I. The Confusion
A sweaty Stiles entered his bedroom after a long grueling lacrosse practice, and jumped back when shock echoed throughout his body. Something about his messy bedroom felt tampered with. It was darker, and that wasn't because it was later in the day. The shades were drawn when they were open in the morning, his laptop was opened when he closed it before bed, and there was a suspicious, yet oh so familiar leather jacket draped neatly over his desk chair. He took one more step into his room and noticed someone in his bedroom. He should have expected this. It was a sleeping Derek, whose dark hair was unkempt and breath was shallow.
Stiles really didn't know why Derek was belly down on his bed, snuggling into his blankets and drooling all over his pillows. But he knew he shouldn't dare wake him in fear of being slammed into the wall and growled at. So Stiles tiptoed and ignored Derek taking up his bed for some unknown reason… it wasn't like he had a reason to be here… he should be sleeping in that burnt down house of his, not on Stiles' comfy bed!
Stiles set down his lacrosse gear and paused, watching Derek. Derek looked freakishly content. He looked almost… angelic. So maybe not exactly angelic, but definitely peaceful, and definitely NOT broody. It was as if sleep made his darker features bright and his harder features soft. His normal scowl and furrowed brow were gone. In replacement was a slight up turn of the lip and a relaxed brow. The sounds that were coming out of his mouth before were no longer heard as if he was comfortable all of a sudden.
This was just weird. This was just wrong. First of all, Derek was supposed to be off in the woods, bathing in creeks, sleeping outside, and eating off some table that was burnt from the fire that killed his family… not sleeping in Stiles' bed. Second, Derek shouldn't be here… he should have chosen Scott, his fellow werewolf, for a couch to steal, not a bed, or maybe reached out to one of his other pack members… Stiles' dad was the Sheriff, so Stiles' house wasn't an ideal place for an "ex-con" to crash in.
But it didn't matter, Derek was here, so Stiles was going to have to tolerate it, and figure out why later. Stiles had to get out and had to get out soon or else he was going to shake Derek awake in annoyance. And that would end badly, for sure, with a slam to the wall. So, Stiles ended up in his bathroom to shower.
When Stiles returned in shorts and a t-shirt with damp hair, Derek was sniffing the bed, still asleep. He was also grabbing at the sheets and blankets as if groping for something to hold close to him? NO, Derek so wasn't a snuggler, not in a trillion years.
"What the fuck, man? Go be a dog elsewhere," a mutter escaped Stiles' lips, but a soft whimper came out of Derek's mouth in that moment as if in response to Stiles' words.
"Shit, don't wake up, don't push me into a wall, don't eat me, don't kill me," Stiles whispered as he crept towards Derek and looked down at him. He reached over and gently petted his hair to soothe the waking Derek back into slumber. Derek blinked wearily up at Stiles before closing his eyes once more.
"Good Derek," Stiles whispered, "Just don't kill me, and hey, I'll take the floor," Stiles said the last part sarcastically as he sat down on the edge of his bed, thinking about where he should sleep tonight, when Derek's arm suddenly snaked around his waist.
"No bad dog, bad! Derek," Stiles whispered frantically, trying to pry Derek's grabby hands off him.
Derek made a noise of protest, and shit, Stiles is such a pushover because he couldn't resist Derek's hold after that. He laid down beside Derek and let the sleeping Derek hug him.
This reminded him of when his mom used to climb in bed with him, always eager to embrace him. Stiles missed his mom. Her delicious chocolate chip cookies, her bedtime stories that were sometimes so scary his seven-year-old self had to sleep in her bed squished between her and his dad. Derek probably missed his family, too.
Stiles knew Derek had it worse than him…Derek was the only one of his immediate family left, living in an unlivable home, and just so alone…yeah he had a pack and a psycho uncle, but they didn't love him…no one really did, and that just made Stiles sad, so Stiles just patted Derek's back empathically.
