It's a plan that will have few casualties except, perhaps, his pride, but he can't care about the negative consequences when the positive ones beckon to him. It's simple. He needs Scott in his pack. Scott and Stiles are a packaged deal. The best way to get Scott is to get Stiles first. He's noticed how Stiles' heart-rate increases in his presence. It won't take much for him to seduce Stiles, secure Scott as a permanent member, then orchestrate a Stiles-lead break-up because it's obvious he's not boyfriend material.
It isn't a noble plan, or a moral one. When Derek gives any time over to thinking about it, all he can think about are the parallels with Kate.
Conveniently, he doesn't spare much time to thinking about anything at all. In war, there can be no time wasted.
Scott's pretending to attempt to help Stiles train. Actually, he's focused more on his Allison situation and isn't even deigning Stiles with his usual advice of, "I don't know how I do it, I just do." But, still, they're sending balls flying through the air, and Stiles is trying to catch them without tumbling onto his ass, and it's probably the most 'normal' thing they've done in a long time, so Stiles isn't complaining. Only a little bit. Couched in humor.
"Do you think I'll ever make first line?" he asks after one spectacular fall.
Scott helps him up. "Of course. I mean, you have already. You're just never here when you do."
"I'm invariably doing something to save your ass, no need to sound so accusatory."
"Not accusation. Fact."
"Masquerading as allegation," Stiles says, brandishing his stick like a weapon.
Scott keeps side-eying his phone and it's about breaking Stiles' heart, so he begins to pack up his kit, only grumbling quietly as he does so.
"You want me to drive you over to Allison's?"
Scott's face lights up like the fourth of July, and now Stiles has Katy Perry stuck pulsating in his brain. "You don't have to do that."
"I know, but do you want me to anyway?"
"You're the best of all best friends."
"You say that as if you've only just figured it out."
Scott decides he has to freshen up before meeting his lady-love, but Stiles is barely comfortable baring all when surrounded by the whole team, let alone just one other guy (and he does not mentally flash back to all those naked paddling pool days they share, no way in hell, because what on God's Green Earth were their parents thinking?), so he changes quickly in the locker room and plays Fruit Ninja.
He doesn't know what it is that makes him look up. Maybe he sees something black and foreboding in his peripheral vision. Maybe there's a metallic scent in the air. Either way, he looks up, and there's Derek, the grade-A stalker that he is, staring at him. Intensely. Stiles can never control the way his heart skips a beat when he has Derek's whole attention. He's tried, but nope, nuh-uh, not happening, not even the tiniest amount. His heart? Skipping away. Like a needle on a record, like a little girl with some delicious cotton candy.
"Scott's in the shower. Which you must already know. So you're probably waiting. Ugh, the implications."
Derek's face doesn't even twitch. "I came to see you."
Stiles' mouth is frequently open, but rarely so out of his control. He's gaping and he can't stop. "Huh?"
Derek steps forward, somehow rigid and fluid at the same time. Stiles has an unfortunate mental picture of silly-putty. Black leather encased silly-putty. That settles next to Stiles on the bench. Stiles was fairly convinced he'd gotten over his Derek panic sometime between holding Derek up in a pool for two hours and, well, now. But apparently not. This is too bizarre and he is wigging out.
"I have a proposition for you."
"If it involves any virgin sacrifice or ritual mutilation; first of all, how dare you, and second, I thank you kindly but no."
"I didn't originally plan for either of those things," Derek says, expression not changing, though he sounds world-weary. "But they can be arranged."
"Is this where I squeak for your edification?" Stiles asks, still slicing and dicing, because it's helping him release pent-up energy. "Because I'm not going to do that."
Derek reaches over, fingers trapping Stiles' as he takes his phone. Stiles does not squeak. It's more of a low-throated groan. Totally not the success he was hoping for. He cranes his head around, figuring Scott has to be coming out of the shower soon. It's been four whole minutes. And, yeah, maybe he's painfully acquainted with Scott's usual twenty-minute suds and scrub, but at school? They spend way too much time than is healthy in the showers and locker room as it is. Derek puts his phone on the bench. Stiles cradles his hands together, not wringing them exactly, more twiddling his thumbs.
"My deal is this: I will train you in lacrosse if you teach me some of your internet and library research skills."
"What do you know about lacrosse?"
"A helluva lot more than you, judging by your performance today. Look me up in the yearbook and newspaper archives if you don't believe me."
Stiles licks against the roof of his mouth to try and dampen it. All that happens is the sensation of sandpaper against his palate. Derek concentrates on his lips and Stiles can feel heat rising up his chest and neck. He knows he's probably beginning to blush fire-truck red. "And why would you be suggesting an exchange instead of simply demanding my assistance?"
Derek's glare gets colder. How can it get colder? It was already icy. "If you feel like you owe me you'll do a better job of teaching me."
"What happens if I say no?"
Derek tilts his head to the side, his only other concession to displaying any kind of emotion. This seems like mild irritation mixed with curiosity to Stiles. It could also be a bad case of indigestion. "What do you think'll happen?"
"You'll suck my spine out through my nose in ten seconds flat?"
"Colorful. But no. The worst that'll happen is you'll never make first line. And I will constantly come to you for information, at all hours of the day and night. And after I've tortured you that way for a year or more, I'll rip your throat out. By that stage, it'll be a mercy killing."
"Sure making voluntary Derek-time an attractive prospect," Stiles says, wondering if the roll of his eyes accurately conveys how eye-roll-worthy he finds Derek's schtick. That's better than wondering if he should take him up on his offer.
"You have twenty-four hours to decide," Derek says, and then he's strolling away, hands tucked into his leather jacket. Strolling. If he added more hip action it'd be a swagger.
