kyrene_writes: (TW: pedobait stiles)
[personal profile] kyrene_writes
Title: Life in the Stilinski-Hale Household: Part Eleven
Author: [personal profile] kyrenekyorl
Pairings/Characters: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski, Sheriff Stilinski, Talia Hale, Peter Hale,Erica Reyes, Isaac Lahey, Vernon Boyd II, Kate Argent, Jennifer Blake, Jordan Parrish
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 19,395 (this part)
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: underage
Summary: Derek is seventeen, Stiles is thirteen, they're stepbrothers, things happen....


"Life in the Stilinski-Hale Household"
Part Eleven

by kyrene


Regular sex with the stepbrother he'd been lusting after for a while now made Derek feel euphoric but it didn't make him stupid. He and Stiles were careful not to get caught, even when they both felt as though their libidinous instincts constantly wanted to get the better of them.

Well, there was the time they'd separated themselves from the adults while on a day-trip to the tiny island the Hales owned, going off into the tiny but thick wood in back while their parents, grandparents, and Uncle Peter lounged in the shore-side cabin and drank beer or wine depending on their preference.

Outdoor sex almost wasn't worth it, Derek and Stiles both agreed, even though it was hot while happening. But it was awkward and potentially disastrous, and once it was over with they'd had to take a quick dip in the lake, even though neither of them had brought swimwear, so that they could wash away the sweat and jizz and to help explain their flushed faces.

Peter had given them an amused stare from under hooded lids when they'd made their damp way back to the cabin, but Derek discovered after the fact that he'd also made sure that their Mom and Dad had been too distracted to go for a walk like they'd been discussing.

Derek and Stiles kind of really owed him for that... like, hugely.

Derek was a little afraid of how Peter might want to be repaid, but while he gave both Derek and Stiles plenty of filthy, knowledgeable, amused looks, his uncle never said anything suggestive to their parents or made any overtures toward them specifically.

It still made Derek uncomfortable to see how Peter's eyes tracked over his own body, and he seethed with possessive jealousy whenever Peter turned his attention to Stiles -- and that was way more gross and perverted than when Derek had wanted Stiles, because Peter was on the wrong side of thirty and old enough to be Stiles' father! -- but he couldn't actively protest. Not when they really did owe Peter for keeping their parents from stumbling across them while they banged in the trees.

Mostly Derek and Stiles managed to restrain themselves to having sex in their hotel room, and they had to keep it quiet while they were there. By the end of their stay, both Derek and Stiles had slight shadowing under their eyes from lack of sleep -- they couldn't very well say they needed to spend their mornings sleeping in because they'd been up all night fucking -- but Derek knew that they both had bright eyes and glowing faces, and he was pretty sure neither of them had ever been happier.

Derek certainly hadn't been for a while now. Puberty hadn't been very much fun for him. It had done good things for him physically, but not so much emotionally. Hell, most of the reason Derek had bulked up so much was because he'd used exercise and weightlifting as an outlet for his angst and confusion and occasional rage. So far Stiles hadn't reached the sullen, angry phase that Derek had been mired in, but he was definitely overly-emotional and somewhat needy.

Well, regular sex seemed to be just as good for Stiles as it was for Derek, and even though it had only been a few days Derek already couldn't remember what it had been like before Stiles had reached out and stolen Derek's towel, getting them started on this journey.

Despite the lingering guilt and the extreme need for secrecy, Derek felt that things were going well... which, of course, was when everything broke apart and shattered into a million painful, scarring pieces.

Not surprisingly, it was Peter who fucked things up. Though, to be fair, he didn't actually mean to. Or at least, Derek didn't think so. But he was too busy feeling sick to his stomach to really spend time wondering who was to blame.

Well, he didn't have to wonder. Because Derek knew that in the beginning and at the end of it, he was the one who was in the wrong.

It had happened when they'd all been saying their good-byes at the Hale house at the end of the long weekend, exchanging hugs and promises to email and post photos on FaceBook and other social media once they got home.

Peter had hugged Stiles far longer and tighter than Derek had thought was necessary or advisable. But it wasn't until he'd embraced Derek that things had all gone to shit.

Peter hadn't surreptitiously groped Derek, the way Stiles implied he tended to do, though he'd held on a little longer than Derek was comfortable with. But it was the way he'd murmured in Derek's ear that had turned Derek's blood cold in his veins.

"That's my boy," he'd crooned, low enough that no one else could hear, giving him a last squeeze on the shoulder, and then was off to ambush his brother-in-law, managing to give him half a hug, which was more than he'd managed in years.

Derek was frozen where he stood; it felt like literally. He'd known it all along, deep inside, but he'd been ignoring his conscience so hard that he almost hadn't noticed. Sex had overridden everything else in his brain.

But he'd been doing something so wrong. He'd been taking advantage of a kid who was too young to know better.

Derek was old enough that he should have known better. He was going to be headed to college soon. What he and Stiles had been doing... well, it wasn't as though Derek had forced Stiles at any point. But Stiles wasn't old enough or emotionally mature enough to make an informed decision about what was best for him versus what he wanted.

Stiles was young and horny and curious, and Derek had taken advantage of that fact. He'd done what Peter might have done in the same situation, had been so perverted that Peter actually approved!

Stiles had been vulnerable and Derek... Derek hadn't protected him the way he should have done. Instead, he'd done the opposite of protecting him.

It wasn't as though Derek hadn't noticed Stiles' crush on him before anything had happened. It was purely physical, of course. Stiles had been tumbling headlong into puberty and had been discovering his bisexuality.... Living in the same house as someone who looked like Derek could only really have had one result. That wasn't egotistical; Derek worked hard to build up and maintain his muscles and he knew his face wasn't completely unfortunate.

No, for Stiles to desire Derek was only natural. But there wasn't much that was natural about Derek's lust for his younger stepbrother, no matter how cute Stiles could be, how almost pretty he was in the rare event that he was quiet. And for Derek to have actually acted on that unnatural lust... well, that was untenable, unforgivable.

Derek had been so caught up in the pleasure that they'd been giving each other that he hadn't been thinking, hadn't even given a moment of consideration to how wrong it had been.

And it had been very wrong. If they had to hide it from their parents... if Peter approved....

Well, it was going to have to stop. Derek couldn't keep taking advantage of Stiles the way he had been doing.

The hell of it was that Derek actually had feelings for Stiles. He knew that because of how much it hurt to realize that he needed to completely cut this sexual thing between them off. It felt like it should have made things better, knowing that he actually cared about the thirteen year old boy he'd been having sex with....

But the fact of the matter was that Derek was almost a legal adult and he'd been having sex with a thirteen year old. Granted, it was Stiles. But that almost made it worse, not better. And there was nothing Derek could say or do that would make this okay.

At least he wouldn't be breaking Stiles' heart. He and Stiles had been getting along better, but it wasn't as though Stiles was in love with him or anything.

It was still going to completely suck to end everything. And not just because that meant the end of their amazing sex. It would probably also mean the end of their budding relationship.

They couldn't be lovers anymore, but they'd at least still be stepbrothers.

Too bad that would make things more awkward than less.

+=+=+

There was something wrong, Stiles could tell. He wasn't stupid, and he knew Derek by now, had gotten to know him really well recently.

It was like they were back to the bad old days during the car ride home. Derek was dead silent and was clearly stewing over something. He stared out the window, he ignored everyone else in the car, he shied away from Stiles every time he even came close to touching him....

And that hurt Stiles' feelings, because it wasn't like he was going to forget and grope Derek in front of their parents or anything. He'd have thought that Derek knew that. But it seemed as though there was something else going on, something bigger. And it made for one long, uncomfortable ride home.

Their Mom knew something was wrong, how could she not? She poked at Derek a few times, when they stopped for lunch and to pee, but didn't get anything other than some agonized grunts of dismissal.

It really was like the bad old days.

Talia gave Stiles a curious glance or two, but he shrugged each time, because as far as he knew he hadn't done anything. The last time he and Derek had spoken to one another in the hotel room, before they'd headed for the Hales' to eat and say goodbye, everything had seemed perfectly fine. Stiles had borrowed another of Derek's shirts and Derek had threatened to take one of his in return even though they both knew that Stiles needed to keep his bruised wrists covered. Stiles had dared Derek to do it, because he wanted to see the material stretched tight over all those muscles, but Derek had declined.

So, yeah, they'd been doing okay as far as Stiles knew. Derek had kissed the corner of Stiles' mouth before they'd grabbed their bags to load in the car and head over to say goodbye to their grandparents and Peter, because if he kissed him on the lips they might end up too red and plumped. Derek had reminded Stiles to take his pillow with him, and then they'd been on their way....

And now something was wrong, but since Derek wasn't talking, Stiles had no idea what it was.

This stony silence continued until they got home. After unloading the car, Dad and Mom went out shopping for groceries so they'd be able to eat dinner and make lunches tomorrow without eating out of cans and boxes, and Stiles figured this was the perfect time to try and find out what bug was biting Derek's butt.

Like when they'd made the drive out, at the end of such a long car trip Stiles was brimming with unspent energy. But somehow he didn't think he was going to get to work that off with some awesome sex with Derek like he had when they'd reached the hotel at the beginning of their trip.

Just a gut feeling, considering that Derek looked as though his world was ending.

"Derek, what's wrong?" Stiles asked, following Derek into the kitchen where he'd gone to get a bottle of water out of the fridge, their luggage tumbled in the entryway with Stiles' pillow perched on top.

Derek grunted and shrugged, half turned away from Stiles, and Stiles threw his head back and rolled his eyes.

"Talk to me," he commanded, his hands fisting in the extra material at the ends of the sleeves of Derek's shirt that he was wearing. He was sweating with nerves and he wasn't even sure why, but he was pretty sure that he wasn't going to like whatever Derek came out with. Even if it didn't involve him, it had to be bad from the way Derek was acting... and from the way he wouldn't meet Stiles' eyes, Stiles was beginning to suspect with a sinking feeling that it did involve him somehow.

Derek set down his water bottle on the counter carefully and turned toward Stiles, which was an improvement, but his jaw was tight and he was looking at Stiles' left ear instead of actually meeting his eyes, and the feeling of "something is severely wrong" was only growing and settled in Stiles' stomach like a cold stone that rolled around and made him feel a little sick.

"Derek." Stiles took one step toward Derek, because he felt like if he could just touch Derek, hug him, then everything would be okay, but then Derek threw up a hand, looking alarmed, and now he was staring at Stiles, meeting his eyes, but he looked completely freaked out and that was not okay.

"Stop," Derek commanded, as though his body language wouldn't have been enough to root Stiles where he stood, skin prickling with anxiety.

"What is it?" Stiles asked, chewing on his lower lip so hard it hurt, an icy chill crawling over his entire body. He knew, he just knew he was going to hate whatever Derek was going to say next.

"Stiles, we can't anymore."

Stiles' brows shot up. "Can't what?" he asked, even though he figured there was only one thing Derek could be talking about. But why would Derek say that? Why would he think that? Where the hell was this coming from?!

"We can't...." Derek's gaze skittered away again, and his hands were clenched on the edge of the counter behind him. He looked pained. "You know. We can't."

