Fandom: Teen Wolf
Summary: Derek’s mother had loved dancing.
His mother had loved dancing. Any kind of dancing, she wasn’t choosy. She loved group dances at Pack gatherings, turning on the radio and making everyone dance with her. Solo dances in the kitchen while she was cooking or tidying, small wiggles in the garden. He’s sure she probably found a way to dance while she was at work, too. Her favorites, though, had always been the paired dances. She described in detail the first dance she and his father had at their wedding, and sometimes when they went to bed, he and Laura would hear the soft music turn on and creep down the stairs to watch their parents dance together in the den.
By the time he was six, dancing was a firm favorite of Derek’s, too. Like his mother he liked solo dancing, as a little kid he’d loved to wiggle and fling himself around, following the beat of the music but mostly just letting loose. It was a kind of freedom, like the freedom of letting his teeth and claws out. It felt wonderful and light, like a little ball of warmth in his chest, making him move to let it out. The claws were a release of his aggression, but the dancing was letting lose all the good feelings when they got so strong he just needed to move.
Being so young, and raised mostly around people who were heavy on knowing your own emotions, expressing yourself, being free, Derek felt no shame about his dancing. Some of his best early memories were of him and his mother dancing together – side-by-side in the kitchen, bumping hips doing the grocery shopping, even wiggling together while they read stories in bed. Sometimes others joined in – a particularly sharp memory is of his parents and Laura and himself in the kitchen, having just finished clearing up, all dancing together to a song on the radio.
When his mother took him to dancing lessons, Derek felt conflicted about them. There weren’t that many boys there and most of them looked grumpy. The girls giggled behind their hands at him, and the teacher touched his hair too much. The dancing was stiff and controlled, having to learn steps and moves and most of the time he had to dance with one of the girls. He thought, the first time, that he would hate it. But when he came home, his mother made him show her what he’d learned, doing turns around the den with her and imagining growing up, doing this with his own wife. Surprisingly he came to love it – having no problems with any of the tricky steps, and he learned the moves quickly. He enjoyed being the one in the lead, the closeness with his partner, and even though the steps were all the same, he could add in little bits of his own and it was still dancing.
Kate taught him a whole new way to dance, years later. She took him to his first club at sixteen, although he looked older for his age and she swanned past the bouncers without faltering. The kind of dancing here was slick and hot, pressing against strangers bodies and moving to the throb of the music. It was so different to what he’d done with his mother, the movements firing passion in his blood and releasing the pent-up arousal that seemed to fill his days, now. With Kate.
After the fire, the dancing mostly stopped. There were a few years in there when Laura had to come drag him out of clubs in the early morning, grinding against people he didn’t want and didn’t want to see again, lost in the bass and the darkness and free to let out his pain, guilt. But the other kind of dancing – alone, in the kitchens, or with someone he loved around the den – they were all gone.
Then he moved back into the house, as much as he could move into a burned-out shell. At first he mostly tried to ignore the memories, but some of them crept in, especially in the den, whose hardwood flooring were a new color to match his mood, but still intact. He imagined he could see the wear in places where his parents had danced for so long. He found himself dancing here, first, lost in a memory of his mother dancing around to some happy song while she tidied the place up, body moving to the unheard beat. He snapped out of it sharply when he went to dance around a table that wasn’t there anymore, and the memory vanished to reveal charred flooring and stripped walls.
Months later, he was living in an abandoned subway station with a brand new pack. Most of the time things were strained between them, but sometimes they would do little things to show this was their den, too, to show they were beginning to work together as a Pack. Erica started it, bringing along music (poppy and loud and modern) and dancing about in a way she never would have, before. Boyd joined in when she made him, mostly grinding a little bit, full of rhythm but not enthusiastic enough for movement. Isaac crept over to join her, grinding familiarly, intimately although he knew they didn’t feel that way. Jackson smirked at them, challenge in his eyes and soon he was with them, Erica and Isaac pressing to his body and ganging up on him. He wanted to feel uncomfortable but he couldn’t; this wasn’t the group dancing his mother pressed them into, but it felt the same.
