Stiles wakes up in the middle of the night, after only two scant hours of sleep, to a large, black wolf standing on his bed and staring down at him.
“Holy shitsnaps,” he shrieks, flailing off the bed and landing with a thump on the floor.
Only in Eureka would freaky crap like this happen.
He clutches a hand to his pounding chest and tries to kick away the blankets wrapped around his feet. There's a chuffing noise from the wolf, whose steps make the bed springs creak as he moves to look over the edge. Stiles isn't sure how a wolf's face can look disgusted and disdainful, but this one manages it. Just like it managed to somehow get inside of Stiles' house without opposable thumbs. Again.
Stiles shoves the blankets away and stumbles to his feet. “This has to stop, Sourwolf. Seriously. You're shaving years off my life with this.”
Sourwolf bares his teeth, probably at the name, then turns away, effectively dismissing Stiles and his very valid issues with these late night visits, to sit expectantly in the middle of the bed.
It's going to be one of those nights, the kind where, even if Stiles skips the useless attempts to get the wolf out of his damn bed, and goes directly to the part where he bunks down elsewhere in the house, the wolf will just wait until Stiles falls asleep to find him and sleep on top of him. Once, in a fit of spite, Stiles took a sleeping bag into the freaking bathtub and only succeeded in proverbially cutting off his nose, because it turns out that it's epically uncomfortable to try to sleep crammed in a small tub with a hundred-plus pound wolf. Who knew?
Stiles glances from the wolf to the clock. He needs to be back at Global Dynamics in four hours to finish testing on his latest batch of nanites. With a sigh, he climbs back into bed, having to arrange himself around the stubborn wolf, who waits until Stiles is comfortable to drape the upper half of his body on Stiles' chest, muzzle nudging Stiles' neck.
“Don't hog the covers this time.”
Stiles loses a precious hour of sleep getting up early to swing by Derek Hale's creepy rundown house on the edge of town. It's a pointless endeavor. Sourwolf just stares at Stiles from the passenger seat when he tells the wolf to go home, and when Stiles reaches into the car, intending to use a handful of neck scruff to drag the wolf out, Sourwolf snaps at him.
Stiles jerks his hand back, offended and annoyed. “Seriously?”
Derek's phone goes right to voicemail when Stiles calls him on the drive to GD. “Derek, your freakishly lifelike animatronic wolf is stalking me again. I'm going to work, come get him from me, okay, and figure out what the deal is, because it's ridiculous. I was over the novelty of it four months ago, dude.”
In Stiles' lab, Sourwolf walks the perimeter, sniffing various areas, then settles in a corner that gives him a full view of the room, including both exits. Lydia comes in just as Stiles finishes transferring his experiment results to his viewing terminal. She takes one look at Sourwolf, rolls her eyes, and thrusts a tablet into Stiles' hands.
“Your math is flawed and embarrassing. You should get one of the Tesla kids to give you remedial lessons.”
“And a good morning to you, Dr. Martin,” Stiles says, voice dripping sarcasm. “Why, yes, I slept terribly and not nearly enough, thanks to Derek's creature-feature over there, which refused to go home like a good doggy.”
Sourwolf growls; Stiles edges behind a lab bench and studiously pretends it has nothing to do with the growl.
Lydia tugs her pleated skirt into order and arches a brow. “Your obliviousness is as embarrassing as your math.”
“Thanks for providing my daily dose of scathing emasculation,” Stiles calls out as she leaves for her own lab next door.
The explosion that shakes the building a few hours later, and the resulting alarms and chaos, are just par for the course of working at GD, where something goes boom at least once a week. What's new and exciting is the way Sourwolf grabs the waistband of Stiles' pants with his teeth, and drags Stiles through the building, along the evac path.
Sourwolf can move fast, too fast for Stiles' legs, so he's windmilling his way through the halls, past resigned and calm employees, at a damn trot. He stumbles more than once, but Sourwolf jerks him back on track with his stupid scientifically created teeth.
Stiles makes another call to Derek and talks loudly over the wailing sirens. “Your wolf, Derek! I swear to God, if you don't come get him, I will convince Scott to open him up and try to fix him. I will, and you know that nothing good will come—what the fuck?”
The phone goes flying when Sourwolf tackles Stiles to the floor, face down, and stands over him. Like, literally, over him: his front paws are on either side of Stiles' head, and his back paws are straddling Stiles' legs. Stiles raises his head as much as he can and sees a Martha floating in the air in front of him, sensor panel blazing a bright Psycho Red. It's not one of the small models, but at least it's not the gigantic city destroying size, either. Sourwolf snarls, bio-engineered saliva-like substances dripping from his teeth.
