It started off as business as usual.
Stiles had a routine, a system that he had perfected over the last six years, and it hadn’t failed him yet. First, he would dress up, the most expensive things he owed, brought back when he thought things would be easy, and Boyd would let him through the back entrance for Jungle, free of charge, because after all this time, there was a level of trust and pity that equalled in friendship had developed between them. Stiles would find a trick - he didn’t have a preference. Black, white; brunette, redhead; twink, daddy; it didn’t play a part in the endgame - and seduce him until the trick took Stiles back to his place and fucked him until the man passed out and Stiles, well, he could spend a night in a bed for once.
Because that’s what it was all about really, in the end.
Shelter from the cold and harshness of concrete under your head and the dangers from the hungry and the addicted and the ones who had given up all hope.
Stiles had spent nights with those people - had been one of them at a time, back at the beginning - so he knew. He knew. And so what if he wasn’t attracted to these men, if most of the time it was bad sex and he laid awake feeling used, dirty and abused? It was worth it. Others had it far worse for less.
There were occasions though, though rare, when he allowed himself the pleasure of pretending that he was just like every other twenty-four year old in Jungle, just like every other twenty-four year old in the world who comes to a club - to dance, to drink, to have fun, to get laid. Those were good days. Those days it didn’t hurt so much.
It was on one of those days that he met Derek Hale.
Stiles had been dancing, losing himself to the music, forgetting, when he’d noticed the man leaning against the bar to his right. First look made Stiles stumble, lose rhythm because damn. Calling him an Adonis was just too polite to fully describe the things that came to mind. About the same height as Stiles, dark and rugged inclined his body against the counter, and cradled his half empty glass between two large hands. His eyes stared into the crowd and it took a few moments for Stiles to realise that no, they weren’t on the crowd - they were on him.
Stiles bit down on his bottom lip, indecisive and arched an eyebrow wonderingly. He quirked an eyebrow back. Oh, a challenge then. Well, Stiles couldn’t disappoint, could he?
He made his way through the crowd, eyes never leaving the figure in front of him. He smirked a little at the surprise that registered on the other man’s face, the way he quickly straightened up, jerkily clanged his glass against the counter.
“Hey there stranger,” Stiles greeted as he slid in closer, “I’ve not seen you in Jungle before.”
“Uh, yeah, I just moved here. From San Francisco,” Adonis’ told him.
Stiles arched an eyebrow. “You moved from San Francisco to Beacon Hills?”
He gave a half shrug and Stiles couldn’t stop himself from tracing the edges of those damn distracting shoulders. “I guess I like small town life.” He smiled dangerously and shifted closer until the tips of their shoes knocked each other, “Already I’m finding reasons to like it here.”
“Oh, then I guess I should feel flattered,” Stiles smiled back and made a show of wiping his tongue across his bottom lip. The man’s eyes zeroed in and Stiles couldn’t help the triumphant feeling because he had him.
“Or maybe it’s me that should be flattered,” the man cleared his throat and averted his gaze for a moment before it darted back, “You had a lot of guys out there falling over themselves to get to you.”
“But it’s not them that I wanted,” Stiles stated assured with a wide grin that was returned.
“Let me buy you a drink.”
He shook his head slightly. “I don’t even know your name.”
“Derek,” Adonis introduced himself and held out a hand.
Stiles took it amused, and his name slipped out before he could stop it. The Russian curved and fell with a kluminess that comes from lack of practise and he froze because god, it had been so long since he had said that name. So long that it didn’t even feel like him anymore - so why did he say it? Derek was looking at him with furrowed eyebrows and Stiles could see the slight tick in his mouth as he tried to practise saying and he hurriedly corrected himself.
“But everyone calls me Stiles. That’s what you should call me.”
Derek looked distinctly relieved for a moment and nodded acceptingly. “So what’s your poison Stiles?”
“Anything with an umbrella,” he responded, trying to fall back into something that was comfortable, trying to ignore how shook he felt.
