and nearly miss the exam,’ one.”

His roommate nods from where he’s sitting in the exact same position on his bed that Stiles is on his and says, voice dragging, “I would like it noted that I am an unlikely misfit.  For any future law-breaking shenanigans.” 

Stiles snorts.  “You are too stoned to be of any help, muchacho.” 

“Um.  Fuck you, dude.”  Two Pants reaches up to adjust the hat he took off an hour ago, redirects his empty hand and points at Stiles with an accusing finger.  “There’s a stoner kid in The Perfect Score.”

Stiles considers that, clicking his tongue.  “Shit.  I stand corrected.”

Two Pants twirls his hand smugly, coming down from his forehead to his chest with it, interrupted from fully celebrating his victory by a knock on the door.  It takes Two Pants an extra thirty seconds to react to it.

Stiles is already crossing their tiny dorm room, which is about the size of a closet – a small closet.  He and Two Pants are constantly bumping into each other but still on-campus housing, bitches!  

He’s expecting a package, a stoner, Beckett or delivery Two Pants will’ve forgotten he ordered – the only visitors they ever get – and instead he finds Derek standing in his hallway, looking the slightest bit wrong-footed and fingers spreading at his sides like he’s just unfurled them from fists.  Stiles isn’t ashamed to say he doesn’t even question it, just drags Derek in by the back of his neck and shoves his tongue down his throat. 

It’s been, like, a month since he’s seen or spoken to him in person.  Laughing at him over his Halo headset when Derek keeps either looking down at his boots or up at the sky while other players blow him up with grenades he doesn’t even know are there, while admittedly fun as hell, just doesn’t cut it.

This has easily been the longest they’ve gone without fucking since their sexationaship was formed, when messrs. Stilinski and Hale had signed on the dotted line, sold their souls for some fantastic fellatio and fucking and not looked back, and Stiles means to tell Derek how happy he is that he’s there but his mouth is occupied and his hand’s down the front of his pants.  So, message sent he’s pretty sure. 

Derek doesn’t seem too bothered by the lack of a verbal hello, considering he reacts just as quickly, hands finding Stiles’ waist before sliding up the back of his shirt, thigh slipping between Stiles’.  And, God, is it pathetic or ego-boosting that Stiles is already hard enough to cut glass?  Either way, he’s riding Derek’s thigh like he’s hoping to win some prize money for it.

At least he is until his roommate gives a loud, disbelieving scoff.

Stiles drags his hand out of Derek’s pants with a legitimate groan of sadness.  He leans his forehead against Derek’s temple and huffs out against his scruffy cheek, “I legitimately forgot he was here.”

“Thanks a fucking lot,” Two Pants says snarkily, if a little stretched due to all that day’s pot-smoking.   And, yeah, maybe that’s warranted since they were talking not even five minutes earlier.  He knocks into Stiles’ shoulder as he grabs his jacket off the hook by the door and storms out.

“Sorry, Two Pants,” Stiles says with a beleaguered groan, craning his head around Derek and the door they never even got closed, “come back, come on.  I’m sorry.”  He’s not really and he’s having to chomp down on his lower lip to keep his almost deranged smile at bay.  Derek’s still plastered to his front, hard against his thigh and dragging his nose up his throat.  He looks totally and blissfully unconcerned by anything that isn’t Stiles’ dick.  Beautiful man.

Two Pants spins around in the hallway, jabbing an angry finger between the two of them with a scowl.  “Fuck you and I am coming back tonight so be done at a reasonable time, assholes.” 

Stiles’ smirky smile widens into a grin, now that he’s sure Two Pants isn’t actually mad at him with the way he’s walking backwards and glaring exaggeratedly.  Stiles crows, “Aw, Two Pants, don’t be that way.”

Two Pants taps the sides of his fists together twice – the Ross Geller form of swearing, before whipping back around.

Derek asks gruffly into his neck, tongue flicking out over his pulse point, “Are you calling him ‘Two Pants?’”

Stiles nods, making a throaty sound of agreement as he pulls Derek’s shirt up over his head.  “His name is also Scott,” Stiles tells him, tugging almost ineffectually at the dumb clothes Derek insists on wearing, “that was never going to work, right?”

Derek hums an affirmative, stepping out of his shoes. 

“But I’ve tried to nicknamify ‘Scott’ for years and nothing is as good as taking it plain.  Meaning I needed a to come up with something else asap.”  Stiles helps Derek lift up the shirt that he had put on for some dumb reason that morning.  “Thankfully, the first day I met Two Pants Scott he obliged.  We ended up accidentally running into each other at a frat party we’d both been invited to.”  Stiles hooks his index finger behind the button of Derek’s jeans, tugs him closer.  “He was wasted by the time I got there and he pulled me aside to loudly whisper into my face that he wasn’t worried about party fouls because he had a second pair of pants on and unbuttoned his jeans to show me the Spider-man pajamas underneath.”  Stiles unbuttons Derek’s jeans to find a pair of black Under Armour.  He licks his lips.  “And thus, ‘Two Pants Scott’ was born.” 

Derek lifts Stiles up, thighs around his waist, and falls into bed with him, saying with a snort, “Of course, perfect sense.”  Then his mouth falls to Stiles’ stomach and neither of them talk again for a long time.

Stiles wakes up with Derek’s arm thrown around his middle, head resting in the crook of his neck and body fitted against him from behind.  He whines, wriggling away from him so he can press his back to the cool sheets next to him.  Though there’s not much left that’s been untouched.  The harsh reality being that his bed is about half the size of Derek’s.

