Warnings: Mentions of canon typical violence
Spoilers: Mild spoilers for season 3a. AU Canon divergence after 3.12.
Characters: Derek/Stiles (brief mentions of Cora, Sheriff Stilinski, Deaton, Scott & Isaac/Allison)
Word Count: 5,900
Summary: Every instinct was telling Derek to turn and fight, but that was a risk he couldn't afford...Stiles had no idea what he wanted after high school, but he knew he wouldn't find it in Beacon Hills.
A/N: This is my first Teen Wolf fic apart from a drabble written about a year ago. As usual for my first fic in a fandom, it's light on the porn side of things till I get a feel for the characters.
Derek rubbed a hand across his face, stubble longer than he normally let it grow almost soft against his fingers. He didn't want to open his eyes. He wanted to just slump back down into the mattress and pretend his life was one that allowed him the luxury of lazing in bed. They needed to go though, couldn't chance more than one night in the same town.
He didn't know how much more aimless driving was ahead before they might have a chance to stop, rest, and fix things. He stretched, shoulders stiff, leg muscles screaming for a chance to run. Over a week of almost nonstop driving had him feeling caged, every instinct wanting to turn and fight instead of running, but that was a risk he couldn't afford.
Derek turned his head to look across the dingy motel room to the other single. Stiles was sprawled across it, still fully clothed. He hadn't even bothered to slip under the covers. There was something disturbing about his complete stillness, exhaustion overcoming his body's inability to not fidget. Derek's mouth thinned at the thought.
The damn kid should be at college, not running for his life.
When it was time to apply to colleges in senior year, Stiles hadn't a clue what he wanted to do. His grades had slipped, he spent more time researching an assortment of supernatural creatures than he did schoolwork. The last day of the deadline he sat in his room with an assortment of applications filled out, most of them for colleges close to home. He hadn't sent a single one off early, and his choices had started to dwindle.
After Deucalion and the Darach things had quietened down, but there was always something the pack needed him to research, something going bump in the night that the pack felt it had to bump back. Scott was the alpha, he spent more and more time pulling his pack together, Isaac, Alison, Lydia, the twins. Peter disappeared, Derek and Cora never came back. Stiles felt himself drifting.
He had ripped up every single application.
In the end he applied to a college in New York that specialised in criminal justice. If nothing else it would make his dad happy, though the fact it was on the other side of the country was even more appealing. Actually, that had probably made his dad happy too.
That night he had sent a text to Derek.
What's New York like?
He hadn't expected an answer, and he didn't get one.
He sent another anyway.
Thinking of going to college there. Don't think BH and I are meant to be a happily ever after.
When his acceptance letter came Stiles had been relieved. Despite everything he had been through with the pack, he didn't think he really wanted to be part of it.
Three weeks into his criminology major he switched to world history.
Derek glanced across to the passenger seat where Stiles, still bleary eyed, sipped the coffee Derek had bought him. It had taken Derek a few minutes to shake him awake half an hour ago, skipping out of the motel before it was even truly light. They had been making sure to keep their route as random as possible. They came to an intersection and Derek turned, not even bothering to check the road signs.
He gritted his teeth, trying to think of anything to distract himself from their situation. He was going to rip the fucking witch apart if, when, they found her. Stiles looked across at him when a noise, more growl than anything else came unbidden at the idea of tearing her limbs from her body. Derek pushed the thoughts aside as he caught Stiles' glance. Dark circles beneath his eyes standing stark against too pale skin.
"It's not your fault," Stiles said quietly, turning to look back out the windshield.
Derek's fingers tightened on the steering wheel. It really was.
About the only thing to go their way since Derek had turned up at Stiles' door dripping blood, was that the witch's tracking spell was being confused by the fact neither one of them had any destination in mind. As long as they stayed on the move, choosing direction haphazardly, she stayed one step behind, unable to finish what she had started.
They drove mostly in silence. Any new ideas or strategies had dried up a few days ago. As much as Derek hated the idea of seeking help from Beacon Hills, they hadn't been able to think of anything else. Deaton was working on something he thought might help. They just had to stay ahead of the witch long enough for him to do whatever he was doing.