"What? Have sex?" Stiles asked bluntly, because if Derek was going to say something so crazy and devastating then Stiles was going to call him on it. "What the actual fuck, Derek?!"

Derek swallowed tightly and looked at Stiles. "It was wrong... of me.... I shouldn't have...."

Stiles scowled, wrapping his arms around his aching stomach, but Derek's words gave him something to focus on, at least. So it wasn't anything Stiles had done to fuck this up? If it was something that Derek was putting on himself, well....

"That's so stupid," he spat out, scowling. "You're being stupid."

Derek scowled back, even though he still looked somehow wounded and he was more pale than usual. There was a high flush to the point of each cheekbone, but it wasn't healthy color.

"Stiles, I shouldn't have done what I did. It was wrong and I can't keep doing it," he said clearly and with badly misplaced nobility.

Stiles huffed and shifted so that his arms were folded, his feet braced as though he was expecting a fight. Well, this did feel like one. And he wasn't about to let Derek rip away what they'd had without putting up a fight!

"You're acting like you think you, what, took advantage of me or something?" he scoffed, shaking his head, then he froze as Derek's face took on a stricken expression, his eyes filled with guilt.

Stiles gaped, letting his arms fall to his sides, his own eyes wide and his mouth hanging open.

"Oh my God, do you seriously think you took advantage of me?" he squawked.

Derek winced. "But I did," he said, speaking as though the words pained him to say. "Stiles, you're only thirteen."

"So? So you think that means I don't know my own mind?" Stiles demanded forcefully, before a terrible possibility occurred to him.

Stiles' brows lowered stormily, and he took a deep breath before asking his next question, trying to keep his voice calm even though he felt like shouting it so loud he broke Derek's eardrums.

"Do you think I'm just some dumb kid who banged you because you were hot and willing? Is that seriously what you think?"

And, okay, maybe he was sort of shouting by the time he finished, but he was pissed and he had every right to be.

"I--" Derek didn't finish that thought but his caught-out expression was enough for Stiles, who wasn't stupid, no matter what anyone thought.

"That's totally what you think," he snarled, hands fisting in the sleeves of his borrowed shirt, this time in rage rather than anxiety. His heart was pounding in his chest and he was torn between wanting to throw up and wanting to punch Derek his in stupid perfect face for being such a condescending asshole.

"Fuck you, Derek!" he continued when Derek said nothing, just continued to stand there, looking like a martyr. "I might be a kid, but I'm not dumb and I know my own mind!"

"Stiles--"

"No!" Stiles was literally seeing red around the edges of his vision and he was quaking where he stood as adrenaline flooded his system, his body gearing up for a physical battle when this was a verbal confrontation. He knew his voice was shaking but he couldn't stop now. Not when Derek was being such an asshole, not when he was breaking things off with Stiles for what he was probably thinking of as Stiles' "own good" when really it was just so that Derek wouldn't continue to feel like the bad guy.

And definitely not when Derek was putting this on Stiles, making him the selfish one here. Because he wasn't, and he did care about Derek, wasn't just banging him because he was hot and available and willing.

"No, you don't get to tell me what I think or what I feel," Stiles snapped, his shoulders so tight his neck was aching. "Fuck you! That wasn't what this was!"

Derek looked even more guilty now, and Stiles would have felt vindicated except for the horrible thought that had just abruptly struck him.

"Was that all it was for you?" he asked, weak instead of fiery, his eyes burning wet instead of burning dry. He wasn't about to cry, though. He wouldn't give Derek the extra ammunition. "Was I just convenient?"

"What? No!" Derek blurted, throwing his hands forward but not stepping toward Stiles, keeping the space between them. "No, of course not, Stiles."

"Then what's the problem?" Stiles asked, because he couldn't see any reason they couldn't keep on having amazing sex. What was with this abrupt attack of conscience that Derek was having?

"Stiles, we just can't," Derek said, his hands spread in entreaty but all that Stiles could see was that he was being pushed away, and his heart clenched like a vice, actual physical pain shooting through him.

"We can," he denied, his breath coming hard and fast, his arms and legs shaking because somehow he sensed that this was a battle he wasn't going to win.

"No, we can't." Derek sounded mournful, looked contrite, and Stiles didn't know if it was because he was dumping Stiles or if it was because he regretted ever getting involved with him in the first place, but it didn't really matter because it hurt like a knife in his chest either way and stole the air out of his lungs. "We just can't anymore, Stiles."

"Fuck you, Derek," Stiles snarled, even though he knew that wasn't an eloquent argument. Derek had caught him unprepared, though, and then ripped his heart out of his chest with his hard words and broken expression. "You don't get to make this decision for both of us."

"Yes, I do," Derek insisted. "Because I'm right and we both know it. What I did was wrong and I have to do what I can to make this right."

Stiles stared at Derek for a long moment, wondering how in the hell his older stepbrother could have gotten this so wrong.

"Seriously?" he managed to choke out. He had so much to say that he couldn't force the words out, and yet at the same time he couldn't put his feelings into words. He felt like he was going to explode and it was as much with grief as it was with fury.

"I'm sorry," Derek said, and his face said he meant for everything. And the thought that Derek regretted all the hot sex they had had, the cuddling, the kissing, the playful banter....

Well, that hurt worse than anything Stiles had ever experienced in his life, save his mother's death. And he didn't want to stand here and look at Derek's stupid gorgeous face any more.

"Whatever," he said, his voice throttled. "Just let me know when you pull your head out of your ass!"

And with that parting shot he turned and darted out of the kitchen. He retrieved his pillow from the entryway and then pounded up to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.

He never wanted to see Derek again!

Except for the part where he needed Derek like he needed air.

But Derek didn't want him, and that hurt so bad that Stiles couldn't even cry. He curled up on his bed, clutching his pillow, his throat aching but his eyes dry, and did his best to think about nothing.

Too bad his brain hated him and insisted on running through everything that had happened in the last several days; both the good and the agonizingly bad.

And the worst part was that the agonizingly bad had tainted the good, and Stiles still didn't cry but he was pretty sure he felt a migraine coming on anyway.

He buried his face in his pillow and tried to shut out the world. He just wished he could shut off his traitorous brain.

It sucked to be him right now. But it was probably worse being Derek....

Sadly, this thought did nothing to comfort Stiles. Derek had broken things off with him and made it clear that he wished they'd never done anything and hadn't left Stiles any room to talk him out of the decision he was making for both of them. It was pretty much the worst thing that could ever happen and there was nothing that could comfort Stiles now.

Nothing except Derek telling him he took it all back... and Stiles knew that wasn't going to happen.

+=+=+

Things kind of went back to normal after the confrontation in the kitchen, though it was the bad normal, not the new good normal.

Stiles was ignoring Derek again, but this time it wasn't like when Derek had left the lube on his bed. Now it was with hurt feelings and simmering resentment instead of abject embarrassment. And Derek had gotten used to talking with Stiles -- as well as doing other things with him -- so that made it suck even more.

But it was Derek's own fault, he was the one who had given in to his perverted desires, and he was only sorry that Stiles was suffering for his mistakes as well. Derek had a lot to make up for, and he actually embraced his plans for leaving to go to college, because that was the best way he knew to begin to fix this; by removing himself from the equation.

It felt as much cowardly as it did prudent, but Derek really couldn't think of anything else he could do. He'd already apologized to Stiles. He wasn't going to go back on his declaration that they couldn't be together sexually anymore. It felt like running away, but maybe they'd both feel better if they literally couldn't see each other anymore.

Stiles seemed to be doing everything he could to test Derek's resolve, when he wasn't pretending his older stepbrother didn't exist. Or even when he was, sometimes. It was as though Stiles' oral fixation had been magnified by a dozen, and he started wearing jeans that caressed his taut little ass and long legs way too closely for Derek's peace of mind.

Or maybe Stiles wasn't doing anything different and Derek remained a pervert. That was a distinct possibility.

Their father was discomfited by the obvious rift that had sprung up between his two sons, but he was kind of allergic to talking about his feelings and Derek was more relieved by that than anything else. Especially after having to deal with his mother's curiosity.

His Mom had noticed when the trouble had started and had hinted around the idea of Uncle Peter giving Derek the bad-touch in a way that was horrifying and traumatizing. Derek had made sure to shoot that idea down immediately.

Contrary to what Stiles thought, Peter accidentally brushing his hand against Derek's ass when they hugged was not a legitimate bad-touch.

It was clear, even to Derek's guilty conscience, from the sadness on her face when she looked at Derek and Stiles as they failed in interact that his Mom didn't even suspect that Derek had been the one to bad-touch Stiles.

Which was good, was a relief, but it didn't change that fact that Derek had done it and there was no way to undo it.

So Derek made plans to go off to college, and he made a point of spending lots of time with his friends. Actually not because he was avoiding home and Stiles, but mostly because they weren't going to all be together after their senior year. Boyd and Erica would be headed off to a different college -- both of them to the same one -- though Isaac at least was attending the university Derek was going to.

There was drama going on there, too, that took Derek's mind off of Stiles a little; inasmuch as his mind ever strayed far from Stiles. Boyd proposed to Erica about a week before graduation, with a nice ring he'd made himself. Erica turned him down, which made everything a little strange and awkward during graduation, but then she came right back at Boyd directly after the ceremony with her own proposal and a thick silver ring she'd gotten for him.

The next thing anyone knew, they'd eloped and their families were somewhat distraught by that fact. Derek could only be happy for them, himself. It wasn't like Erica was pregnant or anything, and the two of them were still going to go to college; together as they'd already been planning. The only thing that really changed as far as Derek was concerned was that he could now say he knew a married couple.

Which was weird, but it was Erica and Boyd, so it wasn't that weird. Well, not any weirder than the two of them were in general. Which was part of the reason Derek was friends with them, so it was all good.

Then the time came, and Derek was headed off to college, Stiles didn't even hug him goodbye, which Derek thought was for the best even though their parents were appalled. Derek had broken something between himself and Stiles, though, and their parents couldn't know about that.

It might not be Stiles' trust he had broken, but Derek thought that wasn't very far from the truth.

Derek kept in touch with Erica and Boyd through email and video chat, which wasn't quite the same as seeing them at school every day but was good enough. He missed them and looked forward to his first break home, when he would get to see them again.

Initially Derek was glad that Isaac was going to the same school he was attending. It was nice having one friend already with him. He was grateful up until the first time they got drunk at a party together... and Isaac got completely wasted and hit on Derek.

To be perfectly honest, Derek's first reaction was annoyance that Stiles had been right when they had discussed Isaac so long ago. Next he felt embarrassed for Isaac, and a little for himself for having to field Isaac's sloppy advances. Since he had absolutely zero desire to try anything with one of his closest friends but didn't want to lose that friendship, Derek turned Isaac down as gently as he could manage, helped him get to bed, and then tried to pretend that nothing had happened.

Once he'd recovered from the following day's hangover Isaac had seemed more bitter than embarrassed, which Derek thought was kind of unfair, but he and Derek were still friends. Although Derek did begin spending more time communicating with Erica through chat and texting Boyd, and less time hanging out with Isaac, and for his own part, Isaac seemed content to drift away, finding a pretty dark-haired girl with dimples to date and devoting himself to their budding relationship as much as to his studying.

