It’s not a secret that Derek prefers the company of animals over people. It could be because part of him is an animal. The part he usually only lets out when he’s at home, around people he trust, or in the company of animals who doesn’t flinch away from him when he shows them what he really is.
Derek spends the majority of his time hiding out in the woods because of that. Sometimes his sister, Laura, is with him, biting out snarky remarks and bad puns, which often leads to the animal running in the opposite direction. So… most of the time he’s alone. Just him and nature. He feels like he can be himself in the darker parts of the woods. He let’s his wolf side take control and he runs around for hours just breathing in the fresh air and feeling…safe.
Sometimes when Derek is out running he finds wounded animals, which he brings to the animal shelter in town. They’re used to Derek coming in at odd hours at the day, cradling an animal in his arms and asking for help, like today for example. Except Derek wasn’t expecting a new guy sitting behind the desk instead of Allison. The people that work at the shelter are usually the same, it’s uncommon that they hire new people since they don’t really need that much help, which is why Derek is surprised when he stumbles into the shelter at 7pm, a little fox cub in his arms and a mother fox trailing behind stopping at his feet.
”You’re new.” Derek says, staring confused at the guy behind the desk. Allison is usually here around this hour, welcoming Derek with a bright smile, asking what happened and then immediately taking care of the animal in question. This guy however is laying almost on top of the desk, looking extremely bored, hair is sticking out in every direction possible, like he has been running his fingers trough it the whole day, clutching his phone in his hand. Derek finds it odd that he didn’t hear the noise of the ring bell above the door when Derek walked in.
”Excuse me, can you help me?” Derek asks, this time a bit louder than before to make the guy come back to the land of the living. The guy splutters, almost falling out of his chair and turns, wide eye at Derek. He doesn’t speak, just stares…and Derek is concerned and also a bit uncomfortable. Usually Derek is the one who doesn’t speak and only stares. ”You do work here right? I need help from Allison, is she here?”
The guy jerks, like he forgot what he was doing and where he was and finally opens his mouth and says, ”That’s… That’s not even- What? I mean shouldn’t I be the one asking the questions? I mean you have a fox in your arms. An actual breathing, living fox. And another fox trailing behind you? Like dude, what?”
Derek glares. ”Her cub was hurt, I couldn’t just leave it. And she was obviously not going to leave her child to me so she trailed behind. Now, can you help or not?” The guy looks far more confused then before,
”Yeah because that explains it.” The guy mutters, but he jumps out of his chair nonetheless and opens the door that leaves to the clinic part of the shelter, and beckons Derek inside.
”Is this like a thing? You walking in here with animals? Because I heard Allison mention it, but it kinda slipped my mind.” Derek only nods and lays the cub on the table carefully and then bends down to pick up the mother, holding her in his arms so she can she what’s going on but not attack the guy incase the cub screams out in pain. Derek would heal if she bit him, he wouldn’t.
Stiles looks down at the cub, while he puts on a pair of rubber gloves, ”Well, he is bleeding on his front leg, and will probably need stitches, but i’m going to go trough the rest of his body incase he’s hurt somewhere else.” Derek only nods. ”Uh, so okay. Hey little guy, my name is Stiles and I’m just gonna check and see what’s wrong okay? I promise I’m not gonna hurt you.” Stiles starts at his neck, squeezing gentle and waiting for the cub to react with a small whimper or whine. When he doesn’t Stiles keeps going. This goes on for a while until Stiles squeezes to close to the part where he’s bleeding and the fox cries out in pain. The mother reacts like Derek expected her to, growling and snarling at Stiles. Stiles looks up when she starts trashing, but Derek is still holding a firm grip on her, claws digging to Derek’s forearms.
”Jesus, dude, you okay?” Stiles asks, concern in his voice. Derek doesn’t answer Stiles, he only focuses on the mother, gentle coaxing her to look up at him.
”It’s fine, he’s only trying to help.” Derek whispers, flashing his eyes for a second to let her know that she can’t win this fight. She growls a bit at first, but when Derek starts running his hand over her ears she calms down and gentle settles in Derek’s grip, turning back around to look down at her cub.
Then Derek turns his attention to Stiles, who hasn’t moved an inch since the mother began fighting against Derek’s grip. He looks concerned, but also surprised. He’s staring at Derek like he’s never seen him before, eyes wide and mouth forming a small o-shape. When he notice that Derek’s eyes are on him he immediately straightens up.
”We can lock her up in one of the cages if you want? She might try that again.” Stiles says, pointing at one of the many cages standing at the far back of the room.
Derek flinches, hugging the mother closer to his chest. ”I’m fine. Just take care of her cub.” Stiles hesitates, staring at Derek and then the mother, before getting to work on fixing the wounds.
