Cover page by SuperfluousEmi
“You know Nancy, right?” Scott drops his tray on the lunch table. Stiles startles, scrawling a line across his calc problem set. “Whoops, sorry.”
“It’s pencil,” Stiles says, and starts scrubbing it out with the eraser. “Who’s Nancy?”
"You know Nancy,” Scott says. “She's in your history class this year, she had pre-calc with us."
"I don't remember her."
"She has brown hair–"
"Hold on," Stiles says. "Why are we talking about Nancy?"
"She told me that there's a roofie epidemic," Scott says.
"She told you that people are catching roofies? That's not how roofies work."
Scott huffs. "Not like that. She said that she heard that there were a bunch of women getting sick, like at bars and stuff. She told me that I should help her warn everyone."
"And you thought of me," Stiles says. "I'm touched."
Scott laughs. "No, it's just– it's suspicious, don't you think? It might just be roofies, but–"
"But let me welcome you to the greater Beacon Hills region," Stiles says. "Where our motto is: 'It's Definitely Supernatural!'"
"Yeah," Scott says. "Or, 'Whoops, Sorry About That Ogre.'"
"'No Time to Jack Off: Monsters.'"
"Tell me about it," Scott says glumly.
They share a moment of silence.
“Ugh,” Stiles finally says, and takes a giant bite of his sandwich. “Whatever, I’ll check it out.”
Beacon Hills has become something like a supernatural vacation spot. Most of the time the people (and other assorted creatures) who visit are relatively friendly. They met a mermaid who did not drag Stiles into the sea – even when he asked – and a surprisingly chatty, cheerful aboleth. The vegetarian redcaps were actually very good houseguests, even if they did get beet juice on Mrs. McCall's cabinets.
Of course, there are still episodes of harrowing evil. Unicorns, it turns out, are not always virgin-loving sweethearts. A band of skunk apes came through that were just about the worst-smelling visitors of all time, and the less said about Acheri demons the better.
Which is to say that Beacon Hills is busy. Stiles has learned through painful experience that he can write a rough draft of a personal statement, make a passable dinner, and carve up to fourteen stakes in one night. It used to be that Stiles would do all sorts of legwork in the name of research. Now he knows better, and conserves his energy.
He starts by snooping through his father's files. The reports tell him who the women were and where they were attacked. He makes a couple of logical jumps – the victims were at a bar, all of the incidents happened on weekend nights – and guesses that it's something having to do with sex. His spreadsheet can be sorted by type, which gives him fourteen creatures who attack in sexual contexts. He transfers the list of possibilities into a word document and prints it out, and still has time for his English homework.
"It's probably an incubus." Stiles passes his notes over to Scott. "They use glamours, they're indigenous to North America and western Europe, and they feed on sexual energy. It could be a popobawa – a popobawa would actually make even more sense than some sort of incubus or succubus – but they mostly show up in Somalia. That seems like a long way to travel just to get your hands on a nubile young woman."
"Right," Scott says.
Stiles shrugs. "That's pretty much what I've got, dude."
"What did Deaton say?"
Stiles fidgets with his notes. "I didn't ask him." Before Scott can say anything, he adds, "He told me I was getting good enough to handle some of this on my own, and I should stop bothering him. I can handle this one."
Scott nods, but it's uncertain. "If you're sure."
"I'm sure," Stiles says. He gestures at the corkboards on his walls, covered in pictures and papers. "I know stuff. I know so much stuff. How long have we been doing this, dude?"
"Okay, yeah," Scott says, after a moment. "What's the plan?"
"Some of the suggestions from the bestiary don't really make sense," Stiles admits. "They say that an incubus normally gets really attached to one person, and that one person has to give a confession, or change houses, or be 'excommunicated by saintly men.'"
"And this one isn't attached?"
"No, I don't think so. I think he's working alone. But the books said that the sign of the cross and a Hail Mary could work. Or an exorcism. I know how to do both of those."
"An exorcism, the Hail Mary, and the sign of the cross," Scott repeats. "That's it?"
"No, actually. Yahoo!Answers had a couple of options." Stiles digs through his notes. "They're the kind of whackos that know this stuff, they helped that time with the giant. They said a silver knife would work."
"Where are you going to get a silver knife?"
"I'll probably have to make a shank out of my grandma's flatware. I figure my dad won't notice it's gone, though. And I suspect my grandma would have been more than happy to contribute to the cause. She didn't really cotton with premarital sex, and what else are these things but premarital sex?" Stiles stops and considers. "Hold that thought," he says, and goes to the door. "Dad!"
"Where's Grandma's silver?"
There's a long, weighty pause. His dad yells, "Is it a creature you've handled before?"
"Yes!" Stiles says. Scott opens his mouth, but Stiles waves him off.
"Is Scott going with you?"
"In the basement," his dad says, finally. Stiles fist pumps. "Don't do anything stupid, Stiles."
"Never," Stiles calls, and magnanimously ignores his father's loud snort. He shuts the door again, and says, "So we have a silver knife."
"Okay." Scott hesitates. "But what if those things don't work?"
"There are pretty much forty options, dude, one of them has to work. Anyway, if everything really goes south, I figure you can just go all rarrgh," Stiles says. He makes claws with his hands to illustrate.
"I don't know," Scott says again.
"You won't even have to hurt him! Just, if it gets hairy, then you get hairy."
Scott doesn't even roll his eyes at that. Stiles sighs, and decides it's time to bring out the big guns. "Did I mention that it might not be an incubus?" he asks.
"You just said that's what it was."
"Yeah, usually if you're talking about sex demons and women, it's an incubus. But Bump isn't a straight club. I'm actually pretty sure–" He pauses, making sure that he has Scott's full and undivided attention "–that it's a lesbian succubus."
Scott's eyes go wide.
"So you agree, excellent," Stiles says. Scott looks embarrassed, but he shrugs, which is just like agreeing. "Luckily enough, I have a plan on how to lure a succubus into our holy clutches."
"What is it?"
"Well, to start, we need bait."
Bait is pretty hard to come by, though.
