“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” – Guatama Siddharta
It starts off quiet like a whisper in the back of his head. At first it’s when he’s got his guard down, when his brain is at its most quiet, a rare thing for Stiles with his ADHD. It’s when he’s lying in bed about to fall asleep or first thing in the morning when he’s still tired and sore from practice or last night’s supernatural escapades and he’s leaning back against the wall of the shower, body relaxed and soaking in the steamy heat. That’s when he hears it.
In the beginning it’s doubts and self-recrimination. Lacrosse is a frequent source of fodder. He should have caught that pass during the game, he’d let the team down. He doesn’t belong on first line. Doesn’t deserve it. Coach is disappointed. His dad took the night off to come watch him play, and he’d fucked up. Again. Typical.
But the little voice in his head that sounds so much like his own, doesn’t stay so sports obsessed. It moves on to other topics, more personal doubts. Lydia. His Dad. Scott.
She’s never going to love him back. He means nothing to her, not even after 8 years of constant dedication. If that’s not enough for her to care back, than nothing ever will be. He should just give up. She’s too good for him. He’s too jittery and awkward anyway. Nowhere near hot enough for the gorgeous genius that is Lydia Martin.
His dad is ashamed of him. Of this hyperactive kid who can’t do anything normally, can’t succeed in anything. He’s mad Stiles got a C on that Math test. It doesn’t matter that there’d been a supernatural turf war in the woods the night before. That he’d barely slept. The only thing Stiles has going for him really is his brain, and even that misfires way too often to be good for anything. His mind replays every lie he’s told his dad in the last year, every disappointed or suspicious look he’d gotten in response.
And then it moves on to Scott. Scott who’d been spending more and more time with Isaac. With Boyd even. Who still refuses to join Derek’s pack, and spends less and less time hanging out with Stiles when he has work, school, Allison, and werewolf business to take care of. Who tells Stiles to stay out of things. Who goes off without him, and keeps things from him. Lies to him. Who hadn’t come for him when Gerard had kidnapped and beat him.
This little whisper grows over time. It grows stronger, taking root in his brain, and gaining volume and viciousness. Stiles has always been hard on himself, harder than most kids. Guilt over losing his mother and the weight his dad carries around, making him more independent and adult than his peers at school. But this new voice that creeps in slowly, invading every inch of his brain is relentless and persistent. Within a few weeks he’s losing sleep, his energy levels dropping, his interest in school, his friends, and the pack slowly fading away. He pulls back from Scott, from the rest of their rag-tag group at school, growing quiet and still in a way that even his Adderall has never managed to do for him. The voice starts hissing at him all the time. Jeering when he fumbles a book or his lacrosse stick or trips walking up the steps to school, picking at his body when he showers, at his clothes when he dresses, harassing him all through classes during tests, or when he’s attempting to do homework. It pushes at him so hard during practice that all the fun is quickly stripped away, and he simply stops going.
And Scott notices, his dad notices. Of course they do, because as busy as they are, they still love Stiles. They might be preoccupied with work and other responsibilities, but Stiles is important. He matters to them. No matter what else is going on. His dad tells him he’s worried, brings up the psychologist who had seen Stiles twice a week right after his mom died. Who helped him through the anxiety attacks and mild depression that followed. But Stiles shakes his head. He doesn’t want to talk. He doesn’t want to expose his already raw nerves to the inspection of a virtual stranger. Dr. Peggy had been nice, but there was a lot she couldn’t hear about without knowing about werewolves and kanimas, and all the supernatural shit that was not a near daily part of Stiles’ life.
Scott tries to come over more, to be there more often, but stuff keeps getting in the way. Allison shows interest in patching things up. Isaac gets into a fight at school, and only Scott can calm him down. There’s a strange scent in the woods and Derek convinces all of the wolves, pack or not, to go investigate. Melissa wants him home for dinner so they can catch up. Mr. Harris is threatening, again, to fail him and Dr. Deaton wants him to pick up a few extra shifts at the clinic. Scott’s attempts to simply hang out more fail miserably, and without him even intending too, he goes a whole week only seeing Stiles fleetingly at school.
