Stiles knows he’s lucky. He has a steady, well-paying job, a circle of deathly loyal friends, a loving father, a warm home, a smoking hot Alpha as a fuckbuddy. I mean, that’s way more than what a lot of people get, he shouldn’t complain.
Don’t get him wrong – he isn’t. (Complaining, that is.) It’s just that in times like these, when Derek rolls off him, swipes a few tissues off the nightstand to clean himself up, tugs his jeans on, presses a hard kiss to his mouth before sauntering out Stiles’s front door, well. Stiles can’t help but wish for more.
But that’s Stiles’s fault. More isn’t part of the deal between them. Derek made it clear from the start that a steady Alpha to breed you, 2.5 pups, a white picket fence and a garden wasn’t in the cards, and if Stiles wanted that from Derek he could show himself out. And Stiles had been fine with that. He’d been a low-level paralegal in Hale & Associates, and he hadn’t had time for a relationship or the trappings that came with it. A solid, at-hand fuckbuddy was just what he’d needed.
Of course, who is he trying to kid. This is him we’re talking about, of course he’s going to fuck it up in some way.
It’s really no one’s fault but Stiles’s that somewhere along the three years they’ve been doing this (the moment you saw Derek, an insidious voice at the back of his mind whispers), he slipped up and fell hard for Derek.
Well. That’s the way the cards fall, that’s the hand he’s been dealt. Stiles has never been good at games or had the best of luck; he’s going to lose.
It’s the first major company function that he’s been required to attend, and Stiles is fucking nervous. I mean, he couldn’t even handle high school like most normal people. How is he expected to get through fancy cocktails, non-awkward socializing and general schmoozing in one coherent piece?
His tux is itchy and hot, and the one consolation he has is that Lydia assured him that he looks sharp in it. And damn right he does. She’d made him spend an obscene amount of money on it.
He swipes a glass of champagne from a roaming waiter’s tray, palms sweaty. He’s fine, he’s good, he can so totally do this, no problemo. He wishes Lydia was here. She’d kick his butt and tell him to man up.
It really doesn’t help matters that the Hale & Associates event room that this company function is in looks more like some uber-swanky, cutting-edge-of-design hotel ballroom than anything else. They’re on the top floor of the firm’s building, the breathtaking view of the bustling city at night sprawled out before them through the glass panels bordering all four sides of the room, leading out onto a balcony. It’s terrifying in the way that all ultra-successful corporate things inherently are if you aren’t used to them.
Stiles regulates his breathing in an attempt to calm himself, champagne long gone lukewarm in his overheated hand. Step one, Stilinski: find Scott. Scott’s just made Junior Associate, something that never fails to simultaneously make Stiles feel equal parts bewildered and proud. Because, well, Scott. Junior Associate. How is this even reality.
In any case, Scott’d promised to meet him at the function, so he’d better be here or so help him God, Stiles is going to march to his house after this dig and stab him to death with his fingernails. Sorry, Allison. Bro’s prerogative and all that.
The room itself is packed like a can of sardines and Stiles can’t make heads or tails of it, so he figures the best course of action is to wander onto the balcony surrounding the room on all sides and look for Scott that way. He pushes through the mass of people, careful not to spill what probably is several-hundred-dollars-a-pop champagne before stumbling out into the cool night air. Go, Stiles.
Stiles studies the room from his vantage point on the balcony, hoping to catch a glimpse of Scott’s unruly curls within. Zilch, no Scott. Sighing grumpily, Stiles knocks back the glass of champagne in a single gulp, placing the glass on one of the high tables scattered about before turning to head to the balcony’s other end.
Because he’s always been the picture of elegance and grace, his maneuver ends up with him colliding into what feels like a solid wall of rock. A pained oof is torn from him as he vaguely registers a strong grip on his forearm keeping him from falling over backwards.
When he’s recovered enough, he looks up and – whoa, damn it, Jesus Christ, who in the world is this fucking good-looking? The Gods must hate him. He must have drowned a million puppies and kittens in his past life or something, because Alpha McHottie here is frowning down at him like Stiles is some bastard piece of gum that dares to be stuck to the bottom of his probably custom-made Italian leather loafers. Which, hello, rude.
“Sorry,” Stiles mumbles, dying of mortification on the inside. “Didn’t see you there.”
McHottie’s eyebrows – which are strangely murderous, by the way – climb further up in contemptuous surprise. Really, what else does he want Stiles to say? Sorry, let me lick your shoes in supplication as repentance for my grievous sin? And mmm, licking – yeah, let’s not go there.
“Uh,” Stiles says, the picture of intelligence. “I should probably go look for my friend. Sorry about that, again.”
Just to make it clear, Stiles does not run off to hide in the men’s room for a good fifteen minutes, because that would just be pathetic and unbefitting of a new-age, independent, assertive Omega like him.
The call comes at four in the morning, Stiles groaning as he fumbles around in the dark to answer it. He thumbs the screen furiously to take the call when he sees Scott’s contact picture come up.
“ ‘lo?” he mumbles. “Scott, this had better be good. It’s four in the morning, and I have to be in early later.”
Scott’s not at home – there’s a buzz of noise and activity in the background that Stiles picks up on. Scott exhales. “Yeah, okay, I don’t know how else to say this. You need to get here. Derek’s been hospitalized.” Stiles can hear Allison squawking her disapproval on the other end, words like tact and be nice filtering through.
Stiles bolts upright in bed before the sentence is even completed, the words Derek and hospital ringing in his ears. “What? Dude, what happened? Is he okay? Shit, shit, where are my pants?” He stumbles over to wall, hand frantically feeling for the light switch.
“It’s fine, it’s fine, relax. Derek’s okay now. He got hit by a car on his way home, but he’s not too badly hurt. It’s, uh, just that – ” Scott cuts off abruptly, and Stiles can practically hear him chewing on his lip.
“Scott,” Stiles begins to warn, voice low.
“Okay, whoa, I’m getting there! It’s just that the doctors are saying that Derek has retrograde amnesia. He doesn’t remember anything that happened in the past three years.”
The breath steals from Stiles’s lungs. “Three years?” he repeats, more statement than anything. His mind reels.
On the other end of the line, the silence grows to nearly overwhelming proportions before Scott deigns to break it, clearing his throat awkwardly. “Yeah, three years. Stiles, look, I’m – I’m so sorry, man.”
Stiles doesn’t remember much of his journey to the hospital. He must have hung up on Scott at some point, because he isn’t on the phone with him when he gets there, and he vaguely recalls promising Scott that he wouldn’t drive, and remembers getting out of a cab.
He asks for Derek at the reception, gets directed to a room on the third floor. “Oh, honey,” the receptionist had said, “I’m so sorry we didn’t call you earlier. We didn’t know he was mated, it wasn’t anywhere in his records.” Stiles had been numb; he’d just shook his head and thanked her, not bothering to correct her erroneous assumption.
The door to Derek’s room is opened just a fraction, a thin sliver of light escaping out into the dimmed hallway. Stiles can’t do it, he can’t face Derek like this. He makes to turn around and head back home, because fuck, seriously, what had he been thinking, showing up here? They weren’t in a relationship and Stiles didn’t have a right to turn up at Derek’s bedside and hold his hand like they were bonded mates. Derek couldn’t even remember him.
It’s a sad testament to Stiles’s shitty luck that the decision is taken from his hands. “Get in here,” Derek’s voice barks from within the room. “I can hear you out in the hallway, it’s annoying.”
Frozen for a split-second, Stiles takes a deep breath and forces his legs to move. He knows that Derek knows he’s there, but he taps his knuckles against the door lightly before entering anyway, just to be polite.
“Uh, hi,” he whispers-mumbles once he enters the room, brain-to-mouth filter not exactly engaged. He’s focused on more important things than verbal coherence right now. Derek’s reclining on the hospital bed, newspaper in hand and ever-present frown in place. He doesn’t respond to Stiles’s greeting beyond a single raised eyebrow.
“You’re looking well,” Stiles rambles on, the words tumbling out of his mouth in a desperate bid to fill the growing tension in the sterile room. “How are you feeling? Did the doctors say – ”
Derek rolls his eyes at Stiles’s lame attempt at non-awkward conversation, waving an impatient hand to cut him off. “Who are you?”
It’s the exact question that Stiles has been dreading. How is he supposed to answer that? Hi, yeah, I’m the guy you’ve been fucking on and off for three years? Yeah, I don’t really know what I’m doing here, since you probably wouldn’t do the same for me if I were in your place?
Sure, that should go down well.
“I’m a friend,” Stiles finally answers. “From work. We work together. Yes. That."
So Stiles has never been the smoothest or the best liar, sue him. (Hah, get it? Sue him. Derek’s a lawyer, and Stiles works for a law firm, and – yeah, okay, you probably get it.)
“A friend,” Derek repeats, and it’s as clear as day that he doesn’t believe Stiles. Not at all. “From work.”
“Yeah,” Stiles hurries to explain. “I mean, you’re a lawyer, as you probably know, and I’m a paralegal at Hale and Associates, and just before you get all snooty and uppity about the fact that you’re a hotshot lawyer and you probably think that paralegals are people who couldn’t make it to law school, let me remind you that hey, hello, that’s totally an unfounded assumption and I’m damn good at what I do, and I’ve saved your lawyer-y ass more times than I can count because dude, research is numero uno in winning cases.” He heaves a breath at the end of his rant, blushing when he notices that Derek is looking at him with a mixture of bewilderment, annoyance, and amusement.
“Mmm,” Derek hums noncommittally. “So, friend, I don’t actually know your name.”
“Oh!” Stiles startles, belatedly realising that he completely forgot to introduce himself. “Stiles. Stiles Stilinski, and I assure you, that’s a nickname, my parents weren’t cruel enough to make that my real one.”
Derek nods, a thoughtful look in his eyes. It’s rather terrifying, because Stiles remembers that look flashing across Derek’s face right before he’d make some sort of incisive, accurate, perceptive remark that’d cut down his opponents, and now it’s directed at Stiles.
“Right, Stiles,” Derek all but purrs, and wow, Derek’s sudden change in demeanour is totally going to give Stiles whiplash. Plus, his brain might melt under the sheer heat of Derek’s gaze. It’s probably a little sad that Stiles doesn’t remember Derek ever putting so much effort into seducing him in a long, long time. Probably since they first met. I mean, Stiles is easy for Derek, and Derek knows that Stiles is easy for him, so why bother? It’s not exactly rocket science that Stiles is only too eager to drop whatever he’s doing the second he receives Derek’s text or call to come over for a quick fuck. And no, Stiles isn’t bitter, why would you think that?
But back to the point. “It’s interesting that you claim that we’re friends,” Derek continues, smirk creeping onto his stupidly beautiful face and eyelids lowering over a stupidly hot hooded look. “Especially when you walk in here all but reeking of me.”
Stiles tries not to squeak. This, he thinks, is how butterflies feel before they’re pinned to a card, framed, and hung on a wall. “What?” he sputters. “What do you mean?”
Derek snorts. “Either learn to lie better or stop pretending you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
Stiles isn’t lying, surely Derek can hear that in the way his heartbeat remains steady. Or at least, his heartbeat isn’t thumping out of rhythm too much, so that should count for something. They’re friends of some sort. And ‘reeking of him’? Come on, that’s totally an exaggeration. Bonded mates reek of each other. Claimed mates reek of each other. But fuckbuddies? No.
