Just as he had a month ago, Derek crept silently into Stiles’s room. The full moon had come and gone, but its gleam was still bright enough to light his way. He deftly avoided the textbooks, old soda cans, and piles of hoodies that littered the floor and approached the bed. Stiles was passed out, sheets tangled around his sleeping form, a string of drool steadily making its way down his chin. Derek chuckled; Stiles really was a goof, but he was his goof. After the past couple days, it was good to see him so relaxed. Derek sat down on the edge of the bed and brushed a hand through the boy’s hair. He knew he should probably let him sleep, but he couldn’t resist. Their fight had left him with a desperate sense of urgency; he was eager to make up with Stiles as quickly as possible. Stiles stirred and stretched into Derek’s touch.
“Mmmmm,” he moaned, “Hiya, Sourwolf.”
Derek laughed, “Hey Sleeping Beauty.”
“You came to see me,” Stiles whined and tried to sit up.
“Whoa, whoa, easy Stiles,” Derek pushed him back down, “You’ll hurt yourself.”
“But I want you!” he protested, “Look at you and your big strong muscles holding me down. Mr. Big Strong Alpha - I mean Beta,” he guffawed, “Whoops!”
“Shhhh,” Derek hushed, “what is wrong with you? Your dad’s in the next room!” He listened to make sure the sheriff’s heartbeat was still steady in sleep.
“H’sleeping,” Stiles mumbled.
“Yeah, and I’d like to keep it that way.”
“Whatever Der, I don’t want to talk about my dad right now. I want to talk about you and me and what else you can do with those big strong arms you sexy-”
“Hey, hey Stiles!” Derek struggled to restrain the apparently very horny teen, “What has gotten into you?!”
“My dad gave me some pills,” he finally stopped fighting Derek’s grip, but began fiddling with his shirt, trying to work his way underneath it.
Derek stilled his wandering hands, “What kind of pills?”
“Painkillers,” Stiles giggled.
“Great,” Derek groaned. He’d come to make his big apology only to find Stiles as high as a kite. “Hey Stiles, I have an idea.”
“Okay, I’m going to get in bed with you.”
“Ooh, I like this already,” Stiles slurred. Derek lay down next to Stiles and gingerly drew him in so Stiles’s head rested on his chest, careful to avoid his bandages.
“Okay, ready?” Stiles nodded his consent, “You have to count my heartbeats.”
“What? Derek that’s stupid-”
“Just do it Stiles!” Derek growled.
“Fine, cranky-pants!” His hands began roaming under Derek’s shirt again, “Mmmm, you’re sexy when you’re cranky…”
Derek wrapped his arms around the boy, “Just start counting.”
“One,” he whispered loudly, “...two...three…..f-four….”
Derek smiled as he felt Stiles relax into him. “Sleep well,” he whispered and kissed his temple, “I doubt you’ll be as gullible when you wake up.” Derek curled into the broken boy sleeping on top of him and let himself drift off.
Stiles woke with a shout.
“Shhh,” Derek cooed, “You’re safe. You’re safe with me. I’m right here, babe, I’m right here.”
Stiles gulped in oxygen, trying to steady his breathing. His head swam. He started to turn into Derek, but sobbed in frustration when pain seared across his chest.
“Breathe,” Derek whispered, “Just breathe with me.” He stroked Stiles’s hair with one hand while the other traced soothing circles on his stomach. Stiles closed his eyes and lost himself in Derek’s touch.
For a few minutes the only sounds were their breathing. “I had a dream,” Stiles said to the ceiling.
“Was it Peter?”
“Jennifer.” Stiles grimaced, “Fuck, everything hurts.”
Derek started, “You dreamed about Jennifer?”
Stiles ignored his question. “Can you hand me that bottle of pills on the nightstand?”
Derek didn’t move, “I can take your pain. Tell me about the dream.”
“No,” Stiles squirmed when he felt Derek’s grip tighten and his pain began to lessen, “I don’t want your help. Just hand me the pills.”
“When I came here earlier tonight you were so high you practically forced yourself on me,” Derek argued.
“Well,” Stiles’s voice shook with anger, “aren’t you the gentleman for not taking advantage?”
Derek’s eyes showed his hurt, but he said softly, “Please, let me do this for you.”
“Give me the fucking pills Derek.”
Derek reached behind him and silently passed the bottle to Stiles. He snatched it and sat up, hissing in pain. Stiles tried to unscrew the cap but his hands were shaking too badly. “Fuck,” he swore and tears began to blur his vision.
Without warning Stiles heaved the bottle as hard as he could into the wall across the room, immediately regretting it when another wave of pain hit him. He sobbed in earnest now. Derek sat up and placed a tentative hand on his back. Stiles rested his head on Derek’s shoulder. “She killed you,” he whispered, “In my dream, she fucked you and then she killed you. Her claws tore through your stomach just like Peter did to Scott.”
“Shhh,” Derek cradled his head against him and held him, mirroring Stiles’s actions a month previously. “It was just a dream. I’m fine. Jennifer’s dead, Peter’s dead, everyone’s safe thanks you. I’m so sorry all this happened to you. It’s all my fault-”
“Don’t you do that,” Stiles said thickly and looked up, “Don’t you play the martyr. You don’t get to do that.”
“It’s true. I’m the one who let Jennifer get so close. Peter was my uncle. If I had been here maybe he wouldn’t have poisoned Scott.”
“And if I hadn’t dragged Scott out to find your sister’s body, Peter would never have bitten him. None of us would be in this mess.” Stiles smiled darkly, “See? I can play too.”
