Send love to my badass Beta, Trisha
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To primavera15, PunkIggy, fallenangelicwolf, erihan, vampqueen440, Mayonese, Sasu-Sama' Sarukiji-Sempai, ToniBalogna978, Coolisimo12, and xxSterekfan6xx, thank you so SO much for the kind words :) I'm a happy writer xoxo
None Of It Was Ever Worth The Risk
Chapter 5 - This Is NOT A Date
"You smell good. It's weird." Scott purrs, following Stiles around in his bedroom and sniffing into the crook of Stiles' neck. Stiles is helping the Betas getting ready for school. Scott and Jackson are slow and difficult, as usual.
"Scott, quit it! And don't wear the same hoodie again, I can smell bolognese sauce on it. Take it off."
Stiles puts Scott's shoes on the floor to open the drawer and pull out a clean hoodie for Scott.
Jackson, who's already dressed, looks at Scott and joins in, sniffing at Stiles in curiosity. Stiles ignores the two Betas and as he enters Jackson's bedroom, the two Betas are still on his tail. He grabs an empty bag and puts Jackson's Lacrosse safety gear in it. Jackson suddenly nudges Stiles in the back of the head not so gently with his forehead, grabs the bag, and flees without saying anything.
"Jackson, wait! You left your knee pad! Scott, hurry up and grab your stuff, the others are waiting in the car." He said to Scott before grabbing the knee pad and running downstairs to catch up with the blonde teenager.
He stops at the sight of Erica in front of the guest bathroom sink's mirror. "Erica, you should've been in the car three minutes ago."
Erica looks at Stiles. "Stiles, does my lipstick make me look pale?"
Stiles rolls his eyes and smiles lovingly. "You look drop dead gorgeous, Sweetheart, leave the mirror alone. Where's Boyd?" He asked as he herds Erica to the front porch.
He sees Boyd already in the drivers seat of the silver SUV they drive to school. Erica gets in the passenger seat. Stiles opens the backseat door and hands the knee pad to Jackson, Isaac is already settled and reading an archeology text book besides him.
"Oh, thanks." Jackson simply said. Stiles smiles at Jackson, closes the backseat door, and runs back to the porch.
"Scott!" He called the last Beta.
"I'm comiiing.." Scott runs downstairs. He has his hands full with his school bag, the clean hoodie Stiles chose earlier, some books, and lacrosse stick. He drops the hoodie in the middle of his way to the car. Stiles grabs it from the ground, pats the dust off of it, and runs alongside him. Stiles opens the backseat door for Scott, waits for Scott to get in, throws the hoodie in, and closes the backseat door. The SUV horns and drive away, Stiles waves and exhales in relief. Morning chaos is through.
A smile creeps to his face. Stiles has been in the Hale Pack's den for two months now. His duty, which is mostly taking care of this kind of chaos, turns into a routine that Stiles learns to enjoy and cherish. He's almost too afraid to admit that he cares for the Betas quite a lot. But who wouldn't!? Look at them! They are such puppies!
Besides, Derek said he's hired, as long as he doesn't fuck up, it's acceptable to get close with the kids, right? Wait, did he just call them kids? Well, that's awkward, he really needs to control his excitement. The Betas seem to like him just as much, well, at least they like to touch him. Stiles started to notice the second week that he'd been at the house.
He doesn't know for sure what gave him that that idea. It's probably the way Scott purrs contently when Stiles wears his wardrobe from head to toe. Or it's probably the abnormal numbers of nudging and body shots Jackson does to him in a single day. Or the way Isaac unconsciously rubs his curly head to Stiles' shoulder in a still sleepy state every morning, while Stiles is preparing his milk. Or the new habit of Erica asking for him to brush her golden hair before she goes to bed, with his fingers. Or possibly because Boyd pats his shoulder everytime he gives him his bottle of water and towel after pack training.
And the attention feels nice, really nice. The Betas' scent smells unfamiliar at first, but his wolf accepted them so easily. In fact, he wants to touch them back, to open himself more to them. He just doesn't know how to appropriately do it or if it's allowed to in the first place. But for now, he takes what he can get gratefully. The Betas makes him happier than he has been in a very long time.
