Chasing Slumber

BY : Shigure-san
Category: S through Z > Teen Wolf
Dragon prints: 2244
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Wolf or any of its characters/ideas. I make no money from this fic.

Title: Chasing Slumber

Author: Shigure-san

Fandom: Teen Wolf

Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski

Rating: Explicit/18+

Warnings: Slash, Gay Sex, Anal, Scenting, Animal Behaviour, Werewolf/Human, Angst, Romance, First Time, symptoms similar to PTSD, depression, Sleep Disorder, Stiles is 17 at the start of the story


Please note: Stiles is 17 in this story based on the rough timeline of the series. Also, I have no idea where the Camaro went in the series, but Derek still has it here.


I couldn’t get this story out of my head and I also wanted to dip my toe into the Sterek waters and see how it went. I’ve never posted for this fandom before so I am very nervous to see how it’s recieved and out of my comfort zone but I hope you guys all enjoy it. I’ve got two longer multi-chaptered Derek/Stiles stories to post soon so I suppose this little thing is the tester. Let me know what you think if you have time :)


Summary: Stiles finds solitude and a glimpse at recovering from his ordeal with the Nogitsune in a dingy motel far from Beacon Hills. Inhuman blue eyes follow his silent struggles in the darkness of the room and he can no longer pretend to sleep, pretend he hasn’t been profoundly changed by all that has happened. He can only let his fingers stretch out across threadbare but clean sheets and clench around them, in a failed attempt at not reaching for Derek.


I made a video for Stiles/Derek also if you have a moment to take a look :)



Chasing Slumber




 Fingers curled, white knuckled into the soft, worn denim stretched over tensed thighs. The tension made shudders ricochet up, up slender arms and awkward shoulders, until Stiles’s entire body was being assaulted by them. His breathing came through his nose in harsh, rough failed attempts at calmness and a tight pain bolted through his chest. He closed his eyes, tears stinging, loathing the weakness that threatened to overwhelm him. He hadn’t had a panic attack since…


 He swallowed.


 He’d never had one in front of someone other than his Dad, Scott or Lydia either. He felt like he was suffocating in his own skin. It’d come on so quick he’d never seen it coming, slamming into him with all the unexpected force of an unlit tank truck in the dark. The cold dark he’d never been able to crawl his way out of.


 “Stiles!” The sharp voice was like a lightning crash from right beside him, yet it sounded dull and far away. He squeezed his eyes shut tighter, struggling to regain control of himself, to cling onto some semblance of dignity or pride or…anything of himself from before. It was slipping through his fingers like sand and the more he visualised the last of himself sliding away the faster his heart pounded. How did he stop the panic attack spiralling out of control again? How did he make it all slow down? Didn’t he know this once?


 “Stiles!” This time, the voice was accompanied by a firm grip on his shoulder, an uncompromising anchor in the dark void, pinning him to the car seat. “Slow your breathing down,” the voice commanded, firm with impatience but rough with concern too. Stiles shook his head. Swallowed, tried to obey. When the voice repeated its order this time it was closer, close enough that he could hear the accompanying breaths, not calm by any means but slower than his.


 Stiles swallowed again, he set his jaw and listened, fingers digging so hard into his tense thighs that pain bloomed there. He stretched them out, curled them again. Flex, curl, flex, curl, over and over, in time with the breathing so loud in the quiet of the car. Flex, curl, in, out, slower, slower…


 An eternity passed there until eventually, he risked opening his eyes. The world was still dark but not as devoid of light as it had been behind closed lids. Muted, blue light came from the console of the car, headlights glowing ahead, bathing the tarmac of the deserted road as rain came down outside. As he saw it, saw the droplets streak through the light, the sound of them beating gently on the windows registered and he swallowed again, breathing and heart rate steadying just that little bit more. Then he turned to face the owner of the hand still holding his shoulder in a death grip.


 Derek’s eyes glowed in the light from the dashboard, piercing him, studying his own gaze for long moments until eventually he saw enough to release him. He let go but did not move to settle back into his own seat properly. “What the hell was that?” Derek demanded, voice low and rough.


 Stiles dragged a hand through his hair and forced his aching, bunched muscles to relax back against the passenger seat a little. “Panic attack,” he murmured, closing his eyes, trying to find himself and failing like always.


 “You want to tell me what you were doing out there?” Derek demanded, his voice low but accusing. Stiles opened his eyes but didn’t look at him, just stared at the dark road ahead. He couldn’t see from here but just a mile up the curving road, beyond the shops that were now closed for the night there was the bus depo.


 “Catching the bus,” he said flatly.


 There was a long, thoughtful silence and then Derek asked, “to where?”


 Now he thought about it, Stiles didn’t remember getting into Derek’s car. He remembered ditching his Jeep at the back of the local Walmart and then walking in the dark, the scent of oncoming rain apparent even to his senses. He remembered the same dark thoughts that haunted his every breath closing in tight, until he couldn’t breathe and then blinding headlights.


 “Away,” he said quietly, grateful Derek hadn’t asked ‘why’. He’d never taken him for a fool though. Any idiot that knew what had happened could guess why. “The last bus leaves in ten, I’d better get going,” he said, reaching for the duffel bag that had somehow made it into the car with him without his knowledge.


 “Is there a reason why you’ve ditched your Jeep?” Derek asked, again the same coarse, low growl, like he was planning every word.


 Stiles did look at him then, frustrated, lost and so beyond tired. “So that the first APB my dad, the Sheriff puts out can’t track me down and drag me back home. Seventeen, remember?” He hooked his fingers into the door handle.


 “You think there’s a bus in the world that can take you where you want to go, Stiles?” Derek accused. Stiles froze. His mouth felt dry again.


 “Anywhere is better than here,” he almost whispered. “I can’t pretend anymore, I can’t…” I can’t act like I’m fine, like I’m still Stiles, not even if it helps them not worry so much about me. Scott, Lydia, his Dad, God, his Dad had been through so much already. He squeezed his eyes shut. He almost wished the same illness that had taken his mother had taken him too, because this was so much worse. This was living with a darkness he couldn’t comprehend, with nightmares whether he was awake or asleep. It was living with the constant fear of still being in the Nogitsune’s power, of wanting to die but being too afraid to do it himself, fearing living even more.


 “I need to get away, Derek, just away,” he said at last, voice stronger than before but still faltering somewhere around the middle.


 “You have to let your dad or Scott know where you are,” Derek replied.


 Stiles shifted in his seat to look at him, fingers still hooked in the door handle. “Don’t go responsible adult on me,” he snapped.


 “If I were responsible I’d drag you back right now instead of sitting here listening to you plan to run away like a child!” Derek snarled.


 “So do it!” Stiles retorted, sleep deprivation, misery and fear lashing together in his throat with spiteful claws. “Instead of sitting there tiptoeing around what you really want to say just like everyone else has been doing the last few weeks.” He didn’t want to be catered to like a scared, broken little child, not by his dad or Scott or any of the others, least of all Derek Hale. “Tact has never been your thing so don’t stress over it now, alright?”


 Derek visibly set his jaw, eyes blazing in the dim light from the dashboard. “I’m not your therapist. I’m not the one to fix you, alright?”


 “I’m not asking you to try,” Stiles replied. It was impossible anyway. You couldn’t fix something when not all the pieces remained behind to glue back together.


 “Right,” Derek, said. “Just so that’s clear.” He sat back in his seat properly, putting his seatbelt on and turning the key in the ignition. “Put your seatbelt on.”


 Stiles blinked, every thought screeching to a halt at those words. “Huh?”


 “Do you want to go flying through the windscreen if I have to use the breaks?” Derek snapped. “Seatbelt.”


*                        *                        *


A few weeks prior…



 Stiles sat slumped with his head bowed, elbows resting on his knees and hands rubbing across the back of his head, dishevelling his already mussed hair and making his scalp sore. It was like a nervous tell, a repetitive action he couldn’t stop. He clenched his eyes shut against the too-bright, too-sunny halls of the school and breathed slowly, feeling nauseous with the lack of air he was drawing in. Sweat beaded across his skin, dampening his t-shirt despite the mild temperature and his heart pounded furiously in his chest.


 His dad had been right. He shouldn’t have come in today. Who had he been kidding? Five lousy days after they’d destroyed the Nogitsune. Five days since Allison had died. Five days of using grief and fear and whatever else as an excuse to hide away in his room and slowly go mad. Five days of his dad missing work he couldn’t afford to miss because he was afraid Stiles was losing it. If this was what victory felt like, he wasn’t sure he wanted to know about defeat.


 So he’d ignored his dad’s insistence that it was too soon, ignored the irrational fear that swelled at just the sight of the school as he’d pulled up and the fact he was weak with lack of sleep and forced himself to come to school. He should’ve known better. He’d managed one class, felt his head jerk as he nearly fell asleep in his seat and felt the now familiar panic seize him in the brief moment he didn’t know if he was awake or asleep. He’d had a near panic attack in his chair and when Ken Yukimura had stopped beside him and asked if he was alright.


 Stiles had flown back from his seat so fast he’d taken out his desk completely, staring at his hands, counting fingers, spiralling into the kind of panic that blacked out everything for long enough for him to apparently snap back to attention in the nurse’s office. There he sat, only half listening to the conversation the nurse was having on the phone to his dad.


 Sweating, shaking, he downed the water she’d left him and stared at the world outside the window, the trees too green and the sky cloudy yet blue. His ability to concentrate was worse than usual, even with the Adderall. He needed to focus. He needed to calm down. He needed to get out of here. Shaky legs carried him over to the window and somehow, out of it. It wasn’t until he was slumped on the cool ground, back against the tyre of his Jeep that he realised he’d run the whole way, like his backside was on fire. He winced, tipping his head back against the wheel arch of the Jeep, counting backwards, slowly, slowly, closing his eyes against the sunlight that stung even though it was shaded with clouds.


 “No way in hell should you be out here.”


 Stiles jumped, slamming his head back against the jeep and swearing furiously, scrambling, clumsy and panicked at the voice. He squinted through his wince of pain, rubbing at the back of his head and saw a familiar face staring down at him with a furrowed brow. He panted, recovering from the shock of Derek’s arrival and shifted to sit more upright against the Jeep in an attempt to look less pathetic.


 “Yeah,” he agreed in the end, stabilising his breath if not his heartbeat or the way sweat had soaked through his shirt. “No shit, huh?” He really couldn’t deal with the wisdom of Derek Frickin’ Hale. He startled when the next thing he knew, there was a hand at his nape. He blinked eyes open that he didn’t remember closing and jerked at finding Derek’s face close to his.


 “Hey,” Derek said in a soothing voice he didn’t think the wolf had ever used for him. Or at all in his hearing, if he remembered rightly. He struggled to recall if the tone was familiar or not. The hand at his nape gripped his skin firmly and he felt the throb from the back of his head ebb away with the spidery black tendrils that crept up Derek’s forearm. Stiles stared at the black lines for a moment, watching them spiral upward then fade along with his pain.


 “When was the last time you slept?” Derek asked.


 Stiles gave a short laugh and shook his head. “I know I look a mess but I was fine, really. I was handling it at home, I shouldn’t have…” He chewed the inside of his mouth and blinked slowly. “Too soon, that’s all. The panic attacks, they only happen when I wake up. I’m fine until I go to sleep and wake up.” And the nightmares and the need to sleep but the fear of it at the same time, he thought but didn’t say. Didn’t need to say.


 Derek slowly drew his hand back, arm resting across his knee where he squatted on his heels in front of Stiles, eyes lined with uncertainty.


 Uncomfortable with the scrutiny and silence, Stiles cleared his throat. “Why the hell were you checking up on me anyway?” he asked in a voice that sounded far too defeated for his liking. “Shouldn’t you be checking up on Scott? You know, he’s the one that just held his first love in his arms as she died, right? I’m just the cause of–”


 “I did check up on Scott,” Derek interrupted, tone sharp, as if he didn’t like the direction Stiles had been heading in. “He said he hadn’t heard from you in two days. Apparently you had some kind of fight.” It was a statement, not a question. Stiles struggled to his feet, calmed by their interaction oddly, by the distraction and used the weight of the Jeep at his back to remain upright.


 Scott didn’t blame him, that was the infuriating thing. He’d come over to visit the other day and given Stiles this look as if he, Stiles were the one that had suffered most somehow. He’d tiptoed around him, he’d gentled him like a wounded beast until Stiles had snapped. He couldn’t bear it. He couldn’t bear the sympathy and the softness when all he wanted to do was scream, when all he deserved was for Scott to shake him and tell him it was all his fault.


 “Something like that, I guess,” Stiles muttered, yanking open the car door and climbing in. He went to pull it shut only to find Derek’s hand gripping it, halting it firmly mid-motion.


 “You’re cutting yourself off from everyone when you need them most, Stiles,” Derek said firmly, “when they need you most. They went through a lot to get you back.”


 “And because of that, people are dead,” Stiles shot back. “If I had been anyone else, you would’ve just taken me out as collateral and it would’ve been over.”


 Derek stiffened. “If you’d had some sleep maybe you’d hear how ridiculous you sound right now.”