Losing Isaac, even though only partially, made Derek a little sad, but he knew high school friendships didn't always last through college. And Isaac seemed really happy with his new girlfriend.

Derek was glad for Isaac, he was, but seeing him with a budding romance made Derek ache. He tried not to think about the fact that it was Stiles who sprang to mind every time he saw the two of them together.

Because wanting Stiles was wrong, and Derek had been supposed to forget about his twisted desires once he'd gone to college and wasn't seeing Stiles every day.

So, when Isaac's new girlfriend, Allison, introduce Derek to her aunt -- who was only a little older than her and attending the same college -- and her aunt, Kate, asked Derek out to dinner, he decided it was high time he began dipping his toe in the dating pool as well.

Never mind that it felt like a betrayal of his feelings for Stiles. Derek rationalized that away by telling himself it was different when he went out with girls. Females who were his own age -- or in Kate's case, a couple of years older -- and who weren't his very much younger stepbrother. Girls he wouldn't be taking advantage of...

It helped nothing when he'd gone out with Kate and she had promptly become completely obsessed with him, to the point that it had been really disturbing.

Kate had looked basically the opposite of Allison. She had been blonde, pretty in a sharp way, and she'd been aggressive. A little too aggressive, Derek discovered. He'd been perfectly personable, had given her a kiss good night because she'd so obviously been expecting it, but once their evening out was done he hadn't intended to see her again. She had a mean sense of humor and had said some worrying things during their dinner conversation.

Which last was probably why it shouldn't have come as a huge surprise when she got all weird and began basically stalking him, seeming convinced that they were meant to be or something. It was more than a little terrifying and Derek wasn't sure what to do.

He hadn't had the guts to complain to Allison about her aunt being insane and creepy, and she might not have believed him if he had. Besides, Derek was a guy; he was supposed to be able to look out for himself, not being menaced by a slim female with big eyes and long golden hair.

Thankfully, he'd complained to his Mom about it, she had promptly told her husband, and no one stalked the stepson of a Sheriff who had connections in the area and got away with it. Derek wasn't sure what had happened, he kind of assumed it wasn't anything illegal since cops were involved, but Kate abruptly began avoiding him like the plague.

The downside to this was that she began spreading terrible rumors about him, but Derek was just glad she wasn't creeping on him anymore.

The rumors were more than a little annoying, but then Kate's stories started contradicting themselves so badly that people actually noticed, and then she became obsessed with one of her professors, and that.... Well, Derek didn't actually know what happened after that, but it didn't end well for Kate and the next thing he heard, she'd had to leave the school.

Derek tried not to feel vindicated, but he was only human. She had been genuinely unpleasant and downright scary and he was relieved to know that he'd never see her again.

Once it had all been over, Allison had apologized profusely for setting the two of them up, and had sworn up and down that she'd had no idea of her aunt's darker side. Derek didn't think she was lying, so he told her it was okay and let it go with that. In part to show that he didn't hold a grudge, and at Allison's invitation, he started hanging out with them more, and it felt good to spend time with Isaac as friends and nothing else again.

After the disaster that was Kate, Derek probably should have given up on dating entirely, but that would have felt like surrender and defeat. Besides, Jennifer had seemed so nice, and she'd been so eager and adorable.

It wasn't until after the fact that he realized how much she'd reminded him of Stiles; down to the dark hair and eyes, the dotting of moles, the quirky sense of humor, the enthusiastic flailing of limbs, and the occasional off-topic rambling....

But by then everything had gone to shit even worse than with Kate, and Jennifer's superficial resemblance to Derek's stepbrother was actually the least bizarre thing about the whole situation.

They'd gone out a few times, laughed together, and Jennifer had seemed perfectly nice... up until the moment that she roofied Derek while they were hanging out in the small apartment she lived in instead of a dorm.

Derek had been unconscious so whatever her intention had been, Jennifer had been limited in what she could do. In fact, Derek likely wouldn't have known what she had done if she hadn't broken down in tears and hysterically confessed everything once he was awake again.

She said she'd only kissed him once and then had lost her nerve, and since she'd been crying so hard he could barely make out the words through her heaving sobs, and since his clothes had all seemed intact, Derek was inclined to believe that she hadn't gone any further than she'd claimed. The implication, though, had been that she'd intended to do more... And she had drugged him into unconsciousness, which was so not cool he could hardly process it.

Derek probably should have reported her actions -- to the campus authorities if not the police -- even though Jennifer had sworn up and down she'd never done anything like that before and never would again. But after her complete breakdown she left school, running off with the ex-girlfriend who'd evidently been the one to tip her over the edge before, and Derek was even more grateful she was gone than he'd been when he'd discovered that he'd seen the last of Kate.

And maybe he felt a little violated, and he definitely wasn't going to accept drinks from anyone ever again that didn't come in a sealed container -- if then -- but at least he didn't have any actual memory of Jennifer's stolen kiss, had no real recollection of being rendered unconscious and vulnerable, since he'd been, well, unconscious.

So he tried hard to shove away his only natural feeling of violation and to just get on with his life.

It helped to talk to Erica about it. Once she'd heard his sorry story, Erica had been so incensed that she'd been ready to literally fly out to Derek's school and beat the everloving shit out of Jennifer; ranted and raved and threatened, even though she really couldn't actually afford a plane ticket. Fortunately for all of them, Jennifer was already gone by the time Derek confessed why he'd seemed kind of distracted and peaked the last few times they'd chatted.

After these two insane debacles Derek was just done with dating. Just done with it, probably forever.

Anyway... even though they'd both been women, all of it had felt like cheating on his feelings for Stiles. Those feelings hadn't gone away, no matter how much Derek had tried to ignore them, and he decided it would be safer to just stop trying to ignore them. At the rate he was going, the next person he tried to go out with would end up chaining him up in their basement and torturing him with electricity or sharp implements.

Ironically, this was the point at which Derek met a really nice guy who he might have been interested in if his heart wasn't still locked on Stiles. His name was Jordan Parrish and he was handsome and intelligent and was planning on going into a career in law enforcement. Derek was a little concerned that he might give Parrish the wrong idea, especially when they ended up sharing a table in the university coffee shop a couple of times a week, studying together, but so far Parrish hadn't made any move on him, had been friendly and unfailingly polite.

After Isaac's pissy attitude, Erica and Boyd's physical distance, and the disasters that had been Kate and Jennifer, this was refreshing. It felt like just what Derek needed, and he really wished that he wanted to date Parrish.

But he didn't. He just couldn't.

Derek still had Stiles' shirt, even though it didn't smell like his younger stepbrother anymore. He'd packed it when he'd left for college, and it lived under his pillow, like some sort of weird child's comfort-blanket. He didn't, like, masturbate with it or anything bizarre like that. Just sometimes when he couldn't sleep, or if he woke from one of the nightmares Kate and Jennifer had given him, he stuck his hand under his pillow and clutched the material of Stiles' teeshirt in his hand. Holding on and thinking of home.

He missed Stiles so much it ached, and it did nothing to help knowing that it was his own fault that things had gone badly, that he wasn't emailing, texting, chatting with Stiles.

In fact, that knowledge only made him feel worse.

At least his Mom was willing to give him updates on what Stiles was doing. She didn't even press Derek for what had happened anymore, though he suspected it was only because she was being careful not to be confrontational after what had happened with Kate. She didn't know about Jennifer, and Derek intended it to stay that way.

Thanks to Kate there were no questions about Derek's romantic prospects. Though, to be fair to his mother, Talia had never been the kind to push for anything like that. She'd always told Derek to just be himself and do what he enjoyed, and he'd find the person that was right for him; most likely doing the same thing, because shared interests were important.

That was probably what part of the problem had been with Kate and Jennifer. Derek had kind of forced himself to date them in an attempt at being normal and not the kind of guy who lusted after his barely-pubescent stepbrother. And just look where that had gotten him.

Not that Derek blamed himself for what the two women had done to him. If he had, Erica would have flown out specifically to knock him on his ass. But it was kind of hard to think of it as being nothing but some kind of strange coincidence... and Derek was the only common denominator.

Still, what could it have been other than a strange coincidence? There was an outside chance that Derek might have chosen poorly in a subconscious effort to sabotage himself when he was attempting to date someone who wasn't Stiles... but neither girl had seemed anything but normal when he had asked them out. So that was unlikely, and really he'd rather just forget it all and focus on his coursework, his friendship with Parrish, and keeping up with his Mom and Erica.

Which was what he did.

The next thing Derek knew, far sooner than he was mentally or emotionally prepared for, it was time to go home for Thanksgiving. He wanted to go. He missed his family and he was looking forward to spending time with Erica and Boyd that didn't involve a computer or phone screen. But thinking about seeing Stiles again... it made his stomach twist and his heart pound.

It wasn't that Derek didn't want to see Stiles. It was that he wanted to see him too much.

They'd only shared a bed for a few nights during that fateful vacation, and yet Derek missed sleeping next to Stiles. They hadn't had much time for sex, most of their days being taken up by their parents and grandparents, but they'd had as much as they could manage and it had been the best sex of Derek's life.

He just missed Stiles, missed talking to him and bantering with him and laughing with him, and he was terrified of seeing him again. Because he'd hurt Stiles. Because he still wanted Stiles. And because he knew that after Thanksgiving was over he'd have to leave Stiles again.

Well, whatever his feelings, not going home wasn't an option and Derek was all packed up and having a last coffee with Parrish, this time without the textbooks and papers on the table, just the two of them enjoying their drinks and one another's company.

Derek was still a little concerned about leading Parrish on, but that fear vanished when Parrish gave Derek a small smile and said, "You know, you should talk to them when you go home."

Derek blinked, startled out of his twisting, knotting, largely uncomfortable thoughts, and met Parrish's clear green eyes.

"Talk to who?" he asked, confused.

Parrish's mouth quirked in a rueful smile.

"Whoever you left behind in Beacon Hills," he said, reaching over and placing a hand on Derek's suddenly tense forearm while fixing him with an earnest, sympathetic stare that made Derek feel very nervous. "The person you're so obviously not over."

Derek grimaced before he could exert control over his face, and pulled his arm away, though not quickly enough to be offensive. At least, he didn't think so. And Parrish didn't seem offended.

"What if I said there was no one?" Derek bluffed, somehow unable to lie and straight-out say there was no one. Because there was someone, and he couldn't pretend to himself there wasn't.

Parrish just gave him a look. It reminded Derek of Erica, and even a little of his mother. It was the look that said, 'Don't you try that bullshit on me.'

"Fine." Derek slumped back in his chair and took a pensive sip of his flavored latte. "It's not.... It isn't that easy," he objected. "It's complicated."

Parrish hummed and raised his own cup for a drink. "Well, it's not any of my business," he belatedly said. "But as your friend, I have to say that I think you'll feel better if you deal with it."

Derek idly wondered if Parrish would still want to be his friend if he knew Derek had molested his thirteen year old stepbrother. Sure, Stiles had been an eagerly enthusiastic participant. But he was so young and Derek should have been the mature one and never started something that they shouldn't -- that he couldn't -- maintain.

"Maybe," he said. Because Jordan Parrish had some masterful puppy-dog eyes, and he was exerting their full influence on Derek right now. "I'll think about it."

