"We are not killing her! God, do you even hear yourself?!"
Stiles looks around the room, not really expecting anyone to rally behind him—he knows by now that he's alone in standing up to the big bad Alpha more often than not—but hoping that at least Scott might offer a supportive smile.
No such luck.
He throws his hands up in the air meaningfully—doubtful that anyone aside from Scott gets that it means Stiles is frustrated with them to the point of homicide—and stomps his foot because, yeah, he's just that mature.
Whatever, it makes him feel better. It's not like he can pull off the punching-the-walls thing Derek does so well.
"Stiles," Derek says in that annoying way he has of stretching out his name into a snarl. "I've made my decision."
"And we're supposed to just go with it?" Stiles scoffs at him. "Follow our fearless leader even if he says to murder an innocent girl, just because?"
"I don't care if you like the girl and want to take her to prom. She's a vampire. She has killed people. We're going with my plan."
"Oh, no, you don't," Stiles says, shaking his head irritably. "You're not turning this into a 'little Stiles likes a girl' thing, because, for your information, I don't like her like that, and surprisingly enough, despite being a teenager I can think with the head above my shoulders. She's not a threat. She's in control now. She doesn't want to hurt anyone. We don't need to kill her."
Derek's scowl deepens. "She's playing you."
Stiles wishes he could say that he was offended, but unfortunately this kind of condescension is something he expects from Derek—and pretty much every other person he's ever met, really. "And you think I'm that gullible?"
"You're that young," Derek retorts calmly.
The rest of the pack is quiet. Erica is out tailing the girl and Isaac ran out the room as soon as he smelled conflict, so it's just Scott and Boyd there, and while Scott seems torn, he's obviously not going to back Stiles on this. As a last resort Stiles turns to Boyd, but Boyd is just... Boyd.
It's embarrassing how unhelpful they are. Stiles needs to find himself some new friends.
"Really," Stiles says, taking a step toward Derek.
From the corner of his eye he sees Scott make an unsure move in his direction but then think better of it and stop himself. Scott's voice in his head says something about self-preservation instincts and how badly he lacks them, but Stiles has always been a pro at ignoring warnings and good advice, which, not so surprisingly, brings him right back to the self-preservation thing, and see, he's ignoring that, too. Who has time to listen to all those nattering instincts anyway?
"So, I'm old enough to help you, to lie for you—to my dad no less, who's the sheriff of this little town, and he knows I'm lying to him, Derek, he knows that I'm lying to him constantly and not like reclining my body in a horizontal position lying but lying lying, actual lying—and I'm old enough to kill for you, but I'm not old enough to know when you're making a mistake?" He's close enough to touch now, so he makes use of that by prodding Derek in the chest to emphasize his point. "You're not that much older than me, and being Alpha doesn't make you infallible."
Derek is giving Stiles' finger a meaningful look—which kinda wants to crawl back into Stiles' body and hide, but Stiles holds his hand firm—and he's gritting his teeth loud enough to be heard. Derek's never the most patient man to begin with and Stiles has this unique ability to make him snap. This moment has all the hallmarks of Derek, pre-snap.
"It makes me the boss, though. And I've made my decision."
"To kill an innocent girl? A teenager!" Stiles is almost yelling now. This is unbelievable.
"That innocent girl already killed two people!"
"She didn't know what she was doing!" Stiles says. "Scott tried to kill me when he was first turned. Jackson actually killed a whole bunch of people. We didn't kill either of them, because that would have been about revenge and we're not the Avengers of the werewolf community! Excuse me, but I didn't sign up for that!"
"You didn't sign up for anything!" Derek snaps, surprisingly mean, and Stiles hears someone behind him gasp.
A year ago, Stiles would have been hurt and horrified and felt unwanted and insecure. Those were the days before he really knew Derek Hale though. Nowadays he can tell the minute differences between Derek's glares and scowls—they're so expressive, you wouldn't believe—and somehow, over time, he started to understand Derek's motivations.
Stiles knows Derek is scared about ninety-eight percent of the time, and that what he's most afraid of, even more so than losing people, is that his pack will figure out his fears and insecurities.
It's so obvious when you pay attention to him that Stiles is incredibly disappointed in the supernaturally-gifted among them for not noticing.
"Yeah?" Stiles says, crossing his arms over his chest. "You're going to take your toys and leave? You think that'll make me back down?" He shakes his head. "It's like you don't even know me."
Derek's chest is rising and falling at an alarming rate, and his hands are balled up tight by his sides, fists tightening like he's going to hit someone into next week. Stiles would flinch, except—except he knows Derek wouldn't hurt him. He's not sure when that became a fact of life for him, but there you go.