What would be ideal, really, is a bait service for people fighting supernatural creatures. Some sort of temp agency, with people who are willing to risk life and limb to help the defenders of good and right. It would be a pretty sweet job, all things told. All the bait-person would have to do is look like a delicious source of life energy. The bad guy comes over, says hi, goes in for the drain, and then bam! Dead monster, wreaths of glory, and a paycheck. Also mortal terror, okay, Stiles understands that no one is a fan of that, but he's pretty sure people would get a kick out of being so useful in the war against the fucking night. Stiles would apply for that job. Hell, he’d take the job at hand, even if it meant dressing up like a girl.
Which– actually. That's not the worst idea, is it?
"No," Scott says. "That is actually the worst idea."
"Excuse me? I could be a girl," Stiles says, insulted.
"No, of course you could–"
"Hey! What the fuck, dude?"
"You just said you could be a girl," Scott says. "I'm agreeing with you."
"But you shouldn't agree so quickly!"
"No, I mean–" Scott sighs. "Okay, so you'd have to look like a girl, which would be difficult but doable.” He pauses, and Stiles grants him a grudging nod. “But it isn't just that. You'd also have to try to lure in a succubus."
"Well, yeah, exactly. We can cut out the middle man! Woman, whatever. No need to teach someone the Hail Mary."
Scott looks at him intently. "Stiles. You'd be posing as a lesbian to find a succubus. She's a bewitching creature of the night, who might potentially discover that you're a dude. That isn't going to end well."
"She'd be warned by then," Stiles says. "I'm going to lurk in the background, scoping her out, and then I'm going to lure her into an alleyway. I'm not letting her get to second base. I won't even be first-basing it, as tempting as that may be. We're talking kiss and stab, here. I'm going to ruin her night before she even gets to my dick."
Scott considers this for a long, long moment. "You're weird," he finally says.
"You learned that a long time ago," Stiles says. He accepts the punch to his arm as his due.
Scott isn't wrong, Stiles can recognize that. Stiles’ plan might even be Derek-level bad. It's very likely that the succubus is going to try to eat him, and that Scott will once again have to ruin a shirt and punch a monster in the face.
But maybe Stiles could be the hero this time.
When they go up against the bad guys, there's usually a whole horde of them, usually with astonishing supernatural powers. Stiles’ magic is mostly long-range, and unreliable besides; he’s really only good at protective spells. He only fights when he's trapped or wounded, and he invariably gets his ass kicked. It's just one bad guy this time – a sex demon, to be fair, but only one sex demon – and Stiles will have weapons.
There really isn’t anything wrong with being a sidekick, Stiles knows that. He doesn't mind being Jughead; Jughead is an invaluable presence in Archie's life, though, even beyond sandwich-related reasons. Jughead makes profound contributions to the town of Riverdale. Stiles has a powerpoint presentation for anyone who disagrees.
Still: the comic is named Archie. Archie's the one who gets the girls. Archie's the center of attention, even when he's doing that angry chipmunk face and being a jerk.
This succubus, it's like Stiles' chance at making his own Jughead's Time Police. Short-lived, sure, but fucking awesome. It'll be a story Stiles can tell himself when he's singing back-up for Scott again.
The only problem with the plan now is that Stiles has to become a girl.
He needs to be a plain-looking girl, which rules out the people he met at Jungle; they’re all too glamorous for his purposes. Other than them, though, he doesn't have many options for advice and assistance.
Cora's right out; she'd probably gut him before she helped him. Scott tells him that Allison is "naturally beautiful." Stiles asks her about it anyway, since Scott would think she didn’t use makeup even if her entire face was bright green. She's not very helpful, in the end; she gives him some advice about foundation and eyeliner, most of which he already gleaned from the packaging of some Maybelline.
Which means he's down to his last option.
"You must be kidding me," Lydia says. It comes out crisp, like she's giving him an order.
"My life is a farce wrapped in satire and boiled in tragedy," Stiles tells her, "So no, I'm not kidding."
"Then no," she says.
"I think you actually mean yes," Stiles says. "I will follow you around school, Lydia."
"You already do that."
Stiles scoffs. "Not anymore!" Lydia rolls her eyes. Stiles huffs, and says, "I'll go back to following you, but now I'll be whining. I won't be complimenting your hair or your beauty this time. I will be whining, and whining, and whining, moping and begging and pleading and weeping and moaning and, did I mention? Whining, whining, and whining, whining–"
"Stop," she says.
"And whining," Stiles finishes.
She just looks at him, for a long, awful moment. “What is it for?” she asks. He hates that she sounds as cautious as she does.
“A succubus,” he says, because with Lydia he has to be honest. “I’m doing something like To Catch a Predator, except with a boy in drag and a creature of the night.”
“Does Scott know?”
Stiles presses his lips together, and manages not to snap. “Yes.”
"Come over at six," she sighs, finally. Stiles does a completely tasteful and appropriate touchdown dance, and she says, "Stop that. And bring skinny jeans."
Stiles doesn't own "skinny jeans," at least nothing girly enough for his purposes, which means he has to make a pilgrimage to the nearest H&M and try on girls' pants.
It seems simple enough, but in the end he has to go back four times for different sizes. The jeans have numbers, same as the men's, but the sizes don't match up. Stiles is a 29, it turns out, which he's pretty sure has nothing to do with inches.
Once he's picked out a pair of jeans – dark wash, because he's classy – Stiles takes the escalator down to the underwear section. He picks out a pair of underwear that look like they might cover his dick. He isn't sure he'll need them, but he kind of wants them for realism, or something. He draws the line at getting a bra, though, mostly because the sizing is too intimidating for him to take on.
He folds the underwear into the jeans, and goes to get into line. When he finally reaches the checkout, he blurts, "They're for my girlfriend!"
The clerk doesn't bother to respond, or even make eye contact. Stiles manages to fork over his cash without any further comment.
When Lydia opens the door that night, she opens with, "You're going to have to wear Spanx."
"Hello," Stiles says, because he has manners. "I didn't sign up for spanking."
Scott leans past Stiles' shoulder. "Can I watch TV? I'm going to watch TV."
