Extra long chapter to make up for the absence! Thank you SO much for the comments... I leave the reviews open when I write and they make me deliriously happy. I got a little busy so this is the un-beta'd version, I figured I'd post it before things got crazy and I had to put it off again.


. Chapter Warning: Politics. I swear it's not gratuitous tension-building, it's set up for future life-ruining Peter stuff.


Chapter 7

My thumb pierces through shiny tin foil and into hot, creamy butternut squash ravioli resting on my mom's old kitchen counter. I suck on the tip of my clumsy digit, sighing thoughtfully. The last 48 hours had taken a lot out of me— exams, birthday, Bailey, goddamn Jackson. However, everything was finally on the brink of perfection. Dad had called from the airport to say he and Scott's mom were on their way home, which had given me enough time to set up one hell of a get-to-know-the-boyfriend dinner. Dad might have met Derek on a few occasions but I can't say he ever warmed up to him. I was hopping to change that.

"Stiles!?" I hear my boyfriend bellow from upstairs.

"Kitchen!" I holler back.

Footsteps thump down the stairs, increasing in frequency as they reach the bottom.

Mother nature had done right by the universe when she created Derek Hale. He trots into the kitchen in a way that would warrant dropping whatever you're doing and slow clapping him just for existing. I blatantly ogle his body in the red v-neck muscle shirt and grey basketball shorts that somehow made his athletic torso seem a mile long. …And his legs? I'd never really considered guy's calves a particular kink, but holy shit. He might be NFL on top but he was all FIFA on the bottom.

"Well?" Derek prompts.

He comes to a halt in front of me, clean shaven, smelling cool and spicy, and clearly having just asked me a question.

"I totally wasn't listening. Your hotness distracted me."


"You're gorgeous."

He shakes his head, then places a palm over my face, gently pushing me aside as he heads to the coffee maker. "I asked if your Dad's on his way home or if those two are still on island time." He pours himself a cup, yawning broadly, even though it's 11am. To be fair, he deserved the rest after helping me spruce up my horrendously cluttered bedroom yesterday. Dad had stuck the for-sale sign in the yard before he'd left for his romantic getaway, but there was a lot that needed to be done to get the place looking marketable for potential buyers. Derek was happy to help— I'm pretty sure he was still reeling in guilt for he'd done to Bailey's urn, but I'd assured that him that besides being haunted by a vengeful sneaker-chewing doggy spirit for the rest of his life, he had nothing to worry about.

"Stiles!" Derek's fingers click in front of my face.

"What?" I ask startled

"Your Dad. Home. When."

"Oh, uhh... by noon?" I glance at the giant chicken-clock on the wall that clucked every hour.

"You were busy this morning." Derek inhales the coffee and his eyes flicker across the neatly set dinner table. "You should have woken me."

"I'm still on my study schedule so I was up early anyway. Besides, I liked seeing you in my bed."

He grunts into his mug. "You need me to do anything?"

"Not in the kitchen no, but maybe…?" I nod upstairs lecherously. Sad truth, we hadn't had sex in... God, some time during finals I assume, if that even counts. I don't exactly perform well when I'm stressed, and I'm pretty sure I'd been mentally running through powerpoint slides the last time we'd fucked. Thankfully now that the pressure was off, all I wanted to do was have a three-way with him and a hard surface.

"I'll pass," he deadpans, dropping the unwashed mug in the sink. Then reconsidering, decided to give it a rinse.

"Derek Hale turning down sex and doing dishes? Should I be on the porch looking for flaming horses?"

"I can do a quickie no problem Stiles—you're the one that's always flushed and squirming for an hour afterwards. Personally, I'd prefer it if your Dad didn't know I was drilling his only son under his own roof."

"…Are you nervous?" I chuckle.

"Honestly? A little, yeah. This just seems more formal than anything we've done before and I didn't have time to think it all through. I didn't even pack a real shirt for fuck's sake."

I motion at my own faded Batman t-shirt. "There's no need to suit up Derek. It's just my Dad who you've met already and Melissa who loves everyone. No surprises."

Derek seats himself on a kitchen stool and swivels in it. "I didn't even get them anything. I mean they just got engaged— shouldn't I have gotten them something?"

"I haven't even time had to get them anything. When I do I'll sign your name on the card, no big deal. If it makes you feel better you paid for lunch," I inform, dropping into his lap without invitation and leaning a shoulder against his chest.

"I did?" He asks, looping an arm across my lap.

"I was short on cash so I used your credit card this morning and got take-out from this little old diner I love."

"Wait, you bought that?" He sounds disappointed. "Here I thought you were slaving away in the kitchen."

I snort and offer him an introductory hand, which he shakes unthinkingly. "Hi, my name is Stiles Stilinski. I don't cook."

His thumb glances over my skin. "...And what do you do Stiles Stilinski?" The grit in his voice sends a bolt of desire from my dick right up to my heart, then explodes behind my eyeballs... which kinda hurts. I run a hand over my forehead wondering if a lust migraine was a thing. I'm about to ask when his mouth angles over mine and he kisses me hungrily. I honestly can't remember the last time I wanted a solid pounding this badly, and just knowing my ass was right over his cock was giving me wood. I moan into him, grinding down in his lap and reaching into my shorts.

"What are you doing?" Derek asks abruptly. He's looking down at my crotch where I may or may not have my dick out.

"What? I though we were…?"

He looks at me incredulous. "In your kitchen? With your Dad on his way?"

"We'll be quick."

"You'll be quick. I'll be dead."

I feel an irrational streak of frustration, but at that point I'm too frustrated to recognize it as irrational. "Jesus, sorry, my mistake," I abandon his lap and drop onto the kitchen stool beside him. "Let's just sit here and talk then. Hey nice weather we're having huh? Radio said there wouldn't be rain all week—"

Something slaps the side of my head. It's a rolled up kitchen towel. "You turn me down constantly, and the one time I do it to you and offer an actual explanation you start mewling at me."

"…Fuck off. I don't mewl."

"Like an abandoned kitten in the snow… except it's so tiny that nobody hears it, so they just walk past and eventually the kitten just freezes to death. We should get a cat."

I do a double take at the sudden conclusion of the worst bedtime story ever told. "I… what?"

"Neither of us have ever had one before, so it'll be like… a new experience," he decides. "And I'm not just coming up with this off the top of my head—I thought about it last night. There's really not much to it. You never have to give it a bath, or take it for walks. You don't even have to feed it."

"You definitely have to feed a cat Derek."

"I thought that too! But I looked it up on my phone, apparently if you let them out during they day they'll hunt squirrels and shit—that's why most cats are so fat. They eat squirrels all day then they come home and their owners feed them again. It's really a vicious cycle." When I say nothing he continues his pro-feline propaganda. "Look if we decide we don't want it anymore we can always release it into the wild. It's totally humane."

I shake my head. "Derek Hale, you're the smartest guy I know but you have GOT to stop using Yahoo Answers."