"You're pushing your luck," Derek says, a warning growl rumbling in his chest, not entirely human.
"See, that's Stiles Stilinski in a nutshell!" Stiles grins. "You do know me, after all."
And there it is again. His name, all stretched out and meaningful. Not that it means anything nice, it basically just means I don't know how to shut you up but I'm tempted to try violence, so you know, it's not the kind of subtext one dreams of having etched into his name, but it's still something—something that makes Stiles' stomach flutter for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture.
"Derek," Stiles says, putting his own spin on the name, though it doesn't seem to have any effect on Derek.
"We're done here," Derek says, very pointedly turning his back on Stiles and the discussion. "We'll meet tomorrow at ten to go over the plan."
Maybe he shouldn't have challenged Derek in front of the others, and yeah, maybe the way he handles discussions could use some work, but there's no way Stiles is letting Derek get away with this.
"Derek Hale, do not make me shoot you," he says. "I've been practicing and I'm hitting the target, like, seventy percent of the time now." Derek has turned back around and looks ready to pounce. The others have frozen at the door. "Okay, so it's more like sixty-forty, but I'm sure I can make it hurt, and if you think I'll feel bad afterwards, well. I won't. I will sit with you until you heal and talk your ear off about pointless murder, and you'll wish you had listened to me in the first place—Urgh."
Derek's hands are large, and really, excessively strong. He's got Stiles' shirt bunched up in his fist and he's holding Stiles up so that only his toes are touching the floor.
"Gurck!" Stiles says, trying to communicate that Derek's crushing his larynx. His face is probably turning a nice and bright shade of red.
"Everybody out!" Derek roars, turning around to slam Stiles against the wall.
Hello, my old friend, Stiles thinks at the wall he's pressed against. He hadn't driven Derek to violence in a while—it's been a quiet couple of months—but being stuck between Derek and a hard place is still very familiar to him.
"Uh. Stiles?" Scott asks hesitantly from the door, interrupting Stiles' reminiscing. "Do you want me to...."
"Fine," Stiles croaks out. "I'm fine. Just—having a discussion here. With my buddy Derek."
"Okay," Scott says. "Just. Text me when you're home." He steps out of the room, reluctantly shutting the door behind him.
Derek doesn't speak; he seems to be listening for something. Stiles tries to focus his own senses, human as they are, and manages to catch the muted sounds of a car starting and then driving off. As soon as it's gone, Derek's attention is focused fully on him, death glare and all. Stiles would feel special, but yeah, death glare.
From this close Derek's eyes are... well, there are a number of adjectives that run through Stiles' mind, but he doesn't feel comfortable acknowledging any of them. There's always the off-chance that Derek's superpowers include mindreading, or more worryingly that Stiles might just blurt it out without thinking. That actually happens to him a lot. It's a valid concern.
"Not in front of the kids, right?" Stiles babbles. "I know. I know. Scott always looks like his parents are getting another divorce when we fight, but Derek, while I'm okay with letting you do your thing with the pack most of the time, at times like this, especially when things go in a murder-y direction, I can't stand by and let you make mistakes, because your mistakes are not like our mistakes—like that time when Isaac bleached his hair, or that whole week Erica wore pink, or when I got drunk and asked Danny out—your mistakes can have horrifying consequences, and I'm—I'm just not okay with you making those kinds of mistakes when I know better."
Running that last sentence through his mind once more, Stiles backpedals a little. "Not that I know better than you. You usually know all the cool stuff. I just mean sometimes. Maybe. I might know things. And you could listen. Maybe. Because I totally care."
Derek's hands have settled on Stiles' shoulders and now they tighten, squeezing almost hard enough to hurt. As always, Stiles thinks, Derek's body's doing most of the talking for him. This cannot be a healthy way to communicate. He's just saying.
"That's not your responsibility," Derek says finally, eyes boring holes into Stiles' head.
"And that vampire is not yours."
"She's in my territory," Derek informs him.
Werewolves and their damn territories. "Well then," Stiles tells him, "you're my territory."
Something shifts. Like the ground moving, air leaving the room, something—something big. But nothing's really happening, except Derek's eyes are suddenly a million times more intense if that's possible, and he's looking at Stiles like—like—Stiles has never had anyone look at him like that before, so he's far from an expert, but Derek almost seems predatory and not in an entirely bad way.
He leans in close, really, incredibly close, close enough that they're breathing the same air, and for a moment he appears to be trying to control himself, chest heaving against Stiles' with long, deep breaths... but then all of a sudden the moment's gone—Stiles can almost hear the snap—and Derek is pressed harder into him, his lips on Stiles', insistent, bruising, completely unexpected.