While Stiles watched Derek nuzzle his head into Stiles' chest, Stiles suddenly saw the loneliness, the sadness, the exhaustion, and the want of love written all over Derek. The angelic look suddenly became vulnerability… no, that was what Stiles was seeing the whole time. Derek's strong front tired him out with no one to trust, and Derek couldn't help but show it when asleep. He crashed in Stiles' bed for God sakes, and they only had a few coincidental encounters with each other. Sure, Stiles was there for the guy, saved him when he had to, but that was because of Stiles' innate protective nature, not because of any kind of love or need for Derek. Stiles knew Derek didn't believe Stiles could be trusted.
"What are you doing, Stiles?" Derek grumbled as he slowly blinked awake, forcing Stiles out of that daydream.
"What am I doing? What are you doing? Crashing in my bed like you're one of the three bears?" Stiles flailed as he disentangled himself from Derek's embrace.
Stiles looked over and saw Derek's eyes. Derek wasn't mad, maybe a little sad.
Derek laid there for a minute like he missed Stiles' body heat, but then got up out of bed and pushed Stiles into the wall and held him there. Typical Derek. This must have been a farce. Derek could probably tell by now that Stiles was scared, but not for his life, the way his heart was beating a little bit faster than usual, but not accelerating excessively.
"Don't do that again, understand?"
Stiles sighed, and thought, not even if you're asking for it?
"Sorry, dude, never again. Now get off me, and go home."
Derek's defenses were up again, and his brow was furrowed once more. He grabbed his jacket and his shoes… oh shit, Stiles didn't even see those shoes tucked under his desk. Derek left out the open window with a huff.
Stiles' stupid mouth was always talking. He shouldn't have said that…Derek was alone, and needed a bed to sleep in… but when he needed to get the words out the most, he didn't… he didn't say "Stay."
Instead Stiles screamed after Derek, "Use the door next time you nap in my bed!"
That night Stiles was in his bed and it smelled like Derek: musty with a powdery scent of deodorant and a woodsy scent of fresh air. Stiles was just reminded of moments earlier, of their slightly embarrassing embrace. But when he smelt something coppery and saw the brown-red stain on his sheets, he knew something was seriously wrong with Derek and it wasn't regarding his deceased family. Stiles scrambled out of bed with that bloody sight because oh God, disgusting. He had to change the sheets, absolutely had to, so he was stripping the sheets in no time.
The next day, the suspicion was all on Stiles. He was fresh from a night 'coddling' with…Derek.
"Stiles, dude, why do you reek of Derek?" Scott asked.
Should Stiles speak the truth or not the truth? Not the truth. Derek would maul Stiles if Scott knew the truth.
"We…ran into each other at the store and I fell into him...by accident. Silly me, right?" Stiles said and ran off, leaving a confused Scott behind. Not that a confused Scott was anything new…that was a good sign at least.
Derek didn't come back for months after that… Stiles only saw him at pack meetings, snarling at Stiles or shaking sense into him. Stiles mostly ignored Derek as Derek coached Erica, Boyd, Isaac, Jackson and even Scott. No words were exchanged. No conversations were had. No mentions of that middle of the day nap, the sleepy embrace that Stiles, almost embarrassingly, held on to. And definitely no mention of the blood Derek left behind on those linens.
Tonight though…Derek was back. This time the blankets were over his head and frays of his ebony hair were peeking out. Though this time Stiles wasn't scared or shocked at all. Stiles just sat at his desk chair and started his homework, letting Derek sleep.
Distractions, distractions, though. Derek's 'bed theft' was way more important than economics, okay? What made Derek come here on more than one occasion, but not all the time? He obviously was fine sleeping in that crap house of his if he did it on the daily…
When bedtime rolled around, Stiles stood over Derek and said:
"Derek. Wake up."
"Derek. You can stay."
With those defeated words, Stiles went into his closet, got a spare blanket and pillow and laid on the floor, listening to Derek roll around and mumble in his sleep… Yes, he was at it again, talking nonsense in his sleep about who knows what. Stiles wondered what monsters or hunters Derek fought off this time. What was so bad that Derek needed a warm house to stay in? Probably some hunters were at it again, they never cut Derek slack. Yeah, he wasn't very friendly, but that's not a reason to shoot down the guy, chase him, or make him feel unsafe.
