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Quit Dragon Me Around

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Their cave on the outskirts of Beacon Hills isn’t exactly extravagant or even mildly impressive as opposed to other dragon lairs.

There aren’t stacks of gold lining the walls, no antique thrones or crowns strewn about, not even a single hint of riches or expensive items. What they do have are piles of worn and scratched CDs lying carelessly around the space, kitchen utensils and dishes, but mostly just a myriad of shiny, useless items they find on their hunts. It isn’t considered sophisticated by others of their kind, but Stiles never did care for doing things the usual way.

Scott’s asleep and fully shifted on their run-down couch, further crushing it with his massive weight. The red-brown scaled belly lifts and falls in time with his steady breaths. In comparison to other dragons, he isn’t necessarily considered large. The most massive of them have been rumored to reach up to twenty thousand pounds, able to dwarf some middle-class homes across the country. But Scott probably weighs a good two thousand pounds, maybe a little more depending on how much he had to eat that day.

The two dragons have been living together since they graduated high school together three years ago. Now, they’re both twenty and enjoying their freedom, although more often than not it feels like a banishment than anything else.

They’re allowed to make residence in the forests outside of cities in towns, but not actually among people. Dragons aren’t typically welcome anywhere in many of the states due to their tendency to steal. The stigma attached to them is too strong, leaving them to be consistently chased out of towns, yelled at, even hunted if they aren’t careful with their shifts. It’s lucky that they’re a rare species otherwise lairs in the forests near towns would be much harder to find.

But for now, Stiles is in his human form, taking the opportunity to try and clean their home while he has the use of opposable thumbs.

It’s been a tiring day for them both. They had traveled days to a nearby city, hoping that they wouldn’t be recognized in their human forms. They didn’t plan on breaking rules, but just like usual their trip ended with them getting chased all the way home by angry hunters and one very upset Apple Store employee. To be fair, Scott had been trying to steal a broken, well-worn laptop that had been completely against Stiles’s plan. Stiles had said from the beginning that they should stay small, only stealing used headphones or cracked phone cases. But the instant Scott saw the shiny beaten-down laptop, all his common sense flew out the window. Stiles had scolded him for hours on the run home over how he shouldn’t let his urges get the better of him.

Not that Stiles was in any position to talk, really, since giving into his urges is exactly how he ended up in this situation-- a knight stalking angrily into his cavern, practically fuming and looking two seconds away from threatening to call Dragon Control.

“Is that your dragon?” The man growls, gesturing hostilely in Scott’s direction. The assumption that a dragon belongs to anyone is technically offensive, but Stiles decides not to point that out.

He doesn’t respond immediately, but chooses to study the intruder instead. With a timbre like that man has, Stiles could almost be convinced that he was a dragon if it weren’t for the fact that, if he were one, he would have immediately recognized that Stiles was one too and not a human with a pet dragon. And really, where did he get off thinking that? Dragons have been free and untamed for thousands of years now.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to see that the man would make a gorgeous dragon. He has a thick head of black hair, stubble on cheekbones that look sharp enough to kill, a body that could’ve been sculpted out of marble, and piercing pale green eyes. If he were a dragon, he’d probably be a beautiful mix of black and green tones that would capture the hearts of many dragons undoubtedly.

Stiles flushes and forces his gaping mouth to close as comes back to reality. He glances over to where Scott is waking up, lazily peeking through one open eye at the commotion. But the blazing red eye holds only curiosity and mild amusement at Stiles’s situation. It’s clear that he’s not even remotely interested in helping his best friend after having heard a speech about taking responsibility for ones’ actions the entire hike home.

“I- well…That is a dragon, yes. Not necessarily mine, though, since he belongs to himself.”

The heavy eyebrows on the man’s face pull together in frustration and Stiles grins cheekily back.

“May I ask what brings you to our humble abode…? I’m sorry, it seems I didn’t catch your name when you barged rudely in.” 

“Derek,” he sighs as if wasting his time answering Stiles’s questions was physically painful, “and I’m here because your overgrown lizard stole my sword. Again.”