He could see Stiles idly toying with the frayed edges on the hem of the hoodie he was wearing, long fingers tugging at threads, making it worse. If Derek didn't already know that Stiles was exhausted, the silence would have confirmed it. The hyperactive kid he first met might have grown up, but he was still incapable of being in the same room as Derek and not finding something to argue about.
As the days blended together, that silence ate at Derek, fed his guilt. If Deaton didn't call soon it might not matter. The witch's attack that last night in New York had hit Stiles hard, and sapped his energy to the point of dangerous exhaustion. If the witch caught up with them, Derek didn't know if he could fend her off long enough for Stiles to escape.
They all got drunk the night they graduated from high school. The humans more so, but the werewolves managed to get a pretty decent buzz using a mix of herbs Stiles read about. As those things tend to go, the group broke up into its various couples. Scott in an effort to pretend Isaac and Alison didn't leave together hung around the longest, keeping Stiles company.
They talked about all the shit they had been through the last couple of years, the good and the bad. Eventually they talked about what the future held. In a few short months Stiles would be gone, so would some of the others. Stiles didn't feel as bad about that as he thought he should. If anything he was looking forward to it, not just college, but getting out of Beacon Hills. He didn't know if that made him a coward. It probably did, a coward who couldn't wait to run away.
He'd miss his dad though. They had finally fixed their relationship. There wasn't much Stiles kept from his dad anymore. He'd even told him quietly a few days before graduation that he was glad he was going to school on the other side of the country. His dad had just pulled him into a hug and said he understood.
Scott told him it wouldn't be long and he'd be back on break. Stiles let himself believe it.
He lay in bed later that night, staring at the ceiling. He pulled out his phone and started a string of texts to Derek, even though he thought Derek had probably long since ditched his old number.
Hey. We graduated. For awhile there didn't think we'd make it.
I'm not staying. Got into New York.
I'll miss dad.
Does leaving make me a coward?
He tossed the phone on the floor. Wondered when he had started feeling like it was easier to talk to someone who would never answer than his own friends.
A text alert woke him at 3am.
It doesn't make you a coward. And a few minutes later. You'll love New York.
Derek pulled into a diner in some small town after driving for six hours. He reached over to nudge Stiles awake, fingers resting on his shoulder as Stiles blinked, looking around.
"Where are we?"
Derek shrugged. "Not sure. I need to eat."
He tossed a prepaid phone into Stiles' lap. He had picked it up a few hours earlier while Stiles had been asleep to call Cora. They had separated after the attack, hoping to confuse the witch. Cora went south from New York, Derek and Stiles East. Cora had heard from one of their contacts in New York, and word was the witch was on Derek's trail, so at least Cora should be safe.
Stiles fumbled with the phone. "Thanks."
Derek watched him punch in his dad's number, before getting out, offering some semblance of privacy.
"Hey Dad," Stiles said when the Sheriff picked up on the second ring.
"Stiles, thank god. Are you okay?"
Derek half heartedly listened to the conversation as Stiles stumbled out of the car, stretching his free hand above his head and revealing a slither of pale skin above the waistband of his jeans that Derek pretended he didn't notice. Derek didn't know how Stiles managed to sleep so much while they were on the road, watching him sometimes made his own neck ache in sympathy.
Stiles and his father didn't talk about much, mostly just Stiles convincing his father that everything would be fine. Apparently Deaton was getting close to being ready with whatever concoction it was he was brewing.
"Talk to you soon Dad. Love you too," Stiles finished up before handing the phone to Derek.
"How is everything really?" The Sherriff asked after Derek said hello.
"Just tired mostly," Derek answered, earning a glare from Stiles. "He sleeps most of the time, but I don't think it's getting worse. What did Deaton say?"
"That when he got in the way the spell most likely started feeding of his energy instead, but you probably got him away in time, or..."
