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That Doesn't Reflect On Your Manhood At All

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Derek should have known the guy was trouble from the beginning. Should have known when he walked in, saw the guy’s hat twisted backwards bro-style and heard him yell, “Dude! Am I glad to see you!” like Derek was a frat brother he hadn’t seen since the last rave. Derek actually looked over his shoulder to see who the hell Frat Bro was talking to. He could’ve just turned around. Could’ve just taken a hint and backed away slowly, never to return. But no. Derek was, after all, a glutton for punishment.

His premise was innocent enough; all he wanted was a reprieve from all the confused, hormone-drenched new freshmen that were coming into Beacon Hills U this year. As he tried to bang out his dissertation they invaded his favorite Starbucks like cockroaches; crawling on everything, shouting at unnecessary volumes, spreading germs, thinking with their genitals instead of their brains. Derek had curled his lip at them all. Typical.

He was a man who valued his peace and quiet, so he finally decided enough was enough. The place he’d discovered, a convenient distance away, was a new cafe in a weathered old strip mall called “Cool Beans”.

It was tiny but not in a cramped way, more in a cozy and homey way. There were bright splashes of color everywhere, like a five-year-old had been commissioned to paint with watercolors. There were lava lamps and a few scattered beanbag chairs among the tables and candles that smelled suspiciously like weed, and even a bottle of hemp lotion on the counter.

It should have been obvious that a fucking weirdo would work there.

Maybe the general tomfoolery of it all accounted for why it was so quiet on a day like today when it should have been packed. But was Derek complaining? Absolutely not. He and backwards-hat-wearing-guy appeared to be the only ones on the entire property. If only he would go away, then everything would be perfect. Derek looked forward to the day coffee made itself.

Not that the idiot was a pain to look at. No, quite the opposite. If Derek was being honest, his eyes softened when he took him in. Smooth skin, big brown doe eyes and a wide grin, perfect teeth, a cute upturned nose. Trim with wide shoulders. Yeah, he was just Derek’s speed. Until he opened his mouth.

“It’s been dead in here all day. I need something to do sooooooo bad. My ADD has been going nuts! For a second there I thought I might even have to resort to actual cleaning,” his eyes widened and he stuttered, “Don’t get me wrong, I clean. We clean. Everything’s spic and span. We break out the purple stuff. No need for any inspections here. Yup. Or should I say, nope?” Clearly an expert at putting his foot in his mouth. Derek’s brow furrowed in disapproval. If not for the evident smell of cleanliness, he would have strode out without another word. But hell, he was here now, and he wanted his coffee. 

“So uh, what’s your poison? Right, not the smartest thing to say after I implied the health department should be called on us.”

Very professional, Derek thought sarcastically and lowered his eyebrows into a scowl. The idiot was apparently a clairvoyant idiot, because he rolled his eyes and twisted his hat so it faced the correct way. It displayed an animated coffee bean on stick legs with little sunglasses with its little  stick arms crossed. Cool Beans. Right.

”Okay, let's try that again. Welcome to Cool Beans, my good sir, how may I be of service?” He gave an exaggerated bow. Just when Derek didn’t think his scowl could deepen any further. The guy shrugged. ”Hey, that's the best I got.”

Stiles hadn't been lying when he said he was glad to see the angry stranger come striding in their bead-fringed door. He was especially glad in his fuckin’ pants. The dude was everything out of his "unattainable but probably a mass-murderer anyway” dreams. He was dressed like he was both nocturnal and colorblind, his jet hair cut short and perfectly styled, his 5 o'clock shadow looking like it would do an excellent job prickling Stiles’ butt cheeks. Under his caterpillar eyebrows were his shocking green eyes, clear like a forest stream to get all Robert Frost with it, softening his otherwise perfectly chiseled features. Also, his body. Good God. It was clear he had some surprises waiting for whoever could get under that black leather jacket and black V-neck shirt.

It was because of all this that Stiles was expecting him to growl, “Black. Large.” for his coffee order and let that be the end of it. But no. The corners of Stiles’ mouth turned down as Hot Stranger rattled off a grocery list of shit he wanted in this elaborate coffee of his. Lots of words flew around, words like non-fat, soy, steam, various pumps of vanilla and caramel (ha ha, pumps). It was all entirely too specific and it did nothing for his image.

Keeping his mouth shut at opportune times had never been Stiles’ strong suit so he blurted, ”Man, seriously? That's what you want?” The stranger’s glare turned into a look of hatred, and his lips curled back into a snarl. Welp, now he’s gonna rip my head off and display it right next to the parfaits, Stiles thought with an audible gulp.

Why was this beautiful dunce getting under his skin like this? Granted, Derek’s default level of anger was pretty high, but this was ludicrous. He glowered hot enough to set the barista on fire. He didn’t see how it should matter what he got. The barista was just supposed to make it. Derek slapped his cash down on the purple paisley countertop. The guy must have heard Derek’s angry mental rant because he threw his hands up like he was under arrest.

”Okay, Okay, that's what you like, that's what you get. My bad, Big Guy.” He rang Derek up, still yammering, “you’re right, that's what my job is, not to pass judgment or anything. I’m just supposed to make the coffee. So, uh, no judgement here. From me, the person making your coffee. Nope.” As he turned away he mumbled, “That doesn’t reflect on your manhood at all.”

“What?”

“Nothing,” he squeaked, lowering his head.

Derek stalked off, finding the furthest table he could. As fate would have it, it was in a comfy chair (no fucking beanbags for him), next to a tiny little woodburning fireplace. It also allowed him to look out over the rest of the tiny garish shop, or keep his face completely hidden from view and focused on the corner, if he so chose to skootch the chair. It might have made the place a little less nightmarish for him. Maybe.

In the most predictable move in the world, Stiles had put his foot in his mouth and made himself look like a total idiot in front of the hottest piece of man candy he’d ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on. As penance he whipped the guy up the best damn Stiles-esque coffee the world has ever seen and will ever see again, and walked it over to him himself. Hey, it's not like he had a whole hell of a lot to do.

“Here you go, Oscar, enjoy,” He said, aiming for polite. He gave Derek what might have been a shy smile. Cue a brow-furrow and head-tilt of confusion. “The grouch,” Stiles clarified.

Of course. Derek simply blinked, not prepared to entertain American Pie over here. American Pie didn’t get the hint. “I’m Stiles, by the way.” He held out his hand to shake and Derek simply looked at it, then looked back up at him, brows aloft. Stiles brought the offending hand up to rub at his hair. You know, ‘cause he’s smooth like that. “Okay, let’s pretend that never happened.” Derek averted his eyes. Conversation (if you could call it that) over.

“Okay." Stiles held up his hands again and backed away like Derek was a cornered wild animal. He sort of was.

Derek’s eyes burned holes in his table as he tried to ignore the guy long enough to get him to leave. It worked, eventually. He took a sip of his coffee and it was so damn good he had to pull his head back and look at it in surprise. A slight whiff of Dudebro’s scent floated in the air, cutting through the scent of the candles like a cool breeze. Derek’s nose lifted of its own accord, suddenly determined to follow it. It was surprisingly…alluring. It made his wolf curious and attentive in a way he couldn’t quite put his claw on.

Over the next few hours he did his work and nursed his drink. A few other customers trickled in and out, and the barista’s annoying laugh rang out through the place a couple times, but other than that it was just the peace that Derek needed. He managed to get five whole pages typed out. This was undoubtedly better than going to the campus coffee shop, and he would consider coming back. As he packed up he saw the barista look away suddenly, pretending he hadn’t been staring. He was a smooth operator, no doubt about that.

Part of Derek’s decision to return hinged on whether or not he could get the annoying, beautiful barista to shut up around him permanently.

As he walked out of the door he heard, “Bye, Oscar. Really looking forward to seeing you again. Don’t be a stranger.” He wasn’t sure how many parts politeness and how many parts sarcasm he heard. He took another pull of his coffee instead of answering. Damn. It was still good.

Stiles sighed as he watched scowly-but-insultingly-attractive-girly-coffee-drinking guy leave.

“I tried to be charming,” he said aloud to no one, “Really, I did. He’s just so…sour.” because apparently the ghosts in the cafe were skeptical about that. He didn’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell with that guy, but maybe they could at least have a nice customer-barista relationship. That is, if Stiles hadn’t scared him off for good.

Clean crisp air energized Derek when he stepped out of the shop, but he automatically noted the absence of the unique scent. Derek found it to be pleasing, the way clean clothes smell fresh out of the drier, or like bread straight out of the oven. It smelled…like honesty and loyalty and openness. All things Derek could use more of in his life. It was oddly comforting, with a hint of something that made Derek’s blood run hot.

Maybe, in the end, that’s what brought him back.

 

The next time Derek skulked in, the guy (Stiles, he said his name was. What kind of damn name was that?) saw him coming. Stiles shook his head and shooed him away with both hands. Derek was about to get worked up (not that it took a lot) until the guy said, “Just sit, I got it.” So Derek sat, back in the cozy corner facing out to survey his environment. Moments later Stiles brought out his drink, perfectly made and just as delicious as the first time. “On the house.” His hair wasn’t gelled today, so it fell down on his forehead in gentle ringlets that Derek definitely did not want to gently brush back. Instead, he narrowed his eyes, looking a question at Stiles. His scent wafted over, and Derek blinked slowly as he took it in, feeling placated enough to exercise some patience. 

“I’m the managing barista here for a reason,” Stiles said, tapping his temple, looking very pleased with himself.You’re the only barista here, Derek thought, but instead took a sip of his coffee, his glorious, magical coffee. “I know what you're thinking, I'm the only barista here.” Okay, so maybe the guy wasn't a complete idiot. "Besides, your whole thing you got going on here,” Stiles waved his hands wildly over his head, “pretty hard to forget.” Derek lifted a brow.Thing? “You know, the ‘really angry underwear model who likes really specific frou-frou drinks.” Derek growled at him. Stiles flinched. “Okay, okay, leaving you alone now.” He beat a hasty retreat.

Underwear model, huh? Derek supposed he couldn’t complain about that part. As he turned the coffee in circles he happened to glance down at it. A scribble caught his eye. It said “Oscar” on his cup. In spite of himself, Derek’s mouth quirked up a bit at the corner. He’d never admit it, though.

Cool Beans won out again and again. Derek turned up a couple more times that week, and Stiles was just as annoying and hyper and motormouthed as he was the first couple of times. He was also overly friendly. Go figure. Still, he was better than dozens of freshmen, especially when Derek pretended the sound of his voice was white noise.

It turned out to be a handy skill because before Derek knew it, Stiles was inviting himself to sit. And talk. And talk. And talk. He figured it wouldn’t be long before he knew Stiles’ entire life history, and that of his entire bloodline. Example; he learned Stiles’ dad was the sheriff, that he was born and raised in Beacon Hills, and that he played intramural lacrosse at BHU because he sucked but still loved the game. “Also, I’m 21, I love puppies and I’m a Sagittarius,” he said it while suggestively lifting his eyebrows up and down, quickly.

Christ.

He powered right on through Derek’s eye roll. “I’m an engineering major. I’m working here just getting myself through college.” Derek snorted. Stiles shrugged. “I know, not exactly a resume booster. But I like it here. Great boss, good money,” He looked at Derek but cut his eyes away quickly when he said, a little lower, ”great customers.” Derek wondered if he imagined it when the corners of Stiles’ mouth gave a slight upward tug. “What about you?”

“BHU. Sociology,” came the reply, his voice box like a bag of rusty nails from disuse.

“You’re kidding.” Stiles threw his head back and laughed. “That’s a knee-slapper. Oh my God. Imagine that, you and the study of being social!” Derek’s expression only darkened.

“Working on it right now,” He replied, an edge to his voice.

“Wow, you weren’t-you weren’t kidding. Okay, I’m just gonna go.” Sobered and cowed, Stiles pointed an index finger at the counter and smiled awkwardly.

Irony, Stiles thought as he got out of the way of Derek’s red hot glare, the world is filled with it. He did manage to have an actual exchange with Oscar the Sexy Grouch today though, so he counted that as a victory. It made him crave hate sex, all the hate sex. And angry cuddles. Lots of those, too. And if he was being honest, it was even kind of fun to give him a hard time. It was so easy Stiles couldn’t say no. If he wasn't mistaken, he was starting to chip away at that gorgeous veneer.

The next day, when Derek was facing the dirt brown-burnt orange walls of his favorite corner in an effort to help himself concentrate, he had no idea Stiles was looking over his shoulder until he started reading out loud.

The Packless Alpha: Social Behaviors of Isolated Dominant Wolves.

This, this was why he liked to face the door. Derek bristled and moved to cover the screen. “Dissertation,” he ground out, voice sounding like it had barely survived a mortar and pestle.

“You’re a wolf. That explains a lot. The growling. And the furriness.” Derek grunted. “Are you isolated?” Are you lonely? is what he wanted to ask.

“No!” Derek snapped with a little more anger than he meant to. It always hurt to be reminded, no matter how much time had passed.

“I see.” Stiles was clearly skeptical, “But you don’t have a pack?”

“I have betas,” He said matter-of-factly, nothing more than an indignant child.

“Ah. So you rebuilt.”

Derek flipped his laptop closed and glared at Stiles over his shoulder, miffed at being laid bare. Stiles took a couple of steps back. “I’m just gonna…” he jerked his thumb towards the counter.

So he was a wolf who’d lost his pack. His original pack. Who the hell were these new clowns who put up with his attitude? They must be masochists.

Yet and still, Stiles rubbed subconsciously at the center of his chest. His heart ached for Oscar. No wonder he was so angry and alone all the time. Who could stand to be in the presence of others when everyone you loved went away? Why continue to fight that fight? Stiles understood this feeling. Yes indeed.

He had a light-bulb moment. Clearly Oscar needed more human interaction, needed an actual friend. A friend in a Stiles-shaped package. He could do that, he could be that. He had zero intention of letting this go. He was going to get Oscar to at least tolerate him. It was his new pet project. If he could do that, the sky was the limit. What he really wanted was to figure out a way to pump Oscar out some angry wolfie babies. They’d be hateful and have ADD, but they’d be smart and beautiful. He tried not to sigh like a lovelorn eighth grader as he watched Oscar from the corner of his eye.

 

Derek had always been an early riser. He liked to beat the sun out of bed. When he walked into Cool Beans first thing on a cool Saturday morning, as quiet as he usually was, he was greeted by the scent of pastries baking and the sight of Stiles getting set up. He had his back turned to Derek; he was singing to himself, and not well. In reality his back wasn’t even visible because he was bent all the way over. He was doing heaven only knew what; Derek decided to just peep the scenery.

Stiles did a little dance, his narrow hips switching back and forth, giving Derek a full view of that tight little ass. He was gripped with the sudden urge to walk up behind Stiles and slap his jimmy right in between those asscheeks. Was that…arousal he was feeling? He shifted from one leg to the other when he felt a twitch in his dark wash jeans.

He stared for a moment more partially in appreciation and partially in amusement. He had to resist the urge to laugh out loud. Then Stiles started singing loud, and he had to resist the urge to weep.

"I don't want to wait for our liiiiiiiiives to be over-“ twitch, twitch “-I want to know right now what will it beeeeeeee-“

“Stiles."

“Aaaaahh!" Stiles jumped nearly a foot into the air, flailing as always, juggling the metal pieces of the coffee maker and making them clang and ring loudly in his hands, filling the otherwise silent coffee shop with the cacophony.

“Jesus, could you warn a guy? For once in your life try not to be so creepy, Creepster.”

Stiles realized he’d been bent all the way over, twerking it for the world (read: Oscar) to see. There was no better way to look like he was, well, advertising. He should have had a sign across his ass that said, “pound me now, Sullen Sexy Wolfman” or “Mysterious coffee loving Alphas enter here.”

Derek just stared at him coolly and took a deep breath through his nose. Cue the sexual tension. Ever the one to pass the buck, Stiles accused him of being the aroused one.

“Eying the merchandise, were you?”

Derek stifled a smirk and sidestepped the question. “Paula Cole, really?”

“What? I watched a lot of Dawson.”

“Shaking your ass and singing teenage angst ballads, but you called my masculinity into question?”

“Holy shit, did you just utter an entire sentence?” Derek immediately clamped his mouth shut. He pressed his lips together and strolled away, heading for his table. “Nope, it’s too late!” Stiles’ voice chased him. “I got you to say a sentence! Next thing we know, you’ll actually be cracking a smile!” Stiles thought he might explode. His plan was working, even when he was making an ass of himself. Pun intended.

“Never,” Derek growled over his shoulder, even as he hid the smile.

 

Ah, fuck. The first thing Derek noticed was the ridiculous line. It was all of three people but still, for a place like Cool Beans, it was like the not-VIP line at a nightclub. A few people even  came in to line up behind him. Never one for patience, he simply walked up to the counter.

“Hiya, Oscar. How’s it goin’?” Stiles’ handsome face and fresh scent was an instant balm, soothing him.

“It’s going.” He answered simply, slapping his money down so he could sit in his spot for the wait. He’d been coming in for several weeks now and it was their routine. Derek set cash down and sat, with Stiles understanding that the change was his tip. He’d never bothered to correct Stiles about his name.

“Just adds to your mystique, right?” Stiles had quipped. Besides, Derek liked having a nickname- well, liked that Stiles had given him a nickname. But anyone who knew that would have to die.

There were other people actually sitting in the cafe today. Quite a few, actually. The nerve. Derek looked over to see his favorite spot occupied; that in and of itself was enough to make his eyes flash Alpha Red, but he reminded himself that he didn’t own anything there and sat in a different spot. It just wasn’t the same. Especially since he was relegated to an actual fucking beanbag chair.

Looking around at all the new patrons, he realized how busy Stiles must be with the volume of people. There were a few laughing and joking with him. Did that mean he wasn’t going to be able to bring Derek’s coffee over? He sulked, and realized that he might be a bit spoiled. But so what? He put up with how Stiles would invite himself to sit and bump his gums. Grumbling, he had to admit to himself that he wanted that, too. Stiles running his mouth was a part of it, even if Derek only grunted in response and pretended to be irritated. He didn’t like other people taking up Stiles’ aggravating attention. He felt something annoyingly similar to a pang of jealousy.

Moodily he decided that he didn’t like this time of day and he would take his drink to go and get today’s work done at home. He stood and waited at the counter until Stiles plopped his cup down, already out of breath and wearing a slight sheen of sweat across his hairline beneath his silly hat, which he had facing forward for once.

“Sorry it took so long.” Derek just nodded his understanding and headed for the door.

“Oscar!” Stiles called as he slipped under the counter to rush up behind him, “Why are you leaving, Dude?” He sounded disappointed, maybe even wounded.

“Too crowded,” Derek was brusque. Maybe a bit too brusque.

Stiles worried at the hem of his t-shirt. “Sorry. Business has been picking up lately. Good for the cafe, not so good for me when I want to tell you how I beat the record for number of hot dogs I can fit in my mouth.” His eyes went wide. “Oh shit, that didn’t sound right-“

“Excuse me, but can I put my order in?” They were calling him. Damn customers, ripping Stiles’ attention away. Just when the story was getting good.

“Shit, I gotta- I’ll see you soon, though, right?” Derek said nothing. What did it matter? He was just another customer to Stiles, right? He left without a word.

If he stayed away for a few days, it was not because he was pouting. If he stayed away for a few days, it was not because he wanted Stiles to miss him and feel bad and magically make it so he was the only customer to ever come to Cool Beans. He’d thought the Starbucks was bad before; now it made him want to simultaneous hurl and murder. He took to brewing coffee at home, but everybody and their brother knows you can’t make coffee at home the way they do it at your favorite shop.

