My headcanon is that Stiles takes photos of Derek when he’s sleeping so he’ll have his face on film.
MAN, THE ALL THE PHOTOS OF DEREK AROUND THE HOUSE WOULD BE OF HIM ASLEEP.
Hey don’t suppose anyone is interested in a little ficlet I accidentally wrote about this? No? Well here it is anyway.
The fact that the pack has a tendency to pass out at Stiles’ house after a long run is really stupid. Stiles tries to explain exactly how stupid it is to have an ex-murder suspect, and a whole bunch of other tired werewolves asleep and off their guard in the sheriff’s house. But by the time he’s gotten halfway through the sentence Jackson and Scott are already asleep. Derek blinks slowly at him when he trails off, before nodding slightly. Stiles isn’t sure if it’s in agreement with what he’s saying, or approval because he shut up. Either way, Stiles ends up with three sweaty werewolves asleep on his couch and his floor.
Scott had collapsed on top of Jackson, one leg still hooked over the back of the couch, mouth hanging open. He looked ridiculous, not to mention the way his head had fallen, his mouth was now about two inches from Jackson’s face.
It was perfectly natural for Stiles to take a picture of their odd, gangly and slightly homoerotic predicament, as payback for invading his home and deciding to sleep there. It was only as Stiles was giggling quietly at the picture on his camera that he realized what he’d done. He’d taken a picture of two werewolves, no flare, no discoloration, just two sleeping boys.
After that, Stiles doesn’t protest as much when the pack falls asleep at his house. He kind of feels a little creepy at first, photographing his friends sleeping, but he shrugs it off. He prints the pictures out from his computer and keeps them in a drawer in his desk, a nice little stack for each boy.
It’s not until a few weeks later that Stiles almost gets himself caught. Derek had come in after training, having spent the afternoon sparring with both of the younger werewolves simultaneously, and probably kicking their asses too. Stiles’ dad was home, so instead of coming through the front, Derek had just jumped in his window and fallen asleep on Stiles’ bed.
Derek looked different when he was sleeping, less tense, less angry, less burning-too-hot and more gentle-warmth. And he also looks different on film, stubble turned to a soft shadow, jaw strong instead of sharp. Stiles can’t really explain it, not even to himself. But the fact is that pictures of sleeping Derek barely look like the man he knows at all.
Unfortunately it’s getting dark now, and there’s not enough light to take shot Stiles wants (big bad wolf asleep on top of Spiderman sheets, come on now, that’s brilliant). So he carefully turns on the flash. He takes one photo and afterwards Derek’s eyes flutter and Stiles jumps back, stuffing his camera into his desk before Derek wakes up enough to see it.
Stiles is more careful after that. Of course, in the end he doesn’t even get caught taking pictures. He gets caught with the evidence. He just about has a heart attack when he comes home from lacrosse practice one day to find Derek sitting at his desk, carefully looking through the embarrassingly large stack of photographs.
“Why?” Derek asks, tone flat. Which could mean anything really, from controlled rage to mild affection. Derek was not the most emotionally expressive person Stiles knew.
“Well,” Stiles stalls, rubbing his sweaty palms on the back of his jeans, making something up on the spot, “I figure this way there’s at least some record that I didn’t make you guys up in my head. You know, like a sudden Fight Club reveal? Oh, or that one episode of Buffy where Buffy’s in an insane asylum and they try to convince her she’s made everything up! Or,” Stiles is on a roll now but Derek cut him off with a raised palm.
“Give me the camera.” he says and Stiles winces. He reluctantly reaches into his bed side drawer and takes out his camera; he learned long ago not to argue with Derek when he didn’t have to.
He’s expecting Derek to do something unnecessarily destructive like crunch his camera or at least take his memory card away. Stiles isn’t sure how, but taking picture of sleeping werewolves is probably a no-no. Instead Derek just turns the camera on, points it at Stiles, and takes a picture.
“Fair’s fair.” Derek says, handing the camera back. “I want a copy of that.”
And then he leaves. After that, for every picture Stiles takes of Derek, he gives Derek a photo of himself. At first they’re just pictures Stiles takes of himself making funny faces in the mirror. But after awhile he gets tired of that. He starts slipping copies of baby pictures into Derek’s jacket pocket when he drops it on the ground to spar.
Finally, one day Stiles carefully makes a photocopy of his favorite photograph. It’s just him and his mom, sitting on the couch. His mom playing with his then-longer hair while they watched tv. His dad had taken the picture without either of them noticing. They look… peaceful, content. It was taken two weeks before his mom died.
Stiles is about to leave Derek’s house that night after one of their weekly pack meetings when he remembers the photocopy in his back pocket. He grabs it and even as he catches Derek’s attention and slips the picture into his hand, Stiles doesn’t really understand why he’s doing it. When did it start to matter so much?
But Derek just stares down at the photo for a long moment and then says ‘thanks stiles’ low and as soft as Derek ever is. Stiles doesn’t say anything, he just smiles for a second, and then walks out the door.
Somehow, this doesn’t feel like it’s just about pictures anymore.