When Derek woke the next morning, he looked blankly at Stiles from across the room like someone killed his dog. This time he didn't seem like he was going to run away, and Stiles wasn't going to kick him out.
Stiles didn't know what to do, so he just spat out, "Derek, hello, good to see you in my bed again, just great, thanks for the warning." Stiles quirked an eyebrow up as he packed his book bag for school. Derek was not one to coddle… sarcasm seemed to be their mutual language.
Derek slumped, looked down and covered his eyes as if he was ashamed of being caught in Stiles' bed again. That seemed to be it. But then he was grabbing at his ears as if they were in pain. Okay maybe sarcasm wasn't their language this time; he was speaking in another language that Stiles only saw in Derek's sleep. The language was vulnerability.
"What Derek? Is sleeping in my bed not enough for you to be happy?" Stiles still couldn't help the sarcasm, and Derek didn't answer.
"What's wrong, Derek? I've decided that you have some dire reason to be here. Whether or not that's true, I don't know." Derek had that look on his face again. This time it looked constipated and unsure, but still definitely lost.
Derek stared. He rubbed his ears. He had dried up blood along the edge of his face and shit, blood on his sheets again! Ugh!
Derek finally spoke, "I shouldn't have come again... I needed somewhere where they couldn't find me." Derek pushed the blankets off himself to reveal even more blood over his ripped shirts and jeans. Oh okay, Derek, so let's target Stiles' house for a change! God.
Stiles squinted his eyes. What was with Derek… he was obviously hurt again, but still, people chased after Derek on a daily basis; it shouldn't be so frightening, especially since he healed almost instantly. "Okay, well… Don't get out of my bed on my account," Stiles rolled his eyes, "Stay. My dad won't be home till late," Stiles didn't even bother questioning Derek as he grabbed his backpack. At least he got the right words out this time.
"Just like take a shower and God, wash my sheets! Blood is all over you, again! God! …Oh, and when you decide to leave, the door is fine way to exit if my dad's not here. Thanks." With that, Stiles left Derek and the house.
"Dude, you smell of Derek again, that's just wrong…" Scott made a face.
"Scott, I won't discuss all the weird things going on with Derek, because I, too, am clueless."
"He talks about you, you know? When you're not around, well yeah, when you're around too."
"He always asks me what your deal is because you're always there."
Derek probably doesn't understand why a human would stick around when there are less dangerous places to be…especially with his history of disloyal human traders. Made complete sense, but not the part about supposedly trusting Stiles…
"I don't know, Scott… If I knew, the world would be a much better place," Stiles said, slapping a hand on his best friend's back before scurrying off, "See you in econ."
When Stiles returned from school, he was surprised to see his bed freshly made and Derek sitting at his desk and on his computer in clean clothes, Stiles' clean clothes that were a bit too tight for the guy…
"You realize the library has computers. Can't you go there? By the way, you look great in my Captain America shirt!"
Derek glared, "I'll be leaving in a bit."
"What are you doing anyway? I need my laptop for homework," Stiles leaned closer and his mouth gaped open. "Are you writing a paper?"
Derek just closed the laptop and started walking towards to the window.
"Where you going?"
"I was doing research, Stiles, typing out notes… Not writing a detailed essay about your porn collection," Derek barked before rubbing his temple. "Something really weird happened yesterday, okay, and I'm trying to figure it out. I might have to go home and look through my books."
"Books?" Stiles asked, ignoring Derek's comment on his porn, because who doesn't have a collection, right? "You have a reference collection about werewolves?" Stiles' eyes lit up, "Can I see?"
"No," Derek said as he stood and he walked towards the door. Too bad, the collection sounded fascinating, and more reliable than the Internet.
"Thanks for using the door!" Stiles called after him, but all he got in response was a nonchalant wave good bye.
A week later Stiles was in bed when Derek came stumbling in through the window, literally. Blood was gushing all over the windowsill and the carpet.
"This is outrageous! Not again. You need to tell me why you're doing this? You're obviously hurt every time you come! But still," Stiles sighed once out of bed. He was going to have to scrub that floor now.