He'd already be dead, Derek finished in his head, glancing across at Stiles where he was still miming at Derek to shut the hell up, trying to protect his dad like he always did. Derek swallowed past a sudden lump in his throat, forcing a smug smirk on his face as he continued. "I'll let you know if anything changes, anything at all I promise."
Stiles threw his hands up in the air in exasperation.
"Everything okay on your end?" Derek asked.
"Yeah, still think I should have met up with you somewhere."
Stiles had insisted the Sheriff take some leave and get the hell out of Beacon Hills after everything had gone down in New York. He was currently in a safe house with an old Hale family friend.
"It's better this way," Derek replied.
Derek promised to call again when they could and hung up. Stiles punched him in the shoulder.
"I think I preferred it when my dad just wanted to shoot you," Stiles grumbled.
He gave Stiles another smug smile just to be a bastard. The Sherriff hadn't threatened to shoot him for a long time.
Freshman year was over and Stiles was drunk. There were plenty of times he didn't think he would make it out of high school, which maybe made this seem like more of an achievement than it otherwise would have been.
He'd been home for two days. His dad had hugged him more than he had in the whole year before, Stiles told him he was getting soft in his old age. Scott had pulled him into a wolfy hug when he met Stiles at the bus station, while Isaac hung back, smiling when Stiles looked at him across Scott's shoulder. Alison had been there too. She had twined her fingers with Isaac's, before dropping them when Scott let Stiles go.
Allison, Isaac and Scott were the only three of his old group of friends who had stayed close to Beacon Hills, the others had drifted, enrolled at colleges across the country. Stiles had dropped in to see Lydia on the way home. She was happy, settled, though Stiles thought she was far more secluded from college life than any one would ever have believed. Like Stiles she had aced all her exams, but like him she also kept to herself. She wasn't coming home for the break.
Stiles lay on his back in the grass where he and Scott had spent so much time playing lacrosse. It felt like a lifetime ago instead of less than a year. Scott & Isaac sat nearby, no one really saying anything. Things had changed.
Scott had encouraged Stiles to go away for college, six months in things had gotten strained. Scott was the alpha of the Beacon Hills pack, Stiles wasn't sure he had been part of the pack for a while now.
He still loved Scott, but things had happened, words been said, a whole lot more unsaid.
Stiles took another swig of scotch as silence stretched between the three of them. It was getting cold, and he could feel damp seeping into him from the grass. He knew he wouldn't stay long. Not here drinking on the field from his youth with friends who had drifted away, or in Beacon Hills.
They had already taken a meandering route through upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. They stopped in Chicago. It was freezing and Stiles thought he was being ironically humorous complaining about the wind. Derek told him he wasn't. They argued about baseball, and Stiles had laughed for the first time in days.
The next three days Stiles had barely stayed awake for more than a couple of hours.
Iowa and Nebraska blurred together, rural landscape bleeding together till everywhere started to look the same. They were somewhere in Wyoming now, Derek wasn't exactly sure where. He'd taken back roads for two days before getting sick of it and staying on the highway for the next day.
Derek pulled over on the side of a road as it got dark, needing to sleep. Stiles had been out of it for the last few hours. Derek contemplated calling the Sherriff, or Deaton, worried Stiles might be getting worse. He watched Stiles sleep for awhile, grabbing his coat off the back seat and pulling it over Stiles as the night turned cold. He figured they had enough cash left for maybe a week's worth of fuel and food if they started sleeping in the car more.
Deaton had better be ready soon.
Stiles texted Derek more and more during Freshman year. Not about anything in particular, just random shit until Derek got exasperated enough to reply. Some nights, like when Stiles had the argument with Scott half way through the year that saw him calling less and less, they texted back and forth till Stiles fell asleep.
By the end of the year Derek had said more words to him via text than he had in the entire time he was in Beacon hills. He realised when he went home that no one else in the pack knew where Derek was. Stiles didn't bother telling them.
The first day of sophomore year Derek was waiting for him, leaning against the Camaro when Stiles came out of a lecture. Stiles had rolled his eyes and got in the car without saying a word. They went back to the apartment Derek was sharing with Cora, and the three of them ate god awful pasta Cora made.