Derek snuffles like he’s waking up and Stiles bemoans nasally, “We are idiots, why did we think we should fuck on such a tiny bed?”  He pushes gently on Derek’s chest, trying to get him to scoot to the far side of the mattress.  Though he’s genuinely afraid Derek might already be there.  It doesn’t stop him from whining pitifully, “Get away from me.” 

A sly smirk spreads over Derek’s lips and, instead of moving away, he flattens himself on top of Stiles, saying innocently, “Like this?”

Stiles howls like he’s dying and shoves his fists up into Derek’s chest but it doesn’t lift him at all.  “Derek, stop,” he moans, “I’ll murder you, cut your face off and wear it.”  That face is money and he knows it, he’s not about to let it go to waste.  Leatherface made it work, and Stiles sure as shit has better hand-eye coordination than that dude. 

Derek nods seriously, shifts more fully over Stiles and flops down again.  “I’m fixing it, here, like this.” 

Derek,” Stiles whines.

Something hits the bed and then Two Pants is snapping in a congested sort of voice, “I fucking hate the both of you.” 

Stiles snorts entirely against his will.  “Oh shit, sorry, Two Pants.”   Stiles pushes Derek off of him successfully this time and tosses his jeans at him while he finds a pair of his own.  “We’re leaving,” Stiles promises, turning his glare on Derek, “we have to, you turned my mattress into a fucking hot spring.”  Derek just raises his eyebrows like he has no idea what Stiles might be referring to.  Stiles finds shirts for them too, watches Two Pants drop like a stone back down onto his mattress and Stiles tosses back the pillow he threw at them.  He grumbles his thanks as they drag on their shoes and Stiles tells Derek quietly, “Come on, diner a few blocks over.  You can buy me a milkshake.”

Derek yawns but doesn’t argue, shoves his hands in the pockets of his jeans and only takes them out again to hold the door of the diner open for Stiles.  It’s a short walk and semi-cool so Stiles feels marginally less gross by the time he’s ducking under Derek’s arm.

He orders a burger and a milkshake from Kim, who looks slightly zombified with the way her eyes never really open all the way.  Stiles makes a mental note not to annoy her as there’s a very good chance she can turn him into the living dead should she choose to.  Derek asks for a grapefruit and eggs, because he likes defying basically every expectation ever apparently and Stiles pokes him about his lack of carnivorous instincts.

Derek bares his teeth at him in a slick grin and then knocks his knuckles against the countertop.  He stares at the affixed stools across from their booth, out the window next to his elbow, down at the napkin dispenser and then up at Stiles’ ear and rattles off quickly, “How’s your dad?  Did you choose a major yet?  Have you ever been outside of California?”

Stiles shakes his head, trying to disseminate the questions into separate parts.  He can’t because it makes zero sense for Derek to be asking him any of those things.  “You’re going to have to—What?  Because, seriously, man, what?”

Derek rolls his eyes, but his fingers are twitching slightly around his water.  “You keep making me save you from your disaster-dates.  Have you ever considered that maybe you’re the problem?  Those were standard date questions.”

Stiles’ mouth slowly curves into an impish smile.  “The next time we’re at the loft, I am totally checking your browser history because I’m 100% sure you Googled, ‘standard date questions.’”

Derek’s ears turn slightly red and he glowers.  “I’m trying to help you,” he grinds out finally.

Stiles sits up straighter, intrigued.  “We’re gonna have a pretend date,” he gestures between the two of them, “you’re gonna cure me, are you?  YouDerek Hale—are going to teach me—the Stilinskinator—how to date?  That’s what’s happening now?” 

“Don’t call yourself that.  Ever.  And if you don’t want to—”

“First, I was trying a thing.  You’re right, I didn’t enjoy it either.  We’re striking that from the record.”  Stiles points to a random patron two tables away and says, “Stenographer, read the amended version back, if you please.”  All he gets is a scandalized expression and the woman he’d pointed at burying herself further in her eggs.  Stiles nods like he heard exactly what he wanted to hear.  “Perfect.  Thank you, stenographer.  Second, oh hell no, no taksie-backsies.  This is happening.”

“Good,” Derek says tersely.  “I’m betting the only reason these things go as badly as they do is because you’re completely incapable of sensitivity, patience or attentiveness.”

“Wow.  Fighting words from a guy who consistently gets his ass kicked,” Stiles says with a snort and a roll of his eyes.  He swings himself around the edge of the table, shoves into the same side of the booth with Derek and drags his plate over to his new spot.  “All right, dude, if you’re so sure this is my ineptitude then we are going to start this out the way these things usually do.”  He makes sure that their sides are smooshed together and slurps messily on his milkshake. 

“Why,” is all Derek manages through his gritted teeth, looking wholly uncomfortable.

“Oh!” Stiles says brightly.  “Because the last lovely lass I was attempting to woo sat on the same side of the booth with me.  Meaning this, mon frère, is the new seating arrangement until we inevitably leave here alone, near tears, and wondering what in the hell is wrong with today’s youth.  Technically, I should be sitting on the inside and you should be left-handed because that also happened.”  Derek has the decency to wince.  “We spent all night banging into each other as we awkwardly ate cold chicken and yet!  She still did not relinquish her position of being as close to directly on top of me as possible.”

Stiles looks up at the sound of Kim’s squeaky orthopedic sneakers.  Her head’s down and she’s marking something in her notepad as she makes her way over to their booth to check on their progress.  Stiles watches her glance up, take in their new positions at the table and spin right back around on her heel.

Stiles might be in love with her, despite her zombie diseases and her having at least two decades on him.  What is any of that in the face of how she’s probably his antisocial soulmate?