Derek just swayed and fell forward as blood came spilling out of his mouth and trickling out of his ears.
"Ugh, ew, gross, oh God!" Stiles cried out, but regardless he caught Derek and fell to the ground with him. Stiles breathed out and moved them so Derek was lying on top of Stiles. Derek looked down at Stiles blankly as blood dripped onto Stiles.
"Is someone after you? Derek?" Stiles looked down at him as he grabbed the end of his bed sheet, not those again, and wiped at Derek's bloody mouth.
Derek looked at Stiles' weary-eyed and needy. "I'll be fine, just, can I stay?"
"Yeah, yeah, of course."
Derek scrambled off Stiles and made his way to the bathroom slowly without another word. He was wiping at his mouth with the back of his hand.
Stiles hated to be annoying…well…not at all, but all he wanted to do was just fix this for Derek, which was never going to happen since Derek was so freaking closed off.
"You have to tell me things, Derek," Stiles said outside the bathroom door, slowly inching the door open.
Derek was standing shirtless, hunched over the sink, spitting out blood. He glanced back at Stiles and tilted his head as he stood straighter and then he tugged down his pants so Stiles could see more and more hair that was leading somewhere...
"You gonna watch? I'll be fine after a shower," Derek turned back around and Stiles closed the door. Fine, yeah right. Derek…ever so mysterious.
"Just tell me one thing. Is this the same thing/person going after you?" Stiles said through the door.
"Yes." Derek just said. It had to be serious then. What was it? A person, a demon, another lizard? Why does Derek have to be so darn mysterious? And why does he have to lack any ability to express himself? Why does he have to be so guarded?
"Derek," Stiles whispered, brushing his fingers gently against the door, "You can trust me…" and Stiles walked away. He knew Derek could hear that even through the door and the running water.
When Derek returned, he laid on the bed, not even looking at Stiles as Stiles started filling the silence with endless chatter.
Stiles came in after having a long conversation with his dad, humming to himself. He wasn't thinking about anything except getting this song out of his head when he saw an ominous Derek standing in the corner of his room staring at him with a frown on his face.
"Whoa Derek!" Stiles said, "Seriously, it's less scary when you're sleeping, fuck."
"I wanted to ask first this time," Derek said as he kicked off his shoes and then his shirt, wow, and his pants, he slowly unbuttoned and pushed down. So much for asking, just get naked, Derek. It must be Derek's thing to do around Stiles now.
"Um… do you need a shirt to cover up those magnificent abs of yours? I mean come on how are they even real?" Stiles asked, inching towards Derek as Derek stared. Derek's hand came out to stop the eager Stiles.
"Shut up," Derek said, and it almost sounded like he was going to laugh, but didn't as he climbed into Stiles' bed.
This time he wasn't hurt or anything, strange. Derek must have been awfully lonely in order to come here. Or maybe it was cold in his house at night, after all winter was coming and that house so did not have heat.
"Thanks for your bed, it's really comfortable," Derek mumbled softly.
"Umm, you realize my dad's still here… you can sense that kind of stuff, right? Hear that kind of stuff?" Stiles was incredulous.
"Yes, good night, Stiles."
"Uhh… fudge," Stiles mumbled, hitting his hand with his head.
"Just do your homework, Stiles, and ignore me."
How could he ignore a half naked man lying in his bed, who happened to be Derek? At least, for the first time since Derek started crashing at his house, there was no blood on his darn sheets, but oh God, Derek was closing his eyes, and casually caressing his own perfect chest as the comforter barely covered anything but his torso. Why does this feel so hot? It's Derek for God sakes!
Stiles' mouth gaped open before turning around. Oh my God, if Derek can sense Stiles' dad, and Scott can sense emotions, then Derek must know how uncomfortably sort of turned on Stiles was… Fuck, Stiles needed to go.
Stiles scrambled up, knocking his desk chair over as he went, sending a loud bang throughout the room.
"Stiles, are you okay?" his dad called up.
"Yeah, dandy. Just tripped over the chair," he mumbled as Derek glared at him.
