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Under Fire

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Stiles gets the text several hours after Derek slips out of his bedroom window, much to Stiles’ protesting, whining and sad attempts at witty Stiles Logic in order to get him to stay. Who cares if Erica howled from the Hale house? Hasn’t she caused enough drama for them lately? Stiles really disliked her sometimes, but she was pack and he couldn’t tell Derek what to do anyway, so he put up with her. But sending out the call when she knew Friday nights were the only nights Stiles and Derek had to spend together exclusively was a dick move, and he’d never forgive her. Okay well maybe he would, but not immediately. Stiles knew she might be in real danger after the stunt she pulled last week, but his lack of seeing Derek for almost a whole week was making him a little insensitive to her woes at the moment.

Stiles sighed and flopped on his bed, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring at the moon through his open window. Sometimes dating a werewolf was irritating, especially when he had to share him with Derek’s pack, battling the Argents and the full moon, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. He would just have to suck it up and hope she wasn’t actually in danger and that Derek would return for their filthy hot night that Stiles was promised in so many words.

As the feeling of being cheated started to filter away, Stiles actually did start to worry about her, especially since Derek wasn’t texting him. He thought about how she had gotten herself snagged by Chris Argent last week, and how she’d gotten him thrown in jail. The typical hunter policy was to kill a werewolf on sight these days, and according to her, she just happened to wind up on the wrong end of his crossbow in the middle of the woods. Luckily for her, she could hear the tires of a car not too far away on the road, and she made a break for it. Apparently Chris shot her, piercing her through the right shoulder, but she continued to run to the road. He followed her, expecting the road to be deserted at this time of night, as it frequently was, but she bolted out in front of the car with Chris hot on her heels. Erica said she held out her arms in front of her for the car to stop and Chris held up his hands to shield his eyes from the blinding headlights. The car had squealed to a stop, Erica says it almost hit them both. Stiles felt that it was all a bit of an exaggeration, but how do you exaggerate being shot in the back?

Stiles imagined that she probably screamed and flipped on her wounded girl tears, falling against the hood of the car. Chris apparently realized what was happening and bolted for the woods, hoisting his crossbow under his arms, but not before the driver got a good look at him. Erica wasn’t expecting it to be the Sheriff of Beacon Hills, and he got out of his car quickly after jamming it in park. He came around the car and tried to comfort her as she screamed and cried, only half an act because even being a werewolf didn’t stop the pain of being shot. Stiles knew his dad had never been good with crying girls, a trait he must have inherited because he always just seemed to make things worse.

His dad’s side of the story had matched, though, and he told Stiles that he couldn’t believe it when he saw that Chris Argent had shot a teenage girl with a crossbow of all things. Chris and the police station did business together; they certainly never suspected he was a murderer. Stiles pretended to act surprised and horrified, even though he’d seen Chris hunting with the bow before. He knew what the Argents were capable of, but he never thought they would get caught in the act.

His father had called an ambulance for Erica and she consciously kept herself from healing long enough for the EMTs to patch her up after she refused to be taken to the hospital. The sheriff sent for backup and alerted the force to be on the lookout for Chris Argent in his red Tahoe, and they caught him doing 60 in a 35 ten miles out of town.

Erica seemed proud of herself when she returned from the station after questioning, and it was Stiles that told her off first. Great, now the Argents can tack on another case of revenge to fuel their fire he told her viciously. There would probably be several dozen Argents running around Beacon Hills toting super wolf-killing bullets now instead of their usual local bunch, and Erica didn’t seem to care. In her eyes having Chris thrown in jail for attempted murder was a strategic win in the messed up war that the Argents triggered when they started killing werewolves without rhyme or reason. The moment Stiles had heard about what happened when his father called to tell him that he wouldn’t be home for dinner, he had ran to find Derek. Stiles only beat Erica to the abandoned warehouse the pack had been squatting in by a few minutes, his Jeep still faster than werewolf legs if he didn’t obey the speed limit. Stiles remembered the way that Derek said nothing when he learned what happened, just silently contemplated the whole thing. Stiles thought he should be raging at her, telling her that she’s a reckless fool and make her cower and beg him to forgive her for royally fucking them all.

Now she was calling for his help, and Derek hadn’t texted to tell him what was wrong, and Stiles was getting concerned. The Argents had been worryingly silent, and Allison had told Scott that she had been kept out of any meetings between her family. They either suspected her leaking information or they were planning something too gruesome for her to handle. Stiles wasn’t sure which one he’d prefer, to be honest, knowing the Argents would be crazy enough to punish her for being a rat. Scott was out of his mind with concern, having not seen Allison in quite some time, hardly at all since her grandfather stabbed him in the parking lot of the hospital. It was a damn scary world out there right now, which is why Stiles needed his nights with Derek more than ever, and he knew that Derek needed them too. He felt guilty for enjoying himself, especially when Scott literally ached for Allison every day, but he couldn’t stop himself from falling in love with Derek. It was an accident; an impulse that the heart of a spazzy A.D.H.D. child couldn’t resist, and by some miracle Derek liked him too. Something about saving each other’s lives countless times seemed to give Derek a deep Stiles appreciation and gave Stiles a hero worship complex a mile wide, even if Scott threw shade at Derek’s motives every chance he got.

When his text alert went off Stiles almost hit the ceiling, swearing loudly as he scrambled to grab his phone off his night stand. He read the display several times before he could comprehend what he was reading, and he couldn’t call Scott fast enough.

“What do you mean you think they have Derek?” Stiles asked, Scott was quiet for a minute, but Stiles could hear rustling.

“Allison just sent me a text,” Scott whispered harshly. Stiles’ heart was racing a mile a minute, and he was already fearing the worst. “She um... Stiles, she heard them say that they had Derek at the Hale house. Her mom and Gerard are headed there now, they made her come with them. I have no idea how she got the text out, but- Stiles what are you doing?”

“I’m going,” Stiles said, cradling his phone between his shoulder and ear and pulling on his extra pair of shoes from his closet.

“Stiles, no. Don’t get involved, this has nothing to do with you this time. I can handle this on my own,” Scott said, and Stiles could hear that he was speaking in a rush, but sincerely.

“Huh, you’re right. This has nothing to do with me, it’s only Derek. It’s not like I have been intimate with the guy for the past few months or anything. I’ll just kick back here and let you handle it because obviously Allison is the only important one at risk here,” Stiles said, bitterly sarcastic but shaking with concern nonetheless.

