A beginning note: I just wanted dire wolves and to identify Stiles as Derek's manservant. Can you honestly blame me? (And yes, it's a not-so sly shout-out to the super hetero show Merlin.)
A Double Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Wolf or the world in which A Game of Thrones, or more accurately A Song of Fire and Ice, is set in.
The House of Wolves
Part I - The Meeting
Stiles barely remembers the wild North when he vistited it as a boy.
He was only five or six years then, before Winter had set in, and it seemed pleasant enough. There had been pines that scratched at the sky's limit and berries as big as his fist. He heard the other Kingsguard wispering of wolves the size of horses; but those were just myths. And even if there was some semblance of truth, it was men who had learned to shift into wolves that were bigger than any steed.
That was all in the past now. Now he was a man of sixteen years, no matter what everyone else said he looked. Sure, he didn't have the defined body of Scott, or the chiseled chin of Jackson, or even the tall stature of Danny, but he was at least intellegent enough to be sixteen. If not more, by the way he silently outsmarted the King's Council. They weren't even knowledgable about how he listened in secrecy to their weekly convergances. Honestly, Stiles thought he had some duty to the city to reveal himself and offer answers they were all too blind in their game of power to see.
Or, at least they hadn't known, before he'd been literally ripped off the roof near the window he lied above and thrown on the table for all to see. He had at least enough energy to flail and look around; to see all the wrinkled faces looking at him in disbelief and disgust.
He should have seen this coming; the Hale family were known for their heightened senses. While the past king Peter had never bothered to come to these meetings (not like his senses would've been in tune to get Stiles; even his sense of sanity had dissipated), the newly annointed King Derek was sure young and sharp.
And of course Stiles meant sharp in his senses, not his jawline or his eyes that seemed to be glowing blue now, or even those arms and shoulders that could- well, that could carry a kingdom really. Odd to see something so rugged from a place Stiles had thought so soft from all the snow and fallen pine needles.
"Name!" One of the members barked, and Stiles jumped from his prone position to an at least half-sitting mess. A mistake, as Derek's growl reverberated throughout the room. Although, Stiles noted with a lifted eyebrow, he was growling at the man who had spoken, not Stiles himself.
"He is my only son," said a voice from behind and Stiles almost groaned out loud.
Turning, he saw his Dad out of the corner of his eye, garbed in his traditional guilded armour and golden cloak. While the Stilinskis did not come from a royal name (although their lineage was old in Beacon recordings) or great wealth, his father had worked harder than anyone Stiles knew to become the leader of the Kingsguard. And here Stiles was, minutes to a beheading and probably taking along his dear Dad.
For the first time in years he looked scared. The last he'd seen his Dad fail at hiding his fear was when Stiles watched him watch his Mom die (the only woman he'd loved). Not even the milk of poppy had helped ease her pain as she drifted into another world without her husband or son. Beyond the city, beyond the Wall and beyond where people would remember the way her bread smelled in the mornings. Like Stiles still did.
"How long have you been at that post?"
The voice shook Stiles out of his memories to look at Derek, who had actually spoken. Not growled or snarled like some people on the street gossiped was the only way he could vocally express himself - he had used words.
"Yes, how long have you been spying?"
Again, the growl returned and another member cowered back, pretending he wasn't shaking now.
"I-I," Stiles stuttered before clearing his throat and trying again. "Just... a few weeks, months?"
Derek leveled him with a glare that said without words 'no bullshit.' Huh, maybe that was why he didn't talk all that much; he didn't need to.
"Ok, ok. Forteen months, two weeks," Stiles divulged, and felt like cowering even more at the whispers that circled around the table.
He glanced at his Father again and knew the old knight would usually sigh if this wasn't the life-or-death tense situation it was. Looking back to Derek who was still glaring at him, as if willing Stiles would just give himself a heartattack on the spot, the teen wondered if this was the first situaiton Derek might have to exorcise his new-found power. He had just stabbed his uncle and Queen Kate (who apparently had been with Derek before, but once had realized he did not have the ambition to become king unlike his uncle, was dropped like a dull sword, only to come back into his life via assassination attempts) two days ago.
"Please, your highness," his Father said as he swiftly went down on one knee; "My son does not know his place."
"He is but a child," Derek growled out. Stiles opened his mouth to protest ("So I'm skinny and I haven't had sex, it's not like you can smell that, no matter how good your smelling is!"), but his father leveled him with a look.