Stiles felt like something inside of him loosened. New York was starting to be home he realised.
He texted Derek after he got back to his dorm.
It's good to be back.
A month later he left the dorms. His dad was the only one he told when he took a cheap apartment two blocks from Derek and Cora, and the Sherriff started coming to New York more than Stiles went home.
When they crossed the border into Utah, Stiles started shifting uncomfortably in his seat. He was drifting in and out of sleep, muttering to himself now and then.
"You okay?" Derek asked.
"You look like shit."
"Well aren't you a charmer. Bet you get all the girls to your yard with lines like that," Stiles replied grumpily, cracking one eye open to look across at Derek.
"Sure, I'm tripping over them."
"Ah ha, Derek the charmer, but then they see the fangs and its all running and screaming."
"Nobody's perfect," Derek replied deadpan.
"That's for sure. The hair's pretty good though," Stiles said smiling slightly. He closed his eyes, face looking drawn. "Actually, the rest of its not bad either," he added quietly, waving a hand around half heartedly in Derek's general direction.
Derek hadn't looked at a map for days, but he was pretty sure they were roughly in the middle of nowhere. Stiles looked worse than he had in days, and they hadn't slept in a proper bed since at least two States ago. The next town they came to he pulled into the first motel he saw.
Once they were checked in he threw a towel at Stiles. "You stink. I'll order a pizza."
Derek walked outside once he heard the shower start. He ordered a pizza to their room and then called Deaton.
"Derek, everything will be ready by Tuesday."
Derek had no idea what day it was. "When's that?"
"Day after tomorrow," Deaton clarified.
"We're about 500 miles away. We can be there late tomorrow." Derek looked across the hood of the Camaro to their room. "We start heading back to Beacon Hills, this tracking spell's going to lead her right to us isn't it?"
"Probably. She likely knows of your connections here anyway." Deaton paused, and Derek knew what he was going to say. "Scott and the rest of the pack can help."
"I know," Derek said quietly. He thought for a moment. "Tell Scott to meet us at the old house. Text me the time....Stiles mentioned something about if he'd had rowan ash he could have held her?"
He could imagine Deaton's passive expression giving nothing away as he replied. "That could work, yes. I'll let Scott know you're coming," Deaton replied before hanging up.
Stiles was out of the shower when he walked back in. He let him know what Deaton had said and showered himself while Stiles called his father. When he came back out they both stared at the TV while Stiles absently flicked through channels.
"I should never have answered your texts," Derek said after awhile, the room so quiet he thought Stiles might be asleep, he wasn't though.
Derek rolled his head on the pillow to look over at Stiles on the other bed.
"You start blaming yourself for this I'll come over there and break your nose," Stiles continued.
"Stiles, if I'd left you alone in New York you'd be away from all this shit right now. Probably dating some co-ed and driving your lecturers nuts."
"And you'd be dead right now. I'm not sorry, not one little bit. I don't need you telling me what I should be doing, anymore than I needed Scott telling me when I was in Beacon Hills. It's not your choice, it's mine....And I still drive my lecturers nuts, I showed you the comment on my last paper right?"
Derek glared at the ceiling. "Stiles..."
"Fuck! Why is it any different when you risk your stupid life? And don't give me any of that werewolf crap. Dead is still dead whether it's your wolfy ass or my pathetic human one."
Stiles opened the door to see Derek barely standing on the other side. He practically collapsed on the floor when Stiles opened it. His jacket was soaked in blood, eyes clouded with pain. Stiles grabbed him, manhandling him into the room and kicking the door shut.
"You need to find a new place to live," Derek muttered as Stiles ripped open his shirt.
The wounds looked to be healing slowly. Thank fuck. He could still see bone. How the hell Derek made it up the stairs Stiles didn't know.
"What are you talking about?"
"Saw two werewolves in the street outside. Not friendly ones."
"So what? You attacked them, they attack you? What the hell happened?"
"They knew who you were."
