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Better than Before

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“Shit, shit, shit, Scott do you ever pick up your fucking phone?” Stiles angrily presses the end button.

“Will you calm down?” Derek’s exasperated voice comes from the floor.

“Calm down? Are you kidding? There’s a freaking alpha pack out to get us! Not to mention the threefold deaths happening around everywhere?” Who does Derek think he is with his Zen bullshit? There are plenty of reasons to be freaking out right now.

“Stiles-”

“Oh, shut up.”

There’s silence for a moment before Stiles sighs. “Alright, fine Derek. I’ll bite. What were you gonna say?”

“Scott is fine. Jesus, you’re driving me crazy. Can you sit still for maybe five minutes?”

“How do you know Scott is fine though? Do you have some freaky werewolf-y connection that I don’t know about it?”

“I’m sure if we did Scott would’ve complained to you about it.”

Valid point. “It’s just- Scott's my best friend, alright? I need him to be okay. You don’t know what that’s like apparently. Actually, wait, who is your best friend?”

“Peter.” Derek says dryly.

“Ha ha. Wait, are you serious?”

“No, Stiles. I just don’t have one.”

“That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Did you miss the one where my family died in a fire?”

“Are we joking about that now?”

“No.”

Stiles can’t think of anything to say for once so he sits down on the couch.  Derek is lying on the floor, his arm covering his eyes. He’s tired, they’re all tired really.

“Well, what about Isaac? You’re bros, right?”

“You do realize Isaac doesn’t live here anymore?”

“Oh. Well, yeah. Scott told me Isaac came to his room in a wet t-shirt and I thought he was just telling me about this fantasy he had but it was actually the truth.”

“Yeah.”

“How about the demon wolf?” Stiles tries his best impression and Derek cracks a smile. Score.

“You heard about that?”

“I think the entire state of California did.”

 

“Well, what about Boyd?”

“Boyd hates me.”

“Boyd hates everyone, don’t feel special.”

“I don’t.”

“Are you always self-deprecating?”

“Yep.” Even with his arm over his face, Stiles can see the shit-eating grin.

“What about Cora?”

Silence. Derek’s not smiling anymore.

“She wasn’t expecting who I am now.”

“What? She didn’t realize you’re kind of a fucked up asshole alpha?”

Derek sighs and rolls over onto his side, faced away from Stiles. “Yeah.” His voice sounds smaller than usual, more vulnerable.

“No, wait, hey don’t do that.” Stiles moves off the couch and onto the floor next to Derek. He pulls on his arm and Derek moves easily to sit next him. He looks beaten down and there’s a sad expression on his face.

 “I didn’t realize-“

“It’s alright, Stiles.”

“No, it’s really not. You’re not that fucked up.”

Stiles can see the beginnings of a smile on Derek’s face and he’s going to count that as a win. He leans a little more into Derek’s body and he curves so Stiles can fit more in his side. Stiles hides a private smile in his arm but he has a feeling Derek knows about it when he puts his arm around Stiles’ shoulders and rubs little circles with his thumb.

“You could be my best friend.”

“Really?”

“If you wanted to-“

“Well, of course. Why wouldn’t I want to be friends with the guy who single-handedly caused the werewolf drama infecting my life?”

“I think you mean Peter.”

“Oh. Right. Well, then I see no reason why not.”

“Good.”

“Good.”

Stiles sighs and lays his head down on Derek’s shoulder.

“Is this best friend behavior?”

“I don’t know, what do you think?” Stiles glances from underneath his eyelashes at Derek whose already looking at him. Looking at his lips actually. Oh. The tension in the air is getting thicker and then Derek makes an aborted move closer when-

“Stiles!” He and Derek jump apart when the door to the loft slams open.

“Oh, thank god, Scott.” Stiles and Scott are bro-hugging when Isaac walks into the room, avoiding eye contact with Derek.

“So, what happened?”

“Well, we were at Deaton’s asking about the druid things since you never explained that to us and Deucalion comes in asking all these pointed questions about rabid dogs so we were escaping through the back when the twins morphed into this giant alpha thing and started fighting us and I left my phone at Deaton’s and you weren’t at home so I figured you were here and probably calling me so yeah.” Scott smiles dopily at him and Stiles can’t help but smile back.

“If your little moment is over, I’d like to talk to Isaac. Alone.” Derek glances over and adds sheepishly, “If that’s all right with you, I mean.”

“Yeah. Whatever.” Isaac shrugs nonchalantly, but Stiles can see the tension in his shoulders and how his hands keep fidgeting.

“We’ll leave you to it then. Come on, Scott.”

“But, Isaac-“

“Is going to have an important conversation with Derek right now. You can see him in your bedroom later.” Stiles leads Scott towards the exit even as Scott mutters, “It’s not like we sleep in the same bed.

“Hey, Stiles?”

Stiles turns around and Derek’s looking at him. He looks like he’s trying to phrase an awkward question with the way he keeps looking between Isaac and Scott.

“We’ll talk later, yeah?”

“Yeah. You’re a good—friend.” Derek’s lips quirk up just a little bit and Stiles grins unabashedly back at him.

“Yeah. Thanks. See you around?”

“Yeah. See ya.”

Scott pulls a little on Stiles’ arm after he’s been staring too long. They walk towards the exit together.

“So, what was that about?”

Stiles slings an arm around Scott’s shoulders. “Well, buddy. It seems like you’ve been replaced.”

“What?” Scott squawks. Stiles laughs and runs down the stairs away from Scott. Scott jumps on his back and they end up tumbling down the rest of the way.

 “You could never be replaced Scott. Who are we kidding?”

“Damn straight.”

“But… Derek’s, you know, a friend now. Hopefully more than?” Stiles quickly disentangles himself from Scott and runs towards his jeep.

“More than? Where are you going? Come back! What do you mean by that? It’s Derek.

Stiles smiles to himself. Yeah, it’s Derek. He chances a look up at the loft and sees a glimpse of Derek’s profile. Almost as if he senses someone looking, he looks down and smiles a little fondly at Stiles. Yeah, this could totally be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.