Derek’s arm chooses that moment to flex behind his neck.  It’s gotten awkwardly shuffled up over his shoulders and he’s holding it stiffly because they’re entirely too close for any of this to be comfortable.  The ball of Stiles’ shoulder is shoved up into his armpit, their thighs are wedged together and every time Stiles reaches for his milkshake, he elbows Derek in the ribs. 

Derek picks his arm up, pulls it into his own body and then threads it between the small of Stiles back and the vinyl of the booth.  It’s squeaky and sweaty and a tight fit, but he manages it.  Then takes the opportunity to smooth his warm palm up the outside of Stiles’ thigh.

Stiles smacks him away before he can get more brazen about it, shoving his face in his burger.  He takes a massive bite and says when the chewing is mostly under control, “Nope.  No fondling.  There is literally no benefit to this first date position.”  He gestures between them with a french fry.  “We’re strangers who are sharing the same breathing air.  Sexy, right?  Prepare for an hour of awkwardly catching eyes, chuckling uncomfortably and trying to pretend like we’re not sweating half as much as we are.”

Derek drags his arm out from behind Stiles and frowns heavily.  “Fine.  Maybe it isn’t you then.”

“How gracious of you to say so,” Stiles simpers back, removing the lettuce, tomatoes and onions from the burger, which had been sneakily hidden above the bottom bun.  Monsters.  He pulls a face as he flicks the vegetables away, crane claw grabs a handful of fries and piles them haphazardly on top of the meat like kindling, drowns the lot of it in ketchup, smooshes the bun back down and takes a bite.  Ketchup squelches out down his arm, fries drop like falling bombs back to his plate and half the burger slides out of its bun-y prison.  

It is a glorious mess and he moans happily at the taste.

Derek looks like he’s considering pretending they don’t know each other.

“See, I could be great at dating,” Stiles says, half-masticated cow hanging out in the pocket of his cheek and rudely contradicting everything he’s saying, “but we’ll never know because everyone’s so much worse I don’t even get a chance to shine or, you know, dull.”

Derek’s quiet for a moment and then he says, “Have you actually decided on a major finally?”

Stiles turns to look at him, which is awkward since they’re right on top of each other so he can really only comfortably see the tip of Derek’s nose.  But that’s not so bad, it’s a good Hale feature.  He gapes a little dumbly, burger almost falling out of his mouth.  “Yeah?” he says thickly.

Derek nods back, slight smile playing around his lips.  “Yeah,” he answers.

Stiles doesn’t have many dates to compare it to, but this is the first one that’s ended with them fucking in the person’s car afterward.  That’s got to register it for award-worthy, at the very least.  It’s so friggin’ close to perfect, ruined only by the fact that Stiles is left lamenting that they didn’t start banging before Derek went and got lame and bought an SUV.  When he comes, it might be with a weepy, “Camaro.”  He admits nothing.

Stiles stares down at his dick but there’s just no cajoling it into another go.  He wants to shout some military commander, inspirational, rallying junk at it but he’s not even sure he has the breath and Derek seems to realize it’s a lost cause at the same time Stiles does.  Comes up and kisses him instead.  Long, lingering kisses because Derek goes bananas for some thorough, tonsil-touching, tongue-sucking kissing and Stiles can still manage that.

He can’t stop making that dumb, contented, “Mmm,” sound he sometimes does but Derek doesn’t seem bothered, lets Stiles’ mouth messily and clumsily meet his, stopping to let their noses brush and to nuzzle into his cheek because Stiles is tired and not too overheated yet and this is nice.  If a bit wolfier than Derek usually gets.

He’s running his palms over Derek’s sweat-slick shoulders, down his spine, thighs still bracketing Derek’s hips even though Derek’s no longer inside him.  Only now that they’re catching their breath is Stiles beginning to feel the wonderful aches and soreness that come from fucking up against a wall and then on hardwood.  Neither were particularly forgiving, but then Derek wasn’t either, ramming him into them.  He’s going to have bruises like whoa in some epically weird places. 

“Like fucking here,” Stiles tells him around a yawn, hands scrubbing into Derek’s sweaty hair, dragging his knuckles over his head in a half-assed massage, “should’ve fucked you through the hole in the wall ages ago.”  Derek snorts and Stiles perks an eyebrow as he looks down at him.  “By the way, don’t think I’m not impressed that the hole in the wall is still here.”

Derek looks back over his shoulder at it, his soft cock resting on Stiles’ thigh and making a shiver dance up Stiles’ spine.  There’s this very unselfconscious naked thing they’ve got going on with each other that Stiles has literally never experienced outside of Derek, not even with Scott.  “Should fix it,” Derek says finally, squinting at it like it’s accusing him of something, “but—”

Something in his expression makes Stiles grab his face and pull it back towards him.  “But what?” 

Derek clenches his jaw, works it like he can’t decide whether it would be worse not to say it and deal with Stiles’ needling or say it and deal with Stiles’ reaction to it.  “Because I can’t finish it until I’m finished.  I can’t fix it until I’m fixed, otherwise what’s the point.”

“That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said.  And you once backed Peter.”

Stiles flicks him in the cheek, forehead crinkling.  Derek snarls at him in surprise and instinctual anger.  Stiles ignores it.

“Seriously?  Seriously.  You don’t get ‘finished,’ Derek.  There’s no ‘finished’ until you’re done personing.  Or werewolfing, whatever.  It doesn’t happen before then because you’re still happening and you’re changeable up to the very last second.  And you don’t need fixing because you’re not fucking broken.  More than that, you were never broken.  You were bad at interacting with humanity in general and you’ve gotten better, which everyone is grateful for, but you were never broken.  If you’re waiting for some Disney moment when you shed your past and can be all shiny and new?  Then you might as well admit failure right now.” 