Oh. Stiles had no idea what that meant, but it probably wasn't good. Derek and Cora had contacts with two local packs. Hales ignored them, they ignored the Hales. There actually weren't that many werewolves in New York. Stiles liked to tell Derek it was because wolves liked to frolic in forests.
Stiles and Cora managed to get Derek back to the Hales' apartment. Stiles sat in the reading chair Derek had in his room, getting up to check Derek's wounds now and then, just to convince himself they were still healing. He finally trudged out to sleep on the couch when Derek come to enough to bat his hands away.
Derek stared up at the ceiling long after Stiles stopped talking. "You figured out what really happened to my family a long time ago didn't you?" He asked eventually.
"I did. Kate Argent killed them."
"That's not what I meant."
"I know. Same answer still applies."
They were both silent again for awhile.
Derek looked over when Stiles sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and rubbing his temples with his fingers. "You okay?"
Derek had almost lost count, but was pretty sure it had been 12 days since the attack.
"Yeah. Whatever that bitch did to me, its wearing off. Just slowly. Be good to sleep in my own bed again...The witch needed your wolfy mojo for whatever spell she was doing. Your life essence or whatever you want to call it. She'd been draining you for what? An hour. I got hit by a glancing blow, but I'm human, so... Still, if it was going to kill me it would have done it by now. Body just needs time to recover. Headaches are kind of a killer though."
Derek sat up, remembering how much the spell had hurt. He had healed though. He reached across the space between the two beds to hold Stiles' forearm. He took Stiles' pain, feeling better when he could sense it really was a lot less than after the attack. He absently drew circles on Stiles skin with his thumb as he drew out the pain.
Stiles watched the black veins travelling up Derek's arm. He looked just as fascinated as the first time he had seen this done. Stiles lifted a hand, long fingers tracing the veins, the pads of his finger tips gently following the ridges to where they disappeared beneath the sleeve of Derek's t-shirt.
"Does it hurt?"
Derek shrugged. It was hard to explain. "Not really, not unless I take too much."
"Like you did for Cora?"
Derek didn't answer. The black lines disappeared as he stopped leeching the pain. He didn't remove his hand though, thumb still gently swirling on Stiles' skin.
"I'm sorry," Derek whispered.
"Not your fault."
"I'm still sorry," Derek repeated quietly, looking up at Stiles.
Stiles juggled bags of groceries as he unlocked the door. Technically he was only crashing with Derek and Cora until he found a new apartment, but he had been looking for almost two months. He knew something was wrong as soon as he pushed the door open with his foot. The first thing he saw was the dish Derek kept his keys in smashed on the floor.
He shoved the door the rest of the way open, taking in the trashed apartment before his eyes landed on Cora. He dropped the bag of shopping, feet slipping as he rushed to her side. She moaned as he checked her pulse. She was alive, probably wouldn't be if she were human. Stiles' fingers had come up sticky when he gently lifted her head. The back of her skull was cracked.
"Cora, come on," Stiles pleaded.
She opened her eyes, they were hazy. "Stiles?"
Stiles had helped her to the couch, heart beating wildly the whole time as he brought her water and waited for her to tell him what had happened, and where Derek was. Almost two hours later they stood outside a storage container Cora had tracked Derek's scent to. Stiles held his breath as she listened to what was happening inside. She thought there were only three people inside, one of them Derek.
Cora looked across at him. "We got a plan?"
"Not really," Stiles replied.
Cora ripped the door open and charged in, giving Stiles the advantage of distraction. He slid in along the wall. Cora fought with another werewolf, as a woman had stood, chanting over Derek. Stiles' breath had caught in his throat. Derek writhed on the floor, whatever the hell she was doing to him, it hadn't been good. Chains were attached to both his wrists and bolted to the floor, pulling his arms out to the side.
Stiles edged around the wall, he had no idea what to do, so had stopped thinking and just charged her. Some thin hope in the back of mind that if he broke her chanting maybe it would stop whatever spell she was doing and Derek could get in the fight.