"Why can't you just go with me on this?" He scowls.

I sigh heavily, well aware that any information I share about responsible pet ownership will immediately be invalidated by a twelve-year-old on the internet trying to troll my boyfriend. Instead I lean an elbow over the counter propping my chin up with a palm. "Let me get this straight. You want to buy a cat—"

"We don't have to buy one. There's all sorts of them wandering around the building Stiles. We could just catch one."

I nod. "My mistake. You want to catch someone else's cat, not feed it, then when you're done with it abandon it in the forest."

"Return it to nature," Derek says defensively. "Why are you being a dick about this? You'll get a dog with Jackson but a cat is too much of a commitment for us?"

I totally hadn't seen that coming, and it makes me smile slightly. "Derek if we're talking long-term commitment, I want us to have more substantial than a cat or dog."

"…Like a ferret?"

"Think less fur Derek."

"Danny's ferret didn't have fur. At first he thought it was molting but it turns out it just had kidney failure..." Derek trails off, instantly alert and turns to the windows. "Looks like they're early. Aren't you glad I don't have you bent over the counter right now?"

He practically knocks me off the stool, stepping on my heels the entire way to the door and asking me if he looks okay. I can't say I didn't find his anxious enthusiasm infectious, but I couldn't wrap my head around why he thought he needed to try so hard. He was Derek Hale. People tried to impress him, not the other way around. I throw open the door prepared to see my Dad's truck in the driveway. Instead I see a random tan colored Sedan… and a chipped green minivan behind it. More cars on the street. Suddenly people are pouring down the road. Familiar faces of the neighborhood call out my name with a cheery wave and head towards our backyard.

"Stiles pumpkin, it's so good to see your face!" One of the neighborhood moms shrieks at me, her petite round frame jostling as she absently thrusts Tupperware into Derek's chest before enveloping me in a tight hug.

"Mrs. Benson, what's going on?" I ask exchanging equally bewildered looks with Derek who is standing there with potato salad in his hands.

"It's your going away party— did you and your father think you could put the house up for sale and just take off? Are he and Melissa back from the airport?"

"Not yet—"

"Perfect! Now take your strapping young friend here and go help my husband unload the extra grill — you know how his back gets." She relieves Derek of the Tupperware and bustles past us.

Minutes later, Derek and I find ourselves moving the apparently portable barbecue around the back of the house, navigating around screaming children racing past our legs. The quiet afternoon I'd been looking forward to dissipates in front of my eyes. "Mikey slow down—and don't go near the pool without a grown up watching!" I yell as a mischievous gap-toothed five-year-old barrels past me. I turn to Derek in dismay. He has a curious but bewildered look on his face watching the neighborhood families mingling, pouring drinks, unwrapping trays of mac and cheese and corn bread. It's like a zoo exhibit to him.

"I'm really sorry about this Derek."

"No it's… nice," He says. "Very small-town-charm."

"What, you didn't do things like this back home?"

"Not where I lived. Electric fences were there for a reason— this one time my neighbor's pet llama wandered onto our tennis court and security shot it in the head."

...There were too many elitist references in that sentence for me to acknowledge them all so I simply nod and continue to struggle with my end of the barbecue. "Okay what part of this thing portable?"

"Boys it has wheels!" One of the dads calls out from the patio.

Derek and I exchanged brief embarrassed looks and then roll it beside the fire pit beside our own grill. It's probably a good thing they'd brought an extra considering the entire block had crawled out of the woodwork to join the festivities. Within seconds my boyfriend is sequestered by teenage girls, and he doesn't need to do much more than breathe and suddenly their mothers are shoving the girls out the way and engaging him in conversation. Derek Hale has universal appeal to anyone with even a remote attraction to men. He has hazardous written all over him, but it's offset by a boyish grin. Approachable one moment and intimidating the next, it's a unique duplicity that many a serial killer would probably find useful.

Satisfied that he's blending in, I hand him a drink and leave him to mingle, heading off to retrieve some extra lawn chairs from the shed. A few minutes later there's an enthusiastic ripple of commotion that tells me the real guests of honor have arrived. I see Melissa first, her dark curls spilling from under a wide-brimmed straw hat. I drop everything and dart through well-wishers, throwing my arms around her with a grin.

"Stiles!" She laughs. She seemed younger, happier and less like a woman who had to raise Scott McCall all on her own. "Happy birthday sweetheart!"

"Happy engagement!" I exclaim in return. "You realize Scott and I now owe each other a pizza because I swore the two of you were going to get engaged on Valentines Day and he insisted on New Years."

"Nice to know you boys think we're that cheesy," She chuckles.

"There he is!" My dad's voice booms over our heads. Strong, sunburned arms grip me up and lift me off my feet.

"Missed you too Dad," I reply in my default apathetic-teenager, even though I'm all homesick-college-student on the inside and he knows it.

He drops me back onto cobblestone with a grin. "You're looking good kiddo! Been hitting the gym instead of the library huh?" He grips my shoulders and gives me a parental once-over, making sure my limbs are where they should be and there aren't any visible signs of piercings or ink.

"If you think the layer of finals-week blubber I've developed is muscle then clearly your eyesight's getting worse old man."

He chuckles and jabs a fist into my chin affectionately. "I'm glad you're here Stiles. I know all of this has really snowballed—"

"This is a good thing," I cut him off and look between him and Melissa. "For everyone."

Dad squeezes my shoulders, his expression conveying something deeper than happiness when he looks down at me. He'd gone on the occasional date in the last few years, but Melissa McCall was the first woman who'd made him smile the kinds of smiles he used to flash at mom. I won't say it hadn't been a kick in the balls the first time I realized Dad was in love with someone that wasn't my mother, but lightning can strike twice. Derek had shown me that.

"You two need to come say hello to Derek!" I say suddenly, remembering I'd abandoned him to conversations of horticulture and sprinkler system maintenance.

"In a second, sport." Dad presses a hard kiss to the top of my head. "Gonna toss the passports in the safe and change my shirt. Mel spilled Diet Snapple on me in the car."

"An accident!" She proclaims in a way that tells me she's had to defend herself on this matter multiple times.

"Or a cheap ploy to get me undressed," he accuses.

"Like I'd need a ploy darlin'," she says coolly.

"Alright save the flirting for later," I interrupt taking Melissa's hand. "Dad meet us at the end of the pool—and hurry up?"

I tug Scott's mom over to my boyfriend who is oddly darting towards the cooler. "Hey!" Derek snaps at a thirteen year old who'd surreptitiously helped himself to a can of Bud. Derek snatches it out of his hands and goes off on him about state laws and alcoholic liver disease. A responsible cat owner he'll never be, but I know that kid isn't going to touch a drop of alcohol again until he's at least thirty.

"Hey Derek."

He swivels mid sentence, then freezes when he sees Melissa. He looks down at the beer in each of his hands.

"I wasn't having two. This one was the kid's. Not that I was giving him alcohol—"

"Relax." I take the unopened can, handing it to Melissa. "This is Derek Hale, my boyfriend."