Hell, he wouldn't be thinking about anything else, Derek knew. Not that this meant he would be talking to Stiles. They'd said everything there was to say in the kitchen that day they had returned from visiting their grandparents. It hadn't been pleasant, but it had been necessary.

Parrish gave him a sidelong look, as though he suspected Derek was just humoring him, but he did him the honor of taking him at his word.

Derek appreciated that... even though he totally was just humoring Parrish.

+=+=+

Boyd and Erica weren't going to be arriving in Beacon Hills until a couple of days after Derek, and Isaac was going to visit Allison's family over the holiday. Derek's parents were there to pick him up at the airport, and he couldn't say he was surprised that Stiles wasn't with them... but he was a little disappointed.

It felt so good to hug his Mom that Derek was almost afraid he was going to embarrass himself by bursting into tears, and he had trouble letting her go. He felt the lingering skeeviness of what Kate and Jennifer had done to him ease away, and all of the tension he hadn't realized he'd been carrying slid away from his shoulders.

He was safe in his mother's arms, and then he finally moved to embrace his stepfather, breathing in the man's familiar cologne, and he thought he felt even more at home, if that was at all possible.

"Stiles couldn't come," his Mom said ruefully as they made their way to the baggage claim through the holiday crowds. His stepfather kept a protective hand on his shoulder and Derek wondered if it was merely because of Kate, or if maybe Erica had contacted his parents to tell them about Jennifer. He hoped not, on that latter. He'd made her promise she wouldn't.

"Oh?" Derek said, trying not to sound curious.

"Yeah," Mom continued, frowning a little and leaning into Derek as they came to a stop next to the rotating luggage. "He was entertaining a friend and couldn't get away."

Derek's brows rose at the strange emphasis he could hear in the way she spoke the word "entertaining" and from the way her lips curled in a smug little smirk when she said "friend" he could practically hear the quotation marks. She definitely didn't mean Scott, because then she'd have said "Scott" and not "a friend", but Derek couldn't bring himself to ask for further clarification.

Then his Dad was asking about Derek's new friend -- not because he thought Parrish was a "friend", the way Mom had said "friend" but because he'd heard from Derek that Parrish was planning to go into law enforcement -- and to be perfectly honest Derek welcomed the distraction.

His parents kept him so busy talking about school and his classmates and friends that Derek had pretty much forgotten what his Mom had said about Stiles... so he was somewhat taken aback when he walked into the living room and was confronted by the sight of his stepbrother curled up on the sofa with a pretty blonde girl Stiles' own age.

He froze for a moment, just staring. And it wasn't even because Stiles was with a girl. Or, well, not completely. It was.... It was because....

It was because Stiles had finally figured out how to style his hair. It was because Stiles' face had slimmed down considerably since the last time Derek had seen him, his cheekbones even more pronounced. It was because Stiles was wearing Derek's teeshirt that he had never given back, and the collar was stretched wide over one of his shoulders from the way he was sitting, exposing one sharp collarbone where Derek could clearly remember leaving bite-marks and bruises.

Then Stiles glanced up and untangled himself from his girlfriend, unfolding himself as he stood from the sofa, and Derek found that he was literally unable to breathe for several moments, his heart giving an extra thump.

Stiles was almost Derek's height now, and his shoulders were appreciably broader. He was still slender, wiry, and even more lanky than he had been before, but Derek was stunned at the change. He knew Stiles had turned fourteen while Derek had been away at college -- he'd sent him a card and gift -- and it hadn't been that long since Derek had last seen his younger stepbrother, but he'd completely forgotten how much difference even a few months could make at Stiles' age.

Derek had to firmly remind himself that, fourteen or not, Stiles was still too far too young for him to be thinking sexual thoughts about. Even though he was... Derek swallowed tightly and tried to keep a blank expression... even though he was probably having sex with the pretty blonde girl he'd been cuddling with on the sofa.

Derek had been so caught up with what he'd been experiencing at college -- understandably so, considering Kate and Jennifer -- he'd been so focused on how he felt without Stiles around and had been trying so hard not to think about Stiles, that it had never even occurred to him to think about how Stiles had been faring in the time between when Derek had left and now.

Yes, Derek had dated while he'd been at college, never mind how disastrous that had been. Yes, generally speaking he'd set Stiles loose with the intent that he form relationships with other kids his own age. Yes, Derek knew that Stiles was bisexual, the same as he was.

And yet, somehow, Derek hadn't really thought about the implications of these facts, of what they might add up to.

Seeing Stiles cuddling on the sofa with a pretty girl his own age who was evidently his girlfriend brought it home for Derek in a way that made his heart clench and his stomach drop.

This had been what Derek had wanted.... So why did it hurt so much to see it happen?

"Derek!"

And suddenly, unexpectedly, Derek was fielding an armful of enthusiastic stepbrother, and before he thought not to, he was wrapping Stiles up in a hug as tight and desperate as the ones he'd given his parents at the airport.

Stiles smelled exactly the way Derek remembered, the way he hadn't realized he'd missed like he would miss breathing if he lost his lungs, and he buried his face in the curve of Stiles' shoulder, unabashedly inhaling this scent. It was purely tactile, and he just... he just needed to feel Stiles solid and real in his arms, even though Stiles now belonged to someone else.

It felt weird to be able to embrace Stiles and not have to bend in order to press his face into Stiles' shoulder, but Derek thought he liked it. Stiles was warm and his arms and torso were hard with muscle in a way that Derek knew shouldn't turn him on as much as it did. He remembered his Mom saying that Stiles had taken up lacrosse at school, and that he was doing the yard work while Derek was gone, and he suspected that this combined with the obvious growth spurt his stepbrother had experienced was what had sculpted him into something that was even more perfect for Derek's tastes.

His disgusting, deeply perverted tastes.

"Hey, Derek."

He raised his head and tried not to glare at the girl on the sofa. She'd lifted a hand and was giving him a bright smile, obviously feeling familiar with him. After a confused moment Derek realized that this was because she was Heather. The girl Stiles had declared he couldn't date because he'd seen her naked.

Well, chances were that Stiles now considered that to be a good thing, and it was also likely that by this point they'd seen each other naked in a much more intimate scenario than bathing together when they were tiny.

That thought was more than enough to douse the burgeoning arousal Derek had been feeling at having Stiles' in his arms, and he let go and took a step back.

"Hello, Heather," he greeted through lips that felt numb, trying to smile at her in return because she was nice and in no way deserved his misplaced jealousy and enmity. After all, once upon a time, what felt like a hundred years ago, Derek had actually suggested Stiles date her. "How are you?"

"Glad to be on break from school," she declared honestly, still smiling and looking pretty and soft and pale, nothing like Derek and everything that Stiles should have. Derek hated her a little and he hated himself even more for hating her.

Stiles had stepped away a beat after Derek, and he was smiling too, but it was more muted than Heather's and he seemed a little conflicted. Derek figured it was probably because his hug had been his instinctive reaction to Derek's return home, but now he was remembering how Derek had broken his heart and deserted him, and Derek would be shocked if there wasn't some remaining bitterness....

On the other hand, Stiles was the one who had very clearly moved on. Derek shouldn't be jealous, not when he'd been the one to push Stiles away, and not when he'd tried dating while he'd been at college, but he couldn't help his instinctive emotional reaction.

"I think we're all grateful for the break," Derek forced himself to say, because Heather was nice, and if Stiles was dating her then Derek needed to nice to her. "Though I'll bet Stiles has already finished all his assignments."

"The first day we had off, same as always," Heather giggled, and Derek pondered the way she was pretty much his polar opposite. And yet they both got Stiles, and as long as she made Stiles happy....

"Hey," Stiles grumped, returning to the sofa and flopping next to her. "Are you calling me a nerd?"

"Not to your face," Heather snickered. The two of them gravitated together as though they each had magnets in their bodies, and Derek tried not to betray the fact that there was chilled sweat trickling down his back underneath his teeshirt.

He deserved this, he told himself. He should never have started anything with Stiles. It didn't matter how much Stiles had wanted it; Derek had been the older one, the one who should have known better. Heather was a much more suited match for Stiles; better for him in every way.

None of that made Derek feel better about seeing Stiles with someone who wasn't him, really. But it did help with his lingering feeling of guilt to see that Stiles had moved on.

Right now, Derek would grasp for whatever straws he could get his hands on. That was the only way he was going to get through this.

"Well, I'm gonna go unpack," he said awkwardly. He didn't glance back as he headed for his bedroom, because he was pretty sure that neither one of them with going to be able to drag their attention away from the other to watch him go.

And that was the way it should be.

+=+=+

Stiles watched the flex of Derek's ass in his jeans as he walked away, unable to help himself. In his defense, it was really amazing view and Heather was probably looking at it too. She was a smart girl, after all.

To be perfectly honest, Stiles had conflicted emotions regarding Derek's return home.

It wasn't like he could just forget about the sex they'd had, and easiness and affection that had grown between them even before that. He also couldn't forget about the way Derek had stripped all that away for what was basically no reason, completely wrecking the memory of them being happy together.

But Stiles had missed Derek while he'd been away at college. Even though Stiles loved his parents intensely, the house had felt disturbingly empty without Derek in it. Stiles had thought that not having his stepbrother around might be a relief, but it hadn't been. He'd felt just as bereft as he had before Derek had left for college, and even more empty, as though there was a hole in his life that nothing else could fill.

Scott had tried. He was a good friend and so of course he'd noticed right away that Stiles had been deeply upset over something. He'd tried to get out of Stiles what it was, but of course he couldn't share. Scott would probably have understood, actually, because even if he didn't like Derek very much he loved Stiles like a brother. But Stiles hadn't been willing to take that chance. Even one wrong word by Scott could have gotten back to Mrs. McCall, and then she'd have been parentally required to say something to Stiles' parents, and, well. That could only have made everything a million times worse.

So Stiles hadn't been able to tell Scott why he was depressed, but Scott done his best to be there for him anyway. Then Kira Yukimura had happened.

Stiles didn't resent Kira. He actually really, really, really liked Kira. It was impossible not to like Kira! She was a lot like Stiles, in fact, which made it feel a little weird for Stiles when Scott fell head over heels in love with her. But she was different in a lot of ways, too, so that was okay. Mainly because she was a girl... but also she was adorably cute, and she tended to be a lot more bubbly than Stiles, whose normal tendency leaned more toward sarcasm and cynicism.

At any rate, Scott tried hard to still be a good friend, but most of his free time was eaten up by his budding relationship with his first girlfriend. And Stiles was happy for him, he really was. But that left him lonely again. He didn't really have any other friends.

Well, but then he and Heather had reconnected. And they'd managed to come to a mutually beneficial understanding completely separate from their friendship. Heather was so cool, and Stiles really wished that he could say he was actually in love with her.

But after seeing Scott and Kira, after spending a lot of time with Heather, and after spending nights lying awake in his bed, Stiles had reached the obvious conclusion that he was definitely, truly in love with Derek.

Which sucked. Because not only had Derek dumped him, but he'd come right out and said that he'd thought Stiles had only banged him because he was available, and in so doing he'd kind of implied that this was why he'd been willing to bang Stiles.

