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Dogs of War

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"Damn, kid. I really got you, didn't I?" The masked boy dances away, laughing, his bat dripping blood. Derek's blood.

"I'm older than you are," Derek grits out, staggering back to his feet, ribs already healing with an audible snap of bone.

"I just broke your ribs, and that's what bothers you?"

"Accuracy is important." Derek's eyes flicker over the boy's body, trying to pinpoint the source of his next movement, his next attack - but that body only goes lax, in a disturbing and - and inviting way, as the boy finds a crate to lean against. Lounge against. Seduce against…?

"That sounds like Peter. You sound like Peter. Peter's awesome."

"My uncle is a murdering megalomaniac."

"Like I said. Awesome. He's got style. Like you do."

Derek is acutely aware of the appreciative once-over, even though he can't see the boy's expression. The red hoodie shadows his face, from which the muzzled mask protrudes, like a snout. "I don't murder innocent people."

"Define 'innocent'. I know you've killed. I can smell it on you. You smell good. Heh. Hot."

"Self-defense isn't murder."

"Define 'defense'." The boy swings his bat back and forth, in loose, easy figure-eights, as loose and easy as the spread of his thighs. Denim stretches across them, snug and skin-tight. "You'd also look great in a leather jacket. That's a definite bonus. Peter might not care much for the, how shall we say, packaging, but I do. And you've got a nice package. Very nice."

Derek slides his claws out and calculates various angles of trajectory that might take him to the crate without first alerting the boy. There are none. Damn it. This warehouse is built primarily of metal, and every noise will reverberate loudly enough to give him away. On the one hand, hiding out here had given Derek the advantage of hearing any and all intruders, but on the other hand, he's never had to fight a battle here, either. Not against another werewolf. Let alone one of his uncle's pack.

"You're smart. You're canny. You're family. Which is why he wants you in his pack."

"A pack of masked, unnamed bandits isn't one I want to - "

"I'm Stiles."

Derek doesn't pause; he can't afford to. He keeps moving, zig-zagging unpredictably across the floor, edging closer and closer to the boy - to Stiles, what type of name is that? - while considering and discarding several alternatives involving Stiles's internal organs and the pointy ends of Derek's fist. He won't kill the boy - he's not a killer - but he has to get out of here and away from this maniac. Away from New York. He has no idea how Peter managed to track him here, of all places, but -

"Rude. Aren't you supposed to say something to me? Like, 'Hi, Stiles, I'm Derek'?"

"You already know my name."

"I'd like to scream it. And not," Stiles flits away, birdlike, when Derek reaches him and tries to land a hit, "in terror or in pain. Well. Not a lot of pain. Would you like to fuck me, Derek?"

The suggestion has been there, all along, in Stiles's body-language. In his scent. But - "I thought you were Peter's mate." Which is… not what Derek had meant to say. He'd meant to say no -

"Ha! His mate? Nah. Me and Lydia, sure, we have sex with him, sometimes, when he feels like it. But he's got another mate in mind. A human woman. To bear him cubs, after he Turns her. And her son, because she won't consent if he doesn't Turn him, first. Even though the guy's kind of an idiot. But he'll be useful, I guess. In his own way. An Omega."

"And I'll be…?"

"A Beta, of course."

"Won't that threaten your rank?"

"Oh, Derek," says Stiles, almost pityingly. "No one threatens me."

Derek snarls, doing his level goddamn best to be threatening, but the boy just laughs, high and joyous and bright, transparent as a shard of glass glittering in the darkness. He won't stop moving, dodging every one of Derek's strikes, wearing him out.

It's a classic textbook maneuver, and it should be predictable and therefore beatable, but nothing about the way this kid moves is within the range of predictability. This is obviously what Stiles has trained himself for, what he's focused on, instead of physical strength. (That's what most werewolves focus on, when they're young - often to their detriment. Derek ought to know; he'd been one of them.)

