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Every Step You Take

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“You have a car,” Stiles says for probably the thousandth time since he met Derek Hale. “A nice one. A far nicer one than mine. Why can’t you drive yourself to these midnight forest shenanigans?”

Derek glares over at him. “I need backup.”

“On a Friday night? I could have had plans, buddy. Hot plans.” Stiles didn’t, of course, thanks to Scott’s soul-encompassing love for Allison and the date nights that entailed, but that is not the point.

Derek doesn’t even acknowledge that Stiles could have had a date. Like it was outside the realm of possibility. Stiles throws his hands up in the air.

“And you didn’t choose one of your merry band of werewolves why?” Stiles continues, because seriously, the only one who has ever considered him backup is Scott, and that’s because he’s the brains in that particular investigative duo. He is in no way shape, form or fashion backup material for an Alpha werewolf.

“I need someone whose version of events won’t be swayed,” Derek says after a pause, which for him is positively bursting with information.

“Wait, are we hunting for something that can sway werewolves?” Stiles can pick up on things. Especially things that sound stupidly dangerous.

Derek doesn’t answer, which for Derek is all the answer necessary.

“Crap on a stick,” Stiles sighs. “Is there no end to the parade of monsters lurking around our supposedly quiet small town?”

*

Wandering the woods with Derek is slightly less terrifying than wandering the woods with Scott, though that mostly has to do with how Stiles is maybe a little afraid of Derek and figures most other things that go bump in the night must be, too. He has a scary vibe that’s hard to beat.

Plus Derek actually has a fucking clue where he’s going, so there’s considerably less aimless wandering and more direct stalking of prey. Stiles had been dreading how much chit-chat he would have to come up with if the path had been meandering.

Stiles isn’t exactly sure when deliberately stalking prey became a good thing, but that’s something that happens these days. So, goodie.

The only terrible part about stalking with Derek is that apparently talking is a big no-no, and Stiles gets hushed with a smack to the side of the head every time he so much as opens his mouth. As a result he has to bite his lip roughly every fifteen seconds to keep from blurting out another, “Are we there yet?” or “I think we passed this tree ten minutes ago.”

Then Derek stops so suddenly that Stiles actually runs into his back, and embarrassingly enough, just bounces right back off, since Derek’s back feels roughly like running into a brick wall wearing a leather jacket. Derek turns and grabs Stiles by the front of his hoodie before Stiles crashes to the ground, and glares.

Stiles is pretty sure it’s Derek’s “make a single noise and I’ll end you” glare, so he does his best not to squeak or shuffle his feet or topple over again when Derek releases his hoodie. Derek drags him to what is apparently a more stealthy section of underbrush, shoves Stiles down behind a tree, then crouches next to him, peering through the lower branches of a bush at… something.

Stiles leans his back against the tree and wonders if pulling out his phone is a no-no. He figures it probably is, and then suddenly realizes that he can hear something out in the forest.

It’s not an animal. It’s definitely a voice saying something. No, chanting something. Stiles stares at Derek, eyes wide. He’s seen enough SyFy movies that he’s got a handle on what he’s hearing here. He taps Derek on the shoulder, and mouths, “Witch?”

Derek nods grimly.

Stiles twists a little to try to peer around the tree. It’s not a full moon – he’d be crazy to be wandering the woods with a werewolf if it were – but pretty much every reference to witches he’s found in his search for ancient werewolf lore included the phrase ‘dance naked in the moonlight.” It’s a half-moon, so there’s totally some moonlight out there just begging to be danced in.

There’s someone out there in the woods, though it’s too dark and far away to tell whether they’re naked or not. All he can make out is a silhouette. The chanting is still going on in a low, steady drone that Stiles is pretty sure is the witchy equivalent to elevator music. There doesn’t seem to be much magic going on, but beside him, Derek is extremely still – Stiles can’t even hear his breath – and his crouch is looking more and more predatory by the second.

All Stiles wanted to do tonight was to write an English report and maybe watch some youtube videos of puppies, and yet here he is in the forest with a werewolf and a witch.

Derek motions for Stiles to stay where he's at, and then he disappears off in the direction of the witch.

Stiles tries to mentally run through everything he knows about witches, but most of it came from stuff like Sabrina the Teenage Witch or movies about naughty witches and he’s pretty sure that none of the pointy-hat stuff is accurate. At least, he can’t see any pointy hats from his vantage point of behind a tree. There was the stuff about naked dancing, and witches worshipping the devil, and…

Wait, what had Derek said in the Jeep? Something about being swayed.