In his more hopeful moments, Stiles thought that this last wasn't true, he thought that Derek might have feelings for him...? But then he remembered that Derek had pushed him away, that he'd broken things off completely and said that he regretted it all, and Stiles knew that Derek could do better than him without even trying.

It hurt, and Stiles wished there was some magical way to make it stop hurting, to force himself to stop thinking about his stupidly gorgeous, completely untouchable older stepbrother and what they'd very briefly had together....

But he couldn't. And now Derek was home from college, even if it was for a short visit, and seeing him again just broke Stiles open.

He'd jumped up and flown into Derek's arms before he'd thought not to, and Derek had hugged him back. Stiles didn't feel any desire to take that one moment back. He'd missed Derek, and while there was a loud portion of him that didn't want to forgive Derek for the hurt he'd caused Stiles, there was an even louder portion that needed to be wrapped in Derek's arms, feeling his solid heat and smelling his mingled cologne and clean skin.

It had felt like coming home, which was silly because Stiles wasn't the one who had left.

But once he was moving away from Derek, all the bad feelings came back to Stiles and he knew that he couldn't completely forgive his stepbrother for how much he'd hurt him. Not without an apology, anyway, and he wasn't going to get that.

Yeah, okay, Derek had apologized to him, that awful afternoon in the kitchen. But he'd been apologizing for the wrong things, saying all the wrong things, and Stiles still hated that the conversation had happened and he hated that he could remember pretty much all of it, word for word.

Derek retreated, not that Stiles could blame him for wanting to go unpack, while Stiles joined Heather on the sofa again. And she was warm too, but she was soft and she smelled like a girl; sweet and uncomplicated. Stiles had thought he was happy enough to curl up with her, knowing that she cared about him just as much as he cared about her, but now that he had a fresh memory of Derek's body and scent to compare her to....

Well, it wasn't the same at all, and Stiles knew which of the two he preferred.

He'd slept in Derek's bed a few times after he'd left for college, while the sheets had still smelled like him. But then their Mom had laundered all Derek's bedclothes and Stiles had decided he was being a weird, pathetic creeper, and so he hadn't been back in Derek's room since.

"Do you want me to go home?" Heather asked, running her fingers soothingly through Stiles' hair and raising her eyebrows. Sometimes Stiles wondered if she'd guessed at his feelings for his stepbrother, but even if she had he was confident that she wouldn't say anything, and he certainly wasn't going to say anything, so the subject was verboten.

Like with Scott, it was safer and better than way.

"Not really," Stiles answered honestly, because having Heather around was comforting, especially when Derek felt so much like a stranger. Not the way he had been before they'd begun talking and hanging out previous to having sex. But now he was someone who'd been gone and who'd had lots of life experiences that Stiles didn't even know about, and it felt wrong. "But you probably should."

Heather nodded, not offended in the slightest, and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek before rising.

"See you later," she said, pausing at the door as he saw her off, and he tried to smile. "Probably not until we're back in school, though."

Stiles nodded. Heather's extended family would be arriving for Thanksgiving, and that was a big part of the reason he'd stayed behind and hadn't gone to the airport; because it would be the last time he'd be able to spend time with her for days.

Of course, another part of the reason was because he hadn't been sure whether he'd want to hug Derek or punch him in the face. Seeing his stepbrother in the flesh had answered that question, but just in case it had been the punch, Stiles had thought home was a better format than a high traffic public area.

Not that Stiles would actually have tried to punch Derek, of course. But he wouldn't have been able to disguise his desire to do so, and so things could have gotten a little dicey. Heather had the valuable ability to calm Stiles down, and so he'd stayed on the sofa with her and let Derek come home to him.

Well, Derek was here now. And Heather was gone. It was time for Stiles to confront and deal with his complicated emotions where his older stepbrother was concerned.

No, not really! Stiles was a firm believer in ignoring a problem until it went away. Maybe if he pretended things were normal long enough, he'd actually start to feel as though they were normal.

Not that things could ever go back to the way they had been before. As much as he might wish otherwise, Stiles was well aware of that much. Not when he knew what it felt like to suck Derek's dick, to have Derek's tongue in his mouth and in his butthole. Not when he could remember how it had felt to cuddle together on the bed, lounging in the afterglow.

And that was what Stiles really missed, even more than the sex. Sure, the sex had been incredible, so much better than masturbation could ever be. But being held in Derek's arms, curling up against his chest, spooning together in a way that made that word so perfectly apt... Stiles missed all of that, desperately.

He and Heather cuddled. They pressed close together on the sofa, like they'd been when Derek had gotten home, Heather trying to calm Stiles with her steady presence. They'd snuggled on her bed, Stiles wrapped in her arms and surrounded by the scents of her body spray and the dryer sheets her mother used. But it hadn't been the same as being held by Derek, at all.

For one thing, Heather was about the same size as Stiles, actually smaller, and while she made him feel safe, she couldn't make him feel protected. There was a distinct difference. She had boobs, too, which made cuddling a little weird. Stiles liked boobs; he was bisexual, not gay. But he found that being pressed up against those two soft mounds when his brain was wired to expect a broad chest with hard pectorals to be a little disturbing.

Heather didn't smell right, either. She smelled good, and Stiles was able to pick out her personal scent underneath the light layer of her chosen personal scent. But she didn't smell like sweat and sex and teenage male and salt and lingering leather and all the other jumble of things that clung to Derek's smooth skin.

Stiles scowled, making his way up to his bedroom, fingers clutching at the banister hard enough to make his knuckles whiten. Heather just wasn't Derek, she never would be, and it wasn't as though Stiles had tried to replace Derek with her, but....

But now that Derek was home -- albeit only for a short break -- and Stiles had spontaneous hugged him, he was aware all over again of how much he'd missed Derek.

And that kind of sucked. But Derek had made it clear that they were through, and so there really wasn't much of anything Stiles could do about that.

Which sucked even more.

+=+=+

Things were a little awkward after Derek came home, but not as much so as Stiles would have expected.

Part of the benefit of Stiles' usual method of dealing with unpleasant things being to ignore them until they went away, was that he was adept at switching his brain off and ignoring the reality of the situation.

During the day, anyway. At night, it was a different matter. That was what Stiles lay in bed and replayed the awful conversation they'd had in the kitchen, dwelling over how shitty it had made him feel, wallowing in angst and unrequited emotions.... He also, conversely, found himself visualizing how sexy Derek had looked at various points earlier in the day, his dick getting hard as he lusted after his older stepbrother....

And Stiles didn't want to, but he found himself jerking off more and more often, knowing that Derek was in his own bedroom just down the hall. It felt weird and kind of wrong to do so when Stiles knew how Derek felt about him and about what they'd done, but he couldn't help himself. Derek was just too damned hot.

Stiles didn't bring that into their day-to-day interactions, of course. He mostly let their parents take up Derek's attention, spending his time texting Scott or Heather, playing his online games, and generally avoiding Derek without appearing to avoid him.

That was easier than it sounded, but all of this came to nothing the afternoon that Stiles got home from hanging out at the McCall house for a few hours to find a box sitting on his bed, where none had been before.

He approached it with a disturbing sense of deja vu. It wasn't lube, thankfully, and there was no bow on top. But it was a box of condoms, and Stiles felt his heart thump against his breastbone in a leap of hope.

Stiles snatched the box up, telling himself that this couldn't be what it looked like. He wanted it to be.... But there was just no way.

Mom and Dad were out buying the turkey and the supplies for Thanksgiving dinner, because they always waited until almost the last minute -- Dad claimed things were fresher that way and Mom actually liked fighting the crowds at the grocery store because she was a crazy woman -- so there was no one home but Stiles and Derek. That was good, Stiles thought in a haze of confusion and hope and disbelief and potential anger and a lingering sense of dread that he couldn't shake, as he stormed down the hall and banged into Derek's room without knocking.

Hey, if Derek could invade Stiles' room, Stiles could invade Derek's. He was dead certain that it hadn't been either of their parents who'd left the condoms; mainly because they'd already given him some along with the safe sex lecture they'd delivered when he'd started hanging out with Heather. So if Derek had been in Stiles' room, then Stiles had no compunctions about opening Derek's door and walking right in.

Derek was sitting at his desk, his laptop open, and it looked as though he was working on an email or something, but he slammed it closed as soon as he realized Stiles was in his room, and Stiles didn't know whether to be flattered that he was about to get Derek's full attention, or worried that Derek didn't want him to see whatever he'd been writing.

Mostly, though, he wasn't about to let himself be distracted from his objective.

"What is this?" he asked, brandishing the box of condoms. He supposed he looked a bit manic, but to be honest he didn't really care.

"Those are condoms," Derek said, scowling at the box and not meeting Stiles' eyes, which actually didn't surprise Stiles at all. It still sucked though.

"Duh," Stiles snapped, shaking the box again, trying not to flush at the rustle of the individually packaged prophylactics inside. "I know that, Derek. I'm just wondering--" he stopped and drew in a deep breath, putting it out there. "I'm just wondering if you managed to pry your head out of your ass and this is your lame-ass version of an invite."

"What?" Now Derek met his gaze, but he looked confounded, his thick brows creased in a heavy frown. He looked more constipated than deadly sexy, and Stiles clung to that fact because he suddenly suspected that he was about to become very, very angry with his stepbrother. "No, those are for... I want you to.... You should be being safe with Heather."

"Oh my God!" Stiles exploded, flinging his arms wide, and the box of condoms flew out of his hand and crashed into something on Derek's bookshelf, but Stiles didn't care because that urge to punch Derek in his stupid, pretty face was on the rise again. "Oh my God!"

Derek shifted uncomfortably where he sat, and Stiles belatedly wished he'd lobbed the box at Derek's head, but it was too late now.

"Seriously?" Sties spat, fury winging through his veins, his hands fisting, chest heaving. "Head still firmly entrenched up your ass, I see!"

Derek glared at him as though, what, Stiles had hurt his feelings? If Stiles could have, he would have, because Derek was being a complete asshole! And Stiles had very briefly thought that things might have magically gotten better between them. He should have known better.

"Look, I'm happy for you--" Derek started, every word clearly paining him.

"You don't look happy," Stiles interrupted ruthlessly, storming further into the room and slamming the door closed behind him. He wasn't going to pull any verbal punches to spare Derek's feelings, and he wasn't leaving this room until they'd cleared the air. Ignoring things hadn't helped the matter, and there was no better time than now, with their parents out of the house for the next couple of hours at least, to hash this out.

"You should be with someone your age," Derek persisted, because he was an actual clueless dumbass who had no idea of how to read and deal with someone else's emotions. "And Heather is sweet, she's a good person, she's pretty."

"You're an idiot," Sties contributed, because that fact might have somehow slipped past Derek. Stiles wasn't blind; he could see that Derek actually wasn't happy for him, that every word was costing him something.

And that... that gave Stiles some faint hope. He didn't want to have hope, because every time he did, Derek painfully dashed it. But it looked to him as though Derek actually still had feelings for him, as though the sex they'd had hadn't just been because Stiles was there and eager. Maybe Derek had cared about him and still cared?

Derek looked angry now, but Stiles was on the offensive, and that wasn't a position he was willing to relinquish. At least not without a lot more than Derek was giving him right now.