"Regardless, your highness. I will forever be indebted to you. If you truly found my oaths empty like you stated, this is something I will never retreat on. I beg of you."
Derek's eyes honed in on Stiles again and the supposed boy just wanted to shrink in on himself and fly away. He read of men who could shift; maybe he could turn into a raven with the message to himself of how royally screwed he was.
After what felt like an eternal winter, the dark-haired king snorted and stated, "That is unnecessary, Knight Stillinski. I will not slaughter a child. Yet his life is now mine. He will serve at my side. Sit."
Stiles didn't know what was more shocking: that this man had thoughts beyond red meat and full moons, or that he was now bound to this man simply from sitting in a choice position on a hot roof every week. Not that he didn't do other things that were considered immoral behavior. Sneaking into the castle to see Scott, sneaking both him and Allison out to the markets and nearly an elopement once. Poaching in the king's forrest after Peter began slaughtering citizens instead. Really, it was almost pathetic that Stiles should get caught for something as minor as listening when he had much worse habbits. Yet caught he had been, and now bounded he was.
So, mouth agape, he could only continue to lie sprawled on the polished wood table. At least until his father stood and strode forward to grab him by the collar and slid him off. Stiles stood on shakey legs, his pride not allowing him to lean against his Dad for further parental support.
Derek took a few steps to him (or more like lunges; how could he seem so tall when he was roughly the same height as Stiles?) and Stiles could have sworn he sniffed - sniffed - at him before inclining his head to the front of the table.
Stumbling into a walk from a gentle push from his father, Stiles made his way closer to the ornate King's chair, glancing back once to see Derek looming directly behind him. Still sniffing and how was Stiles not losing his sanity from this situation yet?
The scrape of wood echoed as Stiles sat at the side of the king, where usually his leader of the Kingsguard, his Father, would sit. Instead the elder Stilinski stood by the door, his armor looking shiny and young, but his face looking anything but. Even his usually bring eyes lacked energy. If Stiles was not so occupied with stomping down an impending panic attack he would've suffocate instead under all the guilt.
Stiles only turned back to the table as Derek snapped: "Begin!"
And so began Stiles' life at the side of Derek, leader of the House Hale and King of the Five Realms.
"I'm his what?" Stiles asked angrily.
"His manservant," his father sighed as he closed the door. Stiles wanted to gape and goggle at the huge room before him (As he'd never snuck into the King's quarters - he wasn't suicidal. Although today's events suggest other wise.), but that was for another time. Becuase apparently if he was going to be Derek's manservant, he would have other opportunities. Like, everyday.
"You will always be at his side, assissting him in whatever he requires," his father continued to explain.
"For how long?"
Stiles got a look that said it all.
"Oh, well, at least I had sixteen years of freedom," Stiles laughed bitterly. If in peril or life-deciding circumstances? Make a joke; it worked, Stiles would swear. Just the other day it'd gotten him out of a fight Scott had nearly started.
"At least you get to live past sixteen years," his father answered softly as he rubbed a hand over his face. Here Stiles saw his father. The man who had bounced him on his leg, had taught him how to gut a fish and break a horse. To shoot a bow and stab with a sword. But of course nothing about snagging girls. No, of course not.
"I'm sorry, Dad," Stiles whispered in the large, empty room as he sat atop the cushioned bed.
"I am not the one paying the price, son," was the answer he received.
Next thing he knew he was being swallowed up in his father's arms. Although the hug was weighed down with chain mail and armour separated them, Stiles gave everything he had left into the hug.
"I guess I'll be seeing more of you now," his Dad said as he pulled away and rubbed at his face again stubbornly. Stiles mirrored the action.
Then he was out of the room with a swoosh of his cloak and a click of the door shutting, leaving Stiles alone. Alone with only his thoughts - never a good match.
By the time Derek decided to show up, Stiles was pacing the room with a fortune of questions. The most coming from the reverberating statement his Dad had said of '...assisting him of anything he requires.' Stiles had never known what he wanted to be when he grew up (or at least grew up more, he was a man damnit!) but being a common whore was not one. How was he even supposed to pleasure another, especially an older man, the King who expected everything, when he had never done anything but fantisize about Lady Lydia from glimpses? He was just a destitute man in the sex department. And now he'd been upgraded to King concubine and-
"Why are you taking your shirt off? I'm not ready!" Stiles squealed as he crossed his arms, as if to protect his perfectly intact chastity.