"I wasn't told you'd be here," Lydia says. Stiles looks at her beseechingly; she purses her lips, but says, "All right. You can use the TV in the living room." Scott scampers off, leaving Stiles to his fate. Coward.
Lydia spins neatly on her heel and leads the way up the stairs. Stiles follows, saying plaintively, "Spanks?"
“Spanx,” she says, somehow conveying the ‘x.’ "It's a compression undergarment."
"That sounds unpleasant."
"Welcome to cross-dressing," she says. "If you don't wear the Spanx, you have to tuck."
"Tuck?" Stiles says. He sounds like a parrot.
"Tuck your penis, between your legs," she says. There's a mean light in her eye. "Like a tail."
"Wait, whoa, where?" Lydia opens her mouth, probably to repeat herself, so Stiles adds, "I am not a dog, and my penis, my penis is not actually a tail. It goes in the front. Like a penis. A tail goes in the back."
"Which means Spanx," Lydia says. She plucks the plastic bag out of Stiles's arms. "Ugh, H&M. You're not eurotrash, Stiles."
"No, I'm poor," Stiles says.
"How sad for you," Lydia says, but she smiles, almost fondly. She pulls everything out of the bag, rips the tags off, and shoves them into his arms. "I suppose it can't be helped. Go get changed. The Spanx are on the vanity."
He doesn't like where this is going, but Stiles does as he's told.
Lydia's bathroom is tastefully beige. The hand towels match the bath towels, which match the bathmat, which matches the shower curtain, which matches the tile. The dark-colored clothes on the vanity stand out starkly against it all.
There's an enormous, terrifyingly clean full-length mirror on one wall, and another, only slightly smaller mirror over the sink. Stiles turns his back on both of them when he starts undressing; if he sees himself he might lose his nerve. This is a lot weirder than he predicted.
"Okay," he says. "Okay."
He undresses as slowly as he can. He unties his shoes before he toes them off, and tucks his socks into his shoes. He folds his jeans, then his shirt, and then his boxer-briefs, making a neat uniform stack next to his shoes on the floor. Eventually, though, he has to turn toward the sink to get his new clothes.
Stiles is used to being naked. He’s almost always naked when he can be, because fuck the tyranny of clothes. It’s been a while since he’s really studied himself naked, though.
Stiles used to feel anxious in the locker room, worried that guys would make fun of his lack of pubes or his soft nipples or his too-narrow hips. He looked like a girl, he thought, especially compared to the sculpted dudes he goes to school with. He's filled out, though, post-werewolf. His shoulders are broad, and his forearms are muscular.
"This would have worked better two years ago," he says to the mirror. He raises his voice and calls, "This would have worked better two years ago!"
"Puberty's a cruel mistress," Lydia says. The doorknob turns. "Are you done?"
"No!" he yelps. "One second!"
"You have a minute," she says.
Stiles knows better than to think she's kidding. It spurs him into motion, at least. He yanks on the underpants, tucking his cock and balls under the fake satin as best he can. His balls barely cooperate; there isn't enough room in the front for any sort of extra baggage, and he ends up having to shove his dick towards his hip.
He looks stupid now. His dick is lumpy under the satin. He feels silly, and too much like a boy. "This isn't going to work," he says.
"Thirty seconds," Lydia says. Stiles gets his ass in gear.
The Spanx are somewhat more complicated. He thinks they're going to be too small, just from looking at them, and they almost are; he has to wrench at them to get them up around his thighs.
He’s only gotten them up around his hips when Lydia opens the door. "These are horrible," Stiles says, still hauling away at the waistband. It's cutting into his stomach.
"Here," Lydia says. She steps up behind him, gets her fingers into the fabric, and starts yanking it around. Stiles has to brace himself on the sink, hanging onto the lip for dear life. Lydia's stronger than she looks.
When Lydia's done, though, he's slightly more comfortable. He isn’t aware of the position of his liver anymore, which is good. He shouldn’t be able to feel his liver.
It takes him another minute to prod his dick into something like an acceptable location. Lydia watches him do it with an air of consternation, like she's watching Prada take a shit. It's more than a little demoralizing, but his need to have his dick unfolded wins out.
When he's finally got himself arranged, he's able to stop and feel it. It feels weird, of course, but not as bad as he thought it would. It's like something about him has been squeezed down and contained. He doesn't like it, but it feels kind of interesting, not quite painful.
"Good," Lydia says, like she can read his mind. Maybe she can– it would be just like her to hide some aspect of being a banshee from them. Stiles files that away for later investigation, and snags the jeans off of the sink and finally gets to put them on.
His reflection in the mirror is freaky. There are pads on his thighs, which manufacture something like womanly curves for him. The freakiest part, though, is his dick.
His dick has been his best friend, since he and it were both very small. They grew especially close once he discovered the glories of self-abuse, and their relationship is, to this day, one of the strongest and best in Stiles's life. His dick hasn’t always been a good friend to him, what with anger boners and "oh there's a breeze" boners and that one boner at a funeral, but his occasional frustration with his dick has never put a dent in Stiles's love.
And now it's gone. Well, not really gone, obviously, but he can't see it. The jeans look wrong on him, flat where there should be a lump. The fabric is too tight and smooth around his crotch. Stiles slides his hand down over the fly, half to smooth it down, half to feel how alien it is.
"The fuck," he says, softly. "My dick is gone."
"Were you using it?" Lydia asks, faux-innocently.
"Oh my god." Stiles looks beseechingly at the ceiling. "I can't even look to my dick for consolation. How is this living?"
"I feel for you," Lydia tells him, and takes hold of his wrist. "Come on. Time for a camisole."
The camisole is purple, and has a "built-in bra." This makes it sound like a feat of structural engineering, but instead just means that there's an extra flap of fabric. After he puts it on, Lydia reaches in the front of the shirt, ignoring his squawk, and shoves two pieces of floppy plastic in the flap.
Stiles looks down. He’s got two barely-noticeable lumps on his chest. "Is that all the boobs I’m getting?"
