Derek watches the man trip and the whole world seems to freeze for a moment.
He acts on instinct, racing forward at a speed that no human could ever hope to achieve, lunging forward without a second thought. It’s kind of a blur, what happens after that. He’s aware of wrapping his arms around the guy, of twisting so that his back is to the oncoming car, and then of being thrown against the concrete, doing his best to take the brunt of the impact.
“Holy shit,” the guy gasps, breathing fast and shallow. “Holy shit, are you – ”
“I’m fine,” Derek grunts, releasing the guy and trying to push himself to his feet, grimacing as he feels the bones shift under his skin, knitting themselves back together.
“You just got hit by a car! There’s no way in hell you’re – ” the guy starts, reaching over to pull up Derek’s shirt, but he cuts himself off as he watches the road rash on Derek’s side smooth itself over and disappear, as if it had never existed in the first place.
“I’m fine,” Derek repeats, knocking away the guy’s hand and pulling his shirt back down, hoping that no one else noticed.
“Holy shit,” the guy says for what Derek’s pretty sure is the third time in the past minute.
Derek rolls his eyes and grabs the guy’s wrist, helping pull him to his feet, but apparently he uses just a little too much force, the guy letting out a loud squawk as Derek suddenly finds himself, once again, with an armful of too-cute-for-his-own-good stranger.
“Wait, are you, like, a superhero?” the guy gasps, staring at Derek with wide eyes, pink mouth hanging open distractingly. “Shit, are you that lizard guy from London?”
“I’m not a superhero,” Derek grunts, letting go of the guy again, making him stumble backwards a step.
“We should get coffee,” the guy says suddenly, startling Derek.
“What?” he asks, blinking at the guy, his cheeks going a little pink.
“I mean, like, because you saved my life,” the guy amends quickly, his face flushing red. “A ‘holy shit, thanks to you I’m alive’ sort of thing, you know.”
“No, I don’t know,” Derek says dryly. “I don’t make a habit of saving people who manage to stumble over the curb and out into traffic.”
“Well, you should,” the guy replies, a small smile gracing his lips. “You seem like you’d be good at it.”
Derek tries to keep himself from blushing anymore and averts his eyes.
“So, coffee?” the guy asks again, shoving his hands in his pockets and rocking back on his heels awkwardly.
“Sure,” Derek finds himself saying, and, well, why the hell not? He’s not in any rush to get anywhere at the moment, and the guy’s pretty cute, too.
“I’m Stiles,” the guy replies, beaming.
“Stiles?” Derek asks, frowning. “What sort of name is ‘Stiles’?”
“Mine,” Stiles answers, his tone a little sharp. “It’s a nickname, though.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean – I’m Derek,” Derek replies, wincing internally and hoping that he hasn’t just made Stiles reconsider his coffee offer.
“Well, I’m super happy to meet you, Derek, because if I hadn’t, I’d probably be a pancake right now, and not the delicious kind,” Stiles says, shooting Derek a lopsided smile. “So, does the Starbucks on the corner work for you?”
Derek finds himself nodding and then falling into step beside Stiles as he chatters on about god knows what. His mouth seems to run at a mile a minute and only half of what comes out of it seems to make sense anyway.
“We need to figure out your superhero name,” Stiles announces once they finally sit down at a table in the most secluded corner of the Starbucks.
“What?” Derek says, blinking at him, having completely lost the thread of their (rather one-sided) conversation.
“Superhero name,” Stiles repeats, and Derek is momentarily distracted by his large, brown eyes. “You need one.”
“Why would I need a superhero name?” Derek asks once Stiles’ words catch up to him, his brow furrowing.
“Every superhero needs a superhero name. Duh,” Stiles replies, rolling his eyes.
“I’m not a superhero,” Derek says, because he’s really, really not.
“Dude, you’re totally a superhero,” Stiles insists, leaning a little farther across the table. “You have the super-strength and the super-healing and the glowing yellow eyes and shit. Not to mention the fact that you just saved me from certain death, and all.”
“You might not have died,” Derek protests, but it’s fairly weak. He tries not to think of Stiles’ bloodied body sprawled out across the asphalt.
“Uh huh. Me versus a hummer and you think I would have come out on top?” Stiles asks, his tone more than a little skeptical.
“I never said you’d come out on top,” Derek replies, shrugging. “I just said there was a chance you could have lived.”
“Fine, then you saved me from severe bodily harm or death,” Stiles amends, rolling his eyes. “Anyway. Back to the subject at hand.”
“I’m not a superhero,” Derek repeats.
“Well then you should be one,” Stiles says, his eyes suddenly lighting up. “Dude, I could totally help you!”
“What do you mean?” Derek asks, wary.
“I’ll be your Yoda!” Stiles announces, looking inordinately pleased with himself.
“My Yoda,” Derek repeats, his tone deadpan.
“Your Yoda, I will be,” Stiles says, pitching his voice oddly, making Derek frown at him. “You know, I’ll teach you how to be a superhero.”
“I don’t want to be a superhero,” Derek protests, and he has half a mind to leave right now, ditch Stiles and get back to his life.
“Ah, so you’re going the Peter Parker route,” Stiles says, nodding solemnly. “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.”
“Who’s Peter Parker?” Derek asks, confused.
“Oh my god, you have so much to learn,” Stiles replies, gaping at Derek, a look of pity in his eyes.
“You’re not going to be my Yoda,” Derek retorts, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest.
“I’ll be your Robin or something, then,” Stiles says, waving off his concerns. “Actually, no, wait, I’m more like Felicity Smoak, because I’m your techie. Not that I’m actually cool enough to be her.”
Derek is completely lost.
“Are you some sort of anti-establishment, vigilante hacker?” he asks, giving up on trying to decipher the rest of what Stiles is saying.
“What? No!” Stiles squawks, indignant, sending Derek a mild glare. “I work in R&D at Hale Tech.”
“You work for Hale tech?” Derek asks, surprised.
“Uh, yeah,” Stiles replies, quirking an eyebrow at him questioningly.
“That’s my mother’s company,” Derek explains, making Stiles’ eyes widen and his mouth drop open.
“We need to protect your parents at all costs!” Stiles proclaims, startling Derek.
“What? Why?” Derek demands, concerned. “Has there been a threat made against them?”
“Dude, they’re the millionaire parents of a superhero,” Stiles replies, giving Derek an unimpressed look. “I think we all know how this ends.”
“No. No, we don’t,” Derek shoots back, his tone a little snappish.
“Really? I mean, come on. Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Oliver Queen – comic book version, not the TV show one – Charles Xavier… I mean, Kate Bishop, too, I guess, but she only lost her mom,” Stiles says, as if any of this is supposed to make any sense. “It has been solidly proven that if you’re born into a rich family and are a superhero, your parents are going to die. It’s part of your origin story, man.”
“Then I clearly just shouldn’t become a superhero,” Derek protests, although he’s relieved to know that there’s not any actual threat against his family.
“Hey, like I said earlier, with great power comes great responsibility,” Stiles repeats, probably attempting to look sage. He just looks uncomfortable and nerdy, really. “Wait, does this mean you live in a mansion?”
“I have an apartment,” Derek replies, feeling strangely guilty as Stiles’ face falls, “but my parents have a large house about an hour out of the city.”
“Fuck yes!” Stiles crows, punching the air, much to Derek’s bemusement. “We can build a danger room!”
“I have no clue what that is, but I’m vetoing it,” Derek says, narrowing his eyes at Stiles.
“So you say now,” Stiles replies, grinning, a mischievous spark in his eyes.
“Look – I’m not – I’m an architect,” Derek sighs, running a hand through his hair. “I’m not superhero material.”
“Sure you are!” Stiles protests, and Derek feels his cheeks heat at that. “I mean, you have superpowers, don’t you? Therefore you have two options: superhero or supervillain. And considering you just saved my life, I think you’re gonna go the superhero route.”
“I just got bitten by my crazy ex-girlfriend’s genetically modified dog. It was an accident,” Derek insists.
“Oh my god,” Stiles gasps, his distracting mouth falling open. “That’s it – you’ve gotta watch Spider-Man. Or read Spider-Man, either one. That’s your first assignment in superhero training. Call me when you’ve finished it.”
Derek leaves the café with Stiles’ phone number, feeling utterly steamrolled.
He calls five days later.
“I watched the movies,” he says without preamble as soon as Stiles picks up.
“And?” Stiles asks with barely contained eagerness.
“I can’t make any guarantees,” Derek starts, tapping his fingers nervously against his thigh, “but come over to my family’s estate on Saturday and we’ll see what we can do.”
“Yes!” Stiles crows, loudly enough that Derek winces and has to hold his phone away from his ear. “I already have a list of potential superhero names.”
“I said no guarantees,” Derek grouses, sighing internally.
“Meh. I’ll make a superhero out of you yet,” Stiles replies, sounding smug.
Derek hangs up on him and wonders if he’s just made a huge mistake.
“Holy fucking shit, man,” Stiles says, staring up at the Hale family estate with wide eyes. “You are the most insane combination of Batman and Spider-Man I’ve ever seen.”
Derek rolls his eyes and lets him inside the gates, leading him over to the main building.
“So, where are we going? Do you have, like, a secret nuclear bunker? Or a Batcave? Please tell me you have a Batcave,” Stiles blabbers on, the sound already starting to grate on his ears. Why had he agreed to this, again? Ah, yes, he’s a gullible idiot with a weakness for cute faces.
“Back yard,” Derek answers, leading them around the back of the house. “I don’t want to damage anything inside.”
“You’re giving me a demonstration?” Stiles asks, perking up even more, if that’s even possible. “A superpower demonstration?”