Embarrassment floods through Stiles’s system, his heart speeding up and his cheeks tinting a deeper shade of pink. “Oh, so sorry about that. Scott isn’t fully trained yet and he has trouble saying ‘no’ to things that are enticing to him. Which happens to be very shiny, very well-made swords,” Stiles lies. Turning to fully face Scott, he makes his eye wide and pleading, mentally begging his friend to go along with it.

Scott doesn’t show any signs of caring that his best friend just threw him under the proverbial bus. He simply glances Derek up and down, snorts derisively and hoists his hefty form off the couch. The yawn he emits could almost be mistaken as a roar with how it vibrates the cave. The two men watch in mild amusement as the red dragon meanders out of the cavern to presumably continue his nap outside in peace.

Stiles chews on his lip and shrugs nonchalantly. “He also has a bit of an attitude problem. We’re working on it.”

“How about you stop talking and give me my sword so I can go?” Derek snaps.

Stiles nods, rifling through their pile of miscellaneous items from recent loots. It’s surprisingly lofty compared to their usual hauls, but the past week had been a very lucrative one for them—excluding the Apple Store situation, of course.

The stash dwindles slightly as Stiles tosses item after item absentmindedly to the side. A lacrosse stick, a bicycle, an Avengers DVD- he gently places that on the DVD stack off to the side, a cellphone…

“He stole my cellphone, too?” Derek asks, incredulous.

Stiles skillfully keeps his gazed averted, maintaining a strong focus on the stack in front of him. He pretends to scoff in annoyance at Scott’s silly antics, but it sounds brittle and guilty even to his own ears. After all, he vividly remembers being the one to find and bring home that cellphone.

The phone had been obviously used for years with its screen in perfect condition despite the sides and back being permanently crusted in dirt and starting to wear thin. It had clearly been loved, and he thought it had been abandoned after he stepped on it in the woods, so naturally he couldn’t resist taking it. But looking at the glowering man in front of him, yeah, he thinks he should have resisted.

“You’re D. Hale? Dude, I tried to call your contacts to tell someone I had your phone, but I couldn’t break in past your passcode. I assumed that meant it was abandoned. Maybe make it a little easier next time if you want it returned?” Stiles jokes, trying to lighten the ever-increasing tension in the atmosphere.

“The passcode is supposed to deter thieves,” Derek explains slowly, as if he were speaking to a child.

“Hey!” Stiles swings around, his eyes glowing an intense gold in his flash of anger. Derek’s eyebrows shoot up towards his hairline as he stands straighter and braces himself for an attack. “We aren’t thieves, we only take what has been broken or abandoned…People have too much stuff, yet they call us greedy for asking for their scraps. Do people really need these unwanted items? No. We’re not taking anything they can’t live without.”

“You’re a dragon, too.” It isn’t a question but an accusation. He spits the word out like it’s something disgusting, unnatural, an abomination. Stiles has heard a lot of people call him names, say his species with that very same venomous tone, but not in the safety of his home.

Usually, he plays it off like it’s no big deal, but it hurts more than he likes to admit. Each time it feels like a single papercut to his body, not bad on its own but it builds and builds with each insult until he’s feeling the weight of a thousand papercuts. A thousand hateful remarks he’s been dealt. 

Stiles rears back like he’s been slapped, unable to physically stop his body from reacting. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees something sharp sticking out at an odd angle. He determinedly steps towards it and pulls it free from the collection of garbage.

Swords are the only useful, non-broken items that he continues to steal. It isn’t completely his fault, something deep and primal inside of him calling for him to steal the swords from the knights—as a way of remembering the days of his ancestors, perhaps.

While he does feel an intense urge to steal swords as a way of connecting with his ancestors, he’s self-aware enough to know that isn’t the reason he stole this one. The truth is, the sword smelled good—so did the cellphone, which is why he really didn’t try all that hard to find its’ owner. As loathe as he was to admit it- Derek Hale, who obviously despised Stiles and hated every dragon’s guts for existing, had a scent that was completely intoxicating and irresistible to him. 

It’s a shame he’s such a bigoted asshole.

“Here’s your sword, you can go now,” Stiles grumbles, tossing the sword at the man’s feet and praying that he would just leave. But Stiles never was that lucky.