Derek snorted as he made his way over to some drawers, where he paused to completely strip down. Stiles did another manly squeak as he covered his eyes with a hand... and then peaked through. His curiosity really was going to kill him one day.
"I am changing, pup," Derek said with another snort.
"Has it occured to you I might need rest?" Derek asked as he pulled on white, cotton pants, but did nothing to cover that finely shaped torso. No- Stiles meant torso of his oppressor. Crushing him under injustice and not from other activities-
"You... want to sleep?"
"No, I came here to ravish you," Derek said with a scoff that did nothing to stop Stile's cheeks from burning.
"Well- well how am I supposed to know what 'manservant' curtails!" he snapped out with as much fervor as he could muster. He could be outdone by a crippled lemming, truly.
"It means come here," Derek said as he lied on the covers and patted to the empty space at his side.
"I thought this wasn't a sex thing."
"It's not. Now come," Derek growled.
"Good choice of command," Stiles grumbled to himself as he realized with further chagrin that his cheeks were refusing to cool off.
He lied down, stiff as a dead deer, next to the king of all but three days. Although Stiles prided himself in his imagination and ability to conjure up impossible scenarios (The biggest being Lydia actually going for him; oh how the House of Flowers were vain!) him sitting abreast to Derek Hale was not one of them. Just the other day he'd heard old wives gossiping about him while doing laundry in the river; now he could hear Derek breath and feel the waves of heat roll off of him in an unexpectantly comforting way.
"You have been listening to the council," Derek stated, his voice breaking a silence Stiles hadn't relalized he hadn't hated.
"Yes," Stiles said, cursing as his voice broke from lack of use. He cleared it before adding, "I know the problems, the power plays going on. Maybe it was smart to let me live."
"Do you think I let you live for just your pretty face?"
Huh, so maybe wolfy-man was not that bone-brained. How unfair - to have all the musceles you could possibly want with some brians on the side. Maybe it just came from being the leader of the most ruthless, feared house (if it coud be called that) of the continent. And not to mention the dry sarcasm - should Stiles laugh?
"So you want me to fill you in on the inner workings of the council so you can actually control it, instead of it controlling you like it did your uncle? Or at least before that crazy bitch Kate Argent waltzed in and-"
Stiles snapped his eyes wide open as he realized his brash statement. Way to go Stiles - bring up his last, close relative that he had to kill in cold blood for the good of the realms along with the woman who had fucked (literally, Stiles realized) both Peter and Derek over and up. Sure, there was the whole revenge aspect of it, as Peter and Kate had deceived the Hales living in the capital for the slaughter. Or, at least Kate had and controlled Peter through poison and fire until he was so mad at everything he lost his sanity and didn't care. Derek had to put him down like a sick dog - and then kill the woman who he had apparently loved since Stiles' age.
The game of thrones truly was a brutal, bloody thing that took away everything a person loved.
"Not now," Derek sighed, and Stiles was shocked at just how vulnerable with exhaustion he sounded.
"Alright," Stiles said quietly. "I'll just, uh, go sleep on that couch there-"
"Not until you finish grooming me," Derek said as he reached foward and grabbed Stiles by the arm before he could leave the bed.
"Groom?" Stiles asked out, afraid of the fingers loosely laced around his fragile (but still oh-so masculine) wrist.
"It is Hale custom to groom before bed, and as I am alone as you so eloquently pointed out-" Stiles had the decency to grimace at that "- you will have to suffice." Derek let go of his wrist to flip over onto his stomach.
"O-Ok, what do I do?" Stiles asked as he moved closer to the black-haired king, knees brushing his naked side.
"Just the head for tonight."
Stiles cracked his knuckles and shook his fingers out before he began carding his fingers through the thick, surprisingly soft, hair. Again - he needed to work on his imagination so he would be somehwat prepared for situations like this.
"Aren't you afraid I'll snap your neck or something?" Stiles couldn't help but ask.
He was answered with a muffled scoff.
"Hey! It could happen!"
"I could also throw you agianst a wall before you had the chance. That could easily happen as well."
"Oh." Stiles gulped. "I see your point."
"Now no more talking," Derek said, trailing off with a growl that didn't sound very threatening but instead more like a purr, as Stiles continued to run his hand through his hair.