She gives him a warm smile and extends a hand. "It's lovely to meet you Derek. Scott has told me so much about you— he's quite fond of you."

He grabs her hand, shaking it like he'd just sold her a cow off the back of his truck and was indeed satisfied by the agreed upon price."Yeah. Me too. About Scott. I mean like in a straight way. Hi."

I give him a baffled look, wondering where all of that easy charm of his had suddenly disappeared to.

"That's a nice… hat…" Derek offers next. "I like the ah…" he can't remember the word for 'bow', so instead he says "…ribbon knot."

"Just something silly I picked up on one of the Islands," she says patting at it cheerily, to her credit ignoring the raging awkwardness of my boyfriend. "Honestly it rained practically the entire time we were down there. I'm a little relieved to be back in here with all this sunlight— no place like Beacon Hills, right?"

"Right!" he responds enthusiastically.

"So you live in town?"

"God no I hate… uh, sunlight," he catches himself.

"Derek grew up in Chicago," I fill in, taking his hand and giving it a squeeze. I try to steer the conversation, but the more tense Derek gets, the more he starts blurting out observational commentary at Melissa. He managed to systematically compliment every article of clothing and jewelry she was wearing and she was running out of anecdotes to share about them.

"Hey, look who I found sneaking around back!" Dad's voice calls out.

"Thank God," I say out loud, but my relief at the interruption doesn't last long because my well-intentioned father is dragging Jackson Wittemore up to us. I should have guessed he'd show up. While his parents were at the lake this time of year, they'd have strung him up if they found out he'd failed to attend the Stilinski farewell party.

Derek's fingers squeeze my mine to a point where I hear bone snapping. "Relax," I mutter to him under my breath. He releases my hand and strikes that barrel-chested, crossed-arms pose he'd made the first time he met Jackson. I'm starting to think the Chris Hemsworth posturing is some sort of self defense mechanism.

"Hey," I nod to Jackson, who responds with similar civility. In his button-down white shirt and khaki slacks, everything about him was suddenly adult. In true gentlemanly fashion he'd brought lilies, the same ones he used to bring for my Mom whenever he'd come over for dinner. I'm not sure who he was trying to impress here but-

"Jackson!" Melissa's voice raises three octaves. I do a double take as she gives him a hug that could rival the one she gave me— or the ones she tries to give Scott. "We've missed you hun! When are you going to stop by and visit the nurses on 4th?"

"Wait—what?" My hand waxes the air between the two of them, asking the question I can't seem to get out.

"Jackson here did a couple medical rotations at Beacon Hills Hospital," Dad explains, slapping him on the back. "I was picking Mel up from work one night and saw this one running around like he'd stepped out of a horror movie."

"He'd just assisted in his first major surgery," Melissa informs. "Everyone was thrilled to hear you'd graduated sweetheart."

"Thanks Mel," he says with a charming smile before turning to Dad. "And thanks for the grad gift Mr. Stilinski. The watch was really generous."

"Any time son," he pounds a palm on the back of Jackson's shoulder and beams at him proudly… and I love my Dad, I do, but sometimes it's staggering how obtuse he can be. I realize he and Mr. Whittemore were bff's so I never said anything all the times he'd casually mentioned Jackson in conversation, but what the fuck was he doing buying my ex watches?

"Dad," I say deliberately. "You remember Derek?"

He finally looks at me with a grin, which falters at the sight of my expression and fades almost completely by the time he turns to my current boyfriend. "Derek," Dad nods. "Thanks for driving down with Stiles."

"Well he asked," Derek replies curtly. I toss him a sidelong glare but he's trapped in some sort of confrontational stare down with my father and neither of them is snapping out of it.

"What beautiful lilies, Jackson," Melissa says in an attempt to cut the tension.

Unfortunately her efforts are in vain, because when Jackson turns to me with beautiful, somber eyes, it becomes alarmingly clear the flowers aren't a casual nicety; they're for me. "Um, yeah I owed Stiles an apology."

Unbelievable. For a moment I have to stop and ask myself if this is real life, because I can't believe he's stupid enough to be doing this with Derek Hale standing right next to me.

"I wasn't myself yesterday," Jackson continues hesitantly. "I was upset, and I reacted poorly… I didn't mean to cause you any more pain than I already have"

"And you couldn't have done this over the phone?" I ask, noticing my Dad flinch out the corner of my eye. I don't really care. Jackson was the one who'd decided to do this in public.

"…Look just take the flowers and consider forgiving me. I really am sorry for my behavior, towards you and Derek."

I'm not taking them, but I'm not about to make a scene either. "Fine. Whatever," I say tersely. "Why don't you go put those in some water?"

"Here, I'll help," Derek snatches the bouquet, and with the proficiency of any newly wed bride he whips it over his shoulder. All eyes follow as it sails over the pool, skims the surface with a slosh, then bobs steadily in the water. Nobody says a word. I half expect Derek to storm off but he just stands there dickishly, finishing off his beer, not giving two shits that eyes are gaping at him.

"Nice," I say to him. "Could you please get them before they clog up the skimmer?"

"Yeah, that's happening." He takes another sip of his beer.

I grab the can as it leaves his lips, sending bubbles up his nose.

"I said go get them."

He stares at me, voice dripping with acidity. "If you want them so badly why don't you fuck off and get them yourself?"

My eyebrows raise because he doesn't speak to me in that tone, ever, and the fact that he's chosen to do it today of all days, in front of my dad is just… great. "Derek either get the flowers or go upstairs and pack." For a few tense seconds I honestly can't tell what he's going to do. I'm fairly certain he's considering throwing me in the pool. Instead he releases a vehement grunt, strips the shirt over his head and thrusts it into my chest so hard I have to take a step back to catch my balance. He stalks off to the pool in deathly silence. He could have just used the net in the shed, but then he wouldn't have been able to flex his chest like a fucking silverback.

"Sorry. He's not usually like this," I say to the listening audience, which unfortunately isn't just the immediate people involved in the conversation.

"If you say so," comes Dad's grim reply. "I'll be at the grill."

"Dad…" I call after him wearily

"I'll have a word with him Stiles," Melissa says, somehow managing to know what's going on even if she has no idea what's happening.

Jackson clears his throat. "That didn't go well."

"No shit. Flowers? Really?" I say through grit teeth.

"I meant to give them to you in private but—"

"You shouldn't be giving me anything in private. If playing nice with my Dad and trying to piss off my boyfriend is some grand scheme to win me back—"

"Easy!" He raises his hands against the accusation. "Stiles, I don't want you back. I made my choice the day we broke up and I don't regret the decision. I'm happy."

Jesus Christ, that's not supposed to still sting, is it? "Great, Jackson. Thanks for coming down here just to tell me how happy you are." I step towards the pool but he stops me with a hand at my hip. He retracts almost immediately at the expression on my face.

"Stiles would you just listen? When did you get so hot tempered?"