“So it was you then? You were the one that stole my stuff?” Derek accuses, realization dawning on him.

Stiles panics, his eyes wide and shifting to the side guiltily. He determinedly avoids meeting Derek’s furious gaze.

“I had to buy a new cellphone and almost lost my job because of you, so maybe you should act like you care a little bit more about how your actions affect other people.” Stiles flinches as Derek steps forward, he glances around for any sign of Scott, but there’s no sign of his friend being remotely aware of what was going on inside the cave.

“I found it in the woods,” Stiles defends weakly. “I thought it was abandoned. I gave you your stuff back, I don’t know what else you want from me! I’m sorry.”

Derek actually looks surprised at that, his mouth parting slightly as he struggles to form a reply. Stiles can’t help but notice how attractive the man’s mouth is- open and inviting as if asking to be kissed, to be traced with his tongue and fingers, to be marked thoroughly by Stiles. He quickly blinks out of his thoughts as the lips take on movement once again.

“So you thought my phone didn’t belong to anyone. Okay. Then what’s your excuse for taking my sword? Multiple times, might I add,” Derek asks, his tone demanding an answer.

Stiles mumbles his reply, but it only makes the man grow more annoyed and impatient. He charges forward and shoves Stiles against the wall, his arm pressing up against his throat.

“I’ll ask one more time. Why do you keep stealing my sword?”

Stiles tilts his head back, staring at the top of the cave in an attempt to make this embarrassing confession a little less so. It helps a little.“I said I stole your sword because it smelled nice. Technically also why I kept the phone. There, you happy now, Captain Grumpy?”

“I smell…nice?” Derek seems to be completely, utterly perplexed by this sudden admittance.

“Yes. Like marshmallows and how it smells after it rains. Just...it smells comforting.”

Without warning, the force holding him against the wall disappears and Stiles is left staggering forward. He catches his balance and glances up at Derek, who is staring at him with something akin to horror.

“Hey, um. Are you okay? I know you’re the one that technically attacked me and all, but now you’re looking kind of…pale and the last thing I need is you passing out in my cave,” Stiles rambles.

“Fine,” comes the short, barked reply. 

“Okay, then, can you please leave my cave? I gave you your stuff back, and you’ve successfully insulted and harassed me. I’m not sure what else you’re staying for. Unless you want to take some of my stuff while you’re at it,” he gestures widely to the mess of objects scattered carelessly around the cave. “Go ahead, have a look around. I have scratched CDs, some collectable figurines with various amputated limbs, a couple of smashed iPhones. By all means, take your pick!” He’s snarling by the end of his rant, thin tendrils of dark gray smoke spills out of the corners of his mouth. His eyes must be glowing a fierce gold hue as well, feeling as close to the shift as he is. 

Shifting inside his cave isn’t really ideal since his Alpha form is too big to fit in the small area comfortably, so he really doesn’t want to resort to that. Last time he fully shifted indoors he got stuck for a few days until Scott had run and gotten his dad to help tug him out. It was an incident he prefers not to remember, choosing to remain human inside his cave to avoid it ever happening again. But he will do it if he must—he’s upset and tired and he really wants this angry human out of his home.

Derek seems to sense Stiles’s desperation and he nods in assent. His hands brush fondly against the metal of the sword when he picks it up and sheaths it at his hip. He regards Stiles for a moment and shifts minutely as if he wants to say something else. The dragon hunches in on himself as if to brace for another insult or attack, but none comes.

“Don’t take my sword again,” Derek threatens.

Stiles, staring resolutely at the stone floor, laughs in disbelief. No longer angry or close to shifting, the last of his smoke pours out of his mouth in a rush for freedom. “Trust me, I won’t be taking anything from you anymore.”

Derek’s lips thin, his expression one Stiles isn’t able to identify. He’s tempted to say it looks like disappointment, but he knows there is no way that interpretation is correct.

Stiles, on the other hand, can’t help but feel a tinge of regret as he watches the pleasant-smelling stranger walk out of his cave and out of his life.

~  ~ ~  ~ ~ 

It’s been a few weeks since Derek Hale visited Stiles, but his influence still remains, a storm cloud perpetually raining on Stiles’s looting excitement.

