Stiles's head is ringing. He'd never understood that phrase before but he gets it now, he absolutely gets it. Skull...vibrating. It's really not a pleasant sensation. He's still lying on the floor, where Derek shoved him after the angry bird woman tried to rip his head off, and judging by the screeching, growling and snapping of branches the fight's still going on without him. He really should make some sort of effort to go and help. Even if that help consists entirely of not being sprawled out on the floor where he could be accidentally clawed or gouged in a way he won't enjoy very much. But, even as he thinks it there's a horrible snap, and the bird-monster-woman thing goes suspiciously quiet.
So, they won? Probably?
There's a crunch of footsteps, and then Derek's looming over him, angrily blotting out the blurry branches with his face. There's a smudge of dirt on his forehead.
"I'm going to assume that you won. Which I never had any doubts about by the way." Stiles raises a fist, but Derek just ignores it until it becomes weird, so he lets it fall again.
It's almost certainly safe to lie there now and try to get his breath back, arms flung out to the side. But Derek doesn't bother waiting for Stiles to decide he's ready to be upright again. He reaches down and hauls him up by his jacket - which is awkward because he pulls really hard and Stiles is forced to either grab Derek, or attempt to brace himself with his face. His face has taken enough punishment for one day. Derek will just have to put up with his grubby fingers all over him while he steadies himself. Stiles uses his hold on Derek to get a look over his shoulder. There's a crooked pile of flesh and feathers ten feet away, and Stiles doesn't really want to look at it too closely. What with him being pretty sure that the bird-woman has also been half chewed by werewolf.
Derek lets him go and then rolls his shoulders, lip curling up at the edge, and Stiles knows that face. It's Derek's 'I've been injured and I am bearing it stoically,' face.
"You got clawed up didn't you." He's already tugging at the leather of Derek's sleeve. "I told you to watch out for her claws. I specifically said, dude, watch the four inch claws - talons, bird razors." He gestures to demonstrate how vicious the things had looked. "Those things were freakin' sharp."
Derek twitches again, frowning. Stiles has a pretty good handle on Derek's faces (there aren't that many of them and most of them are the same.) But this one's definitely new.
"What, what's wrong?"
"It's not healing," Derek says.
"What do you mean it's not healing?" Stiles grips his arm and twists him, kind of surprised that Derek lets him.
The jacket is dead, the jacket had died for the cause, it's ripped clean through, and when Stiles carefully slides it down Derek's arms he doesn't even try and stop him.
The back of his t-shirt is torn all to hell, and bright red where he's already bleeding through it. Stiles carefully lifts what's left of the material all the way up, and winces. He really wasn't kidding when he said those things were sharp. The claw marks start off bloody and just get nastier. Derek twitches as the material unsticks, but maybe there's something in Stiles's little noise of sympathy, because he reaches over his shoulder and carefully tugs the shirt over his head. The scratches begin just under his shoulder and go all the way down, shallow at the top but deeper as they go, curving like she'd try to latch onto him. They've ripped all the way through the waistband of his jeans. There's a wet patch of blood and then they disappear under the torn fabric.
"Oh, damn, this looks genuinely nasty, seriously those things have done a number on you man, there's tearing here. If you hadn't been wearing the jacket she might have done some serious damage but still - it looks exactly like the sort of thing that can get infected. Tell me you can't get an infection? You guys heal everything right, unless it's poisoned, or done by an Alpha, only you're an Alpha. Maybe she was an Alpha? Is that even possible, an Alpha bird-woman? And why are there not some sort of shapeshifter cliff notes, because that would be really helpful? I mean on a constant basis. I have no idea how I stumbled through the first sixteen years of my life without noticing all the shapeshifters, seriously?"
Derek sighs, like Stiles is making his life miserable just by breathing.
Stiles pulls a face and then leans a little closer. The edges of the wounds aren't just bloody, they're sort of shiny too. He touches one, carefully, and Derek's skin twitches angrily under his finger, which tells him that they're not numb at least. He rubs his fingers together and then regrets it because it's slimy and horrible, and he's pretty sure it's getting all under his nails and what has he learned lately about touching the dubious secretions of monsters - that nothing good ever comes of it.