Suddenly Stiles remembers why witches had been mentioned on websites about the history of lycanthropy, and he peers around the tree, practically hugging it as he leans around and tries to catch sight of Derek.

There’s fire where the witch is now, and he can see her well enough to tell that she’s both clothed and in the middle of some sort of ritual or spell or incantation or whatever the hell witches called their weird-ass midnight activities. He can’t, however, see Derek, which spoke well of Derek’s abilities as a creature of stealth, but is completely fucking annoying when Stiles is trying to save his life.

“Derek!” he hisses. “Derek!”

No response.

“Oh god,” Stiles mutters, and slides out from behind the tree. He’s moving closer to the witch and risking being seen with every movement, which feels monumentally stupid even to someone with no previous experience with witches, but he has to stop Derek from doing something dangerous.

“Derek!” he stage whispers, which is as loud as he’s willing to get. He’s close enough now to see that the witch is a hot girl, roughly college-age, and there is a motherfucking ring of fire around her. She’s on her knees, eyes closed, arms raised up towards the night sky, and Stiles hopes that luck is on his side for the first time ever as he darts from tree to tree.

Derek has to have heard him – Stiles is not stealthy – so he has to know something’s up. And he was raised in a family of werewolves. Probably Stiles doesn’t have any knowledge that would be new or helpful.

But then there’s the fact that Derek went closer to the witch even after seeing that it was a witch, which is stunningly ill-advised, and Stiles still doesn’t know why he was out here looking for someone in the first place. Really, this whole evening is shaping up to be the sort of disaster that Stiles would expect from an outing with Scott, not from a professional supernatural creature like Derek.

He’s about to chance going back to his original hiding-tree, which seems stunningly safe after getting this close to a witch doing spells in a circle of fire, when Derek is suddenly there, in his space, shoving him against a tree and pressing a finger against his lips.

Like Stiles really thought this was the time for a loud conversation.

He nods, but then Derek’s eyes glow red, and his head jerks up in an alarmingly animalistic way. Derek stares open-mouthed at the witch, her circle’s fire reflecting in his eyes, and then suddenly Stiles is being tugged out into the open.

“There’s the puppy dog,” the witch says. “And he brought a chew toy, too.”

Stiles really wants to tell the witch exactly how lame that line was, but she’s doing magic and Stiles isn’t quite that blasé about the supernatural yet. He waits on Derek to snarl or something.

But Derek just stands there, head cocked, watching the witch with his glowing wolf’s eyes. There’s something off about his stance. Something about the set of his shoulders, the placement of his feet… It’s all slightly wrong, somehow. And then Derek starts to move towards the witch.

His movements are jerky and slow, like he’s fighting against them, and the hand that’s gripping Stiles’ hoodie starts to twist and grow into claws. Stiles tries to pull away, hoping the material will rip and release him, but he has no such luck.

Derek is being controlled, and Stiles is caught along with him.

He really, really wishes he’d gone for the zippered hoodie as he tries to squirm out of his sweatshirt-prison, but he just gets tangled up and has to stumble along desperately after Derek, who walks straight up to the witch’s circle.

The flames are bright and hot, and Derek’s claws graze against his arm as he gets a better grip on Stiles’ sleeve.

“Good boy,” the witch says. Stiles thinks again of the phrase he read that sent him after Derek – animal to call. Derek is an alpha werewolf that Stiles has personally seen force other werewolves – predators – to cower, yet the witch is commanding him around like a puppet.

The thought of what she could make him do terrifies Stiles.

“What do you want?” Derek grinds out, and Stiles is impressed that he’s actually managing independent thought. The stuff he read seemed to imply that a witch calling an animal with her power exerted complete control.

“I have need of muscle,” the witch says lazily. She’s dressed like she’s about to go to a goth-themed frat party, and Stiles would laugh if he wasn’t seeing evidence of how scary-powerful she was. The flames leap higher; he wants to step back but Derek still has a vice grip on his arm.

“You’re not welcome to mine,” Derek replies. He’s standing shock-still, and Stiles thinks he’s fighting against the witch’s unseen control with everything he has. His grip on Stiles’ arm shifts slightly, and his claws sink into Stiles’ flesh.