Now, Stiles stands in front of the colossal garbage pile, his main source of treasure since he had been threatened for stealing. He doesn’t mind being reduced to digging through the giant mounds of trash, there’s nothing undignified about it; he and Scott have been making monthly trips to the dump for years now. It was nothing new, but Stiles’s new reliance on the dumping ground was. The last thing he wants to admit is that he’s been finally scared away from scavenging in towns, but he has. After dealing with hunters and angry merchants the same day as Derek Hale, he is truly tired of being chased around. That’s why the landfill was his new favorite hunting ground-- Nobody cares what he takes from the dump.

But where should he start his search…the new pile on the left or the one on the right? He licks his lips and chooses the right on a whim. After all, he can search the left one right after if he doesn’t make any worthwhile discoveries. 

A lot more time passes than he usually allots for the first heap, but for good reason. After only an hour of searching, he’s already found a cassette player snapped in half and a silver watch that no longer works. With just one touch, he can feel the strength of the memories connected to these objects, the amount of love that the owners felt for these possessions. It’ll be enough to keep him well fed for a week.

Deciding the two objects are enough for the day, he slides down the pile and strolls towards the exit. He’ll come back next week to search the other mound since he has enough food to last a while. Barely ten feet outside of the dump his skin prickles at the distinct feeling of eyes on him. He turns slowly, not wanting to scare whomever it was into attacking him by moving too fast.

It’s a wolf. Or more specifically, it’s a beautiful black wolf with gray markings decorating its feet, mouth and chest. The wolf’s eyes are shockingly pale green-yellow in color that reminds him of Derek despite the lack of hostility within their gaze. Stiles’s lips part in surprise at the sight, he thought wolves didn’t live in California anymore.

“Hey, buddy,” Stiles raises his hands in an attempt to come off as nonthreatening as possible as he approaches the wolf. He doesn’t know if the wolf can understand what he’s saying, but he sure hopes so. Maybe, after three years of being on his own, he can make a friend other than Scott. It would be nice to have a new face to talk to. “I don’t have any food for you, just some stuff from the trash and you don’t want to eat those.”

He holds out the watch and cassette player with his hands to show what he is talking about, only to realize that by doing so he’s somehow made a grave mistake. The wolf snaps violently at his hands, his face contorting in fury. Stiles feels his body start to sweat as he backs away from the animal.

It’s safe to say the last thing he was expecting was for the wolf to shift and enlarge, morphing into the unmistakable form of a naked Derek Hale. Stiles’s eyes instantly scan the man dipping lower and lower as they take in his thick muscles, his hairy chest, his--- Stiles redirects his gaze to the sculpted upper body before Derek notices, but wasn’t quick enough to not see what the bottom half offered.

And wow, the man had a lot to work with.

Stiles licks his dry lips and rasps, “Of course you’re a shifter. Great. You know, I’d think you would be less judgmental and all if you’re also-”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Derek interrupts with a snarl, rushing forward and shoving Stiles’s chest with both hands, sending the teen scrambling backwards. There isn't enough strength behind it to hurt, but it definitely catches him off-guard. Instinctually, Stiles drops his prized winnings on the ground as he loses his balance and lands on the ground with a soft thud.

“Look, I don’t know what I did this time to piss you off, but can you just leave me alone please?” Stiles pleads, reaching forward for his treasures so he can leave. Derek snatches them first and shoves the watch in his pocket, crushing the already broken cassette player even further in his tight grip. 

“You need to stop stealing before you get yourself arrested and thrown in jail,” the man states, his voice raised, but not quite yelling. Yet. “Is that where you want to end up? Locked up inside a tiny cell, not being able to shift fully for the entire time you’re there?”

“I didn’t steal those items. I took them from a garbage dump! They’re objects nobody wants. They’re free game for dragons,” Stiles says in his defense.

“You said that people can live without these objects, well so can you,” Derek says.

Stiles snorts derisively. “I don’t think you understand- I literally can’t.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “You’ve lived just fine without this watch and this…other thing up until now, you can make it without them.” Stiles opens his mouth to protest, only to be cut off by Derek flashing his red eyes and fangs. 