“Seriously, dude, I have no idea what you’re suggesting. We’re not like – ” Stiles flaps his hands around in a gesture meant to encompass lovey-dovey Scott-and-Allison schmoopiness but more likely ends up making him look like a retarded bird, “that. I mean, we do, uh, you know, bump uglies occasionally. But it’s not like that.” Wow, points to Stiles for complete incoherence, his dad would be so proud.
There’s a frown that flickers onto Derek’s face for a second before falling away to his usual expression of badassery and fuck-allness. “Ah,” he eventually replies. “I see.”
It hurts to see Derek like this, so much more open than he’s ever been with Stiles. It’s the Derek he met at the night of the company function, without the shared history of whatever it is between them. Stiles doesn’t know what happened between the night of the party and the start of whatever they did, but he knows that whatever happened made Derek colder, more callous and uncaring. He doesn’t know what went wrong – how they grew even further apart with time, bodies a perfect synchronous match but everything else an unmitigated train wreck. He doesn’t know if Derek even noticed.
Stiles rubs a hand against the back of his neck, shifting his weight to his other foot. “So, yeah, I just came to see how you were doing. Are you okay?” He mentally reviews his question, realising how stupid it sounds. “As in,” he jumps to correct, “Are you okay, inasmuch as you can be okay with three years of your memory missing?” Precision, bitches. That’s how them legal types roll.
Derek grants him a sardonic look. “Peachy,” he snarks in reply. “What do you think?”
“Hey, I just thought I’d ask,” Stiles retorts defensively.
Derek picks up the paper he’d set aside, flicking it open with an air of outright dismissal. Stiles huffs. Rude, Derek has zero manners.
“Close the door on your way out,” Derek commands, and Stiles, the idiot that he is –
“Scott,” Stiles hisses into the phone. “Where the hell are you? You need to get here now, I think I just mortally offended a serial killer.”
It’s good thing that the men’s room is empty, because if someone overheard his desperate conversation – that’s too much mortification for one day. Stiles’s daily quota has been met, thank you very much.
The sounds of the company function in full swing outside carry into the men’s room, only serving to remind him that murderous McHottie is still lurking somewhere.
Unfortunately for Stiles, Scott is a crap best friend. That’s it, Stiles is totally revoking Scott’s best bro card. “Sorry, sorry,” Scott apologises. “I’m still at home. You know how Allison gets – she was craving pomegranate and peanut butter, seriously, Stiles, you have no idea how hard it is to find a pomegranate. And then she ate them together.” The poor guy sounds traumatised beyond belief.
Stiles would totally sympathise with Scott’s pregnant-mate woes, but right now he’s honestly a bit too preoccupied with trying not to provoke anyone else. “Not helping,” he retorts. “I just pissed off an Alpha who may or may not be out for my blood now.”
“Oh,” Scott responds, finally seeming to cotton on to the conversation at hand. “Who?"
“I don’t know,” Stiles whispers, cracking open the door of the men’s room to peer outside. “Tall, dark, hot as fuck, crazy eyebrows? Ring any bells?”
Stiles can practically hear Scott’s puppy-like befuddlement. “Never mind,” Stiles sighs into his phone, edging out of the men’s room like a ninja.
“Derek Hale,” comes a voice behind him, and Stiles nearly crushes his phone – his baby, darling, way-too-expensive iPhone 5 – in his surprise.
McHottie’s standing right behind him, reclining indolently against the black marble wall of the corridor leading to the toilets. “You said you didn’t know who I was, so I was introducing myself.” He gives Stiles a slow once-over, intense gaze like a searing brand on Stiles’s skin even through his multiple layers. “Derek Hale,” he says again.
“Derek,” Stiles echoes breathily, and watches with rapt fascination as Derek’s gaze darts down to his lips before meandering back to meet his eyes, pupils blown and ringed with red. And wow, wow, what is that smell, it’s like musk and warm smoke and pine, intoxicating and heady and Stiles could roll around in it all fucking day.
Derek pushes away from the wall, crowding Stiles against the opposite one. Oh, Stiles thinks as the heat of Derek’s body makes itself known in a long, hard line against him, Alpha pheromones. That smell makes Stiles want to lick Derek all – all – over and roll over to bare his belly, legs spread in invitation.
“I don’t believe I know your name, Omega,” Derek purrs, eyes lidded, and the way he says it, Omega, it isn’t lecherous or dirty or commanding, it’s something soft and caramelized, like Stiles is someone to be desired, to be taken apart in pleasure and put back together under his hands and mouth and body.
“Stiles,” he supplies, pressed as he is against the cool marble tiles. “I’m Stiles.”
The corner of Derek’s lip quirks up ever so slightly, revealing the barest hint of fang. “Hello, Stiles,” Derek responds, voice pitched low, and fuck, Stiles has never been this far gone in his life, and Derek’s barely even said five whole sentences to him.
“Derek!” A feminine voice calls from the main event room, and the electric-charged moment they were having is broken. Stiles nearly whimpers with loss as Derek jerks away from him, straightening and turning to the source. An Alpha femme fatale with dark hair and a look of cutting intelligence comes striding down the short corridor in six-inch Blahniks not a moment later.
“Laura,” Derek greets, and oh. Oh. Stiles is an idiot, he should have known that people like Derek don’t go for people like Stiles, not unless they have an agenda, and the way this Laura person’s dark eyes are boring into him like diamond drills tells him that Derek wasn’t really hitting on him. Disappointment settles low in Stiles’s gut, and humiliation makes itself comfortable next to mounting mortification. Derek probably hit on him to make his girlfriend – Laura – jealous, because hey, we all know Omegas are like the universal Alpha’s Achilles’ heel.
“Peter’s wondering where you wandered off to, Derek,” Laura states. She barely bothers to spares Stiles a dismissive glance. “We should go talk to him.”
The rest of the function is a blur, Stiles cringing at his idiocy every time he catches sight of Derek amidst the throng. Derek doesn’t once spare him a glance, but Laura – Stiles feels like her coolly assessing gaze never once leaves him.
Stiles lingers just long enough to make it seem like he isn’t ditching the function at the first opportunity he has before fleeing. It’s just past ten, and the crowd has thinned enough for him not to have to elbow-fight his way over to the coat check. He hands over his number tag, trying not to fidget as the attendant turns away to fetch his coat.
It’s only later in the lift that he realizes that there’s a scrap of paper shoved into his inner coat pocket that wasn’t there before. The paper, when he fishes it out, is cream and heavy, smooth and weighted in the way that all good quality cardstock is. It’s blank on one side. Frowning slightly, Stiles flips it over, biting the inside of his cheek in surprise when he sees Derek Hale, Senior Partner, Hale & Associates along with contact details embossed in rusty bronze. There’s a number scribbled below that, written in a harsh and strangely elegant handwriting, followed by a Call me.
Something compels Stiles to key the number into his phone immediately, before it hits him: Derek Hale. Of Hale & Associates. Senior Partner.
Fuck, what is his life.
It’s no secret to Stiles that Laura Hale doesn’t like him much.
Stiles doesn’t know what’s shoved up her Alpha ass, but at least they’ve moved past the stage where she thinks he pounced on Derek during that initial company function and somehow used his Omega wiles to enthrall Derek and fuck his way into a higher position. Because a) what, have you seen Stiles, he has zero wiles whatsoever, b) he hadn’t even known who Derek was at that time, and c) come on, Stiles has zero self-esteem, what in the world could possibly have given him the balls to hit on Derek.
The point is that suffice to say, Stiles is more than a little surprised when Laura Hale comes calling at his apartment the day after he drops by to visit Derek at the hospital. It’s a Saturday, thank god, but that also means that Stiles is still in bed at twelve, which is when Laura Hale decides to show up and knock on his apartment door. Which also means that Stiles answers said door with the worst case of bedhead known to wolfkind in a ratty stained shirt and Batman boxers. Which, you know, awkward.
It really doesn’t help matters that Stiles hasn’t quite gotten into the habit of looking through the peephole to check who it is that’s knocking before opening the door, so he gets 100% of unadulterated disdain a la Laura Hale for his appearance. Stiles mentally sticks his tongue out at her, Miss Always-Perfect-Always-Deadly. It’s Saturday, he deserves some slack.
“Well?” Laura asks, quirking an impatient eyebrow, and it hits Stiles that Derek does that too, and the two of them are so alike in some ways, and it’s only been a day and he already misses Derek, how pathetic is that? “Aren’t you going to let me in?”
Figuring that he has no more dignity left to lose, Stiles nods, one hand coming up to scratch at his stomach before he wanders off to the kitchen to scrounge up a cup of coffee. “Make me a cup,” Laura’s voice calls from the living room, and Stiles would totally disregard what she says, he would, except he really likes his balls where they are, thanks.
Ten minutes later sees him plonking himself onto his festering, unbelievably comfy couch with his mug of coffee in hand, Laura sniffing suspiciously at the mug he’d passed to her, haughtily perching herself in a lawn chair that Stiles found at some garage sale.
Sipping his battery-acid coffee and feeling the delicious rush of caffeine surge through his system, Stiles finally feels human (werewolf?) enough for lucid conversation. “So,” he starts, “What can I do for you?”
Because there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell that Laura showed up here on a social call. She totally has something up her sleeve, Stiles can tell. There’s totally a reason why Laura is the Managing Partner at Hale & Associates and not Derek. (Peter is a whole other matter. Stiles doesn’t like to dwell on Peter for too long, the guy gives him the creeps.)
Laura swills the coffee from her mug, and Stiles knows it’s boiling hot coffee that tastes like shit, okay, she doesn’t have to prove a point just because Stiles is a wuss and has to blow on his coffee and slurp it in small sips. Setting the mug down on the coffee-ring-stained table, she sends his apartment a general look of disgust before crossing her legs, Jimmy Choos clicking pointedly as she arranges herself comfortably before deigning to look at him.
“So, Stiles,” she says. “How long have you and Derek been – ” she waves her hand in a gesture Stiles interprets as banging like a couple of rabbits.
Of course he’s suspicious as fuck at her small talk. “Three years,” he replies, cradling his coffee mug. “But I think you already knew that.”
Laura purses her lips. “I did,” she concedes. “And surely Derek has made it clear that your, ah, relationship isn’t one with the option of claiming or bonding.” It’s phrased like a question, but Laura’s words are really more of a statement.
Ah, Stiles thinks. So this is where this is going. “He has, but I don’t see how this is any business of yours.”
Long manicured nails tap a tattoo against the surface of his coffee table. “No,” she agrees. “You wouldn’t. But don’t you think that three years is a long enough time to get sick of someone? To seek greener, newer pastures?”
Stiles isn’t a lawyer, alright. He hates word games and political shit like that. “You want me to break up with him,” he states, bluntly cutting to the heart of the matter.
Laura wrinkles her nose. “That certainly implies that the two of you were in a committed, long-term relationship in the first place, which we both know isn’t the case, so no. I want you to stop being his little fuck on the side.”
In perfect honesty, Stiles has no idea what he has ever done to Laura to make her dislike him so intensely. Their interactions have never been anything more that cool, but at least they’ve always been cordial. This, however – this blasts straight past the realm of cordial and into the territory of fucking rude.
He stiffens in anger, and he can feel his wolf bristle and snarl beneath his skin. A stupid move, since he couldn’t take Laura’s Alpha even in an unfair fight, but the instinct curls hot in his belly nonetheless. “I don’t see why I need to listen to you, not when this hardly concerns you in the slightest.”
Laura reclines in the lawn chair, and Stiles is fleetingly envious of how she can turn the shabbiest of furniture into her personal throne. “Don’t be foolish, Stiles. Do you think I’m doing this out of the blue? Derek’s my little brother, he tells me things. He’s been meaning to end your fling for months now. I’m just doing him a favour and ending it for him, since it doesn’t matter now that he can’t even remember who you are.”