It gets quiet for awhile, but Stiles doesn’t stop glancing at Derek whenever he gets a chance to. Derek still doesn’t know how to deal with that. Usually people look at him with a look of want, and yeah Derek knows what he looks like, but he can’t return their looks because he doesn’t feel even remotely interested in any of them.
But Stiles isn’t looking at him with want, he’s looking at Derek like he can’t believe Derek’s real…and Derek has no clue how to handle that so he sits down in one of the chairs, tucked neatly in the corner. And then turns his attention to the mother, focusing on calming her. Her fur is dirty and her orange coat is barely visible, but Derek doesn’t even think twice before digging his hand into the fur, scratching and petting her. She growls happily and shifts her body a little to the side so Derek can get better access to her stomach.
A surprised noise makes Derek look up and when he turns his eyes over to Stiles he’s gaping at Derek.
”How- How are you doing that?” Stiles asks. He’s still holding the cub with one hand to keep him in place but the other hand is lazily pointing at the mother laying comfortable in Derek’s lap.
”Oh,” Derek says, surprised. He forgot that Stiles wasn’t used to Derek, like Allison was. He always hates to explain this without bluntly saying I’m a werewolf, so he comes up with the first thing that comes to mind ”I don’t… I don’t know? I mean, I have always been able to understand animals better than-…than people.” Derek says, scrunching his face up at every word. He didn’t realize how pathetic it sounded before he said it. Stiles looks puzzled as he takes in Derek, like he’s trying to work Derek out.
”I’ve seen you before you know. My dad is the sheriff, so I know who you are.” Derek cocks an eyebrow at that statement and Stiles groans. ”Oh, god. Dude, not what I-… That sounded so fucking creepy.” Stiles exclaims, ”I swear I’m not a stalker, I just… You help my dad with the police dogs sometimes and well, I’ve seen you around town sometimes too, but yeah I have heard that you’re good, but I haven’t actually seen you in action and- dude, this…this is just awesome!” Stiles blabbers on, and Derek can’t help, but let out a surprise laugh, which makes Stiles stop talking and just stare at Derek. ”God, are you even real?” Stiles mutters, too quiet for normal ears to pick up but Derek hears him loud and clear.
”Stiles Stilinski, huh? That’s a mouthful.” Stiles laughs, scratching behind his neck.
”Not if you compare it to my actual name, it’s not. Now, that’s a mouthful.” Stiles answers, as he looks through one of the boxes with equipment. ”Ugh, where do they keep the good stuff in here?” Stiles mutters for himself. Derek stands up with the mother fox in his arms and walks over to Stiles and the cub, standing at an arm distant.
”Something wrong?” Derek questions, leaning forward to give the fox cub a gentle scratch behind his ears. Stiles stops and looks at Derek’s hand.
”Okay, seriously what the actual fuck? Normally an animal this injured would want to bite your hand off for even touching it.” Stiles says, frowning at Derek. Derek shrugs.
”They like me I guess.” Derek jokes, smiling a little. Stiles almost drops the box.
”Huh.” Is all Stiles says. ”Okay, looks like I have to call Deaton. I don’t know where they keep everything around here and I can’t stitch up his leg because, hello, not a real veterinarian. So, yeah. I’ll go and call Deaton, can you keep a watch out for the cub? Make sure he doesn’t move.” Derek nods and Stiles leaves trough the door where they came in.
The cub whines and Derek puts the mother down on the table and crouches down to be at eye level with the cub, holding a hand gentle on his chest to keep him in place. The mother lays down next to the cubs head and licks at his nose, whining slightly in concern.
”I should really give you guys a name.” Derek whispers, staring at the two. ”How about, Kit?” Derek asks, the cub. The cub cocks his head to the side and gives Derek a cute little sniff, like he approves of the name. Derek laughs. ”Okay, great. Now, what should I name you?” Derek says, turning his attention back to the mother. She huffs and calculates Derek with a look, waiting.
”Foxy,” Stiles says. Derek jumps and glances to the side to find Stiles leaning against the doorway, arms crossed. The mother huffs at Stiles suggestion, like she isn’t approving of it at all. Derek says so to Stiles.
”What? How can she not like Foxy?” Derek eyes him with a look. ”Okay, fine, fine. How about Rocket? She kinda looks like the raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s not the best name, but Kit isn’t really original either, so Derek can’t really argue.
”Sounds good. Rocket and Kit. I’m just glad I didn’t name the cub Groot, that would’ve been a bit much.” Stiles gapes at him. ”What?” Derek asks.
”You know Marvel?” Stiles questions, smiling gleefully at Derek.