All the color drains from Stiles’s face in one single swoop; he may be able to turn into a fairly large-sized dragon, but he has no chance against an Alpha werewolf. Usually he transforms as a way of intimidating people into leaving him alone without him having to actually attack. He’s never been good at physical defense nor does he have the desire to actually roast anyone alive. He wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight, especially not against the guy he harbors a crush on.

“You’re going to leave this dump and you’re not going to come back, you got that?” Derek commands. Stiles lowers his gaze and nods weakly in compliance. “I’m going to be patrolling to make sure you don’t come back. If I catch you stealing again…”

Stiles winces at the implication. The sentence doesn’t even need to be completed. He has enough to go on for his imagination to fill in. …or I’ll rip your throat out with my teeth.

Stiles dejectedly makes the five hour trek home, his shoulders slumped in defeat. His stomach rumbles in hunger, but it will have to wait until Stiles can find his next meal. If he can find one.

~  ~ ~  ~ ~ 

It’s been two weeks since Stiles last ate a decent meal. While dragons do have a leisurely, slow-operating metabolism that allows them to a live a little over a month straight without eating, it isn’t exactly pleasant to go without nourishment for long periods of time.

Stiles groans obnoxiously. He’s starfished out on the rocky cavern floor, his arm slung across his forehead. Scott, spending time in his human form for once, sits cross-legged next to his friend. He’s going through his recent treasures from his loot at the dump, the lucky bastard. Stiles watches in sadness and envy, he misses his garbage dump.

“Five meals, Scott. Derek Hale has stopped me from eating five meals. I can’t believe he’s really trying to kill me over stealing his sword. That’s so petty of him. It isn’t like I meant to steal it,” Stiles complains.

“You kind of did mean to, dude.” Scott adds unhelpfully.

“But you don’t understand, Scott. It-”

“‘Just smelled so good?’ I know, you’ve said that like fifty times over the past two weeks,” Scott says.

“This is the equivalent of him stealing my lunch money, right? Thanks to him, I didn’t have a meal this week. Or last week! He’s a bully, is what he is. A nice smelling, douchebag of a bully,” Stiles whines.

Scott hums noncommittally and pushes a half-melted clock towards him. “Have some of mine, man. You know you’re always welcome to my hoard.”

You always pick the worst tasting garbage though, he’s tempted to point out, but he’s too tired and weak to have that discussion again. “Thanks,” he says instead and holds onto the clock.

He closes his eyes and lets the energy from the memories flow into his body, easing the ache in his stomach little by little. 

It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough. For now. 

~ ~  ~  ~ ~

It’s the third week since he’s had his last quality meal. He’s accepted some of Scott’s hoard over the past few days, but their taste in treasures are too different. Scott’s preference for nostalgic memories isn’t enough for Stiles’s system which thrives off happy, vivacious memories. He needs to find a real meal and he needs one now.

Stiles is officially too weak to shift into his dragon form. Truthfully, he’s too exhausted to do much at all, but he staggers towards the dump anyway. He doesn’t have an actual plan for what he’ll do when he runs into Derek there. Perhaps he will pass out, he thinks disdainfully, maybe then the wolf will finally give him the peace he deserves.

To his utter dismay and frustration at life, the dragon-shifter never manages to make it to the dump. He’s about two hours into the trip and it takes less than a second for his worst fear to come to fruition. He’s trudging through the fallen leaves and pointed rocks when a sudden searing pain tears through his ankle and scorches through his body. A rather sizable hunter’s trap made of pure steel is embedded in his flesh, the metal causing his wounds to burn and bubble.

His breathing grows heavily rapidly as panic quickly sets in. His hands aren’t able to get a solid grip on the metal, they slide off every time he tries to pry the jaws open. It’s a pointless effort, they’re too slicked with his blood to be of any use.

He forces himself to take in steady breaths and releases them for longer in an attempt to calm his breathing. Able to think clearer, he weighs his options. He really doesn’t want to stay and wait for rescue, knowing that hunters are likely to be nearby and may check their traps soon.

Scott is making a day-trip to a nearby town and isn’t within calling distance, so essentially he’s screwed. His hands quake in fear as he rubs his eyes, willing the tears not to come. He can’t have a panic attack right now, he can’t.