Stiles wriggles out from under him, getting more and more worked up about this, pulling his knees up to sit cross-legged and stare at Derek.

“And if that is what you’re waiting for?  Then what was the point of that?  What was the point of surviving any of it if you just want to lay it aside and pretend it never happened?  It became a part of you, Derek.  And I like that part.  Because that’s the part that made me a survivor too.” 

Derek looks like he wants to argue that, opens his mouth.  Stiles shakes his head to stop him.

“There’s nothing wrong with you.  I keep trying to tell you that but I don’t think I’ve been clear enough about it.  I like you.  Not new-shiny version you could be if you fundamentally changed everything about yourself.  Old snarly-crabby Sourwolf one.”  Stiles pauses to catch his breath and to drag his head back around to the point, because he’s circling it.  “Final analysis though?  Is that it’s a fucking hole in the wall.  Don’t turn it into a metaphor for yourself because that’s just—that’s stupid.  You’re stupid.  If you want it fixed, then fucking fix it.  If you don’t, then don’t.  But don’t confuse that with—It would be the worst metaphor ever, okay?  Because you really are not broken.  S’nothing to fix.”

Derek’s just staring at him, doing some odd wide-eyed, closed-mouth gawping at him, like he can’t believe any of what Stiles is saying and he’s just so fucking determined to think the worst of himself and Stiles is so over that.  He pushes Derek down onto the hardwood by his shoulder, sucks on his fingers and starts working him open.  “Gonna sex you un-stupid,” he promises, dick already rising to the occasion.  That's how you do it, private(s)!

Stiles knows he’s in a hospital room before he even opens his eyes.  There’s that unsettling scent of death and chemicals that’s profound enough that even non-werewolves are privy to it.  He cracks open his eyelids as carefully as he can.  It’s a mistake and he knows it the second he’s done it, snapping them closed.  His face feels like it’s been pulverized and it’s no longer interested in doing things unless it’s allowed to involve a lot of pain. 

“Are you all right?”

Stiles recognizes the gruff concern without having to open his eyes again and he’s momentarily thrown as to where he is.  He knows it’s a hospital but now he’s much less sure of the city.  “My whole face hurts,” he groans in answer and meticulously takes stock of his injuries.  “And my arm.”  There are little jolts running the length of it, like his muscles are testing themselves to see what still works.  “And my dignity.”  He cracks open an eye again, takes in Derek in all his stiff, broody glory and decides he’s definitely not in Beacon Hills.  He knows those hospital rooms quite well, thanks much, and this is not near as familiar.  “What are you doing here?” 

Derek’s arms are crossed over his chest.  He’s wearing a long-sleeved henley and black sweatpants.  Stiles recognizes it as what he usually sleeps in when they’re not doing the naked tango.  He looks at the edge of the mattress dubiously, like he’s considering sitting on it, but ends up shrugging instead.  “Scott asked if I could drop in on you.”  Stiles tests his face out, scrunching the side that hurts less and quickly decides that he is an idiot because he’s only managed to make it hurt the same amount now.  “I would have thought your dad would be your emergency contact,” Derek says. 

Stiles shakes his head.  Well, more rolls his neck from side to side.  “Always the risk that whatever landed me here might still be hanging around, meaning I’d rather it was somebody with supernatural strength in their back pocket.  I guess I should change it to you, huh?”  He grins and his lips tremble a little over it because his muscles are not ready for the difficult stuff, like expressions.  “Considering you’re way more likely to be where I am these days.  Always on my jock, Derek.”

Derek snorts and that seems to ease him out of his discomfort some.  He sinks down onto the cot like he was never wary of doing so.  “What happened?” he asks tightly, eyes shifting to the IV in Stiles’ arm.  “They found you on the side of the road, smashed up against a tree.”

Baby,” Stiles remembers with a beleaguered groan.

Derek rolls his eyes.  “I’m more interested in the idiot whose face is turning an interesting shade of aubergine than a Jeep that should have ended up in a scrap heap a decade ago.” 

Stiles considers arguing about Derek’s wholly inaccurate description of his Jeep but he has a more pressing concern.  “Seriously.  Who says ‘aubergine?’”

Derek shrugs, casts around for a second and then says deftly, “Brendon Urie.”

Stiles’ jaw drops.  This is what he means by not giving Derek enough credit.  He lifts his good arm, curls heavy, clumsy fingers into the hair at the nape of Derek’s neck, tugging with a soft, “C’mere.”  Derek does and Stiles rewards his pop culture knowledge with a tongue-y kiss.  Which reminds him of how smashed up his face is.  He pulls back with a pinched, “Ow.”

Derek frowns down at him.  “Stiles, what did happen?”

Stiles wrinkles his nose, trying to scratch it without raising his hand before looking back up at Derek.  “Yeah, I’m definitely not telling you that.  You’re going to laugh your ass off.  At my expense.”

Derek rolls his eyes again.  “You could’ve died.  I don’t think I’m going to laugh,” he says, as though he suspects Stiles might’ve gotten brain damage from the crash.

Stiles sinks his chin back into his neck and mumbles, “I thought I saw a cat.”

Derek’s silent for a short moment before he says, deadpan, “You nearly died to save a cat.”  It’s not a question, just a disbelieving statement.

Stiles winces.  “As it turns out… no.”

“A possum?” Derek guesses and he sounds like he’s warring between amusement and immense disappointment in everything Stiles is.

Stiles throws up his good hand.  “It was a cluster of leaves, okay?” he bursts out.  “Which had clearly been designed by some vindictive higher power to look like a poor, defenseless creature and this is what I get for having a soft heart in a cruel world.” 

Derek turns his face away and Stiles can actually see his shoulders shaking.  Prick.

