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Knowing What You Want

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This all happens because Stiles is a good guy, and goes to see Brandon in the hospital.

“Hey,” he says after he’s successfully talked his way past Mrs. McCall and into one of those little white rooms that Stiles has become way, way too familiar with lately. “How’re you feeling?”

Brandon’s hooked up to an IV but his eyes are clear and he looks prepared to be annoyed, which is probably a good indicator that he’s fine. “If this is about your car -” he starts.

“No, man, it’s not - nothing like that,” Stiles says, a little self-conscious about how grouchy he was in the garage. If he’d known the guy was going to get attacked by a giant lizard a minute later, he would’ve muttered fewer things behind his back. Maybe. Even if he’d pretty much deserved it. “I’m just - here to make sure you’re okay.” He shrugs and scratches the back of his head. “I’m sorry I didn’t, uh...” Stiles doesn’t really know what goes in the blank here. Make the call earlier. Notice the kanima in time. Let you give me the $300 markup?

Brandon raises his un-taped hand, warding off Stiles’s apology. “Hey, it’s not your fault I got bit by some weird-ass African mosquito or whatever.” Which, wow, was apparently the actual explanation the doctors were going with. Science saves the day again. “If you hadn’t called 911 I could’ve been worse than paralyzed.” He looks hard at Stiles, as if he’d never considered this angle before.

Yeah, you could’ve been dead, Stiles doesn’t say, and he doesn’t say the next thing that comes to mind either, which is a series of unkind critiques on the security of Brandon’s garage and Brandon’s ability to look behind him. Instead he says, “Hey, my dad’s a cop. Calling 911 is like a reflex. When I was eleven I would call 911 so I could tell him how the hockey game ended.”

That makes Brandon laugh, which is great, because that’s pretty much why Stiles said it - it’s not like his dad would ever have let him actually abuse emergency channels like that. True, Stiles has worn him down over time on the police radio, but if he gave 911 a try Stiles is pretty sure he would end up grounded for the rest of his natural life.

“That’s right, you’re dad’s the sheriff,” Brandon says. “I guess I’m lucky that it was your shitty Jeep that needed fixing.”

“My Jeep is not shitty,” Stiles instantly protests, but he realizes halfway through the sentence that Brandon is trying to get a rise out of him. “All right, it’s not the newest of cars, and it’s been through a lot of - totally normal stuff, like traffic,” he finishes lamely, unable to actually list in front of Brandon any of the crazy things his baby’s actually been through.

Brandon laughs again, and he’s still giving Stiles that look, like he’s considering something. It’s not his best look, Brandon apparently being unfamiliar with the experience of thinking, and the longer he has it, the more Stiles starts to feel a little twitchy. What is his deal? Does Brandon somehow suspect that Stiles knows more about what happened in the garage than he’s saying? Is he starting to remember the kanima? Is there something on Stiles’s face?

“You know, you’re an okay guy when you’re not bitching at me,” Brandon says appraisingly.

Stiles ducks his head, caught between reflex sarcasm and a sudden unexpected shyness. “That’s... in the same neighborhood as a compliment,” he mutters.

“Let me take you out sometime.”

Stiles’s head shoots up. “What? Out? Out where?” He’s clearly badly misheard.

“Out,” Brandon repeats, so firmly that there can be no confusion. Stiles just blinks at him, flabbergasted. “I had a near-death experience, you saved my life, and the doctors gave me a clean bill of health. I’m feeling like doing a little celebrating.”

“You - you’re -” Stiles has so many questions about this he can’t even hold them all in his mind. “With me?” he lands on finally. “Really?” So many guys have given Stiles the brush-off - okay, mostly Danny has given Stiles the brush-off - that Stiles is worried Brandon might be confused, or possibly more affected by the poison than the doctors realize. Brandon is obviously having trouble seeing whatever the rest of the human population has noticed about Stiles that makes him undateable.

Brandon gives a little shrug, perhaps acknowledging how ridiculous his offer sounds. “Why not?” he says, and he grins, bright and gorgeous.

Stiles stares at him. He feels a pang, suddenly, and Lydia’s lovely face looms in his mind. But you can’t cheat on someone you’re not actually with, and it would only be one date, probably, and also he would never ever tell her. When they’re old and they have talkative redheaded grandchildren one of them will say, “Grandmama, did Grandpapa Stiles ever date anyone before you proposed to him that one time in high school?” and she will say, “Of course he didn’t, dear child. He loved me too much,” and Stiles will twiddle his ancient thumbs and pretend to see something interesting in the distance.

“Okay,” Stiles says.

They exchange phones and type in their numbers. On his way out of the hospital, he sees Erica coming in through the front doors, and even in his dazed state he has enough sense to duck right and take the side exit.


Brandon texts him the name of a dive bar in the center of town. Stiles texts back, I’m 16. Brandon texts back lol, which Stiles can’t quite interpret as a confirmation or not, so he ends up walking there anyway.

The twenty-five minute walk to the center of town is, first of all, way longer than he thought it took to get downtown, and also more than enough time to freak out over how he’s going on a date, at a bar, with a boy, who is much older and almost a total stranger. By the time Stiles finds the place and locates Brandon, he’s feeling a little crazy, and as a result, he talks way too much - to Brandon, to the bartender who thankfully does not give a single shit that Stiles is clearly in high school, to nearby patrons, whoever. Stiles can’t turn it off.