There wasn't really any tangles (or maybe half-eaten carcasses of small animals) that Stiles could find, so after some time he paused, and Derek shifted to his side before ordering him away to the couch Stiles had spoken of before.
Bringing the blanket up to his chin and smelling Derek's piney scent on his hands, Stiles wondered if tomorrow could be anymore lifechanging.
Stiles was impressed with himself - and that was something that didn't happen everyday (no matter his unusual his awesomeness level was in comparison to everyone else). The best part wasn't just the threat of hubris, but the fact that even his Dad was proud of himself. And, surprisingly and to a lesser degree, King Derek.
It had seemed like an week for Stiles as he followed Derek around just like the pup the king had nicknamed him as. Although his Dad told him stories about the castle, Stiles had not been allowed to enter. Sure, he still did with the help of Scott and on the rare occasion Danny, but he had never walked the hallways in plain daylight, without the threat of capture looming over him like the suits of armor all around. Now he was free to walk around, metaphorically chained to King Derek's side.
It wasn't like the man was a savage. Not even the derogitory term Noble Savage people had given him. He was genually a man of action and although his moral compass seemed a little screwy, and his brain didn't always think things through, he seemed good enough to Stiles. Sure, it scared him stiff when Derek just outright killed, via broken neck, that servant who had attempted to poison his food, but hey. Stuff like that happens and you gotta know how to, uh, handle it.
Yet when the next meeting came around and Derek gave him the floor, Stiles was ready. He had been ready months before, listening while he baked on the rooftop, suspended hunderds of feet from the ocean. Now he could give his say with experience from living in the city, knowledge from thinking over the problems and how to make the city have better innerworkings to stop the chinks in its metaphorical armor.
By the time the meeting was over and the old men left to lick their wounded prides and slowly slipping power (because really, who could touch Stiles with Derek and his claws and teeth and neck-breaking ability right there) Stiles looked up to see his Dad and Derek leveling him with differing, but still similar, prideful looks.
"I'm not a total invalid," Stiles said with a roll of his eyes, but a smile regardless.
Derek did that snort (which Stiles could now identify as his slightly-amused one) before he ruffled his hair. His father gave him a hard slap on the back as he stumbled to follow his king and master, making Stiles grin despite the pain.
So maybe being found out wasn't so bad, Stiles thought as he trotted alongside Derek to keep up as his father and two other knights followed behind. He was allowed to come and go in a life of relative relaxation (without the ever present threat of murder, of course) and could make a difference to the great Beacon capital he loved so much.
Later that day, as Derek came back from training only to find Stiles reading while basking in the afternoon sun, the teen was surprised to find Derek pushing aside his book and showing Stiles his bare back.
"Yes, quite a sight?" Stiles asked out hesitantly as he tried to look beyond the wall of flesh to Derek's face.
"Get to scratching," Derek said gruffly.
So far Derek had only allowed him to touch his head, which Stiles thought a little odd, as he'd read wolves only allowed others to touch their heads when they were trusted the most. (Ok, so Stiles had been reading up on anything he could get about the Hale House and the dire wolves and regular wolves they were tied so closely, some say in their very blood, to. It only made sense, Stile kept telling himself as he would finish one book and pick up the next.)
"You did well today," Derek said, breaking the silence and another one of Stile's assumptions of the man. He had never expected to get a compliment. Ever.
"Thank you, your grace," Stiles replied humbly.
Derek scoffed at the title, but relaxed again as Stile's nimble fingers began to earnestly undo knots of stress.
Stiles was the one who broke the silence next when he said, "It was smart not to kill me."
"Of course. I knew you were intelligent, innocent and a perfect resource to exploit."
"Don't hold back for my nearly nonexistant pride, please," Stiles muttered under his breath.
"Through you I secured knowledge about this city. Through protecting you I protect myself from the trust of your Father, who has rightfully earned the trust of the troops. I have secured my place."
"I think it's time for a pay raise for me," Stiles quipped.
Derek let out something that sounded more like a cough than a laugh, but Stiles still brightened at the sound and dug into his back with more energy than before.
"I never did thank you for saving my unsignificant life," Stiles said when he felt his fingers begin to stiffen from the work. Those muscles may not be made of marble (no matter how sharp they looked) but they sure weren't made of fur.
"No life is insignificant," Derek said before he stood and went to his bed, curling in on himself like a wolf before dozing off in the afternoon sun.
