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I.

"No,"

"But Derek-!"

"I said no Stiles, I'm not going to pledge myself as some kind of... chaperone so we can drag a bunch of underage kids over the state line," Derek insisted as he shoved a pitcher of lemonade back in the fridge

"Ok, first of all, it's only FOUR people who still need permission so I'd hardly call that 'a bunch', second of all you make it sound like they're twelve or something, Malia is seventeen and the others are sixteen- well... Hayden is maybe still technically fifteen, I actually have no idea but you get the point, and third of all this is a pack bonding trip, they have to come!" Stiles huffed back

Derek rolled his eyes, setting the glass of lemonade he had poured earlier in front of Stiles and watching as the he chugged half of it down

"I don't care Stiles, I'm not going to be held responsible for a bunch of kids that I don't even know, you're eighteen now, you vouch for them,"

"Yeah I'm eighteen as of like last MONTH, there's no way they're gonna trust a freshly made adult with their kids, you're- ... what? Twenty-four now? Any parent would trust a twenty-four-year-old as a chaperon before an eighteen-year-old! Besides you're pack so you're gonna be there, what's the big deal?"

The werewolf swallowed, clutching the edge of the counter tightly under his hands

"I don't want to be responsible for someone else's kids Stiles, I don't want to be responsible for other people,"

He omitted the "again" but he felt it must have been heard anyway as Stiles went suddenly still, looking down and fidgeting with his hands

"Derek... please? We... they NEED this Derek, we need to be closer so that what happened at the beginning of senior year doesn't happen again, we can't let people get between us and this is gonna help, I know you... we need teamwork and the closer we feel to eachother the more we'll trust eachother when it counts, right?"

He really didn't want to admit to Stiles being right but...

He let out a low groan, running his fingers through his hair

"You're coming with me," he demanded

Stiles beamed, nodding in agreement and downing the rest of his lemonade before darting towards the door and grabbing Derek's jacket for him

Convincing the parents of the newest pack members that it was 100% safe for a twenty-four-year-old stranger and a few eighteen-year-olds to drag their kids across the city line to a comic book convention for nearly a week hadn't been easy...

But it had worked

Malia and Liam's parents were already used to the strangeness that had been going on for the last year and more than that were used to Stiles

Hayden and Mason's parents had been much more reluctant but had eventually given into Derek's lies and charms and it all ended in eventually getting their permission

"If you people expect me to drive we leave EARLY so we don't hit traffic, eight A.M. got it?" he huffed as he started up the Toyota

"Can we get donuts on the way for breakfast? I swear we won't get frosting on your seats," Stiles hummed, bouncing eagerly as he stared across at Derek

The werewolf sighed, adjusting the rearveiw mirror and starting out of the driveway

"I don't care... and we're taking a rental car, no way we're fitting this many people in one little car,"

"Aye aye Captain," Stiles said with a wink

Derek rolled his eyes, but let his lips settle into a slight smile at the thought of getting actual bonding time with the pack

Even if the road trip next month would be absolute and certain hell

 

II.

"I said no Scott,"

"Derek PLEASE!! You know I wouldn't be asking if I didn't really need this!"

"I don't care! This is a terrible idea, it's only going to end badly," Derek sighed as he sank against the couch

"Derek they're puppies! How can you say no to puppies!?" Scott cried

"Because it's a bad idea, for one thing I don't have time to nurse three puppies back from the brink of death, do you have even the SLIGHTEST idea of how long it takes just to nurse ONE to health? And for another thing I'm.... this place is a bad choice Scott, take them to someone else, some place safer, every evil thing in the country seems to seek out my loft and those dogs will just get in the way," he bit back

Scott's lip started to tremble before he pulled it into a straight line as his expression hardened

"They're puppies Derek, you can put aside whatever it is and help them! I don't have anyone else who can provide 24-hour care-!"

"And you think I can!?"

