Derek wakes on Sunday morning with the dawn. Beside him, Stiles is still sleeping, his mouth wide open and little snorts and snores escaping him as though he’s a tiny, twitching piglet. Stiles swears black and blue that he doesn’t snore—Derek is going to record him one night. He slips out of bed, changing into his track pants and T-shirt before grabbing his socks and shoes. He puts them on in the kitchen, before grabbing a water bottle and filling it from the tap in the sink. Then he finds his phone, brings up his playlist, and puts his earbuds in. He checks he has his key, then eases the door shut carefully behind him as he leaves the house.
He turns the volume on his music up, and hits the pavement.
The house is what the agent referred to as a perfect starter home: a two-bedroom California bungalow with a yard the side of a postage stamp. Stiles has tried to grow flowers in the eight months they’ve lived there, but at this point he’s just sacrificing the new ones on the burial grounds of their forebears. He’s not a gardener, and it amuses Derek how much that seems to offend him.
“They’re geraniums! Look! It says they’re supposed to be hardy perennials! This time I won’t kill them!”
The geraniums had lasted about three days.
“Stop dying, you motherfuckers!”
Derek grins as he runs.
Dawn brightens, the last of the stars fading in the day’s new light. Derek passes one or two other runners in this little neighbourhood that’s come to feel like home, the faces and the houses and the scents all familiar to him now. He reaches the street that leads to one of the Preserve’s many running tracks, and stops to shake out his limbs before they cramp, but decides not to tackle the Preserve today. Not when he’s got Stiles waiting for him at home in a warm bed.
He turns toward home.
There was a time when running for Derek just meant that he was being chased by something; it’s only in the last few years that he’s started to actually enjoy it. It clears his head and centres him. It lets him breathe, and just be. Anger was Derek’s anchor once, but not anymore. Stiles is his anchor now, and he is everything, but the ocean inside Derek is a lot calmer these days too. Running has helped with that. So has the fact it’s been at least a few years since a supernatural shitstorm hit Beacon Hills.
Is this what a normal life feels like? Because Derek likes it a lot.
He’s passed the point in his life where he thinks he doesn’t deserve a happy life, and that’s been a hard realisation: that there’s no rhyme or reason to the universe. Things don’t happen for a reason, they just happen. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people, and they happen whether the recipient believes in an interventionist higher power or not. Derek no longer worries that he hasn’t earned this life, he just wants to hold onto it for as long as the universe allows. Forever, if he can, because for the first time in years he’s actually happy.
He smiles at the dead geraniums when he reaches home, and walks up the path to the front door. He slips his key into the lock, but the door opens before he turns it, and Stiles is there, leaning in the doorjamb and blinking at him sleepily.
His sleep pants are hanging from his hips, and his old T-shirt has more holes in it than a sieve. His hair looks like he’s been dragged backwards through a hedge, and the hedge definitely won. His smile is slow and dozy.
“Hey,” he mumbles, and shuffles into Derek’s embrace.
Stiles is not a morning person. Derek’s sure he’s not even particularly awake right now as he nuzzles into Derek’s throat like a baby animal seeking shelter.
“I’m sweaty,” Derek murmurs in warning.
“Hmm.” Stiles doesn’t seem to care. “You’re warm.” He snuggles closer, and then, “Yeah. You kinda stink.”
“Told you.” Derek presses a kiss to Stiles’s temple, and extracts himself carefully from their doorway cuddle. “I’m going to have a shower.”
“’kay.” Stiles shuffles off.
Derek heads for the bathroom, stripping off and stepping into the shower. The hot water feels good, easing the tightness in his muscles from his run. He showers quickly, his stomach rumbling in anticipation of breakfast. When he’s done, he pads down the hallway to their bedroom, his towel tucked around his hips, to get dressed.
Stiles is back in bed, curled up like a pill bug. He flashes Derek a sleepy grin, and reaches out for him, opening and closing his hands.
Derek arches a brow.
“Grabby hands mean come here,” Stiles says, almost swallowing the words in a yawn. “Come here, Der.”
Derek snorts, and walks over to the bed.
Stiles lifts the comforter in invitation, and Derek climbs in beside him. A moment later Stiles is flopping over him, and dragging the fingers of one hand through Derek’s damp hair.