“Stiles you know I don’t mean it like that! Just, please! Please stay home, I don’t know what’s going on right now and I don’t want you to be hurt. I’ll text you if I can’t handle it,” Scott pleaded. Stiles paced around his room for a few moments before hanging up on Scott. It didn’t seem to matter how many times Stiles proved that he could hold his own, even against werewolves, lizard monsters and hunters, he was still treated like the sidekick. It was fine to have him do all the legwork, but nothing hands on. It was stupid, and he wasn’t going to wait for Scott to race in there half cocked and get somebody hurt because werewolves tended to lack strategy, relying only on instinct and adrenaline. Or maybe that was just Scott? Nevertheless, the Argents were dangerously clever; they would certainly expect Scott to come bursting through the front doors, ready to fight the first person that stopped him from coming to the rescue.

Scott didn’t call back, and Stiles grabbed his keys from his computer desk and slipped out of his bedroom window, leaving it open in his haste. The night was cold and quiet, everyone having retired to their warm homes by eight o’clock, and in the midnight hour it was a ghost town. Stiles hopped in his jeep and started the engine unnoticed, turning off the end of his suburban street toward the old Hale house, hoping he wasn’t too late. He parked his car several blocks away from the long, dirt driveway that lead off into the woods and circled around back on foot, scoping out the Hale house from behind.

To his surprise, there were no cars there at all. No light that indicated a fire or lantern shined through the broken out windows of the basement. There was nothing, and Stiles wondered if Scott had been played. Maybe the Argents wanted Scott to leave his house so they could hurt his mother? Stiles pulled out his phone, keeping an eye on the Hale house from several hundred feet away.

“Come on, Scott. Pick up,” he whispered, listening until he got Scott’s voice mail and fought the urge to throw his phone against a nearby tree. He was about to call Derek even though he knew he wouldn’t get an answer, but he heard a snap and whistle from his left.

Pain exploded in his left thigh, and he hit his knees, screaming out. He looked down at his leg to see a feathered, thick arrow standing straight out from his thigh and blood welling up over his jeans where the arrow pierced. Stiles whipped his head around in time to watch Allison lower her compound bow, tears streaming down her cheeks, her mother standing a step behind her. He could hear rustling behind him, someone shifting through the underbrush, and he couldn’t get away. His heart was trying to escape his chest as he tried to stand, but someone grabbed him by the back of the shirt and yanked him backward.  A cloth closed over his nose and mouth and in instant his world disappeared.




Opening his eyes again for the first time was a chore. He blinked a few times, trying to make out the shadowed face that was floating in front of him. As soon as he did he regretted it, realizing it was red-haired, blue-eyed Victoria Argent, her extremely scary gaze piercing him deeper than any arrow could.

Oh yeah, arrow - he jumped back when he saw her but he didn’t go anywhere, only caused a flood of pain to spread through his left, lower side from navel to toes, the arrow had broken off but the tip still remained embedded in his thigh. He groaned loudly and deduced that he was tied to a chair, hands expertly bound with rough rope to the very chair itself. He knew he was indefinitely stuck but twisted his hands anyway, the coarse rope rubbing him raw.

“Wonderful to see you, Mrs. Argent,” Stiles said tonelessly and she smiled. It turned Stiles’ stomach. He suddenly got the notion that he was their target all along, and that it hadn’t been Allison that sent Scott the text. “Where’s Derek?”

She stepped back out of his space, moving to the left and behind him into the dim, candlelit room that seemed almost like a dungeon, glimmering with mysterious water reflections even though he couldn’t make out water anywhere. The scorched cement floor and overwhelming smell of soot made him guess that he was in the basement of the Hale house before a few flood lights blazed on behind him. Stiles’ heart sank when he saw Derek strung up from the ceiling in front of him, wires trailing off of both sides of his ribs. Derek was staring straight ahead, avoiding Stiles’ eyes and instead fixing his withering glare on the Argents that had walked behind Stiles. The silhouettes of the Argents played on the wall behind Derek, and Stiles could hear Allison’s sniffles from the left and the heels of Victoria coming up behind him.

“Our little birds told us that you’ve been romantically involved with Derek Hale,” she said, trailing her fingers over Stiles’ shoulders as she circled around the chair to face him. Stiles gave her an icy glare that could give Derek a run for his money. “Now, I hate to do this, but I need to ask a favor of you.”

“Have you ever heard of a phone? You know, those things humans have been using for the last century and a half. I’d have even appreciated a telegram,” Stiles snarked, but his face remained cold and guarded. Victoria laughed humorlessly and made to pinch Stiles’ cheek.

“You’re a cute, little smart-mouthed brat, aren’t you?” she said, walking over to a rickety table that Stiles couldn’t really see without turning his head really far. He stared at Derek instead, watching the sweat drip down from his hairline, his expression hard as stone. He was still refusing to look at Stiles. Out of the corner of Stiles’ eye he could see Victoria’s hand rested on a box that made his pulse spike, for he could see the wires that trailed away from the table led to Derek’s abdomen.  “Unfortunately for you, I’m beyond appreciating wit and a cute face. Your father has my husband in a cell, and you’re going to call him and tell your dad to set him free. If you cooperate without anymore sass, I won’t have to fry your pet.”

Derek visibly sighed, like he knew his life depending on Stiles to be serious meant he was as good as dead. Stiles resented that, but swallowed hard and took a deep breath.

“Don’t call,” Derek said before Stiles could speak, still keeping his eyes trained away. It was making Stiles even more unsettled. He frowned, not sure what to do. Victoria would no doubt electrocute Derek just for sport, let alone it being necessary to save her husband. If Stiles didn’t call he could kiss Derek goodbye, but on the other hand, if Chris Argent was set free Derek was as good as dead anyway, and so were Scott and Lydia and the rest of Derek’s pack... Even if Stiles hated Erica’s guts half the time he didn’t want her to be killed by the Argents. Plus, his father might even be in danger. Stiles tried to remain calm, but he could feel the anxiety trying to get the better of him. It was lose Derek or lose Derek and everyone else he cared about - a miserable choice to make, so he tried to stall.

“Scott will be here soon,” Stiles said finally, tearing his eyes away from Derek to Victoria. He wasn’t sure he held much stock in Scott’s ability to save the day at this point, but what choice did he have?

“Wrong answer.”

Stiles immediately regretted that decision as the air crackled through the room, Derek enveloped in blue and white hot electricity as his screams of pain turned into wounded roars that tore Stiles’ soul apart. He couldn’t stand it, struggling against his own bonds out of instinct even though he knew he couldn’t get away.

