Two weeks later, Stiles and Scott are back at the gay bar. Why? Because Jackson's there. Why is he there? Because he's a secret ninja lizard-man pretending to be a douche pretending to be a good friend, that's why.
Basically, Jackson's there as Danny's wingman, or at least, that's what it looks like, even though Jackson's straight - not that any of the gazillion dudes hitting on him seem to mind or even care. Danny watches it all with a tolerant wryness, like he doesn't mind having at least a bit of his thunder stolen, although he is getting his share of attention, too. Jackson just… lounges there, smug and sleek and serpentine, and it makes sense that he's a kanima, the cold-hearted bastard, leading all those cute guys on. Not that Stiles thinks those guys are cute, or anything. That would be gay. And Stiles is not gay. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay. But he's not. His dad said so.
"You okay?" Scott asks, and that's just fine, Scott's been propositioned by at least five different very hot guys, and all Stiles has gotten are creepy butt-grabs from middle-aged drag queens with painfully obvious mommy issues. Son issues? Issues that made more than one of them tell Stiles to let 'mama' take care of him, anyway. Stiles wouldn't have minded talking to them as mother figures, like he does with Mrs. McCall, but this cougar-ish, kinky, pseudo-incestuous shit freaks him the fuck out. Also, he does not have 'baby cheeks'. What the hell does that even mean? Is it about his face, or his ass? He isn't sure he wants to know. No, he's sure he doesn't want to know.
"Totally. I'm rockin'. Can you see how hardcore I'm rockin'? I'm rockin' like face paint in a KISS concert, man. Everyone wants me on their - uh."
"On their faces?" Scott's lips are twitching.
"Shut up. Not everyone's a lupine Adonis with natural animal magnetism."
"Are you saying men only want me for my looks?" Scott's eyes are wide. Very, very wide.
"Shut. Up. Jesus." If Stiles was a werewolf with supernaturally ripply muscles instead of a normal teenage boy that can't develop respectable biceps no matter how many dumbbells he lifts, then he'd be getting hit on, too. Not that he wants to get hit on. Because he's not gay. His dad said so. Yeah. Stiles isn't experiencing the worst case of sour grapes and/or blue balls in recorded history, no. It's not like he's denying his attraction to gay guys because they're not attracted to him.
"Don't worry, Stiles. You'll get your - hey, wait. Where's Jackson?"
Stiles checks, and yep, Jackson's gone. Danny's still there, thank god, not off getting killed by his friend-turned-lizard in some dingy corner of the nightclub, but Jackson? Is gone.
Possibly killing someone else.
"Shit," Stiles mutters, because, shit. Excrement. Holy poop.
"I know he hasn't left the club," Scott says, low and urgent, flicking his eyes over the club with just a hint of gold in his pupils. "I was looking right at the door, and - he hasn't left."
"Maybe he's gone the toilet? To powder his nose? Fix his make-up? Cover up those scales with foundation?"
"Or maybe he's taken someone, uh. Upstairs? To the, er. Rooms. That they must have. Up there." He hates to say it - to even think it, because he does not need the mental image of Jackson doing the nasty. Ew.
Scott's jaw drops. "But Jackson isn't gay," he whispers. Theatrically.
Stiles rolls his eyes. "Yeah, genius, but he's a man-eater in a whole other way. Who knows? Maybe he's got a dude to go up with him for some, uh, for some nookie, and the next thing the poor guy knows, Jackson will be eating his head. And not his… other head, but his actual head. Like a preying mantis."
"Jackson's a reptile, not an insect."
"Details, details. He's a predator. That's all we need to know."
"Dr. Deaton said the kanima doesn't eat people, just - "
" - kills them dead?"
Scott swallows. "Um."
"Every minute we stand around debating Jackson's threat level - which I say is firmly in the red, by the way - is another minute in which someone could be getting killed."
"Right." Scott straightens his shoulders, putting on his invisible heroic mantle of brainless-but-brave. "I'll go check out the toilets. In case he's there. You go upstairs."
"Hey!" Stiles calls after him, because Scott moves just that fast, but it's too late - Scott has already vanished into the crowd. Now Stiles can't stop him and tell him that it doesn't make any sense for Stiles to be the one going upstairs; he isn't the one getting offers to go upstairs, for god's sake.
