Stiles had a very unique scent. A scent that got into Derek's nose and wouldn't go away. Derek knew what it meant. It meant he was attracted. And it made him wonder if Stiles was attracted as well. He wasn't able to tell until he'd gained the Alpha's powers and was finally able to smell the way Stiles felt about him. It was a subtle scent, one that had could be hard to pinpoint.
By the time that the Argents had brought in their reinforcements to clean up the mess Kate had left, Derek was courting Stiles. A few other werewolves came and went-friends of the Hale Family-and they all had their own advice for getting Stiles's attention. One recommended just demanding the attention outright but Derek didn't feel very comfortable with such an action. Another friend recommended trying to smile a little more, being a little softer, but that was easier said than done. Derek just wasn't a soft person, not even before the fire. A third friend told him to rebuild his house and stop acting like a complete creep. Derek had just growled at that friend.
That particular advice hadn't been appreciated. So, not really knowing what to do, Derek had more or less avoided Stiles. It wasn't difficult. Stiles didn't even know that Derek was trying to court him as a potential mate and Scott certainly had no clue either. He wondered if he could get Scott to help him but then rethought that method.
A few months after Peter had been killed, a fellow Alpha, Carlton Alton, blew into town. It was typical of other Alphas to visit packs when there was a change in leadership. Alphas had been going in and out of the Hale Territory for a while now. While the other Alpha was there he decided to go ahead and pick his brain about Stiles.
"The little Hale Prince is finally courting a mate?" Carlton laughed and despite the rather mocking tone, Derek wasn't offended.
"Sort of," Derek said. "I'm not sure how to approach it."
"Whatever way feels natural," Carlton replied, taking a sip of the beer Derek had offered him. They were sitting on the floor of his burnt out living room. Derek realized he should probably get some furniture at the least. Not that Carlton Alton cared but it was the principle of the matter. "Each werewolf loves differently so each werewolf courts differently. Didn't your father ever tell you any of this?"
"No," Derek said. "He died before we were able to talk about it." Carlton nodded.
"Well, just be careful," Carlton told him. "If he rejects you too harshly you might lose control and with your new Alpha powers you could do some serious damage to anyone that gets in your way." Derek nodded feeling even more worried than before.
As it turned out, Stiles was more than willing to be courted. It was an extremely gradual process. Derek was completely uncertain of how to approach this whole courting thing. In the end, Derek simply cornered him in a parking lot one night and asked him if he wanted to eat something.
"I don't like raw deer," Stiles responded sarcastically and even if it wasn't said meanly it nearly made Derek turn around and run away.
"I was thinking Burger King," Derek said. Stiles gave him an odd look but ended up agreeing to a meal. They ended up going through the drive through and eating burgers and fries on the side of the road. Stiles didn't seem nervous about being alone with Derek which was something Derek took as a good sign.
"You're okay Stiles," Derek finally said as he grabbed the last of his fries and stuffed them in his mouth. He didn't look at Stiles.
"Thanks," the younger male responded. "You're not the complete asshole I thought you were."
Derek rolled his eyes at the remark but didn't take it personally. Their first meal together wasn't that bad all things considered. Derek took it as a sign to continue on with the courting process. Another hurdle was trying to figure out if Stiles would be okay with a deeper friendship with Derek or possibly something more.
The teen seemed to enjoy the attention Derek gave him even though the Alpha was never too obvious about it. Jackson knew something was going on between the two and so did Scott. Stiles seemed to tell Scott everything and while the Beta would give Derek odd looks and leading comments he didn't seem too worried. Apparently, Stiles was able to keep his best friend from getting too angry about it all.
Derek suspected that Scott just wanted to know that Stiles was okay. He just wanted to know what was going on and be kept in the loop. If those conditions were met, he didn't seem to care too much. Jackson simply didn't care at all.
Stiles teased Derek and they both knew it. The human would give him little looks and touches when they were alone. Sometimes Derek would sneak into his room at night and lie down on Stiles's small bed. The human would normally be at his computer doing research, homework, talking to Scott, or just going through his Facebook page. At around ten he would turn off the computer and slip under the covers of his bed snuggling down next to Derek.