A thought occurs to him and gives him hope. Scott may not be close enough hear him call for help, but a nearby dragon might. He could roar, but he would have to make a run for it immediately after. It’s possible that dragons might hear him and come to his aid, but it’s also a possibility the hunters may come running too. Making his decision and steeling his resolve, Stiles takes a deep breath and pushes the shift forward. He’s too weak to fully transform, but the partial-shift with glowing eyes and long, pointed teeth should be enough. 

The roar that escapes him is filled with pain and desperation, the sound thunderous enough to cause the trees surrounding him to dance along. As the final notes dwindle down to silence, his chest heaves hungrily for air. Clawed fingers dig into the dirt for purchase and he drives himself forward, careful to avoid jostling his injured ankle too much as he stands.

It’s time to run. He’s limping slowly forward when he feels it. His eyes shutter and his head slumps in utter defeat. How could he be so stupid? 

Of course it would be chained to the ground.

He lowers himself to the soil, tugging on the thick, unwavering chain with all his might but it’s to no avail. The trap was clearly made for dragons—the strength behind the steel and the grand size of the jaws. Even if he breathes fire on the chain, nothing he could produce would be nearly hot enough to melt it.

In short, the universe seems pretty insistent that today is the day he dies.

The snap of a nearby branch catches his attention and sends his heart leaping into his throat. He jolts to his feet, forgetful of his injury in the moment of fear. Instantly, the wound throbs and pain lances through his leg, buckling his knees and sending him careening back to the ground in an agonized heap.

“If you’re going to kill me, make it fast,” He mutters through dirt and pebbles, his face smashed unpleasantly in the dirt. He’s weak and worn out, there’s no hope of him putting up a decent fight. Realistically, he could burn the hunter perhaps, but that would take more energy than he has to offer. Plus, he would still be trapped and wounded just waiting for the next predator to arrive.

“I’m not going to kill you,” says a gruff, but familiar, voice.

“Derek?” Stiles questions.

“Stay still and don’t move, I’m going to pry the jaws open,” Derek says.

Bless werewolf strength.

“Mm’kay. I’ll just be lying here, don’t mind me,” Stiles sighs. 

True to his word, within moments the pressure is gone from around his foot. Stiles heaves a sigh of relief and rolls onto his back, blinking up at the blue sky above him. He’s not going to die today, he thinks happily and smiles gratefully. He’ll have to mentally thank the universe later for changing their mind. 

Something is being wrapped carefully around his leg, but he doesn’t have the will in him to look. He’ll just assume it’s a bandage of some sort to stop the bleeding.

Derek’s concerned face blocks the view of the blue sky as he peers down at Stiles asking him if he can walk.

Stiles shakes his head and squawks unattractively as he’s lifted from the ground without warning. It takes a few moments for his brain to catch up with the situation. He’s being carried by Derek. A shirtless Derek Hale is carrying him. The universe clearly has taken pity on him for all of his troubles.

“Where are you taking me?” Stiles asks, turning his face in towards the muscled, blessedly hairy chest. He wishes he weren’t so weak right now, otherwise he would appreciate this situation so much more. Not one to turn down an opportunity though, his nostrils flare unsubtly as he breathes in the heady scent, set on enjoying the strong smell and being so close to the source while he can.

“To your cave.”

“Oh, okay.”

Derek huffs a laugh as the man in his arms tries to burrow even further into the fur coating his broad chest.

It takes Derek half as much time than it does for Stiles to get to the cave, which he makes a mental note to be annoyed about later. For now, he can’t seem to be anything but grateful. And hungry. As if reacting to that thought, his stomach chooses that moment to protest loudly. Derek’s eyebrows raise in amusement as the looks around the cave, searching for something he can cook.

“Where’s your food?” Derek asks.

“I don’t know, you tell me,” Stiles snarks, annoyed as he remembers why he's in this position to begin with.

Derek’s brows furrow and he leans closer to Stiles. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You’re the one that’s been stealing it from me,” Stiles responds petulantly.

“I haven’t been stealing your food, Stiles,” Derek states, visibly confused by the conversation.