His claws catch on Stiles's abdomen and the air is instantly flooded with a coppery spill of rust, salt-rich and thick, that makes Derek slaver and his fangs lengthen and his gut ache.

Stiles is moaning.

What the -

What the fuck? How is that even -

"Oh, I like that," Stiles says, which is insane, and what's even more insane is how the sound of that moan had made Derek's dick twitch.

Why is he even hard -

"What's my uncle been doing to you?" Derek rasps, instead, trying to swipe Stiles's legs out from under him - trying, and failing, because those sneaker-clad feet are still nimble. The scent of fresh blood has already been replaced with the dull-brown stench of drying blood, where it had soaked invisibly into the red hoodie. The wound Derek had landed on Stiles is already healing, werewolf-quick.

"Hm? Nothing much. A little education, if you know what I mean. Discipline, when I get outta line."

"You like it." What is Derek saying?

"When I'm hurt? Hell, yeah. Let's just say most discipline won't work on me, anymore. It's a tough job. Peter says I keep challenging him to be, heh, creative."

"You're both mad."

"We're happy. And you could be, too, if you joined us."

"Never."

And Stiles is laughing again, uproarious and free, wild as a creature that's never been tamed. How is he a Beta? There's nothing of submission in him, at all.

"Man, you're hilarious," Stiles chuckles. "Could you be more Doomed Hero Facing a Moral Crisis? 'Never.' Hah. You're straight out of a dime-store novel, you know that? With the broody face and the Heathcliff eyes. And the abs. Jesus. Those abs. I wanna lick 'em. Do you seriously just hang around here shirtless, all the time? Not that I'm complaining. Please, carry on."

The bat should slow the boy down, but instead, Stiles seems to use it to build his own momentum and maximize his speed, throwing each swing in the opposite direction from the one in which he intends to go, using its weight in counterpoint to his body. He isn't even slightly out-of-breath; he's using the bat to propel him, so he doesn't use as much of his own strength.

Clever. Damnably clever -

And distracting, because Stiles is smelling more and more of sex, of fucking, of a good, hard rut.

"You want it," Stiles sing-songs, obscene as he strokes his hands over the baseball bat, firm and caressing, claws gouging shallow furrows in it, on top of the older furrows that mark it like scars. It doesn't heal. "You want my fine ass, don't you, big brother? Big Beta. Come and get it, then. It's all yours."

Derek has no intention of -

He doesn't -

Stiles is just a teenager -

Which is why Derek ends up pulling the punch that could've gutted the boy, because Derek's a fool, a bloody fool, and then he's down on the floor with his skull ringing, coughing blood onto his chin.

His ribs are broken. Again.

Shattered, to be accurate.

Accuracy is important.

Stiles's sneakers squeak as he crouches in front of Derek, his sticky bat trailing wetly across the tiles.

His eyes, when he gazes down at Derek, are a burnt, glowing orange, fired clay from a kiln. He smells like fire, all lust and violence and pure, concentrated intent, the scent of him licking up along Derek's senses, dizzying him.

"And that," Stiles says, low and strangely tender, "is why you're a kid. Derek." He winds a fist in Derek's hair and yanks his head back, while the other unbuckles the muzzled mask, and -

Derek's looking up at Stiles's face, at Stiles's -

His mouth, so soft, so deceptively soft -

He's still a child -

A child with fangs, because he leans down to bite Derek's neck, gently, and then swipe his tongue up to Derek's mouth, as cunning and quick and hot as the rest of his body is, a devilish whip of a thing, a slender weapon of muscle-and-bone.

A weapon now curved over Derek, a warm sickle in a red hoodie and ripped jeans, smiling, lapping Derek's blood from both their lips.

"You wanna know why you can't threaten my 'rank', Derek? Why no one can?" Stiles's mouth is at Derek's ear, now, a lush, electric shock of sensation, and Derek's harder than he's been in years. "Because not even Peter can. Do you know what that means?"