"Are you trying to look like a cross dresser?" Lydia asks.
"Then yes, that's all the boob you get.”
"So I have tiny boobs," Stiles says.
"Tiny boobs," Lydia agrees. "Trying to put big breasts on you would look wrong."
"Because I'm a boy," Stiles agrees.
"Because you're a skinny butch lesbian," Lydia says. "Also you would manage to lose bigger ones, somehow."
Stiles struggles with it for a moment, but eventually concedes. "That's fair."
"You would light them on fire," Lydia continues.
"Also fair." At least Stiles gets a smile out of Lydia for that.
“Okay,” she says, “sit down. We have to deal with your pores.”
Sitting down is a little uncomfortable, what with his dick mashed against his body. He has to lean forward and cross his legs to put his weight to one side.
He thinks he'll only have to put up with it for a minute, but then it turns out that foundation isn't as simple as the bottle made it sound at the store. There's base and primer first; only then does he get foundation. Then there's concealer–
"Always use concealer after foundation, otherwise you might overdo it and look cakey," Lydia says, absently.
"I am wearing fourteen layers of greasepaint on my face," Stiles points out, "And I'm worried about looking cakey?"
"Stop moving," she snaps.
–and finally, finally, powder, which makes his eyes itch.
"Okay," Lydia says. "This is the starting point." She turns the small mirror toward him.
Stiles blinks at himself. What she's done, apparently, is make his face flat and featureless. The hollows under his eyes are gone, now the same pale pinkish white as his cheekbones. His moles are almost gone, though a few still stubbornly break through the surface. There aren't any pores, or patches, no evidence of any hair he might be inclined to grow.
"My cheekbones are gone," he says. "You took my dick, now my cheekbones?"
"They’ll be back later," she says. It's almost kind.
He has to deal with blush, then – which he supposes is how he's regaining his cheekbones – and several flinch-inducing pencils and brushes in his eyes.
For all the downsides, there's at least one thing that's good. In order to put on someone else's makeup, it turns out, you have to sit incredibly close to them. It's the most intimate that Stiles and Lydia have ever been, despite the years that Stiles has been panting after her. He can feel her breath on his eyelids, his cheekbones. It smells a little like oranges. He thinks about her eating one, pulling a slice, looking at her watch, waiting for him. She’s not for him, not anymore, but it’s still a sweet distraction.
After his eyes, Lydia smears lipstick on his mouth, and then lipgloss. She presses the brush for the lipgloss more firmly than he would have expected; it drags the skin sideways a little in its wake, even though the gloss is slick.
When she's done, finally, Stiles says, "That was a lot of paint." It comes out without a whole lot of consonants; he's trying to talk without pressing his lips together.
"You can let your lips touch," Lydia says. "Press them together, and rub them back and forth." She demonstrates, and Stiles follows along dumbly. The layer of lipstick she put on first made his mouth feel tight and dry. The gloss made it sticky and grainy. His face feels oily, and he can see his eyelashes. He's not sure how girls like Lydia do this every day.
"So this is supposed to be the 'natural look,'" he says doubtfully.
"Very natural," Lydia says.
"I'm glad we didn't go for unnatural," he says. "I feel like an oil painting. Also, I think I have mascara in my eye, it hurts. If you gave me pinkeye, I want you to know I'll be incredibly miserable at you."
Lydia just looks at him. She's seeing him, Stiles thinks. Years of trying, and all it took was putting on a mask.
After another still moment, Lydia purses her lips. Somehow, Stiles can tell she's not really looking at him anymore. "You're not completely hideous with it on," she says.
"I'm a miracle worker," she says drily. "Now look at yourself."
Stiles looks, obedient as ever. A woman looks back at him.
His skin is smoother, and his mouth and eyes have gotten bigger. His face looking that way somehow makes his collarbones stand out, his chest more concave, his shoulders a tiny bit rounder. "This is fucked up," he says.
"Stand up," Lydia says, ignoring him entirely. When he’s obediently stood up, she says, "Put your hands in your pockets– no, your back pockets. Don't brace your shoulders up, drop them down. Press one side of your lips together—bite the one side, on the inside. Yeah." She stands up, next to him, and presses one shoulder even further down. "Now tilt your head down, look up through your eyelashes."
He looks like a girl. She's a little too big in the shoulders, and scary enough that Stiles wouldn't want to hit on her, but– she's a girl. Stiles swallows against the tight feeling in his throat, and says, "Am I supposed to just stand like this the entire time?" he asks. It comes out a little garbled, what with the angle of his throat and him biting his lip.
It breaks the tension, at least. Lydia sighs. "No," she says. "But if someone looks suspicious, maybe try that."
She has him put on his shoes, and then leads him down the hall to her bedroom, where she has clothes laid out. "Overshirt," she says. Stiles grabs it, happy for another layer. It turns out to be a false hope, though; the neckline is too big, and it slides down over his shoulder. He tries to hitch it up, and it just falls down again. "Stop that. Let it fall," Lydia says.
"Because I can't buy clothes that fit?"
"Because you're showing collarbone," Lydia says.
"So. Um. How should I talk?"
"Talk the way you always do," Lydia says.
"What, like a boy?" Stiles feels like he has to emphasize this.
“No, like a girl with a deep voice,” she says. “It’s about belief–"
“Okay, fine,” Stiles says, flapping his hand to wave off the lecture.
"You shouldn’t interrupt people, if that's possible," Lydia says drily. She turns away and goes back to the clothes on the bed. "I know you won't be able to resist saying something, but go for the mysterious approach."
"Mysterious, I can do that," Stiles says, and ignores Lydia's snort.
"Okay, come on," Lydia says, when she's finally put everything away. "Let's go greet your adoring public."
"Scott?" Stiles scoffs. "He really doesn't count as the public."
"It's all you're going to get."
Lydia stops him before he can head down the steps. "No, you need to make an entrance."
"Is that a girl thing?"
She rolls her eyes. "It's a makeover thing."
"Like She's All That," Stiles says. "Holy shit, I'm Laney Boggs. Is Scott the boy? Is he Freddie Prinze, Jr.? I don't know how I feel about that."