Only it sort of works out, for once in Stiles’s life, because Stiles’s initial impression of Brandon - that he seemed kind of dumb - turns out to unfortunately be completely accurate. They are saved from an hour of awkward silence only by Stiles’s motormouth and by a mutual understanding of how lacrosse works. It doesn’t hurt that Stiles’s second impression of Brandon - that he’s insanely hot - is also true. Stiles can endure a lot of stupidity if it’s coming from an attractive source. Which probably says a lot about Stiles’s life choices.

All in all, it goes pretty okay. Stiles eventually calms down, aided by the beer Brandon buys him, and Brandon supports acceptable MLL teams. Still, he’s more relieved than anything else when they get their change and head out into the street, since it both means an end to the uphill slog through awkwardness and also, possibly, Stiles dares to hope, the beginning of the fun portion of the evening.

“Do you need a ride?” Brandon asks him, hands in his pockets, head cocked to one side, and Stiles’s brain gives him the signal - ding ding ding! - that this is indeed an invitation to the fun portion of the evening. Okay then. It’s totally happening. For real.

Even though he hasn’t decided if he’s more excited or scared yet, he opens his mouth to say, “Yeah, sure.” Only what comes out is: “Aw, crap.”

Brandon looks at him in confusion, then turns to see what Stiles is looking at. Which is Derek fucking Hale, dressed in black clothes and a dark expression, appearing before them like some drug dealer in a after school special. Stiles doesn’t know how Derek doesn’t get stopped by the cops more - the guy is like a walking red flag.

“What are you doing here?” Stiles asks, but Derek ignores him completely and goes to shake Brandon’s hand.

“Hey, Brandon! Long time no see,” he says, and then he smiles at Brandon, that huge face-splitting smile with all the white teeth. Stiles’s jaw drops. “Best defender on the team back in the day! How are you, buddy?”

“Hey, Derek,” Brandon says, but he seems much less enthusiastic. “I’m... good, man. Heard about that stuff with your family. That sucks.”

Stiles cuts a look at Derek to see if Brandon’s about to get murdered, but Derek just tones down the smile a little and says, “Thanks, yeah,” with a note of regret that Stiles has absolutely never heard from him. “It’s been tough, sure. But how about you? You had some excitement of your own, I heard.”

“Yeah, he sure did,” Stiles interjects loudly, narrowing his eyes at Derek. “Turns out everybody got all upset about a little African mosquito, isn’t that crazy?” He gives a little laugh, to demonstrate how crazy it is.

“That is so crazy, Stiles,” Derek agrees, and Stiles is starting to really hate that smile. “And that landed you in the hospital, really?”

“Uh, yeah, it did,” Brandon says, frowning. “So, um, you guys know each other?”

“Stiles didn’t tell you about me?” Derek says, and even though he says it with the same fake cheerfulness, somehow there is a little bit of an edge to it.

“No, of course I didn’t,” Stiles hisses. “Why would I tell him about you?” Then he catches Brandon’s expression and realizes how that must have sounded. “Oh, boy. Okay. Brandon, Derek and I know each other through a... mutual friend.”

“Right,” Brandon says.

“Stiles and I go way back,” Derek adds, totally unhelpfully. There is a definite edge to his voice now, and the way he’s smiling at Brandon now seems a little more dangerous than friendly.

“Not way back,” Stiles says. “I wouldn’t really say it’s all that far back. Definitely not far enough back for surprise visits, so Derek, if you could -”

“Hey, Stiles.” Brandon lands a hand on his shoulder, then jerks his other thumb back towards his car. “I think I’m gonna - “ He looks from Stiles to Derek and back again. “Yeah.” He pats Stiles’s shoulder, a little too heavily. “Good to see you, Derek,” he obviously has to force himself to add, and then he puts his hands back in his pockets and walks towards his car.

“No, wait, hold on -” Stiles says, torn between chasing Brandon down and dealing with whatever flipped-out werewolf situation is going on here.

“See ya,” Derek calls after Brandon, low and sharp, and it basically sounds like a threat.

“Okay, that - you - “ Stiles points his finger at Derek. “You stay right the fuck there. Got it? Don’t move.”

Derek raises his eyebrows, but he doesn’t go anywhere.

Stiles jogs after Brandon.

“Hey, I am so, so sorry about that,” Stiles says, catching Brandon right before he gets in the car. “I, uh - look, it seems like you know Derek, so you probably already know that he’s, you know, intense, but I feel like I should just apologize anyway for how completely weird that just was and I’m really sorry? And that will definitely not ever happen again, ever?”

“Look, it’s not a big deal,” Brandon says, looking like he wishes he’d escaped more successfully. “I just don’t really do guys with ex-boyfriend drama. Plus, Derek Hale is a psycho.”

Ex -” Stiles really, desperately wants to correct Brandon on this point, but he realizes that there is no other good explanation for the way Derek is acting. “It’s just werewolf stuff” probably would not go over well. Though it would have the advantage of being less humiliating. He exhales in a miserable sigh. “Yeah, okay. I’ll... see you around, Brandon.” Never, he adds in his mind. And he had been so, so close to getting at least to second base in someone’s car.

Brandon gives him a tight smile and then gets out of dodge.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Stiles?” Derek says when Stiles returns.

Stiles sees red. “What do I think I’m doing? What the hell do you think you’re doing? You pop up out of nowhere - why? For what? To intimidate my date into running away? Congratulations, you did it. He’s not coming back. You think you can just barge in and ruin normal people’s lives whenever you want because you’re a big scary wwhh-- you-know-what?” He stalls out as he finally remembers that they’re on the sidewalk and other people are walking by all around them.

“Brandon was attacked, Stiles,” Derek says fiercely. “You shouldn’t be anywhere near him, let alone dating him.” He stumbles a little over the word “dating”. It’s probably too normal a concept for him to understand.