“Uh, yes, you have,” Stiles sits up on his elbows, glaring at his rescuer. “You took them all. Starting with the cassette player and the watch. Then there was the pretty blue helmet, sparkly shoelaces, the deformed mood ring, the training wheels, and the top half of a cookie jar!”

“You were stealing stuff, I was trying to help!” Derek argues back, obviously not comprehending what he’s been doing wrong.

“You were stealing my food,” Stiles explains slowly.

Derek pulls back, confusion etched on his face. “You eat garbage?”

Stiles sighs and stares at the wall next to them. He doesn’t need to see the judgmental look on Derek’s face right now. “We don’t eat garbage. We find objects that have many memories attached to them and take those items so that we can use the memories as energy. Don’t you know anything about dragon biology?”

A faint blush creeps on Derek’s cheeks. “Not really. You’re the first dragon I’ve met.”

“Other than Scott,” Stiles points out.

“Yeah,” Derek frowns and looks guilty, “so I’ve been taking your food for three weeks now. How are you still alive?” The last part, to Stiles’s amusement, is asked in a clearly panicked tone.

“I could maybe make it another week or two without a full meal, but after that I would be close to dead. So if your goal was to starve me to death, you’re well on your way,” Stiles says sardonically.

Derek’s face goes pale and a low whine escapes from the back of his throat. “I don’t want you to die, that wasn’t what I was- I’m so sorry, oh my god, Stiles. I thought I was keeping you out of jail. I’m so- fuck. I screwed up. I’m sorry.”

Derek looks absolutely crestfallen, but Stiles knows better. He lets out a phony snicker and waves his hand flippantly at the apology. “You’re not sorry, I know you hate dragons.”

“I don’t hate dragons, Stiles," Derek says softly. 

“You called us thieves. You spat out the word ‘dragon’ like it was a curse. I’ve heard that a lot in my life, Derek. I know most people don’t like dragons," Stiles snaps.

Derek deflates, but gently tangles his fingers with Stiles’s. Stile's eyebrows scrunch in confusion, his lips pulling down into a soft frown at the action, but he doesn’t comment, letting Derek say his piece.

“I didn’t mean that…I was ignorant and didn’t know enough about dragons. I still don’t, really. I was wrong though- I see that now. But I never hated you; I wanted to help you. I can prove to you that I don’t hate your kind, if you allow me the time to make it up to you,” Derek offers him a sheepish smile, as if expecting a rejection.

Stiles purses his lips as he considers Derek’s offer. “You could start by bringing me food.”

Derek flushes in shame, but obediently reaches into his pocket and pulls out the broken watch he’d kept from three weeks prior. “Is this still good?” He asks shyly. 

Stiles nods and extends his hand out to grab onto the object. Derek pushes it lightly into his waiting hand and wraps his own around it, watching in interest as the silver watch glows beneath their hands with a golden light that flows into Stiles.

His eyes close and he sighs in relief. “That’ll be good for now.” Honey-brown eyes open and stare unabashedly at Derek. “You can leave, you did your job and kept the helpless dragon alive. I’m almost done healing, so I’m going to sleep. You can see yourself out.” He rolls onto his side, turning so that has back faces Derek in a clear sign of dismissal.

But Derek never has been that easy to get rid of.

“Can I stay?” He asks in an undertone, his voice low but easily heard by the dragon’s ears.

“If you want. I won’t chase you out.” It’s an obvious dig that Derek chooses to ignore. Instead, he scoots closer to the dragon.

“Even if I want to stay for a while? Years even? Possibly longer?” Derek asks cautiously. Stiles flails and rolls to face him with an incredulous expression.

“That isn’t funny." 

“I’m not trying to be funny.” He glares at the ground and grits out, “You smell good to me too. It’s…that’s a sign of good compatibility for werewolves. It means we could be good. Together.”

“Huh,” Stiles cocks his head to the side and rakes his gaze across the man’s body as if assessing his worth. His body tingles at the gaze, feeling the amber eyes sweep across him like a physical caress. “Dragons are awfully high maintenance.” 

“Oh?” Derek quirks a brow.