 Stiles turned the key in the ignition of the jeep viciously. “You know what’s ridiculous? You lecturing me on cutting myself off. You don’t know the first thing about me, Derek.”


 “I know you better than you think,” Derek replied coolly, but he’d let go of the car door. Stiles yanked it shut and his tyres squealed against the ground as he pulled away.


*                                                  *                                                *


 Over the next couple of days he established a coping mechanism that allowed him to get some sleep without the sense of losing himself, while maintaining a sense of control. Control was important, he realised that quickly. Control kept him stable. A cocktail of energy drinks, energy bars and those over-the-counter caffeine pills (for concentration) let him control when he slept, while an alarm on his phone let him choose how long. The length of sleep was important. He could still get REM down and that helped him cope. He didn’t feel better, not by any stretch of the imagination but he felt stable. Mostly. Functioning if nothing else.


 He managed to survive a day of school, then another, then another. ‘Survive’ being the operative word. He couldn’t say he was learning anything or doing anything more than filling in the time until his next scheduled, controlled ‘nap’ with attempts at distracting himself from the anguish. Scott, Lydia and Kira were quiet, he was too. Kira punctuated hers with awkward, kind smiles, Lydia with tear-stained distance, Scott with melancholy man-hugs and warm understanding.


 It was the gentleness with which they treated him he couldn’t stand, because there was no way it was real. Not fully. He just wanted the truth; he wanted their honesty, not their handling with kid gloves. Not the drawn out silences where no one knew what to say or the false, forced platitudes in fear he would break.


 He was no better, of course. For once in his life he had no idea what to say, though he tried to fill the void with chatter, it didn’t come as easy as it used to. When his mother had died he felt like he’d never stopped talking, desperate to fill the silence with noise, distraction. Now he could scarcely find his voice and when he did manage, he was so afraid it sounded like someone else’s.


 His friends didn’t know how to talk to him anymore, didn’t know him anymore, but he didn’t know himself either. They were still expecting him to be exactly the same and didn’t know how to cope when something happened to display how he wasn’t. Neither did he.


 At the end of school he saw Scott lingering behind to talk to Kira, met Scott’s eyes and saw him hastily look away. He knew avoidance when he saw it. So he headed home to an empty house and headed straight for his room. Even the state of hyper vigilance he’d adopted didn’t stop him from jumping nearly clean out of his skin as he caught sight of the shadowed figure leaning against the far wall. For a moment his heart stopped, he swore it did, just as he swore he saw the face of the Nogitsune swimming toward him through the dim room, mostly dark thanks to the fact he’d forgotten to open his curtains that morning.


“Stiles,” Derek said, gripping his shoulders to steady him when the room swam.


 Realising his mistake, Stiles swiped Derek’s hands away and stepped back from him. “Dude, what the hell are you doing? Do you really think lurking in my bedroom is what I need right now?!”


 Derek’s expression didn’t change but Stiles thought he looked a little sheepish. Maybe. Stiles glared at him, willing his heart to steady as he tore off his sweatshirt, suddenly sweltering hot and desperate for distraction. Only in his t-shirt and jeans, he made a point of ignoring his unwanted house guest and turned on his laptop, only to stare at Derek’s outline in the reflection of the screen as it booted up. He sighed, swirling in his chair to face him.


 “What?” he demanded flatly.


 Derek watched him cautiously, as if looking for something in him before he dared speak. “I came to see if you were okay.”


 Stiles just stared at him. “You’re serious.” It was a statement, not a question. “Since when do you care about what happens to me?” Low blow, maybe, childish, definitely. Derek had been there in the loft, one of the people silently but obviously against Chris Argent’s plan to destroy the Nogitsune whether Stiles was in there or not. Even before that, all the way back to the time when Peter had been the alpha, Derek had protected him, even when they hadn’t really liked each other.


 “I’m alive,” Stiles answered ambiguously. “You came, you saw, can you go now?”


 Derek raised an eyebrow. “You got some self-pitying and isolation to get back to?”


 Stiles snorted. “Rich, coming from the guy who was holed up in his burned down house alone when I first met him.”


 “This isn’t about me,” Derek said.


 “No,” Stiles snapped, getting to his feet without really meaning to. “This is about who you want me to be – all of you. Who I was before, right? This doesn’t all fit into the neat little Stiles-shaped packaged you all had before and you’re all lost for the best way to fix that.” When Derek didn’t reply, Stiles felt frustration, hurt, anger, fear, helplessness,all of it, everything else he couldn’t name bubble up until he swore his skin was swelling from the burning force of it. He wanted to explode. He wanted to tear into Derek, to vent his fury like the Nogitsune would and he felt sick with it.


 “I’m not fixable. You all need to realise that.” His voice was flat, hollow, lost to the void.


 “This isn’t you,” Derek replied and somehow he was closer. The odd softness in his expression did it. Stiles burst. He shoved the chair hard at Derek, watching it bounce off his legs and fly into the wall. Derek staggered, surprised by the outburst and Stiles screamed.


 “And how the hell do you know who I am now when even I don’t?!” he demanded. “My own dad can’t look me in the eye, Derek so what do you think this little intervention of yours is going to achieve?”


 “I didn’t think it would achieve anything but I had to try.” Derek’s voice was harsh with frustration. “I’ve gotten pretty good at doing nothing to avoid doing the wrong thing. But I can’t stand by and do that now.”


 Stiles gave a hollow laugh that sounded so much like the Nogitsune that panic welled. He stared down at his fingers out of habit, glanced at some of the posters and newspaper clippings on his wall and read some words off at random. Safe. Okay. True self. Breathe. “I’m not yours to save, Derek.” He couldn’t be saved. “Just go, alright?” Why is it he either sounded like it or sounded so damn defeated?


 “Jesus Christ, Stiles, when was the last time you slept? Look at yourself! Your friends want to help you and they can’t unless you admit-”


 “Do you want to hear me admit it, Derek? How strong I felt while the Nogitsune was using me? How good that was? I felt your superhuman werewolf body crumple under my hands. I shoved a sword through my best friend’s chest. I was powerful and I liked it. Why do you think it chose me and not Scott or Allison? The Nogitsune chose me because I’m weak and it could make me strong.”


 “It chose you because there’s nothing we all wouldn’t do for you!” Derek snapped, his voice sharp like elastic drawn too tight and breaking. “You’re connected to all of us somehow. You care about everyone in this goddamned town, even the people you hate. It chose you because you aren’t a general or a leader; you’re a soldier just like he was.”


 Stiles lifted his chin, unable to believe the utter bullshit coming out of Derek’s mouth. He wondered if Derek really believed it or if he was grasping at straws here, trying to connect to Stiles somehow, to find a way in. He turned, reaching for the door. It appeared Derek wasn’t in a hurry to leave so Stiles would leave himself.


 Suddenly, a grunt was torn out of him as two powerful hands threw him to the wall beside the door, pinning him there so his back ached were it pressed into the plaster. He struggled. Derek shoved him harder, drawing him right up onto his toes and glaring into his eyes without any of the softness or care from before. “Not as fragile as you thought, am I?” Stiles challenged.


 Derek growled. “Shut up, Stiles. Shut up and open your damn eyes. You’re cutting yourself off until there’s no one left to care about. Everything that makes you you is falling away and you’re letting it.” When Stiles tried to shove him back Derek slammed him hard into the wall again, seeming to be barely refraining from shaking him like a rag doll


. “If you let it, you’ll lose it all, even the stupid little things you thought didn’t matter. Your school work, your crappy video games, your teenage crushes. You won’t care about any of it and then you won’t care about living, either.” His eyes were haunted, knowing and for a second the way they glistened with urgency caught Stiles mid-breath.


 His fingers curled where they had been shoving at Derek’s shoulders and tightened in the fabric of the dark blue shirt he was wearing. He realised then just how close Derek’s face was, remembered the first time Derek had pinned him like this, in this room and felt his pulse burst into life, the way it hadn’t in anything but fear for…


 Stiles swallowed and he watched as a small frown furrowed Derek’s brow with confusion, watched his blazing eyes follow the movement of his throat, then his lips, then his eyes again, as if he couldn’t piece it all together. He hadn’t taken pleasure in or found motivation to do anything since this all began. Derek was right about that, his friends, his video games, comics, books, movies, he hadn’t even had a wank and that was unheard of since he’d discovered it. He filled voids of time, tried to distract himself but there was nothing that lit him up inside, even for a moment.


 Fuck. Teenage crushes, huh? He wanted to snort in amusement but he was too bitter to find it funny. It was sad, if anything. His blood was boiling with want without arousal, the fire of desire without hardness and when Derek stiffened he knew he’d figured it out. Stiles exhaled shakily and swore he could taste Derek’s breath in his mouth.


 “Stiles.” His voice was low and uncertain, but raspy in a way that made Stiles’s muscles tighten everywhere. It was just a flicker really; a drop in a raging ocean but it was something where there had only been nothingness. The void. It was dazzling in the empty darkness. Stiles looked at Derek’s mouth briefly, wondering. He watched his lips move, moistening, slow with anticipation and when he lifted his eyes again their gazes locked for a long moment.


 The callous fingers on Stiles’s shoulder crept up along his skin, over his throat, until they were stroking almost shyly against his jawline, while both palms cupped his neck. Derek felt burning hot. Stiles couldn’t remember if he always did, the few times they’d touched. Had they ever touched when there wasn’t a life at stake? He wasn’t sure when but when he blinked Derek was closer, their noses almost touching. Stiles could see every fleck of green, grey and brown in those eyes, even in the absence of proper light.


 Derek’s lashes fluttered shut and he drew in a breath that Stiles felt more than he heard.


 “I’m always doing the wrong thing, Stiles,” Derek murmured, their mouths nearly touching.


 Stiles blinked, fingers digging into Derek’s shoulders so hard that, had he been human, he definitely would have shoved away by now. “This is…wrong?” he asked. Since when did his voice ever sound that breathy? He gripped Derek so hard his fingers ached and he brought their lips together. It was smooth, soft and damp, Derek’s stubble scratchy and making his mouth sensitive where they moved together. He was slow, hesitant, the trickle of warmth budding at their joined lips and spreading through him like rain droplets running together down a window pane.


 It didn’t make him feel better. It wasn’t a magic cure. But it was warm and right and he wanted it. He hadn’t wanted anything for a while now. A sound, thin and low like pain and pleasure all at once burned his throat and Derek’s tongue swept against his once, before he drew back enough to meet his gaze again.


 “Stiles, you’re hurting and seventeen and I…I’m not.” Derek’s eyes were open again and fixing him in place, but Stiles could see some sort of struggle in place within them. “I’ve been there.”


 Stiles felt like he’d been slapped. He shoved at Derek, hard, the surprise of it enough to make him stagger back a few steps and Stiles pushed all his weight against the wall, swiping a hand over his mouth, then dragging his hands over his head as he tried to collect himself.


 Back when Gerard had beaten the shit out of him he’d told Stiles with twisted glee about many of the Argent’s ‘triumphs’ against werewolves, a twisted hunter’s tale for every blow. There had been disturbing, inappropriate pride in Gerard’s eyes when he’d spun an inexplicit story about how his daughter had used a young wolf’s own animal desires against him, against his entire family. He said she’d seduced her way into the wolf’s den, her ‘brilliant mind’ against the ‘stupidity’ of ‘those animals’. So Stiles knew. Derek might not have realised, but Stiles had gotten the general idea. It made Stiles feel sick being connected to that now.


 “Seriously?” he growled out. “You’re comparing this to what happened with you and Kate Argent?”




 “Or maybe that’s a convenient excuse for not endangering fragile little Stiles,” he snapped, cutting Derek off. “You know since it all went down, everyone has either been looking at me like I’m broken or looking for the old Stiles and not being able to cope when they realise I’m not him. Congratulations, Derek, you went through door number one.” He dragged his bedroom door open and stared hard at Derek. “Get out.”


 Derek studied him a moment, looking utterly infuriated with himself, before making his way to the door. “I know you want to feel something,” he said, halting on the threshold. “That’s why it would be taking advantage. I know you need someone too, or think you do, maybe–”


 “Think I do?” Stiles repeated, tone flat, annoyed. Derek didn’t falter. “I’m, what did you call it? Hurting. I’m not incapable. I can make my own decisions on what I do and don’t want. But it seems lately, not knowing what to do with me for the best is just the way it goes.”


 He wasn’t an idiot. Having a brain that worked a mile a minute the way his did allowed him to go over every angle, every possibility. He had mulled it over and over, whenever the rush of teenage orgasm faded, ever since the inconvenient crush developed when he’d gotten just a little hard the first time Derek had pinned him to his door. He knew Derek was older, knew legally he was a minor even if he felt more like forty with all he'd been through the last year or so. He knew a lot of people would say Derek should know better, especially given what Kate did to him. He also knew it wasn’t healthy to base his recovery on someone else. Probably.


 Stiles was also aware that the only time he had ever had sex, it had been a coping mechanism, a struggle to find himself. But he had read about sufferers of depression, PTSD and similar illnesses, about how they often endured for the sake of their children. He had read about men and women who fought for recovery, even when they wanted to give in, because of their partners or other family. He knew that people were pack animals as much as wolves and that they used their pack to recover. They used intimacy, not just sex but closeness and talking and...