“You’re laughing,” he says sourly, only able to cross one arm.  He can still kick Derek in the thigh though.  And does.

Derek clears his throat, doesn’t look back.  “I’m not,” he says tightly. 

Stiles smacks him in the shoulder.  It’s awkward since he has to do it with his left hand.  “Please, for you, you’re practically guffawing.”  Stiles smacks him again when he doesn’t stop laughing.  “It was a deceptive shadow, you asshole,” he defends, “and I was being a good citizen of the earth by not killing fluffy things!”

“By not killing leaves,” Derek corrects in a strained voice.

“Shut up, I hate you,” Stiles grumbles, rubbing at his shoulder.  Derek pulls his hand away and keeps hold of it, the dip between their thumbs slotting together as his veins turn black.  Stiles drops back onto his pillow and groans happily, “Oh fuck, no, I don’t, you’re amazing and we should get married.”

“We’ll get an Ent to officiate,” Derek says, deadpan again. 

Stiles genuinely isn’t sure whether to punish or reward that comment.  He falls asleep before he can decide.

Derek sticks around, even when Stiles is loopy and on morphine and he says – at least Stiles thinks he says, “I’m not going to fix the wall.”

Stiles smiles widely, asks, “Why not?”  He hopes he doesn’t sound like he’s judging the choice, he’s merely curious as to the reason behind it.  He’s pretty sure on morphine he can’t sound like he’s judging anything so he thinks he’s safe.

“Because I like it,” Derek says, matter-of-factly.  “I thought that meant something, about me, that I did.”

Stiles wrinkles his nose and grins, says, “That’s because you’re not very smart, Derek.  I feel like we’ve talked about that.”

Derek snorts and Stiles feels a thumb rub over his hairline and that’s the last thing he remembers for a long time.  When he wakes up again, Derek is gone and he’s a free man and he’s not sure if any of that actually happened or not.

Stiles has never been to the lumberyard where Derek works but he’s also never had to wait three hours after getting into town to get fucked.  It’s unacceptable and he’s ridiculously horny and Derek should be a worse employee.  Stiles is thinking about filing a store complaint.  The parking lot smells like sawdust and there’s not even, like, an interesting lizard in it to occupy his time.  His phone’s dead, Derek’s nowhere in sight, his dumb car is locked and Stiles walked here from his house.  Bad planning all around.

Derek finally emerges forty-five minute later, mouth breaking into a smile wide enough that Stiles can just see his teeth when he catches sight of him.  Neat.  Derek’s happy to see him, it doesn’t have to send a shiver up his spine the way it does though.  Get a grip, man.

“Hey,” Derek greets, monosyllabic but not glower-y.  It’s an improvement.

Stiles hums under his breath and Derek backs up a step just as he belts out, “All of them had hair of gold, like their mother, the youngest one in cur—” That’s as far he gets before Derek is clapping a hand over his mouth and shaking his head emphatically.  He grins under Derek’s hand, licks his palm and says when his mouth’s released in disgust, “Sang that roughly seventy thousand times in my head while I was waiting.  You have so much mental scarring to make up for.”

Derek’s brows perk and Stiles can’t quite tell if he’s challenging or agreeing when they’re interrupted by a squat woman with gray hair calling across the parking lot, “You’re sure you won’t join us for trivia night, Derek?  We’d love to have you!”

She has that effortlessly warm voice that moms, young and old, have and Stiles leans around Derek to get a better look at her.  He smiles sweetly as Derek tries to wave her off over his shoulder, glaring his angriest and most warningest glare at him.  Stiles isn’t even fazed.  He 110% wants to see Derek do pub trivia with his coworkers, he’d pay money just to get him there.  He hooks his arm through Derek’s quickly and bounds over to the woman in the apron and mega-watt smile.  “What’s this about a trivia night?” Stiles asks in a honeyed voice.

Derek stomps on his toes.

Stiles nearly bites his tongue, grimaces, and glances back to Derek, batting his eyelashes.  “I wanna go.”

“Oh that’s fantastic news,” she says brightly.  ‘Helen’ according to her name tag.

Derek shakes his head, says wearily, “Stiles, no.”

“Stiles, yes,” Stiles quips back before turning around to Helen again, who’s smiling politely between the two of them, looking almost happy for Derek.  Stiles decides on the spot that he adores her.  “Where’s this trivia night?  We’re totally going.”

Helen tells him.  Because Helen is the best thing since wi-fi.

Derek, of course, frowns the whole way there.  Frowns like he’s trying to make it into an art form.  Stiles would feel badly about it but Derek needs social interaction with normies so he knows how to behave out in the world.  He’s sorely lacking when it comes to that skill-set.

Stiles smiles slyly when they pull into the bar’s parking lot.  “You look mega bangable when you pout.”

Derek’s lips start to twitch out of their frown but he drags them back down.  “This is a complete overstep,” he says finally, exasperated and slightly cold.

Stiles rolls his eyes.  “Uh doy.  That’s what I do, that’s what I’ve always done.  You don’t get to act surprised about it now, and I’m not going to be sorry for it either.  You know who I am, don’t try to make me feel bad about it.”

Derek’s frown is more apologetic, less angry now and his hand is reaching across the space between them before he drops it.  Sourly.  “I cannot believe I almost fell for that.”

Stiles cackles.  “I can.”

“You don’t get to act like an asshole and then turn it around on me for calling you out on it,” Derek decrees.

“Um, I do for as long as it works.”  Derek rolls his eyes and Stiles sobers a bit.  “Okay, listen, I did genuinely want to meet the people you work with.  It sucks you don’t want to hang out with them but don’t decide in advance that you’re going to hate it.  You might even, dare I say it, have – dun dun duhhhnn – fun.”