"Yes! It'll be fine, Derek, there's no place safer, they'll.... they'll be safe with you," there was a pause, neither of them speaking before Scott gave in

"I trust you,"

With a loud sigh and a defeated look, Derek leaned back and held out his arms as Scott crossed the short distance between them and placed the box in his lap

The scent of death was still heavy around the little creatures as Derek stared down into the box, they had been so close to not making it before someone found them and took them to Deaton

The druid had managed to get them back a little closer to life, out of the red zone, but they were still extremely weak and even the vet couldn't focus all of his attention on them all the time

The decision had been left in Scott's hands, either he would have to find someone who could care for them 24/7 until they were atleast eight or nine weeks old (a good two or three weeks from now if Deaton had been right about their age) or keep them at the clinic and let fate take it's course

For Scott, it hadn't been a decision at all

"Do they have names?" Derek asked after a beat of silence, watching the smallest- the runt- shiver in the corner

He didn't care what Deaton or Scott may have to say about nature, he reached down and scooted the tiny puppy back against the other two and curled the edges of the towel at the bottom of the box around them in some poor symbalance of warmth

"No, I figured whoever kept them could name them," Scott shrugged back

Derek wrinkled his nose and gave a sigh

"Call Stiles, we'll each name one," he muttered, not giving any room for argument as Scott picked up his phone

"Why Stiles?" he asked as his fingers flew across the keypad

"Because if you really think I'm doing this ALL by myself you're insane, you and Stiles are helping me- you, because you started this, and Stiles, because there's no way in hell he's actually going to pass up the chance to co-raise puppies,"

Ofcourse, he considered, Kira probably wouldn't either, but Kira would atleast be understanding, Stiles would probably be personally offended if he didn't get to name one of the dogs and Scott did

"True," Scott mumbled, setting his phone aside after sending the text off and going to peer at the puppies over Derek's shoulder

He was practically radiating happiness and Derek couldn't help but lean into it a little bit... just a little bit...

"You two are coming with me to pick out dog stuff, I don't know what they need,"

"Ok,"

"Can Kira babysit wile we're gone?"

He was just assuming here but he doubted dogs this young and sick should be out at a pet store surrounded by noise and the atmosphere and germs

"I think so, I'll text her in a sec,"

"Alright,"

There was another comfortable pause as the biggest of the puppies yawned and stretched, pushing the middle one in the side as he squirmed around

"Are you going to keep them?"

Derek inhaled, watching the middle one retaliate by kicking both siblings in the sides as the runt grumbled

"If you think I'm going to spend the next three weeks without sleep to take care of these dogs and then just dump them on someone else you've lost your mind,"

Scott beamed and Derek shifted uncomfortably

It wasn't really that he WANTED to be responsible for another life form- much less three because God hadn't that gone well last time?- but...

If he was their only chance.... the only CHOICE....

He couldn't feel right about pouring his heart and soul into them only to give them away, to kick them out, abandon them again, later on

It was picking at a scar that was still much too fresh, much too raw, and much too aching for Derek's liking, but he swallowed his emotions down and set the box in Scott's hands

"I'm going to get them a blanket,"

It was the least he could do

 

III.

"We need your help,"

"No,"

"Derek please? We really need help..."

"I don't care,"

The werewolf couldn't help but hiss as Lydia stomped her heel down on the floor of the loft and he cringed up at her

"Don't pretend you don't know exactly why we're here Hale,"

He pursed his lips, glancing at the playpin in the corner and feeling dread sink into the pit of his stomach as the little mound of blankets started squirming

"Don't wake up my dogs Lydia," he grumbled

He saw Malia's mouth twitch in the corner, probably trying to keep from bursting into laughter because yes, Derek had just backtalked Lydia Martin because he didn't want her to wake his puppies up from their mid-evening nap

God he needed help with his life....

Lydia just smirked, tilting her weight and putting her hands on her hips

"Look, we wouldn't come here if it wasn't absolutely necessary, but we need your help, senior prom is in three hours, our salon overbooked and we ended up getting the short end of that equation, you're our only option,"

Derek sighed heavily

"I don't care, why? WHY am I your so-called only option?"