"Shut up," Derek's hushed voice came through, short-tempered. "You're staying here. Now lock that door and get over here." Derek was glaring even more now it seemed as he sat up in his bed.
Stiles did as asked and stumbled back to Derek. "Hi." He waved slowly and smiled sweetly.
"Now get back to your homework, and calm down. Do I have to scare you into submission?"
Stiles just shook his head no and looked down as he pulled open his textbook.
Stiles kept glancing up at Derek, how could he not?
"I can feel your eyes on me. Cut it out, Stiles."
Stiles scrambled up from his desk, and pulled up the blankets over Derek. Stiles just thought, please cover yourself up, you darn guy you…Grr.
Derek's eyes opened briefly before grabbing the blankets Stiles put on him.
"Thank you," Derek muttered quietly.
"Seriously, dude, Derek and pheromones. Pheromones this time!" Scott exclaimed. His eyes widened with terror, as if he knew everything.
Pheromones? What? How does Scott even know what pheromones are? Derek probably taught him that in training. Crap, Stiles should have focused on Derek's lectures during meetings. Damn ADHD. He's gonna have to start popping Adderall like water again just to find out where Scott was learning big words. Adderall would also help Stiles figure Derek out, what he wanted with Stiles.
"I don't know, Scott. We sort of hang out…"
"Hang out, more like make out. Why didn't you tell me? I told you everything about Allison." TMI, by the way…Stiles didn't need to hear that story about Scott going down on her and her screaming waking up the neighbors.
"Nothing to tell, Scottie Boy. Just pretend this convo never happened." Just like Stiles liked to pretend he didn't know about the sounds Allison made when she came…
Stiles was face down on his bed, not sleeping, but frustrated. Everything always went wrong. Stupid Scott was planning things without him. He had no hope with Lydia whatsoever. His dad was convinced he was a giant liar, which he was, and to top it off he was only a stupid human who wasn't strong or cool or super fast.
When Stiles felt pressure on the bed. He knew someone was beside him, and that that someone was Derek just by his frequency and that smell of his, like wood and fresh air.
"What? Were you hiding in my closet, you creep?" Stiles hadn't heard Derek stumble through his window.
Derek didn't speak but just inched closer to him and stared at him with an equally sad look on his face.
"What's wrong this time? God," Stiles rolled his eyes and was surprised when Derek fell onto Stiles' bed and just wrapped his arms around him and hid his face in his neck and sniffed.
Holy God. Was Derek okay?
"Derek, are you okay?" With no response, tears dampened Stiles' neck and Derek mumbled, "I'm fine, fine," as if he was covering up his tears.
"Aww, Derek's just a sad guy today," Stiles cooed and rocked him until Derek sat up and glared. His cheeks were ever so red and glistened in the light from tear tracks.
"Shit, did I say that aloud? Sorry," Stiles said sheepishly and then shrugged.
"It's okay. It's just I sensed your sadness and I feel…" he didn't say but continued in a way that told it all, "Today's the anniversary of my family members' deaths…" The guilt he must have felt.
"I understand, I lost my mother to cancer…Take the bed, I'll just sleep on the floor."
"It's your bed, Stiles…we can just share. Even though, I wasn't planning on sleeping in your bed like usual," Derek said and smiled.
"You're welcome, any time." Stiles sort of enjoyed Derek's visits, no matter how confusing they were.
Stiles climbed into bed next to Derek. Their backs were against each other, barely fitting, but not close to falling off because of their nearness.
"Good night," Derek whispered.
"Hey Stiles…" Scott said cautiously as they sat in the back of their English class.
While Stiles scribbled down notes, Scott continued, "I hate to tell you this, but, um, you smell like Derek's mate…"
Stiles snapped his head towards Scott and stared. Scott looked as dumb as usual, but there was wisdom etched on his face and sincerity in his voice, which meant that there was no doubt that he was telling the truth.
Shit, though, as hot as Derek is, I'm gonna be marked and sniffed and knotted. Fuck my life… wonder if that'd be sexy though? Maybe a little, Stiles thought. He grinned to himself as he turned back to the front of the class and pretended to listen.