It’s a punch to the gut that steals all the breath from his lungs, calling up vague memories of the panic attacks that Stiles used to have after his mum died. “Months?” he echoes, all pride dying a painful death.
The mug in his hand suddenly feels too heavy, so he sets it down on the coffee table with a loud clack. It must be testament to how pathetic he looks, because something in Laura’s gaze softens, and she awkwardly pats his hand.
“Look,” she says, “I’m sure Derek is fond of you, but surely you’re aware that nothing could have come out of your…thing. He needs more than an Omega from an insignificant pack to stand by his side.”
Sure, Laura, why don’t you go ahead and twist the knife in his heart? It’s fine, Stiles has always been a masochist anyway.
Stiles can’t bring himself to meet her gaze, instead staring blindly at his chipped It’s A Frappe! Star Wars coffee mug. There’s a hot burn at the back of his eyes, one that he doesn’t want to dwell on.
After a prolonged moment, Laura stands. “I’ll show myself out,” she says softly, and Stiles doesn’t remember nodding, but he must have, because he wakes on his couch at seven in the evening, the room dark and his heart a valiantly beating, aching muscle in his chest.
When he gets his first promotion at Hale & Associates eight months in, the first person Stiles thinks of calling after his Dad is Derek. It’s a knee-jerk reaction that he can’t help, his wolf pawing and scratching under his skin, desperate for approval from his mate, he’s ours.
That’s not how it works between them, of course, and Stiles beats down his wolf with willpower and self-loathing. So he calls Scott, rambling about his success, watch out McCall, I’m going to climb this corporate ladder so fast, you won’t know what hit you. Hale, Stilinski & Associates coming right up. It brings a strange twist to his gut when he thinks of their names together, side-by-side.
Scott is ecstatic when he hears the news, and issues the time-honoured bro tradition of a round of drinks on him when they meet up for dinner later that night in celebration. It’s comforting to know that some things don’t change.
They meet up at eight outside their favourite bar, Scott slinging a proud arm across his shoulders as they head inside to meet Isaac, Boyd, Jackson and Danny for a guys’ night out. The night passes in a blur of greasy food, loud conversation, friendly ribbing, and endless rounds of drinks. By the time the clocks hit ten, Stiles is pleasantly buzzed.
Isaac and Boyd beg off at ten-fifteen, groaning about sentencing precedents and case research or something, Stiles isn’t too sure. Jackson heads off to the men’s room, and Scott makes his way to the bar for a round of water to sober everyone up.
So it’s just Danny and him, Stiles’s arm slung companionably over Danny’s shoulder when Derek Hale walks into the bar.
Okay, that totally sounds like one of those bad jokes, doesn’t it. A tall, brooding Alpha walks into a bar…
Really not the point Stiles was getting at, though. Derek hones in on Stiles the second he walks in, eyes snapping to their booth and nostrils flaring and whoa, okay, he looks pissed. It’s probably because he’s slightly more than tipsy that he’s feeling like this, but Derek looking pissed off at him in this situation is beginning to make Stiles pissed. And this isn’t supposed to be a pissy night.
Stiles just got promoted, for God’s sake. All he wants is to soak in that feeling of personal achievement and career growth, roll around in it and bottle it up to keep forever. He does not want to deal with pissy Alphas tonight. Nuh-uh.
Derek’s eyebrows are in full-on serial killer mode by the time he makes his way over to their booth. Scott, the idiot, is still nowhere in sight, and who knows what Jackson’s up to in the men’s room.
“Stiles,” he grits out in greeting, and Stiles nods in shocked response. “Who’s your friend?”
In their strangely tension-fraught, deathly awkward ten-second interaction, Danny has managed to slip out from under Stiles’s arm. “Uh, hi, Derek,” Stiles sputters. “This is Danny. From Hale & Associates. He’s the Head of IT. And my friend. Yes. Danny, this is Derek. Hale. Derek Hale, from Hale & Associates, as you can probably guess from his name, since – ”
“Stiles,” Derek says, smiling – and Jesus fuck, that is a terrifying, pants-shitting smile – in what is possibly the most unfriendly, dangerous way ever known to wolves, “Shut up.”
“Right.” Stiles mimes zipping his mouth shut.
Of course that’s when Scott decides to return from wherever he’d disappeared off to, because Stiles knows it doesn’t take that long to get water from the bar, so Stiles is totally onto him.
“Oh, hey, Derek,” Scott greets, and oh, right, Stiles forgot that Derek is Scott’s direct superior. Which is weird, because Scott’s a baby Associate, whereas Derek’s a Senior Partner, isn’t that beneath Derek’s duties? Huh. The alcohol buzzing around his system is making him fuzzy.
“I’m taking Stiles back,” Derek tells Scott, hauling Stiles up by an arm. Stiles would absolutely protest, except that now he’s pressed up against the warm, long line of Derek’s body, and that feels amazing.
Stiles loses track of the conversation then, too caught up in Derek’s delicious scent. Most of the time, he just wants to rub himself all over Derek like a shameless hussy. Derek has the best scent ever.
Derek leads him to his Camaro, nudging him into the passenger seat. Stiles must fall asleep at some point, because when he comes to, they’re parked in Derek’s apartment block’s underground garage – which, what?
“Home?” Stiles blurts, and yeah, the alcohol is hell on his eloquence. Derek’s only reply is a gruff no before he gets out of the car, rounding the hood to lend Stiles a hand as he climbs out unsteadily. Derek steers him towards the lift bank, and he dozes lightly against his shoulder as they wait for the lift to arrive.
Derek’s apartment is dark when they get there, but it’s fine, they have werewolf night-vision and all that. Derek makes a beeline for his bedroom, shepherding a drowsy Stiles along.
Like a switch has been flipped, all traces of Stiles’s alcohol-induced sleepiness dissipates when the backs of his knees hit the edge of Derek’s bed. It’s Pavlovian, really, and Stiles has so many dog jokes up his sleeve, you don’t want to know.
“C’mere, c’mere,” he moans, fighting his way out of his Hulk t-shirt as Derek crosses the room, shedding his clothes along the way. Stiles should probably feel bad that he doesn’t feel bad for being so slutty for Derek. What’s that saying all the cool kids are using these days? Sorry not sorry?
By the time Derek reaches Stiles, he’s completely naked, while Stiles is still fighting with the idea of buttons and zips and they’re the work of the Devil. His jeans are still on, and he’s fumbling with his fly.
Derek huffs, hand pressing on Stiles’s chest to push him down so his back hits the bed before setting to work divesting Stiles of the rest of his clothing. Stiles finds Derek undressing him way hotter than it likely is.
Jeans and boxers finally discarded, Derek noses his way up Stiles’s legs, the cold tip of his nose tracing a delicate line along the soft inner skin of his thighs as Stiles parts his legs shamelessly. Derek just hovers there for a moment, inhaling the scent of Eau de Stiles, and if this were anyone else, Stiles would say the act was tender, from one lover to another, but then Derek flips him over onto his knees in a single jarring movement, shoving him up the bed so he can grip the headboard.
Derek’s hands burn a branding lines of heat as he runs them down Stiles’s body, leaving one pressed into the dip of his hipbone as he sucks a vicious hickey to the back of Stiles’s neck, and then another at his nape.
Stiles is fully hard now, cock leaking and neglected. He knows Derek doesn’t like it when he touches himself whenever they fuck, so he curls his fingers – nails extended into claws now – into the ornately carved headboard, where several other nail scores, courtesy of Stiles, reside.
“Come on,” he whines, wiggling his ass as enticingly as he can. Stiles can feel some of his wetness trickling out, dampening and dirtying the backs of his thighs.
“Fuck,” Derek hisses from behind him, hands leaving his hips to pry his cheeks apart, holding them open to simply look. Stiles knows his flush of embarrassment is glaringly apparent, and he squirms in place even as Derek growls out warning to hold still. Which he does, and Stiles’s wolf practically preens with pride when Derek rumbles in approval and bend to lave his hole.
Rimming is almost certainly guaranteed to reduce Stiles to a babbling, wailing mess. He brings his hands down from the headboard to fist them in the sheets, mewling into the pillows at Derek’s teasing kittenish licks at his rim. Derek, the bastard, stops as soon as he notices Stiles’s hands have vacated the headboard.
“Put. Your hands. Back.” He growls, and Stiles scrambles to follow Derek’s command, nearly whining at the reprimand implicit in his words. Derek doesn’t resume eating out Stiles’s hole until both his hands are firmly back on the headboard, clenching and unclenching and sweaty with exertion and desire.
Stiles’s thighs are quivering by the time Derek pushes a finger into him, tongue still flicking around his digit and finger locating his prostate like a heat-seeking missile. Stiles bites into a pillow to muffle his moan of pleasure, and Derek removes his finger in punishment before Stiles remembers that Derek likes to hear him. Turning his face away from the pillow so his sounds are no longer stifled earns him Derek’s finger pushing back in.
Derek likes to draw their fucking out, driving Stiles crazy and wild with pleasure. But even then, tonight’s foreplay is a great deal longer than usual. Stiles whines with want. “Please, please,” he begs when Derek works him up to two fingers, pausing to slide a pillow under his stomach.
“Please what?” Derek’s finger skirts his prostate cruelly, the pad of his thumb tracing the rim of his hole in light circles.
Stiles honest-to-god whimpers. “Please fuck me,” he gasps out, the words soft in his embarrassment. Derek’s never made him beg like that before.
Leaning over him while keeping his two fingers pumping leisurely in and out of Stiles, Derek drags the tip of his cock over the crease of Stiles’s ass. Nipping his ear, Derek’s voice is low and laden with dark promises. “I can’t hear you.”
“Please fuck me,” Stiles chokes out, slightly louder and blind with want and need and Derek.
Derek slides his fingers out of Stiles’s ass. “Well,” he says. “Since you asked so nicely.”
He slides a second pillow under Stiles, forcing his hips up and splaying Stiles’s legs open even more obscenely. “I’m going to fuck you so hard you won’t remember anyone else’s name but mine.”
Stiles doesn’t know how he finds it in him to retort. “Is that a promise?” he breathes out. Derek lowers sharp fangs to the back of his neck in response, pressing down but not breaking fragile skin.
Hands pry his cheeks open again, followed by Derek’s massive cock breaching him. It’s as overwhelming as it was when Derek fucked him for the first time, as if he’s being split down the middle and reknitted back whole, some part of Derek buried so deep within him that Stiles’ll never be able to fully get him out.
From then on, it’s a familiar push and pull, thrust and grind. Stiles is distantly aware that there’s a perpetual, high-pitched whining in the background – before he realizes that it’s him, and by that time he’s too far gone too care.
Derek’s fingers wandering down to play with the rim of his hole as Stiles continues to get pounded is the last straw, and Stiles comes hard with a mangled roar-shout, shooting his load. Derek doesn’t let up on the ferocity of his thrusts, fucking Stiles through his orgasm as Stiles’s hole flutters around his cock.
When Derek comes, it’s with a full-fledged Alpha roar that has Stiles whining and turning to bare his throat in submission, Derek hunkering down to suck bruising marks all over his neck and wherever he can reach. He doesn’t knot Stiles, not outside of Stiles’s heats, pulling back slightly so the knot doesn’t engage even as he sprays Stiles’s inner walls.
It’s a long time before Derek stops coming, the copious amounts of his seed running down the back of Stiles’s thighs and staining the sheets, but it’s fine, Stiles relishes the closeness they always share post-fuck. Derek’s always softer with him then, treating him how Stiles imagines he’d treat his mate. It’s a part of Derek that Stiles covets and hoards for himself.