"I think she left some sort of...something in the wounds. Something ever so slightly gross and - now I have it on my fingers." He wipes them on his jeans. "Do you have any idea what it could be?"
"No, I don't, because I can't see it," Derek says, and he gets a healthy amount of annoyance into the words. Stiles can feel the glare, even though he's currently looking at Derek's back. To be fair, he has a point.
"Ok, hang on, hang on." He tugs his phone out of his pocket. "I'm going to take a picture of it so I can show you."
He takes a step back and tries to get the whole thing in, but the bottom of it's still half-hidden by Derek's jeans.
"Pull your jeans down a little."
Derek glares at him over his shoulder. A sort of suspicious, molten glare of terrible suspicion and disapproval, and Stiles is genuinely offended because he's being perfectly mature and not in any way trying to angle for free porn. Which he absolutely could, because he's sixteen and apparently werewolves are all about the surprise nudity. It's all fun and games until someone wants you to take photos of their horrible wounds, and then suddenly you're the pervert. But then Derek sighs and there's the clack of a belt and - ok, yes, that's lower than was probably necessary, and that has to be the angriest mostly-naked pose Stiles has ever seen. Ok, granted, it's also the only angry, mostly-naked pose he's ever seen, but he can already tell that it would top some sort of list. From the tense line of Derek's shoulders to the equally tense - or perhaps taut, taut is a good word - no, bad word, take a picture.
He takes the picture, and the scratches go very low, ending in fine, curving lines which have barely bled, and Stiles feels duty bound to try and get the whole thing from beginning to end. Medical assistance, he tells his brain, and his fingers when he uses them to tilt Derek, just a little. He was providing evidence and medical assistance. Which doesn't change the fact that Derek has an amazing ass. That Stiles just happens to be taking pictures of...in the middle of the woods, after dark.
"Stop taking photos of my ass and let me see," Derek growls out, and he makes it sound so dirty that Stiles wants to protest. But the phone's snatched out of his hand - taking a photo of the dirt and Stiles's sneakers on the way.
"My God, I was being thorough." He's perfectly within his rights to be offended by that. No one appreciates it when he's being sensible and not-distracted.
Derek swivels the phone around, squints at it. Stiles leans over his arm and points at the screen
"They're pretty shallow at the top, but they really dig in past your waist, where she tried to latch onto you." Stiles thinks about it for a second. "Like you were a delicious salmon."
Derek clearly doesn't appreciate the description, because his mouth does that angry pinching thing. Stiles has secretly dubbed that his least attractive grumpy face.
The next picture is where he tried to get a close-up of the shiny stuff.
"That's the stuff, it's kind of clear and you can't really see it, but there's definitely something in there that came off her talons. I think if you just wash them out they should start healing properly."
The next picture -
"That's -" Stiles stops.
"My ass," Derek says.
Which - no, there's really no way to refute that. That's a pretty incriminating photo.
"Umm - I will admit that that may be mostly your ass. But I was trying to get the end of the scratch so you could see how deep it went." Stiles gestures in some sort of awkward and probably unhelpful way. "I'd already done your back and I wanted some sort of panoramic view, or whatever the vertical version of that is. There was complicated physics going on in my head, and your ass was completely accidental. Though not accidental in a bad way, it is in no way bad. It's amazing, you have an amazing ass. I am in no way insulting your ass. If I had your express permission to take pictures of it then I absolutely would." Oh my God stop talking. "And I should stop talking before I actually physically die of shame. I'm going to stop talking now."
"First time for everything," Derek says, and it might be Stiles's imagination but there is the slim possibility that Derek is amused, beneath his veneer of threatening intensity. Which is new and slightly disturbing and...maybe good?
Derek grunts and shoves the phone at him, without in any way attempting to delete anything. Stiles fumbles to catch it and then pushes it hurriedly into his pocket because Derek is already striding away.
"Do you need a ride back to -"
"Well ok then," Stiles shouts into the distance. "I'll just find my Jeep, in the dark, and make my own way home shall I?"