"I think you know."

A sad sort of smile tugs at his lips. "Things worked out best for the both of us. You've got the big guy head over fists for you and I landed a surgery residency in Washington. Neither of those things would have happened if we'd gone off to college still acting like lovesick idiots."

"I wasn't acting!" My voice rises a little higher than I'd like it to.

"No. Neither was I, but I couldn't make you happy Stiles. That life plan of yours was killing."

"What life plan?"

"…Wedding after grad, locked in a mortgage by residency, kids on the immediate agenda."

"Those weren't plans. They were… guidelines."

"You'd picked out the color scheme for the nursery."

I roll my eyes. "What the fuck Jackson. If you weren't on board why didn't you just say so?"

He gives me a disarming smile that makes my heart jump—not in a good way. In a I've-leaned-too-far-back-in-this-seat sort of way. "How're you supposed to look at the person you love most in the world and tell them you don't want the same things they do? It was easier to say nothing at all."

I don't know how to respond to that. I lift Derek's beer to my lips and stall. I feel completely ambushed and entirely under prepared for this conversation. I knew all the things I wanted to convey—I'd written him a hundred emails describing exactly what I'd thought of him, but at the end of the day I'd never hit send.

"What do you need me to say Stiles?" He murmurs, suddenly stifling me with his closeness even though he hasn't moved an inch.

"Nothing. It's not your job to make me feel better."

"I suppose it's not." He glances at the shirt clutched in my hand. "I've always loved you Stiles, but not enough to give up my dreams for you. If you've found someone who can finally give you what you need, then breaking up with you was worth it."

I feel the air rush out of my lungs as he leans closer. He squeezes my forearm and murmurs a 'take care of yourself' in my ear before walking away.


He just says things, then leaves, like a two minute conversation is supposed to give me closure. Perhaps it was just my ego wishing I could have heard him say—at least once—that he regretted leaving me. Except he didn't regret it. He was happy. So was I. It's the seventeen year old in me that wanted to see an ounce of remorse out of him.

Feeling icy daggers in my back, I turn to the pool where Hurricane Hale is glaring frostily at me from the water. I walk over to him, kicking off my sneakers and dropping heavily to the stony edge. Cold water rushes up my legs and I sit there, waiting for the inevitable.

"So, you two getting back together or what?"

I shake my head, not in reply to the question but in aversion of it. All things considered it's not as scathing as it could have been considering his earlier tone. "So did you do what I told you to do, or were you too hulked out to hear me?" I ask bluntly.

The drowned bouquet lifts from where he'd been clutching it underwater and he slaps it on my knee in a splash of wet petals and a scrape of sharp stems. "Happy?"

"Ecstatic. Thanks for the effort," I deadpan, tossing the flowers on the grass before inspecting my suddenly stinging knee. A thin streak of blood appears. Derek grunts in surprise, swiping a thumb over it. It just flourishes red again. He starts rubbing at it, which is just extremely hygienic.

"Stop that," I knock his hand away.

He releases a soft sigh, cupping the back of my knee and pressing a kiss over the red streaked skin in front of him. He's giving me the same look Bailey did when she peed on my bedroom floor- and if I can resist Beagle pup's eyes surely I can… Holy shit, seriously, what the fuck color are Derek's eyes? They're like twin galaxies, stare at them too long and you could fall in and asphyxiate in the cold dead vacuum of space, but for those final precious seconds of life you'd probably tell yourself it was worth it.


I slap a hand over his mystical orbs. "No. You don't get to act like a dick one minute then look at me like that the next. You really blew it back there with my Dad. God knows what he thinks of you now."

"Who cares? He's got his head so far up Jackson's ass he barely noticed me anyway."

…It was hard to argue that. I remove my hand. "I'll talk to him, alright? But I can't build bridges if you keep setting them on fire, and telling me to fuck off in front of my father? Not helpful. Also, kinda mean."

"I'm sorry, but how do you expect me to react to another guy giving you flowers?"

"They were apology flowers, not a metaphor for his dominion over my vagina."

"Know what else isn't a metaphor? My foot up his ass if he touches you again. What did he say to you?"

"Stupid shit I'm trying to forget."

He shifts between my legs, gripping my ankles under water. "He made a play for you, didn't he?"

"The opposite, really."

"What do you mean?"

…Like I was going to admit to him that my ex was completely well adjusted and dumping me had probably been the best decision he'd ever made? Fuck that.


"Derek, enough. Whatever bullshit paranoia you're going through in your head, please just deal with it internally because I don't want to talk about Jackson and I don't want to think about Jackson and seeing him again is bad enough without you making me feel worse."

"But he's—"

"—Got nothing to do with you! He was my boyfriend for five years Derek, and in the end I meant nothing to him. I've said this to you multiple times—you're not the reason I'm not with Jackson. Jackson's the reason I'm not with Jackson."

His heavy chin drops on my undamaged knee and he mumbles. "So even if I wasn't in the picture, you wouldn't…?"

"If the world ended and you were turned during the great zombie apocalypse and he was the only other human alive… I'd run towards the undead."

Derek frowns. "Zombies."

"Or if you choked on a pickle and suffocated to death, whatever."

"Those are your two most likely scenarios? 'Zombie apocalypse' or choked on a pickle'?"

"…I don't lay awake at night and dream up plausible circumstances for your death. If you haven't noticed, I'm kinda fond of your jealous ass."

"I'm not jealous," he assures, raking his fingers up my leg and stroking the back of my knees. "Jealousy implies I'm insecure—and I'm not insecure. I'm territorial."

"I feel like this is going to end with you peeing on me."

"Well if you're offering…" When I fail to respond he adds, "That was a joke."

I look at him suspiciously and his eyes widen. "It was a joke!" He repeats, this time with exclamation.

"Good… because I'm not okay with that. I mean, unless we were in the shower, then maybe I'd let you go on my leg or—"

"Jesus! Stiles I'm not going to pee on you in—!" he cuts off. His expression clamps down and I know my dad's standing behind me.

"I'd like a word. I'll be in the den," Dad says, part weary, part strangled before turning away.

"Goddammit," I moan, hauling myself to my feet.

Derek snorts out a laugh and raises himself out of the water.

"No," I plant a foot on his shoulder easing him back down. "Stay, keep an eye on the kids. You know what happens when one person jumps into a pool with their clothes on."

Derek looked over his shoulder at the children who were now paddling and shrieking in the water, much to their parents' chagrin. "…I don't see why they just don't drown one. It'd send a message to the others."

"If that's your idea of good parenting then clearly you need the practice."

"For what?"

I pause, unable to tell if he's being facetious or if he honestly doesn't know what I'm talking about. "Just… keep everyone alive," I order, heading off after Dad.



I pad barefoot across the old threadbare carpet in the den and drop into the leather armchair. Dad's sitting at the large oak desk, staring blankly at the computer screen I know is turned off. You'd think talking across a table would be informal, but this had always been our comfort zone. It's where I'd first said words like 'gay' and 'boyfriend' and he'd said words like 'terminal' and 'inoperable'. Everything good or bad that had ever meant anything to either of us had been discussed right here.