After pulling out, Derek eases the pillows out from under Stiles, manhandling Stiles’s sex-pliant body into a more comfortable position, tucking him into the curve of Derek’s body. He presses fleeting kisses to Stiles’s temple, and Stiles tilts his head up for a soft kiss, warm and wet and slow.
“You did well,” he murmurs into the shell of Stiles’s ear, and Stiles’s wolf goes look, look, he’s proud of us, he’s ours, ours.
Stiles ruthlessly clamps down on his wolf, shutting the whimpering animal in the back of his mind. He ducks his head into the crook of Derek’s neck, breathing in the heady scent of Stiles and Derek.
He tells himself that he is content, and that is a lot more than what some people get.
“Derek was my first, you know.”
Miss Morell nods, perfectly compassionate and understanding. Sometimes, Stiles is so fucking grateful to have her in his life – she’s the one person that won’t judge or censure him for what he does, for what he’s done, for what he’s decided to do.
“I know that your first partner – your first Alpha – is something that you’ll never forget, and it’s something that you’ll hold in a special place in your heart. And that’s not wrong. I’m proud of you for having your first relationship, and all the ups and downs that came with it.”
Stiles snorts. “Not much of a relationship, though, was it?”
Miss Morell’s tone is fervent when she speaks. “That not true, Stiles. It doesn’t matter how Derek or Laura or anyone else defines it. It was a relationship to you, and that’s all that should count.”
“The worst part,” Stiles picks up, “is that I knew that this was coming. There was always something – something very finite about our relationship, you know what I mean? There was always an end point in sight, a future for Derek that never included me in it, and I fucking knew that.”
Stiles hates this. He hates that he’s be reduced to this brokenhearted mess of a cliché. It’s a popular joke among Alphas: fuck an Omega, get heartbreak on your hands. Omegas are fragile little emotional things, needy and whiny. Stiles refuses to become that, or to believe that he’s anything like that.
Miss Morell doesn’t say anything, letting the silence fill up the comfortable space between them, letting her warm, sympathetic hand cover his.
“I think,” Stiles chokes out, fighting back the hot burn of not tears, not tears behind his eyelids, “I think I love him.”
It’s a bright, sunny day outside Miss Morell’s office, brilliant and welcoming and shining.
It’s clear from the start that Scott doesn’t approve of what Stiles is doing.
“I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea, man,” Scott says, scratching the back of his neck. “I love you and everything, but I’m not sure you can handle the whole ‘no-strings-attached’ sex thing. Plus, the way you said he acted at that function? Creepy.”
“Scott,” Stiles huffs. “Chill. I’ll be fine. I’ll call him, finally get laid, get some great sex out of it with a crazily hot guy, and get bragging rights. What’s to worry?”
“It’s just – you know – Derek,” Scott finishes helplessly.
Stiles thumps him on the back in comfort. “It’ll all work out, dude. It’ll all work out.”
Famous last words.
It’s been two weeks since Derek’s accident when Stiles gets a call from an unknown number.
“Hello?” he answers, wary of telemarketers.
“Stilinski?” the distinctly female voice on the other end of the line queries. “Is this Stiles Stilinski?”
“Yeah, who is this?”
“This is Erica Reyes, Mr. Hale’s new personal assistant. I’ve been instructed by Miss Hale to request that you remove all of your personal belongings from his apartment by this Friday. The keycard will be left with the doorman.”
He doesn’t know what to say in response to that, so he replies in the affirmative and ends the call, sliding down the wall to rest his head on his knees. He knows he’s being ridiculous and overreacting; it’s not like he even has that much stuff over at Derek’s place, and he’s finally coming to accept that whatever they had is now over and done with.
It hasn’t been hard to avoid Derek or Laura. They work in the same building, sure, but it’s not like the bigwigs like them ever really come down to mingle with lowly peons like Stiles, and they aren’t even on the same floor. The Hales are tucked away on the fortieth, while paper pushers like Stiles are shoved into floors twenty and below. Laura’s gone on a business trip, anyway, flying off to San Francisco to oversee one of their larger merger deals for the next couple of weeks.
Stiles takes deep breathes, long inhales and exhales that vaguely calm him down. It’s seven in the evening on a Thursday, which means that Derek, amnesia or no, is in the gym and will be for the next two hours or so. Stiles can get into his apartment, clear out his stuff and get out without having to interact with him.
He forces himself to go. It’s like a wound, he rationalises. He just needs to cauterize it and he’ll be fine, no matter how much it hurts at first. Stiles catches a cab to Derek’s apartment block, and it’s a solid punch to the gut when the doorman recognises him and says hello, are you here to see your Alpha? They make small-talk before Stiles comes up with the excuse that Derek is waiting for him, and the doorman waves him off with a smile and a wink.
The journey up to Derek’s apartment unit is more painful than he’d like to admit. He traces the smooth chrome and steel of the lift, thumbing the button to Derek’s floor for a long second before pressing it. He even lingers in the hallway, breathing in the scent of the pine cleaner that is so unique to Derek’s apartment block.
God, he’s pathetic.
He steals two boxes from the communal supply closet before letting himself into Derek’s apartment with a swipe of the keycard, pausing to lean against the door as it closes behind him to take stock. He’s never going to be here again; he deserves this tiny indulgence.
The apartment is dark, so Stiles flicks the lights in the living room on, illuminating the clean, minimalist lines and solid, rich colours of the furniture and décor. He wanders over to the open plan kitchen, tracing a light hand against the cool granite of the bar counter, closing his eyes when the memory of breakfasts shared and easy laughter spring unbidden to mind.
Faint notes of his scent from his last visit here three weeks ago still linger, and it’s a difficult thing to accept that it’ll fade soon, all traces of him slipping away like the slow trickle of sand in an hourglass, inevitable and cruelly poignant.
He’s put this off long enough. Retrieving the empty boxes left by the front door, Stiles heads for the master bedroom. He doesn’t bother to turn the lights on here, not when he knows this room like the back of his hand.
His clothes are chucked in a pile in the corner of Derek’s walk-in closet, assorted graphic tees and some spare boxers lumped together haphazardly for whenever he stays over. Stiles kneels to pick at them, half-heartedly folding his shirts and stuffing his boxers into the cardboard box all while trying not to think about the meaning and significance behind this act.
He understandably doesn’t hear the swipe of the keycard in the front door, or the sound of the front door being opened. Neither does he hear the soft pad of footsteps, nor quiet breaths that pause briefly before resuming as a nose picks up a familiar, comforting scent.
So when Stiles rises, box and belongings in hand, and turns to make his way out of the closet, he isn’t expecting to see Derek leaning against the door frame, dark eyes on him.
Stiles doesn’t shriek in surprise. He doesn’t. He lets out a manly yell, recovering from the shock with a hand pressed to his chest as his heart thumps a furious rhythm. Derek, the bastard, is smirking.
“I didn’t think you’d be home,” Stiles says in greeting. “You’re always at the gym on Thursdays.”
Derek raises his eyebrows, and Stiles realizes – oh, yeah, he doesn’t know me, so this is weird for him. “I’ve been instructed to take things slow.” He grimaces. “Doctor’s orders.”
Stiles knows that Derek hates inactivity and unproductivity, so he winces in sympathy. “Tough, man.”
They stand like that for a long, awkward moment before Stiles clears his throat. “I’m, uh, going to go get my stuff from the living room.” He takes a couple of steps forward, expecting Derek to move from his spot in the doorway, but he stays planted where he is, expression unreadable and arms folded across his chest.
“Stiles,” Derek says, and Stiles doesn’t think that needs an answer, it sounds more like Derek’s just saying his name to see how it feels on his tongue. “Why are you packing your stuff?”
Is it just Stiles or has the air in the room been entirely sucked out in the past five seconds?
“Well,” he hedges, “I just, you know, figured I shouldn’t be underfoot, what with you needing space to – ” he waves a hand in Derek’s direction “ – regain your memory and all.”
Derek pushes away from the door frame, backing Stiles into the wall. Damn it, Derek really needs to stop doing that. Body caging Stiles’s, he leans in sinfully close to whisper, breath fanning hotly against the sensitive skin of his ear.
“You are a horrible liar.”
Stiles swallows hard. “Seriously, though, you don’t want me around, and I should probably get going now, so – ”
Derek draws his head back so that he can award Stiles with the full force of his stare. “Shut. Up.”
“Hey,” Stiles protests feebly, “Ru – ”
Lips press hard against his own, cutting his sentence off. Which hey, is totally becoming an annoying pattern. But Stiles isn’t complaining, not when a probing tongue coaxes his lips apart, licking and tasting like Stiles is the best dessert at the buffet and there’s only one more serving left.
Stiles moans. He admits it. Come on, he’s not exactly known for his self-control. He drops his box of stuff still trapped between them, barely registering the thump it makes when it hits the ground somewhere. His hands, traitors that they are, come up to cup Derek’s jaw and tangle in his hair, slightly longer now that he’s overdue for his monthly trim.
Derek rumbles in approval, hiking Stiles up so that his legs can wrap around Derek’s waist. “Friends, huh,” he says, in between demanding kisses that turn Stiles’s brain to mush.
His words turn the desire churning low in Stiles’s gut to ice. What the fuck is he doing? Derek – his Derek, the Derek who can remember and isn’t confused – wouldn’t want this. For fuck’s sake, he’d been thinking about dumping Stiles for months. That’s pretty much proof enough that he wouldn’t appreciate Stiles taking advantage of his lapse in memory to fuck his way back in Derek’s good graces, or whatever the hell Stiles was thinking in actively participating in this impromptu make-out session.
“No,” Stiles gasps, tugging his body and lips and hands away from Derek. “No, Derek, I can’t do this, this isn’t right.”
Derek draws back, but even then his face is still inches from Stiles’s own. He huffs in annoyance. “What?” Bringing his hand down, he cups Stiles’s erection through his jeans. “This doesn’t feel like there’s a problem.”
Stiles’s hips make a tiny aborted thrust, chasing the heat and friction of Derek’s hand. Their close proximity means that Derek feels it, and the smirk on his face makes that clear, anyway. His eyes bleed a slow red, and the smell of arousal thickens in the air around them as Derek pushes close again.
Frantic, Stiles slaps a hand against his chest. “No, Derek, I mean it. We can’t.” Trying to edge himself out from under the cage of Derek’s body, Stiles babbles to fill the silence. “I know you think you want this right now, but believe me, okay, you really don’t, and if I sleep with you when you regain your memories – which you will, by the way, I totally believe in you – you’re just going to hate me for it, and I’m secure enough to tell you that I’m not alright with that. Plus, this isn’t something you need right now, what you need to do is rest and relax and work on remembering stuff, or you could get started on fixing that bike of yours like you always said you would, but you and me, yeah, not a good idea.”
All throughout his rant, Stiles’s erection hasn’t subsided one bit. Traitor. Derek’s only response to his ramble is to press even closer, bending to scent and nose Stiles’s neck. Against his will, Stiles finds himself tilting his head back to allow Derek better access, body undulating against the hard planes of Derek’s as he bites and sucks what feels like a massive hickey right by his throat.
And all that runs through Stiles’s mind is –
Laura’s out of town –
Derek wants me now, he still wants me –
I deserve this, I deserve this, it’s not a huge thing to ask –
No one’s forcing anyone –
With a growl at the back of his throat, Stiles shoves at Derek, who actually falls a step back in surprise at the sudden force before Stiles’s practically pounces on him, sealing their mouths together.