“Are you serious?” Stiles asks. “The doctors gave him a clean bill of health, first of all, and second of all, I was right there with him! Lying on the floor! Brothers in paralysis!”

Derek scowls. “You absorbed its poison through the skin. You weren’t actually attacked.”

“Okay, I didn’t tell you that, so that fact that you know it is both suspicious and somehow predictable,” Stiles says, inviting an even darker scowl from Derek. “Oh and also, I’m not sure the giant lizard knows the difference! If our new friend is coming to finish off its victims, I’m gonna go ahead and guess that I’m on the list! And so are you for that matter, unless you’ve forgotten the delightful two and a half hours I spent being your human life raft.”

“There’s no list,” Derek snaps, patently ignoring that last reference. “The kanima doesn’t seek revenge. It’s a mindless animal and it’s probably not coming back for Brandon or you or me. But Brandon was still attacked, and that could have consequences we don’t know about.”

Could?” Stiles seizes on in outrage. “As in, maybe not? Not even mentioning the fact that you were attacked, same as Brandon?”

“I heal,” Derek reminds him, with a glance around them. “Brandon doesn’t. Who knows what could have happened to him that a doctor wouldn’t -”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Stiles says, throwing up his hands to stop all of these ridiculous proceedings. “You mean you don’t even know what, if anything, could be wrong with Brandon?”

Derek’s jaw sets, and a muscle twitches in his cheek.

“Wow,” Stiles says. “Amazing. So you decided that on the off chance something bad could maybe but probably not be happening to him that you needed to follow him and make sure he didn’t go on any dangerous social outings? You know, just in case he lizards out or whatever?”

“Until we know more about what that thing can do -” Derek starts, but Stiles is so done.

“No, that’s great, Derek. You have fun with that.” Stiles gives him his best fuck-you salute. “If you double-time it you can probably catch up with his car. I’m gonna start the half an hour walk home so you can go make sure Brandon doesn’t have any more human contact for the rest of the evening.” Derek’s face grows thunderous. “Hopefully, with your help, he’ll be alone forever. And you should really think about seeing someone for that insane paranoia,” Stiles adds with feeling. He spins around and is only too happy to leave the crazy werewolf behind. Only -

“Stiles,” Derek calls out from behind him.

Stiles grits his teeth and keeps walking.

Stiles,” Derek calls again, and Stiles spins around almost out of pure frustration.

What?” he shouts.

Derek has a mulish look in his eye. He says, “Do you need a ride?”


Stiles says absolutely nothing in the car. He jiggles his leg until Derek looks pointedly at his knee, and then he clenches his jaw and tries to keep from fidgeting out his rage while still giving Derek the silent treatment. He’s concentrating so hard on not moving and not speaking that it takes him almost a minute to realize how close they are to his house.

“Hey, wait, pull over here,” Stiles says, logistics outweighing spite.

Derek spins the wheel and pulls into a street space outside a big McMansion one of Stiles’s rich neighbors decided they needed last year. He puts the car in park and looks at Stiles with his eyebrows raised.

“My dad knows all the cars in town,” Stiles explains. “If he sees your Camaro with me in it he’s going to have more than a couple questions for me.”

Derek gives a little half-nod of acknowledgement and continues looking at Stiles.

“Oh, what, so that’s it?” Stiles says, mad all over again. “Now you’re giving me the silent treatment? We can’t both do that. That’s not how the silent treatment works. Haven’t you ever seen that commercial, with the girl -” Derek’s silence turns to pure blankness. “Nope, you don’t have walls, so probably also not a television,” Stiles corrects himself. “The point is, the silent treatment is for wronged parties, which you are not in this situation, so -”

“I’m sorry I messed up your date,” Derek says, loud enough to cut through Stiles’s tirade.

Stiles opens his mouth, then closes it.

Derek stares at Stiles, like now that he’s apologized he’s waiting for his gold star. “Okay? I’m sorry. You’re probably... disappointed.”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, wary and a little surprised and still pretty angry. “I am disappointed. Cause I almost never get that kind of opportunity, like, ever - in fact, that was pretty much the first one - and just like everything else in my life these days, it got train-wrecked because of werewolves. I mean, what else is new, but it really sucks, okay?”

Derek says, “That was your first date?”

Stiles colors. “Yes,” he says, intending it to be belligerent. It comes out small.

Derek regards him for a long moment, and Stiles can’t help but think how weird it is - he’s not close to Derek. Like, they’re not friends. At this point Stiles is starting to think they might actually be literal enemies, on opposite sides of some werewolf war that appears to only involve high schoolers and Derek. But Stiles knows the weight of Derek’s body, and what his heartbeats sound like. He knows how Derek’s voice feels, vibrating through his back into Stiles’s chest, and that’s, like, so intimate - it’s crazy that he knows that about Derek, but he and Derek aren’t even friends. It’s uncomfortable, and it makes Stiles feel kind of guilty for some reason.

“Get out of the car,” Derek says.

For a moment Stiles doesn’t understand. He frowns and opens his mouth.

“I said get out,” Derek snarls, and there’s enough of the wolf in his voice that Stiles is scrambling for the car door before his brain has made a decision either way.

“Why?” Stiles asks when he can finally connect his brain to his mouth, but he has to yell it at Derek’s taillights as the Camaro speeds away. He’s left alone, breathing hard into the darkness.

His heart is still pounding when he gets home, enough that his dad says, “I could’ve told you you weren’t gonna like that much fresh air.” Stiles makes a face at him and goes upstairs to flop down face-first on the bed.

He tells himself he’s not going to do it. He tells himself he’s still furious and put out about Brandon and filled with hatred for werewolves in general and Derek in particular.