"I don't like him," Dad says finally.

I'm not surprised he'd gotten right to the point. "Is this a new development or have you always felt this way?"

"I didn't mind you dating Derek, but I figured you'd grow out of it."

"He's not a pair of jeans Dad."


"Broke up with me. "

"He was just doing what he thought was right at the time, what we told him was right."

"Excuse me- told him? Who told him what?"

Dad falters a second before replying. "He was having doubts about Harvard because of the commitments he'd made to you. His parents called me over and the four of us had a chat. I told him that maybe now wasn't the best time for the two of you to start playing house and making compromises for each other that would have effected your education. His parents agreed. Your mother would have too."

"Huh," I nod thoughtfully. "And exactly where was I during this Stillinski-Whittemore séance in which you all decided what was best for me and Jackson?"

"There was no reasoning with you when it came to him," Dad utters humorlessly. "You don't remember what you were like back then. After your mom… everything in your life became about him."

"…Which is why you felt so comfortable splitting us up?"

"I never told him to break up with you Stiles. I just told him not to make a sacrifice he'd resent you for later. I also said you needed to figure out who you were without him."

"Who I was without him was a head case with trust issues."

"Going through break ups is part of life son."

I flinch. "Why aren't you getting this? Dad he destroyed my self-esteem. I spent my entire first year of undergrad trying to earn it back from strangers who weren't interested in me beyond the hour I'd spend with them—which shockingly only made me feel worse about myself."

Dad pales a little. I hadn't meant to throw that out there, but he had to know what happened hadn't just changed how I approached relationships; it had changed who I was. "Look, it's all in the past," I shake my head. "I was stupid to let it effect me the way it did, but I'm trying to move on and you bringing up this stuff isn't helping."

Dad leans over the desk. "Stiles, if his parents and I hadn't interfered the two of you would still be together. Doesn't that make a difference to you?"

"It adds some detail to the sketch but that doesn't really change the picture. Jackson made the decision to leave me behind. The fact that you guys sat down and discussed it first… well, it obviously means he put some thought into it."

"You're really not going back to him?"

I close my eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. "This wasn't any of your business back then, and it isn't now. I love you but, you cannot interfere in my relationships… and just a warning? Derek isn't nearly as impressionable as Jackson so any attempts to get him to stop dating me won't end well for any of us because he snaps easily."

"I noticed."

Fuck. I'd walked into that one. "Look that wasn't his finest moment. Can you give him a second chance?"

"Stiles his attitude is one thing but he's so…large."

"He works out. What's that got to do with anything?"

"I'm just saying you and Jackson were sort of on… equal grounds. Physically. I didn't worry about you getting hurt."

My eyes slit apprehensively. "Is this a sex thing?"

Dad turns beet red confirming my suspicions. He starts fidgeting. "It's just that I figured between you and Jackson, you were the ah…" he looks across his desk and lifts a pencil. "And he was the…?" Dad picks up a sharpener next.

He slowly brings them together.

"Oh God. Please stop."

He purses his lips and drops his hands. "Erm, sorry. I'm just not sure how to talk to you about these things."

"Not like that," I state. "Look all you need to know is that Derek makes me happy in every sense of the word. Now if there's nothing else, I'd like us to go out there and have a nice meal together as a family. If you could maybe try being nice too Derek..?"

"For you, anything," he promises.



Derek is thoroughly preoccupied playing lifeguard— someone had made the mistake of giving him a goddamn whistle and he was making full use of it whenever anyone under four feet tall ventured past the designated safety lines. He was a far bigger stickler for safety than I'd have ever pegged him for, but then again he'd thrown my phone out the window the one time in my life I'd ever replied a text while on the highway. Naturally, he'd done this in front of a cop car so we'd gotten a ticket for littering—correction, I'd gotten the ticket. Derek had refused to pay it on principle that I was in the wrong, but he had gotten me a fancy new phone as a replacement, so we'd moved past it.

With a sharp chirp of the whistle, Derek reprimands a kid for whacking Mikey in the face with an inflatable yellow beach ball.

Mikey starts bawling, and Derek's head disappears under water, presumably to drown himself, but when he resurfaces the little boy is thrust out of the water and seated on a pair of broad shoulders. I've never seen anyone do a 180 so seamlessly, but Mikey is shrieking with excitement and pulling at clumps of thick hair. Derek seems unphased. He grabs the ball and throws it in the air, barking orders for the kid to hit it. The tiny fist flails wildly, barely taps at it, but with some covert assistance from Derek it surges to the opposite end of the pool anyway.

Mikey raises his hands and let's out a whoop, but loses his grip which sends him toppling backwards off the great Mount Hale. Derek hoists the spluttering child out of the water and onto dry land, but the boy is laughing hard it's hard to tell if he's dying or not. Fortunately Melissa picks him up and orders for all the kids to come eat.

Derek grabs the discarded shirt and pats himself down with it. With the sun baking his burned gold skin, Derek's half dry by the time he strolls up to where I'm lounging at the patio table. "For your services," I declare, handing him a napkin wrapped burger I'd saved for him. There would be plenty more, but the first batch always tasted the best. He's clearly starving but he braces his hands on the armrests of my chair and bypasses the burger, instead pushing a vigorous tongue past my lips. The feral kiss last for two fleeting seconds, but still leaves me stunned.

"….What was that for?" I ask licking my tingling lips.

He drops onto the wicker chair beside me with a sigh. "For having a penis, so we'll never have to deal with tiny screaming abominations that shit on you for the first eighteen years of their lives, then ignore you for the next forty, then put you in a retirement home when you're senile." He wolfs down a third of the burger in one bite while I tell myself not to go off on him about the joys of parenthood. That's the kind of bullshit that had made Jackson turn tail and run, and while I knew Derek wasn't that fickle, this really wasn't the time or place for that conversation.

"Does this have onions?" Derek frowns deeply, splitting open the burger and seeing the wretched ring of doom defiling the patty. He looks at me like I've committed a cardinal sin against humanity. "God dammit Stiles why do you hate me?!"

"I didn't notice!" I hold back a chuckle because I know how serious he is about onions. I pick off the ring and discard it on his behalf.

"And the little one on the edge," he says pointing to it in outrage, but not wanting to actually touch it himself.

When I've thoroughly rid his burger of all onion particles he finishes it off, but still shoots me intermittent grumpy looks.

The rest of the afternoon goes fairly smoothly. With Jackson nowhere in sight, Derek had settled in his own skin, apologized for his earlier behavior, but had still chosen to direct most of his conversation towards Melissa and not my Dad. When she'd left to take a call from Scott, Dad had snuck in a few probing questions about the Hale family. Unfortunately, talk of Peter Hale lead to a discussion on politics, which was tenuous subject matter in the Stilinski home and best avoided completely: Dad was a Republican. Well, fiscal conservative social liberal, but he still voted for the guy who thought I was going to burn in the fiery chasms of hell for doing something as innocuous as putting a dick in my mouth. Anyway— I knew my Dad didn't share the same sentiments towards gay rights as his party, but Derek wasn't taking it so well.