Derek chokes on more blood. Feels his ribs knitting back together. Tries to think -

"It means," and Stiles's voice is a hushed whisper, like they're in a church, like this is sacrament, "that maybe, if you play your cards right, you won't be his Beta, at all." Those burnt-amber eyes are lit with an unholy light, and are so very, very close to red. "You'll be mine."

"You're - " Derek's stunned. He's -

Is Stiles talking about -

A mutiny? Is he -

"Some projects need teamwork, y'know? In fact, most projects do. That's what they teach you at school. Did you learn well, Derek?"

"I - "

"If you did, then come and join us. We'll let Peter Turn another one for the pack, let him do the hard work of securing one last Omega - but in the meantime, you'll be learning Peter's ways. Observing him. And waiting. For my signal."

Derek's almost healed; he could move, now, if he wanted to.

But the force of Stiles's presence keeps him still. And that's -

What that means -

"I don't have to spell it out for you, do I? I'm just suggesting… that if you don't like how things are done in Beacon Hills, if you don't like how Peter runs his pack, then, well, you won't have to put up with it. Not for long."

"You - you don't - "

"Lydia's quite fond of Peter, but his whole getting-a-human-mate thing hasn't gone down too well with her. Not that she's said anything, but… she's a possessive one. If she can't have Peter, no one else will."

"That isn't very healthy," Derek manages, finally, hoarse through the blood he's still occasionally coughing up.

Stiles grins. "You're tellin' me. Don't get me wrong, I like Peter, too, but - he's sorta liberal with the unwarranted bloodshed. Not that I don't like bloodshed myself, but… it ain't wise, is what I'm saying. Draws too much attention. Plus, I'm the sheriff's son." He flicks his fingers, like he's dismissing something. "Used to be. Don't sit right with me, just letting my town get run into the ground by a rabid beast."

"You're a beast," Derek points out, disbelieving. He's being recruited for a goddamn rebellion after being beaten by a boy. In a warehouse in Brooklyn. It's surreal.

"Yeah, but I'm not rabid. Duh. Big difference."

He seems rabid enough, to Derek. Rabid and still smelling like mating-time, like the musk of a springtime moon -

"And you know what? You're sort of my type. An Alpha needs a mate, as much as he needs a Beta." Stiles tilts his head, staring admiringly at Derek's torso. "Maybe more."

"I won't - "

"Shut it, sweetheart. I can smell the massive hard-on you've got there. I bet it'd feel real big inside me. Even bigger when you knot. Mm."

Derek flinches away from Stiles's hand, when Stiles brings it into Derek's line of sight, but Stiles only runs the tips of his claws along Derek's face, as careful as if he's touching something precious, before pulling back and standing up.

"Well! See you around. I'll tell Peter it went smoothly. He'll be delighted."

"I won't. Be joining. The pack." Derek speaks as calmly and clearly as he can.

But Stiles only rolls his eyes. "Sure, Mr. Boner the Size of the Washington Monument." He hoists his bat over his shoulder and smirks. "You've fixated on my scent; it's obvious. You'll follow it back to Beacon Hills, once the full moon's out."

No point in denying the truth. But - "Only for the full moon."

Stiles snorts. "Yeah, right. Once you've had a taste of this," he pats his ass, "there's no going back."

"It's just a heat-bond."

"Keep repeating that, babe, and one day, you might even believe it. Not." And then he's skipping to the door, still grinning, without even bothering to clean his bat. Isn't he afraid of getting arrested? Then again, with the mask back on, he won't have to worry about being recognized. "Be seein' ya!"

Derek lies there, a few moments more, as Stiles's scent fades along with his footsteps, pulling a strange itch from within Derek's skin, like a hook from a fish's throat, an itch that somehow feels like it'd hurt as much to scratch -

No. Just a heat-bond. The full moon's only a week away, and he's vulnerable to a particular kind of temptation, the kind he's just been offered. It won't last. Not after. Not -

You'll be mine.

Not ever.