Nothing is safe. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is hidden from it. It takes great delight in probing through every little corner and turning what it discovers against him. That should have been his first clue.
The voice gets louder, more insistent until Stiles starts to think he’s completely losing it. It picks at every thought he thinks, every move he makes. And he hates it. He hates that voice that echoes through his head. Hates that it’s always so right. That it knows all of his secrets and how best to make him hurt. It knows his every insecurity, his every doubt, and mistake. It knows his every secret wish or sordid desire and it knows it all and it uses it all against him. There’s never any relief.
Things come to a head on a Saturday. His dad is busy at the station, working a double shift. Stiles has laid in bed all night, watching the shadows cast by the moon creep across his bedroom ceiling and arguing with the voice in his head. By morning he’s curled up on the bedroom floor, tucked into the corner, and rocking back and forth. He’s so tired of fighting it, of fighting himself like this. He’s sleep deprived, and weary, and he doesn’t even realize he’s arguing out loud. Not at first anyway.
“They’d be better off without you.”
“No, they wouldn’t be. Scott would be lost without me.”
“He has Isaac now. And Allison. Boyd, and even Derek. What does he need you for?”
“I’m his best friend.”
“Are you? Are you really? Or has Isaac stolen that from you? Just like Jackson stole Lydia.”
“Jackson didn’t steal Lydia. She chose him. She was never mine.”
“But she should have been. You loved her first. You loved her best. You weren’t good enough.”
“I wasn’t. I’m still not. She’ll never love me. Not ever.”
“That’s right. You and your silly little 10 year plan. Like that was ever going to work out. Why would she want you when she can have rich athletic hot Jackson?”
“Jackson’s a douche.”
“And yet she still prefers him over you. What does that say about you?”
“See, no use denying it. Everyone chooses someone else over you. Scott chooses Allison or Isaac. Your dad chooses work or a bottle or the memory of your dead mommy. Lydia chooses Jackson. Even Peter chose Scott over you that night in the woods. And here you are, all alone. No one ever chooses you. It’s pathetic.”
“Stop. Please stop.”
“It would be better to just end it. No one would miss you if you did. Imagine it, just for a moment. Silence in your head. Just blissful quiet forever and ever. You could rest. No more pain. No more sadness. No more unreturned affections or unrequited love. Sure, you’d die a virgin, but you’d at least get to leave this humiliation behind for good. No one wants you. No one will ever want you. So just end it now. Save yourself the trouble of another few decades of rejection and loneliness. Your existence is useless.”
“No. They need me. My Dad. Scott. The pack. They need me. I’m not. I’m not useless.”
“You’re a liability. The puny little human who is so breakable. So fragile and easily compromised. It took how long to give up Derek to Gerard? And he barely even did anything to you. Really it’s pathetic.”
“I didn’t. I wouldn’t. Not Derek.”
“Please. Derek is a monster. You know it. Deep down he’s nothing but a beast. Not like Scott. Scott had no choice. This was done to him. But Derek was born what he is. That’s different.”
“He’s not a monster!”
“Yes, he is. That thing you dream about boning, it isn’t human. What would your mother think? Her precious little cookie longing to be sodomized by a monster. By an animal!”
“Stop. Please! That’s not true. That’s not true!”
“Stiles!” the shout is startling, the voice rough, angry, surprised, and new. Stiles head flies up, his eyes focusing on Derek, standing in front of his open window.
“Derek?” he asks, pushing himself backward up against the wall with a sudden jerking movement that nearly sends his head slamming back into the wall behind him. Derek eyes him wearily, face hard and mouth a firm straight line.
“What the hell, Stiles?” he asks, taking a half step closer. “What’s going on?” Stiles blinks at him in confusion.
“Nothing. What are you talking about? I’m just sitting here. You’re the one climbing through windows uninvited. Again.” Stiles turns away, pushes himself slowly up off the floor. Derek’s gaze, when Stiles turns back around is calculating, suspicious.
“I heard you talking,” Derek says. Stiles frowns at him.