"You do know your own son is gay?" Derek asks incredulous.

"That's not an issue in my eyes," Dad placates. "Just because I support smaller government doesn't mean I don't support my son being who he is. I'm sure you don't agree with everything on the liberal agenda."

"I don't think allowing people basic human rights is an agenda," Derek deadpans.

"Who wants another beer?" I offer lightly. "Dad?"

"I'm alright son," he says, leaning forwards, elbows on knees and hands clasped together. "With your uncle a Senator you must have grown up around this stuff, heard a lot of people say a lot of things they didn't mean. You're telling me you completely support a hundred percent of what your party believes in?"

Derek, uncharacteristically, thinks before answering. "…Well when you put it that way I suppose not."

"Hah!" Dad says triumphantly, bouncing a fist off the armrest. "We can disagree all day young man, but I like a guy who's honest about what he thinks."

When Dad goes off to get seconds I fire a quizzical look at Derek. "…Did you just bullshit your way into my father's good graces?"

"No, I thought about it and he's right," Derek informs munching thoughtfully on the plate of sweet potato fries. "You and I are going to be paying higher taxes when we start working, so that kinda blows. Also the healthcare system is a complete joke. Can't say I care for the way they're making it socially acceptable to have abortions either."

I pause, waiting for a punch line that doesn't arrive.

"...Okay stop looking at me like I'm every angry blonde woman on FOX," he drawls.

"Well stop getting all your political information from the comments section of youtube then," I scowl at him. "At the very least you're supposed to have a basic understanding of abortion issues."

Derek slings an arm over the back of my chair and stares at me squarely. "First of all, my grasp on politics is slightly deeper than whatever you get out of the twenty minutes you spend beating off to the Daily Show every night. Secondly, you know I'm pro-choice. I'm just saying when two consenting, age appropriate adults fuck in accordance of the law and they get pregnant, perhaps the issue shouldn't be treated as moral equivalent of getting your appendix out."

"Who says that it is? It's not your job to sit there and judge people when you don't have the faintest idea of what they're going through."

"Stiles, I can disagree with someone while respecting their decisions. Hence why I'm pro-choice."


"...I'm definitely going to regret asking this but why does this matter to you anyway?"

"It's a matter of ethics!" I say incredulous. "If I'd knocked you up unintentionally... well I don't think one mistake should interfere with my future plans."

"Well congratulations on having an opinion. I happen to disagree with you, but who the fuck cares because it's not like we're not having kids anyway."

"Who says we aren't?"

"Jesus Christ when he made us gay."

"I want kids Derek. Maybe not in the biblical sense, but I still want them." I feel my heart knocking against the walls of my ribcage in ways that they tell me are anatomically impossible, but I know what I'm feeling. There's a second where we just stare at each other, then the arm slung around my chair abruptly drops.

"You're kidding me? Where in the holy fuck of fucks is this coming from?"

"I don't know, the hundreds of timest I've casually mentioned babies during the course of our relationship?"

"I thought you were joking."

"Well I wasn't. I want a family and my definition of that involves having a kid with whoever I end up with."

"…Whoever you end up with?" He echoes. "Who do you think you're going to end up with, Stiles?"

"I dunno—the kid thing is a deal breaker for me so I guess it's up to you."

His eyes flash venomously. "So if I say no, we're done here?"

"Wow, way to misinterpret everything I just said."

"How do I misinterpret 'deal breaker'?

I shake my head and help myself to his fries. "Look let's just drop it. We've got at least another five years before this becomes an issue."

"Time enough for you to change my mind, right?"

"Right," I say, but then do a double take the second it's out. "I mean, no. That's not –"

"I think I heard you pretty clearly Stiles." He rises from his seat. "I'm gonna go help clean up."

I stare after him a little stunned. What in God's name had just happened? I'd been successfully jumping through deadly flaming relationship hoops ever since that phone call from Jackson on my birthday, and this is what trips me up? A hypothetical male pregnancy turned into me giving him an ultimatum about children— mere hours after I'd decided not to pressure him? God, I would NOT want to date me.

"What's with the face Stiles?" Melissa asks, returning to the table.

"Just me inventing unnecessary drama," I answer glibly. "How's Scott?"

"He and Allison had a 'fight'," she uses air quotes. "They're still at that new-relationship phase where they haven't had enough arguments to gauge how mad they're supposed to be at each other. I was attempting to explain that toilet seat placement isn't cause for a break up."

"Not a problem for us," I say with a dull note of victory.

"And what is the problem? Derek's not looking so chipper."

"Basically I can't keep my big mouth shut." I give her a brief but colorful explanation of how I was emotionally sabotaging my relationship. She takes it all in and taps elegant long fingers on the patio table thoughtfully while I await her assessment.

"Stiles have you ever fallen into a toilet first thing in the morning?" She asks.


"Well it's extremely unpleasant. It takes two extra seconds out of your life to put the seat down. Do you get what I'm saying?"

"That the toilet seat is a metaphor for control in the relationship and that causing him even momentary pain isn't worth the power trip?"

"Actually I was just going to tell you to quit being an entitled brat. Everyone's ideas of a perfect future are different, that's why you have to talk these things out and not test each other to see how far you can push before one of you breaks." She trails off, a little frown creasing her forehead. "Sorry, that was a little harsh. I'm still in mommy-mode after that talk with Scott."

"I probably needed to hear it," I admit with a smile. I let Derek cool off and banter with Melissa for a little while longer, not just about my relationship dilemmas but about her wedding plans and whether Dad owned an actual suit. I'm almost annoyed when the first droplets from the sky splatter against my bare arm, drawing the evening to an abrupt closure. Kids start to shriek and panicked adults round them up, because jumping into a pool of water is alright but God forbid it falls from the sky. Dad emerges from the downpour with a wayward toddler tucked under each arm, handing them over to their parents and telling me not to bother with a clean up tonight with the weather the way it was.

So much for sunny Beacon Hills. Not that I was complaining- this was excellent hot chocolate and cuddle time weather, if only I could get my boyfriend interested. With a forearm shielding against the rain I trot out to Derek who's alone behind the shed, wrestling an overturned table.

"I can take care of it in the morning," I yell at him through the blustering wind, while lunging for a stray lawn chair barreling towards his head. I felt oddly heroic for a moment, but he hadn't seen me doing it, so it's not something I could trade for sexual favors at a later date.

"Derek?" I ask, tossing the chair against the shed and crouching down beside him. He ignores me. For the first time I realize this battle might not be as easily won as I'd thought. Not yet willing to touch the wounded beast (however glorious he looked shirtless in the rain) I pick the more cautious approach.