Stiles got cold easily and would sleep in sweatpants and a hoodie. He would pull his hood up and bury his face in the side of Derek's neck where the werewolf could feel every small breath. Those were the moments that Derek loved the most. The closeness, the feeling of a warm body next to his, and Stiles's deepening breaths as he fell asleep.
If Derek decided to spend the night and he knew that the Sheriff wouldn't be home for a long while, he would turn onto his side. With an arm flung around Stiles's waist and the human's face near his own, Derek felt comfortable for the first time in a long while.
They weren't dating.
Derek knew that for sure. While werewolves dated and had relationships just like humans did, the whole mating process was a completely different game. Finding your mate meant that you had found the only other soul on the planet capable of stirring up the supernatural part of you. Werewolves were rooted in magic and a mate was someone who would stir up that magic and make you more powerful or completely tear you apart depending on how things went.
It wasn't sexual. It was about a soul deep connection that could only be created with a supernatural being. Some mates never had a sexual relationship, some would marry other people. Some mates were incapable of being sexually attracted to the other. Derek wasn't sure if he and Stiles would have sex. The werewolf wasn't sure if Stiles was attracted to him like that. The human would enjoy the closeness just as Derek did because of the forming bond but anything more than simple closeness was a whole other matter.
Werewolves were tactile by nature. They touched to express anger, love, frustration, happiness, playfulness, and many other feelings. They weren't creatures that were good with words. So the cuddling that Derek did with Stiles didn't mean much of anything except that the werewolf thought of Stiles as one of the pack. It was truly that simple.
The first time Stiles spent the night at the Hale House, Derek had been horribly nervous. He'd never had someone spend the night with him in his family's home. The Hales had been incredibly private and you had to be someone very special to be invited there. Stiles was someone special and it made Derek nervous. The human was there to help Derek come up with a plan to get the Argents out of their hair. The Hunters had been more persistent than ever before and it was making Derek worry about Stiles. If the Hunters found out that Derek had found a mate-a human mate-they would target Stiles, possibly for death.
The two of them ate take-out Chinese food straight from the cartons and talked about the best way to handle things. Long after midnight, they finally went to bed. Derek's bed was a simple mattress on the floor of his childhood bedroom on the third floor. Part of the roof was gone and they could see the stars. Derek let Stiles have most of the covers knowing that he ran cold.
There was a few minutes of moving around to get comfortable and Derek had managed to swing his leg over Stiles's legs. He placed a hand on the human's stomach and watched as it rose and fell with each breath. They stayed like that for a long while, completely silent, until Stiles suddenly turned and put his lips onto Derek's softly. It surprised the Alpha but he instantly gave into the feelings that sprung up from that part of his soul that housed the mating bond.
Stiles's soft kiss lasted for only a few seconds but their separation lasted even less. And as the hour went by the soft kisses turned into a passionate meeting of tongue and teeth. Derek moved his kisses from Stiles's mouth and trailed kisses along his jaw and down to his neck. He encircled Stiles's hips with his arms and rolled them over so that the human was resting on top of him. One of Stiles's knees fell in between Derek's open legs and the werewolf rested one hand on Stiles's upper thigh just below his butt. Derek nipped at his earlobe and smiled softly when Stiles moaned quietly in pleasure.
Their lips met again and Derek's hands began to explore. Stiles braced himself by placing both of his hands on either side of Derek's head. The werewolf felt Stiles lower his hips until he was resting against Derek and the Alpha quickly felt his blood rush downwards. He slipped a hand beneath the waist band of Stiles's sweatpants and squeezed the thinly covered bottom.
They stopped soon after that. Stiles wasn't ready to have sex with Derek. The werewolf knew that the deep stirring that Stiles was feeling would be a bit off putting. It was off putting for Derek and he knew exactly what it was and meant. Stiles was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that his scent alone would cause an Alpha werewolf to latch on to his soul with their own. It could be terrifying, especially since Stiles was still young and was looking forward to the years that he could go insane and have fun. The deep relationship that Derek would ask of him was something to seriously think about. So Derek didn't push him and Stiles didn't go any further with the mating bond though sometimes Derek could tell that he wanted to.