Derek grinned his amusement and turned to the bartender to order.
Stiles grunted against Derek’s lips when his back was pressed roughly against the hallway wall. Derek pulled back slightly, making a noise of question, but Stiles swallowed it when a desperate kiss that Derek resisted for a moment before giving back in. His grip tightened around Stiles’ thighs once more and he felt a rush of heat run through him at just how attractive a guy could be when he could fuck you against a wall.
Stiles arched his back, pressing closer and bit down harshly on Derek’s bottom lip, sucking soothingly. His hands flailed across those broad shoulders, the muscles of his back that flexed with every movement, and he rolled his ass into Derek’s jean covered crotch.
He grinned breathlessly when Derek pulled away from the kiss with a throaty gasp, his hands twitching, and Stiles arched his head, humming, when the man pushed his face into the column, breathing in and pressing open mouth kisses to the flesh.
“God, you’re so beautiful,” Derek muttered out.
Stiles doubted he meant to say it - he sounded way too delirious, distant, lost in feeling - but still, there was a chord that was struck but the raw emotion of the words. He felt his skin beginning to crawl and his throat tightened. He swallowed and tilted his head up, blinking quickly and trying to control his reaction.
Because he wasn’t beautiful. He was broken and twisted and scarred. There was nothing beautiful about him, not anymore.
Derek stopped and looked up at him worriedly, eyes sparkling. “Hey,” he whispered softly, “Are you okay?”
No. Stiles strained a smile and let out a shaky breath. “I’m fine, just...it’s been a while since I’ve done this,” he lied, and hated himself for it.
Derek watched for a little longer before nodding. He pressed closer, gentler, and nudged his nose against the side of Stiles’ face. “I’ll make it good then,” he promised.
Stiles smiled as encouragingly as he could and when Derek carried him towards the bedroom, he couldn’t help but cling a little tighter and press a little closer to gather himself and pretend, just for a moment.
Stiles came out of his sleep slowly, eyes heavy and caked with sleep dust. He felt the soft cocoon of the duvet around his body and the mattress beneath before he became aware of the person lying beside him.
Derek had curled himself into a fetal positions, legs pulled up to his chest and crossed at the ankles while his head pressed down into the pillow. His mouth was open, low snores and slightly hitched breathing filling the room. His eyes danced behind his eyelids before stilling for a few moments before picking up movement again. For a moment, Stiles was completely distracted, immersed in the peacefulness of the man’s attractive face, of remembering the night before, of how his touch felt on Stiles’ bare skin and knowing that, in the end, it was time to leave.
It should have been easier to pull himself from that bed, to search the floor for his clothes and put them as silently as he could. He should have been easier to sneak out of the flat and he shouldn’t have looked back.
Stiles didn’t see Derek again until a week later, after he had spent three nights in a youth hostel and two nights on the streets and desperately didn’t want a third. The clothes were looser on him today, and everytime he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he would frown heavily and remind himself how much he needed a decent meal and a decent nights sleep. He couldn’t fail tonight.
He walked confidently past the line of patrons trying to get through the front doors of Jungle, nodding at Ethan and Aiden, the demon twins that stood guard on the busiest nights and took no shit for anyone, and headed to the back. Boyd would be there, as usual. It was like clockwork.
But sometimes, clogs were blocked.
Stiles faltered at the sound of his name, at the familiar voice that made his stomach clench at the memory, that made him want to turn around and talk and smile because it would be nice to see the same again outside his memories, but he didn’t. He shook his head to rid the stupid thought and made himself continue walking, a little faster. He couldn’t fail tonight, he repeated. Sex. Food. Bed. Sex. Food. Bed. And never the same trick twice.
A hand wrapped around his upper arm and Stiles automatically jerked away from the unwanted contact. He spun around, arms curving protectively towards himself, and Derek was there; hand still reached out towards him with an expression of confusion and hurt on his handsome face.
“Stiles,” he said his name softly this time.