 He felt as if he were driving himself crazy justifying it all in his own head, as if this would finally be what broke him and he wondered if Derek felt it too. Wondered how it might be to feel more of that spark he’d glimpsed just then instead of just numb and alone. His dad, his friends had tried to instil him with something, but were too focussed on trying to get him ‘back to normal’.


 For a second there Derek had looked at him, really looked at him, knowing how lost he was and he hadn’t looked pitying or afraid he’d break. For just a second he’d just looked understanding, knowing, hungry. Stiles, he was famished. And he would starve to death, apparently, dry up in yearning for what he needed.


 It was probably a tribute to Derek’s concern for what was happening right now between them, that he hadn’t really reacted to Stiles’s knowledge of his dealings with Kate. Maybe he’d expected Stiles to have known all along somehow? Whatever the reason, Derek just stood there, wearing that look, the same one everyone else was wearing, like Stiles was a scared little kid sobbing on the floor or something that no one knew what to do with.


 He couldn’t take another second of it.


 Stiles stormed out of his own room and made a beeline for the bathroom, slamming the door behind him and bolting it. He slid slowly down the surface until he was on the floor, back to it, arms around his legs and head resting on his knees.


 There was a soft knock at the door. He didn’t answer. He closed his eyes.


 “Stiles,” Derek’s voice murmured through the wood, as if he were leaning against it. “I didn’t mean to… This is what I mean. You’re… I’m not what you need right now, alright?” He still sounded blunt, as if he wasn’t sure what subtlety was.


 Stiles tipped his head back against the door but didn’t open his eyes. “Fuck off, Derek.” He was tired. So tired. For a long time he knew Derek was still there, though he didn’t speak. But when Stiles eventually stepped out into the hall, Derek was gone.


*                        *                        *


 Stiles felt isolated. A few weeks after the Nogitsune’s defeat, a few weeks of struggling to find normal again and all he’d discovered was that the old Stiles had died somewhere in the Nogitsune’s void. He’d discovered that his friends and father didn’t know how to engage with him anymore, so they avoided him. He knew some of that was his fault, knew he hadn’t made it easy for them but a part of him was just so tired that he couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to connect, even though he ached with the loss of their closeness. The other part of him was too afraid to try, in case he saw for himself exactly what he was afraid they thought of him now.


 Fear and lethargy lead him to stuff essentials and all his saved allowance into a duffel bag. He headed out the door while his dad was out working late. He knew it was selfish at best, cowardly, even, but he couldn’t care. It hurt too much to try.


*                        *                        *





They’d been driving for hours. They’d long since passed the borders of Beacon Hills and though the sun had yet to rise, the sky had softened into the pastels of pre-dawn. Another night down. Stiles shoved the empty energy drink bottle he’d been nursing into one of the side pockets of the duffle along with the other two empties, swilling the last of it round his mouth as he reached for the bottle of pills sitting on top of the bag.


 “What are those?” Derek asked, his voice hoarse from disuse – he’d barely said a word since they’d pulled away.


 Stiles shook two pills into his hand and swallowed, leaning back against the headrest, the pull of sleep once again abating. The energy drink helped a little to focus him and fight the sleep at the same time. His eyes stung but he had some eye drops to help with that once it got unbearable. “Just something to help me stay awake,” he said. He saw Derek glance at him out of his peripheral vision.


 “There’s a motel up ahead here,” Derek replied, gesturing with his chin. “We can pull in for the night.”


 “I don’t need to sleep,” Stiles assured him.


 Derek gave him a once over with a raised brow that clearly showed his disbelief. “You look like crap.”


 “I don’t need to sleep yet.” His voice was firm. He had no idea where Derek was taking him or what he was playing at. He’d kept such rigid, uncompromising control over everything in the last few weeks, as if something as simple as when he slept or ate could claw anything back from what the Nogitsune had taken. He’d had to have control over everything and now he was letting Derek decide where he should stop. It made uneasiness rise in his throat like bile.


 Maybe it was bile; he’d had three energy drinks on an empty stomach after all.


 When Derek pulled into a parking space in front of the motel Stiles practically leapt out of the passenger seat with his duffel. He marched to the reception where a sleepy, bored looking middle-aged man gave him a disinterested once-over. He ordered the room, he chose a different number on purpose when the receptionist tried to pass him the first one to hand and he chose an armful of sugar-filled snacks from the vending machine on his way back out, shoving them into his duffel.


 Derek followed him, silent as a shadow but Stiles swore he could hear his mind reeling, judging his every move.


 “Did it occur to you that he was offering you number twelve because it was one of the better rooms?” Derek asked eventually as Stiles fitted the key into the lock of door number nine.


 Stiles didn’t look at him as he pushed the door open. “Did it occur to you that I wanted to choose?”


 Derek hesitated on the threshold at that. Stiles dropped his bag next to the nearest twin bed and dropped onto it, watching Derek cautiously. He thought perhaps that last statement had revealed more to Derek than he’d intended, but it was too late now. He snatched one of the chocolate bars from his bag and tore it open, chewing distractedly as he reached for the television remote and started scrolling through the dismal early-morning programming.


 When he’d finished the chocolate bar and Derek still remained in the doorway, Stiles glanced back to him. “What?”


 Derek shook his head and stepped inside, closing and locking the door behind him. He sank into the chair near the door, watching Stiles with exhausted eyes. “I was just expecting you to do something…” he gestured with his hand. “Something like jump on the bed or complain about the quality of entertainment.”


 Something the old Stiles would have done. The thought made Stiles’s unsatisfied stomach churn. He turned his attention quickly back to the TV. “You can sleep if you want. I’ll probably shower or something in a sec.” A cold shower would wake him up even more than that sugar rush had, then he could stave off the call of sleep for just a little longer.


 “When was the last time you slept?” Derek asked, his voice breaking the crisp silence. Stiles didn’t answer. He could practically hear Derek grinding his teeth. “For more than a couple of hours?”


 Stiles sighed. “If I just sleep a couple of hours at a time, I dunno, I guess I don’t fall as deeply. Or it feels like it, even if it’s not true. It’s better that way.”


 Derek’s hands flattened on the arms of the chair before curling around the overstuffed edges, his jaw set, eyes hard. “And how long do you think you can keep that up before you crash completely? You think avoiding a few nightmares is really the solution to–?”


 “It’s not just about the nightmares!” Stiles snapped, voice harsh and rough, the very sound of it reminding him so much of the way the Nogitsune had used it that it made him stumble back. He hadn’t even realised he’d been standing until his feet almost failed him and he found himself leaning against the peeling wallpaper. He drew in a deep, steadying breath and didn’t speak until he could trust himself to sound more like…like him. “It’s about not knowing whether I’m awake or asleep. It’s about controlling myself.”


 Derek rose. “You think this is control? Look at yourself!” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter, even if this gives you some sense of control, there are some things you can’t, some things like sleep and what then? What happens when you lose that control, Stiles?” He was right in front of Stiles now, stalking across the last few feet until he was in Stiles’s space and Stiles’s heart was thundering in his chest.


 He remembered that time Derek had pinned him effortlessly with a single hand, remembered the mixture of reactions it had instilled in him back then. Through the fog the Nogitsune had laid around the world before its invasion into his life, he remembered the dark, pissed, knowing look Derek had given him then as he’d sensed Stiles’s reaction. Derek had known ever since then but he’d never mentioned it. Stiles remembered the thrill of fear, awe and the pulse of arousal that had thrummed steadily through his blood. He remembered the inappropriate tingling sensations that used to tease at his synapses whenever Derek had been around.


 That silly little crush and the boy who’d lived it had been out of his reach for weeks now, ever since the Nogitsune had touched his mind. Now he could feel the echo just a little more clearly. It terrified him. There was a flicker of who he’d been before, a spark of feeling, something he’d been devoid of for so long and he couldn’t bear it. Because now it felt like there was something left of him to lose. He squeezed his eyes shut briefly in an attempt to control himself and when he opened his eyes, Derek was only inches away, staring into his eyes.


 They were practically the same height now, he thought distantly.


 “Sleep, Stiles,” Derek said, his words a firm but low vibration in the air between them.


 Stiles shook his head. Even without the elevated chance of vivid nightmares it was too much to bear. “If I sleep for more than a few hours, I wake up not knowing…” Not knowing if he was really awake, if it was really over. If the…


 “The Nogitsune is gone, Stiles. There’s just you and me here and there still will be when you wake up.” That voice really was mesmerising. It was so compelling and arousing all at once, calling to parts of Stiles he’d thought had withered under the Nogitsune’s shadow. He almost choked at the echo of those feelings just touching the cold space within him. He didn’t want to feel it, he didn’t want to hope. Hope could be taken away. Any positive light could be.


 “It’s left a mark on me,” Stiles whispered, “I can feel it.”


 “That’s pain, Stiles, exhaustion and pain and…” Derek worked his jaw as he seemed to struggle for the right words. “Trauma. Just sleep that’s…that’s the first step. Sometimes you just need to make the first step.”


 Stiles stared at him. He knew Derek Hale had faced darkness in his past, ordeals that had forged the man he was today, that was where this knowing came from, the rough attempt at help. But the compassion in those eyes, the intimacy was so foreign that it only made Stiles’s control on reality sway like his hazy, sleep-deprived vision. He shoved at Derek’s chest but the man remained as immovable as stone.


 For some reason that sense of unconditional permanence, that stubborn presence that wouldn’t budge no matter how hard he pushed, unlike everything else, that was what broke him.


 Stiles drew a sharp breath into his lungs which felt too small, too full of panic already and he threw himself forward, pushing at the man in front of him. Stiles could’ve stepped back himself, he could’ve ducked to the side or back over the bed but he pushed anyway at the wall of steel that was the man in front of him. Derek’s shoulders rolled with the blow but otherwise he just stared at Stiles, waiting for the storm to pass.


 “Stiles,” Derek began.




 It was too much. It all rose up like a viper rearing its head for the ‘kill or die’ blow and the sound that tore from Stiles was almost inhuman with the agony of it. He jerked his arm back, bringing his fist up and cracking Derek across the jaw. His hand exploded with pain but he didn’t stop, couldn’t stop. He let the force of the explosion carry him, carry his fist forward over and over again into Derek’s jaw, his cheek. His breath came out in rapid, useless, choking gasps for air and his knuckles were throbbing warningly but there wasn’t a mark on Derek’s face.


 Without speaking, without otherwise moving, Derek caught his wrist and a sound of abject frustration and misery poured out of Stiles. His entire body flailed like a fish on a hook. His free hand punched Derek’s shoulder, his chest and when his knuckles started to hurt on that hand too, he slapped his open palm hard against the werewolf’s chest. He screamed and when he slapped Derek’s chest the next time, Derek’s other hand came up to pin it there.


 Stiles tried to drag himself back but found himself rooted to the spot by his own hands, squirming, the ferocity that had rushed through him a moment before dwindling like a dying fire. He felt everything drop back over him like an iron blanket, weighing him down in the rising water he’d been treading all this time. Now he was dying. Drowning. He jerked once more, managing to drag both hands free of Derek’s slack grip to weakly punch anything he could reach, over and over until he felt his body start to sag under the weight of it all.




 Stiles shoved him a final time, but Derek still didn’t move and Stiles squeezed his eyes shut.


 “You need to sleep,” Derek said, his voice that low, husky sound again, gentle as if Stiles hadn’t just tried to break every bone in both his hands on Derek’s face.


 “No,” Stiles breathed. Why did his voice sound like that? Weak and useless. He shook his head, trying again. “No.”


 “I’ll watch you.”


 That wasn’t a comfort for so many reasons. Stiles’s head felt so heavy and tired all of a sudden, full of cotton wool. His eyes stung. A headache brewed behind them. “You couldn’t stop the Nogitsune before–”


 “No, you did.”


 Stiles faltered at that and looked into those eyes as they pierced him where he stood. His hand hadn’t moved from where it had shoved at Derek’s chest that last time. Now, unbidden, his fingers curled into the fabric of Derek’s shirt. If Derek noticed, he didn’t show it.


 “You defeated the Nogitsune, Stiles. You broke free of it. It didn’t defeat you then so don’t let it now. Take control back. Get in the bed and sleep and stop running away like a child.” His voice was rough with frustration now as well as something else Stiles couldn’t pinpoint. When he didn’t move, Derek shoved him toward the bed. He stumbled back onto it; struck dumb by the words and the return of the Derek Hale he knew so much better than the one trying to coddle him. For some reason that helped his grip on reality strengthen.


 Take control back. Make the first step. Stiles looked down at the sheets under his hands and smoothed his fingers across the fabric. They were worn thin but soft and clean, smelling of cheap flowery fabric softener. So inviting. He glanced up at the sound of the TV shutting off and saw Derek setting the remote down as he resumed his seat in the chair he’d vacated beforehand. He laid his hands on the arms of the chair and watched Stiles with all the focus of a guard dog watching for danger – or perhaps a wolf watching its prey.