Still, maybe if he hangs out at the foot of the stairs and looks pathetically hopeful, one of the drag queens will take pity on him and will offer to… to…
No. Just. No. He'll escape before they can find more hands-on ways to appreciate his 'baby cheeks'. He's sure he will.
Drawing himself up in a way that probably makes him seem less like a confident man than a lamb resigned to the slaughter, Stiles pushes through the dancers moving to a pulsing Lady Gaga remix. Finally, he reaches the staircase and leans fake-casually against the bannister. It's a posh bannister, all ebony and aristocratic privilege, to match with the strangely harmonious Victorians-go-to-space decor of the nightclub, with the old-fashioned wallpaper that turns out to be tiled with tiny, technicolor pictures of naked guys at a second look, and the chandeliers doubling as disco balls.
Balls. Heh. You need balls - in more ways than one - to get anywhere in this establishment.
No newcomer gets to go up unless invited by a regular; he's seen an overeager newbie or two quietly bundled off by the unobtrusive, plainclothes semi-bouncer hanging around the upper end of the staircase. And it makes sense, for security reasons, except that the security here has no concept of the threats posed by deadly mutant werelizards with paralyzing toxins in their claws.
Stiles needs to get upstairs. Quickly. But how to…?
Oh. No way. Is that - ?
That's a guy. A slightly older guy, in his mid-twenties. Looking at Stiles. Okay. Stiles tries a seductive sprawl against the bannister and nearly falls, instead - the damn thing's slippery - but the guy only seems to find that charming, given the little quirk of his smile, and… oh. Oh. Wow.
So this is what it's like, getting checked out by another man.
It's - um.
It's kind of intimidating, actually.
But awesome. Awesome and intimidating. Like being around Der -
No. Cutting that thought right off.
He can't believe he's caught the attention of someone so… ripped, in a sleeveless V-neck that highlights a pair of lithely muscled arms. Which. Uh. Isn't this dude way out of Stiles's league? Given that Stiles is just a sloppily dressed teenager that, according to his dad, could use some serious help from Queer Eye for the Dorky Guy?
Still. Upstairs. He has to get there. Sooner rather than later. Now rather than sooner. So.
Stiles raises his hand in a tentative wave. Is that what he should be doing? Or is he supposed to, like, send some coded signal using hankies or pierced ears, neither of which he has? But - oh, right. There's no need to be unobtrusive, in here. Everyone's gay. Except for Jackson. And Scott. And… Stiles.
All right, maybe not Stiles. A nervous heat runs through his body when the stranger breaks away from the edge of the dancing crowd and heads toward him.
And it's exactly the sort of nervous heat he'd felt when that cute cheerleader had drunkenly brushed up against him at last year's New Year's party, so, uh. That answers that question.
Stiles Stilinski, not so much with the straight. More with the bent. The very, very bent.
His dick's got an equal-opportunity policy. That seems pretty cool, when he thinks about it. He's always thought of himself as a fair person; turns out his libido's even-handed, too. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it, and everything.
Or - given the hungry grin on the stranger's face - until it's tried you.
Stiles gulps. And resists the urge to wipe damp palms on his jeans like the virgin he definitely… is.
But this doesn't have to go anywhere, or any further than - what it takes to get upstairs, whatever that is.
Didn't he want guys to be interested in him? Yes. Yes, he did. Does. Still does. He still wants to get laid, too. Scratch that - he needs to get laid. His balls are still a spectacular shade of blue. Terminal virginity at the age of sixteen-and-a-half will do that to you. And even if he won't go anywhere in… in particular, tonight, maybe this guy will like him enough to give Stiles his number, or something, and maybe they can -
They haven't even talked, yet.
"Hey," says the man, settling into place next to Stiles, and look, they're talking. Talking is good.
"Hey," Stiles wobbles. Replies. Wobble-replies.