Stiles stares at the taut line of his back until it disappears around the corner; perplexed, bamboozled, topsy-turvy. There aren't enough flailing gestures and exclamations that could do his confusion justice. Just --- what? How? Why? Hweugh?
Scott comes out of the shower five minutes later. Stiles has been staring at the wall, transfixed. He sniffs the air, frowns.
"Why was Derek here?"
"I don't really know," Stiles replies.
He's gotten good at lying to Scott using intensifiers and small omissions. He doesn't really know why Derek was there, so he can say that easily without Scott's wolfy senses cluing into him kind of knowing.
"Did he want to see me?"
"He bailed once you'd been in the shower for fifteen minutes, man."
Also not a lie. Stiles should probably feel bad at his lying-to-his-best-friend skills. They're edging close to his resignedly-accepting-he'll-get-pushed-aside-for-a-girlfriend skills. And his eating-two-bowls-of-lucky-charms-in-one-minute skills.
Scott looks put out and has his mouth open to speak more, but then his phone vibrates and his concentration is wholly absorbed by whatever cutesy message Allison is leaving him. Stiles heaves a mental sigh of relief. He can't say why he wants to keep this from Scott. The sensible thing would be to debate the merits and downfalls of accepting anything from the Tall, Dark and Brooding one. Except that he's positive Scott will immediately nix the idea and Stiles is leaning toward maybe possibly saying yeah.
Stiles really, really wants to make first line. And if it also means the potential to learn more about a werewolf who's been half-wolf his entire life? And means he gets him out of his buzzcut in years to come because he can Google things properly for himself? The good of this deal really seems to outweigh the bad.
He shakes himself out of his meandering thoughts and wraps his arm around Scott's shoulders. "C'mon lover boy, let's roll."
Scott is a comforting, solid presence against his side, nothing inconsistently harrowing or remotely worrying. Just good old Scott.
"I had a thought, in the shower," Scott says.
"I totally don't need to hear anymore about your sex fantasies, I'm scarred for life after the one where you were a literal dickhead. Thanks anyway."
"No, after them. About how we could train you up to make first line. Your main weakness is coordination, right? I have the perfect solution! Dance lessons. You should learn how to tango. Then, you'll get, like, nimble, and sure-footed, and Lydia will notice you."
Stiles stares at Scott for a good three minutes before starting up his Jeep. Between the samba and Derek, Stiles thinks his decision has been made.
He's been waiting for an excuse to do this. It's taken a lot of self-will not to scour the archives to find anything he could on Derek. Now, he's been given permission --- hey, invocation. He isn't wasting time. So, he searches. He searches and completely ignores the swing-beat echoing against his rib-cage.
Derek was some kind of lacrosse God. It shouldn't really be a surprise, but it is. There are countless mentions of his prowess (actually, he counted, and there are seventeen in the yearbooks alone.) Derek's record makes Jackson's look like that of a toddler. Makes all of Scott's achievements pale. He did things with a stick that professionals wished they could do. It doesn't guarantee that he can show Stiles how to have even an eighth of his success, but he clearly knows what he's talking about.
There's a solitary picture in the corner of one page. It's blurry and not only are his eyes scrunched shut, but Derek's facing off to the side. Stiles is willing to bet it's the only photograph of him the school ever managed to get. He's decked out in a white wife-beater and the red shorts Stiles knows so well. And he's --- scrawny. Like, thinner than Stiles. Negligible arm muscles. Knobbly knees. Stiles had seen mentions of "a build you wouldn't think would translate to dominance", but, really? It puts a whole new spin on things. Stiles wonders if Derek even had any wolfy superpowers when he was scoring all those goals, which makes him boggle. What if they developed later and it was all latent talent?
Stiles traces his finger over young-Derek's face. According to the caption he's just turned sixteen. His eyes are scrunched up because he's laughing so hard; carefree, full of life. And maybe he was always an asshole --- Jackson-lite --- arrogant and entitled. But Stiles doesn't think so. He closes the book, taps his fingers against the cover. He's made up his mind.
At first, he was going to ask Erica to do the seducing. She seemed more appropriate for the task. He was convinced that whatever attraction Stiles held for him would be overshadowed by a pretty blonde. Then he discovered she'd always had a crush on Stiles and he realized the risk was too great. He couldn't let feelings get involved. Erica wouldn't know where to draw the line. She'd get caught up in the fantasy. He stepped up to the plate.
He convinced himself he didn't have to like it for it to work. He didn't have to agree every step of the way. And he wasn't planning on breaking Stiles' heart, because even at his most charming there wasn't any way an intelligent person like Stiles could fall head over heels for him. He was too damaged. It would be a fling. A smile and a kiss and a "this won't work out". They'd part as amicably as they could ever get and Stiles would bounce away from the experience as resilient as always. Meanwhile, Scott would have seen the benefits of working with the pack so even though his best friend was no longer making eyes at his Alpha, he'd stay.
When Stiles appears at the depot, all tentative twitching and large brown doe eyes, Derek has a moment where all he can think is 'no'. No. Maybe lacrosse and research are enough. Perhaps he doesn't need to take it any further than a smile and a "thanks for helping". But then, when Stiles says, "Derek, I'm gonna take you up on your offer. But you have to promise not to snap me in two", he remembers the times they've all saved one another's lives and still Scott won't join him, so maybe there's no other way.
"When do you want to start?" Derek asks, because he learned a long time ago not to make any promises.
Stiles shrugs. "How about now? A quick drive to the library, a little search engine one-oh-one."
Derek narrows his eyes. "You'd teach me before I show you a thing?"
There's something careful in Stiles' expression, something guarded, something he doesn't want Derek to see. "Well, this way you'll owe me."