“Stay in bed,” he mumbles.
“It’s almost eight.”
“It’s Saturday. Time doesn’t count on Saturday.”
“It’s Sunday,” Derek corrects him.
“Time doesn’t count even more on Sundays.” Stiles hooks a leg over him, and burrows in like a tick.
Derek snorts, and shifts to make himself more comfortable. He ends up lying on his back with Stiles sprawled over him, warm and long-limbed. Stiles’s head rests on Derek’s chest, and Derek listens to Stiles’s heartbeat, slow and heavy as he slips into sleep again, and cards his fingers through his mussed-up hair.
Derek closes his eyes and dozes for a while, until he registers that Stiles’s scent has sweetened with arousal, and his heartbeat has quickened. Derek blinks awake to find that Stiles is rubbing himself against him, his morning wood riding the groove of Derek’s hip. Derek puts his hands on Stiles’s hips and encourages him to press closer. Then he slides a hand around to Stiles’s back, plucking his thin shirt up. His palm brushes against Stiles’s skin, against the knots in his spine, and Stiles’s hips jerk forward. Derek finds the waistband of his sleep pants. He dips his hand underneath it, following a swath of warm skin. He skirts the dimples at the base of Stiles’s spine, and slides his hand all the way down to the curve of his ass. His fingertips dip into the crease of Stiles’s ass, and Stiles pants against his jaw for a moment.
“Yes,” Stiles murmurs, his voice still thick with sleep. “Yes, Der.”
Derek’s dick aches and throbs, arousal tightening like a coil.
Derek slides Stiles’s sleep pants down, and presses a kiss to his temple. “You sure?”
“Mmmm.” Stiles ruts lazily against him.
Derek stretches to grab the lube from the bedside table. He opens it, and squirts a generous dollop onto his fingertips. He presses his index finger against Stiles’s entrance, and Stiles moans and relaxes against the gentle intrusion.
Derek opens him slowly and carefully, and Stiles undulates against him. A litany of sounds drops from Stiles’s mouth when Derek finally pushes his dick inside him. A flush maps the pale planes of his body, his throat, his face. His body is still clumsy with sleep, his eyes closed, but he’s smiling as he rocks against Derek in slow, lazy movements.
Derek fights the urge to flip Stiles onto his back and pound into him. He wants to savour this slow, sweet lovemaking. He wants to imprint every second of this on his memory, so that whenever he closes his eyes he can feel Stiles in his arms, his weight on top of him, his body clenching tight around his dick.
“I love you,” Stiles murmurs.
Derek’s heart swells. “I love you too.”
They finish the way they started, slow and sweet, like a lazy Sunday morning.
Stiles stretches awake, yawning, and grins when he hears Derek in the shower for the second time today. Derek might like to wake up with a jog, but Stiles much prefers his method. A shower sounds pretty great, but so does the idea of having breakfast cooking for Derek, so Stiles makes sure his sleep pants are still more or less in place, and shuffles out to the kitchen, still yawning.
Okay, so maybe he’s still mostly asleep, and maybe he’s also got a post-orgasm haze happening, but bacon and pancakes and coffee will make everything right.
Except it doesn’t make everything right.
Somehow everything goes horribly wrong, and okay, that might be because Stiles decided to save his energy and use the mixer to make the batter for the pancake, and sort of forgot to put the blades all the way back in before turning it on.
He’s still blinking around in confusion when Derek reappears.
“Is that pancake batter on the ceiling?”
Yes, yes it is. It’s also pancake batter on every other surface in the kitchen, including Stiles. Stiles, it turns out, as a splodge of batter slides down his cheek, is made up of surfaces too, and he’s just been pancake bukkaked.
“Wait,” he says. “Can bukkake be a verb?”
“That’s what you’re focussing on?” Derek and his eyebrows judge him. “Really?”
“When I tell this story to other people, I need to know if I can use bukkake as a verb or not.”
Derek leans in to lick some batter off the tip of Stiles’s nose. “Why would you tell this story to other people though?”
“I’m a natural raconteur,” Stiles says.
“You’re a natural idiot,” Derek says, and nudges him with his hip. “Go and have a shower.”
Stiles nods, still blinking at the disaster that is their kitchen.