 Stiles felt unease, fatigue, fear, anger, a flicker of arousal and so much more flare as he awkwardly toed off his shoes. He slid back onto the bed, breathing in deep through his nose then out through his mouth slowly to try and control the way it wanted to spiral out of control. He was so tired but now, after struggling so hard to stay awake he didn’t think he could sleep. He felt like a man walking toward the gallows with sluggish steps, wanting to fight but knowing it was inevitable, knowing that at least the fear would stop when the guillotine fell.


 Take control. Go to sleep. The Nogitsune is dictating everything you do, even now, even when you sleep. He closed his eyes and focussed on his breathing. His heart was still pounding. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t let go. He couldn’t take back the control, not of this. His eyes flew open, not at sound, for he heard nothing but his own blood thundering in his ears and his own breath in the silent room.


 The tingling weight of Derek’s gaze picked up every thought he battled with.


 Stiles turned onto his side, seeking the slumber he’d fervently avoided for so long. He rolled onto his back and tried again. He couldn’t let go. A moment ago he might’ve collapsed at Derek’s feet after punching him until his hands ached, except his body seemed to be locked in permanent ‘fight or flight’ mode. The longer that he tried, the more impossible it seemed, the more frustrated he felt, the more helpless, the more like a scared child locked inside his own body. He opened his eyes to let the nightmarish flashes that lingered behind his closed eyelids fade away.


Inhuman blue eyes followed his silent struggles in the darkness of the room and he could no longer pretend to sleep, pretend he hadn’t been profoundly changed by all that had happened. He could only let his fingers stretch out across threadbare but clean sheets and clench around them, in a failed attempt at not reaching for Derek. He wanted to feel but he was afraid to. He wanted to feel something besides the cold confusion, the place where even his head wasn’t safe. Sometimes he still thought he was there, that he never really left.


 Movement dragged his gaze up. Derek was standing over him, poised at the edge of the bed and staring down. His silhouette was clearly outlined by the unnatural amber light from outside, the thin curtains doing nothing to keep it out. That terrifying idea, that he may never have escaped the Nogitsune after all only proved how it still had its claws in him. It had only become apparent just how hard he was breathing and how fast his pulse was racing when Derek’s long fingers splayed across his rapidly rising chest.


 “There’s a fight or flight reflex in all of us,” Derek murmured as he stared down at him, his fingers warm even through the fabric of Stiles’s shirt. “It pumps adrenaline round your body to help you escape a threat, even when that threat is only in your own head.”


 Words of experience, Stiles supposed. He moistened his dry lips as he stared up into eyes that glowed werewolf blue as they studied him, as if the beast within thought it could find a threat to eliminate for him. When Stiles spoke, his voice was rough from exhaustion and something entirely different, something almost as terrifying as the thought of sleep. “What do you do when your head doesn’t know it’s all in your head?”


 There was a look in those eyes then, almost recognition, as if Derek was seeing some of the old Stiles in that sentence that both made sense but didn’t. Stiles wished he could smile. He could barely breathe. It was like a panic attack but worse. Slower.


 “Tire yourself out. Burn it out,” Derek breathed, speaking from experience again but with a tone derived from somewhere other than the past. The fingers on Stiles’s chest remained, spread wider, as if trying to slow his breathing just from their weight.


 “And how do you you do that, when you need to?” Stiles managed.


 A long moment stretched out between them. The fingers on Stiles’s chest twitched, then smoothed up, the forefinger just gracing his collarbone through his shirt before it was drawn down with the rest of its companions, over his taut stomach which clenched at the contact. He drew in a sharp breath and that seemed to be a signal of some kind because the bed dipped under Derek’s weight as the man knelt beside him on the worn mattress.


 The shadow of him loomed above, the heat radiating off him in the relatively cool room, welcomingly stifling, alive and breathing just a little faster than usual too. The hand that pinned Stiles’s torso shifted so that hot, calloused fingertips skirted along the gap that had risen between his shirt and jeans. The warm palm spread the gap wider until Stiles’s stomach was bared to the room, to that gaze that had settled into a dark shade of green again.


 “I shouldn’t… This isn’t… I’m so fucked up,” Derek breathed, sounding as if he were trying to convince himself, sounding almost as lost as Stiles felt. He’d been through a lot too, Stiles supposed, with Jennifer and Cora and the alpha pack. He needed this just as much as Stiles did. Connection, comfort.


 Stiles took in a shuddering breath. “Both of us are,” he murmured.


 Derek winced but did not retreat. “I’m not a good person, Stiles. I should…I should just be here for you, not like…”


 Stiles’s eyes blazed. “Why not like this?” he challenged, voice low and rough. There were a thousand reasons not to do this right now but there were just as many to do it as well. Sex released physical tension, reassured you, connected you, anchored you to another, transported you to a place beyond comprehension of emotional pain. Or it could. Maybe. He’d read that it could anyway. He thought it could with Derek. Was sure it could. Wanted to try so badly. He knew that Derek did too.


 “If you want to, then it’s my choice, isn’t it?” Stiles’s voice was soft but ragged, firm enough to convey his certainty. He dared Derek to say he couldn’t make that choice after everything that had happened.


 Derek braced himself on the bed with his free arm beside Stiles’s shoulder, fingers curling against his neck and Stiles groaned. The sensation of it rumbling through his throat was so freeing he thought he might just sink into the mattress from the relief of it, of feeling so much at once. Derek’s eyes flew up to his face, then darted back down to where his fingertips were drawing a slow line down his sternum, across his navel and the thin dark trail of hair that dipped down below.


 That tingly feeling Stiles thought he’d lost glowed from within. It was like a star reborn from the heat rekindled by the still warm ashes of his soul. It was so warm and saccharine it choked him and he welcomed it, closing his eyes and holding onto it as long as he could.


 “Are you a virgin?” Derek asked with evident reluctance, as if he feared speaking may break the spell between them.


 Stiles didn’t open his eyes, just panted into the heat surrounding him after being cold for so long. One of his arms had ended up over his head, fingers curling just above his own dishevelled hair as his body rolled up to follow Derek’s hand when a finger hooked under his belt. He held it up away from Stiles’s skin, letting his swollen cock press up further into the soft denim, relieving and teasing all at once.


 “There was a girl once,” he managed, remembering Malia and the sweetness of her soft yet devilish touch, the urgency and the beauty of it all. It was perfection and yet nothing compared to this, compared to being held down and inspected, known from head to toe and still found attractive. It was being broken and yet not being cast aside or sheltered for it.


 There wasn’t a shred of pity in the air now. The control Stiles had been struggling to maintain was scattered all around them but the moment was all the more beautiful for its absence. He didn’t care. Safety enveloped him with that heat. He felt like a puppet with every pulsing vein jerking up to meet Derek’s movements, so elevated above all else and so unaffected by anything beyond that room. That was the power they found together there and it surpassed anything the Nogitsune had ever managed.


 Derek gave a small snort, a flicker of the banter they used to share kissing the air with that exhalation. “Guys are different.”


 Stiles opened his eyes. “No, really?” he said hoarsely.


 Derek smirked. He apparently liked the glimpses of the old Stiles, but he desired this one too, didn’t shy away from it like everyone else. That was the fine line, the minute difference that made this surrender possible. Made the painful, white-knuckled grasp Stiles had used to hold onto his fragile sanity loosen.


 Derek pulled at Stiles’s belt, movements rough and jerky, his free hand pinning Stiles’s wrist to the bed above his head when he jumped at the roughness. He shoved Stiles’s jeans down to his knees and whipped the t-shirt and accompanying plaid shirt off his head, tossing it to the floor before pinning the same arm to the pillow in the same way. He stared down into Stiles’s face with an intensity Stiles hadn’t known existed.


 “Kick your jeans off,” Derek muttered. When Stiles didn’t move, Derek’s eyebrow twitched and he threw a leg over Stiles’s hips, pulling his own shirt off and casting it aside before pressuring that wrist again. Stiles’s free hand twitched and curled into the sheets beside his hips. He panted at the sight of Derek hunched over him, hips hovering over his own and the toned muscles of the torso he’d once fantasised about flexed where they held him. There was so much power there he felt drunk with it.


 A small voice in his head that sounded torn between Lydia and Scott suggested maybe sex wasn’t the way to cope here. That this couldn’t fix anything and yet it was. He was feeling something, something wonderful, a plethora of sensation that made him feel like combusting with the intensity.


 Derek didn’t think he was taking advantage, didn’t think he was weak or an unsatisfying imitation of the boy he’d been a few weeks ago. He saw him, saw everything, every crack and he was still looking at him like that. He wasn’t asking Stiles if he was ok or coddling him or giving him those sheepish, fearful looks everyone else had, like he was something to be pieced back together just the way he was before. That was impossible. But if he could feel like this, then finding a new way forward just might be. Release, reassurance, connection, elevation above everything down there in the dark, if only for a little while.


 He swallowed, rolling his neck and letting the zings of electric pleasure rush down his spine as Derek’s fingers traced his throat again, thumb ghosting over his adam’s apple as it bobbed. He looked mesmerised, every inch the wolf.


 “Second thoughts?” Derek asked, but his tone suggested teasing.


 “God, no,” Stiles groaned.


 “Then kick your jeans off.”


 The order was quick and simple. Stiles followed it this time, squirming his hips and twisting with his toes awkwardly. Every movement brought his hips up against Derek’s. His cock was clothed only in soft, yielding cotton and pressing up against the denim crotch above, throbbing at the heat of it. He gasped and rolled up intentionally, toes curling around the bottom of his jeans as he squirmed.


 Derek’s nostrils flared, evidently drinking in the scent of sweat, pre-come and heat. He rolled his groin down into Stiles and then drew back, using his thumb to turn Stiles’s head to the side so he could watch the bead of sweat trickle down his neck.


 Eventually, Stiles kicked his jeans (and somehow his socks) away. As soon as they hit the floor, as soon as he lay there pinned in only his boxers, Derek pressed his body down into the sheets, nose and lips capturing the bead of perspiration that wept over his pulse. He nuzzled the skin there, yet it was more than that. It was smelling and rough, stubbly caresses that weren’t quite kisses but still open-mouthed, so that just the barest glimpse of teeth occasionally grazed oversensitive skin.


 God Stiles had never known his neck was so sensitive. He was on fire. The hand pinned under Derek’s clenched around nothing, the unoccupied one scratching at Derek’s lower back, trying to hold him down, something, anything as his hips rocked out of his control up against the harsh denim covered hardness above. His cock ached within its confines and pulsed up against the pressure. He was panting, hoarse, groaning gasps that turned slightly higher when Derek’s lips caught on his throat just right and sucked. The sound of him inhaling the scent of Stiles’s reaction through his nose was almost as intoxicating as the possessive scenting.


 Stiles was going to come in his pants like a twelve year old. He squirmed urgently, chasing the pleasure while at the same time longing for it to last. Derek released his throat, dragging a rough cheek across the sensitive flesh before nosing up against Stiles’s jaw. With his lips and a subtle edge of teeth he traced the line of it, gnawing at Stiles’s chin.


 “Fuck,” Stiles panted, so close. So close, so…


 “That’s it, come on…” Derek’s voice was rough against his skin, the sound vibrating through him like the aftermath of a lightning storm through a dark sky. Stiles shook his head, then nodded, then shook his head again. Derek growled low without words this time, gripping Stiles’s hair and holding his head back firmly. His face hovered perilously close, hot breath fogging up Stiles’s already haywire senses, so close, so intimate. Stiles swallowed his breaths with open-mouthed gasps as his climax rushed towards him, his body fucking up into Derek’s with abandon.


 Derek made a feral sound again, tilting his head just enough to lick inside Stiles’s mouth. Stiles’s lips opened in a surprised, blissful cry and his cock pulsed but just as he felt his stomach clench, Derek’s hips lifted. Stiles’s eyes flew open. Derek was still pinning him, still over him but he’d swung his leg back out of the way so his lower body wasn’t straddling him anymore, leaving Stiles’s jerking up into nothing. Stiles’s climax simmered back out of his grasp and his pale blue boxers were drenched with pre-emission, outlining his straining, urgent cock perfectly. Derek looked down at it, apparently appreciative but Stiles floundered in aroused confusion.


 “What – what did I–?”


 “Soon,” was all Derek said, giving Stiles’s hair another little tug before releasing his grip on him altogether. His nose traced down Stiles’s throat across his collarbone, to the sweat gathered there and then down to his chest. Stiles shuddered, the air cold on his damp skin and his cock pulsing with neglect. He wanted to sob. So close. So damn close. His fingers curled either side of him as Derek’s mouth and nose lead a leisurely trail across his chest, down the centre. Stiles’s heaving stomach pressed up into rough lips as they followed the path his fingers had taken earlier.


 When Derek’s mouth caught the hairs above the waistband of his boxers Stiles shuddered again and arched up, only to have strong hands pin him in place. He knew no rush of panic, just as he hadn’t felt fear when Derek had pinned him earlier. It sounded ridiculous but felt right. Better. This was the kind of control he’d been striving for so frantically in the wake of the Nogitsune’s death, the kind he could surrender to and trust a lot more than his own fragile control. An anchor.