They stumble over to Derek’s sprawling bed, yanking off clothes and tossing them aside. Derek’s in sweats, so those come off easily, and the thick, hard line of his cock is resting in Stiles’s palm before long.
Stiles has the sudden urge to suck Derek off, to taste the bitter and salty tang of his pre-come, to reduce Derek to a quivering, shaky mess of pleasure, to prove that now, for now I own you, remember that I did this to you. He breathlessly puts his request to Derek, who grits his teeth and hisses in approval.
“Fuck, yeah,” Derek rumbles, parting his legs so Stiles can settle between them.
Stiles takes his time. He presses a kiss to the head, playing with the slit with his tongue and memorizing the taste of the bead of pre-come that wells up. Hand settling at the base of Derek’s cock, he wraps his fingers around his girth, feeling the solid weight of it.
He knows Derek likes it when he traces the flat of his tongue along the vein on the underside of his cock, so he does that to hear the way Derek’s heartbeat gallops along, teeth grinding together and breath hitching as nails elongate to claws in a bid for control. Stiles is sucking at a more measured pace now, lips moving up and down Derek’s length in a bobbing rhythm.
Derek’s hand comes up to trace his cheekbone, fingers pressing over his cheek to feel where his cock is in Stiles’s mouth before settling in his hair, simply resting there.
Stiles curls his tongue over the head, dipping to trace the edges of Derek’s foreskin before taking the entire length of his cock down his throat. If it’s one thing that he’s learned in the course of his past three years with Derek, it’s that he doesn’t have much of a gag reflex.
Derek’s trembling with the effort it takes not to thrust blindly, Stiles can tell. His head is thrown back, claws out and arms extended, fisting and unfisting the sheets spasmodically. It’s fine, though, Stiles doesn’t mind it, but it’s another nail in his coffin when he realizes that Derek doesn’t know – doesn’t remember – that.
Stiles brings one of his hands up to cup Derek’s hip, coaxing them up in a thrust. “Jesus,” he hears Derek groan, even as his hips begin to move, cock sliding in, out, in out of Stiles’s mouth, the tip of it hitting the back of Stiles’s throat with every jerk of Derek’s hips.
His own neglected cock lies heavy and hard in his jeans. He reaches down blindly with a fumbling hand to undo his fly so he can rut against the sheets, moaning around Derek’s cock at the delicious friction.
Derek’s hand in his hair fists to tug him up, to tug his mouth away. “Stiles, I’m going to – ”
Stiles makes a sound of displeasure, pushing back against Derek’s hand, which eventually falls away. He goes to town on Derek’s cock, sucking and licking and bobbing for all he’s worth, feeling the exact moment Derek spurts, muscles straining and cock throbbing.
He swallows everything, his own thrusts against the sheets fast and erratic now. He’s close, so close, when Derek hauls him up so that he straddles his lap, calloused hand closing over his cock to pump roughly.
The sensations are devastating. Stiles’s hand clutches desperately at Derek’s shoulders, his head tilted back in unabashed pleasure.
“Open your eyes,” Derek growls, and wow, okay, Stiles didn’t even noticed they’d fallen shut. “Look at me,” he continues, and Stiles is helpless to do anything but.
Derek’s gaze is intense, pupils ringed with red. Stiles feels himself flushing down to his chest, unable to take the heat of it and unable to look away. The hand on his cock pumps faster, another coming up to tug at his balls, rolling them between expert fingers, and Stiles wails, coming so hard he gets some of it on his chin.
Later, when he comes back to his sense, now sated, thoroughly blissed out and sweaty, Stiles thinks that there’s probably a special place in hell for people like him.
It’s five months into their – their thing, and Stiles has a high school cocktail reunion event coming up on Saturday. It’s by no means a big deal, but Stiles desperately wants to ask Derek along as his plus one.
It’s not a good idea, and even Scott, reigning King of Obliviousness, thinks so. “Dude, there’s no such thing as bringing a ‘plus one friend’, it’s always a date,” he says, mixing a bottle of baby formula for him and Allison’s three-month old. “Just give it up.”
Scott’s really the awesomest bro to ever bro. He doesn’t call Stiles out on the fact that it’s 110% clear that he’s fallen head over heels for Derek, even after scoffing and assuring Scott that he wouldn’t do that.
“So…I shouldn’t ask him?” Stiles clarifies because hey, you can never be too sure. He’s just covering all his bases.
“For the last time, no. No. N. O.”
“Whoa, no need to get all huffy, just checking.” Isabel coos from the room over then, and Scott’s like a puppy, seriously. He perks up, milk bottle in hand, and all but dashes over in his haste to see his darling little girl.
“Yeah, thanks, dude,” Stiles grumbles, letting himself out of Scott and Allison’s apartment as Scott completely forgets he’s there.
Well. The thing is, Stiles isn’t exactly called persistent for nothing, so he fires off a quick text to make sure Derek’s home and is free before catching a cab over to his place. The way he sees it, he can drop some subtle questions, get the lay of the land, see if Derek’d be willing to come to the event with him.
By the time he reaches Derek’s apartment, he’s regretting his impulsive text. Derek made it clear from the start that they weren’t together, they weren’t in a relationship, there wasn’t bonding and pups and domesticity in the cards.
He’s contemplating leaving when Derek’s front door opens, a predatory curl of a smile on his lips. “Took you long enough,” he says, grabbing the front of Stiles’s Spiderman shirt to pull into the apartment.
Later, when they’re both panting and sweaty and filthy, Stiles finds it hard to see why he shouldn’t just ask. No pain, no gain and all that. He goes as far as to open his mouth to speak, but Derek shoves him off the couch where there’d fallen in their sex frenzy, commanding him to go clean himself up before he ruins the leather.
It’s then that Stiles notices the suitcase parked by the front door. “Are you going somewhere?” he asks, yanking a couple of tissues out from the box to perfunctorily wipe all the come and lube away before he takes a shower.
“Business trip,” Derek grunts. “I won’t be in town for the next week and a half.”
Stiles’s heart sinks. It’s just as well that he hadn’t asked, then. He trashes the tissues in the bin in the kitchen before it hits him. His heat is due next week, which means that he’ll have to ride it out himself. It hadn’t occurred to him that Derek wouldn’t be around to get him through it as per usual, so he’d missed his cycle of suppressants.
Oh. Well, it’s nothing he hasn’t handled himself before. He hates it, the desperation and helplessness and raw animal need, but it’s not something he can help, and it isn’t like he’s going to go out and pick some random Alpha up to breed him through this cycle. The mere thought of another Alpha’s hands on him make him shudder internally.
“Okay,” he replies. “Cool. I guess I’ll see you whenever you get back, then.”
Derek nods disinterestedly, already distracted by some email or another on his iPad. Stiles gathers his shed clothes, darts a last glance at Derek, and heads off to the bathroom.
Laura’s going to murder him.
It’s a twelve-day countdown until she’s slated to return from her trip, and even since that night at Derek’s apartment they’ve pretty much being living in each other’s pocket and going at it like bunnies.
He’s in the kitchen throwing together chilli for their dinner when it occurs to him that he should probably let Derek know that his heat’s due next week. Derek’s working on some super-important acquisition thing now, so he’ll just remember to mention it to him over dinner.
Which, of course, means that he promptly forgets until the day before his heat. Stiles is frantic. He woke up this morning to the stifling smell of a whole cocktail of pheromones, his body pumping them out like they’re going out of style. He can’t leave the house to get to Derek, he can’t get food, he can’t do anything.
On the bright side, he doesn’t have to worry about work – all Omegas in Hale & Associates are required to submit their heat schedules (yes, embarrassing, but completely necessary) at the start of every year so they can be given the requisite number of days off, plus an extra day on both ends of every heat cycle to recover.
Derek doesn’t pick up his cell on Stiles’s first two tries, but he manages to get hold of him on the third. “Hale,” Derek barks into the phone as greeting.
“Hey, Derek, hi,” Stiles says, suddenly feeling incredibly unsure about this.
“What is it, Stiles? I’m in a meeting and Erica says you won’t stop calling.”
Oh, yes, Erica. Derek’s new PA. Derek’s new blonde, supermodel hot, ball-busting PA. Her. Because thinking about Erica and Derek absolutely makes Stiles feel better, especially as out of it as he is on the whole bunch of hormones sending his system off-whack. Sure.
“Sorry, sorry,” he fumbles, “It’s just, I forgot to tell you, my heat’s tomorrow and I think it’s coming on early, and do you think you could – ”
Stiles can almost hear the new tension zing across the line. “Your heat?” Derek asks. “You’re in heat tomorrow?”
“Yeah,” he says. “But I think it’s early this time, I don’t know, do you think you could help me out tomorrow? I mean, I totally get it if you’re too busy or – ”
“I’m on my way.” Derek drops the call.
If Stiles was in his right mind now, he’d be annoyed with Derek’s lack of manners, but luckily for Derek he’s more desperate for cock. Shit, this heat is coming on fast. It feels like a live wire’s trapped beneath his skin, the wolf in him baying for release and mate and Derek.
He heads to the bathroom cabinet to make sure that he’s taken his contraceptives because dude, better safe than sorry, and it’s not that he doesn’t want cubs – Derek’s cubs – but he can imagine the look of betrayal on Derek’s face and Derek probably wouldn’t want them anyway.
Barely twenty minutes have passed when his buzzer sounds. How fast was Derek driving? His apartment’s a good thirty-five minute journey away from the Hale & Associates building by car on good days. He lets Derek into the building, and it’s not long before there’s a solid knock on his front door.
Stiles is greeted with the sight of Derek, slightly rumpled and laden down with several bags from the CV round the corner, and his smell, Jesus, it should be illegal to smell this good. The dampness between his thighs grows wetter.
“What – ” Stiles says, pausing to swallow at the rush of saliva pooling in his mouth as the taste of Derek’s pheromones in the air hit him. “What is that?”
Derek muscles past him into the apartment, taking a brief look around before raising his nose in an obvious sniff. Something in his expression shifts, almost calms, and he turns back to face Stiles.
“Food,” he replies, making a beeline for the bedroom. Stiles’s heart thumps erratically at Derek’s apparent familiarity with his apartment before he realizes that there’s only one other door that doesn’t smell like there’s water and soap behind it, so it isn’t much of a stretch to conclude that that’s the bedroom.
Trailing behind Derek, Stiles picks at a hangnail awkwardly, not quite sure what to say (a first!). Derek brought him food. And he’s here for his heat. That’s – that’s what mates do, isn’t it?
“You brought me food?” Stiles echoes, hating how his voice comes out small and almost hopeful.
Derek shoots him an incredulous look, as if to say, wow, you have incredible hearing, don’t you. “Yes, that’s what I said.” He dumps the shopping bags on the floor by the head of the bed. “Should I not have?” he asks, and there’s something strange about his tone, guarded and defensive.
Stiles hastens to assure him. “No, no.” He bites down hard on his bottom lip, because this is wrong, this is taking advantage, this is so, so unfair to Derek. “It’s perfect.”
Derek’s never brought him food before. He’d always come around at ten in the morning on the first day of Stiles’s heat cycle, and the next few days would be non-stop sex with small breaks for snacks and water and the toilet and their refractory periods. But Stiles had always provided the food.
It – it makes his wolf whine, the stupid animal pawing, scratching, howling I was right, I told you, he’s our mate. Don’t you see? He provides for us, he’s strong, don’t you want a strong mate? He has to beat the wolf back into the recesses of his mind.
God, Derek’s smell. Those Alpha pheromones of his are even worse in the four walls of Stiles’s cramped bedroom. It’s all Stiles can do not to climb him like a tree.