“Targeting human carbon based lifeform 10498. Hello, Dr. Stilinski. Data indicates that you have advocated my termination.”
Stiles really had, for this very reason. The damn Marthas never went more than a few months without bugging out in increasingly homicidal ways, but did anyone listen to him? No, of course not. They just recorded his tantrum and posted it on the Eureka intranet.
“Step away from the superior lifeform so that I may target you without fear of hitting my brethren.”
Sourwolf springs at the Martha when the weapons array activates with a whine. He manages to slam the Martha against a wall, temporarily disorienting it. Then he dips his head and headbutts Stiles' hip in the direction of an empty hallway, barking significantly. Stiles scrambles to his feet and runs, screaming when a pulse laser just misses his head.
He's totally off the evac path now and into areas usually out of his security clearance, so he has no idea where he's going. He stops at a junction to gasp for breath and figure out a plan of action, but Sourwolf comes tearing down the hall, shoving at the backs of Stiles' legs to get him moving again. Sourwolf herds him through labs, around corners, down corridors, and finally through an unmarked door.
The room is empty, so Stiles collapses on the floor, wheezing and choking for air. “I hate the Marthas, I really, really hate them. God, so much hate.”
Sourwolf stands at the door for a moment, crouched warily, head tilted to the side, before he relaxes and ambles over to Stiles. He snuffs at Stiles' face, chest and legs, ignoring Stiles' attempts to shove him away. When Stiles gives up trying to reclaim his personal space, and goes back to convincing his lungs to work properly again, Sourwolf makes a satisfied sound and sits on his legs.
That's the scene Scott, Lydia, Jackson and Danny walk in on when they enter the room, each accompanied by a wolf. Bitterly, Stiles notices how the other wolves aren't shoving and dragging them around, and don't knock them to the floor and sit on them.
“Hi,” Stiles says, faintly, and wants to die of embarrassment when both Lydia and Jackson whip out their phones and snap pictures of him.
Scott looks around the room, confused, a wolf twining around his legs with a lolling tongue and dopey look. “Hey. Uh, any idea what's going on? I was on my way out when one of Derek's wolves showed up and made me detour here.”
Stiles looks up at the ceiling, tries and fails to get his legs out from under Sourwolf, and sighs. “The Marthas. Again. The one I ran into seemed pretty excited about the idea of killing me.” Sourwolf growls and, without thinking, Stiles pokes his haunch. “Relax, would you? Anyway, I think when things went to hell, Sourwolf called in reinforcements.”
Lydia sits on the floor next to Stiles, tucking her legs to the side and settling her skirt carefully. The wolf that came in with her lays next to her, front paws crossed regally. “Were you hurt?” Lydia asks, real concern in her eyes, because while Lydia and Stiles have a wonderful friendship based around mockery and sarcasm and beautiful bitchiness, there's a time and place for everything.
Stiles shakes his head. “No, I'm good.”
Jackson leans against a wall and pulls out his phone, pouting when he doesn't get a signal. Next to him, a wolf gives the rest of them petulant looks, like this mess is their fault. Which, it isn't. None of them work on the Marthas, not even tangentially, and they're certainly not responsible for the wolves getting sucked into the situation. That's all on Derek Hale, the grumpy, reclusive Dr. Frankenstein everyone loves to be terrified of, who can't be bothered to listen to Stiles about dealing with the Alpha's fixation with Stiles.
Danny's the one who discovers the door won't open, and that the entire room is shielded. “That's why there's no signal,” he says, closing a wall panel. “Basically, we're in a dead zone.”
Stiles and Lydia trade looks. “Dead zones are obvious,” Lydia says, voicing their thoughts. “At some point, the Marthas will switch up their scans and notice we're effectively the only dark room in a lit up building.”
Danny shakes his head. “No, no, there's an electronic overlay surrounding us that will make it seem on the grid.” The building shakes and there's a sound of a far off explosion. Danny's mouth twists and he ruffles the fur of the rather chill wolf near him. “In the meantime, we should wait it out.”
Four interminable hours later, Lydia and Jackson are in the middle of a vicious fight that started about his lack of results on a project and has devolved into yet another rehash of their failed relationship. The rest of them have squished themselves on the other side of the cramped room, because they know better than to try to intervene, or to draw Jackson or Lydia's attention in this mood.
When the door opens and Allison appears, drab Sheriff's uniform slightly tattered but a grin on her face, Stiles raises his hands heavenwards. “Oh, thank you, thank you, God!”
Scott scrambles to his feet and hurries over to her, seeking reassurance that she's okay. Which is crazy, because Allison is the best and most badass Sheriff Eureka's ever seen. She's seriously awesome.