Then, his heart going like a drumbeat, he rolls over and unzips his fly. His cock is already half-hard, like it has been since Derek growled at him, like it is every time Derek growls at him, and Stiles makes a tight fist and pushes up into it, over and over, until his fingers are slippery with pre-come and he’s gasping and shuddering and coming all over his hand.


He spends the weekend distracting Scott from asking too closely where he was on Friday night (“Dude, I texted you like four hundred times.” “Hey, tell me again what Allison’s feelings are on tights versus leggings?”) and doing exhaustive and almost totally fruitless kanima research on the internet. At some point it finally dawns on him that seeing Erica at the hospital and Derek showing up to stalk Brandon were probably related events. Erica, Stiles is not going to lie, scares the shit out of him now that she’s all hot and bitchy, which is why he chooses Monday at lunchtime to ask her about it. She’s sitting with Boyd, whose presence Stiles is really hoping will remind her not to clobber him in public.

“What the fuck are you doing at our table?” Erica asks him with a sweet smile.

“Nice to see you too, Erica. You’re looking lovely today,” he says, because it’s true, although he would have gone with a little less lipstick. “Hey, Boyd.”

“No,” Boyd says. Whether he’s shutting down Stiles’s greeting or his entire existence, Stiles can’t tell. Stiles is hurt. He and Boyd have shared so much, like the exchange of goods for money.

“Uh, okay,” he says. “I actually had something to talk to Erica about, if you don’t mind me interrupting.” He plows ahead under the weight of both their glares. “Why were you at the hospital on Friday?”

Erica raises her perfectly plucked eyebrows, unfazed by the question. “Why were you there?”

“Who says I was?” Stiles hedges.

She gives him this look she’s getting good at these days, a look that proclaims him the stupidest human she’s ever met, up to and including this entire high school full of Beacon Hills teenagers. “I smelled you,” she says. “On what’s-his-name.”

“Brandon,” Stiles supplies without thinking. So she was there for Brandon. And then, “On him?”

Boyd snorts, but Stiles is processing. He doesn’t know how his scent could be on Brandon, when they never got the chance to - ah, but they did touch, Stiles remembers now. When they exchanged phones. Their fingers brushed. Man, werewolf senses did not play around.

“Okay, well, so what?” he says. “Why would Derek care?”

“Uh, he wouldn’t,” Erica says, like that’s obvious. “Who says he does?”

Stiles realizes that Derek didn’t tell his pack about going out on Brandon reconnaissance at the same moment Erica realizes that Stiles knows something she doesn’t. He tries to bolt, but she pounces on his wrist with a grip like steel, pinning him to the table. Stiles yelps.

”Who says he does?” she repeats through clenched teeth.

“Erica,” Boyd murmurs. “Tone it down.” A couple people are looking curiously over at their table. Stiles is so, so glad he chose a crowded cafeteria to have this conversation in.

Erica spends a moment obviously debating the pros and cons of publicly torturing Stiles, then releases him with an exasperated growl. “Tell me now, or I’ll just find you later, and we’ll discuss it in private.” The last two words drip with the promise of violence.

Stiles massages his wrist. “Jeez, okay. Derek followed Brandon later that night. I was with him and I saw Derek. That’s it. I think you bruised my wrist bones.”

Erica gives him a hard look, like she suspects there’s more to the story. Stiles tries to look injured and indignant. It’s not feeling like much of a stretch.

“What do you mean, you saw Derek?” Boyd asks skeptically.

Stiles shrugs. “He wasn’t exactly hiding. I guess he thought he still needed to ask Brandon some things even though you already questioned him,” he says blandly.

This super obvious jab has its desired effect anyway. Erica’s lips curl away from her teeth and Boyd has to physically restrain her from getting up to kill Stiles, which both confirms that she was there to question Brandon and leaves Stiles free to escape the table.

“Oh and by the way? This Mean Girls thing really isn’t working for you,” Stiles adds, waving his hand in Erica’s whole general area and then hightailing it back to Scott’s table.

He really should have made do without the parting shot.

In gym they play dodgeball, because Coach Finstock is a sadistic bastard and loves to watch them take each other out. Stiles’s head is not in the game. He can’t stop thinking about what Erica said. And didn’t say. Why didn’t Derek tell his army of misfit toys where he was going? Why did he follow Brandon at all, if Erica had already gone to see him? If he went to make sure Brandon didn’t hurt anyone, why did he drive Stiles home? Someone next to him goes flying, and he hears Finstock’s cackle of joy.

All of this deep analysis he’s doing means he’s distracted, and not scanning for possible threats, which is why he doesn’t see Erica appear right across the line from him with a ball in her hand and murder in her eyes. The next thing he hears is a distant crack, and the floor leaps up to confront him with surprising enthusiasm. Erica’s overly made-up smile hovers above him for a moment before the floor wins the fight.


“Hey,” Scott says with obvious relief when he wakes up. Stiles is horizontal, and apparently in the nurse’s office.

“Aw, man,” he says as the headache kicks in, and he puts a hand to the side of his head, where there is a truly impressive lump forming. “Did she seriously knock me out?”

Scott nods solemnly. “You also have, like,” and he gestures at his own forehead with a little wince.

Stiles fumbles for his forehead and can just barely feel a hashmark pattern on his skin. “Aw, man.

“It already looks better,” Scott tries to reassure him, and then anger clouds his face. “I’ve gotta talk to Derek. She can’t just do things like that in the middle of school!”

“What, would you prefer she beat me up after hours?” Stiles inches up into a sitting position as all the little places that are suddenly bruised from his fall make themselves known. “No, it’s my fault. I poked the bear.”