Lydia just huffs and starts walking down the stairs.
Stiles follows her, helplessly. He doesn't get his stairway entrance like Laney, which at least means that he doesn't take a pratfall halfway down. They have to walk into the den, where Scott is sprawled out on the couch. And, Stiles realizes, where Derek is standing.
Oh, fuck. Derek is Freddie Prinze, Jr. This is going to be painful.
Derek looks up before he can flee, though. Stiles shoves his hands in his front pockets, then in his back pockets when they prove too tiny to hold his hands. "So," he says brightly, when neither Scott nor Derek speaks. “What are you doing here?”
“Gremlins,” Scott says. “There’s a colony trying to move in. Derek’s trying to handle them.”
“Oh," Stiles says. He nearly bites his lip, before he remembers the lipgloss.
"What are you doing?" Derek asks. He’s sweaty, and there’s dirt on the knees of his jeans and streaked across his shirt. He doesn’t really look like Freddie Prinze, Jr. He looks better, the asshole.
His mouth hasn't dropped open, either. His mouth was supposed to drop open, Stiles thinks. Instead his lips have thinned. Stiles' life really isn't fair at all.
"You look nice," Scott says, solidifying his position as Best Friend in the World. "Very lesbian."
"Thank you," Stiles says. He looks pointedly at Derek, but Derek just scowls at him. It feels like they've stepped back in time two years. "Derek?" he prompts.
Derek's scowl doesn't waver. "What is this for?"
"Stiles is catching a succubus," Scott says.
"Threatening a succubus," Stiles says. "I'm freelancing, it's going to be great."
"Why wasn't I told?" Derek says. He turns to Scott, like he's dismissing Stiles entirely.
"Excuse me," Stiles says. "You aren't the alpha here, anymore." Derek's shoulders get even more tense, and Stiles has to swallow before he continues. "And I wanted to do this on my own, which means that I told my alpha, and he said I could, so I did it."
"This isn't safe," Derek says, still speaking to Scott. "Succubi are–"
"It's one succubus," Stiles protests. "It's one woman, who I am going to tell to leave town." Derek opens his mouth, and Stiles barrels on, "I swear I will call in the cavalry if she tries to, I don't know, bite my face off."
"Seduce you," Derek snarls, finally turning to look at him. "They have pheromones, you won't be immune–"
"I can handle this," Stiles yells. "Let me fucking handle this!"
Derek's lip curls up, almost a snarl. "Fine," he says, grudgingly.
"Fine," Stiles says pointedly. "So glad we talked about this, you massive asshole."
Derek just turns on his heel and stalks out of the house. He slams the door shut behind him.
They stand in silence for a moment, and then Lydia says. "All of this drama needs to exit my home."
"Ugh," Stiles says. "Come on, Scott, let's do this."
"You really are a very pretty lesbian," Scott says, as they're walking out the door.
"Thank you," Stiles says. "At least someone here has manners." He says it loud enough that Derek could hear, if he hung around. Stiles hopes he hung around.
On the way over, Stiles can’t stop shifting in his seat. "My balls are pretty achy already," he tells Scott. “This might be ugly.”
Scott grimaces. "Yeah, I thought it would hurt. Did you really have to put on the spanky stuff?"
"Yeah. They're like bicycle shorts, but tighter. I can feel my heartbeat in my nuts." Stiles pulls at the crotch of his jeans. It doesn't do anything, of course, but at least it feels like he's doing something. The car goes over a bump in the road, and Stiles makes a high-pitched noise. "Careful!"
"I'm driving as carefully as I can!" Scott says.
"Drive carefuller, dude, your godchildren are at stake here." Stiles braces himself on the door and lifts himself up as they approach another pothole. "And you should get your shocks looked at."
"You're one to talk," Scott says.
"Jeeps aren't supposed to have shocks," Stiles says loftily. Scott just shakes his head.
The bar, when they get there, doesn't look like anything special. Stiles peers out the car window at the front of it. "That's the place, apparently," he says.
"Looks normal enough," Scott says. He leans over to look, too.
"Yeah," Stiles says, unnecessarily. It seems more real now that he's sitting outside it, looking at the neon beer signs in the muddy-looking window. He rubs his hands against his thighs, drying them off. His face still feels like it's coated in oil and grit; he wants to wipe at his eyes and his cheeks, but he can't. "I should have tried to find a real lesbian," he says.
"You want to bail?" Scott asks, loyal as always. "We can come up with another plan."
"No," Stiles says. He takes a deep breath and says, "No, I put on a 'compression undergarment' for this. I might as well go in there."
"If you're sure," Scott says. Stiles nods. "Okay, well. Go get us a succubus, or whatever."
"Finstock gives better pep talks than you do," Stiles says, but he gets out of the car. He leans back in to grab the silver knife out of the cupholder, and wiggles around until he can shove it down underneath the Spanx. It slides in his sweat – because of course he's already sweating – and the handle very nearly plunges down his asscrack. "Okay. Wish me luck."
"You'll be great," Scott says.
It's a short walk to the front door of the bar, too short. Stiles dries his palms on his jeans one last time, and grabs the handle. "Just tough it out," he tells himself. He chances a look back.
Scott gives him a thumbs up. He's grinning.
It's more heartening than it should be. Scott is the one waiting in the car. Stiles isn't the chauffeur this time. He might even get to be the hero.
A hero with his balls cramped in satin and spandex, Stiles thinks, is still a hero. Batman wears black spandex panties, after all. Stiles is following in a fine tradition.
Stiles yanks at the fabric binding his crotch one more time, grabs the door handle, and goes in.
There's a small passageway just inside the front door, with another door blocking the way into the bar itself. The bouncer is perched on a stool just inside of the front door, and Stiles nearly bowls him over when he gets in. Stiles flails wildly and manages to keep himself upright by sheer determination. The bouncer gives him a vague sort of smile.
"Hi," Stiles says brightly.
"ID?" the bouncer says.