A shower is a really good idea right now.
It takes Derek about twenty minutes to clean up Stiles’s mess in the kitchen. It’s exactly the sort of thing that would have annoyed the hell out of him a few years ago—though the Derek from a few years ago couldn’t have even imagined living with a boyfriend, especially a boyfriend who is also Stiles. Derek’s not exactly sure how he first started to tolerate Stiles, then like him, and then love him, but here he is, and he doesn’t regret it for a second. Not even when he’s moving the refrigerator to clean the wall behind it. He’d rather be using his werewolf strength for stuff like this than fight-to-the-death battles in abandoned factories any day of the week.
Derek pushes the refrigerator back into position, and tosses the damp cloth toward the sink. He can still smell pancake batter everywhere, but he’s confident he’s cleaned it all up. Warm arms come around him from behind, and a surprisingly pointy chin digs into his shoulder.
Stiles sighs. “I’m sorry about the mess.”
Derek shrugs. “I should have known better than to let you attempt to operate a kitchen appliance when you were still half-asleep.”
“Ah.” Stiles presses the curve of his smile against Derek’s shoulder. “So it’s your fault? I can live with that.”
Derek snorts. “You still owe me breakfast though.”
Stiles squeezes him tight. “Diner?”
Derek nods. “Diner.”
Luanne’s Diner is a Beacon Hills institution and, more importantly, a Stilinski family tradition. Derek thinks it started out as avoidance—neither John nor Stiles felt right having big Sunday breakfasts at home without Claudia, and the way Stiles tells it, one morning John bundled Stiles into his car, drove all the way across town, and hauled him out again at Luanne’s. They didn’t do it every Sunday—John’s shift work was too unpredictable for that—but at least once a month they’d find themselves here, poring over the menu and ordering the same thing every time anyway.
Derek can still remember the first time he knew it was serious between him and Stiles. Stiles had announced he was having breakfast at the diner with John, and stood there with his eyebrows raised until Derek realised he was waiting for him to get dressed and join them. That was three years ago now. Derek feels like a new man, though Luanne’s hasn’t changed a bit, all the way from the cracked tiles in the bathroom to the worn vinyl seats in the booths.
“Boys!” John Stilinski sounds surprised to see them when they approach his booth, and he gives a guilty start that has everything to do with his side of extra bacon. “I wasn’t expecting to see you this morning.”
Cleary,” Stiles says, and narrows his eyes at the bacon.
Derek nudges him with his hip to get him to slide into the booth. “You’re working, John?”
“Just finished up,” John says. “I took a graveyard shift last night to help Lopez out. Her wife’s away, and their little one isn’t well. She didn’t want to leave him with a sitter.”
A waitress walks over, pen and notepad at the ready.
“You’re not even going to give me a menu?” Stiles asks.
She puts a hand on her hip. “Why? Are you going to order something that’s not pancakes and bacon?”
“Make it two,” Derek says.
The waitress winks at him and walks off again.
Stiles leans against Derek, and Derek puts an arm around him. “I had a small kitchen disaster,” he says, “but before I tell you about it, is bukkake a verb?”
“Is what a verb?” John’s brow creases.
“Don’t Google it,” Derek warns him.
John shoots the pair of them a wary look, and stabs a piece of bacon with his fork. “Is there any way of telling me what happened without this going to weird places?”
Stiles tilts his head, and opens his mouth.
“He tried to mix the pancake batter when the mixer blades weren’t down yet,” Derek says, because he really doesn’t trust Stiles to not say bukkake again. “He even got it on the ceiling.”
“Really, Stiles?” John asks with a sigh.
Stiles wrinkles his nose and nods.
They end up in a discussion of some of Stiles’s worst kitchen disasters—from the time he tried microwaving eggs to the time he stirred his retainer into the mac and cheese and didn’t notice until John found it later in his serving—but there’s no real sting in the stories, and both Stilinski men laugh out loud as they tell them. Derek thinks of a kid who was trying to fill a space in his family’s life that he really wasn’t big enough for yet, and squeezes Stiles gently as they wait for their breakfast.
“To my credit, I’ve gotten a lot better,” Stiles says. “This morning I was just still half asleep.”