 Derek nosed against the damp cloth at the hollow of his groin. His heat and the touch of his face there, the embarrassing, wonderful, terrifying intimacy of it made a dry sob catch in Stiles’s throat and his cock throbbed, just beside Derek’s lips. He dared a glance down and saw green eyes that had gone dark watching his expression.


 “You’re going to come so hard you’ll sleep for a week,” Derek promised darkly and before Stiles could work his mouth into the shape of real words, Derek pressed his own parted lips around Stiles’s clothed prick.


 Stiles arched into the unbearable heat, the barest hint of teeth and stubble through wet cotton. He rocked into the manipulative mouth and dug his fingers so hard into the sheets they ached. He felt grounded in the midst of chaos. He felt anchored to the bed, to Derek, to himself by the places where they touched.


Derek wrapped his arms around Stiles’s thighs and parted them around his shoulders, pulling up so Stiles’s lower body was high off the bed, held by his strength. Derek’s mouth and nose nuzzled down the length of his cock, mouthing at his balls through the material with hot, deep breaths. Stiles could see him easily now, face buried in his crotch as if the smell and taste of Stiles through the barrier were an addictive force – catnip for werewolves. His fingers dug into Stiles’s lightly haired thighs as he pressed at the space just behind his balls with his nose.


 “Oh Fu–” Stiles cut off, writhing up, body out of control, head turning to the side and pressing hard into the sheets as pleasure pulsed through him and eradicated everything else. With his eyes squeezed shut he could hear Derek making low, throaty noises, noises a human couldn’t make and his cock oozed a thick trail of pre-come into his pubic hair.


 “Did that girl ever do this for you, Stiles?” The words were a vibration against his balls, Derek’s voice was rough and low and coherency just felt wrong in this situation.


 Malia had touched him, but not much. Not like this. There hadn’t been time or patience for either of them, not with them both so shiny new at it and both thinking maybe it’d be the only chance either of them had to feel anything like it. Stiles shook his head, cracking open his eyes to see Derek gazing at the exposed line of his throat. He liked it. Somewhere at the back of his mind, Stiles wondered just how many men or women had let Derek Hale completely take over like this. Not many, if the disbelieving hunger in green lust-darkened eyes meant anything. There had been many, he had no doubt, but he bet Derek had always been careful, so damn careful. But not with him. He revelled in that thought.


 “Yes,” he murmured, sliding his hands up to cover where Derek’s were digging blunt nails into his thighs. He rolled with the sensation of Derek sucking the tip of his cock through the cotton, grazing blunt teeth over the sensitive, plump head.


 Derek tilted his head to the side with a low, grumbling hum of enquiry, eyes ringed with bright blue that threatened to take over. He dragged a thumb back across Stiles’s thigh and pressed against his hole through the fabric of his underwear. He rubbed in firm, slow circles against the ring of muscles as he tried to suck him dry through useless boxers.


 “Don’t baby me!” Stiles ground out with impatience, frustration, need and desperation to make himself understood. He didn’t want special treatment; he didn’t want fuss or coddling. He wanted this, this strength, this fixed anchor, forcing him to turn back to reality again and not hide away in fear of nightmares. “Don’t. Don’t be…”  Don’t be gentle, don’t be pityingly nice. Don’t be anything but just like this. “I can’t take it!”


 Derek’s eyes flashed solid blue, whether with the instinctive need to provide or protect or some other werewolf imperative, Stiles wasn’t sure. The thumb at his hole pressed in, in what could only be promise and he cried out, every muscle he had clenching down and then quivering with want. Yes. Derek understood.


The next moment, he was dropped back onto the bed and Derek’s rough, now impatient hands tugged his soiled boxers off his body and tossed them to the floor. Stiles lay panting on the sheets, staring up at him in stunned gratitude as the cool air kissed his damp groin. His cock pulsed as he watched a blue-eyed werewolf shift back off the bed, enough to shed his jeans and shoes, so that Stiles’s gaze could roam every inch as Derek crawled back between his legs.


 Derek’s body was tight and toned, he knew that already, covered in a light sheen of sweat and his own cock thick, heavy and hard, jutting up against the fine trail of dark hair at his stomach. There was something predatory about him again, about the way he stalked his way up the bed until Stiles’s parted knees were just touching his hips. Hips finely outlined by a line of muscle that dipped down from his stomach.


 Fine lines of teasing pleasure dragged from his knees down his spread thighs and Stiles finally drew his gaze from Derek’s body to see claws grazing a light path down them, across his hips, though his pubic hair and up his belly. His stomach clenched and shuddered with the heat. Derek was watching his face, not his body, his expression making it obvious that he too was being driven by some need, some bone deep ache rather than logical thought.


 They were both chasing this rush, in need of it for their own reasons as well as each other’s. The claws skirted up his ribs, dragging across peaked nipples and Stiles shuddered, chest heaving hard. His fingers twitched, the only warning before they reached for Derek without his permission.


 He dragged his palms down Derek’s shoulders, across his pectorals until he reached the V of his stomach. There he hesitated, only long enough for the claws at his own nipples to drag up to his throat where he was so sensitive, and he grasped the heavy weight of Derek’s cock. Derek gasped, jerking a fraction but it was Stiles who groaned deep in his throat this time. Fuck. It was similar to his and yet nothing like it. About the same length, bit thicker but so hot and throbbing and moving on its own in his hand and he felt like he was on fire for it, like it was far more important than his own.


 “Yeah?” Derek asked, evidently seeing the thought racing through Stiles’s mind. He let the claw on his thumb drag down over Stiles’s lower lip. The places they had traced left fine, barely there red lines that hummed with delicious heat and Stiles rolled his body to feel them a little more, meeting piercing eyes without holding anything back. Surrender, anchoring, perfection. The chance to feel something that would make him remember why not slipping away was so important. The knowledge that he didn’t have to be put back together the way he had been before to be whole.


 “Yeah,” Stiles assured him, albeit breathlessly, stroking Derek’s thick shaft once from root to tip, milking a bead of clear fluid from the slit before he thumbed it. “Just…don’t–”


 “Baby you,” Derek finished for him, claws retracting away from sight as he slipped the pad of his thumb inside Stiles’s mouth, against his tongue. His expression was so intense and the way he said that word was so unfairly husky that Stiles’s stomach tightened almost painfully. He squeezed Derek’s cock again, stroking once, twice, three times before Derek pinned his wrists above his head once more.


 “Your mouth,” Derek murmured as he rolled his hips, letting his cock drag against Stiles’s as his breath fogged up his cheeks. He slid his shaft through the leakage in the hollow of Stiles’s stomach, coating himself in Stiles’s pre-come and growling softly from the pleasure of frotting against him.


 Stiles turned his head into Derek’s, nuzzling into his cheek, panting in his ear as he rose up to meet every thrust. Derek never elaborated any further about his mouth but he guessed he was pleased with it by the way he was humping him with abandon, grinding their pricks together with urgency that made him think Derek had forgotten his earlier cryptic promise.


 Suddenly, with a grunt of reluctance and eagerness, both, Derek pushed up, weight pressing into Stiles’s trapped wrists for a moment as he studied him, before he drew back.


 Immediately, guessing what Derek wanted, Stiles rolled over and knelt up on shaking knees, forcing himself into all fours. An inhuman sound was offered up in response and he shivered, feeling Derek’s palm clasp one cheek, squeeze his ass and tug gently to expose his hole. A thumb slid up and down his crack, hinting at the entrance before he found himself turned back onto his back once more.


 He landed on his back with a thump, legs akimbo, eased apart as Derek moved between them again. “Like this,” Derek murmured when Stiles stared up at him in confusion. He splayed a possessive hand down Stiles’s torso and grasped his cock again, pumping him slow and firm, eyes blazing. He seemed contemplative for a moment, fixated on Stiles’s lips until he spoke again. “Have you got that Vaseline you use in your bag?”


 Stiles blinked, stunned for a moment. He didn’t really consider Vaseline to have a scent but apparently the minute amount he used on his lips sometimes this time of year smelled enough for a werewolf nose. Scott used to tease him about it, about his ‘delicate skin’, but it’d been a habit since he was a kid, a ‘thing’ his mother has instilled in him perhaps when his mouth dried and cracked in certain weather. If Derek liked his mouth so much as a result though, he really didn’t care. He groaned, rolling his hips up to fuck himself into Derek’s hand.


 “Y-Yeah. One of the pockets,” he managed out, gasping when Derek stroked him harder, faster, thumb tugging at his frenulum with each toward stroke. Then, suddenly, it all stopped and Derek left him bereft and panting on the bed, staring up at the ceiling, overwhelmed by the loss for a moment. He didn’t turn his head toward the sound of rummaging in his bag, didn’t move an inch except to try and collect himself, calm his breathing until the bed dipped when Derek resumed his place.


 The pot of Vaseline wasn’t big but it was enough. Derek scooped some out onto his fingers and leaned over him again. One hand pressed Stiles’s to the sheets with just the ghost of a touch, his eyes staring invasively into Stiles’s as the fingers of his other hand caressed the cleft between Stiles’s cheeks. Stiles shuddered. His knees tensed either side of Derek’s torso, feet planted firmly on the bed below. His brow furrowed at the odd sensation of coarse fingertips circling round and round, flicking across the hot centre every now and then to make him jerk.


 Derek wasn’t smiling above him, his face perilously close but he looked pleased in a way that made warmth spread through the atmosphere between them. Stiles closed his eyes, unable to look at him for a moment, unable to accept being stared at as a moist fingertip slid inside, all the way in one smooth motion. He gasped. It was weird and Derek didn’t slow, drawing the digit back and forth, circling inside subtly to smear the Vaseline across his tight walls.


 “You’re gripping me,” Derek murmured and Stiles turned his head to the side on instinct at the embarrassing truth of it. His insides clenched with spasms. Derek brushed his stubble across Stiles’s smooth jaw with a humming growl of approval, rocking his hips fractionally so his heavy erection pushed against one of Stiles’s thighs. He curled his hand, letting his thumb massage Stiles’s perineum as he slid a second finger inside, slow and hard, curling, spreading and curling again, over and over in a maddening rhythm.


 “So weird,” Stiles breathed, arching his neck a little to welcome Derek’s mouth against his neck, to relish in the feel of him sniffing possessively at the hollow just below his jaw. “Feels…”


 “Overwhelming?” Derek’s words vibrated against his chin, teeth nipping gently there.


  Stiles’s toes gripped the sheets as a little zing of heat flared at that curl of fingers, at the way it zipped through his body and made his cock spit shamelessly onto his stomach. It felt weird. Tight, unnatural, his lower body tensing, wanting to fight it while at the same time relishing in the little shudders every other pass incited. Goosebumps rose up on his skin. He nodded, opening his eyes again to look up at Derek, so close, their mouths almost touching.


 “You’re going to be good at this,” Derek mused breathlessly, “you look so good.”


 Stiles could only guess. Eyes dark and shiny in the low light, skin flushed, body taut and yet rolling tentatively with Derek’s movements now. Derek’s fingers retreated, scooping up more Vaseline and pushing three fingers back in. Stiles tensed. The stretch felt unnatural and he fought it without meaning to. The gasp that spilled over his lips was caught by Derek’s mouth, devoured just as readily as the whimpering moan that followed.


 Yes, overwhelming, perfectly so. He tensed his arms under Derek’s hold, wanting to throw his arms around his neck, scrape at his shoulders, anchor himself to Derek in spite of the unnerving stretch. Three fingers spread him wide and smothered his insides with Vaseline.


 The stubble burned and he loved it, opening under Derek’s kiss, rocking into his fingers tentatively, not because they felt particularly good, but because the kiss did, because he wanted Derek to know he was melting, on fire and freezing to death all because of it. He hadn’t had all that much practise but it didn’t matter with his mind and all its accompanying baggage lost to the shadows beyond the bed. He flicked his tongue back against Derek as it swept through his mouth, melding his lips to every massaging caress Derek’s offered.


 The noises he was making, the needy, desperate gasping sounds, answered by Derek’s appreciative growls, it was all perfection. He fought against the hold on his wrists just to feel it, relaxed into the invasion of those fingers until everything felt soft and pliant inside. When they slid away, he felt empty, twitching around nothing and he panted as Derek’s lips left him too.


 Stiles’s no doubt glassy eyes tracked the wolf’s movements as he pulled back to look at the entrance to Stiles’s body, the place gasping for him so eagerly. His face burned and he didn’t care. Derek ran a thumb reverently against his twitching, moist entrance, still not letting the pressure up off his wrists. The awkward angle made every lean muscle stand out, made Derek’s expression catch the light leaking in through the shabby curtains.


 When Derek met his eyes again, slicking the rest of the Vaseline over his own aching hardness, his gaze was piercing blue. The wolf loomed deliciously close to the surface. Everything he was on display before everything of Stiles. Both as bare as the other. Stiles blinked, feeling almost star struck and yet riding a clear epiphany at the same time. His legs tensed, ready to turn over but Derek’s body between them held him in place the same as the hand still bruising his wrists just right.