"I'm sorry," I plead loud enough for him to hear me over the wet patter. "Can we please talk?"

"You haven't left much room for discussion." He finally manages to snap one of the table legs closed.

"Derek…" I partly moan, but mostly whine. "I'm cold and wet and seeing you sad is making me sad. The whole kids thing is—"

"I don't care about that," he interjects, swiping a wet hand over an even wetter face. "You know if it meant that much to you I'd never say no. What's getting to me are your fucking ultimatums. Do you keep a list somewhere?"


"A list of things that would justify you walking out on me if I fall short of expectations."

"I have plenty of expectations, but they're all kinda pointless without someone like you." I'd thought it an extremely romantic statement but he looks at me completely harrowed.

"Are you even hearing yourself Stiles? Do you want me, or do you want someone who checks off boxes on an application form you failed to show me on our first date?"

"Like I'm the first guy with a checklist?"

He seems floored by this simple confession. "I didn't have one! I saw you, wanted you, fucked you, then I fell in love with you. That's it. No strings. If you woke up tomorrow wanting to be a professional pirate, you know what I'd do?"

"A tox screen, head CT, then admit me to the psych floor because you care about my mental health?"

"I'd goddamn follow you to the sea Stiles."

Great. I wanted to have a real conversation and he's talking about pirates. "Derek, I need more than the blind romance. Knowing our lives are on similar trajectories makes me feel secure. Not that you've ever given me reason to feel insecure- despite all the relationship grenades I drop on you, you've never been anything but honest, and that means more to me than you'll ever know."

"I invested my trust fund in Danny's new record label."

I pause. "What now?"

At the ominous crack of thunder Derek curses under his breath, grips my hand and jerks me towards the shed. It's darker and for some reason colder and leaky as hell. Derek props me up against the workbench like a mannequin and steps back.

"I know it's not exactly what my parents wanted me to do with the money- it's definitely not what my uncle wanted me to do with it- but Danny and I have been talking about going into business together since high school and it's just something I've always wanted to do. I mean Danny would run it of course, I'd just be the silent business partner. Nothing's going to change with me or with us, so whatever your plans are... this doesn't effect anything, okay?"

Is he serious? I think he's serious. I was aware that the Hale's were old money and that Derek had been quite comfortably settled for the future, but I wasn't prepared for his decision to blow it all on this mid-20's life crisis. Well at least this is explains all his Sunday night Skype chats with Danny in which they'd talk at each other like two excited girls sharing the same brain. It's basically the only time I see him acting like a kid, a luxury most of us can't afford, but Derek seems to have figured it out and I think the right thing to do is to be happy for him. I just haven't gotten there yet.

"Okay. Well, congratulations I guess," I tell him.

He deflates. "You're mad."

"No," I assure quickly. "Look it's your money and for what it's worth I think your parents would have wanted you to do whatever makes you happy... but I'm just trying to catch up to your logic here."

"I don't really have logic. I just... did it."

Right. It's his life's philosophy: want, take, have. Not in a way that makes him a jackass- he's just got a lot of things going for him that enable him to live this way. Makes me wonder why he tries so hard. Something Danny said to me on the beach starts looming over me and I feel a coil of anxiety in my gut.

"Derek, you want to be a doctor, right?" I ask.

His eyebrows crease. "...No, this was all a social experiment. I'm actually a Turkish Prince sent to learn your culture and sleep with the one they call Stiles."

"Nice," I acknowledge his attempted humor. "But on a more personal note, I've already gotten my heart broken by someone who kept saying 'yes' to me when he meant 'no'. So whatever you want to say just say it and ignore my stupid life plans, because I'm selfish and I will absolutely try to herd you along the little path I'd like to be on and I don't want you to resent me for it."

"...Stiles I'm not sheep," he grips me under the ass and hoists me onto the workbench. "And there's nothing wrong with being a little selfish..." He peels my wet shirt off, his dark gaze making me feel naked beyond just the physical. "I'm selfish too. When you love something as beautiful as you are, it's hard not to be."

My breath gets caught in my throat. His hot hands glide over my wet skin, steaming it dry and scorching much deeper than the surface. I spread my legs as he moves in closer, brushing our quickly hardening erections through drenched clothing and making obscenely slick sounds as we grind. I'm entirely consumed by the sight of trickling rivulets pouring from his dark hair, collecting at the groove above his clavicle in a shimmery little pool. I bury my fingers in the nape of his neck and tug him closer, soaking my tongue into the wet spot. His entire body freezes as I lap at his skin. When a minute goes by without movement I smile against his skin.

"Wake up Derek," I say gently, dropping my hands down the back of his shorts and caressing handfuls of Grade A ass.

He moans lightly, his fingers scouring down my back. He snaps the elastic of my shorts, stinging my wet skin and echoing embarrassingly loudly in the small shed.I shift my hips and he pulls them off.

"You're blushing," he smirks, not at my face but at my crotch. In seconds he has my unruly erection tamed under his patient palm and he's stroking me slowly. My muted cries are silenced completely by an invading tongue that slips past my lips unannounced and dominates mine seductively. I pull out his dick and find it pleasantly heavy and engorged in my hands. Derek leans in and I hear a metallic cluttering behind me as he sweeps the workbench clear, but he stops just short of slamming me onto the table.

"Ugh… it's wet," he says.

"So is everything else," I reply, trying to put my tongue back in his mouth.

"And clearly it hasn't been sanded down."

"I can handle a couple splinters if you make it worth my time."

"Stiles the fact that you're a guy is one of my favorite things about you, so don't get offended when I say you have the skin of a sixteenth century French milkmaid. You don't splinter, you hemorrhage. Just… move."

With some gentle shoving and not-so-gentle arguing we manage to get into a mutually beneficial position—Derek laying on his back with his tongue buried in my hole while I was on all fours blowing him- or trying to, at least. It wasn't easy when he was doing things to my ass that were making it hard for me to concentrate. When his tongue retracts, his teeth are wounding, and when his teeth let up, he's fingering me so hard I feel like I'm going to pass out.

"Stiles," he urges, his hips lifting off the table. I'd been so distracted I'd barely noticed it when he'd slipped from my mouth.

"Sorry," I say sheepishly, kissing the base of his dick and streaking a wet tongue up its length. I try dissociating from the magical things he was doing to my ass and instead focus on pleasuring him. I relax and sink down into his crotch, his silky hard erection burning down my throat. I bob over it hungrily letting the tip of his dick slam at the spot that holds the last remnants of my gag reflex.

"Christ, S-STILES?!" He hollers. A loud thud that follows tells me that slamming his head against the workbench was basically the only reason he hadn't cum just then. I ease off and look over my shoulder.

"Yes?" I ask cheekily.

"Turn around. If this is happening it needs to happen now," he pants.

I smirk, enjoying how he'd evolved from subtle suggestion that he might be nearing orgasm, to just plain telling me to sit on his dick before it blows. I pounce over his body and plant my hands on his pecs, tortuously dragging my erection over his much wetter one before raising myself on my knees. He holds himself steady as I lower onto his cock, slipping him in easily thanks to the ministrations of his tongue on my thoroughly prepared opening.