And dozy from his orgasm, but neither of them is mentioning that.
The waitress brings their plates over, and takes John’s empty one away.
“You boys got any plans for the day?” John asks, sipping his coffee.
Stiles digs into his pancakes. “Nah. Sunday is our lazy day.”
Derek smiles at that.
He and Stiles are sickeningly domestic—Cora’s words, not his—and Sundays have been designated lazy day ever since they moved in together. They watch movies, and lie around on the couch, and play video games, and just hang out, and it’s Derek’s favourite day of the week.
John excuses himself before they’re finished, telling them he’s going to head home and sleep. He leaves a couple of bills on the table to cover his breakfast, and theirs, and waves away Derek’s protestations.
There’s room to scoot around to the other side of the booth now, but Derek doesn’t move. He eats his breakfast, and soaks in Stiles’s warmth, and smiles.
They stop off at the local farmers’ market on the way home, and Stiles checks out the display of potted flowers and plants. After his last attempt with the geraniums, he’s gun-shy when it comes to gardening, but he still can’t get rid of the idea of how cute the house would look if it had flowers in the yard. The neighbours all have flowers. Why can’t Stiles grow some goddamn flowers? Mavis across the road can grow flowers, and she can’t even kneel down because of her plastic hip. What the hell is he doing wrong?
“You’re staring at them like you want to set fire to them with your eyes,” Derek says, his arms folded over his chest.
“Huh.” Stiles blinks. “Mayne that’s what I’m doing wrong. Maybe they can sense my hostility.”
“Or maybe you just forget to water them,” Derek suggests.
There may be an element of truth in that.
Stiles takes Derek’s hand and leads him away from the flowers. “I just want something in the garden that I won’t kill!”
“We could make a rock garden.”
Stiles elbows him.
They walk around the market, grabbing a few things here and there. Mostly fresh vegetables for the week, but also a jar of local honey, some fresh bread, and some hot sauce. After doing a circuit of the place, Stiles finds himself back in front of the flowers again, staring at them.
“These are very easy to grow,” the woman from the stall says. “And the color just pops!”
Stiles laughs darkly, possibly too darkly, and she gives him a worried look.
Derek takes him by the elbow and turns him away from the stall.
Stiles huffs, but lets himself get herded back toward the car. While it’s probably a really smart idea to not blow fifty bucks on a bunch of plants that will keel over and perish the second he puts them in the yard, Stiles doesn’t like to lose He never has, which is strange considering how often it’s happened to him. He should have really developed a much thicker skin about it now. Not that he’s ever lost where it counts, he knows, and shoots Derek a grin.
They load their purchases into the Camaro, and Stiles slides into the passenger seat. He clips his seatbelt on, and plays with the stereo while Derek drives. Derek hates country music, so Stiles finds a song where some woman is wailing about her cheating cowboy, and turns it up.
Derek’s mouth twitches.
“You used to be a lot easier to annoy,” Stiles comments. “Remember that?”
“Well, you used to be a lot more annoying.”
“Maybe you’re just more forgiving now that I let you have sex with me regularly.”
“You let me?” Derek’s eyebrows do that thing they do. “Pretty sure you were the one who climbed me like a tree that first time.”
Stiles hums. “Potayto, potahto.”
Derek laughs. There was a time when Derek barely even smiled, but these days he actually laughs, and it might be the most amazing sound Stiles has ever heard.
He changes the radio back to something not to ear-splittingly awful, and then looks out the window. “Where are we going? This isn’t the way home.”
“Are you serious about wanting something for the yard that you can’t kill?”
“Yes,” Stiles says, “but we’ll never fit a sequoia in this car.”
Derek quirks a brow. “You could probably kill a sequoia.”
“Yeah, probably.” Stiles squints at the sign for Lincoln Street. His stomach clenches, and his heart beats a little faster. Derek’s mouth twitches at that—and Stiles silently curses his stupid tell-tale human heartbeat. He jiggles his leg, and bites the inside of his cheek, not wanting to get too excited in case he’s so, so wrong about where they’re going, and then—
And then they’re pulling up in front of the Beacon Hills Animal Shelter.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” he gasps. “Please tell me this is for real!”
“This is for real,” Derek says, “but you’re going to need to calm down before you get in there, or they won’t trust you with an animal.”