“She’s out of control!” Scott says. “They all are! I don’t know what Derek’s teaching them, but it’s not working!”

“I appreciate all this rage on my behalf, but could you please keep your volume down?” Stiles mutters, holding his head with both hands now.

Scott is instantly contrite. “Oh, yeah, sure. Sorry. Look, I have to let them know you woke up and then go back to class. Are you gonna be okay?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says wearily. “Fucking werewolves,” he says, then glances up at Scott. “No offense.”

Scott gives him a half-smile. “None taken.”

The nurse tells Stiles that he probably doesn’t have a concussion, but he will need to be woken up every two to three hours tonight just in case. But the joke’s on her, because Stiles hasn’t been sleeping much lately anyway. She gives him acetaminophen and then sends him out into the hall, where he and his pounding head wait for his dad to pick them up.


“Knock knock, kiddo,” says his dad’s voice, and Stiles jolts awake in the darkness.

“What? Who? Oh, god,” he groans as the pain in his head reasserts itself. “Come in.”

His dad opens the door, looking bleary, and puts a hand on the light-switch. “Check-up number one. Cover your eyes.” Stiles does so while his dad flips the lights, and after a few seconds he can take his hand away without squinting.

His dad sits on the bed. “Your head looks good,” he says, making the same vague forehead gesture Scott made earlier today.

“Great,” Stiles mumbles.

“C’mon, don’t go back to sleep. Let’s see those pupils.” Stiles fights a yawn and opens his eyes wide enough for his dad to check.

“Any sign of internal bleeding?” Stiles says, and he’s a little too sleepy to make it funny.

“Nope,” his dad says, patting his shoulder. “See you in three hours.”

“Can’t we make it four?” Stiles asks plaintively, yawning enormously now.

“No, we cannot,” his dad says. “I like my sons alive and un-concussed. The other kind isn’t as much fun to hang out with.”

Stiles almost comes back with, “The dead kind?” but he swallows it back just in time. He nods instead, throat suddenly aching, and his dad pats the uninjured side of his head gingerly.

“Try to sleep, kiddo.”

And Stiles tries. He really does. But every time he starts to drift off, some nameless dread wells up inside of him until his mind wrenches itself awake in self-defense. It’s been like this on and off ever since Peter Hale, and the lacrosse field, and Lydia. Sometimes on nights like this he manages to count down from a hundred slowly until he hits a kind of shallow half-sleeping, but what with his head throbbing and the fresh memory of the kanima hissing at him while he tries as hard as he can not to drown Derek, well, it’s just not happening tonight.

He gets up and takes some of the pills his dad left by his bed. With his eyes adjusted to the dark, he can see that it’s actually pretty bright in here with the moonlight streaming in. He goes to close the blinds, thinking that the light might be part of the problem, and as he peers out the window, he notices that the moon’s not the only light source. There’s something glowing faintly red in his peripheral vision, just beyond the window. Two somethings.

The somethings move and horror floods through Stiles. He goes for the first weapon he can find - his stapler - he really needs to start an arsenal or something - and then the red eyes move close enough that Stiles can make out the face they rest in.

He puts down the stapler.

He takes a minute to look at the floor and breathe, hands on his hips, before unlocking and opening the window. “You can come in now, Derek,” he says. Derek is perched on the wall outside his window like the world’s least convincing Spiderman.

Derek climbs in through the window and stands up with great dignity.

“I could have died,” Stiles tells him.

Derek makes a face. “How?”

“Of a heart attack,” Stiles says, just barely remembering to keep his voice down. His dad’s a heavy sleeper, but no need to take chances. “Jesus Christ, Derek, what are you doing here?”

“I was just making sure you were all right,” Derek says evenly. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“You couldn’t have just texted or something?” Stiles asks, but Derek’s gaze shifts to the side of Stiles’s head. “Yeah, thanks for this,” Stiles says, indicating his head wound. “Courtesy of your bugnuts-crazy -” But he loses track of his sentence, because Derek steps in close and Stiles flinches without meaning to.

Derek gives him a look. Then, as casually as one would handle something inanimate, like a basketball, Derek takes Stiles’s head in both his hands and tilts it all the way to one side. Two of his fingers and his thumb press down gently into Stiles’s short hair, making a circle, finding all the edges of the bruise. Stiles makes a choked-off noise.

“She shouldn’t have done this,” Derek says, and his voice is stony with anger.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Stiles manages to get out. He feels raw, breathing shallowly with his neck exposed and his head held in place.

“It won’t happen again,” Derek says, and he releases Stiles.

Stiles puts his palm over the bump on his head, extinguishing the tingles that are crawling all over his skin where Derek touched him. “Okay, well,” he says, and he shivers involuntarily. “Good?”

His eyes meet Derek’s, and in a flood of body awareness, Stiles remembers that he’s in only boxers and a t-shirt. He swallows. Derek’s eyes track the movement of his throat, down and up.

Something deep in Stiles’s brain worms its way to the forefront. Ding ding ding, it says.

“I need to get back,” Derek says.

“Infant werewolves to tuck in,” Stiles agrees. His heart is speeding up, like it knows something he doesn’t. He struggles to keep his breathing normal.

Derek stands there a minute longer, awkwardly. “Goodnight,” he says finally, and he turns towards the window.

Lydia, Stiles’s brain suggests in a whisper. But the moment he thinks it, Stiles realizes that he doesn’t want the idea of Lydia nearly as much as he wants this, whatever the fuck this is, in the dark in his room at two in the morning. Maybe he never wanted Lydia.