"Right, of course," Stiles says. "ID, of course, need ID to get into a bar. Completely forgot!" Stiles has his fake ID wedged into one of the tiny front pockets in his jeans, along with his debit card, a couple of twenties and a chapstick. He has to dig around for a little bit to get it out, in spite of how small the pocket is. "This is awkward, huh," Stiles says.
The bouncer gazes at him implacably.
Stiles finally gets his ID sorted out from everything else, and hands it over triumphantly. He then realizes, in a moment of sickening clarity, that he just handed over an ID with the sex very clearly marked as male.
The bouncer squints at his ID. He looks up at Stiles. Stiles smiles at him, gamely, but it probably comes out as a grimace. The bouncer looks back down at the ID, and hands it back to Stiles. Stiles' fingers slip on the plastic when he takes it. "So," he says, preparing himself to deploy some serious defensive babble.
"You look pretty," the bouncer says.
"I like your shirt," the bouncer says. When Stiles just gapes at him, the guy almost smiles. "It's very pretty on you, you look very– pretty."
"I– thank you," Stiles says. "You look nice too?"
"Okay, sure," the bouncer says. "Go ahead, kid."
"Okay," Stiles says. "Thank you, again. For the compliment. Very nice."
"Go," the bouncer says pointedly. Stiles goes. He knows that tone of voice way too well.
Hauling the second door open makes it seem like Stiles is trying to make an entrance. He feels like the music should stop, and the patrons should all turn to look at him. Neither happens, of course. One woman looks over at him, but it's brief and dismissive. He stands still for a second, unsure of what to do. He's pretty sure he shouldn't block the door, at least, so he walks a little further in, hovering next to the bar with his hands shoved in his back pockets.
He isn't sure what he was expecting, but it wasn't exactly this. He maybe had an image in his head based on the Jungle, even though he should have known they wouldn't be anything alike. This isn't a dance club. The music isn't jacked up like it was at the Jungle, and there's no teeming dance floor. It's just a bar, albeit a bar filled with women. That's what's distinctive about it, really; Stiles has never seen a place so full of just women.
There's some jangling song on the jukebox, barely loud enough to be heard over the hum of conversation. Everyone is talking to one another, like they know each other already. At Jungle, Stiles had at least been able to dance; he met a couple of people there just by making eye contact with them. No one's making eye contact with him here. They all seem to know one another, and none of them are willing to pull him into their group.
He can't really spy anyone who looks like a succubus, either, although he's not sure how he'll be able to tell. After a minute of fruitless leaning and looking, Stiles straightens up, edges around a little knot of women, and walks further into the room, following the line of the bar.
The bartender is at the far end, talking to a woman with tattoos and a really edgy hairdo. Stiles hovers there, aiming for eye contact, but the two women are deep in conversation. Stiles is about to give up when someone leans into his side and says, "Lisa's kind of lazy. You'll have to say something."
"Oh," Stiles says.
"Lisa!" the stranger says. “Do your damn job. The lady needs a drink.”
"Shut up," Lisa says. “Fine, what do you want?”
"The usual. And this one wants–" The stranger looks at Stiles expectantly.
"A Coke," he says.
"Aw, come on. What're you, Mormon?"
"Mormons have historically preferred not to drink caffeine," Stiles says, stupidly. He wrote an essay on this, though, so he has to elaborate. "The church recently changed their minds, but it’s still common for devout members of the faith to abstain, according to anecdotal evidence on forums. So I could be, I guess. But I’m not."
The stranger and Lisa both laugh, and Stiles feels his cheeks flush a little with pleasure. The stranger says, "She'll have a Coke, then. I'm Jennie, by the way."
"Hi Jennie," Stiles says. "I'm– Stiles."
He has another a moment of panic, thinking that the jig is up – he didn't come up with a girl name, what a stupid, stupid move, he's going to get outed before he even got a chance to look around – but Jennie just says, "Did you play field hockey?"
"Lacrosse," Stiles says, automatically. "I play lacrosse."
"I figured it was a sport," Jennie says. "Athletes always have those weird nicknames. Come on, Stiles, come and sit with me."
Stiles lets Jennie pay for his drink, lets her grab his elbow and lead him back to her table. She's sitting with four other women, all at one table. Stiles slides in, careful of his drink, and Jennie squeezes in after him. Jennie's not the succubus, Stiles is pretty sure of that, but it's nice to be with somebody in this insular group, talking to someone instead of standing alone by the bar.
Jennie introduces him – "she goes by 'Stiles,' she played lacrosse," and they all nod like that’s a thing – but he doesn't get anyone's name in return. They turn seamlessly back to their conversation instead, which is apparently about a TV show that Stiles has never seen or heard of. The woman across from him is mounting a passionate defense of it, and the rest of them are mocking her.
It makes Stiles feel a little less alien to listen to her talk, even though he's not really included in the conversation. It sounds eerily like any number of conversations Stiles has had with the pack, one of them – usually Stiles, if he's being honest – ranting about something, with the others talking shit when he pauses for breath.
The conversation has all sorts of undertones, though, much like conversations in the pack have. Stiles can tell when they're Not Mentioning Something; they sound a little bit like when someone Doesn't Mention Erica or Boyd. There are a couple of inside jokes, phrases they drop in the middle of the conversation that sound familiar and well-worn, even if they don't necessarily get a laugh. One thing Stiles can definitely understand, though, is the way that the woman to his left elbow looks at him when Jennie murmurs something in his ear. She's jealous, he thinks, most likely jealous of Stiles.
Stiles is sweaty. He keeps almost-forgetting to be a girl, almost spreading his knees too far apart, or almost interrupting someone's sentences. The silver knife is digging into the small of his back. The woman to his left is giving him nastier and nastier looks, even though Stiles isn't responding to Jennie's advances at all.
When Jennie puts her arm across the back of the booth, Stiles is finally spurred into action. "I have to pee," he says. "Do you mind scooting over?"
Jennie scoots obediently.
"While you're up," the woman to his left says, and slides out after Stiles.
"You have a bladder the size of a pea," Jennie says. The woman just rolls her eyes.
They're silent on the way to the bathroom, but when they get to the door the woman says, "Jennie likes fresh meat."