Derek Hale stands on the base of the staircase when Stiles comes back in. He wears nothing but sleeping pants and Stiles somehow still can't get used to the view. Derek was self-conscious for the first week Stiles was there, taking a shower and dressing properly before heading downstairs, but as the Betas get more comfortable around Stiles, in time, so does the Alpha.
From the way Stiles sees it, having breakfast half naked is Derek's unique way to show him that he's accepting Stiles' presence. The Alpha is still as grumpy as ever, but at least he doesn't threaten to kill Stiles all the time anymore. As long as Stiles makes him noodles on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, the Alpha's mood boosts amazingly.
Moreover, having their meals together has helped breaking the ice, since they managed to have proper conversation to each other on the occasion. Although, he still doesn't have the courage to ask Derek about his family and he's still reluctant to talk about his own. Derek asked about his past once or twice, but Stiles is too afraid to tell Derek about Phanterius. What if Derek kicks him out of his den if the protective Alpha hears there's a vicious Alpha chasing his sorry ass? Stiles really wants to bury his past. Can he just pretend Phanterius never exists?
Hobbies and general issues are the safest and easiest topic to have with Derek. Stiles learned that Derek loves race cars and Stiles found a new talent of his own: playing video games. It started with a silly bet with Jackson, where Jackson promised to stop acting rude for a week if Stiles could beat him in a race car game that Derek created. He didn't know if he could win at all, he never played before. But apparently, he was either a born gamer or a fast learner, because he did win. Now he is Derek's part-time personal trial monkey for all his gaming projects.
Stiles couldn't say no (not that he wanted to say no) because Stiles is the only one that's available around Derek all the time. Scott and Jackson offered to volunteer once or twice, but yeah right, like Stiles would let them play video games on school night.
Stiles can't help staring at the Alpha's happy trail, those toned abs are really amazing. And those broad shoulders, Stiles wonders what it feels like to touch those firm muscles. Stiles gulps at the thought. It's not his first time imagining things related to Derek Hale and Stiles starts to worry about it.
"Good morning, you woke up early today." Stiles greeted the sleep-tousled haired Alpha, shaking all the stupid daydreaming in his head.
"Whose fault do you think that is? It was as loud as a freaking zoo in here." Derek scowled, Stiles thinks the look would've worked if the Alpha's face wasn't so sleepy. In this state, he looks more like one adorable grumpy puppy. And he just referred Derek with word 'adorable'. There's something really wrong with him.
"Yeah.. Sorry for the noise, Scott overslept today, so this morning was a little bit more hectic." Stiles explained. Derek just huffs, still scowling as hard as he can with pillow pattern on his stubbly cheek. It makes Stiles feel funny in the stomach.
"So.." Stiles fidgets on where he stands, "you want to go back to sleep or have breakfast..?" He asked.
"Breakfast." Derek answered. Stiles nods, "alright."
Stiles heads to the kitchen area while Derek makes his way to the dining table.
Derek's gaze follows Stiles as Stiles moves around in the kitchen area. Seriously, how Stiles does the things he does? The Omega makes a deadly job, that is containing balls of energy called young Betas, seems so easy. It's not that he can't control his own Betas, it's just not exactly a picnic in the park.
He can still remember how his days went before Stiles came. He had to wake up so early in the morning, which he loathed doing, to wake up his Betas for school. Breakfast was simply just soggy cereal or dry toast. Cleaning up was atrocity in this house, he did what he could, but there was just no end to it. The second his Betas touched the house's floor, the mess was there again. So new rule, you mess it up you clean it up. Take-away or delivery lunch and dinner were likely. And he was long gone giving up trying to make Scott and Jackson finish their homework before eleven o'clock.
He never complained though. They're his pups, he'd do anything for them. Did he just call them pups? Dammit he has to cut it out, they're not kids anymore.
However, everything goes smoother and easier with Stiles here in the pack's house. The Betas are properly taken care of and Derek has spare time for himself (and properly taken care of as well, but Derek would never admit that).
There's just one tiny problem: Stiles starts to smell like his pups. And it's annoying, because it's so distracting that Derek can't concentrate on the rest of his work after Stiles enters his office to serve his afternoon snack. No, Stiles doesn't smell good. It's definitely not what he meant.