”Yeah, I love the movies and the comics.”
”Oh my god, he’s a nerd and hot. I’m going to die.” Stiles mutters quietly, but once again Derek picks up on it. Usually he would feel uncomfortable by those kinds of comments but he can’t help but feel… intrigued by Stiles. Which is something Derek doesn’t really know how to handle”Uh, I…I’m more of a DC fan but I love Marvel movies more than DC movies.” Derek understands that and nods at Stiles. ”So, I talked to Deaton and he will come as fast as he can. Apparently he had a meeting, which he really should mention before leaving the shelter to the new guy, but whatever.”
”What about Allison?” Derek asks, Stiles looks like that was the last question he expected from Derek.
”She has a date. I don’t want to interrupt because that would like break the bro code.” Stiles says. Derek nods. ”What’s your deal with Allison anyway? You asked for her earlier too, you like her or something?” Derek chokes on air and shakes his head several times.
”No, no, nothing like that. She’s just- She’s usually here when I show up…” Derek says, shrugging. Stiles squints at him suspiciously.
”You sure? Because I love Scott and all that, but damn I would feel sorry for me, If I was competing against you for a girl.” Stiles says and then blushes. Derek feels his face heat up and he immediately coughs and drags a hand over his hair, trying to come up with a good answer.
”Did- Did I make you uncomfortable? ’Cause I’m sorry if that’s the case.” Derek shook his head, glancing up at Stiles. Derek would probably place that as far away from uncomfortable as he could.
”No, uh, no it’s fine. It’s just… normally when people flirt with me it’s more direct.” Derek says. Stiles laughs.
”God, that…well I can’t flirt, like at all. So if you count that as flirting I’m flattered. I do know some really good pick up lines if you’d like to hear them?”
Derek… Derek was not expecting that. He can’t say that he is the most open guy when it comes to pick up lines, but he can’t deny that he would really like to hear what Stiles has to say. Mainly because he doesn’t want Stiles to stop talking, he likes that Stiles fills out the silence and doesn’t seem to mind that Derek doesn’t talk that much.
”Go for it.”
Stiles’s eyes widens and he starts laughing, looking like Derek just got him the best gift ever.
”Dude, you’re going to fall for me so hard.”
Derek huffs a laugh.
”Do you like flowers?” Stiles asks, Derek shrugs, nodding. Stiles smiles. ”If you were a flower you’d be a damnnndelion” Stiles says, wiggling his eyebrows. Derek has the sudden urge to face palm. That’s the worst thing he’s ever heard and he lives with sister for god sake, who is the queen of bad puns. Stiles looks so damn proud over himself.
”Okay not my finest, but don’t fear I got so many more! You’re going to marry me before I’m done.” Derek highly doubts that, but he can’t help but smile at Stiles.
”Tonight this Han doesn’t want to fly Solo.” Stiles says, happily which makes the comment even more ridiculous and Derek doesn’t really know what to with that. Rocket huffs at Stiles like he failed her and even Kit lets out a soft groan, probably because of the pain in his leg, but Derek can’t help feeling like that was meant for Stiles bad pickup line.
”Aside from being sexy, what do you do for a living?” Stiles says, stepping closer to Derek.
Derek groans, ”They keep getting worse, Stiles.”
”You know what material this is?” Stiles asks, stepping closer to Derek and pulling a bit at his shirt. Derek looks at him confused, where did that come from? Since when did they go from pickup lines to shirts?
”Eh, not sure…?” Derek answers, his eyebrows coming together in a v-shape as he looks at Stiles in confusion. Before Derek has a chance to think to long on it, Stiles opens his mouth and says,
”Boyfriend material,” before smiling widely. Derek groans, pushing Stiles gently away.
”That was awful. Horrible.” Derek mutters, but he can’t help but laugh slightly. Stiles shrugs.
”I made you laugh. I count that as a win.” he says and looks at Derek with fondness, which Derek don’t get, but he wants to. He feels warm underneath Stiles gaze and he never wants to let that feeling go. Before Derek has a chance to say something else, the door bangs open and Deaton walks in, carrying a small portfolio and greeting the two with a causal hello before going over to the small cub. Derek stands up, dragging his eyes away from Stiles and picks up Rocket so she wont be a problem for Deaton, and Stiles turns his attention back to Kit and assists Deaton with what he can.
”Done.” Deaton says after a half an hour. Derek looks up from petting Rocket and stares at Kit, who lays peacefully on the table. Stiles is stripping off his rubber gloves and throwing them in the trash. Deaton continues, ”He should probably rest here for a couple of days so I know that he’s healing correctly, but other than that he is healthy.” Derek can’t help but feel relieved, he knew nothing majorly was wrong, otherwise Stiles would have told him earlier, but having it confirmed once more was comforting. Derek who had settled in the same chair as before gets up with Rocket and places her on the table with Kit.