After a month of being at Derek's side, Stiles was still alive and Derek's life was looking equally opportunistic. So far he had not made many more enemies (other than the ever-hated Argents, although even then Stiles could help from his friendship with Allison) and it seemed that there would not be a coup in the foreseeable future. While Derek could not rule a kingdom alone, no matter how nice those shoulders were for hauling things, Stiles liked to think he did help. If only in his connections and strings that he could pull to get information, and how no closet was too small for him to squeeze into.
Derek thought his sneaking was cowardly. Or at least he had until Stiles overheard an assassination attempt on Derek that his father was able to squish before it was even full formed.
So maybe it was that which created the newfound trust that had blossomed in Derek's oh-so-manly chest to allow him to tag along in his training. Not like Stiles was really engaged in this new privilege; good thing he always had a book with him.
Which he immersed himself in until he heard a body sit aside him on the grassy hill he'd perched himself on.
"Scott!" Stiles exclaimed in happiness as he threw his arms over his fellow teen and best friend.
"Stiles! I could hardly believe what Allison and Lydia told me, but when Jackson explained it I knew it must be true!" his best friend exclaimed as his tanned face cracked from a wide grin.
"Yes, well, you know me," Stiles said with a nervous laugh as he marked his page before closing his book.
"Never knew you would get so deep in trouble as to become the manservant to Derek the Kingslayer."
"Oh, I do hate that name," Stiles sighed.
"That's what he is," Scott said with a raised eyebrow.
"And I thought you were part of the Hale House and should show loyalty to your leader."
If Scott had ears and a tail at the moment, like he at times did, they would show the guilt at Stiles' rightful accusation.
"I'm not really connected," Scott muttered. "I can't even fully transform like him. I'm not that pure of royal blood."
"So your Dad was disowned from his place for falling in love out of the tribe, big deal! That's in the past! I mean, aren't you up for a promotion soon in the army here? Whenever I hear of the Wolf Berzerker I can't stop smiling like an idiot."
"Yeah, well, I have to get higher so Allison's family accepts me," Scott said with determination.
"Scott," Stiles said in exasperation, "we've been over this. Your houses have been in conflict for centuries. I know your love is the truest of true, able to resurrect the extinct dragons and make them breath rainbows, but you can't fix everything with teenage love."
"I so can!" Scott said as his eyes flashed golden.
"Whatever you say buddy, whatever you say," Stiles said as he shook his head.
"Anyway, as much as I like talking with you, I have to go see the King."
"Why?" Stiles asked in a hurry, worry gripping his chest.
"Just to flatten him on his back," Scott answered with a feral grin before he was off to the sparring ring that was littered with men stupid enough to take on Derek.
Stiles rolled his eyes in exasperation, but didn't pick up his book in favor of watching his best friend get flattened by his master.
It wasn't like Stiles' didn't like the market, in actuality he loved it. All the different people and different stales and different smells. All the opportunities to snatch an apple or orange here, find a lost coin or ring there. There was always things to see and discover.
But when he was weighed down with Derek who had to sniff at everything they passed, and his Dad behind with his clinking armour, Stiles was seriously thinking of making a run for it. He hadn't really thought about his lack of freedom until now. Odd.
Another thing that was definitely odd? How that wine vendor was checking our their little party of three. And not in the creepy-flattering checking out, but the way Stiles sometimes saw men checking him out to see if his organs would suffice or if he was too skinny to even have organs to sell. This man seemed even more dasdardly, if that was possible.
The man hurried over, and at the brash intrusion, Derek put himself in front of Stiles, his other escort coming to stand aside of Derek. Really- Stiles wasn't some pathetic damsel in distress!
"Your highness," the vendor said with a low bow, yet not spilling the dark liquid in the cup he offered Derek. "Please, have a taste of my famous southern wine. It is truly a delicacy."
Derek leaned forward and sniffed before reeling back and snarling, "It smells wrong."
"It truly is something drunk here. It may just be something you are not accustomed to in the North," the shop assistant explained politely.
"Do you partake?" Derek asked Stiles' dad, who seemed offset by the question.
"That isn't my first choice usually, but yes. My wife did like to have it on occasion," he answered, looking down in discomfort. Stiles knew he did drink wine like this to try and cope without the woman who used to sip so delicately at it.
Derek narrowed his eyes thoughtfully at the drink before grabbing it from the man, bringing it up to his nose to sniff again. Stiles watched his pointed ears flatter against his head as he brought it closer to his lips.