Derek raises an unimpressed eyebrow.  “And if I don’t?”

Ugh, Negative Nancy much?  “If you don’t then I rim you ’til you come all over yourself later,” Stiles says sweetly, baring his teeth in Derek’s face in a parody of a smile.


Helen waves them over nearly as soon as they walk through the door, beaming.  Stiles loves her.  Next to her is a girl near Stiles’ age with a nose ring and red hair.  She looks like she might be mean and Stiles is genuinely disappointed the seat next to her is occupied.  This one by a stringy guy in his forties who seems nice enough.  Their last member is a tiny girl who’s shorter than Helen even, has bright blues and a nervous energy about her.  They’re introduced as Jess, Lowell and Sarah.  Derek grunts a greeting but Stiles enthuses his and gleefully takes the seat next to Helen of the two that she’s saved for them.

Derek doesn’t take his hands out of the pockets of his jacket for the first fifteen minutes and Stiles somehow winds up with three empty beer glasses next to his elbow in that same time allotment and realizes he needs to slow the fuck down.  He’s pleasantly buzzed by the time the game starts and he’s wrong eight times out of ten that first round.  Luckily, Derek knows all the right answers and Stiles blinks at him blearily, reminding himself that this is not a surprise.  He keeps meaning to throw credit at Derek since he’s never given him enough.  This is just Derek proving he’s deserving of all of it.

By the second round, there’s red high in Helen’s cheeks from her own drinking sprint, Lowell has spread out like an unfolding tent, Jess still looks bored with everything that’s happening and Sarah is proudly chirping out her answers, ten thousand percent more confident than she had been when Stiles first met her.  He has mostly given up on answering anything himself and is instead focusing on cheering and drinking, as well as saying Derek’s answer louder to the rest of the group since he tends to just mutter the right one while everyone else quibbles.

By the third round, Stiles elbows him in the side instead of letting him keep to his loner corner and Derek’s actually talking to his coworkers about things and he doesn’t look the least bit like he’s in the middle of the most unpleasant dental exam known to man.  Stiles keeps smiling stupidly at him, only to pull himself out of it when he notices Derek’s askance looks back at him.  Then he causes random distraction by high-fiving people around the table and saying things like, “Oh my God, Sarabellum with another five points.  You are an unstoppable thinking machine.”

Sarah stares at him wide-eyed and blinks owlishly before crowing, “I call that my nickname forever.  Everyone heard it.  It’s mine.  Forever.”  Jess actually snorts and Stiles thinks he’s finally figured out why she’s here, the way her eyes keep sliding over to Sarah before snapping away.

Stiles utterly misses the next question but Derek leans across him, taps the paper Helen is writing on and says smartly, “It’s Ancona.”

Stiles blinks at him and Derek stops his retreat, head tilting in question.  “How are you so good at bar trivia?” Stiles demands.

Derek says flatly, lips twitching, “I read.”

Stiles pokes him in the cheek.  “I can’t believe you look like this and you’re also a total nerd.”  Derek sits back in his chair and Stiles tells him firmly, “We’re stopping by a drug store on our way back to yours.  You’re fucking me in hipster glasses tonight, bucko.”

A slow smile spreads across Derek’s mouth and it gets so wide that it completely fills out his cheeks.  Stiles isn’t sure he’s ever seen him smile like that before.  “You’ve had a lot to drink,” Derek says, much more quietly, “which means you’re a lot louder than you think you are.”

Stiles considers this, lowers his voice, tucks his head up near Derek's and says in a loud, slow whisper, “Luckily, I’m speaking in code.” 

Derek freezes for a second and then he laughs.  Stiles totally made Derek laugh.  Stiles is funny as balls.  He fist pumps to himself and then promptly loses the thread of things in favor of leaning as far back in his chair as he can to see if he can keep his balance.  He has a death grip on the table and he's just suffered through his most precarious wobble when he hears Helen say apologetically to Derek, “I am sorry if we pulled you away from plans you had with your boyfriend.”

It takes Derek a long moment to respond and then it’s with a halting, awkward, “He’s, uh, not—”

Stiles slams back down on all four legs and grins at Helen.  “I’ve trained him up right.  He knows to defer to the boyfriend when the boyfriend decisively decides things.  And the boyfriend wanted bar trivia night.”

Helen smiles warmly at them.  “Well, the both of you are certainly always welcome.”

Stiles feels Derek’s hand on his back, a quiet thank you and he leans into the touch.  He’s still reveling in it when he's informed by loud cheers that they’ve won the thing.  And they get shirts.  Absolutely everyone, even Derek and Jess, are wearing them when they part ways in the parking lot.  He and Helen and Sarah hug.  Helen hugs Derek too, expression set and not to be deterred.  Derek awkwardly pats her back and tolerates it.

Stiles is struggling with the still-locked car door when Derek catches up to him, pulls his hand away and holds it in his own.  He pulls Stiles around, squeezes Stiles’ fingers and says softly and with a small smile, “Hey. Right up there with seat belts and gravity.” 

Stiles genuinely doesn’t have the slightest idea what that means and can only get out a dumb, “Huh?”

Derek’s smile widens and he snorts, tugging Stiles away from the door so he can open it for him with a muttered, “Come on.”

Stiles narrows his eyes on him – suspicious of all this niceness.  He watches hawk-like as Derek makes his way around the car, his own body halfway in and says, “Don’t forget about the drugstore, because I definitely have not.”

Stiles has – pause for fanfare – kind of, sort of figured out this dating thing.  He actually is having real interaction with people other than werewolves and having sex with people other than Derek.