Stiles swallowed. “Derek,” he said thickly.
Derek smiled uncertainly. “I hoped I’d find you here again.”
Stiles let the surprise filter over his face for a moment before he controlled it. “Miss me then?”
“I guess so,” Derek gave a one armed shrug and took a step closer, his smile dropping into something more serious, and Stiles knew where this was going. “You left.”
“Without saying goodbye.”
“It’s not something I like to do. Saves the boring and uncomfortable ‘it was fun but let’s never do this again’ conversation,” Stiles stated.
“I wouldn’t have said that to you,” Derek told him firmly, so sincerely that it made Stiles bit his lip because how was he supposed to tell this man that it was Stiles that would have to tell him that, not the other way round.
“I didn’t know that,” he said instead. He took a step back and gestured behind him, towards the building. “Anyways, I’ve got to be going. You know, night out and all.”
“Oh, right, of course, I was just...” Derek started and faded off nervously, “I...”
What Stiles should have done was take his chance to leave. He had work to do, after all. But he found himself waiting and when he spoke, his voice wondered, hopeful.
“What? You what?” he encouraged softly.
Derek shoved his hands into his pockets and took in a deep breath, straightening back and looked as if he was regaining all of his confidence. “I want you to stay for breakfast next time.”
Stiles arched an eyebrow. “Next time?”
“Yes. At least, I want there to be one,” his voice dropped a little, “Don’t you?”
Stiles hesitated. A perfect opportunity to refuse and move on to the next willing trick. Derek was too...nice to be used as Stiles had before and to do that again...Stiles didn’t think he could do it. But Derek was looking at him with so much earnest and Stiles was never gifted with someone like him and what if this was the only time he ever would? Maybe he could just pretend for a while that he deserves this, that he isn’t what he is, just for a short time of relief. He wanted to be selfish. He wanted Derek, he wanted to use him for that touch, those words, that softness he hadn’t had in years and Derek looked just so willing to give it to him, he...
“Y-yes,” Stiles answered honestly.
When Derek beamed, his chest ached, and when Stiles took the hand that was offered back to him, let himself be pulled under the arch of Derek’s arms, he repeated his promise.
Just this time and then no more.
Stiles whined and spread his legs further, arching his back and pressing his face into the pillow that he was clawing at in a desperate attempt to keep control. Derek chuckled against his hole, making him gasp, and the following lick made him shake. Stiles pressed back into the touch, clenching his eyes and bouncing.
He’d never done this before and fuck, rimming was so much better than he had expected. Everything felt alive, too sensitive and yet not enough. He felt vulnerable, weak under the power that Derek could exert over him with every swipe or thrust of his tongue, and yet powerful, because Derek was moaning and just as desperate as he was, pressing closer and more insistently and Stiles could feel the shake of Derek’s hands on his ass cheeks when he held them open. He wanted this just as much, if not more than, Stiles did and fuck it felt good.
“Derek, Derek please,” Stiles gurgled.
Derek hummed in response and one hand let go of Stiles’ cheeks to press into the sopping hole, a slow slide first down to the knuckles before a second joined, stretching and burning and fuck his tongue was back, the two fingers holding Stiles’ open for the wet muscle and Stiles groaned and rolled back into it, wanting more.
His cock swayed heavily between his shaking thighs and when Stiles looked at from the gap between his legs, everything looked red and painful and close, he was so close, but he felt almost disconnected from it, too high.
“Derek,” he whimpered.
Derek pulled away with a hiss of spit and his voice was hoarse when he spoke. “Cum now so when I fuck you later, we can make it last.”
Stiles didn’t need to be told twice. He relinquished his grip on the pillow to reach down between his legs and he yanked desperately, needing and wanting. Derek shushed him and slowed his hand down to stop the dry stripping of his cock causing him later pain, and when Stiles fell into the rhythm, he licked down to his balls - swollen and heavy - and rolled them in his mouth.