“Stop! Jesus Christ, just stop! I’ll call!”

As quickly as it started the electricity cut off and Derek gasped for air and trembled helplessly against his shackles.

“Stiles, don’t,” Derek said weakly, finally looking up at him. His broken gaze was like a knife in Stiles’ gut and tears threatened to spill, but he forced them back. This was no time to get emotional, he needed to think clearly, but he just couldn’t bring himself to watch Derek get electrocuted again. Once was enough for a whole lifetime.

“I have to,” Stiles said, his apology in his words, but Derek bared his teeth and growled at him.

“Don’t! They are going to kill me either way, Stiles. You know what will happen if Chris gets released,” Derek spat, getting his bearings back a little. Stiles didn’t know what to say or do. He’d never been so conflicted in his entire life, his whole body shaking with terror.

“We thought you would say that,” Victoria said calmly from the table, smiling as she signaled to someone behind Stiles that he couldn’t see. He could sense the presence of the person getting closer, and then someone grabbed his forehead and yanked his head back. A cold blade pressed to his throat and he froze, staring up into the face of Gerard.

“No!” he heard Derek say, so horror struck he couldn’t even muster an intimidating growl. “You don’t kill children. Your code forbids it!”

“We’re not playing anymore, kids,” Gerard said, holding Stiles’ head against his stomach, his fingers leaving bruises in Stiles’ forehead and the knife stinging where it sliced into the skin just enough to start a trickle of blood. The sound of his voice made Stiles’ skin crawl and a murderous rage boil inside of him. The blade slicing at his skin hardly registered. “I’m tired of losing my family,” Gerard said quietly, almost lost under the sound of Derek wrenching on his shackles. Victoria kicked the electricity back on briefly, putting Derek back in check, then killed it just as soon as he stopped struggling.

“You will call your father, Stiles,” Victoria said sharply, moving away from the table to stand in front of him. Gerard held his head in place so he had no choice but to look her in the eye. “You will tell him to come to the Hale house tonight when he gets off duty. He will bring Chris without anyone knowing, make the escape look like a jail break. He will bring no one else. We have the area surrounded, so we will know if he’s brought backup. We will trade you for Chris, and your father will not attempt to prevent us from leaving. Is all of this clear?”

Transparent,” Stiles said through gritted teeth, breathing harshly against the knife to his throat. Victoria smiled and pulled a cell phone out of her pants pocket, sliding her finger across the front to unlock the screen. Stiles recognized it as his own and seethed as he watched her find his father’s private cell phone number on the contacts list. The urge to kick her was strong when she walked up to his right side and held the phone to his ear. As she moved out of the way Derek came into view, his eyes squeezed closed in wrecked resignation at the choice Stiles was making, not that Stiles really had any other choice at this point.

Stiles trembled as he was waiting for the line to connect. He was pretty sure his dad wouldn’t be on patrol anymore. It was late, even for one of his dad’s ‘late nights,’ but he was still in his office.

“Hey, bud,” he heard his dad say tiredly but affectionately, already knowing it was Stiles by the name on his display. Stiles couldn’t fight the tears anymore, the sound of his dad’s voice just making the situation that much more real. He tried to keep his voice level though, not wanting to freak his dad out immediately.

“Hey, dad,” he said, swallowing hard, a tear catching between his cheek and the phone screen, making it wet against his face.

“What’s up?”

“You know in those hostage movies, where they make the kid call the parents to ensure the kidnappers get what they want? And the parents always freak out and make bad decisions because they let their sentiment get in the way of what needs to be done, and someone always gets hurt, and-”

“Stiles, what on Earth are you going on about? Did you have another nightmare about your mother, or something?”

“No. Dad, is Chris Argent still in lockup down there?”

“Yes, why? Stiles, you’re scaring your old man, here. What are you going on about?”

“Are you alone?” Stiles asked, his voice breaking badly now in spite of his resolution to remain calm.

“Yes. Are you hurt? Tell me what’s wrong,” his dad said. Stiles could hear the anxiety in his voice and it didn’t make this any easier. He stalled for a moment, and Gerard reminded him of the knife against his jugular less than gently. He gasped.

“Dad, um, I’m kind of a hostage right now-”

What?! Where are you?!” his father said, his voice rising with panic.

“Listen, you need to calm down. I’m okay, I’m not hurt. I need you to act normal, because nobody else in the station can know what’s going on.”

“Okay, okay, just tell me what to do, son,” Sheriff Stilinski said, lowering his voice just slightly.

“I need you to bust Argent out of jail-”

“The Argents have you?!”

“Dad! Shut up, just listen,” Stiles begged urgently. He took a steadying breath and tried to compose himself. Shouting wasn’t going to get this done properly. “Look, you need to bust Argent out of jail. Make it look like he escaped. The man knows the ins and outs of law enforcement better than you probably do, it wouldn’t surprise anyone. Bring him to where I am, and the Argents will trade me for him, and make sure you come alone. Don’t have any back up, do not tell anyone that you’re coming here. Dad, please don’t bring anyone else. They will let us live if we cooperate,”

“Us? They have more than just you?”

“Um, yeah. There is someone else,” Stiles said, hesitant to tell his dad that Hale was involved with this. The law’s opinion of Derek wasn’t very high, even if he had been exonerated on both accounts when Stiles and Scott said they’d lied about Derek being at the school. His name had been too closely related to too many gruesome murders for him to not have a negative association at the station. “But do you understand what I’m saying? Nobody else can know what you’re doing.”

There was silence on the end of the line. Stiles was sure his father was trying to think of how he was going to pull off this Mission: Impossible. Maybe Stiles should have called Tom Cruise instead.

“Dad, they have a knife to my throat. Make it happen. Please,” Stiles said evenly, biting his tongue to keep himself from saying anything about Derek being fried.

“I will! I don’t know how, but I will. Jesus, Stiles, just. Just stay safe, okay? Don’t mouth off to them. Don’t provoke them. I’ll be there, I promise. Wait, you never told me where you are.”

“The Hale house,” Stiles said, closing his eyes and sighing. If his father was more or less upset about that, he didn’t show it.

“Alright. I’ll be there. I’ll bring Chris and they will give you back to me?”

“Yes. No backup. No choppers. No alerting the cops outside our jurisdiction. Nothing, okay?”

