“You know we have to train him, right?”
Scott’s head snaps up from where he was looking at the dirty concrete floor of the subway station, confusion written all over his face. Not even five seconds ago, they were talking about Scott being part of Derek’s pack so they could all try to bring down the Kanima together. And now somehow, they’re talking about training? Training who? “What? What are you talking about?”
Derek just raises his eyebrows and looks pointedly over Scott’s shoulder. Scott whips his body around and looks at Stiles, who’s sitting against the old subway car. His legs are drawn up to his chest and his arms are wrapped around them, cheek resting on his knee, folded up like he doesn’t want to take up space. Stiles’ eyes are closed, body lax, and it looks like he could be sleeping. After knowing him for so long, though, Scott knows better. He’s trying to stave off a panic attack.
Scott turns back around, eyebrows high. “You mean Stiles? You want to train Stiles?”
Derek just nods, like he doesn’t see how this is a Very Bad No Good Absolutely Horrible Idea.
“You do realize that’s Stiles, right?” Scott says. “Clumsy. Kind of obnoxious. Human.” He tacks the last one on pointedly, trying to make Derek understand without having to explain it. Scott really sucks at trying to explain things.
Scott sputters a little bit. Dammit. He looks up at the ceiling, eyes skating over all the rusting, crisscrossing beams like they’ll magically give him something to say. “He’s… human? You can’t train him, Derek, not like you trained us. He’s my best friend, and I hate to say it, but he’s so clumsy. Stiles wouldn’t know coordinated if it hit him in the balls.”
He’s rewarded with an eye roll. “That will make training him harder, but not impossible. He needs it.”
“Stiles takes care of himself just fine,” Scott says, voice firm, but really he’s about ten seconds away from begging.
“He needs to be able to take care of himself better,” Derek says, and the growl is creeping into voice that lets Scott know this conversation is just about done. “If anything, he just needs to know how to fight. One these days, Scott, he’s going to be in trouble and neither of us will be able to help him. If he’s going to survive he needs to know how to protect himself.”
Derek is right. Scott knows he’s right, and kind of agrees in a way, but he still doesn’t like it. He’s defeated but tries to argue anyway. “His dad is a cop. I’m pretty sure he knows some basic self defense.”
“He needs more than basic. He needs to be able to fight his way out of a situation when thinking his way out of it isn’t an option. He needs to find his weaknesses and better them. Why are you so against him learning to protect himself, Scott?”
His mouth falls open, wanting to tell him, but he closes it again. Sure, Derek is completely right in wanting to give Stiles a little bit more help in the kung-fu department or whatever, but it makes Scott uneasy. If Stiles knows how to fight, knows how to wield a knife, can kill a guy with his bare hands… then there’s no going back for him. Stiles won’t ever be able to get away from this. He’ll be bound to this lifestyle in a way that Scott isn’t, but still in a way that will change him forever. It makes him kind of sad. Scott doesn’t say any of this, though, just nods his head glumly and looks away from Derek.
“Whatever aversion you have to this, you’ll get over it.” Derek stands up from where he was sitting on an old wood crate, looking at Scott seriously. “He needs this. You know that.”
Scott huffs. “Yeah. At least let me help.”
“Oh, you’re all gonna help,” is all he says before clapping Scott on the shoulder roughly and walking off. Scott turns around, sighing heavily, getting ready to get Stiles before Derek pokes his head out of the doors of the subway car. He cuts his eyes down toward Stiles and back up at Scott, face stern. “You’d better tell him.”
Stiles is already on his feet by the time Scott walks over. “Tell me what?”
Scott sighs again and shakes his head. “Let’s go home.”
They ride home in Stiles’ jeep because, surprise, Melissa still won’t let Scott drive her car anywhere. It doesn’t really bother Stiles, though, having to drive everyone everywhere. Only sometimes, like when a werewolf is half dying and bleeding on the seats. Usually though, it’s just him and Scott, and that’s just fine, because he likes Scott. The only werewolf who ever seems to be half dying all the time is the one he doesn’t like. The one that rhymes with Ferek Fale.
“So,” Stiles says, breaking the silence they’ve been sitting in for a good ten minutes. Stiles is not a fan of silence. “What are you supposed to tell me?”