On both the werewolf and Derek fronts.  And Stiles finds himself texting Derek as soon as his newest conquest has left: Fucking people without supernatural strength is a little underwhelming now.

What do you mean you can’t hold me up against a wall for half an hour?

Derek replies almost two hours later.  Somehow he has a succinct sounding bite even through text.  You must feel unfulfilled after that.  I know how to rectify that.

Stiles grins stupidly and overzealously texts back: Meet me halfway?

Derek does.

Stiles smacks his hand down into the tile, hard, and comes to with a pained snort.  He’s halfway off his bed, his torso hanging down over the side and his fingers formerly next to his phone, which is what had vibrated, scared the bejesus out of him and made him crack every bone in his hand.  Or that’s what it felt like at least.  He fumbles the still-buzzing phone up to his ear, pressing answer on the way there.  Derek’s voice asks, “Stiles?”

“Wassup?” he slurs out, still sleep-stupid and, holy hell, his voice sounds like it’s been ground into gravel.  “Shit,” he adds weakly, “what time is it?”

Derek doesn’t answer, just says more urgently, “Stiles.”

Stiles blinks five or twenty times and stifles a yawn.  “Derek.  Hey, hi, how goes it?” 

Derek swallows audibly across the line and then says stiffly and emotionlessly, “I.  I have to stop.  Doing this.  With you.”

Stiles sits up without even having to awkwardly struggle into it, simultaneously more and less capable than he ever has been in his life.  He feels like adrenaline is flooding every inch of him even while he’s sitting perfectly still.  “This?  You mean you don’t want to have sex with me anymore?”  That suddenly feels like a shallow analysis of what’s actually happening between them.

“No,” Derek says.  Then: “Yes.” 

Stiles’ throat clicks when he swallows.  “Getting some mixed messages, bud.”  He feels like he’s reading off a script somehow, the words are there but the feeling isn’t.

“Yes,” Derek says and Stiles can’t read anything in his tone, it’s oddly blank, “we need to—I can’t do this with you anymore.”

“Okay,” Stiles says.  Because there’s no other answer, not really.  “Did you meet someone?”


“You want to give me a hint?” Stiles says helplessly.

“No,” Derek says again, just as empty as he had the first time.

“Okay.”  Stiles takes in a deep breath, hand clenching and unclenching on his knee.  “Fair enough.  Are we still—we’re good though, right?”  He sounds strained.  “I mean, did I do something to—”

“No,” Derek’s quick to answer that one, “you didn’t do anything. We’re fine.”  Stiles isn’t sure he believes him.  Either way, it doesn’t offer any sort of relief.

“Okay,” he says again but Derek’s already hung up.

Stiles doesn’t go to class for the next few days, gets high with Two Pants and finally says the words out loud, “Dude, I gotta admit, I feel a lot like I just got dumped.”

Two Pants clicks his tongue, points a finger at him and then tries to wink, which just consists of him blinking one eye at a time.  “That would be because you just got dumped,” he says sagely.  Stiles thinks he might be on mushrooms, it’s making all of his movements exaggerated.  “Out of nowhere, too.  Like, oh we’re happy, what, super goo—then a clown with, like, eight spider arms beats you to death with a lobster that’s still alive and pinching you whenever you leave yourself open for it.  It was brutal.”

Vivid, Stiles thinks before pointing out the ever-so-important fact: “It was a sexationship.”

Two Pants goes a little bug-eyed and then nods once agreeably.  “If ‘sexationship’ means: ‘we’re super, disgustingly in love to the point where we make other people uncomfortable and don’t even notice and want to bang forever and have each other’s babies,’ then yes.  I’m not up on my Stiles-ian slang so I can’t be too sure but that’s literally the only definition that would be accurate.”

Stiles’ head thunks back into his wall, bong forgotten between his calves.  That’s not—he’s not—there’s no way that—except there is because he is.  Shit.  Shit.  Stiles was into Derek.  Is into Derek. That’s why he’s taking this so hard.  Because he would’ve been perfectly happy to just keep buddy-banging Derek for the rest of forever.  He didn’t need to change the terminology so long as Derek kept allowing him exactly everything people in relationships had.  And Derek had happily done that.

Well isn’t all that just really fucking lame and predictable.  He’s the Kate Hudson character in a movie he wouldn’t even watch on an airplane if the headphones were free.  Fuck.  He’s a cliché, and not even a good one.  “Oh,” he says blankly and his eyes are starting to burn.  He swipes at them before Two Pants can notice it.  “Well at least now I know why he broke it off,” he adds with a humorless laugh.

Two Pants looks up from the lighter he’s staring at, flips the lid closed, gets distracted by the movement of it, shakes his head and looks up at Stiles again, pointing at him with the rest of his fingers curled around the lighter.  “Dude, no, opposite,” he says, mirroring an ‘a ha’ type exclamation.

“What?” Stiles says tiredly.

“He didn’t break it off because he thought you were too into it.  He broke it off because he was too into it and he thought you just wanted to bang.”  Two Pants does some complicated, victory-conveying arm movements.  “This is literally every romantic comedy ever written and I am the wise, sage owl with the Tootsie pop,” he says in an awed tone of voice, touching his index finger to his temple, “and you are the doofus with the, uh, um, you know, the kaleidoscope—”

“Yep, that’s definitely it,” Stiles says with a huff of a laugh, hope starting to rise in him against his better judgment. 

