I know right? It’s good that Stiles notices but then again, it’s not like Derek tries to hide it either? Then again, how can you try to stop a base reaction you know? How can Derek not lean into Cora’s hand when she pets his hair? He can’t help it, it just feels so nice and good!
And when Stiles notices, he wonders if its a sibling thing or maybe it’s a werewolf thing? He must study this. For science and reasons. But mostly its just curiosity because he doesn’t know enough about Derek and Stiles would like to know. It’s a thing. And he wants to know all the things. About Derek. Yeah. It’s a pretty flimsy excuse so Stiles keeps it to himself.
He wonders a lot how to do it, how to pet Derek’s hair and as it turns out, the first time happens sort of by accident? Like, pack movie night and everyone’s just sitting in a cluster around the big sofa and Stiles’ hand is on the back of the sofa and ooooh look~ His hand is right there next to Derek’s head. Should he pet him? All signs point to yes.
So that happens and he’s amazed to see Derek all but MELT in his seat. Like, eyes closing, lips parting in a sigh and sliding down in his seat in clear delight. Wow okay. Derek really likes to have his hair petted!
After that, Stiles over thinks it a lot because Derek’s not his guard after that and just how does he pet Derek’s hair now? And its still bout finding out what Derek’s like and not about wanting to relearn how soft Derek’s hair is okay, just to be clear! So, the second time happens in this awkward way like Stiles’ hand freezes an inch away from Derek’s hair before smack-dropping on his head and scratching. Which makes Derek’s confused frown turn into this pleased look that makes Stiles’ grin and say “You really like that don’t you?” and would you look at that. Derek didn’t growl or scowl at him!
He doesn’t try anything after that because man, it had been awkward when he’d stopped petting Derek’s hair. He might even try to avoid Derek a wee bit. But there’s only so much you can avoid a body when there’s always one problem or another cropping up. And the flavor of the week is kelpies (which, what the hell even? what the fuck are kelpies doing so far inland anyways? [migrating herd actually]) so they get stuck together, keeping an eye out on the group that’s passing through town.
And Stiles stretches in Derek’s car, because staying quiet for long stretches of time is SO HARD. Wait. Did he put his hand in close range to Derek’s head AGAIN? GDI. Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a gosh darn MINUTE. IS DEREK LEANING HIS HEAD BACK INTO HIS HAND? IS THAT? HES NOT IMAGINING THAT RIGHT?
He’s not. Derek bumps his head into Stiles’ hand like pet me please and who is Stiles to resist. And after that, it becomes sort of their thing like whenever they’re alone or have down time or Derek wants something nice, he slides over next to Stiles and waits for Stiles to pet his hair. It’s not a dog thing and I will punch you if you make a dog joke out of this Stiles.
And somehow they go from that to semi-snuggling together and next thing Stiles knows, hes got this huge urge to kiss Derek’s head whenever he does that happy sigh-nuzzle-snuggle combo against his neck. Which he fights off as long as he can but there’s only so long he can resist and he winds up kissing Derek’s hair when they’re watching Mythbusters.
Stiles freezes like oh shit he didn’t plan on doing that! Shit shit shit, he didn’t screw this up with his feelings did he? He’s this close to panicking when Derek grabs his hand and squeezes, muttering “I can’t hear them talk over your heart. Calm down.”
"You don’t… I just… what?"
"Calm. Down." Derek repeats before tilting his head towards the laptop. "And watch."
Stiles squints at Derek like did he miss the part where I kissed his head?
And has to try not to jump out of his skin in pleasant surprise when Derek kisses his hand. Okay. So that happened. This is happening.
"Stiles. Shut up."
Was he saying that aloud? Whoops.