 “I’m not going to baby you,” Derek breathed in that low tone, holding his gaze as he grasped his swollen, glistening cock and guided the head up and down the valley between his cheeks, sliding it across his gasping hole, grinding into the cleft. He fucked it shallowly without entering him, just letting the ridge beneath the head kiss his entrance with every pass. Stiles squirmed. Above him, Derek’s smile shone almost was bright as his eyes. “You’re going to get everything you want, Stiles, everything you need,” he assured him, “I’m going to give you all of it.”


 The husky promise in his voice was so much that Stiles shuddered, nodding, licking his lips and tasting Derek on them. He needed it so badly he felt like he was coming apart with desperation for it. His chest heaved and Derek’s wolf blue eyes followed the movement admiringly for a moment, before he leant back over him, taking Stiles’s knees with his shoulders so he was folded in half under the glorious weight of Derek’s bulk.


 “Look at me,” Derek urged and Stiles blinked open eyes he didn’t remember closing, relishing in the burn of the position, the weight of Derek and all of it. He felt the head of Derek’s cock push against his hole and his own pulsed neglected between them. A feeling of rightness he couldn’t remember ever knowing overcame him. Perhaps Derek saw this because he pressed his nose into Stiles’s neck again and rocked his hips forward.


 Stiles hissed and everything in him tensed. Derek slid inside in one, irrevocable, unstoppable slide, slow but unrelenting. He ached, he felt his body try and reject it but his mind relished it. Derek was in him to the hilt, holding fast inside. His aching, wet muscles clenched, almost panicked around the hard steel flesh. Suddenly his arms were free, clawing at Derek’s shoulders, earning him approving, low growls that vibrated against his throat, over the sensitive shell of his ear until it flushed under the attention.


 “Derek,” he murmured, voice sounding so unlike his own. Overwhelming. Yes. He closed his eyes and felt sharp wolf teeth that time at the start of his jaw, worrying gently. He shuddered again. So close, Derek was so close. It was like he was under his skin. “Yes,” he urged him breathlessly. The wolf, the man, he wanted it all, even as his body struggled to reject and accept it all at once. Derek’s snarl of lust against his cheek shook him and then Derek was drawing his hips back. It was an agonising pull, the fit so tight it felt as if he were being pulled inside out.


 “Uhh,” he grunted, whined all at once, like he was the wolf. Derek breathed hoarsely against his skin, rolling his hips shallowly now, fucking him with just the swollen tip, letting the tight muscles milk just beneath the flared head. Derek’s hand that had been braced above him smoothed across his forehead, disturbing the strands of hair sticking to his skin and smoothing it back in a messy disarray on its path down the back of his skull. Those fingers partially gripped, partially caressed his locks before settling on the back of his neck, where they squeezed, pulling Stiles’s head toward Derek’s mouth again.


 In spite of the discomfort, he rocked his body into Derek’s, groaning greedily into his lips again, his own fingers holding either side of Derek’s head, afraid he might vanish if he let go. His insides trembled, relaxing enough to draw him in deeper now. Derek shifted his hips, pushing up into him. Stiles pulled his knees as tight to his shoulders as they would go, toes scraping, gripping Derek’s hips, fingers holding him to the kiss so he could pant against his tongue.


 Derek made soft, appreciative growling sounds. “Greedy,” he managed between kisses, his smile palpable, urging a bashful, breathless one from Stiles in return. He was sinking into him easier, drawing back smoother. Everything gliding together like it fit. It was still a stretch, a burn but Stiles felt breathless with the need for more regardless. “That’s it,” Derek breathed, bracing his forearms against the bed either side of Stiles’s head now, holding it with both hands. Clawed fingers pricked gently, just enough to make Stiles shiver all over, an action that made Derek clench fangs tight.


 “You sure you’re not dreaming now?”


 Stiles gave a laugh that was breathy and tight from his compressed lungs. “Even my imagination isn’t this good.”


 “Your attention span is too short. I’d have turned into someone else by now if this were a dream.” A clawed thumb dragged over Stiles’s kiss and stubble bruised lower lip, drawing it down gently, parting his mouth so Derek could lick just inside at his tongue again. The wolfishness of it just made it all the more thrilling.


 “S’been you before, a lot, actually,” Stiles answered, face burning with the truth of it. Derek regarded him a moment, as if stunned and for a moment the inevitable pull of their hips stilled as he processed the words. Then he pushed back so he was kneeling, drawing Stiles’s hips up tight into his lap. The position laid Stiles out for him, letting his claws scratch just enough all the way down his torso.


 “I’ll have to try not to disappoint then,” Derek growled, evidently pleased, a smirk playing along his lips as he jerked inside, harder this time, chasing Stiles’s breath from him entirely. He did it again, again, not letting him catch himself, making Stiles scrabble at the sheet with his toes and fingers.


 Stiles’s eyes watered at the flicker of electric heat that bolted through him, somewhere inside, behind his balls, somewhere along the path of the swollen cock buried inside him. He choked on a cry and just let it happen, surrendered to the building pressure twisting his stomach in pleasurable knots, too overwhelmed to do more than gasp around a moan.


 “Derek,” he thought he managed, though almost incoherently. It was too much, and too wonderful and he thought he might burst into flames if Derek stopped. His eyes burned. He squeezed them shut, too good, too hot, too big, too good. He clenched as his body writhed now. The heat was so much he thought he was melting from the inside. His cock was still hard, stretching up against the tiny hairs at the base of his belly and oozing under Derek’s gaze. Claws gripped his hip while those of the other hand grazed up and down, making his belly recoil then arch alternatively into them, shivering in ticklish pleasure. Beads of sweat ran across his chest as they scraped just perfectly over a peaked nipple.


 “Your dick jumps when I…” Derek slid in again, his word shaking with breathless approval. “Yeah, just there.”


 “Shit,” Stiles grunted, scraping a hand over his face, his eyes, unable to cope with the intensity of it all. If he’d thought losing his virginity had been powerful once, it was nothing compared to this. This was driving him crazier than anything the Nogitsune had ever managed to do, taking him higher and higher, soaring above all logical reason and to a place where everything was just…right.


 Hot. His mouth felt dry from panting. He sought Derek’s gaze again, claws and fangs and eyes still blazing. Did he always wolf-out on the guys he fucked? He must’ve said the words aloud somehow because through his fuzzy brain he heard Derek laugh huskily, grip both hips tight and pull him hard, fast, relentlessly onto his lap.


 “Only the ones that really get to me,” he replied, and with that pull, slid his hands up to the small of Stiles’s back and hauled him upright, into his lap entirely. The rough jerk made Stiles hiss as he was seated fully, deeper than before, fingers curling at Derek’s shoulders. When he cracked his eyes open from the wince that had closed them, he was staring down into Derek’s face as Derek whispered, “problem?”


 With the wolf so close to the surface? With the ferocity? With losing his second virginity? Nope. Not a one. He felt more like himself than he had in weeks and yet different all at once. He shook his head.


 “Dude, only that you stopped moving,” he managed, something in his breathy tone making that smirk turn broader, whiter, sharper. Derek punched his hips upward and Stiles shifted on his knees over his lap, answering it with a low, grinding thrust of his own. Shit, that was…


 “Yeah, just there, right?” Derek licked at his ear to punctuate his words, sucked, chewed gently. Stiles groaned and rocked again, low, sweeping moves of his hips that caught his cock against Derek’s abdomen at the peak of each one.


 “There,” he agreed at the crest, the point where his cock pressed into hard muscle and the new, blinding, pulsing spot inside him caught on Derek’s throbbing hardness so good. “Fuck, there, I need…” His voice lost somewhere in a rough cry as Derek’s hips moved faster, harder again. He was grinding up at Stiles’s request and mercilessly milking every sparking bolt of pleasure from his body, until he had to dig his nails into Derek’s shoulders to keep from jerking off his lap.


 “When you come,” Derek breathed into his ear, biting at the lobe, “I’m going to flip you over and fuck you so hard into this mattress your orgasm is just going to keep on going and going.” He slid his hands up Stiles’s sweat dappled back, claws scraping, holding Stiles’s shoulders and directing his body to push into each thrust he gave it. Stiles’s leaking prick was trapped against his body entirely. The delicious dark promise in his voice made Stiles bite into his own lip to keep the embarrassing noises that wanted to spill out inside.


 “Going to plug you up so tight, bury myself inside you ‘til you pass out.” His voice was sin personified. He nudged at Stiles’s cheek with his nose, until he was looking at Derek again and dove forward, snagging the lip Stiles had been worrying between his own teeth, only briefly before sealing their mouths entirely.


 Stiles scraped at his neck and shoulders, frantic as the molten lava in his veins erupted and he quivered from head to toe, everything tightening, curling, hard and relentless. He pushed hard into Derek’s belly a final time, completely out of sync with the rough rhythm that had chased him over the edge and his climax spilled across Derek’s skin.


 A snarl of pleasure filled his mouth with the sweetest vibrations. He was still jerking in ecstasy, still coming as he was turned, pushed flat on his stomach, cheek pressed into the bedding and Derek plastered to his back, completely covering him. Derek surged into him that time. He was sore but clenched greedily at the re-entrance, fingers curling in the sheets at the delicious raw feeling. Derek’s mouth was on the back of his neck, his muscles, his skin sliding wetly against Stiles as he pinned him, fucked him into the sheets with brutal abandon.


 The vibrating sensation of the growls carried down his spine from where those lips gripped him. The cock in his ass fucked wet, loud, perfect sounds in the soft light of the room. His cock continued to pulse between his own belly and the sheets, as if the mattress and Derek’s hardness were squeezing every last drop out of him. His vision was white, his body felt like it was pulsing with an elongated orgasm and he was dimly aware of the long, drawn out sound of pleasure tearing his throat ragged. There was harsh, rough slapping, wet skin plunging into wet, clenching heat, bodies locking tight and then Derek sank into him a final time, spilling scalding essence into Stiles just as the shudders of his own orgasm settled to a low tingle.


 Derek braced his forearms either side of Stiles’s torso but remained covering him, remained inside him, rocking his hips gently now, slowly, as if he couldn’t quite help himself. He mouthed at the Stiles’s nape, his throat, his cheek, scenting, licking and nosing as he too shuddered with relief above him. Stiles turned his cheek to push back into the ministrations, clenching tired, sore muscles to relish in the slow burn of the afterglow, of Derek still buried inside him, fucking his come into him.


 Slowly, they settled back down into the sheets, everything slowing and calming with all the grace and gentleness of a feather drifting back down to earth after being taken by a sudden breeze. When at last they were both still, Stiles felt boneless, sated, too tired to even open his eyes or twitch, but at the same time more alive than he thought he’d ever felt. Derek’s weight still wasn’t fully on him, though his body completely covered him.


 Derek’s mouth at Stiles’s jawline carried blunt human teeth now that scraped at his skin a final time before Derek fell utterly still, nose just resting there, smelling him. Stiles didn’t believe for a second he could’ve smelled any good, apparently Derek thought so though. He liked that. He liked that Derek was still inside him and a part of him even liked that he was being pressed gently to the sheets by his presence, into the smatterings of his own orgasm on the sheets. He was held, wanted, understood as he was now, not just as who he was before and more than that, he’d found what he needed.


 He’d been so obsessed with control. But as the Nogitsune he’d been so powerful there was very little he couldn’t control, aside from the Nogitsune itself. A small, dark part of him had relished that control, that power, the ability to crush anything he faced after being the joke of their odd little pack for so long. He’d thought he’d needed to control his life to escape the nightmares, the creeping shadow the Nogitsune had left inside him, but it wasn’t control he’d needed to find a way forward.


 To find the person he was now, after everything that had happened, he needed just this. He needed acceptance, needed to lean on someone else, let them drive while he just tried to piece together the jigsaw that was his life now. Handing control over to someone else so he could do that, trusting someone else to take care of him, when he’d taken care of everything since his mom died, that was all he needed. Now he saw that, saw his way forward, everything seemed so much easier, even breathing. He choked with the intensity of the relief.


 The dry sob that had sounded in his head must’ve escaped his throat because Derek lifted off him. The weird sensation of him withdrawing as he rolled onto his side made Stiles twitch. He remained on his back, boneless, sated and dopey with relief of it all, even as Derek smoothed a clawless hand over his shoulder.


 “What’s the matter?” Derek asked, voice rough from misuse but touched with concern now.


 Stiles stretched his limbs, feeling the pleasant ache, but couldn’t move any more than that. “I can’t sleep unless I’m in the middle of the bed,” he complained sleepily. At least for now, the Nogitsune seemed so far away. It was like another lifetime from here, warm and sticky on this bed with Derek, with Derek sighing in a mixture of frustration and happiness at his words, tugging him back so his back was against Derek’s chest. Derek’s nose was dragging gently against the back of his neck again. It was nice, undoubtedly a wolf thing but it all felt too good to tease Derek about it now. He’d tease him about it tomorrow.


 He wondered if orgasms were supposed to be this cathartic?