"You don't get to have it both ways, Derek," he said, deciding that it was better to assume that Derek still cared about him than to ask and risk being lied to right to his face. "You can't cut me loose and tell me you don't want me, then not expect me to get together with someone else!"

"But that's what you did," Derek blurted, and then seemed to realize he might have given too much away, adding gruffly, "And that's a good thing."

Stiles snorted scornfully, walking over and plopping down on Derek's bed. Unless or until Derek told him point blank that he didn't have any feeling for Stiles, he was going to operate under the assumption that Derek hadn't just been fucking around with him, and that he really had dumped Stiles because he'd felt like it was the best thing to do for Stiles, not himself.

Which was so stupid that Stiles couldn't even, but he didn't have the right words to express that reality to Derek. Not quite yet, anyway, so he tried a different tack.

"Heather's a good friend," he started, and tried not to smirk as he watched Derek's mouth twist bitterly. His confidence was growing with each moment, because he was growing ever more certain that Derek still cared about him and still wanted him.

"Friendship is a good basis for a relationship," Derek inserted, the words sounding mangled and stiff.

Stiles actually laughed out loud. He was still angry at Derek and hurt by this whole situation, but he sensed an eminent victory. As long as he didn't completely screw things up, that was. Oh, please let him not completely screw this up....

"If that was the case," he snickered, rolling his eyes broadly, "Then Scott and I were meant to be. He's dating Kira now, though. And Heather is... helping me out."

He hadn't thought Derek's face could look even more as though he'd swallowed a lemon; he'd been wrong.

"Stiles, sex without love is--"

"Oh my God, really?!" Stiles interrupted again, insulted by the disapproving tone of Derek's voice. "Heather is just my friend, Derek, you completely and utter jackass!"

"What?" Derek blinked, obviously a bit taken aback.

Stiles sighed heavily. Clearly he was going to have to spell this out for his older stepbrother.

"She's my beard, Derek. Duh."

"Your what?" Derek asked, leaning forward in his chair, his brows doing complicated things. He looked less constipated and more fascinated, which Stiles took as a good sign, but he also looked confused, and that was just ridiculous.

"Are you unfamiliar with the concept?" Stiles asked, his own brows arching. He was ready to give Derek the textbook description if he needed to, but he didn't think Derek could have made it as far into his life as he had without stumbling across the expression at least once.

Derek glared at him, and Stiles kind of thought that answered his question, even before Derek spoke.

"Mom and Dad know you're bi," he grouched, still glaring at Stiles as though he'd somehow offended him. "Why the hell would you need a beard?"

Stiles sighed again, slumping back on Derek's bed in a relaxed manner that he wasn't really feeling. He had to put on a good show, though, if he wanted to talk Derek around to his way of seeing things. Like the fact that Derek hadn't taken advantage of him, and that they should still be boning.

"Look," he said patiently while Derek scowled at him. "Heather's doing me a favor and she doesn't mind, so stop acting like one of or both of us is doing something so awful, okay?"

Derek grimaced, looking as though he wanted to protest that assessment, but he really couldn't. To be honest, Stiles had mainly wanted to use Heather as a beard so that his parents wouldn't wonder what had happened to his crush on Lydia Martin. Since his attention had become completely devoted to Derek, Lydia just hadn't held the same appeal for Stiles.... And presenting Mom and Dad with a plausible reason for his loss of interest had just been easier than letting them wonder and possibly guess about him and Derek.

Not that they would have been likely to, but Stiles had a healthy amount of paranoia, and while he didn't ascribe to Derek's belief that what they were doing was "wrong", he did know their parents wouldn't exactly approve if they found out.

He didn't want to tell Derek all this, though, because then he might start up with the whole "we can't do this anymore, Stiles" shtick, and Stiles desperately wanted to avoid dipping back into that mindset. Fortunately for him, he had a secondary but also important reason for publicly misrepresenting his relationship with Heather.

So he continued, giving Derek that second reason first. "Mostly Heather is pretending to date me so the kids at school stop calling me a freak and a loser." He shifted uncomfortably, frowning, because what he was saying was one hundred percent true and it had sucked. "That was really starting to get old."

"Was that Jackson?" Derek asked, growling and clenching his hands into tight fists.

Stiles' heart jumped, and he couldn't help grinning, because he just loved the way Derek got all defensive over him. Also, it was nice to fantasize about Derek popping Jackson in the stupid perfect nose.

"I think he still resents the crush I used to have on Lydia," Stiles mused. "Or maybe he's insulted that I got over it? Like, he feels rejected by proxy? I don't even know; don't ask me to psychoanalyze the inner workings of Jackson Whittemore's scary mind. I'm pretty sure he's a lab construct who's just pretending to be human. He's not very good at it, and I honestly can't see what Lydia sees in him; she could do so much better."

They were getting off the subject, though, and Stiles didn't want to spend any more time talking about his former crush and her douchebag of a boyfriend.

"Anyway." He shrugged awkwardly. "Some of the kids were saying stuff, Heather is an angel who values my happiness, she's unattached right now, and so we just act like she's my girlfriend. Act like it," he emphasized, because Derek probably missed his pointed use of that word. "We don't lie and say we're dating. We just do things together and people assume."

Derek looked... conflicted. Stiles was poised, ready to swoop in for the kill, but he was uncertain of when he'd have the opportunity and what form it would take. Still, they were talking, which was more than they'd done since that crappy day in the kitchen.

"Mom's deliriously happy," Stiles sighed, feeling a little bad about deceiving his stepmother, even though he'd never come out and lied to her. "Mostly, though, it's nice to have someone to hang out with while Scott is off playing smoochy-face with Kira."

Stiles had actually given Scott the condoms his parents had shoved on him, laughing his ass off at how red his best friend's face had turned. Scott and Kira hadn't used them yet -- Stiles knew because he'd found the unopened box in Scott's top dresser drawer the other day -- and Stiles was proud of them both. Because even though he wanted Derek to plow him so much it ached, he felt as though Scott and Kira were both way too young to be having "real" sex.

Yes, Stiles was a hypocrite. At least he acknowledged and admitted it, if only to himself. Also, he was pretty sure he was more mature than Scott, and he definitely couldn't get pregnant the way Kira could.

"So you and Heather...."

"Are just friends," Stiles emphasized, a little hurt because how could Derek think he'd gotten over him so quickly? How could Derek think Stiles could be with someone else?

Stiles wasn't stupid. He'd heard about Kate Argent from his parents. He knew that Derek had dated in college. But he also knew it had only been one date before this Argent chick had gotten obsessed and gone all "Fatal Attraction" on Derek, and so he was willing to let that slide. It still stung, but Stiles kind of thought Derek had forced himself to do it in an attempt to forget about Stiles.

That was what he wanted to think, anyway. Because he didn't want to assume that Derek was completely over Stiles and what they'd had. He couldn't assume that, for the sake of his own mental wellbeing.

Derek still looked lost, so Stiles sighed again and sat back up, curling his legs under him. "Evidently I'm now, like, her gay best friend, if that's a thing?" he explained, waving a hand vaguely. "Even though she knows I'm bi, not actually gay."

Derek's expression said he wasn't buying what Stiles was selling, but it was the truth so Stiles persisted. "Look, I don't know how it works," he confessed, spreading his hands, "But she said something about it when I told her I wanted the D."

Stiles stiffened as Derek's face took on that panicky, wide-eyed look that he hated so much to see directed at him.

"Don't worry," Stiles said scathingly, feeling his heart hurt where it was beating rapidly against his ribcage. "I didn't tell her whose D I wanted."

Derek's mouth twisted and Stiles found himself gnawing on his own lower lip.

"I still want your D," he said, just to clarify. "Look, I still don't know what bug you got up your butt, but whatever you were thinking, you were wrong. Did you honestly think I was going to just go my merry way and get a girlfriend or boyfriend who wasn't you?"

"I--"

Derek's frozen expression said that he had expected just that, and Stiles snarled, feeling the rising urge to slam his way back out of Derek's room. But they had resolved exactly nothing, except that Derek now knew Stiles wasn't having sex with Heather, and so he stuck it out.

"Oh, screw you, Derek," he said, and winced because it came out sounding tired and sad instead of angry and forceful. "What we were doing wasn't just sex and it wasn't just because you were there. You're really insulting the fuck out of me when you say that."

"I never said that...." Derek looked uncertain, though, and Stiles wondered if he could recall every single word they had exchanged as flawlessly as Stiles could.

"No, you didn't," Stiles allowed, because in all honesty Derek hadn't. "But you implied it pretty fucking heavily."

While Derek sat there looking thoughtful and tragic, Stiles dragged in a deep breath and tried to calm himself. Swearing wasn't going to get him anywhere, no matter how good it felt when he was faced with Derek's obtuse stubbornness.

"Derek," he said, and he really hadn't meant that to come out sounding so plaintive. He straightened his spine and squared his shoulders, putting his feet down on the floor and meeting Derek's eyes steadily. "I understand why you pushed me away. I do. You felt like a pervert, and maybe to other people you might have looked like one."

Derek flinched, looking as though he was in actual pain, and Stiles forged onward, because he didn't want to hurt Derek, he wanted the opposite of that.

"But whatever you were thinking it was? It wasn't. Okay? You weren't just some experiment, you weren't just convenient, or whatever stupid idea you've convinced yourself of. I wanted to have sex with you because you're hot like burning, yeah, but also because I like you. A lot. We were... I thought we were getting along better? And I liked that. I want that back again. All of it, including the sex."

Stiles couldn't help adding that last, even though he was well aware that it might be pushing too much too soon. He was terrified; he was putting his feelings out there, bold and unmistakable, and setting himself up to be completely destroyed by Derek if he chose to reject him again.

But dancing around the issue had gotten them exactly nowhere. And while Stiles had thought he'd made his feelings pretty well known, evidently he had not if Derek was still misinterpreting things.

It was one of the scariest things Stiles had ever done, but he needed to do it.

"I really like you, Derek," he said, trying to sound confident but the words coming out kind of shy and awkward. He felt like a dumb kindergartener, but he couldn't bring himself to use the other "L" word, even though he kind of thought that he did.... That was too much, though, and if he told Derek he loved him and Derek rejected that, Stiles was pretty sure he would never recover and might even die from the pain.

"I...." Derek looked conflicted, and Stiles felt like bursting into tears or throwing up, but he didn't give up all hope. This wasn't like when he'd told Derek he was happy to have him as a stepbrother and then felt rejected when Derek didn't even try to say anything complimentary back. This was more, it was bigger, and Stiles liked to think he was more mature now, even though most people would say he was "only" fourteen.

He knew how he felt about Derek, though, even if it felt too big and too real for his skin to contain.

"You don't have to say it," he assured Derek, trying to be as strong and steady as he could even though his heart felt like a hummingbird and his hands were shaking and he was sweating. "But I know you like me too, at least a little. You get angry when Jackson picks on me, and you kissed me like you meant it, and maybe you're bad at emotions, but I know you care."

"I care," Derek said, his brows lowered, but he looked earnest and serious, not angry or conflicted, which Stiles took as a good sign. "Of course I care about you, Stiles."

Stiles nodded jerkily. He hadn't dared hope he'd hear Derek say that, actually speak the words, and yet now that he had, Stiles wasn't sure that they were enough.