“Derek,” he says, and Derek stops instantly, and turns. If Stiles had to choose between excited and scared at this exact moment, he would choose scared, and then cross it out and replace it with terrified.

“Just - just hold on a second,” he says. And then, before he can remind himself of any of the million reasons not to, Stiles just thinks fuck it and throws himself at Derek.

Derek catches him, and for one mind-bendingly glorious moment he’s actually kissing Stiles back, sloppy and hot and perfect, fingers twisting in Stiles’s t-shirt. Then Derek goes stiff and sort of elbows himself free of Stiles.

“No,” Derek says, and he looks almost panicked. "You don't know what you want."

“Oh, I do,” Stiles replies instantly, even though that’s a weird thing to say. He nods frantically. “I’m pretty sure I do.”

“No, you don’t - Stiles,” Derek says, when Stiles tries to kiss him again. He puts a hand on Stiles’s chest, keeping him at arm’s length. “You’re sixteen,” Derek says hoarsely. He’s started shaking. Stiles can feel it through his hand. “Sixteen-year-olds don’t - they don’t make good decisions.”

Stiles isn’t really sure what they’re talking about right now, but he has a feeling it’s not him. “Derek -”

“Just stay away from me,” Derek says, and he drops his hand and backs towards the window.

“No,” Stiles says in disbelief. “I’m not going to.” He takes a step, about to follow, but Derek lets out his fangs and snarls at Stiles, eyes flaring red.

His heart leaps in panic, but Stiles clenches his hands into fists, closes his eyes, and forces himself to not back down. When he opens his eyes, Derek is still staring at him, still red-eyed, but he doesn’t look frightening anymore. He looks frightened.

Stiles’s skin is still crawling with goosebumps. “Is this why you kicked me out of the car?”

Derek gives a minute shake of his head, but he doesn’t deny it. His eyes glow.

“Did you even follow Brandon at all?” Stiles asks, as it slowly dawns on him. “Or were you following me?”

Derek looks about two seconds away from turning around and diving through the window, glass and all.

Stiles can’t even deal with this right now. “Are the decisions I make any worse than the ones you make?” he says, throwing up his hands. “I mean, Jesus! You were clinging to the side of my house like a bug!”

“Checking up on you,” Derek mutters.

“And now I have a head wound because of your need to do your stalking in complete secrecy, and you came down on Brandon so hard that he thinks you’re my ex-boyfriend, and you’re worried about the decisions I’m going to make?”

Derek at least has the grace to look a little embarrassed.

“You’re right,” Stiles says. “It would not be a good decision to get involved with you, for all the obvious reasons but also because you are the biggest moron of a werewolf I’ve ever met, and when that field includes Scott, you know you’re doing pretty badly.”

Derek looks torn between glaring and fighting off a smile. The fear and the red light slowly leave his eyes, and maybe he shouldn’t be, but Stiles is somehow more relieved about the fear.

“Just, for like five seconds, can you not be a mysterious, inscrutable creature of the night and level with me here?” Stiles takes a deep breath and looks Derek in the eye. “Do you want me?”

Derek hesitates for a long moment, then nods once.

“Okay, well, I want you,” Stiles says. It ends up being breathtakingly scary to say out loud. Stiles puts one hand on his desk for support. “So there is no good reason, none, why you shouldn’t come over here and make out with me.”

Derek doesn’t move for what feels like approximately five billion years. Then, slowly, he peels himself away from the window. Stiles’s bones go watery with relief.

“You talk too much,” Derek suggests. His voice is quiet, even tentative, and when Stiles figures out what he’s doing, he has to fight off an insane grin.

“Not a good enough reason,” Stiles says.

“You’re incredibly annoying.” Derek puts one hand on Stiles’s hip, then the other.

“Also not good enough,” Stiles says, and his heart is going fast again, tight with happiness and excitement and relief and fear, all of which Stiles is starting to realize are pretty damn similar.

“You’re... short,” Derek says, and his eyes are gleaming.

“Okay, if that’s the best that you -”

Derek chooses that moment to swoop in and kiss Stiles, because he always has to have the last goddamn word. Stiles will have his revenge, but right now he just goes with it because his gambit actually worked, Derek is actually kissing him, and Stiles may hold a grudge but he can also prioritize.

Stiles wraps his hands around Derek’s huge arms, which he is finally at liberty to appreciate without any life-threatening crises to divide his attention. Finally, Derek’s mind-boggling, genetically improbable hotness can take center stage. And Stiles can get hard without shame, which is great because that train left like a half an hour ago and shows no signs of slowing down with Derek’s hands on him and Derek’s tongue finding its way into his mouth.

A soft growl rolls out of Derek, and he stops kissing Stiles long enough to shove Stiles’s t-shirt up with one hand and his boxers down with the other. When his hand touches Stiles’s cock, everything abruptly shifts from shades of gray into technicolor.

“Holy shit,” Stiles gasps, and then Derek starts jerking him, slow and firm. Stiles’s knees can take very little of that before Derek has to wrap his other arm around Stiles and halfway support him while he squeezes his cock and slides his tongue into Stiles’s mouth in alternating rhythm. This is a world away from Stiles jerking off by himself. This is a different universe.

Derek backs them up to Stiles’s bed and they go down, bouncing softly. Derek stops working his cock - Stiles whimpers - to kneel above him and take off his leather jacket. Then he bends back down and kisses Stiles deeply. Derek’s kisses are huge, open-mouthed, and hungry, like he wants to eat Stiles alive, like he hasn’t kissed anyone in years. The little breaths he takes between kisses are ragged and hot. Stiles never even knew people could kiss like this at all.