"Mike." Stiles nods. Multiple times. "I'm… Steven." Wait, what? Why did he just lie about his name? He isn't James Bond, for chrissakes, this isn't a special ops mission for the MI6, or whatever the British version of the CIA is. He's getting hit on by a sexy dude. A very sexy dude. Who may, on a closer inspection, be a little older than his mid-twenties, but - still sexy. Very sexy. With this Marlon Brando jawline and spiky, artfully styled brown hair.
But Mike doesn't seem to notice the Ellipsis of Untruth, or maybe he just doesn't care what Stiles's real name is, because - because. "You must be new around here."
And that's the most typical pick-up line ever, but Stiles can roll with it. "Is it that obvious?" He tries to smile in a way that doesn't come off as spooked, or - or anything.
Mike nudges him with a bare, perfectly sculpted shoulder. And smirks. Down at him. From way up there. Whoa. Mike is tall. Taller than Der - no. "Yeah, mostly."
"Was it the newborn foal impression?"
"That, and the way you had no clue how to handle Cynth."
"Cynthia. The drag queen in the purple wig?"
"Oh. She's, um. Nice."
And just like that, Stiles finds himself liking him. And feeling a lot less intimidated by how tall Mike is, and how built Mike is, and how mature and experienced Mike is, because even Mike hasn't survived the fake-boobs-in-a-silver-leotard experience unscathed.
"That's one way to put it." Mike cuts a glance down at him, sly and warm, and Stiles feels himself flush. "Can't blame her. She goes after all the cute ones."
"C-cute?" Hold up, he's cute? Stiles is cute? No one's ever called him that. Except for his dad, when Stiles was nine years old and dressed in a pumpkin costume for a school play (Lydia was Cinderella), but Stiles had only ended up rolling off the stage because the costume was too big and too round for him to walk offstage. That… isn't the cuteness Mike's talking about, though. It's more the cuteness Lydia's friends talk about when they're squealing over One Direction, except that Mike's compliment has a hotter edge to it, a darker and more immediate pull. A pull Stiles can feel, a tightening in his lower abdomen, a quickening of his breath.
"Yeah." Mike's voice turns rough and real and heavy, and he does this… slinky move that somehow ends with one forearm propped beside Stiles's head, caging him in, and Stiles is so not straight, how could he have ever thought he was straight? "You're cute."
Stiles is honest-to-god one second away from popping the biggest boner in his life. A boner he'll have to thank Jackson for, how wrong is that? And - Jackson. Jackson. Stiles has to find him. "Uh," Stiles says, and takes a moment to be amazed by how breathy and strained his voice is, the way it usually only is after he's started jacking off. "Upstairs? Do you want to - "
But Mike's genuinely surprised. "You… really? I thought - "
Mike shakes his head. Smiles. And lets his eyes drift down to Stiles's mouth, which only makes Stiles shiver. "Never mind. Thought you'd like to take it easy, tonight."
Maybe Stiles should just start singing Madonna's Like a Virgin; clearly, his cherry-boy status is plain to see. "Well, you know." Stiles shrugs. "Saturday night."
"Saturday night," Mike echoes, like what Stiles just said means something or even makes any sense.
"And you're," Stiles fights not to look away under his growing embarrassment, aware that he's blushing, aware that Mike likes it when he blushes, "very, um. Hot."
Mike seems pleased, which is great, because Stiles's brain is going offline too quickly to come up with more eloquent compliments, and Mike must be used to getting all sorts of compliments. Thankfully, Mike isn't too fussed about Stiles's lack of higher order brain functions. "We could get even hotter together," Mike murmurs, and Stiles blinks. Another typical line, but typical is a relief, typical is safe, because typical guys are less likely to be disturbingly creative or to come up with bizarre sadomasochistic rituals or to be followers of some obscure cannibalistic cult, and Stiles can trust Mike to stick to more-or-less expected things. Things that they're going to be doing. Upstairs. Until Stiles can sneak away to search for Jackson, although how is he gonna to sneak away from someone that has their hands on him?