“No, Stiles, I’m giving you a cooking demonstration,” Derek replies, the sarcasm in his voice more than a little obvious.
“Hey, you could always be luring me into a secluded area in order to kill me and bury the body, because I figured out your secret identity,” Stiles answers, shrugging distractedly as he peers around the well-manicured garden.
“You came here thinking I was planning to murder you?” Derek asks, incredulous. He squints at Stiles, but that doesn’t seem to make him any more understandable.
“Well, it wasn’t exactly high on my list of possibilities, considering you waited nearly a week and all,” Stiles replies, and Derek supposes that makes sense, in a strange sort of way.
“I’m not going to murder you,” Derek huffs, stopping in the middle of the largest clearing and shucking off his jacket, not missing the way Stiles’ eyes track the movement. Briefly, he considers removing his shirt, too, but he figures that that would make him too obvious. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Okay, big guy, give it to me,” Stiles says, making Derek’s eyes widen and his cheeks flush. “Show me what you’ve got.”
“Right,” Derek mutters, his face still burning.
The claws come out first. Those are the simplest, a tiny rearrangement of the flesh and bone of his fingers. He’s mostly gotten over the brief sting of the shift after these few months, but it still feels odd and uncomfortable.
“Huh,” Stiles says, stepping closer to inspect Derek’s claws, reaching out to run a finger over them. “You’re sure you got bitten by a dog and not, like, a wolf or something?”
“Absolutely,” Derek grumbles, but he doesn’t offer any additional information. Stiles probably thinks he got bitten by a German shepherd or something, and Derek’s not about to tell him that Kate owned a tiny Boston terrier.
“Shit,” Stiles hisses, suddenly jerking his hand back and sticking one of his fingers in his mouth, the one he’d been running over Derek’s claws. The stench of blood is heavy in the air, and Derek has to breathe through his mouth.
“Let me see,” Derek demands, shifting his claws back immediately, and reaching out to grasp Stiles’ injured hand.
“Dude, it’s nothing. It’s already stopped bleeding,” Stiles protests, but he lets Derek examine the pin-prick of a mark anyway.
“The smell’s… overwhelming,” Derek admits, frowning as he glares down at Stiles’ miniscule injury.
“Huh,” Stiles says, worrying his lower lip with his teeth. “Does that apply to every scent or just blood?”
“Most, but some are stronger than others,” Derek replies, shrugging, eyes still fixed guiltily on the tiny scratch on Stiles’ fingertip.
“You’re not gonna, like, go all vampire on me now, are you?” Stiles asks, giving Derek a wary look, making him immediately drop Stiles’ hand.
“No, I do not have a sudden thirst for your blood,” Derek answers, rolling his eyes. “I was bitten by a dog, not a bat.”
“Wait, so are you a werewolf?” Stiles asks, sounding half eager and half nervous.
“Yes, of course. I turn into a wolf every full moon,” Derek says, his tone deadpan. “No, you idiot. I got bitten by a science experiment gone wrong, not some mythical creature.”
“Hey, just checking!” Stiles huffs, pouting slightly. “So no getting freaky on the full moon. Got it. What else can you do?”
Derek bares his fangs.
“Shit, were those there before?” Stiles asks, leaning closer, wide eyes trained on Derek’s face.
Derek startles as Stiles reaches a hand over to pull up his lip in order to get a better look, nearly making him take a bite out of Stiles’ hand.
“Watch it,” he growls, eyes flashing vibrant yellow, which only seems to enthrall Stiles more. “And no, they weren’t.”
“Oh. That’s cool, because I think you have a hard time convincing people to kiss you otherwise, despite your devastatingly symmetrical face,” Stiles replies absently, ignoring Derek’s warning and running a finger down Derek’s elongated canines.
“Are you done touching me?” Derek snaps, face flushing as he tries to ignore how close Stiles is to him.
“Fine, fine. Backing away now,” Stiles grumbles, looking disappointed that he can’t play with Derek’s teeth anymore. “Are there any other special powers that you have?”
Derek takes a deep breath and does his full shift. He’s pretty sure Stiles nearly squeals with delight.
“What the hell is that?” Derek asks, eyeing the device in Stiles’ hands as he slides into the passenger seat of the Camaro.
“It’s a police scanner,” Stiles answers, in a ‘you should know this’ type of tone.
“Where’d you get a police scanner?” Derek asks, frowning.
“RadioShack,” Stiles replies casually.
“You can buy police scanners at RadioShack?” Derek says, surprised, still eying the device.
“Sometimes,” Stiles answers, shrugging and fiddling with the scanner. “It depends on who’s working and what parts they have. And stop sounding so weirded out by all of this. It’s not like it’s illegal to listen in – just to do anything with the information you’ve learned.”
“But we’re using the information,” Derek clarifies, still wary.
“Duh,” Stiles replies, rolling his eyes. “But, I mean, just to know what areas to steer clear of. We’re just trying to stop crimes the police aren’t around for, not show them up.”
“This is a bad idea,” Derek says, shaking his head. “This is a monumentally bad idea. We should just go home.”
“What? No! You can’t back out now!” Stiles protests, giving Derek a betrayed look. “We haven’t even caught our first criminal yet!”
“You’re right, we haven’t, which is why we should get out before we lose our chance,” Derek snaps, and he can feel his eyes glowing in the dim light.
“Do I need to make you rewatch Spider-Man?” Stiles asks, his eyes narrowing.
“Spider-Man is fiction,” Derek retorts, his voice containing a little bit of a growl, and he has to close his eyes for a moment in order to prevent his canines from elongating. “We should just let the police handle it.”
“We are letting the police handle it,” Stiles protests, waving the police scanner at Derek. “We’re just taking the ones the police don’t get calls about or don’t notice or whatever. My dad’s a cop, okay? I respect him more than anyone else in the world, but he can’t do everything by himself. We’re helping.”
Derek’s about to reply, to continue the argument, but then he hears a crash and yelling – very loud yelling.
“Stay here,” Derek orders, not sparing Stiles a glance as he gets out of the car, slamming the door behind him and running over to the source of the commotion.
When he rounds the corner, he sees a young man stumble out of an apartment building, his body covered in bruises and his cheeks stained with tears. An older man, his father maybe, storms out after him, face a mask of pure rage. He holds up a fist and Derek acts on instinct, increasing his speed to an all-out sprint and tackling the guy.
The man goes down with a thud, head hitting the concrete with a crack. For a moment, Derek’s heart stops and he scrambles to check the man for injuries. His pulse is present and steady, and his breathing seems fine. Really, he’s not even bleeding, save for on his elbows where a bit of skin got scraped away when he hit the concrete.
“Are you alright?” Derek finally asks, turning to the young man standing on the sidewalk, watching him with wide eyes.
“I – yeah,” he stutters, clearly still trying to process what just happened.
“Oh my god, it is not fair that you can run that fast!” a voice exclaims, making Derek turn to see Stiles finally round the corner, his face a little red.
“I told you to stay in the car!” Derek snaps, although internally he’s sighing in relief, glad that he’d managed to neutralize the threat before Stiles arrived on the scene.
Stiles rolls his eyes, but doesn’t try to argue. Instead, he steps forward to survey the situation, eyes darting quickly between the unconscious man on the concrete and the younger man still watching them warily from a few feet away.
“Hey, what’s your name?” Stiles asks suddenly, turning to the bruise covered stranger.
“Isaac,” he answers after a beat, although his eyes are firmly trained by Derek. Which, Derek supposes, he understands. Stiles doesn’t exactly look like much of a threat, while he… well, he did just take down a man with a single tackle.
“Okay, Isaac, so here’s what we’re gonna do,” Stiles says, and Derek can practically hear his brain buzzing with activity. “That’s your dad right?” Isaac nods. “And he’s the one who gave you all of those bruises?”
Isaac hesitates for a moment before nodding again.
“Right. So, we’re going to call the police,” Stiles continues, pulling his phone out of his pocket. “Actually, you’re going to call the police, and you’re going to tell them that your dad was chasing you and then tripped, brained himself on the sidewalk.”
“But that’s not – I don’t want to get caught lying to the police!” Isaac protests, shrinking away from Stiles and Derek slightly. “And once he wakes up, it’s my word against his – ”
“Nah,” another voice interrupts, startling Derek and making him tense, although when he turns, he just finds a young blonde woman standing in the apartment building entrance, a taller black man just behind her. “Hey, you saw Mr. Lahey trip, didn’t you, Boyd?”
“Sure did, Erica,” Boyd replies, this tone carefully neutral and his expression revealing nothing.
“Here, Isaac, why don’t you use my phone to call the police,” Erica says, digging it out of her sweatshirt pocket and passing it over to a dumbfounded looking Isaac.
“And these two gentlemen can be on their way,” Boyd continues, but his tone isn’t unkind, just cautionary and understanding.
“Thanks,” Isaac says suddenly, eyes trained on Derek.
Derek nods politely, unsure what to say. It was nothing, sounds too condescending and You’re welcome, sounds odd, too, because Isaac shouldn’t have to be grateful for not getting beaten to death by his father. He shouldn’t have been put in that position in the first place.
So Derek just nods and then turns away, striding back down the street into the late night darkness.
“I didn’t get to see any of the action,” Stiles whines once they’ve rounded the corner, hurrying to keep up with Derek.
“You were supposed to wait in the car,” Derek growls, glaring at him.
“You didn’t really expect me to listen to that, did you?” Stiles snorts, rolling his eyes.
“Remind me, which one of us has superpowers?” Derek asks, exasperated.
“Please, you wouldn’t even be out here tonight if it wasn’t for me,” Stiles retorts as he opens the Camaro’s door and slides into the passenger seat. “Plus, what if you needed backup?”