He growls my name, and unable to take it lying down he rocks upright, grabbing me around the waist before I slip off. "God... 'mso deep." He buries his head in my chest and pants, throbbing hard and hot inside me.

"…Okay I can't move if you don't ease up," I chide, tugging at his hair so he looks up at me. In the dim light his eyes are darker now, half-lidded with lustful adoration. However the tender moment is abruptly washed away when he thrusts skywards and impales me so hard all I hear are balls slapping skin. I gasp sharply and reach to the wall behind him, but the shed being so small makes it just as easy to hang onto the uneven ceiling boards for support. I leverage myself and start meeting his thrusts with my own harder ones.

"Fuck me Stiles! God that's it, ride it," he begs as I pound myself onto his dick without reservation. He switches his angles and nails my prostate every way he can, making me shake and claw at the leaking ceiling. The rain keeps trickling down my wrists and flowing over my chest before splattering onto him. Every now and then there's a flash of lightning that illuminates his face and every time he's staring up at me like he's addicted to whatever I'm giving him.

When I feel myself getting closer I abandon the ceiling to wrap my arms around his neck instead, slanting my mouth over his. He makes these quiet noises like he's starved for affection and I do everything I can think of to flood him with it, but when his dick snaps against prostate one time too many I have to break the kiss and just moan. My body locks down and I feel a swell of pleasure barreling towards me. Derek's hand encloses my cock, drawing out my orgasm in a way that only he can. He pulses and pours inside me and I hear a string of words from his lips, all of which are some arrangement of the letters in my name. His garbled speech ends with a curse, then a groan, and finally fades into heavy panting.

"You're a fucking beast, Stiles," Derek growls in my ear.

"You're not so bad yourself Derek. I'd give you a standing ovation but I can't feel my legs."

He makes a content little noise from the back of his throat and kisses me. So easily pleased. So easily annoyed.

"Did you hear that?" Derek pulls back suddenly. I'm about to ask 'what' when his hand clamps over my mouth.

The rain had toned down to a light drizzle and the wind was calming, the voice it carried suddenly very clear.

"Shit!" Derek's got his shorts halfway up his legs when he throws my shirt to me.

"Stiles?!" Dad hollers again from outside.

"In here!" I yell, wrenching my own clothes in place in under three seconds. Derek is in the corner with his back turned to me, very busily stacking then unstacking then restacking the folding lawn chairs.

"Can you boys give me a hand here?" Dad asks appearing in the doorway. I see he's holding up a dead body. Nope, not dead, just Jackson.

"He got into the vodka, found him passed out in your room," Dad grimaces.

I groan inwardly. Fucking awesome. How was I supposed to-

"I got him," Derek says, relieving Dad of the dead, groaning weight.

"Appreciated son," Dad thumps Derek on the back and points. "It's through the gate and across the yard, key's under the lawn turtle."

Derek half carries, half drags Jackson off without complaint. I watch stunned as he heads off, waiting until he's through the gate before I'm satisfied he's not planning on maiming Jackson.

"You alright?" Dad asks. "You look flushed."

Jesus Christ."Yeah I'm fine," I assure, squirming in place and trying to pretend like I wasn't leaking Hale from places I didn't want to think about in front of my dad.

"You know I don't have anything against…. I'm just saying, you're adults." He reaches out and tugs at the worn tags at my throat, establishing that my shirt is not only back to front but also inside out. "So feel free to be adults, in your bedroom. No need to run off to the shed."

"Uhm, thanks," I reply, abysmally mortified. "Not just for… I mean, thanks for giving Derek a second chance."

Dad stalls for a moment before adding, "It's been difficult for me to accept your relationship. It's just that Jackson is the only boy who will ever have your mother's approval."

The comment knocks the air out of my lungs for a second. "Yeah. I guess... but I think she'd have liked Derek, right?"

A small smile plays on his face. "You could have brought Chuck Norris through that door and she'd have approved as long as you were happy."

"A Republican? Give me some credit, Dad."

He rolls his eyes. "For the record your mother and I voted Democrat the year you came out to us and I've done it every year since."

I blink in surprise. "Seriously?"

"Yeah—that's how much I care about you. I'd rather watch our economy go up in flames under a sub par administration than see you getting treated different than anyone else's kid."

"And what, you want us to throw you a parade for doing the decent thing?" I mock candidly. He reaches over and scruffs up my hair, telling me to go after Derek and make sure he didn't accidentally snap any necks.

It's not a bad idea.

I head off across the lawn, hesitating slightly on the Whittemore's back porch before shaking off a few demons and entering through the half open door.

"Derek?" I whisper loudly, trying to ignore the half eaten bowl of kibble on the floor. No wonder Jackson had gone and gotten himself mind numbingly drunk. At least I'd had Derek to distract me but he'd been stuck alone in his house and left to wallow.

I step softly down the hallway to Jackson's bedroom, stopping short at the doorway. The sight of my boyfriend on bended knee tugging off my ex's shoes wasn't one I'd ever expected to see. Derek gets to his feet, grabbing a fistful of Jackson's shirt and dragging him further up the bed, pulling the goddamn covers over him and tucking him in. I grimace when he leans over Jackson's face, staring at him a little more intently than I'm comfortable with.

I'm about to clear my throat when I hear a thunderous clap. At frist I thought the rain was back, but then I see Jackson drunkenly stunned, clutching a quickly reddening cheekbone.


Jackson nods, the way you would to a hurricane verbally informing you of its intentions to mutilate you.


Jackson nods again, his eyes drooping shut and jaw falling open as he snores. Derek actually dusts his hands off in disgust and turns to the door. He does a double take when he sees me leaning up against the door frame.

"Hey. I was just… tucking him in for the night."

"Yeah, no. I saw," I bite down on my lower lip to keep from laughing, but then I do anyway. Derek huffs in annoyance. He spins me around and his bicep curls my neck as he walks me out of the house like a bank robber leaving with a hostage.

"He was really fucked up," Derek mutters.

"Bailey was special," I say wistfully.

"Bailey? You think he got wasted and passed out in your bedroom because of a dog?"

"Well what else would it be about?"

"He's still in love with you moron."

I laugh shortly. "Yeah. Okay."


"Someone else's problem," I cut him off, pulling away but grabbing his hand as I do. "Now come on, I'd like to shower and cuddle and maybe blow you again before bed."

"Finally, a plan we can both agree on," he says jokingly but it stabs at a sore spot in my chest. My quest for domestic bliss hadn't accounted for anyone else's feelings in the past, but that was going to change. I want to be in a relationship where neither of us is afraid of telling the other what we want out of life- babies or businesses or anything else that comes up. Whatever happens, Derek Hale had handed me his heart no-questions-asked and I was going to treat it like the motherfucking gift that it was.







Thanks for reading! :D