“I wasn’t talking, there’s no one here to talk to. Except for you of course, and I didn’t know you were here,” Stiles replies. His hands ball up at his sides, fists squeezed tight. A moment later he hisses looking down. There are crescent shaped indentations in his palms from his nails. Derek steps closer.
“I heard you, Stiles. You were arguing with yourself.” Stiles shook his head, smiling half-heartedly, deflecting.
“No, I wasn’t. Derek, I think maybe you need to go see Deaton, get those ears checked out,” he pushes past Derek, but Derek reaches out grabbing him by the arm. Stiles spins to face him, eyes wide, startled. “What? I don’t appreciate you getting handsy with me. I thought we’d moved past that by now.” Derek leans forward sniffing and Stiles jerks away as if he’d been burned, twisting his arm out of Derek’s grip. Stiles scrambles across the room, folding his arms across his chest and shrinking in on himself.
“Stiles, have you been feeling off lately?” Derek asks. He turns away from Stiles, eyes instead moving across the bookshelf in the corner. He reaches out, trailing his fingers across the books and magazines shoved haphazardly onto the shelves. Stiles frowns at his back. The voice in his head chants that he’s gone crazy and that Derek knows. That Derek can see. That Derek will never want him now. It tells him to deflect. Deny.
“No, just a little tired. I think it’s my allergies, you know how we humans are so susceptible to the changing of the seasons. I’ll be fine. Just need to adjust to the higher pollen count.” Derek looks over his shoulder at Stiles, raising one thick black eyebrow at him.
“Stiles, it’s November. There is no pollen this time of year,” he swings back around, his hands going into the pockets of his leather coat. Stiles’ eyes dart around the room.
“Mold!” he says, the word bursting out of him. “The decaying leaves everywhere. Same problem different season.” Derek nods slowly, eyes sliding away. Without Stiles having noticed, he’s managed to make his way across the room, and now stands much closer than before. Derek takes in a deep breath, his nostrils flare with it, and Stiles dives away in instantaneous reaction. But Derek is too fast, and he catches him by the back of his t-shirt. He pulls him back, arms sliding around his wiggling body, and gripping him tight, Stiles’ arms pinned to his sides. Stiles lets out a high keening snarl, and kicks out, but Derek lifts him, pulling his shoulders back so that Stiles legs kick out into the middle of the room. “Let me go!” Stiles demands. Derek lets out a low growl.
“Get out of him!” he orders. Stiles fights his hold.
“What the fuck!? Derek let me go!”
“No, Stiles, I can’t. I’m trying to help you,” Derek says, voice low, almost tender.
“By assaulting me?” Stiles asks, squirming and twisting in Derek’s grip. Derek responds by yanking him closer, tightening his hold. Stiles cries out in frustration and pain. “Please, let me go!” he pleads, his throat closing on a sob.
“You don’t understand. You don’t realize. It’s inside of you, Stiles. It’s twisting everything. It’s trying to hurt you,” Derek explains. Stiles shakes his head, the voice in his head telling him to fight harder.
“You’re crazy!” Stiles shouts. “Let me go!” he demands. He manages to wiggle one arm free and thrusts his elbow back at Derek’s face, catching him by surprise. Stiles hears a loud crunch, and pushes himself away from Derek, even as he smells the rusty iron smell of fresh blood. Derek lets out a pained grunt, but dives after him. He slams Stiles into the wall pinning him in place. “Derek!” Stiles shouts. Derek grips him by the shoulder, flipping him in place, so he’s face to face with him, and Stiles rears back at the glowing red eyes and wolfed out face he’s confronted with.
“Let him go. Leave now!” Derek orders around long vicious fangs. And Stiles…. Stiles starts to laugh. He throws his head back, and feels laughter, loud and strong bubbling out of him like a fountain, all without his permission. When he picks his head up from where it’s dropped, it’s not Stiles in control, and when the thing controlling him opens his eyes they’re black as night, no whites left surrounding the usually honey brown irises, just pure endless black.
Stiles screams, but he makes no sound, and he finds himself being sent skittering into the back corner of his own mind as the thing that’s been whispering to him for all these weeks, the thing he thought was just his own fears and guilt, grins up at Derek with all teeth and no Stiles in his face.