Because Mike suddenly has his hands on Stiles, on his waist, slipping down and back to cup his ass, and Stiles startles, badly, but Mike only chuckles and presses closer, like this is just another thing that makes Stiles cute, that makes Stiles -
"Upstairs," Stiles manages to squeak, and Mike somehow manages to guide him up the stairs without taking his hand off Stiles's ass, which he is now rubbing, okay, they haven't even kissed yet, and Stiles doesn't want to be a girl about it, but shouldn't Mike be taking it easy, here? Then again, Mike isn't the one who suggested going upstairs, so it's not like Stiles can blame him for taking that as a blanket permission to - to do what any average guy given the go-ahead would do. He'll back off once Stiles makes up some excuse about having to leave, something about curfew, about…
…and that's Scott, gaping up at them from across the dancefloor, mouth hanging open. He must've finished scouting the toilets, and since he isn't a) paralyzed, b) dead or c) panicking, he hasn't found Jackson. Stiles tries to give him a discreet thumbs-up, to convey that he's got upstairs covered, and why is Scott staring like that?
Ah. Scott, being a total dumbass, might not have figured out the having-to-go-upstairs-with-company rule. So he might think that Stiles has abandoned his mission and is just randomly going off to have sex with someone. Which. Uh. Is not what's happening, here. Stiles tries to tell Scott that - silently - but it's not like Stiles's eyebrows can write multi-volume novels and recite epic poems like Derek's can, so all he manages is a waggle that could easily be mistaken for, 'So long, buddy, I'm getting some tonight.'
Scott's mouth drops open another half an inch.
Mike notices the fact that Stiles's face is attempting Olympics-level gymnastics on preschool-level training, because he looks back at Scott. Narrows his eyes. "That your boyfriend?"
"What? No! I wouldn't - if I had a, I mean, I wouldn't - "
"Mess around with other people?"
Mess around. Right. Mike expects them to be getting very messy, very shortly. "Yep," he says, instead, heart hammering, already thinking of things to say when they get upstairs that don't make Stiles seem like the world's most horrible cock-tease. Especially not now that he's discovered that he might like to come back here, without a reputation as a wimpy kid that backs out at the last minute, not that his reputation stacks up as being of any importance next to anyone's life, let alone the life of some poor, innocent gay dude that Jackson might be in the process of eviscerating. "That."
"Good to know. Not that I wouldn't mind asking him to join us, sometime - "
" - but this is better, wouldn't you say? You, me, all by ourselves?"
Shit. They're upstairs. And the not-bouncer is ignoring them, because apparently they look like any other couple out for a bit of fun, and - no, that's the idea, it means that Stiles is up here, where Jackson is, where Jackson might be -
"Damn. Room's taken," Mike's saying, but then, there's a door without a red card dangling from it, and then that door is opening, and then it's closing and Mike is closing in on him -
"Um," says Stiles, thinking frantically, because Mike is sexy and Mike is experienced and seems to be a very nice guy, but all of a sudden, making out with him or doing anything else with him just feels kind of skeevy, particularly with the bumping and grinding noises coming from the next room, punctuated by coarse-yet-generic dirty talk that makes Stiles's ears burn. "Maybe we should - "
"Sure," Mike sighs, like Stiles has just serenaded him with erotic love songs in Spanish and isn't, like, shrinking back against the door, "whatever you want," and he isn't listening, his eyes gone dark and eager, and both of his hands are gripping Stiles's ass, now, hard enough to bruise, and he's saying, "shh, it's okay," and it's not okay, and he's leaning in, he's going to kiss Stiles, he's -
- getting thrown across the room.
Stiles is still doing his best impersonation of a door-fossil, and Mike is arcing across the room, like he was launched from a nineteenth-century war-cannon, and then Mike is hitting the opposite wall with a thunk that isn't out of place given all the thunks coming from the neighboring room, and then he's sliding down that wall, head lolling like he's unconscious or maybe dead, and there's this looming… thing standing over him, a thing made of fur and leather and red, red eyes, and…
"Hi, Derek," says Stiles, weakly.
Derek growls. The window he must've leapt through has been wrenched open so hard, it isn't even there, anymore. It's just - gone. No wonder there wasn't a shattering of glass; the entire goddamn frame is missing. It must be lying outside, on the grass, in pieces. Property damage. Great. Yet another debt for his dad to pay off - and deduct from Stiles's allowance. Which is just as non-existent as that window, right about now.