Scott groans in response, dropping his head into his hands. “Dammit, I thought you were going to forget about that.”
“Oh dude, come on, really?” Stiles says, only a little offended. “You think I’d forget the ‘All Powerful and Terrible Derek Hale’ saying, very ominously I might add, that you needed to tell me something?”
All he gets in response is a punch when he takes his hands off the wheel to make air quotes around Derek’s name. He laughs, hands back on the wheel, and slowly lets his words sink into Scott’s brain. They’ve been friends for so long that Stiles knows all the right words to get Scott to spill in his own time. And, by “all the right words” it means “every single word that pops into Stiles’ head”. “What if he was trying to tell you that I have superpowers? Like, he can smell it on me? Oh wow, that’s gross. But seriously, what if I’m magic? Don’t hold out on me, dude. You get totally badass werewolf powers and if you keep me from being a total badass wizard I swear to God—”
Groaning, Scott finally gives in and glares at the side of his head. “Fine! Oh my god, fine. Just shut up.”
Stiles just smirks. Victory.
Scott fidgets, suddenly uncomfortable, looking briefly out the window of the jeep. “He said, um,” he hesitates, hands twisting together in his lap, looking at them instead of Stiles. “He said we— ”
“What?! He said you have to what?! You’re freaking me out, man, just spit it out.”
And then, Scott does the one thing that Stiles hates the most. He makes The Face. The face where Scott squints one eye, draws his eyebrows together in the middle, and gives this tiny little apologetic smile. He uses it whenever he has to give Stiles some news that is Really Crappy And You Won’t Like At All But I Find Vaguely Amusing. Nothing good ever comes from Scott giving him The Face.
Stiles hates The Face.
“Well… He said we have to train you.”
Did he hear that right? They have to train him? Stiles is quiet for about five seconds before he starts laughing. “Oh, that’s funny. That’s a joke, right? You’re just kidding and you’re about to tell me that Derek thinks I’m a wizard.”
Scott doesn’t say anything, only draws his shoulders up to his ears. The Face intensifies.
“Wait—are you serious? Derek wants to train me? What?” Stiles is lucky that Scott managed to wait until they pulled into Stiles’ driveway before he dropped that bombshell. He probably would have crashed the car. He turns the car off and turns toward Scott, who is still giving him The Face, only with a little bit of Kicked Puppy thrown in. “Derek wants to train me?”
Scott nods, sighing heavily, and slumps back against the pale leather of the seat. “Yeah. He says that you need to know how to protect yourself better.”
“Wha—” He sputters, at a loss, hands flailing in front of him. Protect himself? Against what? “Against what, exactly?” he asks. “Against Derek? Because that’s actually pretty useful, you know, I’d be totally okay with learning how to fight off Derek because I swear to God he hates me and one of these days he’s just going to give up the ghost and eat me. I can see it in his eyes. He wants to claw off my face and cook it in his little werewolf oven.”
Scott laughs. “No, dude, not against Derek. And I’m pretty sure Derek doesn’t want to eat you. He just said that, if you’re gonna be helping us like this all the time,” and by this Stiles assumes he means saving their lives, “then you’re gonna have to learn how to protect yourself in case something crazy happens and neither of us can get to you.”
Oh. That actually makes sense. “Could you not have said that in the first place? Now I’m going to be haunted by nightmares of Derek tearing off my face skin and cooking it in front of me for no reason.”
Scott just rolls his eyes, opening the car door to get out without giving him an answer. They both walk up to Stiles’ room, bags slung over their shoulder from where they had them stashed in Stiles’ backseat. Once they get to Stiles’ room, both of them throw their bags at the desk and flop down on Stiles’ bed, deciding that homework is a no-go.
It’s quiet for awhile, both of them just laying there, and Stiles says, “Is this going to hurt?”
“Is what going to hurt?”
Oh, Scott. “The training. Is it going to hurt? Is it going to cause me physical and or mental anguish?”
Scott’s quiet for a second, face screwed up like he’s thinking really hard and Stiles desperately wants to tell him that he’s going to hurt himself, but then Scott looks over at him with a satisfied look.