One of the things that surprised Stiles the most about dating Derek Hale was how easy it was.
They had finally, finally confessed their feelings for one another in a mature adult fashion - okay, actually, there had been a truth spell and things were said and there was a lot of pining and miscommunication until finally Lydia snapped and told them to get over themselves and kiss already. Derek had looked at Stiles with such open hope that Stiles had practically leapt into his arms and then they had been declared boyfriends by Scott, who was just as sick of the UST as Lydia had been. It was a good thing Scott had just come out and said that they were boyfriends, because if it had been left up to Stiles and Derek - well, there would have probably been much more angst.
Based on that knowledge, Stiles had assumed their relationship would progress as such, with fighting and more confusion about what they wanted and mistakes and shit. But it wasn’t like that at all - it was so natural and fun that Stiles was almost paranoid that they must be doing something wrong. Sure, they bickered like always and got on each other’s nerves, but now it was just a complicated game of foreplay, to see who would push who against a wall and silence their arguments with kisses.
Stiles usually won, but in that scenario, no one was losing.
Stiles was surprised at how easy it was.
Sure, they were both still a little emotionally constipated and skittish, and they were protective of each other to the point of idiocy, so they had a lot to learn. On the outside looking in, it may not have looked that easy, but Stiles felt free when he was with Derek. He felt understood on a base level and overwhelmingly cared for. Derek didn’t say a lot with his words, but his stupidly expressive eyes showed Stiles things that Derek would never articulate. Stiles loved how well he could read his boyfriend, how much he knew Derek wasn’t saying. Derek always seemed relieved when Stiles figured something out without Derek having to ask or say anything, so maybe Derek felt a little free with Stiles, too.
There was one thing, maybe, that Stiles was a little worried about.
Derek had never, not once in the month that they’d been actually dating, initiated a kiss. He responded enthusiastically enough and the noises he made certainly were positive, but Stiles was always the one leaning in. He didn’t think anything of it, right at first, but as time went on he started to notice. He also started to notice that when it would be perfectly acceptable, expected even, for Derek to kiss Stiles, he had this split-second of hesitation and then moved away or changed the subject or waited for Stiles to make the first move. It was like he was scared Stiles would reject him, which was honestly preposterous. Stiles wanted to be kissing Derek 100% of the time. Or at least putting his mouth SOMEWHERE on Derek.
So instead of being an adult about it and sitting down to discuss his concern, he decided to test Derek and see how long it would take before Derek broke and kissed Stiles first. He knew that he should probably just ask about it, but somewhere in the back of his head was the worry that it was because Derek really didn’t want to kiss Stiles, and was just going along with it.
So to avoid that train of thought, the game began.
Derek didn’t seem to really notice at first, but as the days went on he started to get this little wrinkle between his eyes and would stare at Stiles’ lips. Stiles would tease him, suck on straws even more than he usually did, lean in close - and it was SO HARD not to kiss Derek. Like. Holy shit. Stiles did not think this plan through. But he resisted, committed to finding out how long it would take for Derek to kiss him. He needed Derek to kiss him. For reasons.
But it was taking forever.
He had started to get desperate. Lollipops, he was sucking on lollipops. Stiles didn’t even LIKE lollipops.
Lydia and Scott and Kira and basically everyone - even his dad - had given him looks, suspicious, evil looks, but Stiles pretended not to notice and continued on his merry way.
Derek was definitely starting to notice something. He stared more (well, more than usual), licked his lips more, got close to Stiles’ face more, but - still no kissing.
Finally, about a week in, Stiles broke.
“GOD why don’t just DO IT ALREADY!” Stiles yelled, in the middle of a movie while they were sitting on the couch next to each other. The characters on screen had just kissed, and Stiles saw Derek look at him out of the corner of his eye, subconsciously leaning towards Stiles, and Stiles pulled on his bottom lip in a way that he knew drove Derek crazy. Derek inhaled, shifted, and then sat back against the couch. Stiles couldn’t deal with it anymore, paused the movie, and turned to Derek, yelling.
Derek looked understandably startled. “What?”
“Kiss me, fuck, KISS ME. WHY DON’T YOU EVER KISS ME.”
Derek looked surprised, then worried, then looked away.
Stiles gentled his voice, laying a hand over Derek’s thigh. “Derek?”
“Sorry, I’m sorry. I just - I don’t ever want to - I don’t want to assume -”
“Assume that - you want to kiss me. I wanted to wait for you to - uh, initiate. Because.. I don’t know.”
Stiles rubbed a hand over his face. “Derek, why would I not want to? I’m DATING you.”
Derek rubbed the back of his neck and leaned back, tilting his head a little, mouth opening in a closing once.
“Oh,” Stiles said. Kate.
“She, uh. She didn’t ever want me to kiss her unless she started it. So I guess - I guess it’s habit? Sorry,” Derek said again, and Stiles leaned over until he was mere inches from Derek’s face. Derek was holding his breath, and Stiles smiled at him.
“Can I -”
“Yes,” Derek breathed, and Stiles closed the distance between them. It was something like relief, kissing Derek again. It was warm and soft and Stiles couldn’t believe he’d held off for so long.
Stiles ended up in Derek’s lap and they were both breathing hard by the time they pulled apart. Stiles leaned both elbows on Derek’s shoulders, keeping them close, and Derek wrapped both arms around him.
“Look, you big idiot. I like you a lot. And I like kissing you a lot. And - I’m sorry I didn’t - sorry I tried to - well, okay, whatever, I was dumb and here we are. But you need to know that I always, like literally always want to be kissing you. I want you to start kisses just as much as I like starting them. I want kisses, okay? As a boyfriend, I want them. Like all the ti-”
Derek cut him off with a kiss, and it was the sweetest thing Stiles had ever tasted.
Of course, then it was like Stiles had opened the floodgates. For the first few days, Derek was still hesitant, but initiated several kisses and seemed surprised and pleased when Stiles reacted positively. But after Derek seemed to convince himself of his welcome, it was constant.
Stiles didn’t mind it, not at all - it was adorable. Derek would kiss him in greeting, kiss him in excitement, kiss him goodnight, when he went to the bathroom, when Stiles made him lunch, when Stiles made him laugh, when Derek made Stiles pout, when they were starting a new movie, when the freaking doorbell rang - any excuse ever. Just like everything else in their relationship, Stiles learned how to read Derek’s wishes and knew when he wanted to be kissed. Derek would turn his head slightly, tilt his chin a certain way. Or he would say “Come here,” and Stiles would always go willingly.
It was easy. It was good. And it was something dangerously close to love.