He hung back, not ready yet to join in, but Isaac surprised him, creeping over to press him into dancing. He was so sweet when he wasn’t made to feel blood-thirsty, and Derek found it hard sometimes not to give him what he wanted. So he joined in, dancing with them like they were in a club (guilt, arousal, passion, anger) but feeling like it was a pack dance (joy, happiness, connection). It fitted his new pack.
Of course, with Lydia and Jackson permanent Pack members, Isaac, Erica and Boyd practically living with him, and Scott occasionally coming over to flail around in a way that should have been annoying but was surprisingly endearing, his life soon filled up with dancing again. Erica liked her music, and Boyd often had his Ipod turned on – quietly, normally in his bag, but the heavy drum-and-bass he favored still audible to Derek. And when the Pack gathered together, there was inevitably some form of dancing going on.
One member of the odd, makeshift little pack didn’t join in the dancing, however, and as the pack grew closer and the bonds between them strengthened, Derek wanted to know why. He wanted to push Stiles into the middle of the floor and make him dance.
As it turned out, being in a Pack full of sleek, graceful shapeshifters (and Lydia) when you’re a clumsy, unco-ordinated human was enough to make someone feel inadequate and too shy to dance. Stiles tapped and twitched and wiggled, but he never actually got up to join in – the bump and grind between Erica and anyone she got close to made him aroused-embarrassed-awkward, and the close slow-dancing between Jackson and Lydia and occasionally Scott and Alison when she liked him (or sometimes Isaac, when she didn’t), made him feel sad and not worthy.
Derek couldn’t help it, everyone should feel free to dance. One day, when the others were wrapped up in dancing to something of Isaac’s – a beat, but slow and low, a bit like easy Jazz – Derek grabbed Stiles, pulled him to the side, and made him dance. It was a challenge, he had to admit, but the fun kind, like the first time he tried to learn the Waltz and kept forgetting which foot to lead with. Stiles would catch the beat for a while, then loose it for his own; he’d move fine then a stray limb would swing out wildly. Grinding just made him embarrassed enough to melt, which might be fun in a different situation, but Derek wanted Stiles to feel comfortable here.
One thing Stiles was good at, though, and genuinely liked, was the slow dancing. Being close to someone else like that calmed him, oddly, and when he got lost in them he followed their beat flawlessly. And for Derek it was surprisingly nice. Stiles was only a tiny bit shorter than him, and a lot slimmer, and fit perfectly in his arms. He rested his head on Derek’s shoulder after a while, a little tired and trusting which made Derek feel warm. And he never got tired of it.
He didn’t always dance with Derek, of course. Once he got into it, Stiles was a pretty equal-opportunity dancer. The Pack had caught on that Derek liked the dancing, and they liked it too, so somehow their den (first the subway then, after everything calmed down, the rebuilt house) became a mini Pack-rave once a week or so. No one could agree on a music or a dancing style – except that time Lydia decided they should all learn Latin dancing, and made Derek teach Stiles so he wouldn’t hurt himself – but the good-natured squabbling was just part of the experience. Mostly Derek went for the odd grinding with the others in the Pack, sometimes he’s whirl Lydia in a technically imperfect Waltz, and every so often they’d return to the odd not-quite Latin that was about all Lydia had taught them. But at least once, by the end of the evening, he and Stiles had slow danced together.
He doesn’t know when it started reminding him of watching his parents from the stairway. He only remembers one day, when the others had sprawled in the sleepy heap (puppy-pile, as Stiles affectionately called it) over the bean bags and lone sofa in the room, and he and Stiles were still swaying together in each other’s arms, something slow on low in the background. This felt right, it felt like home and pack and family. It was nothing at all like those childhood fantasies he’d had, but right now it was everything he’d ever wanted. And he knew it could be more – Stiles held nothing secret, Derek knew he could lean down and kiss him, could take him to bed and take him apart and Stiles would let him, would want it. Later, he decided, he would do exactly that. For now, this was exactly where he wanted to be.