“Would it be all right if I borrowed your sweater?” Stiles holds up the charcoal gray sweater to show Derek which one he’s talking about. Bringing it closer, he sniffs. “It smells like you.”
“I haven’t had a chance to wash it since wearing it last night.” Derek looks at him and arches a brow. “I’ve got a clean sweater you can borrow instead.”
“No,” Stiles says, tightening his grip on the soft material in his hand. Thinking quickly, since he definitely doesn’t want Derek to realize why he likes how it smells, he adds, “It’d be pointless to dirty up another sweater when I just need to wear it home. I’ll even wash this one for you before I give it back.”
“I can do my own laundry, Stiles. I’m not living in an old train car anymore,” he points out, his eyebrows doing their weird communication thing that Stiles still can’t translate even after five years of trying. “I even have my own washer and dryer now.”
“I know! I’m so proud of you for being a real grown boy now.” Stiles watches Derek huff a laugh and totally doesn’t get butterflies in his stomach watching Derek’s lips curve into a small smile. Nope, not at all. Butterflies would be stupid, after all, and he’s really smart. Not smart enough to avoid falling for yet another unattainable gorgeous creature totally out of his league, but, well, nobody’s perfect.
“I’m a man, not a boy,” Derek says, studying him intently for a moment before turning around to head back downstairs. “You can borrow the sweater, but, next time, check the weather forecast. You’ve got finals coming up, so the last thing you need to do is get sick.”
“Definitely all man,” Stiles mutters after Derek’s left the room, inhaling the scent of cologne and Derek that still lingers on the sweater. He might not have super werewolf senses, but he can still smell the unique combination of scents that makes him think of Derek. It’s his own version of Amortentia. Shaking his head, he leaves Derek’s bedroom, sliding the sweater on as he walks downstairs. While he isn’t leaving yet, it’s cool enough in the loft to justify putting it on now. “I already had the lecture about the weather, Derek. That’s the reason you sent me upstairs to grab a sweater, remember? Because I was bitching about how cold it is in here. Anyway, I don’t need it a second time in half an hour.”
“I’ve learned that repetition works best for you. You always ignore things the first time, but you eventually start listening after the fifth time.” Derek is in the kitchen scraping remnants of baked ziti into the trash can. “It’s like teaching a dog, which you should enjoy considering your fondness for dog jokes.”
“Ha-ha. You aren’t funny. Whoever told you that you are was lying.” Stiles shoves the sleeves of the sweater up past his elbows and picks up one of the plates. “Tonight’s recipe is definitely a keeper, by the way. It was delicious.”
“I figured that after you ate two plates full,” Derek says dryly, handing him the second plate. “I put leftovers in a container for you so you can take them home with you.”
“I know what I’ll be having for lunch tomorrow then. Jordan’s going to be so jealous.” Stiles runs water over the plate before putting it into the dishwasher. “You kept enough for you, too, didn’t you?”
“There wasn’t that much left, Stiles.” Derek rolls his eyes. “Don’t give me that look. I still have leftover chicken from the other night that’s going to go bad if I don’t eat it soon. You’ve got a long shift tomorrow, so you need a good lunch.”
“You need to stop giving me all the leftovers. That’s not fair at all, especially when it’s your food I’m always taking.” Stiles moves out of the way so Derek can rinse the pans that are dishwasher safe. “Next time, I’m cooking, and you’re taking all the leftovers.”
“Okay.” Derek looks at him. “Just tell me when. You can use my kitchen since your apartment is ridiculously small.”
“It’s what I can afford on a deputy’s salary, so don’t get all judgmental. I know you hate me living in that neighborhood, but it’s not that bad. I’ve faced far worse supernatural shit than anything in my area.” Stiles rubs his face against his shoulder, enjoying the soft sweater material that probably cost more than anything he owns. To be so low maintenance, Derek has some expensive clothes.
“I’m not judgmental. I just don’t like you living there. The thought of you getting hurt worries me.” Derek ducks his head to put the silverware in the bottom of the dishwasher. “You’re pack, so I want you safe.”
“Pack. Right.” Stiles sighs and grabs his bottle of beer before heading into the living room. Every single time he foolishly starts to think maybe Derek actually is interested in him beyond the strong friendship they’ve developed in the two years since Derek came back, he’s quickly reminded that it’s not ever going to happen. He really needs to get over it, push this infatuation aside and focus on finding someone who might actually want him, but he’s too stubborn to let go this fast. He pined for Lydia for years, after all, and his feelings for Derek are a lot deeper and more real than anything he felt for Lydia.
“What’s wrong?” Derek touches his shoulder, forcing him to face him. “You smell sad.”