Stiles came with a shout muffled into the pillow, his hole clenching around the two fingers that just weren’t enough, and spluttered across his hand and the sheets beneath.
Just this time...
When Stiles woke up, he wanted to leave. He wanted to avoid everything that wasn’t this. That wasn’t sex and simple and didn’t involve having to get to know Derek better than he already did because it would just be too hard. He knew that. He had gotten close to someone like that before and it lead him to the world he was in now and he couldn’t let that happen again.
Not that he thought Derek was anything like Matt. Definitely not. But he had conditioned himself to keep his tricks - and god even after only two nights, Derek didn’t feel like that anymore - at a distance.
He couldn’t leave though. On a rational level, he knew it was because he needed food, something to sustain him if he didn’t come to any money during the day. On another level, there was the fact that he didn’t want to think about Derek’s face if Stiles walked out on him again.
No, he would stay. He would get food. He would let Derek think he was like every other patron at Jungle, every other normal kid. And then he’d never see him again, no matter how much Stiles might have wanted to. If things were different...but no, they’re not and it’s been too long for anything to chance.
Stiles jerked from his thoughts when Derek started to stir. He nuzzle into Stiles’ chest a little, making a small smile cross his face, which only widened when the man lifted his head to peer tiredly around him. He blinked a few times, as if trying to adjust to his surroundings before smiling widely up at Stiles.
“You stayed,” he commented drowsily.
“You...wanted me to stay for breakfast,” Stiles reminded him.
“I didn’t actually think you’d do it,” Derek murmured before shaking his head. “What do you want for breakfast?”
It had been so long since Stiles had had a proper breakfast, but he had thought about it. God, he had, so much and he practically salivated at the thought of what he wanted. But he resisted the urge to give a menu because normal people, people that weren’t like him, they had breakfast everyday. It wasn’t new. So he shrugged and said “surprise me”.
The fact that the surprise was a full English with all the works just made it all the sweeter. His stomach rumbled loudly at the smell of sausage and bacon and eggs and toast, enough that Derek turned to him with an amused grin from the stove and Stiles just grinned back guiltily.
“You like your food,” Derek commented happily, setting the plates on the table and watching Stiles dig in with gusto.
“Who doesn’t?” Stiles snorted through a mouth full of food. He swallowed and moved to the next spoonful. He moaned. “Fuck, this is good shit.”
Derek laughed. “I would hope so. If it wasn’t, I’d probably be out of job.”
Stiles stopped and swallowed. “You’re a chef?”
“Yeah, at Linguinese,” Derek admitted.
“That’s a fancy place,” Stiles whistled.
Derek gave a half shrug. “It’s okay I guess. I like it enough, but I would like to open my own place, if I can.”
“If this is the kind of meal you can make in ten minutes, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble starting up your own restaurant,” Stiles gestured to his place.
“Why thank you, I’ll take that as a ringing endorsement,” Derek smiled and ducked his head a little embarrassed and the red tips of his ears should not be so endearing.
Stiles should have left after that, but he didn’t. He stayed. He stayed and helped wash up the plates. He stayed and watched Castle on the sofa. He stayed and fucked Derek into the sofa and then again in the shower. He stayed until it went from day to night.
He stayed until he realised that he was in far too deep and he didn’t know if there was any way out but he had to damn well try.
“I should go, it’s getting late,” Stiles tried, smiling weakly and standing up, adjusting the shirt that Derek had given him to wear.
Derek looked disappointed. “Oh, right, yeah, of course.”
Stiles felt Derek’s eyes on him as Stiles wandered the living room gathering his clothes and shoving them in his rucksack quickly and pushing his arms into the sleeves of his old and slightly faded hoodie.
“I guess...I’ll see you around then,” Stiles said lamely and made to leave.
“Wait, what?” Derek halted him, eyebrows furrowed, “I thought...”
“What did you think?”
He huffed. “You know, that you’d actually want to see me again. You stayed here all day.”
“You asked me to stay,” Stiles pointed out.