Two Pants doesn’t seem to hear him he’s so deep in it.  “And this is the climactic moment when you go to your beau and tell him pink, heart-shaped things and what happened in that airport bathroom and then the credits roll.”  He wiggles his fingers down like he’s pantomiming a curtain of rain.  “I am relationship Yoda, aren’t I?  This is—I am doing so well because I am so getting it all right.”  He’s grinning widely, so obviously proud of himself.  “No, listen,” he says, and Stiles isn’t sure who he thinks he’s arguing with, “I think I might be eligible for that MENSA shit because the shit connects, you know?  It all connects.”  He holds out his arms at his sides and adds, “I feel like Rainbow Brite right now.”

Stiles snorts, says, “Fuck, you are so high,” he licks his lips, puts the bong aside and scoots to the edge of his bed, “and I cannot believe I am taking your advice.”

Two Pants ‘rahs’ for himself and fist pumps a little excessively.  “As long as you’re taking it, mon bro.”  He calls after Stiles when he’s mostly out the door, “Go get him, Spider-man!”

Really probably should not be taking his advice.

Stiles has bitten down all of his fingernails by the time he finally gets up the nerve to text Derek.  He’s been crafting it for the last half hour and finally hits ‘send.’  Hey, I’m coming into town and I seem to remember us promising that we’d stay friends so… are we at the seeing each other stage yet?  Never mind that he’s already in town, has been for at least a few hours, and has been sitting on the‘Beacon Hills Preserve’ sign for the last fifteen minutes.

Derek texts back two minutes later.  Drop by whenever, if that’s what you want.

It’s frustratingly vague on what his feelings about that might be.  Stiles chews his lower lip and goes for broke.  No, dude, we had a deal.  You know where we have to meet.  Be swift about it.   Hopefully that’s enough of a clue.

Derek shows up within five minutes and if he’s surprised that Stiles is already there, he doesn’t show it.  He looks—he looks really fucking good.  He’s scowling and suspicious but he’s here.  He’s even more well-groomed than usual too, beard shorter than the last time Stiles saw him, white shirt perfectly white and in jeans that aren't even wrinkled.  Stiles is sure he looks homeless in comparison.

The only thing they seem to have in common is how tired they both look.

Stiles grins at him, feeling shaky, and fumbles with his phone, saying, “Hang on, got this.”  He hits play and Taylor Swift sings, Looking at it now, it all seems so simple.

Derek’s mouth pulls up on one side in an agreeable smirk and Stiles’ smile actually softens, becomes something more genuine and, in that moment, a lot of his fear drains out of him.  Because Derek is still his friend, as shit at that as they are.  Even if this doesn’t work out the way he’s hoping it will, they’ll still have this.

Stiles hops down off the sign’s edge, still unable to quite bring himself to meet Derek’s eye and says, “Hey, so, I wanted to ask you something?”

Derek raises both eyebrows, waiting.

“Is there any way you’d want to date me in an exclusive, you’re my one and only boyf kind of way?  Oh my God, I apologize for just saying ‘boyf’ just then,” Stiles points behind him like he can put his finger on it while he physically shakes off that random and terrible slang with an awkward grin, “but at least it wasn’t ‘my boo,’ so it could’ve been worse.”  He doesn’t give Derek a chance to agree and he starts pacing like he’s making his case in a courtroom, thumbs behind the collar of his plaid overshirt.  “I know I’m not exactly the most dazzling option, I have no idea what I want to do with my life and I’m more of a flee-r than a confront-er, I sometimes smoke and I’m probably going to make you wear hipster glasses, like, a lot."  He turns to look at Derek to drive that one home.  Because it’s super true.  His stupid serious face doesn’t give anything away though and Stiles bravely soldiers on.  “I also plot your death every time I fall asleep next to the lava monster-ness that is you and I’m insensitive to the point where I almost think it’s my own personal version of Tourette’s?  There’s also that thing where I’ve never had a serious relationship before so I have no idea what I’m doing.  But,” he holds up a damning finger, crucial evidence reached, “my résumé does consist of a casual sexationship where I developed mega-ultra-feelings, and I say ‘developed’ but what I really mean is ‘realized feelings that had probably always been there,’ for the guy so I’m pretty sure I can do serious.  At least with that guy.”

He turns to gauge Derek’s reaction, case presented, and tries to look like he knows he’s gonna win it.

Derek still looks all casual-cool until it cracks just a tiny bit and he clears his throat and says, “Did you find all my info at Kinkos and copy it because that’s cheating, Stiles.”  Stiles grins stupidly at him and Derek hesitantly grins back.  “You don’t make me feel like who I am isn’t good enough ,” he says after a while, almost angrily, “like I need to evolve.  I don’t have to be better or different or shiny or new.  I—I do things with you, things I wouldn’t do without you because there’s so little that’s worth doing if you’re not there.”  Derek looks up at him, gazes caught and intense.  “I was the one who said I couldn’t have anything with you only to realize I had everything with you.”

“Honestly,” Stiles says dumbly, “that was romantic as shit, but I’m stuck on ‘Derek Hale knows what Kinkos is.’”  Derek glowers at him and Stiles quips happily, ”I will never be able to integrate that you do regular human shit into my worldview.”  They should be kissing by now, Stiles thinks.  Kate Hudson would be kissing by now.  But, weirdly, he’s kind of happier just giving Derek a bunch of shit and knowing he can take it, that he can dish it back.  That Derek still trusts him enough to know he doesn’t really mean it.

“I have no idea why I’ve landed on you,” Derek says but he’s grinning so Stiles can see his teeth and the look in his eyes says that’s not true.

“Me neither,” Stiles says back.  He’s lying too.  He knows exactly what it is about Derek.  He takes a few careful steps towards Derek and offers, “Pretty sure this is, like, best decision though.”

Derek perks an eyebrow but he can’t keep up the charade and devolves into smiling again.  He hunches up his shoulders, says vaguely, “Right up there with seat belts and gravity.”