“Why would I need backup from a guy who nearly died by stumbling into traffic?” Derek scoffs, grimacing as Stiles slams his car door shut with a little more force than strictly necessary.
“I was having a bad day. It was a one-off thing,” Stiles protests, scowling at Derek.
“Sure,” Derek replies, rolling his eyes.
“Look, it won’t do you any good if I’m hanging around in the background with no way to communicate with you,” Stiles says, and Derek had to admit that he does have a bit of a point. “Therefore, you should let me tag along.”
An idea dawns on Derek.
“What’s this?” Stiles asks dubiously a few days later when Derek shows up on his doorstep and thrusts a package into his hands.
“A military comm headset,” Derek answers evenly. “I have a corresponding one. That way you can stay in the car.”
Stiles slams the door in his face.
Stiles calls up three hours later gushing about the tech quality. Derek’s never heard someone sound so bitter while spewing praise before.
“Oh, but Derek?” Stiles says, right as Derek’s about to hang up.
“Yes?” he asks warily.
“If you’re making me do this long distance, I demand a Batcave,” Stiles replies and promptly ends the call.
Derek sighs and googles ‘bat cave.’
“This isn’t a Batcave,” Stiles says as he enters the apartment, shooting Derek an unimpressed look.
“Very observant of you,” Derek replies, shrugging off his jacket and hanging it on a hook by the door. “This is my apartment.”
“You promised me a Batcave,” Stiles retorts, his tone almost a whine. Derek really shouldn’t find it endearing.
“Actually, I didn’t,” Derek snorts as Stiles moves to sprawl out on the large brown leather couch in the living room. “You demanded a Batcave and then hung up on me.”
“Technicalities,” Stiles scoffs, but he’s already making himself at home. Briefly, Derek wonders why he thought bringing Stiles into his apartment was a good idea.
“I’m gutting one of the other apartments so that you can make your Batcave,” Derek huffs, trying not to feel overly smug as Stiles’ head jerks up abruptly in surprise as he gapes openly.
“Wait, really? Holy shit,” Stiles says, his mouth hanging open. “I mean, you didn’t have to – I was just joking – ”
“If I’m going to do this, I might as well do it right,” Derek interrupts, shrugging.
“So you’ve finally given in?” Stiles asks, smirking slightly as he reaches over to pull his laptop out of its case.
“We’re only handling things the police miss,” Derek replies, his voice firm. “Nothing big, nothing flashy.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Stiles says, rolling his eyes, but he doesn’t seriously protest, which Derek is grateful for. “I’ll keep you updated on police movements while you take out the car thieves.”
Derek scowls and stalks over to Stiles, accepting the comm that he’s already set up and attempting to fit it in his ear. He swears under his breath as he fumbles with the small device, nearly dropping it.
“Let me get it,” Stiles says, standing up and plucking the comm out of Derek’s hands before he can protest. “Hold still.”
Clenching his jaw, Derek attempts to comply as Stiles huddles closer to him. Staying still isn’t that easy, though, not when Stiles is so close to him that he can feel Stiles’ breath against his ear. Stiles’ fingertips brush over his skin as he carefully attaches the comm, and Derek is half tempted to reach out and pull him even closer.
But then Stiles is gone again, plopping back down on the couch.
“You should go get changed now,” Stiles says, his attention on the police scanner now as he fiddles with it.
“Get changed?” Derek asks, confused. He was just going to go out in his current attire.
“Please tell me you weren’t planning on wearing that,” Stiles answers, clearly judging him.
“What’s wrong with it?” Derek retorts, feeling a little defensive.
“Dude, you’re wearing, like, all black with a leather jacket and everything,” Stiles says, scrunching up his nose in a way that really shouldn’t be as adorable as it is. “The people you’re helping will be more afraid of you than their actual assailant.”
“Then what am I supposed to wear?” Derek snaps, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Would it be too optimistic of me to ask if you have anything not in grayscale?” Stiles asks, worrying his bottom lip with his teeth as his eyes trail over Derek’s body in a way that makes him have to suppress a shiver.
Derek glares before heading over to his bedroom in search of something that Stiles will approve of. Not that he actually needs Stiles approval, mind you. It’s just that Stiles does have a bit of a point about not looking too intimidating when dealing with victims.
Shuffling through his drawers, he eventually pulls out an orange and blue stripped shirt that Laura had given him as a gag gift a few years ago. He tugs it on, displeased to find that it’s a little too tight to be comfortable. He doesn’t bother to take it off, though. Stiles is unfortunately correct – most of his clothing is in grayscale and the few pieces that aren’t (his moss green V-neck and his maroon sweater) are in the wash. However, he elects to keep his leather jacket. He can’t look like too much of a pushover.
“Hey, so your comm should work now that – ” Stiles starts as he walks back into the living room, but the Stiles cuts himself off, staring openly.
Then, he bursts out laughing.
“You told me to find something with color,” Derek says, all too aware that his tone is dangerously close to a whine.
“I know – I just – ” Stiles wheezes, eyes bright with amusement. “You look so cuddly.”
“Cuddly,” Derek repeats, deadpan, although he feels his eyes flash bright yellow.
“Very,” Stiles replies, grinning.
Derek gives Stiles his best glare, but Stiles seems to be steadily becoming immune to them. Things run fairly smoothly after that, though, Stiles switching into a more professional mode as he explains how to work the comm to Derek. Then he’s out in the cold night, stalking through the streets as he looks for… well, for something to do.
“Hello, Blue Wolf, come in Blue Wolf,” Stiles says, his voice a little static-y over the comm.
“I told you, we’re not using code names,” Derek replies as he wanders through the dark streets.
“Okay, you know what? Your code name has now been changed to Sour Wolf,” Stiles shoots back, making Derek let out a little warning growl. If he’d been in the same room as Stiles instead of halfway across the city, he’d have glared.
“What were you going to tell me?” Derek asks, ignoring Stiles’ commentary to the best of his abilities.
“What were you going to tell me…?” Stiles repeats. Derek huffs.
“What were you going to tell me, Red Fox?” Derek finally asks, although his tone makes it sound like his teeth are being slowly pulled from his jaw.
“Well, since you asked so nicely, I was going to tell you that the squad car patrolling about five blocks south of you just got called away on a 10-66, so the area’s free at the moment if you wanna continue in that direction,” Stiles answers, and Derek mentally readjusts his course.
“I’m on it,” Derek replies, starting to head south.
So far tonight hasn’t been very interesting. There was a teenager trying to break into a store earlier, but all he’d had to do was corner the kid and yell at him for a bit. Apparently he still looks menacing enough, even in the ridiculous shirt he’s wearing. That’s all he’s encountered, though, and he’s starting to get tired and bored enough that turning in for the night is becoming an increasingly tempting idea.
“Stiles, I think it’s about time that we – ” Derek starts, after patrolling for another ten to fifteen minutes, but he’s cut off by a loud scream.
“Derek?” Stiles asks, having obviously heard the shriek through the comm.
“I’m on State and Lyndale, preparing to engage,” Derek answers as he starts running towards the source of the noise. “Situation as of yet unknown.”
“There have been no 911 calls to the area,” Stiles replies, the clack of his fingers on his laptop keyboard audible in the background.
Derek nods automatically, not that Stiles can see him. Then he’s ducking into a side alley, his keen ears easily detecting the sounds of a struggle. Thankfully, he doesn’t smell blood. It appears to be an altercation between a woman and three muggers, and Derek’s surprised to find that the woman seems to be faring well, despite her odds. Not that she’s winning – not by a long shot.
Lunging forward without a second thought, Derek throws a punch at the closest mugger. He’s clearly surprised, taken off guard, and the punch lands solidly – maybe even too solidly if the audible crack is any indication. Derek grimaces slightly and makes a mental note to work on limiting the force of his attacks.
Then, he turns to the next mugger, claws extending on instinct as he catches a flash in the darkness which can only have reflected off a knife. This mugger is faster than the last one and Derek finds himself letting out a small hiss of pain as the blade rips into his left arm.
“Derek are you – ” Stiles asks, his voice sounding distant and muffled through the comm.
Derek doesn’t reply, though – doesn’t have the time to. Instead he lunges, slashing out even as he feels the skin of his forearm knitting itself together. The mugger’s eyes widen, and briefly Derek wonders what he looks like, claws extended and eyes glowing yellow. He rakes his claws across the mugger’s hand, forcing him to drop the knife, before pushing him back against the wall with enough force to knock him out.
That taken care of, he turns to the third assailant, only to find him already curled on the ground, unconscious, with the woman standing over him.
“Are you alright?” Derek finally manages, suddenly all too aware that he’s shifted, eyes glowing and claws extended.
“Yeah,” she says, a little breathless as she stares at him. “Yeah, I’m – thank you.”
“It was nothing,” Derek replies automatically, slowly retracting his claws and blinking a couple of times until he’s sure that his eyes are back to their normal color.
“Oh my god, are you flirting?” Stiles hisses in his ear, and Derek wants to growl at him or make a snappy retort, but he doesn’t need the woman he just helped save to think that he’s talking to himself.
“No, it really wasn’t nothing,” the woman says, smiling at him tentatively, but maintaining her distance. “I’m Jennifer.”
“Ah,” Derek replies, awkward and unsure what else to say.
“Do I get to know the name of my savior?” she asks, sounding remarkably amused for a woman who was just attacked by three muggers.
“I’m, uh,” Derek starts, unsure what to say, “Blue Wolf.”