 

Satisfied that he’d made his absence felt, and missing his favorite barista and his perfect coffee, Derek finally returned one torturous week later. He could tell from the lot that it was nice and quiet, just the way he liked it. He didn’t see Stiles’ Jeep, though (he knew what Stiles drove because it was permeated in that amazing scent of his, not because Derek was a stalker, alright?). He walked in to find a lovely dark-skinned young woman behind the counter. He was totally perplexed, as this had never happened before. He didn’t even know there were other employees. He planned to ignore his mounting distress at Stiles’ absence (it was as if Derek’s behavior had chased him away) and coolly place his order with this new barista and pretend nothing was amiss.

Instead he very eloquently said, “Stiles?”

It took the woman no time to reply, “Ah, you must be Oscar. Stiles isn’t here today, but if you want to sit, I’ll get your order ready for you.” She looked him up and down, sizing him up. “He wasn’t kidding when he said you were model-hot.”

Stiles was telling people he thought he was hot? Derek tried not to show how furiously embarrassed that made him. He went to sit without another word. When he reached the corner he paused. On “his” special table stood a handmade sign that might have been the work of a kindergartener. It was maybe six inches tall and the top read, in bold red letters, “reserved”. Beneath that was a drawing of Oscar the Grouch in his trash can, waving his balled-up green fist. Derek tried not to, but despite himself he grinned wide. He turned his face toward the wall to hide it. This whole “trying not to smile because of something Stiles did” was becoming a recurring theme for him, and he was failing miserably. Or happily?

The young woman -Braeden, her name tag read- brought his coffee to him and gave him a knowing look that he couldn’t quite interpret.

“Here you go, Oscar.” The intonation when she said his moniker made her sound like she knew something he didn’t. A secret of sorts.

The coffee was spot on, although it didn’t taste as good as when Stiles made it (or maybe he was just being extra grumpy because it wasn’t made by Stiles’ hands). He tipped Braeden a little extra for putting up with his shenanigans. “Thanks,” he told her gruffly.

“It’s a pleasure. You know, Stiles talks about you all the time. He wanted me to make sure his favorite customer was well taken care of,” she gave him that knowing look again, and winked. The fuzzy feeling Derek got wasn’t just from the hot coffee.

Sometimes Derek would come on days in which other people actually showed up, as much as he hated to see them, but the sign would always be there waiting for him. He would look over and see Stiles casting his face down to hide a grin.

Every once and a while, other patrons would snark about how a little table in a teensy coffee shop could be reserved. It was the most ridiculous feeling in the world, but Derek couldn't help but feel a little special. Yet another thing he’d never admit to, especially not to Stiles.

“How do you always know when I’m gonna be here?” He finally asked one Sunday when the clouds were high and rolling fast, causing shadows to dance on the knotty pine floor of the already eclectic coffee shop.

Stiles scratched nervously at the back of his neck, unable to meet Derek’s eye. “I don’t,” he replied sheepishly, looking up from beneath the curl of his hair. It had grown a bit longer now, and Derek found he liked it, even when Stiles turned his damn hat backwards and let a shock of the chocolate strands flow over the velcro strap at the back. So, the sign never officially left the table.

“Well, you know, you’re my favorite customer, I have to make sure you’re taken care of.” This was the second time he’d heard that. This time from Stiles’ own mouth, which gave him a warm feeling all over that he couldn’t quite interpret. 

Stiles rushed back behind his cash register where it was safe. He needed to get the hell away from Derek before he heard the unnatural quickening of his heart, or smelled the nerves on him. Damn Derek and his wolf senses, able to detect his crush. He’d played the fool before, he wasn’t prepared to do it again.

At least, not unless Derek was willing to also play a fool in a mutually foolish relationship. But he never would. So.

 

It was the anniversary. It also made him think about Laura. His pack knew what day it was, and they gave him a wide berth. He’d shut them down savagely when they’d tried to be there for him before, so nowadays they just gave it a rest.

He wasn’t sure why he ended up at Cool Beans. Really he wasn’t even sure how. He just jumped in the Camaro to clear his head and when he looked up he was pulling into the lot, right next to that POS Jeep. If anyone could distract him with useless yammering, it was Stiles.

He lifted his chin at Stiles in greeting on his way in. Stiles waved back, smile spread across his face. It wasn’t long before he dropped down across from Derek, coffee in hand, mouth at full speed.

“Okay, so we got this new industrial fucking strength coffee press in today, and I swear the thing is already my archenemy and this is my villain origin story-“ he trailed off when he saw Derek’s lowered chin. “What’s wrong?”

He received an eyebrow furrow.

“Well, not only are you facing the corner today, your glare isn’t as solder-hot as it usually is, only lukewarm today. So I know something’s wrong.” Derek frowned, his mouth twisted in a stubborn pout. “Dude, don’t try to deny it.” Finally Derek just looked away, his expression heavy and tired. Stiles’ eyes softened.

“Be right back.”

A plate materialized from thin air, coming over Derek’s shoulder to rest on the table in front of him. Stiles’ weight crushed gently on his back, the warmth of his flat abs radiating through his clothes onto the nape of Derek’s exposed neck. On the shiny porcelain plate was an artisan prosciutto and egg sandwich, along with a thick slice of blueberry pound cake. His favorite things, besides the coffee.

“It’s not much, but they’re a couple of your frou frou favs…”

Derek’s tension dissipated under Stiles’ strong hand on his shoulder. It lingered there, the heat melting into the sweet spot where neck met shoulder, calming him. If he wasn't mistaken, he felt the light brush of Stiles’ thumb as he stroked it over the thick dark hair at the base of Derek’s skull.

He took more comfort from Stiles’ touch than he should have. It was more comfort than he’d allowed himself in a what seemed like eons. Suddenly he was grateful Stiles couldn’t see his face. Normally he kept it so carefully sculpted as if from stone, but in that moment the stone threatened to crumble. 

Stiles could be an obnoxious little fuck at times, but he knew how to make inferences. Angry, emotionally closed off Alpha writing about being alone. Today more closed off than usual, but also less angry, which meant he was hiding sadness. It wasn’t hard to see the look of a person who's lost someone. Or several someones, judging by  the subject of his dissertation.

“Whatever it is, if you ever want to say full sentences about it, hell, even paragraphs, I’m here. I got your back.”

Derek sighed and just breathed him in as Stiles smoothed his hand gently up and down the aforementioned back. 

Stiles felt Derek sigh and pulled back like Derek’s skin was a lit match. As much as he loved how malleable the heavy muscle of Derek’s shoulder was under his fingers, the last thing he wanted was to push past boundaries. He turned to give Derek some space. It came as a surprise to most, but he also knew when not to flipping pry. Derek felt the tiniest twinge of devastation when Stiles took his hand away. He hadn’t meant to make him feel uncomfortable.

“I, uh, It’s Derek,” Derek found himself blurting. He just didn’t want Stiles to walk away quite yet. Not yet. “Derek Hale.”

“What is?” Stiles head did an inquisitive-puppy tilt.

“My name.” The way Stiles’ face lit up make Derek feel a happy buzz all over. You would have thought it was Christmas, watching Stiles jump up in the air, fists pumping.

“I got a name! Your actual name! Unbelievable! I deserve a prize or something. Scotland Yard should hire me. MI-5. I’m the next Bond.”

“Easy, Tiger. It’s not the winning Powerball numbers,” Derek couldn’t help but half-smirk and roll his eyes. Only because his guard was down.

“Half a smile too? This is a special freakin’ day. We should mark this on our calendars!” Derek gave him a “you’re hopeless” look. “You know what?” Stiles held open his arms, inclining his head with a knowing smirk. “I’m a hugger. Are you a hugger?”

No.”

“We gotta hug it out, Dude. We gotta. This is a monumental moment in our relationship.”

What relationship?” Don’t tell anybody, but Derek really liked the sound of that.

“Bring it in, Big Guy.”

“Stiles, no-“ He went stiff as a board as Stiles embraced him, tight, pinning his arms to his sides. Derek made zero attempt to return the hug, which Stiles completely ignored. Now was the time for pushing past boundaries. Derek wasn’t running for the hills; Stiles considered himself victorious.

Although Derek sighed like his time was being wasted, as mule-stubborn as ever, it was possible he relented a bit, relaxed in Stiles' sinewy arms just a tad. He kinda loved how Stiles didn’t hold back, and didn’t give a damn about Derek’s uptight-osity. The scent he usually only enjoyed from a distance was mainlined directly into his nostrils from millimeters away. Derek could make out all the things that made him who he was; Irish Spring soap and cheap cologne, exotic coffee beans, various scone ingredients, leather and a hint of sweat and simple Stiles, his own scent markers that no one else would have. Like a fingerprint. Derek inhaled him deeply, committing the scent to memory. Maybe he even thought about hugging Stiles back.

“I love that we’re friends now.“ Stiles murmured into his shoulder. He still hadn’t let him go.

"Can it really be considered a friendship if one party is being held hostage?” Came Derek’s dry retort.

"Wait a minute, are you giving me sarcasm? Is that sass that I hear?” All he got was a snort. “Come on. Admit that we’re friends. I wanna hear you say it!” He poked Derek in the side, which caused him to have to suppress a giggle because little-known fact; he was ridiculously ticklish. Stiles was unrelenting as a tickle monster, and in seconds Derek broke out in a full-on one hundred watt smile. 

“Woooooow.” Stiles stared at him like he was from outer space.

Derek was quick to compose himself. “What?” Shame and bashfulness colored his face, but he hadn't felt this shade of giddy since he was a teenager, and to be honest he hadn't realized he missed the feeling so much.

Stiles shook his head in wonder. “That smile.” He couldn’t believe the sour wolf denied the world such greatness. Stiles wanted to press the back of his hand to his forehead and swoon like a Southern Belle in the summer heat. The man did things to him.

Derek made a show of straightening out his im-a-badass jacket and was much too loud when he cleared his throat. “I’ll give you reluctant acquaintance.”

“Well hey, there’s a start.” Stiles balled up his fist and knuckled into Derek’s shoulder, pushing off gently. Derek didn’t even try to behead him for that.

In the short walk back behind the cash register a buzzing started in Stiles’ head; the mindless, relentless, pastel-colored haze of falling in love.

His name. What a ridiculously perfect name, too. Speaking of ridiculously perfect; that blasted smile. If he wasn’t completely gone off this man before, well. He should buy a pink notebook with cats on it so he could scribble “Stiles hearts Derek” in it a million times. Or maybe “Mr. Stiles Stilinski-Hale.” Yeah. ‘Cause he’s a hyphenator. He snatched a piece of receipt tape and went to town.

When Stiles couldn’t see his face, Derek smiled again, a bright, miles-wide smile that hurt his stubbly cheeks.

He hadn’t smiled this hard, especially on this day, in a long time.

Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to consider him an un-reluctant acquaintance.

 

Chapter Text

Five hours later Stiles was shotgunning coffee and slapping himself across the face. For the love of all things good and holy, why did he agree to both close and open? His hair stuck up at odd angles and he had enough baggage under his eyes to get him to fucking Calcutta and back again. His mouth hung open and he stared flatly ahead while he bumped into shit and made ungodly moaning noises. He was officially a bad extra from The Walking Dead.

As the guy who did all the frickin’ work around here, he was entitled to a whole entire pot of the newest Columbian blend. And a honey-lavender scone. And a bison, free-range egg and goat cheese breakfast sandwich. Yeah. All of the above. The good news was, the owners agreed with him and told him he could do and have whatever he wanted short of setting the place on fire, as long as he kept being the super-duper-fantastic employee he was. Awesome.

Inhaling his food and drink gave him happy feet, so what should come next? Damn right. He kicked off his usual ridiculous performance to his song of the day, Paula Cole’s “Me”.

As he ran a mop across the floor he sang into the top of the stick like a microphone.

“It’s me who’s too shy to ask for the thing I love,” when he sang those words, Derek came to mind completely unbidden. That bastard.

“I know there’s something betteeeeeeeer-” When he did his patented spin move, caressing the mop like it was his dark, brooding lover, the sudden sight of figures made him jerk, fling the mop and knock over the open bag of delicious Columbian roast. Beans sprayed like confetti at a Bar Mitzvah. 

“Jesus!" He groused at the three random strangers staring intently at him, eerily silent. There was a pretty blond girl, a tall pale guy, and a buff dark-skinned guy. They looked both callous and wild, and looked completely out of place in the eccentric little shop. They appeared to be around Stiles’ age, but the general aura they gave off made them seem much older; hardened by life, probably.

They looked like the types to be really fucking grumpy until they’d had their caffeine. Also, it was not at all embarrassing that they’d caught him in the middle of his solo.

“Guys, we’re not quite open yet, but if you can give me a few minutes, I’ll get-“

The girl’s predatory eyes went narrow as she spread her palms flat on the funky paisley design. She leaned forward, towards him, and after taking a big inhalation in his general direction she declared, "Yep, that's him.“

Stiles squawked out, “What?" And if his voice cracked a little bit, well, he couldn't be responsible for that, now could he? They were terrifying, after all.

“You’re Derek’s new… Hell, we don't know what to call you. He doesn't have any friends.”

Stiles breathed a somewhat relieved sigh. "Oh, you're his pack.” The Black guy raised an eyebrow at him in affirmation. Very non-verbal and eyebrow-y. Definitely Derek’s pack.

“Well, since you’re his betas, I get to scold you for making me waste perfectly good coffee beans,” he leaned forward conspiratorially, “Although, I’ll tell you a little secret; I might just give ‘em a quick rinse and take them home for personal consumption. You know, five second rule and all that jazz.” Silence from the peanut gallery. “That was supposed to be a joke, Kids. Tough crowd.” He squatted down to pick up the beans.

“Except you weren’t joking,” Deadpanned the pale guy.

“So what if I wasn’t?” Stiles mumbled under his breath. 

“Why were you…singing that?” The Black guy might as well have been asking, with his nose wrinkled like he smelled a fart, why were you playing with that dead sewer rat?

Stiles sighed, “Look, Man, it was either that or ‘Sunny Came Home’-”

The blond slammed her hand on the counter, and Stiles yelped. “How’d you do it? How’d you get him to smile yesterday?” The way she was interrogating him, you’d think he was Jack the Ripper.

As much as he feared the big bad wolves, and he feared them a ton, even more than that Stiles felt his skin heat up at the thought of that smile. He tightened his grip on the mop and the bag of Columbian coffee beans.

“I -I really don't know.” The bag rattled as he reached to stroke the back of his neck, suddenly shy at the thought of the most-amazingest smile in the universe, hands down, no contest. “He seemed down, so I gave him some free food and a hug.”

Up until then, Stiles hadn't known eyes could pop out that far. Maybe because they were werewolf eyes, and werewolf eyes had hella muscles just like the rest of the werewolf anatomy, and they were so damn strong, they could physically pop out of their heads at will. That’s what it seemed like, the way the betas were looking at him. Stiles shrugged, edgy. “I mean, I had to force it on him. Wow, that sounds rapey. It was definitely not rapey, he wanted it but he just wouldn’t admit- oh God, that sounds even worse, I promise I am not a sexual predator!” He wanted to claw his own eyes out. Breathing deep, he spat out his thought in one big rush of air. “What I’m trying to say is, I think he’s loosening up and, I mean, I'm not really sure but it seems like we might be friends?” It was more of a question than anything, because he still wasn't sure. There was a momentary pause, and Stiles hoped he’d said the right thing, because if he hadn’t they might never find his body.

After a moment of scrutiny; ”Whatever you're doing, keep doing it,” Black dude said. So Stiles lived another day. It didn't sound like he had much choice in the matter so he just nodded slowly.

"You got it, Good Buddy.” The thumbs up he gave them looked as stupid as it felt. “Hey, do you guys want some coffee-“ He turned to set down the beans and back…and saw he was talking to no one. They were gone, just that quick. “-on the house.” He finished. His breathing started to normalize again, finally. “You guys are weird for not wanting free stuff!” He called out. “My hands aren’t shaking, your hands are shaking. My bladder isn’t weak, your bladders are weak. So there.”

 

“Dude. Did I tell you your pack came by to check me out?”

By now Derek had sussed out that an hour before closing on weeknights were the times he tended to have Stiles to himself, and therefore could listen to him fill the silence with whatever random thought happened to be rattling around in his head that day. They became his new favorite times to come, because when he couldn’t have Stiles to himself he always seemed to get awful testy. This was one such quiet, Stiles-y weeknight.

"They did?” Derek bristled, his voice taking on a murderous edge. First of all, how the hell did they even think to come here? Second of all, how did they think it was any of their business? They were all in deep shit. As soon as he got home, he would rain down hellfire and brimstone.

“A couple weeks ago, yeah. I can see where they get their winning freaking personalities from. I thought they were going to maul me.”

"They won't maul you unless I give them the okay.”

“Yeah, thanks, ‘cause that's super reassuring.” Stiles rolled his eyes when Derek smirked, which, luckily, was happening more and more lately. It made Stiles feel all spaghetti-legged and light-headed. "Anyway, they seemed to approve of me. I guess it made me feel kind of good.”

"Their approval is neither necessary nor important.”

“Shut up, you robot, I need all the boosts to my self-esteem I can get. Just let me have this, okay?”

“Yes, because that’s all that matters in the grand scheme of things. You feeling fuzzy all over.”

“Isn’t it, though?” Stiles asked with a grin.

“Of course, Stiles,” Derek’s voice dripped heavy with sarcasm as he sipped his coffee. He was, however, rethinking his plan to unleash the apocalypse on his betas. Since the end result was Stiles feeling important, maybe it would be enough just to chew them out because they were still nosy little bastards who stuck their noses where they didn’t belong.

You feel fuzzy all over, Hairy Wolfman. And I can see right through that sarcasm, you know.” Stiles punched him gently on his arm before standing. Not that Derek would even feel it if he punched him hard. The important thing was, casual physical contact was also happening more and more. Freakin’ sweet.

The sun had already been hanging low and red in the sky when Derek got to Cool Beans, casting mile-long shadows over the quieting streets. Now closing time was near, and the sky was a bruised purplish-black dotted with white stars, and everything was in shadow. Derek (reluctantly) began packing up his stuff. Out the window Stiles saw what must be Derek’s car sitting lonely and stoic and proud in the parking lot. Just like its owner, Stiles thought with a snort. It was also just as sexually arousing as its owner.

“That Camaro’s yours, right?” Derek nodded. “That thing is frickin’ delicious, Dude. I’d like to hump it.” Derek raised a bushy brow. “Fine,” Stiles huffed, “I’d like to make sweet, sweet love to it. Does that make you feel better?”

“Absolutely not. Keep your parts away from my vehicle, Stiles.”

“Why, jealous?” Stiles dragged the word out, teasing him. Derek side-eyed him like it was the most ridiculous concept he’d ever heard.

But yeah, maybe he could be jealous of his own car.

If it got to feel Stiles' dick all over it, that is.

Just like that, the internal battle began. If Stiles liked the Camaro… Images of Stiles on his back across the hood- in a state of dress that was less than decent- flashed through Derek’s mind. He tried to banish them because gross, this was Stiles he was talking about, but all he saw was Stiles baring his neck to him in invitation, letting his thighs fall open enough for Derek to slot himself in between. In his head, the sight was nothing short of obscene. Derek saw himself accepting that invitation, spreading himself out over Stiles’ body, skin sliding over skin, Stiles’ perfect lips parted slightly, eyes hooded in anticipation of the animalistic things Derek was about to do to him, his thighs glancing Derek’s obliques as his legs wrapped around Derek’s waist, and when he looked into Derek’s eyes Derek would lose control…and it wasn’t even totally savage either, it was kind of romantic, as romantic as pounding a major dent into the hood of your car could be.

Do I have a thing for this guy? Derek asked himself (because he was as oblivious as they come). That put him on high alert. He actually sat up straighter in his chair, like his fight-or-flight response had been activated. Do I have a crush on this dummy?! Stiles must have seen Derek’s expression change as he fought the mental battle in his head.

“Doing alright over there, Dr. Jekyll?”

“I’d be better with silence,” He needed to settle himself and get this figured out, and the subject of his internal debate saying words at him wasn’t helping his cause.