It’s all Stiles can do to stay upright and not scream; it’s a sharper, brighter pain than anything he’s ever experienced. Derek isn’t moving. His claws are still embedded deep in Stiles’ arm, and Stiles blinks rapidly to try to clear the bright dots that are dancing in his vision.

“I think you’re mine.” The witch is smiling at Derek, completely ignoring Stiles, and then she starts to chant again in the strange language from earlier. Stiles tries to focus on that, to keep himself from embarrassing himself by passing out, and he thinks the language is Latin. It’s oddly formal.

Just like the way she’s moving around the interior of her flaming circle, he realizes. It reminds him of a Catholic church service he’d gone to years before, where everyone else in attendance knew the rituals of the service by heart and Stiles had stumblingly followed their lead. The precision of it seems important, like if they were somehow interrupted…

Derek’s jaw is tensed so hard that his pulse is practically visible, and Stiles has no clue what the witch is wanting to use him for, but everything about the fire and incantations and the fact that she wants muscle seems to scream that it’s for something really bad. So he has to figure out some way to break the ritual.

He can feel his blood running down his arm, dripping to the ground, and he tries to force himself to think. Derek starts growling, quietly at first, but as the spell seems to thicken the air around them, his teeth elongate and his eyes gleam even brighter, and the growls take on a far more menacing edge.

He still doesn’t let go of Stiles’ arm, and Stiles abruptly realizes that he’s being used as a lifesaver. Derek is trying desperately to keep his own humanity, to the point where he’s literally sinking his claws into a human as a means of holding on. Stiles just wishes there was another human around willing to sacrifice their arm to the cause.

The witch is grinning now, finishing up what Stiles assumes is the last few lines of the gobbledy-gook that she’s been spewing, and suddenly an idea flashes in his mind. Break the circle.

The circle is made of fire, so Stiles isn’t going to leap through it or anything, but he starts to kick the dirt at his feet onto it, hoping to somehow douse a small part of the flames and break the spell that the witch is spinning. With any luck, it will also break the connection the witch has to the hair-raising amount of sheer power that Stiles can feel all around them.

He kicks and kicks and finally manages to douse out a small section of the flames. The rest of the circle flickers and then fades into nothing.

Stiles looks up, triumphant, but the witch is smiling and silent.

She finished the spell.

Stiles looks at Derek, whose jaw is still clenched and who is holding himself frighteningly still. Stiles can’t even see the normal rise and fall of his chest, despite how close they’re standing, and he doesn’t even bother trying to pull his arm out of Derek’s grip.

The witch says, “Come to me,” like that’s some startlingly original command, and Stiles is about to call her out on it when he realizes that Derek isn’t moving.

The witch frowns. “Come!” she commands, like she’s talking to a disobedient puppy.

The pain in Stiles’ arm suddenly sharpens, then begins to slowly decrease. He looks down and realizes that Derek’s claws are no longer embedded in his flesh, but rather, he’s dragged them out leaving long, wicked gashes in his wake.

Derek himself is taking a few slow, menacing steps towards the witch.

The witch beams. “Kill the spare,” she says airily, gesturing towards Stiles.

“No way,” Stiles can’t help but say. “You don’t get to quote fucking Voldemort! You are not even approaching his league, sister. You aren’t even Death Eater fodder.”

And then Derek slashes his claws across her throat, and she dies with a faint gurgle.

“Holy shit,” Stiles gasps, taking a few steps backward. “That’s… I mean… She didn’t even have time for a comeback!”

Derek turns, his eyes still glowing that startling red shade even as his claws and fangs are slowly returning to human. “It didn’t work.”

“But she finished the spell,” Stiles says. All that power had to go somewhere, but she’d obviously failed at binding Derek’s will to her own.

Derek shrugs. “You must have broken the circle in time.” He looks down at the witch’s body. “I don’t think she was a very good witch.”

“But she pulled you to her,” Stiles says numbly, then looks down. The blood dripping down his arm has formed a muddy puddle beside his feet. “Oh my god, I’m bleeding on a crime scene. My dad is going to kill me. Or arrest me. Something.”

Derek’s eyes turn human in an instant. “What did she do to you?”

“She? Mister, this was your doing,” Stiles says, waving his arm around before realizing that was the exact wrong thing to do. “Oww,” he manages as he half-falls back down into the dirt, gripping his arm. “So that’s what hurting like the dickens feels like.”