"Because the only other people we know are going to the prom too, and they're, you know, mostly boys? We can't just... I mean... it's just wrong..." Kira stammered awkwardly

And alright, Derek did feel a little bad for her, but COME ON

"Your parents?" he tried

"If you think our FATHERS know what they're doing you are DEAD wrong," Hayden commented

"My mom is chaperoning so she's already at the school working on last-minute things and Kira's mother is unavailable, look, we know you're skilled with this, Cora TOLD us,"

"Cora? When did you talk to Cora?" Derek frowned deeply

"This morning, we keep in touch, anyway she told us you're sort of a master at this sort of thing..." Lydia smirked slowly

Derek just groaned louder

Cora.... the traitor....

"So... what? You thought you'd just show up here unannounced and I'd automatically be up for doing your hair and nails so you could go have fun at a party wile I sit at home all night giving medicine to sick dogs?"

"And our make up," Malia threw in

"You could... um.... chaperone?" Kira offered with an awkward grin

Derek made a face at the idea and stared at the gaggle of girls, he barely knew most of them- didn't even recognize one in fact, she must have been part of Lydia's ex posse.... although she did look decidedly nervous, maybe she was new to the pack...

"Derek please? You're all we have, we need you," Kira appealed again

One long moment to reevaluate his life choices later and he was directing them on where to sit, asking who needed what done, and grimacing at the dress bags that were being dragged in by the nameless shy girl who, he was determined, he would eventually learn the name of before the night was over

He wasn't exactly PROUD that he knew how to curl hair without over or under doing it

Or that he could blend foundation and blush effortlessly

OR that he actually argued with Malia because no no no that shade of pink would NOT look good with a blue dress what was she THINKING?

He wasn't happy with himself at all, honestly, and he had to take a break wile the girls were drying their nails for the puppies to have their third feeding of the day

Atleast Kira had helped once her nails were dry though, if, you know, cooing to the puppies and holding them wile Derek actually fed them counted as helping

He never knew something so stupid could be so exhausting but by the time they left- with actual, sincere thank yous from most of them- he was crashed out on the couch and never wanted to see another teenager for as long as he lived

The door opened

A puppy hiccuped

Derek considered sobbing

"I'm not doing your make up Stiles," Derek grumbled

Stiles blinked, looking around in confusion

"Um, what?"

"It's prom," Derek sighed as he sat up

"O-Oh... um... yeah, Lydia told me about that,"

Ofcourse she did

"I mean, that was awesome of you by the way, I wouldn't have done that unless you paid me probably," he added

Derek doubted that

Stiles wasn't nearly the careless jerk he pretended to be

"You're a horrible liar," Derek sighed as Stiles hummed and trotted over to see the puppies

"Stiles?"

"Yeah?"

"What are you doing here? It's prom night, shouldn't you be ... you know... at prom? You aren't even dressed up,"

Stiles shrugged, not looking away from the playpin

"Prom is a social construct designed for popular people to make unpopular people feel small, everybody's got a date and just go to show off their relationship and dance- neither of wich I'm good at,"

"So what's your point?"

"My point is I'm not interested in prom, everybody's got a date except me and I'm not too interested in anybody at school so I don't even care, I don't want to show up to some stupid dance all alone, not really my idea of a fun time, so... I'd rather hang out here, with you, and the puppies, eating pizza and binge watching something you haven't gotten to see due to the general sadness of your life,"

Derek sat up a little straighter, eyebrows raised at him

"That's your idea of a good time?"

"Hell yeah!" Stiles grinned, flashing two DVDs out from behind his back and waving them at Derek

"Penny Dreadful or How To Get Away With Murder?"

Derek smiled slightly and moved more to one side of the couch as he grabbed the phone

"Your prom night, your choice, meat lover's pizza?"

"You know it!"

It was nice

It was quiet

It was... well... Derek wasn't too sure what it was actually....

It was something

 

IIII.

"Are you serious?"

"Derek please-"

"No! This is a HORRIBLE idea and you can't really be trying to get me to go along with it!" he snapped

"He needs our help!" Malia shouted

"I don't care! I'm not doing this again!"