“What, like I held you here against your will?” Derek snapped.
Stiles’ jaw snapped shut and he didn’t say anything, but he couldn’t deny that it pained him, just a little, when Derek closed his eyes and shook his head, a look of disappointment and resignation, like it happened all the time.
“Whatever, just go,” he muttered, turning away.
Stiles hesitated. “Derek...”
“Go Stiles, please,” Derek retorted dropped off and what else could Stiles do?
The door slammed shut behind him and the wind assaulted him, making him shiver and draw his hoodie around him a little tighter. He took one step forward, then two and four and six, and stopped and looked back. The light in the hallway clicked off and that was it, Stiles guessed.
Stiles hated the winter. It was too cold, too wet, too icy. The beds in the hostels filled up faster than ever and everyone on the streets was anger, more determined to do anything to get the best places to sit out the weather. Stiles had never been involved in all crazy after the first time. He just went on the hunt more often than he would like. Men and women this time, maybe something that could last the weekend. It was better than out there.
Bodies pressed closer in Jungle, as if to make up the cold in the air, sweating and groping and licking. Stiles closed his eyes and tried to enjoy it, to fall into rhythm with the rocking bodies. It didn’t take long for confident hands to appear on his bare waist, pulling him back against a warm body and Stiles smirked wickedly and opened his eyes to get a look at his conquest for the night.
He was older than Stiles, probably in his early thirties (like Derek) with slicked back dark red hair (that curled around his ears likes Derek did) and blue eyes that glinted with desire that was lighter than Derek’s. He grinned widely down at Stiles, nothing as good as Derek’s grin but nice enough, he guessed. Stiles halted his thoughts when he realised just how much Derek was there, always there, and shut it down quickly. No. No more Derek. This guy.
“What’s your name?” hot breath, beer tinged, panted in his ear.
“Stiles, and yours stranger?”
Evan. Evan was a good name. He should be thinking about Evan and not...that other guy.
“You’re a good dancer,” Evan told him.
“I’d say my talents lied in other areas,” Stiles hummed. He grinned widely up at him and flicked his tongue across his teeth, “Want to find out?”
Evan looked startled at the unexpected come on, and his cheeks flushed. He smiled and nodded. “Y-yes, yes definitely.”
Stiles rocked against him, making a point of rubbing himself up against the prominent bulge in his trousers, before grasping Evan’s hand and leading him through the crowd, towards the front door of the club. When Stiles looked away from him, his seductive facade dropped and he breathed out slowly.
Just like clockwork.
Everything was fine. Just like usual. Another trick with another house. Another set of kinks. Another night in a warm bed. Everything was fine.
Everything was supposed to be fine, but then Evan had to go and kiss him. Lips brushed his when he pressed Stiles up against his car and just...everything felt wrong. Stiles’ skin crawled, because he knew what he was going to do. He was going to pretend to like it, he was going to moan too loudly, he was willing to let himself get tied up, spanked, fucked, even if he didn’t want to, just for one night out of the cold and he was going to do it all with his eyes shut, wishing that it was Derek holding him there.
Because it was always going to be Derek wasn’t it?
Derek is the type of guy that you couldn’t forget. The type of man that everyone wanted in a partner. He was everything that Stiles had wanted, everything that he had thought Matt was and when you meet someone like that, when you’re in the world that Stiles’ is in, when everyone fights and battles and blackmails, how can you just forget them?
And Stiles couldn’t do this.
He pulled away from the kiss and pushed until he was given the leeway to make an escape. Evan called after him and Stiles shouted apologies, excuses and ran because he had to get away.
Three days later, he wasn’t disgusted anymore. No, he was angry. So fucking angry. How dare Derek swan into his life and screw everything up? Stiles was okay without his self worth, when he could close his eyes and pretend all the things he had to do to survive didn’t actually happen, but how could he go back to that now when...