Stiles sucks in a few deep breaths, staring avidly at the brick wall of the shelter. Such a boring, squat little building, but full of so much potential. So much fuzzy, bouncy, waggy potential! His eyes sting—stupid tell-tale human tears—because he’s suddenly overwhelmed. He and Derek have talked about getting a puppy, since that’s the kind of thing both of them needed to be on the same page about, but Stiles had no idea it would be today.
“Come on,” Derek says, and unclips his seatbelt. “Let’s go and see if they’ve got something hardier than a geranium.”
Stiles snorts, and climbs out of the car. He breaks into another grin as they walk towards the entrance of the building. “We’re gonna get the cutest puppy ever, Der!”
What’s that saying about the best laid plans?
Derek loves Sundays, from the first rays of dawn to the long shadows of a golden afternoon as it draws slowly into dusk. He loads the dishwasher as quietly as he can, humming softly to himself, and then checks his phone to find a text from Cora, just checking in. He replies to her, and slides his phone back into his pocket. He pads to the refrigerator, the floor cool under his bare feet, and opens it. Stir fry for dinner? That would make good use out of the vegetables they bought this morning. Then again, it feels like a pizza kind of night. Just pizza, and a movie, and Stiles, and—
Pinprick claws dig into his ankle, the only warning Derek gets before there’s a fuzzy little critter climbing the leg of his jeans.
Derek leans down and scoops the kitten up, holding it against his chest. Its tiny ribcage rattles with a purr, and Derek scratches it under the chin. It’s a little gray kitten, with only one eye. Stiles has named her Pirate.
Derek tucks her into his shirt, and closes the refrigerator door.
He walks back into the living room, where Stiles is crashed out on the couch. He carefully lifts his legs and slides onto the couch underneath them. He puts his feet on the coffee table, and curls his hands around Stiles’s sock-clad feet. Stiles sighs and smiles in his sleep.
Pirate climbs out of Derek’s shirt and launches an attack on his beard.
“Did you play with this one until he collapsed?” Derek asks her, running a finger along her band-saw spine. She’s a skinny little thing, but they have plans to fatten her up. “Apparently he has less stamina that a fifteen-week-old kitten.”
Stiles stretches and yawns, slowly blinking awake. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Derek smiles at him, and sets Pirate down on his chest.
The thing with Stiles…
The thing with Stiles is that Derek never quite gets what he expects. Stiles is walking into a shelter to get a dog, and coming out again with a one-eyed kitten. Stiles is chaos and noise and frenetic motion, except for when he’s also doe-eyed and sleepy. Stiles is dumb jokes and sarcasm and sass, except for when that isn’t what Derek needs from him. Stiles is a stupid, mouthy, reckless troublemaker who barrelled into Derek’s world uninvited, and stuck his nose in his business uninvited, and he is also the love of Derek’s life.
Derek was never expecting that.
Derek curls his fingers around Stiles’s ankles. “So, I should probably tell you that I’ve had puppy supplies hidden in the roof space for the last two weeks.”
Stiles widens his eyes. “Oh!”
Derek squeezes his foot. “Oh.”
Stiles scritches Pirate gently on the head. “We’ll have to go back next week and get a dog.”
“Or we could donate the stuff to Deaton.”
Stiles hums. “My plan is better.”
They’ll either have a dog next weekend, Derek thinks, or an alpaca. Because there’s just no telling with Stiles.
He flicks Stiles on the toe. “Come on. If we’re ordering pizza tonight you at least have to get off the couch. We need to cook.”
Stiles rolls to his feet, holding Pirate against his chest.
Derek heads back into the kitchen to start their weekly meal prep.
Cora laughed at him the last time she visited, when she saw their kitchen full of Tupperware containers on Sunday afternoon, and asked Derek which one of them domesticated the other. Derek still doesn’t know the answer to that. Somehow, everything about being with Stiles is easier than it should be on paper. Somehow, they just work.