"Okay," Stiles says, after a beat. "That makes sense."
The woman purses her lips, but she doesn't say anything else, just elbows her way into a stall. Stiles does the same, picking a stall a few doors away just in case.
He takes a few moments when he's safely locked inside, taking deep breaths. He's let himself get distracted. He needs to get out there, and he needs to get back in circulation.
He really does have to pee, though.
The bathroom is a pain. Stiles bangs his elbow into the stall wall, and nearly jams one of his fingers, but he manages to get his dick out to piss. Tucking himself back in is a whole other production – he almost drops the silver knife when he's hauling the Spanx back around his middle – and he's exhausted by the time he's finally exiting the bathroom. He leans against the wall next to the bathroom door and pulls his phone out of his back pocket to text Scott. He types out Dude I think before someone leans into his space.
"Hello," she says.
Stiles looks up, ready to tell her to back the fuck off, and stops.
"Hi," he says, instead. He almost says you’re the succubus, huh, but manages to restrain himself to "Oh, wow," instead. She’s definitely the succubus, though. Stiles’ dick is valiantly trying to get hard, in spite of the compression, and his heart is going triple-time, thumping madly in his chest. All he can smell is a salty-warm smell like the ocean, sea-water and sand.
She's beautiful, of course. What's really startling, though, are the ways that she isn't beautiful. He was expecting someone like Catharine Zeta-Jones, dark eyes and red lips and flowing wavy tresses. She's not that. Her eyes are a muddy sort of dark brown. Her lips are chapped. She's got her hair up in a messy sort of bun.
She's fucking beautiful.
"You're really, really, really pretty," Stiles tells her, because he hasn't met a stupid thought he can't blurt. She laughs like she's a stock photo model, tossing her hair back and opening her mouth wide. Her teeth are really white. "I can't believe how pretty you are," Stiles adds.
"You're pretty, too," she says. "What's your name?"
"Stiles," he says, too honest. "My name's Stiles. What's your name?"
"May," he says dumbly. "That's a really pretty name, May."
“Thanks, I picked it myself,” she says. “Would you like to go outside with me?"
Stiles says, "Yes, immediately."
Scott’s sitting out front. Stiles is supposed to lure her out front. Whatever, though– it'll be fine, it always turns out fine.
It's cooler outside. It's almost enough to shock Stiles back into awareness– not quite enough, though, because she’s leaned back into him, pressing him up against the wall.
“I want to kiss you.”
“Fuck yes,” Stiles says, then catches himself. “Uh, we–"
She interrupts by cupping his head, tilting it up, and kissing him. Her mouth is soft and wet, and she's humming into his mouth, curling her hands over his hips and tugging him closer, pressing their bodies together.
Stiles should probably care that he's getting light-headed, but he doesn’t really want to care.
Stiles slouches down against the wall to bring his mouth down to her height. She straightens up, and she's even a little taller than him. She sweeps her hand down his back, shaping him into a curve against her body. Stiles is pretty sure he should be doing something sexy with his hands, but he's unable to think of anything. He manages to get them up onto her shoulders, and then he just clings, letting her guide him.
When she pulls back, he makes a really stupid noise.
She laughs, and kisses him again, just a little catch-and-release. She palms the curve of his skull, then rakes her nails back up, against the grain of his hair. Stiles gasps against her mouth. His head tips back and his hips jolt forward.
The point of the silver knife digs into the crack of his ass with the movement. It's sharp and awful – he might have jabbed a hole in his asscrack, jesus – but it snaps him out of it. He's suddenly clear-headed enough to realize that his hands are shaking, that he's panting for air, that his heart is going a mile a minute. He pulls away from her, twisting his head slightly.
"So, May," he says. "You're a succubus."
Just like that, she's got her hands around his neck, her claws digging in. Her eyes are bright green, now, too bright to be human. "So," she says. "You have a death wish."
"It's like you know me," Stiles says. "I would think we were a match made in heaven, except for the succubus thing. Well, and I'm also a boy."
She blinks, slowly. Stiles is pretty sure she has two sets of eyelids. "Pardon me?"
"I'm a boy. You're a lesbian succubus–"
"Sex demon," she says.
"Sex demon," she repeats, almost patiently. "Not precisely a succubus."
"Huh," Stiles says. He pauses, considers, and says, "Well, the point stands. You're a really good kisser, I can't stress that enough, but it's not going to work out."
She doesn't move, but she loosens her grip on his throat. "What exactly are you trying to achieve?" she asks.
"I was just going to warn you off," he says apologetically. "I wasn't planning on kissing you. Bad form, I know, but then you were all with the pheromones and the prettiness and so on. Not that I'm blaming you! I'm just young, and impressionable. My frontal lobe won't be fully developed until I'm twenty-six, did you know that? It's why teenagers are so impulsive. I'm very impulsive. Which is why I kissed you."
"All right," she says.
"All right," he repeats. "Yeah, so I'm sorry. But– right, warning you. You should split town."
"And why’s that?"
"This is a werewolf town. There's a pack in Beacon Hills, and you're in the greater Beacon Hills area. They're sort of territorial, werewolves."
"You're not a werewolf, though," she says. Her hands have slid down a little, resting against his collarbones. "I would have tasted it."
"No, not a werewolf. Werewolf-adjacent. But part of the pack, sort of, which is why I'm here. I have a silver knife, I was going to do a Hail Mary in Latin. It was going to be very intense."
"I’m sure." Her mouth tilts up at the corner, finally, and her eyes bleed back to muddy brown. "I suppose werewolves don't want a succubus around, then?"
"You've been running through the local lesbians," Stiles says. "You're depleting our natural resources. It's kind of noticeable, and we're pretty invested in not being noticed."
She almost looks hurt. "I didn't kiss anyone who didn't want it. And I don't really hurt them. It’s just a tiny thing. I didn’t hurt you."
"Oh," Stiles says. He pauses. "I didn't think of that. That's good, though. Good to know."
She smiles, then, and tilts her head like she's considering him. "So you came here dressed as a girl to get me to stop feeding? Very heroic."