“Okay. Officer Parker goes home in a half hour, I’ll move out then before Jerry gets back from break. It should be enough time. I can’t be there any sooner than one-thirty. Stay safe until then, Stiles. Please, please,” his father begged, fear breaking his sentences.

“See you soon,” Stiles said gravely, feeling a large part of himself die when Victoria took the phone away from his face and ended the call. He glared up at Gerard. “You can stop carving me up now, I called.”

To his surprise, Gerard let go of him without any condescending comments or extra bruises on his forehead. In fact, he and Victoria seemed to be closing up shop.

“Feel free to talk amongst yourselves until your father gets here,” Victoria said, taking Allison by the arm and steering her out of the room like a puppet. Stiles wanted to call out to his friend, wanted to know why she wasn’t stopping them, but realistically Stiles knew she didn’t have a choice but to play along.

Soon Stiles could hear the giant metal door sliding closed on its track, and he was presumably alone with Derek, as far as he could see anyway. Derek wasn’t looking at him again, hanging his head and staring at the floor. Stiles just watched him for a few moments in the bright flood light, the way the veins in his arms bulged from the strain of struggle and holding him up for who knows how long, the crease in his brow that Stiles actually loved in spite of it meaning something was wrong... If they actually did make it out alive, Stiles couldn’t wait to be the one to kiss it flat again. And really, he shouldn’t be thinking of that right now when his dad was busting a criminal out of jail to save his helpless ass, but his focus rarely did what he wanted it to.

“What’s wrong? You look like someone kidnapped your boyfriend,” Stiles said, using his best tactic for deflecting uneasy situations. Derek did nothing, not even sigh, not even blink. He usually at least gave Stiles the gratification of an eyeroll when he made a lame joke. He tried a different approach. “It’s going to be okay?”

It wasn’t supposed to sound like a question, but it made Derek look up at him so bonus, Stiles supposed.

“It’s not funny, Stiles,” Derek muttered gravely, but his tone wasn’t chastising. “Do you know what’s going to happen once the Argents have Chris back?”

Stiles gestured as wildly as he could with his arms roped to a chair. “Probably not anything that wouldn’t have happened if they’d never lost him in the first place?” Stiles said exasperatedly.

Derek scoffed and looked at the ceiling, which Stiles took as ‘You’re right, Stiles, but I would never tell you that because I’m an emotionally stunted jerk that has to be upset about something.’ Okay that might have been wishful thinking, but still.

“They are going to hunt you now. Big hairy deal, they were already hunting you, except now you have the advantage of them being exposed and wanted by the law, so they can’t move fluidly in public. Honestly, I think they were more dangerous without him,” he rambled, not even looking at Derek. It was just theorizing out loud at this point. None of these reasons had occurred to him before he made his decision to call, so it was just happy accident that he made the right choice, not that he had any other choice but die or call, but still. Derek might have not even been listening anymore, but Stiles continued because he felt like he was onto something.  “Case in point: our current situation. They would have never made such a desperate, aggressive move if Chris hadn’t been caught, which you have your beautiful but instigating young beta to thank for that, and I’m not talking about Isaac, gorgeous as he is.”


“And besides, it was either let them kill you, and me - don’t forget about that little aspect, right away, or get us out of this mess right now, and hope we can avoid them later. “


“Certain death or possible death were my choices, I think I chose wisely. If Yoda were here he would tell me ‘a wise decision, you made, young padawan,’ and nod his green, little, wrinkly head at me.”

Stiles!” Derek spat, fueling the outburst with a bit of a growl. Stiles stopped speaking immediately and snapped to attention.


“You’re right,” Derek said, but there was an edge to it, still irritated by Stiles ignoring him, and probably still irritated that Stiles was right. “They were more dangerous without Chris.”

“I’m sorry, what? My ego requests that you run that by me one more time,” Stiles said, daring to quirk a smile in this crazy, screwed up situation.

“We’re not done here, though,” Derek said, looking beyond Stiles to the door behind him. “You forget I’m still a person of interest for the time you and Scott threw me under the bus, exonerated or not. Your dad thinks I killed those people out of revenge for the fire, even though there is no physical proof to tie me to the murders. He’s not going to save me if they try to kill me. He might even assume I was an accomplice in kidnapping you.”

Stiles bit his lip and shifted uncomfortably in the chair. He genuinely hadn’t thought about the fact that Derek might actually still be in trouble. Sure, he knew his dad would be disappointed in the company Stiles had decided to keep, but that was the extent of it.

“That aside, this can’t be the end. The Argents have to have something else up their sleeve. It’s almost too easy of a deal.”

Easy? Do you know how fast my dad will get fired, no, put in jail himself if he’s caught aiding the escape of a criminal? This is freaking impossible, Derek. But my dad will figure it out, I know he will. And he won’t bring you into the station,” Stiles said, not even believing the last line himself.

Derek sighed and shook his head, staying silent for a long while. Stiles kept quiet too, his moment of reprieve from anxiousness was over. He was scared again, and he hated Derek a little for pissing on his optimism, but he knew Derek was right this time.

As the minutes rolled by, Stiles was almost certain that it was past one thirty by now. He was starting to think his dad must have gotten caught trying to release Chris, or the hunters already took Chris back and threw his dad in one of these weird underground cells. He tried to fidget, tried to catch Derek’s eye, tried to think about Lydia naked, tried to imagine Mr. Harris in a tutu, anything to make him feel better, but the growing sense of dread was stifling him. His wrists were throbbing where the ropes rubbed his skin away, his neck stung, and cold sweat on his back made his shirt cling to him uncomfortably. When his hands started to get clammy and he couldn’t focus his eyes he knew what was coming, powerless to stop it. A typical Stiles-ignored-his-stress-too-long panic attack, and it was a big one, chasing all the air out of his lungs. 

“Stiles, relax. Your heart is going to explode,” Derek said, watching Stiles fidget and breathe heavily in the chair across from him. Stiles couldn’t hear him though, his blood pulsed in his ears, his mouth was dry and all he could think about was the Argents murdering his dad, cutting him in half like a werewolf and throwing him in the river. Derek continued to try to drag him out of it, but Stiles was a million miles away.

“Stiles, listen to me. Fucking listen to me, damn it! Your dad is not going to die; I’m not going to die. We’re going to get out of this, and we’ll be together, you hear me? Stiles, I need you to come back to me. Please, please stop!”

 “What the hell are you shouting about, wolf?”

Derek jumped, not realizing that the door had been dragged open and Gerard entered, his attention too focused on Stiles’ freak out. “Your dad is here for you.”