“You did not just tell her you’re ‘Blue Wolf’,” Stiles moans, sounding like Derek’s words have physically injured him. “I had a list of names, Derek. A list. And none of them were anywhere near as lame as ‘Blue Wolf’.”
“Well, then, Mr. Wolf,” Jennifer says, her voice unknowingly warring with Stiles’ for Derek’s attention. “Do you think you could maybe spare the time to walk me home? It’s only a few blocks.”
“Of course,” Derek replies, nodding a little stiffly. After all, it would be irresponsible for him to make her walk by herself alone this late at night.
“And the romantic movie music swells,” Stiles mutters, his static-y voice ringing through Derek’s ears. He’s half tempted to snap at Stiles in order to tell him to shut up, but he can’t help but admit that Stiles has a bit of a point. This is every comic book cliché.
“So is this – is this a thing you do?” Jennifer asks as they start walking, looking at Derek questioningly, her eyes trailing over his features, but unlike when Stiles does it, her gaze just makes him feel uncomfortable.
“What?” Derek replies, lost.
“Saving people,” Jennifer clarifies, her shoulder brushing against his casually.
“Yeah,” Derek says, after a moment. “Yeah, it is.”
When Derek returns to his apartment after seeing Jennifer home safely, he doesn’t see Stiles. He frowns, surveying the living room carefully, but Stiles clearly isn’t there, his stuff no longer spread out across the couch and coffee table. Derek pauses, though, as his keen ears zero in on the sound of fingers flying across a keyboard. He closes his eyes, focusing in on it before opening them again and moving in the direction the noise is emanating from.
“You have no sense of personal space, do you?” Derek snorts when he opens his bedroom door to find Stiles sprawled out over his bed, lying on his stomach
“So I’ve been told,” Stiles replies absently, not looking away from his computer screen. “Your bed is way more comfy than your couch, though.”
Derek valiantly tries to avoid thinking about how much he likes the sight of Stiles in his bed.
“Also, the police have already picked up the guys you took care of after I called in an anonymous tip,” Stiles continues, finally glancing up at Derek.
“They saw my face,” Derek points out, frowning.
“Yeah, well, you were shifted part of the time, right?” Stiles says, quirking an eyebrow at him.
“So?” Derek replies.
“So do you really think that they’re gonna blab about the freaky wolf-man who nearly ripped their throats out?” Stiles asks, his tone suggesting that he thinks Derek should have come to this conclusion himself.
“They don’t necessarily have to mention my powers,” Derek points out, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I highly doubt they’d want to risk your wrath either way,” Stiles snorts. “We should still probably get you a mask, though.”
“No spandex,” Derek says immediately, shuddering internally at the mere thought.
“Aw, you don’t want it clinging to your well-defined abs the next time you save Jennifer from whatever perilous situation she’s found herself in?” Stiles teases, making Derek blush slightly.
“I highly doubt I’ll ever see her again,” Derek replies.
“Please, you two met in, like, the most cliché way ever,” Stiles says, finally closing his laptop and getting up off his stomach in order to sit cross-legged on the bed. “I’ve seen enough movies to know how this ends.”
“First of all, this isn’t a movie,” Derek protests, a little exasperated. “Also, you and I met in the same way, so why doesn’t this apply to you?”
Hopefully Stiles doesn’t read too far into that – into the fact that Derek wouldn’t be opposed to him being the love interest in this superhero movie scenario.
“I’m your sidekick. Sidekicks aren’t love interests,” Stiles replies, as if this is a fact of life which Derek should naturally know.
Derek rolls his eyes, giving up on trying to understand Stiles’ logic. Also, he probably shouldn’t argue his point too much, because then Stiles might start suspecting things. So far Stiles hasn’t given any concrete indication that he’s attracted to men, aside from the occasionally too-long stare, and Derek doesn’t want to push, lest he end up scaring Stiles off.
“Do you want pizza?” Derek finally asks, changing the direction of the conversation.
They end up sprawled out on the living room couch watching Iron Man while Derek eats his pizza like a normal human being and Stiles delicately picks off each piece of pepperoni to eat first before devouring the sad-looking leftover mess.
Derek fails to not find it endearing.
He regrets it when he has to get up three hours later to go do his actual job, though. Crime fighting takes up way more time than the movies imply.
Things progress similarly for the next few weeks. Unlike Stiles had predicted, Derek doesn’t run into Jennifer again, but he does stop a few more muggings along with some back-alley bar fights and one attempted rape.
Then, things change.
“Derek,” Stiles gasps as soon as Derek picks up his phone, which he’s been trying to ignore, because he’s at work at the architecture firm. “Derek, I need your help right now – ”
“What is it? What’s wrong, Stiles?” Derek asks, immediately on edge. The last time he heard Stiles sound like this, overwhelmed and strung out, was in the brief moments after he’d nearly been hit by a car.
“I know that you said you’d only do small things, like burglaries and stuff,” Stiles starts, his voice strained and desperate, “but I need you to do this for me.”
“Stiles,” Derek snaps, Stiles’ obvious anxiety rubbing off on him. “Tell me what’s wrong. I can’t help you if I don’t know what I need to do.”
“My friend Kira – it’s – she – you’ve been watching the news right? You know about that guy who killed four kids and just escaped from prison?” Stiles asks, making Derek’s stomach twist itself into knots of dread as he wonders where this is going. “He’s kidnapped Kira. The police are looking for him, but they have no idea where he could be and – ”
“I’ll do what I can,” Derek says, cutting off Stiles’ devolving rambling. “I’m not sure how much help I’m going to be, though.”
“I was thinking that maybe you could catch a scent?” Stiles suggests tentatively, and Derek can hear him drumming his fingers nervously on some surface in the background. “I can take you to where the guy, uh, bashed my buddy Scott over the head and took Kira.”
“I’ll be right over. Where should I meet you?” Derek asks, already moving to pack up his things.
“You, uh, work at SustainabilitTEAM Architecture, right?” Stiles replies, sounding a little calmer now.
“Yeah. Do you need the address or – ” Derek starts, but Stiles cuts him off.
“I’m loitering awkwardly in the lobby, actually,” Stiles admits. “I wanted to be able to, you know, talk to you in person if I couldn’t persuade you to help over the phone.”
“Stiles,” Derek says, feeling a strange pang of hurt. “I would never have said no.”
“Dude, I’m asking you to confront a murderer vigilante-style,” Stiles replies softly. “I wouldn’t – okay, so maybe I would have been a little pissed if you said no, but I wouldn’t really have blamed you.”
“I’ll be down in a minute,” Derek says as he starts walking to the elevator, before changing his mind and taking the stairs, hanging up before practically sprinting down them.
He finds Stiles where he said he would be, hanging out awkwardly by the door. The secretary at the front desk keeps sending him suspicious looks so Derek hurries over to him, putting a hand between his shoulder blades in order to steer him outside.
“I drove over here in my Jeep, but if you want – ” Stiles starts, but Derek shakes his head.
“Your Jeep will be more subtle than my car,” Derek says, dropping his hand from Stiles’ back as Stiles takes the lead, making his way to where his car is parked.
“Right,” Stiles replies.
As soon as he says that, though, Derek’s hit by a wave of scent, almost strong enough to make him retch. It’s a bitter, unpleasant smell, thick and pungent. He’s pretty sure he’s smelled it in passing before, small whiffs here and there, but he’s certain that he hadn’t encountered it before he got bitten. It’s probably something hormonal, based on a person’s stress level or mood. Whatever it is, though, Derek knows it can’t be good.
“Hey,” Derek says once he’s seated in the car, tentatively putting his hand over Stiles’, keeping him for turning the ignition for a moment. “We’ll find her.”
“Yeah,” Stiles replies, sounding less than confident, but the bitter scent clinging to him lessens.
The drive over to the crime scene mainly consists of Derek listening attentively while Stiles explains everything he knows about the situation. Which, sadly, isn’t that much.
“Here,” Stiles says as they’re getting out of the car, producing a light pink sweatshirt from the back of the car. “This is Kira’s. I figured it’d help you identify her scent.”
Derek nods and accepts it, just holding it for a moment before awkwardly bringing it up to his face and sniffing it. Hopefully no one’s walking by. He probably looks like a creeper, smelling someone’s sweatshirt.
He pushes those thoughts away, though, instead closing his eyes and trying to focus on the task at hand. The scent of women’s deodorant is the strongest, although Derek doesn’t know brands well enough to tell the exact type. Underneath that are hints of ginger and pickles, along with something else that Derek can’t quite place. Ozone, maybe, like static electricity and thunderstorms. It’s a distinctive enough combination that hopefully he’ll be able to track it.
“Crime scene’s right over there,” Stiles says once Derek opens his eyes again, motioning over to an area a little further up the sidewalk, which is blocked off by bright yellow police tape.
There’s not exactly much to see – it’s just a small expanse of asphalt and concrete. There’s a dark smudge on the ground which looks and smells like half-dried blood, and Derek wrinkles his nose as the scent hits him.
“I’ll go distract the officer,” Stiles says, patting Derek on the shoulder before moving to talk to the policewoman who’s just glanced over at them suspiciously.
Derek waits until Stiles has the officer’s full attention before moving any closer, half listening to Stiles kick up a ruckus about how Kira’s one of his best friends and the police need to find her right this instant. Derek shifts his focus, though, as he gets right up next to the police tape line. The smell of blood is stronger now, and it’s making it very difficult for him to detect anything underneath it.
Well, almost anything.
Because there is one scent that stands out, sharp and out of place. It’s ozone again, he realizes, but unlike before when he’d smelled Kira’s sweatshirt, it isn’t mixed with deodorant, ginger, and pickles. No, this ozone scent has mingled with the barest hint of sickness and something else stomach-turning, rank and unpleasant.