 “D’n wanna be the little spoon,” he mumbled, words muffled as he turned his face a little into the pillow to give Derek more access to his neck. Being nuzzled to sleep was definitely therapeutic too. Nice. Nice was good. He wondered how long this blissful fuzziness would last. How much of the darkness he’d been lost in these past weeks would return once he woke tomorrow and the catharsis of the most intense, intimate orgasm he’d ever had in his life had worn off?


 “Go to sleep, Stiles,” Derek mumbled against his skin, apparently somehow sensing his thoughts. Even with the light filtering in through the shabby curtains, Stiles drifted.


*                        *                        *


 It was dark when consciousness tugged at Stiles’s senses. He winced, groaning softly. His body ached all over but surprisingly his head felt light, devoid of the fuzzy weight that sleeplessness had plagued him with. He felt out of sorts though and blinked crusty eyes at the dark room and wiped with the back of his hand when they resisted. Complete darkness. What time was it even?


 He usually set an alarm on his phone to wake him, allow himself only a short sleep; just enough to keep him from collapsing but not enough to let him tumble into deeper sleep. Well, at least, too much of a deeper sleep. He’d researched REM cycles and ninety minutes or so didn’t affect him. For whatever reason the panic and terrors only settled in after more than a couple of hours at a time. A psychological response, probably, since he’d researched that too of course.


 Then, slowly, as his eyes adjusted, he caught the soft gleam of unnatural eyes in the dark and jumped, his vision focussing enough to just make out Derek sitting in the chair beside his bed. It all came back in a slow motion montage. His skin flushed and he swallowed, wiping at his sleepy eyes again, conscious of any crust lingering there that werewolf eyes would be able to see in the dark. It was weird to hold that gaze when he could only just make out the identity of the person in the chair and Derek, no doubt, could still see every mole on his skin.


 “What time is it?” Stiles asked at last, voice rough from disuse. There was a blanket over him, but it only rested just across his hipbones, barely concealing anything. To adjust it now would just make him look like a shy virgin school girl. He steeled himself to remain still under that gaze, even when Derek reached over to turn on the lamp on the side table, illuminating the immediate area with dim, ungenerous light.


 “You were asleep for almost twenty-one hours,” Derek replied in his usual tone, warm, husky, potent. Stiles swallowed again, swiping his tongue across dry lips. Those eyes, dark in the dull light now followed the movement and then Derek reached down the side of the bed, out of sight, producing a bottle of water – from Stiles’s bag no doubt.


 Stiles took it gratefully, shifting up so he was reclined against the cushions. The slightly more upright position made him squirm, however, at the bruising pressure on his ass and thigh muscles. He shifted uneasily as he drank. He hadn’t thought it was that noticeable but apparently it had been obvious enough for Derek. Those teeth flashed in a brief, knowing smile that made Stiles’s throat burn with the extension of the blush. Never one to let embarrassment or awkwardness win, especially with Derek, Stiles sat up a little straighter against the headboard and stared directly at him.


 “Well, you did say until I passed out,” he said. That smile broadened, almost indulgent and Derek reached for the large paper coffee cup that Stiles hadn’t noticed on the side table, sipping as he considered Stiles over the rim. Distracting himself by downing the water from the bottle, Stiles mulled things over. Twenty-one hours. He wasn’t naïve enough to think his nightmares of the Nogitsune were gone for good, or that his struggles were over, but it was as if there was a light now ahead of the surrounding darkness. He could go to sleep without losing himself. He could lose control without the world coming to an end. It was possible. There were possibilities again. There was hope.


 When the water was gone he set the empty bottle on the side table and tipped his head back against the headboard, dragging his fingers through his hair. “I haven’t slept for longer than a couple of hours in…” He trailed off. Neither of them needed him to verbally conclude that statement.


 Derek made a non-committal noise and when Stiles cocked his head to the side he could see he was still watching him, as if waiting for something. “Is that coffee?” Stiles asked in the end. Companionable silence was never really something he could enjoy for long. But then Derek was well-aware of his inability to keep quiet. Aware of everything, really. All of him.


 “I think you’ve had enough caffeine in your system to last even a werewolf lifetime,” Derek said, but handed the generous cup over regardless. It was hot still and more than half full. “They have a limited room service here. Only tea, coffee and sandwiches but more than I was expecting,” Derek answered the unasked question as Stiles sipped the sub-par coffee, only realising as the second gulp slid down his throat that Derek lips had been around the rim a moment before. Derek’s lips had also…


 “My dad started limiting my Adderall when he caught me taking too much to avoid sleep. Dangerous and stupid I guess, in hindsight lucky he caught me.” And he really didn’t mean to say any of this but as usual, he couldn’t help himself. “So I had to try and self-medicate with the caffeine. But you know, the energy drinks and bars and stuff? There’s more than caffeine in there to help keep you awake.”


 He looked down to where the sheet lay perilously low over his hipbones. The thin trail of hair leading down from his navel was like a beacon in the dim light. His mind was replaying every moment of the night before, every touch, every goddamned growl. “In terms of recovery, they’re all failures in the face of werewolf sex though.”


 “And teenage hormones,” Derek supplied, but there was good humour there, so reminiscent of their usual banter that Stiles’s heart pounded just a little faster. He smiled back, nothing grandiose or dramatic but more real than anything he’d managed to offer up anyone else in the last few weeks.


 “So…” he began, sounding more like himself the more awkward the conversation became, feet busy under the sheets, fidgeting more the more awake he became. “Room service brought sustenance. Does that mean you sat and watched me sleep for the whole twenty-one hours?”


 “Yes.” A simple, concise, unashamed answer.


 Stiles blinked. “Right. So… You must be pretty bored by now, huh?”


 Derek just stared at him for a moment, a world of unreadable thoughts visible in darkened green eyes. “I was surprised actually.”


 “Oh…yeah?” Was it just his imagination or was Derek leaning forward in his chair a bit? Or was it Stiles that was leaning forward?


 “I thought you’d talk in your sleep,” Derek offered, but there was something so warm and hypnotic in his voice that had Stiles very conscious of each breath skipping across his lips.


 “Disappointed?” Stiles asked, trying for flippancy. Derek didn’t smile but his eyes smouldered. He stretched one arm across Stiles’s body to support his weight on the bed as he leaned over him, considering him closely. He smelled just the same, musky yet also fresh somehow, like rain on warm, damp leaves and there was something else, something more personal that made his cheeks flame all the hotter. Sex. They smelled of each other, of sex with each other.


 “Not even a little bit,” he breathed.


 Stiles’s eyes raked over Derek’s face, his eyes, everything, trying to decipher what this was. Closing his eyes, he tilted his head up. Derek’s mouth was soft and damp from the coffee, tasted and smelled like it too. They brushed together briefly, Stiles exhaled roughly only to feel Derek’s free hand slide up his naked torso to hold him in place. He blinked his eyes open, seeing a flicker of reticence there that made his awkwardness rear its ugly head.


 “Stiles,” Derek began.


 “Ah, it’s okay, man,” Stiles started, fidgeting as if to slide out from under him. “I get how it is. It was just…you know…”


 Derek snatched the coffee out of his hand and set it on the table but didn’t move away enough for Stiles to move from underneath him. That stubble-covered jaw was set, gaze just as hard and God help him but it was only making Stiles harder. Derek didn’t need to be able to see the growing hardness pushing at the sheet to know it either. By the subtle flare of his nostrils, Stiles guessed he already knew.


 “This can’t continue,” Derek said.


 Stiles’s chest tightened. He tried for a flippant smile again. “Hey, dude, like I said, it’s totally fine. I get it. One night stand, emotions heightened, too much of a good thing–”


 “Not this,” Derek snapped impatiently, gesturing between the two of them. “Not…” He worked his jaw as he visibly struggled for words. While Stiles’s mouth ran a mile a minute with everything and anything that popped into his head, Derek seemed to torture himself in silence over every little syllable and Stiles had absolutely no idea what he was about to say next.


 “The sleeplessness,” Derek managed at last, “the reclusiveness, the running away from your life just because something awful happened to you.”


 Stiles stiffened. “Awful?” he repeated, staggered. “Awful? I got one of my friends killed, Derek. I hurt all of you. I put you all in danger–”


 “The Nogitsune did all that, not you,” Derek interrupted roughly. “And I’m not stupid enough to think I can convince you of that. But your friends, your dad can. They’re willing to try at least. They want to put it behind them and move forward, they want to start again. Don’t you think they deserve the chance to do that? Rather than make them worry about you?”


 Stiles winced. “Thought you said you weren’t my therapist?” he spat. “Listen, don’t think because you partially deflowered little semi-virgin Stiles you need to feel responsible for me or anything.”


 Derek flinched as if slapped.  Stiles could feel Derek’s fingers curling in the sheets either side of him in anger. “You can’t go on the way you’ve been doing. Can’t keep running away.”


 “Says you–”


 “If you don’t go back, if you don’t even try then the Nogitsune wins.”


 The words were so on par with the ones that had raced through Stiles’s mind last night, when passion and intimacy had chased the lingering echoes of the darkness away. They stunned him. He blinked, swallowed, then turned his gaze away. It wasn’t the answer Derek was looking for. A knuckle nudged at his jaw until he was staring into those darkened green eyes again.


 “It doesn’t have to be right now, it doesn’t even have to be this week but it has to be soon. You know why, right?”


 Stiles worked his mouth but no sound came out. Yes. He did know he’d been lost too long, mind and body running on empty under his attempts at escape. He couldn’t speak, he could barely breathe because he knew it made sense. He knew there was no way to come back from this except to overcome it. Running away wasn’t an option, not now he’d tasted the brief glimpse of feeling something that wasn’t just pain, something good, seen that it was possible again.


 “Yeah, just… I… Not today,” he managed at last, shame at his weakness eating away at any flicker of arousal Derek’s proximity had brought. To his surprise, there was that almost smile again, skirting along those lips, clearly pleased.


 “That’s fine.” Few words as always. Stiles frowned at him in confusion.


 “Fine?” he repeated quietly, unsure. He’d felt a little of himself return a moment before, but now it was lost again, floating wayward in the surrounding winds of uncertainty. “Just how long do you think we can stay in this room with you watching me sleep?”


 The smile was his only answer. Those eyes flicked down to his mouth, then up to meet his gaze again and Derek leaned in, brushing his cheek against Stiles’s. It was so simple, so odd and yet so Derek that it made him shudder. A werewolf kiss of sorts, a scenting caress, followed by the warm feeling of Derek’s breath at his neck and ear. He turned his head to the side on instinct, welcoming more and felt as well as heard the rumbling approval from Derek’s lips against his skin.


 “So, this, us,” Stiles gasped out when stubble teased his throat in places already sensitive from the night before.


 “It’s not a pity fuck, Stiles,” Derek answered an unasked question once again, biting gently with blunt human shaped teeth so that Stiles’s hips bucked subtly. He let his mouth trail back up, scenting Stiles’s jawline all the way up both sides, before stilling, resting his forehead against Stiles’s, eyes closed.


 “Cool,” was all Stiles could manage. His fingers curled in the sheets a few times before sliding tentatively forward, covering Derek’s cautiously. “So…how long does it last?” Until he was all better? Until Derek, inevitably, got a better opportunity?


 “You do quiet contemplation like a thunder storm,” Derek mused against his mouth, eyes open and shining again when Stiles snapped back to the present. The fingers below his intertwined and gripped firmly. “And you’re as obvious as a brick to the head.”


 Stiles parted his lips to retort, of course, but the sound was stolen by Derek’s mouth, swallowed and quashed into nothing more than a groan of surprised need. His tongue swept inside, sharing coffee taste and lust, lips massaging firmly, stunning his insecurities into dazed silence and devouring anything even remotely close. “As long as you want, as much as you want,” Derek offered between kisses, teeth catching on Stiles’s bottom lip to punctuate the point before their mouths melded together again.


 What if he wanted everything? Stiles wrenched his fingers out of Derek’s and gripped his neck, the back of his head, not caring if his fingers scrabbled clumsily at the skin. He didn’t want to let an inch of space come between them. He wasn’t an idiot. Maybe in a few months, years, whatever, he would want something else, would find this startling euphoria Derek brought him no longer offered what he needed. But right now, the idea made a choking pressure crush his constricted lungs. What if he wanted all of it and never wanted to let it go?


 “Yes,” Derek growled, leaving Stiles wondering if he’d said something aloud or if he really was just as obvious as a brick to the head.


 When Derek tore his lips away to bite at his chin and the tender flesh just below, Stiles jerked again, fingers digging into Derek’s scalp in want. “Last night,” Stiles panted, “you were…are you always like that?” Possessive, tender, hungry, perfect. Blunt teeth grazed his adam’s apple, followed it, teased it, followed by a tongue as it moved with Stiles’s words. He swallowed. Derek sucked. Fuck.


 “Only when I really enjoy myself,” Derek replied, voice full of promise as his fingers skipped slowly down Stiles’s torso in barely there, tickling caresses.


 “Only with me.” It wasn’t a question – mostly. Maybe. Derek only got like that with him. Would only be like this, this close, with him. He wanted to be sure.