"Do you--"

He cut himself off, sucking in a breath and wringing his hands in his laps, trying to be rational and reasonable about this, not push for more. He really needed to make sure Derek knew he wasn't some dumb kid with a crush on his older stepbrother just because he was hot. He had to not be needy.

"I like you," Derek blurted, startling Stiles, because he really hadn't been expecting that confession. He'd kind of hoped... but he really, really hadn't expected.

"You don't have to say it because I did, Derek," Stiles started, but then it was Derek's turn to throw his hands up and exclaim.

"Jesus, Stiles! You got mad that one time because I didn't say I was happy you were my stepbrother when you told me that, and now you're gonna get upset because I did reciprocate?"

"No," Stiles said indignantly. "I'm not upset over that! And anyway, I'm more mature than I was then," he sniffed scornfully; mostly at his younger self. Then he couldn't help adding, "I only want you to say it if you mean it."

"I mean it," Derek said. "I didn't.... Stiles, I never meant for you to feel rejected. And I never said that I thought you didn't care."

Stiles shrugged awkwardly. "You sure made it sound that way. There weren't a lot of other ways to interpret the way you pushed me away. Trust me, I thought about it a lot. All the time ever since it happened."

"I didn't handle it well," Derek said ruefully. "I was just trying to do the right thing and I was kind of an asshole about it."

"I miss you," Stiles admitted honestly, his voice small and hesitant. "I don't mean I miss the sex. I just miss you. I miss talking to you. I miss your hugs. I miss making you laugh. I miss you."

"I'm sorry," Derek said earnestly, and Stiles swallowed, hoping Derek wasn't apologizing in preparation to shooting Stiles down again, but then he continued, "I'm so sorry if I ever made you feel unwanted or rejected, Stiles. That wasn't my intention. I've missed you too. So much."

Stiles nodded, and he suddenly felt as though the weight of the world had lifted off his shoulders. Suddenly he felt happy and optimistic, and while he and Derek still had a lot to hash out, he knew for sure that Derek liked him, and Derek had actually apologized for what had hurt Stiles, instead of just the stupid stuff he hadn't needed to apologize for.

"Can I get a hug?" he asked, rising and standing, making as though to approach Derek then stopping himself and shifting awkwardly. "Just a hug, I promise. I won't grope you or try to kiss you or anything."

"And then we can go downstairs and play some Wii," Derek offered, and Stiles was going to take that olive branch and run with it.

"Oh, so you feel like having your ass owned by me after all?" he asked archly, and then laughed at the disgruntled look on Derek's face. That had been pushing the boundaries of where they were a little and he needed to rein it back in. "Okay, yeah," he agreed cheerfully. "That sounds good."

Derek stood as well, and they moved together, Derek's arms folding warm and strong around Stiles' body.

"I apologize in advance if I pop a boner," Stiles said into Derek's shoulder, holding on tight in case Derek freaked out and tried to escape. "Just ignore it, okay?"

He thought it was a good sign that Derek just laughed a little uncomfortably and continued to hold him close.

Ignore it... for now, Stiles tacked on, but only in his head. He knew better than to say that aloud. Still, he felt like he was a lot closer to being where he wanted, needed to be.

And for right now, being held in Derek's warm embrace was close enough.

+=+=+

Things seemed to be going okay between Derek and Stiles by the time Derek headed back to school after his break.

Their parents had clearly been thrilled that their boys were talking again during Thanksgiving dinner, though they tried not to draw attention to this fact; possibly for fear that either Stiles or Derek would get contrary if they made a fuss.

Everyone was glad that things were back to normal. The good normal, that was. Derek didn't think anyone was more grateful for it than he was, but from the wide smile on Stiles' face and how often he laughed, he suspected Stiles might be just as grateful for the change as Derek was.

And that made him feel bad, remembering how subdued and depressed Stiles had been before he'd left for college, knowing that it all been Derek's fault. He didn't see any other way things could have gone, though. He'd had to shut down the thing between them, for Stiles' own good.

But it made a difference to know that it had hurt Stiles so much, to know that Stiles had been so invested. Derek still felt like he'd been a pervert to have touched Stiles the way he'd done... but it helped to know that Stiles had acted the way he had because of his feelings for Derek, not just because of his budding fascination with Derek's face and body.

Derek still didn't think they could go back to the way they had been, sexually. He didn't think they should, no matter how much he missed it. He had himself convinced that it was good enough that they were back to comfortably conversing, to being brothers and friends.

Then he went back to school -- with hugs goodbye from everyone in the family this time -- and Stiles started sending him filthy texts.

It started out small and built up incrementally, so that Derek didn't really feel as though he'd had any good time to put his foot down and say "quit it". By the time Stiles started texting Derek pictures of his hard cock, it seemed like it was too late to shut it down.

And maybe Derek didn't want it to stop....

Stiles had been perfectly circumspect before Derek had left. They'd talked, joked, laughed, sniped at each other without any real intent. Derek had stored up all of these exchanges, and he'd looked forward to continuing in this vein once he was back at college.

Which was what had happened. Now that they'd sort of made amends, Stiles felt free to send Derek texts complaining about the weather, telling him about his day, sharing off-color jokes that Scott had botched the delivery of....

But then things had gotten a little more personal. Derek woke up one morning to a text that Stiles had sent in the middle of the night.

[I miss sleeping in your arms]

This had made Derek heat up, his heart thumping, his chest, ears, and cheeks burning. He wanted to say "me too" but he couldn't bring himself to type in the words. He shouldn't encourage Stiles....

But it had turned out that Stiles hadn't needed the encouragement.

[wish you were here]

That was innocuous enough. But the very next text, sent less than an hour later, was considerably more blatant; whether taken in conjuncture with his last text or taken alone.

[im horny]

Derek definitely ignored that one, because what else could he do? The next text from Stiles involved whining about Jackson and about having to eat the crappy school lunch because he'd left his carefully packed leftovers at home, so Derek replied to that text and pretended that Stiles hadn't shared his horniness with him.

His sense of relief didn't last long, because Stiles kept them coming, each text a little more revealing, and a little more graphic than the text before it.

[Hate sleeping alone, wish you were here]

They'd only shared a bed for a few nights, had spent the rest of their lives up to that point sleeping alone, but Derek knew what Stiles meant. He felt the same way, but he couldn't say so.

[miss yr stupid perfect face]

[I miss the way you smell Derek]

[miss the way you taste]

Those were all interspersed with an enthusiastic review of a movie Stiles had seen, venting about something their Mom had done to piss Stiles off, and a really dumb riddle that had made Derek literally roll his eyes.

[your hands felt so good around my wrists...]

[not as good as your tongue in my ass, though]

After Derek read those two, sent in quick succession, his cock was hard and he was unable to will it away. It brought up some really hot visuals, and Derek remembered how good those things had felt to him as well. Also, it might seem like a small point to someone else, but he thought it was even hotter that Stiles' had used the word "ass" instead of "butt". It just... it made him seem like a little bit less of a child. Stiles might have only recently turned fourteen, but he was growing up.

Derek still didn't reply, but that didn't stop Stiles. He kept going.

[I wanted to try rimming the other way, Derek.]

[I mean me putting my tongue in your ass]

Derek jerked off helplessly after reading that, and he almost wasn't ashamed of himself for doing so. He was just lucky he was alone in his room when he received those two texts and not in class, because he was sure that he couldn't have rid himself of his insistent hard-on without jerking it.

[miss the taste of yr jizz]

If Stiles had been a college student, Derek would have assumed he was texting drunk. But he doubted Stiles was indulging in underage drinking, and to be fair, most of the filthy texts came through in the midnight hour or later, when Stiles was probably curled up in bed, sated after masturbating, and feeling bold.

Derek gave in to temptation and just let himself jerk off to the texts Stiles was sending him, letting his imagination run wild, allowing himself to recall how it had felt to frot against Stiles, to suck him off, to lick his way into his asshole, to screw between his thighs....

He still didn't reply in kind. He couldn't. If he had and anyone ever read through Stiles' text logs Derek would be fucked, and not in the way Stiles kept harping on about. That and... well, Derek couldn't think of how he could reply without Stiles thinking that he had won the argument.

Derek wasn't sure Stiles hadn't won the argument, couldn't be sure he'd be able to keep his hands off his younger stepbrother when he went home for winter break, but he knew he had to try. He couldn't be complicit in this, had to remain strong.

Even though he was not strong and was totally jerking off at least once a day to Stiles' explicit texts and the photos of his leaking cock that he started sending.

Derek couldn't... he couldn't seem to stop himself... but he couldn't let Stiles know he was doing it.

[want you in me]

Stiles sent that text along with an attached photo of his asshole, puffy pink and glistening with lube, taken from an obviously awkward angle, but in very clear invitation, and Derek barely had time to palm himself through his jeans before he was coming, hard, phone clenched tightly in his other hand.

And then, after that one, there was... nothing. Silence. Not even the trivial texts that Stiles had still been sending during the daylight hours.

Derek wasn't ashamed to say that he panicked and called his Mom.

"Is Stiles okay?" he asked, after they'd exchanged hellos, setting his mind at ease at least a little that nothing too disastrous had happened. His mother sounded calm enough, anyway, though happy to hear from him.

"He's fine," she assured Derek, and he huffed out a silent breath of relief. He was still worried, because this sudden silence wasn't normal. He usually had at least three texts a day, aside from the pervy late-night sallies, texts that he actually answered in kind -- thankfully the whole family had unlimited texting -- but right now he was getting nothing but silence, even though he'd texted Stiles a few direct questions recently.

"I mean, he's seemed a little down the last couple of days," Talia continued, sending Derek's anxiety ratcheting up again. "But he gets that way sometimes, so I figured it would just pass. He's been happier lately.... Why, Derek, did something happen between you two again?"

"I don't think so?" he said, not meaning to end it on a question mark but unable to help himself. It wasn't like he could tell his Mom that Stiles might be freaking out over having sent him a photo of his asshole and a blatant invitation.

His Mom sighed heavily. "Derek, I've been trying to stay out of it, but... what's going on with you two?"

Derek felt chilled, but he knew that even in her wildest imagination his mother wouldn't assume that he and Stiles had been having sex. He wasn't sure if that made this situation worse or better, but he was definitely grateful for her continued ignorance.

"It's complicated," he offered weakly.

"Well, un-complicate it," she ordered, as though he wouldn't have already done that if he could. It was highly probable that Stiles would suggest that Derek could un-complicate things by returning to a sexual relationship, but....

"I'll try," he offered, because he really would. "Could you tell him to text me, though?"

Talia sighed again, even more heavily this time. "Derek, what are you doing right now?"

Derek blinked. "Um." Was it a trick question? "Talking to you on the phone."

"Uh-huh. And what do you use to text Stiles with?"

"My phone," Derek replied automatically, before he abruptly caught his Mom's meaning.

"Call him and talk to him," she instructed firmly, even though Derek had already gotten it.

"What if he doesn't pick up?" Derek asked, his stomach twisting at the thought.

"Then text me and I'll talk to him," she said, and Derek felt something in him settle at the take-charge tone in her voice. Usually it annoyed him when his mother tried to boss him around and take control of any facet of his life, but in this case he could use all the help he could get.