Stiles watches helplessly, curled up in a ball in his own head as the thing straightens up, taller and prouder than Stiles had ever managed, even on his best day. He snarls back at Derek, who is still wolfed out, but still manages to look vaguely terrified even through the alpha level anger.
“Demon!” he hisses. The Not-Stiles chuckles flippantly, shrugging one shoulder.
“Guilty as charged. You know I didn’t think it would take so long for someone to notice. I thought infiltrating a pack of were-dogs would be hard. Difficult. A challenge. But no, it was fairly easy. I just found the smallest, puniest, weakest little human member and here we are. He’s mine now. And there’s nothing you can do about it, Alpha.” He grins again. “You should hear him sniveling. It’s so pathetic. But not that unexpected. This is Stiles Stilinski I’ve taken over, he’s a bit of a whiner really.” Derek’s hands clench on Not-Stiles’ shoulders pulling him away from the wall and slamming him back again. The Thing laughs. “Ohhh. Ouch. Be careful there, this is still Stiles’ body. He felt that!” he laughs with glee at the sneer he earns from Derek.
“Leave him. Now. He’s not yours,” Derek demands.
“But he is. He is mine. I’ve wormed my way in. It took months. But I’m in! All the way! He has no more resistance to me. I own him. Maybe if you’d noticed weeks ago you could have stopped it. But it’s too late now.”
“It’s never too late. Get out of him, release him, now or else!” Derek replies, eyes bright red in the early morning light.
“Or else what? You’ll rip out my throat? With your teeth?” the thing gives Derek another wide smile. “You don’t know how much that threat has echoed in his mind this past year. How often he’s thought of it. He doesn’t even consider it a threat anymore.” He leans toward Derek, forehead furrowing and lips pursing. “It makes him hot, the thought of your teeth on his throat. He jerks off to it every chance he gets. It’s a wonder you haven’t smelled his arousal every time you get within a hundred feet of him.” Derek growls in warning and Not-Stiles laughs again. “Let me go. We both know there is nothing you can do,” The demon taunts. Derek straightens at that, his brow furrowing.
“There’s nothing I can do. I? As in me? But there’s something Stiles can do…” Derek grins in sudden understanding. “Did you hear it, Stiles? You can stop it. Only you can make it leave. You have to push it out!” Derek orders. Not-Stiles laughs in glee.
“He can’t. I’ve broken him! There’s not enough left of him to fight me off!” the demon growls, but Derek leans closer, presses him harder against the wall.
“Stiles is the strongest person I know. He’s stronger than even he can understand. He’s incredibly smart. Not just about books and research and school, but about how the world works. He’s a solver, a fixer. He’s brilliant at looking at all the facts, and figuring out a solution. He’s a born detective. He’s important. But more than that, he’s loved. He’s loyal and compassionate, and I’m not going to let you take him from us!” Derek says, his face melting back into his human form, but his eyes still burning red in his anger. He stares into Stiles’ eyes and looks right past the demon controlling the surface, talking to Stiles instead. “Stiles! I know you can fight it off. Just push it away. Don’t listen to the bullshit it’s been spewing for weeks. None of its true. Stiles you have to fight it!”
“He can’t hear you!” the demon shouts, but Derek ignores him.
“Stiles! You can do this! You! You’re better than anyone else I know. You can fight this thing off. Please! You’re stronger than it is!” Derek demands.
Stiles stays curled in his mental ball, letting the fight wash over him, listening to Derek and the Demon, oh fucking hell it’s a DEMON, argue. He is shaking in fear and exhaustion and despair. He’s not strong, he tells himself. The demon had been right. He’d never been strong. Too reliant on first his mom, then his dad, and finally Scott. On Adderall and deflection, and sarcasm to make it through the day. How could he ever hope to fight off a demon? Especially one this strong?
He curls up tighter and waits for the inevitable. Waits to die.
The demon starts to laugh again, twisting Stiles’ face into an ugly triumphant expression that is so unlike Stiles’ usual face that it’s nearly unrecognizable. It has Derek wanting to pull away. He fights down the instinct to flinch, to put distance between himself and this thing that’s taken over Stiles’ body.
“He’s already given up, alpha. Now release me,” it hisses. “I have important stuff to do before I leave this place.”
“You aren’t going anywhere in Stiles’ body,” Derek replies, pressing him harder into the wall.
“What are you going to do? Kill me? Because that’s the only way you can stop me.” Derek loosens his grip, a pained expression coming over his face. Not-Stiles darts free of his hands, bouncing in place as if energized by the whole encounter. “See? Knew you wouldn’t do it. Couldn’t do it. You care too much about this poor measly little human to kill him just to get rid of me. So let me go. I promise I’ll only torture him a little bit more before I finish with him. I can’t wait to hear his screams when I kill his father. Or maybe Scott would be the better choice. The brother he never had. His poor little puppy face will be so confused when his harmless bestie Stiles reaches into his chest and rips out his heart!” Not-Stiles shouts. Derek darts out to grab him, a snarl over taking his face, just as Stiles rears up inside his own mind and screams.
“No!” he shouts hoarsely wrenching control away from the Demon if only for an instant. Derek grabs him close, watching the black dissipate from his eyes. “Kill me!” Stiles begs him, hands clutching at Derek’s shoulders, and eyes pleading. Tears fall from his eyes. “Derek, kill me! Please! Don’t let it hurt them! Make it st..” he goes rigid against Derek as the black creeps back over his eyes. His body straightening up again.
“Hmm... still has some fight left I suppose,” the demon says shoving Derek away. “Not nearly enough however.” Derek shakes his head.
“He is strong enough. You have no idea what he’s capable of!” Derek spits. He crowds the demon up against the wall again. “Stiles!? Listen to me. Not to this thing inside of you. You’re strong enough to do this. I know you are. Fight it. Fight for yourself. For your Dad and for Scott. For Lydia, and Isaac. For Boyd and Erica, and Allison. For all of us. Fight for me! You can’t let it win. You can’t just give in. You never give in. Not to me. Not to the laws of physics. Not to Peter, or the Alphas, or any of the dangers we’ve fought before. We’ve always won. You’ve always won! This is just one more fight!”
Stiles looks up from where he’s curled in his mental corner, bruised and battered, and so tired. He watches half aware as Derek pleads with him to fight, to not give up, and he feels himself grow just a bit stronger.
‘He’ll never want you,’ the voice, the demon, taunts, low and mean. It echoes in Stiles head, trying to drown out Derek’s encouragement. For the first time in months, Stiles pushes that voice away, instead he focuses on Derek, on his words, on the emotion in his voice. ‘You aren’t strong enough!’ the voice growls. And Stiles pulls himself to his feet. He listens for Derek, hears the way his voice quavers as he begs, literally begs, Stiles to try. To keep trying. He pushes forward in his own head, and it’s strangely easier this time, not like the shove and fight of before, his sudden break out of confinement to beg for death. This is slow but steady, not fast and painful. And the further he pushes the easier it is to ignore the demon, to keep pushing against its hold, to focus on Derek. Just Derek.
And then he breaks free. He blinks up at Derek, tears pooling in his eyes, his ordinary, human eyes.
“Derek?” he whispers, and the hold Derek has on him changes. He yanks him forward against Derek’s chest, and hugs him tight.
“Stiles?” Derek asks, pulling back to look at Stiles’ face. One broad palm fits to the length of Stiles’ cheek. He blinks tiredly up at Derek and nods.
“It’s me. But it’s still here, Derek,” he winces, squeezing his eyes shut in pain. “It’s so strong.”
“You’re stronger. It wormed its way in before by pretending to be something it’s not. But you can make it leave. You can force it out. Push it away,” he demands, voice firm but somehow soft at the same time. Encouraging.
“I don’t know how,” Stiles says, reaching out with one hand to grip Derek’s shoulder for support.
“You have to believe, Stiles. Believe it’s lying. Believe it doesn’t belong. Believe you’re stronger than it is. It’s the only way.” Stiles closes his eyes, leaning forward to let Derek bear his weight as he does just that.
“You’re lying. You’re a liar. And this is my head. My body. I’m kicking you out!” he demands. The demon in his head, still holding on there, cackles and scratches with a viciousness that makes Stiles cry out. Derek catches him before he can topple over to the ground. He eases him down to sit on the floor, and stays close, clutching at him.
“Stiles?” he asks. But Stiles doesn’t hear him, he’s too busy arguing with the voice only he can hear.
“Get out! I don’t believe you!” he replies, eyes still squeezed shut. He grips handfuls of Derek’s t-shirt.
‘It’s not that simple, Stiles,’ the thing hisses in his head, drawing out the S’s in Stiles’ name like a snake. ‘You do believe me. That’s what makes me so strong. You know I am right! About everything!’ Stiles shudders, hauling Derek closer, and clinging to him, his head ducked down.
“You’re not. You’re not. I don’t believe you,” Stiles chants, voice breaking.
‘Your Father. Scott.’ Stiles cuts it off.
“Shut up! You don’t know them! They love me! My dad loves me more than anything in this entire world. Scott’s my best friend. My brother! Stop twisting things!” he demands.
‘And Lydia? Does she love you?’ the demon growls, and Stiles shakes his head.
“No, she doesn’t. But I don’t want her too. Not like that. Not anymore.” Stiles takes quick desperate breaths. “Lydia’s my friend,” he says.
The thing cackles in his head and it’s so evil that makes Stiles flinch again. Derek’s arms tighten around him in reaction, and it anchors Stiles, reassures him.
“Stop it. Stop torturing me and just leave. Leave!” Stiles says.
‘But we’re not finished yet. What about your dear precious Derek? You can’t deny that he’ll never want you. He hasn’t offered you the bite. He hasn’t made a move. He sees you as someone who’s merely useful. That’s the only reason he’s helping you now. You have to see that. He doesn’t love you! He never will!’ some of the fight goes out of Stiles, and he sags against Derek’s arms. They tighten around him, and it reminds Stiles of where he is, of who is supporting him now, of Derek’s encouragement. His utter belief in Stiles, in Stiles strength, in his ability.
“I don’t need him too!” Stiles yells, gripping Derek’s t-shirt in two tight fists. “I don’t need him to love me! Not when he’ll fight for me! Not when he believes in me! That’s enough! That’s more than enough! Now get out and never come back!” he screams. He pushes with all his mental might, surging toward the demon in his head with all his strength, and there’s pain as it claws at him to stay, but then abruptly it’s gone, and with it the pain, and the heaviness it had brought with it.
Stiles loses all his strength, and Derek has to tighten his grip to stop him slipping backward to the floor. Stiles sobs against his chest, the emotional toll of the past few weeks, of this last internal battle, of everything all at once coming down on his shoulders in a tidal wave of relief and released fear.
Derek’s not the type to pat ones back and offer whispered meaningless shhhs. Instead he just holds him tight, one hand coming up to grip the back of Stiles’ neck, keeping him close, supporting his weight, and letting his Henley all covered in snot and tears.
Stiles cries until his eyes go dry, and he’s so exhausted he feels like he could sleep for a week. He feels like he should be self-conscious about it, but it’s not like demon possession doesn’t offer an adequate excuse for a good long cry. And really it’s therapeutic after what he’s been through.
When he’s done he finds himself sprawled across Derek’s body, where he’s reclined on Stiles’ bedroom floor, his back resting on the side of the bed. Stiles seems to realize all the sudden how close they’re pressed together and stiffens in reaction. Derek’s arms tighten around him just briefly before he releases him. Stiles sits up, pulling out of Derek’s grip to sit beside him, wiping at his face tiredly.
“Thanks,” he croaks, voice gone from the screaming and then the crying. Derek stares at him, brow furrowed.
“It’s gone?” he asks. He leans closer studying Stiles carefully. Stiles nods, running a hand back through his hair and scratching the back of his head nervously.
“Yes. Just me in here. God, I didn’t even realize how much room it was taking up, until suddenly it was gone,” he looks around the room. It’s after noon already. He feels like he could sleep for a week.
“Room? It’s a demon, they shouldn’t take up any room…” Derek questions. Stiles shrugs.