Still, his heat isn’t full-blown yet; he doesn’t have an excuse to act out of the ordinary. (Not, a voice in his head snarks nastily, that Derek would know the difference now.)
“I’m not exactly in heat yet,” he hedges, avoiding the intense look Derek’s directing his way. “I can just feel it coming on, but it’s not here, so, I don’t know, I could make us dinner or something?”
Derek nods, so that’s what Stiles does, throwing together some pasta and digging up some wine before they fall into bed together. His heat’s nearly upon him; he can feel it creeping, lust and desire congealing like sticky sin in the marrow of his bones.
But no. Not yet. His wolf prowls at the back of his mind, waiting.
Stiles falls asleep with Derek’s arms wrapped around him, the scent of him heavy in the air.
The first time Stiles sees Derek after he gets back from his business trip to wherever is the Monday after his heat.
Stiles is exhausted and drained and not nearly recovered enough to be back at work, but they only get one day off after their heat cycle ends, and that’s a lot more than what Omegas at most other companies get. He’s down in the archive room-slash-law-library picking his way through ‘90s judgements on duties of care for the big Donaghue case coming up when Derek slides into the chair next to him.
“Hey, you’re back,” he says, not taking his eyes away from the case in front of him. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co., super interesting stuff. Not. He thinks that if he tears his eyes away from the words for a single second they’re going to close and he’s going to fall asleep like that, he’s that tired. “How was your trip?” he continues, just so he doesn’t lose track of reality and slip into a conscious-sleep-coma, if that’s even a thing.
He’s only aware that Derek doesn’t respond for an abnormally long stretch of time when he makes to turn the page and remembers that he isn’t alone. Thanks, brain. Looking up from the casebook, he turns to Derek, blinking hard.
Stiles is mid-blink when he notices that Derek looks…furious. There’s no other way of putting it. He backs up, scooting back in his chair slightly. “What’s up, dude?”
“You had your heat,” Derek growls.
Puzzled, Stiles cocks his head, unsure where this conversation is going. “Yeah, last week. Dude, you can still smell that? I thought I’d showered everything away!” He narrows his eyes at Derek in suspicion. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
Derek leans back in his chair, body weirdly tense. “Nothing,” he says, and there’s still a trace of anger in his voice. Stiles has no idea where it came from or why it’s there. “I didn’t know.”
Stiles frowns, wracking his mind. “Should I have told you? Is that what this is about?”
Derek’s reply is curt and cutting. “No,” he says. “You had it covered.” He shoves his chair back and stands, making his way over to the archive room’s entrance.
The door swings shut behind him before Stiles is even able to process Derek’s words. “Huh,” he mutters. “Weird.”
The case books all agree with him.
Stiles wakes up on fire.
Not literally, of course, but the blood coursing through his veins is boiling him from within, and the thick scent of pheromones he’s putting out makes it hard to breathe. His hips are already thrusting out of their own volition, cock hard as nails and weeping into the sheets, staining them with the trails of his pre-come.
Stiles hates how the term heat isn’t a misnomer. Your body feels engulfed, like you’ve been thrown out of a gently simmering pot and straight into the flames. The slickness between his thighs grows wetter, trickling down the insides of his thighs.
And then – and then –
There’s Derek everywhere, all at once, rumbling low in his chest, soothing Stiles with pats and touches, body caged low over him, pressing as much skin as he can to Stiles’s bare flesh. Stiles whimpers. It’s lovely, it’s all very good, but it’s not enough.
Canting his hips, he spreads his legs as wide as they’ll go and thrusts blindly in search of friction, frustrated little mewls escaping from his lips. It’s fucking embarrassing, and he turns his head to the side, trying to stifle the ridiculous sounds he’s making.
“Hey, hey,” Derek soothes. “None of that. It’s okay, I’ve got you. Shhh.” He’s hard too, Stiles can tell from the heavy weight of his cock resting against his hip, thick and hard and –
Stiles needs that in him. Now. He needs the burn of friction, the impossible stretch as his body accommodates, the feeling of completion as Derek rocks in him. Trying to tug Derek closer, he slams their lips together, kisses him long and wet and filthy.
“Come on, come on, get in me,” he whines, hips shift restlessly as the heat burns through him.
It’s a relief, it’s all the fucking angels in heaven singing a chorus when Derek pushes into him, and Stiles is so wet and open and eager that they’ve forgone the prep entirely. Stiles is choking out tiny little syllables of garbled words, like ah, ah and oh – oh god –
Derek’s huge in him, and all the times Stiles jerks off to his memory when he isn’t around can’t capture the way he feels pounding in and out of him. It’s a punishing, bruising rhythm, punching the breath out of Stiles’s lungs and moving so deeply within him that he isn’t sure he’ll be able to fully get traces of Derek out, if he’ll even want to.
His legs are hitched around Derek’s waist, crossed at the ankles. Stiles is close now, hurtling towards that cliff edge that drops off into mindless pleasure. He’s fairly sure that’s him mewling like a two-bit whore too, all gasps and moans and noises he didn’t even know were vocally possible.
When he comes, it’s like shooting off the surface of Earth, blinding and dizzying and loud. He all but wails his pleasure, cock spraying his stomach. Derek gets rougher, tilting Stiles’s hips up to a better angle before going to town on his ass, pistoning in and out like a machine.
The telltale swell at the base of Derek’s cock grows bigger, and Stiles works his hips in time to Derek’s thrust, trying to get him to come faster, because Stiles needs that, he needs to feel the burning rush of Derek’s come spurt deep inside him, feel his knot swell and lock them together, keeping all the come in him.
Derek comes with a wall-shaking roar, shoving his hips hard against Stiles. He doesn’t stop pressing in until his knot stops swelling, the two of them locked fast together as he comes in long, hard spurts. Derek moves in close, plastering his body to Stiles’s, turning to nose at the sweaty hair at his temple. Stiles can hear the high whine at the back of Derek’s throat as Derek continues coming, hips grinding in short rolls that send tremors of pleasure licking up his spine.
Ten minutes later, when Derek stops spurting, Stiles feels so filled with come that he’s going to burst. The wolf in him is appeased, curled up and preening at being bred so full. They’re still tied together – will continue to be for the next hour or so. The heat daze has cleared somewhat, but it’s only a matter of time before it returns.
Derek shifts them to a more comfortable position, turning them over so Stiles is sprawled over him, speared on his cock. Stiles is too fucked out to move much, body going where Derek shifts it.
It takes a while for Stiles to realize that the rustling of plastic is Derek fishing around one of the shopping bags, and Derek’s hand returns from its foray with a banana that has Stiles salivating. He hadn’t realized he was so hungry.
Derek peels the banana slowly, methodically picking away the stray fibres that stubbornly cling to it, and it occurs to Stiles that he’s pretty fucking far gone for Derek to be so fascinated with the way the man peels a banana. He breaks the banana off in sections, feeding them to Stiles one by one, and Stiles licks his fingers clean as he accepts each piece.
Derek’s never done this for him before. It’s something mates do. Stiles doesn’t know what to think of that, but guilt and self-loathing churn low in his belly.
His heat passes in this fashion, each fuck punctuated by food, Derek feeding him by hand or trickling water into his mouth. Derek’s different too. Before, he’d always take Stiles hard and fast, roughly pounding him into the mattress, but now he alternates, taking his time with slow rolls of his hips; long, lingering touches and slick kisses that leave Stiles’s lips tingling.
It’s what Stiles’s always dreamed of having. It makes him sick to the stomach. Derek – his Derek, the one with his complete memory – wouldn’t do this. He’d hate Stiles so much for reducing him to this.
The worst part of it is that Stiles can’t even bring himself to regret it.
“You have nothing to offer him,” Laura says, and Stiles thinks, that’s not true. He does, and maybe it’s only his love that he has to offer, but it’s still something. No, the only problem here is that what he has to offer Derek isn’t enough.
They’re at one of the swanky family gatherings that the Hales like to throw, inviting everyone they know to the massive family estate for drinks and dinner. Laura’d sauntered up to him in her slinky black number, long fingers curled around a wine glass, all coolly elegant and sharply vicious.
Derek’s gone off to get some wine, leaving Stiles to fend for himself. He hates these family functions – he isn’t invited because he’s Derek’s date, he’s only here because he’s a Hale employee and Talia Hale – the Hale matriarch – knows his dad.
“Okay,” he simply says, sick to death of Laura and her cutting little snipes at him. “Excuse me, I have to go look for someone.” Stiles makes to move around her and into the crowd, but she yanks him back with a bruising grip.
Stunned, Stiles can only gape at her. “Okay?” she seethes. “Okay? I say all of that and the only thing you have to say in your defense is okay? Listen, you little – ”
“Is everything alright?” Stiles has never been so grateful to see Derek. Laura immediately retracts her hand from his wrist, expression smoothing out into the look of barest disdain that she perpetually favours.
“No, Der,” she assures, eyes kept on Stiles. “Just having a very…illuminating conversation with Stilinski here. Well, that’s it, then. Good talk.” She turns and disappears back into the crowd.
When Stiles chances a glance at Derek, there’s a deep frown on his face. “What was that about?” he asks, and Stiles shrugs.
“It’s nothing, don’t worry.”
Derek studies him for a long moment, before some grand-aunt or another of Derek’s toddles up to him to make small talk, and Stiles is once again left on his own.
It’s okay, he’s used to it.
Stiles has gone on a moon run with Derek once.
Or, well, not so much as gone with him as ran into him while on his own run. The thing is, there aren’t that many places for wolves to roam in big cities, so whenever the full moon hits pretty much everyone heads down to the Preserve, which means Stiles ends up running into quite a few familiar faces.
(In fact, come to think of it, it’s probably harder not to run into someone than it is to run into them unless you’re actively avoiding the person, and he’s only ever run into Derek once, and that’s – that’s a depressing thought.)
It’d been nine months into their fuckbuddy thing, sometime in September when it was just getting chilly out. He’d been an hour into his romp around the Preserve, tongue lolling as he chased rabbits and squirrels around (hey, he’s a wolf, he gets to do that, so screw you and your judginess).
Scott and Isaac had bounded up to play with him ten minutes ago before dashing off with their excess energy, so Stiles was left alone to entertain himself. He’s deep in the forest when he comes across a familiar scent that makes him perk up, noise high in the air as he follows it.
It’s woodsmoke and pine, a low musk that’s heady and Stiles could just sniff that all day. He hears the rustling of the trees before he sees the culprit, a massive black wolf leaping out from the foliage to tackle him to the ground. Stiles panics, yelping and squirming and snapping his teeth, only stopping when the interloper growled at him and oh. Oh. Derek.
Stiles stops thrashing, instead whining and baring his submission. It seems to appease Derek, who bends to lave a long lick up his throat before nudging him up with his nose and turning to head off in some random direction. Stiles stands, unsure if he’s meant to follow. After about a second, Derek realizes that Stiles is just standing there, shifting from paw to paw, and he cocks his head in his own wolfy well, what the fuck’s keeping you? Stiles huffs and trails after him.
They venture deeper into the Preserve, deeper than Stiles has ever dared to on his own. It’s nice, being on a run with Derek. He doesn’t constantly herd Stiles where he wants to go, letting him roam and dash away as he likes and tolerating him when he goes nuts chasing down rabbits or insects or whatever. Stiles doesn’t have Derek’s stamina either, so it’s really awesome that Derek slows down to keep pace with him when his energy flags.