"Wait!" Stiles exclaimed from behind the two larger figures, who turned around, each with eyebrows raised.
Fumbling to explain why he just knew something was wrong, and why the vendor would not stop wringing his hands, Stiles stumbled to say with a wide smile, "If it's so good, why don't you taste it for us?"
"No, no thank you," the vendor said hesitantly as he took a step back.
"But it is your craft!" Stiles said with energy as he stepped forward from the shadows of his king and Dad. "Show your king how it should be drunk from the man who knows it best."
The vendor's eyes shifted from side to side. His fingers began to grow red from him constantly gripping them. Stile narrowed his eyes - he knew it!
As if smelling his deceit, Derek growled and crushed the ceramic cup before lunging forward and grabbing the man by his throat with his other hand, crushing that just as easily. He dropped the body amid the now dead-quiet market and threw the remains of the cup on the man's vacant face. Then Derek Hale turned back to the castle with both Stilinskis in tow, giving each other worrisome looks.
It was only when Derek had gotten to the room and yanked Stiles inside, telling his guards to wait at the end of the hall instead of outside his door, did the teen notice how Derek's hand was bleeding.
"You're bleeding," he said smartly as he pointed to the dripping appendage.
Derek lifted his hand, sniffed and scowled before he brought his tongue out, with obvious intent to lick it clean.
"What- stop that! There still might be poison there!" Stiles said as he rushed foward and pushed Derek's face away from his palm. "Let me see."
Ignoring the growl that seemed to reverberate out of Derek's ribcage and into Stiles' bones, the teenager looked down at the hand and winced at the deep gashes the ceramic cup had left. Derek had shattered it in his hand before tightening his hold on the shards in rage - obviously it would cut into his skin.
"Sit on the bed. I'll get the stitches and silk."
Derek just continued growling.
"Don't back growl me! I saved your life today. Again. The least I can do is not allow some stupid infection to take it back."
"I'll just heal by morning."
"It would give me peace of mind," Stiles admitted.
Derek huffed that amused-but-still-always-stone-face-annoyed huff before sitting on the edge of the bed. Stiles scurried to get some water and cut the bandages before he set on cleaning the hand.
"You trust too easily sometimes," Stiles said softly as he was nearly finished cleaning off the dried blood.
Derek snorted before speaking. "It was a moment of weakness. The market was too clustered for me to smell and think right, and I do not know all your customs yet. And this city and meetings have made me soft."
"You trust me too much," Stiles reiterated. By now the wound was clean, but still gaping, so Stiles washed the needle and thread before beginning.
"You will not poison me like he did," Derek snorted, obviously offended at even the suggestion.
"'Like'? Insinuating I might poison you, just in a different way?" Stiles asked in an incredulous tone.
Looking up, Stiles nearly stopped his meticulous stitching at the sight before him. Becuase Derek Hale, the king of nearly all, had stains of red on his tanned cheeks. Derek turned away from Stiles a moment later, his eyes glowing blue like they sometimes did. Stiles would never admit this, but it contrasted beautifully with his light blush.
"My king?" Stiles said softly, afraid of Derek's prescence for the fist time in weeks.
"Don't call me that," he snapped, as his cheeks now had nothing but their usual stubble.
"Then what should I call you?" Stiles asked back, sighing in relief for no good reason. "My wolf? That makes you sound like my pet. Heh - imagine that, the king becoming owned to some faceless manservant who never knows his place. Or when to shut his mouth. Obviously."
Derek was silent for some time before he finally spoke softly: "Ownership does go both ways."
Stiles continued on with stitching, deciding to simply ignore the clashing battle of what-the-fuck that was going on between them. He was not going to ask, despite how the questions seemed to burn and bubble in chest like dragon fire. Maybe it was tedious and unneccessary to go through all this effort for someone who would have easily healed, even without this help.
Derek really didn't need them like he said; still Stiles thought he needed that conversation.
Looking over his work, Stiles nodded once and, feeling brave, leaned over and brushed his lips against Derek's sewn-together palm. Derek did nothing but give a sharp inhale of air. Stiles stood and left for his couch in a rush, not trusting his heart to keep up the pace it was going at before it blew. Or his hands, should Derek demand for his nightly grooming.
But his king did not ask, and instead simply did Stiles' job of blowing out the candle.