Abruptly, he realizes that this is probably the killer’s scent.
He turns away from the crime scene, following the stench down the street a little way, but he’s disappointed to find it end abruptly, covered up by the smells of exhaust and gasoline. It makes sense that the kidnapper would have an escape vehicle, that he wouldn’t try to carry an unconscious woman through the city streets, but unfortunately this means that Derek probably isn’t going to be able to track him any further.
“You got it?” Stiles asks, walking over to him, although the police officer is still watching them with mild suspicion.
“The kidnapper used some sort of vehicle to transport Kira. I don’t think I can track that,” Derek admits, hating the way Stiles’ face falls at his proclamation.
“Oh,” Stiles says, and it’s probably the first time Derek’s ever heard him at a loss for words.
He hates it.
“There is something strange about the kidnapper’s scent, though,” Derek continues, because, goddamn it, they can’t give up yet. “He smelled strongly of ozone.”
“Ozone’s formed when dioxygen in the atmosphere’s broken up by electrical discharges or ultraviolent light, right?” Stiles says, frowning.
“Yes,” Derek replies, wondering where Stiles is going with this.
“Then he’s hanging around somewhere that’s highly electrically charged, if he smells so strongly of ozone,” Stiles concludes, which Derek supposes makes sense. Then again, Kira’s jacket had smelled a bit like ozone even before this.
“So a power plant, or something?” Derek asks, trying to think if he knows of any in the area. Meanwhile, Stiles is already pulling up his smartphone, fingers tapping rapidly over the screen as he looks up god knows what.
“There’s an electrical substation near Larkin and another near Bayshore,” Stiles says, a look of stern determination now on his face.
“Let’s go to Larkin first,” Derek replies, already striding towards Stiles’ Jeep.
It doesn’t take too long to drive there, partially because Stiles is going more than a little over the speed limit. (Not that Derek can really blame him.) The substation itself is a large, concrete block of a building, right in the middle of the city, surrounded by shops and cafes.
“You’re sure this is the right place?” Derek asks, because it doesn’t very well look like what he’d imagined. He’d thought it would be more isolated.
“Yeah. It’s a distribution substation, and apparently a lot of the ones in large cities are disguised as houses and stuff,” Stiles answers, unbuckling his seatbelt.
“You’re not going inside,” Derek says as he notices the movement.
“Please,” Stiles snorts, sending Derek a mild glare. “That didn’t work before, and it’s sure as hell not going to work when it’s my friend’s life on the line.”
“Exactly – your friend’s life is on the line. If you go in there, you’ll be in danger, too,” Derek points out, reaching over and gripping Stiles’ wrist in order to prevent him from trying to leave the car. “This guy’s already killed four people.”
“I’m not defenseless,” Stiles retorts, his glare intensifying as he strains against Derek’s hold. “What if you need backup, huh? I could be a distraction, too!”
“It’s that sort of reckless thinking that’s going to get you killed!” Derek snaps, although he relaxes his grip and lets Stiles pull away, worried that he’s going to end up breaking Stiles’ delicate bones otherwise.
“I’m not defenseless,” Stiles repeats defiantly, twisting around to rummage through the back of the backseat. “I even brought Scott’s baseball bat.”
“Uh huh, and what exactly do you plan on doing with that?” Derek asks, unimpressed.
“Bash his fucking brains out,” Stiles mutters, getting out of the Jeep and slamming the door behind him.
“I’ll take him while you get Kira,” Derek finds himself saying ten minutes later. He didn’t have much luck in convincing Stiles to stay behind, but they did have the luck of finding the killer’s hideout on the first try. “Wait until I have his full attention before making a move, though.”
“I got it the first three times,” Stiles replies, but there’s no real heat to his words, so Derek lets it slide.
Derek bolts around the corner then, already fully shifted as he prepares himself for whatever he might find. What he does find is a young woman who must be Kira, bound with what looks like extension cords, her assailant standing over her with a severed, sparking electrical wire in one hand. Derek acts on instinct, charging forward and knocking the cord out of the man’s grip. He has the element of surprise on his side, and he’s already slashing his claws downward, about to make contact –
He hears a scream. A flash of light momentarily blinds him and he lets out a grunt as a sudden shockwave travels through his body.
Then, everything goes black.
Derek comes to in an unfamiliar room, in an unfamiliar bed, with a thankfully familiar person sitting next to him.
“Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty,” Stiles says from where he’s propped up against the headboard, his laptop resting on his thighs.
“What happened?” Derek asks, trying to distract himself from the fact that, in all likelihood, he’s in Stiles’ bed with Stiles.
“You got electrocuted,” Stiles snorts, and Derek does his best to glare, even though his body feels strange and tingly all over. “By Kira.”
“By Kira?” Derek asks, surprised, eyebrows raised.
“Yeah,” Stiles replies, shutting his laptop and resting his hands on top of it. “I mean, I knew she got struck by lightning in a freak accident six months ago, but I didn’t know she’d gotten superpowers out of it.”
“She got superpowers from being struck by lightning,” Derek repeats, incredulous.
“Please, like you getting bitten by a genetically modified dog is any weirder,” Stiles scoffs, and Derek reluctantly concedes that he does have a point.
“Where is Kira?” Derek asks, managing to push himself into a sitting position. He appears to be fully healed, but he still feels a little achy and tingly.
“She’s with the police right now, giving her statement,” Stiles replies, holding out a bag of red-hot Cheetos to Derek, who stares at it for a moment before tentatively taking a handful. “The official story is that she didn’t get tied up quite tight enough and managed to get a hand free to grab the sparking chord and shock her kidnapper.”
“She’s alright, then?” Derek questions, trying to ignore the echo of her scream in his head.
“She’s kind of shaken up, but she’s okay physically,” Stiles answers, popping a Cheeto into his mouth. “She’s actually coming by later to talk with us about what actually happened.”
“How much did you tell her?” Derek asks, trying not to stare as Stiles licks the bright red-orange cheese powder off his fingers.
“Not a lot,” Stiles replies, shrugging. “We didn’t exactly have much time. Oh, and you’ve only been out for, like, an hour, by the way.”
They lapse into silence for a moment. Derek’s unsure what else to say to that.
“You’re feeling okay, right?” Stiles asks, his question a little out of the blue. “I mean, I kind of assumed that your super-healing would take care of everything, but I don’t need to take you to the hospital, do I?”
“I’m fine,” Derek grumbles. It’s true – the tingling sensation is almost gone now.
“You can sleep for a little longer,” Stiles says, opening his laptop again and drumming his fingers on the keyboard as he waits for it to start up from sleep mode. “I’ll wake you when Kira gets here.”
Derek looks at him for a moment before complying. For some reason, it feels natural.
“So you guys are superheroes,” Kira says, clutching her mug of tea tightly.
“Derek’s the superhero. I’m the sidekick,” Stiles replies, shrugging. Derek frowns, glancing over at him for a second, because, in his opinion, Stiles is almost more of a superhero than he is. Really, Derek’s just the one with superpowers.
“So when do we start?” Kira asks, throwing Derek for a loop.
“What?” he says, frowning at her.
“When do I start my superhero training?” Kira clarifies, not that it really helps Derek understand what she’s saying any more.
“You want to…?” Derek asks, unsure quite how to phrase it. Become a superhero? Fight crime? Contribute to unlawful vigilantism?
“Well, with great power comes great responsibility, right?” Kira replies, blushing slightly, still fiddling with her mug.
“I leaving you to become Kira’s sidekick,” Stiles announces, giving Derek a pointed look.
“Blue Wolf. Come in, Blue Wolf.”
“I thought I told both of you not to call me that,” Derek growls, Kira answering with a giggle and Stiles with a snicker. “Are both of you in place?”
There’s no answer. He sighs.
“Are both of you in place, Red Fox and White Fox?” Derek repeats, just barely resisting the urge to roll his eyes. It’s not like either of them can see him, after all, so it won’t send his intended message.
“Almost,” Kira says, her voice tinny through the comm.
“Almost?” Derek replies, his tone a little snappish.
“Sorry,” Kira answers, and now Derek’s feeling reluctantly guilty for speaking to harshly. “It’s just kind of difficult to get through these air vents. I only have, like, five more feet to go, though.”
“The police and bank robbers are still in negotiations, so we have some time,” Stiles reassures her, the soft tap of his fingers over his computer keyboard soothing Derek’s nerves a bit, too. “Blue Wolf, how are you doing?”
“Ready and in position,” Derek says, his tone unwavering.
On Kira’s end, he hears a muffled grunt followed by the screech of metal and a soft clatter.
“Is everything alright?” he demands, hoping that his sensitive hearing had only exaggerated the volume, and that the ruckus wasn’t actually loud enough to tip off either the robbers or the police. Neither know that they’re inside, after all. Ever since Kira’s kidnapping, they’ve been escalating to higher profile crimes and have been getting closer to butting heads with law enforcement, although this is probably the closest they’ve come. Derek doesn’t necessarily like it, but he can’t deny that they’re doing good work.
In fact, in this most recent incident, they hadn’t anticipated getting the police involved at all. Derek had actually been on his way to the bank when it happened. Kira had arrived in only a matter of minutes when he’d called her about it, and they were hoping to have everything neatly wrapped up before the police were even notified. Kira had short circuited the alarm system and they’d been able to sneak in undetected, but then, of course, a robber had to go and shoot one of the hostages and everything went to shit.
“I’m in,” Kira announces, finally answering his question. “The vault door’s right in front of me.”
“You’re sure it has steel in it?” Derek asks Stiles, and he can practically hear Stiles’ eye-roll.