“Everything sorted out?” Danny asks, standing up and stretching.
Allison nods. “Yep! The Marthas are deactivated and being moved to storage. GD took a lot of damage though, so you'll have to clear out. You can swing by your labs real quick if you need something.”
Lydia and Jackson break off their staring contest—Lydia narrow-eyed and angry, Jackson sad and annoyed—and stomp out, wolves trailing after them. Danny follows them at an easy pace, then Scott ushers Allison out with a chivalrous hand to the small of her back.
Stiles...remains flat on his back on the floor with a wolf sitting on his legs.
Forty-five minutes later, Stiles limps into his lab, legs stinging with pins and needles, which is an improvement over the absolute numbness that made it impossible for him to stand when Sourwolf finally deigned to get the hell off of him.
He's really not expecting to be grabbed and slammed against a wall, so his high-pitched scream of terror is warranted.
“Where's the Alpha?” Derek demands to know, his face, like, two inches from Stiles'.
“What the hell, Derek!” Stiles flails his arms, and tries to push himself into the wall to get some distance from Derek's scowling face. “No, it's fine, I didn't need the five years you just scared off of me, not at all, you asshole.”
Derek's fists twist in the material of Stiles' shirt. “Where is he?”
Stiles rolls his eyes, then nods to the side, where Sourwolf is standing and watching the scene with what Stiles would swear is amusement. Derek lets go with a huff and folds his arms, glaring down at Sourwolf.
Sourwolf, in Stiles' opinion, seems distinctly unimpressed, and when Derek jerks out a hand and points at the door, Sourwolf waits a long moment before complying.
Derek transfers the glare to Stiles. “Leave the Alpha alone, Stiles. I mean it.”
Stiles gapes at him. “Are you—what—Sourwolf just shows up! I don't have anything to do with it!”
“Don't call him that,” Derek snaps and storms out of the lab.
And this, ladies and gentleman, is Stiles' life in Eureka. Sometimes he questions all of his life choices.
Four days later, Stiles has the misfortune to be walking down the hall near Scott's lab right when Scott, probably too busy daydreaming about Allison's ankles or something just as ridiculous, turns a dial clockwise when it should be counterclockwise. The result is a glass window shattering and sending flying chunks of glass into the entire right side of Stiles' torso.
“You were far enough away that the pieces were small,” Lydia tells him from his bedside. Scott has already come and gone in a cloud of morose apologies.
Stiles is a patchwork of cuts and gashes, and high on an experimental local anesthetic that makes half his body feel like pudding and, for some reason, makes his tongue taste green.
“Your hair smells like songs,” Stiles tells her.
Lydia grins evilly, then pulls out her phone and holds it up. “Tell me more, Stiles.”
Stiles passes out after giving her a decade's worth of blackmail material, only to wake up to a sad whine. It takes a lot of effort for Stiles to open his eyes but he manages it. Sourwolf has his front paws braced on the bed next to Stiles' left side, doggy eyebrows furrowed in distress.
“Oh, hey,” Stiles slurs. “'M'okay, 's good.” Sourwolf's nose is cold when he pushes against Stiles' side and whines again. Stiles drags himself over to the other edge of the bed, and clumsily pats the empty space next to him. “C'mon. Careful.”
Stiles falls back into oblivion with an animatronic wolf stretched out next to him, and wakes again to Derek leaning over the both of them, face shrouded in shadows.
“Are you okay?”
“You look like bread smells,” Stiles answers.
Derek blinks at him, and the corners of his mouth twitch upwards for a second. He looks from Stiles, to Sourwolf, who issues a truly pathetic whine and burrows against Stiles, and sighs. “Fine. But you better come home in the morning.”
Previously, Stiles thought being stared awake by something that resembles and behaves like a living wolf was the height of scary ways to be woken. Two weeks after coming home from the GD infirmary, however, he reassesses that assumption.
Clearly, being dragged out of bed by the back of his pajama top by something that resembles and behaves like a living wolf is fucktons scarier.
“Oh my god, don't kill me! Don't eat me! You don't even have a proper digestive tract!” Sourwolf opens his mouth, releasing Stiles' shirt, and Stiles drops to the floor with a pained groan. Before he can do anything, like move, Sourwolf steps away and comes back with Stiles' slippers. He drops them by Stiles' feet and growls until Stiles puts them on.
And that's the start of a bizarre and humiliating chain of events that brings Stiles into Derek's house, where he finds Derek sweating and shaking on the floor in the middle of his living room. There's an ugly welt on his arm, with thick lines of inky black spidering under his skin outwards from it.