One thing that Stiles really hates about his wolf is how it always takes over a lot more when he’s transformed, making it hard for him to keep its urges in check. Take now, for instance. Stiles’s wolf wants to rub himself all over Derek, to scent him and mark him and warn every other potential contender that Derek’s his, no one gets to have him but Stiles.
So when Stiles bounds off after yet another rabbit, this time killing it with a quick snap of his teeth, he’s unable to prevent his wolf from taking over. His wolf is ecstatic at the kill, rabbit held between his jaws, trotting back to Derek with his head held high. We’re a good mate, his wolf is practically screaming in excitement. Derek will see it now, he’ll get it, he’ll want us as mate. He dashes up to Derek with the rabbit, laying it at his feet, all but vibrating with delight.
Derek’s stare in his wolf form is no less intense than when he’s in his human one, and he pins Stiles with a long, hard long before huffing, bending to eat the rabbit he’s just been presented.
Stiles’s wolf is going berserk with joy at what it sees as Derek finally getting that Stiles is the perfect mate for him. Meanwhile, Stiles the human is dying of mortification on the inside. He’s grateful that Derek isn’t being an ass about this, accepting the offer so Stiles isn’t overly humiliated by his glaringly unsubtle advances.
Derek never brought that incident up. They’d ran together for the remainder of the night, parting ways at the edge of the Preserve to head back to their respective homes. He’d made no mention of it at the office the next day, and none when they’d fucked the day after, so Stiles figured that that was the end of the matter, putting it down as one of his top ten most embarrassing moments.
He’d also figured that since Derek didn’t bring it up, that’d conclusively shut the whole Stiles-is-mate matter, and he’d accepted that. He had.
Shut up, what do you mean he’s lying.
Scott calls just after Stiles finally manages to convince Derek that yes, he’ll be fine on his own and no, he’s not injured or too sore or tired or whatever, so Derek can go back to his own apartment now.
“Dude, what’s up?” he juggles the phone between the crook of his neck and shoulder, swiping the milk carton from the fridge and grabbing a cookie from the jar on the kitchen counter.
“What, a guy can’t call his best bro up for a chat?” Scott says, full of mock affront.
Stiles rolls his eyes. “Yeah, sure, but not a bro who’s been running around like a headless chicken ever since he had a cub. Seriously, though, what’s up?”
“Well, you know, just checking up to you to see how you’re doing…” Scott trails off.
Swilling the milk straight from the carton and taking a huge bite off his cookie, Stiles narrows his eyes in suspicion. “You mean to check up on how Derek’s doing, don’t you,” he deadpans.
“No!” Scott immediately scrambles to deny. “Okay, well, yeah. Maybe. A little? Stiles, man, you know I worry about you.”
“It’s fine, there’s nothing to worry about,” he assures. He sets the milk carton down, staring blankly at the Formica countertop before rallying the courage to tell Scott the news. “We’re breaking up. Or we broke up, I don’t know, it’s complicated. Either way, we’re not going to be together for much longer now.”
Scott’s shocked. Stiles doesn’t hear anything from his end for a long moment except for Isabel cooing faintly and Allison shaking what probably is a rattle of some sort. “Man, that blows. I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah,” Stiles sighs. “Me too.”
He can practically hear Scott’s frown. “I just don’t get it, though? What do you it’s complicated? Did Derek do something? Do you need me to go knock some sense into him? I know he’s my boss and all, but you’re my best bro and all you have to do is just say the word and I will.”
Stiles smiles without much feeling. It’s nice to know that Scott’s an unchanging constant, loveable and perpetually confused and a huge doofus all round. “I’m okay. It’s just – I mean, we’ve not broken up yet, but Laura came by last week and she happened to let slip that Derek’s been meaning to end things between us for months now.”
Scott’s squawk of secondhand righteous fury is loud over the phone. “What? Stiles, man, you need to tell me these things!”
Stiles lowers himself onto one of the kitchen bar chairs. “I know, I know, I’m sorry, I just got caught up with everything.” His fingers tighten around the edge of the counter. “Scott, bro,” he whispers, voice small. “I think I fucked up. I was supposed to go over to Derek’s to clear my stuff out on Thursday and I ended up sleeping with him. He doesn’t ever remember me. He’s going to hate me when he gets his memories back.”
“But it was just a one-time thing, right?” Scott attempts to comfort. “Like, you slept with him and left? He’ll understand, he’ll know it was a mistake. Plus, come on, dude, it’s not like it wasn’t his fault too.”
Stiles bites his lip, keeping silent.
“Stiles…” Scott traces off. “No. Aww, come on, tell me it was a one-time thing. It was, wasn’t it?”
He remains quiet.
Scott lets out a low whistle, followed by a long exhale. “Stiles, I don’t – that’s quite a big hole you’ve dug for yourself, man.”
“I know,” Stiles says. “God, fuck, I know.”
It’s testament to how awesome Scott is as a bro that they pretty much sit in companionable silence for the next ten minutes. And if Stiles cries a little, well, that’s no one’s business but Stiles’s, Scott doesn’t know what you’re talking about.
It all goes to shit two days later.
Laura’s due back tomorrow, so the entire office is in a frenzy, with everyone trying to rush-job the work that they’d been putting off doing while Alpha Miss Iron-Fist was away. Stiles is pretty sure he’s the only one that’s been on-task with his work.
He’s only been by to Derek’s place once after his heat, dropping by for a quick dinner and only that, Derek apologetic as he’d informed Stiles about the Caparo merger papers he had to look through by the following morning.
It’d been surreal. Derek had looked almost guilty that he couldn’t spare Stiles the time for a fuck, and had darted forward to press a chaste kiss to his cheek as he’d shown Stiles out. His cheek. Like Stiles’s a Disney Princess or something. It’s something they’ve never done before – the dinner. Stiles has never been by to Derek’s – or vice versa – just for dinner and conversation and company. It’d – it’d felt so domestic, the two of them in Derek’s kitchen whipping food up for a meal.
Stiles’s isn’t expecting the summons to Derek’s office when it comes after lunch, when the office is still lethargic and work rate is just about nil. He gets a call on his work phone, the shrill ringing of it jolting him from his semi-doze while he laconically plays several dozen rounds of Solitaire on his computer.
“Yeah?” he answers, before remembering that he’s at work at it’s not professional to answer a call like that. He scrambles to correct himself. “I mean, hello, Stilinski speaking, Hale & Associates.”
It’s Erica. She sounds more bemused than anything, and Stiles really wishes he could dislike her more, but she’s so much like Lydia that Stiles finds himself half hoping that they never, ever meet and that they do, because they could totally take over the world together. It’s just – she’s always by Derek’s side now, and Stiles has never been the most secure person, and Stiles has actually seen her make Derek smile. Derek and smiling are like snowballs and hell; it’s usually impossible for them to be in the same vicinity. He’s – yeah, he can admit it. Stiles is jealous. All but seething with it, really.
“Stiles,” she says. “Pay attention, I know you’re drifting.” Damn, the woman’s good. “Derek wants to see you in his office immediately.”
Stiles stops twirling the pen he’d picked up. “What? Now? Did he say why?” Something feels wrong. His instincts are going crazy, blaring RED ALERT, ABORT MISSION in caps all over his brain.
“No,” Erica drawls. “But I’d get my ass up here as soon as I could if I were you, he sounds pissed.”
This must be what judgement day feels like. Stiles drops the pen in his hand, frantically thanking Erica as he hangs up and grabs his blazer from the back of his swivel chair. Should he put it on? Is it too much? He never wears his blazer unless he can help it.
Stiles figures he should bring it, just in case. Doesn’t hurt to be prepared and all that. He was never a boy scout but he can totally get behind their philosophy, it’s a good one. Makes sense. Dashing for the lift lobby, he tries not to look too much like he’s dying inside from an internal freak out. His palms are sweating buckets, so he wipes them on his pants and ignores the look of disdain some dude waiting for the lifts sends him. Hey, let’s see how he’d handle the news if it were him, Judgy Mcjudgerson.
It’s bad. Stiles rambles in his mind the entire ride up to keep himself from panicking and turning tail, but it doesn’t do anything to calm the rabbiting rhythm of his heartbeat, which is beating faster than Usain Bolt at the Olympics. (In case you didn’t know, that’s crazy fast.)
When the lift dings on the fortieth floor, Stiles steps out, practically shaking. He’s biting his nails so hard that he’ll be lucky if he has any cuticles left for the remainder of his life. Assuming he survives whatever Derek summoned him to his office for, of course.
Erica waves him into Derek’s corner office disinterestedly, typing away at her computer with her usual terrifying efficiency. “He’s waiting for you,” she says, turning back to whatever work she’s doing.
Stiles takes a deep breath, suddenly hugely grateful that Derek’s office is sound and scent proof, so no overreaching, sensitive wolf senses are privy to private conversations and meetings. He turns the handle on the mahogany door and steps in.
Derek’s seated behind his desk in his high-backed leather chair, typing away on his computer, backed by floor-length glass windows. The tapping of keys ceases, plunging the room into dead silence.
“Sit,” Derek orders, jerking his head towards the two visitor’s chairs placed before his desk. Stiles crosses the room and drops down into one of them.
“Uh, so, Erica said you wanted to see me? Is this about the Bishop Rock Marine case? Because I told Greenberg that – ”
“Shut up,” Derek hisses, and it’s nothing like the balefully reproachful quips Derek would fire at Stiles to get him to keep quiet. This – it’s venomous, loaded with fury and rage. Stiles’s mouth snaps shut with an audible click.
“What,” Derek continues, voice deathly low, “the fuck have you been playing at? Did you think it was fun, jerking me around like that?”
Stiles scrambles to keep up with the conversation. “Wha – ” he begins to defend, before it hits him. He pales, swallowing hard. “You remember.”
His words seem to loosen Derek’s iron grip on his temper a little. “Yes, I remember!” Derek shoves his chair back viciously to stand, sending it spinning into the glass behind him before it ricochets and bounces off to roll to a stop. His fists are clenched, claws out. Stiles can smell the blood from where they’re biting into Derek’s palms.
Derek takes several deep breaths, and he calms visibly. “Has it,” he continues, tone no less savage, “been entertaining for you? Huh, Stiles? Playing house with me like that, like the perfect little mate?”
Stiles clenches at his knees, fingers bunching up the fabric and twisting it into horrible creases. The guilt and disgust roiling away inside him are almost enough to make him want to throw up.
“No, I – ” he begins to explain, to do something, but Derek cuts him off.
“There is nothing,” he hisses, “you can say to me that I want to hear from you. Get out.”
Stiles gets slowly to his feet. “Derek, I just – ”
“Get out!” Derek roars, and it rattles the photo frames on his desk. Stiles is quivering at the end of it.
“Get out,” he repeats. “I never want to see you again.” Derek sits back down, turning back to his computer in complete dismissal, as if Stiles has already been forgotten.
Legs shaking, Stiles makes his way unsteadily to the door. “Oh, and Stiles?” Derek calls, and Stiles hates himself, hates the way his cursed, wretched, heart lifts at that, hopeful –
“You’re fired. Clear out your desk by 5pm today or I’ll get security to come do it for you.”
He’s numb by the time he makes his way past Erica and back to the lift lobby, heart shattered and beyond repair.
By six that evening, he’s at home, dumping his box of belongings by the front door as he goes over to the couch to sit in darkness.
By eight, he’s over at the McCall’s, Scott’s arms around him as he pretends he isn’t crying, Scott going on about unlawful termination and legit lawsuit. Stiles buries his face in Scott’s neck, glad that he’s still got Scott, that he’ll always have Scott, and Stiles must have said that out loud, because Scott’s hugging him tighter and telling him he’s an idiot, of course Scott’s never going to go anywhere, not without Stiles.