The information hit Stiles’ brain like a kill switch and he tried to twist around in the chair, as if his dad would be standing behind him next to Gerard, but he couldn’t look much further than over his shoulder. He gasped for air, his lungs finally working again and stared at Derek, whose expression had been rearranged to murderous upon Gerard’s arrival. Stiles could hear footsteps behind him, lots of them belonging to several people. Someone was behind him, cutting the ropes around his wrists and dragging him into a standing position. He was in no shape to resist being shoved toward the door by the tall man with impressive muscles, but he heard a crackle and growl and whirled around.

Gerard and two other men were surrounding Derek, their cattle prods poised to strike again. Stiles could see by the way Derek shook against the bonds that they had just electrocuted him.

“Cut ‘im loose and cuff him. A wolf won’t run if their mate is still in danger. As long as we’ve got the kid and electricity he’s as docile as a rabbit. Let’s get this over with,” Gerard said casually, like he was just taking out the garbage.

Stiles tried to run to Derek when they released his arms from the cuffs and he fell hard to the floor, limp and still convulsing a little from the thousands of volts of electricity racking his body. The muscly guy holding Stiles gripped him by the back of the neck, his hand almost wrapping entirely around Stiles’ neck, and forced him to walk out of the doorway.

“Not that I don’t find you attractive or anything, but I don’t normally let people asphyxiate me on the first date,” Stiles’ said, trying to wiggle out of the death grip the huge hunter had on his windpipe. The hunter bristled and tightened his grip, leading Stiles down a long, dark hallway with various creeping vegetation decorating the walls. He tried to think of how to shake this guy so he could get back to Derek, but also get to his father too, but nothing that wasn’t totally suicidal was coming to mind. He could hear the crackling buzz of electricity again from back down the hallway and tried to double back again to no avail.

Once through the hallway, he was dragged through a gate hidden by more vines and various other overgrowth and forcefully pushed into the chilly night air.

Before he even realized that he hadn’t been underneath the Hale house, just in a weird underground bunker of sorts on the property, he heard his father’s voice. Stiles’ first instinct was to run toward it, to fling himself into his father’s arms and wait for everything else around them to go away. Unfortunately Victoria stood between him and his dad, who was standing alone in front of his police car. Stiles noticed that Chris Argent was in the back seat, leering out the window at the scene with a skeptical blue eye.

The hunter shoved Stiles up to Victoria and she grabbed his shirt collar, holding him a little in front of her. He tried to hold still even though his legs were itching to flee. He could just elbow this bitch in the face and run and jump in his dad’s car, but he knew that kind of stuff only worked in movies. He would no doubt miss, she’d do some kind of Vulcan neck pinch or Jackie Chan shit and he’d be on the ground. So he used every ounce of willpower that he possessed, which if you’d ask his friends, he had a pretty limited supply of, and held still, even when his dad was giving him sad, worried eyes from less than 50 feet away.

“Send my husband over, Stilinski,” she said, flanked by her henchmen hunters that must have been hired just on the fact that they looked like the kind of men you didn’t want to mess with. Stiles watched his father try to grasp desperately in his mind for any other way to do this, and it broke his heart to watch the fucking Sheriff of Beacon Hills open the car door and release a criminal. Stiles couldn’t help but feel like it was his fault, even though in the grand scheme of things, none of this would be happening if Erica wasn’t such an out of control hooligan, causing problems for everyone. The guilt still made Stiles sick though, especially when he could hear them dragging Derek’s wrecked body out of the bunker by the handcuffs they’d clapped on him. The electricity wouldn’t kill him, but it still hurt like unbearable holy Hell-fire, and Stiles was thankful this whole thing would be over shortly.

“Send Stiles over first or you don’t get Chris,” the Sheriff said, holding Chris by the handcuffs too. Stiles thought that in an alternate universe it would be like Victoria and his father were holding their dogs before a fight, waiting for the signal to release him and Chris so they could battle to the death. This wasn’t an alternate universe, but he was still being used like a pawn, and he was practically holding his breath waiting for either his dad or Victoria to release their pawn first.

To everyone’s surprise, Victoria released Stiles’ scruff and held up her hands and took a step back. Stiles looked over his shoulder, unsure if he was actually supposed to leave. Even if he was supposed to, something was keeping him rooted to the spot. He plucked up all his courage and turned around to face Victoria.

“Stiles, what are you doing?” he heard his dad say anxiously, but Stiles ignored him.

“What about Derek?” Stiles asked, afraid to look beyond her to see Derek on his knees in the dead leaves, held at bay by the men standing over him with their stern faces and their electricity.

“He wasn’t part of the deal,” she said evenly, staring him right in the eye. The words took so long to compute that Stiles thought he must have misunderstood her, because that couldn’t be possible.

“What? You said you would let us go!” Stiles said, his blood pressure spiking again. He wasn’t sure if he was furious or frightened, or both.

“I said I would let you go. Just you. I’m going to keep Derek as insurance,” she said reluctantly, like she wasn’t ready to give away that punch line yet.

“Insurance for what? That you die the second he gets the chance to wolf out and break those handcuffs?” Stiles said, as quietly but threateningly as he could. He didn’t want his dad to hear that, but he still wanted her to fear Derek.

“Don’t you worry, son. We’ve got him under control.”

“You’ve got what you wanted,” Stiles said, his voice slipping out of intimidating and falling into an involuntary whine. “Please, just, let him go.”

“Stiles, come here, son!”

“Who’s to say that your dad doesn’t have a couple patrol cars at the edge of town, just waiting for us to drive through on our way out of here? If we take Derek, you’ll insist that your dad doesn’t send anyone after us, because you know we will cut Derek in half before the cops even catch us,” she said smoothly, like the idea was deliciously ingenious to her ears. It was ingenious, however heinous, to Stiles’ ears too. He felt gutted and his jaw dropped open. How could he not have predicted this? Derek told him that it wouldn’t be that easy and he was too damn happy about getting out alive to consider any ulterior plans they might have had.

“He won’t send anyone,” Stiles pleaded, serious as a heart attack, even if he could barely squeeze the air to speak out of his tight chest. “I swear, I’ll make sure he doesn’t. Please, just... don’t take him, don’t kill him.”

Victoria’s smile was downright wicked, and Stiles had never wanted to literally murder someone more.