Stiles had rammed into her, causing her to twist and stumble. Stiles' momentum saw him keep moving forward, stumbling and sliding on his knees to a halt on the floor next to Derek. He didn't have time to see if his idiotic action helped as pain poured into his body. Stiles screamed. Somewhere through the pain he thought he saw Derek roar, ripping loose the chains that had been holding him. He remembered vague flashes of Derek's sheer fury mixed with something else he didn't have time to decipher.
The flood of pain disappeared almost as quickly as it came. Stiles hadn't seen anything else before he blacked out. He woke up in the car sometime later. Derek looking over at him grimly, jaw tight, but Stiles could see him let out a relieved breath. He had been only vaguely aware of Derek holding his hand, and the pain soaking away through the touch.
A few minutes later when Derek was satisfied he wasn't about to die they called Deaton. They put the phone on speaker, rambling off everything they could remember from the room the witch had held Derek in. Deaton was quiet for awhile as he processed what they described.
"She defiantly has some sort of tracking spell on you." Deaton said thoughtfully. "You'll have to stay on the move. I need to do some research, but it sounds like a spell I've heard of. It would have bound her to Derek, and maybe Stiles when he interrupted it. We'll need to break it or if she finds you, she can use it to draw your strength, your life force, from both of you. If she takes all of it..."
Deaton didn't have to finish the sentence.
Derek went straight to the old Hale house as soon as they arrived in Beacon Hills. He had taken back roads, timed it so they didn't get into town till Deaton was ready. The vet met them there, handing out two vials of the potion he had ready to break the spell. He passed a bottle of rowan ash to Stiles, confirming that it would trap and maybe weaken a witch, in case they needed it.
"So, what we drink this. The bitch's freaky mojo gets undone?" Stiles asked.
"Something like that, yes," Deaton answered.
Derek quirked an eyebrow. "That's it?"
"The spell she cast is based on proximity. So..."
"So, she has to be close by," Stiles finished, putting the pieces together quicker then Derek.
Deaton nodded. "There's no way to know how fast the potion will work either."
"What?" Stiles asked incredulous, as Derek ground out, "How close?"
"Line of sight."
"Crap," Stiles muttered, looking across at Derek. "She sees us, and she is gonna start sucking us dry again, and not in a good way."
"Guess we'd better be quicker than," Derek said, determined to make sure at least Stiles had time to drink the damn potion and for it to work.
"Okay cool, we sit around, wait for her to show up, drink down this," Stiles held the potion up, swishing the amber liquid in the vial. "I'm not even going to think what might be in it. Bottoms up, then ding dong the witch is dead," Stiles said happily. Derek quirked an eyebrow at him, making Stiles' grin widen.
That was the plan, but when did things ever really go to plan.
Deaton called Scott and the others to tell them it was time. He had barely hung up when Derek saw the witch at the same time as she did something that flung Deaton across the grass, crashing into a tree trunk.
"Stiles!" Derek called out, before gulping down the vial and hoping Stiles had enough sense to do the same. Derek rushed the witch, buying Stiles time for the spell to be broken.
Derek and the witch crashed into the ground together. Derek ripped with his claws, but before he could do much damage he doubled over in agony. It felt like every one of his muscles was being ripped from his bones. He could barely breathe for the pain, as the witch just smiled at him. Derek ground his teeth together, trying to stay aware. Something in his chest clenched when he saw Stiles running towards them.
Stiles threw ash into the air. It settled in a perfect circle with the three of them inside.
"Stiles!" Derek cried out as the witch grabbed Stiles by an arm, twisting till he was forced to his knees. Derek could see nothing but the pain in Stiles' eyes.
"Get off your damn ass!" Stiles yelled back at Derek.
Derek clenched his jaw, a rumble starting low in his chest. He could feel his strength being drawn out of his body. He fought it, tried to stop her from draining him by sheer force of will, but it was no use. Instead he focused on Stiles, on what little strength he had left and forced his legs to work. He lunged at the witch before she could hurt Stiles anymore. The two of them crashed into the barrier the ash had formed, causing it to shimmer. Derek could feel the spell losing its effect as the potion kicked in.