Stiles pulls out his phone, still wet from Sourwolf's mouth when he'd taken it from the nightstand and pressed it to Stiles' hand, and makes a frantic call to Allison.
“You idiot,” Stiles tells Derek, squatting beside him and tipping his head back to examine his ashen face and blood shot eyes. “You know what this is, why didn't you--”
Derek looks at where Stiles' hand is touching his face. Stiles falls back on his ass. The damn spore Derek's infected with, two days after it was supposedly eradicated, is passed by skin on skin contact. “Shit.”
Quarantine sucks. Stiles has been through it a few times, mostly due to Scott being, well, Scott, but sometimes because Jackson and Lydia's fights reach new levels of vicious and they don't care who gets caught in the crossfire.
But being in quarantine with Derek Hale is the worst. The absolute worst.
Derek's a grumpy fuck who gets mean when he's annoyed, and Stiles is self-aware enough to admit that he is very annoying. By the second day, Stiles' oft missing sense of self-preservation has kicked in, and a tentative peace has arisen in the small sealed isolation room they're locked in. It's an improvement over the death threats, wall slamming, and murderous glares of the first day and a half.
Coincidentally, that's also the day when Derek's infection abates, and Stiles watches in astonishment as Derek decides the thing to do in that moment is strip off his shirt and do push ups. A lot of them. For a long, long time. Because, sure, why not?
A crowd of people gathers at the observation window above them, somewhere around push up number five hundred, and none of them have any official reason to be there. No, they're just ogling Derek.
Who is...actually quite ogle worthy, Stiles realizes blankly. Like, very ogle-able. Stiles closes his mouth and swallows dryly. “Oh.”
The thing is, Stiles' interaction with Derek isn't just limited to random visits by Sourwolf, or enforced quarantines. That would make the aftermath of Stiles' unexpected, gay-for-Derek epiphany easier to handle. No, see, Derek and Stiles are also both on the small team working part-time to develop a human android AI that can pass a Turing test and will follow the three laws of robotics.
Because this is Stiles' life, a day after the sweet torture of the quarantine ends—there were pull ups, too, after Derek expressed a desire to do some and a flushed doctor broke five kinds of regs to get a bar installed—it's time for the team's monthly meeting.
They take turns hosting the meeting at their homes, because even though this is an official GD project, they do like to get out of the labs. This time, it's at Stiles' house. Jackson and Danny arrive first, Jackson shouldering his way past Stiles to beeline for the food. Lydia's next, followed by Scott and Allison a few minutes later.
Allison is there, even though she's not a scientist, because when she doesn't come Scott is too distracted to be much use. Plus, she's lobbying to have the prototype act as her Deputy, since she's been without one for over a year. So far, they're leaning towards agreeing. It's the least they can do, given how often she has to rescue or save them from themselves and others.
Derek's the last to arrive, and Stiles doesn't know where to look, so he ends up addressing the air next to Derek every time he needs to talk to him, or ask a question. It's awkward, so awkward, especially when Lydia gets a knowing smirk on her face and maneuvers it so that Stiles has to sit next to Derek on the too-small love seat. Damn her black, evil soul, not just for the seating arrangement, but for convincing him no living room set was complete without a love seat. This wouldn't have been possible if Stiles had gotten the two recliners he wanted.
Stiles is stiff, sitting up too straight, and doing his best not to make it obvious that he won't turn his head for fear of, you know, catching even a glimpse of Derek. By the time the meeting draws to a close, he feels like his neck and back muscles have seized into one giant knot from tension. Everyone gathers up tablets and other sundry electronics, and Stiles remains on the love seat poking blindly at his laptop.
He feels the cushions shift when Derek gets up, hears the sound of multiple footsteps heading towards the door, and mumbles a general goodbye to the group. When the door closes behind them, Stiles slumps back and presses the palm of his hand to his forehead.
He loses another five years of life when his hand is jerked away from his face. Derek's fingers are wrapped around Stiles' wrist, turning it so that he can squint at Stiles' palm.
“What are you doing?” Stiles gasps, his heart trying to pound its way through his chest in surprise.
Derek flicks his eyes up. “It looks fine.”
Stiles realizes he's holding the hand that was the site of Stiles' infection. “Yeah, that's because it is fine, and that's why they sprung me loose.”
“You're acting weird,” Derek tells him, studying Stiles' face.
Stiles tugs his hand weakly. “Could you maybe let me go?”
Derek's fingers tighten, seemingly reflexively, and he frowns. “What's wrong? You shouldn't still be in pain.”
“Are you having a reaction to the meds? Feeling...off?”
“No, I'm fine, nothing's wrong or going on,” Stiles insists.