It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to storm his way to Derek’s home, but it was late and dark and cold and the rain had started up again and the little hideaway that Stiles had found had been overtaken and he was just too angry to think straight. It was late and he vaguely wondered whether Derek was even up before he decided that he didn’t care and thumped on the door. He didn’t stop until it swung up roughly.
“Do you have any idea what fu-” Derek’s curse stopped abruptly and he blinked, “Stiles?”
“This is all your fault,” Stiles pointed his finger at him and glared darkly.
“What? What’s my fault?” Derek looked confused.
Stiles threw his hands up in the air. “Everything. I had a system. Abet it was a shitty system but it was mine and it worked and you had to show up and fuck everything up for me.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re everywhere. I can’t get you out of my fucking head. I ran away from a guy that didn’t seem dangerous and would give me a bed for the night because I couldn’t stand the thought of him touching me the way that you did. How fucking stupid is that?” he laughed with an edge of hysteria, “I was tricked by a trick.”
“A trick? Wha...” a light flashed on in a house across the street and Derek grimaced before stepping back and opening the door wider, “Get in, before Mrs Holt calls the police for disturbance.”
The heat of the house welcomed him and Stiles shivered, suddenly aware of how soaked through his clothes were. He watched as Derek locked the door once more and followed him to the bedroom when Derek told him too. He accepted the clothes that Derek threw at him and the towel from the bathroom because “you’ll catch a cold if you stay in that, as well as trapse water across my house. Change and then we can talk” and how could this man still be so wonderful considered what Stiles had done?
Stiles blinked back tears that welled frustratedly in his eyes and sniffed before doing as he was told.
Derek was in the kitchen when Stiles went looking for him, and god, was he making hot chocolate? One mug was set down in front of him and Derek watched him closely, eyes intense but not giving anything away.
“I was a trick,” Derek stated lowly.
“Just another person with a warm bed.”
Stiles swallowed because that wasn’t exactly true anymore, was it? “Yes.”
Derek frowned. “Why?”
“Because not everybody has beds Derek. You take that for granted when there are people who would do anything to get it,” Stiles stated bitterly.
“So you don’t have a bed then? Where do you sleep?”
“Wherever I can find someone safe, which isn’t often,” Stiles answered honestly and shifted uncomfortably when a look of realisation crossed his face.
“Yeah, oh...” Stiles muttered into his mug. He waited for a few moments before shaking his head, “I’m sorry, for coming here like that. It was stupid of me. I should get out of your hair.”
Derek made an aborted noise. “No. Not in this weather.”
Stiles’ eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Why would you even care? Last time I was here, you didn’t want to see me again.”
“I never said that,” Derek defeated.
“No, but I could see it on your face,” Stiles responded, “I’ve seen that look before. So I’ll ask again, why do you care?”
“Do you not want me to?”
“Then why does it matter?”
“Because I’m not a fucking charity case,” Stiles snapped.
“I never said you were,” Derek argued.
“No? Then why do I feel like one?”
There was a long silence whether neither of them spoke, before Derek sighed and stood up, the seat squeaking beneath him when it scraped across the ground. “Look, it’s late and I’m going to bed. Stay here for the night and then we’ll talk in the morning.”
“Want me to stay for breakfast this time too?” Stiles snarked and automatically regretted it when hurt flashed in Derek’s eyes.
“If you like. I’m not sure you can afford to skip out on a hot meal, can you?”
Stiles didn’t say anything and didn’t look up when Derek walked away, muttering about making up a bed on the couch. Stiles thought about leaving, waiting until Derek had gone back to bed, but Derek was right, wasn’t he? Stiles couldn’t afford to skip out. He had no where to go, no food, no shelter and no one waiting for him. And since it was already clear he was a selfish asshole, what’s the damage in spending a night here?
Stiles jerked at the voice, at the unexpected offer and the seriousness of the tone. Derek...he couldn’t be fucking serious, could he? He didn’t say anything, just stared and Derek continued awkwardly.