“Not like physical room. It took up a lot of physical energy, took up more and more mental space until it was hard to even think for myself. As tired as I am, I feel like I have more energy than I’ve had in weeks, and my brain,” he shakes his head. “I need an Adderall,” he climbs to his feet, mind whirring from one possible topic to the next and back again, a million miles an hour. He finds the bottle in his desk drawer, and dry swallows a pill, all under Derek’s watchful gaze. Stiles waits for him to say something. But he doesn’t so Stiles turns and slumps to sit in his desk chair. “Thanks,” he says. Derek looks down, his jaw tightening.
“No thanks necessary. I’m sorry for what it’s worth,” he replies. Stiles blinks at him in confusion.
“Sorry? For what?” he asks. Derek climbs to his feet and then takes a seat on the end of Stiles’ bed.
“We should have noticed sooner. We did, but we…” he trails off, frowning angrily. “I did notice, but I thought it was just stress at school. I should have been paying more attention.”
“Derek you didn’t do anything wrong. You aren’t my keeper. I don’t need to be watched and checked up on. I’m not a child.” Stiles looks down, avoiding Derek’s eyes, which is when his eyes land on the truly disgusting mess spread across Derek’s shirt. “Shit!” he hisses, standing and diving for his dresser. He digs around until he finds a dark green band shirt tucked away in the back. It’s big on him, and should fit Derek ok. He turns back around, holding it out. “Here,” he offers. Derek looks from the shirt to his face and back again, before slowly standing up. Derek pulls his ruined shirt up and off, and Stiles heart, he swears to God, does a little tap dance in his chest. He clears his throat to try and cover it, and offers the shirt again. “Sorry about your shirt,” he says. Derek steps closer taking the shirt from Stiles, and turning it over in his hands, but not putting it on.
“It lied you know,” Derek says, and Stiles looks at him in question. “The demon. It lied to you about a lot of stuff. You shouldn’t take anything it said seriously. Falsehoods and half-truths. None of it can be trusted.”
“No. Man. No, I know!” Stiles says nodding quickly, and swiping at the back of his own head again in nervousness.
“Scott and your Dad… they would do anything for you. And Lydia might not love you like you want her too, but fuck, she’d walk through fire for you anyway,” Derek says, twisting the shirt in his hands. Stiles glances up at him in confusion at Derek’s tone. It’s soft, worried, but somehow determined too. “And I…” Derek trails off, looking suddenly unsure.
“You what?” Stiles asks.
“I care about you. I believe in you. I’d fight for you. Always. Against anything. We’re more than just allies, Stiles. I… I like you.” Derek explains. Stiles stares at him a little dumbstruck.
“You… You like me like me? Or you just like me?” he asks. And Derek looks down, and grins at the floor. “Oh… it really was a liar wasn’t it?” Stiles asks.
“Pretty much, yeah,” Derek says looking up at Stiles in embarrassment. “Thanks for the shirt?” Derek says, turning it in his hands and pulling it over his head. He’s about to push one hand through an arm hole, when Stiles steps close, pressing into Derek’s space and leaning forward. Derek pushes back and the kiss is awkward, strange. It feels like something out of a rom-com, instead of something happening right then and there in the aftermath of Stiles being possessed by a fucking DEMON of all things. The thought effectively sobers Stiles, and pulls away a few inches.
“You’re not just doing this because I got possessed are you?” he asks. “Because I know getting taken over by a demon is kind of pathetic, but, Dude, like I said before, I’m not a kid and I don’t need pity kisse,” he’s cut off by Derek’s mouth pressing against his again, tongue sliding inside Stiles’ mouth like it belongs there. When they pull apart Stiles is left speechless, panting for much needed air, and watching Derek with wide eyes.
“I don’t pity you, Stiles,” Derek says, reaching out and wrapping one hand around the nape of Stiles’ neck. He pulls him closer, touching their foreheads together and grimacing a little. “That thing lied, but I didn’t,” he pulls away feeding his arms through the shirt properly and tugging it down into place around his waist. “Come on, we should go get you checked out,” he says turning toward the bedroom door.