Malia's eyes narrowed and her lips pressed into a line

"What do you mean 'again'?"

"It doesn't matter," Derek grumbled, leaning over the counter and taking a deep breath, trying to keep himself calm

"It's just for a few days," Liam insisted

"A few days... until what?" Derek huffed back

"Until .. well... I don't know, until we find his other relatives or something, but an evil faery killed his mom and .. we can't just leave him all alone after that!" Malia shouted again

"It's a bad idea, getting a human involved in this even more than he already is, you don't have to leave him alone but you can't keep him here,"

"Why can't you just bend a little bit? He needs our help! Why are you being so... so mean!?"

Derek flinched and inhaled deeply, eyes squeezed shut as he did, not having the time to answer before the door slid open and Stiles crossed in with a stranger- a teenager, the one they had been discussing- trailing faithfully after him

"So do we have a decision yet?"

Liam and Malia gave stares to Derek, death glares sort of, before he finally allowed his shoulders to slump in defeat

Everything in him screamed that this was wrong, shouted about what happened the last time he let some kid live with him even for a short time...

But as soon as he had looked up and seen the kid staring at him from behind Stiles....

Any last shred of resolve completely caved...

"I'll sleep on the couch," he muttered to himself, pushing off of the counter and motioning for the kid to follow him further into the loft

 

V.

"Come on, he didn't mean it,"

"I don't care Stiles,"

"Yeah and I don't have to be a werewolf to know that's a big fat lie,"

Derek licked his lips but didn't say anything, he just started wishing he could get to Stiles' window without killing himself tripping over all the books and various random objects strewn haphazardly about

"Derek I'm sorry... you know Liam's new to all of this, he doesn't know any better, and I mean... you were kinda that distant uncle that only sent postcards on birthdays and stuff for most of his werewolfy lifetime,"

It was an awkward kind of comfort at best and Derek wasn't buying it at all

"Stiles, it's fine, I'm fine, I don't care,"

Stiles sighed heavily, pushing Derek down on the bed without even needing any effort to do so

"It's not FINE, and you do CARE, Derek, you care, stop trying to pretend you don't, I saw you ok? I saw your face when Scott said you were pack, you were practically PREENING, and then... he didn't mean to shoot you down, but it doesn't even matter what a beta says does it? Scott's the Alpha, he decides who's pack and who isn't right?"

Derek shook his head, gripping the sheets tightly under his hands

It wasn't that simple, not that cut and clear, for a minute there, when Scott had first explicitly said Derek was invited on their pack bonding trip- "Pack, just pack, that means you'd better be there Derek, not cutting out at the last minute"- he had really ... believed that he was actually pack

And then Liam had asked- "Derek's pack? Are you sure?"- he was just... just crushed....

It wasn't a mean thing to say, it wasn't malicious or anything

It was an innocent question and Derek found himself looking out at the pack as they were and .... aching...

Three people who didn't know him at all, two who barely knew him- more through conversations and the few moments that he had been called upon for assistance- and more relationships he really wasn't even sure of...

He looked around at the pack, this pack that Scott had built, and it made him a little sick

Only three people left who had been there at the start, who actually... KNEW him...

Only two people left who had ever tried with him, who he felt bonded to for better or worse, who he could breathe with and give himself to if things got bad- like... really bad....

Only one person left who knew him inside and out without even trying to, but who had just... bonded to him the way pack should always naturally bond to eachother...

It had all come rushing back to him, how for a fleeting moment in time he had started scraping a pack back for himself, how for that breif, tiny moment he had so MUCH, he had three loyal betas and a shakey fourth

He had more or less inherited his uncle's beta even if it was against his will and that had brought three "human" betas in with him with varying degrees of fondness towards them

Even if he would have been hard pressed to admit it at the time, Derek could have worked with that

He could have reeled himself in and soothed Scott down until he was won over

He could have sucked it up and bowed down to the great and almighty Lydia Martin if she had just stepped up to him and waited for it

He could have even braced himself and swallowed down his feelings about Allison, in the beginning, before things REALLY got bad, and ... for Scott, he could have tried to give more of himself to her, it would have taken ages but he had liked Allison in an objective way

Later on, when the blood bath was a little less bloody, in that one breath of calm they had when no one was dieing, he had seen the dimples and watched her paint and he had thought to himself that he could see how Scott was so enthralled with her

And Stiles?