“Stiles!” he heard his father’s voice right behind him, and he whirled around to see that he and Chris had walked the distance between them. His father shoved Chris forward and gripped Stiles’ elbow hard with his other hand, yanking him forcefully away from the Argents. Stiles flailed and let himself be dragged for a few paces before he dug his heels into the ground.

“Dad, stop. I can’t leave him,” he whined, grabbing his dad’s shoulder and stopping him. His dad looked at him like he’d lost his fucking mind.

“I don’t care about Chris anymore, Stiles. You’re safe, that’s all I care about!”

“Not Chris, Derek!” Stiles said, pointing toward the shirtless, exhausted man being dragged up to his feet by Gerard and... Allison. She didn’t look distraught anymore; in fact she looked proud of herself for being able to push around a helpless, tortured werewolf. If Stiles had room in his brain to feel anything but panic he would have had a surge of hatred for her and some witty comment about the apple not falling far from the tree after all.

“Derek? Is that... is that Derek Hale? Where the hell did he come from?”

“He’s the other hostage! They used him to bait me to come here. Please, we have to-”

“No,” his dad said, flying in the face of the oath he swore to protect all the citizens of Beacon Hills. His face was white and expressionless, hardly recognizable.

“I’m not leaving him here,” Stiles said, starting to legitimately freak the fuck out again. He wasn’t going to get this far and then lose Derek anyway. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this!

He struggled against his dad’s strong grip, until his dad finally got his arms around both of Stiles’ flailing arms and held him as still as he could.

“Stiles, stop it! I’m not losing you to save that homicidal basket case! STILES!” and then his dad full named him, which he hadn’t done since Stiles was twelve and accidentally exploded the microwave and by proxy destroyed half the kitchen, with a science experiment that Stiles was pretty sure was probably illegal, even in the name of science. Stiles stopped flailing as his dad shouted his full name at him so desperately, as if it were going to single handedly save Stiles’ life.

“But I love him!” Stiles pleaded, struggling against his father’s arms around him even harder, not even ashamed at how dramatically cliché that sentence was. His dad did let him go then and stood staring dumbstruck at the way tears had started to leak down Stiles’ face. The sincerity in his son’s words was enough to make the whole situation alarmingly clear for Mr. Stilinski now.

“I didn’t... I had no idea,” his dad said, and Stiles looked apologetic, but still extremely distressed about Derek.

“We’ll have that awkward talk later; we just can’t let them - no!” Stiles had turned his head away from his dad to see how much time they had to stop the Argents from fleeing, but Stiles had just caught the passenger's side door of a red Tahoe slamming. They were too late.

“Dad, we have to follow them,” Stiles said, sounding absolutely insane and he bolted for the driver’s side of the police car, which, conveniently, his dad had left running in order to keep the headlights on in the darkness of the woods. He was hindered slightly by his hobbling, the pain in his leg intensifying with every step he added weight to it, but he was still quick.

“Stiles, wait! You can’t drive that car!” his dad said, but Stiles was already in the driver’s seat, slamming the car into drive just as his dad threw himself in the passenger’s seat, shouting at him the whole time, but Stiles wasn’t listening. He watched the tail lights of the Tahoe with the Argent family inside fading away, trailed by another black SUV that held Derek and the other hunters.

Stiles followed the SUV as fast as he could without running into the trees, but it didn’t seem to be speeding up. Stiles gained on them easily, actually standing on the brakes less than a mile away from where they’d started so they didn’t rear-end the other vehicle. The Argents’ Tahoe in front of them rolled on, not even braking for the lost member of their convoy.

“Why are they stopping?” his dad asked, just as mystified as Stiles.

“No clue,” is what Stiles said, but he was actually thinking that Derek might be dead. Maybe the hunters were instructed to kill him if they followed? Stiles could taste bile in the back of his throat, his whole body so wound up in knots it was all he could do to not throw up all the fear inside of him. He parked the car and observed for a moment, watching the vehicle in front of them shake slightly.

“Don’t you dare get out of this car,” his dad said, sensing that Stiles was about to reach for the handle, about to stroll right up to the SUV like a damn hero, as if he could actually help this situation. Stiles looked at his dad, who was giving him the saddest, most sympathetic look he’d ever seen. He couldn’t stand just sitting there waiting for something to happen, the silence and anticipation was killing him.

“I have to do something,” Stiles said, but his dad wasn’t listening, just pointing wildly out the windshield. Stiles whipped his head back to the SUV, but his eyes landed on Derek first, still shirtless and climbing out of the back seat. It took Stiles a moment to kick himself into action, too stunned by the appearance of Derek striding toward them, squinting in the headlights of their car. Without waiting for his dad to tell him otherwise, Stiles flew out of the car and went to Derek.

“No time, get back in there,” Derek said in his alpha don’t-argue-with-me voice and dodged a hug from Stiles, grabbing him by the arm and dragging him back to the car. Stiles was really going to have to start asserting himself a little more, since apparently everyone felt like they could drag him around like a rag doll. “Get in.”

Stiles did as he was told, sliding back into the driver’s side of the car and unlocking the doors for Derek to hop into the backseat. Without any further instruction, Stiles jammed the car into drive, doing his best 180 that he could in a wooded area, and got the fuck out of there as fast as he could.

Aside from quick breathing and heavy exhales of relief, nobody spoke, not until Stiles had drove them back into town. He looked in the rearview mirror at Derek through the partition, still not even able to believe they’d managed to escape (mostly) unscathed, his leg bleeding out all over the seat currently notwithstanding.

“So, did they let you go?” his father said first, startling everyone. Derek shook his head at the sheriff that was turned halfway around in his seat to stare at Derek like he was a mystical creature. Which Stiles would have found amusing if he wasn’t trying to stuff what was remaining of his soul back into his body.

“No, Allison did,” Derek said, closing his eyes and resting his head on the window.

“Allison? I think you must have bumped your noodle before you got in here, dude. She was helping them take you away,” Stiles said, trying not to think about how satisfied she looked dragging Derek along with her grandfather.

“She slipped me the key to the cuffs, and told me she clipped the gas line on that Ford,” Derek said, keeping his head pressed against the cool glass. Stiles had to strain his ears to hear him speak, he sounded unsettlingly fragile and Stiles knew he was also a little ashamed. Derek had been telling Scott for months that she shouldn’t be trusted, that she’d eventually fall in step with her family’s ways, and now she’d saved his skin right under her parents’ noses.

