“No,” Stiles says. She wriggles her hands, trying to loosen the ropes around her wrists. They're slick with blood but she's trying really hard not to think about that.
Derek is very carefully expressionless, but there's a tightness to his jaw. “No?”
“Absolutely not, nope, no way.” She huffs a lock of hair out of her face. She's tired, bruised, and sweaty – she needs to brush her teeth, her feet are bare and scraped and she is five seconds away from crying big sobbing tears of humiliation and relief. She'd seen Derek framed in the doorway, big and competent and so handsome, honestly, and her entire body had just sagged, adrenaline rushing out of her, there are parts of her brain leaping around yelling hurray about being saved, but Stiles is not doing this.
“Do you need any help?” Derek pops out a claw and takes a step toward her and Stiles says, “Don't you dare,” and for once Derek actually listens to her.
He sighs and squats down a few feet away. He looks—there's something about his eyes that Stiles can't quite parse. She'd worry about that more if her hands weren't numb and her head didn't hurt so much. If she could just get her one thumb out—
“Here,” Derek says, and this time Stiles doesn't protest when he offers a claw.
She says, “This is so embarrassing.”
Derek frowns at her, but doesn't say anything. He rips the ropes off and helps Stiles to her feet and when Stiles wobbles he just—scoops her up.
Stiles wants to bury her face in his throat and she also wants to kick him in the nuts. She settles on scowling at the side of his face because her feet really hurt, running through the woods barefoot had been one of the least smartest thing she's ever done, but it's not like she had a choice in the matter. She's lucky she's wearing pants; sometimes her room gets hot at night.
As Derek shoulders his way through the door, a small, tiny part of her is satisfied with the pile of bodies outside the room – she's pretty sure none of them are dead, but that's only because deep down inside Derek is a good guy, both these things should not be as hot as they actually are, right? Ugh, she's so screwed.
“This is the worst,” she says.
Derek gives her a look. He's judging her, she knows he is, but he also doesn't put her down when they reach the open air and find baby Liam and Kira keeping watch.
She says, “Where's Scott?” because Scotty is her bro. Her alpha. Her alpha bro. The one true bro to rule all bros – it's possible she's lost a little more blood than she'd thought.
“Here,” Scott says and melts out of the shadows, all red-eyed and covered in a truly spectacular amount of blood. Scott doesn't kill anyone lightly, he's worse than Derek; she's pretty sure something bad must have happened.
“Crap,” she says, panicked. “Oh, fuck, is it my dad? Melissa? What's going on?” She wriggles in Derek's arms, trying to get him to put her down, but he just tightens his hold around her thighs and hitches her closer to his chest – she grabs onto his shirt and twists the material in her fists.
Scott's face does this weird crumple-thing and then he's falling onto her, and both her and Derek are enveloped in this huge, confusing hug and Derek grunts but doesn't move away.
“Uh.” She pushes at Scott's chest with an elbow, but he just clings to them harder. “Dude, are you crying?”
“No,” Scott says, and then totally wipes his snotty nose all over her sleeve.
Derek says, “You're a moron,” and Stiles would be more offended if she had any idea what was going on.
Scott lets her go and says, “You've been missing for three days,” and Stiles says, “I have not,” because she hadn't lost that much time, right?
Scott looks like he's going to hug her again but Stiles lets go of Derek long enough to shove a hand at him and Derek growls and says, “We don't have time for this,” and Stiles tries to think about what all has gone on since she'd bravely investigated that weird sound in her yard in the middle of the night, baseball bat in hand, apparently three days ago. Huh.
She can feel Derek flex his arm muscles around her and that does not feel awesome at all, no siree. She says, “I can walk,” even though she clearly can't, and Derek's eyebrows say as much. Whatever.
Her dad is going to be so mad.
Scott jogs ahead and opens Derek's mom car for them, and Derek carefully places her in the back seat and then moves in next to her, tossing his keys at Liam's head.
“I'm fine,” Stiles says, but everyone ignores her and piles in around her and she's finally warm, huh, Kira snuggled up on her other side, and she hadn't even realized she'd been cold in the first place. And then the next thing she knows Derek's clutching her in his arms again and they're at the hospital.
“I'm fine,” Stiles says to her dad.
Her dad sweeps hair off her forehead and has watery eyes and there's a rhythmic beeping that is freaking Stiles out, even though she knows it's her own heart monitor.
“Thank god,” her dad says, and it's terrible, Stiles hates making him feel this way.
Derek is looming behind the sheriff, arms crossed and mouth unimpressed, and Scott is holding her hand on the other side of the bed, and he better not start crying again because Stiles seriously can't handle this anymore.
She has a sprained ankle and a concussion, cuts along her wrists and feet. She's dehydrated and starving and exhausted, but she's totally fine otherwise. They're only keeping her overnight to keep an eye on her head, there's going to be no more weeping over her prone body if she can help it.
She kicks everyone out after the fifth time Scott honest-to-god whimpers, and everyone goes except Derek, of course, because he's Derek and he does whatever the hell he likes, including picking her up from school and carrying her book bag and attempting to glare Lydia out of rooms – like that would work – and standing in front of her at Hunter-Pack meetings and giving her the last can of Dr. Pepper before Liam can get it and—
“Are you shitting me?” she says, staring up at him, because of course he's looming like a creeper and not using the guest seat her dad had left pulled up to her bedside.
Derek frowns. “What?”
Stiles's head hurts. She doesn't need this, oh my god. She tilts her head back and mouths unbelievable up at the ceiling and then looks at Derek again. “Come down here,” she says.
Derek frowns some more.
“Come on.” She pats the edge of the bed and Derek cautiously comes toward her, like she's being the unreasonable one here, like she's the wolf with all the supernatural powers and she'll try to cut off his balls or something if he comes too close. To be fair, she's threatened him with that before, but it'd been after lacrosse, she'd been fed up with Jackson and her shin had hurt from where she'd tripped over her own stick and she hadn't needed him carrying her equipment, what had he even been doing there at practice, Jesus Christ.
But when he gingerly sits on the mattress next to her, she reaches out for his face, hands cupped over his fuzzy cheeks, fingers under his ears.
“I'm not a moron,” she says, and then she kisses him.
And it's awesome.
Derek's mouth tastes like coffee and dead things, like he'd been up for days looking for her and he had and that's simultaneously the worst and coolest thing ever, Stiles really needs to stop getting kidnapped.
Derek's hands curl over her upper arms and he gently presses her back against the bed and then he stops kissing her, which is seriously a shame, wow, but he looks stunned and hopeful and Derek is such an asshole, why didn't he just tell her?
“I'm going to go to sleep,” she says, letting go of his face, and she watches Derek swallow hard and nod.
He looks resigned and stupid and like he isn't her very own superhero – which she doesn't need, by the way, it's just kind of nice to know he's there, just in case.
She pats his leg. It's not even close to a grope, his eyes don't have to do that maidenly shocked thing, geez, how is Derek a grown man?
“And then,” she says, because apparently Derek needs everything spelled out for him, never mind the fact that it took a while for Stiles to catch on - there had been burning hostility between them since they'd first met, Derek has a very limited range of facial expressions - “we're going to do that again.”
From the way Derek's smile is pure sunshine, wow - she almost needs shades for that monster, she's never had the full force of that beaming directly at her before - she doesn't think Derek minds all that much at all.