“Nothing’s wrong, Derek. It’s all good.” Stiles smiles before taking a drink of his beer. It’s local, from up in Oregon, and it’s not bad. Derek likes buying different local stuff for Stiles to try, and this is one of the better kinds. “No sadness here.”
Derek frowns. “You’re lying. I know what I smell, Stiles.” He leans forward and inhales, nostrils flaring as he suddenly takes a step back. He drags his fingers through his hair, looking anywhere but Stiles.
“Guess it’s my turn to ask what’s wrong. Do I stink?” Stiles sniffs but only smells Derek’s sweater and his own cologne. He doesn’t usually wear cologne unless he’s going on a date, but, well, he likes to wear it when he comes to Derek’s place for dinner because he wishes it was a date instead of just their twice weekly friends’ dinner thing they started over a year ago.
“You don’t stink.” Derek glances at him then, lips parted and eyes a little dazed. “You smell like me. My sweater, I mean. I wasn’t expecting it, so it caught me by surprise. Nothing’s wrong with me, either.”
“Me smelling like you makes you all blushy and eye avoidant?” Stiles bites his lip and stares at Derek before he decides that it’s best to let it go. If he pushes, it could just mess up their friendship, which is the thing he’s most scared about losing. That’s why he hasn’t just asked Derek out on a date so he can find out for certain that it’s unrequited. With Scott still away at vet school and not being super close with the younger pack, Derek’s become his best friend. He’s not going to lose that over a bunch of feelings he can’t control. “So, uh, movie or more Criminal Minds?”
“Movie. Something funny maybe?” Derek relaxes, which makes Stiles realize he must have been really tense about the scenting thing. Stiles gives him his best puppy dog eyes until he huffs a laugh. “Or some superhero thing.”
“Great answer. I’m think Winter Solider, seeing as how it’s gotten so cold tonight.” Stiles puts the dvd in the machine before going to sit next to Derek on the sofa. It’s a little further away than usual, but he’s not sure if Derek’s feeling completely comfortable or not.
He must be, though, because he makes a sighing noise before tugging Stiles back against him. “Get comfortable. And please refrain from the usual commentary about Steve and Bucky, okay? I’ve got it memorized seeing as you’ve made me watch this a dozen times.”
“But the commentary is the best part. It’s what makes this such an awesome romance instead of just a typical superhero movie. I mean, I could have said Civil War, and then you’d get teary and blame allergies, but, noooo, I’m nice so I choose the not so sad one,” Stiles points out.
“I don’t get teary,” Derek mutters. “If it was a romance, it wouldn’t all be subtext, you know?”
“See, now you’re just trying to provoke me, asshole.” Stiles slaps Derek’s thigh and grins. “The studios are too cowardly or stupid to go there, so it’s up to us fans to see what’s really happening.”
“Provoking you wouldn’t be as much fun if you didn’t get all flushed and passionate when defending your viewpoint.” Derek clears his throat, and Stiles tenses when he feels soft beard brush against his neck. “Okay?”
“Yeah,” Stiles whispers, eyes fluttering as Derek presses his lips against the skin beneath his ear. “Derek…what…”
“I like you. A lot.” Derek’s not even whispering, his voice so quiet that Stiles isn’t entirely sure he heard what he thinks he heard. “I think maybe you feel the same way.”
“I do.” Stiles turns towards him, hitting Derek’s face with his chin, which causes Derek to pull his head back. He cringes because, wow, way to be awkward instead of sexy. “Sorry.”
“You do?” Derek doesn’t seem to care that he just got hit in the face. “I’m talking more than just friends, Stiles.”
“Duh?” Stiles smiles wryly. “I’m talking dating and making out when you’re ready because, yeah, thinking about having sex with you has fueled my fantasy life for years, but it’s not just sex. I’m willing to wait as long as it takes because I know you’ve had some issues with people using you for that, and I’m not those people. I want to romance you, like cheesy rom coms with Katherine Heigl and Hot British Guy, because it always seems to be some hot British guy, and I want to sweep you off your feet, Derek.”
“I don’t know who Katherine Heigl is, and I’d take you over any hot British guys, Stiles.” Derek’s ears are red, and he looks a little surprised at what he’s just said. Before Stiles can reply, Derek kisses him. A chaste kiss, just the press of lips together with a gentle pressure, but it still makes Stiles’ toes curl. He’s so far gone on Derek it’s ridiculous. “Dating sounds like a good start. Then we can let the sex stuff happen naturally, alright?”
“Alright. I like that plan.” Stiles kisses Derek before curling up against him and smiling because he can't believe this really happened. He's happier than he thought possible, especially when Derek pulls him closer and totally starts scenting him. “We can figure out our first date after the movie.”