"It won't work on the human so quick," the witch taunted before chanting softly under her breath, eyes on Stiles.
Derek grabbed her head and twisted in one smooth motion before whatever she was casting could take effect, his gut clenching at the sickening crack. Derek dropped to his knees as her dead body fell away from him. Stiles reached out for him with one hand, the other arm hanging awkwardly, and pulled him into an clumsy hug.
"Ding dong..." Derek whispered roughly.
Stiles trembled with broken, relieved laughter, pulling back to look in Derek's eyes. "God no. Stick to being growly, leave the funny to me."
The idea of another week driving back to New York didn't really worry Stiles. He looked across at Derek on the phone to Cora, and thought; maybe, just maybe he had found another pack, one that felt a lot like home. It was only the three of them, four with his dad, but it felt right somehow.
Stiles leaned out the door to yell at Derek. "Get off the phone. I need breakfast. You won't like me when I'm hungry."
Derek hung up and slid into the driver's seat. He tossed the phone at Stiles. "I don't like you even when you're not hungry."
Stiles gave him his biggest shit eating grin. "Liar."
Able to use credit cards again on the drive back, Stiles insisted on decent motels. Derek wasn't going to argue. They kept to highways, making a direct route back home. Stiles was getting stronger, and Derek rolled his eyes as Stiles rambled, apparently eager to make up for his recent silence. He let Stiles drive whenever he wanted, content just to kick back in the passenger seat and let the tension of the last two weeks ease away.
Derek had dozed off. He woke to see Stiles checking them into what looked to be a B&B in the woods. Stiles grinned at him as he walked back to the car.
"Thought you might want to frolic," he said, still smiling broadly as he got back in the car.
Derek glared at him, trying to hold onto exasperation over fondness and not really succeeding. "I'm going to kill you one day. Probably messily."
"Walking chew toy."
Stiles started laughing. Derek put his sunglasses on and pretended to ignore him as they drove around back to their room.
The room was cosy. Derek wanted to sink into the bed for 12 hours straight with no threat chasing them anymore. Stiles looked like he probably felt the same way, as he collapsed onto one of the beds. Derek wanted to shower first though.
He turned the shower on, the bathroom starting to fill with steam, when the door opened behind him. He looked up to see Stiles watching him, eyes unreadable. Derek could see Stiles' fingers fidgeting in a way he knew meant he was nervous.
"We've never really talked about...I mean, talking's not really our thing. Well, it's kind of mine, but not the sort of talking I mean. I ramble with the best of them, usually because it's a way to avoid actually saying anything..."
Derek had known Stiles for almost four years now. Had threatened to rip his throat out far too many times, almost meant it a couple of times. He had never been able to ignore Stiles. Somewhere along the line, and he had no idea when, so much had changed. If he was honest with himself it had changed a long time ago, he had no idea what they had become, but felt like it could be something good. He hadn't had 'good' in a long time.
Derek pulled his phone out, thumbing through until the texts from Stiles he had kept for the last two years were on screen. Derek smiled and reached up, brushing a thumb gently across Stiles' cheek, stopping the words that were starting to tumble out. He held the phone up so Stiles could see. "We always find a way to talk."
The texts were all there, everything from Any idea how to get coffee out of paper? to Dude, I know what day it is. If you want to brood it's cool, but are you in the mood for Chinese or Thai? No reason to be hungry as well.
Stiles stared at the phone, then at Derek. "Seriously?" He stuttered after a moment. "I thought it was just... Why the hell didn't you..."
"Stiles, shut up."
Derek watched as a mass of emotions played across Stiles face before settling on one he knew too well.
"Make me," Stiles dared, lips tilting in a devilish smile.
Derek leaned in and kissed him. It was a slick slide of tongues, with nothing left to hesitate over. Three hours later they finally got to sleep, bodies curled together like they belonged that way.
Stiles would never stop teasing Derek that the reason they settled in upstate New York after Stiles graduated was because of the forests, and Derek's deep wolfy need to frolic.
Derek never tired of trying to find new ways to make Stiles shut up.