“Look, I couldn’t just, like, ask the manager about it, but most bank vaults are made of steel-reinforced concrete, so I’m as certain as I can be,” Stiles huffs, and Derek still feels uneasy, but it’s not like there’s anything he can do about it at this point.
“Okay,” he hears Kira say, fully grabbing his attention. “Creating electromagnet in three…”
Derek presses his ear up against the door he’s hiding behind and waits for the commotion to start.
He can hear the robbers still arguing with the police, oblivious to what’s going on right behind them. After all, they’ve already removed all of the money from the vault.
The first thing that hits Derek is the smell of ozone. Less than a moment later, though, come the cries of shock – his cue.
Derek bursts through the door, fangs and claws already extended and eyes glowing bright yellow, just visible through the eye-holes in his wolf mask. The robbers are shocked and scrambling about like chickens with their heads cut off. A few are attempting to pry their guns off of the wall separating the vault room and the lobby, but it’s a useless endeavor with the strength of Kira’s electromagnet holding them there.
Derek lunges, wasting no time. Unarmed and disoriented, it’s practically child’s play for Derek to take them out with a few well aimed blows. One of them does manage to stab Derek in the arm with a pen, though, only to gape as Derek removes the pen and his skin knits back together in seconds.
“The police are outside,” Derek finally says once all of the robbers have been taken care of, turning to the shocked hostages.
“Blue Wolf,” he hears someone murmur, and his eyes immediately snap to the person, zeroing in on none other than mugging victim Jennifer. They hold eye contact for a few moments, but then Derek turns away, eyes going to where the police are already pushing through the barrier, heading for the bank entrance.
“Ki – White Fox!” he yells, already moving towards the emergency exit. “We need to move!”
“Coming!” Kira replies, her voice slightly muffled by the kitsune mask now covering her face.
She sprints out of the other room, hot on Derek’s heels. He’s pretty sure he catches a glimpse of a few sparks still clinging to her fingers, and idly he wonders what it must look like to the hostages. Then again, they did just see him fully shifted.
They burst through the emergency exit, just barely managing to duck past the advancing police officers. Derek’s fairly certain they won’t be caught, though – not unless they’re ambushed. After all, they both have at least some measure of super-speed.
“Get to the corner of Terrace and 42nd,” Stiles says, his voice startling Derek slightly. He’d forgotten that his comm is still on.
“Rodger,” Kira replies, the scent of adrenaline rolling off her in waves.
They round the corner, and Derek breathes a sigh of relief as he sees Kira’s silver Prius idling there, instead of Stiles’ bright blue Jeep or his own flashy Camaro. The two of them clamber into the back seat, quickly sheading their masks and dark jackets as Stiles pulls back out into traffic.
“Mission success,” Stiles says with a grin once they’re about five blocks away from the bank.
“Mission success?” Derek snaps, shooting him a glare through the rearview mirror. “We nearly got caught!”
“But you didn’t,” Stiles replies, shrugging. “Kira’s electromagnet worked perfectly, you took down all the baddies easily, and we freed all of the hostages. Yay.”
“I agree with Stiles,” Kira adds, and Derek can’t help but notice how her adrenaline scent is now tinged with some other thick, sweet smell that he can’t quite identify. He sighs. Of course she’s an adrenaline junkie. “That was way more fun than nightly patrols.”
“I got stabbed,” Derek grumbles, but it comes out more like a whine.
“You have super-healing. Stop being such a baby,” Stiles shoots back, rolling his eyes.
“Are you trying to get me to punch you?” Derek growls, feeling his eyes flash yellow for a moment.
“You should probably learn how to control that,” Kira says, sending him a concerned look. “The eye thing.”
“Aw, but Kira, it’s his way of telling me he loves me,” Stiles teases, Derek’s eyes flashing again in response.
“I bet if he had a tail it’d be wagging all the time,” Kira replies, grinning conspiratorially and drawing a bark of laughter from Stiles.
Christ, he needs a drink.
“… what exactly happened inside the bank is still not fully known…”
“Hey,” Stiles says, looking up at Derek from where he’s sprawled out across Derek’s couch, TV remote in hand. “You’ve got yourself a fan.”
“What?” Derek asks, confused.
Stiles motions vaguely towards the TV screen, where a very familiar woman is being interviewed by a CNN reporter.
“Blue Wolf has saved me twice now. Three men tried to mug me a few weeks ago, and he swooped in to help me. I really don’t want to think about what would have happened if he hadn’t shown up.”
“Everyone’s calling you ‘Blue Wolf,’ you know,” Stiles says, Derek tearing his eyes away from the image of Jennifer on the TV screen in order to look at him. “I still can’t believe you actually told your little girlfriend that that was your name.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Derek replies automatically, frowning as he catches the barest hint of an unfamiliar, bitter scent on Stiles.
“Please, sweep her off her feet a couple more times and you’ll be married within a year.” Stiles pauses. “Or she’ll be dead like Gwen Stacy. Either or.”
Derek scowls. He really wishes that Stiles would cut it out with this ‘love interest’ crap already. Honestly, he would have asked Stiles out by now if he hadn’t made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t interested.
“Move over,” Derek grumbles, not replying to Stiles’ previous assertion about Jennifer.
Stiles lets out a little huff, but sits up, giving Derek a bit of room to sit down. As soon as he does, however, Stiles flops back down, making his head comfortable on Derek’s thigh. Derek valiantly tries to ignore just how close Stiles’ mouth is to his crotch. It’s a struggle.
Instead he focuses his attention on the TV, where blurry pictures of him and Kira retreating are being displayed. He watches idly as the reporter speculates about their motives, and grimaces as she refers to them as ‘Blue Wolf’ and ‘White Fox.’ Although he’d never give Stiles the satisfaction of admitting it, he immensely regrets impulsively blurting out such a lame superhero name.
He doesn’t bother to turn off the TV, though, instead continuing to listen to the report. It’ll probably be useful to know what they’re up against, at any rate. But after ten minutes or so, he frowns, realizing that, despite the TV, the room is oddly quiet. Namely because a certain someone isn’t running their mouth constantly. He looks down at where Stiles’ head is still resting on his thigh, blinking as he realizes that Stiles’ eyes are closed and his body is limp and pliant.
Derek sighs, wondering how long he’s going to have to sit here in order to avoid waking Stiles. Tentatively, he twines his fingers through Stiles’ hair, no longer resisting the urge to touch it.
“You two are so cute,” a voice suddenly says, nearly making Derek jump out of his skin. He turns around to glare at Kira, who’s just entered the room, toweling off her still-damp hair. “Thanks for letting me use your shower, by the way. I was really gross and sweaty after exerting that much energy making electromagnet.”
“Sure,” Derek replies, shrugging and pointedly ignoring her earlier comment.
“Seriously, though, I can go if you two need your alone time,” she says, her tone genuinely pleasant. “I’m probably going to see if I can meet up with Scott.”
“We’re not a couple,” Derek grumbles, his cheeks heating.
“Well, in that case, you should be,” Kira replies, sounding amused.
She leaves before Derek can protest.
The third time Derek saves Jennifer, it’s from a road-rager whose car she accidentally rear-ended. Stiles spends the entire time playing some music about how ‘you save the world, you get the girl’ over the comm.
Derek wants to punch him in the face. Or kiss him. Maybe then he’d get a clue.
Derek’s on patrol when it happens. It had seemed like a normal enough night when it had started out – boring, even. Kira’s not with him, because they’ve taken to alternating patrol nights, so that both of them can get at least some sleep. Right now, though, Derek doesn’t know if he wishes Kira was here to help him, or if he’s grateful that she’s safe at home.
“Blue Wolf?” the woman asks, staring at him with glowing red eyes, fangs extended.
She doesn’t give him any time to answer, though, and before Derek can even register that she’s moved, she’s on him, razor sharp claws slicing through his side. He lets out a grunt of pain, doubling over on himself, and the woman takes the opportunity to kick his legs out from under him, bringing him to his hands and knees.
“Derek?” Stiles asks, his voice sounding panicked. “Derek, are you – ”
Derek can’t focus on Stiles’ voice now, though – not if he wants to stay alive, at least. He flails his hand out blindly, gratified when his claws make contact with the woman’s shin. She hisses in pain, but the injury doesn’t seem to slow her down much, and as Derek tries to scramble to his feet, she lashes out again, her kick hitting him squarely in the head.
“Derek, hang in there,” he hears Stiles say, although his voice is fuzzy and distant. “I’ve called Kira and we’re on our way. Just hold on for a few more minutes – ”
“Stay,” Derek croaks, not bothering to care what the woman attacking him will think of him seemingly talking to himself. “Stay at the apartment. Don’t come – ”
“We’ll be there in five,” Stiles interrupts, and Derek wants to scream at him, to beg him to stay away, but he can’t muster the vocal strength to do so as the woman kicks him in chest, knocking the wind out of him. He hears a crack, and he’s pretty sure it’s his ribs. She kicks him again, and again, and Derek can’t do anything but lie there and take it, blood welling up in his throat.
All of a sudden, though, the onslaught stops.
He manages to peel an eye open so that he can see that the woman is now crouched down next to him. Derek can feel his bones slowly knitting themselves back together, but he knows it’s not going to be fast enough. Idly, he wonders if she’s crouched down so that she can tear his throat out with her teeth.
“You’ll stay away from her if you know what’s good for you,” she sneers, glaring at him with wild, red eyes.
And, with that, she leaves.
“I still think she was talking about Jennifer,” Stiles says from where he’s trying to clean the blood off Derek’s face, crouched between Derek’s legs as Derek tries to figure out a position on the couch which doesn’t make pain shoot through is body.