Derek leaves the corpse and crouches by Stiles’ side. He pushes the bloody, tattered sleeve of Stiles’ hoodie up, ignoring Stiles’ extremely dignified whimper of pain, and then sniffs the deep, freely bleeding gouge marks on Stiles’ arm.

“Do you have any wolfsbane?” he asks. He sniffs the wound again, then rips off the hoodie’s sleeve and wraps it tightly around it, which Stiles hopes will staunch the bleeding somewhat.

“Right here in my pocket,” Stiles says. “No. Why the hell would I carry wolfsbane around? My best friend is a werewolf, and I don’t actively hate him.”

Derek lets out a frustrated breath through his nose. “I have some stashed away. We should treat this.”

Stiles isn’t entirely sure why his boo-boo is more important than the newly created corpse lying in the dirt a few feet away. “Um, isn’t there a murder scene to clean up first?”

Derek raises an eyebrow. “I have a pack.”

“You trust them to clean up a murder scene? One that has my blood all over it?” Stiles asks, but then he remembers what Isaac’s after school job was. “Oh wait. Dude, you really put some thought into it, biting a gravedigger. Go you, planning ahead for homicide. That’s not creepy at all.”

Derek gives one of his five-yard stares and then roughly helps Stiles to his feet. “Come on. Wolfsbane. Now.”

Stiles tries really hard to not notice that Derek has left smears of the witch’s blood on Stiles’ hoodie. They blend in with Stiles’ own blood, really. It’s not at all weird or unusual or creepy as hell to have dead witch blood on his outfit.

Stiles realizes that he’s totally freaking out. Derek is pulling him along back through the woods to his Jeep, and Stiles has a dead girl’s blood on his hoodie and Derek has a dead girl’s blood on his hands from where he killed her and how had Derek known that there was even going to be a witch out in the woods tonight and…

Stiles did not sign up for this shit. “If I get arrested for murder, I’m taking you down with me,” he mumbles darkly.

“Been there,” Derek replies, ducking under a low-hanging branch that Stiles just barely manages to dodge.

“Was that a joke? Oh my god, you’re joking,” Stiles says. “I’m pretty sure that means that the earth is going to start rotating backwards and we’re all going to go hurtling out into space. Or else Superman logic will kick in and we’ll go backwards in time and I can avoid this whole mess by never following you into the dark woods in the middle of the night, because I clearly should have known better than that --“

“Maybe you could be louder,” Derek suggests. “Just in case the witch had some accomplices that are going to investigate when they realize the spell went belly-up.”

That is… Crap, that’s a really stellar reason to shut up. Stiles tries to hold in all the thoughts that are tumbling through his head, all the ones about how much his arm freaking hurts and also hey, did you have to murder that girl back there, and why didn’t her spell work when Stiles is certain that she finished it before the circle broke.

Then the witch’s final words, Kill the spare, echo through Stiles’ head, and he has to choke back a hysterical giggle. He stumbles a bit, and Derek’s suddenly there beside him, supporting him with an arm around his shoulders, hissing, “Come on already,” and keeping up the pace.

Stiles feels more steady, probably because of how he’s pretty sure Derek is made of stone or something, his arms are ridiculously strong, and with Derek’s assistance they make it back to the Jeep far more quickly than it took them to get out to the witch’s circle in the first place.

Derek takes one look at Stiles, and then starts rifling through Stiles’ pockets.

“What are you—hey, bad touch!” Stiles hisses as Derek digs through his pants pockets. “It’s bad enough that you clawed the crap out of my arm, do you have to violate me too?”

Derek demonstrated his best bitch glare as he pulls out the keys and dangles them in front of Stiles’ face. “You are in no condition to drive.”

Stiles really isn’t. Still, though… “You’re going to get murder-blood all over my car.”

“I’ll clean it up.”

“And you kind of were just under the spell of a wicked witch. Does that count as under the influence?”

“Get in the fucking car, Stiles.” Derek opens the passenger’s side door and shoves Stiles inside. Stiles sprawls across the passenger seat, of course landing on his wounded arm, and the sharp stab of pain seems to shoot through his entire body. Derek opens the driver’s side door and peers in at Stiles. “Are you dying?”

“I hope not?” Stiles answers unsteadily. “Jesus, what did you do to my arm?”

“I’m not sure,” Derek replies. “I’m still… there is a lot about being an alpha that doesn’t come instinctively.”