Stiles he could have had everything with, maybe, if Stiles had let him

At the very least he could have been Stiles' closest freind besides Scott, he could've been his banter-partner and that always had to count for something

He could have been his partner in crime...

Or, well, crime solving...

He had flashed back for that moment to the way things had almost been, how he had almost held a tangible pack in his hands and almost HAD it...

And then he was suddenly staring back at all of the new faces, inhaling all of the different scents, and realizing that he wasn't part of this like he had been part of that

As much as he wished they could have blended, they never could have and his entire pack was gone

Each and every one of them

He was hanging on by this teeny tiny thread left by his uncle's saliva that connected him to Scott

A thread so thin it could break if he exhaled

But that was all

He never got the chance to surrender to Lydia and she now considered him ... maybe an acquaintance if he was being honest with himself

A tentative pack mate if he was being greedy

Scott had gone from Derek's hopes for a beta to his biggest fears in an Alpha

Not because Scott was a BAD Alpha, not at all

Scott was inexperienced, young and preaching himself raw about a peace that Derek knew only with age would never come

He was a little skittish and had trouble distinguishing sometimes when to slam on the control button and when to lift his hand and let it ride out, but didn't everyone?

Scott was a GOOD Alpha objectively

He just wasn't DEREK'S good Alpha

He wasn't Laura, he wasn't Talia, he wasn't someone Derek could curl up with and inhale during thunderstorms or laugh with when things were easy

He wasn't family the way Derek's Alphas had always been family and that would NEVER stop being weird

It would never settle for Derek that he could give his Alpha his life and yet Scott would never bear-hug him out of no where or complain about the taste of gummy bears vs gummy worms and make Derek taste test them to prove he was right

He was Derek's Alpha

Derek could and would submit to him, flank him, bare his throat to him and charge into battle at his command

But he wasn't Derek's Alpha

Derek couldn't and wouldn't tackle hug him, food fight with him, confess insignificant but still deep and dark secrets to him, or just breathe in his existence when things got rough

It was a difference that may sound small and greedy but it was there and it was under Derek's skin and he could just never change that

And then there was Stiles

Stiles who Derek wanted to say a million things about and make a million comparisons to and yet somehow he couldn't find the words

He couldn't find all of the flaws and holes in his relationship with Stiles

He couldn't look up at him now and see a difference in what he pictured them to be like if his pack was still his...

....

Huh...

"Derek?"

He jerked his head up and sighed

"I'm fine, I just... need to go,"

"No! Hell no! You aren't fine Derek! God stop lying to yourself for five seconds!" Stiles shouted, pacing and running his hands over his face and through his hair

Maybe the relationship was mostly the same but Stiles himself was different

Stiles wasn't the nervous energy woven with sarcasm and dripping with teenage hormones and quick-witted puns and an intense urge to pull Derek down into Geeky Hell with him the way he may have once been

He was a ball of anxiety down to his core rimmed with sharp remarks and barbs of sass that were less a carefully protective lining and more like a firing squad of defensive maneuvers and his hormones had dulled and swayed until they were focused more on anxiety and adrenaline and basic survival than pleasure and sex, and he no longer saw Stiles dragging him to the floor over the new Batman casting, but now over the simple prospect of being alive

And there it was

The difference Derek had been seeking

He had thought about sleepovers with Stiles, not in the sexual way (although....) but in the horribly corny, slumber party kind of way

He had thought about pack nights where they were the only ones awake and in his head from before he had pictured them on the floor watching a truly geek-tacular movie and throwing popcorn at eachother like teenagers and maybe hitting eachother with the pillows a little bit as they argued over the casting for *insert comic book hero here*

When he thought about those nights now they were silent and solemn, instead of basking in the warmth of summer splayed out on the floor they were instead curled around eachother with one blanket, no matter how hot it was, no longer laughing or smiling or playing, but now just breathing eachother in and trying to decompress and remember what it was like to be alive instead of how it felt just to survive

There it is

The difference

"Derek?"