Kissing Derek isn't something Stiles has thought much about, because, again, possible werewolf powers and lack of brain-to-mouth filter, but if he had contemplated a possible make-out session with a certain Alpha, he couldn't have imagined it to be this overwhelming. It's impossible to put to words, but there's a certain too-much-ness about it that makes Stiles feel like he's drowning. And granted, he has limited experience with these things, but people don't generally make out like they're fighting, do they? None of the couples around Stiles do. But then again, this is him and Derek.
Oh, my God, Stiles freaks out quietly. Him. And Derek.
What's even happening?
While parts of his brain quietly short-circuit, other parts inform Stiles that he can stop flailing now—Stiles has no control over his limbs when he's freaking out; it's a condition—and that he should probably kiss Derek back.
Kiss Derek back. Because that's a thing he can do now.
Trying not to think too much about what he's doing—like that's possible—Stiles falls into the kiss.
It's a little bit like when he first found out about werewolves. It was scary, and it made Stiles want to run and hide and pretend it never happened, but it was also endlessly fascinating and Stiles wanted to learn every little detail about it. There was always so much to do, so much to ask, so much to try and learn.
Kissing Derek is scary—because, oh my god, what—but it's also so hot that Stiles fears the involvement of some sort of werewolf mojo. Derek's lips are soft but forceful, and he bites. Which, come to think of it, not all that surprising. His hands are on Stiles' neck, not hurting him, not bruising for once, but holding him still, and one of his thumbs may even be stroking Stiles' cheek. It's nothing like any of the first kisses Stiles has had before—nothing like any first kiss ever he would bet—but there's something about it that feels inevitable. Like, of course they would kiss like they're still arguing. Of course it would come out of nowhere. Of course.
When Derek pulls away, Stiles grabs his t-shirt to keep him from disappearing like the ninja he is. Derek doesn't seem to notice. Apparently he wasn't going anywhere.
There's a moment of silence where they just breathe against each other, and then Stiles has to go and ruin it. "That—that—you kissed me."
Derek gives him an unimpressed look.
"Right. Stating the obvious. Why did you kiss me?"
"Guess," Derek says sarcastically. Stiles doesn't react at all to how hoarse he sounds and why.
"Do not sass me. That shooting thing is still on the table."
Derek doesn't even bother rolling his eyes at the pathetic threat and catches Stiles' lips in another brain-melting kiss instead.
Stiles pants against his lips. "Does this mean I win the argument?" He's pretty sure it means shut up and not you win, but pushing his luck has worked for him so far.
Derek's face goes tight and serious. The changes are ridiculously small, a muscle moving here, a wrinkle appearing there, but Stiles reads it so clearly that the sudden change makes him shiver.
"I know a thing or two about manipulation, and that girl has been lying through her teeth since the moment we met her."
Progress! Stiles crows inwardly. Now at least they're talking about it. "Because she's afraid of you! Not because she's a criminal mastermind!"
"When it's a threat against the pack, I can't take that kind of chance."
Derek is still pressed against him, and Stiles doesn't know what it means that he hasn't pulled away—like seriously, can't Derek do anything in a conventional, straightforward fashion? Is there a rule against that?—but he's going to enjoy it while he can. He wraps his arms around Derek's waist, settling his hands on Derek's back, and then for a second he wonders if maybe that's too intimate. It should be nothing compared to having his tongue in Derek's mouth, but with Derek you never know.
(Not literally nothing, of course. Because, muscles. And body heat.)
"You said yourself that vampires can't turn werewolves," Stiles points out, distracted. Has Derek always been this hot? In the body temperature sense? Because the answer to the other question would obviously be yes.
"She's a threat against the pack, not just the betas."
"The pack is—" Stiles stops himself. "Oh," he says, staring at Derek.
Derek stares back.
"Okay," Stiles concedes. "One meeting. Talk to her just once, and then you can decide what to do."
"And you won't argue with me afterward?"
Stiles considers this. "That doesn't really sound like me?" he offers apologetically. "But I can try and make it fun if I do argue with you about it?"
Derek shakes his head—fondly, Stiles would like to think.
"Also, you kissing me to shut me up is not exactly a deterrent, I have to say."
The look in Derek's eyes this time is definitely fond. There's almost a ghost of a smile on his lips. "You don't know what you're getting yourself into."
Stiles grins. "I never do."
On the way home he texts Scott.
Did you know that I'm attractive to gay werewolves?
Scott replies with record speed.
Ew. And also, never ever tell me.