"Um. Thanks, and everything, but I could've handled that. I was handling that."
"That," Derek snarls, and nudges Mike's hopefully-not-corpse with his foot, "was handling you."
Point. Stiles isn't gonna deny it. But… "I would've said no. He would've let me go." Maybe.
But Derek's still growling, like that crazy cat on YouTube that won't stop purring. Stiles shouldn't find it comforting, because that's just freaky, finding a giant, furry monster with claws and a leather fetish comforting, and also Derek is a jerk and jerks are not comforting, but Stiles is still a little shaky, even though Mike looks mostly silly and insignificant, passed out on the floor like that.
"Uh, is he - is he okay?"
Derek's prowling back and forth, restlessly, claws sliding out and retracting, in and out, in and out - but he pauses at Stiles's question, turns to stare at him incredulously. "Do you want him to be?"
"He didn't actually do anything, all right? And he didn't - "
"He would've. I can still smell it. All over the room. All over him. All over - " Derek cuts himself off, snarls again, and looks very seriously like he's on the verge of making sure Mike never wakes up, at all. Which is bad. Very bad. And why the hell is Derek overreacting like this, anyway? Stiles gets that they have their mutual life-saving routine - which they never talk about, because Derek is incapable of proper conversations - but it's not like Mike was trying to kill him.
"We don't have time for this. We have to - eep!" Because Derek's all up in his space, now, right where Mike was, before, except that Mike didn't have the scent of blood and ash and leather on him, and Mike didn't have those eyes, eyes like hellfire, red and blazing and full of rage.
"Don't. Come here again."
"Look, it wasn't exactly a pleasure trip - "
"Wasn't it?" Derek sniffs at him, and, fuck, Derek must be able to smell the hard-on that hasn't completely faded, yet, because Stiles's dick is a teenager's dick and has a mind of its own, but - it isn't Stiles's fault, is it? There was a hot guy putting the moves on him, and even if Stiles was getting slightly scared at the end, there, it was still a hot guy putting the moves on him, and it's not like Stiles can be blamed for enjoying a bit of appreciative attention after being so thoroughly ignored by attractive people of either gender for most of his adolescent life. All of his adolescent life, to be honest.
"That was just - "
"You're sixteen. You don't know what you want."
"Excuse me?" Anger flares up, fierce and welcome, way more welcome than the quivering tension he can feel again, that tightening pull, that urge to press himself up against a tall, male body that's boxing him in, and damn it but his dick is stupid. "Are you saying that this is a phase? Because, screw you. Even the American Psychiatric Association hasn't backed that bullshit since 1973."
"I'm saying that you're underage," Derek grits out, as if it costs him something, "and that you're not. Supposed. To be here."
"What about Danny? He's not - "
"How the hell is he different?"
"He knows his way around. He won't get picked up by some sleazy older man with a thing for twinks - "
"It means - "
"I know what the word means, jackass, I'm just saying you shouldn't insult my intelligence by suggesting that I'm too dumb to take care of myself. I can take care of myself just fine, I've taken care of you more often than not, I've taken care of your pack, I've - "
Derek slams his fist against the wall.
Right next to Stiles's head, and Stiles -
Stiles shuts up.
"Do. Not. Ever. Come here. Again."
And Stiles finds his voice again, because if Derek thinks brute force is going to silence him? He's dead wrong. "Well, if someone hadn't been such an incompetent Alpha and let Jackson get away two weeks ago, maybe I wouldn't be up here trying to find him!"
Derek is quiet. For a long time. Long enough that Stiles starts to worry that maybe he's having a mental breakdown that will end with Stiles's head as his punching bag, instead of paneling with naked-guy wallpaper on it, but eventually, Derek says: "Jackson."
"Yeah. Jackson? The kanima? Leathery dude, even more leathery than you, because you wear leather but he sort of is leather?"
"You're here to keep tabs on Jackson."
"Why else would I be here?"
Derek looks uncomfortable. And steps back. And glowers at his hands, like maybe they hold the secrets to the universe, or maybe just the splinters of every wooden and non-wooden surface he's ever smashed with his fists. Neanderthal. At least he's done wolfing out.