When Derek blinked back into reality this time Stiles was kneeling in front of him, concern written all over his face, and all Derek wanted to do was apologize

Sorry for zoning out

Sorry for ruining you

Sorry for doing this to all of you

Sorry for still being here when my much more capable sister isn't

Sorry for cursing everyone and everything I touch

Sorry for existing...

And he hadn't felt like that in a long time

He stood up and walked to the window, opening it and dangling a foot out

"Derek wait!"

He wanted to turn around

He wanted to run to Stiles and shake him and hug him all at once and ask him how the hell he had lived this long and still managed to actually LIVE and not cave in on himself like Derek had

He wanted to hold Stiles and apologize more and tell him everything was going to be ok

That he wouldn't do what he did last time

He wanted to go downstairs and try harder

He wanted to push a little harder until Scott could feel comfortable picking "The good fruit loops" out of Derek's bowl and chewing them annoyingly in his ear

He wanted to bow down as Lydia Martin's loyal servant and pledge his allegiance to her should there ever be some epic fight of fashionistas that required his service

He wanted to actually KNOW his cousin until she felt like a cousin and he wanted to form a freindship with Kira- who he was assured time and time again was "wickedly cool"

He wanted to really MEET the other members of his pack now, Liam and Mason and Hayden and he felt like he maybe was forgetting some people but their entire... thing... instead of just showing up at their Alpha's doorstep one day and waltzing into their pack like he owned the place

He wanted to turn around

He didn't

 

I.

"What were you THINKING!?"

"Leave me alone Stiles..."

"You could've been hurt worse! You could've DIED Derek!"

"I don't care,"

The honesty hung sharp in the air and for a moment neither of them said anything

"That's the most honest thing you've said to me all month," Stiles said quietly

Derek didn't answer him, he just went over to the playpin the puppies slept in and peered in

As expected Harley- the puppy Stiles named, and don't think for a second she wasn't named after Harley Quinn because OFCOURSE she was- perked awake and let out her familiar squeaking sound at his arrival as he picked her up to give her her midnight dose of medicine

This entire affair woke up Chandler- Scott's dog, by no surprise- and Trixie- because if they were naming the dogs after fictional characters Derek couldn't just snub Beatrix Kiddo, she had been his idol on all kinds of levels for way too long- and they too started to fuss around until Stiles wordlessly picked them up and carried them towards the couch

"You'd just.... just DIE and leave these little muffin tops all alone? Huh Hale? Real jerk move there, let me tell you,"

"They're almost done with their medicine, you and Scott- ... why am I talking about this? Everything is fine, I didn't die," he said quietly, so as not to disturb the puppies any more than necessary

"I can't believe you Derek... I can't believe you, after your .... freaking zenwolf crap and you STILL have a death wish?" he huffed

Derek grumbled, slipping the medicine into Harley's mouth and handing her off in exchange for Chandler as soon as he could be sure it was swallowed

"Not a death wish,"

"Oh, right, ok, so you're just... OK if you die? You're content with it, I get it," Stiles snorted

Derek scraped his peanut butter covered finger over the roof of Chandler's mouth and handed him off, taking Trixie wordlessly

"Derek? ... Oh my God... oh my God that's it, that's actually... you're- .... well I'm not ok with it!"

"Don't shout," Derek warned, expertly weaseling the syringe of liquid medicine into the puppy's mouth first before reaching for the peanut butter

"I can't... I thought... how are you ok with this?"

Derek just shrugged, rolling the pill in peanut butter and sticking it to the roof of Trixie's mouth

"I'm at peace, besides it would've been worth it, you can't tell me you wouldn't put yourself in front of Lydia too,"

"Ofcourse I would! And I'd put myself in front of Scott too! And in front of you,"

"That's stupid, we're werewolves, we heal," he insisted, walking over to the playpin

"Not from... Wolfsbane!"