“God, your mouth,” Derek murmurs, his voice scratchy and indistinct. “Oh my god, Stiles, your mouth,” and he’s dragging his thumb all the way across Stiles’s bottom lip, over and over, and then he dips his thumb into Stiles’s mouth and Stiles instinctively closes his lips around it and sucks.

Derek’s fangs come out, and his eyes simmer. Stiles stifles a moan of shock.

When he sees Stiles’s expression, Derek frowns and takes his thumb out of Stiles’s mouth to touch it to his own teeth. To Stiles’s surprise he huffs out a laugh. He lets his head rest in the crook of Stiles’s shoulder, and laughs for real, muffled by the comforter.

“What?” Stiles has to ask. “What?” He starts to worry that he did something stupid.

Derek pulls his head up, and Stiles loses track of his whole life because Derek is smiling, that huge, radiant smile that Stiles used to hate but will never say a bad word about again. Stiles realizes now, numbly, that he must have hated that smile because Derek had never used it on him. Now that he has, Stiles is in big, big trouble.

“That hasn’t happened to me since I was sixteen,” Derek says, and he looks rueful and somehow younger and he’s smiling at Stiles like a sunbeam and Stiles is in so much fucking trouble.

“You must really like my mouth,” Stiles tries to joke, but his voice isn’t working right. And then Stiles gets an idea.

He pushes at Derek’s hip and Derek allows Stiles to flip him over, onto his back. When Stiles starts to crawl down Derek’s body, Derek’s eyes go wide, and he props himself up on his elbows so he can watch Stiles unbuckle his belt with self-conscious hands and try a couple of times before successfully unbuttoning and unzipping Derek’s jeans.

Part of Stiles wishes that Derek weren’t looking, because it’s not like he’s going to be much to see, having never done this before in his life. But when Stiles puts his fingers inside Derek’s boxers and touches his cock for the first time, a thick, dizzying wave of desire crashes down on top of him and he doesn’t do any more thinking: he just pulls Derek’s cock out and opens his mouth to take it in.

Derek exhales, a sharp, almost pained sound, and then as Stiles works up some spit and starts experimentally moving his head up and down, Derek whispers, “Fuck,” in a voice that makes Stiles glance up.

Derek is flushing deeply and his lips tremble as he breathes. His eyes are blown, wild, and when he makes eye contact with Stiles this whole body shudder runs through him that Stiles can feel all the way down by his hips. He looks so sexy that Stiles can barely stand it.

Stiles,” Derek says, and he puts his hands on Stiles’s head, gently, almost caressing his face and his jaw. Derek’s hips twitch upwards, suggestively, and Stiles lets him start to slowly fuck Stiles’s mouth. Derek is big, a little bigger than Stiles was expecting to have in his mouth this evening, actually, but what Stiles lacks in ability to take in oxygen, he more than makes up for in the noises coming out of Derek. Derek is making little broken sounds and murmuring explicit things that Stiles really wishes he could hear more of and generally doing a lot of expressing himself, believe it or not. Stiles feels a secret, white-hot satisfaction at having been the one to break through Derek’s stoicism, at having Derek’s cock in his mouth and listening to words Derek can’t help but say. It makes him feel so good, in fact, that he has to take a few long, slow breaths to inch himself down off the ledge of orgasm.

“Enough,” Derek gasps. His hands grasp at Stiles’s shoulders and he pulls Stiles up. Stiles crawls the rest of the way up Derek’s body, a little confused.

“Was it -”

But Derek doesn’t even let him ask, just gives him a long and impossibly dirty kiss. “I didn’t want to come in your mouth,” he murmurs when he breaks away.

Stiles’s hips buck unintentionally. Derek works a hand in between them and with his long fingers finds both their cocks, lining them up together, pressed tightly between their bellies. Stiles bites his lower lip hard to keep from crying out. He starts thrusting and thrusting against Derek, finding Derek’s rhythm and losing it again and unable to stop. The feel of their cocks sliding together is so good it almost hurts.

“Stiles,” Derek mutters against Stiles’s neck, his other arm like iron around Stiles’s back. “Want to fuck you so much.”

Hearing that is like being inside a giant bell while someone rings it. Stiles can barely see. He can only gasp, “Yes - yes - whatever you -” and then he’s coming, and in the roaring tidal wave he has the presence of mind to be a little surprised that he lasted this long.

It doesn’t take Derek long to join him, and his powerful body lifts them both off the bed twice as he jerks.

They both spend some time lying down and gasping after that.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Stiles says eventually. “Is it always like that?”

“No,” Derek says, sounding slightly dazed. “Not always.”

Derek is a mess. His hair is sticking up in weird directions, his cock is hanging out of his jeans, and the whole area around where his jeans and t-shirt meet are sticky with two people’s come. He looks absolutely fucking beautiful.

“I really, really hate to say this,” Stiles says. “But I think you have to get out of my house.”

Derek blinks until his eyes focus on Stiles. “Your dad,” he says.

“Yeah,” Stiles says. “He has to make sure I didn’t fall asleep.” An absurd giggle threatens the end of that sentence, and Stiles stuffs a hand into his mouth to prevent the giggle from erupting into a full blown hysterical laughing fit.

“I meant it, you know,” Derek says, and he rolls over onto Stiles, pinning him to the bed. He leans down and says it into Stiles’s ear. “I want to fuck you.”

That kills the laughter in Stiles’s throat. “Not - not now,” Stiles gets out, possibly the most conflicted thing he’s ever had to say.

“No,” Derek agrees, nosing at Stiles’s neck. “Not now.” He licks a warm stripe up to Stiles’s earlobe, and then he bites down on Stiles’s shoulder. Stiles shudders.