"Scott overheard Danny making plans with Jackson, at school, yesterday. Plans to find Danny a new boyfriend at the bar, and we couldn't exactly leave Jackson alone with Danny, or - or with himself, so we followed them. But somehow, Jackson pulled a Houdini and we figured he'd be somewhere on this floor, mauling some unfortunate bastard, and I've been wasting time talking to you when I could've been looking for - hey, wait a sec. Aren't you here because of Jackson?"
Derek doesn't reply. Just carries on palm-reading, or whatever he's doing.
"What? What were you - you were right outside! Outside that window, even! What else - "
"Shut up," says Derek, quick and gruff, and shoves Stiles aside to reach for the doorknob. Oh, now he wants to open doors and windows like normal people.
"You know, the sane act isn't very convincing when you leap into rooms and throw people against walls. Just saying."
Derek grunts - like the caveman he is - and steps out into the hall. Stiles follows. "I have Boyd tailing Jackson. It'll work out. Jackson isn't the main threat, anyway. It's his master. If we neutralize whoever it is - "
" - then Jackson won't flip out and murder people without even realizing it, I know, but until you find his master, he could still flip out, right? In here? In a nightclub full of people he's already tried to kill once?"
"He's - "
But Derek stops, and Stiles almost runs into him, because there… is Scott. Wild-eyed and terrified and clutching Danny's arm, and - what's Danny doing up here?
"Scott tells me that you managed to get picked up by Mike the chickenhawk," drawls Danny, like racing to the rescue of Stiles Stilinski is the order of the day. "But he needed a regular to bring him up here, so… here I am. And here you are," Danny continues, "with your cousin. Miguel. Who isn't Mike, at all." Danny's eyes are gleaming. With speculation. Or maybe just rampant lust for Stiles's not-cousin.
"Mike's, um." How to say this? Should Stiles tell Danny about the potential medical situation in room 23, where Mike's still down for the count? "Indisposed," he hedges, and Danny raises an eyebrow, like he can hear everything Stiles isn't saying.
"Really," Danny says. "And his… indisposition has nothing at all to do with your cousin who happens to wear your shirts and hide out in your room?"
"No," Stiles lies. Blatantly. Let Danny think what he's thinking, because it's way better than the truth, which is that Derek isn't his secret boyfriend but his secret stalker-terrorist-life-saver. With fangs.
"Uh-huh. Does your dad know?"
And Danny nods, zen as always. "Well, he won't find out from me." He smiles at Derek. "Good to see you, 'Miguel'."
The air-quotes are audible. Stiles winces.
But Derek just inclines his head, Sphinx-like, except Sphinxes have lions' bodies, not wolves'.
It's only when Danny leaves, shaking his head and muttering about all the good ones being taken, that Scott stops hyperventilating.
"You!" Scott grabs Stiles by the shoulders and shakes him, and Stiles has had just about enough of being manhandled for one day, thank you very much. "What were you - why were you…!"
"To find Jackson, why else? Speaking of, we still have to check every room on this floor - "
"Jackson's already left! With Boyd!"
"That's where he went! And I thought he'd gone out the front door, but he hadn't, he'd gone out to the backyard with Boyd, and I didn't even notice Boyd was there because there were way too many scents and way too many people, and - and Danny said they had something to talk about, and then they came back inside, together, and then they left, but I didn't follow them because I was fucking worried about you, you idiot - "
Scott's calling him an idiot? Scott? "If you couldn't tell Boyd was lurking around with your super-senses, Einstein, how the hell was I supposed to know?"
Scott waves at Derek. "Him!"
"What about him?"
"You talk to him! You must've known he'd sent Boyd!"
"First of all, I don't have a 24-hour telepathic link with Derek, okay, I don't even know where you got that idea, and secondly, he just told me! Like, five seconds ago!"
Scott turns to glare accusingly at Derek, but then, he just… wilts, because Derek's shoving him against the corridor, this time, feral and manic.
"If you're so determined to start your own pack, Scott," Derek hisses, "then learn to look after it."
"I'm not starting a - "
"Hello?" Stiles interrupts. "I don't need looking after!"
