Teen Wolf AU: Derek hears Stiles laugh for the first time. gifset by dylanships, drabble by mydearsourwolf
Stiles doesn’t laugh.
It’s not something that Derek has ever put much thought into before, because he’s never had a reason to focus on something that’s never been there before. But Stiles doesn’t laugh – he snarks with sly lips and snorts in indignation when he thinks that he’s heard something completely foolish and he huffs out a noise of victory when he succeeds at something but Stiles doesn’t laugh. And Derek has never thought that odd until one day Derek realizes that it’s very odd indeed. Because Stiles smiles and Stiles trips over himself in ways that Derek finds strangely amusing and Stiles pokes and prods and breaks out quips at the most inappropriate times. And sometimes his lips pull at the edges in a smart smile and sometimes his eyes grow soft when Derek glances over at him and holds his gaze for too long.
But Stiles doesn’t laugh like Allison does or Scott or even Lydia. And Derek’s never thought to compare any of them and never thought to over-analyze Stiles but then one day Stiles makes him aware of the very thing that has been missing.
They’re over at Derek’s loft one day – Isaac and Scott and Stiles (of course), with Lydia too and Allison is sitting in the far corner, still slightly wary and cautious, as if she doesn’t belong in any home of Derek’s (and Derek thinks that that’s probably true but he’s found that he can’t seem to care these days). He’s half listening and half frowning at the patterns of claw marks left in the floorboards beneath his boots when Scott and Stiles remark about Derek’s reading habits (he’s not even sure how they ended up on that topic). Derek mutters some dry rebuttal, not bothering to acquiesce them with a glare and then something breaks around him.
It’s a sound that Derek’s never heard before, clear and sweet and carelessly happy and it’s Stiles, a laughter spilling from his lips and Derek jerks his head up at the sound, manages to catch the way Stiles’ shoulders shake beneath the weight of Scott’s arm, the light grinning in his eyes as they flicker over to Derek.
And it is then that Derek realizes: he’s never heard Stiles quite like this and he’s never seen the smile glimmering from Stiles’ white teeth with his lips pulled back and how his pale skin pulls across his sharp cheekbones as the laughter slowly subsides, rippling through his body, in the soft shudder of his muscles as the full body effect drains softly and with an ease that makes Derek suddenly feel a flush of heat and restless and nothing makes sense for Derek anymore, just when everything was suddenly fitting back together like jigaw pieces finally right, they’re suddenly all scattered apart once again.
It needles at the back of Derek’s brain for the rest of the day, twists uncomfortable fingers beneath his skin, itching and tugging and humming a dull buzz in his ears that he can’t quite brush away and force silent. He can’t seem to stop watching Stiles now, eyes flickering over to him when Derek thinks that Stiles is too preoccupied to notice. And he waits, all oddly tense and rigid for something that he doesn’t understand. But Stiles doesn’t make that sound again, even when Scott cracks a joke and Allison laughs softly by his side and Isaac is so utterly amused. Derek feels Stiles’ eyes on him, somehow warmer than anyone else’s gaze but Derek doesn’t turn to look at him, just waits.
But Stiles doesn’t laugh again.
And Derek leaves it be.
Until the loft grows quiet once more as Scott and Isaac gather their things and Lydia is making hushed noises at Allison as they both leave and Derek allows his eyes to drift shut at the welcomed silence, bracing his hands against the counter top.
“What’s wrong with you?”
Derek jolts, curses softly at missing the soft fall of footsteps moving towards him.
“Nothing.” and it’s not true but Stiles is human and cannot hear lies and Derek has never been more grateful for that.
“I know you’re lying,” Stiles says and he sounds sure and steady but there is a hesitance that flickers in his throat for just a moment. “You’ve been watching me all day, and not your normal staring, like you’re — like there’s something off?”
Derek sighs. And Stiles shifts his weight behind him, causing the floorboards to creak just slightly. And maybe Derek is tired of dancing around whatever this is that he and Stiles have been silently not speaking about, the way neither of them seems to protest each other’s company anymore and how Stiles sits beside Derek on the sofa when there’s plenty of room elsewhere and the way Derek doesn’t frown at him as often or push him away.
And how none of that feels strange at all, just comfortable, just right.
So maybe that’s why Derek says now, “I’ve never heard you laugh before,” and why Stiles tilts his head at Derek as he turns to face him and lies, “I laugh all the time.”
Derek shakes his head, takes a step forward; it’s so easy to fit into Stiles’ space now, because Stiles doesn’t flinch, just lets Derek in.
“You don’t,” Derek says softly, eyes flickering to Stiles’ mouth, as Stiles breathes in and out, in an out, an echo to the rabbit flutter of his heartbeat.
Stiles swallows, hands flexing by his sides, and how easily they could reach and curl around Derek’s hips, if only he made the effort to do so.
“And you’re a regular ray of sunshine,” he says, but the snark isn’t there, tries and fails and instead leaves his voice a hoarse rasp that Derek wants to curl his fingers around, taste with his mouth and tuck in the safety of his broad palms.
“Why don’t you?” Derek lifts his hand to the curve of Stiles’ jaw, not quite touching, his thumb resting beneath the weight of Stiles’ bottom lip, feeling the shape of it curve over the roughened pad of his thumb.
Stiles’ eyes seem brighter somehow, flecks of amber that catch the light of the dying sun over Derek’s shoulder, a kaleidoscope that dances beneath the thick fan of eyelashes and pale skin.
“Never felt right,” he whispers.
Derek tilts his head at this, presses his palm against Stiles’ jaw and lets his hand take in the shape of Stiles’ face, the smooth expanse of warm skin and the way the dark moles feel slightly different and how they scatter beneath his fingers.
“But it does now?” Derek murmurs.
Stiles draws the flesh of his lip beneath his teeth, the plush red skin whitening where Stiles sinks his teeth in a little deeper, nerves skittering off of him like raw electric high wires bundled tight.
“You don’t laugh either,” Stiles says again, and this time his fingers curl into the belt loops of Derek’s jeans, tug in the barest of demand and Derek allows Stiles to pull him in, slots his booted feet between Stiles’ worn out chucks.
“I like it when you do,” Derek says, thumb pressing against the corner of Stiles’ mouth, tracing inward, soft pressure beneath Stiles’ teeth as he coaxes their release.
And Stiles’ mouth is pulling at a small smile, as he tips his face upwards, closer, closer to Derek and his lips feel soft and warm, slightly wet and Derek breathes in, catches Stiles’ scent on his tongue.
“I’ll laugh more for you,” Stiles murmurs against Derek’s lips, as Derek’s hand slides along Stiles’ jaw, cups the back of his head in his large hand, thick fingers digging into the mess of Stiles’ hair. “I’ve got a reason to now.”