"The bullet wasn't Wolfsbane laced,"

"Well sure we know that NOW," Stiles huffed, setting the puppies down after Derek and watching with befuddled amusement as the larger man dragged a blanket over them and then put the sheet back over the playpin

It helped the puppies feel secure to be in an entirely dark, closed space, shut up

"Look, I'm ok, and I'm ok with ... this..."

"Dieing you mean? Getting hurt?"

"To protect people? Yes! I don't care!"

"Well tough because I DO care! I care about you Derek Hale! Learn to live with that! I care ALOT!"

Derek opened his mouth, about to speak when Stiles interrupted

"Don't! Like... whatever self-loathing, martyry crap you're about to say, just don't, 'cause it's not gonna change my mind, ok? At all, I CARE about you Derek! I more than just care, in fact, write me down for full on LOVE, and I don't even care that I'm telling you right now because I'm so MAD at you for pulling this! God you really think no one cares don't you? Scott, Lydia, Braeden- people CARE Derek but guess what? They've all gotta get behind me because I'm #1 in the I Heart Derek fanclub so just shove it!"

Derek would have argued, he wanted to, to tell Stiles that he was lying, just trying to make Derek feel better maybe or just.... exaggerating.... tricking him, something but...

It was all there, the steady heart rate, the scent of courage and anxiety stronger than ever and hopefulness and attraction and ...

This wasn't just about trying to tell if Stiles was being honest or not

This was a blatant SIGNAL of honesty...

"Stiles-"

"Look don't feel compelled to say it back or anything but... you deserve it Derek, you deserve to know that somebody loves you, even if.... I don't care about me right now ok? Nobody deserves to feel like they're unloved and I can't help most people with that but you? You I can help, because I'm standing right here and I can DO something about you, even if it scares the living hell out of me and I didn't want it to come out like this and you-... this isn't about me, it's about you, I'm gonna put all of that selfish bull aside for YOU, why? Because you deserve it Derek, because you deserve to know someone cares about you, I care about you,"

For a long moment, Derek didn't know what to say, but he finally opened his mouth- only for Stiles to interrupt again

"And I swear to GOD Derek Hale if you try to give me some garbage about not knowing what I want in life or not being sure or ... whatever is about to come out of your mouth, I will bash your FACE in-"

"Stiles," he interrupted

"I was just going to say... I care about you too, alot...."

He paused, looking down, unable to stare him in the eye

"Stiles I.. I feel the same way, honestly, I... I love you, really,"

"Are you sure? 'Cause it looks like you aren't sure, it looks like the thought is putting you in physical pain, actually,"

"I'm sure, it isn't... it isn't PAIN it's just... anxious," he insisted quickly

Stiles beamed, rushing over to him and dropping on the couch next to him

"We'll work on my own 'holy crap I can't believe Derek Hales likes-loves- me' crisis later, and trust me there will so be a crisis, I've been gone on you for longer than I EVER want to admit and you actually... I'm just gonna shut up, can we kiss and make up? 'Cause I feel like we should,"

"You really want to kiss me?" he asked hesitantly

Stiles made a screwed up face, bapping him on the back of the head

"Do not QUESTION if I want a kiss after I TELL you I want a freaking kiss!"

Derek gave him a small smile of compliance, leaning closer but pausing when Stiles suddenly stopped him

"This doesn't get you off the hook by the way, we are SO talking about this 'no one likes me so I'm gonna die' thing later,"

"It isn't like that," he sighed with an eyeroll

"Still,"

Finally, an agonizing second later, Stiles tilted his chin up and leaned in closer, kissing him gently at first, but eventually growing a little more confident

"Does your father know you're here?" Derek asked a moment later, arms around Stiles and lips against his cheek

"Mmm probably not..."

"Do you want to call and tell him?"

Stiles smirked, shaking his head and leaning in for another kiss

"Nah, I don't care,"