He was falling in love. Derek had tried to keep himself away from such a thing but he couldn't seem to help it. The mating bond was a complicated thing. Some mates went their entire lives as nothing but best friends and their bond would be satisfied with that. They would love each other like family, acting more like brothers and sisters than lovers. Derek had initially thought that his bond with Stiles would be similar. He had even hoped it would be something platonic.
After all, some mating bonds weren't about sexual relationships, passion, and love. Some of them were simply about Pack which was another complicated concept. Derek's bond seemed to be searching for something more than deep friendship. It wanted Stiles in every way and it was impossible to fight. But the werewolf knew that it had to be Stiles who set the pace. Stiles needed to be comfortable with what they were doing or everything could get messy very quickly.
But despite the fact that Stiles seemed to continuously pull back once things got heated, Derek found himself falling in love. The human would talk too fast and would babble for hours on end about nothing important. Often times, Derek would simply let Stiles's words wash over him and he would find himself falling asleep mid-babble. Not that Stiles cared, he just liked having someone to talk at. Everyone else usually told him to shut up.
Derek liked the way that Stiles would sometimes turn shy when they were kissing as if he suddenly had something to hide. There was a point on Stiles's neck that only required the tiniest bit if attention before Stiles was squirming in pleasure. Derek knew all of Stiles's hot spots and the human knew all of Derek's as well. As they got closer and closer they even became comfortable with being with each other in public.
Chris Argent had figured out their relationship after only a few months and a lucky break on the Hunter's part. He and Stiles had been at a gas station when Argent and another goon had pulled in behind them. Argent had already known that Stiles and Derek knew each other so he didn't seem too surprised to see the human in the passenger seat. After a tense conversation Derek had pulled away quickly and that had been it. At least until Scott told him that Allison told him that Chris Argent had figured out that Stiles was Derek's mate.
Therefore, they had little reason to hide their relationship in public. Stiles had already told his father which was a conversation Derek was glad he missed. They weren't obvious about it but it was nice to be able to go to a movie together every now and then.
Derek particularly liked the times they were alone. Despite Stiles always being cold, Derek thought he felt comfortably warm. They would lie close to one another, kiss, maybe make out a bit. In the end, it took seven months for Stiles to decide to have sex with Derek. It was a very important moment for the both of them. It was the first time Derek was with another male and the first time Stiles was with anyone at all. There was some fumbling here and there but in the end it was everything that Derek had expected and he loved it.
Stiles-for lack of a better word-was adorable. He squirmed and fidgeted even during sex and the only time he wasn't talking was when Derek had his lips caught up in a kiss.
The Alpha loved those moments when they were together, alone, and they could see the stars through the burnt out roof. Derek would pull Stiles to him and Stiles would put his hands under Derek's shirt to trace at the tattoo on his back. Their legs would become entangled and eventually they would end up naked, Derek's stiff member pumping in and out of Stiles's tight heat.
And when the mating bond completed itself, they both felt it. It was irreversible and unbreakable. Stiles would always be the one person with the power to break Derek's soul in two. And Derek didn't mind.
"I love you," Stiles whispered to him one night as they snuggled together in Stiles's small bed. Derek was absently scratching at the human's shoulder through the purple hoodie.
"I love you too," Derek replied and gently kissed him. Stiles twisted and turned until he was able to squirm upwards to bury his face in Derek's neck, just the way the werewolf liked. It was comfortable; it was nice; it was the last thing Derek thought he would ever need in the world.
Nearly seven decades later, Stiles died suddenly of a heart attack. The rebuilt Pack-nearly a hundred strong-all gathered together in a private ceremony to send off the human to the spirit world. Derek didn't speak at the funeral. He couldn't bring himself to; he couldn't even say Stiles's name after his mate's sudden death.
When Derek died just as suddenly five months later news of his death brought hundreds of werewolves across the country to pay their respects. The coroner had told them that Derek had died of natural causes but Scott knew the reality behind his Alpha's passing. Derek had literally grieved himself to death. He had loved Stiles and with the human gone he felt no more pull to the world of the living. As soon as he could, he left to be with his mate.
Just as any werewolf would.