“Alright, Jeez, you got it. I’ll just be over here silently cleaning my machine.” Of course, silence never really meant silence with Stiles Stilinski. He hummed off key, making Derek stop his mental wheel-turning and stare at him in mock-irritation. Stiles didn’t seem to notice. 

“Where is my John Wayne?” He sang, “Where is my prairie soooo-ong? Where is my happy ending?” He got progressively louder until he apparently just couldn’t contain himself anymore. He threw back his head and belted out, “Where have all the cowboys go-oooooonnnee?“

“Stiles!” Derek barked, but there was mirth behind it.

“Okay, my bad, silence.” He pretended to zip his lips and throw away the key, but he still made little noises; “Yippee ay, yippee yay, yippee ay, yippee yay” and jerked his bony little ass to the song in his head, and it was just so ridiculous Derek just started laughing. Like, out loud, head back, full-belly laughing.

Stiles turned, a look of awe on his face. “Holy shit, would you look at that.” Derek tried to swallow his laugh. ”No, don’t stop, keep doing that.” Stiles came from behind the counter, circling as if he was approaching an undomesticated Derek in his natural habitat. “That’s the most beautiful damn thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Shut up,” Derek was embarrassed, and flattered, and unable to keep himself from smiling, no matter how hard he tried. It was a new sensation for him; usually his poker face never failed. Stiles looked him in the eye, mischievous.

Derek held up his hands and tried to frown; “No, Stiles, don’t-“

Stiles was officially in front of him doing his stupid (but admittedly somewhat sexy) hip-gyrating dance and singing to him, “Where is my Marlboro Man? Where is his shiny gu-uuuunn?” -there were finger pistols aimed at Derek’s chest- “Where is my lonely ranger?” He fisted Derek’s henley in his hands as he implored,  “Where have all the cowboys go-oooooonnnee?“ Derek batted his hands away. It was just so stupid Derek couldn’t stop laughing.

Stiles was an idiot. And he had the singing voice of a middle-schooler in the midst of puberty.

And he was annoying. And somehow terribly charming in an idiotic, off-beat sort of way. And Derek had it bad for him. Fuck.

Derek wasn’t laughing anymore. His eyes flitted back down to Stiles’ stupid singing mouth. Now that he thought about it, like really thought about it, Stiles’ mouth was made for sucking dick. Derek suddenly envisioned him on his knees, laving those wet lips up and down Derek’s shaft, his big brown doe eyes hungry and pleading and sex-glazed and—

“Derek?” Derek broke out of his daze. “Me and your eyebrows need to have a little talk.” The eyebrows in question knitted themselves together, wondering what the hell the talk was going to be about. “You need to have some fun. Enjoy life. Have you heard of that concept before? Fun?” The eyebrows raised in the middle. This was what he wanted to talk about? Of all things? “You mean to tell me you’re unaware of how much of a stick in the mud you are? Come on. If my performance of ‘Where Have All the Cowboys Gone’ was that funny to you, although granted I am entertaining, you’re in need of a fun intervention. A funvention. I’m sure that comes as a bit of a surprise to you.” One of the eyebrows lifted. Derek was not an un-fun person. He did fun things. On occasion. ”Don’t lie,” Stiles’ tone was flat as a pancake. The eyebrows flattened in concession. Okay, fine, Derek was a stick in the mud. He admitted it. Happy?

“I mean, your freaking minions came in here and snitched on you. They’re really intimidating but I can tell a look of desperation when I see one. I think they’d love it if you were a little less…high strung.”

“They’re going to get themselves gutted if they ever come here again. I feel like I’ll never live that one visit down.”

Stiles ignored his murderous threats. “When’s the last time you got out of the house?”

Derek’s eyebrows said, I’m here, duh.

Besides coming here.”

Well, Derek had no reply to that. Besides taking care of his and his packs’ basic needs, running through the woods, and drinking lots of coffee while he worked on his dissertation, he didn’t do shit.

“That’s what I thought. I’ll tell you what, you are formally invited to hang out with the awesome Stiles Stilinski outside of this hole in the wall and this classy apron and see me reach new levels of awesomeness. I know the best place in town for chili cheeseburgers as big as your head, that also happens to be attached to both an arcade AND a bowling alley. I would love to kick your werewolf butt in whack-a-mole.”

Hang out with him how? Derek panicked. His internal freakout was so massive that he could hear his wolf whining. He wanted to curl up into a ball and cover his snout with his tail, but if there was anything he was good at, it was pretending he wasn’t panicking. Which meant he just sat there, stone-faced as ever. And stared.

Stiles waited for an answer, but after a couple of seconds of Derek staring without blinking, he just felt like an idiot. “Okay, maybe you don’t like that kind of stuff. Maybe beer and pool. You seem like the type. Maybe we should find the most Sons of Anarchy-esque bar ever and go risk our lives. You might like that.” Still nothing from Derek, who was frozen solid, his default judgy look on his face. Stiles went into his own default response; babbling.

“I mean, no pressure or anything, it would just be a couple of guys hanging out, doing stuff at the same place at the same time, possibly interacting while they do it, for once not drinking coffee, possibly something that could be classified as an adult beverage, you know, something to get you to feel all loose and, and maybe loose isn’t exactly the best word but adult beverages make you feel kinda loopy but in a good way, at least I hope so, I don’t know how the whole situation works for wolves…” He laughed nervously before blurting, “Relax, it’s not like I’m asking you out on a date or anything.” Except he totally was. A date was the exact, specific thing he wanted.

Derek tried to be as cool as he possibly could under the circumstances. Stiles had clarified. It wasn’t a date he was after. So was Derek relieved, or heavy-hearted about the whole thing? It only added to his confusion, and he wanted to shake his head back and forth to help clear the Stiles-colored fog. Whatever the case might be, he had to stay level-headed. After what seemed like forever, he shrugged and lifted his brows as if to say, “I’ll consider it.”

Stiles was…dumbfounded. Or maybe he was just plain dumb, thinking Derek would ever want to see his big mouth outside of this hippie-ass coffee shop. “Okay then, Big Guy,” He slapped his palm on the table top as if it was settled. “I love conversing with your eyebrows,” he scoffed. “I’m glad the three of us could have this little chat. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to work I go-” Play it cool, Stiles, play it cool…Yeah. Right.

Stiles got up reeling, going way too fast for his uncoordinated limbs to follow, knocking the chair over as he went. He tried to catch it but just ended up falling over it, flailing as usual, hands hitting the smooth wooden floor, limbs tangled oddly with the strangely aggressive chair. Why did this chair want to see him be an idiot? Why couldn’t the chair just let him be great?

Derek was up in an instant to help him.

Stiles knew his entire face and neck were strawberry red. He’d never been so humiliated in all his life. There was no way Derek was seeing his moron face right now. Wildly, he slapped at Derek’s hands, trying to refuse his offer of help. “Nope, I got it, I’m good,” he squawked, right before tripping again.

Derek huffed to let Stiles know he was being ridiculous again. Derek’s big paws wrapped around the meat of Stiles’ shoulders, radiating heat straight through his Cool Beans tee. Derek pulled him to his feet with all the swiftness his werewolf super-muscles afforded him, firmly, but still somehow tender. Was it wrong to be turned on by Derek’s wolfie strength in a situation where he’d already shot Stiles down like a freaking holiday duck?

Derek peered at him, lifting his brows imploringly. Still, he was holding Stiles’ shoulders, as if afraid he would crumple and fall again. Derek had never touched him like this before. Stiles could only hold his eyes for milliseconds at a time. Derek was just so fucking intense, and so sexy, and so mysterious, and so gentle, and so touching him right now. And so uninterested.

“I’m fine, I’m fine, just-“ a complete and utter jackass. He broke out of Derek’s hold. All he could think of was being away from him, just for a second, just so he could breathe…

Derek looked reluctantly amused, which was normal, but today it just stung. On the one hand, Stiles had made the object of his affections laugh hysterically (and he’d tried to do a sexy dance for him, too…hopefully he wasn’t laughing at that part of it), but Derek had been totally dismissive about his invitation. Like he could care less about seeing him outside of the cafe. That was okay, he guessed. No big deal. Just his entire world crumbling in on him. It wasn’t like he was trying to woo the man of his dreams only to fail miserably or anything. He sighed and went back to his coffee, the only true love he would ever know. Forever alone. He just hadn’t expected it to hurt this damn bad.

Derek had been safe as long as they were confined to a somewhat professional basis within the coffee shop. Now that Stiles had suggested they start an actual friendship outside in the big world out there, where there was a suspicious absence of tie dye and patchouli incense, he was shutting down. He was trying to play it cool, obviously, but there was nothing cool about the way he felt around Stiles. Quite the opposite; everything about him heated up. He couldn’t control it, and he was just so painfully accustomed to being in control.

Derek thought about how often they had conversations in which Stiles babbled, and Derek said nothing, only scowling, and somehow Stiles always knew what he was saying and would answer back as if he had used actual words. He thought about how Stiles figured out how to make him smile when he needed it the most and even laugh out loud in a way he couldn’t remember laughing in ages.

Here was the problem; Stiles had enough personality for five individual idiots. Who’s to say he didn’t treat everyone he met the way he treated Derek? Hell, it wasn’t like he’d ever been patient enough to see Stiles really interact with anyone else. The few times he had, Stiles had flashed his toothy grin and wielded his charming awkwardness and sarcasm on others in just the same way. He called Derek his favorite customer, but…who wouldn’t say that when they saw you five times a week and you accounted for half of what went into their tip jar and they talked at you more than a paid therapist?

Derek was well aware of the fact he was an emotionally congested asshole. It wasn’t an accidental thing; he’d worked hard for this veneer, and now it worked for him. Sure, he’d heard Stiles call him hot a couple times, but why the hell would he want to put up with Derek’s fucking attitude all the time? What happened when they got outside of the coffee shop and Stiles saw that Derek didn’t become any more fun to deal with? That he was always angry, and brooding, and deathly serious? Besides, Stiles had specified he wasn’t talking about a date. How was Derek supposed to hang out with the guy he had feelings for, if the guy didn’t reciprocate? It would be enough to destroy him.

Derek had two modes: either he hated you and would gladly kill you (approximately seven billion people out of the seven billion population) or he loved you fiercely and would kill for you (about two and a half people. His entire family was dead and Erica got on his fucking nerves sometimes). If Stiles was in the love category things were about to get…intense.

That night was the first time it happened.

Derek was lying on his stomach, seconds away from sleep, when suddenly his traitorous brain decided to revisit the Camaro sex images. The impulses that flooded his mind and body were unfamiliar. They reminded him of the way he felt when the moon was at its highest, glowing full and round in a clear black sky, and of the way his blood roiled with an itch to shed his skin and run, but this was different. Derek realized his hips were rolling almost imperceptibly against his sheets, seeking the friction of the mattress against his…

That Derek snuck his hand past the elastic of his (black, of course) boxer briefs to run his fingers over his rapidly swelling dick was a surprise; it had been ages, longer than he’d like to admit, since he’d even thought about touching himself or someone else. It came as a surprise, then, how incredible it felt to run his fingers over the smooth skin of his shaft and imagine they were Stiles’ adept fingertips.

It actually felt really good to realize the head of his cock was dribbling salty precum into the jet hair of his groin, dampening his underwear, crushed between his own body weight and the sheets. Finally he flipped over. His rational mind told him he was being ridiculous. His animal instincts told him he was hungry for this.

Derek wrapped his right hand around the base of his cock, now thick and tenting rebelliously against the black fabric, and with his left hand he stroked, catching a rhythm and fucking up into his hands. In his mind, Stiles was there, sinking all the way down on him, asscheeks meeting Derek’s groin, rowing his hips so Derek’s cock touched every part inside of him, groaning over how deep it was. Derek heard him say ”No, don’t stop, keep doing that,” again, but this time with a primal urgency. He imagined Stiles tensing and quickening his pace, informing Derek with a choked whisper that he was about to come.

With a sharp intake of breath Derek’s hips pumped up into his fist and with a final squeeze he shot his load-holy shit was it a lot- as all the muscles in his body stuttered and contracted with release. When he finally relaxed he became aware of his sharpened fangs digging into his lip and ounces upon ounces of white milk dripping down between the webbing of his fingers.

His body felt satisfied, but his brain kept screaming that he was a buffoon.

He was so fucked.

Chapter Text

In a predictably dickish move Derek stayed away for a few days, again, trying to make some sense of what he felt. Try as he might, he didn’t get it. He should have just let the feeling be, becomes sometimes love just is, but instead he wanted it to go away, and love doesn’t work that way.

Stiles, in the meantime, would not-so-subtly check the parking lot to see if a certain humpable black muscle car was pulling in, especially towards the end of the night. For him, fantasies about Derek were nothing new, and he’d enjoyed many handsy excursions in his shower, bed, and many other places with Derek as inspiration. The man had “Power Top” written all over him. Who wouldn't fantasize about that?

A few nights later, after Stiles’ days off (yes, Derek knew when Braeden filled in, so sue him) Derek turned up, sheepish as hell but unable to stay away. Stiles sucked in a sharp breath to see Derek standing there, darkening the doorway, just as stoic and handsome as ever. His eyes were the color of new money in the low light, his inky pupils dilating as he scanned the room, finally coming to rest on Stiles,.

Derek’s beard and hair were shorter and neater, as if he’d cleaned up for someone. Someone that wasn’t the resident barista at Cool Beans. From that came the first hint of sadness. Stiles swallowed it down and reminded himself that he wouldn’t play the fool here.

Derek’s heavy boots marked each step across the hardwood with a slight clack noise as he strolled up to the register, unable to think of a single thing to say that would come out sounding right. 

So Derek nodded at Stiles, coolly, placed his money on the counter, and sat. The stab of disappointment hurt more than Stiles would have thought, and he rubbed his chest again in the Vicks vapo-rub way. What was he expecting? Seriously, what exactly did he think Derek would do? Hop the counter and ravage him right there on the floor?

Good job on making things weird, you dumbass. Fuck.

Watching Stiles pretend to be aloof was a physically painful thing to see; he sucked at it, and try as he might, he couldn’t stay out of Derek’s space. Stiles tried not to be awkward, but it was a frustrating thing, to feel this burning whenever he came around and be unable to do anything about it. After all, it was clear the wolf man didn’t want anything to do with him outside of Cool Beans. If he was being honest, it broke his heart. Maybe he was being foolish for thinking they had a connection.

Little did Stiles know, it was there for Derek. It was. And as much as Derek wanted desperately to make it go away, he wanted to act on it even more. That was one thing about feelings Derek still didn’t understand; you couldn’t make them disappear. You could only give in and let them affect you.

When the coffee was done Stiles brought it, silently (who woulda thunk it, he was capable of silence). Derek barely looked at him.

On a second thought, he brought Derek a slice of citrus poppyseed coffeecake, something new the owners were experimenting with. It looked very moist and delicious, if he did say so himself, resting on the shiny porcelain plate.

“It looks amazing, but it might be complete trash so I’m using you as my guinea pig.” The corners of Derek’s mouth softened into something resembling a smile. So much for not playing the fool. Stiles rested a tentative hand on Derek’s shoulder.

“We missed you around here, Bud.” Who the fuck was “we”? Stiles didn’t know. Things fell into something approaching normalcy, even though the air was rife with more awkwardness and tension then there ever had been before. Still, it didn’t stop them from falling back into their treasured routine, with Stiles yammering inanely and Derek pretending not to be amused.

Derek lingered late into the night. The touching, the constant tease of physical contact that was driving him out of his mind, continued to happen. As Stiles sat with him, and acting out some stupid story of his and flailing the way he usually did, his leg unintentionally brushed a long stripe against the inside Derek’s thigh. Derek jerked so hard he banged his knee on the table and made all the dishes rattle.

“Sorry, sorry sorry! You alright?” Stiles made matters worse by reaching his hand under the table and cupping Derek’s knee. Derek angled himself away from Stiles’ touch.

“I’m a wolf.” He replied in his “don’t be a dummy voice”

“Wolf, right, I got it. It’ll be the table that gets hurt before you. I’m gonna finish closing before any of our classy decor gets destroyed.” Stiles hopped up like he was on fire, and he looked it too, his blush running all the way down to his shoulders, his mortification evident.

It was all Derek could do not to bash his forehead on the table. Still with the casual fucking touching. It was nothing more than a pat on the arm here, a nudge with the shoulder there. But still. Didn’t Stiles realize he was marking Derek when he did those things?

And it wasn’t just marking, what Stiles was doing to him. Going home smelling like him at night was having unforeseen consequences. Consequences that had Derek concrete hard and needy and feverish right up until he was exploding all over his hand, his belly, and even his chest-

There was no way he could spend time around Stiles without becoming on controllably aroused.

Derek was sure the object of his affections wasn't making a monster out of him on purpose, but his wolf thought otherwise. It had the very classy notion that Derek should be mounting Stiles right about now. Right about all the fucking time.

Still, over the next week they were able to get back to their routine. Stiles hadn’t brought up spending time outside the cafe again, and it hadn’t seemed to affect him one way or the other. As days ticked by, Derek felt that maybe his chance had passed, and the thought of ever being anything more than a customer was a distant memory in Stiles’ psyche.

Derek mentally kicked himself. He had no problem facing down rival packs, witches, shape shifters, and all other odd forms of danger, but he couldn’t tell a one awkward coffee-slinging human the depth of his true feelings.

 

I am not a fucking stick in the mud. That’s what he told himself, at least. Morbid curiosity had carried him to the burger joint Stiles had told him about. He took a moment to stare at the tall glass windows full of snarky signage (beware of dog: he has a gun and he’s off his meds), the garish red and orange paint job, and the flashing “open” spelled out in neon green and yellow. There was also one that said “A four hundred dollar sign to get you to buy a six dollar burger” and another telling him to “wait here, I’ve gone to get help”. Derek shook his head slowly. If this place didn’t scream “Stiles Stilinski” he didn’t know what did.

Derek might be short a few brain cells when he came back out, but other than that it seemed harmless enough.

The menu earned itself a look of disdain. Everything seemed to be made out of instant heart attack. He eyed the chili cheeseburger Stiles spoke of. He reminded himself that he absolutely was not a stick in the mud; he could eat greasy hamburgers and play dumb, juvenile arcade games with the best of them.

He pointed at it. “One of those. Curly fries. Coke.” The overly-bubbly spirit squad leader behind the counter took down his order with a smile too big for someone who had to work in a place like this.

“Derek?”

Derek’s eyes winched closed. He wasn’t sure if he was embarrassed, or scared shitless, or angry, or flat-out ecstatic to hear that particular voice behind him. He turned.

Stiles was just as handsome as always. It wasn’t his blinding perfect smile but his bright eyes that made Derek feel all boneless. Derek nodded at him, stupidly, and examined the ground around his feet, his jaw clenched.

Stiles asked, “What are you doing here?”

“In the neighborhood.”

“That’s cool. It’s, uh, pretty doggone strange to see you outside the shop. Probably weird to see me in regular clothing. Sometimes I forget I own shirts that don’t have a moronic dancing bean all over them. You look exactly the same though! Because you don’t wear a uniform to come to the coffee shop like I do because you don’t actually, physically work there.”

Derek wanted to laugh out loud because Stiles was so damn cute. He was only wearing dark jeans and a blood-red hoodie, but something about the way they fit made him look impossibly sexy.

There was an awkward pause because both men were entirely too dumb to figure out what to say next.

“I was just gonna get mine to go,” Stiles shrugged.

“I’m gonna sit,” Derek said, still studying the ground. He couldn’t figure out how to invite Stiles to sit with him without feeling like a circus clown. “Over there,” he pointed, like a kid.

“What is it with you and corners, Man?” Stiles shook his head with a gentle laugh. “You’re not on, like, a hot date or anything, are you?” Derek shook his head, the corners of his mouth turning down. “Well, maybe I won’t rush off then. Want some company?” Derek shrugged. Heaven forbid he make it easy for himself.

Stiles the hopefulness left his voice as he mumbled, “It’s alright, never mind, just forget I said anything.”

Derek’s voice came out sharp as fast; “Wait! No, I want you to. Sit with me, I mean.”

"Are you sure? I wouldn't want to impose.”

"No, I want you to.” Derek parroted, thinking his head might explode as he forced himself to show just a smidgeon of emotion. Begrudgingly he added, "I like talking to you.”

Stiles’ smile made its triumphant return. "Let's do this thing, then.“

The bubbly girl, who had obviously witnessed their exchange, grinned at them like The Joker as she handed their food over.

It was just the same as in Cool Beans, except it was totally different because they weren’t in the Cool Beans. It was easy and comfortable, but charged with a new sort of electricity. They talked with more animation, joked about more vulgar things, revealed facts about themselves that were more personal. They told silly stories and laughed until milkshake was flooding out of Stiles’ nose.

Stiles leaned in like he had a big secret. “Look, there’s something very important you don’t know about me-” he paused for dramatic effect, “-I’m the best Skeeball player in the tri-state area.”

“How would anyone measure that, Stiles? Why would anyone measure that, Stiles?” Derek asked in a monotone.

“Look, I just know it to be true, okay? I got mad skills.” He cut his eyes over to the lanes. “You looking to get spanked?” Almost instantly he was backpedaling. “I, uh, I mean in ski-ball, not in like, life. Unless that’s your thing. I don’t judge. Lots of kinks out there, you know. Spanking can be good. Spanking can be great if you’re…you know, into that-“

Derek, of course, laughed at him. “We’re gonna go play skeeball now so you can stop talking.”

Stiles exhaled heavily. “Thank you.”

Stiles was bouncing around like a bunny on a sugar high as they bought tokens. A massive amount of tokens. So many tokens.

“How long, exactly, do you expect to be here?”

“Until we’re absolutely tokenless. I’m hardcore, Man,” His eyes widened, “I mean not hardcore like pornography-“

“Skeeball, Stiles.”

“Right.”

“How does this…work?” Derek asked, standing in front of a lane with his usual look of disapproval on his face.

Stiles rolled his eyes. “You do this,” he heaved the sphere of heavy red plastic down the lane like he was pitching softball. It dropped neatly into the forty point spot. Derek still looked skeptical, but he participated all the same.

The games started out honest and friendly enough, but when Derek started putting his werewolf strength and accuracy into it, things went to straight hell.

“How are you winning so easily, despite my clear talents for rolling balls into the highest scoring hole?” Pink coloration started to spread over his cheeks, “Oh God-“

“Don’t start that again, Stiles,” Derek warned, although he was amused. Even so, Stiles kept looking between their machines, watching as Derek’s score climbed ever higher and his machine spit out more and more green paper tickets. Stiles’ expression grew dark. To put it lightly, he was a sore loser. He frowned and whined like a five-year-old on the verge of a temper tantrum.

“I’m officially convinced. You took a class in assholism. You’re studying sociology so you can know exactly how to drive other living creatures away from you. There’s just no other explanation for this shit.”

“Yes, that’s the exact reason I’m working hard for an education.” Derek winked at him, honest to God winked. Then he rolled the highest possible score. For like the fifteenth time.

“Fucking wolves,” Stiles griped. He decided to take matters into his own hands. “This will not stand,” he announced as he grabbed two of the balls. He shoved Derek out of the way and grabbed two of his.

“Got your balls. Haaaaaa! I just couldn’t resist!”

Derek watched in amusement as Stiles scrambled up on his lane and started dropping the purloined balls into the high score slots.

“Excuse me, Sir, you can’t do that,” called the exhausted teenage worker from behind his transparent toy counter.

“You don’t know what I’m up against here, Man,” Stiles called, his arm all the way in the 100-point hole.

“You could just lose graciously like an adult,” The boy said with an exasperated shrug of his shoulders.

“Where’s the fun in that?” Was Stiles’ reply.

Derek was laughing again. Not just a little laugh, but an all-over, full-body laugh that roiled up from his middle and burst out in fits and starts. He realized he’d been missing this exact feeling while he stayed away from Cool Beans too long. Hell, he’d been missing this exact feeling for much longer than that.

The boy convinced Stiles to come down on threat of being asked to leave. Derek guided them away from the lanes, Stiles making him promise that Derek was still, in fact, the loser of their little contest. Derek began to lose to him on purpose at the air hockey table. He made it close so it wouldn’t be obvious. He smiled minutely when Stiles started to brag.

By the time all was said and done, Stiles had a handful of tickets; but Derek had an armful.

Stiles pouted like the child he was as they approached the prize counter. His foul mood temporarily lessened as he picked out prizes like a bouncy ball, friendship bracelets, and a Chinese finger trap which he’d get himself stuck in as soon as he got home.

Derek skimmed over his options for an inordinate amount of time. There was literally nothing there he wanted.

“Not one thing you want? Such a lame.” Stiles shook his head slowly, as if Derek was the most pitiful wretch he’d ever seen. A little remote control car caught Stiles’ eye and he pointed at it. "Cool! Look at that remote car right there. I wish I had enough tickets for that.“

"Do I have enough tickets for that?” Derek asked the teenaged kid. A quick count showed that yes, he did. “I'll take it, then."

"Come on, man, that's exactly what I wanted!” Stiles threw his hands up.

"I know. I'm getting it to fuck with you.” Derek choked back his laugh as Stiles’ entire face fell, but as soon as the cute pink bottom lip poked out and trembled theatrically, Derek had to let up. “Joking. It's yours.” Stiles entire face lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Really?!"

"What the fuck am I going to do with a toy car, Stiles?“ More importantly, what was he going to do against that cute little pout?

"You can have a shit ton of fun playing with it is what, but it's too late because it's mine now!”  The car and remote were out of Derek's hands before he could blink. In the next moment it was on the ground, zigzagging around other patrons of the arcade. The kid behind the counter set his elbows on the glass casing and sighed heavily.

"I love it! I guess that werewolf strength of yours is good for something after all.”

"Right, because it wouldn't be at all useful in defeating my foes or anything.”

Stiles’ eyes never left the car. “Dude, are we in The Hobbit? Stop talking like that.”

"You know, a thank you would suffice.”

"It probably would.” He tore his eyes away from the car long enough to give Derek his wink back. Derek narrowed his eyes in in mock annoyance.

Stiles aimed the thing towards the door and stood tapping his foot impatiently, looking pointedly at Derek, then the door, then back to Derek. Derek sighed and held it open while Stiles shot the car though it like a rocket. He steered it out into the parking lot at top speed, chasing it and whooping at the top of his lungs.

“You’re too excited about that thing. It’s worth $2.50 tops.”

“It’s the principle of the thing, Derek, jeez. You’re like the captain and high commander of the Fun Police,” Stiles yelled over his shoulder as he chased it, finally stopping next to his jeep. He bent over trying to catch his breath. Derek was as casual as ever, strolling up while Stiles panted with his hands on his knees.

The night was cooler than expected, and Derek could see the slight mist of Stiles’ breath as he exhaled. It shimmered in the hazy yellow halogen light as Stiles dug his hands deep in his jeans pockets, presumably against the chill. The jeep rocked slightly as he leaned his slim frame back against it, one leg crossed on top of the other, seeming to relax and process the excitement of their night. Derek came to stand in front of him, taking in his movements, his form. The street lights cast harsh shadows over his face, illuminating the sharp lines and bone structure, and the thick lashes that lined his beautiful eyes. 

Something about the shadows made him look different, more edgy. He could even fool people into thinking he was elusive and mysterious instead of a spastic barista at a hippie coffee shop.

He could even fool Derek into thinking he looked sexy, and that this was the perfect light to kiss him in. As Derek fixated on his lips, they began to make sounds.

"I really did have fun tonight. We should do it again sometime.” There was hope in Stiles’ voice. After Derek had ignored his offer to hang out, Stiles thought it would never happen, and that Derek would never see him that way. Now that they'd had fun outside of the shop, maybe his mind had changed and they could do it again. Stiles knew he should give up, but he couldn't quite let go of the idea that maybe Derek might develop some feelings for him.

Standing so perfectly still in the darkness, Stiles could see Derek for the wolf he was. Stiles had never felt truly scared of him, though. As he began to excavate the deepest recesses of Derek’s mind, Stiles could see all of the good he was pulling up; rare artifacts of childhood memories, shitty habits Derek wanted to break, hopeful plans for the future that sounded suspiciously like lifelong dreams. Stiles wanted to know more. To dig further.

"And thanks for the car. I love it. I'm going to go crazy with it until the cheap ass batteries run out. Which will be in about five minutes.” He shrugged and his laugh came out nervous, and maybe even a bit crazed, as Derek went to pick up the car for him and he reached for it at the same time. Stiles reached it first, and when they stood upright they’d somehow drifted closer together.

“No takebacks,” Stiles attempted to say as a joke, but it would only come out as a husky whisper.

Way too close, Derek thought, I’m standing way too close.

Derek returned his hands to his pockets, almost as if he was trying to keep his hands trapped so they wouldn't reach out and grab onto Stiles’ strong shoulders. In the movies, this would be the part where they gave into their desires and started making out like high schoolers behind the bleachers and there would be cheesy nineties alternative music and it would all be perfect, the end. The truth was, Derek would probably lean forward to kiss him and if he didn't totally miss Stiles face, he would probably be too sloppy, or too wet, or use too much tongue, or accidentally bite his head off, or any and all of the above. Besides, no one had said this was the date, just two people who were okay with each other wasting time so they wouldn't be alone.

So Derek stood there staring cluelessly until Stiles cast his eyes down. When Stiles looked up he parted his lips to say something, one hand outstretched reaching towards Derek.

The sudden blare of a minivan horn sounded from a few cars over and they both started, shaken out of the moment.

“For fuck’s sake,” Stiles panted as they both tried to catch their breath. "Well, I guess that's my cue to skadoo. …Also, I want you to forget I ever said ‘skadoo'.”

"No. That's archived for future humiliation.”

“It’s a miracle,” Stiles announced out of the blue.

Eyebrow Furrow.

Stiles elaborated. “You had fun tonight, and you didn’t even explode. There’s hope for you yet, Oscar the Grouch.” Stiles cradled the back of Derek’s hand and lifted it up, pressing one of the cheap, neon, green- and orange-checked friendship bracelets into Derek’s palm. It was a small gesture but so intimate that it quite literally took Derek’s breath away. Derek peered at Stiles as if trying to figure out where he’d come from.

The intensity of Derek’s gaze made Stiles feel even more feel even more bashful. He pushed Derek’s shoulder playfully with the flat of his hand, trying to laugh the shyness out. The warmth cut straight through Derek’s clothing and permeated his skin.

The grimy, resounding squeak echoed around the lot as Stiles swung the decrepit Jeep’s door closed, and like that he was gone.  Dumbfounded, Derek just stood there.

Dammit. Now Stiles was handing him tokens of affection and his wolf was going berserk. Over a fucking kiddie bracelet from a run-down arcade. It might as well have been a deer carcass Stiles’d clubbed to death and dragged back, wide-eyed and bloodied, to lay at Derek’s feet.

So naturally, by the time he’d reached home Derek’s dick was so thick and so hard that it ached, pleading for release, particularly from the inside of one Stiles Stilinski.

Derek’s hard cock was in his hand again as soon as his back hit the sheets, shooting quick and incredibly hard after only five pulls. He choked out a strangled “fuck,” and nearly curled in on himself. He laid out on his bed with his hand still gripping himself, dripping white and milky like a vanilla ice cream cone in the summer sun, unable to make his brain work quite yet, coming down from the brain-scrambling orgasm. He only looked up when his bedroom door burst open.

“Hey, Derek, did you- oh, shit!” Isaac scrambled back out of the door, with a slam.

This whole entire Stiles situation was getting out of hand.

Derek shot up out of bed, his eyes wide, flushing ruby red from head to toe. Few things enraged him like being embarrassed. He made quick work of wiping himself up, and then he roared "Isaac!“

He could hear Isaac’s whimper, then reluctant footsteps creeping back up the stairs. His beta hesitated outside the door, his heartbeat hammering loud and clear. "Get in here! You had no problem opening the door the first time.” Isaac came in looking on the verge of tears. “What. The. Fuck.”

“I swear, Derek, I didn’t really see anything.” Derek’s fangs descended as he growled.” I mean, I didn’t see much, and it’s no big deal, it’s not like I don’t know anything about masturbation, I mean, everybody does it, they say it’s good for your health…” Deflated by the ridiculousness of it all, Derek hung his head and buried his face is his palms and rubbed through his hair in frustration, leaving it sticking up at all angles.  Isaac kept rambling. “It relives stress and stuff, and you could use some stress relief, I think…” Derek shook his head and wondered if this was really, truly his life. Honestly, the rambling made him think of a certain someone. Isaac apparently could read minds, because he took a deep breath and steeled himself and said,  “Sooooooo, the guy from the coffee shop-“

Derek’s head jerked up. “What about him?” He snapped.

"Everybody kind of already knows?” He phrased it as a question, his voice getting squeaky with fear at the end of the sentence. Derek slapped his palm on his forehead. Holy fuck was this ever humiliating. "To be honest we all kind of know you feel things for him, some sort of, you know, things. We all think you should make a move, but none of us ever says anything. We tried to get Boyd to say something because he is the strongest and will heal the fastest, but then we tried to get Erica to say something because her balls are the biggest but apparently not big enough, Then they tried to get me to say something because they say you’re soft on me and would be less likely to murder me-“

“What does any of this have to do with you knocking?” Derek roared.

“Nothing! It’s just, he seems nice, and he’s funny, and he’s a nice looking guy-“ Derek snarled in spite of himself. “Sorry, sorry. I’m just saying-“ Isaac took a deep breath and let it out. “You’re still here, Derek. What’s the point of still being here if you don’t try to be happy? You never let yourself have anything. You won’t go after the one thing that makes you happy?” Derek sat in silence for a moment, contemplating.

“Isaac. What. Do. You. Want.” He hissed, voice dripping venom.

“We’re doing a Marvel marathon and I was gonna ask if you wanted some popcorn-“

"Get the fuck out, Isaac.” Isaac squeaked and took off, his tail pinned firmly between his legs. He left his alpha to grind his teeth and chew on the words of wisdom.

Just when Derek thought things couldn’t get any worse. Derek wasn’t expecting for his entire pack to know he regularly rubbed one out now, and he definitely didn’t expect them to know who he’d rubbed one out over.

He felt hopelessly out of control, and he loathed being out of control, but at the same time…Isaac was right. Lately he’d been feeling downright giddy, and he enjoyed it. It was fun. It was exciting. He felt awake to life again, after a very long time. He remembered, in the distant recesses of his mind, what it felt like to be hopeful.

 

You’re thinking too much, Derek. Just do it. He’d shown up today on a mission, and was trying to steel his nerves. His hands were actually shaking. Shaking. Derek ran over the facts in his head for the millionth time. Stiles said he wanted to hang out. With him. Outside the café. So there was that. That was good, very good.

As Derek opened Cool Beans’ door his calculations continued. There were so many variables that went along with his one tiny question. Example; was Stiles even attracted to men? They had never explicitly discussed it.

Derek knew that spending time with Stiles as only a friend would be like torture. He hadn’t been entirely sure what Stiles’ intentions were when he invited Derek to the silly arcade-slash-burger joint. Did he mean in a romantic way? Derek was inept when it came to knowing when someone was interested in him, so he had no real idea. Either way, he knew it was time to say something.

Especially seeing the way his pack looked at him that morning, like they were scandalized and mortified by all his masturbation; was enough to spur him into action. He refused to go out like this. It was time to shit or get off the pot.

Derek marched up to the counter where Stiles was covered in coffee grounds and scone crumbs, sweeping the floor, as hot as ever. Stiles stopped to look up at him; was it too much to think his eyes looked hopeful? Derek gathered his courage and opened his mouth.

“Tomorrow. Beer?” When he said tiny question, he’d meant tiny.

“Yeah?” Was that Stiles’ face brightening?

“Yeah,” Derek echoed, trying to infuse more confidence into the word than he felt.

“Okay,” Stiles replied, and was it overkill to think he was struggling to hold back a big smile?

“Okay.” Derek nodded once and strode out.

Fucking jumping up and down and fist pumping, that’s what Stiles was doing as soon as Derek was out of sight. “I’m getting beer with Derek. Derek and I are getting beer. ‘Tomorrow. Beer?’ Of fucking course, ‘tomorrow beer’! This is really happening!”

Derek was glad Stiles couldn’t see the way he curled his hands around his steering wheel and dropped his forehead against it with a dull thud before exhaling deeply, waiting for his heart to slow to a normal pace. Tomorrow. Beer.

Chapter Text

Derek agonized over what to wear. Of course he agonized over what to wear. Tonight was the night, so he was agonizing.

“Like junior prom all over again,” He mumbled to himself. He tore through his entire wardrobe (a cavalcade of charcoals, grays, blacks, dark blacks and blackest blacks) and found it all to be lacking.

Then, a light bulb moment. There was a pile in the very farthest corner of his closet, so far and well hidden it might have been Narnia. He dug into the sparse pile of gifts given to him over the years. Most were still wrapped and heavily coated in dust. He dug and dug until he found a bag from a store that was disgustingly hipster and pretentious but it held what he was looking for; a forest green ribbed sweater Erica bought him for Christmas one year, saying it brought out his eyes. At the time he’d wanted to both throw up on and burn the pretty-boy sweater, but something told him to keep it and this was just the emergency he was going to use it for.

The stretchiness confused him and for a second he flailed, trying to get the thing up over his head, then find the arm holes. He got a fuzzy feeling all over when he thought about a certain someone who flailed literally all. The. Time. Was it rubbing off?

The material wasn’t very thick, and he wondered why exactly it was called a sweater since it wouldn’t be keeping anybody warm. All the better to show his muscles off, he supposed.

He donned black jeans that fit tighter than he normally would wear them because he wanted that certain someone to look but he didn’t want it to be obvious that he wanted that certain someone to look. Finally, he put on black combat-style boots and his ensemble was complete.

Everything felt too clingy, but showed off his body and did indeed emphasize his eyes, which he had to admit he was proud of. Still, he looked like a douchey GQ magazine reject. Did he look desperate? Was he going to seriously wear green?

Fuck yeah, he was gonna wear green. Erica said “it was guaranteed to get him laid, and he needed to get laid in the worst way”. His certain someone probably liked green.

Erica was a clairvoyant little shit, because she chose that time to need something from him. She knocked on his door and he gruffly invited her in.

She got an eyeful of him and giggled, which was very un-Erica-like.

“Whatcha doin’?” She asked, trying to hide her smile. She crossed her arms and leaned against  the far wall, studying him.

Derek narrowed his eyes at her, rethinking his decision to let her in. “Get out.”

“You’re getting dressed up for him, aren’t you?” Clearly she’d chosen that spot to give her a head start should he give chase.

“Since when does wearing a sweater and jeans constitute getting dressed up?”

“Since you’re actually wearing something that isn't black. Also, since you’ve decided to show off that great ass of yours.”

Out.” Derek said, finger extended towards the door.

Erica didn’t linger, but she did say, “For what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re doing this.”

Derek snorted, but one corner of his mouth curved up as he did.

Near closing time Derek sauntered into Cool Beans with his hands in his pockets, doing his best to look casual, like this wasn’t the most exciting thing to happen to him since turning people into werewolves so he could have quasi-family members.

Stiles stopped dead in his tracks at the sight. It had only been twenty-four hours since he’d seen Derek, but Stiles had thought about him the entire time, and had imagined how sexy he would look when he dressed up a bit. Stiles was not disappointed. Not disappointed at all, no sir.

“You look, uh, good.” He visibly swallowed as he said it. His collar felt too hot and his work khakis too tight. Derek looked like he’d stepped right off the pages of a GQ magazine, but not so douchey. The green sweater he was wearing made his eyes look like something out of a Disney movie. How did the man know exactly what to wear to make himself look so appetizing? It just wasn’t fair.

“I figured we could go after.” Derek tilted his head towards the coffee machines.

Stiles paused, trying not to panic. “Oh, okay…I can do that. I have a change of clothes here in the office.”

Shit, Derek hadn’t even thought of that, hadn’t thought to establish the time at all. He felt like an asshole. He wanted to bang his head against the nearest wall. Of course, Stiles could pick up on Derek’s frustration with himself.

“Look, don’t get yourself all worked up, we both forgot about details.” Who could think about details when just getting all the words out was hard enough?

“So you don’t need to run home…?”

“No, it’s all good, Man.” Stiles shrugged like it was no big deal. It was. Tonight everything was big.

“How’s it been tonight?” Derek decided to try for casual conversation, which never ended well for him.

“Quiet. Like most nights. Especially without you here.” One of the shoulders Derek liked so much shrugged up and down, and the sexy mouth curled into a shy smirk.

“Well, I’m here now. Making noise.” Dear God Derek, he thought, you know how bad you are at small talk. Just shut up right now.

“I feel better,” was the reply. YOU SOUND DESPERATE STILES SHUT UP RIGHT NOW. That was what went through Stiles’ head.

“I’ll just dissertate until you’re ready.” Did I just invent a new verb for writing a dissertation?

“I’ll just get ready while you drink coffee and dissertate.” This is a nightmare. This cannot be my personality.

Derek nodded awkwardly, and took the opportunity to get away before things got any worse. Stiles was grateful he kept an emergency party outfit in the office in case he got invited to drink himself silly, which tended to happen a lot with his college buddies. It was a simple button-down and some jeans that he thought made his ass look bigger. It wasn’t his best, and definitely not what he would have worn to impress Derek on what could have been their first date- or maybe their second date? (If it was even a date at all). He had no cologne, no hair gel, and shit, no deodorant. Don’t panic, Stiles, don’t panic, don’t panic.

Anyhow, the situation wasn’t ideal. He wasn’t sure he would look (or smell) his best, but he would soldier through it.

The truth was, Stiles had barely been able to sleep the night before. All he could think about was Derek asking him out. At least, he hoped and prayed this was Derek asking him out. He wanted to get to the bottom of this whole mystery. Heh heh. Bottom.

The show he’d put on in the mirror last night was comical. He’d practiced his script for Operation Woo Derek Hale.

“I’m single. You’re single. Coincidence? I think not.”

“I don’t know what quidditch position you play, but I bet you're a keeper."

“You and me baby, ain’t nothing but mammals. So let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel.” He’d made finger pistols and shot them at his own winking image in the mirror.

Then he’d started singing “Pull Up To the Bumper” and gyrating in the mirror. In the moment it made him feel good because Miss Grace Jones was forever fierce, but when it was all over he just felt like a boob. It was all bad.

So yeah, he was tired of feeling dumb for wanting Derek in his life, like really in his life. Tonight, the plan was to make things perfectly clear. He wanted to tell Derek what he was feeling for better or for worse. From there it would be up to Derek to decide whether or not he wanted to move things forward, but Stiles couldn’t play the guessing game any longer. Tonight he would ask.

What if Derek said he felt the same way? What if they kissed? What if they got to third base? What if they…shit, should he bring a condom? No, he was making waaaaaayyy too many assumptions right now. It was just beer. Just a couple of guys having a beer.

Stiles’ phone buzzed in his pocket, and the name on the screen made him smile. He stepped back into the office to reply.

Meanwhile, Derek was busy “dissertating” until he knocked over the remains of his coffee from pure nerves. Luckily there wasn’t much left and he had werewolf reflexes, or his laptop might have been a goner. He did need some napkins, though.

Nearing the napkin dispenser next to the register, his ears pricked up. Stiles was talking to someone. It was hard not to overhear with his super senses.

What Derek heard confused him, so he went closer. He came right past the counter, back closer to the office. Stiles was hunched in a corner, back turned towards the door, having what seemed to be a very private conversation. Not with Derek’s wolfie hearing, it wasn’t. Stiles’ voice was perfectly clear.

”I miss you like crazy, though. When are you coming home?“ Derek stiffened. He wasn’t supposed to be hearing this. “You know I’m not going to let you out of my sight, right? I’m going to have everything set up so you better be ready to get right to it. It’s gonna be intense. All night. Maybe the next 48 hours.”

‘Get right to it?’ What the hell had he stumbled on?

“Okay, I’ll see you soon. Love you, Schnookums,” Stiles crooned in a voice that was sickly sweet and full of affection. The voice on the other end of the phone, a male voice, low but gentle, laughed heartily before replying, “I love you, too.”

Derek’s heart dropped so fast it must have hit the floor and punched right through. Stiles had somebody. Somebody he was in love with.

Derek backed away slowly, feeling dazed, unable to even sort out the flood of emotions that hit him like a freight train. As he stumbled back towards his table, all he could feel was hurt. Just a physical pain, radiating from inside his ribs all the way out to his extremities. It would be the worse he’d ever felt, if not for the crushing, crippling loss of his family. Why wouldn’t Stiles tell him there was already someone else in the picture? Why work so hard to get Derek to let his guard down? And Derek had let his guard all the way down. What a fool he was. He felt humiliated, and like such an idiot. And the more hurt and humiliated Derek Hale felt, the more pissed off he got. He wanted to put his fist through his table. There was one thing for certain; there would be no beer tonight.

It seemed they could never just get off the phone with each other. There were always more things Stiles could talk to Scott about. Scott knew things about him. Lots of blackmail-y things. Things that could land Stiles in jail, things that could embarrass him enough to make him skip town. All the things, really. Obviously, Scott had heard a few choice things about Derek. Okay, he’d heard everything, blow by blow, several times over.

Me: Bro, I gotta go. I have to get back out there and serve my customer.

The Best Bud to End All Buds: Ha, “serve your customer.” You need to be serving him more than coffee. You know you want to.

Stiles snorted. Of course I want to, but he acts like he’ll eat me if I look at him the wrong way. Scott sent him a wink face. Not in a hot, sticky, sexy-times way. In a “I am the king of beasts” way. Wait, that could still constitute as a good way. Scott sent him an eye roll emoji. I told him we should hang out! I wasn’t really sure how he took it. He just kinda shrugged. What does that mean? He was hopeful that Scotty would reassure him.

The Best Bud to End All Buds: Dude, I don’t know. That sounds awfully ambiguous.

No such luck. Stiles rolled his eyes.

Me: But then I ran into him at the place I suggested…

The Best Bud to End All Buds: Hmm. Not a coincidence at all.

Me: …and we had such a good time. He really came out of his shell. He got me a remote control car with his tickets!

The Best Bud to End All Buds: Marry him

Me: But wait it gets better! So then he just galavants in here last night looking fine as wine and goes, “tomorrow. Beer?”

The Best Bud to End All Buds: And?

Me: And I said okay! And then he just walked back out! 

The Best Bud to End All Buds: …I think he wants in your pants.

Me: I’m glad you think so because if I would have thought about it, my response would have been “yes, tomorrow beer and some of this sweet ass” but I was so flabbergasted I could only agree to go out with him. Do you think he means go out go out?

The Best Bud to End All Buds: That’s what it sounds like to me. He tells you his deepest darkest secrets, he hangs out with you four nights a week with no one else around, and I mean, he stalked you down at a place you suggested so he could go on “oops” date with you.

Stiles grinned so wide it hurt.

Me: You really think he stalked me?

The Best Bud to End All Buds: No doubt about it. Go get your guy. Tell him how you feel. Then tell me about how much sex you guys had when you come up for air. But not in too much detail, though.

Stiles fist pumped at the thought.

Me: Thanks a lot, Scott.  You’re the best bro ever. Anyway, I gotta go check on him.

Stiles was already nervous when he came to interrupt Derek’s dissertating to say he was ready to get this show on the road. He was so excited he was vibrating, and he hoped Derek wouldn’t notice. He couldn’t hide the pure fracking glee that he was feeling. He was ready for tonight. Despite his fear, he felt confident. It was now or never.

Stiles expected a lot of things from Derek when he said he was ready to get going, but the nasty scowl he got wasn’t one of them. It was so venomous that it froze him to the spot, made him feel uncharacteristically laconic.

"What's the matter, Derek? “

“Nothing,“ said Derek as he continued to burn holes in everything he fixed his eyes on.

"Come on, man. I know you well enough to know when somethings wrong with you-“ he outstretched his hand towards Derek’s bicep. Derek snatched his arm just out of reach, maybe a bit too quickly. Stiles pulled back as if burned, confusion all over his face.

"I don't think we know each other as well as you think we do,” Derek grumbled, turning his face away.

"I guess not,” Stiles said, feeling rejected. So this was the truth of it, then. He was such an idiot to think someone like Derek could ever be into someone like him. He wanted to find the nearest hole and crawl in. “I did something wrong. What did I do, Derek?” He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. Still nothing.

A little honesty would have been peachy, Derek thought. In reality, they’d never said they were on a date. It had just felt like one, to Derek. If there was one thing he couldn't stand it was being led on. If there was one thing he couldn’t stand, it was being made a fool of by the person he cared about the most.

“Was it something I said? I guess I’ve been kind of, flirty with you… Look, I didn’t really mean it-“ just when he thought Derek’s beautiful face couldn’t have looked anymore twisted, things took a turn for the worst. “I didn’t mean to insult you, or offend you, or give you the wrong idea. I should just keep things professional, right? I’m sorry, alright? Really.” And could you really blame the guy if his voice cracked a few times?

Derek didn’t answer, just started packed his things. He knew he was being unreasonable and unfair, but he couldn’t control the swell of jealousy in his chest. He had to get somewhere that wasn’t permeated with Stiles’ scent.

Stiles just felt exhausted. He wasn’t going to keep trying if there was nothing to try for, especially if this was the result. He said, not unkindly and with a small smile,”Well, I won't bother you again tonight. Please just lock the door on your way out, okay?” Derek said nothing. There was nothing to be said.

“Okay,” Stiles spoke mainly to himself as he took a couple of steps backward, nodding, still totally boggled about the shift in Derek’s demeanor, “Okay,” he said again, and that was that. Finally, he turned and made his was back to the office, shoulders slumped in defeat.

 

Derek should have known. Should have known Stiles already had somebody in his life. Should have known he was never interested, because Stiles would never go for a complete asshole like Derek Hale. He cursed himself for being such a fucking idiot. He was so busy having a hissy fit that he completely forgot his charger in the wall.

Derek’s papers scattered all over when he tried to close his bag; he scrambled to swipe them up before Stiles came out and caught him looking like a fool. It got him even more worked up, and in his rush to get out of there he slammed the door behind him, forgetting to hit the locks or even flip the “closed” sign over.

As he climbed into the Camaro something heavy settled into the pit of his stomach, like a stone. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think his heart was breaking.

He rolled all his windows down to let the cool night air shock his senses. When the Camaro hit the street he was already going way too far over the speed limit.

 

Stiles was staring dejectedly into space when he got another text from Scott.

The Best Bud to End All Buds: Are you out on your date with Eyebrow Guy yet? Did you tell him how you feel?

Stiles ran a palm down his face. I tried, he wanted to say. I thought it was the perfect timing, and that we’ve been having those super-cheesy romantic movie moments where we magically connect and everything turns into sparkles and rainbows. But I was so wrong and it blew up in my face and I don’t even know what just happened.

Stiles stood with his back against the wall, and when he heard Derek shut the door behind himself- a little too hard- he sighed deeply and slid down onto a bag of coffee beans, wondering exactly where he’d gone so wrong. How could he fix it if he didn’t even know what the problem was?

“Fuck.” He banged his head back against the psychedelic multi-colored Jimi Hendrix mural painted on the office wall.

“At least I know Jimi would never desert me. Right, Jimi?” Jimi didn’t offer an answer. He just continued to look like a rainbow-colored rock God. Stiles texted Scott back. 

Me: There is no date. At this point, probably never will be. I fucked up somehow.

The Best Bud to End All Buds: What did you do?

Me: I don’t know! He wouldn’t even tell me! I think he finally got tired of my bullshit. I bet I over-Stilesed him.

The Best Bud to End All Buds: There’s no such thing! He’s crazy about you. He just needs some emotional prune juice. You probably haven’t Stilesed him enough. Be emotional prune juice, my dude. See, that was why Scott was his number one best buddy ever.

Still.

Me: The way he looked at me just now…I don’t think so.

Stiles sat moping, just as pathetic as you like. He had to admit, he was frustrated. By all rights he should be pissed. He put a lot of effort into their friendship, and Derek hadn’t exactly made it easy. Stiles decided he’d had enough. He wasn’t going to make a fool of himself anymore for some asshole who couldn’t be bothered to treat him like he mattered. He definitely wasn’t about to keep going out of his way to feel stupid. They could have been at the beginning of something great, but Derek needed to meet him halfway.

The thought did piss him off. In a fit of righteous indignation he lifted his phone to send Scott a voice text.

“You know what, fuck that guy. I’m not gonna waste another thought on him. I’m tired of his sh-“

That was when he heard the unmistakeable creaking hinges and tinkling beads as the front door opened again. He leapt up, forgetting all about his text and for the moment all about Scott, really.

He came out from the office to the register.

“Derek, did you-“

Stiles stopped dead. Why? Because he was being greeted by the sight of two scary-looking dudes with black ski masks on their faces, the one nearest to him waving a Smith and Wesson 686 model .357 revolver with a four-inch barrel. Yeah, he knew his guns, he was a sheriff’s kid. Therefore he knew this one was real and he was in deep doo-doo.

So when he looked down the yawning black barrel of the revolver and he squeaked,“Oh, shit,” it seemed like the most appropriate response.

 

 

Chapter Text

Derek looked over at his bag. Shit, my fucking charger. He was so pissed and in such a hurry he’d left it dangling in the wall. He wanted to just leave it but he knew he didn't have enough battery left to get himself through the night. He made the most angry u-turn in the history of ever, Camaro tires squealing on the pavement as he started to head back to Cool Beans. I won't say anything to Stiles, he promised himself. Won’t even look at him. Derek would just get in and get out, and try not to let embarrassment kill him.

As he grew nearer to the shop, he could smell Stiles’ scent on the air. It was easily familiar; he could pick it up from miles away. It still took his breath away, and it was tinged with a sadness (and maybe disappointment?) that Derek himself felt. There was more than sadness; there was distress. Much more than just an argument’s worth of it.

He picked up the smell of two more people. The scent of their aggression was acrid, so thick it coated his tongue. Then the smell of fear hit him. Stiles’ fear. Something was wrong.

All of Derek’s anger drained out of him, and all that was left were Derek’s instincts screaming, save him.

“Stiles.” Derek gasped. He stomped down on the gas.

 

“Cash. Now.”

“For real guys?” Stiles whined, his voice high-pitched and strained. "We are a coffee shop. Isn't there a nice 7-Eleven close by? We’re not even a Starbucks, I bet they’ve got lots of money-“

“Shut up.” Unfortunately, even when Stiles should know how to do that, he doesn’t.

“Dude, this is like, really dumb. Of all the establishments to knock off, this is the one you choose.” Stiles mumbled as he handed the guy all the money in the register- a measly $157 dollars. “Make sure to treat yourself when you order off the dollar menu, fuckin’ genius,” He quipped before he could stop himself. The eyes behind the mask narrowed in anger, and all the blood drained from Stiles’ face. He heard that. I’ve just sentenced myself to death. I’m going to die.

Just then Derek’s Camaro screeched into the lot and Derek leapt out, looking like a man possessed.

A few things happened all at once.

“Derek, stop!” Stiles tried to wave off the raging wolf. Derek did not stop. Instead he tore the door off the fucking hinges getting to Crook #2. Crook #2 spun and got one shot off before Derek was on him.

At the same time, Crook #1 brought the barrel of his gun down in a swinging arc and cracked Stiles right above his eye. Stiles saw constellations as he tilted back, the room doing a slow-motion waltz. The last thing that registered were Derek’s eyes flashing red, and Stiles thought he saw Crook #2 sailing across the room before everything went black. The back of his head hit the counter behind him, bringing pots and pans and coffee machine parts down on him in a clamorous crash. He laid still where he’d fallen, in a crumpled heap.

Crook #2 had been beyond easy to take down; he hadn’t even seen Derek coming. No, all he saw was the wall when his face went straight through it. He wouldn’t be waking up any time soon. Derek didn’t even realize that the wild shot had hit him right below his collar bone; he didn’t even feel it.

As if Derek hadn’t been pissed off enough that these assclowns were threatening his mate -wait, where did that come from?- when he saw Stiles drop like an unconscious rock it caused quite the uproar. He couldn’t control the partial shift that made him taller, broader, and definitely gave him more teeth.

Crook #1 turned, took one look at the blood-red eyes and white fangs, and shot at Derek, catching him once in the shoulder before Derek reached him. Derek was a man possessed; in his state the bullet was no more than a tickle.

Derek grabbed the hand that held the gun- the one that had harmed Stiles- and bent it all the way backwards in one smooth movement. Wrists weren’t made to flex so far in that direction; Crook #1 screamed as his snapped with a resounding “crack” and the gun dropped from his limp fingers and clattered heavily to the floor. Derek wrapped his own fully functional claws around the robber’s delicate throat and squeezed. Derek could feel the man’s pulse fluttering, his blood pumping furiously as his heart hammered in panic. Derek lifted the man up as if he weighed nothing and held him there. The guy’s feet kicked pathetically as he dangled, gurgling, eyes wide and rolling wildly in his head.

“Please, please don’t kill me-“ he choked out.

Derek’s voice was warped and menacing to match his fractured form. “He’s mine, and you hurt him. It’s taking everything in me not to rip open your jugular and bath in your blood,” He’s mine. The words rattled around in his head.

“I don’t want to die, Man,” the guy whined, starting to turn from red to blue. Derek shook the shit out of him, like an ugly overgrown rag doll.

"Begging would help your cause.” Seriously, begging might have been the only thing that would save him at that point.

“Please! Please! I’m sorry, please don’t kill me, Man, I-I mean, Sir, I’ll do anything. I shouldn’t have touched your uh, uh, friend, I can make it up to him, please! Please.”

Pathetic little animal. Turns out it wasn’t enough, so Derek settled for putting him bodily through the nearest table, smashing it into kindling. Crook #1 was still, a couple limbs resting at weird angles, but he seemed to be alive. Mostly.

When the rage melted from Derek’s chest it turned into the ice-cold chill of panic. He ran to Stiles’ side, morphing back down into personhood as he did.

Stiles hadn’t moved. He didn’t respond to Derek desperately calling his name, touching him just barely, trying to understand the depth of his injuries. Blood streamed down Stiles’ face from a deep gash above his already purpling eye. He was out cold, limp and unresponsive, looking strangely fragile and small. He was hurt, badly, but his heart was beating strong and steady. It was literally music to Derek’s ears.

“You’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna be okay, Stiles,” Derek said, partly to reassure himself. He gathered Stiles up, lifting his surprisingly heavy frame (he had more muscle on him than one would think). Still, he felt feather light to Derek as he hustled to the Camaro.

Derek tried to take some pain away, but he didn't know how much Stiles was feeling or if it was even working. He found himself wishing their bodies were pressed together under different circumstances. He wanted to bathe in Stiles’ scent without the acrid tang of fear and pain and distress. Derek called the police, but he wasn't going to wait for them to get there when his Camaro was faster than an gotdamn ambulance anyway. He asked them to notify the sheriff as he gunned it to the nearest emergency room.

 

When Stiles woke up again he had a headache to rival the one he’d had from the hangover after that rave where he shotgunned enough Four Lokos and Red Bull to kill a small horse. Or resuscitate it, as the case may be. It felt like a tank had run over his face. He opened his eyes and and the fluorescent yellow light sliced into his retinas.

“C’mon, Man,” he complained out loud to no one at all. The smell was sharp where there were sterilizing and bleaching agents, and musty where there was the scent of sickness and age. He lifted his hand to cover his eyes and felt a pinprick in the back of his hand. A clear cord extended from it to a hanging bag of fluid.

He looked around and realized where he was. Hospital. He hated hospitals; they always made him think of his mother. Then it flooded back to him what had happened. He started to freak out, but his head hurt too bad to move very much so he deliberately flailed in super-slow motion as he rolled over to the edge of the bed to try and search for his phone. He got frustrated quickly, wincing at the pain in his temple and in the back of his head. My dad must be worried sick. Does he know where I am? What happened to the shop? Did they catch the guys?… And Derek… Where is he? Suddenly he remembered nurses. What a concept, the nice ladies and gentlemen who bring you food and drugs. There was a call button to get them to come and do your evil bidding and everything. He pressed on it, enough times to be annoying. It wasn't long before someone showed up.

She came bearing drugs. Awesome.

"What happened?” He asked with a voice surprisingly cracked and rough.

“Basically, there was a robbery,” the pretty nurse said in her relax-I’m-a-professional voice, "you were attacked. The culprit hit you over the head with a very large gun, then you hit your head in the fall and it gave you a concussion. But don't worry, everything is under control and you're going to be fine.” She handed him pills and water with a smile. He didn’t even ask what they were for, just tossed them back. The headache was a bitch, so they had better be for that shit.

“What happened after that? My dad’s the sheriff, does he know where I am?”

“Yes, he left a short while ago to question the men who did this to you.”

"How did I get here?“

Her smile was sweet. ”Your boyfriend is a very devoted guy. He carried you into the ER, and wouldn’t leave you for second. Got pretty heated at us when we insisted that he leave the room so we could look you over.“

Derek. ”Yeah, well, he’s snarly like that…Wait he's not-“ He gets cut off when Derek barrels in the door.

“He’s awake? Is he all right? How’s he doing?”

"I'm right here, you know.”

"I wasn't asking you,” Derek snarled, like it had been Stiles’ idea to bruise his brain.

“See?” he said, lifting a hand, palm up, then dropping it heavily on the mattress, “Snarly.”

“I’m just going to check a few things to see if he’s ready to head home.” The nurse looked a little uncomfortable with all his hovering and reddened eyes.

“Derek, I could really use some ice water-“

“I’m on it.” He was gone in an instant.

"He's really very sweet.” The nurse said with a relieved but amused grin.

"He has his days,” Stiles replied, grinning like an idiot even though it hurt his head.

Derek was in the hallway when he ran smack dab into three familiar faces. Faces that lived with him and annoyed him to no end.

“You guys came.” Derek sounded surprised, which was as close as he came to sounding touched. He hadn’t asked them to, he hadn’t made them come, yet there they were.

“Course we came,” Boyd said, side-eyeing like was crazy for Derek to even be surprised. “I rounded these two up and we went on a mission to the gift shop.” They all had things in their hands, nice gift-y things.

“You didn’t have to do this.”

Boyd snorted. “‘Course we do. It’s our job, and it’s important for you to know we have your back. We know you care about him, and believe it or not, we do, too.” Before there was too much time to get all touchy-feely about it, he continued. “Just so you know, they charged me my firstborn son for all this crap, so once you two ‘tie the knot’ so to speak, I better get it back in spades.” He clapped Derek on the back and they laughed. Boyd let Isaac and Erica walk on in front of him. Low in Derek’s ear he murmured, “I’ll take them out tonight. The party won’t stop for, say, seventy-two hours?”

Derek thought for a second about kissing Boyd full on the mouth. He was as awesome a beta as anybody could ask for. Instead he pulled him into what was passable for a hug.

“It means a lot, Man.” He got moving. “I’ve got ice water to get.”

This meant his betas could bumble into Stiles’ room a few moments later, bearing gifts and looking awkward. They were good people, but still almost as bad at feelings as their alpha.

Stiles would never admit it, but he got all dewey-eyed. 

"You guys didn't have to come.” Their uncomfortable but sincere gesture hit him right in the feels. They handed Stiles flowers, a card, a stuffed animal, and a shit ton of skittles, looking at sheepish as children. The tall guy, Isaac, piped up, his face bright and cheery.

“We wanted to. You’re our alpha’s ma-“ Boyd elbowed him savagely in the ribs. Erica looked at him with eyes as wide as saucers. “M-ah, quaintance. Yeah, acquaintance.“ Isaac shuffled from foot to foot, suddenly finding something very interesting on the ground. Boyd looked at Stiles and said, simply but with gravity, "You're important to him.”

I am? I guess I am, Stiles thought. ”Thanks, guys, this means a lot.” The betas all smiled, seemingly glad to have pleased him.

Derek was back the iciest water to ever be icy. “Out,” he said. It wasn’t quite a bark; it was soft, almost affectionate, as if it was Derek’s way of saying thank you. They disappeared as quickly as they’d come.

Derek hovered in a totally non-creepy way while the nurse brought out discharge instructions.

"He's fine to go home, as long as he has someone to keep an eye on him,” she pronounced, "Is there someone at home?” She looked to Stiles.

“No. If my Dad’s not home it's just me for now.”

“Then it's settled, you're coming home with me,” Derek’s steely voice came from the corner. Stiles wasn't sure if he should groan, or do a cart wheel. He had to admit, even if the wolfman was a bit overzealous and rough around the edges, Stiles loved being the focus of such intense concern from the one and only Derek Hale.

“We’ll set you up with the discharge papers and prescribe some medication for him. I’ll give you all the information you’ll need to care for him.”

“Whatever it takes,” came the automatic agreement, so militant and serious Stiles wanted to laugh out loud.

“Derek, you don’t have to-“

“I have to make sure you get better,” he said, a hard edge to his voice.

“Easy, Tiger. If you insist.”

The nurse chuckled, amused by the display. “I’ll give you some time to get packed.” She patted Stiles’ arm and backed out of the door.

The sheriff picked up on the first ring.

“You have no idea how happy I am to hear your voice, Son. You had me worried sick.” His father sounded relieved, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and on the verge of multiple homicide charges all at once.

“You’re not going soft on me, are you, Old Man?” Stiles teased, his voice suddenly thick with unshed tears. He refused to cry in front of Derek.

“How the hell are you?”

“I’m okay, Dad, I’m okay. I’m concussed, but the doctor said I could go home as long as someone was there to watch me.” Sties didn’t have to add how badly he wanted to be out of the hospital. His father already knew.

"Jeez, kiddo, I wish I was there to come get you… I can send Jordan over to bring you home-“

"No, don't worry about it Dad, they wouldn't let me stay at home alone. Derek is here and he's going to bring me to his place-“

"Who's Derek?” The sheriff asked in his interrogation voice.

"He's-he's my friend.” Stiles wasn't sure exactly how to describe him. He was pretty sure they were friends but, he was pretty sure it wasn’t that simple.

"Do I know this Derek? “

"I don't think so… Don't go looking him up, Dad. I'm fine, he's a good guy. He's the one that brought me here in the first place. He saved me and my big mouth.“

“Oh, that guy. The Big Bad Wolf. You should have seen what he did to the guys that hurt you. Damn near tore ‘em limb from limb.” Stiles shivered. He could only imagine. “So yeah, that makes him alright in my book. I want him over for dinner. I’ll make him a steak, extra rare.”

“Can you hear how hard I’m rolling my eyes?” Still, the thought was exhilarating and scary all at once.

“In the meantime, since they’re still in the realm of the living, I’m going to nail these sons of bitches to the wall.”

“Oh, I don’t doubt it.”

“I love you, kid. I’m so glad you’re alright.” His Dad’s voice broke just a tiny bit.

“I love you too, Dad. I’ll be alright. Please don’t worry about me.”

“Don’t worry about an idiot like you? Yeah, right.” There was both a smile and a few tears in the sheriff’s voice when he hung up. That got a good, healthy laugh out of Stiles. It faded when he thought of what his father said about the big, bad wolf.

“Derek, what did you do to the guys that tried to rob the store?” Derek’s mouth made a hard line, and he looked away.

“They’re alive,” he replied gruffly, like it was an answer. It was a grisly thought, but it good enough for Stiles.

“Assholes got blood on my sweater,” Derek continued absentmindedly.

Ever one to spill out the first thing on his mind, Stiles blurted, “Oh no! That’s my favorite sweater of yours! You looked so hot in it. You need to club soda that shit.”

He couldn’t be certain, but he thought he saw Derek preen a bit.

“Doesn’t matter, there’re bullet holes in it.”

Stiles made himself dizzy sitting up too fast. “They shot you?!”

“Twice.”

“That’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen! I told you not to come in, Derek.”

Derek’s wide palm flat on the center of his chest eased him back. “Stiles, I also healed. Twice. Did you think I was just going to let them hurt you?”

Derek’s hand was warm and comforting and relaxed him right down. Derek let it linger before seeming to remember himself and reluctantly taking it away. Stiles settled back against the pillows, satisfied, and despite what happened, he felt safe and protected. And smug. Let’s not forget smug.

He had a sudden thought.

“Bud, did you carry me in here ‘The Bodyguard’ Style? Does that makes me Whitney Houston?” His voice squeaked. It took no time at all, however, for him to break out in song.

“And Iiiiii-eeee-iiii-“

“Don’t worry about it,” Derek quipped, a half smile on his face. “It doesn’t reflect on your manhood at all.”

Stiles’ face fell mid-high note. “You fucker.”

A couple of hours later saw Stiles cocooned in fuzzy blankets on Derek’s black leather sectional, to the point that it appeared a giant, royal blue, cottony burrito was catching up on the latest season of The Walking Dead. He cradled the stuffed bear from Boyd and happily munched on a fluffy omelet, bacon and cinnamon french toast. Stiles had requested breakfast for dinner, so that’s what he got. Watching him eat made Derek twitch, fighting the urge to hand-feed him.

“Dude,” Stiles spoke around a mouthful of food, “you’re not horrible at this cooking thing. Had I known I would have figured out a way to get into your house a long time ago.” He took a moment to take in the ambience. Of which there was not much. The name of the game in Derek’s home was “functionality,” obviously. It was immaculately clean, with remnants of Pine Sol scent in the air. The furniture was sparse and only seemed to come without any color. It was also unnecessarily chilly, like Derek enjoyed being uncomfortable. There were exposed brick and beams which would have given it a sophisticated feel if not for the fact that it looked like no one lived there. Stiles felt like he might need to help him spruce the place a bit. Aw, yiss.

In addition to the breakfast-dinner, he was surrounded by bags of Snickers, Cheetos, Oreos and all sorts of other junk they’d grabbed on the way back to the loft, and whenever Stiles decided to liberate a hand from his burrito wrap, it was all within an arm’s reach.

Derek watched The Walking Dead too, but mainly he monitored Stiles from the corner of his eye.

“Where’s your pack, are they coming?” Derek hadn’t even needed to send them a group message promising certain death if they got within a mile radius of the place. How convenient.

“They’re giving you some peace and quiet so you can rest. Heaven knows you need all the beauty sleep you can get.”

“I’d throw a pillow at you but I’m too comfortable.”

Derek simply nodded. That was a good thing.

“Dereeeeeeek, would you get me another Mountain Dew?” Derek wordlessly pushed himself off the couch to go get it. In his humble opinion Mountain Dew was nothing more than sweetened battery acid, but Stiles loved it so they’d gotten a twenty-four pack. Overkill? Probably. Did Derek care? Not in the least. He’d just shut the fridge door when Stiles called into the kitchen.

“Deeeeeeerek!”

“Yes, Stiles.”

“Do you have any ice cream?” He called innocently. Derek rolled his eyes, but fondly.

“Chocolate.”

“No vanilla?” Derek could hear the pout in his voice. “What about cookies?” Derek sighed the sigh of the long-suffering but it felt good, honestly, to have someone to take care of. To feel needed.

“I’ll bring you the chocolate ice cream for now, and I’ll run back to the store for vanilla and cookies later, deal?”

"It'll do for now, I suppose,” Derek rolled his eyes even harder that time.

“Sweeeeeeeet,” Stiles said when Derek handed over his prizes. The look of pure joy on his face was so heartwarming Derek had to resist the urge to kiss him on the forehead.

Speaking of foreheads, he needed to put ointment on Stiles’ stitches.

“Arrrrgggh, Richonne’s right in the middle of fighting off like ten walkers.” Derek snatched the remote from him, hit pause, and tossed it far enough away on the couch that he knew Stiles wouldn’t feel like reaching for it.

“Anybody ever tell you you play dirty?” Stiles asked, eyes narrowed. Derek smiled, amused.

With gentle fingertips he angled Stiles’ face towards him. Derek’s thumbs lined his cheekbones, the rest of his fingers splay along Stiles’ cheeks. His touch made Stiles’ breath hitch as the warmth from Derek’s hands radiated through him. He handled Stiles like glass. Stiles had no idea he could be so gentle.

Derek’s look of concentration was adorable; the tip of his tongue poked wet and pink in the corner of his mouth, switching sides as he focused on the task at hand. His very sexy tongue and his very sexy mouth, might Stiles add. Okay, it was also arousing. In an effort not to be so obvious Stiles looked off and went to his favorite defense mechanism; talking. Hell, who was he fooling? It was his favorite everything mechanism.

“Would ya look at this? Just look. Hell of a shiner they gave me,” he complained as he examined his blushing face in his phone camera.

“Hold still,” Derek groused as he gently dabbed the ointment on, front and back stitches, his deft fingers as soft on Stiles face as they had been punishing on those who had hurt him.

Stiles prodded himself in his swollen eye. “Ow!” He hissed. “OW!” he hissed even louder as he poked his cut. Derek snatched his hand away.

“Stop poking yourself!” he said, irritated, “How the hell did you make it out of the fourth grade?”

“By the skin of my nads.”

“Shut up, Stiles.”

A few moments more.

“Done,” Derek declared, softly dragging his fingertips along Stiles’ jaw, in what could only be labeled a caress.

Derek caught himself staring at Stiles’ mouth. Derek wanted to stroke his fingers over those lips, to see if they were as soft as he imagined them to be against his own.

He couldn’t. Derek pulled back abruptly, shaking himself out of it. He’d totally forgotten. Stiles had somebody. Cue silence, awkwardness.

Stiles cracked a lopsided grin. “I uh, I have to be the only person in history to get his head cracked open in the front with a gun, then cracked open in the back on a frickin’ coffee maker of all things.” Derek snorted, and stopped him before he could poke at the stitches in the back of his head.

“You couldn’t even fall with any kind of grace. You damn near brought the whole place down on yourself.”

Stiles laughed bitterly. “I’m a regular ballerina.”

Derek sobered quickly, and cast his eyes down.

“I’m sorry.”

Stiles softened in an instant. “Don’t be.”

“But I am, Stiles. I’m sorry…for everything. For being an asshole before I left that night, and you told me to lock up, and I completely forgot, and it got you hurt. This is my fault.” He set his elbows on his knees and buried his hands in his hair.

“Hey, Der. Look at me. This is not your fault. Those jack-offs could have just as easily broken the window or picked the lock to get in. You saved me. You’re a hero, man. My hero.” Stiles put the back of his hand to his forehead and batted his eyelashes like a Disney princess.

Derek snorted. “Idiot.”

“You love it.” The mirth was obvious in his voice. Thinking of more sweetened battery acid and not his health, Stiles stood up a little too enthusiastically. The room started to spin, his eyes went crossed and he sagged over.

“Whoa, whoa, Stiles.” Derek was beneath him, scooping him up before he had time to really understand what was going on.

“Thanks, Tarzan.”

The irritation in Derek’s voice was clear as he scolded. "They told you not to stand up too fast. They said don't exert yourself. You're going to bed, and you're staying there.”

"Oh, is that a promise?” Stiles was too spaced out to even be able to focus on Derek's face, but he still waggled his eyebrows.

Derek snorted yet again. Stiles’ flirting was cute, arousing, and exasperating all at the same time. Derek deposited him gently on his bed and pulled an extra blanket over him, essentially trapping him on the mattress.

“I’ll be right back with your stuff.”

Derek returned momentarily with his arms full of blankets and foodstuffs.

“Where’s my bear?” Derek snarled as he turned back to his living room to get it.

“Awwww, you’re the best, Honey,” he heard Stiles coo behind him.

It made Derek frown, but inwardly he was pleased with himself for taking such good care of his mate- shit, there was that word again. He handed the bear over, and Stiles snatched him like a five-year-old.

“I’ll be back to check on you in a couple of hours. I’ll be on the couch if you need me.”

“Wait.” Derek looked down to see Stiles’ hand grasped around his arm. “Would you stay? I mean, I know I’m being weird and all, but could you just-?” Derek paused, ready to make a wry observation, but Stiles beat him to the punch. “No, Stupid, the bear is not enough. He’s inherently amazing, of course, but…would you?”

Stiles’ vulnerability and openness surprised him, and flooded his brain with a sense of needing to protect and comfort his mate. He gave a sharp nod to the affirmative then climbed awkwardly into his own bed, laying out in an awkward line along the farthest edge.

“Jesus, you are really gonna make me feel like a leper with this aren’t you. Come here,” Stiles waved Derek towards him in an almost frantic gesture.

He wanted to…oh.

It took the two idiots a second to settle into a comfortable position, awkwardly fumbling around with limbs and covers.

When they figured it out, after what seemed like an hour, they both took a deep breath. When they let it out, all coordinated-like, they melted right into each other and it was the most natural thing in the world, as if Stiles had laid in Derek’s bed since the dawn of time.

Derek stared up at his stark-white popcorn ceiling, smoothing his hand up and down Stiles’ back in a slow, fluid motion. Stiles’ face was buried in his chest, feeling the hard muscle that laid over his strong heartbeat, feeling it all with his face, breathing in Derek’s earthy scent and the fabric softener he used on his shirts. Their silence stretched on for a while, and it was surprisingly natural.

Of course, Stiles could never enjoy a nice silence for terribly long.

“At least I can say I survived being pistol-whipped. Might even have a cool scar.” His voice quieted to a whisper, “It was scary. I thought they were going to kill me.”

“I would never let that happen.” Derek tightened his arms around him, his hackles raising at the thought of those scum hurting him.

Stiles chuckled. “So I saw. I’m glad you’re on my side. I’m also glad you didn’t kill those guys. I couldn’t cuddle you if you were in jail.”

“Don’t you think your… boyfriend would be upset about this?”

“Boyfriend? I don’t have one of those. Where’d you get a crazy idea like that? Because that would indeed be a crazy idea. Imagine me with a boyfriend.” Derek could do way more than imagine it.

“I heard you on the phone with him at the shop.”

“You-? I don't know how you could hear me on the phone with a boyfriend that doesn't exist. Because I can guarantee that I’m single. Like, super, duper single.” And clearly, you know, not afraid to put his business all the way out there.

"Stiles, I heard you talk about spending time with him. You told him you love him. He said he loved you too.” Derek said in a low voice. Anger and jealousy and frustration welled up in him.

If not for Stiles being hurt, Derek might have pushed him away. He could see the wheels turning as Stiles wracked his brain trying to figure it out.

“Oooooh, you mean Scott! Ha! Dude, Scott's been my best friend since we were both still pissing in our beds. We are gross like that all the time.”

“So, he's not your boyfriend?”

“Hell, no. That would basically be incest, dude. Sick.” Stiles shuddered and made a yuck face.

“I thought-“

“Is that why you were so mad last night? You used your wolfie hearing to eavesdrop on my conversation? Scott went to school out of state and I’m waiting for him to get home so we can bro out and have a PS4 marathon, dumbass. That’s what you heard. Don't get me wrong, I love him to death, but it’s not the kind of love you thought I was talking about. On that you do owe me an apology, cause you were being a dick.”

Derek looked away, sheepish. “I’m sorry, Stiles. I just got so, so-“

“Jealous?” Stiles said slyly. Derek gave him a pained look. “That was totally a joke, Derek! Why would you be jealous? What would you even have to be jealous for? You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and you could have any girl or guy or transgendered person you wanted! Why would you pay any attention to little old me?” Stiles sat up, looking at him. “You barely even like me. Every interaction we've ever had, every word, I feel like I've had to drag out of you. It's been like pulling teeth. When I asked you to go out with me, you didn't care one way or the other.”

"That's not true. It wasn't like that.” Derek sighed.

“Then what was it like? How was I supposed to take it? I mean, you're the type of guy that if you liked someone you would just come out and tell them. Right?” Derek said nothing. The breath flowed out of Derek’s nostrils slowly, a soft audible sigh. “Right?" More silence.

Derek's eyes finally met Stiles’, desperate and piteous, trying to make him understand that he was a big scaredy-cat in wolves’ clothing, at least when it came to all things Stiles Stilinski.

Stiles sat up in bed, incredulous. He punched Derek in the chest, not all that hard, but Derek didn’t even flinch because it felt like a mosquito bite.

”Are you crazy? Why the fuck didn't you say something? Did you think I would tell you no? You? Did you think I was immune to the dark alpha mystique?“ Stiles waves his hands wildly. “I mean, wasn’t I being obvious! I give you free junk food all the time! I interpret your eyebrow language!” Derek's lips twisted into a wry expression and lowered said brows. Sarcasm.

“I thought I was being obvious.”

“You’re a little hard to read, you know! Anybody ever tell you that?!”

"Not for you. You read me like a book. You just mentioned my eyebrows. “

"So? All your eyebrows have ever said to me was that I pissed you off.”

Derek raised the eyebrows in question and nodded slowly. Point taken. “But,” he held up his index finger, “I’ve smiled at you.”

Stiles squinted. “You’ve kinda got a point. Still.” He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Derek for once, awaiting an explanation. It was Derek's turn to stumble over his words.

“I should have said something a long time ago, but for a long time I didn’t even know what was going on with me when I was at Cool Beans and I didn’t know how to deal with it once I figured it out-“

“You’re a chicken who doesn’t do feelings. Check.”

“I wanted to try, and I did, but I’m just not used to talking about stuff-“

“You’re emotionally congested and emoting causes you physical pain. Check.”

“I got so pissed about Scott…I was an asshole to you…Then they hurt you and I just couldn’t handle it…” Derek sighed. “I just, I’ve…lost. I’ve lost. It messed me up. I couldn’t lose you, too.”

“This is a borderline emotional outburst coming from you.”

“I want…I need you to believe me.”

Luckily, Stiles show him some mercy. “Hey, easy, Big Guy. I get it. I’ve lost too.”

“I’ll make it up to you.” Derek took a chance and rested his heavy hand on Stiles shoulder. Stiles morphed into a spaghetti noodle al dente and folded back onto Derek’s chest. Derek held him even tighter than before.

“I’m emotional prune juice,” Stiles mumbled dreamily, grinning his face off.

“What?”

“Nothing. I said nothing at all.”

Derek arched a brow. “I’m not sure if this is the concussion or just a part of your strange personality.” 

“A little column A, a little column B.” Stiles stroked Derek’s forearm, lazily playing in the dark hair there. Derek had almost drifted off to sleep when Stiles cleared his throat dramatically,

“Ah-he-hem. In the hospital, they said you were my boyfriend. Did you tell them that?” He felt Derek stiffen against him.

"No, I never said that.”

"Well, something you did gave them that impression.” He smiled softly. "I mean, I didn't think it was such a bad thing.”

"You didn't?“

“No. Actually, I really liked the idea.” Silence for a beat, as Derek tried to process what he was hearing. Stiles liked the idea of them being together; he’d said it out loud, so it must be true.

“Derek, I can’t see your eyebrows from this angle, so I have no idea what you’re saying.”

Derek cleared his throat and tried to sound more confident than he felt. “I like it, too. That idea,” he grumbled, as if he hated to admit it. Again, silence. 

Stiles flattened himself against Derek’s chest, sliding against him. He rested his forehead on Derek’s, letting their noses brush slightly. Derek’s arm went around Stiles’ waist, to pull him in closer than close.

“Sooooo…are we?” Stiles whispered against the shell of his ear. Derek squirmed under the weight of unfamiliar but exhilarating feelings, completely affected and consumed with emotion. Because he was a poet he answered, “I guess…yeah,” and that was that.

Stiles snorted indignantly. “Try not to sound so enthusiastic about it.” In response Derek took Stiles’ chin between his thumb and index finger, closed the gap between their lips, and kissed him deep; a soul-stirring, hungry, aching kiss. Finally. No one could convince them time wasn’t standing still as their tongues tangled around each other, hot and soft and slick.         

“Wow. So you are enthusiastic about it.” Stiles let his hands roam,

diving back in for another kiss, smiling against Derek’s full mouth, because this was a real thing happening in his life. That perfect jaw, the heavily muscled shoulders, the perfect abs- now that Stiles had license to touch these spots, now that they were his territory, he hadn’t a moment to waste. When those roaming hands of his eventually reached down between his thighs, his palm discovered quite the prominence in Derek’s jeans.

Stiles looked down at the prize in his hand then looked back up at Derek, a mischievous half-smirk spreading across his face. Derek wasn’t sure if it was the touch or the wicked glint in Stiles’ eyes that caused it, but his entire body couldn’t help but to react. Every part of him that could get erect, was.

“Stiles, you need to get some rest,” he ground out, even as he thought out all the things he’d been dreaming of doing to the body snaking against his, seeking more friction.

"You said you’d do whatever it took to make me feel better,” Stiles whispered, breathless and low in his ear, going back to attack Derek’s mouth once more, “Holy shit, will this make me feel better.“

Chapter Text

With a feral growl, Derek went after Stiles’ mouth with his own, rocking him back with the force of his lust. Stiles hummed his approval against Derek’s tongue and kissed him back, fierce and hard. He forgot to think. Forgot to breathe. All that existed to him was the feel of Derek’s tongue massaging his, making his head swim. It was wet and haphazard and the slightest bit sloppy.

Taking this step, crossing this final line, was both terrifying and completely natural all at once. One thing was clear from the outset; it had a taken a long time to get here, a painstaking, agonizing, suspense-filled time to get here, so they weren’t wasting a single moment.

Derek pulled back and Stiles sucked in a desperate lungful of hair.

“Already feeling much frickin’ better.” Derek took the opportunity to lift Stiles’ chin and draw in an audible breath, his flaring nostrils tracing a line over Stiles’ pale throat. Derek’s eyes fell closed, his dark lashes standing out against his stubbled cheeks. When they finally flew open, they flashed from red to full-blown black, his irises slivers of jade against his wide pupils.

“There ought to be a fucking law,” he rasped, sounding barely human, barely restrained. It was so intense Stiles shuddered. In the meantime, Stiles took the initiative and began to suck marks at the column of Derek’s throat, tonguing the curve of Derek’s neck leaving a trail of wetness, tasting the slight saltiness of sweat and pheremones. He gripped Derek’s rock-hard pecs and squeezed, rolling Derek’s nipples between his fingers right through his shirt, making the wolf growl and arch up into his hands.

“This is really hot. Should this be so hot?”

A rumble came from deep in Derek’s chest, half laugh, half growl, as he reapplied his nose to Stiles’ exposed neck and inhaled him again. Derek drew his scent in deeply, letting it fill his lungs and set off all the pleasure centers in his brain. Just Stiles’ scent was enough to make him insane, make him temporarily levitate out of his own body.

He made a plan for all the things he would do to take Stiles apart while he had the opportunity, while he had Stiles there in his very own bed, receptive and offering himself, wanting to take all that Derek had to give. Now that he could, Derek planned to give Stiles all he could handle.

Desire reverberated in Stiles’ body. Their hands wandered over all the planes of warm skin they could reach as they snuck willing fingers beneath the folds of each other's clothing, moving over taut abs, hardened nipples, and heaving lungs as their heartbeats quickened. Just exploring each other with their fingertips could have gone on all night.

“There are too many clothes here,” Stiles said, “They have to go. Far away.”

Derek obliged and relieved himself of his shirt; Stiles stopped to take in the view. Derek’s body was so ridiculous he got light-headed. His shoulders were massive, and his six-pack abs were washboard solid. He was laden with muscle so defined he should have been in an institute of art. He was truly a wolf in all aspects. Stiles needed nothing more than to get below his belt and see what surprise was waiting. From what he could feel growing through Derek’s jeans, Derek Jr. was as big, thick, and hard as the rest of him, and Stiles ached for it.

“You’re like a fucking christmas present,” He whispered against Derek’s skin as his lips made their way down towards his prize, “I get to unwrap you. All for me.”

“All for you,” Derek agreed with a laugh.

“New rule; no wearing clothes from now on. Clothing is henceforth declared illegal.”

“Whatever you want.”

“Whatever I want. Yeah. I like the sound of that.”

Stiles traced the divots of Derek’s abs, following the v-cuts of his obliques, deciding that his tongue would chase the lines down below Derek’s belt line. He did just that and Derek’s back arched.

It would take frustratingly little to get Derek to come in this situation, so begrudgingly he grabbed Stiles’ wrists before he could work his tongue any farther past his waist, before he could get his fly unzipped.

Stiles thought of something.

“Wait, wait, wait.” Stiles turned his teddy bear to face away from them. “Mr. Wellingtons’ innocent eyes shouldn’t be subjected to this.”

“For fuck’s sake,” Derek muttered, rolling his eyes but laughing inwardly.

  Derek ripped Stiles’ own shirt open from collar to hem before running his tongue down the center of Stiles’ chest and over to a peaked pink nipple.

“Awwww, but I love that shirt,” Stiles said in obvious delight.

“I’ll get you a new one,” Derek growled in false annoyance. When he applied his mouth to the flesh bared by the shredded t-shirt, Stiles’ complaints turned into a sharp hiss. He buried his fingers in Derek’s thick hair, urging him on when he caught bare skin between his teeth. Derek laid Stiles out on his back, holding eye contact the entire time. He couldn’t get himself to look away from those liquid honey eyes long enough to take in the rest of him. The trim and well-muscled, broad shouldered body Derek had fallen for was just as sexy disrobed. Derek bit into the skin of Stiles shoulder until it was red, then soothed it with his tongue, the music of Stiles’ gasps urging him on. Derek moved to his sides, his collar bone, beneath his pecs. His shoulder blade, the small of his back. Everywhere. He needed to taste Stiles everywhere.

Derek reached down the back of his boxers, molding his hand on the curve Stiles’ ass, palming the warm skin. It was just enough to hold in his hand, just enough to massage. Just enough to jiggle and slap, making Stiles giggle and blush like a schoolgirl.

Mouthing his way down over hot skin and tight abs, Derek dipped his fingers beneath the elastic of Stiles’ boxers, lowering them just enough expose the v-cuts of his hips, a hint of brown curls and…ah, there it was. The head of Stiles’ cock, pretty and fat and pink, sprung out as if it had been waiting to open the door and all it needed was for was Derek to knock. Derek wanted to take it into his mouth, wanted to taste it again and again until he drained it dry. But not yet.

For the time being, he ignored Stiles’ thickening cock and buried his nose into the crease where thigh met groin. He inhaled Stiles’ scent and mouthed at the skin there, kissing the soft flesh of his inner thigh.

“Derek,” Stiles whispered. He sounded desperate, but not desperate enough. Derek traced his name on the inside of Stiles’ thigh with his tongue.

“Derek.” He ghosted his breath over Stiles’ dick, just a tease of humid air. He gave the other the side the same treatment, only slower. Stiles arched up, angling himself towards Derek’s mouth.

“Derek.”

“I got you.”

Now Derek took the head between is lips, now farther, now farther still. The precum was salty, but sweet because it was Stiles, and the scent of his arousal was more potent than any dream or fantasy.

This is a dream, Stiles thought. Derek Hale was sucking his dick and looking up at him with those eyes and those lashes and this was his wet dream and dear God he couldn’t let himself cum this fast…

“Good?”

Stiles answered him from outer space. “Were you talking? Yup, that’s good. I like that. Keep doing that,” he croaked. Derek honest to God fuckin’ winked as he swallowed him back down.

Stiles threw his forearm over his eyes because at this rate he was gonna take off like a rocket in t-minus-five seconds. Before he was trying to hold back his moans. Now he thought, fuck it.

It was the right response. Whatever the tongue thing was Derek did, he did it again and even better this time.

Stiles could feel Derek working his way lower, ever lower, palming Stiles’s balls and kneading them in his hand. Derek palmed Stiles asscheeks once more, spreading them apart to expose the rose-pink ring of muscle that was his for the taking. Derek’s finger encircled the rim. He made it moist.

Derek’s fingers, slick with spit, sought out that spot that would soon be taking all of him in.

“Yes!” Stiles snatched his boxers the rest of the way down. Derek would have laughed at him, but he had balls in his mouth.

Of course he has to torture me. Of course he does. He’s Derek Hale, and everything he does is torturously slow. A generously lubed finger ran around his rim, teasing but barely applying any pressure at all. The problem was, Stiles needed pressure. He needed all the pressure. He pressed down on the offending finger, groaning.

“Look at  you, Greedy,” Derek chuckled, amused. Anticipation of what came next canted Stiles’ hips up, levered off the bed. His breathing had become deeper; he was waiting after Derek to warm him up, to work him open, to ready him to receive what he’d been waiting for for so long.

Down to business now. He showed some mercy and slipped the first fingertip in and heard Stiles exhale like he was being resurrected.

Stiles hissed and lifted his hips higher, making the ring open slightly. Still, Derek could see how tight it was and if he thought he was close to coming untouched before, holy shit. His fingertip plunged past the rim, burying in the tight heat up to his first knuckle. Stiles opened up beautifully for him, hungrily taking him in.

Stiles’ hissing turned to open mouth gasps as he worked himself back on Derek’s finger, wordlessly asking for more, wordlessly opening himself up and accepting more.

Derek drew out but deftly placed two fingers in for a gentle, careful stretch, watching Stiles tighten beautifully around his fingers. He spread them ever so slightly and heard the hiss.

he slid his tongue in between them to really make Stiles squirm, getting him wetter and holding him open so Derek could guide a third finger in. So damn tight. This was going to feel great around his dick. Derek could tell by the way Stiles danced on his fingers that he was losing control, and that he wanted more. The scent of Stiles’ building arousal was cloying, sweet. Derek added that third finger, and Stiles moaned at the stretch, his eyes glazed over with the haze of good sex.

Deeper Derek sank them, searching for that perfect spot. He curled his fingers up and the unhinged “Derek,” he heard, combined with the jerking arch in Stiles’ back, told him he’d hit his mark.

Now Stiles had three fingers inside, writhing on them, stretched and open and thirsty for more. This was how Derek dreamed about him. Legs spread, hole exposed, wanton and uncaring because it was Derek he was with. Practically begging.

“Derek, Stop fuckin’ teasing me.” Completely begging.

“So impatient,” Derek teased.

“I’m asking for what I want these days.”

“I like it.”

“Tell me what you want to do to me. Use your words, not your eyebrows, Derek.”

Completely deranged by the man beneath him, he heard the words spill out of his mouth.

“I’ve been dreaming about that pretty mouth wrapped around my dick.”

“Yeah?” He could fulfill that request, gladly. “I can arrange that.”

Derek’s own dick got plumper at the idea, but not tonight. He’d taken enough from Stiles, it was time for him to give.

“No. Tonight is all about you. I want to put my tongue inside that tight little ass and make you beg. Then I want you stretched around my dick.”

“Holy shit. Who knew you’d be this filthy when you actually spoke in full sentences?”

Stiles fucked himself on Derek’s fingers more urgently. Derek leaned forward, between his spread thighs, to claim his mouth in a series of filthy kisses.

“What else?” Stiles’ voice was gravel, lips tingling as they smashed together, tongues sliding against each other.

“Dreaming about bending you over and fucking you against that coffee machine you work so well,” he rasped with a laugh.

“I’d like that. I want that.”

Stiles pulled back for a moment to look at Derek, a pleasantly doped-up look on his face.

“I didn’t know it could be like this,” he said, breathless, awestruck. “Are you feeling this?” Instead of answering Derek leaned back down and took control of that tongue of Stiles’ once more. It would only get better from here.

A sense of being high swirled in Stiles head. It hung off the foot of the bed while Derek tore at his jeans; being so focused meant he’d completely forgotten about himself. Stiles lifted his head long enough to see Derek pulling his cock out. It arched full and flushed, tall and proud, against his abs, the tip leaking milky beads of precum. Stiles mouth watered for it.

“Holy shit, how do you exist in real life?” His hand wrapped around it of its own accord and stroked, feeling it grow even thicker as Derek fucked into his fist.

Looking at his ma-boyfriend, laid out for him and palming his cock, was more than Derek could handle. Stiles’ neck was exposed in a way that can only be described as pornographic. His head was tilted back, his chin in the air, Adam’s apple bobbing as he licked his lips and swallowed hard. His eyes were blown black into deep pools of desire. The way he licked his lips and pulled on Derek’s dick was just too much.

Derek felt his fangs start to descend. He growled, holding himself back.

I’m not going to claim him, he told himself, as much as he wanted to. And dear God, he wanted to own this man. To possess every inch of him.

In an instant Stiles’ long thighs were lifted and spread wide, exposing his readied, slightly opened hole. His expression screamed, Do it.

Derek’s thick, slicked up helmet pushed past Stiles’ rim, right on target like a guided missile. He reveled in how Stiles squeezed him and kept sliding in deeper, inch by thickening inch, so slow it was torturous.

“God,” Stiles voice was broken and cragged, “you’re so big.” Still, he palmed his own asscheeks and spread them wider. More, his eyes said. Derek gave it to him, pushing another inch inside. Then another. Then another. As he watched Stiles twist his head away and bury his teeth into his own shoulder, his chest rising and falling quickly with his frantic heartbeat, Derek bottomed out, pressing him length in all the way to the root. Stiles’ panting was plain now. Derek’s thick dick filled him up, challenged him to hold it inside, challenged him to accommodate it.

Sweet, merciful Jesus, it was good.

Stiles’ own dick had been neglected for a long time and it was so hard it was threatening to burst, in the best way possible. His hand started to for it, to play in the drops of hot stickiness leaking from the tip, to wet his shaft and give it a few goods pumps in collaboration with the internal expansion.

Derek brushed his hand away. “No.”

“Dereeeeeeeek,” he moaned, “Please can I-“

“No,” Derek insisted, louder this time.

Stiles wheezed like he was having one of his panic attacks. Garbled, unintelligible nonsense mixed with he sound of Derek’s name and small cries of “please” came out of his mouth. His hip

rocked up onto Derek’s cock to wordlessly demand to fuck him, and Derek knew he was breaking Stiles into tiny desperate pieces, in just the way he’d always imagined.

Derek,” Stiles wiggled his ass impatiently, “Stop dicking around and give it to me.” He snorted. “Dicking around. ha ha. Get it? Stop dicking around and give me the dick?”

Derek slid almost all the way out, then slammed back in hard enough to punch the air out of Stiles’ lungs.

“Shut up, Stiles.”

Stiles stared up at him, ravenous for more. “Yep, shutting up now. Shutting all the way up.”

Derek’s thrusts were slow, slow, slow. Almost out so that only the tip rested inside of Stiles, but before he had the chance to feel empty, Derek rammed him, reminding Stiles over and over how it felt to be full of him.

He had no plans to speed up until Stiles was a wreck beneath him. In the meantime he made Stiles beg, voice echoing off the floor and sifting through the sheets, vibrating against Derek’s lips when he kissed him. It wasn’t just raw, animal sex, it was being consumed.

It didn’t take long before Stiles was fucking crosseyed. “Derek,” his voice was punched out of him, “for the love of God, stop teasing me, I want…” he didn’t even have finish his sentence. Stiles narrowed his eyes in frustration when Derek withdrew his cock all the way, but all was forgiven when Derek flipped him over, pulling him up on his hands and knees.

Derek positioned himself behind, planting his feet in the fleecy mattress.

The thought flashed in Stiles’ head; I’m not gonna survive this.

With two handfuls of mattress to anchor him, Stiles braced himself as Derek’s hardness slid home, and Stiles was again gulping manically for air at the shock of Derek’s thickness spreading him. With one hand on Stiles’ waist on the other on his shoulder, Derek began to dig him out.

“Oh. Oh God. Oh my God. Yeah, that’s what I want,” his voice rasped, and Derek picked up speed.

“This what you want?”

Yes, that’s what I want,” he moaned back, “Go deep.” Derek buried his long dick up to the hilt.

Stiles’ cock leaked and ached for attention, so he reached to wrap a hand around. Surely now that Derek was punishing him like this he could…

“No,” Derek ordered. Stiles let out a choked cry, but obeyed. There was a wet slap as Derek drilled him, hands pressed into his hips, pulling Stiles back by his hipbones. Stiles’ hole relaxed and opened up as they caught their rhythm; soon the only sounds that could be heard were their labored breathing, the wet slap, and the squeal of the abused bed’s hinges. Stiles’ hand scrabbled in the sheets, desperate to stroke his dick, hardened and flushed dark. He fisted the soft cotton material, keeping a hold as he rocked his entire body back to answer Derek’s thrusts. “Pleeeeease Derek, can I-“

Derek responded with one of his favorite words.

“No.” He would make this last if it killed him. They would only have one first time.

“Shit, shit, shit!” Stiles squirmed, the denial whipping him into a frenzy. He tried as best as he could to hold off his orgasm, to live in the ecstasy of the moment, but being with Derek, and in such a spectacular fashion, it made his insides totally liquify and he was going to pass out from sheer ecstasy.

It was the most natural thing in the world for Derek to meld with Stiles like this, something he didn’t know he could miss so much. Inside Stiles he was squeezed, held, rocked, embraced.

Stiles’ soft, pink sphincter flexed around him, and he wished he could run his cock in and out of him every moment of his life. He uses his palms to spread Stiles’ ass, so he could enjoy watching himself sliding in and out of Stiles’ soft pink rim even better.

“Stiles, you feel so good,.”

“Fuckin’ give it to me, Derek. Hard.” To feel Derek inside of him so hard that he shook all the way to his bones, that was his goal. If he wanted harder, he got harder. Derek forced Stiles’ breath out of him with every thrust, made him drop to his elbows and bury his moans in the sheets. The feet of the bed scraped the floor, gouging lines into the hardwood.

To answer Stiles’ earlier question, Derek had not a single inkling it could be like this. Had he known, he wouldn’t have been such a jackass.

Derek’s hands were all over, touching every part of him, slipping in the sweat he made Stiles break out in. He planted soft kisses and sharp bites to the back of his neck, and the way he was getting pounded down into the mattress, Stiles knew he wouldn't last any longer.

“I’m so close, Derek, can I-?”

Derek didn’t answer; instead he gripped Stiles swollen cock in his slicked hand and pumped in time with his thrusts.

Three solid strokes was all it took to have Stiles shuddering. His hole contracted in fits and starts, making Derek’s eyes roll to the back of his skull. His muscles seized and his back and and he saw white behind his eyes as he came, banging his fist on the mattress in sweet surrender as he emptied out, spraying hot cum all over Derek’s sheets.

One last piece to make this the best orgasm of his life, ever; he wanted to feel Derek come inside of him.

“Stiles,” Derek’s voice was rough like a back-country road, “you feel so damn good.” Completely wrecked, he went over the edge.

“That’s it, come for me.” The tightening and flexing of Stile’s hole made Derek shoot his seed

like a firehose.

“Feels good, Baby.” Stiles whispered encouragement as it pumped into him, making him sloppy and wet. He whimpered and trembled and tried to catch his breath while Derek’s cum ran in a slow leak down the backs of his thighs, cream-thick and hellfire hot. Stiles felt so filthy and used and he loved it.

Fuck,” Derek had never been so turned on in his life.

A tell-tale swelling at the base of his cock proved it.

“Oh shit.”

“‘Oh shit’, what?”

“It’s…my knot.”

Stiles’ head popped up, his sex-hair sticking out at all odd directions. “Your knot? Dude, how does that even work?”

“I- I don’t- it’s never happened before.”

“Seriously?!” After a beat he surprised Derek. “Well…let’s see what happens.”

“Are you sure?”

Stiles reached back to run him fingers over Derek’s abs. “Of course, Honey Bunny, I’m always down for what could end up a horrible idea.”

How could Derek contain what he felt for this man? He exceeded his expectations at every turn. Derek clung to him so he wouldn’t lose himself, clutching Stiles’ hips as he felt himself grow larger, making Stiles stretch and tighten so deliciously around him. His head lolled back. His teeth bared. He reveled in the feeling of expanding into Stiles’ tight heat.

If someone would have told Stiles that one day he’d be full of Derek Hale’s huge knot, he would have told them to lay off the glue-sniffing, but there it was, unimaginably thick and heavy inside him and getting thicker and heavier. His jaw clenched, he writhed on it as he struggled to 

handle the outward pressure, feeling filled to bursting. Derek’s knot made sure every part of him was hypersensitive and being contacted, flooding his body with sensations both painful and pleasurable. Who would have thought a giant werewolf butt plug would do it for him.

“Oh my- Holy shit, Dude, it’s huge-“

“Are you alright?” There wasn’t much that could be done for it now, anyway.

“No, I mean…I like it. Wow, you’re really filling me up.” Derek couldn’t help but preen at that. And he wasn’t done yet. Stiles gasped, “That is fucking intense.”

Derek wanted to reply but he was useless, unable to think logically in his haze. He was so high on the pure feel of Stiles that he probably wouldn’t be able to make much sense.

With determination, Stiles closed his eyes so he could concentrate on taking the massive dick inside of him; It was so fat he knew it wasn’t coming out soon. Hell, it could barely even move a millimeter. It was the craziest thing Stiles had ever felt, and it felt right. He loved struggling on it; loved how it pushed him right up against his limit, then far beyond. He loved that it was Derek’s, and he most definitely loved that he’d been the catalyst for it.

Derek traced his thumb around the rim of Stiles’ hole where he was buried deep. He pulled back slightly to watch Stiles’ asshole work around his cock. The stretch made Stiles shake, and Derek watched as he was sucked back in, even deeper than before. Yep, stuck fast and not going anywhere. Derek kneaded at Stiles’ perfect asscheeks, committing the sight to memory. Yes, this was his mate, the one he wanted to be buried and stuck inside of for the rest of his life. He would gladly starve to death if he could be attached to Stiles. He wouldn’t even notice he was dying. If he did, he would think it was from pure pleasure.

Stiles needed something to bite down on. Derek’s cock had already been huge before, without any knot at all, and had hit all the feel-good spots within him. Now Derek’s dick was ballooned in him, and he couldn’t explain it but it felt so perfect to be taking Derek like this. It was like confirmation that he belonged to  this man, this wolf , that they fit perfectly together, and that Stiles couldn't let him go even if he wanted to.

Sweat pooled on the small of his back, and his thighs flexed. His toes curled and uncurled, and he rocked minutely back forth forth, unable to sit completely still as Derek’s fat knot stretched him wide. It was just enough to feel insanely good. The crook of his elbow seemed like as good place as any. His teeth sunk into the soft flesh there, anchoring him. Once past the pain, there was only euphoria. It was perfect. Stiles thought he might shake apart.

Derek was patient, reigning himself in while he gave Stiles time to adjust to the size of him, then gentle, barely perceptible strokes that were a big deal to Stiles.

“Fuck, you’re so good, Stiles. So good for me.”

Stiles quaked like California earth with the pressure of the knot opening him up. The combination of pain and intensified pleasure flooded his brain as it pushed on his prostate just so.“Oh God. Oh God oh God oh God.” I’m going to cum really, really hard and then I’m going to die. He buried his face in a pillow, screaming out, “Ahhhh!”

Derek reached around and snatched it away from him.

“Let me hear you. Wanna hear how you sound when you cum on my knot.” He wanted all his neighbors to hear him please his mate. Derek got what he wanted, because Stiles was loud.

“I’ve always been a screamer but this is ridiculous…Imgonnabesoembarrassedaboutthistomorrow!”

When he tried to muffle his screams in the sheets Derek pulled him up by a fistful of his hair; it was long enough to pull now, that pleased him, satisfied the wolf in him that yearned to dominate and own his mate.

Gasping for breath, his entire upper half flushed and veins standing out in his neck and forehead, the dam broke again. “Fuck, I’m gonna cum…Fuck, I’m gonna-“

Stiles came for the second time hollering, “Gotdammit, Derek!” He came around Derek’s knot, knees buckling and muscles jerking, yelling himself hoarse. His vision grew fuzzy and dark at the edges; he nearly blacked out. At the same time, Derek’s claws dug into his hips so deep they drew tiny pinpricks of blood while he spurted more of his seed.

There was no more air left in theuniverse. All the air was gone and he was dying a glorious death.

He squeezed Derek’s thigh, stopping him from moving another inch.

“Okay, okay, are you trying to sex me to death? I guess it would be a hell of a way to go but not yet.” Derek half-snorted, half-chuckled and collapsed on top of him, pressing their weight down into their mess. Stiles laughed giddily. “I seriously had no idea it could be like that.”

“Me neither.” It was an understatement. He guided Stiles’ hips, slowly, slowly turning them onto their sides.

“Dude, I think I’m officially a size queen. Also, you dissolved my bones. Also, I take dick like a fucking champ. So what happens now?”

Derek couldn’t help but hold him close, planting kisses where his neck met his shoulder, Stiles’ hand covering his. “Now we get comfortable, because we’re gonna be stuck like this for the next thirty minutes to an hour.”

“Hour?!”

“Don’t you read at all, Stiles?”

“Dude, in which textbook did it outline that your werewolf lover’s dick swells up like a balloon and gets stuck in you for an unspecified amount of time? hello?” He dropped his head onto the bed and sighed, unbothered. “It’s alright. Could go for some quality little spoon time.” Derek’s answer was to push tight against him, as tight as he could.

Stiles sucked in a sharp breath as his knot shifted within. He took Derek’s hand to pull his heated body closer. Electric currents shot through Derek’s skin right down to his engorged cock; he leaked more cum into Stiles’ ass.

“Okay, know what, I need a nap. I think I’ve earned it. Hell, at this rate, it might need to go into a coma for a little while in order to recover.”

“Don’t joke about that,” Derek said sharply.

“Awwwww, that’s so sweet. My boyfriend is worried about me. My boyfriend. Derek Hale. Derek Hale is my boyfriend.” He pumped his fist. “Yessssss!”

“You do know I’m right here?”

“Yep. Don’t care. Don’t act like you aren’t excited.”

Derek thought his heart might explode in his chest. “Sure, Stiles,” he rolled his eyes, but couldn’t keep his heart from palpitating, couldn’t keep from imagining a future where Stiles Stilinski played centerstage in his life, couldn’t keep from burying his nose in Stiles’ hair and sucking in his scent. Couldn’t pretend that the bond they were making wasn’t real.

“Don’t worry, I know that’s just Derek-Speak for ‘you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me’.”

The man had him pegged. They were officially in a relationship, and Derek couldn’t remember the last time he felt so blissful and content.

A few moments passed before Stiles piped up again, refusing to let the silence stand.

“Do you think maybe, maybe we could be…more than that?”

So, he felt it too. “Yeah. Maybe.” Affection that welled up in Derek’s chest. He couldn’t yet say “I’m in love with you,” and “be my mate” and “never leave me, I need you. Stay with me and fill my world with sound and color” or “If you keep talking I will end up accidentally fucking you to death and that would be the worst, so shut up.” Damn it, he was starting to ramble just like him, too.

He kissed and mouthed at Stiles’ neck, wanting nothing more than to give him the bite.

Derek had never been particularly eloquent; he knew he would never be able to piece the right words together, so he chose to show Stiles how much this meant to him. He’d never really made love to anyone before, but he did his best. He rolled his hips, making his knot drag against where Stiles’ walls held it firmly in place, causing him to arch his back in response.

“Derek…”

“Just one more,” Derek whispered, pinching the bud of Stiles’ nipples as they rolled their hips in tandem. It only took a minute and a few more strokes to wring another orgasm out of Stiles, to make him chant Derek’s name over and over like a mantra, to make him climax panting and squirting stripes of syrupy cum all over the already-ruined sheets.

After, they lay in comfortable quietude, just breathing together. They both thought of all the things they could be, what they could make of this together, and how they knew they’d never be apart again. Of course, the quiet didn’t last long because once again, this was Stiles Stilinski. He remembered how he’d thought Derek would never play the fool in a mutually foolish relationship. He thought about how improbable it was that he would be this lucky. It made him want to break out in song.

He did, just as off-key as ever.

“I believe in love to-oo beeee-“ His voice cracked obnoxiously on the high notes. Derek winced.

“Is that Paula Cole?”

“-the center of all thiiiiiiings.”

“Stiles, no.”

“Nuh-uh, Derek, you are literally and figuratively stuck with me. This is what you get.”

“How did I get to be so lucky?” He grumbled, grinning the whole time. He crooked his finger under Stiles chin, and used it to turn his face towards him. Stiles smiled wide, giddy and sated. It was the most gorgeous face Derek had ever seen and he was just as stupidly love-drunk as Stiles.

Unfortunately, Stiles started singing again. “I believe in loo-ooove to-“

Derek kissed him just to shut him up.

 

Chapter Text

Derek made the pack disappear for they day. By this point they were used to hearing their alpha and his mate fuck like their lives depended on it, but they were still happy to avoid the trauma.

That was the thing; the actual word “mate” still hadn’t been discussed.

The only ones who weren’t saying it out loud were the idiots themselves. It was their six-month anniversary as an actual, official couple (Derek indulged Stiles’ celebrating every little thing, but secretly he enjoyed it) and even though it seemed sudden, Derek couldn’t argue with his feelings, couldn’t argue with his instincts and his inner sixth wolf-sense that told him Stiles was the one.

He’d never get sick of Stiles’ babbling, never get sick of him filling the dead air with his energy. He’d never get sick of Stiles making a fool of himself and then laughing about it. He’d never get sick of the way his voice sounded, low and rough in his ear telling Derek he was about to cum and please don’t fucking stop Derek I love you I’m fucking coming.

That particular night they made love so passionately that Stiles had to make several off-color jokes to pretend he wasn’t crying.

They lay on their sides, gathered under their covers, nose to nose, inhaling each other’s air.

Derek gazed into Stiles’ smiling brown eyes and decided right then that he couldn’t wait another second. He cleared his throat, as awkward and tongue-tied as ever.

“I need to talk to you about something.”

“What is it, Der?”

“It’s about us.”

Stiles propped himself up on an elbow and looked down at Derek, his face wrought with concern. Derek could hear the increase in his heart rate.

“That’s not a happy tone. That’s not a ‘everything’s peachy keen and hunky-dory’ tone. That’s a breakup tone.”

“No, it’s not-“

“Did I do something? What did I do, Derek? Tell, me, I’ll fix it, I swear.” Derek remembered the first time Stiles had said those words to him. He didn’t want a repeat of what he’d put Stiles through, not ever.

“Stiles. Calm down. It’s not you, it’s not something you did. Well, I mean, it is you, and it’s everything you do…”

“Derek, I thought you’d gotten better at saying stuff with words. This is not making me feel reassured.”

“I think…I think you’re my mate.”

He listened to Stiles’ heart and heard a faint uptick that quickly settled into a calm thrumming, steady, sure. He looked more full of love than he ever had, and that was saying something.

Stiles’ fingers brushed tenderly through Derek’s hair, coming down to cup his cheek.

“Of course I am, stupid. Who else could put up with your stupid, shitty wolf attitude for that long, let alone fall for your stupid face as hard as I have.”

“So you knew.”

“I think I always did. I just needed you to say it.” He blinked slowly. “Are you saying it?”

“I’m saying it.”

“Then say it,” he laughed.

Derek snorted. “I would like to announce that you, Pryslezm Stilinski-“

“Hey, hey, hey, easy there, you’re turning a really beautiful sentiment into a horror show.”

“Stiles. You’re my mate.”
Kissing turned to mouthing at Stiles neck, which turned into playful nips focused in one area—right where neck met shoulder— and an itch for Derek fangs to descend.

He fought it down until Stiles said, “Are you going to bite me?”

“i’d like to.”

“I want you to. I’m yours. Always.”

“You need to understand what this means though-“

Stiles sighed, exasperated, “We’re bonded forever and we can never look at another person, place or thing as long as we both shall live forever and ever, amen, and it’s for life and no takebacks because it’s not like marriage, yadda yadda yadda. What I’m telling you is, I want that, too. There will never be anyone else for me. You’re it, Wolfman.”

“You mentioned marriage. Do you want that, too?”

“Do you?” He wanted Stiles forever, so yes. Anything that would give him Stiles Stilinski forever was an automatic yes.

“I want you to be happy.”

Stiles slid his thumb over Derek’s lips. “I’d be happy married to you. The happiest.”

“I want that.”

“I want that, too.”

“So, will you?”

“Of fucking course I will!” He tackled Derek, rolling on top of him and pinning him down, crushing their mouths together, vibrating in all his enthusiasm. Derek chuckled at him.

“Holy fuck, am I engaged? Oh em gee, I’m human engaged AND werewolf engaged! I thought I was going to end up a spinster with seven cats!”

He held up his hand. “Where the fuck is my ring, Derek? I can’t brag to people about being engaged without a ring!”

“First thing tomorrow, you pick out whichever one you like.”

“Even if it costs a cool million?”

“That’s fine, we just won’t have a place to live.”

“It doesn’t matter if we live in a cardboard box, just as long as I’m with you.” Derek rolled him over and pinned him. Stiles looked up at him with those earnest brown eyes.

“Will it hurt?”

“Yes.”

“Even more than your typical wolfie love bites?”

Derek rolled his eyes. “Yes, Stiles, it has to be deep.”

“Should I take something beforehand? Advil, or Benadryl, or dramamine?”

“Stiles…”

“Jokes, just jokes.” Total peace and relaxation came over Stiles. He tilted his head waaaaaayyyy back. “Okay then, let’s do this thing.”

Derek would always get turned on when Stiles bared his neck like that, even if he was one hundred and no longer capable of getting a hard on. Seeing him like that, feeling all those emotions running through him, being more ready for this than he ever would have thought possible, all of those things, everything, made his fangs descend. He let his instincts overtake him, and guide him.

Derek nosed at the crook of Stiles’ neck on his left side. It was Derek’s favorite spot to mark Stiles when he was shooting his seed deep inside of him. It seemed a natural place for a bond mark.

“Do it,” Stiles urged, and Derek did. He sank his canines in, deep.

He tried not to be to savage with it, but when Stiles hissed and squirmed, his wolf took pleasure in pinning him in place, asserting his dominance, letting his mate know that he wouldn’t be allowed to leave his side. Stiles seemed to even enjoy it, get turned on by it, if the darkening of his pupils was any indication.

Both of them felt the change immediately; it was simply a knowing. No matter how badly they might bicker in the future, they’d find a way to make things work because they were supposed to. No matter what obstacles threatened to tear them apart, they’d overcome them because nothing was insurmountable when they were together.

When Derek tasted the coppery notes of Stiles’ blood, he knew it worked. He carefully opened his jaws, releasing Stiles’ shoulder. He kissed and licked the open wounds where he’d rended Stiles’ flesh deep enough to scar it, whispering to him that he was sorry to hurt him, and that it wouldn’t hurt for very long, how much he adored him, and how grateful he was to have him. All the things he never wanted to say, came spilling out.

With a strong hand Stiles lifted Derek’s face to his and touched their lips together, softly.

“I’m so happy. How can I possibly show you how happy I am?”

“Just as long as you don’t sing any Paula Cole, we’re fine.”

Derek was trying for a joke, but Stiles’ answer was so sincere Derek felt himself die a little inside.

“I’m not going to sing this time. I’m just going to lay here and love you. Can I do that?”

Derek kissed him back, because it was the only way to show how truly happy he was.