“Derek’s theory about Kate sounds pretty good, though,” Kira points out as she returns from the bathroom with another washcloth.
“Her shift looked exactly like mine, except for the fact that she had red eyes,” Derek adds, accepting the washcloth from Kira and trying to scrub the dried blood off of his forearm. “Unless Kate has a research partner, it has to be her doing.”
“She’s probably worried about you trying to take revenge or something,” Kira says, her lips pursed.
“I guess,” Stiles concedes, although he still sounds leery of their assertions. “But, I mean, you haven’t gone anywhere near Kate since the incident, right? So why would she tell you to keep away if you’ve already been doing that?”
“Kate was always a little paranoid,” Derek says, shrugging.
“Fine, whatever,” Stiles huffs. “I’ll stop trying to psychoanalyze your mad scientist ex-girlfriend.”
“Does Kate even know that you were bitten?” Kira asks suddenly, frowning.
“She was there when it happened,” Derek admits, batting Stiles’ hand away from his face, where he’s been scrubbing at a bit of dried blood clinging his cheek for the past five minutes. “It was actually during our break-up fight, but I didn’t start noticing the effects until a few days later, so I’m not sure how much she actually knows.”
“Well then maybe we should find out,” Kira replies, making both Derek and Stiles look at her in confusion.
“How?” Derek asks warily, because this already sounds like a risky idea.
“Either Stiles or I can go talk to her, say we’re interested in her research or something,” Kira suggests, which doesn’t sound wholly bad, Derek must admit. “We’ll drop keywords or phrases and see how she responds.”
“That… might work,” Stiles says, a thoughtful expression on his face. “I should probably do it, though.”
“No,” Derek replies automatically, looking at Stiles sharply. “If something goes wrong, you’re the one who’s least capable of defending yourself.”
“Yeah, but I’m also the one she’s least likely to recognize,” Stiles counters stubbornly. “If she does know about Blue Wolf, it probably won’t take that much of a logic leap for her to realize that you, Kira, are White Fox, if you start dropping questions about her research. Nobody knows about me, though.”
“I still don’t like it,” Derek says, although he’s aware he’s sounding more petulant than logical right now.
“Aw, don’t worry, if I get into trouble you can swoop in to save me,” Stiles replies, his tone mocking. “I can be your damsel in distress.”
“Do that mean you’ll also be my love interest?” Derek asks, cursing internally as soon as he registers what he just said.
“You already have a love interest. Stop being greedy,” Stiles answers, rolling his eyes. “Moving on. How are we going to do this?”
“There’s a gala for a group raising money for research on frontotemporal dementia in a week. That’s Kate’s official area of study, so she should be there. The Hale name will probably be enough for me to get you a ticket,” Derek replies, frowning as he feels Stiles suddenly go tense next to him.
“My mom died of frontotemporal dementia,” Stiles says, and Derek suddenly feels like asshole for bringing this up.
“We can find somewhere else – ” Derek starts, but Stiles cuts him off, shaking his head.
“Nah, it’ll make me seem more legit,” Stiles replies, waving off his concerns, but Derek can’t help but smell a hint of bitter sadness around him.
Derek politely doesn’t comment on it, but silence falls over the room for a moment, no one really knowing what to say to that.
“Right,” Stiles says, grabbing his laptop off the coffee table. “Let’s make a plan.”
It’s the night of the gala and Derek’s feeling worse and worse about their plan by the minute.
“So, how do I look?” Stiles asks as he walks into the living room. “Black tie isn’t really my thing, so…”
Derek glances up from the hotel blueprint he’s been going over for the past half hour. It takes all of his willpower not to gape.
Because Stiles – well, Stiles looks nothing short of stunning. Derek would never have insisted on getting him a properly fitted suit if he’d known this would be the result. He can’t help the way his eyes linger on the way his suit jacket stretches across Stiles’ shoulders and how perfectly the dress pants outline his ass.
“Your bowtie is crooked,” Derek finally manages, his voice rough. Kira shoots him a knowing smirk.
“You’re supposed to say, ‘You look great, Stiles! Very dashing!’ or something like that,” Stiles sighs, rolling his eyes as he tries to correct his bowtie. He only ends up making it worse.
“Here, let me – ” Derek says, getting up off the couch.
He falters as he gets to Stiles, though, suddenly all too aware of their proximity. He steels himself, clenching his jaw in determination as he reaches out and quickly straightens out Stiles’ bowtie. He pauses for a moment before smoothing out Stiles’ lapels, too. Stiles’ scent changes then, a spike of something thick and spicy-sweet wafting off of him. Derek’s smelled it before in passing, but he’s still not entirely sure what it is.
“You’re presentable,” Derek finally says, stepping back again and putting an appropriate distance between them.
“What he means to say is that you look very handsome, Stiles,” Kira butts, in still grinning knowingly. “You clean up nicely.”
“Thank you, Kira,” Stiles says pointedly, shooting Derek a mildly annoyed look. “See, that’s how you be humble about your hotness around the rest of us mere mortals.”
“What?” Derek asks as he realizes that Stiles is addressing him, somehow managing to break himself out of his Stiles induced daze.
“Ugh, forget it,” Stiles huffs, rolling his eyes. “Let’s just do this thing.”
“You have your mike wired?” Kira asks, fiddling with her own comm.
“Yep,” Stiles answers, pulling back his collar slightly to reveal the very edge of it. He can’t risk wearing a normal comm tonight, because the ones they have are too large to be hidden satisfactorily at close proximity. Therefore, they’re using a much smaller mike instead. The one disadvantage, though, is that Stiles can’t communicate with them properly with it. They can hear everything he (or anyone close enough to him) says, but they can’t say anything back.
“And you remember what you’re going to say to her?” Derek asks, his skin prickling uncomfortably at the thought of Stiles interacting with Kate.
“I’m going to talk to her about how my mother died of frontotemporal dementia and how I’m interested in her genetic research, because a much higher proportion of frontotemporal dementia cases seem to have a familial component than other neurological degenerative disorders,” Stiles recites easily, fixing his collar again. “I’m going to ask her if her research has moved onto animal trials, and based on her answer to that, I’ll ask about human trials.”
“Remember, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Derek reminds him. “If it feels too risky, we can find another way.”
“I’ll be fine,” Stiles insists, exuding confidence even though Derek can hear the uptick in his heartbeat. “And anyway, you guys’ll be right outside if anything happens.”
“We should probably leave now, if everyone’s ready,” Kira says, checking her watch.
“Let’s go,” Derek replies, turning away from Stiles and striding towards the door.
Stiles hasn’t even approached Kate when everything goes to shit.
And that’s because instead of him going to her, she comes to him.
“Well, I don’t think I’ve seen you here before,” Derek hears her say through the microphone, and he immediately shifts into panic mode.
What she says next, however, completely throws him for a loop.
“I’m pretty sure I would have remembered someone as attractive as you.”
“Oh, wow, um, thanks,” Stiles stutters, and Derek can practically see the bright red flush on his face. “You’re, um. You too. I mean, you’re very pretty.”
Derek wants to bang his head on the car steering wheel, and he’s not entirely sure if it’s because Stiles is being so awkward or because his ex is flirting with his crush. Not that he has a ‘crush’ on Stiles. He just finds Stiles attractive.
“Aren’t you just too cute,” Kate purrs, and Derek has to swallow a growl. Kira gives him a pointed look from the passenger seat. “I could just eat you up.”
Yeah, chew him up and spit him back out.
The conversation continues on like this for god knows how long, Stiles stuttering and blushing while trying to ask Kate about her research while she turns every reply into a flirtation or innuendo. Fuck, Derek just wants to rip her throat out and be done with it already.
“I think we’ve stuck around for a socially acceptable amount of time, don’t you?” Kate says suddenly, making Derek stiffen.
“What?” Stiles asks, confused.
“Oh, don’t play coy now,” Kate replies, and Derek’s stomach lurches as he imagines her smirk. “If we had it my way, you’d already be moaning my name.”
“Oh,” Stiles squeaks. Derek really shouldn’t find it as adorable as he does. “I, yeah. I’m down for that. Totally down for that.”
“Good, because I’ve been imagining your mouth on me all night,” Kate says.
“Lead the way,” Stiles replies.
“What the fuck is he doing?” Derek hisses, really regretting the fact that they can’t talk to Stiles through his mike. “This isn’t part of the plan!”
“We should follow them,” Kira replies, her lips pursed.
“We should have put a tracker on him,” Derek grumbles. Really, they should put a tracker on Stiles all the time, just to be sure he isn’t off getting into some kind of trouble. It seems to be a theme with him.
“Too late now,” Kira replies, as Derek turns on the car engine.
“So, we’re going back to your place, ri – woah!” Stiles says, and Derek hears a thump in the background. For a moment, he panics, thinking that Kate has attacked Stiles, but, well.
From the subsequent sounds, it seems like she’s shoved him up against a wall and attacked him with her lips. Fuck, Kate has no shame. They’re probably right there in plain sight in the hotel hallway while everyone else is still milling around the fancy hotel ballroom. His claws extend involuntarily as he hears Stiles let out a surprised moan, but then Kate’s pulling back and –
“Hello, Derek,” she says, right into the mike.
The last thing Derek hears is the static-y crack of her crushing it.
I have a little something you probably want back. You know where to meet me. I’d suggest leaving your little fox friend at home, though, even though I hate to leave her out of the fun. See you in an hour!
Derek reads through the text yet again. He’s not entirely sure how many times he’s read it – too many, at any rate. They’d practically torn through the hotel looking for Kate and Stiles as soon as she’d destroyed the mike, but were unable to find even the slightest trace of her.