“Well that’s great; too bad she hadn’t come up with a brilliant plan that would have avoided shooting my leg with an arrow,” Stiles said, not even close to being sincerely reproachful about the whole thing. He would have let Allison empty a whole quiver into his thighs for target practice if it would have saved Derek, no hesitation. Not that he was going to admit that right there in front of his father, whom had only learned that his son had a gay lover he’d risk his life for less than an hour ago. Baby steps from now on, Stiles, yeah?

“She shot you? Do you need to go to the hospital?” his dad asked, trying to look at Stiles’ leg from the passenger's seat, concern all over his face.  It was too dark for him to make out how much blood there was, but surely he would see it when they stopped.

“It’s not a big deal, I’ll just call the doctor tomorrow,” Stiles lied. He just wanted to get into his house safely. Then he would be able to chill the hell out, and not a moment before that. He was still wound up like a top from all the stress, still worried that the Argents were going to be following them any moment, and he wouldn’t feel safe until he was protected by his home. It was a stupid, unrealistic notion, because the Argents knew where he lived and would have no problem getting to them there, but it was just a form of psychosis of sorts that he needed to pacify before he could even think about tending to his wounds.

“He’s lying,” Derek deadpanned from the back. Thanks, you helpful asshole, Stiles thought. Well, all must be well. He was back to calling Derek an asshole or douchebag in his head, which is something he’d been doing since the day they met. “The arrowhead is still in his leg.”

Who needs a boyfriend anyway, Stiles thought, wondering how Derek ever managed to woo him in the first place. He was such a big, stupid, tattle-tale.

“Turn this car around, Stiles,” his father said with that fatherly tone that Stiles usually managed to ignore. Since when did his dad rely on information he got from persons of interest (that happen to be courting his son, but that’s neither here nor there,) that he hardly knew?

“But-” he tried to argue, knowing he would be overruled anyway.

“You’re going to the hospital, and I won’t hear another word about it. You’re going to get blood poisoning if you let it get infected,” the sheriff said. “And you’re going to do it now before they realize Chris is gone at the station and call me up there to unravel the mystery of how he escaped.”

“Fiiiiiiiiine,” Stiles said, sighing dramatically. All in all, he wasn’t too horribly upset. The further away the heat of the moment was, the more his leg started to really feel like it should be amputated immediately, or at least have some antiseptic splashed on it.



It had to be a weird sight, even for the emergency room, when the sheriff of Beacon Hills and a large, shirtless, living legend of the town came in holding up a kid with a bloody leg and slice under his chin. Or perhaps it wasn’t such a shock when they saw who he was, considering he’d been brought in for several other accidents over his 17 years. Needless to say, they knew Stiles by name.

As it turns out, the wound was a lot more serious than Stiles lead everyone to believe, and the doctor wondered how he could even stand, let alone walk across the floor. They asked no questions, just gave him an I.V. drip and some pain killers intravenously so they could dig the arrowhead out of his leg without him scrambling off the gurney. They also gave Derek a ridiculous hospital gown to slouch around in the waiting room in, since he was offending the other citizens with his shirtlessness. Stiles’ father did indeed get called into the station, and Derek ensured he would get Stiles back to his house safely while Mr. Stilinski wove an intricate web of lies to cover his tracks. He seemed hesitant to leave his son in the care of Derek freakin’ Hale, but what choice did he have? Stiles was a big boy, and Derek wasn’t technically a criminal, even if he had managed to get his son in this mess, and the sheriff’s presence was mandatory when these things happened at the station. Not that anyone had ever managed to break out of the Beacon Hills lockup before, but there was a first time for everything.

Stiles had fallen asleep after the small surgery, not even saying goodbye to his dad before he zonked out. He’d never been good with pain killers, not to mention it was after four in the morning on a school day, so Stiles had been up for a long damn time. Derek waited patiently for him though, except for the half an hour he left him to retrieve his own car, but Stiles’ dad had been there then. He cursed himself for not keeping an extra shirt in his trunk and begrudgingly put the gown back on when he returned to the hospital.

The hours rolled by, and Derek had spent all of it crossing his arms and staring out the window at the shadowy tree line in the distance. Several nurses and nurse-aides asked if Derek wanted a chair or something and he always declined, insisting he was fine. Really he was just too nervous to sit, too scared that the Argents were going to sneak into the hospital and finish them off, so he stayed alert, kept his ears tuned in to all of the conversations outside of Stiles’ room.

Which is how he managed to hear Scott coming all the way from the lobby, which made him sigh and rub a hand over his extremely exhausted eyes. He wasn’t ready for Scott’s misguided, self-righteous rage at the moment, and he thought about hiding behind the room partition curtains, except there was an old lady on a ventilator over there and Derek really didn't want to scare her to death. He was menacing even in dirty jeans and a hospital gown, or perhaps especially in dirty jeans and a hospital gown, like a madman that escaped the fourth floor where they kept the people with some screws loose.

“Derek! What are you doing here?” Scott spat, just as irritated as Derek knew he would be. Derek sighed again and stopped staring at the trees, turning to fix his Alpha-glare on Scott.

“Good morning to you too, sunshine,” Derek said, with all the shitty sweetness he could muster. Scott strolled right up in Derek’s space because he had a serious death wish and glowered at him like he could actually intimidate Derek or something.

“You let them get away! You-you kept me from stopping them! You planned this!” Scott hissed, barely managing to keep his voice quiet enough so the whole hospital didn’t hear him.

“You couldn’t have stopped them, Scott,” Derek said calmly, trying to reason with Scott even though he really just wanted to bury his face in that wall over there. “They would have grabbed you just like they did Stiles and I and strung you up right next to me. I saved your life.”

“You saved my life? I’m still healing the wounds your stupid pack gave me trying to keep me away. They said you sent them to keep me away from the house. You knew I wanted to get to Allison. She needed me, Derek! And why the hell would you let Stiles come and not me? Doesn’t his life matter? He can’t fucking heal, Derek!”

“Scott, stop shouting. Or better yet, stop talking all together. You have no idea what the orders were,” Derek said coldly, really losing his patience now. How dare this little shit insinuate he didn’t care about Stiles’ life? He swallowed stiffly and grabbed Scott by the neck, pulling his head close to his own lips so he could whisper. The old lady in the room might have enough evidence to get him convicted for premeditated, attempted murder as it is.  “Allison wasn’t supposed to tell you what was going on. I didn’t know she was involved. You weren’t supposed to tell Stiles, Scott. I couldn’t have predicted that. You have no idea how upset I was when they dropped Stiles in front of me, bloody and unconscious, when I didn’t even think he knew what was happening. You know damn well I’d never endanger him, or you for that matter. Stop making me out to be the bad guy.”