It’s a long night, jagged and serrated on the heels on a wrathful, ruthless day.
Three weeks after the savage encounter with Derek and their brutal breakup, Stiles isn’t any better.
He’s listless and heartsore and numb, okay, just numb to fucking everything. Sometimes he turns on the TV to pass the time, only to shut it off when a clip or feature on the LA Dodgers comes up, because that was Derek’s favourite team; he’d had an autographed baseball sitting in his office, and it –
Scott drops by occasionally, and Stiles is grateful for that, he really is. He knows how rare free time is for Scott, who’s a fledging Associate and a new father to boot; Stiles shouldn’t be taking time away from him that he could be spending with Isabel and Allison.
“Derek looks like shit,” he tells Stiles, and Stiles appreciates the sentiment, he really does, but he knows that’s not true. Derek was never in love with Stiles, he’s not heartbroken or emotionally ravaged, he’s probably just overworked and driving himself to the limit as usual. He tells Scott as much.
“No, dude,” Scott says, brows furrowed. “I think your breakup really did a number on him. He really looks like shit, and Greenberg swears he saw him down on the nineteenth prowling where your desk used to be.”
Stiles smiles, but it’s a wan facsimile of one. “Greenberg swears the watercooler is possessed. I wouldn’t put too much weight on what he says.”
“Yeah, but – ” Scott sideeyes him. “It just sucks, is all.”
“I know, man. I know.”
He shoves at Stiles, the two of them sprawled out on the couch in broful sympathy. “Dude, come on, it’s Friday, let’s go out and get you drunk. Alcohol solves everything.”
Stiles agrees. It’s not like he has anything left to lose, after all.
There’s an Alpha plastered to his front, tongue shoved down his throat, and it’s disgusting, the scent’s all wrong, Stiles wants him off –
Someone yanks the Alpha back, and Stiles can finally breathe. His head is pounding and the floor is spinning. How many shots did he have again? Eight? Scott got them wolfsbane-laced, too, so they could get properly shitfaced. He’s feeling every single one of those shots now.
There’s an altercation happening not five feet from him, the nice stranger and that Alpha that’d shoved him against the wall of the men’s room brawling it out. Someone’s calling for security, and wow, walking is a hard thing to master, isn’t it?
Scott comes running, and he talks to security or something, because the next minute they’re out in the open, the chilly night air hitting their skin. Scott’s still talking to someone else, but Stiles can’t be bothered to open his eyes, he’s too comfy leaning against this lamppost, yes he is. The world is a cruel place and all he needs is this lamppost, mmhmm.
A hand comes around his waist to tug him away from his new best friend. Stiles protests with a growl, which is met with a harsher one that has his instincts skittering away to obey. He’s coaxed to lean against a warm body, all hard planes and smooth skin and amazing smell and –
Stiles opens his eyes to meet Derek’s angry ones. He pushes away hard from the heat of Derek’s body in a scramble to get as far as possible away from him. Scott’s saying something, tone urgent, if only Stiles could make out what he’s saying –
He falls flat on his ass, and it really, really hurts. It’s horrible. Everything is.
Scott crouches down next to him, voice low and soothing.
“Hey, Batman, let’s get you home, okay? Derek – Derek here wants to talk to you, so he’s offered to take you back, is that alright?”
Stiles tries to shake his head, but even that movement is too much for him to handle with eight shots of wolfsbane-vodka in his system. Scott sighs.
“Look, I know he’s been an ass, and he totally, absolutely doesn’t deserve you – ” this part feels like it isn’t directed at him “ – but I think you should really hear him out. Is that okay? Will you do that?”
Stiles nods slightly, mind processing Scott’s words at a snail’s pace. He gets the gist of it, though, so it’s fine.
“Okay, buddy, up we go.” He’s tugged upright by Scott, who helps him over to Derek’s Camaro that’s parked two spaces away.
Right before he slides into the passenger seat, Stiles is overcome with terror. “What if – ” he clutches Scotts hand to say.
“Stiles, trust me. It’ll be fine. Just listen to him, and don’t make any decisions if you’re not ready, okay?”
Trusting, like a child, Stiles can only nod, the alcohol playing havoc with his system. He slides into the Camaro, Derek silent next to him.
“Can we go to your place?” he asks, voice small and still slurred. The sentiment is there, though. He doesn’t want Derek’s scent in his apartment, not if this is going to end badly, with Stiles left to pick up the pieces again. He doesn’t want another reminder of all that he can’t have.
“Yeah,” Derek says, and it’s probably the vodka that’s making him think that, but Derek sounds strangely subdued.
The drive to Derek’s apartment is quiet. Neither of them speaks, and Stiles is focused on trying not to let the sights whizzing past them overwhelm his alcohol-laden senses. Derek directs him to the shower when they get to his place.
“You smell bad,” he says, nudges Stiles to the bathroom, and Stiles would tell him to fuck off, except that it’s not mean-spirited, it’s more like a statement of fact, so he goes. He smells of the other Alpha – the wrong Alpha – anyway, and he hates that.
Derek’s sitting on the couch when he’s done with his shower, refreshed and a great deal more sober. There’s a small box placed on the coffee table in front of him. For what’s maybe the first time, Derek opens up first.
“I spoke to Laura,” he says. “She’s never liked you, you know.”
Stiles snorts. “Well, that’s news.”
Derek continues like he hasn’t heard his snide comment. “You aren’t as easy to read as you like to think. Laura – Laura always thought that you weren’t interested in me – in us.”
Stiles opens his mouth to call bullshit, but Derek soldiers on. “That’s not really the right way of putting it. She always thought that I was into you a great deal more than you were into me, and that you were fond of me but nothing else. She told me that at the start, and I could see it – you were always skittish, always kept us separate from everything that you did. So I told myself I’d accommodate you, let you settle before trying for anything else.”
Stiles is fairly sure he’s gaping now. Who is this Derek?
“I remember that there was this thing – I don’t know, some high school reunion event or another that the both of you had been invited to. Scott’d let slip about it, and I remember waiting, just waiting for you to ask me to come with you, but you never did. So there’s that.”
Derek rubs a tired hand down his face, sighing. “And there was your heat – the second one you had when we started our – ” he waves a hand between them for lack of a better word to describe them “ – thing. I’d come back from a business trip, and I remember smelling you and the fading pheromones and all I could think was that you’d dealt with your heat without me. I couldn’t smell another Alpha on you, but for weeks this unknown Alpha you’d spent your heat cycle with haunted me. I was furious.”
Stiles draws closer to the couch on unsteady feet, the alcohol all but burnt out of his system in the wake of this revelation. He seats himself on the far end of the couch, away from Derek but within touching distance.
Derek pushes on. There’s a determined set to his shoulders now. “After that – after all the signs – I told myself I’d forget it. We had a great physical relationship, you were still mostly mine, I wasn’t going to ruin that. And then we went on that run together, and you offered me that rabbit, and I couldn’t get the thought of you being my mate out of my head.”
Derek opens the small box on the table, looking at its contents before chuckling roughly and showing it to Stiles. Stiles’s heart judders in his chest, beats loud and unbearably uncertain. It’s a ring.
“I took our grandmother’s ring out from the family safe. I was going to propose to you, but Laura convinced me that you weren’t looking for anything, and then – then I had the accident, and you were this perfect mate, except I couldn’t remember anything before. I couldn’t remember you. But I knew that you were the perfect mate, and I wanted you anyway.”
He shuts the box with a snap. “Then I remembered. I just want to know, Stiles – ”
“I love you,” Stiles blurts, the words tumbling out before he can stop them. He’s confused as hell, hurt and euphoric and angry and still heartsore, but he’s never been more sure of anything else in his life. “And I’ve pretty much loved you from the start. I don’t – I don’t know how the hell you could’ve missed it; I’ve been gone for you ever since I walked into you at that stupid Hale function, and Laura doesn’t know shit about us or me, and I’m unbelievably angry that you believed her over coming to me. You were my first, you know. My only, not that that’s very hard to believe.”
There’s a sharp inhale from Derek at that, and he opens his mouth to speak before Stiles shakes his head abruptly, cutting him off.
Stiles fidgets, picking at a nail. “I just – I never believed I could get to keep you – I mean, have you looked in the mirror, you’re perfect, and I’m, well, me. So it was easy to believe you’d only want to keep me around as a fuckbuddy when you asked, and I never dared to think that we could be more than that. And Laura – ” Stiles’s wolf roars with anger inside, thinking of the damage she’s wrecked.
“Laura told me you were going to breakup with me, so I came to get my things then, but I ran into you, and I couldn’t make myself let go then even though I knew it was wrong and you weren’t you and I was clearly taking advantage of your memory loss. And it just got out of control; I got to have everything I ever wanted, and sometimes it seemed like you loved me back, and I just wanted to have a taste of what that was like. I don’t really know what my point is anymore, but just – ”
Stiles unclasps his hands from where he’s been wringing them in his lap, forcing himself to meet Derek’s eyes. “I just love you so fucking much that it hurts sometimes.”
Derek’s on him in under a second, lips sealed against his own, hands hiking up his shirt and running through damp hair. His body covers Stiles’s on the couch, the long line of him pressed solidly against Stiles. It feels like the world’s finally righted itself again.
Stiles tugs his lips away from Derek’s, despite Derek’s unhappy sound of protest. “Wait, wait,” he says, and Derek freezes on top of him, body going rigid. Stiles’s hand immediately comes up to come his jaw in a soothing gesture, palm rubbing against the scratchy stubble there. “No,” he assures, “I just wanted to say that if you were to ask me to be your mate now, I’d say yes.”
Derek looks shell-shocked for a second, red eyes glinting down at Stiles. He leans in close to Stiles’s ear, breath hot against the skin of it. “I love you,” he says, and Stiles’s heart flutters like a caged bird in his chest, the sound of it erratic and wild and happy, so happy.
Derek pulls away. “We’re going to do this right this time.” There’s a wicked smile on his face. “Not now, though. Now I want to ride that tight ass of yours.”
He tugs Stiles to the bedroom, leaving the box with the ring on the table. It doesn’t matter, though. Stiles isn’t worried. They’re going to do things right, they’ll get there.
It’s the best sex Stiles has ever had.
The next time he sees Laura, there’s a ring on his finger and a warm arm around his waist. It’s also at their claiming party. It’s one of the best nights of Stiles’s life, nothing going to bring him down.
Laura floats over to them, lovely and dangerous as always. There’s a glint in her eye that Stiles thinks may be respect or contrition, but he can’t say for certain.
“I’m not going to apologise,” she directs to Stiles. “I had my beliefs, and I did what I thought was best for my baby brother.”
Derek growls, a low rumble that raises the tension between them. A quick squeeze from Stiles’s hand has him subsiding somewhat. Derek’s not forgiven her entirely for her interference. Stiles isn’t sure he ever will, not completely.
Shooting Derek a blithe glance, she scoffs. “Don’t be like that, Der, you know it’s true.” She turns back to Stiles. “For what’s it’s worth, though, congratulations. I’m happy for the two of you.”
She plucks a canapé off a tray, sipping the rest of her wine and placing it on a waiter’s tray before drifting back into the throng, leaving a speechless Stiles behind.
“Derek,” he sputters, “I think Laura was just nice to me.”
Derek’s expression is wry. “Savour it while it lasts, it’s not going to be a frequent thing.”
Scott whoops from somewhere in the room, the sound carrying. Derek tugs him over to the dance floor as a slow dance comes on, and they sway together amidst catcalls and well-wishes.
It’s pretty much perfect.