Derek narrows his eyes, then lets go of Stiles' hand. “Okay then.”
Stiles makes sure Derek actually leaves this time, then covers his face with a throw pillow. “Fuck my life.”
For two whole weeks, Stiles' life is Derek-free. He's not sure if he's relieved or upset about it, then decides it's probably for the best, considering he's started having seriously sextastic dreams about Derek and there's no way he'd be able to keep the knowledge off his face. Or keep his dick from getting hard.
Then, Stiles walks into the common lab one morning, and instead of Jackson, Lydia, Scott and Danny working, there are four wolves in their place.
“Uh,” Stiles says, watching one prod a dial on a piece of Scott's equipment with its paw. A few minutes of observation later, and Stiles realizes that the wolves are actually trying to work. Like, they're behaving as scientists, as much as they can with their wolf bodies, and are interacting with one another in manners that creepily mimic the people who should be here.
“What the hell is going on?” Lydia demands when she arrives.
Stiles doesn't look away from where a wolf is using her mouth to carefully plug a tablet into Lydia's preferred terminal, and pulls out his phone. “Yeah, Derek, you need to get over here.”
Stiles stares around the room at the animatronic wolves standing in front of Jackson, Scott, Danny, Lydia and Allison (who got to work in the morning to find a wolf trying to answer her phone), then at Derek.
Derek doesn't shift uncomfortably, but Stiles thinks he wants to. “So, wait,” Stiles says. “You programmed your wolf pack based on them?”
“Yes. Kind of.” Derek lifts a shoulder in a shrug. “The algorithm chose suitable personalities from the GD database. I didn't know who until later.”
“And the new Wifi network that went on line this morning messed with their programming, making them think they were the people they were based on,” Stiles goes on.
“That explains it,” Allison drawls, scritching wolf!Allison's ears.
Stiles looks down. Sourwolf is sitting on his foot, leaning far too much of his weight against Stiles' legs. “What about Sourwolf?”
“Don't call him that,” Derek snaps, then clamps his mouth shut and looks away. “I didn't use the algorithm for the Alpha, just the Betas and Omega.”
Stiles nods like that information is in anyway meaningful. “Okay.”
Lyda makes a smug sound, then grins like a shark. Stiles knows that grin. It's the same one she got when she cracked the Hodge conjecture and won a Millennium Prize. “I knew it.”
Derek glares at her. “Shut up.”
Stiles flails his hands. “What? What's going on?”
“He based the Alpha on himself,” Lydia says, looking pointedly from Derek, to Stiles and Sourwolf.
“What does she mean?” Stiles turns to ask Derek, but the other man is just gone.
Sourwolf stays plastered to Stiles' side all day, even though the Wifi-induced glitch was fixed hours earlier. Stiles considers the wolf, thinks about recent events, and drives over to Derek's a little after midnight. Sourwolf breaks off to go around the back of the house where Derek set up the wolf den for the pack and Stiles walks to the front door.
Derek ignores the bell, and Stiles' knocking, but that doesn't matter because Stiles designed Derek's alarm system, and he disables it easily enough.
“What are you doing here, Stiles?” Derek asks, from a shadow somewhere in the living room.
Stiles flicks on a lamp and lets his gaze wander the planes of Derek's tense face, his lowered brow, his pinched lips.
“So, yeah, see,” Stiles says, “that room Sourwolf dragged me to?” Derek stares through him and Stiles starts to smile. “It wasn't even a shielded room until a few days after the staff meeting in which I was totally outvoted to shut the Marthas down, and no one knows who converted it.”
“You're not making any sense.”
That's a total lie. Stiles is making all sorts of sense for the first time in a while. It's kind of nice not to be flailing around, ignorant and clueless, for a change. “And when you got infected, Sourwolf came to get me. Not Allison, or a doctor. Me.”
“Glitch,” Derek insists.
“Yeah, probably the same one that brings him to my bed all the time.”
In any other situation, Stiles would probably fall over laughing at the fact that Derek is blushing, but in this moment it just makes Stiles' heart miss a beat.
“He's based on your personality template, Derek,” Stiles says, quiet but firm. “I'm not that oblivious, no matter what Lydia thinks.” Then he crosses the room, steps right into Derek's personal space and sets his hands on the jut of Derek's hips. “Sourwolf's not so bad, but I'd rather have the real thing, you know?”
Derek just looks at him for a moment, as bad-tempered and grouchy as always, and then his eyes soften, and his lips curl upwards in the tiniest smile possible, and he pulls Stiles in by the back of his neck. The kiss is short, soft and close-mouthed, but Stiles feels like he could power all of Eureka on it.