“I should come with you,” Kira says stubbornly, her arms folded over her chest. “It’s clearly a trap.”
“Well if it’s a trap, don’t you think it would be better if we don’t both get caught in it?” Derek retorts, his eyes flashing yellow, Kira’s own glowing orange in defiance.
“What good can possibly come out of you trying to take her on by yourself?” Kira asks, unwavering.
“It’ll probably get me some time, at least,” Derek protests. “She’ll be more willing to talk if I comply.”
“So you think that just doing what you’re told is going to get her to release Stiles,” Kira retorts, frowning.
“Look, either way, we get the bad end of the deal,” Derek sighs, running a hand through his hair. “I’d just like the slightly less shitty one.”
“Yeah, which would be the one where I go with you,” Kira insists, a sharp edge to her tone.
“We have no clue what we’re up against!” Derek protests, willing Kira to see his point. “There was no way Kate should have known about Stiles or that we were listening in, but she did. Clearly she has someone watching us. In fact, the moment I agree to let you come with, she could have Stiles killed on the spot.”
Kira’s silent for a moment, studying him carefully, a sour, unhappy smell radiating off her in waves.
“I don’t like it,” she finally says, averting her eyes, “but I see your point.”
“Thank you,” Derek replies softly.
“Go, then,” Kira sighs, opening the car door and getting out. “I’ll get a cab back to your apartment and wait up for you.”
Derek nods, pulling away from the curb as soon as she’s shut the door. It doesn’t take him that long to get to his destination – after all, he’s been there countless times before. Kate’s house is a large one, a mansion almost, just outside the city proper. Back when the two of them were together, Derek had always thought it was kind of odd that she had such a huge house when she lived alone. Then again, it wasn’t until later that he’d discovered that most of the space was taken up by private labs.
There’s a high walled fence around it, wrought iron and decorative, but undoubtedly sturdy, too. He leaves his Camaro parked outside of it and walks up to the gate, where menacing looking security guards let him in. He flashes his eyes at one of them when they try to hurry him up. Just because he’s in an undesirable position doesn’t mean that Kate has complete power over him.
He’s led to the elevator and then down to the basement level, which apparently requires keycard access. It’s far more barren than he’d expected, made primarily of gray-brown concrete.
Another thing he hadn’t expected was for there to be three people already in the room.
“Oh, did I forget to mention?” Kate says, looking at him with a taunting expression. “I’ve got your little girlfriend, too.”
Derek stares at Jennifer for a moment, wide eyed. She’s tied to the chair next to Stiles, duct tape over her mouth, but unlike Stiles she isn’t trying to fight against it. Honestly, she looks far less distraught than Derek would have expected, but, then again, nothing seems to be going as he expected tonight.
“I did what you asked me to. Not let them go,” Derek says, turning his attention back to Kate.
“Oh, Derek, sweetie, shouldn’t you know by now that nothing’s that simple with me?” Kate replies, smiling a shark worthy smile.
“What do you want, then?” he snaps, baring his elongated fangs at her.
“Do you know why my grandfather started this project?” Kate asks, breezing over Derek’s question. “He was a famous geneticist, you know. A top cancer researcher – until cancer finally killed him, ironically. He nearly found a cure, though, which, of course, is where you come in.”
“So you followed in your dead father’s crazy footsteps. I highly doubt I can bring him back from the dead, though,” Derek retorts, and although he knows that he should probably be treading around Kate more carefully, he can’t help but let his anger leech into his tone.
“I’m not trying to revive him,” Kate snorts. “I’m just trying to recreate his research from the few vague notes he left behind. See, I know he’d made it as far as human trials. Illegally, of course. The thing is, I thought that I was still a few years away from that, but then you. Look at what a success you’ve been.”
“Fine, dissect me, whatever. Just let them go,” Derek growls, his eyes flashing yellow.
“You still haven’t put it together, have you?” Kate tuts, letting out a put-upon sigh. “Do you honestly think I would have gone to the trouble of taking both of them if I just wanted you to surrender yourself?”
“Then what do you want?” he snaps, his patience rapidly growing thin.
“Every scientist knows that the best way to assure results is multiple trials,” Kate replies, and Derek’s blood runs cold. “So, Derek, baby, I’m going to be generous and let you choose which one you want to let walk out of here, and which one gets to stay behind with you and be my next guinea pig.”
The whole world seems to freeze for a moment. Vaguely, Derek’s aware that Stiles is trying to tell him something, struggling against the duct tape plastered over his mouth, but Derek can’t make out a word. Derek glances between the two of them – between Stiles and Jennifer.
He wants to say it’s because he’s unable to make a decision, but, truthfully, it’s because he’d made his decision within seconds. That probably makes him a horrible person.
“So, which will it be?” Kate asks, trailing her fingers over Stiles cheek before stroking Jennifer’s hair. “The sidekick or the love interest?”
Derek opens his mouth to answer.
Then someone crashes through the ceiling.
Derek falls back into a defensive stance automatically, squinting through the plaster dust clouding the air. The three guards behind him also startle, and Derek takes the opportunity to strike. He fells two with precise slashes of his claws, but the third gets past him, running towards where Kate was standing.
He gets sent flying backwards, and Derek has to duck to the side in order to avoid getting hit. His eyes snap back to where Kate had been standing, and now that the dust has settled, he can see the source of the disturbance.
Standing over Kate’s bloodied, unconscious body, is the woman who’d nearly killed him a week ago.
She stalks over to Jennifer and rips the duct tape off of her mouth with an unpleasant ripping sound.
“About fucking time, Kali!” Jennifer hisses, her expression dark, once again completely throwing Derek off guard.
“About time? About time?” the woman – Kali, apparently – retorts, her eyes flashing bright red.
“Yes, about time,” Jennifer replies, her expression tense and angry. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been deliberately putting myself in danger in order to get you up off your ass and back to being a superhero?”
“Back to being a superhero?” Kali repeats, lips twisting into a scowl. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe it’s not me who needs to go back to being a superhero, but you who needs to become a supervillain?”
“A supervillain,” Jennifer murmurs, her tone tinged with an undercurrent of darkness which makes Derek’s hair stand on edge.
And then suddenly Kali and Jennifer are kissing, vigorously, animalistically. It’s almost more like they’re trying to tear each other’s faces off than anything romantic or sexual.
Derek has officially decided that this is the weirdest night of his life. Judging by the bewildered look Stiles shoots him, he’s not alone in that thought.
“If I’m going to do this,” Jennifer says once she and Kali finally break apart, her breathing ragged and heavy, “we need to destroy the evidence. I can’t very well let anyone know my secret identity.”
Kali turns her glowing red eyes on Derek.
Derek’s pretty sure his ribs twinge at the mere thought of going a second round with Kali. He falls back into a fighting stance, though, his own eyes flashing yellow as he shifts fully. Kali growls and Derek braces himself for the onslaught –
– which never comes. Because Kali is suddenly struck by lightning.
“You didn’t honestly think I would stay at home, did you?” Kira asks, peering down through the hole in the ceiling.
Derek’s pretty sure he could kiss her right now.
“I’m sorry about what happened,” Stiles says later, when it’s just him and Derek back at Derek’s apartment.
“You should have stuck to the plan,” Derek replies, but there’s no anger in his tone. Really, he’s just glad that he got Stiles back safe and sound.
“Oh, yeah, I’m sorry for that, too,” Stiles says, clutching his knees a little tighter to his chest from where he’s curled up next to Derek on the couch. “I was talking about how Jennifer had a secret supervillain girlfriend, though.”
“Stiles – ” Derek sighs, but Stiles interrupts him.
“Look, I would have understood if you had chosen her,” Stiles continues, making Derek look over at him sharply. “I mean, I’d be a little pissed, but I get it. True love and all.”
“I had my mind made up in less than five seconds,” Derek finds himself blurting out.
“Okay, when I said that I understood, I didn’t mean that you had to rub it in,” Stiles replies, his scent turning sour and his cheeks heating in shame.
“I chose you, you idiot,” Derek snaps, making Stiles look up at him with wide eyes. “I chose you, my sidekick and love interest, over the stranger who I’d only met three times.”
“Oh,” Stiles says, eyes dipping down to glance at Derek’s lips.
Derek kisses him. He’s pretty sure it’s the best kiss of his life.
“Can I open my eyes yet?” Stiles whines as Derek deftly maneuvers him through the door.
“Not quite yet,” Derek replies, his hand resting steadily on Stiles’ lower back. He guides Stiles forward a few more steps until they’re standing in the center of the room. “… now.”
Stiles tentatively opens his eyes, blinking as he adjusts to the lighting.
“You said you wanted a Batcave,” Derek says.
“It’s…” Stiles starts, looking around with wide eyes. “… kind of empty?”
Derek rolls his eyes and hands him a check.
“You didn’t honestly want me to decorate your Batcave, did you?” Derek asks dryly, although he’s smiling slightly.
“Jesus, how loaded is your family?” Stiles mutters, his eyes going even wider as he stares at the check.
“I’m Batman,” Derek replies, deadpan.
“Nah, you’re Blue Wolf,” Stiles says, turning to grin at Derek. “Which I still think is only marginally better than Moon Moon.”
“Go decorate your Batcave,” Derek grumbles, making Stiles laugh and press a light kiss to his lips.
“Should I call it the Wolf Den or the Fox Den?” Stiles muses, face screwed up in thought. “Just the Den?”
“Remind me, why are you my boyfriend again?” Derek snorts, twining their fingers together.
“Please,” Stiles scoffs, smiling mischievously. “It was love at first sight.”
Well, Derek can’t exactly argue with that.