"Thank you," Stiles says. "That was the aim. Fighting for the good and right, theme song in the background, all that shit."
She laughs, again. She's laughing at him, obviously, but Stiles is pretty pleased with himself nonetheless. He kissed a sex demon, and then made her laugh. He's doing pretty well, he thinks.
She tilts his chin up, then, and considers him. After a moment, she says, "I have an idea.”
“Okay, hit me with it.”
“What if I picked someone up for longer than a night?"
Stiles licks his lips. He's trying to think of another implication for the question, but he can't. He clears his throat. "You mean me, right?"
"Yes, I mean you," she says. "I don't need to feed every night, not really. Maybe once, twice a week. I could feed on the same person."
"I'm a boy," he reminds her. "My dick is pretty cramped right now, but it's there."
"I know," she says. "It’s fine. Nice, really." She kisses him again, like she's trying to convince him– like he's the one who needs to be convinced. Stiles groans and clutches at her shirt. His knuckles skim against the underside of her breasts.
"Fuck," Stiles says, when she pulls back. The word gets all mangled in his mouth. "Would it be a contract, then, or what?"
"Or what," she says, amused. "We could date, Stiles."
"You want to take me out on a date," Stiles says blankly.
"Yes," she says, with exaggerated patience. "Do you want to go steady?"
And, well. Stiles should probably say no. She’s a sex demon, which has never been on his list of desirable qualities in a mate. That’s more Derek’s speed. There’s the whole “possibly draining your life force” thing. He’ll have to lie to his friends, yet again.
But she’s so beautiful. And she wants him, little old Stiles Stilinski.
Really, there's only one answer Stiles can possibly give.
It’s way too easy for Stiles to lie, these days. He never should have gotten into the habit, probably, but now it’s too late; he can even lie to werewolves, these days, his heart steady as truth.
"Nothing happened," Stiles tells Scott. "I mean, I saw her, but I didn't even have to use the knife or anything."
"What?" Scott says. "I didn’t hear you, did you come outside?”
"We talked inside," Stiles says, taking the easiest route. "I talked to her. She said she would leave."
"Just like that," Scott says, skeptically.
"I know, dude, I didn't believe it myself. Apparently succubi are easygoing ladies! Who knew. I certainly didn't. I'm going to have to make a note in the spreadsheet. She didn't even use claws or anything– they're supposed to have claws, and tails– she just said ‘oh, didn't realize this was a werewolf town,’ and told me she would peace out." Stiles can feel his heart going a little too fast in his chest, but Scott doesn’t seem to notice. Stiles takes a deep breath in and lets it out, anyway, just in case.
Scott presses his lips together, but he turns on the car. "You believe her?" he asks, and pulls out onto the road.
"I do," Stiles says. He turns his phone over in his hands. "Yeah, I think I do."
"Do you need me to drop you off a block away or something?" Scott asks. When Stiles gives him a weird look, Scott gestures to Stiles' outfit. "I don't know if you want to sneak in, I didn't think you told your dad about all this."
"Oh god, no, I didn't tell him about the succubus-bait thing," Stiles says. "But it's okay. He's got a late shift tonight. You can drop me at the front door."
"Lucky," Scott says.
"I guess so."
When Stiles gets out of the car, Scott says, "I'm glad you did that."
"I'm glad you talked to the succubus," Scott says. "We probably would have tried to kill her, or something."
Stiles braces his arm across the top of the passenger door. Between the makeup and his vague feeling of guilt, his smile feels like it's stretched thin. "Sometimes you need a human for the job," he says. "I keep telling you that."
"I always listen," Scott says, earnestly.
"I know, dude," Stiles says. He thumps the top of the car with his fist. "I'm gonna go, okay? I need to go put some paint thinner on my face, get rid of this crap Lydia put on me."
When he's inside the house, Stiles gives himself a minute to rest against the inside of the front door. He has to give himself a pep talk before he's able to force himself upright, but eventually he gets himself moving again, trudging up the stairs to the bathroom.
Stripping off his clothes feels ridiculously good; taking a hot shower feels even better. Stiles scrubs his face three or four times, until his skin squeaks a little under his fingertips, and then leans his head against the wall of the shower. He lets the water beat down on him for what feels like an hour, only dragging himself up and out of the shower when it starts to run cool. He kicks the pile of his clothes into his room, and goes to flop on his bed.
Derek is sitting there.
"The fuck," Stiles yelps. He clutches at the towel around his hips, feeling more naked than he should.
"How did it go?"
"It's none of your business," Stiles says. "Oh my god, why did I even answer that? Get the hell out of my room."
"You're—" Derek hesitates. Something new happens every day, Stiles thinks, and forces himself to keep silent. It takes chewing on his lips. He's rewarded when Derek says, "You dressed like a girl."
"Like a lesbian," Stiles says.
"You looked good," Derek says, and Stiles hesitates, stunned.
"What?" he says, because what? He doesn't let Derek answer that, though. "You like 'em butch, then, huh."
"Not– no," Derek says, which doesn't make any sense.
Stiles waves his hands like he can swat away all the nonsense. "Whatever. I dressed like a bisexual bar-hopping woman, sue me."
"You're going to get hurt," Derek says tightly. He has a tendency to make random pronouncements, Stiles thinks. "Whatever it is you think you're doing, you need to stop."
"I need to stop what, hitting on lesbians? For the most part, they are a pacifist people. I may have run into a few exceptions—"
"You're up to something," Derek says.
"And you're like the interrupting cow," Stiles says. "You know, 'Interrupting cow, moooo.'"
Derek ignores him, of course. He says, "You smell like fear."
"And you smell like asshole," Stiles spits back. "Now get out of my house, or I swear to god I'll scream. I don't even care right now. Shoo."
Derek opens his mouth.
"I said get out," Stiles says, his voice rising. Derek finally goes to the window. He perches for a moment, looking at Stiles, and then he's gone.
Stiles slams down the frame as hard as he can. He rests his hands against the sill for just a moment, catching his breath. "Fucking werewolves," he whispers, and shakes his head.