“We require lots of gifts and attention,” Stiles adds softly. With every word Derek inches closer until he’s lying on his side next to Stiles, his arm extending and brushing against the dragon's side. His hand catches and gently pulls the shirt up with its movement. Stiles arches an eyebrow playfully and smirks. 

“Is that so?” Derek hums, his thumb halting it’s upwards ascent to trace circles on Stiles’s hip. The softness of the action causes a shiver through Stiles’s body and he absently leans closer.

“Mhmm. And we need lots of physical affection.” He licks his lips and tangles his fingers in Derek’s hair, using his grip on the strands to tug him forward. Derek happily moves so that he’s straddling Stiles’s hips, one hand firmly on the brunet’s hip and the other planted on the floor next to his head.

“I think I can handle that.” Derek dips down and finally slots their mouths together.

With one quick movement, Stiles finds his hands stretched over his head and pinned firmly to the ground by Derek’s rough hands. Once he seems satisfied that Stiles isn’t getting away, the kiss deepens. Stiles moans mindlessly as Derek bites his lower lip and teases it gently between his teeth before slowly letting it go.

“Please,” Stiles whispers, trying but unable to push himself closer to Derek’s lips for more. Derek hums and peppers his face with feather-light kisses—on his cheeks, his forehead, his nose, until he stops at the mouth hovering tauntingly just above the plush, wet lips.

“I can handle you,” Derek murmurs, his voice a low rumble that could easily be mistaken for a growl. It’s then that Stiles suddenly realizes his pants have gotten embarrassingly tight from just them kissing.

Stiles bucks his hips in an attempt to get friction where he wants it most, but his desperation only seems to make Derek chuckle and pull away. That was the opposite of what he wanted. Stiles struggles against the grip on his hands, but receives no give.

Please,” Stiles closes his eyes and forces his body to go lax against the floor. His head tilts to the side, exposing his neck in obvious submission. The hands around his wrists vanish instantly to cup his face affectionately.

The feel of Derek’s lips returning to his is like air being returned to his lungs, he needs it. The kiss is intense, all their frustrations and relief spilling from their mouths and crashing together in a passionate give and take. Stiles tilts his head and presses upwards, adding more pressure and an element of sloppiness to the kiss.

Derek opens his jaw wider in response, easily accommodating the change and taking the opportunity to trace Stiles’s bottom lip with his tongue. A sudden mischievous thought enters Stiles’s mind.

He pushes forward more, licking at the roof of Derek’s mouth and causing him to laugh and jerk backwards, wiping his mouth with an amused expression.

“Had to get my revenge somehow,” Stiles shrugs and grins smugly. Derek smirks back and Stiles knows his casual air is belied by his heavy breathing and rapidly beating heart.

Derek takes in Stiles’s debauched appearance with a pleased expression. “You’re beautiful.”

Stiles’s eyes widen and his eyes glow a bright gold in shock at the compliment. Derek laughs when he sees the parted lips reveal the presence of fangs. Stiles’s cheeks redden at the sound and he turns away in shame at his loss of control.

“No, wait,” Derek grabs the younger man’s chin and turns it until they’re face to face. “I mean it. You’re beautiful. And I don’t want you to hide your shift from me. I like it. A lot, in fact.” He picks up Stiles’s hand, leading it until it cupped the hardness in his jeans, an emphasis of his last words. 

Stiles smiles widely, clearly pleased and trusting his words even as he pulls his hand away, leaving Derek with nothing but the phantom memory of his touch. But it’s seeing Stiles in front of him right then that makes Derek feel like his breath has been stolen from him. The sight of the man’s truly captivating and open smile is devastating.

Derek clears his throat. “So I can stay? This is you saying yes to there being an…us?”

Stiles strokes his chin, pretending to be deep in thought. “Do I get to see you perform at Medieval Times some time?” 

Derek groans. “You know about that?”

“Well, I stole a sword from the Medieval Times arena and it just so happened to be your sword…I am smart enough to put those details together, my charming Knight,” he winks and laughs uproariously at Derek’s obvious embarrassment.

It doesn’t take long for Derek to make his decision.

“I’ll get you tickets if you let me see you as a full dragon," Derek offers.

Stiles’s grin goes sharp and his eyes flash a promising golden hue. 

“You’ve got a deal.”