"Shut up, Stiles," say Scott and Derek, simultaneously, and this is just unfair. Scott's supposed to be on his side.
"Don't let him come here again," says Derek, like Stiles's opinion on the matter is completely irrelevant.
"Whatever," Stiles says, "it's not like either of you can keep me from - "
"I won't," Scott promises Derek, and Stiles gawks at him. One of the doors opens and a couple walks out, hand-in-hand, but Stiles ignores them as they walk past him and down the stairs.
"Traitor," Stiles says, tremulously. "You traitor! Happily getting laid with Allison and then sabotaging your best friend's newfound bisexuality!"
"I'm not sabotaging anything," Scott mumbles, freeing himself from Derek, who still looks freakishly on edge, like a serial killer or a ticking bomb. "You are."
But before Stiles can make sense of that, Derek's herding him downstairs, with a tight hold on his elbow, like Stiles is a delicate princess that might get stolen away by bandits, or something. It's ridiculous. Scott completes the picture of ridiculousness by marching ahead of them like a standard-bearer, and if half the club turns to watch them leave, it's only because Scott and Derek are exuding enough collective were-pheromones to turn straight guys gay, let alone -
Wait. Wait. Derek wasn't here for Jackson. Derek was just here. But not for Jackson.
So Derek's -
No way. Right? No. Way.
And why is Stiles blushing, now? So the sourwolf might be bi, too. So what? It's got nothing to do with -
"How'd Boyd get Jackson to leave with him?" Scott asks, while Stiles tries not to smell too obviously of boner. "Without, like, resorting to violence?"
"That's right," says Stiles, to distract himself from his stupid dick and its stupid unilateral decisions. Boners. Boner-decisions. "How'd he avoid the whole 'blood is on the dancefloor' situation? Last time anyone tried to bring Jackson in, Jackson didn't exactly cooperate."
"I told Boyd to tell him we had Lydia," Derek says, fucking nonchalantly, and Stiles whips around with an incredulous stare of his own.
"Of course, we don't have Lydia, but Jackson can't smell lies as easily as we can; he had to come along to make sure."
"He could've just called Lydia - "
"Ah," says Derek. "We don't have Lydia, but we do have her phone."
Stiles is… Stiles is kind of in awe and in terrified disgust, at the same time. "You - so you basically stole a girl's phone and then threatened a guy with the death of his one and only true love? That's low, man."
"It's necessary. He's contained. Boyd will take him prisoner, and - "
"And what? Kill him?"
"We can't!" Scott interjects, horrified.
"No," Derek says, slowly, like they're both morons. "We won't kill him. We'll just wait for his master to show up."
"The ol' bait-and-switch," Stiles says, cheerfully, his emotions doing an abrupt 180 now that no one's gonna die. "Nice one, Derek. Ever read The Art of War?
"Yes," Derek answers, shortly, and then they're out in the parking lot, and Derek's beautiful beast of a car is right there, a gleaming Camaro, sleek and lovely in comparison to Stiles's earnest, ordinary Jeep, but whatever. His baby's still beautiful. He pets it as Derek and his bisexuality get into the Camaro, and Stiles is absolutely ignoring that, the whole Derek-and-his-bisexuality thing, he totally is.
"So," Scott bounces on his feet. "Should we follow him? He could need help with Jackson."
"Newsflash: Jackson needs help with Jackson."
"Yeah. We'd better get moving, then."
But Stiles is already climbing into the Jeep, starting the engine, and it growls at him just like Der -
The drive to Derek's place is calm, each of them lost in their thoughts - Scott, probably in thoughts of Allison, like always, and Stiles, in thoughts of -
"Dude, I hope Derek's got food at his place. I'm starving," Stiles says, and taps his fingers against the steering wheel. Hey, denial worked out just fine for all those people living by the Nile. No reason it shouldn't serve Stiles just as well.
"We could order in," Scott suggests. "Chinese. Or pizza."
"Nah. Derek hasn't got a delivery address, anymore. Remember?"
"Shit," says Scott. "Wanna pick up something on the way there?"
They pick up something on the way there. And if Stiles's heart-rate picks up, too, thundering away like a goddamn freight train, then, well, that's nobody's business but his own.