Stiles had been a lot happier before he knew that particular nugget of truth. “So the wolfsbane…”

“Is something I’m hoping will negate the effects of whatever I did to you.” Derek eyes Stiles’ arm. The makeshift bandage is soaked through with blood, and Stiles is doing his very best to pretend like that isn’t extremely worrisome.

Derek starts the Jeep, and Stiles holds on for dear life as they’re suddenly careening down the road. “Okay, Mr. Drives A Fancy-Pants Sports Car, there’s only so much that my transmission can handle. Also, we’re covered in blood. That’s kind of the textbook example of a time when you obey the rules of the road because we cannot get pulled over right now.”

Derek eases off the gas the tiniest amount possible, and Stiles counts that as a win. He closes his eyes and tries to concentrate on anything other than his arm, murder, witchcraft or Derek’s driving. Shockingly, despite the fact that none of those topics were in Stiles’ top hundred things to think about four hours ago, suddenly they’re literally the only things he can think of right now.

He’s reduced to trying to remember what pages he was supposed to read for History when the Jeep jerks to a stop.

“Wait here,” Derek says, swinging open the door of the Jeep. “I’ll go get the wolfsbane.”

Stiles nods. He’s feeling strangely woozy as Derek steps out of the Jeep, and as Derek strides across the parking lot, the pain in his arm intensifies. He leans his head back against the seat and takes a few breaths, but it doesn’t do anything to help. If anything, it gets worse. He stares out through the windshield at Derek, who is standing still partway across the parking lot.

“Come on,” he impatiently says aloud, hoping that Derek is using his super-hearing.

Derek takes a few more steps, and then doubles over.

Stiles immediately scans the area for hunters, assuming Derek has been shot, which… is probably a worrying first assumption. He doesn’t see anyone, though Derek falls to his knees.

The pain is no longer centered in his arm, but is radiating through his whole body. He thinks that he might double over, too, if he wasn’t already curled up in the seat.

Then he realizes that Derek isn’t even trying to move, is just writhing slowly on the ground, and…

And he hadn’t been hurt at all back in the woods, and it doesn’t make sense that a cut on Stiles’ arm would intensify like this. Stiles stares at the claw marks on his arm. What if…

What if he's somehow feeling Derek’s pain? Some sort of residue from the spell?

What if the spell had worked?

Stiles leans forward and manages to open the door, falling out of the Jeep onto the pavement with a painful thud. He slowly manages to get to his feet, and, stumbling and wavering, makes his way slowly across the parking lot to Derek.

The closer he gets, the easier it becomes, and by the time he's within an arm’s reach of Derek, Derek himself has stopped writhing and is laying on his back, staring up at the half-moon like it holds the secrets of the universe. Which, maybe for werewolves it does.

“The spell worked, didn’t it?” Stiles asks.

“I think so,” Derek says. He doesn’t move.

“What… what did it do?” Stiles doesn’t really want to know the answer.

“I’m not tied to the witch,” Derek says slowly.

“Good thing, especially if death’s catching,” Stiles interjects.

Derek doesn’t even bother to glare. He sighs. “I think I’m tied to you.”

That… That isn’t good news at all. “Roll over.”

Derek doesn’t look impressed.

Stiles tries again. “Sit. Stay. Fetch.”

Derek doesn’t move. “Did you hit your head?”

“I just disproved your theory,” Stiles explains. “When the witch bossed you around like a puppy dog, you practically begged for treats. I just got a glare o’doom, ergo, no spells.”

Derek doesn’t look convinced. “Then do me a favor and go get the wolfsbane. It’s in the glove compartment of my car.”

“That seems like a really secure place to hide something that’s lethal to you,” Stiles can’t help but say, and then starts stumbling towards the creepy abandoned building that Derek is currently using as both garage and house. He’s fine for the first few steps, then a few more, and then there’s a twinging pain in his gut. Now that he’s paying attention, it’s easy to realize it’s completely separate from the pain in his arm.

He takes a few more steps. It gets worse, and by the time he’s twenty feet away from Derek, the pain is severe enough that he wants to just hunch over and never move again.

He turns and goes back to where Derek is still staring at the stars, though with a pained expression on his face.

“Okay,” Stiles says. “It appears that we have a problem.”

“I agree.”

“So how do we undo it?” Stiles asks. “I mean, there has to be a safe word or something, right? Something to call off the spell?”

