I think the most important question of all time is if Derek prefers belly rubs, or is he the kind of 'clingy when cuddling' boyfriend so he just lays on top of Stiles and lets him rub his back (and sometimes his butt) ? My personal headcanon is that werewolves can get sort of stoned from their mate's scent and Derek once a month likes to climb into Stiles' lap and melt into his arms surrounded by his boyfriend's scent. Bonus pie points if Derek steals Stiles' shirts to wear when he's napping
You have no idea how much I just screamed over this ask. This is being filed under “favourites”, for sure.
I think Derek is the type of guy who really, really likes cuddles and anything that involves getting to touch Stiles, but pretends he’s completely indifferent to it/does it only to “shut Stiles up”. Which, you know, is complete lies. The first time Stiles sleeps next to Derek in a bed, it’s painfully obvious Derek wants to cuddle but he just doesn’t know how to go about asking. Poor, awkward lamb. Stiles nearly makes a joke at Derek’s expense about how obvious it is because, well, but he refrains at the last minute upon seeing Derek’s face - Derek doesn’t just look nervous, he looks scared, like he might be rejected - and shaking his head (because this adorable asshole) Stiles shifts closer and hastily mumbles something about not having his pillow, “so you’ll have to do, big guy”.
Before they get together, it takes a while for Derek to get used to being tactile with Stiles. Derek is fine touching other people - he has the control that way - but he’s still not good with people touching him. Unfortunately, that’s not a great combination when you are a touch starved werewolf with trust issues, because it pretty much means the only kind of physical contact Derek ever receives is either in life or death situations or during (not so fun and friendly) pack training sessions. Not ideal. Of course, after a while, Stiles clocks this.
Stiles has known about Derek’s touch issues since he first met him, but it’s better now (he thinks). So he tries small things: sitting next to Derek during pack movie nights and pressing his leg against his; letting himself fall asleep on Derek’s shoulder (desperately trying not to read too much into it when Derek doesn’t move away); and, a few times, hugging Derek goodbye and lingering longer than he should each time he does it.
After a while, Derek starts touching Stiles back. One day, he just crawls through Stiles’ window and sits by Stiles’ bed until Stiles - very tired and not thinking things through too much - puts a hand on Derek’s shoulder and tells him in no uncertain terms “ to get up here for some Stilinski spooning time”. Derek grumbles at that but he’s in Stiles’ bed exactly twenty seconds later, which gives Stiles major pause for thought.
And listen, this is how it goes on. They aren’t even together but Derek touching Stiles and being touched by him soon becomes A Thing. For both of them. A very important thing. The life of Derek Hale suddenly becomes about three things: the pack, Cora, and Stiles.
Sometimes, Stiles sleeps over at the loft. Not for any reason other than the fact Stiles does a lot of late night research there, but after a while it kind of becomes apparent Stiles is there for “research times” and what he has come to call “Derek’s personal pillow times”. Derek’s person pillow times often involve Derek shyly (but somehow still grumpily) crawling into Stiles’ lap and (not so subtly) scenting him. Stiles asked about the scenting thing once and Derek stopped for three weeks, entirely embarrassed - Derek had looked so upset and torn about the whole thing (aka, he looked like a hurt five year old) that eventually Stiles had just marched into the loft, stuck Batman on, and told Derek to get his “fluffy butt in here. I mean it Derek, my neck is lonely now. Don’t leave a bro in need like this, it’s accustomed to your snout!” Stiles expected Derek to either throw him out or snark at him for that but instead, Derek shuffled - actually shuffled - into the room (still appearing out of nowhere, the creepy show off), holding himself rather tight, before crawling into Stiles’ lap and staying there for exactly 2.5 Batman movies, face buried in Stiles’ neck. (Stiles does not grin manically when he feels Derek’s whole body sag against him, like he hasn’t been able to settle without him.)
During Stiles’ second year of college, they have their first kiss. Well, if a first kiss can be called a first kiss when the dude you are hard core crushing on puts a finger to your lips half way through your perfectly valid rant about why Princess Leia is The Best, stares into your eyes for a solid three minutes (and somehow makes it both awkward and the best fucking thing you have ever experienced when looking at someone), before placing a very soft and intimate kiss to your neck. Stiles has no idea what it even means until he eventually plucks up the courage to ask Cora who instantly threatens him with bodily harm if Stiles hurts her brother. (”So, uh, the neck thing was…..?” “My brother’s traditional, dorky way of telling you he loves you. Duh. Jesus Stiles, and you call yourself our Emissary?”)
From then on out, Derek’s attachment to touching Stiles just becomes more intense. In front of people and the pack he’ll settle for holding hands or being next to Stiles, but in private he becomes like a lazy cat. He gets very pouty when he wakes up and finds Stiles not in bed for morning cuddles; he loves being able to wash Stiles’ hair; back rubs and head rubs are his favourite, especially when he’s reading or they are watching movies (Derek’s introducing all the classics to Stiles, like Rebecca and The Breakfast Club; “no, Spider-man doesn’t count as a classic, Stiles” “says who?” “says me if you still want a blow job later” ). Mostly though, he just loves being in his old position of sitting in Stiles’ lap and burying his face in Stiles’ neck.
Sometimes Stiles will talk about his day while Derek does this and it works for both of them because Derek is surrounded by Stiles’ scent, his voice, his whole being; and that calms him, settles him in a way he hasn’t been since before the fire. And in turn, having someone to listen to him - really, truly listen - while he’s talking, brings Stiles a kind of happiness he’s never experienced before. Sure, people hear him. They talk to him and hold conversations. But sooner or later Stiles always sees their eyes wander, sees the start of a yawn or is outright told to shut up.
Stiles knows his attention isn’t anything to write home about but there is a difference between being unable to hold someone’s attention and someone just not wanting to hold your attention, specifically. Of course, Derek still tells Stiles to shut up, that’s never a thing that stopped between them, but now it usually ends in heated make out sessions or sex, so, Stiles really has no complaints. But in moments like these, with Derek in his lap, Derek just listens. He can sit for hours and never tires of Stiles. If Stiles is happy, he smiles into his neck, makes these little happy sounds; if he’s sad, he’ll kiss his neck, and murmur quiet things; angry, he’ll hold him tighter and let him vent, for as long as he likes.
Some couples have hobbies, have things, but this is their ritual. Just this. Every other day, just having this quiet moment of peace and happiness. A bubble no one can penetrate. It’s a visible anchor, the place they always come back to. It’s a place they both need; the place Stiles needs when he’s feeling insecure and the place Derek needs when he’s feeling lonely. Nothing can touch them in it, no high is better. Especially to Derek who really can feel a little drunk off of Stiles’ scent, sometimes. It’s a kind of closeness both of them have always craved but never really gotten. It’s Derek’s way of saying I love you when he finds it difficult to say it. It’s Stiles’ way of knowing I’m needed when he doubts it.
It’s just them, and even though it sometimes freaks Stiles out - the stillness, the fact he can be this still, for hours - it serves as a precious reminder that after all the chaos, after all the loss and heart break, that they found this: they found a small and quiet, beautiful thing. And they found it in each other, which is both the most baffling and the least surprising thing of all.