Did his silly Betas scent the Omega? Derek notices his pups love the new housekeeper, but he never predicted they'd go that far. Derek would've prevented it if he knew. Scenting is very personal. Wolves do that to mark others that they trust, accept, desire.
If Stiles is proved having bad intention toward them in the end, his pups will be heart broken. And no matter how decent Stiles' noodles are, Derek will destroy him for that. But nothing had happened in the last four weeks. Maybe Stiles is really here for the job. It might be for the money. Huh, of course it all comes back to money, how come he missed that! Well, if it's simply all Stiles wants, Derek can easily and generously give it to him. Salary of one housekeeper is a cheap price to pay in exchange of his pups' contentment.
Stiles notices he's being watched and looks back at Derek. Then, Stiles smiles brightly at him. The smile is so genuine it hurts Derek's stomach. Suddenly, Derek loses his appetite. No, Stiles can't smile at him like that, because Derek can't give in and let down his defenses, he just can't. The last time he did to someone outside his pack, he lost his family.
"Hey, you look pale..." Stiles serves Derek's breakfast and crouches slightly closer into Derek's personal space, "you okay?" Stiles sounded so concerned that it scared the shit out of Derek. No one had asked him that question for a long time, no one ever bothered.
"M'fine, back off." He growled, jaws clenched. Stiles stares at him sadly (goddammit those eyes!) before he goes to his seat. They eat breakfast in silence, drowned in their own thoughts.
Among a lot of things that Stiles pictures himself doing with Derek Hale, shopping together is absolutely not one of them. But here they are, in the biggest department store in the town's mall, screening through the wardrobe isles.
"Get anything you want. You don't need to borrow Scott's clothes anymore." Derek said.
Stiles is confused by all the flashy clothes rack in front of him. He touches the soft garment and gulps, they all look so expensive. He checks the tag on one of them and gulps again, they really are expensive. He looks at the Alpha. "Derek, I don't mind wearing Scott's old clothes."
The Alpha just rolls his eyes in obvious annoyance. "Well too bad, I'm buying you new ones, so start putting things in the shopping bag before I run out of patience."
"I don't exactly know what to pick." Stiles admitted. It's true, he never has this so much option of clothes before. He usually got his clothes from a neighborhood's garage sale. And he never kept his clothes for too long, leaving them on the town he last stayed to confuse Phanterius and his underlings. Who he hopes never find him in this town, because Stiles really likes it here and his new job.
Derek narrows his eyes at him, Stiles can feel irritation radiating from the Alpha. "It's easy. You like it, you put it in the bag. It doesn't actually take high intelligence to do that." Derek said.
Stiles rolls his eyes. Wow, he just rolled his eyes at Derek, he must be tired of living and seek death. But Derek doesn't seem to sweat over it. Huh. How unpredictable.
"I know that, Derek, it's just—" He tugs one of the shirts, "they're very expensive. Look, this plain shirt is fifty dollars. I can make you at least twenty servings of ramen noodles with the same amount of money."
Derek scoffs. "Don't mock me, I can still buy my noodles' ingredients even though you sweep the store clean. There's always budget for noodles."
Say hello to Derek Hale and his undying love for ramen noodles, Stiles fails to surpress his smile. "You know that's not what I meant."
"I know what you meant and I don't care about that. Just pick the fucking clothes or you'll run around the house naked from now on." Derek threatened.
"I'm just saying, maybe we can go to cheaper store.." Stiles suggested, but it just made Derek scowl at him.
"No. This store is big and has everything, I'm not moving anywhere. I'm sick of window-shopping. And I'm hungry."
And hungry Derek is angry Derek, Stiles learned about that from that one time Stiles prepared his lunch ten minutes late. Stiles tries to calm the scowling Alpha patiently.
"Hey, I understand, I promise we'll be out of here in under thirty minutes, okay…?"
Derek finally huffs and mutters grumpily, "We better. I want to eat at the ramen joint on the upper floor after this."
Stiles smiles at the Alpha. "Sure. You want to sit there while I walk around and put stuff in the bag?" He gestures at the couch in front of the fitting room.