Derek released Scott’s neck a little more roughly than was necessary and stepped away, feeling sick to his stomach at the idea of how close Stiles might have been to being killed.

“Secrets don’t make friends, guys.”

Both Derek and Scott jumped a little at the voice and went to either side of Stiles’ hospital bed. Derek thought he looked both terrible with his dark circles around his eyes and pale lips and wonderful because he was fucking alive and it was the best thing ever.

“You’re okay!” Scott said, squeezing Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles just scoffed sarcastically.

“’Tis but a scratch!” he quoted in a bad British accent, a quote that only Scott would get because Stiles hadn’t convinced Derek to watch a Monty Python film yet, but it was only a matter of time.

“I tried to get to you, but Derek sicked his pack on me,” Scott said bitterly. Derek was too relieved to see Stiles back to normal to even cuff Scott over the head or something. Instead he dipped down and kissed Stiles on the lips, silencing any witty remarks about guard dogs and effectively telling Scott where to shove it by boxing him out. Stiles’ hand immediately cupped the back of Derek’s head and wrapped his fingers in his hair, the I.V. cord hindering him only slightly. They usually refrained from much PDA because it made both of them feel weird, but Derek figured near death experiences warranted an I’m-so-happy-you’re-alive kiss or three.

Scott backed off and mumbled something about going to alert the nurse that Stiles was awake now, even though that wasn’t really necessary because Stiles had a call button, but it was an unspoken understanding that Scott was just giving them a moment.

Once Scott was gone Stiles threw all pretenses out the window and dragged Derek to sit on the bed, throwing his arms around his neck like he hadn’t seen him in a year. Derek wrapped his arms tightly around Stiles’ middle, breathing him in, reveling in his gratitude that he was still able to do this after narrowly escaping being cut in half.

“Did they call my dad in?” Stiles asked into Derek’s shoulder, not quite ready to let go yet.

“Mmhm,” Derek mumbled, absolutely living for the feeling of Stiles’ arms around him. “The Argents are long gone, as far as I can tell. Your dad told me he looped the security cameras and effectively distracted the security guard at the 7-11 across the street so he could sneak Chris out of the station. I think he covered his tracks.”

Stiles pulled back a little to look Derek in the face, but still kept him in his arms. “What about Allison? Scott isn’t going to be okay when he finds out they fled town. Does he even know about Chris?”

“I don’t think so,” Derek said, frowning and looking ashamed again. “He’s not going to take that well.”

“Oh, that’s fantastic. Like he isn’t moody enough,” Stiles said, but Derek detected the sadness in his voice too. They both felt pangs of guilt and empathetic heartache that they still had each other, and Scott wouldn’t even have a clue where the Argents took his girlfriend, or if he’d ever see her again. Derek suddenly remembered that Allison had asked him to tell Scott she loved him when she slipped him the key, but Derek felt like that would just be salt in Scott’s wound at the moment. He’d tell him when the time was right, if there ever was a right time for that.

Stiles noticed how troubled Derek looked and kissed him again, on the forehead this time, like he did every time Derek’s forehead creased deeply with concern or anger. Usually Derek would nip playfully at his chin or give up and actually smile sometimes, but his heart was too heavy at the moment.

“It’s okay, Derek. We’ll figure this out. I’m sure we haven’t heard the last from her family yet, but this time we’ll be ready,” Stiles said, shaking Derek’s shoulders a little.

“That doesn’t solve the fact that she’s never going completely break ties with them. She’s never going to be able to be with Scott if she doesn’t leave them, and Scott is going to run off and do something stupid trying to get her back.”

“What else is new?” Stiles snarked, punctuating it with a rogue yawn. “Look, Scott isn’t going to leave town to find them, so we’ll just have to be supportive and stuff until it becomes a problem again. So what do you say we figure this out later when my brain isn’t singing me Vicoden induced lullabies, yeah? Discharge me and we’ll go sleep in my bed for a few hours, or maybe even a week, I haven’t decided.  Anything to avoid talking to my dad about why I’ve been keeping you a secret for the last couple months.”

“You told him?” Derek asked, smiling in spite of his concerns for the future. Mr. Stilinski made no mention or indication that he knew Derek and Stiles were together, which Derek supposed was better than being angry.

“Well, how else was I supposed to convince him you were worth saving? Certainly not with your sparkling record of being a good samaritan to society,” Stiles said, flicking Derek in the chest. “Oh wow, nice nightgown. I just noticed.”

“I made sure it matched yours,” Derek said, ignoring the sarcastic jab at his reputation. “It will be weird using your front door now.”

“No, I like you swooping in my window like a thief in the night. Turns me on when you sneak up behind me while I’m staring intently at my computer screen,” Stiles said, blushing a little because even if he was joking right now, it wasn’t necessarily false. Derek grinned that pretty grin that he only wore for Stiles.

“Hmm, lucky you. Who else gets to claim their partner can make them scream just from foreplay?”

“Oh, wow, filing that under Things I Never Want to Hear Again,” Scott said from the doorway, wearing a mostly amused but also disturbed expression. Stiles buried his face in Derek’s shoulder again and blushed like a damn schoolgirl because oh my God that might be the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to him in a long time. And Derek was actually chuckling smugly like the sadistic asshole he was, and Scott probably wanted to bleach his brain and apply for a new best friend which was cool.

“You think they will give me another Vicoden to dissolve my shame? Or maybe nine of them?” Stiles mumbled and let go of Derek, dropping back against his pillow and covering his face.

“Your nurse is on the way, you can put in the request,” Scott said, coming into the room bearing Stiles’ bag of bloody clothes he’d worn in. “But I think they are going to discharge you soon.”

“Good, I could use that nap now,” Derek said, standing up and stretching and yawning like a lion - or wolf, as it were. The nurse wheeled a chair into the room and handed Stiles a clipboard with a pile of forms for him to fill out and a couple prescriptions. Stiles stared at them and Derek noticed Stiles’ dad had already signed the parent/guardian lines, ensuring that he was cool with Derek taking Stiles home, which gave Derek butterflies that he would never tell anyone about.

He thought about being able to take Stiles to his house, walk through the front door with him, and fall asleep next to him without either of them having to set an alarm to make sure they were awake before Mr. Stilinski got home from work. It was a small victory out of the whole mess of the evening, but it meant to the world to Derek. He’d never looked forward to a nap more in his life.