 “Yours.” Did Derek’s voice always sound torn between a murmur and a growl?


 “Since when?” he gasped. His brain was getting cloudy and fuzzy with a different kind of mist now. One that rose from perspiration and hunger of the kind he never imagined. He knew there was something important here, something about when this had all changed and why. His affection for Derek had grown slowly over time, so that he couldn’t pinpoint it exactly. And he’d fantasised about him from the start, even when he hadn’t really liked him he’d found him attractive. But this hunger? It felt like it’d blindsided him. It was so far removed from his little teenage crush that’d crept up on him it had all the subtlety of a hurricane.


 “Last night,” Derek replied distractedly, just as Stiles thought the words himself. Last night. That’s when it had all changed. He’d felt desire and desired, felt understood, felt passion of various kinds for the first time in so long. Derek had given him that and he wanted more.


 “I saw you on the edge of a cliff, resisting. I’ve never seen anything like it before.” There was awe teasing at the edges of Derek’s murmuring growl again. It was like honey and gravel all at the same time but Stiles was sure it hadn’t always been. The questing fingers trailed over the hollow of his hipbone and Stiles jerked, cock hard again and jutting up against nothing as the sheet slid away. The curious touches avoided his erection, knuckles just brushing his balls as fingertips dipped between his cheeks. “Sore?”


 Fuck. Stiles didn’t care. He shifted his legs apart clumsily, welcoming the pad of a calloused thumb as it circled his puckered entrance. “Don’t care,” he managed out. Derek’s nose was appreciating his clavicle again. God this scenting thing, this smell thing, the werewolf thing, it really shouldn’t turn him on as much as it did. He felt like he was burning up from the inside out.


 “Why?” Were werewolves supposed to tease their prey before going in for the kill?


 “Because you’re…I’m…I…!” Stiles rocked his hips up, pushing his cock into Derek’s stomach as his mind fizzed out and dissipated into incoherent wisps of heat and stars. Because Derek had always got to him, always. Now he was making Stiles remember things the way they should be instead of retreating away from it all, as well as making him see them in new ways all at once. He wasn’t fixing him but he was making it possible for Stiles to fix himself, giving him the reason to want to.


 He couldn’t rely on Derek to make him better. Derek could leave him the second they arrived back at Beacon Hills, could change his mind. It was dangerous, having this one anchor that could so easily be torn away and capsize any attempt at recovery at any moment. But danger, risk wasn’t enough of a reason not to even try. Definitely not a reason not to relish in every moment of it.


Should Derek be coming onto Stiles right now? Should Stiles be having sex with anyone right now? Probably not, but reality wasn’t as picture perfect as common sense. Besides, it was hard to argue with how good it felt.


 “…want to be yours.” If Derek was his, for however long, then he wanted the same connection, as sharp and beautiful as claws piercing through skin, as his own blunt nails digging into Derek’s shoulders.


 “Mmm, I like that.” A long sweep of tongue stole the beads of sweat dappling his hairless chest as it heaved without breath. “Mine.” Stiles’s cock spat wetly between them and his entrance twitched at the maddeningly light touches. He was sore, tender and yet so hungry for more of last night he could care less. Apparently his stomach could, however. It chose that moment to grumble loudly, the sound stilling them both and stretching out far longer than was necessary.


 Stiles dragged a hand over his face. “Seriously?” He grumbled mortified. Derek chuckled against his chest, dragging his hand almost apologetically against Stiles’s cock and balls as he shifted up and back onto his heels to regard him. When Stiles looked at him properly, he noticed belatedly that Derek was wearing only dark underwear and nothing else. The sight of lean muscle and hair and that almost smile did nothing to abate his arousal. He cursed his empty stomach.


 “There’s plenty of time for everything after you eat, you know?” Derek mused.


 Stiles grasped at his familiar defence of humour, or an attempt at it anyway. “Yeah? Well don’t be so sure of that, I was half a cherry until last night, my itinerary is extensive, man.”


 Derek’s eyes seemed to flash with something deeper than amused fondness and arousal. He cocked his head and then slid off the bed to his feet, reaching for his jeans. “We’ll find time, I’m sure.” He pulled his jeans on and seemed to have no problem at all locating his shirt and jacket in the dim light. A glance at the window showed Stiles that while he’d slept, Derek had hung one of the towels over the window to prevent any of the fluorescent light from outside from seeping in.


 “The food portion of room service finished at ten,” Derek said conversationally as he shrugged his jacket on. “But there’s a gas station across the way, they have pastries or something. I’ll grab something from there.”


 It was on the tip of Stiles’s tongue to ask how he knew that if he hadn’t left the room since Stiles fell asleep, then he remembered who he was dealing with there. He shifted up higher in bed and reached for the sheet, subtly pulling it over himself as he moved. “Maybe I’ll er…have a shower while you’re gone,” he said, thinking if Derek could smell the food at the gas station he could definitely smell a recently fucked teenage boy who hadn’t showered since he left home yesterday – the day before, he wasn’t sure how that worked at this ridiculous pre-dawn hour.


 “If you’re still in there when I get back, maybe I’ll join you.”


 Stiles was sure he’d never seen Derek Hale so…playful. Their past banter had always been a bit…intense. Maybe unleashing the wolf last night a little had unearthed something in him? Maybe it was just…him? He secretly hoped it was a bit of both. Apparently they had all the time in the world to find out.


 “Oh, I’m sure I’ll still be in there – you know, got to wash behind the ears, all the crevices.” Did he seriously just say that?


 Derek paused with his hand on the door handle and the almost smile bloomed wide and amused, eyes shining. “Be thorough. I’ll check,” he said with a voice full of promise.


 Stiles swallowed, getting to his feet, holding the sheet around his waist although he wasn’t entirely sure why. “And after?” he asked, again, not entirely sure why, part of him still clawing at some final sign of security before he threw caution to the wind and stepped forward into the unknown, into recovery and Derek and daring to hope.


 Derek released the door handle and returned to stand before him. He slid his hand over Stiles’s haphazard bed-hair and let the warmth of his palm settle at the nape of his neck, gripping gently. Comfort rippled from the contact and Stiles stepped forward a little, his grip on the sheet not quite as white-knuckled. His stomach rumbled again but even the embarrassing noise didn’t disturb the moment this time.


 “I’ll stay here and watch you sleep for the next decade if that’s what it takes,” Derek said seriously.


 Stiles moistened his lips. “If that’s what it takes to what?”


 “To make you understand.” There was no hesitation in Derek’s answer but there was a vague uncertainty, again, as if he wasn’t quite sure how to phrase it.


 With a frown, Stiles asked, “Understand–?” He was cut off with a small jerk at the back of his neck, tugging him against a kiss that was slow and languid this time. There was the smallest flicker of tongue but mostly just lips and low-burning heat, an intimate comprehension dawning between them that had nothing to do with sex. When they drew apart, the contact was punctuated by a look from piercing green eyes and at last he understood. He understood perfectly without any need for words.


*                        *                        *


 “Is there time to grab another coffee from the gas station across the road?” Stiles asked as he toed on his shoes. The gas station stuff was surprisingly good, especially compared to the tasteless stuff the motel served as part of room service – and that was even with the six spoons of sugar he flavoured his coffee with.


 Derek cocked his head to regard him from where he stood in the doorway, framed by the morning light streaming in from the outside. It wasn’t exactly sunny but it was bright and rain seemed far away for now. “We can stay another night, if you want,” he offered, evidently sensing Stiles’s uncertainty.


 Stiles winced. They’d been here three nights altogether. After charging his phone he’d turned it on that morning and been struck with guilt at the onslaught of messages and voicemails from his dad, Scott and the others. He had left his dad a note but that didn’t seem anywhere near enough or fair or anything other than selfish now, looking back on it. He’d needed to escape, to get away but his dad deserved so much better.


 Feeling like shit didn’t stop him from realising it was time though.


 Before he’d been able to change his mind, he’d sent a text to his dad saying he was fine, he was sorry and he’d be home that night. He felt trepidation roil and surge in his throat like bile, felt fear stir for the first time in days but he knew it was time. His dad would be pissed, they all would be, but they loved him too and even the thought of the fallout for his runaway couldn’t overshadow his desire to go home, to try and find some sort of normal again.


 A warm hand on his shoulder made him glance up and he smiled. They’d decided to gently omit Derek’s part in his escape but be honest when they told them that Derek had brought him home. It could only help when they eventually got to the point where they would have to tell Sheriff Stilinski that his teenage son had an older werewolf boyfriend that had once been on Beacon Hills’ Most Wanted list. He smirked at the thought of that conversation and pushed to his feet. Probably best to leave that one for when the dust had settled a little from his return.


 “No, it’s time,” he said, not for the first nor last time that day.


 Derek studied him for a moment, then nodded, squeezing Stiles’s shoulder, then the back of his neck gently, before heading toward the open door. “Leave your window open tonight, I’ll slip in when your dad is finished grounding you for the rest of your natural life.”


 Oddly enough, that made Stiles grin despite the guilty weight in his belly. “As long as you’re patient. I think he’s going to yell himself hoarse on this one. Looks like he had all of Beacon Hills out looking for me the last few days. He’s going to flip.” That was after he’d hugged him so tight he couldn’t breathe and told him that he loved him, more than anything. It really was time to go home. Time to try. Time to start getting better.


 He paused as he picked up his bag and looked at the beds. They’d made them as best they could out of respect, in deference to the fact they’d had sex on once twice and when they hadn’t been doing that, they’d been sprawled on the other bed, limbs knotted together among the sheets. At least both beds looked slept in.


 He’d never heard Derek talk so much in all the time he’d known him as he had in the last few days. He seemed to like offering up little teasing jibes at Stiles’s expense, which was oddly nice, like Derek knew he could take it. Like their bickering, strange relationship from the past had taken the next step but not changed beyond recognition. Derek liked to listen mostly though, which worked out pretty well for Stiles, who had started to find a little of his voice again at least and there was a certain intimacy in whatever silences did fall between them now.


 Despite spending more time wrapped around each other for talking and sleeping than sex the room still had a distinct musky smell. Stiles had teased Derek that the wolf in him must like it and the ruddy flush to his face had been all the answer he needed. Stiles couldn’t say he disliked it either, but the cleaning staff probably wouldn’t appreciate it. They’d left the window open and left a tip on the side table, more out of guilt than anything.


 Whatever this was between the two of them, it may not have fixed anything but it made him feel safe, happy, made him care enough to try and start getting better. It made him think of his dad and Scott and home with a sense of longing rather than bitter fear for the first time in weeks. Derek didn’t take his shit, never had really and was inarticulate enough to say what he meant rather than what he thought Stiles wanted.  It wasn’t a fix-all but it was warm and filled him with a revitalising little rush that made him feel like he could do this, he could, even when it wasn’t so easy.


 Derek was watching him with this frustrated yet fond expression that was all eyebrows. It was so brilliantly new and there were no guarantees, they were both a little broken, ragged around the edges but Stiles thought he was ok with that. Perhaps it was a little dangerous, perhaps it would all go wrong but hope could be a dangerous thing as well to some. He had enough hope to try. To try and find himself, to have this with Derek. If it all worked out it would be worth the risk and if it didn’t, he’d faced worse.


 “Hey,” Derek said softly, his eyes warm. He stepped forward to smooth his fingers over Stiles’s wrist, then up his arm, stroking gently, all the little hairs prickling in his wake. In the end his slightly calloused hand settled on Stiles’s neck, fingers gripping gently, thumb smoothing along the bottom of Stiles’s jaw. A comforting, anchoring touch that felt more intimate and pleasurable than perhaps even a kiss.


 Stiles was definitely not telling anyone that cuddling on the bed was actually nicer than the sex, as amazing as the sex was. Mind-blowing, even, insanely good and he was definitely eager for more. Much more, in the various ways and positions he’d been fantasising about since puberty hit and whatever Derek could think of too but…yeah, just the touching was pretty perfect, sent tendrils of intimate, calming warmth through his body. He thought Derek liked it best too.


 “You okay?” Derek asked, studying his face.


 Stiles cocked his head and offered him a grin. “Yeah,” he breathed. “Yeah I think I am.” Making up his mind, Stiles tossed his bag at Derek, who caught it easily.


 “What are you doing?” Derek asked, eyebrow raised, the question no sooner out of his mouth than Stiles leapt forward. He jumped on the surprisingly springy mattress, careless of his shoes and the noise or anything else, using the bed as a trampoline and narrowly avoiding hitting his head on the ceiling. A burst of relieved laughter jerked out of him and he jumped until his heart was pounding and his chest was aching for lack of breath. He held Derek’s gaze from where the werewolf stood, framed by the open door before flopping hard onto his back, star-fished and breathless on the bed.


 “Feel better for that?” Derek asked, eyes bright with amusement as he came to stand over him, Stiles’s bag slung over his shoulder. Stiles beamed, unable to speak for a moment as his lungs struggled to draw air back into them. In the end, he just nodded, heart thudding wildly in his chest. Derek’s free hand slid across the bedding to grip Stiles’s as he spiralled back down from the clouds of adrenaline. He’d never felt so alive.







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