Derek sets the pots on the stovetop. He’s thinking spaghetti bolognaise for Monday and Tuesday, and butter chicken for Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is takeout day, when they each buy their own lunches; Stiles from the little coffee shop on campus, and Derek from the taco truck that visits the construction site. Derek fell into construction by accident—he’s strong and can lift heavy stuff—but he’s learning a lot, and he’s going to stick with it until he can build their next house out in the Preserve. After that, he doesn’t know for sure. There was a time when not knowing what his future held was as terrifying as hell when all he could see was death and destruction, but things are different now. Derek is different now.
He gets busy cooking, and Stiles joins him, with Pirate sitting in the pocket of his hoodie. Stiles chatters on about anything and everything, and Derek hums and nods as he listens. Pirate gets a little too interested in the chicken pieces, so Stiles takes her back into the living room. Moments later she’s climbing Derek’s jeans again, and perching on his shoulder.
In the end they don’t get pizza: the butter chicken smells too good.
They eat it on the couch, with Netflix playing on the TV, as the night darkens outside. Pirate sits between them, purring loudly. Stiles scrolls through his phone as he eats.
“Want to go down to Blue Lake Valley next weekend?” Stiles asks. “There’s a guy there selling recycled sash windows. Do we want sash windows?” His brow creases. “What are sash windows?” He wrinkles his nose. “Why are you smiling at me like that?”
“Because you’re cute,” Derek says.
Stiles grins, his cheeks flushing.
Derek loves that he can still make Stiles blush.
“But no, we don’t need sash windows,” Derek says. “We do want recycled timber though.”
“I knew we wanted recycled something.” Stiles looks at his screen again. “This is why you’re in charge of the building.”
“Mmm.” Derek sets his plate down on the coffee table, and Pirate uses his extended legs as a bridge as she wobbles hopefully toward it. Derek ruins her plans by picking it up again before she can reach it. He’ll be the bad guy if it stops her from eating curry. It might only be mild, but she’s only tiny.
He waits until Stiles has finished his butter chicken too, and carries both of their plates into the kitchen. He rinses them in the sink and stacks them in the dishwasher. Then he joins Stiles on the couch again, and they hold hands while Pirate climbs all over them.
At work tomorrow, someone will ask Derek how his weekend was, and what he and Stiles got up to. And Derek will say “not much” and shrug, which is true, but at the same time not much is everything.
“You’re smiling at me again,” Stiles says, a slow, lazy grin on his face as he eases himself onto Derek’s lap, straddling him. His knees dig into the couch cushions on either side of Derek’s thighs. Pirate, sitting on Derek’s shoulder, scuttles onto the back of the couch in alarm.
Derek cocks a brow. “Would you prefer it if I growled?”
“Some of my fondest memories are of your growls,” Stiles says with a wink. “And of you pushing me up against walls and getting right in my face, all fangy and grr.” Then his grin fades, and he leans in and presses his lips to Derek’s in a soft, fleeting kiss. “But I like your smile too.”
Derek’s glad, since it’s Stiles that puts it there, every time.
He never thought he’d have this: someone he loves, and a home with them. As dreams go it’s not even that ambitious, but for so long Derek’s life was such a nightmare that even this suburban, domestic normalcy seemed entirely out of reach for him. But somehow, in the middle of that darkness, there was this annoying kid who just wouldn’t shut up. And somehow he crashed through every wall that Derek had built around himself, and he even let Derek crash through his, as well. They’ve both been touched by tragedy, by horror, and they both know how precious and miraculous the not much days really are. Cora might laugh at their matching Tupperware containers, but they’re everything that Derek has ever wanted.
Pirate creeps along the back of the couch cautiously, then reaches out to bat Derek’s ear. Stiles laughs and wiggles his fingers along the back of the couch to give her another target to chase.
“Do you think the one eye thing will—”
Pirate leaps for Stiles’s fingers, misses, and sails off the back of the couch instead.
“Holy shit!” Stiles lifts himself up on his knees. “Question answered, I guess. She has zero depth perception! You okay there, Pirate? Pie?”
Derek hears Pirate’s claws digging into the couch as she scales back up to join them. Her single eye is wide, and her tail is puffed up.
Derek reaches up and curls a hand around the back of Stiles’s neck, and then tugs him in gently for another kiss.
“I love you,” he whispers.
Stiles draws back so that he can look Derek in the eye. “I love you too, Der.”
One more lazy Sunday down, and an entire lifetime more to come.
And Derek can’t wait.