“I don’t know, let’s ask the witch,” Derek snaps.

“Oh shit,” Stiles says. “Do you think that only the witch herself could take it off? Because that’s pretty much the worst thing that could happen to us. Ever.”

“I don’t actually know any witches, and that one’s not going to be talking anytime soon,” Derek says. Stiles suddenly understands why he’s just laying on the concrete like a depressed log.

Stiles plops down beside him, and wraps his good arm around his knees. “I don’t want to be your magical conjoined twin.”

“Trust me, you’re not my first choice either,” Derek replies.

“You’re going to get annoyed and totally kill me,” Stiles says morosely.

“It’s probable,” Derek says, and Stiles can’t really tell if he’s joking or not. His face kind of stays the same no matter what mood he’s in.

“Have you ever thought about becoming a guard for Buckingham Palace?” Stiles asks.

Derek actually looks puzzled. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Nothing,” Stiles acknowledges. “I’m just trying really hard to not think about the horrible magical thing that happened to us tonight. Also, I’m a little woozy. Blood loss.” He waves his arm, and a few droplets of blood splatter off onto the concrete.

That seems to shake Derek out of his post-curse depression. He stands up and helps pull Stiles to his feet, keeping a hand firmly on Stiles’ shoulder as he leads them into his quote-unquote home.

“Why do you even have wolfsbane?” Stiles asks, trying to get his mind of the fact that he’s stuck with Derek Hale at his side for the foreseeable future.

“Enemies.”

Stiles admires Derek’s dedication to brevity. Really, he does. Except for how it makes weaseling important information out of him an extremely trying affair. “Why does my arm need wolfsbane? You never gave Jackson wolfsbane after you clawed his neck up.”

“Did Jackson’s neck ever do that?” Derek asks, nodding towards Stiles’ arm, which is bloody and puffy and Stiles is pretty sure looks like it’s starting to get infected.

“Um,” Stiles says, “Why is it doing that?”

Derek shakes his head. “No fucking clue. I’m not really the sort of alpha that tries to draw people under my control—“

“Please tell me I’m not going to become your Renfield,” Stiles blurts out. “Also, you are exactly that kind of alpha. Or haven’t you met your ragtag team of outcast teens that you decided to bite into superpowerdom?”

Derek’s grip tightens on his shoulder, but thankfully there aren’t claws involved this time. Stiles has had enough with being a werewolf pincushion. “I’m helping them.”

“And it just so happens that they increase your power at the same time. Wait. Is that why you don’t even know what you did to me? Are you power-tripping right this second?” Stiles asks.

Derek pushes open the bay door and doesn’t answer. Stiles stumbles inside, and leans against Derek’s car, maybe smearing a little more blood than necessary on the paint while Derek unlocks it with the key fob and then unlocks the glovebox. He carefully lifts out a manila envelope, and hands it to Stiles.

“It’s in there,” he says.

Stiles fumbles the envelope open with his good hand and then pulls out a baggie of wolfsbane. “You know, you get arrested way too often to not know better than to stick a plant in a baggie like it’s weed.”

Derek doesn’t dignify that with a response.

“Do I just… smear it on?” Stiles asks, holding out his arm for Derek to unknot the makeshift bandage.

Derek pulls the knot apart and nods. “If I’m right, it should stop the bleeding.”

Stiles is pretty skeptical about this whole thing, but he’s also not fond of bleeding out, so he sprinkles the crumbled wolfsbane on the gashes in his arm. He’s pretty good at dealing with medical emergencies, but looking at the way his own flesh is puckered around the gory wounds is kind of making him queasy, so he looks up at the rafters as he rubs the wolfsbane into the wound.

It… it doesn’t hurt like he expects. It’s an odd tingling feeling, kind of like putting aloe on a sunburn. He almost gets a sense of what wolfsbane tastes like, and then… then it stops tingling.

His arm is still injured, but the bleeding’s finally stopped. Derek digs around in his car and comes up with a t-shirt, and Stiles uses it to dab at his arm without letting himself think of who or where the t-shirt came from. There were werewolf claws in this wound; anything else won’t really do any worse damage than that.

His arm seems better, like he’s not going to die of the wound anymore, and he breathes a sigh of thanks.

Derek seems just as relieved, and Stiles wonders briefly whether or not Derek has any friends of his own as Derek leads him further into the wreck he calls home.