“Checked out?” Stiles asks, vaguely dazed.
“Yeah, I want Deaton to look you over, and then possibly a priest,” Derek explains, opening the door and turning to look back at Stiles, who still stands on the far side of the room blinking a little in confusion.
“A priest?” he asks. Derek looks at him in concern. He returns to stand in front of Stiles.
“Ok, what broke your brain? The kisses or the Demon?” he asks, real worry clouding his features. Stiles stares at him solemnly for another few seconds before his brain kickstarts, already running a million miles a minute again.
“Oh you’d like to think so. It’s going to take more than one measly kiss to break my brain, Derek. My brain is amazing! And don’t pretend like you don’t think so too! You said as much earlier! And you just said you didn’t lie!” Stiles bounces in place once before darting to his desk to grab the hoodie draped across the corner. Derek rolls his eyes.
“I said you were smart. I didn’t say you had an amazing brain,” he replies heading toward the door. “And it was two,” he says pausing there and waiting for Stiles to flail into the hoodie, amusement obvious in his expression. Stiles blinks at him in confusion.
“Two?” he asks, stepping up to Derek. Derek grins just a little and lean forward to press another kiss to Stiles’ mouth, one hand coming up to rest on the side of his face to hold him steady. When he breaks the kiss he’s grinning even wider.
“That was three,” he says letting Stiles go and turning away, heading down the hallway. Stiles hurries after him.
“Ok three. And you better stop that right now. We are not going to be one of those couples that does stupid shit like counts kisses. That is a level of sap that I refuse to,” there’s a muffled sound, as Stiles abruptly stops talking.
“That’s four,” Derek replies, starting down the stairwell.
“Derek! You stop that!” Stiles calls after him. “It’s completely unfair!”
“Fine, if you don’t want me to kiss you I won’t kiss you,” Derek says, pausing on the landing. The tease in his voice makes Stiles roll his eyes.
“Of course I want you to kiss me. But not if you’re only going to do it to shut me,” he’s cut off again by Derek’s mouth on his, but this time he winds his arms around Derek’s shoulders and hangs on. The kiss lasts for twice as long as any of the previous ones, and Derek possibly ends up supporting Stiles weight when his knees go out from under him. “That wasn’t because of the kiss,” Stiles grumbles, “I’m just tired.” Derek rolls his eyes, and helps him stand back upright.
“All the more reason to get you to Deaton at the clinic,” Derek reasons. “And you’re the one telling Scott you got possessed by a demon. I’m not taking the blame this time,” Derek warns.
“Oh come on! If I tell him he’s gonna get all weepy and protective. At least if you tell him anger will be the first reaction, buying me some time to duck and run,” Stiles suggests. Derek shakes his head.
“Sorry. We’ve only been dating for like 10 minutes. I’m not taking that particular bullet for you,” Derek replies.
“Seriously?” Stiles says, indignation fighting through the tiredness of his voice. “You’d confront a demon for me but you won’t take on Scott McCall?” he asks. Derek leads him to the front door unlocking it and pulling it open.
“Yes. Scott is scarier,” Derek replies, and Stiles finds himself laughing for the first time in what feels like weeks.
“Says the big bad Alpha wolf,” Stiles teases. He’s so happy just then, that he doesn’t even complain about Derek manhandling him into the passenger side of jeep, and then taking the wheel himself. Things were looking up. He was no longer possessed, Derek liked him back, and Stiles was well on his way to making Derek his actual real-life werewolf boyfriend. Not much to complain about really, if you ignored the past few weeks of pain and loneliness that is.
“You ok?” Derek asks halfway to the Beacon Hills Animal Clinic. Stiles turns and look at him.
“No, not really,” Stiles says, and he watches a half dozen emotions flash across Derek’s face. “But I will be,” Stiles finishes, and then watches Derek’s brow smooth out, a hint of a smile coming back to his face, eyes scanning Stiles face over and over again, like he’s trying to memorize it. Stiles makes a face just to see Derek’s screw up in reaction. “The light is green, Wolfman,” he teases, laughing out right when Derek steps on the gas to get moving again. Ok, so definitely looking up.