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"I'm in love with you."

"I love you, too."

“Yeah?” Stiles smiled.

“Yeah,” Derek nodded, and after a moment, they moved to erase the foot of space that had still been between them.

Stiles rested his forehead against Derek’s, and he shivered when Derek rubbed his nose against his in a gesture that felt close to an eskimo kiss, but not quite.

Stiles let out a shaky breath. “My heart is beating out of my chest.”

“I can hear it,” Derek smiled, and Stiles let out a shaky laugh, his hands coming up to rest on Derek’s shoulders as Derek wraps his arms around Stiles’ waist. “Mine’s beating crazily too.”

Stiles huffed, a big smile on his face as he whispered, “can I kiss you?”

“Of course,” Derek whispered, and then Stiles bridged the space between them and kissed him softly on the lips, and the kiss was as comfortably familiar as it was shockingly surprising. Stiles knew the touch and taste and texture of Derek’s lips, but the zing in his blood always shocked him and made him inhale sharply, his already rapid heartbeat speeding up as Derek deepened the kiss.

Their bodies plastered together, arms around each other, they got lost in their kisses, in each other.

They had been together almost a year, but they hadn’t said “I love you” to each other until then, and it had been a long time coming, truly. Stiles knew he had been in love with Derek before they had even gotten together, but he had waited to confess because it had felt a little too soon to declare his everlasting love after a week of dating.

He had also been scared of Derek not returning his love, and just the thought alone of Derek saying “thank you” in response or “I don’t love you” to his declaration of love had been enough to make Stiles to hold back the words whenever he had been on the verge of saying them and take things slow with him.

Derek was so incredibly important to him that he didn’t want to mess it up, and so he had held back so they could just enjoy the experience of dating each other.

But there Derek had been, smiling softly as he tried not to dance to the music he had on as he cleaned the living room, but then failed and ended up dancing silly, singing a little off key to the song, and Stiles had just felt so enamored by his boyfriend that when Derek finished and turned off the music, Stiles had pushed off the wall he had been leaning on and walked toward Derek, who had looked surprised when he saw Stiles, and then smiled widely.

And then Stiles had just blurted it out.

And here they were, having to break apart to get some much needed oxygen into their lungs.

“I had a whole scenario in my head where I said it first,” Derek murmured, resting his forehead against Stiles’ once more, and Stiles grinned.

“You did?”

“Yeah, and it was this whole thing, where I make us a romantic dinner with rose petals on the table and expensive plates and wine and-“

“Isn’t that more for a marriage proposal?” Stiles interrupted, and Derek looked up into his eyes.

“Well…I guess I can still use that scenario someday,” Derek murmured, and the implication sent Stiles’ heart racing once again, and he clenched his fingers in Derek’s shirt as he kissed him again, this time a little harder, a little more passionately.

“Are you saying-“ Stiles pulled back from their kiss breathlessly, eyes searching Derek’s face.

“I’d like to, one day,” Derek murmured.

Stiles bit his lip, and he couldn’t contain the big smile on his face, and it almost hurt, but in the best way.

“Me too,” Stiles said, and then they were kissing again, their smiles making it a little sloppy and uncoordinated, but Stiles didn’t care one bit. “I love you,” Stiles said into their kiss, not being able to help saying it again.

“I love you,” Derek murmured, and Stiles felt like he was floating, until he was picked up and put onto the couch a few feet away, and then Stiles was squealing as Derek proceeded to tickle him right where he knew Stiles was the most ticklish under his arms.

“All right, alright, uncle, uncle!” Stiles yelled, and Derek stopped, grinning as he settled on top of Stiles, and Stiles couldn’t help but wrap himself around his boyfriend.

As Derek put his head on Stiles’ shoulder and they settled into a cuddle, Stiles sighed happily, his heart settling, and a deep feeling of contentment washed over him.

It had been a long time since he’d felt this happy and content, as if the bad - with the pain and anger and hurt - hadn’t happened. And Stiles was pretty sure that Derek felt something similar, if not the same.

“I’m happy,” Stiles murmured, feeling shocked by the revelation - because as happy as Derek always made him, Stiles never thought he could be this happy, this carefree and in love. But he was, and it shocked the hell of him.

“Me too,” Derek murmured into Stiles’ neck, and Stiles smiled hard enough for it to hurt again.

And Stiles knew it wasn’t all just because of Derek, but he did know that without Derek he probably would never been able to see that he could be happy, and that he himself could do anything to make himself happy. But he did, he’d done that, he’d jumped into a relationship with Derek for his own happiness, wanting that happiness and reaching for it all on his own.

Stiles cuddled closer to Derek and closed his eyes, absently running his hands through Derek’s hair, who hummed and kissed Stiles’ collar bone before settling down again. Stiles sighed and let himself fall into sleep, wrapped up in the man he knew was the love his life.

Stiles had never been happier.