“Later,” Stiles whispers.

“Later,” Derek rumbles against his skin.

Then Derek gets up, leaving Stiles aching for his warm weight, and starts putting himself together. By the time he has his leather jacket and stony expression back, and except for his stained jeans, Stiles can almost believe that nothing unusual happened on this particular werewolf visit to his bedroom. He gives Derek a little wave.

“Bye,” he says.

Derek looks at him, and for a moment his eyes burn with everything that happened between them. Then he nods at Stiles, opens the window, and is gone.

Stiles stares into the space that Derek left for a long time before he remembers that he’s supposed to be covering up the evidence of a hookup. He changes pajamas and quietly pads to the bathroom down the hall to wash his face and hands. When he gets back, the room smells pretty thickly of sex, so he has to open the window and air out his comforter for a while, which is ridiculous and if his dad catches him doing it there will be a lot of questions he can’t really think of answers for right now.

An electric wide-awakeness comes over Stiles. He’s so tired, but too keyed up, too chock-full of recent events to even think about sleeping. For a while he just lets himself drown in the memory playback, heart quickening all over again.

He’s still awake when his dad checks on him, and he’s still awake when the sun rises. He’s still awake when his dad checks on him again. He’s still awake when his alarm goes off a half an hour later.

Well, that’s one way to avoid a concussion, Stiles thinks a little hysterically, pouring orange juice into his cereal and trying to read the comics page upside down. His dad clears his throat loudly until Stiles realizes what he’s doing, at which point Stiles gives up on breakfast and demands to be driven to school early, pleading last-minute homework.

He knows that Scott can smell Derek on him, and he knows that Scott wants to ask him about it, because Scott keeps trying to catch his eye during classes and once he throws him a note when Mr. Harris isn’t looking that says ??? But Stiles isn’t ready to talk about what happened, and he definitely isn’t ready to have an argument about how Derek is the enemy and Derek is running a creepy paramilitary training ground and how come Stiles suddenly likes dudes?

It’s possible that Derek is the enemy, in which case Stiles is having an awesome forbidden romance, and if Derek isn’t the enemy, then Stiles is having an awesome supernatural romance, so he doesn’t really see the point in worrying about distinctions. And Stiles still likes girls, obviously, but he has also been pretty vocal about having liked dudes for a while. It’s not his fault that nobody listens.

Stiles is willing to ignore the creepy training ground thing.

It’s Allison, of course, who finally gets it out of him.

“You look terrible,” she says when he finds her outside at free period, otherwise known as “we live in an unparalleled age of technology and connectivity and yet Stiles is still required to be a romantic go-between” period. “Did you sleep last night?”

“Maybe,” Stiles says, trying to remember if there were a couple hours in there before Derek showed up.

“Maybe? Jeez, Stiles,” she says. “Sit down, okay?”

He sits down.

“Okay, so was it your head?” Allison asks, studying his face. She’s got her long hair tied back in a complicated bun and she’s wearing dangly earrings and a collection of scarves. She looks like she slept for fourteen hours and then hit the spa before school.

“Yes. I mean no, I don’t have a concussion,” he backtracks when she looks alarmed. “I tried to sleep. But...” For a moment the enormous secret teeters on the brink. But it never really had a chance anyway. It slowly tips, and spills out. “Derek came by last night.”

Allison frowns deeply. “Why? What did he want?”

“Me,” Stiles says, voice cracking, aware of how melodramatic that sounds but too fucking tired to do anything about it.

Allison’s stare is very deer-in-the-headlights for about five seconds. Then she pulls it together. “Oh,” she says. “Are you... good with that? I mean, do you want... him?”

Stiles looks at Allison, his lovely friend, who is trying so hard and who cares about him so much that she is asking questions instead of yelling, which is what he knows she wants to do, and what Scott, much as Stiles loves him, would definitely do.

“Yeah,” he tells her honestly. “Like, so much I kind of feel like I’m losing my mind. And I know how complicated that is for, you know, us. But I would never do anything to jeopardize you or Scott or anything we’re working for, and also I don’t even know if it’s going anywhere, or what it is. Maybe there is no it. I have no actual solid information on what’s going on, I just know that I don’t want to hurt you or Scott, and I don’t want to tell Scott about it yet, and I don’t want to not see Derek, and I’m... really, really tired.” He presses the heels of his hands into his eyes until he can see little bursts of color. When he takes his hands away, Allison is looking at him with indescribable fondness. She leans forward and hugs him tightly.

“I don’t trust Derek,” she says into his shoulder. She smells like lavender shampoo. “But I trust you. You’re my friend. And I want you to have what you want.” She gives him a squeeze, and lets him go. “Just please be careful,” she tells him. “Maybe I should teach you how to use a knife or something.”

“Ha ha,” Stiles says, mostly because there’s a lump in his throat he doesn’t want her to notice. “Me with sharp objects, I really don’t know about that one.”

“Yeah, I don’t know either,” she admits. “Maybe pepper spray?”

“As long as the nozzle is clearly marked,” Stiles says, “because I have in the past sprayed myself in the face with pepper spray.”

Allison looks at him with some concern.

“To be fair, I was nine,” Stiles says.

“I might just buy you a rape whistle,” Allison says seriously.

“You know, werewolves are sensitive to sound, so that could work great.”

“It’s going to have to.”

Stiles scrubs his hand back and forth over his head a few times and smiles lopsidedly at her. “So!” he says. “What goopy nonsense would you like me to whisper lovingly in Scott’s ear today?”


Lydia comes to sit with them at lunch. Stiles hardly even notices.