Derek scoffs at him in exasperation. "And what? Play grumpy husband who gets bored because his wife shops for too long?"
What—what did Derek just say? Stiles stares blankly at the Derek as the Alpha tenses in revelation of the irony of his own words. They just lock gaze at each other for a while, until Stiles finally breaks from his straight-face.
He closes his mouth immediately as the first laughter leaves through his lips. Derek glares at Stiles murderously, but Stiles can't hold himself back because even with the deadly glare, he can see Derek's ears are blushing. Stiles needs a minute or two to calm down. He clears his throat awkwardly under Derek's intimidating gaze.
"You done?" Derek asked sarcastically.
"Yeah. Sorry..." Stiles muttered softly.
"Have an offer to stop me from throttling your sorry ass to death right now?"
"Umm.. I'll cook ramen noodles for you for three days straight?"
A deadly glare.
Still a deadly glare. Stiles winces.
"Ramen noodles and warm bath for a week?"
A glare that makes Stiles pretty sure he's going to die.
"Ramen noodles, warm bath, and car polishing for a week?"
Derek seems to consider the offer for a while, frowning his eyebrows together. "Fine, I won't kill you for now. Let's get going."
Derek walks ahead. Stiles smiles at the back of the Alpha's broad shoulder and follows after him. Even without the threat, Stiles will do all that for the guy anyway.
Ah, the things I would do to please him...
Twenty-eight minutes later, Stiles rides on the escalator with Derek in front of him. He holds three big shopping bags in each hand and so does Derek. They all are filled with his clothes. He is still gobsmacked that Derek just spent that much money on him. Stiles has never even seen that much money.
"Derek." He called the Alpha softly, Derek doesn't look back but he knows Derek heard him. "Derek, thank you. You didn't have to do this for me, but you did it anyway." He said.
Derek just nods once. Stiles thought Derek wouldn't say anything, but once again Derek proves him how unpredictable the Alpha is.
"Wear the one I picked for you." Derek muttered softly. Derek saw a red hoodie and added it in the shopping bag earlier, without explanation, and Stiles chose not to question him about it.
Stiles whispers 'I will', stupid wide grin on his face. He keeps telling himself that even though Derek seems so cold toward him, Derek actually cares. And somehow, it makes Stiles so happy that his chest wants to burst.
Derek leads him to his apparently favorite ramen joint, because the waiter recognizes Derek. The guy shows them to their table and Derek smiles at him in gratitude. Stiles gapes in shock at the view, he serves Derek way better than that but Derek never even twitches a muscle on his face. And this guy just showed them a fucking table and the Alpha smiled—gorgeously!? That's just—unfair!
"I just bought you enough clothes to make Beyonce Knowles' closet look small and you're pouting. I don't know why, but it pisses me off." Derek said over his menu card.
"I'm not pouting." Yes, he is. He knows he is, he just doesn't want to admit it and he knows that Derek knows. What is this nagging sensation in his chest? Stiles doesn't like it, he feels so angry.
"What is your problem?" Derek asked.
Before Stiles answers, the waiter comes again to take their orders. Stiles watches as Derek talks so politely and smiles a lot. Okay, not that much, but he smiles and that's the fucking point. And if Stiles is a little bit snarky at the waiter—well he's pissed, okay!?
"Just water." Stiles said to the waiter cynically. Derek shoots him a dark look but Stiles ignores it. Derek then shoots an apologetic smile at the waiter. The waiter smiles back sweetly at Derek. Awesome, now Stiles is the immature brat in the picture. Great job at earning Derek's smile, Stiles, just keep on dreaming.
He doesn't understand why he's this upset over a smile. But it's Derek's smile. And Stiles wants that smile, but apparently Stiles doesn't deserve the nice gesture, unlike certain waiter. No, all Stiles gets right now is a murderous glare! Stiles can feel angry tears pricking in his eyes. Said waiter seems to sense the tension and rushes to leave.
"I thought we had agreement to have our meals together." Derek demanded explanation.
"I'm not hungry." Stiles simply said. It's true, Stiles was hungry earlier, but he's lost his appetite. Derek stares at him with his eyebrows frowned. Stiles doesn't know what else to say, he just forces himself to smile at the Alpha, but the smile fails to reach his eyes.
Something is wrong. Stiles is suddenly so upset, Derek can tell. He can smell anger, confusion, and sadness so thick in the air around the boy. And for someone who has been so talkative since morning, Stiles is really quiet right now. What the fuck is going on? It's not that he cares, really it's not, he's just curious.
Stiles plays with the table's mat silently as Derek eats his ramen. Derek finds himself not being able to enjoy his favorite meal as much as he used to. He keeps glancing at Stiles who keeps looking down to the mat he's picking at.
One time, Stiles meets his eyes. The boy smiles at him, but the smile is just—entirely wrong. Stiles never smiled that way before. Derek wants to ask, but he can't figure out what the question should be.
"It's good?" Stiles suddenly asked softly, looking at the ramen Derek is eating. It startled the Alpha just a little bit.
Derek looks at the Omega in curiosity. "Yes.." But yours is better, Derek mentally thought. But Stiles didn't ask about that, so Derek keeps the extra comment to himself.
Stiles smiles wrong again and nods. "I bet."
Okay, what the fuck was that?
After his bowl is empty, Derek shoves it away. He digs through his leather jacket's pocket and pulls out a thick brown envelop. He throws it on the table's mat in front of silent Stiles. Stiles is startled and picks it up. Stiles looks at him questioningly.
"It's your monthly pay." Derek explained. There's a thousand dollars in the envelop. Stiles would cheer up instantly after he counts the cash, Derek smirks. Stiles wants his pay, right? Derek gets it, the Omega doesn't need to be so grouchy.
Stiles peeks into the envelop and stares at it blankly for a long time in silence. Huh, for someone who wants money, Stiles doesn't look that excited. Stiles puts the envelop back on the table, and pushes it toward him. "Keep it." Stiles said.
Derek gapes in disbelief. What the hell?
"I said," Derek pushes the envelop back at Stiles, "that's your pay."
Stiles nods slightly, but he pushes the envelop toward Derek again. "I understand, but I take the shopping earlier as my pay this month. You can start giving me the envelop next month."
Derek pushes the envelop. "Don't worry, I insist."
Stiles pushes it back. "I don't want it."
Derek scoffs. "Yeah right, who doesn't want money.."
"Well hello then, my name is Stiles, nice meeting you." Stiles answered sarcastically. That's ticking Derek off.
"Seriously, what the fuck is going on with you? You're acting like an ungrateful brat right now."
Stiles flinches, but the Omega doesn't say anything and refuse to meet Derek's gaze.
"You want the fucking money or not?"
Stiles shakes his head, eyes still looking down.
"Fine. Yamato!" Derek called his waiter. The waiter comes to his table and smiles, "how can I help you, Mr. Hale?"
He smiles back. God, it's one of the reasons he doesn't like going out, all this fake-smiling is really exhausting. "We're done here." He gives the envelop to the waiter. "I'm sure that should cover it, keep the change."
Yamato opens the envelop and Derek mentally smirks as he sees the eyes of the waiter practically pop out of the sockets. "M-Mr. Hale, m-maybe you want to check what's inside before you give this to me.."
Derek smiles. "I know what's inside, Yamato, just share it with all the staff."
"A-Are you sure..?"
"Yes, Yamato, I'm sure." Derek's lips start to sore, dammit waiter, just take the goddamn money and leave.
"A-Arigatou gozaimasu, Mr. Hale." Yamato bows down at him. He smiles for the last time (finally) as the waiter turns to leave.
Derek turns to look at Stiles. Stiles is staring at him with a kicked-puppy look on his too-beautiful-for-his-own-good face. The boy's mouth is hanging open and those stupid brown eyes are wide and soulful and teary—wait, why are they teary this time?
"What? You said you don't want the money." Derek teased.
"I-I know.." Stiles answered softly with a shaky voice.
Derek smirks. "Oh I get it, you regret your decision, don't you?"
Stiles laughs weakly, and somehow, mixed with those teary bambi brown eyes, the look tightens Derek's chest. The way Stiles laughed earlier in the department store made his wolf jump in excitement that Derek needed to remind the wolf in him of the fire-yes-you-know-what-fire to hold him down. But this laughter, it upsets his wolf. The muscles in his fingers twitch as he feels the urge to reach for the boy.
"No. Not at all." Stiles assured him.
"Then why the hell are you looking at me like that!?" Derek loses his patience. He wants Stiles to stop showing that kind of expression this instance.
"Nothing, it's just—" Stiles blinks his teary eyes and looks at Derek, "that was the first time I've seen you smile, and it was really nice, and uh.." Stiles laughs weakly again and takes a deep breath, "I'm just saying that the waiter was so lucky to be the one you were smiling at, that's all."
Derek is taken back by Stiles' answer, he raises his eyebrows. Really? That's why Stiles was so upset? He wants Derek's to fake-smile at him?
"You're stupid." Derek said in impulse. He hears Stiles' heart skips a beat at the same time he sees the Omega flinch.
"I-I know, right?" Stiles laughed shakily, his body trembles slightly. Derek's guts keep telling him to rephrase his earlier comment, but before he obliges, Stiles already stands up from his seat.
"C-Can—" Stiles clears his throat, "can we go back now? I need to prepare the afternoon snack before the others come back home."
Derek stares at the Omega who avoids his gaze for a while, before standing up himself. "Let's go."
Stiles is back in his silent state again as they walk side by side. Derek baits him to talk by offering him cook books. Stiles just twitches his lips without even looking at Derek and shakes his head. Derek is extremely irritated. You know what, screw him! Derek can't believe he actually just baited anyone to talk. Usually, he's the one who's baited! Who the hell does Stiles think he is?
Derek decided to take elevator to go down faster. He taps on the elevator button grudgingly and shoots a glare at Stiles, who doesn't even seem to notice since the Omega looks anywhere but him the entire time. Fine, ignore him, and see if he cares.
The elevator opens up and they move to enter it, people lining up behind them. Since they were the first one entering the elevator, they were pushed by the crowds to the elevator's wall. The next thing Derek knows, he's trapping Stiles to the elevator's wall with his firm body.
Derek looks at Stiles who apparently still finds the floor interesting. Stiles is still extremely quiet and he still won't look at Derek. Derek rolls his eyes, this is just ridiculous. He growls very lowly, Stiles would be the only one who can hear him as a werewolf. But Stiles doesn't answer to his growl, probably still drowning in whatever stupid thoughts the boy is having right now. Derek huffs in irritation and nudges Stiles' cheek roughly with his nose. What? His hands are full with all these shopping bags!
When Stiles looks up to him in surprise, Derek raises his eyebrows in question. Stiles just smiles half-heartedly and looks back down again. Derek scoffs in disbelief. He fights the urge to nudge Stiles' cheek again. No, Stiles' cheek is not soft and it definitely doesn't smell nice.
The drive home is filled with tensed silence and for the first time, Derek finds silence frustating. And it's unusual because Derek is not only used to silence, but he also embraces it. Hell, he defines silence with his infamous stoic figure. But somehow, this silence doesn't feel nice at all. And this is stupid, that the glorious Alpha Derek Hale is getting worked up by a sulking teenager whom he got to know just two months ago.
"Look. Whatever your problem is, just get over it already. Don't dump the crap on me, you're acting really childish." He complained. He hears Stiles' heart skips a beat again.
"'kay." Stiles softly answered.
Derek tenses when he suddenly smells salt in the air. Tears. He glances at Stiles, the boy's face focuses on the scenery outside his side of car's window. Stiles is...crying? Derek's grip on the wheel tightened.
Ignore it, ignore it, just fucking ignore it...
"Stiles." He heard himself call the boy's name, he could hear his wolf whimper as the name slipped through his lips.
Derek curses himself for sounding so weak and pathetic. Why does he care about what this boy feels? Stiles is not even pack, so is why the wolf in him upset right now? Didn't it learn a damn thing from the past!? Fuck.
When Stiles doesn't answer him, he doesn't call the boy's name for the second time. Silence once again fills the air between the two werewolves. If Stiles sobbed quitely as he hid his face by facing the window, then Derek pretended not to hear.
To be continued...
I'm sorry...? *hide in the bush*
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