“I’m not leaving,” Derek said defiantly, “You can say whatever you want to push me away, but I’m staying right here."
“I know that’s what you’re doing - trying to shut me out,” Derek challenged, “You can’t out-fox a fox. Or, out-wolf a...wolf.”
Stiles couldn’t help but crack a smile. “Dude, that sucked. Leave the jokes to me.”
“Leave the surliness to me.”
Stiles paused. He wanted to be angry. He wanted to take out all his frustration on the man sitting in bed next to him. But he couldn’t do it. Derek didn’t deserve that. “It suits you better anyway,” Stiles kissed Derek softly. Derek pulled him in closer but Stiles gasped in pain.
Derek released his grip immediately, “It still hurts?”
“Like a bitch,” Stiles muttered.
Derek raised his palm gently to Stiles’s chest, “May I?”
“Do it,” Stiles grit his teeth and stifled a groan at the sudden pressure. His pain receded until he could barely feel it at all. He moaned, this time in relief, letting the pain syphon out of him until he realized Derek’s breathing had become labored. “Hey, not too much!” Stiles forced Derek’s hand away. Some of the pain returned, but it was vastly better.
Derek collapsed onto the pillow and Stiles followed him. “Stiles?”
“I don’t think you’re weak,” he rolled on his side to face the boy, “I think you’re probably the strongest person I know.”
Stiles chuckled, “Liar.”
“You know, you’re right,” Stiles rolled over as well, “In fact I bet I could totally kick your ass…”
“Well let’s not get crazy.”
Derek laughed and kissed Stiles deeply. Stiles’s head swam again, but this time it wasn’t from pills or pain. Derek pulled away first. “I love you, Stiles,” he whispered, “And I never want to see you get hurt like that again-” his voice broke “-but I will, won’t I?”
“Probably,” Stiles admitted.
“I can’t accept that,” Derek said.
“You think it’s easy for me?” Stiles asked him, “Sure, you heal, but it’s not easy for me to watch you get your ass handed to you all the time.”
Derek smiled and wiped his eyes, “Fuck you.”
“Seriously, have you ever won a fight?”
“Stiles, I mean it!” the smile dropped from the teen’s face, “I can’t let you get hurt again.”
“And I can’t just sit on the sidelines while everyone I love risks their lives protecting me.”
Derek exhaled slowly, “I know. That’s what I love about you.”
“Is that all? And here I thought you loved me for my body.”
“Hey,” Stiles traced Derek’s jaw with his thumb, “I’m glad you came.”
“Is that why you left the window open?”
Stiles chuckled, “A stroke of genius before I passed out on pain meds. I have something to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“I love you too.”
“Ugh,” Stiles leaned against the front door, “I thought they’d never leave.”
Derek chuckled tiredly. Pack meetings had become more and more frequent, and it was easier holding them at his apartment than at Scott’s house. The constant threats to Beacon Hills coupled with the constant planning it took to manage those threats were taking a serious toll on Derek’s sleeping schedule. He didn’t know how the rest of the pack did it - they stayed up all night strategizing, went to school, battled a few monsters, called it a day, and then woke up and did it all over again. He knew it must be wearing on them too, but he was finally feeling the age difference between himself and the rest of the pack. Like it or not, Derek just could not bounce back like he could when he was sixteen.
He groaned and thought, if it was this hard now, imagine doing this at thirty? Or forty, or sixty? Would he ever get a chance to rest and take a breath? When he pictured his life down the road, he didn’t picture battles or supernatural creatures. He pictured Stiles. Stiles standing in a brightly lit kitchen, early morning sun bathing him in golden light. Derek didn’t know what Stiles saw when he pictured the future. He probably didn’t think too much farther ahead than his next meal, to be honest. They hadn’t talked too much about the future; their relationship was still only a few months young. But both understood that they would inevitably take a break when Stiles went to college. Of course he would never force Stiles into anything he wasn’t ready for, but Derek fully intended to pick back up where they’d left off once Stiles was done with school. What he had with Stiles was the real thing; Derek hadn’t felt so content or safe since his parents had died. He wasn’t going to lose that without putting up a fight.
He gazed at Stiles with a dopey grin on his face.
“Uhhh, Derek? Are you like having a seizure or something? Because I kind of wanted to get laid tonight, and that’s going to throw a wrench in my plans.”
“You asshole,” Derek laughed, and pushed Stiles up against the door, capturing him in a kiss. “I was thinking about us.”
“Awww, four months with me and you’ve already gone soft!”
Derek’s answer was to pull Stiles into a headlock and drag him to the couch. Stiles laughed and playfully fought Derek’s grip, not really trying to get away.
“I know it wasn’t me,” Stiles murmured as Derek lowered him to the couch, “I know that underneath your tough exterior, you’ve always been a romantic. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.”
Derek lay his head on Stiles’s chest. “Stiles,” he whined, “I’m so tired. I just want to sleep forever.”
“Do you want me to go?” Stiles asked.
“No,” Derek moaned, “Stay with me.” Stiles smiled, and ran his fingers through Derek’s hair, “Thanks for getting everyone else to leave, though.”
“I could see you fading fast, my poor little Der Bear,” Stiles crooned.
Derek sat up, voice dangerously low, “Don’t ever call me that again.”
“What, you don’t like your nickname? How about Fluffy McWolfington?” He laughed, Derek scowled, “The little Beta who could?”
Derek growled and silenced Stiles with a kiss, “Let’s just stick with Sourwolf.”
“Fine by me,” Stiles smirked and kissed him back.
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