”We can place them both in one of the bigger cages, I’m guessing she doesn’t want to leave her kid right now.” Stiles utters out, glancing at Deaton and then finally settling on Derek. Deaton nods and begins picking up the tools they have used and goes to the sink on the other side of the room to wash them. Derek hates the idea of locking them in a cage, but he knows it’s necessary so other workers wont feel scared when coming into work tomorrow. Derek sighs.
Stiles seem to pick up on his discomfort because he adds, ”I can get them some extra blankets? I get that you don’t like them in a cage. I noticed, before, when I suggested putting Rocket in one. But, they will be out of here in no time, alright?” Derek only nods. Stiles looks like he is about to say something else but he finally just sighs and leaves the room, most likely to get some blankets. Leaving Derek with only Deaton and the foxes.
”So, Derek,” Deaton says, turning around a bit to glance at Derek. ”You going to adopt these two, too?” Derek laughs, thinking of his three dogs and two cats at home.
”Thinking it’s better for them to return to the wild. Once Kit’s leg-” Deaton stares at him, ”I named the cub, Kit. The mother’s name is Rocket-” Deaton laughs, slightly, ”Stiles named her.” At that Deaton smiles. ”Anyway, once Kit’s leg is healed he will be good as new, he won’t have a problem surviving in the wild, so I see no need taking them in.” Deaton nods, still smiling. ”What?” Derek asks, staring at him with a bit of irritation only Deaton can cause.
”Oh, nothing. It’s just… you never let Allison help out with the names. It’s always you naming them in your head, never saying them out loud…” Deaton states. Derek rolls his eyes.
”It wasn’t like I had a choice, he walked into the room while I was naming them. Besides…Rocket is a good name.” Derek answers, lamely.
Deaton only nods, ”Sure it is.” he says, like he knows something Derek doesn’t. Always so cryptic.
Stiles walks in again, carrying a pile of blankets in different colors in his arms, barely seeing where he puts his feet. ”Now, where are we keeping them, Doc?” Stiles says, voice muffled by the blankets.
”The room next door should do, it’s empty for now. Which is better for these two seeing that I usually only have dogs or cats in these facilities, and I don’t think they want to be trapped in a room with either.” Derek thinks Stiles is attempting to nod behind the blankets, because the whole pile moves back and forth with every word Deaton says.
”Roger that. Derek you mind helping me out?” Derek stares down at Rocket and Kit and notice that they are both fast asleep, so Derek shrugs and says sure, before opening the door for Stiles.
”Thanks,” Stiles mutters behind the pile of blankets as he walks by. Stiles goes to the middle of the room before dropping the pile on the floor. ”Now, which cage should the two lovely guests have, Derek?” Derek has a quick look around the room and settles for the biggest cage in the middle.
Stiles laughs, ”Figures.” and picks up two blankets and walks to the cage, opening it and stuffing the two blankets as neatly as he can on the cage floor. ”Mind passing me more blankets?” Derek walks forward and stands between Stiles and the pile of blankets and passes one blanket at the time to Stiles awaiting arms. After awhile, Stiles stops and turns fully around to Derek and gestures toward the cage.
”Ta-Da! It’s a masterpiece. A five star hotel.” Derek does admit that it looks cozy and not at all like a normal metal cage. Derek doesn’t feel as awful for leaving them in here for a night or two. He smiles at Stiles and stretches out his hand for Stiles to take, which he does and Derek pulls him up on his feet.
”It’s really great. I think they will appreciate it.” Stiles beams at Derek, and Derek can’t help feel… something. Derek feels more and more confused the more he looks at Stiles. He sees Stiles like a puzzle he can’t solve, because he can’t. He want’s too, and that feeling is completely new for Derek to understand.
He just met Stiles so why does he suddenly feel nervous? Standing only a few feet apart, alone. Stiles hasn’t moved from his spot in front of Derek. He catches Stiles eyes going down to his lips and then quickly up again, and Derek can’t help but do the same. Stiles lips are soft pink and he has a few small cuts in his bottom lip, like he has been biting them a lot. Stiles hand reaches for Derek’s and they interlock. Derek’s gaze shifts from his mouth to his hands and Derek… Derek likes Stiles hands, they feel soft and gentle in comparison to Derek’s.
”Is it okay if I ask you out?” Stiles says. Derek can feel Stiles thumb rub gentle against Derek’s hand. Derek likes this a lot, he thinks.
”That- That would be great.” Derek whispers out, looking up and meeting Stiles gaze.