“I have more than enough room here and having a housemate wouldn’t be terrible. You’d have to pitch in with bills and rents and stuff, but you could use this as a base. Get away from the whole...trick business you have.”
“What? So you can save me?” Stiles questioned bitterly.
“Yes,” Derek responded honestly, which Stiles wasn’t expecting. “I’d rather have you here where you can find something better in life than just pimping yourself out for a bed and a meal. Your entire shouldn’t just be about survival. You should have more than that.”
Stiles licked his lips and sniffed. “Derek...I’m a slut. A whore. I always have been and fuck, I don’t deserve you or anything you have to offer. I’ve taken enough.”
“Don’t call yourself that,” Derek snapped defensively and Stiles’ couldn’t believe how irritated the man looked on his behalf.
“Then what do you want me to say?” he whispered.
“I don’t want you to say anything. I just want you to stay.”
Stiles clenched his eyes shut. “But why? Just...why?”
“Because you’re an asshole that I never expected to have feelings for and if I can help you, then I will. Even if you leave, I’ll just always be there with tents and soups and coffee and stopping you from going off with some asshole who doesn’t deserve your time. I’ll just be a general pest.” Derek offered him a smile, “Really, it would be your best interests to say.”
“You...you have feelings for me?” Stiles blinked, “Why?”
Derek looked embarrassed and sighed overdramatically. “Are you going to need my clarification for everything?”
“With stuff like this, yes.”
He sighed and looked at him, gaze intense and Stiles refused to look away, his heart pounding in his chest and he wondered if he was still dreaming. This felt like a dream.
“Because you’re smart and funny and sexy and if this was any other situation, I would have dated you so hard by now.”
Stiles flushed and laughed. “Can I make ‘dating me so hard’ part of the agreement for me living here?”
Derek arched an eyebrow. “You want a date night?”
“Yeah, I suppose. Why not?”
They grinned goofily at each other and Stiles discreetly pinched himself - ouch, okay, not a dream then - and it felt...good.
Maybe Derek was worth more than one. Maybe Stiles would never be able to let him go. And right now, that didn’t sound so bad after all.
Five months later
“It’s been nearly seven years Derek,” Stiles reminded, his voice thick with worry and nerves and his leg was pounding distractedly in the passenger seat. His eyes darted from window to window, at the familiar streets that he had left behind so long ago that it scarcely seemed real that nothing had changed.
He jumped when Derek laid a hand gently on his leg, stilling it and smiled guiltily at the reassuring one that he was shot.
“Stiles, you’ve been speaking to your dad for a month now,” Derek told him, eyes darting between the open road before him and the man beside him, “Emails, texts, phone calls. You’re better now. You’re ready to see him again.”
“He has another son now Derek, a better one,” Stiles fretted, “Why does he need me?”
“Because you are his son and he loves you,” Derek declared vehemently and Stiles clung to Derek’s hand to keep calm.
He squeezed tightly when the car pulled to a stop outside of the house. His dad had bought it four years back, after he had remarried and his wife, Melissa, had gotten pregnant, and they’d needed a bigger place to house the new baby, the currently three year old Isaac and Melissa’s teenage son, Scott. It felt so strange, knowing that just beyond was his father and a family he hadn’t even met before. His stomach churned uncomfortably and he wondered, not for the first time, whether he’d ever had a place there.
Derek caressed the back of Stiles’ hand with his thumb. “You can do this,” he muttered encouragingly and Stiles almost believed it.
Although he still wanted to turn away and run as far away from everything as he could, he resolved himself because he was ready for this. He hadn’t been home in a long time, hadn’t found one until he had found Derek and if anything else was going to make this dream complete, it was having his family there.
“Let’s go,” Stiles muttered and moved with determination from the car and Derek beamed at him.
Stiles had no idea what would happen next, whether anything could fix what had happened, but he had to try because his father, his brothers, his step-mother was worth that effort.
But that didn’t stop him from clasping Derek’s hand as hard as he could as they approached the door.
And that didn’t stop Derek from pressing back.