"Okay," he said meekly. "I'll do that."

"He's in his room right now," she said. "Say goodbye, Derek, and then give his phone a try."

"Goodbye, Derek," he parroted, unable to help himself getting that one weak dig in. "Thanks, Mom. Love you."

"I love you too, honey. Fix things with your brother."

Right. His brother. Derek grimaced, but hung up and keyed up Stiles' contact information as directed.

Maybe he couldn't make this move on his own, but his mother had told him to do it, and it really was likely to be the best way to clear the air between himself and Stiles.

Because Derek couldn't take any more of the silence, and he wanted to be the center of Stiles' attention again. It might not be healthy, especially as one-sided as it had been up to this point, but he needed it, and....

Well, maybe if he didn't completely botch this coming conversation with Stiles, maybe he could start to give a little bit back. He should. He needed to try.

Because Stiles was worth more than Derek's pointed silence where sex was concerned, and Derek wanted to let him know how much he was worth to him.

It was a hard thing to admit to himself that he'd been being selfish, but now that Derek was facing the truth, he was eager to make the change.

He just hoped that Stiles would actually talk to him.

+=+=+

Stiles automatically glanced over as his phone screen lit up with an incoming call, and felt a sudden ball of ice form in his belly.

It was Derek, and to be honest Stiles was only surprised that it had taken him this long to call.

Stiles reached for his phone, breath coming short, thumb hovering over the accept command, trying to think of what he was going to say to Derek, how he could explain without giving Erica away....

It had been a couple of days since Stiles had gotten an email from Erica that had sent him into a tailspin, the very day after he'd sent Derek a really raunchy photo and message, in fact.

And Derek probably thought that Stiles had stopped texting him because he was embarrassed, which, okay, he was a little, but that wasn't the reason.

The reason Stiles had completely cut off contact with Derek had everything to do with Erica's email, and what it had meant to Stiles.

Despite the fact that she'd used to dislike him intensely and torment him when possible, once Derek had put his foot down and made her realize her behavior was problematic, Erica had actually warmed up to Stiles, and the two of them emailed sporadically; whenever one or the other of them thought of it or if they were bored.

So it wasn't completely out of the ordinary for Erica to email Stiles. And it hadn't even been the first time she'd emailed him while drunk, which was a fact he realized before he'd even gotten through the first sentence.

Erica was actually usually pretty funny when she was drunk... but there had been nothing amusing about this email. In fact, it had been the opposite of amusing.

Stiles had known about Kate Argent, both that Derek had dated her and that she'd gone obsessively crazy on him. But he'd had no idea that Derek had tried dating another girl, who'd drugged and molested him.

Erica had, while under the influence of alcohol, emailed Stiles the whole sordid tale, telling him that he probably shouldn't tell his parents because she'd promised not to do that, and because it would upset Derek more than it was worth, but that "someone in your family should know."

Stiles' first reaction had been a surge of unrestrained fury toward this Jennifer person who had roofied Derek; how dare she?! Erica said she'd left the school, and it wasn't like Stiles could really have done anything to her if she hadn't, but knowing she wasn't around Derek anymore made Stiles feel a little bit better....

His second reaction, though, had been unmitigated horror and shame. Because what he'd been doing to Derek, the texts he'd be sending... those were harassment, plain and simple. Telling himself that they'd been welcome just didn't cut it when Derek had never replied. Stiles had been able to convince himself that since Derek never told him to stop, he must have been okay with it....

But that was about the same thing as this Jennifer thinking that because Derek was unconscious and couldn't protest it was okay to kiss him. Which, it hadn't been. It had been the very opposite of okay. Erica had said that Jennifer had only kissed Derek, but Stiles would be very surprised if she hadn't also copped a feel or two.

At any rate, once it was right in his face like that, Stiles could see very little difference between what Jennifer had done to Derek and what he'd been doing.

Objectively, Stiles knew there were differences. But even if the situations weren't exactly the same, he'd still been pushing his unwanted advances on Derek. And he'd been completely ignoring the resounding silence in reply to his sallies that should have clued him in as to their unwelcomed nature.

Stiles was in the wrong and he didn't know how to go about apologizing for it without mentioning Erica's email. He also didn't know what words to use to apologize for sending his older stepbrother a photo of his lubed butthole with a crude come-on. It had seemed like a good idea when he had done it, but in retrospect, not so much.

Well, there was only one way, and if he didn't accept the call now he was going to miss it, and then he'd have to call Derek back, and that would make this even more awkward.

"Derek, I'm sorry!" he opened with, speaking more quickly and loudly than he had meant to in his fervency.

There was a long pause during which Stiles tried not to breathe too audibly, trying to figure out what to follow that up with, then;

"What?" Derek asked, and he sounded completely confused, which was both good and bad as far as Stiles was concerned.

"I'm sorry," Stiles reiterated, forcing himself to say the words because Derek deserved to hear them no matter how hard it was for him to say them. "I'm sorry for sending you all those texts when you didn't want them and for sending the photos and I'm... I'm sorry."

He swallowed tightly, clutching at his phone with clammy fingers, waiting for Derek's reply. Waiting... waiting....

"Stiles, I." Derek paused and Stiles could swear his heart was beating in his throat. "It's okay," Derek continued, sounding quiet but Stiles couldn't read his tone aside from that, not over the phone. "It's okay. I didn't.... I liked them."

That was so far from what Stiles had expected to hear that he literally couldn't process the words for a few seconds. Then it was his turn to question;

"What?"

Derek cleared his throat. "I...."

He sounded so awkward that Stiles actually wanted to say something to help him out, but he couldn't think of anything to say in response. He'd hoped.... He'd even said the words to himself in an attempt to make himself believe.... But it was still kind of a shock to actually hear Derek actually say it.

But even though Derek was okay with it, even though he'd liked it, that didn't make it okay that Stiles had done it in the first place. Because Stiles hadn't known that. At no point had he gotten Derek's permission, and he still felt as though that made the comparison between himself and Jennifer far too close and way too frightening.

"I'm sorry," he said again, and surprised himself with a little sniff. He wasn't crying, no, he really wasn't, he was just a little overcome with emotion. "I shouldn't have--"

"Stiles, it's okay," Derek interrupted, and he said it firmly enough that Stiles immediately felt better. "Really. Whatever made you feel like it wasn't, I retroactively go back and tell you that it was okay."

"You can't do that," Stiles protested, but he was smiling as he said it, and he knuckled at his eyes with his free hand. The corners were a little damp, but he wasn't crying.

"Fine, then I accept your apology," Derek told him, and he sounded so warm and kind that Stiles was able to banish the last of his bad feelings.

"I wish I could hug you right now," he said honestly. "I wish you were hugging me."

"I'd hug you so hard you'd pop," Derek declared, startling a laugh out of Stiles.

"We sound like porn, only not," he chuckled, sniffing again and wiping his nose, kind of glad that Derek wasn't really here to see him acting like a huge wuss, even though a Derek-hug would have been the best thing in the world right now.

"Stiles, you believe me, right? That it's okay?"

"Yeah," he said, biting his lower lip. "As long as you believe that I'm sorry."

"Okay," Derek said easily. "But, Stiles... even though I liked the texts and photos, you probably shouldn't send me any more."

"I won't," Stiles mumbled, still feeling a little ashamed even though Derek had set most of his fears and doubts to rest. "I'll still think about you when I jerk off, though."

Whoops. He hadn't meant to say that last out loud. Well, he'd said it and he couldn't take it back.

"That's... that's okay," Derek said. "I... kind of... jerked off to your texts and photos."

He said the last so low and fast that it took Stiles a second or two to parse his meaning, and once he had he broke out in a wide grin. It gave him heart to know that Derek hadn't been disgusted by his pervy advances. After reading Erica's email, he'd really been scared that this would be the case. Either that or maybe Derek had been laughing at him....

But, no, he'd been turned on and jerking off. It made Stiles feel wonderful to hear that. Despite having dumped him for his own good, Derek still found him sexually attractive. That mattered more to Stiles than he'd thought it did.

"Really?" he couldn't help asking.

"Shut up," Derek grumbled, but it was the usual grumbling, not the panicked warning tone that Stiles really, really hated hearing.

"I'm gonna get an extra long, extra special hug once you're home for winter break, right?" he informed Derek.

"Stiles," Derek said sternly.

"Not that kind of special," Stiles squawked defensively. Though if he had his way, he'd get that too.... He was giving up on his pervy text ploy, but that didn't mean he hadn't been successful, and it didn't mean he was giving up. In fact, if anything he had more confidence now than he'd had while sending the texts.

"I can't wait to see you again."

Derek said it quietly, like a secret just for Stiles, and he'd never have thought he'd hear so much affection in his stepbrother's voice. At least not aimed at him.

"Me either," he replied just as softly, feeling as though he was getting a sort of a hug right now, even though it was only over the phone.

"Keep texting me, okay, Stiles?" Derek prompted, speaking more normally now. "The regular, everyday ones, I mean. I miss hearing from you."

"No more dirty texts or photos, but lots of texts," Stiles replied, nodding even though Derek couldn't see him. "Got it. Sorry I went silent."

"Just don't do that again. I was really freaked out."

"Sorry," Stiles apologized again, his brain already flying to consider what he'd tell Derek about next time he texted. Right now, though, he had him on the phone, and, "Do you have time to talk?" he asked a little shyly.

"Yeah," Derek replied quickly enough to convince Stiles that he meant it and wasn't just humoring him. "Yeah, I do."

"Awesome." Stiles crossed his room and flopped on his bed, curling up around a pillow, his phone pressed close, and Derek's smooth voice in his ear.

They talked for almost two hours, and they never once mentioned sex, or Erica, or Jennifer, and Stiles was okay with that. He made Derek laugh five times, not that he was counting or anything. And by the time they had to reluctantly hang up, Stiles felt as though everything really was okay between the two of them.

That wasn't going to stop him having a long talk with Derek once he came home for winter break, though. Stiles wanted what they'd had for those brief days during their vacation to visit the Hales, and he wasn't going to give up until he had it back.

He wanted Derek to be happy, and he was convinced by this point that he could make Derek happy. And he knew that there was nothing that made him happier than Derek did.

They were both looking forward to winter break, and once it was here, Stiles wasn't going to take "no" for an answer.

He didn't mean that in a gross, obsessive, forceful way. He just felt in his heart that Derek really wanted to say "yes" but he was letting his guilt and misplaced morals get in the way.

If that was true, then Stiles was going to make sure that Derek understood what he meant to him.

And if he got his heart completely destroyed this time, then at least he could say he'd been honest and that he'd tried.

But somehow Stiles thought that he could trust Derek with his heart. He just needed to be brave enough to place it in Derek's hands.

He wasn't going to do that over the phone, though, or through a text. As much impatience as Stiles was feeling, it really was going to have to wait until winter break. Thankfully that was coming up very soon.

Stiles was going to spend every moment of that time coming up with a very good argument for why he and Derek should be together.

Because they should be. And they could be. And it was evidently up to Stiles to make sure it happened. He could do this, though.

He could totally do this.
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

Profile

kyrene_writes: (Default)
kyrene_writes

February 2015

S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
1516 1718192021
22232425262728

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:56 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios