Word Count: 6141

Pairing: Sterek and Boyd/Cora, mostly, but Aidya and Scallisaac are mentioned

Notes: This was supposed to be brief! But then Stuff Kept Happening and it got nearly as long as part 1…oops.


Summer

Erica insists on having three more pool parties, but by the last one, it's just Erica, Boyd, and Isaac. Cora is grudgingly finishing up her GED because Derek got fed up with her Polyvore addiction and blocked the site until she finished.

So it's just the four of them hanging out in the pool, like it's been just the four of them from the…well, middle, maybe. Not quite the beginning, because then each of them would be all on their own.

Isaac is a little looser now than he was a year ago. He only flinches now when Derek surprises him and doesn't even twitch when someone touches him. It's better this way, better with Isaac living with him again, better with trust. It might have something to do with his relationship with Scott and Allison, but Derek would prefer to think he's just figured out how to be a good alpha by now.

Maybe Isaac agrees.

The important thing might just be that Derek hangs out with them, laughs with them, swims with them. He's trying to be even more approachable, as though through sheer force of will he can make his betas his...friends. His family.

Erica is giggling as she winds her arms around Boyd's neck and hooks her legs around his waist. "Carry me," she says, and digs her chin into his neck.

He laughs and jerks, trying to dislodge her half-heartedly. "Stop it," he commands her, and when she tightens her grip on him, he tickles her, fingers dancing over her calves.

They laugh together more than with any one else. It's not like Erica is humorless or subdued. It's not like Boyd doesn't grin at the jokes other people tell. But there's a bond between them that Derek can never seek to replicate. They've been close friends since the beginning (or maybe the middle is still more appropriate) and he suspects nothing will change that. Not Boyd's budding relationship with Cora or Isaac carefully instating himself as Erica's new best friend.

Erica slips away from Boyd after a few minutes full of tickling each other and wiggling. She's been working on how long she can stay underwater, and she uses it now to stealthily sneak across the pool to where Isaac is idly floating on a pink plastic float Scott had brought over at the last party.

Boyd is still smiling as he swims over to where Derek is sitting at the edge of the pool, just his feet wet. "She's gonna make you get in," he points out.

He shrugs, smiling. "I think she likes forcing it, to be honest."

"Yeah. She's kind of an alpha all on her own, huh?" Boyd smiles fondly as Erica pops out of the water next to Isaac and flips his float all in one move.

"Something like that," Derek agrees.

Isaac comes out of the water sputtering and flailing. He jumps over the float trying to grab Erica, but she dives and swims away quickly. He chases after her, arms extended and claws out.

Erica resurfaces at the other end of the pool and shrieks, "Don't get blood in the pool! That's gross!" She scrambles out of the pool while Isaac falls even further into the shift. "Don't hurt me, don't hurt me, don't hurt me!" she shouts, but she's laughing as she runs across the deck and down the stairs, around the backyard.

Boyd pulls himself out of the water, too, but he just sits next to Derek, idly kicking his feet through the water. "Do you ever wish you'd picked different people?" he wonders. It's surprising and not all at once—Boyd is quiet a lot of the time, but he thinks things through extremely carefully. When he does ask questions, he asks the ones that don't let people deflect. He asks the questions that matter.

Derek wishes he could give the answers that matter, but he's not really sure how. There's still a huge part of him that hesitates to give all the information, because as long as he still knows the most, his betas (and Scott's pack) will keep coming back. But Boyd deserves this much, at least. "I used to," he says, shrugging. He doesn't look at Boyd, choosing instead to watch Erica and Isaac wrestling across the lawn. "But I don't now. I don't want any one else."

"What about Stiles?"

"Oh, definitely not," he says, and now he grins at Boyd. "Stiles won't ever be my beta. And I'm happier about that than anything else."

"Hmm," he agrees, nudging Derek with his shoulder. He's smiling, too, though it's still a little hesitant. "And Scott?" Maybe he's got a list in his head, people he thinks Derek likes more than him.

(The truth is that there's not more or less in love, it's just...different types of love. He loves Isaac like...almost a son. And Erica is something like a friend. Scott is like an obnoxious little brother and Boyd...Boyd is something else.)

He looks over at his beta and smiles a little. He can be honest about this at least. "I used to. But I think this is the best way it could turn out. It's better when we're sharing authority instead of forcing it on one another."

"You're smarter than you used to be," Boyd offers. He looks more relaxed now, like Derek reaffirmed his place, even though he hasn't. He didn't do it well enough and—

"I would never want to replace you with Scott, though, you know that. Right?" he says. He needs him to understand this much at least.

"You needed three," Boyd says, looking away again. "Back then. What if Scott had changed his mind? Would you have come to the ice rink anyway?"

"I don't know," Derek says honestly. It's second nature to wrap an arm around Boyd and rest his hand on his shoulder, to clasp tightly, to just be there. "But it's like you said. I'm smarter now. Even if Scott showed up now and gave up being an alpha just to be my beta, he'd never replace you. He couldn't."

Boyd doesn't answer, but Derek's never sure if that's because he doesn't have one or if it's thanks to Erica jogging up behind them and shoving both of them into the pool at the same time. "No feelings!" she crows. "This is pool party time!" She cannonballs into the pool after them.


Fall

Derek gets a job at the sheriff's office because werewolves might actually eat him out of the trust fund his mother had set up. Of course he still has the monthly life insurance payments coming in, but even that isn't enough when Scott's pack abruptly decides that his house is the place to be.

The first time he comes home from work to see Allison and Lydia sitting on his couch and discussing the newest Ryan Gosling movie and how annoyed they were at the lack of female characters, he feels like he's stepped into an alternate dimension. They aren't the only people in the house of course—Cora and Erica are in Cora's bedroom, each of them silently messing around on their laptops.

Still, he doesn't know what to do. Lydia and Allison are the members of Scott's pack that he cares for the absolute least—well, aside from the twins.

In the end, he just walks by them and goes to his bedroom to change.

After that, everyone spends at least one afternoon a week at his house. It's their senior year of high school, aside from Cora, who has finished her GED, and Erica, who was still a junior after missing so much school the previous year. They all seem to think of Derek's house as a safe place, and he can't begrudge them that.

So Scott organizes movie nights for his pack at Derek's house, Stiles and Lydia start studying together on his couch, Danny and the twins start running together around his neighborhood, and Derek says nothing.

Well, he says nothing until Lydia and Allison try to befriend Cora and take her away from Erica. It's not like he'd have a problem with the four girls being friends, but Lydia still seems to think of Erica as scum beneath her, and Allison apparently can't get over the time Erica flirted with Scott.

The third time they drag Cora away from Erica, leaving the blonde frowning in the living room, Derek puts his foot down.

Sort of.

When the three girls get back, Cora immediately drifts away from the pair, trying to sit down next to Erica on the couch. Across the room, Lydia plants her hands firmly on her hips and just says, "Cora."

Cora stiffens and turns to look at the redhead. "What?" she whines. "I thought we were done?"

"You have to try everything on. To show Derek," Lydia says, rolling her eyes.

"But I don't want to," she protests weakly. She's already moving toward the two girls. Allison is hiding a giggle behind her hand, looking somewhat embarrassed but fond of Lydia's antics.

"No," Derek says, sighing. "All of you. Couch, now."

"Excuse me?" Lydia says, like she can't believe someone had the gall to order her around.

Derek gives her his best impression of Laura's "Did I stutter?" face. Stiles calls it his "bitchface," but Cora recognizes what he's doing and giggles every time. Even now, as she's cuddling up to Erica, she's hiding a smirk in Erica's shoulder. "It's my house," he reminds Lydia. "So sit down or leave."

Lydia huffs, but takes a seat on the other end of the couch with a sigh. "What is it, oh mighty alpha?"

Allison sits next to her comfortably, smiling like nothing bothers her.

"Stop forcing Cora to do things," he says, and holds up a hand when Lydia starts to speak. "She's her own person. If she wants to hang out with Erica at the house instead of doing things with you two, she can. If she wants to cuddle with Boyd instead of helping you pick out a new dog outfit, she can."

Lydia scoffs. "Please. I'm not forcing her to do anything. I might be forceful, but really, she can say 'no' any time."

"She just did," Derek says disbelievingly. "And you kept bothering her until she started to do what you wanted."

"Hmph," Lydia replies, flicking her hair over her shoulder. "Fine. I'll stop 'forcing—'" she draws air quotes around the word—"Cora to do things with me."

"Good," Derek says. "I'm not trying to boss you around, but when I see members of my pack unhappy, I have to take care of them. You understand, right?"

"Yep, sure," Lydia says, rolling her eyes. "Can I go now?"

He waves a hand at her.

Later, Lydia corners him in the kitchen. "Look, I know you're worried about Erica having female friends. You weren't worried about Cora at all, were you?"

"No, I was," he says. This is why he doesn't get along with Lydia. She's too discerning and too controlling. He respects her, really. He just wishes she'd only come around as often as, say, Scott. Scott, who would argue with him all day if he could. Lydia is the same, and so Derek really doesn't want to deal with it.

"I get it," she says, waving a hand at him. "I mean, really, Erica has had a different social development. She doesn't really have friends outside of the pack, and Cora is the only one who's a girl. She'll always have Isaac, but Isaac doesn't paint her nails or talk about cute actors with her. Whatever."

He frowns. He doesn't know what Cora and Erica do, but he has a feeling there's more to it than that.

"The only reason I'm being belligerent is because you didn't take me aside privately," she continues.

"There's no privacy in a house of werewolves," he points out, but he can understand where she's coming from. "Sorry."

"Whatever. I'm willing to try to include Erica. She has a certain...je ne sais quoi. I can work with it. I probably haven't been as...polite as I could have to her. And I think I can get Allison to get over the whole flirt-with-Scott thing."

"Really?" He raises his eyebrows. Of course his ideal best case scenario (Lydia manages to share Cora with Erica) was nothing compared to what Lydia was actually determined to do. He had a feeling it was because no one expected much of Lydia that she constantly pulled out all the stops.

"I befriended Stiles didn't I?" she says, quirking a single eyebrow. "Besides, someone told me she had a crush on Jackson, so she has to have some taste."

"This isn't going to end up like Mean Girls is it?" he asks, narrowing his eyes at her. Laura had loved that movie and he'd watched it more than he'd care to admit. If Lydia was going to steal Jackson out from under Erica's nose, a la Regina George and Aaron Samuels, he'd...do something. He wasn't sure what, because Lydia was actively terrifying, but something. (Never mind that Jackson was in London. Anything Lydia put her mind to was possible.)

"As charming as it is that you think Erica is naive enough to warrant a casting as Cady Heron, no," she says, rolling her eyes. "I'm trying to get on your good side, because I'd like to host Stiles' 18th birthday party here."

He squinted at her, listening carefully for lies. He finds none, but it's still Lydia Martin. Still, her request is innocuous enough, and if her attempt to befriend Erica goes poorly, Erica will definitely let him know. Loudly. "Fine. When do you want to do that?"

"Next Saturday," she says. "His birthday is on a Wednesday, but parties shouldn't be in the middle of the week. Plus I don't really want to interrupt anything you might have planned." At this, she gives him a significant look.

He rolls his eyes. He doesn't really have anything planned, mostly because he's not a planner. He's more of a...think-on-his-feet-er. "Fine. How many people are you wanting to invite?"

"Just the two packs. I figure you probably don't want unfamiliar people in your territory and all." She shrugs, like being thoughtful and courteous is something she does often. "Plus Stiles doesn't really like many people outside of us."

"That's fine. I assume you can let yourself in," he says. Everyone in both packs knows where the spare keys are hidden.

In response she pats his chest, right over his heart. "Of course. And I should warn you—if you're planning on just giving yourself to Stiles as a gift...well. He'll probably be happy about it, but I won't be. Stiles gives...insane presents. Trust me. I know." She gives him a significant look and tosses her hair. "You better get him an actual present, or I will gut you and paint the living room with your entrails."

"That's disgusting," he says, impressed. "Did you get that from Cora?"

She smiles then, and shrugs. "I like Cora. But no, that one's all me." Then she sashays out of the kitchen, and calls out, "Allison, stop making out with Isaac. I need to go home. It's a school night."

Derek is left feeling like he's been run over by a monster truck, or a steam roller. He's been steamrolled. Flattened. All men should quake in Lydia Martin's face.

But seriously, she was worried about nothing. For all that he's not a planner, he totally has Stiles gift picked out. He's had it for months. He should probably be getting Stiles something meaningful, but...well...he'd been unable to help himself. The kid (don't call him that; it makes it worse) always talked about wanting to be Batman... So he'd bought the Batman costume when he'd seen it. No big deal. He'd like it regardless of his feelings on the the Dark Knight Rises.


Fall 2.0

"That's adorable," Lydia announces. She's standing in the middle of the living room, arms crossed.

"Why are you here this early?" Derek asks, choosing not to respond. Laura had always done the same thing. He knew what he looked like early in the morning. Before breakfast it was better not to get into snark-offs.

"We're setting up," she says, turning her back on him. "A little higher, sweetie."

And of course Aiden is here, too, hanging blue streamers from Derek's living room ceiling.

Really, why does he bother?

Right. "Well, I'm going to eat now. I have work in an hour, but I trust you not to do anything too drastic to my house. Please don't break that trust," he pleads.

She rolls her eyes. "Please, what kind of hostess do you think I am? Every one knows you give utmost respect to the venue."

"Thanks," he says. "I think."

"Sure thing," Lydia says, and the smile she flashes is dangerous. "By the way, Erica wants to go to Disneyland for her birthday. It's in March, so you have some time to figure that out."

"Why am I in charge of that?" he wonders. He thought birthdays were Lydia's domain.

"Oh, you two should go alone!" she says, smiling firmly. "I know she's your favorite and then she can do whatever she wants without being weighed down by the rest of us."

"She's not my favorite," he says, nonplussed. He loves all of his pack equally (now that Peter is gone).

Lydia rolls her eyes, like she can't believe she has to put up with him. "Okay, fine. But you're her favorite. Well...maybe you should bring Cora, too."

"Why are you doing this?" he wonders.

"To the left," she instructs Aiden, before glancing back to him. "Because, like I said, I'm befriending her. I don't do anything halfway."

"That's true," Aiden says.

She reaches up to smack the back of his head. "Shut up."

Derek slips out of the room before he can make any more demands of him. In the kitchen he sticks a note on the fridge to remind himself to look for Disneyland tickets after work.

When he leaves for work, Lydia has moved on from streamers to hanging a banner, and has managed to enlist Isaac's help in keeping it straight. "Higher!" she's demanding as he sneaks out the front door.

As a new deputy, he's mostly in charge of watching out for traffic violations, but the sheriff seems to take vicious satisfaction in handing off his paperwork to Derek, so he does a lot of that, too. He has to wonder exactly what Stiles has told him about Derek (you know, besides the bit about being an alpha werewolf. He has to wonder if the sheriff blames him for Stiles' involvement, and figures he must not know his son very well if that's the case. As if anyone could tell Stiles what to do.)

Today, the sheriff gravely takes a seat next to Derek at his desk. "I hear you're hosting a party for Stiles this evening," he says.

"Well, I think Lydia is doing that, actually," he replies carefully. "But yes, it's at my house."

The sheriff pats his shoulder. "I reckon I can trust you to make sure there's no alcohol? Stiles doesn't hold it well at all."

"I'll do my best, sir, but you know how Lydia gets when she wants something," he hedges. He'd actually prefer the alcohol to be left at home. He's never gotten any real enjoyment out of it, given that he can't get drunk. Mostly, it burns when it goes down and smells terrible on humans.

Sheriff Stinilinski concedes this point, but clasps his shoulder firmly. "I know you'll watch out for him, though. I got nothing to be worried about."

Derek feels the tips of his ears turn red. He grunts out a "Yes," and hopes it's enough to allay his fears, and not too much to reveal exactly what he feels for Stiles.

The sheriff snorts. "Right. Go easy on him tonight."

Derek splutters. Why does everyone assume that something is going to happen so quickly? They haven't even started dating! "Sir?" he chokes out.

But the sheriff has already walked away, leaving Derek feeling mortified.

Seriously, he hates this town.

Around lunch time, Erica texts him. "Can you take me and Boyd to the mall? We need to get a present for Stiles. Cora won't tell me where you hid the keys to the Camaro. :("

"That's because she doesn't know either," he texts back. In fact, he'd started hiding them because Cora was determined to teach herself to drive. He wasn't against teaching her; not at all. He just didn't want her to crash Laura's car. "I'll take you if you guys can meet me here."

"Sure. We'll run," Erica replies.

They're waiting for him by the Toyota when he walks out of the station. "Why are you two so late on this?" he asks as he unlocks the door.

"I'm a firm believer in buying gifts late. You always find the best things at the last minute," Erica says.

"I just didn't feel like going," Boyd says.

"Where're Cora and Isaac?"

"Didn't want to come," Erica sighs. She clammers into the first seat before Boyd can and immediately starts fiddling with the radio. "Can we listen to Beyonce?"

Derek grunts. He will never admit to enjoying any kind of music, given that the pack will hold it over his head forever. As it is, he loves Beyonce. Probably everyone loves Beyonce, but he's sure everyone would treat it as some kind of revelatory insight to his character.

She doesn't seem to care about his response, anyway, producing the iPod Derek had given her for her birthday last year, and plugging it into his radio. "I think...Halo is a good start. Yeah? Pretend it's about you and Stiles."

Now he did glare at her.

In the back seat, Boyd snickered.

"And why didn't you just run to the mall?" he asks when they arrive. "Then you could have longer to look."

Erica gives him a disbelieving look and Boyd says, "We wanted to hang out with you, idiot." Which is sweet, even if they delivered the news in the rudest way possible.

So he just jostles them as they walk toward the mall entrance. They'll know he means "Thank you."


Fall 3.0

At Stiles' birthday, Derek sneaks all of the alcohol out of the room and replaces it with soda. He locks it up in his bedroom, in one of the empty closets. He'll bring it out some other time.

Lydia gives him a disgusted look but doesn't ask him to bring it back out. Instead, she turns the volume up on the music, and makes Aiden dance to a song about "loosening up buttons" with her.

"No beer?" Erica wonders, coming to sit next to him. She'd danced with Stiles for a while before getting bored and eating another cupcake (inexplicably, Lydia had provided nearly three hundred cupcakes.)

"Nope," he says, shrugging. "The sheriff might have threatened me."

She nods. "No worries. No real point in it, right? Stiles, Lydia, and Allison would be the only ones having fun with it."

"Yeah," he agrees.

"And I figure," she continues, resting a hand on his knee. "You probably want him sober when you finally kiss him."

He looks over at her, only vaguely annoyed. She's been the first to insinuate anything less than a blowjob...which made her his favorite. For tonight. He's pretty much the opposite of ready for anything resembling sex. He knows Stiles really well, but...well. Having sex really early in the relationship hadn't really worked out in the past. "Yeah," he says, feeling a smile curve over his face. "Is it going to bother you?"

"What?" she wonders, resting her chin on his shoulder. "Being the only single one?"

"Yeah," he says, taking the hand resting on his knee and twining their fingers.

"No," she says, smiling and kissing his cheek. "Not more than usual. I mean, it won't be long, right? I'm super hot. And everyone in the pack seems to have preternatural good luck in relationships."

"What do you mean?" he asks, smiling warmly. He feels lucky with Stiles, even if it's unofficial as of yet, but he gets a feeling that's not what she meant.

"I mean Isaac managed to get in a polyamorous relationship and Boyd is asexual but happily dating your sister. Not a lot of people would understand those kinds of things. Allison, Scott, and Cora are kind of perfect," she muses. She shifts until she's leaning against him more comfortably. "And Stiles is going to be really good for you. I know everything that happened with Ms. Blake was hard, and you were sad before then. Love's been rough on you, right? At least we can count on Stiles to be...well, Stiles."

He laughs. "That's true."

"So it won't be too long before my perfect boy arrives," she says, smiling at him. "And I'll be fine crushing on actors until then."

He ruffles her hair. "You're all right."

"Cut that out," she whines, fixing her hair and leaning away from him. "Jeez, here I am being all nice to you and you screw up my hair."

He just grins at her.

She huffs. "Fine. I'm done. Stiles!"

Stiles looks over immediately, taking in the sight of Erica pouting with her arms crossed and Derek looking smugly amused and utterly relaxed. He walks over with an easy smile. "Is it already time?" he says, looking at Derek calmly.

Derek shrugs and nods. "Wanna go outside?"

They do, sitting in the deck chairs and sharing the three cupcakes Derek grabbed on the way outside. It's quiet and comfortable, even when Stiles tries to wind their legs together.

"Should we talk about it?" he asks, stealing the last chunk of cupcake. His teeth are blue from the icing, but he still looks delectable. And legal. That's nice.

"Probably," Derek says.

"Well, I like you even when you annoy me. Especially then," Stiles replies decisively.

"That's my line," he protests, but he leans over to wipe a crumb off of Stiles' mouth.

"I said it first."

"Well, it's still true for me."

"Fine."

"Fine," Derek mimics.

Stiles giggles, then, and slides closer. "Can I kiss you?"

"If you want."

"I do."

"Okay."

"Okay." But he hesitates, just staring at Derek's eyes. He starts to chew on his lip, but stops after a second. "This seems too easy."

Derek shrugs. "Did you want more angst? I feel like there's been nearly two years' worth of that already."

"That's true," he agrees.

So leaning forward to kiss Stiles is easy, soft. Their noses bump a few times, which makes them laugh softly when they part and try again, but eventually, Derek gets a hand around the back of Stiles' neck and holds him still, at the right angle, so he can slot their lips together and comfortably fit his nose next to his. It works. He feels...good.

"Happy birthday," he murmurs when they part.

Stiles smiles, eyes still shut. "Yeah."


Winter

Everyone starts to scramble in putting their college applications together. Stiles and Scott work together at the dining room table, apparently refusing to attend school without one another. They work through the applications in tandem until they've filled out seven each and sent them all away. They high five after that, and bring an old PlayStation 2 over to Derek's house, and spend the entire winter break trying to beat each other at some old snowboarding game—SSX Tricky?—and gorging on junk food.

Derek can't really say he minds, since it means that Stiles is usually there when he gets home from work, demanding cuddles and hot chocolate.

Well. Who is he to deny his boyfriend small pleasures?

Lydia and Erica are the only ones apparently unconcerned with the college rush. Lydia has had everything sorted out since September, apparently, and Erica still has another year of high school. But even Lydia starts to worry about Aiden, and starts fussing at him to finish up with his applications.

One day, he hears Erica tackle Cora in the bedroom they basically share. "So did you pick?"

"No," Cora answers. She's probably aware of Derek listening in, but she's a born wolf and unlikely to let it bother her. "I still don't even want to go."

Derek knows about her hesitance, understands it, even. He never went to college, and he has a great job, even if the Sheriff uses it to terrorize him into "treating Stiles right," as though Derek would ever do anything else. And Cora's never been good at focusing in class. She's different than Stiles, who likes learning about stuff so much that he forces himself to hyper focus on it. (This Derek knows, given that he was subjected to the entire history of both male and female circumcision, why one was acceptable and the other not, and whether or not, should they adopt kids one day, Stiles wanted to get him circumcised. He hadn't been able to pick, and Derek had suggested adopting a daughter instead. Stiles had kissed him in response.)

"So don't," Erica says, like this solves everything. "Take a gap year. Get a job as, I don't know, a florist."

"Nah," Cora sighs. "But I did turn in an application at J. Crew."

"Oh, man, you're gonna end up shopping for Lydia," Erica giggles.

"Well, she did teach me everything I know."

They're quiet for a while, and Derek returns his attention to the paperwork he's filling out. Then he hears a low whistle and a "Damn," from Erica. He returns his attention to the bedroom in time to hear Erica ask, "Does it feel weird to reblog pictures of Ryan Gosling when you have a boyfriend?"

"No," Cora replies. "It's not like I can't appreciate the human form."

"That makes sense," Erica agrees. "Plus Boyd has to be the chillest about that kind of stuff. He's good."

"He's kind of self-conscious about it, I think," Cora says. "He never actually told Derek about being ace, you know? I'm sure Derek picked up on it, at least a little. But he told me it wasn't something he really spread around. I guess people used to give him crap for it."

"That sucks. Boyd is really cool."

"Yeah, and I think that's why he doesn't mind that I still look at other guys. Mostly he tries to give me space. But I love him, you know? And no one looks better than him. You know, he kind of looks like that guy from Shark Night. Um, Sinqua Walls? Yeah."

"No way, show me!"

Derek does know about Boyd being asexual, and even if he hadn't before, Erica spilled the beans at Stiles' birthday party. It never seemed like a big deal to him, but he could understand why Boyd wouldn't talk about it, especially given his relationship with Cora. People are awful, most of the time, and even if he didn't get beat up or anything, people certainly would have told him he just hadn't met the right person yet, or that he just didn't know what sexual attraction felt like.

People are idiots, though.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Stiles mumbles, coming up behind Derek and winding his arms around his hips. "Sorry I fell asleep."

"It's okay. I needed to make some dinner anyway."

"Still. Do you need any help?" He rubbed his face over Derek's back, right in between his shoulder blades. Stiles might have a thing for tattoos. (Or maybe just a thing for Derek.)

"If you want."

They work in silence, Stiles peeling potatoes while Derek slices the chicken breasts into strips and then breads them.

Maybe Derek is different than the average person. He feels more like Boyd than like Isaac, though he wouldn't go so far as to say he's completely asexual. He's lost his breath looking at Stiles more frequently as of late. Sometimes Stiles will stretch, and his shirt will ride up, revealing a smattering of freckles and moles on the small of his back, or he'll lean back on the couch, exposing the long column of his neck...

Derek jumps when Stiles touches him. The chicken in his hands is nugget sized instead of strip, and the breading has spilled a little.

"I think that chicken is good, yeah? You okay?" his boyfriend asks, raising an eyebrows.

"I got distracted," he admits.

"By what?"

"Nothing."

"Oh, were you having thoughts about me?" Stiles teases, wiggling his eyebrows.

"Definitely not."

"So...yes."

"Nope."

"I knew it."

"I will break your hand on this counter."

"Okay, okay, jeez." Stiles holds up his hands to prove harmless. They're covered in dirt from the potatoes.

Derek sighs and reaches out to grab the hands.

"Hey, no, I stopped, you can't—" His protest dies as Derek slots their fingers together and pulls him closer to him. "No, gross, your hands are covered in chicken guts."

Derek ignores him in favor of giving him three short pecks on the lips before kissing him softer and longer. He feels...warm. Full. There's something about kissing Stiles that makes everything in the world slot into place, like it's all the right color now, like Derek's not so bad, like everything could be okay. He pulls away, smiling at the vaguely glazed look on Stiles' face. "We have soap."

"Wha—Oh. Okay."

(After dinner, Stiles burrows in Derek's bed, shivering under all of the covers, while Derek reads a book and cards his hands through his hair. He'll sleep well tonight.)


Spring

"We're...going to Disneyland?" Erica whispers, staring at the ticket Derek is holding out with a look of pure disbelief.

"Yeah," he agrees.

She looks up at him again, eyes shining, before she bodily tackles him, apparently wanting to hug him with her entire body.

He looks over her shoulder at Lydia, who is smugly leaning into Aiden. "Thank you," he mouths.

She just winks.


Summer (Again)

"Derek, you promised," Stiles says. "Please?"

"I don't want to."

"But you said if I got tickets, you would do it."

"Look, I don't mind you going as Batman. I think it's great. That's why I bought you the costume. But I am not doing this." Derek is adamant. Unflappable. There is no way he's backing down on this. (Unless Lydia Martin gets involved, which...well, he's hoping she won't.)

"Dereeeeek," he whines. "Please? Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease?"

He looks over at him, pouting and holding up the costume. "Why can't I just go as Wolverine? Wolverine is my favorite."

"Because you wouldn't be dressing any different than usual."

"I could wear the yellow outfit," he protests.

"You hate yellow."

That's true. "Not as much as I hate DC." Also true.

"But if you're Wolverine it won't make any sense to be with me."

"Nightwing and Batman weren't dating," he argues. "So that's a moot point."

"But they hung out."

"No."

"Yes."

"I am not dressing up as Nightwing."

Stiles pouts, attempting to recreate the patented Scott McCall Puppy Eyes.

"No." But he can feel his resolve waning. Stiles must have practiced with Scott for that face. "Please? I don't want to. I really, really, don't."

"Then why did you say you would?"

"I didn't think your dad would let you go." Honesty is important, probably. Even if it makes Derek look like a terrible person. Which...well, he still is, sometimes.

Okay, a lot of the time.

"Well, he wasn't going to," Stiles admitted. He smirks. "Until I told him about your promise. He wants pictures of you in costume."

Derek groans. Curse the sheriff and his unfortunate hold on Derek's life. "Fine. Fine. A deal is a deal. But I hate you and I'm not kissing you for a month."

"Sure," Stiles says, obviously unconcerned. Probably because he knows Derek likes kissing him far too much to actually hold off on it.

Derek tries on the costume to discover that it does, in fact, fit. They stand together in front of the mirror, Stiles wearing the Batman costume Derek bought him almost a year ago and Derek wearing the Nightwing costume Stiles bought yesterday.

"We look cool," Stiles says.

"We look like people who enjoy DC comics."

Stiles punches him. "Shut up. I can't believe I'm dating a Marvel nerd. Oh, dude, can we wear this on the drive?"

"No. It will chafe."

"But Comic-Con, Derek! Comic-con!"

"No."

"Why am I dating you? You make terrible decisions." He stalks away from the mirror to complain to Erica, who will probably comment on how well he fills out the Batman suit these days.

Derek resists the temptation to go after him for about five seconds.

But he doesn't kiss him!

Much.


A/N: If you're confused, "je ne sais quoi" literally means "I don't know what" and it's commonly used to describe a mysteriously alluring quality. Often it is used in reference to women but I'm pretty sure it could go for dudes, too.

Boyd is asexual but not aromantic. Feel free to ask about that if you're confused. I alluded to it a little in part one, but part two goes a little more in depth with it. Also, people do assault asexual people, often sexually, but I figured Boyd, being a werewolf as well as a physically fit human, would be less worried about that, so all of the prejudice to him in the past was vocal.

Derek's sexuality isn't established, but it's either gray-a or demisexual. I wasn't initially going to include that, but given that I wrote him that way (on accident, honestly) it seemed right to mention it. He's not worried about it, so there's no agonizing about it.

I think...that's all I needed to mention...?

Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Wolf. Or Batman. Or Mean Girls. Or SSX. Or PlayStation. Or anything else you recognize.